Islamic Heritage of South Asia

A Complete Translation of Noorul-Haqeeqat

 

Noorul Haqeeqat

Author: Hazrath Shah Syed Ismail Qadri al Multani al Ma’ruf

Transmitter: Hazrath Badashah Qadri

Compiled by: Prof. Mevlana Syed Ataulla Hussaini

Professor, Jamia Nizamiya, Hyderabad, Deccan

Translated from Urdu by Prof. Dr. Nazeer Ahmed, California

 

Tanazzulat (The Descent of Divine Grace)

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim (In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful)

The stations of prayer (hamd), all of them, are only for Allah who exists by His own essence and has bestowed existence on the cosmos. And SA’lam and Darood be on the Crown of Creation (Peace be upon him) whose Reality is the unity of essence and the core of the cosmos, and upon his family and all of his companions (may Allah be pleased with them) who are the guides for both Shariah and Tareeqa and are masters of Reality (Haqeeqat) and Inner Knowledge (Ma’rifat).

 

 

The First Position

The Pristine State (Martab e Oola)

Listen! When there was nothing, neither water nor dust, neither air nor fire, neither the earth nor the sky, neither trees nor stones, no animals – then, there was one Reality that was existent on its own. In Arabic it is called “Huwiyet”. In Farsi it is called “Hastee”. In Dakhni it is called “Hai Pun”. Some elders also call it “Love(Ishq).

This Reality was free of any constraints and its attributes and perfections were hidden at this station. Due to its self-perfection, it was not oriented in any direction. It was present to itself. It was not turned towards “the other” because there was no “other”. All of its attributes were contained within itself. Therefore, at this station, none of its names or attributes were manifest. There was no relationship or increase (or decrease), It was beyond the attributes of hidden or manifest. At this station, one cannot even talk about the Creator or the created. Some elders have called this station “Allah”. Many of the Sufi masters have called it only an allusion to a Name because there is no limit to language; you can give this Reality any name you want. However, there is no benefit in giving it a name because the intent of giving a name is to understand and teach and here the situation is without “fixity” (ta’yun). One can neither find this Reality nor understand, see or comprehend it. If this is the situation, then, why use language? It (the Reality) cannot be contained in words no matter how many names you give it.

That Reality transcends creation due to its Unicity because the Essence, by its very nature, considers existence and non-existence to be the same. It does not desire to exist and it is not inclined towards non-existence. This (level of) transcendence is specific only to the Essence (Dhat). No one, not even a wali (sage) or a prophet can comprehend this Reality at this position because this Reality, due to its primal unfettered freedom desires not to be known or constrained (by understanding). It is a compulsion of knowledge that seeks to understand the object of knowledge (which is not possible at this station).

It is therefore true wisdom to shy away from seeking a comprehension of the station of Essence. To exert oneself in investigating the “Essence” without recourse to fixities (ta’yunat), names (Asma’), attributes (Sifat) and manifestations (Mazahir) is a waste of one’s life. It is reaching out for the impossible. Such inner knowledge (ma’rifat) is forbidden to anyone but Himself. It is sufficient to know that there was a Reality other than the cosmos from which the cosmos became manifest.

The cosmos is a vehicle for the reflection of the beauty of the transcendent Reality that lies beyond the cosmos.

That Reality, in its own state, is beyond fixity. No single fixity is appropriate for it. In any given state, it takes on a fixity in accordance with that state. It captures and is captured without being altered in any way.  It is collective as well as individual, common as well as specific, single as well as multiple. Shaikh al Junaid (may Allah be pleased with him) has said: Al Aan Kama Kaan. In other words, Allah is as He was.

This station of Essence is also called Ghaib e Huwiyet (the hidden essence of He), Ghaib al Ghuyub (the hidden of the Most Hidden), Ibtan Kul Batin (the womb of all that is hidden), Huwiyet Mutlaqa (the essential aspect of He), La Ta’yun (non-fixity), Ayn ul Kafur (the Essence of the musk), Dhaat e Sazid (the Essence of the most complex), Munqata al Isharat (the limit of allusion), Munqat al Wajdan (the limit of inquiry), Ahdiyate Mutlaqa (the essential Unicity), Mujhul ul Naat (devotional praise for the One who is not known), A’nqa (the priceless jewel), Nuqta (the dot) and Ganje Maqfi (the hidden treasure).

 

The Second Position

Tanazzul e Awwal: (The First Decent) Wahdat

Allah (swt) declares:

“I was a hidden treasure (In other words, all the divine attributes were hidden under the power of His Essence). I willed that I be known. So I created a creation (that would know Me).”

The manifestation of Reality is what is reflected in creation, namely, in the Tay’unat (fixities), and is witnessed by the A’rifeen (people of inner knowledge). It is witnessed in two ways in the reflections and the fixities:

  1. When the Dhat (Essence) descends into Asma (The Divine Names) or Arwayh (The Spirit), the A’rif (person of inner knowledge) first witnesses it and then looks at the state of its manifestation in the Tay’unat (fixities). Then, the Arif witnesses how it is encapsulated in the Tay’unat (fixities), whether the witnessed fixities are named or unnamed. This is the witness of the sages of the highest attainment. It was the witness of Hazrath Abu Bakr Siddique (r), as he said:

“I did not witness anything unless I first witnessed Allah”.

  1. The second witness is the perception of the limitless Essence between Tay’un and Tajalli (between fixity and its manifestation) whether it be while witnessing the Essence of the fixity or after witnessing the fixity. This is the witness of Hazrath Uthman (r) who said:

“I did not witness anything unless I saw Allah with it”.

The fixities of this Reality are limitless. However, they can be grouped into six categories.

  • Two of these categories are hidden because the Essence and the Non-essence are both absent from them. Nothing is manifest in its reality in these two hidden categories and no entity has the privilege of manifestation. The first hidden category attains its hidden Tay’un (fixity) from the Ghaib (the Hidden). Similarly, the second hidden category attains its hidden Tay’un (fixity) from the Ghaib (the Hidden).
    • The next three categories are “Koni” (derived from the verb ‘kun”, the verb “to be”, which is the divine command for creation).
    • The sixth category embraces all the categories.

The First Fixity, or the First Manifestation of Reality is that He “found Himself” and declared: “I am” (Ana), and all the unmanifested cosmos came into His knowledge.

It is apparent that the un-manifested cosmos is not separate from Reality. The universe is not separate from the Essence. The Essence has the power and the capacity to manifest the cosmos.

The Essence (Dhat) contains all the Asma wa Sifat (the Names and the Attributes of Allah) without manifesting them. For instance, the attribute “All-Hearing” (As Samee’) is not separate from “All-powerful” (Al Qadir). In other words, no single divine Name is separate from the other. This is a “absolute” station. Multiplicity, whether real or imaginary, is not manifest at the station of Essence. All the worlds are nonexistent here.

When the Essence “found” its own Existence, and said “Ana” (I am), then four entities came into being: Dhat al Wajud, Sifat e Ilm, Ism e Noor and Fa’el e Shuhood.

  1. The Essence of Existence (Dhat al wajud). In other words, He “found Himself: by declaring “Ana” (I am). The Essence is by itself the Existence.
  2. The attribute of Knowledge (Ilm). The knowledge is the attribute.
  3. Noor or Light. When His Light manifested upon Himself, He became to manifest to Himself. This manifestation is Noor.  Some elders have called “Anaya” (the “I” in “I am”) as the Noor.
  4. The act of Witness (Shuhood). In other words, when He saw Himself, He witnessed Himself. This is called Shuhood.

The First Fixity (Ta’yun e Awwal) is also called Wahdata e Haqeeqi (the True Unity), Martabul Jama’ wal Wajud (the Station of Summation and Existence), Martabay e Jamiya (the Station of Summation), Ahdiyet Jamiya (the Utter Unity), Ahdiyet Jama’ (the Integrated Unity), Muqam e Jama’(The Station of Integration), Haqeeqatul Haqaeq (the Reality of Realities), Barzaq ul Baraziq (the Bridge of Bridges), Barzaq e Kubra (the Greatest Bridge), Haqeeqat e Muhammadiya (the Reality of Muhammed), Aql e Awwal (The First Intellec, Qalm e A’la (the Lofty Pen), Ruh e A’zam (the Great Spirit), and Tajalli e Awwal (the First Manifestation).

This Wahdat (Unicity) is worthy of the Dhat. At this station , Nasoot (th material world) is not preferred over Malakut (which is a station of the Spirit), Malakut is not preferred over Jabroot (which is a station of Sifat), and Jabroot is not preferred over Lahut (which is a station of Dhat).

Wahdat has two foundational concepts, ideas, or notions (E’tebarat):

  1. Ideas where the evidence is subsumed. In other words, at this Station, all beliefs, notions, ideas, concepts are rejected in relation to Dhat (the Essence). This is Ahdiyet.  In other words, the Essence is where all notions, ideas, concepts are vanquished. From this perspective, the Essence has been called Ahad (the unqualified Unicity).  From another perspective, the Essence is where all notions, ideas and concepts have been removed. For this reason, the origin, freedom and appearance of Dhat are predicted upon this perspective.
  2. Ideas where the evidence is embraced.  There are unlimited notions in this Dhat (Essence). This is the Dhat (Essence) that is with all ideas and attributes. There is a name for the Dhat that is together with all notions and attributes: it is Wahed. Wahed (Unicity) is an evidentiary Name; it does not capture and absorb all notions. The appearance, existence and eternity of this Dhat is predicataed upon this perspective.

There is no “otherness” in these two ideas. The presence or absence of evidence makes no difference to the Essence. There is no active multiplicity in Wahdat (Unicity). Therefore, Wahdat is the Unicity of Essence which knows itself without any evidentiary notions or rejected notions. At the Station of Essence, the presence or absence of rejected notions or evidentiary notions makes no difference.

Thus, it is the first manifestation of Essence, It is related to both Ahdiat and Wahdiat. If there was no Wahdat, these relations would not exist either.

Wahdat is the Unicity of the Essence which recognizes itself without conditions. As an illustration, love has two relational aspects, namely, the lover and the beloved. They would both disappear in the absence of love. In the same way, Ahdiyet is above Wahdat and Wahediyet is below Wahdat. Wahdat is like a bridge between the two.

This Wahdat is also called Tajalliye Awwal (the First Manifestation), Tanazzul e Awwal (the First Descent), Haqeeqatul Haqa’eq (the Reality of Realities), Barzaq e Kubra (the Greatest Bridge), Asal ul Baraziq (the Actual Bridge), Aw Adna (“Or Less” as in Qaba Qawsain Aw Adna in the Qur’an) and Alif (the first letter formed by the elongation of the dot).

 

The Third Position

The Second Descent: Wahdiyet

The second Descent (Tanazzul) is the second fixity of Reality. In this position (Martaba), the divine Essence (Dhat) recognized itself with every attribute and capability because the Essence contains in it all the Asma wa Sifat (divine Names and attributes) whether they are collective or individual. In this manner, every Name is separated from every other Name. A Name is descriptive of the Essence that reveals itself through an Attribute. For instance, the Essence is called Samee’ (the Hearer) when it is expressed through the attribute of hearing and Kaleem (the Speaker) when it is associated with the attribute of speech.  If it is asked: “The Name Allah is the Name of the Essence. Where is the provision of attributes here?”  The answer is: “Allah is the Name of the Essence that is a compendium of all perfections and attributes. It is the locus of all perfections and is bereft of any imperfection or diminution.

There are two types of evidence for the perfection of the Truth: the perfection of Essence and the perfection of Name.

  1. The perfection of Essence. What is meant by the perfection of Essence is that the manifestation of Essence is solely for itself and within it, without reference to “the other” or “otherness”. In other words, one of the perfections of the Essence is that its description is predicated upon the existence of evidence of the Essence itself, not the existence of evidence of “the other”. Thus, the Essence by itself is complete and by its own Essence it is necessarily existent. Indeed, it is the fountain of Existence that exists by itself. Unfettered freedom is a pre-requisite for the perfection of Essence so that it is independent in its existence, subsistence and eternity. So, in this perfection, it is free and independent of all creation.
  2. The perfection of the Name. What is meant here is the association of the Essence with Asma e Husna (the Most Beautiful Names of Allah). This knowledge is possible only after the evidence of the Universal Archetypes (A’yan e Thabita) because without the knower there is no knowledge. There is no force without the forced and there is no creator without the created. When the worlds were fixed in the reality of this knowledge, then the knowledge of Allah found its place with the dawn of knowledge. Thus, the Name of the Knower became manifest through the knowledge of Allah and all the Universal Archetypes came into this knowledge without any alteration. In other words, the knowledge made no change in the universal archetypes because knowledge is controlled by the Knower. In this manner, the heralded knowledge became empowered and besought. It was connected to power and intent. Now, the name of this Reality, which is “Qader” (the Owner of Power) and “Mureed” (the seeker of knowledge) became manifest. Please use the same analogy for the other Asma’ (divine Names).

At this station, every attribute is separate from every other attribute and from the point of view of differentiation based on knowledge, it is separate and distinct from the Essence because this Reality looked at all of its capabilities and understood each capability separately.

This Reality recognized its own attributes in three ways:

  1. Sifat e Dhati: Those attributes that are not dependent on their demonstration. There are three domains here. They are called the essential attributes. Examples: life, knowledge, intent, will, hearing, seeing, speech, life, acceptance, compulsion, autonomy, holiness, self-sufficiency, presence.
  2. Sifat e Afa’li: Those attributes that possess the capability of action and whose demonstration depends on their being executed. These are called demonstratable attributes. Examples: procreation, sustenance, giving life or taking it.
  3. Sifat e Anfe’ali: Third, those attributes that have the capability to accept external influence. These are called Sifat e Anfe’ali. For instance, createdness, being sustained, living, dying.

The Sifat e Dhati (essential attributes) and Sifat e Afa’li (demonstrable attributes) are called haqaeq e ilahiya (the divine Truths) because with every one of these attributes there is a (divine) Name.

