VI.     QUESTIONS ON THE PROPHET'S AND THE AWLIYA'S KNOWLEDGE OF THE GHAYB (UNSEEN)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some people cite the verses of the Holy Qur'an which they translate to mean that Allah commands the Prophet to tell the companions that he has no knowledge of the unseen. I was surprised at hearing this and decided to write to you for your view. The stand of the real Ahl al-Sunna with respect to Rasulullah's knowledge of the unseen will be appreciated. Also, what is the belief of Ahl al-Sunna regarding the awliya's knowledge of the unseen?


THE PROPHET'S KNOWLEDGE OF THE UNSEEN

 

 

Knowledge of the Unseen is one of Allah's prerogatives, exclusive to Him except insofar as He discloses it to His elect servants:

 

"He discloses not His unseen (ghayb) to anyone, except only to such a Messenger as He is well-pleased with." (72:26)

 

The hafiz Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani explained this verse thus:

 

It follows from this verse that Prophets can see some of the Unseen, and so do the saints (wali, pl. awliya') that follow each particular Prophet also, as each takes from his Prophet and is gifted (yukram) with his knowledge. The difference between the two is that the Prophet looks at this knowledge through all kinds of revelation, while the saint does not look upon it except in dreams or through inspiration, and Allah knows best.[1]

 

Ibn Hajar quotes al-Qurtubi's words confirming this:

 

The truthful, righteous Muslim (al-muslim al-sadiq al-salih) is he whose state matches that of Prophets and thereby is bestowed (ukrima) some of the same kind of gifts they were given: that is to behold the unseen (wa huwa al-ittila` `ala al-ghayb). As for the disbeliever (al-kafir), the corrupt person (al-fasiq), and the contentious one who confuses matters for the listeners (al-mikhlat)-- then no.[2]

 

            It is incorrect and improper, therefore, to say that the Prophet did not know the Unseen except if such a statement is qualified, such as saying: "He did not know that of the Unseen which only Allah knows." Otherwise it is untrue that the Prophet did not know the Unseen. How could such a claim be true of any truthful Prophet who brings news from His Lord, especially one who ascended above the seven heavens and the eight Paradises to His Lord's presence, one who told of the events that attended creation, one who saw the events after resurrection, and one to whom was revealed the inimitable Qur'an? And Allah said to him:

 

And We granted you knowledge of what you knew not, and the bounty of Allah for you has been infinite. (4:113)

 

This is of the tidings of the Unseen which we reveal to you. You did not know it before this, nor your people. (11:49)

 

Say: ... Allah has already informed us of the true state of matters concerning you: It is your actions that Allah and His Apostle will observe... (9:94)

 

And some of them hurt the Prophet and say, "He is all ear!" (i.e. gullible). Say: An ear of good for you: he believes in Allah, and believes the Believers, and is a Mercy to those of you who believe... (9:61) Imam al-Baydawi commented: "This verse is a warning that It is not due to his ignorance of your true position that the Prophet accepts what you say but out of leniency and mercy for you."[3]

 

 

            However, the Prophet did not like to boast and he always stressed that certain matters of the Unseen were Allah's exclusive domain, especially knowledge of the Last Hour, and "the five things" mentioned at the end of Sura Luqman (31:34). This is confirmed by the hadiths:

 

1. Utiytu mafatihu kulli shay'in illa al-khams. "I have received the keys to everything (unseen) except the Five (which Allah alone knows)."[4]

 

            Ibn Mas`ud similarly narrates: Utiya mafatihu kulli shay'in ghayr al-khams. "He has received the keys to everything (unseen) except the Five (which Allah alone knows)."[5]

 

            Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani also cites, without weakening them, two very similar hadiths in Fath al-bari:

 

Utiya nabiyyukum `ilmu kulli shay'in siwa hadhihi al-khams.

            Utiytu mafatih al-ghayb.

 

            "Your Prophet has received everything except these Five."

            "I have received the keys of the Unseen."[6]

 

These five things are:

- Knowledge of what is in the wombs;

- Knowledge of when the Hour will rise;

- Knowledge of what one will gain tomorrow;

- Knowledge of the land in which one will die;

- Knowledge of the time Allah will send rain.

(Hadith of Ibn `Umar in Ahmad and Bukhari.)

 

2. A man from Banu `Amir, after asking the Prophet certain questions, said: "Is there any knowledge left which you do not know?" whereupon the Prophet said: "Allah has taught me a great good, and there is a kind of Unseen knowledge which Allah alone knows: He has knowledge of the Hour, He sends down the rain, He knows what lies in the womb, no one (but He) knows what one will gain tomorrow, and no one (but He) knows in what land one shall die."[7]

 

3. It is confirmed by Ibn Mardawayh's narration from `Ali cited in the chapter of Sura Luqman in Kanz al-`ummal, as a commentary for the verse 28:66 in Sura al-Qasas, "On that day tidings will be darkened for them," whereby `Ali said: "Nothing was darkened for your Prophet except five matters from the secrets of the Unseen." (lam yu`ma `ala nabiyyikum shay'un illa khamsun min sara'ir al-ghayb.)

 

4. In Tirmidhi (hasan sahih) and Baghawi in Sharh al-Sunna on the authority of Mu`adh ibn Jabal:

 

The Prophet said: "My Lord came to me in the best image and asked me over what did the angels of the higher heaven vie, and I said I did not know, so He put His hand between my shoulders, and I felt its coolness in my innermost, and the knowledge of all things between the East and the West came to me."

 

            `Ali al-Qari wrote about this hadith in the chapter on the Prophet's turban in his book Jam` al-wasa'il fi sharh al-shama'il, a commentary on Tirmidhi's Shama'il or Characteristics of the Prophet:

 

Whether the Prophet saw his Lord during his sleep or whether Allah the Glorious and Exalted manifested Himself to him with a form (bi al-tajalli al-suwari), this type of manifestation is known among the masters of spiritual states and stations (arbab al-hal wa al-maqam), and it consists in being reminded of His qualities (hay'atihi) and reflecting upon His vision (ru'yatihi), which is the outcome of the perfection of one's inner detachment (takhliyatihi) and self-adornment (tahliyatihi).

 

            And Allah knows best about the states of His Prophets and Intimate Friends whom He has raised with His most excellent upbringing, and the mirrors of whose hearts He has polished with His most excellent polish, until they witnessed the Station of Divine Presence and Abiding (maqam al-hudur wa al-baqa'), and they rid themselves of the rust of screens and extinction (sada' al-huzur wa al-fana').

 

            May Allah bestow on us their yearnings, may He make us taste their states and manners, and may He make us die in the condition of loving them and raise us in their group.[8]

 

al-Qari also said in al-Asrar al-marfu`a:

 

Ibn Sadaqa said that Ibn Zar`a said: "The hadith of Ibn `Abbas [about the Prophet seeing His Lord] is  sound (sahih), and no one denies it except a Mu`tazili" [!]... Ibn al-Humam answered that "this (representation) is the veil of form (hijab al-sura)."  It seems that he meant by this that the entire goal can be visualized if it is interpreted as a formal manifestation (tajalli suwari), as it is incontrover-tibly absurd to interpret it as a real or literal manifestation (tajalli haqiqi)... for Allah is exalted from possessing a body, a form (sura), and directions with regard to His essence... And if the hadith is shown to have something in its chain that indicates forgery, then fine; otherwise: the door of figurative interpretation is wide and imposes itself (bab al-ta'wil wasi`un muhattam).[9]

 

5. The Prophet's "knowledge of all things between the East and the West" is confirmed by the famous narration with a grade of hasan (fair) from al-Bara' ibn `Azib whereby:

 

At the time of the Battle of Ahzab or the battle of the Trench, the Prophet went down to hit a rock with his pick, whereupon he said: "Bismillah" and shattered one third of the rock. Then he exclaimed: "Allahu akbar! I have been given the keys of Syria. By Allah, verily I can see her red palaces right from where I stand." Then he said: "Bismillah," and shattered another third and exclaimed: "Allahu akbar! I have been given the keys of Persia. By Allah, I can see her cities and her white palace right from where I stand." Then he said: "Bismillah" and shattered the remainder of the rock and exclaimed: "Allahu akbar! I have been given the keys of Yemen. By Allah, I can see the gates of San`a' right from where I stand."[10]

 

6. Another version of the above is related from Salman al-Farisi. Ibn Hisham relates it in his Sira through Ibn Ishaq thus:

 

Salman al-Farisi said: "I was digging in one corner of the trench at which time one rock gave me difficulty. Allah's Messenger came near me and saw my difficulty as I was digging. He came down and took the pick from my hands. Then he struck and a great spark flashed under the pick. He struck again and another spark flashed. He struck a third time and a third spark flashed. I said to him: My father and mother (be ransomed) for you, O Messenger of Allah! What is that I saw flashing under the pick as you were striking? He said: Did you see this, O Salman? I said: Yes! He said: The first time, Allah opened Yemen [in the South] for me; the second time, He opened the North (al-Sham) and the West (al-Maghrib) for me; and the third time, he opened the East (al-Mashriq)."[11]

 

7. The above two narrations are confirmed by Abu Hurayra's words related by Ibn Hisham in his Sira directly after the above narration:

 

Ibn Ishaq said: A reliable source narrated to me that Abu Hurayra used to say, when these countries were conquered in the time of `Umar and in the time of `Uthman and after `Uthman: "Conquer what comes within your sight. By the One in Whose hand lies Abu Hurayra's soul, you do not conquer any city nor will you conquer any city until the Day of resurrection except that Allah the Exalted gave Muhammad its keys beforehand."[12]

 

8. A further confirmation of the above is the hadith in Muslim:

 

The earth was collected together for me so that I was shown its Easts and Wests. And the kingdom of my Community will reach to the extent that it was brought together for me.

 

9. A further confirmation is the hadith in Bukhari:

 

Narrated Asma' bint Abu Bakr: I came to 'Aisha during the solar eclipse. The people were standing (offering prayer) and she too, was standing and offering prayer. I asked, "What is wrong with the people?" She pointed towards the sky with her hand and said, Subhan Allah!'' I asked her, "Is there a sign?" She nodded with her head meaning, yes. When Allah's Apostle finished (the prayer), he glorified and praised Allah and said, "There is not anything that I have not seen before but I have seen now at this place of mine, even Paradise and Hell. It has been revealed to me that you people will be put to trial nearly like the trial of al-Dajjal, in your graves. As for the true believer or a Muslim (the sub-narrator is not sure as to which of the two (words Asma' had said) he will say, 'Muhammad came with clear signs from Allah, and we responded to him (accepted his teachings) and believed (what he said)' It will be said (to him) 'Sleep in peace; we have known that you were a true believer who believed with certainty.' As for a hypocrite or a doubtful person, (the sub-narrator is not sure as to which word Asma' said) he will say, 'I do not know, but I heard the people saying something and so I said the same.'" (Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 92, Number 390)

 

10. A further confirmation of the above is the hadith of Hudhayfa in Bukhari and Muslim:

 

The Messenger of Allah gave us an address in which he did not leave out anything that would happen until the Last Hour came. Whoever remembered it remembered it and whoever forgot it forgot it. Many companions of mine have known it. When any of it came to pass, I would recognize it and remember it as a man remembers the face of a man who has gone away and which he recognizes when he sees him again." Then Hudhayfa said: "I do not know whether my companions may have forgotten or pretended to forget [i.e. to prevent fitna], but Allah's Messenger did not leave out the instigator of a single disaster that was going to happen until the end of the world. There were more than three hundred of them. He named them for us, each with his own name, the name of his father and his tribe.

 

11. A further confirmation is the hadith in Bukhari:

 

...Then Allah's Apostle said, "By Him in Whose Hand my life is, Paradise and Hell were displayed before me across this wall while I was praying, and I never saw such good and evil as I have seen today." (Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 92, Number 397)

 

12. A further confirmation is the hadith of Abu al-Darda' in Tabarani and Ahmad, which is sound (sahih) according to Haythami in Majma` al-zawa'id:

 

When the Messenger of Allah left us there was not a bird that flies in the sky but that he had given us some knowledge about it.

 

            And all this profusion of knowledge of the Unseen on the part of the Prophet has been characterized by Allah as perspicuity and ability to reveal knowledge of the Unseen in the two verses:

 

His sight swerved not, nor swept astray. (53:17)

 

He is not stingy of (his knowledge of) the Unseen. (81:24)

 

13. Nor is the Prophet's knowledge after his life in dunya in any way lessened. Rather, the contrary is true, as established in the following hadith:

 

My life is a great good for you, you will relate about me and it will be related to you, and my death is a great good for you, your actions will be presented to me (in my grave) and if I see goodness I will praise Allah, and if I see other than that I will ask forgiveness of Him for you.[13]

 

            Qadi` Iyad in his al-Shifa' fi ma`rifat huquq al-mustafa (The Healing Concerning the Knowledge of the Rights of the Elect One), al-Qastallani in his al-Mawahib al-laduniyya bi al-minah al-muhammadiyya (The Gifts from Allah: the Muhammadan Dispensations), and other scholars of Ahl al-Sunna included in their excellent books on the Prophet extensive chapters establishing his knowledge of the unseen and future events.

 

            In the light of the above evidence, such statements as that of Muhammad ibn `Abd al-Wahhab at the end of his leaflet paradoxically entitled "The Three Principles of Oneness" are false whereby:

 

One who claims to know something from knowledge of the Unseen is a taghut or false deity (Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab, al-Usul al-thalatha, end)!

 

            This is utterly rejected as false and gross falsehood spoken against the Prophet by those who would deny his status and the prerogatives of his rank established by Allah in His speech and by the sound hadith of the Prophet. We seek refuge in Allah from such statements as signify extreme ignorance, indeed enmity to the Prophet and to Allah's Pure Religion. And Allah knows best.


QADI `IYAD'S CHAPTER "THE PROPHET'S KNOWLEDGE OF THE UNSEEN AND FUTURE EVENTS"

WITH SOME OF MULLA `ALI AL-QARI'S COMMENTARY ON THIS CHAPTER[14]

 

 

Qadi `Iyad says in his book al-Shifa' concerning the Prophet's knowledge of the Unseen:

 

The hadiths on this subject are like a vast ocean whose depths cannot be plumbed and which does not cease to overflow. This is one aspect of his miracles which is definitely known. We have many hadiths which have reached us by multiple paths of transmission (tawatur) regarding his familiarity with (ittila`) the Unseen.

 

            Hudahyfa said: "The Messenger of Allah gave us an address in which he did not leave out anything that would happen until the Last Hour came. Whoever remembered it remembered it and whoever forgot it forgot it. Many companions of mine have known it. When any of it came to pass, I would recognize it and remember it as a man remembers the face of a man who has gone away and which he recognizes when he sees him again." Then Hudhayfa said: "I do not know whether my companions may have forgotten or pretended to forget [i.e. to prevent fitna; Qari said: to turn to what is more important], but Allah's Messenger did not leave out the instigator of a single disaster that was going to happen until the end of the world. There were more than three hundred of them. He named them for us, each with his own name, the name of this father and his tribe."[15]

 

            Abu Dharr said [from Abu al-Darda']: "When the Messenger of Allah left us there was not a bird that flies in the sky but that he had given us some knowledge about it."[16]

 

            The compilers of the Sahih[17] and the Imams[18] have related what he taught his Companions and family about regarding his promises to them of victory over his enemies, the conquests of Mecca, Jerusalem, the Yemen, Syria and Iraq, and the establish-ment of security so that a woman could go from Hira in Iraq to Mecca fearing none but Allah.

 

            He said that Madina would be raided and Khaybar would be conquered by `Ali the next day. He foretold those parts of the world that Allah was going to open up to his Community and what they would be given of its flowers and fruits, such as the treasures of Chosroes and Caesar. He told about what would happen among them with regard to sedition, disputes and sectarianism., acting as those before them had done, their splitting into seventy-three sects, only one of which would be saved, that they would spread out in the earth, that people would come would wear one garment in the morning and another in the evening, and dish after dish would be placed before them. They would embellish their houses as the ka`ba is embellished. Then he said at the end of the hadith: "Today you are better than you will be on that day."

 

            He said that they would strut about on the earth and that the girls of Persia and Byzantium would serve them. Allah would withdraw their strength from them and the evil ones would overcome the good. They would fight the Turks and the Khazars and Byzantium. Chosroes and Persia would be obliterated so that there would be no Chosroes or Persia afterwards. Caesar would pass away and there would be no Caesar after him. He mentioned that Byzantium would continue generation after generation until the end of time. The noblest and best people would be taken away. When the time grew near, knowledge would be taken away, and sedition and bloodshed would appear. He said: "Woe to the Arabs for an evil that draws near!"

 

            The earth was rolled up for him so that he could see its eastern and western extremities and the dominion of his Community was to reach what was rolled up for him. That is why it has extended from the east to the west, from the Indies in the east to the sea of Tangier, beyond which is no civilization. That was not given to any of the nations. Islam did not extend to the north and south in the same way.

 

            He said: "The people of the west (ahl al-gharb) will know the truth until the Hour comes." Ibn al-Madini[19] believed that this refers to the Arabs because they are distinguished by drinking from a certain kind of leather bucket (al-gharb). Another believed that it refers to the people of the Maghrib.

 

            In a hadith from Abu Umama, the Prophet said: "A group of my Community will remain constant to the truth, conquering their enemy until the command of Allah comes to them while they are still in that condition." He was asked, "Messenger of Allah, where are they?" He replied: "In Jerusalem."[20]


            He foretold the kingdom of the Umayyads and the rule of Mu`awiya and counselled him and said that the Umayyads would make the kingdom of Allah a dynasty. He said that the descendents of al-`Abbas would emerge with black banners and would rule a far larger area than they now ruled.

 

            He said that the Mahdi would appear and told about what the Ahl al-bayt, the Prople of his house, would experience and about their slaughter and exile.

 

            He foretold the murder of `Ali and said that the most wretched of people would be his killer [this is `Abd al-Rahman ibn Muljam] and that `Ali would be the apportioner of the Fire -- his friends would enter the Garden and his enemies the Fire. Among those who would oppose him would be the Kharijis and the Nasibiyya[21] and a group who claimed to follow him among the Rafidis would reject him.

 

            He said: "`Uthman will be killed while reciting the Qur'an. Perhaps Allah will have him wearing a shirt [i.e. the Caliphate]. They will want to remove it and his blood will fall on his utterance of Allah's words: "Allah is enough for you against them." (2:137).

 

            He said that sedition would not apprear as long as `Umar was alive, al-Zubayr would fight against `Ali, the dogs of al-Haw'ab[22] would bark at one of his wives and many would be killed around her and she would barely escape. They barked at `A'isha when she went to Basra.

 

            He said that `Ammar would be killed by an unjust group and the companions of Mu`awiya killed him [at Siffin]. He said to `Abdullah ibn Zubayr: "Woe to the people from you [i.e. they will be punished for killing him unjustly] and woe to you from the people [i.e. al-Hajjaj will attack you]!"

 

            He said about Quzman [one of the worst hypocrites]: "He will be tested together with the Muslims although he is one of the people of the Fire," and later Quzman committed suicide.

 

            He said that a group which included Abu Hurayra, Samura ibn Jundub and Hudhayfa: "The last of you will die in a fire [in this world, not the next]." They kept asking about each other, and Samura was the last of them to die when he was old and senile. He tried to warm himself over a fire and burned himself in it.

 

            He said about Hanzala al-Ghasil (Washed-by-the-Angels): "Ask his wife about him. I saw the angels washing him." They asked her and she said: "He left (for Jihad) in janaba (state of major ritual defilement after sexual intercourse) and died before he could do ghusl (major ablution)." Abu Sa`id said: "We found his head dripping with water."

 

            He said: "The khalifate is with Quraysh. This business will remain with Quryash as long as they establish the Religion."

 

            He said: "There will be one liar and one destroyer (kadhdhab wa mubir) from Thaqif." It was thought that this referred to al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf and al-Mukhtar ibn `Ubayd.[23]

 

            He said that Musaylima would be destroyed by Allah and that Fatima would be the first of his family to follow him to the grave (she died six months later).

 

            He warned about the Great Apostasy (al-ridda) and said that the khalifate after him would last for thirty years and that it would then become a kingdom. This happened in the period of al-Hasan ibn `Ali.

 

            He said: "This business began as prophethood and mercy, then mercy and a khalifate, then a voracious kingdom and then arrogance and tyranny and corruption will enter the community."

 

            He told of the existence of Uways al-Qarani and that there would be Amirs who would delay the prayer beyond its time.

 

            In one hadith he says that there would be thirty liars in his community and four of them would be women. Another hadith says thirty liars, one of whom would be the Dajjal or Antichrist. They would all deny Allah and his Messenger.

 

            He said: "The time is near when there will be a lot of non-Arabs among you who will consume your property and strike your necks. The Last Hour will not come until a man from Qahtan drives the people with his staff."

 

            He also said: "The best of you are my generation, then those after them, and then those after them. After that, people will come who give testimony without being asked to do so, who will be treacherous and are not trustworthy, who promise and do not fulfill. They will tend to be corpulent."

 

            He said: "A time is only followed by one worse than it."

 

            He also said: "My community will be destroyed at the hands of youg men from Quraysh." One version from Abu Hurayra says: "If I had wanted to, I would have named them for you -- the Banu so-and-so and the Banu so-and-so."

 

            He told about the appearance of the Qadariyya and the Rafidis (those who curse the Companions and declare Ahl al-Sunna to be disbelievers), and said that the last of this community would curse the first of it. The Ansar would diminish until they became like the salt in food (i.e. rare). Their position would continue to dissipate until not a group of them remained. He said that they would meet with despotism after him.

 

            He told about the Kharijites, describing them down to the malformed one among them, and said that their mark would be tahliq or shaved heads.[24]

 

            He said that shepherds would become the leaders of the people and the naked barefoot ones would vie in constructing high buildings. Mothers would give birth to their mistresses.

 

            He said that Quraysh and their confederates would not conquer him, but that he would conquer them.

 

            He foretold "the Death" -- a plague which occurred in the time of `Umar and in which seventy thousand people perished -- which would come after the conquest of Jerusalem and described what the houses of Basra would be like.

 

            He said that they would raid in the sea like kings on thrones. He said that if the Religion had been hung in the Pleiades, men from Persia would have obtained it.

 

            A wind blew up during one of his raids and he said: "It blows for the death of a hypocrite." When they returned to Madina, they discovered it was true.

 

            He told some people sitting with him: "The tooth of one of you in the Fire will be greater in size than the mountain of Uhud." Abu Hurayra said: "The people eventually were all dead except for me and one other man. Then he was killed as an apostate during the Ridda in the battle of Yamama."

 

            He told about the man who stole some pearls from a Jew and the jewels were found in that man's saddle-bag, and about the man who stole a cloak and it was found where he said it would be. He told about his she-camel when she had strayed and how she was tied to a tree with her halter. He told about the letter of Hatib (Ibn Abi Balta`a) to the people of Mecca.

 

            He told about the case where Safwan ibn Umayya persuaded `Umayr ibn Wahb to go to the Prophet and kill him. When `Umayr arrived where the Prophet was, intending to kill him, the Messenger of Allah told him about his business and secret, and `Umayr became a Muslim.

 

            He informed them about the money which his uncle, al-`Abbas, had left concealed with Umm al-Fadl. al-`Abbas said: "No  one except she and I knew where it was." So he became Muslim.

 

            He informed them that he would kill Ubayy ibn Khalaf and that `Utba ibn Abi Lahab would be eaten by one of Allah's beasts of prey. He knew about the deaths of the people of Badr and it happened as he said it would.

 

            He said about al-Hasan: "This son of mine is a master (sayyid) and Allah will make peace between two groups through him."

 

            He said to Sa`d (Ibn Abi Waqqas): "Perhaps you will survive until some people profit by you and others seek to harm you."

 

            He told about the killing of the people of Mu'ta on the very day they were slain, even though there was more than a month's distance between he and them.

 

            The Negus died and he told them about it the very day he died although he was in his own land.

 

            He informed Fayruz (the Persian minister) of the death of Chosroes on the very day that a messenger came to him bearing the news of his death. When Fayruz verified the story, he became Muslim.

 

            One time when the Prophet found Abu Dharr sleeping in the mosque in Madina he told him how he would be exiled. The Prophet said to him: "How will it be when you are driven from it?" He said: "I will dwell in the Masjid al-Haram." He asked: "And when you are driven from there?" The Prophet told him of his life alone and of his death alone.[25]

 

            He said that the first of his wives to join him would be the one with the longest hand. It was Zaynab bint Jahsh because of the length of her hand in giving sadaqa.

 

            He foretold the killing of al-Husayn at Taff [Karbala']. He took some earth [which Jibril had shown him] from his hand and said: "His grave is in it."

 

            He said about Zayd ibn Suhan: "One of his limbs will precede him to the garden." His hand was cut off in Jihad.

 

            He said about those who were with him on Mount Hira: "Be firm. On you is a Prophet, a true man, and a martyr." `Ali, `Umar, `Uthman, Talha and al-Zubayr were killed and Sa`d was attacked.

 

            He said to Suraqa: "How will it be when you wear the trousers of Chosroes?" When they were brought to `Umar, Suraqa put them on and said: "Praise be to Allah who stripped Chosroes of them and put them on Suraqa."

 

            The Prophet said: "A city will be built between the Tigris and Dujayl and Qutrubull and al-Sara. The treasures of the earth will be brought to it which the earth will swallow up," clearly indicating Baghdad.

 

            He said: "There will be a man called al-Walid in this Community and he will be worse for this Community than Pharaoh was for his." [This is al-Walid ibn Yazid ibn `Abd al-Malik.]

 

            He also said: "The Hour will not come until two parties fight each other with the same claim." [This was the battle of Siffin which took place around the khilafa. The people of Syria were 60,000 of which 20,000 died; while the people of Iraq were 120,000 of which 40,000 died.]

 

            He said to `Umar about Suhayl ibn `Amr: "Perhaps he will be in a position which will delight you, `Umar." That happened. He stood up in Mecca in a similar way to Abu Bakr on the day when they heard about the Prophet's death. He addressed them with a similar speech [i.e. similar to Abu Bakr's speech in Madina that day] and strengthened their insight.

 

            When he sent Khalid to Ukaydar, he said: "You will send him hunting for wild cows," and he did.[26]

 

            All these matters took place during his lifetime, and after his death, just as he had said they would.

 

            He also told his Companions about their secrets and inward thoughts. He told them about the secrets of the hypocrites and their rejection and what they said about him and the believers, so that one of the hypocrites would say to his friend: "Be quiet!By Allah, if he does not have someone to inform him, the very stones of the plain would inform him." [These were `Itab ibn Usayd and al-Harith ibn Hisham, both of whom became Muslims when the Prophet subsequently told them that they had said this.]

 

            He described the magic which Labid ibn al-`Asim used against him and how it was in the comb, the combings and the spathe of the male palm and that he had thrown them into the well of Dharwan. It was found to be just as he had described it.

 

            He told Quraysh that the termites would eat what was in the paper which they issued against the Banu Hashim by which they cut off relations with them. He said that every mention of Allah would remain. It was found to be as he had said.

 

            He described Jerusalem to the unbelievers when they did not believe what he had said as is related in the hadith of the Night Journey, describing it to them as someone who really knew it. He told them about their caravan which he had passed on his way and told them when it would arrive.

 

            All of these things happpened as he had said, including all that he told them regarding events which would take place and things whose beginnings had not yet even appeared, such as his words: "The flourishing of Jerusalem will prove the ruin of Yathrib. The ruin of Yathrib will result in the emergence of fierce fighting. The emergence of fierce fighting will encompass the conquest of Constantinople."

 

            He mentioned the preconditions of the Hour, the signs of its arrival, the Rising and the Gathering, and told about what would happen to the good and those who deviated, the Garden and the Fire and the events of the Rising.

 

            A whole volume could be devoted to this subject, but there is enough for you in what we have indicated. Most of the hadiths are in the Sahih volumes and have been mentioned by the Imams.

 


FROM SOUTUL ISLAM PUBLICATIONS

(PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA)

ON THE SIGHT OF THE PROPHET

 

 

The eyes of the Holy Prophet were matchless in their outward beauty as well as in their vision and sight. Ibn Abbas in describing his beauteous eyesight states:

 

The Holy Prophet could see equally well during the darkness of the  night and the brightness of the day. (Bukhari)

 

Anas narrates: The Holy Prophet himself said:

 

O people! I am your Imam.Do not precede me in ruku` and sajda because in addition to seeing what is in front of me I also see what is behind me. (Muslim)

 

Abu Huraira similarly narrates the Prophet's words:

 

I swear on Allah Almighty, neither your ruku` is hidden from me nor your sajda because I can see you behind my back as well. (Muslim and Bukhari)

 

            The gist of the commentary which the great scholar Shaykh `Abd al- Haqq Muhaddith Dihlawi has written on these traditions is as follows: "Only Allah Almighty exactly knows the truth [i.e. the extent] of his vision. In addition, every blessed limb also falls in this category [of piercing sight], because no one can fully understand what they were." They are without doubt beyond one's imagination and intellect. Any assumption falls short of their virtuosity. Allah Almighty has full Power to bestow vision to every part of the body, or grant this unique sight as His Favour and Grace on His beloved Messenger.

 

            If by this sight is meant vision of the heart, then it is that knowledge which was bestowed upon him by Allah Almighty.

 

            Some people tend to incorrectly rely on the inauthentic tradition whereby the Holy Prophet said: "I do not know what is behind the wall." No origin is known (la asl) for such a hadith. Even if such an improbable saying were attributable to the Prophet, then its purpose would be to show personal humility and not to negate such knowledge. The meaning would then be: "I do not know that on my own, nor do I have such knowledge on my own," but as far as Bestowed Knowledge is concerned, i.e knowledge given by Allah Almighty, the Holy Prophet was fully equipped with it by his Creator.

 

            The Holy Qur'an bears the testimony to this:

 

And We granted you knowledge of what you knew not, and the bounty of Allah for you has been infinite. (4:113)

 


CONCLUSION : THE PROPHET "KNOWS" AND "CAN,"

BUT HE IS HUMBLE AND DOES NOT BOAST

 

 

The "Salafis" are often seen adducing the following verses among others in support of their view that the Prophet is no more than an ordinary individual:

 

Say [O Prophet]: I have no power to benefit myself nor to harm it, except that which Allah wills. Had I knowledge of the Unseen, I would have acquired much good, and adversity would not have touched me... (7:188)

 

Say: I am but a man (or: a mortal) like yourselves. (18:110, 41:6)

 

And they say: We will not put faith in thee till thou cause a spring to gush forth... Or thou have a garden... and cause rivers to gush forth... Or thou cause the heaven to fall... or bring God and the angels... have a house of gold; ascend up into heaven... bring down for us a book... Say: My Lord be glorified! Am I naught save a mortal messenger?" (17:90-93)

 

            You will witness them quoting such verses continually to try to prove that the Prophet was an ordinary person. They never remember the last part of the verse that states:

 

Say: I am but a mortal like yourselves, but I receive revelation.

 

            Of course, they also try to extend this Communist-like doctrine of perfect ordinariness and equality to the awliya as being even more ordinary. Such behavior is typical of certain groups standing in the way of the propagation of true Islam to whom Nuh Keller refers in his notice on Yusuf al-Rifa`i in his Reliance of the Traveller (p. 1112):

 

He (Yusuf al-Rifa`i) takes a keen interest in the problems of Muslims today, and at a recent symposium in Amman with Sheikh Abdullah Muhammad Ghimari and Sheikh Hassan Saqqaf, he voiced his concern for the obstacles to the current Islamic revival and world propagation of Islam that are being put in its way by "fundamentalists" whose view of Allah is anthropomorphic, view of the Prophet is that he is over-venerated and [overly] loved by Muslims, and view of Muslims is that they are unbelievers or immersed in unlawful innovations.

 

            With regard to the above verses, the scholars' explanation for them is not that the Prophets declare their mortality as an expression of their ordinariness, but rather of their dignity and humbleness on the one hand, and on the other hand to destroy any claim of a nature other than human -- e.g. god or angel -- that might be attributed to them.

 

            These verses were also revealed in answer to some people who asked the Prophet for signs in a spirit of disbelief and mockery, such as a group who claimed that they would attest to his prophethood only if he performed for them certain miracles, while it is established by the scholars of asbab an-nuzul (Context for Revelation) that the Prophet disliked being asked for miracles by unbelievers. To quote these verses in an attempt to prove the supposed ordinariness of the Prophet is an aberrant practice and a true under-estimation of his rights and of Allah's generosity towards Him. The Prophet certainly was not limited in the reductive sense that disbelievers claimed about prophets in the verse: "They said: Ye are but mortals like unto us" (36:15).

