Reflections on the Birth of Holy Prophet Muhammad
Speech given on Friday May 28th, 2004 at the
7th Annual Mawlid an-Nabawi ISRA Convention
By Ibrahim ibn Muhammad Radwan Hakim
Allah says in Q4:58: “Allah orders you to hand over the trusts (back) to their owners,” and He says in the end of Surat al-Ahzab (Q33:71-72) that He charged us with the Divine Trust (Amaanah), and caring for it as His khulafa’ (vicegerents) and returning it to Him as it came to us.
Also in Surat al-Ahzab, Allah uses a certain progression of functions to describe the role of our Prophet . He begins with “witnesser,” for on the Day of Alastu bi-Rabbikum (Q7:172, 3:81, 33:7) [Day of Promises, al-`ahad wa'l-meethaaq], he witnessed Allah the Truth and we witnessed Him in his witnessing, for without his witnessing our witnessing would have no meaning. This witnessing of the Divine Reality was recounted in the mi’raj (night ascension).
Then He goes on to describe him as “giver of good news and warnings,” for in this role he is the furqan (agent of discrimination), dividing between the truth and falsehood, and giving good news to the people of truth and warnings to the people of falsehood.
So thru this role he sets up the dichotomy that creation was based on. For it is the Sunna of Allah that He created the creation in pairs, and that it must be returned from this dichotomy to His Oneness. That is why this is the Din of Tawhid – to make one – instead of wahda – to be one.
For although Allah is One in reality, it is not so in our coarse perceptions, and in this paired creation we must revive the recognition of the Divine Oneness permeating deeply in all things. So it is a process of re-becoming what we originally are.
Then He goes on to describe him as “caller to Allah by His permission,” for he seeks to return and hand over the creation back to Allah, and hand over the Trust back to their Owner. Allah sent down the rope of His Word to us so that we are pulled back up to Him.
Allah says that He taught (‘allama) Adam all the Names (Q2:30), but the word ‘allama also means “to make a mark,” and so in this teaching of the Names, (which was not didactic), He marked Adam with all the Divine Names and Qualities, reflecting the traces of each of them in the Adamic form. Our servitude to Him means exactly our returning our qualities to Him – their origin – and relinquishing any power or strength (hawl wa quwwa), for Allah is ‘ala kulli shay’in qadir (over all things powerful).
This process is the return arch of the circle back to Him. He ends, “and a lamp giving light.” Here we have arrived at the true reality of the Muhammadan presence (Haqiqa Muhammadiyya), for the light that reflects from his face to us is the same light that Allah shines on his face. From him comes the essential light-mercy that keeps the creation living in tasbih and hamd. As long as it abides in the life of its essential tasbih and hamd, it is able to return the Trust of the Divine Qualities back to its owner. That is its true life.
Consider the meaning of the statement of the Prophet when he said: “the difference between the one who invokes Allah and the one who is heedless of Him is as the difference between the living and the dead.” Shaykh al-Akbar Muhammad Muhyiddeen ibn ‘Arabi wrote about the Haqiqa Muhammadiya in his books and said, “from the niche of his prophet-hood, all of the prophets received their prophet-hood thru his light-emanation.”
It is related in the authentic hadith narrations that on the Day of Resurrection, Allah will gather all the people on an expansive plain. He will reveal Himself to each of them, but in a form they do not recognize, for every human has a form or image of Allah with which he recognizes Him. So the people will not recognize Him and say, “we will not move from this place of ours until our Lord comes to us.”
At this point, Allah will now reveal (tajalli) Himself to them in the form they do recognize, and they will recognize Him, accept Him and follow Him. About this hadith, Shaykh al-Akbar said, “the people worship the Lord of their own predisposition and capacity. So when Allah tells him, ‘indeed, We told you that your Lord has encompassed all the people, (Q17:60). He means that all of the lords of the predisposition of the humans is to be found in and comprehended by Muhammad , and that we each all have received our (activated) worship from him.”
Allah Most High created the creation in a state of suspended readiness and incompletion, like a body without a soul, as Imam ‘Ali says that the cosmos is a big man. So Man (Adam) is the inner (baatin) reality of the creation, the life-giving meaning behind/within the form. This is paralleled by the clay of Adam without a spirit…and when was Muhammad given the prophet-hood? He was given it when the spirit and clay of Adam were still not combined. So the meaning behind each creation is actualized with the coming of the human.
Take wealth for example, something to which our love is attached. In itself, it has no good or bad attached to it. Look at what our Nabi , who had direct understanding of creation, said about wealth, “how excellent is wholesome wealth in the hands of a righteous person!”
And about the world, “this world is accursed (mal’una) – all that is within it – except for the remembrance of Allah (dhikrullah) and all things related, or a teacher or student of knowledge.” And he said, “I was sent as a teacher of knowledge,” and “as a completer of noble character traits.”
Allah also names him “dhikrullah” in Q65:10-11. He says: “Allah has indeed sent to you a remembrance, (namely), a Messenger who recites to you the clarifying Ayat of Allah, to take out those who are secured in Iman and do wholesome righteous acts into the Light.”
So he is the dhikr and all things related, and he is the teacher of the knowledge which he received from Allah as a student. In other words, anything which does not have a share of his inheritance, it is cursed. And linguistically, being “cursed” (mal’un) means being barred and deprived of the mercy, and he is the mercy of all the worlds and universes and realms.