The Sifat e Anfe’ali are called Haqaeq e Kawnia (the truths of the two worlds),Ay’an e Thabita (the Universal Archetypes), Suwwar e Ilmiya (the proclamation of knowledge), Mahiyat (What is), Haqaeq e A’lam (the truths of the world), A’lam e Muafi (the domain of forgiveness), Umhat e A’lam (the mother or the pristine source of the worlds), Ainae haye Wujud (mirror of the disappearing existence) and A’dem (the disappearance).  It is the station is of manifestation of Wahdat because here the beautiful Names are manifest in detail.

Then, this position has two aspects:

  1. The relationship “above” is called “Haqaeq e Ilahiya” (Realities of the divine realm). Their existence is essential.

The relationship “below} it is called “Haqaeq e Kawnia” (Realities of the two realms). Their existence is only possible and contingent. In other words, the hidden and the manifest, existence and external non-existence are the same.  At this station, conceptual multiplicity appeared. Conceptually, the names, attributes and the heralded entities are many but they are not separated from the one Reality.

In between these is the reality of the human.

Some Sufis have said that the multiplicity in the Haqeeq e Ilahiya (the divine reality) is relative, whereas the multiplicity in Haqaeq e Kawnia (the reality of the two realms) is real because every mahiyet (the thing as it is) is different from every other mahiyet. Indeed, Wahdat is linked with it because there is the manifestation of only one existence in all of the apparent forms.

The divine Names and Attributes (Asma wa Sifat e Ilahiya) are called Khazaen e Ilahiya (the divine treasures) because every Name and Attribute has hidden in it treasures of divine commandments and divine imprints which become manifest after a worthy creation is created. The heralded entities are not separate from this Reality but are archetypes of the Reality. These Universal Archetypes have no awareness of themselves or the other; they did not achieve unification with the essence of this Reality.

These Suwware Ilmiya (Universal Archetypes) are not created beings because they did not come into existence through the creation of the Creator. They are therefore nonexistent. In other words, they do not exist outside of conceptualization. When they have not even been created, how can they be amongst creation?  Creation is the name given to external existence. These Universal Archetypes are dependent on a Creator for their creation but they are set in their conceptual existence. Their reality is hidden. Therefore, how can they make an external appearance? Therefore, the realities that are manifest in the Universal Archetypes are the impressions of the archetypes; they are not the essence of the archetypes.

The Suwware Ilmiya (Universal Archetypes) have two aspects:

  1. One aspect is that the Universal Archetypes are the mirrors of Reality and the Asma wa Sifat (Names and Attributes of Allah) are embedded in those mirrors. The archetypes appear to be many because of their imprints even though they are not visible in the exterior.
  2. The second aspect is that the Reality is itself the mirror of the Universal Archetypes so that there is nothing visible in this Reality but the archetypes themselves. The Reality which is the mirror of the archetypes is hidden as befits the majesty of the mirror. Thus, the mirror has become visible from behind a curtain.

In this position (Wahdiyet), there are two Realities that stand out:

  1. One Reality contains the attributes of perfection. Examples are: freedom, action, Unicity, existence of the Essence, exaltedness. This is the mandatory Reality and refers to Allah.
  2. The second Reality contains the attributes of created beings. Examples: boundedness, passivity, susceptibility to influence, contingent essence, birth . This Reality is one of possibilities and refers to the human and the the created world.

To manifest the Universal Archetypes, Allah created the external world in conformance with His detailed knowledge and in accordance with the capabilities of each creation. This Second Descent is called Uluhiat (Godliness), Ta’yun Thani (the Second Fixity), Tajalli e Thani (the Second Manifestation), Mansha e kamalat (the perfect intentions), Qibla e Tawajihat (the Locus of Evidence), A’lam e Muafi (the World of Forgiveness), Hadrat Ertesam (the Presentation of Archetypes), Ilm e Azli (the Primal Knowledge), Ilm e Tafseeli (the Detailed Knowledge), Qaba Qawsain (two bows length), Muntahiy ul Abideen (the Limit of the Pious), Mansha ul Kathrat (the Intent of Multiplicity), Wahdiyet (Unicity), Martaba tu Allah (the Rank of Allah) and Luh e Mahfooz (the Preserved Tablet),

It should not be inferred that Wahdat and Ilahiyet are new names for the Creator because not even a hint of the rank of Dhat (the divine Essence) is bestowed upon Wahdat and Ilahiyet. These are only explanations and elaborations offered to foster understanding and faith.

 

The Fourth Position

The Third Descent: The Angels

The third descent of divine Grace or the third fixity is the manifestation of the Spirit. The Spirit is the essence of bodies and is free of defects. It does not have a shape or form. The world of the Angels (A’lam e Arwah) is also called A’lam e Af’ali (the World of Action), A’lam e Anwar (the world of Light), A’lam e Mujarridat, (the Immaterial World), A’lam e Mufarriq (the Separated World), A’lam e Malakut (the World of Angels), A’lam e U’lwi (the Angelic World), A’lam e Ghaib (the Hidden World), A’lam e Amr (the World of Command), A’lam e Ghair Mahsoos (the Imperceptible World), A’lam e Rabbani (the World of the Sustainer), A’lam e Lateef (the Subtle World), A’lam e Beyrang (the World without Color).

The angels in the world of A’lam e Arwah (the angelic world) are of two categories:

  1. The first category is one which has no part in the planning and execution of events in the material world. The angles in this category are called Karrubiyan.
  2. The second category is one which takes part in the planning and execution of events in the material world. The angels in this category are called Ruhaniyan.

The Karrubiyan are, in turn, divided into two sub-categories:

  • The angels in the first sub-category are heedless of themselves and of the created world. They are steeped in the majesty and beauty of the Creator ever since they were created. These are called Malaek e Maheemeen.  In the Sharia we call them Mala e A’la or Malaek e A’lia. Allah created them in the first ‘Ama (non-space). Then, He created another angel with the same attributes and bestowed upon that angel the knowledge of all things from the beginning till the end. This angel is called ‘Aql e Kul (the Universal Intellect), ‘Aql e Awwal (the first Intellect), and Qalm e A’la (the exalted Pen). Then, Allah created another angel so that the Exalted Pen may teach him all the detailed knowledge. It is called Nafs e Kul (the Universal Soul) and Luh e Mahfooz (the Preserved Tablet). Whatever is in it cannot be changed.

There are other angels to whom some knowledge has been given. These angels are ”in between”. They are scribes or Aqlam (“Pens”); they take information from the higher angels and transmit it to the angels below them.

The angels in the lower realm are called Alwah. They are responsible for construction and destruction. The Aqlam keep writing to these Alwah all the time. The sounds of the Pens that the Prophet (peace be upon him) heard during M’eraj ware the sounds of these pens. The Exalted Pen had already finished writing.

  • The angels in the second sub-category of the Karrubiyan are there as a favor for Rububiyet (as a favor for the created). These are called Hujjaabil Wahiyet.

In the ‘Ama (spaceless domain), all the angels are lined up and are engaged in their tasks. They cannot leave or exceed their stations. Next to the Universal Reason and the Universal Soul, the Exalted Angels such as Hazrath Jibreel and Hazrath Mikael are waiting in the Exalted Row for Allah’s commands. They cannot be disobedient since they are created that way and are incapable of wrongdoing.

Next are the Malaek e Tab’iya who are responsible for delegated tasks. Some of them are tasked with the production of species, some for provision of sustenance, some for support for physical bodies and some in the documentation of deeds. They are from the categories of the Aqlam and the Alwah. These Alwah are at the station of construction and destruction. The wrongdoings that are documented by them are erased by the Grace of the Creator. Every angel praises Allah with the attribute that it witnesses and this remembrance is performed with the exalted and pure Divine Names.

The Ruhaniyan are of two sub-categories:

  • In the first sub-category are the angels that are preoccupied with the heavens. They are called Ahl e Malakut e A’la (Family of the Exalted Angels).
  • The second sub-category are the angels who are preoccupied with the earth. They are called Ahl e Malakut e Asfal (Family of Angels of the lower rank).

Millions of angels oversee humankind and many more oversee the material world and the animal kingdom. Every drop of rain has an angel associated with it. Sufis of Kashf (unveiling) maintain that even a leaf cannot fall unless it is with an angel. There is a mention in the Ahadith of some of the angels: Malik al Jibal (the angels of the mountains), Malik ur Reeh (the angels of the winds), Malik ur Re’ad (the angels of thunder), Malik ul Barq (the angels of lightning) and Malik us Sihab (the angels of clouds).

Attributes of the Human Spirit (Ruh e Insani) and the Animalistic Spirit (Ruh e Haiwani)

The human spirit is from the Ruhaniyan.  It is attached without materiality and is a subtlety from the subtleties of the Creator. It is the equivalent of Luh and Qa’lam (the Tablet and the Pen) and includes them both because the human spirit is the integrated manifestation of all the material entities in creation and of the divine Names in the domain of possibilities. It knows every entity through its interactions with other entities. It acquires whatever knowledge it seeks from the Universal Intellect and the Universal Soul without hindrance even though these two occupy higher stations.

The human spirit is one but it it is fixed in many fixities and it is manifest in many faces. These faces are called Arwah e Haiwani (the Animal Spirits).  Every human has an animal spirit. Ruh e Haiwani is a subtle entity that acts as a bridge between the spiritual world and the material world. It transforms and appears in every part of the body so that every aspect of it is ingrained in every part of the body and you do not even feel that the animal spirit is something separate from the body.

In every individual, there is a Ruh e Haiwani (the Animal Spirit), which is a reflection of the Aql e Kul ( the Universal Intellect). The Ruh e Haiwani is specific (to each individual) and it is through this Ruh e Haiwani that an individual distinguishes between  good and evil and benefit and loss.

There is another power that emerges from a ray of the Universal Intellect, and that is, the Individual Self (Nafs e Juzyi). It guides a perfect human to the higher virtues and supports him in his attainment of higher perfections. At the same time, the Individual Self encapsulates the spirit and fulfills the demands of the body and its animalistic tendencies. Such efforts of the Nafs (the Self), however, are only for the pleasures of the Ego.

One of the powers of the animalistic spirit (Ruh e Haiwani) is Ruh e Shaitani (The Satanic Spirit) which nudges the Nafs towards what is forbidden and to satisfy bodily pleasures.

There is another power of Ruh e Haiwani (Animalistic Spirit) which is Quwwat e Malaki (the Angelic Power). It demands good deeds for the hereafter, commands such deeds and it serves the spirit.

Thus, the relationship of the animalistic spirit to the human spirit is like imprisonment to freedom or the simple to the comprehensive.  In the Silsila of Qutub e Zaman Shah Multani, Ruh e Haiwani is called “possible” (Mumkin).

Ruh e Haiwani (the Animalistic Spirit) is the physique of the human spirit and it is merged and integrated with it and in its very fixity, it exhibits freedom. In its impressionability, Ruh e Haiwani is the domain of all entities, and is purified of pleasure and sorrow. However, when it is in a body, it is devoid of knowledge and acquires the characteristics of pleasure and sorrow.

Ruh e Haiwani (the Animalistic Spirit) is also a subtle treasure and is eternal. It is not annihilated with death. When it is separated from the body, it is said that the body is dead. When the Ruh is separated from the body, it becomes a bridge. In other words, it acquires an appearance from a host of appearances of similitude  and does not retain a connection with a worldly body. In the grave, it is the Ruh e Haiwani (the Animalistic Spirit) that is interrogated along with Jism e Barzaqi (the body that is in transition) because it (the Ruh e Haiwani) is indestructible and is “eternal” (timeless).

When the body is asleep, the Ruh e Haiwani (the animalistic spirit) separates from the body and roams around. Sometimes, this spirit escapes from a body that is awake and that body appears as if it is asleep. When the spirit returns, every part of it re-enters into every organ of the body, as would be appropriate. Oftentimes this condition is found among the mureeds (students) of Qutub e Zaman Shah Multan.

Even though Ruh e Haiwani is with the body, it is so subtle that it can also be with the Arwah (spirits). Shaikh Syed Meeran Warangee has said that even though Ruh e Haiwani is present is large numbers, its appearance and disappearance from individuals is apparent to the A’rifeen (people of inner knowledge), whereas the common folks are unaware of it and are doubtful about it. Some in the Silsila of Sultanul I’shaq have called the Ruh e Haiwani, “Shakhs e Insani” (the individuality of the human) and Mukallif bis Shara’ (the prescribed host that causes distress). The rank of some humans over others is because of this Ruh e Haiwani.

Once it comes into existence, Ruh e Haiwani (the animalistic spirit) is never annihilated. In this world it takes on “Jism e ‘Anseri” (the individual material body), in Barzaq (between death and resurrection) it takes on “Jism e Barzaqi: (the body of barzaq or the bridge) and in the Akhira (hereafter) it takes on “Jism e Mahshoor” (the body of the Judgment Day).

Ruh e Haiwani is the companion of Ruh e Insani. The perfect human (Insan e Kamil) protects the Ruh from the pleasures of the Nafs and destroys the Ruh e Haiwani under the gaze of Ruh e Insani and witnesses the freedom of Ruh e Insani .

There are differences in the rank of the Awliya (sages) in accordance with their ma’rifat (inner knowledge) of the Ruh. The secret is this: There is one Ruh but in terms of its fixity it is many. Every fixity produces its own attributes, specific as well as general. Therefore, some of the fixities get caught up in ignorance and fall into the lowest of the low whereas others befriend ‘Irfan (inner knowledge) and reach the level of ‘Aliyun (an allusion from the Qur’an, meaning, highest of the high). The differences in Ma’rifat arise from the capabilities of these fixities.

Summarily, Ruh e Haiwani (the animalistic spirit) is both complete and incomplete, capable of enjoyment as well as suffering in accordance with the conditionality of its fixity. Qalm e Ala and Luh e Mahfuz (The Exalted Pen and the Preserved Tablet) are inherent in Ruh e Insani (the human spirit).