 

            Finally, another reason for the disclaimers concerning the Prophet was his humbleness. The explanation of Ibn 'Abbas quoted by Qadi `Iyad in al-Shifa' and al-Khazin in his Commentary (18:110) suffices for anyone who looks at the Prophet with the eyes of belief rather than those of skepticism: "Allah has taught modesty to His Prophet Muhammad, lest he boast before His creation. He has therefore ordered him to be dignified and say: I am but a mortal man like you, except that I was chosen for Revelation."

 

            We close this section with an excerpt from Qadi `Iyad's al-Shifa' on the angelic nature of Prophets:

 

Allah says: "Muhammad is only a Messenger, and Messengers have passed away before him. Why, if he should die or be killed..." (3:144) and "The Masih (Christ), son of Maryam, is only a Messenger. Messengers have passed away before him and his mother was a truthful woman. They used to eat food" (5:75) and "We only sent Messengers before that ate food and walked in the markets" (25:20) and "Say: I am a mortal like you to whom revelation has been given" (18:110).

 

            Muhammad and all the Prophets of mankind were sent to men. If it had not been for that, people would not have been able to meet them face-to-face, accept revelation from them, and speak with them.

 

            Allah says, "If We had made him an angel, We would have made him a man" (6:9). That is to say, the angel would have taken the form of a man to whom they could speak since they would not be able to face an angel and speak with it if they saw it in its true form.

 

            Allah says, "Say: if there had been angels on the earth walking about in peace and quiet, We would have sent down upon them an angel as a Messenger from heaven" (17:95). That is to say, it is not possible in the Sunna of Allah to send an angel except to one who is the same as it or one to whom Allah gives a special gift, chooses and makes strong enough to be able to face it, such as the Prophets and Messengers.

 

            Prophets and Messengers are intermediaries between Allah and His creation. They convey His commands and prohibitions, His warnings and threats to His creatures and they acquaint them with things they did not know regarding His commands, creation, majesty, power and His sovereignty. Their outward form, bodies and structure are characterized by the qualities of men as far as non-essential matters such as illnesses, death and passing away are concerned and they have human traits.

 

            But their souls and inward parts have the highest possible human qualities, associated with the Highest Assembly, which are similar to angelic attributes, free of any possibility of alteration or evil. Generally speaking, the incapacities and weaknesses connected with being human cannot be associated with them. If their inward parts had been human in the same way as their outward, they would not have been able to receive revelation from the angels, see them, mix and sit with them in the way other mortals are unable to do.

 

            If their bodies and outward parts had been marked by angelic attributes as opposed to human attributes, the mortals to whom they were sent would not have been able to speak with them as Allah has already said. Thus they have the aspect of men as far as their bodies and outward parts are concerned, and that of angels in respect of their souls and inward parts.

 

            It is in this way that the Prophet said, "If I had taken a close friend from my Community, I would have taken Abu Bakr as a friend, but it is the brotherhood of Islam. Rather your companion is the close friend of the Merciful."[27]

 

            He said, "My eyes sleep and my heart does not sleep."[28]

 

            He said, "I am not made the same as you but my Lord gives me food and drink."[29]

 

            Their inward parts are disconnected from evil and free from imperfection and weakness.

 

            This summary will certainly not be enough for all those who are concerned with this subject...[30]

 

And Allah knows best.

 


THE AWLIYA'S KASHF (UNVEILING) OF THE UNSEEN

 

 

Kashf or unveiling consists, according to al-Sharif al-Jurjani's definition in his Kitab al-ta`rifat, in "apprehending beyond the veil of ordinary phenomena, whether by vision or experience, the meanings and realities that pertain to the unseen." It is a kind of intuitive knowledge or discovery that typifies Allah's Friends, whose rank Allah extols with the affirmation:

 

Lo! Verily the friends of Allah are those on whom fear comes not, nor do they grieve (10:62).

 

            Many sayings of the Prophet mention the various types and ranks of the saints, as Suyuti has shown in his collection of these sayings in his fatwa already mentioned entitled: al-Khabar al-dall `ala wujud al-qutb wa al-awtad wa al-nujaba' wa al-abdal or "The reports that indicate the existence of the Pole, the Pillars, the Leaders, and the Substitutes" in his Hawi li al-fatawi. These and other types of perfected individuals form the khawass or elite of the pious, whom Allah also calls the siddiqin (saints, literally "Very Truthful Ones") and ranks directly after the Prophets and before the Martyrs in the verse:

 

Whoso obey Allah and the Messenger, they are with those unto whom Allas has shown favor, of the Prophets and the saints and the martyrs and the righteous. The best of company are they! (4:69)

 

            Their position in relation to Allah on the Day of Judgment is even described as an object of desire for the Prophets in the following sound hadith of the Prophet related by `Umar and others. This is the narration of Abu Malik al-Ash`ari from the Musnad of Imam Ahmad:

 

When the Prophet finished his prayer he turned to face the people and said: "O people! Listen to this, understand it, and know it. Allah has servants who are neither Prophets nor martyrs and whom the Prophets and martyrs yearn to be like, due to their seat and proximity in relation to Allah."

            One of the Bedouin Arabs who came from among the most isolated of people twisted his hand at the Prophet and said: "O Messenger of Allah! People from humankind who are neither Prophets nor martyrs and yet the Prophets and the martyrs yearn to be like them due to their seat and proximity in relation to Allah?! Describe them for us!"

            The Prophet's face showed delight at the Bedouin's question and he said:

            "They are of the strangers from this and that place. They frequent this or that tribe without belonging to them. They do not have family connections among themselves. They love one another for Allah's sake. They are of pure intent towards one another. On the Day of Resurrection Allah will place for them pedestals of light upon which He will make them sit, and He will turn their faces and clothes into light. On the Day of Resurrection the people will be terrified but not those. They are Allah's Friends upon whom fear comes not, nor do they grieve."[31]

 

            Another famous description of the characteristics of awliya was given by Sayyidina `Ali, as related by Ibn al-Jawzi in the chapter devoted to him in Sifat al-safwa:

 

They are the fewest in number, but the greatest in rank before Allah. Through them Allah preserves His proofs until they bequeath it to those like them (before passing on) and plant it firmly in their hearts. By them knowledge has taken by assault the reality of things, so that they found easy what those given to comfort found hard, and found intimacy in what the ignorant found desolate. They accompanied the world with bodies whose spirits were attached to the highest regard (al-mahall al-a`la). Ah, ah! how one yearns to see them!

 

            The knowledge of the awliya' may attain higher levels than that of any other knowledge of humankind and jinn including in certain cases even the knowledge of Prophets. The preternatural knowledge or powers which Allah bestows on some of His friends (awliya') who are not Prophets have a firm basis in the Qur'an: for example, the wali who was with Prophet Sulayman and brought him the throne of Balqis faster than the blink of an eye. He was characterized as "one who had knowledge of the Book" as Allah stated:

 

One with whom was knowledge of the Scripture said: I will bring it thee (O Sulayman) before thy gaze returneth unto thee... (27:40)

 

This reference is to Prophet Sulayman's scribe, Asif ibn Barkhya, according to the Tafsir Ibn `Abbas and the majority of the scholars, i.e. a non-Prophet human being:

 

"One with whom was knowledge of the Scripture": i.e. an angel... or Jibril... or al-Khidr or Asif ibn Barkhya, Sulayman's scribe, which is the most correct, and the jumhur (majority) agrees upon it...[32]

 

            Similarly, al-Khidr -- although considered by many to be a Prophet -- possessed knowledge which Prophet Musa did not have and he is characterized as "one of Our slaves, unto whom We had given mercy from Us, and had taught knowledge from Our presence" (18:65).

 

            The word for both vision and true dream is ru'ya, which Allah mentions in the Qur'an thus: "Allah has fulfilled the vision (ru'ya) for his Messenger in very truth" (48:27). The Prophet said:

 

The vision or dream (al-ru'ya) is one forty-sixth of prophecy.[33]

 

When the Time draws near, almost no vision or dream of the believer will be false. The believer's dream is one forty-sixth of prophecy, and prophecy never lies.

 

Whoever sees me in vision or dream sees me truly, for Satan cannot take on my form, and the believer's dream is one forty-sixth of prophecy.

 

Among the greatest of lies is to ascribe to one's eyes the sight in a vision or dream of what one did not see.

 

Nothing remains of prophecy except the glad tidings (mubashshirat). They asked him: What are they? He said: The good vision or dream. (al-ru'ya al-saliha).[34]

 

            That kashf is an opening granted by Allah that is completely independent of one's own exertion or capacity for learning is clear from the saying of Abu Hurayra: "I have retained (hafiztu) from the Prophet two large vessels of knowledge".[35] He used the term "vessels" to preclude the connotation of learning on his part, since liquid is not taught to the vessel, but poured in it. This indicates a state of passive receptivity, independent of exertion or skill.

 

Another hadith, also in Bukhari, confirms that the Prophet was literally pouring knowledge into Abu Hurayra rather than teaching it:

 

Narrated Abu Huraira: I said, "O Allah's Apostle! I hear many narrations from you but I forget them." The Prophet said, "Spread your covering sheet." I spread my sheet and he moved both his hands as if scooping something and emptied them in the sheet and said, "Wrap it around you." I wrapped it round my body, and I have never since forgotten a single Hadith.[36]

 

            Just as the true dream is a characteristic of the believer, so is kashf a characteristic of belief according to the following hadith:

 

From al-Harith ibn Malik al-Ansari (some chains have: al-Haritha ibn al-Na`man al-Ansari): He passed by the Prophet who asked him: "How are you this morning O Haritha [sic]?" He replied: "This morning I am a real believer." The Prophet said: "Take care of what you say: what is the reality of your belief?" He said: "I have turned myself away from this world by keeping awake at night and by keeping myself thirsty by day; and I can almost see the Throne of my Lord in full sight; and I can almost see the people of the Garden of Paradise visiting each other; and I can almost see the people of the Fire wailing to each other in it." The Prophet said: "O Haritha, you do know: therefore cleave to it."  Some versions add: "This is a believer, Allah has illumined his heart" (mu'minun nawwara Allahu qalbah).[37]

 

            The Prophet highlighted `Umar's gift in this respect in particular:

 

In the nations before you were people who were spoken to (muhaddathun) though they were not prophets. If there is anyone in my Community, it is `Umar ibn al-Khattab.

 

            It is related by Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, and Ahmad. It is elucidated by the two hadiths in Tirmidhi (which he graded hasan) whereby "Allah has engraved truth on the tongue of `Umar and his heart" and "If there were a Prophet after me verily it would be `Umar." Tirmidhi adds to the muhaddath narration that according to Ibn `Uyayna "spoken to" means "made to understand" (mufahhamun), while in his narration Muslim adds: "Ibn Wahb explained "spoken to" as meaning "inspired" (mulhamun)." This is the majority's opinion according to Ibn Hajar in Fath al-bari (7:62:#3689) who adds "spoken to" means "by the angels." Nawawi and Ibn Hajar said respectively in Sharh Sahih Muslim and Fath al-Bari:

 

The scholars have differed concerning "spoken to." Ibn Wahb said it meant "inspired" (mulhamun). It was said also: "Those on the right, and when they give an opinion it is as if they were spoken to, and then they give their opinion. It was said also: "The angels speak to them..." Bukhari said: "Truth comes from their tongues." There is in hadith this a confirmation of the miracles of saints (wa fihi ithbatu karamat al-awliya).[38]

 

The one among [Muslims] who is "spoken to," if his existence is ascertained, what befalls him is not used as basis for a legal judgment, rather he is obliged to evaluate it with the Qur'an, and if it conforms to it or to the Sunna, he acts upon it, otherwise he leaves it.[39]

 

            One of the "Salafis" claimed that since the hadith states "If there is anyone in my Umma, it is `Umar," it must follow that at most the number of such inspired people is one. However, it is wrong to think that other Communities had many but this Community only one, as Ibn Hajar also stated in his commentary on that hadith. What is meant by the hadith is the perfection of the quality of ilham (inspiration) in `Umar, not its total lack in other Muslims, and Allah knows best.

 

            The exalted status of the knowledge and power of the awliya' is referred to in the verses "Those who strive hard in Us, We shall most surely guide them in our Ways" (29:69) and ittaqullah wa yu`allimukumullah ("Be aware of Allah, and Allah Himself will teach you" 2:282), and the hadith man `amila bi ma `alima warrathahullahu `ilma ma lam ya`lam ("Whoso acts upon what he knows, Allah will make him inherit a knowledge that he did not have").[40] Our master Bayazid al-Bistami cited this hadith in response to some "Salafi" types in his time who were asking him: "From where and from whom did you get this knowledge which you claim to have?"[41] The Shaykh al-Hakim[42] al-Tirmidhi in the second chapter of his Adab al-muridin describes such striving as a kind of door which leads to nearness to Allah, and Shaykh Abd al-Qadir al-Gilani refers to the knowledge and power that result from it in Discourse 16 of Futuh al-ghayb:

 

And fear Allah and He will teach you, then He will invest you with the power of controlling the universe with a clear permission which will have no obscurity in it... and He has done this with many of His Prophets and awliya and people especially favored from among the children of Adam.

 

            To receive such knowledge is called a karama [gift] for the saint and a mu`jiza [act that disables opposition] for the Prophet. The process of receiving it is similarly differentiated: as wahy [revelation] for the latter and ilham [inspiration], ru'ya [vision], kashf [disclosure], firasa [piercing sight], mubashshira [glad tidings from Allah], mukashafa [disclosure], mushahada [mutual vision], or mukhataba [divine conversation] for the former. Shaykh `Abd al-Qadir al-Gilani said in Discourse 9 of his Futuh al-ghayb:

 

To awliya' and abdal (Substitute-saints) are disclosed such workings of Allah in the course of kashf and mushahada as overwhelm the reasoning power of man and shatter into pieces all habits and customs.

 

            al-Siraj al-Tusi in his famous book al-Luma` (The lights), a compilation of the sayings of the Sufis, mentions the following two definitions of the conditions of kashf:

 

Abu Muhammad al-Jurayri said: "Whoever does not work to fulfill what lies between him and Allah the Exalted by way of godfear and vigilance, will never reach unveiling and contemplation." al-Nuri said: "The uncoverings of the eyes are through eyesight, and the uncoverings of the hearts are through connection (ittisal)."[43]

 

            One of the highest examples of such favor is undoubtedly the meeting and true vision of the Prophet, which is a reality established in the hadith of seeing the Prophet in dream, and documented through the relations of the trustworthy from the Companions to the Successors and their Successors down to our day. Some of these relations have been recorded in Suyuti's fatwa Tanwir al-halak fi imkan ru'yat al-nabi wal malak (The illumination of intense darkness through the possibility of seeing the Prophet and the angels) in his Hawi li al-fatawi. We have already mentioned in the section discussing the evidence that the Prophet hears and sees us al-Haytami's answer in his Fatawa hadithiyya whereby it is possible for Allah's Friends to meet the Prophet while awake in our time.[44] They can also meet al-Khidr, according, among others, to Sakhawi who relates about Imam Nawawi:

 

It is well-known that he (Imam Nawawi) used to meet with al-Khidr and converse with him among many other mukashafat.[45]

 

            The exalted status of the saints' firasa is mentioned in the hadith whereby the Prophet said: ittaqu firasat al-mu'min fa innahu yara bi nurillah "Beware the vision of the believer, for he sees with the light of Allah," then he recited the verse: "Therein lie portents for those who read the signs" (al-mutawassimin 15:75).[46] Tirmidhi narrated this authentic hadith in the Book of the Commentary of the Qur'an in his Sunan and said that some of the commentators have explained "Those who read the signs" as meaning: those who possess vision (al-mutafarrisin). al-Sakhawi in al-Maqasid al-hasana (#23) mentions another authentic hadith whereby the Prophet said: "Allah has servants who know (the truth about people) through reading the signs" (tawassum).[47]

 

            It is established in the sound hadith that at the end of time every Muslim will be endowed with this ability to "read the signs," so that he will be able to recognize the Dajjal or antichrist as a disbeliever by reading the letters K-F-R over his forehead.[48]

 

            It is related that the firasat of a pious shaykh was at the origin of Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani's decision to take up the study of jurisprudence rather than devote himself exclusively to hadith:

 

Ibn Hajar said: Muhibb al-Din al-Wahidi al-Maliki said to me: "Invest some of that energy of yours into fiqh, for I see by way of firasat that the scholars of this country (Egypt) are going to be depleted, and there will be need of you, so don't indulge yourself." And his word to me helped me greatly, and I still pray for him for that reason, may Allah have mercy on him.[49]

 

            The following account of firasa is related about Imam al-Junayd al-Baghdadi:

 

Abu `Amr ibn `Alwan relates: I went out one day to the market of al-Ruhba for something I needed. I saw a funeral procession and I followed it in order to pray with the others. I stood among the people until they buried the dead man. My eyes unwittingly fell on a woman who was unveiled. I lingered looking at her, then I held back and began to beg forgiveness of Allah the Exalted.

 

            On my way home an old woman told me: "My lord, why do I see your face all darkened?" I took a mirror and behold, my face had turned dark. I examined my conscience and searched: In what did calamity befall me? I remembered the look I cast. Then I sat alone somewhere and I began to ask Allah's forgiveness assiduously, and I asked to do with little for forty days. (During that time,) the thought came to my heart: "Visit your shaykh al-Junayd." I travelled to Baghdad. When I reached the room where he lived, I knocked at his door and heard him say: "Enter, O Aba `Amr, you sin in al-Ruhba and we ask forgiveness for you here in Baghdad."[50]

 

            The possessor of such gifts and powers of vision is of course in no way exempted from the obligations of religion. Abu al-Hasan al-Shadhili warned:

 

If your kashf opposes the Book and the Sunna, leave kashf and tell yourself: Allah has guaranteed infallibility to the Book and the Sunna, but He has not guaranteed it for kashf.[51]

 

Ibn `Arabi similarly said:

 

Someone in this Community who claims to be able to guide others to Allah, but is remiss in but one rule of the Sacred Law -- even if he manifests miracles that stagger the mind: ... we do not even turn to look at him, for such a person is not a shaykh, nor is he speaking the truth, for no one is entrusted with the secrets of Allah Most High save one in whom the ordinances of the Sacred Law are preserved.[52]

 

            Shaykh `Abd al-Qadir Gilani says the same thing in the Futuh. And their leader in this is the Sultan of the Knowers of Allah Bayazid al-Bistami who said:

 

If you see him fly in the air and walk on water do not be deluded by him, but see how he stands on the orders and the prohibitions.[53]

 

            It is evident from the definition of the term kashf that it refers to a hidden knowledge of a tremendous nature, and that is what Ibn `Arabi meant by saying "the secrets of Allah Most High," as is alluded by continuation of the hadith of Abu Hurayra mentioned above:

 

I have stored up from the Prophet two large vessels of knowledge. One I have disseminated among the people; if I were to disseminate the other, they would cut my throat.

 

            Imam Bukhari said: "The Knowers (al-`ulama') are the inheritors of the Prophets, that is: they have inherited (their) knowledge."[54] The first part of his statement is actually an authentic hadith of the Prophet.[55] Thus it is beyond anyone's reach to put limitations on the gifts Allah bestows on His Friends, except that we give such gifts different names -- mu`jiza or karama -- depending whether the recipient is a Prophet or a saint. Nor is it impossible that some saints of the Prophet's Community, like the Prophet himself, do know the Unseen except for what Allah hides from them and reserves to others of His creatures -- such as angels -- or exclusively to Himself, according to His will.

 

            The inheritorship of the Prophet's knowledge by the great scholars is illustrated by al-Khatib's relation from al-hafiz Abu Nu`aym already mentioned, whereby Abu Nu`aym considered it incumbent upon all Muslims to invoke Allah for Abu Hanifa in their prayer due to his preservation of the Prophet's Sunan and fiqh for them.[56] Another example is the following account about Imam Malik related by Ibn al-Jawzi in the chapter entitled "Layer Six of the People of Madina" of his book Sifat al-Safwa:

 

Abu Mus`ab said: I went in to see Malik ibn Anas. He said to me: Look under my place of prayer or prayer-mat and see what is there.  I looked and I found a certain writing. He said: Read it. (I saw that) it contained (the account of) a dream which one of his brothers had seen and which concerned him. He said (reciting what was written): "I saw the Prophet in my sleep. He was in his mosque and the people were gathered around him, and he said: I have hidden for you under my pulpit (minbar) something good -- or: knowledge --and I have ordered Malik to distribute it to the people." Then Malik wept, so I got up and left.[57]

 

            Observe the attitude of the awliya towards the meeting with the Prophet in dreams and their strong belief both in the absolute credibility of such dreams and their particular contents. This one explicitly states that the Prophet has kept something good hidden for his Umma, and that he continues to give it through one of the greatly learned `ulama after his time.

 

Similarly the following statement of al-Daraqutni (d. 385) on the unique knowledge that he possessed shows the irreplaceable and exclusive position of the true scholars in Islam as custodians of the Science (al-`ilm) as opposed to ordinary people. Abu al-Fath ibn Abi al-Fawaris asked `Ali ibn `Umar al-Daraqutni one day about a certain hadith and he answered him. Then he said to him: "O Abu al-Fath, there is not, between the East and the West, anyone who knows this other than myself."[58]

 

            Similarly Imam Ahmad cited in Kitab al-zuhd, also Ibn Abi al-Dunya, Abu Nu`aym, Bayhaqi, and Ibn `Asakir from Julays from Wahb ibn Munabbih who said: I saw the Prophet in my sleep, so I said: "Ya Rasulallah, where are the Substitutes (budala') of your Community?" So he gestured with his hand towards Syria. I said: "Ya Rasulallah, aren't there any in Iraq?" He said: "Yes, Muhammad ibn Wasi`, Hassan ibn Abi Sinan, and Malik ibn Dinar, who walks among the people similarly to Abu Dharr in his time."

 

            The "Salafis" have claimed in their ignorance that the principles of kashf and of the inheritorship of the Prophet in any sense other than memorization or bookish learning contradict Allah's saying: "Today I have perfected your religion, completed my favor upon you, and accepted for you Islam as religion" (5:3) and the Prophet's status as having conveyed the Message to the people perfectly. They also direct the same false claims to ijtihad (qualified independent reasoning), ijma` (consensus of the scholars), and qiyas (analogy) themselves, as al-Zahawi showed in his refutation of the Wahhabi heresy:

 

They (Wahhabis) denounce [the `ulama] by saying that the Imams believe that the religion of Islam is deficient and that they complete it by "reasoning" like ijma' and qiyas. For this, they cite the Qur'anic verse: "Today I have completed your religion" (5:3). They say we find whatever is necessary for life clearly stated in the Qur'an. So what need do we have for qiyas. The texts take in the whole of life's eventualities without need of derivation (istinbat) and analogy (qiyas)...[59]

 

            The sect of the Mu`tazila did not believe in the miracles of the saints, and some today even claim: "The awliya are not known except to Allah, and there is no such thing as kashf in the Shari`a" and "We only trust a person whom Allah or His Messenger ordered us to trust, but as for those claimed awliya', there is no specific evidence about them from Allah or His Messenger" as a way to withhold their respect from the pious or pay it out stingily and reluctantly.

 

            These are all matters in which the "Salafis" and those who deny kashf reveal their Mu`tazili leanings. One of them who will remain unnamed said:

 

The sufi-doctrine of "miracles of saints" claims that the awliya' have control over it.  Of course they say by Allah's will. (Also, the sect of the Shi`a believe in that!)

 

Observe how he contradicted himself in his haste to reject miracles: on the one hand he asserts that "sufi-doctrine" -- whatever that is -- claims control over the elements, and on the other hand he makes those who hold that doctrine ("they") say: "By Allah's will," which eradicates any claim of autonomous control! Observe also how he ascribes belief in karamat to the Shi`a, as if this sufficed to make it wrong, when, in reality, belief in the karamat of awliya' is part of the creed of Ahl al-Sunna!

 

            In all of the above the "Salafis are roundly refuted by no less than Ibn Taymiyya, the most learned among the authorities they claim to follow and a self-proclaimed disciple of al-Gilani whom he calls "my shaykh" and "my master":

 

It is established that the awliya' possess spiritual communi-cations (mukhatabat) and unveilings (mukashafat).[60]

 

            Another of the principles of Ahl al-Sunna is the faith in the karamat of the awliya, and in whatever Allah causes to happen at their hands of the suspension of the laws of nature in all kinds of knowledge and spiritual unveilings (fi anwa` al-`ulum wa al-mukashafat), and all kinds of powers and influences (wa anwa` al-qudra wa al-ta'thirat) such as reported concerning the ancient Communities, (for example) in al-kahf and others, and as reported from the early beginnings of this Community regarding the Companions and the Followers and from every generation of Muslims after that, and these miracles will not cease to take place in this community until the Day of Resurrection (wa hiya mawjudatun fiha ila yawm al-qiyama)."[61]

 

            The miracles of saints (karamat al-awliya') are absolutely true and correct, by the acceptance of all Muslim scholars and Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jama`a [i.e. as opposed to the Mu`tazila]. The Qur'an has pointed to them in different places as well as the authentic hadiths of the Prophet and the reports transmitted from the Companions and the Successors through a large number of sources. Only the innovators such as the Mu`tazila and the Jahmiyya and their followers deny them.[62]

 

            What is considered as a miracle related to knowledge is that sometimes the servant might hear something that others do not hear and see something that others do not see, whether in a wakeful or sleeping state of vision. And he can know something that others cannot know, through revelation or inspiration, or the dawning of necessary knowledge upon him, or truthful piercing sight (firasa sadiqa), and such is called kashf, mushahadat, mukashafat, and mukhatabat.[63]

 

            The hafiz al-Harawi al-Ansari who is the model of "Salafis" in their fight against Ash`aris, spoke the following words about kashf in his books Manazil al-Sa'irin (Stations of the Wayfarers) and `Ilal al-maqamat (The Flaws in the Stages):

 

Regarding the word "finding" in the verses:

 

- "He will find Allah forgiving, merciful" (4:110)

- "They would have found Allah forgiving, merciful" (4:64)

- "... and he finds Allah" (24:39)...

 

It has three meanings: first, it is the finding of knowledge emanating from the divine Presence; it cuts off knowledge based on observations with the soundness of disclosure (mukashafat) from Allah to you.[64]

 

            The renunciation (zuhd) of the privileged is to keep their aspiration (himma) away from the world, because Allah has kept them from depending on circumstances thanks to the light of unveiling (nur al-kashf).[65]

 

            We would like to hear from the "Salafi" opponents of Ahl al-Sunna which one, of Ibn Taymiyya or al-Harawi, they consider the greatest innovator for stating the above views. Are they placing Ibn Taymiyya among those who hold the beliefs of "the sect of the Shi`a"? Or do they still claim that belief in the miracles of saints is a "sufi-doctrine"? Or do they still say that the "claims that the awliya' have control over it... by Allah's will" are what the Shi`a believe but not the Sunnis? Or are Ibn Taymiyya and al-Harawi using kashf to attain the above conclusions? And if they accept what Ibn Taymiyya and al-Harawi say, why don't they accept the same from others if not because of partisanship and/or blind-following?

 

            As for the claim by some "Salafis" that the awliya' are not known, it shows ignorance of the Religion, whose sources are replete with their descriptions. We have already quoted from the Qur'an, the hadith, and the sayings of the Companions concerning their characteristics. Allah said: "O those who have believed! Be God-wary and stay with the truthful!" (9:119) and "Who comes against one of my walis, I declare war upon him!" (Bukhari). The Prophet said: "There are some among Allah's servants who, when they swear by Allah, He vindicates them" (Bukhari and Muslim). Is all this referring to unidentifiable beings known to Allah alone? Ibn al-Jawzi in his Sifat al-safwa went so far as to call the saints "the very purpose of existent beings," and if this is true how can they not be known or trusted?

 

The Friends of Allah and the Righteous are the very purpose of all that exists (al-awliya wa al-salihun hum al-maqsud min al-kawn), they are those who learned and practiced with the reality of knowledge... Those who practice what they know, do with little in the world, seek the next world, remain ready to leave from one to the other with wakeful eyes and good provision, as opposed to those renowned purely for their knowledge but not for shunning the world and practicing devotion.[66]

 

            The "Salafis" also object to the title of Ghawth or Arch-helper given to Shaykh `Abd al-Qadir al-Gilani and label it with innovation and shirk, claiming that it belongs only to Allah. When confronted with evidence to the contrary from the sound hadith, they remain speechless:

 

1. Bukhari narrates in his Sahih that our mother Hajar, when she was running in search of water between Safa and Marwa, heard a voice and said: "O you whose voice you have made me hear! If there is a ghawth (help/helper) with you (then help me)!" and an angel appeared at the spot of the spring of Zamzam.

 

2. Abu Ya`la, Ibn al-Sani, and Tabarani in al-Mu`jam al-kabir narrated that the Prophet said: "If one of you loses something or seeks help or a helper (ghawth), and he is in a land where there is no one to befriend, let him say: "O servants of Allah, help me! (ya `ibad Allah, aghithuni), for verily Allah has servants whom one does not see."  Haythami said in Majma` al-zawa'id (10:132): "The men in its chain of transmission have been declared reliable despite weakness in one of them."

 

3. Ahmad relates in his Musnad (4:217) that at the time of the greatest fitna of the Dajjal, when the Muslims will be at their weakest point, and just before `Isa ibn Maryam descends at the time of salat al-fajr, people will hear a caller calling out three times: "O people, al-ghawth (the helper) has come to you!"

 

            The "Salafis," ignoring the authorities that fail to support them and relying instead on what they can use wherever they find it, turn with glee to Muhammad ibn `Abd al-Wahhab's aberrant statement in his Three Principles of Oneness already cited: "One who claims to know something from knowledge of the Unseen is a taghut or false deity." They apply this falsehood to saints but some of them fall short, in their selective logic, of applying it to Prophets, and by so doing desert Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab: for his statement evidently does not preclude anyone -- Prophet, angel, jinn, or any human being -- from falling within its scope.

 

            Yet even with respect to saints the false bases of their thinking had long since been exposed by one of the scholars of the Community, Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Hajar al-Haytami. Would that they had only acquainted themselves with his fatwa on the matter and reflected upon it, instead of giving precedence to a lesser scholar on the basis of their whim. This fatwa is translated in full in The Reliance of the Traveller, from where we quote it.

 

 

w60.0  KNOWLEDGE OF THE UNSEEN

 

w60.1  (Ibn Hajar Haytami:)

 

            (Question) "Is someone who says, 'A believer knows the unseen (al-ghayb),' thereby considered an unbeliever, because of Allah Most High having said:

 

"No one in the heavens or earth knows the unseen except Allah'

(Koran 27:65),

 

"and,

 

"'[He is] the Knower of the Unseen, and discloses not His unseen to

anyone...' (Koran 72:26),

 

"or is such a person asked to further explain himself, in view of the

possibility of knowing some details of the unseen?"

 

            (Answer:) "He is not unconditionally considered an unbeliever, because of the possibility of otherwise construing his words, for it is obligatory to ask whomever says something interpretable as either being or not being unbelief for further clarification, as has been stated [n: in Nawawi's al-Rawda and elsewhere]....

 

            "If asked to explain and such a person answers:  'By saying, "A believer knows the unseen," I meant that Allah could impart certain details of the unseen to some of the friends of Allah (awliya')'--this is accepted from him, since it is something logically possible and its occurrence has been documented, it being among the countless miracles [karamat] that have taken place over the ages. The possibility of such knowledge is amply attested to by what the Koran informs us about Khidr (Allah bless him and give him peace), and the account related of Abu Bakr Siddiq (Allah Most High be well pleased with him) that he told of his wife being pregnant with a boy, and thus it proved; or of 'Umar (Allah Most High be well pleased with him), who miraculously perceived [n: the Muslim commander] Sariya and his army who were in Persia, and while on the pulpit in Medina giving the Friday sermon, he said, 'O Sariya, the mountain!' warning them of the enemy ambush intending to exterminate the Muslims. [Abu Bakr ibn al-`Arabi said of this incident: "It constitutes a tremendous rank and an evident gift from Allah, and it is present in all of the righteous incessantly until the Day of Resurrection."][67]  Or the rigorously authenticated hadith that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said of 'Umar (Allah Most High be well pleased with him),

 

" 'He is of those who are spoken to [i.e. preternaturally inspired].'

