Stepping Forth on the Path of Wayfaring to the Divine Presence

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

And He, the Almighty said:

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)

Also regarding the knowledge granted him by His Lord, 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.[2]

In this regard, a man from Banū Amir, asked the Prophet r, “Is there any knowledge left which you do not know?” whereupon the Prophet r  said, “God has taught me a great good, and there is a kind of Unseen knowledge which God alone knows…”[3]

The statement “I am the City of Knowledge and ‘Alī is its gate” means that Muhammad was the essence of the heavens itself; the fabric of creation itself in its entirety. The evidence of this is the famous hadith of Jābir , where it is related that Jābir ibn Abd Allāh t said to the Prophet , “O Messenger of God, may my father and mother be sacrificed for you, tell me of the first thing God created before all things.” He said:

O Jābir, the first thing God created was the light of your Prophet from His light, and that light remained[4] 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 God 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, then He divided the fourth into four parts [and from them created everything else].[5]

The light of the First Creation was the Muhammadan Reality and from that Light all other creation came into existence. It was in truth the creation of Muhammad which is the reason for the existence of all things, as God said, “If not for you [O Muhammad] I would not have created the cosmos.”[6]

All that is conveyed in the first revelation, Iqra – “Read!” for from its outwardly apparent meaning, “Read in the name of thy Lord who created” the mention of the Lord’s creation is first. This means, “I order you to read, O Muhammad, in My name, for I am the one Who created You, and from you all creation emerged.”

God’s Order for creation proceeded from the Divine Essence and resulted in the creation of the Muhammadan Reality, al-haqīqat al-muhammayyah. God is the One who caused it to emerge in the way that He liked. Thus the Prophet’s light exists in everything for which God said:

And know that within you is Allāh’s Messenger. (49:7)

Gabriel did not say, “Recite!” for recitation comes from what is already known and held in the mind, but reading refers to something that must first be seen in order to be read. If God was ordering Prophet Muhammad to read, it means before him was something which could be read – from it he was looking and reading. What was he reading? He was reading bismi rabbika alladhī khalaq – “in the name of your Lord Who Created.” It means, “O Muhammad! I am granting and then opening to you knowledge of the secret of creation; the secret of which was never opened before.”

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