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ABOUT KNOWING THE PROPHET

Someone has set out an intellectual journey through the world to find and know the Creator of the universe. After traveling in the realms of kinds of creatures, he said to himself: ‘I am seeking the Creator and Owner of this universe amidst these creatures. I should therefore before all else visit Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, and seek from him the answer to my quest.’ He enters by imagination the blessed age of the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, and sees that that era really was an era of happiness for mankind by virtue of that being, who, as confirmed even by his enemies, is the most blessed of the whole creation, the greatest and the most accomplished commander, and the most celebrated ruler among them, the most exalted in speech and the most brilliant in intellect, and who has enlightened fourteen centuries with his virtues and with his Qur’an.

The traveler, after his investigation, realizes how that being had turned, by means of the light he brought, a primitive and illiterate people into the masters and teachers of the world within a very short period, and found numerous decisive proofs in his character and mission of the existence and Oneness of the Creator. Out of these proofs, we will briefly point out only nine of the most general:

  • All laudable virtues and excellent characteristics, as affirmed even by his enemies, were to be found in that being. Besides, hundreds of miracles were made manifest at his hands. For example, he satisfied the thirst of an army with water flowing from his fingers; the moon split with a gesture of his figure, as explicitly mentioned in the verse of the Qur’an, And the moon split; and, again as the Qur’an points out in its verse, It was not you who threw when you threw, but God threw, he caused a great multitude to flee with a handful of earth that he cast toward them. The traveler, after learning about all these facts, or even witnessing them, says to himself: ‘A being who, in addition to all his good moral qualities and perfections, has such manifest miracles to demonstrate, must certainly be the most truthful in speech of all beings. It is inconceivable that he would lower himself to resort to lies and trickery, which are the vices of the vile.’

  • That being holds in his hand the decree of the Owner of the universe. This decree, the Glorious Qur’an, which has been accepted and affirmed in every century by more than three hundred million people, is miraculous in seven different ways and has forty aspects of miraculousness. The traveler thinks: ‘One who is the translator, expounder and proclaimer of such a Decree of pure truth could never tell a lie, which would mean a violation of the Decree and treachery towards its Owner.’

  • That being brought into history such a Law, a religion, a code of worship, a way of prayer, a message, and faith that the like of them has never existed, nor will or could exist. For the Law brought by that unlettered being is matchless in that it has administered one fifth of mankind for fourteen centuries, in a just and precise manner through its rules and injunctions. The religion of Islam, which originated in and is represented by the sayings, precepts and example of that unlettered being, is also peerless, for in each century, it has been for at least three hundred million people a guide and a competent authority or source for whatever matter is referred to it. It has also trained their minds, illumined and purified their hearts, trained and refined their souls, and perfected their spirits.

  • Also, that being is the foremost in practicing all the forms of worship prescribed by his religion and the most God-fearing of people. He observed the duties of worship with the utmost care and attention down to their minutest details even in most perilous circumstances of his life which passed in constant struggle and activity. He never imitated anyone in his worship and combined in a perfect fashion the beginning and the end of spiritual evolution.

  • That being is also unparalleled in prayer and gnosis, for, with the Jawshan al-Kabir, one from among his thousands of supplicatory prayers, he describes his Lord with such a degree of spiritual Divine knowledge that all the saints since his time have never been able, although those coming after have made use of the heritage of the preceding ones, to attain a similar degree of gnosis and description of God. The one who takes a glance at the meaning of even a section of the Jawshan al-Kabir from among ninety-nine will conclude that there is no form of supplicatory prayer like the Jawshan.

  • In his preaching of the message and in his calling people to the truth, he displayed such steadfastness, firmness and courage that, in spite of the antagonism of big powers and great religions, and of his own people and tribe, even of his uncle, he never showed even the slightest trace of hesitation, anxiety or fear, and he successfully challenged the world, and, as a result, made Islam superior to all other religions and systems. This proves that there is not and cannot be anyone like him also in his preaching of and calling to the message of Truth.