 

"....What we have mentioned about the above Koranic verse [N: on the unseen] has been explicitly stated by Nawawi in his Fatawa, where he says: 'It means that no one except Allah knows this independently and with full cognizance of all things knowable. As for [n:  knowledge imparted through ] inimitable prophetic miracles (mu'jizat) and divine favors (karamat) it is through Allah's giving them to know it that it is known; as is also the case with what is known through ordinary means' " (al-Fatawa al-hadithiyya, 311-13).

 

w60.2  (Muhammad Hamid:)  Allah Most Glorious is the All-knower of things unseen and their inmost secrets, with primal, intrinsic, supernatural knowledge whose basis no one else has a share in.  If any besides Him has awareness or knowledge, it is through their being made aware or given knowledge by Him Magnificent and Exalted. They are unable -- being servants without capacity -- to transcend their sphere or go beyond their limit to draw aside the veils from things unseen, and if not for His pouring something of the knowledge of these things upon their hearts, they would know nothing of it, little or much.  Yet this knowledge is disparate in degree, and some of it higher than other of it and more certainly established.

 

            The divine inspiration of it to Prophet messengers is beyond doubt and above question, like the rising sun in its certitude and clarity, of which the Koran says,

 

"[He is] the Knower of the Unseen, and discloses not His unseen to anyone, save a messenger He approves: for him He places protectors before and behind" (Koran 72:26-27),

 

protectors meaning guards from among the angels, so that nothing of it is leaked to devils when it is being delivered to the Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace), to safeguard its inimitability and it remain a unique prophetic sign (mu'jiza).

 

            The miraculous perceptions (kashf) of the friends of Allah

(awliya') are a truth we do not deny, for Bukhari relates in his Sahih from Abu Hurayra (Allah Most High be well pleased with him) that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:

 

"In the nations before you were people who were spoken to [i.e. inspired] though they were not prophets. If there is anyone in my Community, it is `Umar ibn Khattab."

 

and Muslim relates in his Sahih from `A'isha (Allah Most High be well pleased with her) that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:

 

"There used to be in the nations before you those who were spoken to. If there are any in my Community, `Umar ibn Khattab is one of them."

 

But this intuition (ilham) does not equal the divine inspiration (wahy) of the prophets in strength (n: of certainty), because of the possibility that what is apprehended by the friend of Allah (wali) is merely the thoughts of his own mind. As it is sometimes admixed, and other things are mistaken for it, the possibility of error exists in it, and it cannot be a basis for establishing legal rulings or a criterion for works.

 

            As for what astrologers and fortune-tellers say, there is no way it can be accepted, for sooth-saying was annulled when the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) was sent and the heavens were safeguarded by stars, after which devils no longer had access to the heavens as they had had before, to eavesdrop on what angels were saying about the events on earth that Allah Most Glorious informed the angels of before they happened (n:  Koran 15:17-18 and 72:8-10).  The Holy Koran is explicit that  "they [the devils] are prevented from hearing" (Koran 26:212), and in a hadith,

 

"Whoever goes to a 'psychic' ('arraf) or fortune-teller and believes what he says has disbelieved in what has been revealed to Muhammad [Allah bless him and give him peace]."

 

            The things that such people inform of that actually come to pass belong to the category of coincidence, which is not given the slightest value in Islam. All of which is on the topic of the unseen generally.  As for the Final Hour, Allah Most High has veiled the knowledge of the time it will occur from all creatures entirely, and no one, archangel or prophetic messenger, knows when it will be, the Koranic verses and hadiths being intersubstantiative and in full agreement on this.  Were I to list them it would be a lengthy matter, and what I have mentioned is adequate and sufficient for whomever the divine assistance reaches (Rudud 'ala abatil wa rasa'il al-Shaykh Muhammad al-Hamid, 2.61-63).

 

 

            As for those that have a disease in their hearts, they are not able to accept the above because it has never happened to them. Their ego does not allow them other than to judge everything according to their own standard, always justifying themselves and never once suspecting that they may in fact be at the lowest level. Wa al-`iyadhu billah.         As Ghazali advised those who hear about karamat: "Think good thoughts and do not harbor doubts in your heart".[68] And Haytami warned in a context identical to the story of Ghazali's brother: "Bad thoughts about them (sufis or those who have karamat) is the death of the heart."[69] And Allah knows best.

 


VII.  QUESTIONS ON THE

RECITATION OF NA`AT AND MADIH

(POETRY IN HONOR OF

THE PROPHET)

 

 

 

 

How can I convince someone that reciting na`at (in any occasion) is rewardable? I never thought that I would have to dig deep down into this matter to prove that we seek blessing of Allah by reciting na`at. I don 't have much knowledge about this matter besides the fact that Hazrat Hassan Bin Thabit was a great na`at reader, am I right? I would really appreciate if you can give me details about that plus the name of the Sahaba who used to recite it during and after the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad (SAW).


THE PRAISEWORTHINESS OF NA`AT

AMONG THE COMPANIONS AND IN ISLAM

 

 

Na`at or madih -- descriptive praise of the Prophet in a poem -- is a Sunna of the Prophet and the Companions and a highly praiseworthy act which carries reward and receives untold blessings from Allah for fulfilling the following obligations of religion, among many other merits:

 

- To support the Prophet and give him aid. It is known that praise of the leader as the unifying symbol of a nation rouses men's souls to bear arms and fight under his banner, and the Prophet is the leader of Islam until the end of time.

 

- To invoke blessings and greetings on the Prophet to one's utmost, as na`at is known to rouse in the soul an overwhelming desire to invoke blessings and salutations upon him.

 

- To purify one's sincere love for the Prophet above all other loves of the world such as parents, children, spouses, nation, and self. Na`at rouses in the soul greater intensity and clarity for such rare love.

 

- To preserve the exalted fame of the Prophet which Allah Himself has raised as He said in His Book. The characteristics of na`at are that it expresses and renews in vivid terms the great fame of the Prophet among human beings in the language each national group understands best.

 

            The Qur'an is full of the highest praise for the Prophet. This aspect of the Qur'an has been highlighted in great detail in many exceptional works such as Bayhaqi's Dala'il al-nubuwwa, Qadi `Iyad's al-Shifa', Ibn al-Jawzi's Sifat al-safwa, Nawawi's Tahdhib al-asma' wa al-sifat, Suyuti's al-Khasa'is al-kubra, al-Qastallani's al-Mawahib al-laduniyya over which there are two notable commentaries: al-Zarqani's Sharh al-mawahib and Nabahani's al-Anwar al-muhammadiyya. Nabahani also authored Shawahid al-haqq. In his al-Anwar al-muhammadiyya he mentions that al-Hasan ibn `Abd al-Rahman ibn `Udhra al-Maghribi al-Ansari compiled a work of over twenty-five volumes entitled Muntaha al-sul fi madh al-rasul (The farthermost boundary in the quest for praise of the Prophet). The best of  the shorter works on the topic is al-`Izz ibn `Abd al-Salam's Bidayat al-sul fi tafdil al-rasul (The beginning of the quest concerning the superexcellence of the Prophet). Most recently Allah increased the Community's inheritance with Ibn `Alawi al-Maliki's book Muhammad al-insan al-kamil.

 

            The Prophet praised himself in so many hadiths, including in na`at style, as established by al-Bara' ibn `Azib's narration in Bukhari and Muslim whereby he recited in the middle of battle:

 

ana al-nabiyyu la kadhib

anabnu `abd al-muttalib

 

I am the Prophet: this is no lie.

I am the son (i.e. descendant) of `Abd al-Muttalib.

 

            Most of the Companions were poets. It is well-known that Arabs competed in this art until they raised it to a high level of refinement. Their poetry fills the pages of the writers of the Sira (Prophetic biographies) and histories such as Ibn Hisham, al-Waqidi, al-Tabari, and others. The Arabs were a people who prized poetry and, as al-Qadi `Iyad explains in the chapter of his book al-Shifa' on the inimitability of Qur'an, it was a means for them by which they got things done and undone in the society. That is why the Qur'an's greatness was measured by its ability to challenge and defeat the powers of Arabic poetry.

 

            Ibn Sirin said: It has reached me that as the Prophet was riding on a camel on his way (to raid al-Ta'if after the battle of Hunayn) he called Ka`b (ibn Malik) to him and said: "Recite." Whereupon Ka`b recited:

 

1.         qadayna min tihamati kulla raybin

            wa khaybara thumma ajmamna al-suyufa

 

            We put an end to doubt in the lowlands of Khaybar

            then we gave our swords a rest.

 

2.         nukhayyiruha wa law nataqat laqalat

            qawati`uhunna dawsa aw thaqifa

 

            We gave them the choice and could they have spoken

their blades would have said: Give us Daws or Thaqif.[70]

 

            Ibn Sirin continued: Ka`b recited the entire poem (of 24 lines), then the Prophet said: "By the One in Whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, these lines will be harder upon them than the hurling of arrows." Then Daws accepted Islam after hearing Ka`b's words. Ibn Kathir relates it in al-Bidaya wa al-nihaya.[71]

 

            Knowledge of poetry is also an index of one's ability to understand the language of the Qur'an as established in the fundamental principle of tafsir al-Qur'an enunciated by Ibn `Abbas: "The difficulties of the Qur'an are resolved in the poetry-registers of the Arabs."[72] This explains why Arabic poetry is considered one of the Islamic sciences, and nearly all the great Imams, huffaz, and scholars of Islam were poets.

 

            The hadith master (hafiz) and historian Ibn Sayyid al-Nas (d. 732) compiled a 400-page anthology of over 180 male and female Companion-poets who recited na`at in praise of the Prophet. In his book, entitled Minah al-madh (The Gifts of Praise), he lists each Companion alphabetically, identifying them by name and tribe and quoting a few representative lines of na`at from each. Below are the names of these Sahaba. Note that he does not include `A'isha bint Abi Bakr, however, she was reputed for her great knowledge of Arabic poetry and language:

 

1.  Asma' ibn Rayyab al-Jurami

2.  Aswad ibn Mas`ud al-Thaqafi

3.  Asid ibn Salama

4.  A`sha bani Mazin

5.  Asyad ibn Abi Iyas al-Du'li

6.  Anas ibn Zunaym

7.  al-Aqra` ibn Habis

8.  Umru' al-Qays ibn `Abbas

9.  Aws ibn Ma`an al-Quray`i

10. Abu Anas al-Du'li

 

11. Bujayr ibn Zuhayr

12. Bujayr ibn Bajra al-Ta'i

13. Bashir ibn `Iqriba al-Jahni

 

14. Tamim ibn al-Asad al-Khuza`i

 

15. Thabit ibn Qays ibn Shammas

16. Thumama ibn Athal al-Hanafi

17. Tharwan ibn Fazara ibn `Abd Yaghuth

18. Thawr ibn Malik al-Kindi

 

19. al-Jarud al-`Abdi

20. Ja`una ibn Marthad al-Azdi

21. al-Juhaf ibn Hakim al-Sulami

22. al-Julundi Malik `Amman

23. Juhaysh ibn Uways al-Nakh`i

 

24. HAMZA IBN `ABD AL-MUTTALIB

25. HASSAN IBN THABIT

26. al-Harith ibn Hisham

27. Hurayth ibn Yazid al-Khayl

28. al-Habbab ibn al-Mundhir

29. Humayd ibn Thawr al-Hilali

30. Huraysh ibn Hilal al-Quray`i

31. Harb ibn Rayta

32. al-Harith ibn `Amr al-Asadi

33. al-Harith ibn Murra

34. Hubaysh al-Asadi

35. al-Harith ibn `Abd Kilal al-Humayri

 

36. Khaffaf ibn Nadla

37. Khaffaf ibn Nadba al-Sulami

38. Kharij ibn Khuwaylid

39. Khuza`i ibn `Uthman

40. Khanafir ibn al-Taw'am al-Humayri

41. Khuwaylid ibn Khalid (Abu Dhu'ayb)

 

42. Dihya al-Kalbi

 

43. Dhabbab

44. Dhu al-Bijadayn `Abd Allah al-Muzani

45. Ibn Dhi Asbah

46. Ibn Dhi Kila` Sayyid Humayr

 

47. Rafi` ibn `Umayr al-Ta'i

48. Rashid ibn Hafs al-Sulami

 

49. Zayd ibn Mualhil al-Ta'i

50. Abu Zu'ayyib al-Hudhli

51. Zufar ibn Yazid

52. Zumal ibn `Amr al-`Udhri

53. ZAYD IBN HARITHA

54. Zayd ibn al-Azwar al-Asadi

55. al-Zabarqan ibn Badr

 

56. Sariya ibn Zunaym

57. Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas

58. Salama ibn `Iyad al-Asadi

59. Sammak ibn Kharasha

60. Sawwad ibn Qarib

 

61. Shaddad ibn `Arid

62. Shurayh ibn Hani

63. Shija` ibn al-Harith al-Sadusi

 

64. Sarama ibn Abi Anis

 

65. al-Dahhak ibn Khalifa

66. Darar ibn al-Azwar

67. Darar ibn al-Khattab

68. Daw' al-Yashkari

 

69. al-Tufayl ibn `Amr al-Dawsi

70. Tulayha ibn Khuwaylid al-Asadi

 

71. Zabyan ibn Karad

 

72. `Amir ibn al-Tufayl

73. `Abd Allah ibn `Uthman = ABU BAKR AL-SIDDIQ

74. `Abd Allah ibn Jahsh

75. `Abd Allah ibn Za`bari

76. `Abd Alah al-A`sha

77. `Abd Allah ibn Anis al-Juhni

78. `Abd Allah ibn al-Harith, al-Mubriq al-Sahmi

79. `Abd Allah ibn Khaythama

80. `Abd Allah ibn `Ujra al-Sulami

81. `Abd Allah ibn Salama al-Hamadani

82. `Abd Allah ibn Rawaha

83. `Abd Allah Dhu al-Bijadayn

84. `Abd Allah ibn Hudhafa al-Sahmi

85. `Abd Allah ibn Yazid al-Hilali

86. `Abd Allah ibn Wahb al-Asadi

87. `Abd Allah ibn Hadaf

88. `Abd Allah ibn `Utba

89. `Abd Allah ibn Abi Adham

90. `ABD AL-RAHMAN IBN `AWF

91. `Abd al-Rahman ibn Abi Sabra al-Ju`fi

92. `Abd al-Rahman ibn Dhi al-Ujra

93. `Abd al-Rahman ibn al-Harith ibn al-Dayyan

94. `Abd al-Rahman ibn al-Azwar al-Asadi

95. `Abd `Amr ibn Matraj

96. `Abd ibn Jahsh

97. `Abd `Amr ibn Jabala

98. `UMAR IBN AL-KHATTAB

99. `ALI IBN ABI TALIB

100. AL-`ABBAS IBN `ABD AL-MUTTALIB

101. al-`Abbas ibn Mirdas al-Sulami

102. `Amr ibn Salim

103. `AMR IBN AL-`AS

104. `Amr ibn al-Qurayt

105. `Amr ibn Murra al-Juhni

106. `Amr ibn al-Fuhayl

107. `Amr ibn Subay`

108. `Umayr ibn Dabi' al-Yashkari

109. `Amir ibn al-Akwa`

110. `Adi ibn Hatim al-Ta'i

111. `Adi ibn al-Rabi` ibn `Abd al-`Uzza

112. `Uqba ibn al-Nu`man al-`Utaki

113. `Atarid ibn Hajib ibn Zarara

114. `A'id ibn Salama al-Azdi

115. `Ath`ath ibn `Umar al-Kindi

116. al-`Ala' ibn al-Hadrami

117. `Artafa ibn Nadla

118. Ibn Abi `Uzza

 

119. Ghunaym ibn Qays

 

120. Furat ibn Hayyan

121. Farwa ibn Masyak

122. Fadala ibn `Umayr al-Laythi

123. Firas ibn Habis

124. Firas al-Khuza`i

125. Fatik ibn Zayd al-`Anasi

126. Fayruz ibn al-Daylami

 

127. Qays ibn `Abd Allah = al-Nabigha al-Ja`di

128. Qays ibn al-Rabi`

129. Qays ibn Sa`d ibn `Ibada

130. Qays ibn al-Makshu`

131. Qays ibn Bahr ibn Tarif al-Ashja`i

132. Qays ibn Nabasha ibn Abi `Amir

133. Qarada ibn Nafatha

134. Qatan ibn Haritha al-`Alimi al-Kindi

135. Qadar ibn `Ammar

136. al-Qa`qa` ibn `Amr al-Tamimi

137. Qurra ibn Hubayra al-Qushayri

 

138. KA`B IBN ZUHAYR

139. Ka`b ibn Malik ibn Abi Ka`b

140. Kulayb ibn Asad al-Hadrami

141. Karaz ibn `Ilqima al-Khuza`i

 

142. Labid ibn Rabi`a

143. Laqit ibn al-Rabi`

144. Ibn Laqim al-`Abasi

145. Ibn Abi Lahab

 

146. Malik ibn Habib, Abu Mihjan al-Thaqafi

147. Malik ibn al-Tayhan

148. Malik ibn Namat al-Hamdani

149. Malik ibn Nuwayra al-Yarbu`i

150. Malik ibn `Awf al-Nasri

151. Malik ibn `Amir al-Ash`ari

152. Malik ibn Qays

153. Malik ibn `Amr al-Thaqafi

154. Mu`awiya ibn al-Hakam al-Sulami

155. al-Mughira = Abu Sufyan ibn al-Harith

156. Mazin ibn al-Ghaduba

157. Mukannaf ibn Yazid al-Khayl

158. Muzarrid ibn Dirar

159. Musliya ibn Haddan al-Haddani

160. al-Mukhtar ibn Abi `Ubayd al-Thaqafi

161. Mujja`a ibn Marara ibn `Amir

162. Majfana ibn al-Nu`man al-`Ataki

163. al-Mash`an

164. Muhriz ibn Qatada ibn Salama

165. Masruq ibn al-Harith al-Hamdani

166. Ma`bad ibn Abi Ma`bad al-Khuza`i

 

(127.) al-Nabigha al-Ja`di = Qays ibn `Abd Allah

167. Nujayd ibn `Imran al-Khuza`i

168. al-Nimr ibn Tawlab al-`Ukli

169. al-Nu`man ibn `Ajlan al-Zuraqi

170. Nawfal ibn al-Harith ibn `Abd al-Muttalib

171. Nahar ibn al-Harb

 

172. Hashim ibn `Utba ibn Abi Waqqas

173. Haram ibn Qutba al-Fazari

174. al-Haytham al-Hanafi

 

175. al-Walid ibn Muhsan al-Kindi

176. Waraqa ibn Nawfal

[Ibn Sayyid al-Nas said: "There is disagreement whether Waraqa ibn Nawfal is a Companion. al-Baghawi, al-Tabari, Ibn al-Sakan, and Ibn Qani` say he is." Ibn Hajar in al-Isaba says that it is established in Bukhari and Muslim that Waraqa believed in the Prophet's status and therefore that at the very least his case is similar to the monk Bahira's. He cites the hadith munqati` from the great Tabi`i Abu Maysara `Amr ibn Sharhabil whereby the Prophet declared Waraqa to be in Paradise for having believed in him. Bayhaqi mentions it in Dala'il al-nubuwwa. Ibn Hajar then adds: "It is reinforced by the hadith mursal jayyid from `Urwa ibn al-Zubayr whereby Waraqa would pass by Bilal as he was being tortured by the idolaters and he heard Bilal saying: "One, one," whereupon Waraqa said: "Yes, One, One, O Bilal! By Allah, if you kill him, know that I have taken him under my protection." He also cites `Urwa's narration from `A'isha in al-Bazzar whereby the Prophet forbade cursing Waraqa and said: "Do you know that I have seen him in one or two Paradises?" Ibn Hajar also cites al-Bazzar and Ahmad's hadith mursal whereby he said to `A'isha: "I have seen him (i.e. after his death) wearing white clothes, and I reckon that if he were from the people of the Fire he would not be wearing white clothes."]

 

(158.) Yazid ibn Darar = Muzarrid

177. Yasar Mawla Burayda

 

178. Umama al-Rabadhiyya

178. Arwa bint `Abd al-Muttalib

179. Baraka, Umm Ayman

[An Abyssinian woman, she was Umm Habiba's servant. Ibn Sayyid al-Nas mentions the hadith whereby the Prophet used to urinate in a vessel made of palmwood which he kept under his bed. He noticed one day that it had been emptied and he asked Baraka what had been done with the urine. She replied that she had risen thirsty during the night and drunk it. He smiled and said: innaki lan tashtaki batnuki ba`da yawmiki hadha abadan "Your stomach will never suffer any ailment from this day on." al-Hasan ibn Sufyan narrates it in his Musnad, also Abu Ya`la, al-Hakim, al-Daraqutni, and Abu Nu`aym. In the version Ibn `Abd al-Razzaq narrates in his Musannaf the Prophet says: sahha ya umm yusuf "Health for you, O Umm Yusuf!" Ibn `Abd al-Barr mentions it in al-Isti`ab, Ibn Hajar in his Talkhis al-habir, and Suyuti in Sharh sunan al-nasa'i. Ibn `Alawi al-Maliki says in his Mafahim that Ibn Dihya said: "This is a different event than that of Umm Ayman, and Umm Yusuf is a different person than Umm Ayman." al-Haythami in Majma` al-zawa'id mentions that Tabarani narrates a similar hadith with a sound chain in which the servant's name is Sarra and she is Umm Salama's servant.][73]

180. Umm Habib bint `Amr

181. Raqiqa bint Abi Sayfi

182. Safiyya bint `Abd al-Muttalib

183. `Atika bint `Abd al-Muttalib

184. `Atika bint Zayd al-Qurashiyya

185. FATIMA AL-ZAHRA'

186. Qatila bint al-Nadir

187. Hind bint al-Harith

188. Hind bint Athatha

 

 

            The greatest reciter of na`at among the Companions was undoubtedly the Ansari Hassan ibn Thabit (pronounced hassAAn ibn thAAbit) (d. 54). His title was sha`ir al-rasul -- the Prophet's poet -- as reported from `A'isha.[74] Bayhaqi in Dala'il al-nubuwwa (1:110) mentions two narrations whereby Hassan was either 53 or 60 when the Prophet came to Madina. He died at age 120, having lived "sixty years in the Time of Ignorance, and sixty years in Islam" in the words of Ibn al-Salah.[75] Muslim in his Sahih devoted a chapter to him in the section of his works entitled "Book of the Merits of the Companions." Tirmidhi in the book of adab  in his Sunan narrates from `A'isha that the Prophet would place a pulpit for Hassan in the mosque on which he would stand and recite the praises of the Prophet, and that the Prophet said: "Verily, Allah supports Hassan with the Spirit of Holiness as long as he praises or defends Allah's Messenger." Tirmidhi said this hadith was hasan sahih gharib. The muqawqis or King of the Copts gave the Prophet two wives as a gift. The Prophet married one -- who became the mother of the Prophet's son Ibrahim -- and he gave the other one to Hassan for a wife.[76]

 

The following narration is related from Hassan ibn Thabit: "I was a child of seven or eight years of age who understood everything I saw or heard. One morning I saw a Jew in Yathrib shouting: O nation of the Jews! They gathered around him and I listened in. They said: What is wrong with you? He said: The star of Ahmad has risen whereby he was born last night." Bayhaqi narrates it through three chains in Dala'il al-nubuwwa (1:110) as well as Ibn Hisham in his Sira and Bayhaqi's shaykh al-Hakim in al-Mustadrak (3:486).

 

            This foreknowledge is echoed on the Christian side by the report of Ibn `Abbas at the end of the first book of Sahih al-Bukhari, in the book of the Beginning of Revelation (kitab bid' al-wahy):

 

Ibn al-Nazur the (religious) head of Eilat by appointment of Heraclius and bishop of the Christians of Syria used to relate that one morning after Heraclius had first come to Eilat he was seized by anxiety and that some of his patricians said to him: "We see that your countenance has changed for the worst." Ibn al-Nazur continued: "Heraclius used to be a diviner who gazed at the stars, so when they questioned him he replied to them: "Last night as I gazed at the stars I saw that the King of the Circumcised had appeared. Which of the nations circumcise themselves?" They replied: "None but the Jews, therefore do not let them worry you in any way. Write to the cities of your kingdom and order them to exterminate their Jewish populations."

 

            As they were pondering this a man sent by the king of Ghassan came to Heraclius with information about Allah's Messenger. When Heraclius heard his report he said: "Go and see: is he circumcised or not?" They enquired and reported back to him that he was. Asked about the Arabs as a whole, the informer said again: "They practice circumcision." Heraclius said: "Now has come the time for this nation to rule (the world)."

 

            Heraclius wrote to one of his friends in Rome who was his peer in learning. Then he travelled to Hims (a city in central Syria) from where he did not leave until his friend's reply arrived. The latter agreed with Heraclius's opinion about the appearance of the Prophet and on the fact that he was a Prophet. Heraclius then summoned the Roman authorities to his villa (daskara) in Hims, ordered the gates locked, then looked at them and said: "O Romans! Do you want to reap success, do what is right, and ensure that your empire will endure? Follow this Prophet." At this, they fled like wild asses and made for the gates, but found them locked. When Heraclius saw their loathing of what he had proposed to them he despaired that they could ever believe. "Bring them back to me," he ordered; then he addressed them again: "I said this just now only in order to test the strength of your attachment to your religion, of which I am satisfied." At this they prostrated to him and and they were happy again. That was the last we heard of Heraclius.

 

Muslim also narrates it in his Sahih, Book of Campaigns (maghazi: al-Jihad wa al-sayr), in the chapter entitled: "The Letter of the Prophet to Heraclius," Number 1773.

 

            When the Prophet took Mecca, one of those who accepted Islam at that time, Junab al-Kalbi, reports that he heard the Prophet say to a certain man:

 

        inna jibrila `an yamini wa mika'ila `an yasari, wa al-

        mala'ikata qad azhallat `askari, fa khudh fi ba`di hanatik.

 

        Jibril is on my right and Mika'il is on my left, and the

        angels hover over my soldiers. Recite a little something.

 

            The man bowed his head in silence for a while. Then suddenly he said (in kamil or "perfect" meter):

 

1.      ya rukna mu`tamirin wa `usmata la'idhin

        wa maladha muntaji`in wa jara mujawiri

 

        O Pillar of those who rely upon you,

O Immunity of those who seek refuge in you,

        and Resort of those who seek herbiage and rain,

and Neighboring Protector of those in need of shelter --

 

2.      ya man takhayyarahu al-ilahu li khalqihi

        fa habbahu bi al-khuluqi al-zakiyyi al-tahiri

 

        O you whom the God has chosen for His creatures

        by planting in him perfection and purity of character --

 

3.      anta al-nabiyyu wa khayru `asabati adamin

        ya man yajudu ka faydi bahrin zakhiri

 

        You are The Prophet! You are the best of the human nations.

        O open-handed one, like the outpouring of a swelling sea --

 

4.     mikalu ma`aka wa jibra'ilu kilahuma

        madadun li nasrika min `azizin qahiri

 

        Michael and Gabriel are both with you

        helpers towards your victory, sent by One Mighty, Irresistible.

 

            Junab continues: I asked: "Who is this poet?" They said: "Hassan ibn Thabit." Then I saw Allah's Messenger making invocation for him and asking goodness on his behalf.[77]

 

            Ka`b ibn Zuhayr had been an enemy of the Prophet and he composed his famous 58-line ode in basit (expansive) meter which begins with the words banat su`ad -- "Su`ad has left" -- to ask forgiveness of the Prophet. The entire poem is recorded by Ibn Hisham in his Sira.[78] The Prophet forgave Ka`b and rewarded his na`at with the gift of his own mantle. It is said that this mantle was bought by Mu`awiya ibn Abi Sufyan from Ka`b's son and later preserved by the `Abbasi Caliphs in Baghdad until its occupation by the Mongols.

 

Ka`b's poem contains the following lines:

 

39.        nubbi'tu anna rasulallahi aw`adani

            wa al-`afwu `inda rasulillahi ma'mulu

 

I was told that the Messenger of Allah had threatened reprisals against me,

But with the Messenger of Allah I have hope of finding pardon.

 

42.        laqad aqumu maqaman law yaqumu bihi

            ara wa asma`u ma law yasma`u al-filu

 

I stand in such a place that if an elephant stood there,

(seeing and) hearing what I see and hear,

 

43.        lazalla yar`adu illa an yakuna lahu

            min al-rasuli bi idhnillahi tanwilu

 

The sides of his neck would shake with terror -- if there be

no forgiveness, by Allah's grace, from Allah's Messenger.

 

51.        inna al-rasula lanurun yustada'u bihi

            muhannadun min suyufillahi maslulu

 

Verily, the Prophet is a light from which light is sought,

A drawn Indian sword, one of Allah's swords unsheathed.[79]

 

            It is upon hearing line 51 praising him that the Prophet placed his mantle on Ka`b. The incident inspired al-Busiri (d. 696?) to write his own 162-line poem Qasidat al-burda (Ode of the mantle), which is arguably the most famous and best of all na`at poems.

 

            The first line of Hassan ibn Thabit's poem quoted above ("O pillar relied upon...") was echoed by many subsequent poets, among them al-Busiri himself in line 155 of his Qasidat al-Burda which we analyze in the next section of this book. The line states:

 

ya akram al-khalqi ma li man aludhu bihi

siwaka `inda hululi al-hadithi al-`amami

 

O noblest of creatures!  I have none with whom to seek refuge

other than you when the Universal Event befalls.

 

            Another poet who looked back both to Hassan's and to Busiri's lines is the pious caliph of the Islamic State, Sultan `Abd al-Hamid Khan ibn al-Sultan Ahmad Khan, whose na`at in praise of the Prophet begins with the line: ya sayyidi ya rasulallahi khudh bi yadi ("O my master, O Messenger of Allah, take my hand"). Note that both al-Busiri in al-Burda and Sultan `Abd al-Hamid used the kamil or "perfect" meter chosen by Hassan ibn Thabit in the four lines he improvised for the Prophet.

 

            Sultan `Abd al-Hamid's poem in praise of the Prophet was engraved in the year 1191 (1777 C.E.) on the walls of the Prophet's hujra in his mosque in Madina. The enemies of the Prophet covered up several of the verses with paint so that they could not be read, sparing what suited them, but the poem has been preserved in other ways. It can be found in the book Mir'at al-haramayn by Sabri Basha the last Shaykh al-Islam of the Ottoman state, and the Shaykh of Mecca Ibn `Alawi al-Maliki reproduced it in his recent book Shifa' al-fu'ad bi ziyarat khayr al-`ibad (The healing of the heart with the visitation of the best of Allah's servants).[80] Here is the text in full, with an asterisk indicating each verse that was painted over:

 

1.*        ya sayyidi ya rasulallahi khudh bi yadi

            ma li siwaka wa la alwi `ala ahadi

 

O my master, O Messenger of Allah, take my hand:

I have none besides you, nor will I pause to rely on anyone but you.

 

2.*        fa anta nur al-huda fi kulli ka'inatin

            wa anta sirru al-nada ya khayra mu`tamadi

 

            For you are the light of guidance in everything that exists

            and you are the secret of munificence and the best reliance.

 

3.*        wa anta haqqan ghiyathu al-khalqi ajma`ihim

            wa anta hadi al-wara lillahi dhi al-madadi

 

            And you are in truth the helper of all creation,

            and you are the guide of mortals to Allah, Owner of help.

 

4.         ya man yaqumu maqam al-hamdi munfaridan

            li al-wahidi al-fardi lam yulad wa lam yalid

 

O you who stand on the Station of Praise, singled out

by the One Who is Single, Who is not begotten and does not beget.

 

5.         ya man tafajjarat al-anharu nabi`atan

            min isba`ayhi fa rawwa al-jaysha dha al-`adadi

 

O you from whose fingers rivers burst forth

so that he quenched the thirst of the numerous army.

 

6.*        inni idha samani daymun yurawwi`uni

            aqulu ya sayyida al-sadati ya sanadi

 

            Verily, if I am faced with harm and fearful injustice

            I say: O Master of masters, O my support!

 

7.*        kun li shafi`an ila al-rahmani min zalali

            wamnun `alayya bi ma la kana fi khaladi

 

            Be my intercessor with the Merciful regarding my mistakes

            and grace me with what eludes my heart.

 

8.*        wanzur bi `ayn al-rida li da'iman abadan

            wastur bi fadlika taqsiri mada al-amadi

 

            And look upon me always and ever with kind eyes,

            and cover with your favor my shortcomings all my life.