Meethaq e Risalat (The Covenant of the Arwah with the Prophet)

The exalted Ruh of Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) is the sublime Ruh which is always with the attributes of knowledge and perfection. He was the prophet in the A’lam e Arwah. All the entities in that domain, whether they were perfect or imperfect, have believed in him and all the Arwah (angels) have made a promise that even when his Ruh comes into its worldly existence, they will obey and follow him.  This covenant with the Prophet (Meethaq e Risalat) took place after the covenant with the Sustainer (Meethaq e Rububiyet).

 

The Fifth Position

The Fourth Descent: Amthal (Prototypes)

The fourth Descent of Divine Grace is A’lam e Mithal (The Domain of Prototypes). This is a subtle bridge-world between Ajsam (entities) and Arwah (the Angels). It is also called A’lam e Barzaq (the Bridge-world), A’lam e khayal (the World of Conceptualization), A’lam e Dil (the World of the Heart). This is the world of the Spirit. It is a treasure of Light. It is similar to a material treasure in that it can be felt and measured. And it is similar to the unique treasure of sanctified thought in that it is Light itself. In other words, despite it being measurable and its similarity to materiality it is similar to the Spirit because it cannot be broken up, grown or captured.

 

The reason A’lam e Mithal is named as such is that this world is similar to A’lam e Ajsam and everything in A’lam e Ajsam has a similarity to an entity in A’lam e Mithal. Everything makes its first appearance in divine knowledge in A’lam e Mithal and is then created in A’lam e Ajsam.

 

There are two categories of A’lam e Mithal:

  1. The first is the category whose appearance is not conditional upon mental exertion. It is called Khayal e Munfasil (Separated Thought), Mithal e Munfasil (Separated Similarity), Mithal e Mutlaq (Unconstrained or Independent Similarity), Khayal e Mutlaq (Unconstrained or Independent Thought).
  2. The second is the category whose appearance is conditional upon mental exertion. It is called Khayal e Mutassil (Connected or Dependent Thought), Mithal e Mutassil (Connected Similarity), Mithal e Muqayyad (Constrained Similarity), Khayal e Muqayyad (Constrained Thought).

 

A’lam e Mufassil (the connected world) is a world of subtle existence in which the Ajsam (bodies) receive the Arwah (the angels) and the Arwah (the angels) receive the body. It is in this world that Hazrath Jibreel (as) appeared before the Prophet as an honored person transmitting the divine message. It is in this world that Khizar (as), the blessed Prophets and the Awliyah appear. Izrael (as) also appears before a dying person in this world and the Ruh (Spirit) moves into this domain after death. The interrogations of Munkir and Nakir and the joys and punishment of the grave are also done in this domain. For this reason, this domain is also called “the domain of the grave”. On the Judgement Day these are the Ajsam (entities) that will be resurrected individually. These Ajsam (entities) will be very subtle. It is in this world that the people of Jannat will enjoy the fruits of their good deeds and it is in this domain that the people of hell will receive their punishment.  Even though the deeds, as the primary source (for reward and punishment) are absent, their realities will be manifest as treasures. For instance, in the Manfasil (Separated Thoughts) the bad deeds will appear as scorpions, serpents and fire. Some bad deeds like fornication, even though they give pleasures in this world, will appear in their reality as “fire that burns”.

 

In this world (A’lam e Mufassil), deeds appear in different forms. For instance, the good deeds will be like rides (like horses) and they carry the doer towards Jannat. On the other hand, the bad deeds will ride on the person. The good deeds will stand at the station of intervention (Maqam w Shifa) and speak up for the doer. The bad deeds will haunt the doer. Similarly, the deviant beliefs will become fire and burn the heart.

 

The constrained similarity makes its appearance when the constraining power acts. Example: The appearances that are seen in dreams.

  1. Sometimes these appearances are in accordance with realities that are present. Such appearances do not require an interpretation or explanation because what is seen reflects what happens. These are truthful sights (Ru’a-e-Sadiqa). Hazrath Aisha (r) said that in the early stages of his Prophethood, Prophet Muhammed (peace and blessings be upon him) witnessed such truthful sights. In other words, whatever dreams he had, they appeared as if they were the light of the dawn and whatever he saw had no defect or doubt in it; it did not require an interpretation or elaboration. The truthful dreams are called “Ru’ya e Saleha” (the virtuous sights) “Ru’ya e Sadiqa” (truthful sights) and “mubasshirat” (the good sights).
  2. Sometimes the dreams, even though they are consistent with present realities, appear as something different. These require an interpretation. Therefore, the reality of the appearance will be its interpretation. Example: The Prophet (pbuh) saw knowledge as milk and faith as a robe. Hazrath Ibrahim (pbuh) saw himself slaughtering his son Hazrath Ismael whose interpretation was to slaughter a lamb.  This was also a truthful sight “Ru’ya e Sadiqa”.

 

Then, there are the dreams that require interpretation. For instance, Hazrath Yusuf saw in his dream that eleven stars and the sun and the moon were prostrating before him. The interpretation of the eleven stars were his brothers. The sun and the moon were his father and mother. This portion of the dream was explained. But the prostration did not happen physically; it was allegorical because his brothers, father and mother became dependent on him.

 

  1. Sometimes the faces in the dreams are entirely different from reality. There is no similarity either in wakeful hours or in the hidden world. Examples: the dreams of mad people or patients with mental disease or of common folks. This is because the angelic world is higher than the corporeal world in its existence and rank and the help that the corporeal world receives has been delegated to the angels. The help that reaches the corporeal world is dependent on the angels who are in between the corporeal world and the presence of Allah.  The angels have been delegated the responsibility to oversee the corporeal world. Because of their essential differences the corporeal world and the angelic world cannot be one. The corporeal entities are integrated (murakkab) whereas the angels are dispersed (baseeth). Since there is no relationship between the angels and the corporeal entities there is no connection between the two. Hence, impact and influence, help and support are not available from one to the other. Therefore, God has made A’lam e Amthal (the world of archetypes) as a bridge between A’lam e Arwah (the angelic world) and A’lam e Ajsam (the corporeal world) so that they two can interact and help and support become available.

 

Similarly, Ruh e Insani (the human spirit) and Jism e Insani (the human body) are different and camaraderie between the two is forbidden because camaraderie is dependent on the body receiving help and support. Therefore, Allah created the Nafs e Haywani (the animalistic self) as a bridge between the spirit and the body.

 

The power of reason is dispersed. Nafs e Haywani is appropriately separated from the Spirit. By its essence, it is with those powers that are spread out throughout the body and influences the different parts according to their capabilities. It acts as the “rider” on them. In this respect the animalistic self is similar to the spirit in as much as both are spread out over the entire body and both control the actions of the body (although in opposite directions).

 

It is not a secret that the bridge in which the Arwah (the souls) live in the afterlife in different from the bridge between the unstinted spirit and the body in this world. The stations of existence are different in descent and ascent. The station that was before an entity came into this world is one from the Tanazzulat (positions of the descent of Divine Grace) which is called “Awwaliyet” (the beginning). The station after death is one from the stations of exit and is called “Akhira” (the afterlife).

 

In Barzaq e Aakhir (the bridge of afterlife), faces are appended to the Arwah (the spirits) in accordance with the deeds of this world. This is opposed to the faces in Barzaq e Awwal (the bridge before this life). In their similarity they are one (they refer to the same human) but in their manifestation they become a reflection one of the other. Barzaq e Awwal is called “Ghaib e Imkan” (The hidden that is possible to witness) because it is possible to witness it. The other Barzaq is called “Ghaib e Mahal” (the hidden that is not possible) because its witness is forbidden except in the hereafter. The first bridge is unveiled on a large number of people; the second on only a few.

 

The Sixth Position

The Fifth Descent: Ajsam (Physical Entities)

The fifth Tanazzul is A’lam e Ajsam (The world of structures, entities or bodies). It is also called A’lam e Shahadat (The world of witness).

The Ajsam (entities) are of two kinds:

  1. ‘Uluyiyat (the higher structures). Examples: Arsh wa Kursi (the Divine Station and the Throne), the Seven Heavens, the planets and the stars, thunder and lightning, the wind and the clouds.
  2. Sifliyat (the lower structures). Examples: Elements and compounds such as metals, flora and fauna, animals and the human body.

Similarly, there are other worlds that are in the category of Ajsam (entities) and have structures such as movement and rest, wisdom and foolishness, subtlety and slyness, light and color, sound and smell.

Reflect that in the world of “A’ma” (non-space or la-makan), after the Universal Intellect and the Universal Soul, the “Hay-ulay-e-Kulli” (the Universal Reason) was created which is also called “Hiba’”. This is the core of entities in which Allah has opened the bodies and appearances of the cosmos. It is also called “Anqa” because it can be felt but cannot be seen. Manifestation is granted only to the appearance, not to the core.

The “sphere” that surrounds all the worlds of Ajsam is the Sphere of the High Throne (the Divine Throne). In the world of ‘Ama (non-space), it is held up by four Angels. What rides this Throne is not a body but Rahman (the Most Gracious). It means there is His manifestation on the Throne. Thus, His Rahmat (Grace) is reflected on all the cosmos; nothing is bereft of His Grace. This is so because in the domain of the Grace of the Most Gracious, it is not the deeds of the created that count but merely supplication and asking.   Hence, it is called “Rahmat e Imtenaniya” (Grace or Mercy that is not denied to anyone). It is also called “Rahmat e Mutlaqa” (Unbounded Grace or Mercy). Divine Grace is a part of existence so much so that there is mercy even in divine wrath because when a punishment reaches the punished, the punishment is justice (Haqaaeq) from from the Just. When Grace appears, it may be painful but the pain itself is a mercy. For instance, to remove he rust of sin, the sinner experiences the pain of fire. Similarly, gold is melted to remove the impurities. The needle of the healer hurts but when the ailment disappears, the pain becomes the means for the patient’s well-being. In the same way, the Shariah has boundaries regarding drinking, illegal sex and tort. There is pain while observing them but the limits protect you from sin. Thus, the limits are a mercy.

Shrouded in the Exalted Throne (Arsh e Azeem), there is a hidden entity. It is the seat of divine blessings (Kursi e Kareem). This seat has on it two “steps” of Rahman (the Most Compassionate). One step is mercy, the other is wrath. On this chair are angels who are occupied with transmitting the mercy and the wrath to creatures. There is a sphere in the womb of the Kursi (the Divine Throne) which is called Falak-e-Atlus (starless heaven that is soft as silk). This is the Arsh e Takween (the pristine Divine Throne). Whatever appears from it becomes a means for existence and non-existence of four dispositions (tabiyet) in the cosmos. Then, there is a concentric sphere within it, which is called Falak-e-Manazil (the heaven of stages) and Falak-e-thwabit (the heaven of fixities) in which the stages of the stars are fixed. These four are not integrated; there is a void between every pair of two in which Jannat (heaven) is established. This explanation is in accordance with the kashaf (unveiling) of Shaikh al Akbar (Ibn al Arabi) who established eleven heavens. As he has stated that there are seven heavens below the heaven of the sun, seven above it and the heaven of the sun is the fifteenth. The seven heavens above the heaven of the sun are the following:

  1. Falak-e-Ahmar, (the red sky or the red heaven) which is called the killer, merciless, blood-thirsty, “nahs-e-asgar” (the little curse)
  2. Falak-e-Mushtari, (the sky or the heaven of the blessed star) which brings great blessings.

3 Falak-e-Keewan (the sky of the accursed star). It is called “nahs-e-akbar” (the great curse)

4.Falak-e-Manazil (the sky of ranked stations), which is called Falak-e-thwabit (the heavens of the fixed stars)

5.Falak-e-Atlus (the sky of the soft fabric), which is pure and it has no stars. It is called Falak-e-Buruj (the sky of the bridges) because “bridges” have been established in this sky.

6.Falak-e-Kursi-e-Kareem (the heaven of the Blessed Throne), which manifests the divine Name, Raheem (the Most Merciful).

  1. Falak-e-Arsh-e-Azeem (the heaven of the Magnificent Thone), which manifests the divine Name, Rahman (the Most Compassionate).

The heavens that are below the rank of the heaven of the sun are:

  1. Falak-e-Zahra (the beautiful heaven), which is the Small Benefactor.
  2. Falak-e-Attar or Falak-ul-Katib (the heaven of the scribe), which is called “Dubair” (the Scribe).
  3. Falak-e-Qamar (the heaven of the moon)
  4. Falak-e-Kurraye-Atish (the heaven of the sphere of fire)
  5. Falak-e-Kurraye-Baad (the heaven of the sphere of wind)
  6. Falak-e-Kurraye-Aab (the heaven of the sphere of water)
  7. Falak-e-Kurraye-Khaaq (the heaven of the sphere of earth)

It is believed that the Kursi (the Divine Station) is Falak-e-Atlus, Arsh and Falak-e-Thwabit (the heaven of stationary stars)

Shaikh Kamaluddin Abdur Razak has said:

“What is meant by Falak-e-Arsh is the Universal Soul and what is meant by Falak-e-Kursi is the Universal Intellect. In their existence, these two are the highest in the ranks of the heavens and their spirit is called Ber-Sabeel-e-Mijaz-e-Falak just as the canopy above the materials is called the sky.”

Shaikh Ruknuddin Shirazi has said:

“The heavens and the spheres are conceptualized as perceptible and spatial.  However, the soul and the intellect are entities that not material nor are they attributes of any entity.”

And the quote from Shaikh ul Akbar that has been cited by Shaikh Mo’ee uddin al Junaidi supports the position that the two are heavens, not the Nafs (soul) or the Ruh (spirit),

Summarily, Allah created four elements after the two Thrones (Arsh) and two Divine Stations (Kursi). Their heat rose up, coalesced and became the skies. Every sky has angels who are busy discharging the services that are entrusted to them. And Allah has created two hells below the earth.

Shaikh Syed Meeran Abul Hasan Qadri (who is the grandfather of the auhor) has said in Keemiyae Khwas (the Alchemy of the Select):  The manifestation of existence increases as the Tanazzulat descend from one station to the other. He said:

“The manifestation of existence in Arwah (the domain of the angels) is better than the manifestation of existence in the world of meanings (the descriptive world).

