Islamic Heritage of South Asia

Haqeeqat e Insaani and Haqeeqat e Muhammadi

Haqeeqat e Insaani & Haqeeqat e Muhammadi

The Reality of humankind and the Reality of Muhammed (pbuh)

A Sufi Spiritual Cosmology

Maulana Syed Moeenuddin Shah Qadri, Hyderabad, Deccan

Translated from Urdu by Prof. Dr. Nazeer Ahmed

Bimillahir Rahmanir Rahim (In the Name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful).

Definitions and Vocabulary

Alam e Sagheer The compressed (small) universe, a reference to humankind
Aql e Awwal The First Intellect; the First Reason
Arsh The Throne of Allah
Asma e Husna The most beautiful Names of Allah
Asma wa Sifat The Names and Attributes of Allah
Bashar Human
Bashariyet Humanness; humanity
Batini Hidden
Dhat Essence
Haqeeqat Reality
Haqeeqat e Insani The Reality of the human
Hudoos Adversity
Insaan The human
Insaan e Kabir A great human being
Khalifa                        Regent, deputy, a reflector of divine light

Qutub                          The spiritual axis (pole) of an age

Khalq Created
Kursi The “Throne” of Allah
Luh The heavenly Tablet
Nabuwwat Prophethood
Nafs Self; Soul
Qalam The heavenly Pen
Ruh The Spirit
Sifat e Ilahiya Divine attributes
Ta’yun e Awwal The First Fixity
Wajud Existence
Wujoob According to divine Law
Zahiri Manifest; visible

Zuhoor e atem            The most perfect reflection (a reference to the human)

Summary: This discourse presents a spiritual cosmology of the Sufis. It addresses the questions: What is the Reality of humankind? What is the Reality of Muhammed (pbuh)? Who are the inheritors of this Reality after the last Prophet?

Summarily, Allah is the Source of Reality. The Reality of humankind is the Ruh (the Spirit). The Reality of all creation is the first ray of Light that emerged from the presence of Allah. It is called the “Light of Muhammed” or “Noor e Muhammadi”.  Other names for this Reality are Aql e Awwal (the First Intellect or the First Reason), Nur e Nabuwwat (the Light of Prophecy) and Barzaq e Kubra (the Great Bridge).


Peace and Blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammed. May Allah shower His blessings upon each one of you.

The topic for today is Haqeeqat e Insani (The Reality of Humankind). The human is the quintessence (the summary ) of the universe. As Shaikh al Akbar Ibn al Arabi has explained, if you wish to see the details of the human, look into the universe. If you wish to see a summary of the universe, look into the human. Creation to the human is as the body is to the spirit. In other words, if the universe is the body, the human is its spirit.

Looking at oneself in a mirror is different from looking at oneself in reality. When Allah wished to reflect His Most Beautiful Names (Asma ul Husna) in a mirror that had the capability to accept His Light and be its reflector. Allah willed that He would look at Himself. This required a mirror that had the capability to manifest His Most Beautiful Names (Asma ul Husna). So, He created the human.

The Asma’ ul Husna of Allah are 99. Each one manifests an attribute (Sifat) of Allah. It is not possible to reflect all the Sifats in a single human being. Each person becomes a reflector of one Sifat. For instance, one person may be an alim reflecting the attribute of Alim. Another may be a wise person reflecting the divine attribute of wisdom. Yet another person may be loving and compassionate and be a reflector of the divine attributes of love and compassion. And so on.

Allah originated the cosmos, created the human and made Adam His khalifa. His Sunnah manifested this way: First the body was perfected so that it had the capacity to accept the Ruh. Allah said: Fa idha sawwatuhu wa nafaqhtu manhu fi ruhi (When I had perfected it and infused into it my Ruh- Surah Al Baqra). First I made a decision and increased the capability of the body so much that it would have the capability to accept the Ruh from Allah. Adam became the carrier of the Ruh from Allalh.

Adam is the Ruh of the universe. When Adam had developed the capability to accept it, Allah infused His Ruh into him. What does it mean to say infuse My Ruh? It means the reflection of His dhat and sifat upon Adam. The decision had been made, Adam accepted this Trust and became the custodian of the Asma and Sifat of Allah. The human became a reflector of sifat e ilahiya. The human is not the owner of these heavenly sifat, only their custodian. That is why in ancient times they used to call the kings, “shadows of God upon earth” (zillallah).