 

9.*        wa`tuf `alayya bi `afwin minka yashmuluni

            fa innani `anka ya mawlaya lam uhaddi

 

            Kindly bestow on me encompassing forgiveness

            for from you, O my master, I was never separated.

 

10.*      inni tawassaltu bi al-mukhtari ashrafi man

            raqa al-samawati sirri al-wahid al-ahadi

 

            I have sought as my means the elect one, the noblest of any

            that ascended the heavens, the secret of the Unique One --

 

11.        rabbu al-jamali ta`alallahu khaliquhu

            fa mithlahu fi jami` al-khalqi lam ajidi

 

            O Lord of beauty! Exalted is Allah Who created him,

            for such as him in all creation I have never seen --

 

12.        khayru al-khala'iqi a`la al-mursalina dhuran

            dhukhru al-anami wa hadihim ila al-rashadi

 

            The best of creatures, the apex of Messengers,

            the treasure of humankind and their guide to integrity!

 

13.*      bihi iltaja'tu la`allallaha yaghfiru li

            hadha al-ladhi huwa fi zhanni wa mu`taqadi

 

In him I have taken refuge: perhaps Allah will forgive me.

This is what I count on and firmly believe.

 

14.        fa madhuhu lam yazal da'bi mada `umri

            wa hubbuhu `inda rabbi al-`arshi mustanadi

 

Therefore his tireless praise shall never cease to be my task

and love of him sustains me in the presence of the Lord of the Throne.

 

15.        `alayhi azka salatin lam tazal abadan

            ma` al-salami bila hasrin wa la `adadi

 

            Upon him the purest of endless blessings without cease

            together with greetings that cannot be stemmed nor counted

 

16.        wa al-ali wa al-sahbi ahli al-majdi qatibatin

            bahri al-samahi wa ahl al-judi wa al-madadi

 

And upon his Family and Companions, a glorious folk all,

The ocean of forgiveness, the people of generosity and aid!

 

 

Blessings and peace on the Prophet, his Family, and his Companions.

 


VIII. QUESTIONS ON AL-BUSIRI'S POEM IN PRAISE OF THE PROPHET ENTITLED QASIDAT AL-BURDA

AND THE DISRESPECT OF "SALAFIS" FOR THAT POEM

 

 

 

 

 

 

In certain recent publications I have seen Qasidat al-burda defamed as containing passages that constitute shirk. How can this be true and at the same time the poem is read in full by millions of people and Islamic teachers in the mosques of Allah from the Middle East to India and Southeast Asia and back to North Africa? Can we continue reading and reciting it as we have been taught by the scholars that we know?


THE GREATNESS OF QASIDAT AL-BURDA

 

 

Sharaf al-Din Muhammad al-Busiri's (608-696?) illustrious poem al-Kawakib al-durriyya fi madh khayr al-bariyya (The resplendent stars in the praise of the Best of Creation) which became known as Qasidat al-Burda is one of the literary treasures of the Arabic language, a model of true and excellent praise for the Prophet, which contains the rarest pearls and lessons on the etiquette of humility and respect before the Elect One of creation and the Beloved of the Lord of the worlds.

 

This poem was taught, copied, distributed, recited, transcribed on mosque walls, memorized, commented, studied, and considered required reading by countless scholars including hadith masters such as Sakhawi and Suyuti and their students. Hafiz Abu Shama wrote a commentary on it which is yet unpublished. Ibn Taymiyya, in the book attributed to him under the title al-Sarim al maslul `ala shatim al-rasul (The drawn sword against those who disrespect the Prophet), said:

 

The foundation of the religion of Islam is built on praising, glorifying, and treating with dignity the Leader of all the Prophets, may peace be upon them all. Such praise, glorification, and treating with dignity is praise for the entire Religion; and its removal is the end of the Religion. By not giving such respect to the Prophet, all religion comes to an end.[81]

 

            Below is a translation of some of the most beautiful verses of that poem followed by a refutation of the false views cast against some of these verses by the "Salafis."

 


FROM IMAM AL-BUSIRI'S QASIDAT AL-BURDA[82]

 

 

26. astaghfirullaha min qawlin bila `amalin / laqad nasabtu bihi naslan li dhi `uqumi

 

I ask Allah's forgiveness for talk without deeds, for I have thereby claimed an offspring for one who is seedless.

 

27. amartuka al-khayra lakin ma atmartu bihi / wa mastaqamtu fa ma qawli lakastaqimi

 

I ordered you to do good deeds, but I did not follow that order. I have not been upright. What value have my words to you: Be upright?

 

28. wa la tazawwadtu qabla al-mawti nafilatan / wa lam usalli siwa fardin wa lam asumi

 

I did not make provision of supererogatory deeds before death. I did not pray or fast beyond what is obligatory.

 

29. zalamtu sunnata man ahya al-zalama ila / an ishtakat qadamahu al-durra min warami

 

Verily, I have wronged the Way of him who kept awake in the dark night, praying until his feet complained of their swelling,

 

30. wa shadda min shaghabin ahsha'ahu wa tawa / tahta al-hijarati kishhan mutrafa al-adami

 

Who bound up his entrails due to hunger, and girded beneath stones his delicate flank,

 

31. wa rawadathu al-jibalu al-shummu min dhahabin / `an nafsihi fa araha ayyata shamami

 

Whom lofty mountains endeavored to turn from himself with offerings of gold, whereupon he showed them greater loftiness,

 

32. wa akkadat zuhdahu fiha daruratuhu / inna al-darurata la ta`du `ala al-`isami

 

And what confirmed that he renounced them was his necessity. Verily, necessity has no sway over those made immune by Allah;

 

33. wa kayfa tad`u ila al-dunya daruratu man / lawlahu lam tukhraji al-dunya min al-`adami

 

And how could necessity attract to the world the one were it not for whom the world would not have come out of inexistence?

 

34. muhammadun sayyidu al-kawnayni wa al-thaqalay / ni wa al-fariqayni min `urbin wa `ajami

 

MUHAMMAD -- Master of the Two Worlds, and of the Two Dense Kinds [human and jinn], and of the Two Branches, Arabs and non-Arabs,

 

35. nabiyyuna al-amiru al-nahi fa la ahadun / abarra fi qawli la minhu wa la na`ami

 

Our Prophet -- who commands and forbids. None is more truthful in saying No or Yes.

 

36. huwa al-habibu al-ladhi turja shafa`atuhu / li kulli hawlin min al-ahwali muqtahimi

 

He is the Beloved whose intercession is dearly sought against every terror's onslaught.

 

37. da`a ilallahi fal-mustamsikuna bihi / mustamsikuna bi hablin ghayri munfasimi

 

He called unto Allah. Those who take hold of him have grasped a rope that shall never break.

 

38. faqa al-nabiyyina fi khalqin wa fi khuluqin / wa la yudanuhu fi `ilmin wa la karami

 

He surpasses all Prophets in form and character. None of them approaches his knowledge or generosity.

 

39.  wa kulluhum min rasulillahi multamisun / gharfan min al-bahri wa rashfan min al-diyami

 

All of them come and take from Allah's Messenger a handful of his ocean or a sip of his continuous rains.

 

40. wa waqifuna ladayhi `inda haddihim / min nuqtati al-`ilmi aw min shaklat al-hikami

 

They stand before him -- each at his limit -- possessing but one dot of his science and a glimpse of his wisdoms.

 

41. fa huwa al-ladhi tamma ma`nahu wa suratuhu / thumma istafahu habiban bari'u al-nasami

 

He is the one whose innermost and outward form were made perfect, after which the Creator of souls took him for His Beloved Friend.

 

42. munazzahun `an sharikin fi mahasinihi / fa jawharu al-husni fihi ghayru munqasimi

 

He is exalted above having a partner in his excellent qualities. The essence of his beauty was made indivisible.

 

43. da` ma idda`athu al-nasara fi nabiyyihim / wahkum bi ma shi'ta madhan fihi wa ihtakimi

 

Put aside what the Christians have claimed of their Prophet; then pronounce what you will in praise of him, and be wise;

 

44. fansub ila dhatihi ma shi'ta min sharafin / wansub ila qadrihi ma shi'ta min `izami

 

And attribute to his person whatever nobility you will, and ascribe to his worth whatever greatness you will,

 

45. fa inna fadla rasulillahi laysa lahu / haddun fa yu`riba `anhu natiqun bi fami

 

For the superiority of Allah's Messenger has no limit which a speaker can express with his mouth.

 

46. law nasabat qadruhu ayatuhu `izaman / ahya ismuhu hina yud`a darisa al-rimami

 

If his signs had matched his worth, the mere utterance of his name would have brought back to life the dust that once was bones;

 

47. lam yamtahinna bima ta`ya al-`uqulu bihi / hirsan `alayna fa lam nartab wa lam nahimi

 

But he did not test us with what makes impotent the minds, out of great concern for us, so that we should not doubt nor become perplexed.

 

48. a`ya al-wara fahmu ma`nahu fa laysa yura / li al-qurbi wa al-bu`di minhu ghayra munfahimi

 

Creation is, in truth, powerless to understand his secret. You will not see any near him or far, except it makes them bewildered,

 

49. ka al-shamsi tazharu li al-`aynayni min bu`din / saghiratan wa tukillu al-tarfa min amami

 

As the sun appears small to the eyes from a distance, and yet exhausts their sight upon a second look.

 

50. wa kayfa yudriku fi al-dunya haqiqatahu / qawmun niyamun tasallaw `anhu bi al-hulumi

 

And how could one perceive his reality in this world, who belongs to a sleeping race distracted from him with dreams?

 

51. fa mablaghu al-`ilmi fihi annahu basharun / wa annahu kharyu khalqillahi kullihimi

 

The sum of their knowledge concerning him is that he was a mortal, and that he was the best of all Allah's creation.

 

52. wa kullu ayin ata al-rusulu al-kiramu biha / fa innama ittasalat min nurihi bihimi

 

And every single sign brought by the noble Prophets was theirs only in connection to his light,

 

53. fa innahu shamsu fadlin hum kawakibuha / yuzhirna anwaraha li al-nasi fi al-zulami

 

For verily he is a sun of perfection of which they are the moons bringing its light to people in the midst of darkness.

 

54. akrim bi khalqi nabiyyin zanahu khuluqun / bi al-husni mushtamilin bi al-bishri muttasimi

 

How noble was the form of this Prophet adorned with a high character that encompassed beauty and was marked with cheerful countenance!

 

55. ka al-zahri fi tarafin wa al-badri fi sharafin / wa al-bahri fi karamin wa al-dahri fi himami

 

A form like the soft lilies and the full moon in splendor, a character like the ocean in generosity and Time in endeavors,

 

56. ka'annuhu wa huwa fardun fi jalalatihi / fi `askarin hina talqahu wa fi hashami

 

Seeming, due to his majesty, even when you met him alone, to head an army or a large company,

 

57. ka'annama al-lu'lu'u al-maknunu fi sadafin / min ma`dinay mantiqin minhu wa mubtasimi

 

As if the very pearl concealed inside the shell were formed in the two molds of his speech and his smile.

 

58. la tiba ya`dilu turban damma a`zumahu / tuba li muntashiqin minhu wa multathimi

 

There is no fragrance equal to the earth that encloses his bones. Blessed is he that breathes its scent and kisses it.

 

145. in ati dhanban fa ma `ahdi bi muntaqidin / min al-nabiyyi wa la habli bi munsarimi

 

If I commit a sin, my covenant is not broken away from the Prophet, nor is my connection to him cut,

 

146. fa inna li dhimmatan minhu bi tasmiyati / muhammadan wa huwa awfa al-khalqi bi al-dhimami

 

For I hold a bond from him in my being named Muhammad, and he is the most trustworthy one in creation in keeping his bonds,

 

147. in lam yakun fi ma`adi akhidhan bi yadi / fadlan wa illa fa qul ya zallata al-qadami

 

And if he were not, on the day of my return to Allah, to take my hand out of munificence, then you may say of me: the foot will slip!

 

148. hashahu an yuhrima al-raji makarimahu / aw yarji`a al-jaru minhu ghayra muhtarimi

 

Far be it from him to deprive the petitioner of his graces. Far be it from him that the seeker of refuge return from his presence discomfited.

 

149. wa mundhu alzamtu afkari mada'ihahu / wajadtuhu li khalasi khayra multazimi

 

Yea, since I devoted my thoughts to praising him, I have found him the best of contractors for my deliverance.

 

150. wa lan yafuta al-ghina minhu yadan taribat / inna al-haya yunbitu al-azhara fi al-akami

 

Wealth from him will never fail the hands that became destitute -- verily, the rain makes flowers grow even on rugged hills --

 

151. wa lam urid zahrata al-dunya al-lati iqtatafat / yada zuhayrin bi ma athna `ala harimi

 

But I do not desire the splendor of this world which the hands of Zuhayr seized when he praised Harim, the King.

 

152. ya akrama al-khalqi ma li man aludhu bihi / siwaka `inda hululi al-hadithi al-`amami

 

O noblest one in creation, I have none from whom to request protection other than you when the Universal Event befalls.

 

153. wa lan yadiqa rasulallahi jahuka bi / idha al-karimu tajalla bi ismi muntaqimi

 

Your great standing, O Messenger of Allah, will not diminish for advocating me, if the Generous One manifests Himself with His name of Avenger,

 

154. fa inna min judika al-dunya wa darrataha / wa min `ulumika `ilma al-lawhi wa al-qalami

 

For your generosity encompasses both this world and the one that comes next, and your sciences encompass the knowledge of the Tablet and the Pen.

 

155. ya nafsi la taqnati min zallatin `azumat / inna al-kaba'ira fi al-ghufrani ka al-lamami

 

O my soul! Do not despair because of a terrible footslip. Grave sins, under the covering of forgiveness, are as small ones.

 

156. la`alla rahmata rabbi hina yaqsimuha / ta'ti `ala hasabi al-`isyani fi al-qasami

 

It may be that my Lord's mercy, when He distributes it, shall match the transgressions in proportion.

 

157. ya rabba wa ij`al raja'i ghayra mun`akisin / ladayka wa ij`al hisabi ghayra munkharimi

 

O my Lord! Do not let my hope be reversed in Your presence, and let not my account be deemed deficient,

 

158. waltuf bi `abdika fi al-darayni inna lahu / sabran mata tad`uhu al-ahwalu yanhazimi

 

And be kind to Your servant in the Two Abodes, for his is a kind of fortitude which calamities hail and overcome,

 

159. wa'dhan li suhbi salatin minka da'imatin / `ala al-nabiyyi bi munhalli wa munsajimi

 

And grant showerings of blessings from You upon the Prophet, copious and continous!

 

160. thumma al-rida `an abi bakrin wa `an `umarin / wa `an `aliyyin wa `an `uthmana dhi al-karami

 

And may Allah's good pleasure be with Abu Bakr, `Umar, `Ali, and `Uthman the noble one,

 

161. wa al-ali wa al-sahbi thumma al-Tabi`ina lahum / ahli al-tuqa wa al-nuqa wa al-hilmi wa al-karami

 

And with the Family of the Prophet and his Companions, and their Successors the People of Godwariness and Purity and Kindness and Nobility

 

162. ma rannahat `adhabat al-bani rihu saban / wa atraba al-`isa hadi al-`isi bi al-naghami

 

As long as the gentle Eastern wind waves the stalks of the moringa-tree, and the camel-leader enlivens the camel with his songs.

 

163. ya rabbi bi al-mustafa balligh maqasidana / wa ighfir lana ma mada ya wasi`a al-karami

 

O my Lord! with the Elect One make us attain our goals, and forgive us for what has passed, O Most Munificent One!

 

164. wa ighfir ilahi li kulli al-muslimina bi ma / yatluhu fi al-masjidi al-aqsa wa fi al-harami

 

And forgive, O my God, all Muslims who recite this in the Farthest Mosque and the Holy Sanctuary,

 

165. bi jahi man baytuhu fi tibatin harami / wa ismihu qasamun min a`zami al-qasami

 

For the Honor and sake of the one whose house lies in the verdant sacrosanct land, and whose name is one of the greatest oaths.


THE OBJECTION OF "SALAFIS" TO

SEEKING REFUGE WITH THE PROPHET AND

`UTHAYMIN'S UGLY CLAIM AGAINST THE BURDA

 

 

This poem is far above what some scholars who call themselves "Salafis" declared about it. We reject categorically the ugly claim made by one of them in one of their publications in the month of the Prophet's birth, whereby "Qasidat al-Burda contains passages that constitute shirk"! (Uthaymin, as quoted in the Arabic-language periodical al-sirat al-mustaqeem published in the United States, Issue  #46-47, Rabee` al-akhira 1416 / September 1995, p. 7).

 

We say: None of the discerning scholars of Ahl al-Sunna has ever condemned it for "containing passages that constitute shirk" as Uthaymin claims. Rather, they have memorized it, taught it, commented on it, and praised it with inexhaustible praise. Will the "Salafis" say that these countless Muslims, among them some of the greatest authorities in the Religion, were all busy spreading statements of shirk? Yet this is what we find coming from Albani, `Uthaymin and their like. The financing of certain media insures the propagation of their views, but this does not nor will it ever make such views true. In our opinion, the least offense that one commits by labeling Qasidat al-burda with shirk is the practice of su' al-zann (the refusal to give Muslims the benefit of good opinion), and the worst is lack of fear of Allah and disdain of His Prophet, and we seek refuge in Allah from the real shirk. Would that these opponents heeded the warning of their own putative Imam, Ibn Taymiyya, which we have cited above concerning the inviolability of the Prophet's rank in Islam.

 

One of their pretexts in objecting to Qasidat al-burda is line 155 of the poem:

 

 

ya akram al-khalqi ma li man aludhu bihi

siwaka `inda hululi al-hadithi al-`amami

 

O noblest of creatures!  I have none from whom to request protection

Other than you when the Universal Event befalls.

 

 

            The "Salafis" choose to interpret this verse of al-Busiri to mean something contrary to Islam, namely that the Prophet is unduly attributed the power to save which is reserved for Allah exclusively. It seems that they would not hesitate to lay blame at the door of a Companion such as Hassan ibn Thabit for saying:

 

I say, and none can find fault with me

But one lost to all sense:

I shall never cease to praise him.

It may be for so doing I shall be for ever in Paradise

With the Chosen One for whose support in that I hope.

And to attain to that day I devote all my efforts.[83]

 

            The truth is that Busiri's line "I have none with whom to seek refuge other than you" refers to the Great Intercession (al-shafa`a al-kubra) of the Prophet on the Day of Judgment. This is the understanding of the commentaries on the Burda such as al-Bajuri's Hashya and Badr al-Din al-Ghazzi's al-Zubda fi sharh al-Burda.

 

This event is described in the famous hadith of intercession already mentioned, related from Abu Hurayra in the last book (Tawhid) of Sahih al-Bukhari in which Allah four times tells His Prophet, Peace be upon him: "Ask and you shall receive, intercede and you shall have intercession." The Prophet each time intercedes and his intercession is accepted while all other prophets are powerless to intercede. His intercession is accepted four times:

 

- For those who have a grain of faith in their heart;

- For those who have a mustard seed of faith in their heart;

- For those who have less than that of faith in their heart;

- For those who ever said: La ilaha illallah ("There is no god but Allah alone").

 

            Each of these four times, the Prophet is empowered to go and remove people from the Fire himself.

 

            The Prophet also said in many chains of hadith: "I am the master and leader of humanity on the Day of Resurrection." His intercession extends from all the Prophets to the greatest of sinners according to the two authentic hadiths:

 

a) On the Day of Judgment I shall be the Imam of prophets and their spokesman and the owner of their intercession and I say this without pride.[84] (A reference to Qur'an 4:41: "How then shall it be, when We bring forward from every nation a witness, and bring thee to witness against those?")

 

b) My intercession is for those people of my Community who commit major sins.[85]

 

            The Prophet owns this office exclusive of all other creatures including angels and Prophets. Allah has appointed the Prophet to it as confirmed by the hadith in Bukhari and Muslim: "I have been given five things which no other prophets before me were given... I was given shafa`a (intercession with Allah)".[86]

 

            Quoted below are other confirmations in the Shari`a that al-Busiri is referring to a kind of Sunna refuge-seeking even if it has a creature as its object.

 

            As for the lexical confirmation that refuge-seeking in the Prophet is permitted, it is that al-Busiri does not use a`udhu for "I seek refuge" but aludhu, which is common as an Arabic expression of seeking refuge lexically in other than God, e.g. in the shade, or in military allies. This is precisely the cognate used not once but twice in the following verse, which may be the direct subtext for Busiri's verse and was uttered by the Prophet's poet himself, the Companion Hassan ibn Thabit:

 

ya ruknun mu`tamadun wa `ismatun la'idhun

wa maladhun muntaja`un wa jarun mujawiru

 

O pillar relied upon and protection in which refuge is sought,

and saving resort, and nearby neighbor![87]

 

            Besides these explanations, what other than arrogance and presumption would inspire "Salafis" to suggest that a Muslim master of the Arabic language such as Busiri would mean these lines in a sense that implies shirk? Such accusation reflects the ignorance of the accuser more than any other factor. And if anyone still insists that this is a possibility, then how will they explain that the entire poem of Qasidat al-Burda was taught, copied, distributed, recited, transcribed on mosque walls -- including the Prophet's mosque in Madina where it is still found! -- memorized, commented, studied, and considered required reading by countless scholars including Imams of hadith such as Sakhawi and Suyuti, and their students? Will the objectors say that all the Muslims who participated in these acts conspired to spread statements of shirk?

 

            The following two hadiths exemplify the lexical permissibility of applying to or asking from the Prophet what is legally applied to or asked only of Allah, without there being su' al-zann (a bad meaning) attributed to the petitioner: namely, in the first case, protection from harm in this world, and, in the second, protection from the Fire in the next world. Note that Bayhaqi related the second hadith in his book without objecting in the least to its content or language, although some self-proclaimed scholars of hadith today would altogether condemn such wording as shirk. They even cite against it the verse iyyaka na`budu wa iyyaka nasta`in, in apparent ignorance of the permissible help-seeking whether it is named istighatha or isti`ana, as proved, among others, by the following evidence:

 

·         the verse in sura al-Kahf: fa`inuni bi quwwa (18:95) "Do but help me with strength";

 

·         the verse already cited in al-Shatti's fatwa on tawassul: fa istaghathahu al-ladhi min shi`atihi (28:15) "The man of his own people asked him for help against his foe";

 

·         the hadith from `Abd Allah ibn `Umar related by Bukhari in his Sahih, book of Tawhid, whereby the Prophet said:

 

The sun shall draw close on the Day of Resurrection until the sweat of the people shall reach to mid-ear, whereupon they shall seek help with Adam (istaghathu bi adam) then with Musa then with Muhammad, blessings and peace be upon him, and he shall intercede (fa yashfa`) in order for judgment to be passed among the people

 

-- and this is the plainest proof for the permissibility of istighatha or seeking help in the sense of tashaffu` or asking intercession;

 

·         the hadith related by Imam Ahmad whose chain Ibn Hajar in Fath al-bari declared fair (hasan)[88] from al-Harith ibn Hassan al-Bakri whereby the latter said to the Prophet without being rebuked:

 

a`udhu billahi wa rasulihi an akuna ka wafidi `ad -- I seek refuge in Allah and His Prophet from being like the envoy to `Ad.[89]

 

·         and the following evidence:

 

 

Hadith on seeking refuge in the Prophet from a fire

 

Narrated `Ali: The Prophet sent some troops under the command of a man from the Ansar and ordered the soldiers to obey him. At one point the commander became angry and said to them: "Didn't the Prophet order you to obey me?" They replied, "Yes." He said, "Collect fire-wood for me." So they collected it. He said, "Make a fire." When they made it, he said, "Enter the fire." At this they started holding each other and saying: "We flee to the Prophet from the fire!" (Arabic: fararna ila al-nabi min al-nar, cf. Qur'an: fa firru ilallah "Take flight to Allah!" 51:50), that is : We seek refuge in the Prophet from the fire. They kept on saying that till the fire was extinguished and the anger of the commander abated. When that news reached the Prophet he said: "If they had entered it (i.e. the fire), they would not have come out of it till the Day of Resurrection. Obedience (to somebody) is required when he enjoins what is good."[90]

 

 

Hadith on seeking refuge in the Prophet From Hellfire

 

Imam Bayhaqi said in Shu`ab al-iman: Abu al-Husayn ibn Bushran told us, from Abu `Amr `Uthman ibn Ahmad al-Sammak, from Muhammad ibn `Abdik, from Abu Bilal, from Abu al-Malih al-Raqi, from Maymun ibn Mahran, from Ibn `Abbas:

 

A delegation of Bedouin Arabs among whom was a young man came to the Prophet. The young man said to the older ones: Go and pledge loyalty to the Messenger of Allah, and meanwhile I shall keep your mounts.  The older men went and pledged loyalty to him.  Then the young man came, grasped the Prophet by the two sides of his waist (akhadha bi haqway rasulillah), and said: "O Messenger of Allah, I seek from you (or: I appeal to you for) protection from the Fire (ya rasulallah astajiruka min al-nar)!"  The people said: "Boy, let go of him! (da`hu ya ghulam)" But he replied: "By the One Who has sent him, I shall not let go of him until he grants me protection from the fire! (walladhi ba`athahu la utrikuhu hatta yujirani min al-nar)" At that point Jibril came to the Prophet and said: "O Muhammad, grant him protection, for verily Allah the Exalted has granted him protection (ya muhammad ajirhu fa inna Allaha ta`ala qad ajarahu)."[91]

 

            The great hafiz and lexicographer al-sayyid al-Zabidi says in his dictionary Taj al-`arus, s.v. haqwin that the expression `adha bi haqwihi (literally "he sought refuge with the man's flank") means: he had recourse to him for refuge, protection, or preservation.

 

            In addition let us cite four more hadiths on the Companions' overt declaration of reliance, for salvation, upon the Prophet's love and companionship with him rather than on any other form of worship.


Hadiths on the sufficiency of the Prophet's love for salvation

 

Narrated Anas:

 

A man asked the Prophet about the Hour saying, "When will the Hour be?" The Prophet said, "What have you prepared for it?" The man said, "Nothing, except that I love Allah and His Apostle." The Prophet said, "You will be with those whom you love." (Anas continues:) We had never been so glad as we were on hearing that saying of the Prophet (i.e., "You will be with those whom you love.") Therefore, I love the Prophet, Abu Bakr, and `Umar, and I hope that I will be with them because of my love for them though my deeds are nothing like theirs. (Bukhari)

 

The above is elucidated by the following hadiths:

 

- "Among those of my Community who love me most intensely are certain people who will come after me and who would give away their family and property in exchange for seeing me." Muslim narrated it in his Sahih, book of "Paradise and its bliss and people."

 

- A man came to the Prophet and said: "Messenger of Allah, I love you more than my family and my possessions. I remember you and I cannot wait until I can come and look at you. I remember that I will die and you will die and I know that when you enter the Garden, you will be raised up high with the Prophets. When I enter it, I will not see you." Allah then revealed: "Whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger, they are with those whom He has favored: the Prophets, the True Saints, the Martyrs, and the Righteous. Ah! What an excellent company." (4:69) The Prophet called the man and recited the verse to him. Tabarani and Ibn Mardawayh narrated it from `A'isha and Ibn `Abbas, and Qadi `Iyad cited it in al-Shifa' as well as Ibn Kathir in his Tafsir (1:310) and al-Baghawi in his.

 

It is further elucidated by the hadith of `Umar whereby a man was punished by the Prophet because of wine-drinking. One day when he was brought to him and he gave orders and had him beaten, one of those present said: "O Allah, curse him. How often he is brought!" The Prophet said: "Do not curse him. I swear by Allah that I know he loves Allah and His Messenger." (Bukhari)

 

 

`Umar's reliance on companionship with the Prophet for the reward of his deeds

 

Narrated Abu Burda ibn Abi Musa al-Ash`ari:

 

`Abd Allah ibn `Umar said to me, "Do you know what my father said to your father once?" I said, "No." He said, "My father said to your father, 'O Abu Musa, will it please you that we will be rewarded for our conversion to Islam with Allah's Apostle and our migration with him, and our Jihad with him and all our good deeds which we did, with him, and that all the deeds we did after his death will be disregarded whether good or bad?' Your father (i.e. Abu Musa) said, 'No, by Allah, we took part in Jihad after Allah's Apostle , prayed and did plenty of good deeds, and many people have embraced Islam at our hands, and no doubt, we expect rewards from Allah for these good deeds.' On that my father (i.e. `Umar) said, 'As for myself, By Him in Whose Hand `Umar's soul is, I wish that the deeds done by us at the time of the Prophet remain rewardable while whatsoever we did after the death of the Prophet be enough to save us from Punishment in that the good deeds compensate for the bad ones.' " On that I said (to Ibn `Umar), "By Allah, your father was better than my father!"[92]

 

 

Report from Sufyan al-Thawri on asking the Prophet for help (istighata bi al-nabi s.a.w.s.)

 

The  following  excerpt   translated  from  an  early  Islamic  Hadith reference  illustrates the  permissibility of considering the Prophet a source of help in salvation from the Fire and the importance of making Salawat on the Prophet, salla allahu alayhi wa sallam. It is cited in Tanbih al-ghafilin bi ahadith sayyid al-anbiya' wa al-mursalin (Warning the Heedless with the Sayings of the Master of Prophets and Messengers) by al-faqih, al-zahid, al-`alim al-`amil, al-ustadh al-muhaddith al-muhaqqiq... shaykh Nasr ibn Muhammad ibn Ibrahim al-Samarqandi (d. 373):

 

By way of Sa`id ibn `Umayr  al-Ansari who fought in the battle of Badr: he said: The Messenger of Allah, blessings and peace be upon him, said: "Whoever invokes blessings upon me from my Community sincerely from his heart once, Allah sends ten blessings upon him, and raises him ten degrees."

 

            And he (al-Samarqandi) said: I heard my father narrate: It happened that while Sufyan al-Thawri was circumambulating the Ka`ba, he saw a man who did not raise a foot nor lower a foot except that he made salat for the Prophet, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam. Sufyan said: I told him: "O you, you have left saying subhan Allah and la ilaha illallah and have proceeded with the salat on the Prophet! Do you have any explanation regarding this?"

 

He said: "Who are you, may Allah Pardon you?" I said: "I am Sufyan al-Thawri."

 

            He said: Had it not been that you are one of the Strangers among the people of your own time (i.e. one of Ahl al-Sunna), I would not have told you of my condition, nor exposed to you my secret. I went out with my father on pilgrimage to the Holy house of Allah, until I reached one of the resting stations. My father became sick and I began to care for him. Then one night when I was at his bedside, he died and his face turned dark. So I said, "We belong to Allah and to Him we are returning!" Then I pulled the covers over his face, after which sleep overcame me and I slept. I saw a man next to me with a face such as I had never seen a more handsome one, nor clothes cleaner  than his, nor a scent finer than his; he was raising one foot and lowering the other until he came close to my father and removed the covers from his face, whereupon the face turned light.

 

            Then he started to go back, so I held onto his clothes and said: "O servant of Allah, who are you, with whom Allah has graced us in this foreign land?"

 

            He said: "Don't you know me? I am Muhammad ibn `Abd Allah, the Companion of the Qur'an. Now your father transgressed against himself, but he used to do invoke salat on me frequently, and when he was affected with what affected him he called on me for help (isthaghatha bi), and I am a prompt helper of one who makes salat on me frequently (wa ana ghayyathun liman akthara al-salata `alay)."

 

            He said, "Then I woke up, and I saw that the face of my father was white."[93]

 

            This report illustrates the acceptability of asking the Prophet for help even after his life not on the basis of the dream -- for dreams are not retained by the Shari`a for the derivation of legal rulings -- but on the basis of the account of the dream being part of the teaching of Islam and taqwa by one of the luminaries of the Community. The acceptability of this narration to the author, the narrator, and the Community indicates that they viewed its contents as being valid, not as being conducive to shirk as the "Salafis" claim!

 


THE OBJECTION OF "SALAFIS" TO PRAISING THE PROPHET TO ONE'S UTMOST

 

 

The "Salafis" object to the verse:

 

43. da` ma idda`athu al-nasara fi nabiyyihim / wahkum bi ma shi'ta madhan fihi wa ihtakimi

 

Put aside what the Christians have claimed of their Prophet; then pronounce what you will in praise of him, and be wise;

 

It is strange that the "Salafis" should object to the above when it is a clear and explicit instruction of the Prophet himself, who said: "Do not exceed bounds in praising me as the Christians have done with the son of Maryam, for I am only His [Allah's] servant. Therefore say: Allah's servant and His Messenger." Bukhari narrated it in his Sahih, book of Ahadith al-anbiya'.