  • He had in his faith so extraordinary a strength, so wonderful a certainty, so miraculous an evolution, and such elevated and world-enlightening conviction that none of the prevailing ideas and beliefs of that time, and none of the philosophies of the sages and teachings of the spiritual leaders, although they were all opposed and even hostile to him, was ever able to cause in him any doubt, hesitation or anxiety concerning his certainty, conviction, and assurance. Moreover, all saintly men of all times, his companions primarily included, have all benefited from his fatih which they admit to be of the highest degree. This fact proves that his faith too is matchless. The traveler, that seeker of God, therefore concludes, and his reason too admits that, lying and deception can have no place at all in the one who brought such a unique Law and such a matchless religion, and displayed such wonderful worship, such extraordinary excellence in prayer, such world-admired preaching, and who possessed a faith of such miraculous perfection.

  • Just as the consensus of the Prophets is a very strong proof of the existence and Oneness of God, soo, too, it is a firm testimony to the truthfulness and Messengership of that being, upon him be peace and blessings. For history confirms that all the sacred attributes, miracles and functions that indicate the truthfulness and Messengership of the Prophets, peace be upon them all, were all to be found in that being in the utmost degree. The Prophets verbally predicted the coming of that being, that is, they gave the good tidings of him in the Torah, the Gospels, the Psalms, and the Pages; likewise through their missions and miracles they affirmed and ‘put their signature’ to the mission of that being, who is the foremost and most perfect in Prophethood. The traveler perceives that all the previous Prophets bear witness to the truthfulness of that being through the unanimity of their actions just as they testify to the Oneness of God through verbal consensus.

  • Having attained the truth and perfection, and the rank of working wonders, and gained insight into the reality of things, and spiritual discovery through following that being in all his deeds and principles, thousands of saints unanimously bear witness not only to the Oneness of God but also to the truthfulness and Messengership of that being, upon him be peace and blessings. The traveler realizes that it is as bright a proof as the sun for the truthfulness of that being that those saints witness, through the light of sainthood, some of the truths he proclaimed concerning the world of the Unseen, and that they believe in and affirm all of those truths through the light of faith either to the degree of certainty by knowledge, or certainty by sight, or of certainty by experience.

  • Thousands of exacting scholars of purity, meticulous scholars of truthfulness and believing sages, who have reached the highest station of learning through the teaching contained in the sacred truths brought by that being, upon him be peace and blessings, despite his being unlettered, the sublime sciences to which he gave birth, and the divine knowledge he discovered, not only prove unanimously with their strongest proofs and affirm the Oneness of God, the foundation of his mission, but also bear unanimous witness to the truthfulness of that greatest teacher and supreme master, and to the veracity of his words.

  • The family and the companions of the Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, who with their insight, wisdom and spiritual accomplishments are the most renowned, the most respected, the most celebrated, the most pious the most keensighted of mankind after the Prophets, after having examined and scrutinized all the thoughts and states of that being, whether hidden or open, with the utmost attention and exactitude, unanimously concluded that he was the most truthful, the most elevated, and the most honest being in the world.

Such unshakable affirmation of and firm belief in him from so many of such quality, the traveler understands, is a proof, as the daylight is a proof of the existence of the sun, for the truth of the cause of that being, upon him be peace and blessings.

  • This universe indicates the Maker, Inscriber, and Designer Who has made of it a palace, an exhibition, a spectacle. There should then be someone, a truthful unveiler who discovers the Divine purpose for the creation of the universe, an exalted herald who announces the meaning of this great book, and a discerning master and truthful teacher who teaches the Divine Wisdom, and the meaning and outcome of the transformations and purposeful motions in the universe. As the traveler, the seeker of the truth, comes to know, it is that being who carries out all these duties much better than everyone else, and as a consequence, he is the most truthful in his cause as the most exalted and trusted officer of the Creator of the universe.