When we – through Iman and ‘Amal (secured belief and righteous action) – enter into this Nur (light) Muhammad , then at that point Allah promises us in Surat an-Nur: “Allah promises those who believe and do good works that He will establish them in the earth as (His) vicegerents…and He will replace their sense of fear with security…so establish the Salat and pay the Zakat and obey the Messenger, that you may receive mercy.” So going back to the money, it receives its quality of good or bad from the way we use it.
If we use it correctly, it becomes something noble, and if we use it incorrectly (and how frequently that occurs!), it becomes something ignoble, a curse and a distraction. Its nobility is in serving us as is meant to be, and its ignobility is in us serving it.
The most noble way to use it is by giving it away in charity. Shaykh al-Akbar said that there are three categories of those who give wealth away in charity:
1) those who give in charity so that Allah will increase them in purity and blessing and forgive them.
2) those who give others charity so that others may eat and continue living, and thus participate in keeping their tasbih and hamd ongoing. So these people give for the sake of maintaining the tasbih of the creatures.
3) those who give others charity so that Allah will continue to have forms in which to manifest His Names and Qualities. For Allah manifests His Qualities in all of creation, and this person is maintaining this Divine manifestation by helping maintain its vesicle (namely, the needy human).
And this third level is the most sublime and most rare. It is similar with the lower world in general. Before our appearance on the scene, the creation was incomplete, unfulfilled, lacking in meaning, and un-gathered.
When the human was brought in to this world, it was the same as Allah breathing into the form of Adam from His Ruh (Spirit), for the human is the ruh of the world.
The perfect human – meaning the human whose potential is fully actualized – gives the world meaning, spirit, life, direction, and gathers it and returns it to its Maker, thereby returning the trust to its owner. And the Prophet fulfilled this function perfectly as Allah described in Surat al-Ahzab. When he came into this world, the world became covered with his blessings and the emanation of Divine truth from him.
The idols were all overturned and broken, shaytan and his deputies wept, the animals and sheep were full of milk, light shown so that his mother could see all the way to the palaces of Sham, the beasts of the earth and fish of the sea gathered to proclaim his coming…all of these are effects of life-giving mercy, which was his very nature. Shaykh Nazim Qubrusi, who is the murshid of the shaykh who will speak later tonight (Shaykh Hisham Kabbani), said something very wise and insightful. He said that every verse in the Qur’an, without exception, contains praise of Muhammad and an explanation of an aspect of his reality, even if it might not be apparent to most people.
I would like to explore with you the example of Musa and Harun (upon them be peace) as a small example of this. And how Harun (alayhi salam) was an example of the birth of Muhammad . We all know his story, and how he had killed the Egyptian when defending a Hebrew, and how he fled to Midian for safety and married the daughter of Shu’ayb and tended his sheep, and how many years later he was ready for Allah to give him the message, and send him to invite Fir’aun to the truth.
So he said, out of apprehension of this mission: “O Lord! I fear that they may reject me, and that my chest be constricted and my tongue be hampered from speaking, so send the message also to Harun.” So he was expressing the same state that creation was in before the Prophet’s coming into the world.
All of these are signs of the lack of mercy…fear, constricted chest, heavy locked tongue, etc. When you are cut off from the source, this is how you are. And what was one of the unique graces of the merciful Prophet?
“Did We not expand your chest…?” (Q94:1). So with Harun joining Musa, it had the same effect as this ayah (94:1) here says, for Harun represents the merciful gathering of the Divine Jamal, while Musa represents the rigorous separation of the Divine Jalal. You can see this in Surah TaHa (which is one of his names), when Musa said to the people, “your God is Allah, other than Whom there is no God,” using the Lafz al-Jalala, or Name of Supreme Majesty: ALLAH.
Whereas Harun said to the people, “your Rabb is ar-Rahman, so follow me and obey my command” so he calls in the Name of the All-Merciful, and just like in the ayah from Surat an-Nur above, he calls them to “obey the messenger, that they may receive mercy.” Also, instead of employing the impersonal quality of Divinity (uluhiyya) like Musa (alayhi salam) did, he employed the personal quality of Cherishing Lordship (rububiyya).
Incidentally, there is also the narration recorded in the Siyar that the most beautiful creation was Sayyidina Muhammad, then the second was Sayyidina Adam, then the third was Sayyidina Yusuf, then the fourth was Sayyidina Harun (upon all of them be blessings and peace). This episode in the Qur’an, which is so often repeated, contains deep within it - for those who have eyes – praise of the Prophet, for he is to the creation exactly like Harun was to Musa (upon them be peace), mercifully re-gathering what was separated under the Majesty of Allah (as reflected in Sayyidina Musa).
Reflect then on the saying of our Imam, Abu’l Abbas al-Mursi (Allah be pleased with him), who said, “all of the Prophets were created from mercy, but the Prophet Muhammad was created from the source-spring (‘ayn ar-rahma) of mercy.”
So we learn from all this the meaning of his birth and his coming into the world, and what function his birth and mission represented.
For Sayyidina Musa and Sayyidina Harun, just like all the other prophets, took their prophet-hood from the Nubuwwa of the Final Prophet, just like Shaykh al-Akbar Ibn ‘Arabi said. May Allah open our eyes and inspire our spirits to understand the Haqiqa Muhammadiyya, and enable us to reflect it in our lives to our utmost capacities, and make us His Khulafa’, ameen.
Thank you, was-salaam.
Courtesy: Aisha Bewley Homepage