 

This hadith is a prohibition on the Prophet's part of using the terms "Son of God" which the Christians applied to Jesus, and an instruction to use the terms "servant" and "Messenger" instead. There is nothing in the hadith prohibiting praising the Prophet in the terms that he himself has used when speaking of himself in other hadiths, such as sayyid walad Adam, or Habib Allah, or his countless other names and attributes, as long as the terminology of the Christians -- "God" and "Son of God" -- is shunned. This is the meaning of al-Busiri's lines, and he is correct in his statement.

 

We will cite here, again, the authentic hadith we mentioned at the beginning of the section on tawassul, which points to the unfathomable greatness of the Prophet's rank before Allah and his unique attribute as mustashar al-Haqq -- the one Allah consulted:

 

·         Hudhayfa said: The Prophet was absent and he did not come out until we thought that he would never come out anymore. When he did come out, he fell into such a long prostration that we thought that his soul had been taken back during that prostration. When he raised his head he said:

 

My Lord sought my advice (istasharani) concerning my Community, saying: "What shall I do with them?" I said: "What You will, my Lord, they are Your creation and Your servants!" Then He sought my advice again (fa istasharani al-thaniya), and I said to him the same thing, so He said: "We shall not put you to shame concerning your Community, O Muhammad."

 

Then He informed me that the first of my Community to enter Paradise will be seventy thousand, each thousand of whom will have seventy thousand with them [4,900,000,000], and none of them shall incur any accounting.

 

Then He sent me a messenger who said: "Supplicate and it will be answered to you. Ask and it will be given to you." I said to His messenger: "Will my Lord give me whatever I ask for?" He replied: "He did not send me to you except to give you whatever you ask for."

 

And indeed my Lord has given me whatever I asked for, and I say this without pride: He has forgiven me my sins past or future while I am still alive and walking about; He has granted me that my Community shall not starve, and shall not be overcome. And He has given me al-Kawthar, a river of Paradise which flows into my Pond; and He has given me power and victory over my enemies, and terror running in their ranks at a month's distance from my Community; and He has granted me that I be first among the Prophets to enter Paradise; and He has made spoils of war lawful and good for me and my Community, and He has made lawful much of what He had forbidden those before us, nor did He take us to task for it."

 

            Narrated by Imam Ahmad, and Haythami said in Majma` al-zawa'id (10:68) that its chain was fair (hasan).

 

In his work on the names of the Prophet entitled al-Riyad al-aniqa fi sharh asma' khayr al-khaliqa sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam (The beautiful gardens: Explanation of the names of the Best of Creation), Suyuti listed over three hundred of the Prophet's names and attributes pointing to the ranks and qualities bestowed by Allah upon our Beloved Prophet, such as the attribute mentioned above. Both Qasidat al-Burda and Suyuti's work stand in a long tradition of commentaries on the subject of the Prophet's attributes, such as the chapter on the Prophet's names in Qadi `Iyad's masterpiece al-Shifa' fi ma`rifat huquq al-mustafa (The Healing in the Knowledge of the Rights of the Elect One),[94] Ibn Dihya's Sharh asma' al-nabi, al-`Azafi's Sharh asma' al-Nabi, Abu Bakr ibn al-`Arabi and Abu Bakr al-Bayhaqi's chapters on the Prophet's names respectively in `Aridat al-ahwadhi and Shu`ab al-iman as well as Dala'il al-nubuwwa, Tirmidhi's Shama'il  listing the physical characteristics of the Prophet, Ibn al-Jawzi's masterpiece devoted to the Prophet entitled al-Wafa' bi ahwal al-mustafa, Nawawi in Sharh Sahih Muslim and Tahdhib al-asma' wa al-sifat, and al-Jazuli's Dala'il al-khayrat, among others.

 

Such original works were authoritative responses, then and now, to certain pernicious individuals or groups active among the Muslims, who are seen denigrating many of the names and characteristics of the Prophet in a way completely unacceptable in Islam. They hide behind a false pretence of tawhid and a vocal claim that they wish to avoid shirk and "excessive love of the Prophet." We say: there is no such thing in Islam as excessive love of the Prophet, and we pray that Allah remove from our hearts the delusions of stinginess from which such claims originate. For we Muslims of Ahl al-Sunna know that to deny the Prophet even one of his characteristics is to deny him his right given him by Allah: and this is a sign of hidden disbelief (nifaq). Committing such a grave sin leads to dire consequences here and hereafter, from which we pray that Allah will protect us as well as all sincere lovers of His Beloved, the Seal of the Messengers. Allah is the best and fiercest defender of His Friends.

 

The "Salafi" writer Muhammad `Uthaymin, the same one who attacked Qasidat al-burda and claimed it contained shirk, wrote in his commentary on Ibn Taymiyya entitled Sharh al-`aqida al-wasitiyya:

 

We believe that all messengers are created human beings who have none of the divine qualities of Allah.

 

Compare, dear reader, this manner of speech with the words used by the scholars of Ahl al-Sunna which we cite in the present book, and know with firm knowledge that such a demeaning reference to Prophets encapsulates the way in which Wahhabi and "Salafi" propagandists fail to pay the Prophet Muhammad his due, Peace be upon him, which is sufficient by itself to convict them of chronic deviation from the doctrine of Ahl al-Sunna. Our aim is to warn all Muslims East and West, in Europe, America, Southeast Asia and the Subcontinent against following them, for theirs is the way of error and heresy, and our refuge is in Allah.

 

The sound position and the appropriate language on the topic are found in al-Qadi `Iyad's al-Shifa' in the section entitled: "On Allah honoring the Prophet with some of His own Beautiful Names and describing him with some of His own sublime qualities":

 

Know that Allah has bestowed a mark of honor on many of the Prophets by investing them with some of His names: for example He calls Ishaq and Isma`il "knowing" (`alim) and "forbearing" (halim), Ibrahim "forbearing" (halim), Nuh "thankful" (shakur), Musa "noble" (karim) and "strong" (qawi), Yusuf "a knowing guardian" (hafiz, `alim), Ayyub "patient" (sabur), `Isa and Yahya "devoted" (barr), and Isma`il "truthful to the promise" (sadiq al-wa`d)... Yet He has preferred our Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, since He has adorned him with a wealth of His names in His Mighty Book and on the tongue of His Prophets. We have gathered them together after reflecting on the subject and putting our memory to work since we were unable to locate anyone who had compiled more than two names nor anyone who had dealt with it to any great extent before. We have recorded some of these names... There about thirty of them. [He then proceeds to list and explain them. They are: Ahmad, al-Ra'uf, al-Rahim, al-Haqq, al-Nur, al-Shahid, al-Karim, al-`Azim, al-Jabbar, al-Khabir, al-Fattah, al-Shakur, al-`Alim, al-`Allam, al-Awwal, al-Akhir, al-Qawi, al-Sadiq, al-Wali, al-Mawla, `Afw, al-Hadi, al-Mu'min, al-Quddus/Muqaddas, al-`Aziz, al-Bashir, al-Nadhir, Ta Ha, Ya Seen.]

 

Are not the above light-filled lines by Qadi `Iyad a far cry from blurting out "We believe that all messengers are created human beings who have none of the divine qualities of Allah"?

 

Usama ibn Sharik narrates: "I came to see the Prophet while his Companions were with him, and they seemed as still as if birds had alighted on top of their heads. I gave him my salam and I sat down. [Then Bedouins came and asked questions which the Prophet answered.] ... The Prophet then stood up and the people stood up. They began to kiss his hand, whereupon I took his hand and placed it on my face. I found it more fragrant than musk and cooler than sweet water." It was narrated by Abu Dawud in his Sunan (#3855), Tirmidhi in his Sunan (#2038 -- hasan sahih), Ibn Majah in his Sunan (#3436), al-Hakim in his Mustadrak (4:399), and Ahmad in his Musnad (4:278).

 

            It is noteworthy that utter respect and veneration of the Prophet are among the foremost branches of belief (iman) spoken of by the Prophet in the famous hadith: "Belief is seventy and some branches..." This is shown by al-hafiz Imam Bayhaqi's treatment of this aspect of belief in Chapter 15 of his Shu`ab al-iman (2:200 #1528) entitled:

 

The Fifteenth Branch of Faith, Namely A Chapter On Rendering Honor To The Prophet, Declaring His High Rank, And Revering Him (al-khamis `ashar min shu`ab al-iman wa huwa babun fi ta`zim al-nabi sallallahu `alayhi wa sallama wa ijlalihi wa tawqirih) where the Imam cites the above hadith. And Allah knows best.

 


THE "SALAFIS" OBJECTION TO CALLING

THE PROPHET A LIGHT FROM WHICH ISSUES

THE LIGHT OF OTHER PROPHETS

 

 

The "Salafis" object to the verses:

 

52. wa kullu ayin ata al-rusulu al-kiramu biha / fa innama ittasalat min nurihi bihimi

 

And every single sign brought by the noble Prophets was theirs only in connection to his light,

 

53. fa innahu shamsu fadlin hum kawakibuha / yuzhirna anwaraha li al-nasi fi al-zulami

 

For verily he is a sun of perfection of which they are the moons bringing its light to people in the midst of darkness.

 

            Their objection is based on their known abhorrence of referring to the Prophet as "Light," although Allah Himself refers to him as "light" three times in His Glorious Book:

 

·         "From Allah has come to you a Light and a Book manifest." (5:15)

 

·         "The likeness of His light is as a niche wherein is a Lamp (the lamp in a glass, the glass as it were a glittering star) kindled from a Blessed Tree, an olive that is neither of the East nor of the West, whose oil wellnigh would shine, even if no fire touched it; Light upon Light." (24:35)

 

·         "O Prophet! Truly We have sent you as a Witness, a Bearer of glad tidings, and a Warner, and as one who invites to Allah by His leave, and as a Lamp spreading Light." (33:45-46)

 

            Thus Allah Himself calls the Prophet explicitly: a Lamp, a Lamp inside a niche, a Light, and again a Lamp spreading light (sirajan muniran). This specific knowledge that the Prophet is the spring-well of all other light in the world is by no means new, rather it is inherited from the Companions themselves as established by the following lines of his poet, Hassan ibn Thabit, as quoted by Ibn Hisham on the last page of his Sirat Rasulillah:

 

He was the light and the brilliance we followed.

He was sight and hearing second only to Allah....

 

By Allah, no woman has conceived and given birth

To one like the Apostle,

            the Prophet and guide of his people.

Nor has Allah created among his creatures

One more faithful to his sojourner or his promise

Than he who was the source of our light.[95]

 

`Ali al-Qari said in his Sharh al-Shifa (1:505) in commen-ting upon the Prophet's title "as a Lamp spreading Light" (33: 46):

 

Muhammad... is a tremendous light and the source of all lights, he is also a book that gathers up and makes clear all the secrets... sirajan muniran means a luminous sun, because of His saying: "He hath placed therein a great lamp and a moon giving light" (25:61).  There is in this verse an indication that the sun is the highest of the material lights and that other lights are outpourings from it: similarly the Prophet is the highest of the spiritual lights and other lights are derived from him by virtue of his mediating connection and pivotal rank in the overall sphere of creation. This is also inferred from the tradition: "The first thing Allah created is my light."

 

Commenting upon the same verse al-Khazin says in his Tafsir: "Allah extended [amadda] the light of discernment [basira] through the light of Muhammad's prophethood just as He extends the light of eyesight [basar] through the light of the sun; Allah called him a lamp and not a sun, because it is impossible to take anything directly from the light of the sun, but it is possible to take many lights from the lamp." Allah therefore caused this madad or light of discernment to issue from the Prophet and extend to all.

 

al-Qastallani (d. 923) in his al-Mawahib al-laduniyya (ed. al-Shami, 2:583), quoted Ibn Marzuq commenting on Busiri's lines:

 

He [al-Busiri] means that every miracle that every messenger has brought, surely was only because it was an extension to each one of them of the light of Muhammad, may Allah bless him and give him peace. How beautiful is his saying "surely was theirs only in connection to his light" for it suggests that his light, may Allah bless him and give him peace, always remained unchanged in him, and nothing of it was decreased. Had he said, "surely it was part of his light", then it could have been imagined that he distributed it to them, and that perhaps nothing of it remained for him. All the signs given each one of them was only theirs through his light, may Allah bless him and give him peace, because he is a sun of excellence, and they are the planets of that sun which convey its lights to humankind in the darkness. The planets are not shining by themselves, but they receive light from the sun, so that when the sun is absent they show the light of the sun. Similarly, the Prophets before his existence used to show his excellence, so that whatever lights appeared at the hands of the messengers other than him, it was only from his outpouring light and vast extension (madad), without decreasing anything of it.

 

·         `Irbad ibn Sarya relates that the Prophet said: "Verily I was written in Allah's Presence as the Seal of Prophets while verily Adam was still kneaded in his clay." (Narrated by Ibn Hibban in his Sahih, and al-Hakim in his Mustadrak.)

 

·         The Prophet also said: “I was a Prophet while Adam was still between the spirit and the body.” Tirmidhi narrated it and said it hasan sahih, and it is authenticated by al-Hakim 2:609 as sahih, and also narrated by Ibn Abi Shayba in his Musannaf 14:292, and al-Bukhari in his Tarikh 7:374.

 

            Imam Taj ad-Din Subki said: "It has been said that Allah created the spirits before the bodies, and the Prophet's reference to his prophecy in the hadith, "I was a Prophet while Adam was still between the spirit and the body” may be a reference to his blessed spirit and to the Reality of Realities (haqiqat al-haqa'iq). Our minds fall short of knowing such a Reality, but its Creator knows it, and also those to whom He extends a madad of light from Him [man amaddahu bi nurin ilahi]. Allah brings to existence whichever of these realities that He likes in the time that He pleases. As for the reality of the Prophet, it is most likely that it was before the creation of Adam, and Allah gave it its prophetic attribute upon its creation; therefore already at that time, he was the Prophet." (Quoted by Suyuti in Hawi li al-Fatawi, and by Qastallani at the beginning of his Mawahib al-laduniyya 1:31-32.)

 

There is a further confirmation of the relation of the light of the Prophet to that of the rest of creation in the hadiths comparing Prophetic knowledge to the light of the stars in the darkness of night. Anas relates that the Prophet said: "The simile of the scholars of knowledge (al-`ulama') on the earth is the stars in the sky by which one is guided in the darkness of the land and the sea. When the stars are clouded over, the guides are about to be lost." Ahmad narrated it in his Musnad (3:157 #12606) with a chain containing Rishdin ibn Sa`d who is weak. However, it is confirmed by the hadith in Muslim and Ahmad narrated by Abu Musa al-Ash`ari whereby the Prophet said:

 

The stars are trust-keepers for the heaven, and when the stars wane, the heaven is brought what was promised (i.e. of the corruption of the world and the coming of the Day of Judgment); and I am a trust-keeper for my Companions, so when I go my Companions will be brought what was promised them (i.e. of fitna and division); and my Companions are trustkeepers for my Community, so when they go my Community will be brought what was promised to you (i.e. following hawa and vying for dunya).

 


EXPLANATION OF THE PROPHET'S

NAME "LIGHT" (NUR)

 

 

There are three verses in the Qur'an which mention the Prophet as a light.

 

·         Allah said: "From Allah has come to you a Light and a Book manifest." (5:15)

 

Qadi `Iyad said: "He [the Prophet] was named a Light because of the clarity of his case and the fact that his Prophecy was made manifest, and also because of the illumination of the hearts of the believers and the knowers of Allah with what he brought."

 

Suyuti in Tafsir al-Jalalayn, Fayruzabadi in the Tafsir Ibn `Abbas entitled Tanwir al-miqbas (p. 72), Shaykh al-Islam, Imam Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, the Mujaddid of the sixth century, in his Tafsir al-kabir (11:189), Qadi Baydawi in his Tafsir entitled Anwar al-tanzil, al-Baghawi in his Tafsir entitled Ma`alim al-tanzil (2:23), Imam al-Shirbini in his Tafsir entitled al-Siraj al-munir (p. 360), the author of Tafsir Abi Sa`ud (4:36), and Thana'ullah Pani Patti in his Tafsir al-mazhari, (3:67) said: "What is meant by a Light is: Muhammad, Blessings and peace upon him."

 

Ibn Jarir al-Tabari in his Tafsir jami` al-bayan (6:92) said: "There has come to you a Light from Allah: He means by the Light: Muhammad, Blessings and peace upon him, by means of whom Allah has illuminated the truth, brought forth Islam, and obliterated idolatry. Therefore he (the Prophet) is a light for those who have been enlightened by him and by his exposition of truth."

 

al-Khazin in his Tafsir (2:28) similarly says: "There has come to you a Light from Allah means: Muhammad, Blessings and peace upon him. Allah called him a light for no other reason than that one is guided by him (Muhammad) in the same way that one is guided by light in darkness."

 

al-Nasafi in his commentary entitled Tafsir al-Madarik (1:276) and al-Qasimi in his Mahasin al-ta'wil (6:1921) similarly say: "There has come to you a Light from Allah: this is the light of Muhammad, Blessings and peace upon him, because one is guided by him. Similarly he has been called a lamp (siraj)."

 

Imam Ahmad al-Sawi similarly said in his supercommen-tary on Tafsir al-Jalalayn (1:258): "There has come to you a Light from Allah: that Light is the Prophet, Blessings and peace upon him. He was named a light because he enlightens the sight and guides it to the correct path; and also because he is the root of every light whether material or spiritual." We will return to the latter statement below insha Allah.

 

Sayyid Mahmud al-Alusi in his commentary entitled Tafsir Ruh al-Ma`ani (6:97) similarly says: "There has come to you a Light from Allah: that is, an immense light which is the Light of Lights and the Elect among all Prophets, Blessings and peace upon him."

 

Isma`il al-Haqqi in his supercommentary on Alusi entitled Tafsir ruh al-bayan (2:370) similarly said: "There has come to you a Light from Allah and a Book that makes all things manifest: It is said that the meaning of the former is the Messenger, Blessings and peace upon him, and the latter is the Qur'an... The Messenger is called a Light because the first thing which Allah brought forth from the darkness of oblivion with the light of His power was the light of Muhammad, Blessings and peace upon him, as he (the Prophet) said: The first thing Allah created is my light." This narration is addressed below.

 

Of particular note is the fact that the Mu`tazilis insisted that the Light in verse 5:15 referred only to the Qur'an and not to the Prophet. Alusi said in the continuation of the passage quoted above: "Abu `Ali al-Jubba'i said that the light concerns the Qur'an because the Qur'an discloses and brings forth the paths of guidance and certitude. al-Zamakhshari [in al-Kashshaf 1:601] also contented himself with this explanation." Further elaboration on these two sources is given by Shah `Abd al-`Aziz al-Multani in his al-Nabras (p. 28-29): "al-Kashshaf proclaims itself Father of the Mu`tazila... Abu `Ali al-Jubba'i is the Muhammad ibn `Abd al-Wahhab of the Mu`tazila of Basra." The similarity of the Mu`tazila with the Wahhabis and "Salafis" of modern times is pointed out by Imam Kawthari in many places in his Maqalat, where he shows that as in the case of the Mu`tazila, the Wahhabis' denial of the characteristics of the awliya' camouflages a denial of those of the Prophets.

 

There is a notable explanation among Ahl al-Sunna which ascribes the meaning of the Prophet to both the Light and the Book. al-Sayyid al-Alusi said in Ruh al-ma`ani (6:97): "I do not consider it far-fetched that what is meant by both the Light and the Manifest Book is the Prophet, the conjunction being in the same way as what was said by al-Jubba'i [in that that both the Light and the Book were the Qur'an]. There is no doubt that all can be said to refer to the Prophet. Perhaps you will be reluctant to accept this from the viewpoint of expression (`ibara); then let it be from the viewpoint of subtle allusion (ishara)."

 

al-Qari said in Sharh al-shifa' (1:505, Mecca ed.): "It has also been said that both the Light and the Book refer to Muhammad, because just as he is a tremendous light and the source of all lights, he is also a book that gathers up and makes clear all the secrets." He also said (1:114, Madina ed.): "And what objection is there to predicate both nouns to the Prophet, since he is in truth an immense Light due to the perfection of his appearance among all light, and he is a Manifest Book since he gathers up the totality of secrets and he makes evident all laws, situations, and alternatives."

 

·         Allah said: "The likeness of His light is as a niche wherein is a Lamp (the lamp in a glass, the glass as it were a glittering star) kindled from a Blessed Tree, an olive that is neither of the East nor of the West, whose oil wellnigh would shine, even if no fire touched it; Light upon Light." (24:35)

 

            Suyuti said in al-Riyad al-aniqa: Ibn Jubayr and Ka`b al-Ahbar said: "What is meant by the second light is the Prophet because he is the Messenger and the Expositor and the Conveyor from Allah of what is enlightening and manifest." Ka`b said: "Its oil wellnigh would shine because the Prophet wellnigh would be known to the people even if he did not say that he was a Prophet, just as that oil would send forth light without a fire."

 

Ibn Kathir comments on this verse in his Tafsir by citing the report through Ibn `Atiyya whereby Ka`b al-Ahbar explained Allah's words: yakadu zaytuha yudi'u wa law lam tamsashu nar as meaning: "Muhammad is nearly manifest as a Prophet to people, even if he did not declare it."

 

Qadi `Iyad said in al-Shifa' (English p. 135): Niftawayh said regarding the words of Allah: "Its oil almost gives light when no fire has touched it" (24:35): "This is the likeness that Allah has made of His Prophet. He said that the meaning of the ayat was that this face almost indicated his Prophethood even before he had received the Qur'an, as Ibn Rawaha said:

 

Even if there had not been clear signs among us,

His face would have told you the news."

 

            Among those who said that the meaning of mathalu nurihi -- the likeness of His Light -- is the Prophet Muhammad, upon him blessings and peace: Ibn Jarir al-Tabari in his Tafsir (18:95), Qadi `Iyad in al-Shifa', al-Baghawi in Ma`alim al-Tanzil (5:63) in the margin of al-Khazin, from Sa`id ibn Hubayr and al-Dahhak, al-Khazin in his Tafsir (5:63) Suyuti in al-Durr al-manthur (5:49), Zarqani in Sharh al-mawahib (3:171), al-Khafaji in Nasim al-riyad (1:110, 2:449),

 

            al-Nisaburi in Ghara'ib al-Qur'an (18:93) said: "The Prophet is a light and a light-giving lamp."

 

al-Qari in Sharh al-shifa' said: "The most apparent meaning is to say that what is meant by the light is Muhammad."

 

·         Allah said: "O Prophet! Truly We have sent you as a Witness, a Bearer of glad tidings, and a Warner, and as one who invites to Allah by His leave, and as a Lamp spreading Light." (33:45-46)

 

Qadi al-Baydawi said in his Tafsir: "It is the sun due to His saying: We have made the sun a lamp; or, it could be a lamp."

 

Ibn Kathir states in his Tafsir: "His saying: and a light-giving lamp, that is: your status shows in the truth you have brought just as the sun shows in its rising and illuminating, which none denies except the obdurate."

 

Raghib al-Asfahani in al-Mufradat (1:147) said: "The word [lamp] is used for everything that illumines."

 

al-Zarqani in Sharh al-mawahib (3:171) said: "He was named lamp because from the one lamp take the many lamps, and its light is no wise diminished."

 

·         `Abd Allah ibn Rawaha al-Ansari -- the great-grandson of the poet Imru' al-Qays -- said of the Prophet:

 

            law lam takun fihi ayatun mubina

                        lakana manzaruhu yunabbi'uka bi al-khabari

 

Even if there were not, concerning him, clear and evident

signs, yet the sight of him would have told you the news.

 

            Ibn Hajar narrated it in al-Isaba (2:299) and said: "This is the most beautiful verse of poetry by which the Prophet was ever praised." Ibn Sayyid al-Nas said of him in Minah al-madh (p. 166):

 

He was killed as a martyr on the day of Mu'ta in Jumada 8 before the conquest of Mecca. On that day he was one of the commanders. He was one of the poets who did good and who used to fend off harm from Allah's Messenger. It was concerning him and his two friends Hassan (ibn Thabit) and Ka`b (ibn Zuhayr) that was revealed the verse: "Except those who believe and do good deeds and remember Allah abundantly." (The Poets 26:227).

 

Hisham ibn `Urwa narrated from his father that the latter said: I never saw anyone more aggressive or faster in his poetry than `Abd Allah ibn Rawaha. I heard Allah's Messenger say to him one day: "Recite some poetry appropriate to the moment, while I look at you." He rose up then and there and said:

 

inni tafarrastu fika al-khayra a`rifuhu

            wallahu ya`lamu anna ma khanani al-basaru

anta al-nabiyyu wa man yuhramu shafa`atahu

            yawma al-hisabi laqad azra bihi al-qadaru

fa thabbat allahu ma ataka min hasanin

            tathbita musa wa nasran kalladhi nusiru

 

I foresee for you immense good, of this I am certain.

Allah knows that my sight never betrayed me.

You are the Prophet, and whoever is deprived of your intercession

On the Day of Reckoning, his destiny is disgrace.

May Allah make firm all the good that He gave you,

            With a firmness like Musa's and the same victory.

 

Upon hearing this the Prophet said to him: "And you also, may Allah make you firm, O Ibn Rawaha." Hisham ibn `Urwa continued: Allah indeed made him firm with the staunchest firmness. He died as a martyr, and Paradise was opened for him and he entered it.

 

Ibn Abi al-Dunya cited from Abu al-Darda' that he used to say, after Ibn Rawaha's death: "O Allah, I seek refuge in You lest my maternal uncle `Abd Allah ibn Rawaha should loathe me when I meet him." Suyuti mentioned it in Sharh al-sudur (p. 265).

 

            As an attribute of Allah it is Dhu al-Nur which means the Creator of light and the Illuminator of the heavens and the earth with His lights, as well as the illuminator of the hearts of the believers with guidance. Nawawi said in Sharh Sahih Muslim, in his commentary on the Prophet's du`a which begins: "O Allah, you are the light of the heavens and the earth and yours is all praise..." (Book of Salat al-musafirin #199):

 

The scholars said that the meaning of "You are the light of the heavens and the earth" is: You are the One who illuminates them and the Creator of their light. Abu `Ubayda said: "Its meaning is that by Your light the dwellers of the heavens and the earth obtain guidance." al-Khattabi said in his commentary on Allah's name al-Nur: "It means the One by Whose light the blind can see and the lost can be guided, whence Allah is the light of the heavens and the earth, and it is possible that the meaning of al-Nur is: Dhu al-nur, and it is incorrect that al-Nur be an attribute of Allah's Essence, for it is only an attribute of action (sifatu fi`l), that is: He is the Creator of light." Others said: "The meaning of the light of the heavens and the earth is: The disposer of their sun and moon and stars."

 

·         Ibn `Umar narrated that the Prophet said: "Allah the Exalted created creation in a darkness (fi zulmatin); then He cast upon them from His Light. Whoever was touched by that Light, he is guided, and whoever was missed by it is misguided. Therefore I say that the Pen is dry (and all is) in Allah's foreknowledge."

 

            Narrated by Tirmidhi with a good chain in the Sunan (hasan), Ahmad in two places in his Musnad, Tabarani, al-Hakim in his Mustadrak, and Bayhaqi in the Sunan al-kubra. Ibn `Arabi al-Maliki in his commentary on Tirmidhi entitled `Aridat al-ahwadhi (10:108) confirmed the latter's grading and comments on the hadith: "It is clear from it that each one receives of that Light to the extent of what he has been granted out of the general and the specific... in the heart and in the limbs."

 

            The above hadith and its explanation by Qadi Ibn al-`Arabi show that the characteristic of Believers is light, and the Prophet is the first of the Believers and the one who can be more than anybody else characterized as light -- including the angels who are formed of light -- and only someone deficient in their belief would deny that he was assuredly the first and the foremost of all creation to be touched by Allah's light when He cast it, to an extent in which no angel, no Prophet, and no jinn rivals him.

 

            The above brings to light the pitfalls of the literalism of Ibn Taymiyya when he claimed in his essay on tasawwuf in Majmu`at al-fatawa (11:94, 18:366) that the Prophet could not possibly be made of light on the grounds that human beings are created from earth into which the spirit is blown, while angels alone are created from light. To support his view, he cites the hadith from `A'isha in Muslim whereby the Prophet said:

 

·         "The angels were created from light, the jinn from smokeless fire, and Adam from what was described to you (i.e. in the Qur'an)."

 

            However, to deduce from the above that a human being can never be characterized as a light is precisely what Iblis presumed when he disobeyed Allah on the pretense that smokeless fire is a nobler and higher element than earth. Furthermore, it contradicts the authentic hadith of Ibn `Umar narrated by Tirmidhi instead of elucidating it as would be required for a correct and comprehensive understanding of the subject.

 

            The correct view is that Prophets are a brand of human beings superior to the angels with respect to the light and the other gifts bestowed on them by Allah, whether general or particular, in their hearts or in their limbs, to use Ibn al-`Arabi al-Maliki's language. This is explicited by Qadi `Iyad in al-Shifa' (English p. 277-278) with regard to the Prophets' angelic inward qualities:

 

Prophets and Messengers are intermediaries between Allah and His creation. They convey His commands and prohibitions, His warning and threat to His creatures and they acquaint them with things they did not know regarding His command, creation, majesty, power and His Malakut. Their outward form, bodies and structure are characterized by the qualities of men as far as non-essential matters such as illnesses, death and passing away are concerned and they have human traits.

 

            But their souls and inward parts have the highest possible human qualities, associated with the Highest Assembly, which are similar to angelic attributes, free of any possibility of alteration or evil. Generally speaking the incapacity and weakness connected with being human cannot be associated with them. If their inward parts had been human in the same way as their outward, they would not have been able to receive revelation from the angels, see them, mix and sit with them in the way other mortals are unable to do.

 

            If their bodies and outward parts had been marked by angelic attributes as opposed to human attributes, the mortals to whom they were sent would not have been able to speak with them as Allah has already said. Thus they have the aspect of men as far as their bodies and outward parts are concerned, and that of angels in respect of their souls and inward parts.

 

            It is doubtful that Ibn Taymiyya did not understand the aspects of the question elaborated by Qadi `Iyad. In fact, after denying that Prophets are made of light like the angels, Ibn Taymiyya goes to state the known position of Ahl al-Sunna that Prophets -- chief among them the Seal of Prophets -- manifest a rank not reached by the angels:

 

Allah manifests some of His Power and Wisdom through righteous human beings, saints and prophets, which He does not manifest through the angels, for He combines in the former group qualities which are scattered among other creation. Thus He creates the man's body from the Earth and his spirit from the Highest Company, and this is why it is said, "Man is a microcosm, and a copy of the greater Universe."

 

Muhammad is the Chief of the Children of Adam, the Best of Creation, the noblest of them in the sight of Allah. This is why some have said that "Allah created the Universe due to him," or that "Were it not for him, He would have neither created a Throne, nor a Footstool, nor a heaven, earth, sun or moon." However, this is not a hadith on the authority of the Prophet... but it may be explained from a correct aspect.

 

            Ibn Taymiyya goes on to elaborate his proofs for the truth of the saying that Allah created the Universe due to the Prophet, and we have quoted the continuation of his discourse above, in the chapter on the names Muhammad and Ahmad (#1-2).

 

·         The Companion `Abd al-Rahman ibn `Awf recited the following poetry about the Prophet:

 

ala anna khayra al-nasi fi al-ardi kullihimi

            nabiyyun jala `anna shukuka al-tarajjumi

nabiyyun ata wa al-nasu fi `unjuhiyyatin

            wa fi sadafin fi zulmati al-kufri mu`timi

fa aqsha`a bi al-nuri al-mudi'i zalamahu

            wa sa`adahu fi amrihi kullu muslimi

 

Verily, the best of all humankind on the earth

is a Prophet who removed from us the doubts of

  skepticism,

A Prophet who came while people were wrapped in

  haughtiness

and in the pitch-black darkness of the night of

  disbelief:

Whereupon he dispelled this darkness with abundant light

and in this matter he was helped by each of those

  who submitted.

 

Ibn Sayyid al-Nas narrated it in Minah al-madh (p. 176).

 

·         The Prophet's uncle al-`Abbas ibn `Abd al-Muttalib said to him: "O Messenger of Allah, I wish to praise you." The Prophet replied: "Go ahead -- nay, may Allah adorn your mouth with silver!" He said:

 

Before you came to this world you were blessed in the shadows and in the repository (i.e. loins) in the time when they (Adam and Eve) covered themselves with leaves.