The manifestation of existence in Amthal (the divine conceptual domain) is more complete than the manifestation of existence in the world of angels.

The manifestation of existence in Ajsam (the domain of entities) is more than the manifestation of existence in the world of concepts.”

Thus, the manifestation of existence is most complete in the human.

 

The Seventh Position

The Sixth Descent: Insan (The Human)

KNOW THAT the sixth descent of Divine Grace (Tanazzul)  is Insan (the human). The meaning of Insan is “a body with sight”. When this body can see everything with its hidden eye but cannot see itself, it is said that it is “the human”.

In the station of Wahdat, Reality was manifest in Unicity and multiplicity was hidden. Indeed, there was no multiplicity at all at this station. Then, as Reality became manifest in separate manifestations, no manifestation was inclusive of another manifestation. At this stage, multiplicity took over and Unicity was concealed.

God willed that He manifest His Essence as an integrated whole in an entity which would at once be a compendium of light and darkness, hidden truths as well as manifest truths, the visible as well as the invisible and be a shadow (of divine attributes) on earth. There was no creation that was a corpus of perfections and attributes and was at the same time a reflector of Divine Names. The other creation reflected only specific aspects of divine attributes according to their fixities. Have you not seen that the appearance of Truth in the domain of the angels is not the same as that in the physical domain? The appearance in the domain of angels is open, active and illuminated whereas in the physical domain it is dark, fragmented and specific.

Now, you understand that the human is the complete manifestation who stands between a manifestation of the Essence of the Truth. He is a manifestation of the Names, Attributes and Actions and is a corpus between the necessary truths, the possible truths, the relationships of divine Names and attributes of created beings. Thus, the perfect human is a corpus between the station of integration and the station of separation and detail. He embraced all those entities which are in the chain of existence. This is so because Wahdat (Unicity) became manifest as itself at the second fixity (Ta’yun e Thani). Below this fixity are three worlds which became manifest in the human. Thus, Allah created the human as a compendium of all existence that has come into being since the beginning and will come into existence till eternity.  For this reason, the human is also called “Jahan e Sagheer” (the small world) and “A’lam e Kabeer” (the great universe).  The world is like a body and the human is like the spirit. For this reason, the world is called “Insan e Kabir” (the great human).

The human is the Khalifa (regent) on earth and a Khalifa has a rank higher than the creation over which he exercises his khilafat (regency) and over which he has authority. The human is “Kamil Khalifatullah” (The Perfect Regent) and is involved with the whole world. Whatever grace reaches the world does so because of the inherent sanctity of the human. That is why the angels prostrated before the human even though he was created after everything. Since he is reflective of Wahdat and is the purpose for the creation of the universe, he is also called the “Illat Ghahi” (real purpose) of the world. He  is also called “Illat e Ghayi” (the real purpose) of the universe.

Allah created the human “with both hands”. In other words, the human was created with both Jalal and Jamal (majesty as well as beauty).  In other words, he was created from the active and passive Names as well as the majestic Attributes while the universe was created “with one hand”. The angels did not understand this subtlety. Therefore, they said:

“Will you create one
Who will make mischief and shed blood,
While we extol You, praise You, and sanctify You?” (The Qur’an, 2:30)

The angels could not understand that they praise Allah only with the one attribute they knew while Allah has many Names and attributes that the angels are not even aware of.

Allah created Adam as “Insan e Kamil” (a perfect human being) and taught him all the Names because the perfect man is a reflector of the Dhat (Essence) which is the summation of all the Asma wa Sifat (divine Names and Attributes). Therefore, his praise must be more perfect than the praise of the angels. Then, Allah gathered all the angels and asked them to name the names of entities in the cosmos. In other words He called them to name the Names that are manifest in the cosmos and with which the cosmos praises Him. The angels were not haughty; they excused themselves. Adam recited all the Names, thereby demonstrating his superiority. All the angels bowed before Adam except Iblis. He was haughty and conceited.

He (Iblis) said: “I am better than him.
(You) created me from fire (energy),
And (You) created him from clay.” (The Qur’an:38:76)

Iblis construed Adam as made of clay. He did not know that the Dhat (divine Essence) was made manifest in him with all the divine Names and Attributes as well as the truths of the cosmos and that Adam had now become the complete manifester. Iblis showed his haughtiness towards Adam which he should not have and because of it he was repudiated by Allah.

Iblis was a jinn and was a personification of evil. It is impossible that anything but evil emerge from him. He said: “O my Lord! I swear by your honor! I will for sure mislead and deceive the human”. Iblis accepted this task of misleading the human so that the attribute “Al Mudil” (the Abaser) would be made manifest.

The human is a compendium of all the Asma (the divine Names) in his intrinsic self but in his external self he is a manifestation of “Hadi” (the Guide). Therefore, Allah made Satan the enemy of the human. The Insan e Kamil (the perfect man or the Wali) does not follow anything but the guidance from Allah. Even when he does something wrong, he asks for forgiveness. This is also a result of divine guidance and a reason for the manifestation of the Attributes of Repentance, Pardon and Forgiveness.

When an Insan e Kamil (the perfect man, Wali) dies, immediately, another one takes his place so that the world may continue. When there is no Insan e Kamil and Wilayet (the continuity of Awliyah) disappears, the Day of Judgment will arrive.

Even though an Insan e Naaqia (the imperfect man) possess a certain measure of togetherness and the angels bow down to him and obey him, his shaitan (devil) does not bow down to him but instead rides on him. Indeed, one can say that such a man becomes obedient to the devil and the devil goads him towards sin. Essentially, even though the angels obey him, they do not forbid him from evil; when he intends to do good, the angels agree but the devil opposes him. The footsteps of Satan lead to disbelief and Shirk. In this state, the human retains only his face; in his deeds he becomes an animal and falls into the abyss of Asfala Safileen (the lowest of the low).

Wa Sallallahu Ta’la A’la Khair e Khalqhe Sayyidina Muhammed Wa Ala Alehi Wa Sahbihe Ajmaeen. Be Rahmitika Ya Arhamar Rahimeen.

 

 

 

 

 

Islamic Heritage of South Asia

Haqeeqat-e-Muhammadia – The Reality of Muhammed

Translated from Noor ul Haqeeqat

Author: Shah Ismail Qadri al Multani

Compiled by: Prof. Maulana Syed Ataulla Hossaini

Translated from Urdu by: Prof. Dr. Nazeer Ahmed

Note: The following is a translation of definition 71 in the Appendix of the book.

Summary: The blessed Sufis used the term Haqeeqat e Muhammadia for the Reality of Muhammed (pbuh). The Qur’an refers to the Prophet as Noor (heavenly Light) and also “Bashar” (human). The Prophet is Noor with all the particulars of Noor and he is human with all the requirements of being human. The Reality of Muhammed is Nooriat (an attribute of heavenly Light) and the appearance of Muhammed is Bashriat (the attributes of being human).

 

Let us start with a couplet from the Persian master Jami:

Tu Jane Paak Sar Basar Ne Aab wa Khaaq Ay Nazneen

Wallah Zajan Hum Paak Tar Ruhi Fidaak Ay Nazneen  

The term Noor e Muhammadiya is used as such because the first fixity (Ta’yun e Awwal) of dhat (substance) took place in Noor e Muhammadi, may the blessings of God and peace be upon him. In the terminology of the blessed Sufis, the dhat (substance) is called Noor e Muhammadiya in its accepted sense of the first fixity.  The Reality of Muhammed (Haqeeqat e Muhammadi) is the displayer (Mazhar) of the Reality of Ahdiyet (Haqeeqat e Ahdiat). All the other stations and existences whose details will be explained later, are displayers of Noor e Muhammadi.

The relationship of the unqualified divine “I” (Ana) and its dependent attributes (existence, knowledge, illumination, witness) is essentially the same in all creation. The difference is in how they become manifest. The manifestation is greater in the human essence than in the material essence. It is for this reason that the human is called “manifester of the substance” (mazhar e dhat) and other things are called “manifesters” of Names (mazhar e Asma’). Now, among human beings, the persona of Prophet Muhammed is the manifestation of utmost perfection. The meaning of it is that the manifestation of the divine “I” (Ana) and its attributes is most complete here. That is why the first manifestation of divine Essence is called the Reality of Muhammed (Haqeeqat e Muhammadiya) and it is the station of Wahdat.

The Reality of the Prophet is that Light which shone through before the revelation of Asma wa Sifat. It was luminescent before the creation of space and time. From a perspective of creation, he (the Prophet) is the first of creation. From a perspective of appearance, he is the last of the Prophets. Hazrat Abu Huraira narrated that the Prophet said: “I am the first of the Prophets in creation and I am the last to appear from among them”.

It was the Light of the Prophet from which the cosmos was created. He is the actuality (asl) of creation. He is the summary of existence. He is the reason for the existence of the cosmos. Only the Prophet is the summation of the divine Names and Attributes that were revealed in detail in nature. Thus, it was this Light from which the sun and the moon were lit. It was this Light from which were established the divine Throne and the Dominion (Arsh wa Kursi). It was through this Light that the Tablet and the Pen were given their place. Through this Noor the heavens were elevated and it was with this Noor that the eventful world was embellished.

Ho Na Yeh Phool To Bulbul Ka Tarannum Bhi Na Ho

Chamane Dhr MaiN KalyoN ka Tabassum Bhi Na Ho

Yeh Na Saqi Ho Phir Mai Bhi Na Ho, Khum Bhi Na Ho

Bazm e Tawheed Bhi Duniya MaiN Na Ho Tum Bhi Na Ho

Kheema Aflaq Ka Ustada Isee Nam Se Hai

Nabz e Hastee Tapash Amada Isee Nam Se Hai            (Iqbal)

Our Translation:

If it was not for this flower, the melody of the nightingale would not be,

In the garden of timeless Time, the smile of buds would not be,

If there is no wine-bearer, no wine would there be and not the circle of ecstasy,

The assembly of Tawhid would not be, neither would you be,

The canopy of the heavens is held aloft by this very Name,

The pulse of existence accepts its energy from this very Name.         (Iqbal)

 

The stars derived their light from this Noor (Light). From this Noor the buds opened and the flowers emanated their aroma. With the beauty of this Noor, the heavens were decorated. With the intensity of this Noor, hellfire was lit. It was this Noor that descended into the heart of Adam as Light.  This was the Noor that stayed with Adam as genes of the most exalted human. It was this Noor that made Adam worthy of prostration by the angels and then he was sent down to earth to manifest this Noor. At the end, this Noor, this Reality of Muhammed, appeared in the person of Muhammed (pbuh) which is the humanness of Muhammed (bashriat e Muhammadiya) or the substance of Muhammed (dhat e Muhammdiya).

The Reality of Muhammed is Nooriat (Light) and the appearance of Muhammed is Bashriat (humanness). The Reality is not appearance and the appearance is not Reality. Call Reality for what it is and call appearance for what it is. The two are not the same. The particulars of the two are different; so are their requirements. The reality of water is oxygen and hydrogen. The material condition of water is fluid. You cannot take a bath with oxygen and hydrogen as you can with water. The reality of ice is water which is fluid. On the other hand, ice is solid. You can break the ice but you cannot “break” water. Reflect upon this.

Allah has called the Prophet “Noor” (Light) and also “Bashar” (human). For a Muslim it is essential to accept both aspects, Noori as well as Bashari. The Prophet is Noor (heavenly Light) with all the particulars of Noor and he is human with all the requirements of being human. One aspect of the Prophet is “Nooriat” (the attribute of heavenly Light) and the other aspect is Bashriat (humanness). Both are true. To accept the one and reject the other is to reject the injunctions of the Qur’an. Here is what the Qur’an says with clarity about “Nooriat”:

Behold! There has come down a Light from Allah and a perspicuous Book (Al Ma’eda, 5:15).

And here is the clarity in the Qur’an about “Bashriat” (humanness of the Prophet):

Indeed, I am but a human like you (Al Kahf, 18:110).

It is true that there is a dissociation  between Nooriat and Bashriat but there is no opposition between them that would preclude the appearance of both in one entity. Both aspects are apparent with clarity in the light of the Qur’an and the Ahadith.

For a confirmation of Nooriat:

“I am not like any of you. I spend my nights with my Sustainer Who feeds me and quenches my thirst”.    (Mishkat)

For a confirmation of Bashriat:

“During the battle of the Trench, because of starvation, two stones were tied around the blessed stomach (of the Prophet).”    (Shama’eel e Tamidhi)

For a confirmation of Nooriat:

“I was a Prophet when Adam was between clay and water”.       (Tarmidhi)

For a confirmation of Bashriat:

“When he turned forty, he was endowed with Nabuwat and Ba’tha-at (Prophethood) in the cave of Hira.” (Kitab e Seer)

In support of Nooriat:

“I was given all the knowledge of the Beginning and the End”   (Hadith)

In support of Bashriat:

“I do not know what will be done with me, nor (do I know what will be done) with you”.  (Ahqaf, 46:9)

In other words:

Gahey Bertarum A’la Nasheenam

Gahey Ber Pushte Paye Khud Nabeenum      (Sa’di)

Sometimes I look at the heights of the heavens

Sometimes I cannot even see the back if my own foot.

In support of Nooriat:

“There are times when I am in the presence of Allah wherein no angel and no Prophet is present”.  (Hadith0

In support of Bashriat:

Say: “I do not tell you that I have treasures from Allah, or, that I know what is hidden. And I do not tell you that I am an angel”. (An’am, 6:50)

In support of Nooriat:

“You are not the father of any one (any man) among them” (Al Ahzab, 33:40)

In support of Bashriat:

“Indeed, you shall die, so shall they”. (Al Zumr, 39:30).

In support of Nooriat:

“You see them, they are looking towards you but they have no vision”. (Al A’raf, 7:197)

In support of Bashriat:

“When the Prophet (peace be upon him) was happy, his face lighted up like a sliver of the moon” (Sahih Bukhari)

May Allah send His blessings upon our Master, our Beloved, our Intercessor, our Facilitator, our Protector Muhammed (pbuh), whose Light was the first of creation and the last to appear as a mercy to all the worlds and their existence. And peace and blessings be upon his family and his companions.

