وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلا رَحْمَةً لِّلْعَالَمِينَ
We sent thee not, but as a Mercy for all creatures. (al-Anbīyā 21:107)
There are two meanings for the Arabic `alamīn. `Alamīn can refer to humankind and jinn. It can also mean everyone and everything. Everything that Allāh (swt) has created is included in alamīn. As Allāh said in the opening of the Qurān (Sūrat al-Fātiha):
الْحَمْدُ للّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ
All praise is for Allah Lord of the Worlds. (al-Fātiha 1:1) `Alamīn means Allāh (swt)s the Lord of everything. The Prophet (s) as a mercy to the worlds (`alamīn) is correspondingly sent as a mercy to all of Allāh’s creation. Anything and everything that is other than Allāh’s a recipient of His mercy and blessings through the Prophet (s) .
رواه عبد الرزاق بسنده عن جابر بن عبد الله بلفظ قال قلت: يا رسول الله، بأبي أنت وأمي، أخبرني عن أول شيء خلقه الله قبل الأشياء. قال: يا جابر، إن الله تعالى خلق قبل الأشياء نور نبيك من نوره، فجعل ذلك النور يدور بالقُدرة حيث شاء الله، ولم يكن في ذلك الوقت لوح ولا قلم ولا جنة ولا نار ولا ملك ولا سماء ولا أرض ولا شمس ولا قمر ولا جِنِّيٌ ولا إنسي، فلما أراد الله أن يخلق الخلق قسم ذلك النور أربعة أجزاء: فخلق من الجزء الأول القلم، ومن الثاني اللوح، ومن الثالث العرش، ثم قسم الجزء الرابع أربعة أجزاء، فخلق من الجزء الأول حَمَلَة العرش، ومن الثاني الكرسي، ومن الثالث باقي الملائكة، ثم قسم الجزء الرابع أربعة أجزاء: فخلق من الأول السماوات، ومن الثاني الأرضين، ومن الثالث الجنة والنار، ثم قسم الرابع أربعة أجزاء، فخلق من الأول نور أبصار المؤمنين، ومن الثاني نور قلوبهم وهى المعرفة بالله، ومن الثالث نور إنسهم وهو التوحيد لا إله إلا الله محمد رسول الله. الحديث. كذا في المواهب
It is related that Jābir ibn `Abd Allāh (r) said to the Prophet (s), O Messenger of Allāh, may my father and mother be sacrificed for you, tell me of the first thing Allāh created before all things. He said: O Jābir, the first thing Allāh created was the light of your Prophet from His light, and that light remained 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 Allāh 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].
The Prophet (s) told Jābir (r), O Jābir! The first thing that Allāh created is the light of your Prophet. If we heed what modern physics is teaching us, then that light must be the source of the great Big Bang. Physicists say that before that event, there was nothing. Then Allāh said, Kun―Be! and it was―fayakūn.
When the Prophet (s) says, The first thing that Allāh created is my light, and from it whatever else Allāh has created as mentioned in the hadith above. Indeed, Allāh (swt) has favored everyone by creating them from the light of the Prophet (s). This follows from Allāhs saying, We have sent you (O Prophet) not but as a mercy to humanity (or the worlds). For from the Light of the Prophet (s), Allāh made the Pen, the Tablet, the Throne, then everything else in material existence. The Prophet (s) said, That light turned in the midst of His Power for as long as He wished. Allāh caused that light to turn (yadurr) around the Essence of the Divine Attribute of Power―Allāhs Ocean of Power―just as people circumambulate around the Ka`ba, and just as electrons turn around the nucleus of the atom.
If the essence of all creation comes from the Divine Light, then all existence is the result of the Mercy of Allāh (swt). Indeed, this follows as a matter of logical necessity because there is no grantor of mercy (rahmān) except there also exists a marhūm―something which receives mercy. In short, nothing that exists escapes being an object of Divine Mercy. Mercy is the ocean in which all creation swims. The Ocean of Power is from the Essence―no one knows the reality of this, not even the Prophet (s). This, of course, is the meaning of, Allāhu wahdahu lā sharīka lah―Allāh (swt) is One with no partner and,
لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَيْءٌ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ البَصِيرُ
There is nothing whatever like unto Him, and He is the One that hears and sees (all things), (ash-Shūra 42:11) and,
سُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ عَمَّا يَصِفُونَ
Glory to Allah. (He is free) from the (sort of) things they attribute to Him! (al-Muminūn 23:91)
Here Allāh (swt) names the Divine Essence. Allāh (swt) revealed what He wished of the knowledge of His Attributes, Names and Acts to the Prophet (s), but knowledge of His Absolute Essence He did not show to anyone. Thus, He says, there is nothing whatever like unto Him, and He is the One that hears and sees (all things), asserting the unknowability of His Essence but at the same time affirming His Attributes, some of which knowledge of Himself He, in His Bounty, revealed to humankind through the agency of His Prophet (s) . According to the hadith transmitted on the authority of Ibn `Abbās (r), the Muhammadan Light goes from prophet to prophet (min nabīyyin ila nabīyyin) until the moment when Allāh (swt) causes it to emerge (akhraja) as the historical Prophet Muhammad.
In explaining this tremendous aspect of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (s), Shaykh `Abd al-Qādir Jilānī, (d. 561) in his book Sirr al-asrār fi mā yahtāju ilayh al-abrār said:
Know that since Allāh first created the soul of Muhammad (s) 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 Allāh created is my soul, and the first thing Allāh created is the Pen, and the first thing Allāh created is the Intellect – what is meant by all this is one and the same thing, and that is the haqīqa muhammadīyya. However, it was named a light because it is completely purified from darkness, as Allāh 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-rūh al-muhammadīyya) is therefore the quintessence of all created things and the first of them and their origin, as the Prophet said: I am from Allāh and the believers are from me, and Allāh 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, Allāh created the Throne from the light of Muhammad himself, and from it the rest of creation.
However, what Allāh (swt) created and gave to the Prophet (s) at that time no one knows. He said:
اللَّهُ نُورُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأرْضِ مَثَلُ نُورِهِ كَمِشْكَاةٍ فِيهَا مِصْبَاحٌ الْمِصْبَاحُ فِي زُجَاجَةٍ الزُّجَاجَةُ كَأَنَّهَا كَوْكَبٌ دُرِّيٌّ يُوقَدُ مِن شَجَرَةٍ مُّبَارَكَةٍ زَيْتُونِةٍ لا شَرْقِيَّةٍ وَلا غَرْبِيَّةٍ يَكَادُ زَيْتُهَا يُضِيءُ وَلَوْ لَمْ تَمْسَسْهُ نَارٌ نُّورٌ عَلَى نُورٍ يَهْدِي اللَّهُ لِنُورِهِ مَن يَشَاءُ وَيَضْرِبُ اللَّهُ الأمْثَالَ لِلنَّاسِ وَاللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ
Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The similitude of His light is as a niche wherein is a lamp. The lamp is in a glass. The glass is as it were a shining star. (This lamp is) kindled from a blessed tree, an olive neither of the East nor of the West, whose oil would almost glow forth (of itself) though no fire touched it. Light upon light. Allah guideth unto His light whom He will. And Allah speaketh to mankind in allegories, for Allah is Knower of all things.(an-Nūr 24: 35)
© 2012 As-Sunnah Foundation of America
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