Then you descended to the earth, neither as a human being, nor as a piece of flesh, nor as a clot,

But as a drop that boarded the ark when the flood destroyed the eagle and the rest of the idols:

A drop that progressed from the loins to the wombs in the succession of the worlds and the heavens

Until the Preserver of All made your immense honor issue in the highest summit of the line of Khindif.

And then, when you were born, a light rose over the earth until it illuminated the horizon with its radiance.

We are in that illumination and that original light and those paths of guidance -- and thanks to them pierce through.

 

Ibn Sayyid al-Nas narrated it with his isnad through al-Tabarani and al-Bazzar in Minah al-madh (p. 192-193), also Ibn Kathir in al-Sira al-nabawiyya (ed. Mustafa `Abd al-Wahid 4:51), and `Ali al-Qari in his Sharh al-Shifa' (1:364) says it is narrated by Abu Bakr al-Shafi`i and Tabarani, and cited by Ibn `Abd al-Barr in al-Isti`ab and Ibn al-Qayyim in Zad al-ma`ad.

 

The Companions many times compared the Prophet to a light or a harbinger of light, particularly a sun and a moon, chief among them his poet, Hassan ibn Thabit al-Ansari:

 

·         tarahhala `an qawmin faddalat `uqulahum

            wa halla `ala qawmin bi nurin mujaddadi

 

      He left a people who preferred their minds over him

and he dawned on a people with a light made new.

 

·         mata yabdu fi al-daji al-bahimi jabinuhu

            yaluhu mithla misbahi al-duja al-mutawaqqidi

 

     Whenever his forehead emerged in pitch-black darkness

            it would shine like the blazing luminary of dark night.

 

            Bayhaqi narrated the two verses in Dala'il al-nubuwwa (1:280, 302). The latter verse is also narrated Ibn `Abd al-Barr in al-Isti`ab (1:341) and al-Zarqani in Sharh al-mawahib (1:91). Hassan also said, as we have already quoted above:

 

Nor has Allah created among his creatures

One more faithful to his sojourner or his promise

Than he who was the source of our light.[96]

 

·         Abu `Ubayda ibn Muhammad ibn `Ammar ibn Yasir said: I said to al-Rubayyi` bint Mu`awwadh: "Describe for me Allah's Messenger." She replied: "If you saw him you would say: The sun is rising."

 

Bayhaqi narrates it with his isnad in Dala'il al-nubuwwa (1:200), and Haythami in Majma` al-zawa'id (8:280) says that Tabarani narrates it in al-Mu`jam al-kabir and al-Awsat and that its narrators have been declared trustworthy.

 

·         Ka`b ibn Malik said: "I greeted the Prophet and there was lightning in his face. Whenever the Prophet was happy, his face would be illuminated as if it were a piece of the moon."

 

Bukhari and Muslim narrated it, as well as Ahmad in his Musnad. Bayhaqi in Dala'il al-nubuwwa (1:301) relates these descriptions of the Prophet by the Companions and others:

 

·         When the Prophet left Mecca and emigrated to Madina his aunt, `Atika bint `Abd al-Muttalib, recited the following -- although, Bayhaqi said, she still followed the religion of the Quraysh:

 

            `aynayya juda bi al-dumu`i al-sawajimi

                        `ala al-murtada kal-badri min ali Hashimi

 

            My eyes have overflowed with streaming tears shed

                        for the Uniquely Chosen One, the Full Moon

                                    of the House of Hashim.

 

·         Abu Bakr al-Siddiq described the Prophet thus:

 

            aminun mustafa li al-khayri yad`u

                        ka daw'i al-badri zayalahu al-zalamu

 

            A trustworthy one, chosen, calling to goodness,

Resembling the light of the full moon set off from darkness.

 

·         While `Umar would recite the following:

 

            law kunta min shay'in siwa basharin

                        kunta al-mudi'a li laylat al-badri

 

            If you were anything other than a human being

                        You would be the light in the night of a full moon.

 

            Bayhaqi narrated the above in Dala'il al-nubuwwa (1:301-302) and relates that `Umar added after saying the above: "The Prophet was like this, and no one other than he was like this." See the complete text of `Atika bint `Abd al-Muttalib's praise below (#545-550).

 

·         Jami` ibn Shaddad said: One of our men was called Tariq. [al-Qari: "This is Ibn Shihab Abu `Abd Allah al-Muharibi, a Companion who narrated from the Prophet.] He related that he had seen the Prophet at Madina and the Prophet had asked: "Do you have anything with you to sell?" We replied: "This camel." The Prophet said: "How much?" We said: "So many wasqs [about 240 double-handed scoops] of date." He took its rein and went to Madina. Tariq and his companion said: "We have sold to a man and we do not even know who he is!" One of the women with us said: "I will guarantee the price of the camel. I saw the face of a man like the full moon. He will not cheat you." In the morning, a man brought us the dates and said: "I am the messenger of the Messenger of Allah. He bids you eat of these dates and weigh until you have full weight." We did so.

 

            Qadi `Iyad narrates it in al-Shifa' (English p. 135). Suyuti in Manahil al-safa (p. 114 #515) and al-Qari in Sharh al-shifa' (1:525) refer it to al-Bayhaqi.

 

·         Ibn `Abbas related that the Prophet said while in prostration: "O Allah, place light in my heart, light in my hearing, light in my sight, light on my right, light on my left, light in front of me, light behind me, light above me, light below me, and make light for me," or he said: "Make me light." Salama said: I met Kurayb and he reported Ibn Abbas as saying: "I was with my mother's sister Maymuna when the Messenger of Allah came there, and then he narrated the rest of the hadith as was narrated by Ghundar and said the words: "Make me light," beyond any doubt.

 

            Muslim narrates it in his Sahih, book of Salat al-musafirin. Imam Ahmad in his Musnad also narrates it with a strong chain, but with the reverse order of the first narration cited above, resulting in the wording: "... and make me light," or he said: "Make light for me." Ibn Hajar in Fath al-bari (1989 ed. 11:142) mentions a narration in Ibn Abi `Asim's Kitab al-du`a which states: "And grant me light upon light" (wa hab li nuran `ala nur). There are many sound narrations of this hadith mentioning other parts of the Prophet's person. Ibn Hajar states that Abu Bakr ibn al-`Arabi numbered the items for which the Prophet supplicated for light in himself at twenty-five in the totality of the sound narrations of that hadith. Among them are:

 

Light in the Prophet's heart

Light in the Prophet's tongue

Light in the Prophet's hearing

Light in the Prophet's eyesight

Light in the Prophet's six directions: right, left, front, back, above, and below

Light in the Prophet's soul

Light in the Prophet's chest

Light in the Prophet's sinew

Light in the Prophet's flesh

Light in the Prophet's blood

Light in the Prophet's hair

Light in the Prophet's skin

Light in the Prophet's bones

Light in the Prophet's grave

"Enhance light for me."

"Give me abundant light."

"Give me light upon light."

"Make me light."

 

The Prophet first appeared to his mother in the form of a light that lit the world for her until she could see the palaces of Syria from her place in Mecca:

 

·         `Irbad ibn Sariya and Abu Imama said that the Prophet said: " I am the supplication of my father Ibrahim, and the good tidings of my brother `Isa. The night I was delivered my mother saw a light that lit the castles of Damascus so that she could see them."

 

            It is narrated by al-Hakim in his Mustadrak (2:616-617), Ahmad in his Musnad (4:184), and Bayhaqi in Dala'il al-nubuwwa (1:110, 2:8). Ibn al-Jawzi cites it in al-Wafa' (p. 91, ch. 21 of Bidayat nabiyyina sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam), and Ibn Kathir in Mawlid rasul Allah and his Tafsir (4:360). Haythami cites it in Majma` al-zawa'id (8:221) and said Tabarani and Ahmad narrated it, and Ahmad's chain is fair (hasan). See for Ahmad's complete text Bisharatu `Isa (#454).

 

Ibn Ishaq in his history of the early Muslims narrates something similar in a longer form as related in Ibn Hisham's epitome entitled Sirat Rasul Allah (Dar al-wifaq ed. 1/2:166):

 

·         Ibn Ishaq said: Thawr ibn Yazid related to me from one of the scholars, and I do not reckon it is other than Khalid ibn Ma`dan al-Kala`i, that a small group of the Prophet's Companions said to him: "O Messenger of Allah, tell us about yourself." He replied: "Yes. I am the supplication of my father Ibrahim, and the good tidings of my brother `Isa, and my mother saw, when she delivered me, that a great light issued from her and lit the castles of Syria for her. I was nursed by the Banu Sa`d ibn Bakr. While I was with a brother of mine besides our dwellings, feeding the sheep, two men came to me wearing very white clothes and carrying a contained of gold filled with snow. Then they took me and they opened my chest, removed my heart, opened it, and removed from it a black clot which they threw away. Then they washed my heartand my chestwith the snow until they purified them. Then one of them said to the other: Weigh him against ten of his Community. He did, and I outweighed them. Then he said: Weigh him against a hundred of his Community. He did, and I outweighed them. Then he said: Weigh him against a thousand of his Community. He did, and I outweighed them. Then he said: Leave him, for by Allah if you weighed him against all of his Community he would outweigh them. [Tabari added:] Then they hugged me close to their chests and kissed my head between the eyes and said: O Beloved, do not fear, verily if you knew the good that is to take place through you, you would be pleased.

 

            It is also related by Tabari in his History. Thawr ibn Yazid and Khalid ibn Ma`dan are trustworthy narrators from whom Bukhari and many others took hadith.

 

Qadi `Iyad said in his book al-Shifa', in the chapter on the nobility of the Prophet's lineage:

 

·         Ibn `Abbas said that the spirit of the Prophet was a light in front of Allah two thousand years before he created Adam. That light glorified Him and the angels glorified by his glorification. When Allah created Adam, he cast that light into his loins.

 

            Suyuti said in Manahil al-safa (p. 53 #128): "Ibn Abi `Umar al-`Adani relates it in his Musnad." In Takhrij ahadith sharh al-mawaqif (p. 32 #12) Suyuti cites it with the wording: "The Quraysh were a light in front of Allah." Ibn al-Qattan in his Ahkam (1:12) narrates it in the following form, although `Abd Allah al-Ghimari in Irshad al-talib rejects the latter as a forgery:

 

·         `Ali ibn al-Husayn from his father from his grandfather said that the Prophet said: "I was a light in front of my Lord for fourteen thousand years before He created Adam."

 

Something similar is narrated by Imam Ahmad in his Fada'il al-Sahaba (2:663 #1130), Dhahabi in Mizan al-i`tidal (1:235), and al-Tabari in al-Riyad al-nadira (2:164, 3:154). Related to the above are the following reports:

 

·         `Amr ibn `Abasa said that the Prophet said: "Verily, Allah created the spirits of His servants two thousand years before He created His servants. Then whichever among them recognized each other came close, and whichever did not, stayed apart."

 

            Suyuti in Takhrij ahadith sharh al-mawaqif (p. 31 #10) says that Ibn Mandah narrated it, while Haytami in his Fatawa hadithiyya says that it is extremely weak.

 

·         Ibn `Abbas explained taqallubak -- "your translation" -- in the verses "[Your Lord] Who sees you when you stand, and your translation among those who prostrate themselves" (26:218-219), as "your descent through the loins of your ancestors." It is narrated from Ibn `Abbas by al-Hakim in al-Mustadrak (2:338) and is the explanation retained by Ibn Mardawayh, al-Razi, Suyuti, and others.

 

al-Shahrastani in his Kitab al-milal wa al-nihal (2:238) said: "The light of Muhammad went from Ibrahim to Isma`il. Then that light passed through all his children, until it arrived at `Abd al-Muttalib... and with the blessing of this light Allah repelled Abraha's harm" (wa bibarakati dhalik al-nur dafa` allahu ta`alaa sharra Abraha).

 

            Suyuti cites the above in several of his books, such as Masalik al-hunafa' (p. 40-41) which we translated below under the attribute Karim al-tarafayn (#485), also his al-Duruj al-munifa (p. 16) and his al-Ta`zim wa al-minna (p. 55), all three of which  were written to show the bases on which the Prophet's two parents are considered to be in Paradise by the majority of the scholars.

 

·         al-Zuhri narrated: `Abd Allah ibn `Abd al-Muttalib was the most handsome man that had ever been seen among the Quraysh. One day he went out and was seen by a an assembly of the women of Quraysh. One of them said: "O women of the Quraysh, which among you will marry this youth and catch thereby the light that is between his eyes?" For verily there was a light between his eyes. Thereafter Amina bint Wahb ibn `Abd Manaf ibn Zuhra married him, and after he joined her she carried Allah's Messenger.

 

            al-Bayhaqi narrated it in Dala'il al-nubuwwa (1:87). Tabari in his Tarikh (2:243), Ibn al-Jawzi in al-Wafa' (p. 82-83, ch. 16 of Abwab bidayati nabiyyina), and Ibn Hisham narrated something similar but on the authenticity of which they raise doubt (cf. Guillaume trans. p. 68-69):

 

·         It is alleged a woman of Banu Asad who was the sister of Waraqa ibn Nawfal proposed to `Abd Allah, but he married Amina bint Wahb instead and consummated his marriage. Then he left her presence and met the woman who had proposed to him. He asked her why she did not make the proposal that she made to him the day before; to which she replied that the light that was in him the day before had left him, and she no longer had need of him... She said: "When you passed me there was a white blaze between your eyes and when I invited you you refused me and went to Amina, and she has taken it away."

 

·         It is related that Jabir ibn `Abd Allah said to the Prophet: "O Messenger of Allah, may my father and mother be sacrificed for you, tell me of the first thing Allah created before all things." He said: "O Jabir, the first thing Allah created was the light of your Prophet from His light, and that light remained (lit. "turned") in the midst of His Power for as long as He wished, and there was not, at that time, a Tablet or a Pen or a Paradise or a Fire or an angel or a heaven or an earth.  And when Allah wished to create creation, he divided that Light into four parts and from the first made the Pen, from the second the Tablet, from the third the Throne, [and from the fourth everything else]."

 

            The judgments on this narration vary greatly among the scholars. Their words are listed below under the alphabetical listing of their names.

 

            `Abd al-Haqq al-Dihlawi (d. 1052) the Indian hadith scholar cites it as evidence in Madarij al-nubuwwa (in Persian, 2:2 of the Maktaba al-nuriyya edition in Sakhore) and says it is is sahih (sound and authentic).

 

            `Abd al-Hayy al-Lucknawi (d. 1304) the Indian hadith scholar cites it in his al-Athar al-marfu`a fi al-akhbar al-mawdu`a (p. 33-34 of the Lahore edition) and says: "The primacy (awwaliyya) of the Muhammadan light (al-nur al-muhammadi) is established from the narration of `Abd al-Razzaq, as well as its definite priority over all created things."

 

            `Abd al-Razzaq (d. 211) narrates it in his Musannaf according to Qastallani in al-Mawahib al-laduniyya (1:55) and Zarqani in his Sharh al-mawahib (1:56 of the Matba`a al-`amira edition in Cairo). There is no doubt as to the reliability of `Abd al-Razzaq as a narrator. Bukhari took 120 narrations from him, Muslim 400.

 

            `Abidin (Ahmad al-Shami d. 1320), the son of the Hanafi scholar Ibn `Abidin, cites the hadith as evidence in his commentary on Ibn Hajar al-Haytami's poem al-Ni`mat al-kubra `ala al-`alamin. Nabahani cites it in his Jawahir al-bihar (3:354).

 

            `Ajluni (Isma`il ibn Muhammad d. 1162) in his Kashf al-khafa' (1:265 of the Maktabat al-Ghazali edition in Beirut) narrates the hadith in its entirety from Qastallani in his Mawahib.

 

            Alusi (al-Sayyid Mahmud) in his commentary of Qur'an entitled Ruh al-ma`ani (17:105 of the Beirut edition) said: "The Prophet's being a mercy to all is linked to the fact that he is the intermediary of the divine outpouring over all contingencies [i.e. all created things without exception], from the very beginnings (wasitat al-fayd al-ilahi `ala al-mumkinat `ala hasab al-qawabil), and that is why his light was the first of all things created, as stated in the report that "The first thing Allah created was the light of your Prophet, O Jabir," and also cited is: "Allah is the Giver and I am the Distributor." [See al-Qasim #261.] The Sufis -- may Allah sanctify their secrets -- have more to say on that chapter." Alusi also cites the hadith of Jabir as evidence in another passage of Ruh al-ma`ani (8:71).

 

            Bakri (Sayyid Abu al-Hasan Ahmad ibn `Abd Allah, d. 3rd c.) in his book al-Anwar fi mawlid al-nabi Muhammad `alayhi al-salat wa al-salam (p. 5 of the Najaf edition) cites the following hadith from `Ali: "Allah was and there was nothing with Him, and the first thing which He created was the light of His Beloved, before He created water, or the Throne, or the Footstool, or the Tablet, or the Pen, or Paradise, or the Fire, or the Veils and the Clouds, or Adam and Eve, by four thousand years."

 

            Bayhaqi (d. 458) narrates it with a different wording in Dala'il al-nubuwwa according to Zarqani in his Sharh al-mawahib (1:56 of the Matba`a al-`amira in Cairo) and Diyarbakri in Tarikh al-khamis (1:20).

 

Diyarbakri (Husayn ibn Muhammad d. 966): He begins his 1,000-page history entitled Tarikh al-khamis fi ahwal anfasi nafis with the words: "Praise be to Allah Who created the Light of His Prophet before everything else," which is enough to disprove al-Ghumari's exaggerated claim that "anyone who reads it will be convinced that the hadith is a lie." Then Diyarbakri cites the hadith as evidence (1:19 of the Mu'assasat Sha`ban edition in Beirut).

 

Fasi (Muhammad ibn Ahmad d. 1052) cites it as evidence in Matali` al-masarrat (p. 210, 221 of the Matba`a al-taziyya edition) and says: "These narrations indicate his primacy (awwaliyya) and priority over all other creations, and also the fact that he is their cause (sabab)."

 

Ghumari (`Abd Allah) in his Irshad al-talib al-najib ila ma fi al-mawlid al-nabawi min al-akadhib (p. 9-12 of the Dar al-furqan edition), commenting on Suyuti's words (quoted below) whereby the hadith has no reliable chain: "This shows great laxity on the part of Suyuti, which I thought him to be above. First, the hadith is not present in `Abd al-Razzaq's Musannaf, nor in any of the books of hadith. Secondly : the hadith has no chain of transmission to begin with. Thirdly: he has not mentioned the rest of the hadith. It is mentioned in Diyarbakri's Tarikh, and anyone who reads it will be convinced that the hadith is a lie about the Messenger of Allah." This exaggerated conclusion is disproved by the fact that Diyarbarkri himself does not consider it a lie since he cites the hadith in the first words of his book.

 

Gilani (Shaykh `Abd al-Qadir, d. 561) in his book Sirr al-asrar fi ma yahtaju ilayh al-abrar (p. 12-14 of the Lahore edition) said: "Know that since Allah first created the soul of Muhammad sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam from the light of His beauty, as He said: I created Muhammad from the light of My Face, and as the Prophet said: The first thing Allah created is my soul, and the first thing Allah created is the Pen, and the first thing Allah created is the intellect -- what is meant by all this is one and the same thing, and that is the haqiqa muhammadiyya. However, it was named a light because it is completely purified from darkness, as Allah said: There has come to you from Allah a Light and a manifest Book. It was also named an intellect because it is the cause for the transmission of knowledge, and the pen is its medium in the world of letters. The Muhammadan soul (al-ruh al-muhammadiyya) is therefore the quintessence of all created things and the first of them and their origin, as the Prophet said: I am from Allah and the believers are from me, and Allah created all souls from me in the spiritual world and He did so in the best form. It is the name of the totality of mankind in that primordial world, and after its creation by four thousand years, Allah created the Throne from the light of Muhammad himself sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, and from it the rest of creation." This book has now been translated by Shaykh Tosun Bayrak al-Jerrahi as The Secret of Secrets (Cambridge: Islamic Texts Society, 1994).

 

Halabi (`Ali ibn Burhan al-Din, d. 1044) cites it as evidence in his Sira (1:31 of the Maktaba Islamiyya edition in Beirut) and then states: "It provides evidence that he is the root of everything that exists (in creation) and Allah knows best."

 

Haqqi (Isma`il, d. 1137) cites it as evidence in his Tafsir entitled Ruh al-bayan and says: "Know, O person of understanding, that the first thing Allah created is the light of your Prophet... and he is the cause for the existence of everything that was brought to existence, and the mercy from Allah upon all creatures... and without him the higher and the lower worlds would not have been created." Yusuf al-Nabahani mentions it in his Jawahir al-bihar (p. 1125).

 

Haytami (Ahmad ibn Hajar d. 974) states in his Fatawa hadithiyya (p. 247 of the Baba edition in Cairo) that `Abd al-Razzaq narrated it, and cites it in his poem on the Prophet's birth entitled al-Ni`mat al-kubra `ala al-`alamin (p. 3).

 

Ibn al-Hajj al-Abdari (Muhammad ibn Muhammad d. 736) in his book al-Madkhal (2:34 of the Dar al-kitab al-`arabi in Beirut) cites it from al-Khatib Abu al-Rabi` Muhammad ibn al-Layth's book Shifa' al-sudur in which the latter says: "The first thing Allah created is the light of Muhammad, blessings and peace upon him, and that light came and prostrated before Allah. Allah divided it into four parts and created from the first part the Throne, from the second the Pen, from the third the Tablet, and then similarly He subdivided the fourth part into parts and created the rest of creation. Therefore the light of the Throne is from the light of the Prophet, the light of the Pen is from the light of the Prophet, the light of the Tablet is from the light of the Prophet, the light of day, the light of knowledge, the light of the sun and the moon, and the light of vision and sight are all from the light of the Prophet."

 

Isma`il al-Dihlawi (Shah Muhammad, d. 1246), one of the leaders of the Wahhabi-influenced Deobandi school in the Indo-Pakistani Subcontinent in one of his booklets entitled Yek rawzah (p. 11 of the Maltan edition) says: "As indicated by the narration: The first thing Allah created was my Light."

 

Jamal (Sulayman d. 1204) cites it as evidence in his commentary on Busiri entitled al-Futuhat al-ahmadiyya bi al-minah al-muhammadiyya (p. 6 of the Hijazi edition in Cairo).

 

Gangowhi (Rashid Ahmad) a leader of the Wahhabi-influenced Deobandi school of India and Pakistan in his Fatawa rashidiyya (p. 157 of the Karachi edition) said that the hadith was "not found in the authentic collections, but Shaykh `Abd al-Haqq (al-Dihlawi) cited it on the basis that it had some grounding of authenticity." Actually Shaykh `Abd al-Haqq not only cited it but he said it was sound (sahih).

 

Jili (`Abd al-Karim, b. 766) in his Namus al-a`zam wa al-qamus al-aqdam fi ma`rifat qadar al-bani sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam cites it as evidence. Nabahani relates it in his Jawahir al-bihar (see below).

 

Kharputi (`Umar ibn Ahmad, d. 1299) in his commentary on Busiri entitled Sharh qasidat al-burda (p. 73 of the Karachi edition).

 

            Maliki al-Hasani (Muhammad ibn `Alawi) in his commentary on `Ali al-Qari's book of the Mawlid entitled Hashiyat al-Mawrid al-rawi fi al-mawlid al-nabawi (p. 40) said: "The chain of Jabir is sound without contest, but the scholars have differed concerning the text of the hadith due to its peculiarity. Bayhaqi also narrated the hadith with some differences." Then he quoted several narrations establishing the light of the Prophet.

 

Nabahani (Yusuf ibn Isma`il) cites it as evidence in al-Anwar al-muhammadiyya (p. 13), in his Jawahir al-bihar (p. 1125 or 4:220 of the Baba edition in Cairo), and in his Hujjat Allah `ala al-`alamin (p. 28).

 

Nabulusi (`Abd al-Ghani d. 1143) says in his Hadiqa al-nadiyya (2:375 of the Maktaba al-nuriyya edition in Faysalabad): "The Prophet is the universal leader of all, and how could he not be when all things were created out of his light as has been stated in the sound hadith."

 

Nisaburi (Nizamuddin ibn Hasan, d. 728) cites it as evidence in elucidation of the verse: "And I was ordered to be the first of the Muslims" (39:12) in his Tafsir entitled Ghara'ib al-Qur'an (8:66 of the Baba edition in Cairo).

 

Qari (Mulla `Ali ibn Sultan, d. 1014) cites it in full in his book al-Mawlid al-rawi fi al-mawlid al-nabawi (p. 40), edited by Sayyid Muhammad `Alawi al-Maliki. He also said in his Sharh al-Shifa, in commenting upon the Prophet's title "as a Lamp spreading Light" (33: 46): "Muhammad... is a tremendous light and the source of all lights, he is also a book that gathers up and makes clear all the secrets... sirajan muniran means a luminous sun, because of His saying: "He hath placed therein a great lamp and a moon giving light" (25:61).  There is in this verse an indication that the sun is the highest of the material lights and that other lights are outpourings from it: similarly the Prophet is the highest of the spiritual lights and other lights are derived from him by virtue of his mediating connection and pivotal rank in the overall sphere of creation. This is also inferred from the tradition: "The first thing Allah created is my light."" (Sharh al-Shifa 1:505)

 

Qastallani (Ahmad ibn Muhammad, d. 923) narrates it in his al-Mawahib al-laduniyya (1:55 of the edition accompanied by Zarqani's commentary).

 

            Rifa`i (Yusuf al-Sayyid Hashim) cites it as evidence in Adillat Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jama`a al-musamma al-radd al-muhkam al-mani` (p. 22): `Abd al-Razzaq narrated it.

 

Suyuti in al-Hawi li al-fatawi, in the explanation of Sura al-Muddaththir: "It has no reliable chain"; and in Takhrij ahadith sharh al-mawaqif: "I did not find it in that wording."

 

Thanwi (Ashraf `Ali), a leader of the Wahhabi-influenced Deobandi school in the Indian Subcontinent, in his book Nashr al-tib (in Urdu, p. 6 and 215 of the Lahore edition) cites it as evidence on the authority of `Abd al-Razzaq, and relies upon it.

 

Zarqani in Sharh al-mawahib cites it (1:56 of the Matba`a al-`amira edition in Cairo) and refers it to `Abd al-Razzaq's narration in his Musannaf.

 

Zahir (Ihsan Ilahi), a leader of the Wahhabi-influenced Deobandi school and declared enemy of the Barelwi school of Ahl al-Sunna in Lahore, India, in his book Hadiyyat al-mahdi (p. 56 of the Sialkut edition) says: "Allah began His creation with the Muhammadan light (al-nur al-muhammadi), then He created the Throne over the water, then He created the wind, then He created the Nun and the Pen and the Tablet, then He created the Intellect. The Muhammadan Light is therefore a primary substance for the creation of the heavens and the earth and what is in them... As for what has come to us in the hadith: The first thing which Allah created is the Pen; and: The first thing which Allah created is the Intellect: what is meant by it is a relative primacy."

 

·         Anas relates that the Prophet said: "The simile of the scholars of knowledge (al-`ulama') on the earth is the stars in the sky by which one is guided in the darkness of the land and the sea. When the stars are clouded over, the guides are about to be lost."

 

·         Ahmad narrated it in his Musnad (3:157 #12606) with a chain containing Rishdin ibn Sa`d who is weak. However, it is confirmed by the hadith in Muslim and Ahmad narrated by Abu Musa al-Ash`ari whereby the Prophet said: "The stars are trust-keepers for the heaven, and when the stars wane, the heaven is brought what was promised (i.e. of the corruption of the world and the coming of the Day of Judgment); and I am a trust-keeper for my Companions, so when I go my Companions will be brought what was promised them (i.e. of fitna and division); and my Companions are trustkeepers for my Community, so when they go my Community will be brought what was promised to you (i.e. following hawa and vying for dunya)."

 

 


THE OBJECTION OF "SALAFIS" TO THE ATTRIBUTION OF SUPERLATIVE KNOWLEDGE

AND GENEROSITY TO THE PROPHET

 

 

The "Salafis" object to the verse:

 

154. fa inna min judika al-dunya wa darrataha / wa min `ulumika `ilma al-lawhi wa al-qalami

 

For your generosity encompasses both this world and the one that comes next, and your sciences encompass the knowledge of the Tablet and the Pen.

 

            They claim that it is wrong to say "and your sciences encompass the knowledge of the Tablet and the Pen," and that such encompassing knowledge belongs to Allah alone. However, their objections are needless and far-fetched, since one of the meanings of the Tablet in the Qur'an is the Qur'an itself: "A Glorious Qur'an in a Preserved Tablet" (85:21-22), which Allah has taught the Prophet and the knowledge of which He has guaranteed for him when He said: "Its gathering and recitation rest upon Us... Then verily upon Us rests its exposition." (75:16-19)

 

As for the Pen, the Prophet said, as related by Bukhari and Muslim, that during the night of his Ascension he reached a level where he could hear the screeching of the pens writing the Decree, and this stands for his being granted its knowledge, and Allah knows best.

 

Furthermore, they are gravely wrong in their suggesting that Allah is unable to grant such knowledge to whomever He wills. We have already established beyond doubt that the Prophet was granted the knowledge of all things except five matters. This has been explained above in detail, in the section on `Ilm al-ghayb and there is no need to repeat it here.

 

Imam Kawthari said in his Maqalat (p. 404): "Concerning [those] who criticize al-Busiri for saying that the Prophet knows the science of the Tablet and the Pen: neither does all that is hidden, nor does all knowledge reside exclusively in the Tablet. Therefore the denial of the knowledge of the Unseen does not necessitate that of the knowledge of what is in the Preserved Tablet. The denial mentioned in Allah's saying: fa la yuzhiru `ala ghaybihi ahadan "He discloses unto none His Secret" (72:26) presupposes exemption of all that is excluded from "His Secret," signifying the negation of universal disclosure [= no one knows all that Allah knows], not the universal application of such negation [= no one knows anything that Allah knows]. Therefore the meaning is the negation of the knowledge of all the Unseen; not the negation of the knowledge of some of the Unseen. This was demonstrated by Sa`d al-Din al-Taftazani in Sharh al-maqasid."

 

As for the Prophet's generosity which "encompasses both this world and the one that comes next," it is clearly a reference to his self-sacrifice for his Umma in the world, and his intercession on their behalf in the next which is are required articles of belief for all Muslims. And it is established in the hadith narrated by Tirmidhi, and he said it is a fair narration (hasan), that Anas asked the Prophet for his intercession in the next world, and he replied: ana fa`il, i.e. "I shall do it." This is a proof against those who claim that it is unlawful to ask for the Prophet's future intercession while still in this world.

 


"SALAFIS" PUT LIMITS ON ALLAH'S FORGIVENESS

 

 

The "Salafis" object to the verses:

 

155. ya nafsi la taqnati min zallatin `azumat / inna al-kaba'ira fi al-ghufrani ka al-lamami

 

O my soul! Do not despair because of a terrible footslip. Grave sins, under the covering of forgiveness, are as small ones.

 

156. la`alla rahmata rabbi hina yaqsimuha / ta'ti `ala hasabi al-`isyani fi al-qasami

 

It may be that my Lord's mercy, when He distributes it, shall match the transgressions in proportion.

 

            Shaykh Albani reacts with passion against the above lines and he tries to adduce evidence from the Qur'an and the hadith against it in his introduction to San`ani's Raf` al-astar (Beirut and Damascus: al-Maktab al-islami, 1405/1984, p. 24-25), in the context of his attack against Ibn Taymiyya's statement that the punishment of the transgressors in hell-fire will reach an end:

 

Ibn Taymiyya said (in Majmu` al-fatawa 4:324) [to support his assertion that the Prophet's parents are not in Paradise]:[97] "Allah made it clear that there is no repentence for one who dies an unbeliever. He said: "But their faith could not avail them when they saw Our doom. This is Allah's law which hath ever taken course for his Bondsmen. And then the disbelievers will be ruined" (40:85). He has announced that His way with regard to His servants is that belief is of no avail after the sight of doom: how then could it be of any avail after death?!" I say: How could anyone who issues such an opinion also state exactly what contradicts it [i.e.: the punishment of hell-fire will eventually cease] unless he is not thinking...? Indeed there is worse, for Ibn Taymiyya also said in his Risalat al-radd `ala man qala bi fana' al-janna wa al-nar (p. 13): "If it were possible that there exist a punishment without end, then there would be no mercy whatsoever"! O, Glory to Allah! What is such a saying in comparison to Allah's saying: "and My mercy embraceth all things, therefore I shall ordain it for those who ward off evil and pay the poor-due, and those who believe Our revelations" (7:156), and the Prophet's saying: "Allah has one hundred parts of mercy and He sent down but one whereby creatures are kind to one another and to their children -- jinn, humankind, and animals -- and He has retained ninety-nine parts for the benefit of His servants on the Day of Resurrection." It is narrated by Bukhari and Muslim, also Ahmad and al-Hakim who declared it sahih through various chains from Abu Hurayra with the wording: "and He will complete it with one hundred mercies for His Friends on the Day of Resurrection."