One must remember it well that the blessed Sufis used the term Haqeeqat e Muhammadia (the Reality of Muhammed) for Wahdat. They did not call it “dhat e Muhammadiya” (the substance of Muhammed). The substance of Muhammed and the Reality of Muhammed are two different things. The manifestation of the Reality of Muhammed occurred with the first tajalli (manifestation).  It was manifest as the Prophet said: “The first entity that Allah created was my Noor”.  (This hadith has been presented beautifully by Zalqani in Sharah e Muahib). The “dhat e Muhammadiya” was revealed fourteen hundred years ago through Hazrat Abdullah and Hazrat Amina. If the Reality of Muhammed and the substance of Muhammed are mixed up, it can lead to kufr and shirk (denial and association with falsehood). Dhat e Muhammadia (the substance of Muhammed) is the Known and Haqeeqat e Muhammadiya (the Reality of Muhammed) is the Knower.  (Mixing up the two) would mean calling the Sustainer the votary and the votary the Sustainer. It is as if we make mandatory (wajib) what is contingent (mumkin) and make contingent what is mandatory.

“Behold! They deny the truth who declare that Jesus, son of Mary is indeed God”.   (Al Maeda, 5:72)

Dhat e Maseeh, the substance of Jesus(pbuh) is not dhat e Haqq, the Essence of God. Similarly, the substance of Muhammed (pbuh) is not the Essence of God. If the substance of Muhammed is considered to be the Reality of Muhammed, it would indeed be a tragic affair. The ignorant ones walked out of the path of correctness due to this confusion. They erased the differentiation between ranks. They discussed these subtle issues on the pulpit and planted doubt and disarray among the Muslim masses. As it is said, “Be misguided and misguide”, they were themselves misguided and misguided others.

The rank of Wahdat or the Reality of Muhammed can certainly be called Noor e Muhammadi (Light of Muhammed). The status (of Noor e Muhammadi) is the same as that of the Reality of Muhammed. Since dhat e Muhammadi (the substance of Muhammed) is complete and perfect, the Perfect Light (Noor e Kamil which is a notion of the perfect divine “I”) appears in it. Then, from this Perfect Light, things are created. Therefore, it is said that things are created from Noor e Muhammadi. That is meaning of “I am from the Noor of Allah and all things are from my Noor” (1).

Some blessed Sufis have called Ai’nul Ayan (Vision of the Visible) or Marbub e Azam (the Great Creation) the Reality of Muhammed. Some others have used the term for a confluence of Ai’nul Ayan (Vision of the Visible) and Tajalli e Azam (the Greatest Manifestation). God willing, we will discuss this when we cover A’yan e Thabita (divine vision of fixity of creation) as well as the Creator and the act of creation.

  • The first thing Allah created was the light of your Prophet from His light, and that light rotated surrounded by His Power for as long as He desired, 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 Allah 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, [and from the fourth everything else
Islamic Heritage of South Asia

The Station of Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) and of the Ranks of the Awliya

Translated from Noor ul Haqeeqat

Author: Shah Ismail Qadri al Multani

Arranged by: Prof. Maulana Syed Ataulla Hossaini

Translated from Urdu by: Prof. Dr. Nazeer Ahmed

Summarily, the station of Muhammed (Muqam e Muhammadi) is this: If there be anyone who is worthy of honor after Allah, it is you (O Muhammad). Undoubtedly, the Prophet has the highest and the most exalted station in all creation.  He is in essence the Perfect Human (Insan e Kamil). All the other Perfect Humans are so with qualification. That is why only he is “Khalifat ul Allah” (The regent of Allah) and the others achieve a reflection of this title only as his followers and as those who love him.

There are two categories of obedience to him:

  1. External obedience: This relates to the station of Nabuwwat (Prophethood). By Prophethood the allusion here is to those edicts that the Prophet received from angel Jibril (Gabriel) and transmitted to humankind.
  2. Internal obedience: This relates to the station of Wilayet and Wilayet is that blessing from the Secret of Tawhid which the Prophet received from the direct presence of Allah (swt) without the intervention of Gabriel and then transmitted to humankind. That is why the Arifeen (people of inner knowledge) have said:

“Wilayet has a degree over Nabuwwat”.

One should remember in this saying of the A’rifeen that what is referred to here is “Waliyet e Nabi” not “Wilayet e Wali”. The source of the Wilayet e Wali is the blessing from a Prophet while the source of Wilayet e Nabi is Haqq e taala (the Truth from Allah Most High).  It would be erroneous to assume that the reference is to Wilayet e Wali.

There are two kinds of Wilayet:

  1. Wilayet e Amma (The common Wilayet): This is for all the people.
  2. Wilayet e Qassa (The select Wilayet): This is reserved for those who have attained union with the Truth (Waseel e Haq). The station of Fana (annihilation in the presence of God) is its lowest level and the highest station is that Allah swt manifests His Asma wa Sifat (Names and Attributes) through knowledge, certainty and state (Hal) and empowers a Wali to demonstrate their impressions and their effects and makes him a safe keeper of his Asma wa Sifat. To achieve this rank, perfect obedience to the Prophet, following the etiquette of the righteous, and the love of the Awliya are essential. Without these it is futile to aspire to Wilayet e Khasa (the Select Wilayet).

The Awliya, whether they have received Wilayet e Amma or Wilayet e Qassa, are called Men and Women of Allah (Rijal ullah). It is about them that the Qur’an says:

“Those people whom neither trade nor transaction take away from remembrance of Allah”. (The Qur’an, Al Noor 24:37)

Such people have appeared in every age and will continue to appear in the future. The cosmos is anchored with them. They are means for the transmission of Grace between the Sustainer and the votary. They are gifted with the powers for the execution and arrangement of activities in the created world. It rains with their baraka (blessing), crops grow, towns and villages are settled and thrive. The doors to success and victory are opened through them. Revolutions in nations appear and the affairs of men and women are disrupted through them. Times change through them.

There are two kinds of Awliya:

  1. Those Awliya who are visible: They are given the responsibility for serving and implementing divine Laws. They are recognized in society as scholars of Truth (Ulma e Haq). They are honored and respected as appropriate. It is their way to call what is right as right and what is wrong as wrong. They are the standard bears of truth on the pulpit and in positions of power. Even the errors they make in their Ijtehad have goodness in them. Whoever is guiding and leading humankind towards good, to whatever degree he/she is doing it, is a Waliallah to that degree.
  2. The hidden Awliya: They are given the responsibility for the organization and arrangement of the affairs of creation. They are hidden from the eyes of others. They are engaged in service and they are enriched by their service. They are called “Rijal ul Gaib”. Among them are some who taste martyrdom while walking on the path of prophets and thereby enter the hidden station of the Most Compassionate. They are not recognized and their characteristics cannot be described even though they are human. Among them are some who stay only in their own abodes. In their perception, they take on the shape of any human. Sometimes they convey information from that which is hidden. Some among them roam the world, sometimes visible, sometimes hidden. They even talk to people and answer their questions. Usually, such people live in the forests, mountains or by riverside. However, there are also some who live in cities with all the constraints and requirements of civil society. They live in homes according to their financial ability. They marry , fall sick, get cured, have friends and enemies. They are envied and honored, they are dishonored and punished. They bear the punishments with patience and this patience elevates their rank. Allah conceals their state from the eyes of people. It is about them that it was declared:

My friends area hidden under my mantle; no one but Me knows them”.

 

There are five ranks of the hidden Awliya:

  • Aqlab (The Spiritual Poles or the Guiding Poles)

This is the first and a large category of Awliya. In every age, there is a Qutub in the world who is called Qutub e Alam (the Spiritual Pole of the world), Qutub e Irshad (the Spoken Pole), Qutub e Madar (The Anchor Pole), Qutub ul Aqtab (the Pole of the Poles), Qutub e Jehan (The Pole of the world) and Jehangir e Alam (the Conqueror of the World). The higher world as well the lower world is under his arrangement. The entire world stands with his blessings. His vision is on the Will of Allah. He understands fully the signs of the heavenly Will and arranges things in accordance with it. There are spiritual guides under him who are delegated to towns and settlements. Whether his eyes are open or closed, his heart is always open. He sees with the Light of Muhammed that shines in his heart all the time.  Progress and decay are under the Spiritual Poles and the Appointed Awliya. The station of Qutbiyet has sixteen worlds one of which is the duniya (this world) and akhirat (the afterlife).

 

  • Ghouse (Those who succor humankind)

Some elders have equated Ghouse and Qutub. However, Mohiuddin Ibn Arabi has distinguished between the two. The permission for Ghousiat (the ability to provide spiritual succor to the afflicted) was given to no one but Shaikh Abdel Qader Jeelani. The ability to provide spiritual succor and listening to supplications is the specific attribute of a Ghouse. It is stated in Jamia Usul e Aqliya that the term Ghouse is used only because of the ability to listen to the supplication of the afflicted.

  • Amameen (The lieutenants of the Pole of the Spiritual Poles)

It is as if the Qutub ul Aqtab (the Pole of the Spiritual Poles) has two viziers who stand on either side of him and arrange in order the higher and the lower worlds. When the Qutub ul Aqtab passed away, his place is taken by one of the Amameen as is experienced with the mundane world of turmoil.

  • Awtad (The four Spiritual Pillars)

There are four Awtad who are stationed in the four directions. Allah has established them like mountains in the four corners of the world for its hidden order and arrangement as He has stated:

“Have We not spread out the earth and anchored it with mountains?” (Naba’, 78:6-7)

  • Abdal (The seven Awliya entrusted with Wilayet)

These are also called “Badla’”. There are seven of them and are assigned to seven domains. Each of them is also called “Qutub e Aqleem” (The spiritual pole of the domain).

 

It is easier to under the Qa-eem ul Wilayet (the living upholder of Wilayet) after one comprehends these categories and ranks of the Awliya. What is meant by “Qa-eem ul Wilayet” is that Perfect Person who is Qutub ul Aqtab (Pole of Spiritual Poles). It is through the Perfect Human that Allah swt protects the world and His creation just as the royal treasury is guarded by the royal seal and no one has the courage to open it without royal permission. Similarly, the Perfect Human is the seal of Allah. When the seal of the treasury is broken, it is broken and its contents are dispersed. In the same way “Qa-eemul Wilayet” is for this world at the station of a seal. When this seal is broken and Qa-eemul Wilayet is dead and is not replaced, then the tajalliyat (heavenly manifestations) in the world will end and go into the afterlife. The life of the world will rolled up and Qiyamat (the Day of Judgment) will be established.

 

 

 

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).

Discourse:

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.

 

 

Islamic Heritage of South Asia

How Tipu Sultan & Hyder Ali Influenced America’s war of Independence

 

International Seminar, Saturday July 16, 2022, 11 am EST (NY), 8.30 pm IST (Bangalore)

Zoom Link:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85333203318?pwd=ZGd2TE0wOVdzVlpqdGxxOFBOK2xBZz09

Meeting ID: 853 3320 3318; Passcode: 866402

 

Contact:

Razi Raziuddin:+1-(301)-788-8884(razi24@hotmail.com);

Rafat Husain:+1-(301)-869-8780(rafathusain@hotmail.com)

Mirza Faisal Beg:+1-(516)-306-3939(faisalbeg@gmail.com)

 

All previous Events’ YouTube Videos:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzMYsuijG4WLsosy1uj5MCg/videos

 

 

Islamic Heritage of South Asia

ISLAM, DIVINE ACTION AND OMNISCIENCE, HUMAN FREEWILL, & THEODICY

 By: Dr. T.O. SHANAVAS. MD

(Dr. Shanavas is the author of “Islamic Theory of evolution of Evolution the Missing Link between Darwin and The Origin of Species.” Co-author of the book, And God Said, “Let There Be Evolution!” Reconciling the Book of Genesis, The Qur’an, And the Theory of Evolution. Edited by Prof. Charles M. Wynn and Prof. Arthur W. Wiggins.)

In the life of devout Muslims, not a day passes without the Arabic phrase Inshah Allah (God So Willing) being uttered at the end of any conversation about future events. Without a realistic understanding of the meaning of this phrase, or the purpose, structure, and workings of the universe, we cannot begin to comprehend the process of creation, God’s omniscience in harmony with human freewill, theodicy, or divine response to human supplication. Nor too can we offer a rational, internally consistent refutation of atheists’ exclusion of God in the evolution of life and the universe.

Materialists among scientists posit that biological evolution is an “inherently mindless, purposeless process.”1 They presume that impersonal laws rule the universe and that atoms are at work in the workings of life. Biologist Richard Dawkins, a hardcore atheist, has upheld that contingency and natural selection, taking place over a long period of time, account for evolution. By this, Dawkins assumes that the blind forces of physics, chemistry, and natural selection are sufficient to explain the origin and expansion of life.2&3 He claims that the unfolding of life as the result of genes’ selfish desire to increase their opportunities for survival and reproduction. Similar opinions prevail among some scientists who advocate that there is no reason to include God in the evolution of life. One extremist fulminated that “materialism is absolute [and] we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.”4

The passionate exclusion of God from the conversation on the origin of the universe by some scientists stems from an unshakable, unwavering faith in the law of causality which most people acknowledge and which states that a given cause always produces the same effect. Gravity always pulls an apple down to the earth; snow melts in spring; drought brings the destruction of crops. Chemical reactions in any organism, whether amoeba or human, are explainable by the same laws of physics and chemistry that govern the universe.