  • There is behind the veil of creation One Who wishes through these purposeful and skilled works the perfection of His talent and art; to make Himself known and loved through those countless, adorned creatures; to awoke praise and thanksgiving in return for his boundless invaluable bounties; to encourage worship with gratitude and appreciation for His Lordship, through His affectionate and protective sustenance of life, and His provision of nourishment and bounty in such a manner as to satisfy the most varied of tastes and appetites; to demonstrate His Divinity through such mighty and majestic creativity and purposeful, awesome activity as observed in the changing of seasons and the alternation of day and night, and thereby to make men believe in, to submit to, and obey, His Divinity; and to manifest His justice and truthfulness by always protecting virtue and the virtuous and destroying evil and the evil, by annihilating the oppressor and the liar with heavenly blows. Certainly, with that Unseen Being will he be the most beloved who, serving the Divine purpose to the highest degree, discloses the mystery of creation, who acts always in the name of that Being, his Creator, and who asks Him alone for help and success, and who receives both: he is Muhammad of the Quraysh, upon him be peace and blessings.

The traveler says to himself in order to persuade his reason: ‘Since these nine truths testify to the truthfulness of that being, he must be the source of honor for mankind and the source of pride for the whole world. Therefore he is worthy of being called the pride of the world and the glory of mankind. Moreover, the fact that the Qur’an, which is a miraculous exposition ad the Decree of the All-Compassionate, which he holds in his hand, has taken half of the world into its magnificent spiritual domain, together with the Messenger’s personal perfections and elevated virtues, shows that he is the most important being in the world, and accordingly, his are the most important words concerning our Creator.

  • Come now and see: All the cause of that extraordinary being, the sole aim of all his life, based on the strength of his hundreds of evident and manifest miracles and thousands of sublime, established truths contained in his religion, was to prove and bear witness to the existence and Oneness of the Necessarily Existent Being, and to proclaim Him with all His Attributes and Names. He is therefore the ‘spiritual sun’ enlightening the world, and the most brilliant proof of our Creator, and is called ‘the Beloved of God’. There are three forms of great, truthful and unshakable consensus each of which affirms and corroborates the witness he bears:

  • Thus, the testimony of that being, upon him be peace and blessings, to the Existence and Unity of God is not restricted to himself as an individual; rather it is so universal and unshakable that if all the demons The first: the unanimous confirmation of that illustrious community known and celebrated throughout the world as the Family and Descendants of Muhammad, among whom are thousands of spiritual poles and supreme saints of such keen sight as to penetrate into the Unseen, like Imam ‘Ali, may God be pleased with him, who said: ‘Were the veil to be lifted from the Unseen, my certainty would not increase’, and ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani, who ‘saw’ the Mighty Throne of God and the awesome form of Archangel Israfil while yet on the earth.

  • the unanimous confirmation made with so strong a belief that caused them to sacrifice their lives and properties, and their parents and tribes, by a world-famous community known as the Companions, who, although brought up among a primitive people and in a climate of ignorance, devoid of any positive notions of social life and administration, without any scripture and immersed in the darkness of uncivilized era after the Prophets, in a very short period, became, in the footsteps of that being, the masters, guides and just rulers of the most civilized and socially and politically advanced peoples and states, and ruled the world from east to west in a world-admired fashion.

  • the unanimous confirmation made with certainty of knowledge by innumerable exacting and profound scholars of whom in each age thousands have been brought up and extraordinarily advanced in each branch of science and art.

Even the diabolic beings were to unite, they could not challenge it. Such is the conclusion also reached by the traveler.

In reference to the lesson that traveler learned in the School of Light when he visited in his mind the happy age of the Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, we will give a summary:

There is no deity but God, the Necessarily Existent Being, the One, the Unique, the necessity of Whose existence in Unity is clearly demonstrated by the Pride of the World, the glory of mankind, through the majesty of the sovereignty of his Qur’an, the splendor of the inclusiveness of his religion, the multiplicity of his perfections, the sublimity of his moral qualities, as confirmed even by enemies. Again, he bears witness and brings proof through the strength of his hundreds of manifest and evident miracles, which themselves are proofs of his truthfulness and are unquestionably established; and through the strength of thousands of evident and decisive truths contained in his religion as affirmed by the consensus of his illustrious family and descendants, the agreement of his companions of insight, and by the unanimity of the scholars of his community, the possessors of proofs and enlightening insight.

Were the ancestors of God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, devoted to a certain religion during the interregnum - the period when no Prophet came?