 

In reality, Bukhari does not narrate the hadith as Albani cites it, but in a different wording which goes against Albani's position or does not suit him, since it contains the phrase: "If the disbeliever knew how much mercy Allah possesses, he would not despair of entering Paradise"! (Bukhari, Sahih, book of Riqaq.) Albani continues:

 

Therefore the above verse and hadith are explicit in that mercy is only for those who deserve it among the believers [sic]. The more the believer fears Allah, the more he is more meritorious in receiving it. It is not as is falsely hoped by some of the cretins (al-mahabil) who warble this saying of their poet, al-Busiri:

 

It may be that my Lord's mercy, when He distributes it, shall match the transgressions in proportion.

 

And how could that be when Allah says: "And the believers, men and women, are protecting friends one of another; they enjoin the right and forbid the wrong, and they establish worship and they pay the poor-due, and they obey Allah and His messenger. As for these, Allah will have mercy on them. Lo! Allah is Mighty, Wise" (9:71)? And He says: "Lo! those who believe, and those who emigrate (to escape the persecution) and strive in the way of Allah, these have hope of Allah's mercy. Allah is Forgiving, Merciful." (2:218) And that is why one of the invocations of the angels that bear the Throne is: "Our Lord! Thou comprehendest all things in mercy and knowledge, therefore forgive those who repent and follow Thy way. Ward off from them the punishment of hell!" (40:7). Therefore whoever Allah protects from the punishment of Hellfire is, on that Day, covered by Allah's mercy, as is clear in His saying: "On the day when some faces will be whitened and some faces will be blackened; and as for those whose faces have been blackened, it will be said unto them: Disbelieved ye after your belief? Then taste the punishment for that ye disbelieved. As for those whose faces have been whitened, Lo! in the mercy of Allah they dwell for ever." (3:106-107). How then could Ibn Taymiyya say: "If it were possible that there exist a punishment without end, then there would be no mercy whatsoever"! It seems that mercy for him is not realizable except if it comprised the obdurate, hardened disbelievers! Is this not one of the greatest proofs of Ibn Taymiyya's error and his deviation, as well as that of those who followed him far from the truth in this grievous matter?! Your forgiveness, O Allah!

 

            We should stress that Albani's claim highlighted above, whereby "mercy is only for those who deserve it among the believers," is in clear contradiction to the belief of Ahl al-Sunna, which is that even the great sinners who died without repenting will be saved as long as they did not ascribe a partner to Allah. Only the Mu`tazila and Khawarij hold that the sinful believers will abide in the Fire without hope for salvation because they are undeserving. This heresy is refuted by Allah's saying: "Allah does not forgive that one ascribe a partner to Him, and He forgives, besides that, to whomever He will" (4:48) and by many hadiths of the Prophet, among them:

 

·         "My intercession is for those of my Community who committed major sins" (shafa`ati li ahl al-kaba'ir min ummati). It is narrated by Tirmidhi (hasan sahih gharib), Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, Ahmad, Ibn Hibban in his Sahih, and `Abd al-Haqq Ibn al-Kharrat al-Ishbili cited it in Kitab al-`aqiba. Ibn Hajar in Fath al-bari specified the inclusive meaning of this hadith by saying: "He [the Prophet] did not restrict this [intercession] to those who repented."[98]

 

·         In Muslim's Sahih: `Abdullah ibn `Amr ibn al-`As narrated that the Prophet recited the prayer of Ibrahim: "My Lord! Lo! They have led many of mankind astray. But whoso follows me, he verily is of me. And whoso disobeys me -- still You are Forgiving, Merciful" (14:36). Then he recited the saying of `Isa: "If Thou punish them, lo! they are Thy slaves, and if Thou forgive them (lo! they are Thy slaves)" (5:118). Then he raised his hands and said: "My Community, my Community!" and he wept. Allah said: "O Jibril, go to Muhammad and ask him what causes him to weep." When Jibril came and asked him he told him, upon which Jibril returned and told Allah -- Who knows better than him -- and He said: "O Jibril, go to Muhammad and tell him: We shall make thee glad concerning thy Community and We shall not displease you." (A reference to 93:5)

 

·         In Bukhari, from `Imran ibn Husayn, whereby the Prophet said: "A people will come out of the Fire through the intercession of Muhammad, and will enter Paradise. They will be called the Jahannamiyyun."

 

·         In Bukhari, the hadith qudsi through the narration of Ma`bad ibn Hilal al-`Anazi (English: Volume 9, Book 93, Number 601) whereby the Prophet said that Allah said: "'By My Power, by My Majesty, by My Supremacy, and by My Greatness, I shall take out of the Fire whoever said: la ilaha illallah.'"

 

·         In Bukhari and Muslim, the Prophet said: "None will enter Paradise because of his deeds." They asked: "Not even you, O Messenger of Allah?" He replied: "Not even I, except if Allah's mercy encompass me."

 

            In conclusion, we say to all our discerning Muslim brothers and sisters who read and recite Qasidat al-burda not to pay attention to criticism aginst this masterpiece of poetry. Such praise of the Prophet is without a doubt in the direct line of similar praise by the Companions for the Beloved one of creation. Critics of the Burda are simply people who pursue the defects of others. As the Arabs say, they are not interested except in finding the fault between the two humps of the camel, and if you gave them purified honey and fresh water from the sping of the Euphrates, they would still grimace and say that it has a bitter and salty taste. Success is from Allah.

 


THE PROPHET'S PARENTS

ARE IN PARADISE

 

 

One of the attributes by which the Prophet is known among Ahl al-Sunna is Karim al-tarafayn: "Noble in both male and female ancestors."

 

·         Wathila ibn al-Asqa` said that the Prophet said: "Allah purified  and chose (istafa) from among the children of Ibrahim Isma`il, and he purified and chose from among the children of Isma`il the Banu Kinana, and he purified and chose from among the Banu Kinana the Quraysh, and he purified and chose from among the Quraysh the Banu Hashim, and he purified and chose me from among the Banu Hashim."

 

            Narrated by Muslim in his Sahih (Fada'il, first hadith in the chapter on the excellence of the Prophet's lineage), also by Tirmidhi (Manaqib, and he said: hasan sahih), Ahmad (4:107), Bayhaqi in Dala'il al-nubuwwa (1:165), and others.

 

Ibn al-Jawzi said in the seventh chapter of al-Wafa':

 

He is: Muhammad son of `Abd Allah son of `Abd al-Muttalib son of Hashim, son of `Abd Manaf, son of Qusayy, son of Kilab, son of Murra, son of Lu'ayy, son of Fihr, son of Malik, son of al-Nadr, son of Kinana, son of Khuzayma, son of Mudraka, son of Ilyas, son of Mudar, son of Nizar, son of Ma`d, son of `Adnan...

            Genealogists then differ and some say: `Adnan is the son of Add, son of al-Humaysa`, son of Haml ibn Qaydar, son of Isma`il, son of Ibrahim.

 

Bayhaqi in Dala'il al-nubuwwa (1:179-180) gives the complete genealogy:

 

... son of `Adnan, son of Adad, son of al-Maqum, son of Nahur, son of Tarih, son of Ya`rub, son of Yashjub, son of Nabit, son of Isma`il, son of Ibrahim, son of Azar, who in the Torah is the son of Tarikh, son of Nahur, son of Arghuwa, son of Sarih, son of Falih, son of `Abir, son of Shalikh, son of Arfakhshad, son of Sam, son of Nuh, son of Lamak, son of Matushalakh, son of Akhnukh, son of Yard, son of Mahlayil, son of Qinan, son of Anush, son of Sheet, son of Adam the father of humankind, Allah's blessings and peace be upon him and upon all of Allah's Excellent Elect Prophets... Our shaykh Abu `Abd Allah [this is the hadith master al-Hakim al-Nisaburi] said: The genealogy of the Prophet back to `Adnan is sound, as for what is before then there is nothing reliable in it.

 

            The question is asked by some whether the Prophet's noble parents, blessings and peace upon him, must be believed to be in Paradise. The scholar of the late Hanafi school `Ali al-Qari chose the opposite view, however, the correct position and that of the majority of the scholars is that the Prophet's parents are of the dwellers of Paradise as Ahl al-Fitra, the People of Primordial State.

 

·         Sayyidina `Ali ibn Abi Talib related that the Prophet said: "I came forth from wedlock and never came forth from fornication, beginning with Adam until my father and mother gave birth to me. Nothing touched me of the fornication of the Time of Ignorance whatsoever." [kharajtu min nikah...]

 

            Narrated by Bayhaqi in al-Sunan al-kubra (7:190), Abu Nu`aym in Dala'il al-nubuwwa (1:11) and Tarikh Jarjan (p. 361), Ibn Kathir in al-Bidaya wa al-nihaya (2:256), Ibn Sa`d in al-Tabaqat al-kubra (1:32), and Tabarani in al-Awsat. al-Haythami cites it in Majma` al-zawa'id (8:214) and Ibn Hajar in Nasb al-raya (p. 257). Haythami said of Tabarani's chain: "It contains Muhammad ibn Ja`far ibn Muhammad ibn `Ali, al-Hakim declared as sound his narrations in al-Mustadrak but questions have been raised about him, and the remaining narrators are all trustworthy." Suyuti in al-Khasa'is al-kubra mentions that Ibn Abi Shayba narrates it in his Musannaf from Muhammad ibn `Ali ibn Husayn with the extra final sentence: "And I did not come forth except from purity."

 

·         Ibn `Abbas related that the Prophet said: "My forefathers and foremothers never joined except in legal wedlock. Allah continuously carried me from good loins into pure wombs, and the line never branched out except I was found in the best of the two branches." [lam yaltaqi abaway...]

 

It is cited in Ibn `Asakir's Tarikh (1:349), Suyuti's al-Durr al-manthur (3:294 and 5:98), and Ibn al-Jawzi's al-Wafa, First Section, Chapter 10.

 

Qadi `Iyad relates something similar in al-Shifa' from Ibn Abi `Amr al-`Adani in his Musnad:

 

·         The Messenger of Allah said: "When Allah created Adam, He made me descend to the earth in his loins. He put me in the loins of Nuh in the Ark and cast me into the fire in the loins of Ibrahim. Then he continued to move me from noble loins to pure wombs until He brought me out from my parents. None of them ever met in fornication."

 

Qadi `Iyad says after quoting it:

 

The famous poem of al-`Abbas in praise of the Prophet testifies to the soundness of this hadith... This is what al-`Abbas ibn `Abd al-Muttalib was indicating when he said:

 

... Before you came to this world, you were excellent in the shadows and in the repository (i.e. loins) in the time when they (Adam and Eve) covered themselves with leaves. Then you descended through the ages... When you were born, the earth shone and the horizon was illuminated by your light. We travel in that illumination and in the light and in the paths of right guidance.

 

`Ali al-Qari in his Sharh al-Shifa' (1:364)  says that the hadith of the recitation of this poem by al-`Abbas to the Prophet is related by Abu Bakr al-Shafi`i and Tabarani, and cited by Ibn `Abd al-Barr and Ibn al-Qayyim respectively in al-Isti`ab and Huda Nabi Allah. The hafiz Ibn Sayyid al-Nas relates it with his isnad through Tabarani and al-Bazzar from the Companion Khuraym ibn Aws in his book Minah al-madh (p. 192-193).

 

Tabarani narrates the above narration of Ibn `Abbas differently, with a chain concerning which Haythami said in Majma` al-zawa'id: "Tabarani narrated it from al-Madini [Muhammad ibn Ja`far al-Mada'ini?] from Abu al-Huwayrith, and I know neither of them, but the remainder of the narrators have been declared trustworthy." This is the wording in Tabarani as given by Haythami:

 

·         "Nothing of the fornication of the Time of Ignorance gave birth to me, and only nikah such as the nikah of Islam gave birth to me." [ma waladani min sifah al-Jahiliyya shay'...]

 

From Abu Hurayra:

 

·         The Prophet said: "I was sent from the best of the descendants of Adam, generation after generation, until I was in the generation in which I found myself."

 

Bukhari narrates it. It is evident that the best of human beings are the Prophets and after them the People of Islam and Fitra, to which the Prophet is referring here.

 

·         Anas relates that the Prophet said: "Human beings (that issued from Adam) did not branch out into two branches except Allah placed me in the better of the two until I came forth from my two parents. Nothing of the adultery (`ahr) of the Time of Ignorance touched me. I came out of wedlock, not fornication, all the way from Adam until I ended up with my father and mother. I am the best among you in person and the best among you in ancestry."

 

            Suyuti in al-Khasa'is al-kubra states that Bayhaqi and Ibn `Asakir narrate it through Malik from al-Zuhri. It is confirmed by the following two hadiths:

 

·         al-`Abbas ibn `Abd al-Muttalib said: I said: "O Messenger of Allah, the Quraysh sat and recalled their ancestry, and they represented you as a palm-tree that grows in some dusty corner of the earth" [i.e. they tried to disparage his name]. The Prophet said: "On the day Allah Almighty created creation He placed me among the best of them; then, when He branched them out He placed me among of the two branches, and when He made the tribes He placed me in the best tribe, and when He made the houses He placed me in the best of their houses. I am the best of them in ancestry and the best of them in person."

 

            It is narrated by Ibn Majah in the eleventh chapter of the introduction to his Sunan, and Tirmidhi in his Sunan, book of Manaqib (#3758) and he graded it hasan sahih. Bayhaqi cited it in Dala'il al-nubuwwa (1:168) and Ibn al-Jawzi in the eighth chapter of al-Wafa' (p. 73 #68).

 

·         Rabi`a ibn al-Harith ibn `Abd al-Muttalib said: Some of the Ansar said to the Prophet: We hear some among your people (the Quraysh) saying: The likeness of Muhammad is that of a palm-tree that grows in a forsaken land. Allah's Messenger replied: "Verily Allah created creation, then he branched them out and placed me in the best of the two branches, then He made them into tribes and He placed me in the best of their tribes, and I am the best among you in ancestry and the best in person."

 

            Narrated by al-Hakim in his Mustadrak (3:247), Bayhaqi in Dala'il al-nubuwwa (1:168-169), and Imam Ahmad in his Musnad (4:166-167) with the following wording:

 

·         Allah's Messenger replied: "O people! Who am I?" They said: "You are the Messenger of Allah!" He said: "I am Muhammad son of `Abd Allah son of `Abd al-Muttalib." Rabi`a said: "We never heard him bring up his lineage before that time." The Prophet continued: "Verily, Allah created creation, then he branched them out..." etc.

 

All the above is further confirmed by Ibn `Abbas's explanation for the verse "your upheaval among those who prostrate" (26:219): "The Prophet did not cease to move in the loins of the Prophets until his mother gave birth to him." It is also confirmed by the reading of verse 9:128 as rasulun min anfasikum (a Messenger from among the worthiest among you) instead of rasulun min anfusikum (a Messenger from among yourselves). The former reading is narrated from Ibn `Abbas by al-Hakim in al-Mustadrak (2:338) and Ibn Mardawayh confirms it. It is further confirmed by yet another narration from `Ali:

 

·         The Prophet said: "I am the worthiest of you in lineage and ancestry, and there is not in me nor in my forefathers since Adam any fornication. All of us are from wedlock."

 

            Suyuti cites it in al-Durr al-manthur (3:294) and al-Riyad al-aniqa (p. 121), and from Anas in al-Khasa'is al-kubra (1:66).

 

In the Holy Qur'an Allah has clearly stated that shirk (to associate partners with Allah like pagans did) is najasah (impurity), but all the above hadiths establish the purity of the loins and the wombs that carried the Prophet's soul from creation to birth. Therefore the Prophet's parents could not have been pagans.

 

The most eloquent expositor of this question by far is Imam Suyuti, who wrote no less than five fatwas on the topic:

 

- al-duruj al munifah fi al aba' al sharifah (The outstanding entries concerning the Prophet's ancestors)

- al-maqamat al-sundusiyyah fi al-nisbah al-mustafawiyya (The resplendent stations concerning Prophetic ancestry)

- subul al-jaliyah fi al-aba' al-`aliyyah (The manifest paths concerning the lofty ancestors [of the Prophet])

- nashr al-`alamayn al munifayn fi ihya' al abawayn al-sharifayn  (The proclamation to the two outstanding worlds [mankind and jinn] concerning the resuscitation of the Prophet's parents)

- al-ta`zim wa al-minna fi anna abaway rasulillahi fi al-janna (Magnification and gratitude for the Prophet's parents being in Paradise)

 

            In the opening pages of the latter, Suyuti declares: "My opinion is that the hadith cited which pertains to Allah's resuscitation of the Prophet's mother for him is not forged as was claimed by a group of the hadith masters, but only belongs to the weak in which leniency is extended to narrations on merits (fada'il)."

 

            Finally, Suyuti summed up his commentary in a brilliant treatise which he named Masalik al-hunafa' fi waliday al-mustafa (Method of those of pure religion concerning the parents of the Prophet). This book has often been published and is currently in print. Following are extensive excerpts translated for the first time.

 


Suyuti's Fatwa Concerning The Prophet's Parents In Paradise From His Book Entitled "METHODS OF THOSE WITH PURE BELIEF CONCERNING THE PARENTS OF THE PROPHET" (Masalik al-Hunafa' fi walidayy al-Mustafa)

 

 

Suyuti said: This writing concerns the question of the ruling (hukm) that the father and mother of the Prophet are (believed to be) saved and not in Hellfire. This has been declared by the majority of the scholars, and in reaching that declaration they  have several methods (masalik).

 

FIRST

 

His parents died before he was sent as Prophet, and there is no punishment for them as "We never punish until We send a messenger (and they reject him)" (17:15 ). Our Ash`ari Imams of those in kalam, usul, and Shafi`i fiqh agree on the statement that one who dies while da`wa has not reached him, dies saved. This has been defined by Imam Shafi`i... and some of the fuqaha' have explained that the reason is that that person is on fitra (Primordial Disposition), and has not stubbornly refused nor rejected any Messenger.

 

That is the position of our shaykh, Shaykh al-Islam Sharafuddin al-Munawi, as I received it. He was once asked whether the Prophet's father was in the fire and he groaned loudly at the questioner. The latter insisted: "Is his Islam established?" and he answered that he died in Fitra and quoted the verse.

 

It is the position of Ahl al-Sunna and it was opposed by the Mu`tazila and those who follow them among those who say that one is condemned because Allah is known rationally.

 

It is also the position of Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani who said: "The (proper) conjecture (zann) concerning his parents, meaning also all those who died before his Messengership, is that they shall obey (his call) at the time of their examination (in the grave), as a gift (from Allah) to please him." This method is based on the following sources:

 

Evidence from Qur'an

 

a) The aforementioned verse. (17:15)

 

b) The verse, "Your Lord does not unjustly (bi zulm) destroy the townships while their people are unconscious (of the wrong they do)" (6:131). al-Zarkashi adduced it to illustrate the rule (qa`ida) that one thanks Allah through hearing (about Him), not through rational induction.

 

[N.B. Yusuf `Ali translates bi zulm as "for their wrongdoing" and attributes it to the object (the people) not the subject (Allah). This produces the following meaning: "Thy Lord would not destroy for their wrongdoing men's habitations whilst their occupants were unwarned." Qurtubi mentions both meanings in his Tafsir.]

 

c) The verse, "Otherwise... they might say: Our Lord! Why sentest Thou no messenger unto us, that we might have followed Thy revelations and be among the believers?" (28:47) Adduced by Zarkashi and Ibn Abi Hatem in their tafsirs. The latter adds the hadith: "Those who die in Fitra will say: My Lord, no book nor messenger reached me, and he recited this verse." (Bukhari and Muslim)

 

d) The verse, "And if We had destroyed them with some punishment before it [your coming], they would assuredly have said: Our Lord! If only Thou hadst sent unto us a messenger, so that we might have followed..." (20:134)

 

e) "And never did thy Lord destroy the townships, till He had raised up in their mother(-town) a Messenger reciting unto them Our revelations. And never did We destroy the townships unless the folks thereof were evil-doers." (28:59)

Ibn Abi Hatem quotes Ibn `Abbas's and Qatada's explanations that it refers to the people of Mecca, who were condemned only after the Prophet was sent to them and they denied him.

 

f) "Lest ye should say: the Scripture was only revealed to two sects before us, and we in sooth were unaware of what they read" (6:156)

 

g) "And We destroyed no townships but it had its warners for reminder, for We never were oppressors." (26:208-209)

`Abd ibn Hamid, Ibn al-Mundhir, and Ibn Abi Hatim quote Qatada in their tafsirs to the effect that revelation, proof, and exhortation must precede condemnation.

 

h) "And they cry for help there, (saying): Our Lord! Release us; we will do right, not (the wrong) that we used to do. Did not We grant you a life long enough for him who reflected to reflect therein? And the warner came unto you." (35:37)

The commentators said: "The warner is the Prophet."

 

Evidence from Hadith

 

Hadiths Concerning the Examination of the People of Fitra [Primordial Disposition] on the Day of Resurrection and the Entry into Paradise of Those Who Obey and the Entry into the Fire of Those Who Disobey:

 

a) Ahmad, Ibn Rahawayh, Ibn Mardawayh, and Bayhaqi (I`tiqad) who said: sahih through Aswad ibn Sari`. The Prophet said: "Four will present excuses on the Day of Resurrection: The deaf one, the idiot, the senile old man, and the one who died in Fitra. The first will say, I didn't hear anything; the second, Islam came and street-children were throwing dung at me; the third, Islam came and I did not have my wits about me, and the fourth: my Lord, no Messenger

came to me. Allah will Himself take their covenant to obey Him. They will be told to enter the fire (as a test). Those who obey will find it cool and safe, while those who refuse will be dragged to it." (Aswad, Abu Hurayra)

 

b) Al-Bazzar and Tirmidhi who correctly graded it hasan: The Prophet said: "The one who died in Fitra, the retard, and the infant will say respectively: No Book or Messenger reached me; You gave me no mind wherewith to understand good or evil; I did not have a chance to do anything. A fire will be presented to them and they will be told to enter it. Those who would have done well in life will obey and enter it (temporarily) while those who would have disobeyed in life will refuse. Allah will tell them: You disobey Me (seeing Me), so how could you obey My Messengers in My absence?" (Abu Sa`id al-Khudri)

 

c) al-Bazzar and Abu Ya`la: same as b) with the addition of the senile old man. Those who obey and enter the fire will go across it speedily. (Anas)

 

d) Abdul Razzaq, Ibn Jarir, Ibn al-Mundhir, Ibn Hatim, with an authentic chain that meets the criteria of Bukhari and Muslim: The Prophet said: "The one who died in Fitra, the idiot, the deaf, the mute, and the senile will be sent a messenger (at that time) who will say: Enter the fire. They will argue and say: How can it be when no messenger reached us? But woe to them! If they had entered it they would have found it cool and safe. Whoever accepts and obeys will enter it." Abu Hurayra added: Read, "We never punish until We send a messenger" (17:15)."

 

e) al-Bazzar and Hakim, who graded it sahih by the criteria of Bukhari and Muslim: The Prophet said: "The people of Jahiliyya will come on the Day of Judgment carrying their idols on their backs. Allah will question them and they will say: Our Lord, You did not send us a Messenger and nothing from You reached us. If you had sent us one, we would have been your most obedient servants. Allah will say: Shall I test your obedience? And He will tell them to enter the fire and stay in it. They will enter it and return again, in fear of its fury and exhalations, and they will say: Our Lord, protect us from it. He will say: Didn't you promise to obey Me if I ordered you something? They will pledge again and enter it, only to come back and plead again. The Prophet said: Had they stayed in it the first time, they would have found it cool and safe."

(Thawban)

 

f) Tabarani and Abu Nu`aym: The Prophet said: "The retard will come on the Day of Judgment together with the one who died in fitra and the infant etc. (same as (e)) They will keep coming back although the fire would not have hurt them, and Allah will say: I knew your actions from afore, so take them (O Fire)."

 

[The hadiths of Muslim on the Prophet's father and mother are addressed later.]

 

Comment of Tabari: "Know that the Ahl al-Sunna have one and all agreed on the fact that there is no knowledge of rulings except on the basis of revealed Law as opposed to the productions of the mind, while opponents of the truth such as the Rafidah [Rejecters of the legitimacy of the first three Caliphs], the Karramiyyah [anthropomorphists], the Mu`tazila [rationalists] and others consider that the derivation of rulings have different bases, some revealed, some based on pure reasoning. As for us [Ahl al-Sunna], we say that nothing is ruled as obligatory before the coming of a Prophet."

 

Imam Fakhr al-Din Razi said in the Mahsul: To be thankful to the One Creator is not a mind-based obligation, contrary to what the Mu`tazila say. If it were, those who leave that

action before a Prophet is sent to them would be punished, which is not the case [citing 17:15].

 

Similarly those of his school [i.e. kalam] as well as Baydawi and Taj al-Din Subki said: We believe that those whom

da`wa did not reach die saved, and that while alive they are not fought against until they reject a clear call, and that they enjoy protection in their life and possessions, etc.

 

Now this method of ruling (exemption from punishment), does it apply to all the people of the Jahiliyya? No, rather it applies specifically to those who have never been reached by the call of a previous Prophet. As for those who have been reached and who have rejected that previous Prophet, no one disputes that they are definitely (ruled to be) in the fire.

 

The noble parents (of the Prophet), from what has been known of them, belong to the former group according to our belief.

 

- No call reached them, because the previous Prophet came about six hundred years earlier, and of the rare divines ahbar of the People of the Book who still knew the (original) prophetic dispensations and called people to the religion, a tiny remnant were left dispersed here and there between Syria and other places.

 

- They apparently travelled little and lived brief lives: eighteen years for `Abd Allah who died in Madina, and nearly the same for the reclusive Amina, according to the hafiz al-`Ala'i in his book, al-Durra al-saniyya fi mawlid sayyid al-bariyya (The pristine pearl: the birth of the Master of Creatures).

 

- They knew no better than the majority of the people of Mecca, whose ignorance even of the fact that Allah sends prophets is shown in the verses: "Does Allah send a human Messenger?" (17:94) and "They said, if our Lord wished, He would have sent angels; we never heard the like from our forefathers" (23:24).

 

- Imam `Izz al-Din ibn `Abd al-Salam said (in al-Amali): "Every Prophet was sent to his own particular people except ours, which

means that every people not previously sent to, is of the fitra, except the descendants of a Prophet that are born in other nations [e.g. the descendants of Ibrahim leading to Shu`ayb], because his Law addresses them as well. But if the previous dispensation becomes obliterated, then all people become people of the Fitra." This is categorical proof that the noble parents are without doubt of the Fitra, because they are neither descendants of `Isa nor of his nation."

 

We now turn to further proofs from the hadith. Ibn Hajar's statement that the correct conjecture is that the Prophet's entire family will obey when asked on Judgment Day is inferred from these sources:

 

a) the hadith related by al-Hakim in the Mustadrak from Ibn Mas`ud and graded authentic, that a young man of the Ansar who asked a lot of questions once asked the Prophet: "Are your parents in the Fire?" To which the Prophet answered: "My Lord promised to give me what I ask concerning them, and on That Day I shall stand at the Praiseworthy Station (of chief intercessor)."

 

b) the hadith cited by Ibn Jarir al-Tabari from Ibn `Abbas to the effect that the verse "And your Lord shall give you so that you will be pleased" (93:5) alludes to the Prophet's pleasure that none of his family enter the fire.

 

c) The hadith of Abu Sa`id in Sharaf al-nubuwwa, Tabari (Dhakha'ir al-`Uqba), and al-Mulla in his Sira from `Umran ibn Husayn: The Prophet said: "I asked my Lord that He not enter any of my family into the fire and it was granted me."

 

d) Tamim al-Dari in the Fawa'id with a weak isnad from Ibn `Umar: The Prophet said: "On the Day of Judgment I shall intercede for my father and mother, my uncle Abu Talib, and a [milk-]brother of mine from the Jahiliyya." Tabari said: If established, then it is understood in the light of the authentic hadiths concerning Abu Talib [i.e. that he is in a shallow fire = Bukhari and Muslim]. Tabari said "concerning Abu Talib" in view of the fact that Islam did reach him unlike the other three who died in Fitra."

 

[Other similar hadiths follow in descending order of authenticity, but which Suyuti adduces nonetheless to build up the strength of the evidence that the explicit intercession of the Prophet for his parents is true.]

 

Lack of Proof that His Parents Were Not of the Pure Religion (Hanifiyyah) and Weakening of the Hadith whereby His Father is in the Fire

 

 

SECOND

 

The shirk (idolatry) of the Prophet's parents is not an established fact and that they more probably followed the Pure Religion (Hanifiyyah) of their ancestor Ibrahim. A group of Arabs did that, such as `Amr ibn Nufayl and Waraqa ibn Nawfal and others. This is the view of Imam Fakhr al-Din al-Razi and others named below.

 

al-Razi states in Asrar al-tanzil that some scholars have said that Azar was not Ibrahim's father but his uncle because, among other proofs, the parents of prophets are not unbelievers. Proving the latter, is the verse: "[Your Lord] Who sees you when you stand, and your turning (taqallubak) among those who prostrate themselves" (26:218-219), i.e. your descent through the loins of your ancestors, who are called: worshippers.

 

He continued: And what proves that the Prophet's parents were not idolaters is his saying: "I was carried from the loins of the pure men into the wombs of the pure women" (Lam azal unqal...) Therefore it is necessary that none of his ancestors be a mushrik.

 

The above is verbatim what Imam Razi said, and I remind

you of his status as the Imam Ahl al-Sunna among his contemporaries, the principal upholder of belief against the various sects of innovators, the one who defended the truth of the Ash`ari creed in his time, and the Mujaddid (renewer) of this Umma in the sixth century.

 

[NB: Observe what Suyuti says of Imam Fakhr al-Din al-Razi and compare it to the slanders of "Salafi" upstarts against this leader of Ahl al-Sunna. See for example the disparaging mention of al-Razi and his monumental Tafsir in Mani` al-Qattan's book published in Riyad at Dar al-Sa`udiyya li al-nashr entitled: Mabahith fi `ulum al-Qur'an (1391/1971).]

 

I say also: What further establishes the truth of this method

and of what Imam al-Razi said is, first, the authentic hadiths to the effect that the Prophet's origins are the best in every respect from Adam to his father `Abd Allah, and that his century is the best; second, the hadiths to the effect that the earth is never empty of the True Monotheists (muwahhidun) from Adam until Judgment Day, and that it is for their sake that the earth is preserved otherwise it would have perished long ago. These two points categorically prove that the best origins and the true monotheists are first and foremost the parents of the prophets as it ill fits that they should be mushriks while other people be considered of the Fitra.

 

[Suyuti then cites about 44 hadiths sahih or hasan to illustrate the two points above.]

 

Another perspective which verifies that method is the verse whereby Allah keeps tawhid -- knowledge of Oneness -- within the posterity of Ibrahim. [He cites verses, commentaries, and hadiths to that effect.]

 

Further probative views are that of Imam Abul Hasan al-Mawardi in A`lam al-nubuwwa who said: "The light of prophecy was present in the Prophet's parents, and the Prophet had no partner in inheriting it, that is, no brother and no sister, because the quintessence (safwa) of his parents resides in him, and the greatness of their lineage (nasab) is derived from him alone, and that is also why they died young."

 

Further, Imam Shahrastani says, ...

 

Further, Ibn al-Jawzi enumerates in al-Talqih the names of nine who refused to worship idols in the time of the Jahiliyya: Abu Bakr as-Siddiq, Zayd ibn `Amr ibn Nufayl, `Abd Allah ibn Jahsh, `Uthman ibn al-Huwayrith, Waraqa ibn Nawfal, Rabab ibn al-Barra', As`ad ibn Kurayb al-Humayri, Qass ibn Sa`ida al-Iyadi,

Abu Qays ibn Sarma.