Based on the law of causality scientists uphold that the future is predetermined and can be predicted through accurate knowledge of past causes. The laws of nature, they argue, are invariant, and scientific observation reveals the past as the product of those laws. Any natural event that departs from the anticipated effect of a uniform cause is classified as an “accident.” However, scientists’ predictions based on their observation of matter and the invariant laws of nature are limited by their own earlier conclusions and experiences. To gather data, scientists peer into nature—from atoms to stars, amoebas to humankind, fungi to maple trees—and phenomena within our universe. Science has collected and categorized data into disciplines such as paleontology, comparative anatomy, biogeography, embryology, molecular genetics, and so on. The materialists’ claim that the unfolding of life is a “purposeless, mindless process” is based upon inferences from catalogued past experiences. John F. Haught, professor of theology at Georgetown University, labelled the materialistic rationalism based on past experiences with the phrase “the metaphysics of the past.”5

Contrary to a purposeless universe of science, Jews, Christian, Muslims, and other theists believe in cosmic purpose. The Prophet Muhammad (s) explained the purpose of creation as follows: “Allah said: I was a hidden treasure. I wanted to be known, so I created the world.”6 The purpose of creation, according to the Qur’an, is: “And We did not create the heaven and the earth and that is between them aimlessly. That is the assumption of those who disbelieve, so woe unto those who disbelieve from the Fire” (38:27) and “I created the jinn and humankind only that they might worship Me” (51:56). Therefore, the universe is only a testing station where humans are appraised for their devotion to their creator based on their conduct on earth as per the rules of divine revelations. Testing is not possible without the examinee encountering challenges across a wide spectrum from goodness to evil. Thus, the Qur’an rhetorically questions: “Or did you suppose you should enter Paradise without God know who of you have struggled and who are patient?” (3:142); “Do people think they will not be tested because they say, ‘We have faith?’ And certainly, We tried those before them, so Allah will certainly know those who are true and He will certainly know the liars” (29:2-3); “and know that your wealth and your children are a trial, and that with God is a mighty wage” (8:28); and “And We shall test you with something of fear and hunger and loss of wealth, lives and crops. Yet give good ridings to the patients” (2:155-157). Evidently, according to the Prophet (s) and the Qur’an, the purpose of human creation is to serve God, and the material world serves as the hardware and software to rate humans’ devotion to their creator prior to their final adjudication on the Day of Judgement.

The God of Jews, Christians, and Muslims is omniscient and omnipotent who gifted free will to humans. The sacred book of Islam indirectly upholds the conscientious application of human free will: “Say, ‘Truth comes from your Lord. Let people have faith or disbelieve as they chose.’ For the unjust We have prepared a fire which will engulf them with its (flames)…” (Quran 18:29). The concurrency of divine omniscience and human freewill has troubled theologians and philosophers. At least an elementary grasp of the structure, organization, and workings of the universe is essential to unravel the mystery of the consonance of God’s omniscience with human freewill and to understand how God invisibly responds to human supplications without the violating the laws of physics, chemistry, and biology.

According to the Qur’an, the universe and its micro and macro components—the animate and inanimate in human vocabulary—are alive and have an independent existence; they are organisms with faculties of self, subjectivity, and consciousness. The following verse reveals the existence of these faculties in “inanimate” creations such as the wind, fire, earth, galaxies, etc.: “And the thunder extols His praise, and the angels are in of awe of Him …” (Qur’an 13:13). A verse relating to Solomon reads: “So We subjected the wind to him [Solomon]; it ran softly at his command to wherever he pleased” (Qur’an 38:36). The presence of self and subjectivity in the heavens, the earth, and mountain is covered in the following verse:  “Verily, We did offer the trust [of reason and volition] to the heavens, and the earth, and the mountains: but they refused to bear it because they were afraid of it. Yet man took it up—for, verily, he has always been prone to be most wicked, most foolish” (Qur’an 33:72). The component part of a whole has its own independent existence and its own characteristic faculties of self, subjectivity, and consciousness. This is reflected in the verse on the Day of Judgment: “their ears and their eyes and their skins will testify against them as to what they used to do. And they say unto their skins: Why ye testify against us? They say: God hath given us speech, who giveth speech to all things, and who created you at the first, onto whom ye are returned” (Qur’an 41:20-21). The verse pertaining to the beginning of creation (The Big Bang) enlightens that the elementary particles are alive with its own psyche and individuality:  “Then He directed Himself to the heaven and it is a vapor, so He said to it and to the earth: Come both, willingly or unwillingly. They both said: We come willingly.”  (Qur’an 41:11). According to the last verse quoted, the vapor (a plenum of elementary particles such as quarks, z particles, etc., after the Big Bang) has also self and subjectivity. The self, subjectivity, and potential to act of the lower order of creation may be minimal or hard to detect for humans: “The seven heavens and the earth and all that is therein praise Him, and there is not a thing but hymneth His praise; but ye understand not their praise. Lo! He is ever Clement, Forgiving” (17:44). As God created higher orders of being, He carefully gifted each of them with a higher level of subjectivity and potential so that they can understand more complex messages from God and react to complex matters in the outside world. Moreover, the entire universe as one piece and its parts, for example ears and skin, have assigned duties and responsibilities. As the Qur’an 41:12 states: “He assigned to each heaven its duty and command …” Thus, our incredible live universe and its individual parts act and react, give and take, reward and retribute, etc. just as a living organism. For science, the events emerging from the activities of the live universe and its parts are described natural events that can be explained by the laws of nature. From the Qur’anic perspective, the universe is like a human body: human body is a host of hundreds of billions of bacteria and cells, yet we assume it to be a single organism. In short, all that exist and its individual potential came from God:  “He is Allah, the Creator, the Evolver, the Bestower of forms (or colors)…” (Qur’an 59:24).

The universe is not only a living organism but also works as a supercomputer with programs installed at its creation. Thus, the universe and its individual parts with self, subjectivity, and consciousness know what they can and cannot do and what God wants them to do. Every situation, circumstance, or ambiance that a human encounter in life emerges from the self-driven independent or collective actions, reactions, and interactions of the components of the entire universe based on its gifted potential. The universe is an all-in-one perfect machine, a computerized organism, that is automatized to perform its duties and functions without constant monitoring and intervention by its designer. God is perfect, and His process of creation and its products are impeccable, so that whatever He created has the potentiality to do whatever He intended them to execute. A perfect machine functions by itself without its inventor’s constant supervision and intervention; only then is a product optimally perfect and its creator distinguishes himself/herself as perfect. The Qur’an vouches for this: “Who has created the seven heavens one above another, you can see no fault in the creations of the Most Beneficent. Then look again: ‘Can you see any rifts?’” (67:3) and “[such is] the artistry of Allah, who disposes of all things in perfect order: for he is well acquainted with all that ye do” (27:88). God created an automatized universe with mind-blogging precision so that it would carry out all its duties and operate without constant divine supervision to function as a testing station for human.

Between the Big Bang and the Big Crunch, God created a network of interconnected roads, highways, and byways of future that the universe and its components can drive through. The automatized universe is programmed also with the potential to run zillions of event trains and zillions of crossing junctions from zillions of chosen actions of micro and macro components of the universe. God knows what every micro and macro creations can do and cannot do in any given circumstance or situation. Within the divinely installed program, the circumstances, situations, environments, and ambiance emerge from the independent actions, interactions, and reactions of individual components or many components together. The programmed potentialities become actualized into material world realities at the discretion of the creations.  God programmed the universe to self-generate its future out of multiple available futures between the Big Bang (the beginning of universe) and the Big Crunch (the end of the universe). God, being the programmer, knows about the potential of every component as well as every circumstance, situation, environment, and ambiance that would emerge from all activities. God does not intrude into the operations of the universe and its components. For humans, God’s prophets have conveyed the divine guidance on the preferred choice of action in every situation and unpreferred act and activities. Human is appraised based on their chosen response to situations emerging from the activities and interactions of the entire world of creation.

There is wisdom behind the creation of our automatized live universe with self and subjectivity. God with His indefinite generosity divested to the universe and its components the task of producing future situations and circumstances for humans to manage or resolve. God rhetorically ask: “Is not God the justest of judges?” (Qur’an 95:8). The divine self-divestiture upholds Him as “the justest of judges” so that no human can implicate God with predestination for their sin. The Qur’an states plainly that “Indeed, Allah does not wrong people in the least, but it is people who wrong themselves” (10:44). The conceptualization of the universe as a flawless, autonomous, computerized, and perfect organism with the faculty of self, subjectivity, and consciousness lays the framework for the consonance of divine omniscience and human free will. The perfect automatized live universe vindicates the divine goodness and providence in view of the existence of evil (theodicy) because the good and the evil emerge from the interplay of the components of the universe. What God programmed was the potentiality for the emergence of the good and the evil from the activities of the entire world of creation. Christian theologian and biochemist Arthur Peacocke described the universe as an unfinished movie wherein actors (God’s creatures, including humans) in their individual hierarchical ranks freely choose their roles in the emerging scenarios from the interplay of other components of the universe. Chance and unpredictability are inevitable and are, in fact, built into such a scenario. The Sufi poet Jalaluddin Rumi described this universe as a battlefield where atom struggles with atom such as faith against infidelity. In this struggle, some benefit and others suffer.

Unlike “the metaphysics of the past” (the past creating the future) of science, God “creates everything” (Qur’an).  In the framework of the universe at its onset, God introduced in the potential to materialize a thing or an event through the acts of human and other components of the universe. So, without the potential nothing could be actualized.  Thus, God is the creator of everything. In the Islamic context, time is a conveyor belt. The experienced past is irretrievable, while the present is only a fleeting moment that we cannot hold on to. On the other hand, we experience the continuous coming of the future. The future in the material world does not exist until it is created by the actions, interactions, and reactions of an entire world of creation. The Islamic creed regarding the coming of future events is grounded in the phrase Inshah Allah and the verse “And never say about anything, ‘Behold, I shall do this tomorrow,’ without [adding] ‘if God so wills’” (Qur’an 18:23). Muslims say Inshah Allah after every statement pertaining to the future, even for simple tasks such as meeting a friend at 4 p.m. tomorrow. The future is not simply born without cause. Future, for humans, is unpredictable and emerges from the activity of an entire world of creation or one of its creations. The emerging future circumstances, situations, conditions, scenes, events, dilemmas, predicaments, crises, etc. are where humans are challenged and probed for their submission to God. The divine messages demand that humans act morally, ethically, justly, and compassionately in every situation that they face with every arriving moment of the future. Thus, God judges humans based upon their logical, ethical, just, exemplary, compassionate, and truthful management of emerging situations/events, or otherwise. To label the above exposition of verse 18:23 in the Qur’an, we shall borrow John F. Haught’s phrase the “metaphysics of the future”5 and modify it to read the “Islamic metaphysics of the future.” An unfortunate and horrendous event in Muslim history would explain the concept of the coming future through choices. Events following the prophethood of Muhammad (s) presented a choice for Hind bint Utba, one of the foremost enemies of the Prophet (s), to join the distinguished companions of the Prophet (s) such as Humza, Ummar, etc or go against them. Hind bint Utba decided to actualize the bad choice of cannibalizing Hamzah. Of course, she will be judged based on her action.

For those who do not comprehend the concept of the metaphysics of the future and the automatized universe, a good illustration is that of a computer game. When the programmer sets up the parameters of a game, he/she gives the players multiple options for each moment of play. The players are responsible for the outcome of each move that they make, no matter whether the choice is right or wrong. The programmer knows what the result of each choice can be, and what must be done to complete the game. Moreover, a good programmer will include events that are outside the direct control of the players. Similarly, God is the ultimate source of all that occurs in the universe because He created and programmed the universe. But as in the case of computer game, it does not preclude human from having real and meaningful choices in our lives. God, being the creator and the programmer of the universe, knows anything and everything within it and what will happen for every action as well as its reaction, and this is truly what is meant by Qdar of Allah (the concept of divine destiny in Islam). In such a universe there is consonance of divine omniscience and human freewill.

For some, libertarianism is incompatible with the sovereignty of God. Of course, God can dictate every action and decision of everything in creation if He chooses so. God can also make the opposite choice of abstaining from enforcing His absolute power, leaving the ultimate decision to humans and other creatures to uphold His attribute of “the justest of judges.”

In mandatory daily prayers, Muslims recite the opening chapter of the Quran, al-Fatihah. Guide us (O Lord) to the path that is straight, the path of those You have blessed, not of those who have earned Your anger, nor of those who have gone astray.” These verses imply to many Muslim and non-Muslim minds that God does lead some of us astray. Based upon the Islamic metaphysics of the future, educed from the verse 18:23 in the Qur’an, God, the software engineer as described above, is the source of all potential possibilities and choices in the coming future. When humans and other creatures transcribe the selected option into visible material realty, it becomes the worldly monument of divine creation. God does not intrude into the human process of selection from the available options of the coming future. Therefore, based upon the Islamic metaphysics of the future, the phrases “God misled” and “God guided” refer to the good and bad choices in the coming future from the activities of components of the universe.

According to the Qur’an, God will answer our prayers: “Call upon Me and I will answer you” (40:60). How does God respond to prayer without violating the laws of nature? The underpinning for the answer to the question is in the following verse. “Say [Muhammad to your people]: ‘Travel through the earth and see how Allah did originate creation; so will Allah produce a later creation: for Allah has power over all things” (Quran: 29:20). If it is humanly inconceivable to discover and explain God’s process of creation, all-knowing God would not have decreed to research and learn “how Allah did originate creation … will produce a later creation.” Moreover, the verse voices also that all tools are necessary to learn the process of creation available on the earth (“travel through the earth and see how …”). Although Almighty God’s means to act is infinite, based on the above verse, whatever method God applies to respond to supplications is discoverable by humans. The mystery of the divine process of creation is buried in the structure, organization, and operation of universe, and specifically in the quantum mechanical process.

Classical physics and chemistry, the collection of theories that existed before the advent of quantum theory, describe the nature at an ordinary (macroscopic) scale. But classical physics and chemistry alone are not sufficient for describing the nature at small (atomic and subatomic) scale. Thus, Max Plank initially explained the photoelectric effect (old quantum theory), and later Neil Bohr, Erwin Schrodinger, Werner Heisenberg, and Max Born advanced into fully developed quantum theory or quantum mechanics. The fundamental feature of the theory is that humans cannot predict with certainty what will happen at the atomic and subatomic level, but they only can give probabilities or averages.