There are traditions that they acted according to what survived of the religion of the Prophet Abraham, upon him be peace, which continued in some particular persons under the veils of heedlessness and spiritual darkness. It is certain that the members of an illustrious lineage beginning with the Prophet Abraham and resulting in God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, cannot have been indifferent to the light of the true religion, or been overcome by the darkness of unbelief. Besides, those who lived in the interregnum will not be called to account for their faults in the secondary commandments of religion and, as stated in the verse, We do not torment unless We send a Messenger9, be exempt from Hellfire. Further, according to Imam Shafi‘i and Imam Ash‘ari, they will be saved from the torment of Hell even if they were in unbelief, unaware of the pillars of faith, since God holds His servants responsible for His Commandments only after He has sent a Messenger and, what is more, responsibility is established after people become aware of belief and Divine Commandments. So, because the passage of time had covered the religions of the preceding Prophets, the people of the interregnum can not be held to account for not following those religions. However, those who carried out some commandments of those religions consciously or unconsciously will be rewarded, while the others who did not will not be tormented.

Did a Prophet appear among the ancestors of God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings?

It is not traditionally certain whether there appeared one after the Prophet Ishmael, upon him be peace. There were however, two Prophets named Khalid ibn Sinan and Hanzala, but not from the lineage of God’s Messenger. Nevertheless, the couplet of Qa’b ibn Luayy, who was from that lineage,

The Prophet Muhammad will appear in the time of heedlessness,
He will give tidings, in all of which he is truthful.

seems to be miraculous and therefore belonging to a Prophet. Imam Rabbani, based on both evidence and spiritual discovery, said: ‘Many Prophets appeared in India, but, since no one or only a few followed most of them, they either did not become famous or were not recognized as Prophets.’

Thus, from the viewpoint of that illustrious Imam, some Prophets resembling those of India, might have appeared among the lineage of God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings.

What is the most true and acceptable opinion concerning the belief of the parents of God’s Messenger and of his grandfather, Abd al-Muttalib?

I have had no books, except the Qur’an, with me for ten years, and I do not have enough spare time to make a thorough search in the books of Hadith to find the most acceptable opinion on matters like this one, relating to the details of the religion. What I can here say on this point is that the parents of God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, are among the people of belief and Paradise. God Almighty will certainly not hurt the feelings of His most noble beloved of filial affection towards his parents.

If you ask why they were not allowed to live long enough to witness the Prophethood of God’s Messenger to be able to believe in him, I will give this answer:

In order to please the filial feelings of His most noble beloved, God Almighty may have willed not to make his parents indebted to him. Since His Compassion required, in order to please both His noble beloved and his parents, that the parents of God’s Messenger should not be reduced from parental rank to the position of being his children-in-religion, and that they should only be indebted to His Lordship, not to any created being, God Almighty did not make the grandfather and parents of God’s Messenger among his community, but He granted to them the virtues, merits and happiness shared by the community. If, for example, a noble marshal’s father, who has the rank of a captain, enters the presence of his son, that son will be under the influence of paradoxical feelings. So, the monarch does not include his father in the company of the marshal, who is his honorable aide-de-camp, because of his compassion for him.

What is the most accurate opinion about the belief of Abu Talib, the uncle of God’s Messenger?

The Shi‘ites are of the opinion that he believed, while the majority of the Ahl al-Sunna hold the opposite. It occurs to me, however, that Abu Talib sincerely loved God’s Messenger for his person, not on account of his Messengership. That sincere and solemn love and affection will certainly not go to nothing. Even if Abu Talib would go to Hell because he did not actually believe for such feelings as shame and tribal zeal, not for wilful denial and sheer obstinacy, God Almighty could create a particular paradise in Hell for him in reward for his good deeds, as he loved God’s noble Messenger and protected and supported him. As He sometimes makes people live in mid-winter a weather of spring or even creates spring in some places, or He changes a dungeon into a palace for some by means of sleep, He may change a particular abode in Hell into a particular paradise.

Knowledge is with God. No one but God knows the Unseen.

Glory be to You! We have no knowledge save what You have taught us. Surely, You are the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.


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Last Updated on October 09, 2000

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