 

Now for the objections that:

 

1. Muslim narrated on the authority of Anas: "A man said: O Messenger of Allah, where is my father?" He said: "In the fire."  When the man left he called him back and said: "Verily my father and your father are in the fire." [Muslim, Iman, chapter 88]

 

2. Muslim and Abu Dawud narrated on Abu Hurayra's authority: That the Prophet asked permission to ask forgiveness for his mother and it was not granted him[, and he asked permission to visit her grave and it was granted. Muslim, Jana'iz, chapter 36].

 

I say: Yes (they did narrate it) and the answer is that the narrators do not agree on the words: "Verily my father and your father are in the fire." The chain that Muslim used is that of Hammad ibn Salama -- from Thabit -- from Anas. It is contradicted by the chain of Mu`ammar -- from Thabit -- (from Anas), which does not mention those words, but which says: "He called him back and said: "When you pass by the grave of an unbeliever, tell him of the fire.""

 

There is no mention of the Prophet's father in the latter version whatsoever, and its chain is more established (athbat) as Mu`ammar is more established than Hammad, whose memory has been questioned and some of whose narrations have been rejected. Bukhari did not take anything from him, nor did Muslim in the Usul (hadiths related to the principles of the Shari`a) except through Thabit. Mu`ammar is impeccable from all those points of view and both Bukhari and Muslim use him. His version is therefore more reliable.

 

The hadith also comes through another chain in a wording similar to the version of Mu`ammar:

 

al-Bazzar, Tabarani, and Bayhaqi cite it on the authority of Ibrahim ibn Sa`d -- from al-Zuhri -- from `Amir ibn Sa`d -- from his father, that a Bedouin Arab said to the Prophet: "Where is my father?" He answered: "In the fire." The man said: "And where is yours?" The Prophet replied: "Whenever you pass by the grave of an unbeliever, tell him about the fire."

 

The above chain is authentic according to the criteria of Bukhari and Muslim: reliance upon it therefore takes precedence over any other (that does not meet such criterion). Tabarani and Bayhaqi add: That the Arab later entered Islam and said: "The Prophet put a heavy burden on me, because I did not pass by a single grave of an unbeliever except I told him about the fire." Ibn Majah cites something similar through Ibrahim ibn Sa`d -- from al-Zuhri -- from Salem -- from his father.

 

The above addition shows beyond doubt that the words spoken by the Prophet had a general meaning, and that the Arab was given an order which he carried out all his life. In the first narration, however, he was not ordered  anything. It is clear that the first narrator related it in the form he understood (incorrectly).

 

al-Hakim in the Mustadrak narrates the following (sahih):

On the authority of Luqayt ibn `Amir, that the latter went in a delegation comprising Nuhayk ibn `Asim ibn Malik ibn al-Muntafiq to Madina to see the Prophet. The latter asked: "Is there any good among those of us who were in Jahiliyya?"  He said: "You father al-Muntafiq is in the Fire." Nuhayk said: "I thought an abyss had opened between the skin of my face and my very flesh when I heard him say that about my father in front of everyone. I wanted to say: What about yours, O Prophet, but I considered it more appropriate to say instead: What about your family, O Prophet?" The Prophet answered: "Whenever you see the grave of an idolater, whether of the Quraysh or of `Amir, say: Muhammad sends me to you to tell you about the fire."

 

The preceding is the clearest narration yet of what took place. Now, even if the words, "My father and your father" are established as authentic, yet this does not mean `Abdullah but Abu Talib [cf. Bukhari and Muslim's narrations of the dakhdakh or shallow fire in which he is placed due to Prophet's intercession], similarly to what Imam Razi said about the Prophet Ibrahim calling his uncle: my father. This is clear from the fact that Abu Talib commonly called his nephew "My son," and that is how the Quraysh also called him when they said: "Tell your son to stop insulting our gods."

 

It has also been stated in the hadith that the most leniently punished of the inmates of the fire is Abu Talib [Bukhari and Muslim]. If the Prophet's parents were in the fire, surely they would be the ones to be punished the most leniently. The scholars of the principles of jurisprudence (usul) call this an allusive proof (dalalat al-ishara).

 

As for the second hadith: that the Prophet was not allowed to pray at his mother's grave, (it is authentic; however,) it must be explained correctly, since it is a rule of usul that whenever  irrefutable proofs contradict an authentic hadith, that hadith must be interpreted in a way that clears the contradiction, and the proofs have precedence over it [i.e. it cannot be interpreted to mean that she is in the fire when it is proven otherwise].

 

The counter-argument may be made that in the beginning of Islam the Muslim who died with unpaid debts was not prayed upon (and asking forgiveness for them was not allowed). [This is still the case in Anatolia, where the janaza does not take place until all debts are paid on the spot.] The Prophet's mother may have had this or other reasons which prevented his praying upon her, which does not make her a kafira.

 

 

Suyuti's Conclusion

 

The majority of the scholars have agreed to the preceding, namely that the Prophet's parents are in Paradise, without need for them to consider the two hadiths of Muslim abrogated. However, as al-Suhayli has pointed out, it is not appropriate for Muslims to say such a thing as: "The Prophet's parents are in the fire," as he himself said: "Do not annoy the living by insulting the dead," and Allah said: "Those who annoy Allah and the Prophet, Allah curses them in this life and in the hereafter" (33:57).

 

al-Qadi Abu Bakr ibn al-`Arabi the Maliki scholar was asked about the man who did say such a statement, and he replied: "Such a man is cursed."

 

Finally, a portion of the scholars have gone to the position of witholding their opinion on the subject, and Allah knows best.

 



                [1]Fath al-bari (1989 ed. 8:660) tafsir surat Luqman, "Allah has knowledge of the Hour" (31:34).

[2] al-Qurtubi as quoted by Ibn Hajar in Fath al-bari (1989 ed.) 12:449.

                [3]al-Baydawi, Anwar al-tanzil in Majma` al-tafasir 3:149.

[4] Narrated from Ibn `Umar by Ahmad (2:85); Tabarani  in the Kabir (12:361), Haythami in Majma` al-zawa'id (8:263), Ibn Kathir in his Tafsir 6:355, and Suyuti in his Tafsir al-Durr al-manthur (5:169). Haythami said: "The sub-narrators in Ahmad's chain are the men of sound (sahih) narration."

                [5]Narrated from Ibn Mas`ud by Ahmad and Ibn `Adi. Haythami in Majma` al-zawa'id (8:263) says: "The sub-narrators in both chains are the men of sound (sahih) narration."

                [6]Ibn Hajar, Fath al-bari (Dar al-fikr ed. 1:124 and 8:514).

                [7]Ahmad narrated it and Ibn Kathir mentions it in his Tafsir for Sura Luqman. al-Haythami said in Majma` al-zawa'id (#116): "Abu Dawud narrates part of it, and all of the sub-narrators in Ahmad's chain are trustworthy and they are Imams."

                [8]al-Qari, Jam` al-wasa'il (Cairo, 1317 H) p. 209

                [9]al-Qari, al-Asrar al-marfu`a (#478, p. 126).

                [10]al-Haythami said: "Ahmad (4:303 #18718) narrated it and its chain contains Maymun Abu `Abd Allah. Ibn Hibban declared him trustworthy while a group of others declared him weak. The remainder of its sub-narrators are trustworthy."

                [11]Ibn Hisham relates it in his Sira (Beirut, dar al-wifaq ed. 3-4: 219) and also Ibn Kathir in al-Bidaya (4:99).

                [12]Ibn Hisham, Sira 3-4:219.

                [13]Haythami says in Majma` al-zawa'id (9:24 #91): "al-Bazzar relates it and its sub-narrators are all sound (rijaluhu rijal al-sahih)." Qadi `Iyad cites it in al-Shifa (1:56 of the Amman edition).  Suyuti said in his Manahil al-safa fi takhrij ahadith al-shifa (Beirut 1988/1408) p. 31 (#8): "Ibn Abi Usama cites it in his Musnad from the hadith of Bakr ibn `Abd Allah al-Muzani, and al-Bazzar from the hadith of Ibn Mas`ud with a sound (sahih) chain." Ibn al-Jawzi mentions it through Bakr and then again through Anas ibn Malik in the penultimate chapter of the penultimate section of al-Wafa, and also mentions the version through Aws ibn Aws with a sound chain: "The actions of human beings are shown to me every Thursday on the night of (i.e. preceding) Friday." See also Fath al-bari 10:415, al-Mundhiri's al-Targhib wa al-Tarhib 3:343, and Musnad Ahmad 4:484.

                [14]The translation from Qadi `Iyad is by `A'isha Bint `Abdurrahman Bewley with slight modifications, from the Madinah Press edition entitled Muhammad Messenger of Allah: ash-Shifa' of Qadi `Iyad, 2nd ed. (Granada: Madinah Press, 1992) p. 186-193.

                [15]Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud.

                [16]Narrated in Tabarani and Ahmad with a sound (sahih) chain according to Haythami in Majma` al-zawa'id. Also narrated by Abu Ya`la and Ibn Mani`.

                [17]Those who strictly bound themselves to the criteria of soundness in narrating hadith, such as Bukhari, Muslim, Ibn Hibban, Ibn Khuzayma, and al-Hakim in their well-known books.

                [18]Such as Malik, Ahmad, and the rest of the authors of the Six Books and others, i.e. those who did not strictly bind themselves to to the criteria of soundness in narrating hadith.

                [19]al-Imam al-hafiz Abu al-hasan `Ali ibn `Abd Allah al-Madini (pr. ma-dEE-ni). He narrated hadith from his father and from Hammad ibn Zayd and a large number of hadith masters. From him narrated Bukhari, Abu Dawud, al-Baghawi, Abu Ya`la. His shaykh `Abd al-Rahman ibn Mahdi said: "`Ali ibn al-Madini is the most knowledgeable of all human beings in the hadith of Allah's Messenger, especially concerning what Ibn `Uyayna narrates. Do you blame me for loving `Ali ibn al-Madini too much? By Allah, I learn more from him than he does  from me." Yahya al-Qattan (al-Madini's shaykh and that of Ahmad ibn Hanbal) said the same about him. Bukhari said: "I did not think little of myself except in front of `Ali (ibn al-Madini)." al-Nasa'i said: "It is as if Allah created him only for this science (hadith)." He died in Samarra. The name of Madini is related to the city of the Prophet. This was said by Ibn al-Athir. As for al-Jawhari, he said that the latter would be "Madani" (pr. ma-da-nEE) and that "Madini" was related to the city built by the caliph al-Mansur.

                [20]Ahmad and Tabarani from Abu Umama.

[21] Fayruzabadi in the Qamus, Ibn Manzhur in Lisan al-`Arab, and al-Zabidi in Taj al-`arus define the Nawasib as those who made a point of opposing `Ali ibn Abi Talib, peace be upon him. They are part of the Khawarij, who are those Muslims (whether in past or recent times) who oppose one whom the majority of Muslims have taken as their leader.

                [22]A place between Basra and Mecca where `A'isha stayed when she was trying to intercede between `Ali and Mu`awiya.

                [23]al-Hajjaj was a tyrant while al-Mukhtar was a Khariji.

                [24]I.e. exaggeration in shaving the head. This was one of the marks of the Wahhabis as pointed out by `Alawi ibn Ahmad al-Haddad and others. It is known that Ibn `Abidin called the Wahhabis Kharijis in his Hashiyat al-durr al-mukhtar. It is also said that tahliq here means: "sitting in circles."

                [25]From Asma' Bint Yazid: Abu Dharr (al-Ghifari) used to serve the Prophet and when he finished he would go to the masjid and sleep, and the masjid was his house. One time the Prophet came in and found Abu Dharr lying on the ground.  He nudged him with his foot and Abu Dharr sat up. The Prophet said: "Sleeping?"  He replied: "O Messenger of Allah, where else can I sleep?  I have no house other than this." The Prophet said: "What will you do if they expel you from it?" He said: "I will repair to Syria, for verily Syria is the land of migration, the land of the Gathering (on the Day of Judgment), and the land of Prophets.  I shall be one of its dwellers." The Prophet said: "What will you do if they expel you from Syria?" He said: "I will come back here and make it my house and my dwelling." The Prophet said: "What if they expel you from it a second time?" He replied: "Then I will take up my sword and fight them off until I die." The Prophet looked displeased and he held him firmly and said: "Shall I tell you of a better way?" He said: "Yes, may my father and mother be ransomed for you, O Messenger of Allah!" The Prophet said: "Let them lead you whither they lead you, and let yourself be taken whither they take you, until you meet me again in that very state." Ahmad narrated it with one weak sub-narrator (Shahr ibn Hawshab), however, some have declared him reliable, e.g. Ibn Hajar in "Fath al-bari" 3:65 and al-hafiz al-Dhahabi. The hadiths of Abu Dharr's death and the prediction of its circumstances are narrated by Ibn Rahawyh, Ibn Abi Usama, and al-Bayhaqi: Umm Dharr (his wife) wept as he lay on his deathbed and upon his questioning she replied: "Why should I not weep seeing you die in a desert land and I have not even enough in my possession for my own shroud, nor yours?" He said: "Good tidings to you, and don't weep! for I heard the Prophet say to a large group as I was among them: One of you will die in a deserted land, with a handful of Muslims for witnesses. None of that large group remains and all of them died in a town surrounded by many. Therefore I am that one..." From Ibn Mas`ud: When the Prophet went out on the campaign of Tabuk, Abu Dharr lagged behind due to his old camel. They complained of it to the Prophet who said: "Leave him be, for perhaps there is good in it, and Allah will make him catch up with you." When Abu Dharr saw that his camel was too slow, he carried his own gear and continued on foot, following the traces of Allah's Messenger alone in the heat. When the Prophet saw him his eyes filled with tears and he said: "May Allah have mercy on Abu Dharr! He walks alone, and he shall die alone, and he shall be resurrected alone. Ibn Hajar mentions in al-Isaba that Ibn Ishaq narrated it with a weak chain.

                It was so when he died in al-Rabdha, for there was no one with him except his wife and his young boy. After they washed him and shrouded him they waited by the side of the road for someone to help bury him. `Abd Allah ibn Mas`ud came with a following of the people of Iraq. When the boy saw them he jumped up to them and said: "This is Abu Dharr, the Companion of Allah's Messenger! Therefore, help us to bury him." Ibn Mas`ud came down and wept saying: "Allah's Messenger told the truth."

                Abu Dharr had heard from the Prophet that one must not hoard up provision for more than a certain time. During the caliphate of Sayyidina `Uthman, people became quite well-off. Abu Dharr used to come out and preach against this and say they were wrong to store up and save. The people complained to Sayyidina `Uthman. Whenever Abu Dharr met sayyidina `Uthman, may Allah be well pleased with both of them, Abu Dharr would recite to him the verse:

        On the day when it will (all) be heated in the Fire,

        and their foreheads and their flanks and their backs

        will be branded therewith (and it will be said unto

        them): Here is that which ye hoarded for yourselves.

        Now taste of what ye used to hoard. (9:35)

Finally he called Abu Dharr and told him to stop. When Abu Dharr refused, saying he must convey what was told to him, `Uthman exiled him from Madina. al-Qari says: `Uthman exiled him to Syria, then he brought him back to Madina, then exiled him again to al-Rabdha, a village in ruins, where he stayed until his death.

        Abu Dharr was evidently the strictest and most austere of the Companions in light of the hadiths related from and about him. He was a Sufi-like Companion and is known as al-Zahid or the Ascetic in the biographical dictionaries. He was extremely scrupulous and direct. The author of Hayat al-Sahaba mentions Sufyan al-Thawri's relation that Abu Dharr used to stand by the Ka`ba and shout at the people: "Greed has killed you! You can never fulfill your greed!"

        The following is illustrative of Abu Dharr's manner:

Ahmad (1:63) relates on the authority of Abu Dharr that the latter came to ask something from `Uthman ibn `Affan and he had his staff in his hand. `Uthman then asked, "O Ka`b, `Abd al-Rahman [ibn `Awf] has died and has left money behind. What is your opinion on it?" He replied, "If he paid Allah's dues with his money [i.e. his debts], then we may use it." Abu Dharr raised his staff and hit Ka`b with it. Then he said: I heard the Prophet say: "If this entire mountain of gold were mine to spend and it were accepted, I would not like to leave behind even six ounces of it." I adjure you by Allah, `Uthman, did you hear it? Did you hear it? Did you hear it? `Uthman said: "Na`am (Yes)!"

        This is the account of Abu Dharr's conversion in Sahih Bukhari:

[English by Khan with slight modifications. Volume 5, Book 58, Number 201:]

     Narrated Ibn `Abbas:

     When Abu Dharr received the news of the Advent of the Prophet he said to his brother, "Ride to this valley (of Mecca) and try to find out the truth of the person who claims to be a Prophet who is informed of the news of Heaven. Listen to what he says and come back to me." So his brother set out and came to the Prophet and listened to some of his talks, and returned to Abu Dharr and said to him. "I have seen him enjoining virtuous behavior and saying something that is not poetry." Abu Dharr said, "You have not satisfied me as to what I wanted." He then took his journey-food and carried a water-skin of his, containing some water till be reached Mecca. He went to the Mosque and searched for the Prophet

and though he did not know him, he hated to ask anybody about him. When a part of the night had passed away, `Ali saw him and knew that he was a stranger. So when Abu Dharr saw `Ali, he followed him, and none of them asked his companion about anything, and when it was dawn, Abu Dharr took his journey food and his water-skin to the Mosque and stayed there all the day long without being perceived by the Prophet, and when it was evening, he came back to his retiring place. `Ali passed by him and said, "Has the man not known his dwelling place yet?" So `Ali awakened him and took him with him and none of them spoke to the other about anything. When it was the third day. `Ali did the same and Abu Dharr stayed with him. Then `Ali said "Will you tell me what has brought you here?" Abu Dharr said, "If you give me a firm promise that you will guide me, then I will tell you." `Ali promised him, and he informed `Ali about the matter. `Ali said, "It is true, and he is the Apostle of Allah. Next morning when you get up, accompany me, and if I see any danger for you, I will stop as if to pass water, but if I go

on, follow me and enter the place which I will enter." Abu Dharr did so, and followed `Ali till he entered the place of the Prophet, and Abu Dharr went in with him, Abu Dharr listened to some of the Prophet's talks and embraced Islam on the spot. The Prophet said to him, "Go back to your people and inform them (about it) till you receive my order." Abu Dharr said, "By Him in Whose Hand my life is, I will proclaim my conversion loudly amongst them (i.e. the pagans)." So he went out, and when he reached the Mosque, he said as loudly as possible, "I bear witness that there is no god except Allah, and Muhammad is the Apostle of Allah." The People got up and beat him painfully. Then al-`Abbas came and knelt over him (to protect him) and said (to the people), "Woe to you! Don't you know that this man belongs to the tribe of Ghifar and your trade to Sha'm is through their way?" So

he rescued him from them. Abu Dharr again did the same the next day. They beat him and took vengeance on him and again al-`Abbas knelt over him.

        Ibn Hajar says about him in al-Isaba fi tamyiz al-Sahaba:

        "The famous ascetic who spoke frankly... His full name was Jundub ibn Janada ibn Sakan; it was also said he was called Ibn `Abd Allah, or Barir, or Burayr, or al-Sakan ibn Janada... He was tall, of dark complexion, and thin... al-Tabarani cited the hadith from Abu al-Darda' whereby the Prophet always looked for Abu Dharr when he was present, and missed him when he was absent. Ahmad mentioned the hadith whereby the Prophet said: "The one of you sitting closest to me on the Day of Rising is he who leaves this world in the same condition as on the day I left him;" Abu Dharr added: "and, by Allah there is none among you except he has lusted for something in the world except I." Its sub-narrators are trustworthy except that the link [of the Tabi`i] is missing, as I don't think `Arrak ibn Malik narrated from Abu al-Darda'...

        Abu Dawud cited with a good chain `Ali's saying: "Abu Dharr is a large vessel full of knowledge, and he became helpless about it." Abu Dawud and Ahmad narrated from `Abd Allah ibn `Umar that the Prophet said: "Neither dust has carried nor green has shaded one more frank of speech than Abu Dharr."... After he met the Prophet, Abu Dharr went to the Ka`ba and began shouting at the top of his lungs: I bear witness that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger! whereupon the people pounced on him and beat him until he could not get up. al-`Abbas rescued him and said to the people: "Woe to you! He is from Ghifar, on the trade route to Damascus." Then Abu Dharr came back the next day and did the same, whereupon they beat him again and al-`Abbas rescued him again...

                He died in al-Rabdha in the year 31 or 32. The majority think the latter. It is said in a story related with a passable chain that Ibn Mas`ud led the funeral prayer over him. al-Mada'ini says the same and adds that Ibn Mas`ud then returned to Madina and died shortly afterwards." End of Ibn Hajar's words in al-Isaba.

                [26]al-Bayhaqi narrates it. `Ali al-Qari in his commentary on Qadi `Iyad said: al-Khatib said: "He became Muslim."  Others said: "He died as a Christian." Qari continues: "The contradiction is resolved by the fact that he became Muslim and then apostatized." Ibn Mindah and Abu Nu`aym in their books entitled Ma`rifat al-Sahaba (Knowledge of who the Companions were) said He became a Muslim and gifted the Prophet a mantle of brocade (hillatun siyara') which the Prophet gave to `Umar. Ibn al-Athir said (in his own dictionary of the Companions entitled Usud al-ghaba): "Concerning the approach and the gift they are right, but concerning his Islam they were mistaken, for there is no disagreement among the authors of biographies that he was not a Muslim [i.e. when he died]. He was a Christian when the Prophet approached him, then he went back to his stronghold and remained there until Khalid surrounded him in the time of Abu Bakr, and killed him as a Christian idolater for breaching his trust.  Ibn al-Athir continues: al-Baladuri mentioned that Ukaydar came to the Prophet and then went back to Duma, also called Duma al-Jundul, a place between Hijaz and Syria, then, when the Prophet died, he apostatized. When Khalid marched from Iraq to Syria, he killed him."

                [27]Narrated by Bukhari.

                [28]Narrated by Bukhari.

                [29]Narrated by Bukhari and Muslim.

                [30]From the translation of Qadi `Iyad al-Maliki's al-Shifa' by `A'isha Bewley, Madinah Press, p. 277-278.

                [31]Haythami in Majma` al-zawa'id says: "Ahmad relates it, and Tabarani relates something similar, and the men in its chain of transmission have been declared trustworthy." Also related through several chains by Abu Dawud, Ahmad, Baghawi in Sharh al-Sunna, al-Hakim in the Mustadrak, Ibn `Asakir, Ibn Abi al-Dunya in Kitab al-ikhwan, Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Ibn Abi Hatim, Ibn Mardawayh, and others.

                [32]Nasafi, Madarik al-tanzil 27:40.

                [33]Bukhari and Muslim.

                [34]All four in Bukhari, Book of the Interpretation of Dreams.

                [35]Bukhari narrates it in the book of knowledge of his Sahih.

                [36]English Sahih Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 56, Number 841.

                [37]Narrated by Tabarani in his Mu`jam al-Kabir, al-Bazzar, Suyuti in his Jami` al-saghir, al-Haythami in Majma` al-zawa'id in the "Chapter on the Reality of Belief and its Perfection" (bab haqiqat al-iman wa kamalih), al-`Askari, Ibn al-Mubarak in Kitab al-zuhd, `Abd al-Razzaq through two chains, Ibn Mindah, Bayhaqi in Shu`ab al-iman, Ibn Asram in Kitab al-istiqama, Ibn Sa`id, and Ibn Abi Shayba in his Musannaf. Abu Hanifa mentions it in his al-Fiqh al-akbar. Ibn Hajar in his Isaba lists its many chains and says that this is a hadith mu`dal (i.e. its chain is missing two or more sub-narrators) and mawsul (or: muttasil; i.e. it is linked back to a Companion through the authority of a Tabi`i.

                [38]Nawawi, Sharh Sahih Muslim Kitab 44 Bab 2 #2398.

                [39]Ibn Hajar, Fath al-bari (1989 ed.) 7:62-63 #3689.

                [40]Narrated from Anas by Abu Nu`aym, Hilyat al-awliya' 10:15. Cited in the Commentaries of Suyuti, al-Durr al-manthur (1:372) and Qurtubi (13:364), also by al-hafiz al-Zabidi in his Ithaf al-sada al-muttaqin 1:403. Shawkani included it in his collection of inauthentic hadiths (al-Fawa'id p. 289), however, al-Qari considers it authentic in his similar collection al-Asrar al-marfu`a p. 325.

                [41]Sha`rani, al-Tabaqat al-kubra (1343/1925) 1:66.

                [42]Pronounced hakEEm. This is not the author of al-Mustadrak `ala al-sahihayn whose name is pronounced hAAkim.

                [43]al-Siraj, al-Luma` p. 422.

                [44]al-Haytami, Fatawa hadithiyya p. 297.

                [45]al-Sakhawi, Tarjimat shaykh al-islam qutb al-awliya Abi Zakariyya al-Nawawi, p. 33.

[46] Tirmidhi (gharib) from Abu Sa`id al-Khudri, and Tabarani from Abu Imama with a fair (hasan) chain according to al-Haythami in the chapter on firasa of Majma` al-zawa'id.

                [47]Related from Anas with a fair chain by al-Bazzar, Tabarani, Abu Nu`aym in al-Tibb al-nabawi, and from Ibn Sa`id by Bukhari in his Tarikh, al-`Askari in al-Amthal, Ibn Jarir al-Tabari in his Tafsir for 15:75, Ibn Abi Hatim, and Ibn Mardawayh.

                [48]Muslim, Book of Fitan (English vol. 4 p. 1515 #7009).

                [49]Related by al-Biqa`i, Unwan al-zaman p. 92.

                [50]Narrated by Ibn al-Jawzi, Sifat al-safwa (Beirut: Dar al-kutub al-`ilmiyya, 1409/1989) 1(2):271, in the chapter on al-Junayd (#296).

                [51]al-Taftazani, Madkhal ila al-tasawwuf p. 240.

                [52]Quoted in Nabahani, Jami` karamat al-awliya 1:3.

                [53]Quoted in al-Qushayri, Risala (Cairo, 1319 ed.) p. 14, and in Ibn Taymiyya's Fatawa 11:466.

                [54]Sahih Bukhari, Book of Knowledge (`ilm), Tarjimat al-bab 11 (translation 1:59).

                [55]Ahmad (5:196), Tirmidhi, Darimi, Abu Dawud, Ibn Hibban, Ibn Majah, Bayhaqi in the Shu`ab and others.

                [56]al-Khatib al-Baghdadi, Tarikh Baghdad 13:344.

                [57]Ibn al-Jawzi, Sifat al-Safwa (Beirut, 1989) 1:2:120.

                [58] Cited by Salah Muhammad `Uwayda, ed., Nawawi's al-Taqrib wa al-taysir (Beirut: dar al-kutub al-`ilmiyya, 1407/1987) p. 15 n. 5.

                [59]al-Zahawi, The Doctrine of Ahl al-Sunna, trans. Sh. Hisham Kabbani (Mountain View: ASFA, 1996) p. 51.

                [60]Ibn Taymiyya, al-Furqan bayna awliya' al-shaytan wa awliya' al-rahman, 2nd ed. (Beirut: al-maktab al-islami, 1390/1970) p. 52.

                [61]Ibn Taymiyya, al-`Aqida al-wasitiyya (Cairo: al-matba`a al-salafiyya, 1346) p. 33-34.

                [62]Ibn Taymiyya, Mukhtasar al‑Fatawa al‑Misriyya (al‑Madani Publishing House, 1400/1980) p. 603.

                [63]Ibn Taymiyya, Majmu'a al-fatawa al-kubra (1398 ed.) 11:313.

                [64]al-Harawi al-Ansari, Manazil al-Sa'irin, Station 96.

                [65]al-Harawi al-Ansari, `Ilal al-maqamat, Section 11 entitled: Tariq al-khassa (The way of the privileged).

                [66]Ibn al-Jawzi, introduction to his Sifat al-safwa (Beirut ed. 1989/1409) p. 13, 17.

                [67]Ibn al-`Arabi, Tuhfat al-ahwadhi 13:150.

                [68]al-Ghazali, al-Munqidh min al-dalal, Damascus 1956, p. 40.

                [69]al-Haytami, Fatawa hadithiyya, al-Halabi ed. 1970, p. 331.

                [70]Verses translated by Alfred Guillaume in The Life of Muhammad [sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam]: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq's Sirat Rasul Allah (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 1955) p. 587.

                [71]Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya wa al-nihaya 4:345. From Tabari. See also Ibn Hisham, Sirat rasulillah (Beirut: Dar al-wifaq, n.d.) 3/4:479.

                [72]Suyuti, al-Itqan fi `ulum al-qur'an (Beirut: al-maktaba al-thaqafiyya, 1393/1973) 1:120.

                [73]Ibn Hajar, Talkhis al-habir 1:32. al-Haythami, Majma` al-zawa'id 8:271. Suyuti, Sharh sunan al-nasa'i 1:32. Ibn `Alawi al-Maliki, Mafahim yajib an tusahhah p. 131, 144-145.

                [74]Ibn Sayyid al-Nas, Minah al-madh (Damascus: Dar al-fikr, 1407/1987) p. 72.

[75] As reported by Ibn Jama`a in al-Manhal al-rawi (Damascus: Dar al-fikr, 1406/1986) p. 142. See also Tahdhib al-tahdhib 2:247, 2:447.

                [76]Haythami said in Majma` al-zawa'id: "Tabarani in al-Awsat and al-Bazzar related it, and the narrators in al-Bazzar's chain are all the men of sound hadith."

                [77]Ibn Sayyid al-Nas, Minah al-madh p. 73.

                [78]Ibn Hisham, Sirat rasulillah p. 503-513.

                [79]Cf. Guillaume p. 600-601.

                [80]Ibn `Alawi al-Maliki, Shifa' al-fu'ad (Dubai: Da'irat al-awqaf, n.d.) p. 203.

                [81]Ibn Taymiyya? al-Sarim al maslul (Tanta, Egypt: s.n., 1960) p. 211.

[82] Text taken from the edition of Imam Ibrahim al-Bajuri entitled Hashiyat al-Bajuri `ala matn al-burda (Bombay: Molvi Muhammad Bin Gulamrasul Surti's Sons, 1982).

                [83]Ibn Hisham's notes to his Sirat Rasul Allah, trans. A. Guillaume, 9th printing (Karachi: Oxford U. Press, 1990)p. 797.

                [84]Narrated from Abu ibn Ka`b by Tirmidhi (hasan sahih) and Ibn Majah, as well as al-Hakim in his Mustadrak (1:11).

                [85]Related by Tirmidhi, (Qiyamat 11); Abu Dawud (Sunna 31); Ibn Majah (Zuhd 37), and Ahmad (3:213).

                [86]Jabir narrated that the Prophet said: "I have been given five things which no Prophet was given before me:

 

- I was made victor over my enemies through fear struck in their hearts;

- I was permitted to take the booty of war;

- The whole earth was made a place of prostration for me and its soil

ritually pure, so when the time to pray comes upon anyone of my Community, let him pray there and then;

- I was given shafa`a (intercession/mediation with God);

- Every Prophet was sent to his people in particular and I was sent to all peoples.

                [87]Quoted in Yusuf al-Sayyid Hashim al-Rifa`i, Adillat Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jama`a, 7th ed. (Kuwait: Matabi` dar al-siyasa, 1410/1990) p. 70.

                [88]Ibn Hajar, Fath al-bari (1989 ed.) 8:744 #8429. Book of Tafsir for verse 46:24.

                [89]Ahmad, Musnad (3:482 #15960).

                [90]English Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 59, Number 629.

                [91]Bayhaqi relates it in Shu`ab al-iman (1:468 #735).

                [92]English Sahih Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 58, Number 254.

                [93]al-Samarqandi, Tanbih al-ghafilin, ed. Shaykh  Ahmad Salam (Beirut: Dar al-kutub al-`ilmiyya, c1986) p. 319-320.

[94] Excerpts from this book are adapted from `A'isha Bewley's translation, Muhammad Messenger of Allah: ash-Shifa of Qadi `Iyad published by Madinah Press.

                [95]Last lines of Ibn Hisham's Sirat Rasul Allah, trans. A. Guillaume, 9th printing (Karachi: Oxford U. Press, 1990)p. 690.

                [96]Last lines of Ibn Hisham's Sirat Rasul Allah, trans. A. Guillaume, 9th printing (Karachi: Oxford U. Press, 1990)p. 690.

[97] See the next section for this topic.

[98] Ibn Hajar, Fath al-bari Riqaq ch. 51 (1989 ed.) 11:522.

 

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