According to quantum theory, the behavior of matter at atomic and subatomic level is unpredictable. No one can say, for example, that a particle was in a specific position in the past or that it will occupy a specific place at some time in the future. Physicist Paul Davis explained it that “A particle such as an electron does not appear to follow a meaningful, well-defined trajectory at all. One moment it is found here, the next there. Not only electron but also all known subatomic particles—even whole atom– cannot be pinned down to a specific motion.”7 The more accurately we measure the momentum of a particle, the less we can calculate its position. The more we know about the particle’s position, the less we can say about its momentum. Our partial information about the position of a particle only yields the probability that it is within a certain distance of a particular point. The most famous part of the uncertainty principle states that no matter how a quantum particle is prepared or an experiment upon it arranged, it is impossible to precisely predict its position and at the same time its momentum. For example, it is not possible to predict when a radioactive atom will decay. In a uranium (238U) sample, the sudden decay of a specific atom into thorium (234Th) through the emission of alpha particles can only be computed as a probable occurrence. We are unable to explain why a particular uranium sample has decayed while another identical uranium atom next to it has not. We may calculate a certain chance that the decay will take place within the next ten seconds. The probability exists that the remaining atoms may decay over a period of ten thousand years. But no one can give a definite answer regarding the sequence and time of decay.8

If no one can ascertain what is occurring with atoms and subatomic particles—the basic building blocks of the universe and all DNA-based life—how can it be possible to precisely predict the future of human beings or anything else in the universe? This scientific paradox of unpredictability in quantum theory bothered even Einstein, who said: “God does not play dice.” Niels Bohr responded by saying: “Einstein, stop telling God what to do?”9 There is a reason for God to create matter that is not precisely predictable at the atomic and subatomic level.

God did not want to place all of His creations in the same spiritual reality. Therefore, He created matter to be the building block of the universe and governed its macrolevel operation through an immutable system of physical, chemical, biological laws within which it functions in unpredictable ways. With the installation of stubborn chemical and physical laws to function in a uniform and repetitive fashion at the level of larger components of the universe, God made the larger components of the universe comprehensible to the minds of humans, the best of His creations, so that at macrolevel they could build the things that are needed for daily life. God did not intend the same laws of classical physics and chemistry to work as a programmed machine all the way down to the atomic and subatomic levels. If such absolute knowledge on the atomic and subatomic level possible, human can predict every future events. Then the phrase, Insha Allah, becomes redundant. By the creation of unpredictable atomic and subatomic world, God can respond to human supplications with macrolevel visible responses by generating small fluctuations (jump of a quantum of energy) in the quantum mechanical process.10 God’s response to His faithful will be invisible to atheists, while the faithful are thankful for their divine gift.

Quantum theory gave birth to a new chemistry that explained how atoms are bonded together to form molecules. When two atoms that are initially separated are brought together in a chemical reaction, the electrons in their outermost shell (electrons the farthest from the nucleus) share one orbit. Such sharing in a chemical reaction is called a covalent bond (Figure 1). In covalent bonding, atoms share electrons to form all molecules, including ordinary substances such as water, methane, and so forth. In some cases, covalent bonding can lead to the formation of huge, extended macromolecules such as polymers. One example of such a polymer is deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), the basic building block of life.

Oxygen

Water Molecule with covalent bond

Figure 1. FORMATION OF A COVALENT BOND

The formation and maintenance of the structure of compounds such as DNA is ultimately the result of a quantum mechanical process in which the behavior of atoms remains predictable only as a statistical average. The best calculations that modern science can offer are only the averaged probabilities of thousands of quantum events.

Chemists have discovered that all components of the physical universe, including genes, are made of atoms arranged in different fashions. Genes are made of DNA. DNA is a collection of nucleotides. Phosphate, sugar, and four amino acids (thymine, cytosine, adenine, guanine) are chemically connected with covalent chemical bonds to form nucleotides. A genetic mutation can produce a major effect on the outward physical features of an organism. Alternatively, a mutation may lead to disease such cancer, and reverse mutation can cure the disease. Mutations depend on changes in individual molecules due to the breaking of specific atomic covalent bonds that involve quantum mechanical processes. The physicist-theologian Robert J. Russell pointed out that “this is ultimately a quantum process at the atomic level initiated by the breaking of a single hydrogen bond.”11 In other words, God built life around the chemistry that provides “the amplifying mechanism for quantum events.”12 The physicist William Pollard remarked that if chemistry is the physical appearance of an organism (phenotype), the quantum fluctuation is the driving force (genotype). The construction of understandable chemistry coupled with unpredictable quantum physics is the ingenious, intelligent design of the all-knowing and all-powerful God. The indeterminism at atomic level (quantum mechanical process) is the intrinsic characteristic of our material universe. Everything or anything that we experience through our five senses is the amplification of the imperceptible quantum mechanical process. Therefore, God, by acting at the indeterminate quantum mechanical process, can transparently respond to prayers without violating any classical laws of physics and chemistry. In such a design of the universe, God has the freedom to create any being or substance, living or nonliving, without disturbing any laws of classical physics and chemistry through quantum events in the atomic and subatomic world. In this material universe, therefore, God does play dice between the Big Bang and the Big Crunch at atomic and subatomic level.

When God prompts a small quantum fluctuation (jump of a quantum of energy) in the atomic or subatomic world to make or break a gene’s covalent chemical bond or bonds, materialists may see a mutation, the accidental birth of a species, or an unexplained cure for an incurable disease. For atheists, it is only a random or accidental event with no known cause. For the faithful, however, the unexplained resolution of his/her uncurable disease from the divine act in the quantum mechanical process and is God’s an acknowledgement of his/her prayer.

Another characteristic of the world that we live in is the amazing harmony of our freewill with the omniscience of the Almighty. Human experiences are linked to time and space. To integrate God’s omniscience with human experiences of the past, the present, and the future, God created time with an elastic property. God enlightened us on this relative characteristic of time centuries before Albert Einstein did:  “but lo! A day is like one thousand years of what you reckon” Qur’an 22:47; “On a Day when He will call you, and you will answer by praising Him, thinking all the while that you tarried (on earth) but a little while” (Qur’an 17:52); “And on the Day when He will gather them, [it will be] as if they had not remained [in the world] but an hour of the day” (Qur’an 10:45). Thus, time can shrink to a freezing halt, as in the case of God or on the Day of Resurrection, or expand for the rest of creation in the universe, depending on its space, speed of motion, gravity, etc. Hence, human experience of yesterday, today, and tomorrow is a concurrent event for God, who is outside time and space. Therefore, in this automatized universe, there is freedom, free will, and randomness for the human species without infringement on God’s omniscience.

The universe from the Big Bang to the Big Crunch is maze. At both ends, the matter and the four forces (gravity, electromagnetism, strong and weak forces) are crushed into a mathematical point known as singularity. The maze is fabricated out of alleys, roads, highways, and byways that lead to different futures for the universe until it meets the Big Crunch (the Last Day, or end of the universe; see Figure 2). God already mapped out (created) multiple futures for the components of the universe. But it is still up to humans and other components of the universe—day by day or moment by moment—to decide for themselves which alley or road to step into. God the merciful does not interfere or force humans into making the choice. God voluntarily limits His absolute omnipotence as stated in the Qur’an: “And had your Lord willed, whoever in the earth would have believed altogether. Will you then coerce the people to become believers?” (10:99). God knows that human freewill would be nonexistent without voluntary limitation of His omniscience. Therefore, al-Rahman (the most beneficent) and al-Rahim (the most merciful) set a voluntary limitation of His omniscience as reflected in the verse. The self-imposed limitation being voluntary, it does not imply any inherent limitation in God’s ultimate power and

Figure 2. Maze of the Evolving universe. In this maze there are 4 potential routes that the universe can navigate from the beginning of creation (the Big Bang to the Big) to the Last Day (the Big Crunch)

 

omniscience. At the same time, humans are free to choose their future, but a human future is limited by a predetermined maze and the situations and circumstances emerging from the activity of the entire world of creation. In other words, God, being the programmer automatized universe, knows all available futures, and God, being the most merciful and the most benevolent, has voluntarily opted not to know which future path His creatures would choose to step into until the Day of Judgement. And He assigned two angels to record the life and activities of every human being to present on the Day of Judgement: “Behold, two (guardian angels) appointed to learn (his doings) learn (and noted them), one sitting on the right and one on the left.” (Qur’an: 50:17). By His indefinite generosity of Self-limitation of His omniscience to create human freewill and His divesture to the two angels the task of monitor and documentation of human conduct in the universe, God distinguish Himself as the “the justest of judges” (Qur’an 95:8). Based on the theory of relativity and the Quran 22:47 and other verses there is no one universal past, present and future. So, there is consonance of omniscience of God with human freewill because God is not space-time bound or His time is frozen so that there is no a past or future but only an eternal present. Human past, present and future are concurrent present event. The evil is generated by live units of the universe with self and subjectivity. So, the divine goodness and providence vindicated in view of the existence of evil (theodicy).

 

Notes

  1. Barbour, Ian G. Religion and Science. New York: HarperCollins, 1997. p. 81.
  2. Dawkins, Richard. The Blind Watchmaker. New York: W.W. Norton, 1986.
  3. Dawkins, Richard. River out of Eden. New York: Basic Books, 1995.
  4. From Richard Lewontin’s review of Carl Sagan’s book, The Demon & Haunted World:

Science as a Cradle in the Dark, in the New York Review of Books, January 9, 1997.

5 Haught, John F. God After Darwin. Boulder: Westview Press, 1999, pp. 83-88.

  1. Nasr, Seyyed H. Islamic Spirituality Foundation. New York: The Crossroad Publishing

Company, 1991.

  1. Davis, Paul. God and the New Physics, pp 101-102.
  2. Russell, Robert J. “Special Providence and Genetic Mutation: A New Defense of Theistic

Evolution,” Evolutionary and Molecular Biology, p. 202.

  1. https://tildesites.bowdoin.edu/~naculich/3140scans/dice.pdf
  2. Alston, P. William. Divine Action, Human Freedom, And The Laws of Nature. Quantum

Cosmology And The Laws of Nature, Scientific Perspectives on Human Action. Robert John

Russell, Nancy Murphy, and C.J. Ishan. Editors. 1999.

  1. Russell, Robert J. “Theistic Evolution: Does God really Act in Nature?” Center for Theology

and the Natural Science Bulletin, 15.1, 1995.

  1. Miller, Kenneth. Finding Darwin’s God. New York: HarperCollins Publishers Inc., 1999 p.

206.

Islamic Heritage of South Asia

Global Call to Honor our Beloved Prophet (pbuh) – Fast on July 8, 2022

(Behold! We sent you not except as a mercy for all the universes)

A GLOBAL CALL

On all Muslims of the World (except those at Hajj)  

FAST on Friday, July 8, 2022

And Honor our Beloved Prophet Muhammed (pbuh)

A spiritual response to the Satanic Forces in India who

are insulting the Prophet in the most heinous language.

If you cannot fast, please give the equivalent of a meal to a poor

person/orphan/widow/refugee or support a child’s education.

 

Sponsors: American Muslims

Please distribute this flyer to all Muslims

Islamic Heritage of South Asia

How can Technology help Muslims in Offering Prayers?

How can Technology help Muslims in Offering Prayers?

Submitted by Rafia Tahir

 

Salah is one of the five pillars of Islam. The five daily prayers are obligatory for every healthy Muslim who is of age. Allah (SWT) has commanded believers to pray Salah in the following words:

“Indeed, those who believe and do righteous deeds and establish prayer and give zakah will have their reward with their Lord, and there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve.” [2:277]

The verse highlights the importance of prayer. Remembrance of Allah (SWT) is necessary to gain His pleasure. Prayer is so important that prayer appears 67 times in the Holy Quran.

Importance of Offering Prayer

Praying five times a day is important in Islam due to its many benefits. Here are the reasons why praying five times a day is important:

  • Prayer is a way of remembering Allah (SWT). Regularly praying helps us gain the pleasure of Allah (SWT). Believers can connect with Allah (SWT) through prayer
  • Obligatory prayers are the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (SAW). The Holy Prophet (SAW) called the five daily prayers the coolness of his eyes.
  • Believers who pray regularly will reap the reward in the afterlife.
  • Praying five times a day gives protection against evil deeds. It is a shield against the whisperings of the devil.
  • Prayer strengthens piety. It keeps the believer pure and places the fear of Allah (SWT) in the heart.
  • The five daily prayers help us remain organized.

How Muslims Can Use Technology to Offer Prayers

Being regular in the five daily prayers is important. Sometimes, however, believers may find it difficult to offer prayers. This may be because they are unable to figure out the correct timings for each prayer. If they are traveling or away from their home, finding the Qibla direction can be hard.

Fortunately, technology can help with many issues of these issues. Here are ways in which specific tools can help to solve particular problems:

1.      Mobile Applications to Find out Prayer Timings

Many Muslims report missing prayer because they failed to realize that prayer time had come and gone. Each prayer has a specified timeframe within which to offer that prayer.

Work and other distractions can prevent people from realizing that time for prayer has gone by. To solve this problem there are several mobile applications available. Many of these apps are free of charge and available for both iOS and Android devices.

Applications, such as Muslim Pro, are excellent since they use location services to provide accurate prayer alerts. No matter where you are if you have access to the internet, you will get prayer alerts in real-time.

Getting timely alerts allow Muslims to be punctual in prayer. The best thing is that many of these apps also provide many additional useful features. These include Islamic resources such as books of traditions and the Holy Quran.

2.      Figuring out Qibla Direction

Mobile applications are also equipped with features to provide Qibla directions. While on the move or outside of the house it can be hard to be sure which way to face when praying. With built-in Qibla direction, Muslims can easily figure out which way to face while praying.

Some portable prayer rugs are also available that have a compass built-in. Even if there is no internet connection, believers can use the compass to find the right way to face. Qibla’s direction is important since facing the Kaaba while praying is obligatory.

3.      E-prayer Rugs

Aside from mobile applications, there are smart prayer rugs as well. E-Prayer rugs connect to your phone via the supporting app. Not only do these provide users with prayer alerts, and Qibla directions, but also point out mistakes during praying.