Just as there are heavenly sifat in Allah, there are similar sifat in the human, except that the human sifat are bestowed whereas the sifat of Allah are from His own essence.  The sifat are with the human only by divine Grace. Examples are: Hayyun (the Living), Samee’ (the Hearing) and Baseer (the Seeing). We are also living, hearing and seeing. The difference is that the human is dependent on Allah for his life, sight and hearing. Allah is not dependent on anyone. He is Self-sufficient.

The heavenly sifat are reflected and exhibited through the Nafs of the human. However, the heavenly attribute Hayyun (the Living) is entirely different from human living (human life). His Hearing and His Seeing are different from our hearing and our seeing. Because of this difference His Wujuub (Law) is our Hudoos (trial). In other words, He always is and always will be (independent of time). By contrast our life is transient (time dependent) and the sifat that we exhibit are temporary and are with us only as long as we are alive.

Allah attached the sifat of the individual with his Nafs (self). He divided the world into what is hidden and what is manifest. He showed His own attributes of wrath and forgiveness. He immersed the world in happiness as well as sadness, hope as well as fear. He manifested Jalal and Jamal. It is the presence of these opposed attributes that are alluded to in the statement in the Qur’an that the human was made “with both hands”.

Let us explain. The sifat of Allah have in them acceptance and rejection. In other words, Allah can be happy with you or inflict His wrath upon you. Similarly, He attached the same sifat to our persona. The difference is that the human sifat are transient. Allah’s sifat are eternal. Our sifat are given to us as gifts. His are a part of His essence. This is what is meant when Allah interrogates Iblis: “What prevented you from bowing before the one whom I made with both hands?”

The opposites in sifat are aggregated in Adam. On the one hand are the sifat that are a reflection of divine attributes. On the other hand are the worldly attributes. The “two hands” mean that in the human there is the reflection of the transcendent Truth from God and also that of mundane creation from this world. Adam in his manifestation has the appearance of khalq (creation) and in his hidden self has the appearance of Haqq.

The human has a “face” that is visible and a “face” that is hidden. By a “face” that is hidden means your essence. “Batini surat” (the hidden face) is your Ruh. Adam in his manifest self has the face of khalq (created being) and in his hidden self has Surat e Haqq (“face” of the Truth). “ Surat e Haqq” means that the reflection of divine attributes has been infused into Adam.  This is what made him worthy of Khilafat (regency). Every atom in the universe exhibits Haqq (the Truth). If the Haqq was not there, then the visible world would have no existence and it would not make its appearance.

The divine attributes show up in every atom commensurate with its ability. You see the trees and the hills as they reflect divine attributes. This is how He shows them to you.   Allah said He is the Light of all creation. Allahu Noorus Samawati wal Ard (God is the Light of the heavens and the earth). Noor is Light. It is through this Light that you see the things of the world. They reflect Allah’s Noor according to their capability. If this reflection was not there then nothing would exist.

The human is “zuhoor e atem”, meaning, he is the most perfect reflection of Allah’s attributes. The attributes manifest in the human are not to be found anywhere else. In other words, the “shadow of Allah” or the “reflection of Allah” that is in the human is not to be found in anything else in the cosmos. No creation except the human has the honor of representing the divine attributes in their totality. You read in Surah al Baqra: “And We taught Adam all the Names”.  Adam became the reflector of all the heavenly attributes.

Allah cast His light on Adam and Adam accepted the Trust. This gave Adam a rank above the angels. Just as “Allah” is the compendium of all the Asma e Ilahi (Names of Allah), Insan is the compendium of “sifat e ilahiyat” (divinely attributes).

You will not find all the divinely attributes in a single individual. The reference is to all of humankind, together. One person may reflect the attribute of “Rahim”, another may reflect the attribute of “Alim”.

If the cosmos reflects the divine attributes whose compendium is the name “Allah”, then it is logical and appropriate to say that rightfully only the human reflects those attributes and it is the reality of the human that is manifest in the universe. The reflection of the human os in all the universe.  For that reason the universe is a reflector of “sifat e ilayi” (the heavenly attributes). It is the reality of the human that is manifest in nature. The universe shows the details of human reality. And the human is the sum total of the details found in the universe. That why the universe is called “Insan e Kabir” (the totality of the human) and the human is called “Alam e sagheer” (the little universe or the compendium of the universe).

The reality of the human is reflected in detail in the universe and the sum total of the universe in reflected in the human. Whatever is in nature, it is present in the human as a sum total.

