The Light of the Prophet (s)

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.”

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