A different topic starts from here and that is Haqeeqat e Muhammadi (the Reality of Muhammed).

The Reality of Muhammed is the essence of the reality of the human. Haqeeqat e Muhammadi is the first descent of divine Light. This is the station of wahdat. The Prophet said: “The first entity that Allah created was my Light.” Another Hadith says, “ I was a Nabi when Adam was between clay and water.” He was there before there was space-time. He is the first of creation, the most perfect of all entities. He is the first from a perspective of creation and the last from a perspective of manifestation. From a perspective of reality, he is the First Reality, the Frst Fixity (Ta’yun e Awwal), the Greatest Bridge (Barzaq e Kubra), the connection between what is hidden and what is manifest (Rabita Bain az Zuhoor wal Butoon). He is the first Light that was lit and from it was created all cosmos. He is the summary of what exists. He is the soul of the universe. He is the summation of the Jamal (Beauty and Grace) that is manifest in detail in the cosmos. He is the First Reason (Aql e Awwal). He is the Light of the Prophethood. He is the essence of Adam. He is the essence of all the prophets. Just as the creation of the universe was completed with the creation of Adam, the perfection of humankind was completed with him. He is that Light that was manifest before the Asma wa Sifat of Allah. In other words, Wahdat precedes Wahdaniyet (The onset of His Light came before the revelation of His Names and Attributes). He is the Reality of the cosmos.

Allah created the Noor and from the Noor created the entire universe. Noor e Muhammed is the map for the creation of the cosmos. Aql e Awwal (the first Intellect) is to the edifice of spirituality (Ruhaniyet) is like that of an architect to a structure. The materials that are required for a construction of the structure are in accordance with the plan. The plan takes shape in the mind of the architect before it is constructed. The execution of the work is in accordance with the plan. When Allah conceived of the spiritual world and created the material world, He extracted the light of prophecy (Noor e Nabuwwat)  from the First Intellect (Aql e Awwal) just as the map of a structure emerges from the concept of the architect. It was this Noor that illuminated the moon and the sun. It was this Noor that used to construct the Arsh wa Kursi, Luh wa kalam (the heavenly Seat and the Throne, the Celestial Tablet and the Celestial Pen). It was this Noor that was used to illuminate the sky with stars. And it was this Noor that was used to spread out the earths.

This is the Reality of Muhammed. The Ruh e Rabbani was infused  into Adam as an Amana (Trust). In a series from Adam, it came into this world through Hazrat Amina and took on the face of Muhammed (pbuh). This was not the Haqeeqat of Muhammed. It was his Bashariyet (human form) that that was sent for completion of Nabuwwat (prophethood). All the prophets are the detailed exposition of Muhammed. Muhammed is the summation of the perfection of all the prophets. If we wish to see the details, you look at Adam, Noah, Yusuf, Ibrahim, Musa and Isa (peace be upon them) but if you wish to see the totality of their perfections you look at Muhammed (pbuh). If you look at the details, you see Adam, Yusuf, Ibrahim, Musa and the prophets.

The earth was spread out and populated with the Noor Rabbani (the Light from the Creator) that came into the world as a Trust in the heart of Adam. Passed on through generations it was born through Bibi Amina (peace be upon her), took on the “face” of Muhammed, May Allah send His salawat on Muhammed and his family and his companions and peace and blessings be upon them. This is how Allah originated the spiritual world. When the heavenly Light entered the body of Muhammed (pbuh) he took on the face of a Bashar. When the Prophet appeared, he was asked to proclaim to the Meccans that he was a Bashar like them. This completed the creation of the cosmos.

Why did the Prophet appear in the mold of a Bashar? If he were not to appear in his “Bashari Libas” (human cloak) you would not be able to see him. When the responsibility if Nabuwwat was placed on him, it became mandatory that he convey the message of Allah to people. He appeared in Bashari form so that people may look at him. It was not his Haqeeqat (Reality); it was his Bashariyet (humanness). All the Asma wa Sifat (Names and Attributes) are collectively reflected in his Bashari (human) appearance so that those who “look” at him may reach their destination, which is to witness the divine Asma wa Sifat. We are not fortunate to have seen him but the Companions did and whoever saw his “face” witnessed all the Asma wa Sifat.

Only a person who can see both aspects can claim to have seen the Prophet. He should see both Bashariyet (humanness) and Haqeeqat (the Reality). He should “see” both Bashar e Muhammadi and Haqeeqat e Muhammadi. Allah has cautioned in the Quran: “They look towards you but they see nothing”.  The physical aspects of the Prophet were Bashari. These Bashari aspects are Signs. The proclamation of faith says “A’bduhu wa Rasooluhi”. You are unfortunate if you look only at Bashariyet and forget the Haqeeqat.

The Awliya

Now, a few words about the manifestation of Haqeeqat e Muhammadiyah through the times. Allah determined that there be a Khalifa on earth. First, there was Adam. After him, (to maintain continuity) it was mandated that there be a Khalifa in every age. These were the Anbiya (prophets). It is a requirement that the Khalifa command a close relationship with his people so that they attain spiritual perfection through him. Only through a close connection can a prophet discharge his mandate to be the Khalifa.

Who are the inheritors of the Prophets? Social conditions change. People through the ages do not possess the same capabilities.  Their environment changes. For instance, the beauty of Yusuf (Joseph) was his Sign of prophethood in an age when beauty was most valued in Egypt. In another age, magicians were accorded respect and Allah bestowed upon Moses the ability to vanquish the magicians. At the time of Eesa (Jesus) it was healing. Thus, every Prophet had his own evidence for his prophethood. A manifestation of Haqeeqat e Muhammed in its perfection was not possible in earlier times as the conditions were not right for this manifestation.

Prophet Muhammed was the last Nabi. He was a Nabi “before” Adam but his manifestation in world history was in later times. There will be no Nabi after him. If there is no Nabi then who will inherit the Khilafat?

At the termination of Nabuwwat (Prophethood), the spiritual mantle was passed onto the Awliya. The Awliya became inheritors of Khilafat. The Khulfa e Rashideen, Abu Bakr, Omar, Uthman and Ali (may Allah be pleased with them) were Awliya of such stature that there was no Wali like them.   They were at once Khalifa and Wali. After the period of Khulfa e Rashidoon, the Khilafat passed onto Qutubs. In every age there is a Qutub (spiritual pole). As to who is the Qutub of an age, we may not know but the Qutubiyet does not end. It is as if they are shadows (zilli) of al Insan ul Kamil (the perfect human) on earth. They maintain the Khilafat through their love of the Prophet and following his seerah (path). They occupy the positions of divine regency and Prophetic representation. They are ulema e batin (scholars of the hidden sciences). They are attainers of ma’rifat e ilahi (gnostic inner knowledge). They are the inheritors of the Prophet.

The distinction of a human is in ma’rifat e ilahi (inner knowledge of the divine). The manifestation of human perfection is in the knowledge of Allah’s subtle ways which is acquired  through Bashari faculties.  The perfection of Khilafat and the perfection of the human is predicated on the perfection of ma’rifat.

Ma’rifat is to “know” Allah. It is an endless road. But a salik (seeker of truth) must embark on this road to witness the Light of His Asma wa Sifat. Be aware, however, that you cannot see the Noor of His dhat (the Light of His Essence); it is the last destination of only the prophets.

The perfection of a salik (wayfarer in a search for the Truth) is in ma’rifat. The salik accepts the multiplicity of fixities, keeps himself away from mundane attributes (sifat e Bashari), gets close to truth and reality, becomes worthy of tajalli e dhat (the manifestation of the Essence) and becomes a reflector of the most beautiful heavenly attributes (sifat e ilahi). He advances with humility to wear the crown of Khilafat, becomes a means for the perfection of others as if he is a guide for both worlds and discharges the responsibilities of a servant of God. Indeed, he attains the station of ubudiyet (divine servanthood), discharges his responsibilities at all stations and becomes their safekeeper. His reality becomes illuminated.  Sharia becomes his lamp, reality his ultimate destination.  Such a human is a “walking-talking” picture of akhlaq e ilahi (sublime heavenly  character) and becomes means of compassion and grace for people of the world. It is in his honor that Allah (swt) says: “And we bestowed upon him Noor and he carries it with him as he walks among people”.

The closeness to Allah is through Ma’rifat e Ilahi. The salik traverses his stations, experiences Sifat e Ilahi, becomes worthy of khilafat and a means for the perfection of others. In other words, he becomes a guide for both worlds and discharges the responsibilities of servanthood. For instance, after he donned the rope of khwajagan, Hazrat Abdel Khader Jeelani became a means for the perfection of people. He trained his mureeds (students) and they radiated out throughout the world. Such is the khilafat that is bestowed by Allah swt. Such is the khilafat that is continuous and will last until the end of time when the Mahdi (peace be upon him) will appear.