Users get alerts if they make a mistake while offering the prayer. These are very practical for those Muslims who are still learning to offer prayer.

4.      Devices to Assist with a Memory problem

Many people simply have medical reasons that prevent them from offering prayers. Memory problems are one such reason. Conditions such as Dementia and Alzheimer’s affect a person’s short-term memory.

This means that a person may know how to offer prayer, but forget how much they have offered. Devices with sensors inside can keep track of the body’s movement and inform the user.

One such device is the Salatcard. The device has a sensor that tells the users how many Rakahs have they prayed. The device is portable and users can put it in their pocket while praying.

Many other technologies available enable the elderly to offer prayers. These include digital rugs that have built-in technology to help keep track of the number of rakahs. They have sensors and give voice commands to help the users to offer prayer.

5.      Additional Technologies

Even technology not made specifically for Muslims can be helpful to offer prayers. Software applications, such as Google Maps can help users locate the nearest Mosque.

Muslims who are still learning how to offer prayer can watch videos on YouTube and other video-sharing websites. Even if they don’t have someone to guide them, digital learning can make things easy.

Social media applications enable users to connect and form a community. People can inquire about problems they face while offering prayer and getting solutions. Having a support group can help people to become regular in their prayers.

Conclusion – Islam in the Digital Age

Technology has its pros and cons. However, it is impossible to deny the usefulness of technology in today’s world.

Technology has influenced every aspect of life. It can help improve knowledge and understanding. It can provide the tools to practice Islam effectively. It is better to embrace this type of technology that allows believers to practice Islam.

Prayer at its core is about the remembrance of Allah (SWT). If we use technology to improve our connection with the Creator then this is a beautiful thing. There is nothing wrong with using mobile apps or smart devices to improve our understanding of religion.

More and more people are realizing that there are benefits to technology. Many Islamic scholars are encouraging the use of mobile applications and devices. This is especially true for Muslims living in countries that are not Muslim majority.

 

 

Islamic Heritage of South Asia

Online Science & Math Education

Online Science Education

 

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Students learn through practice. This LMS offers more than 70,000 questions, answers and answer explanations in Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry and Biology. The questions are taken from the highly competitive JEE, JEE advanced, NEET, high school and pre-university examinations in India. The material is applicable to Science and Math studies, including pre-medical and pre-engineering, anywhere in the world.

Actual tests from exams are provided. When a student takes and completes a test, the software provides him/her with a score, pinpoints the errors and provides guidance for the right answers.

We recommend that this software be used in combination with good textbooks. A good teacher is a blessing to students who want to learn. However, there is a shortage of good teachers around the globe. In such cases, Rankstudent.com serves as a study aide to level the playing field for students from all walks of life.

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Knowledge is a gift from God. We hope that this service will help students around the world learn and prosper.

Tags: Science Education, Math Education, Medical Tests, Engineering Tests, NEET, JEE, Pre-University Science, Free NEET coaching, Free JEE coaching, Dr. Nazeer Ahmed

Islamic Heritage of South Asia

History, Science and Faith in Islamic Education

Dr. Nazeer Ahmed

Note: This presentation was made at the Diaspora Forum in Washington, DC on April 2, 2022, and is available on Youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mji67cvgsmk&t=2438s

We live in extraordinary times. These are times when human progress is limited only by the speed of light and the human capacity to absorb change. Humankind has conquered space and searches for life on other planets. Giant telescopes seek to unlock the very origin of the known universe. Terms such as Space Travel, the Theory of Relativity and the Big Bang have entered into common discourse. Machine learning and robotics drive cutting edge technologies and seek to replace human reasoning with artificial intelligence. Indeed, we are now headed into a post-human world in which the very essence of being human is challenged.


Yes, these are extraordinary times. Economic centration, driven by the inexorable forces of globalization produces billionaires by the day while millions go to bed with a hungry stomach. Within this global context, the story of India is a special case. While Indian rockets reach out to Mars, hundreds of millions cannot afford a meal a day. In this matrix of poverty, the Muslims in India are a marginalized minority hemmed in not only by the global forces of economic centration but also by the well-financed global Islamophobia industry and the incessant hammering from Hindutva forces. Similar is the case with the Dalits and other marginalized groups. It is with this background that we approach the topic under discussion today, namely, History, Science and Faith in Islamic Education. The subject is deep and the terrain is vast. All we can do in the next 40 minutes is to survey this vast terrain, whet our appetite, anchor our observations on historical benchmarks, connect the dots, ask questions and learn from them as we go.

The epistemology of knowledge

Knowledge is a gift from God. It is one and indivisible. It is not denied to anyone. Its ultimate purpose is to find the Truth. There is no such thing as Western knowledge, Eastern Knowledge, Christian Knowledge, Jewish Knowledge, Hindu Knowledge, Muslim Knowledge, Secular Knowledge and Religious Knowledge. These are all specific wavelengths in the composite spectrum that constitutes the totality of Knowledge. Each wavelength brings out a different color of the ultimate truth. As such, each one is valid within its own context and its own assumptions. A man of Truth is one who is open to the vistas that are offered at different wavelengths.
Education embraces the means, methods and processes for acquiring knowledge. What is knowledge? What is its purpose? How does the human learn? These are profound philosophical questions that have challenged the sages through the ages. They relate to the most basic question:

What makes us human?

This presentation focuses on Islamic education. As such it brings with it its own doctrinal, historical, philosophical and cultural assumptions. It is offered here only as a means to further intercultural understandings. I hope that in future forums we will have the privilege of learning about other faith-based or non-faith-based approaches to knowledge and the acquisition of knowledge.
In the Islamic paradigm, God is the source, the origin, the locus, and ultimate object of all knowledge. Its essence is embodied in the Divine Name, al Haq, which at once means the Truth, Justice, Balance, Rights and Responsibilities. As a Hadees e Qudsi declares: “I was a hidden treasure. I willed that I be known. Therefore, I created a creation that would know Me”. Incidentally, Justice is the first pillar in the preamble to the Constitution of the Republic of India.

How does one encompass this ocean of knowledge?

Some fifty years ago when I wrote my first book, What Makes Us Human? I constructed a possible approach to the epistemology of knowledge. It is illustrated in the diagram shown. The tree of knowledge has its roots in the heavens and its seed is Al Haqq, the Truth. The knowledge that is imparted to the Prophets and the sages is called Ilm al Ladduni. Its mode of transmission is infusion. It is involuntarily. It speaks the timeless, spaceless language of the spirit. It is light that illuminates the soul. It seeks to answer the basic questions that every human asks at one stage or the other: Who am I? Why am I here? What is the purpose of my existence?
When heavenly knowledge is applied to the mundane world, it splits into two major branches. The first is knowledge that can be expressed and taught. In the Urdu language it is called Ilm ul Ibarat. Ibarat comes from the Arabic root word a-b-r, namely to wade from one shore of a stream to another. It includes the inductive, empirical knowledge of the sciences, and the deductive knowledge of reason and philosophy. It embraces the sciences, history, economics, medicine, engineering, mathematics, politics and governance. This is the knowledge that we send our children and grandchildren to Harvard and MIT, Stanford and Caltech, and yes, Aligarh and the IITs to acquire. It is knowledge that commands a price in the global marketplace.
The other branch Ilm ul Ishara is knowledge that can be alluded to but cannot be expressed through language. It includes the language of the heart and the language of the soul. Examples are: love, compassion, mercy, empathy, forgiveness, generosity. In all of God’s creation, there is nothing as sublime, as noble as the heart because it alone is the seat of unfettered love. Nay, it is wide enough to contain the very Name of God Almighty. It is not Hindu or Muslim, Christian or Jewish, Sikh or Zoroastrian, American or Russian. This is the knowledge taught by the saints and the Sufis of the past, the language of love, of unconditional service, of rapture and surrender. This is the language that is expressed by Amir Khusroe when he sings out in ecstasy:
Nameedanam che Manzil bood shab jaye ke man boodam…

The Seven epochs in Islamic History

Human history is like a mighty river that flows with discernible bends. Some bends are sharp ; others are slow, like a sine wave with a long wavelength.
Islamic history offers at least seven major discernible bends. Each of these bends marks the onset of a certain mode of learning and the emergence of a corresponding cultural archetype:

  1. The Age of the Prophet (622-632 CE)
  2. The Age of the Companions (632-760 CE)
  3. The Age of Reason (760-846 CE)
  4. The Age of the Scientists (846-1219 CE)
  5. The Age of the “Sufis” (1219-1683 CE)
  6. Colonialism and the Age of Discontinuity (1683-1870 CE)
  7. The Modern Technological Age (1870-Present)

One way to study each epoch is to examine the archetypes that personify the age. Summarily, the archetype at the time of the Prophet was the Prophet himself; during the age of the Companions it was the visionaries; in the age of reason it was the Mu’tazilites, in the age of the Scientists, it was the empiricists; in the age of the Sufis it was the Awliyah. Colonialism gave birth to revivalists while the modern technological age is shaping the post-human, post-scientific monad.

The Age of the Prophet.

Islam burst upon the global scene in the 7th century and transformed a nomadic people into prime movers of a world civilization. Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) was the architect of that transformation. Few are the personages in history who occupied a position in relation to their people as did Prophet Muhammed with respect to his. He was the focus for all social, spiritual, political, economic and juridical activities. He was the teacher, the exemplar, the Prophet and the Messenger of God.
Four attributes of the Prophet stand out when we seek to understand his legacy on education:
First the Qur’an. The Prophet was the personification of the Qur’an. If the Qur’an was the Book, he was the Light. The first word of the Qur’an was “Iqra” (read) and the Prophet was an embodiment of knowledge. After Badar, when a large number of prisoners were taken, he offered to set them free if each of them taught two people how to read and write. His saying, “Seek knowledge even onto China” is well known. China was a distant land, known for its learning but it was not Islamic. Alas, if only the ulema in later centuries had kept the Prophet’s example before them and not rejected learning from other traditions, be it Western or Eastern. I offer, as an example, the tribulations that Sir Syed had to face from the Mullahs when he founded the Anglo-Mohammedan college, later to become Aligarh University.
• The Hadith
• The Sunnah
• The Seerah
What the Prophet said became the Hadith. What he did became the Sunnah. The Seerah was his path, his methodology, his way which exuded the wisdom in his approach. Once again, examine how later Muslims, especially those in the subcontinent, took the broad highways of the Prophet’s approach to knowledge and turned them into narrow, sinewy alleys. The Ahle Hadith and the Ahle Sunnah are at each other’s throats while neither of them ponders over his Seerah or the wisdom of his approach in tackling contemporary issues. The tensions between the Deobandi and Barailwi schools are well known.

The Age of the Companions, Tabeyeen and Tabe Tabeyeen

Civilizations are tested with crises just as individuals are tried with adversity. It is these critical moments that bring out the character of a civilization. Great civilizations measure up to their challenges and grow more resilient with each crisis, turning adversity into opportunity. It is much the same way with individuals. Critical moments in history test the mettle of humans. Great men and women bend history to their will, whereas weaker ones are swallowed up in the convulsions of time.
The death of Prophet Muhammed (p) was the first historical crisis faced by the Islamic community. The Muslims met this challenge by establishing the institution of the Khilafat and affirming the continuity of historical Islam. The price paid for this process was the Shia-Sunni split that continues to rock the Islamic world even after 1400 years. There emerged the towering personalities of Abu Bakr as Siddiq (r), Omar ibn al Khattab (r), Uthman bin Affan (r) and Ali ibn Abu Talib (r). What these Companions did and did not do has influenced the course of Islamic history in the subsequent 1,400 years. We see in this period an increasing emphasis on documentation as it was with Sehaf e Siddiqui. Omar (r) in particular paid attention to education. He appointed teachers paid by the state treasury and established schools in the far flung corners of the Khilafat. There was an explosion of intellectual activity in the period that followed. Jurisprudence, philosophy and science flourished. The Halaqa, or a study circle centered around a Shaikh became the institutional framework for knowledge transmission. As the Khilafat expanded to include vast regions stretching from the Indus river to the Pyrenees mountains in France, it embraced Greeks and Turks, Iranians and Egyptians, Berbers and Spaniards, Africans and Europeans, Chinese and Indians. The new entrants brought with them not only their ancient heritage and culture but methods of looking at the sublime questions of life in ways fundamentally different from that of the Arabs. Fiqh was the doctrinal response of the Islamic civilization to these challenges. The codification of Fiqh solidified the foundation of Islamic civilization and was the cement for its stability through the turmoil of centuries. As long as the process of Fiqh was dynamic, creativity and ideas flowed from Islam to other civilizations. When this process became static and stagnant, historical Islam increasingly turned inwards and became marginalized in the global struggle of humankind, as is too obvious in India today. 


Some definitions of the terms Shariah and Fiqh are in order here as the two terms are sometimes erroneously interchanged. Shariah derives its legitimacy from Divine sovereignty. It defines not just the relationship of man to man but also the relationship of man to God and of man to nature. As such, it is all embracing and its dimensions are infinite. The sun rises from the East, that is Shariah. The galaxies rotate, that is Shariah. Fiqh is the application of the Shariah in space-time. As such it is dynamic and changing. Those who wish to understand the Hijab controversy in India today need to keep this in mind. We will offer the life and times of Imam Abu Haneefa as an archetype of the age. It is most appropriate to choose him as our model as his school of jurisprudence is the one that is most commonly used in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Turkey and Central Asia. Indeed, a great majority of the 1.8 billion Muslims in the world today (circa 2010 CE) follow the school of Fiqh named after him.   That Imam Abu Haneefa was one of the greatest of the jurists is well known. What is not commonly known is that he was also a mathematician of the first magnitude. He was aware of the concepts of specific density and specific volume and implemented them in practice. As a philosopher, his work anticipated the Hegelian dialectic by more than a thousand years. The Hegelian dialectic (named after Hegel the German philosopher of the 17th century) is one of the basic principles of Western philosophy. Its premise is that a higher collective truth emerges when multiple individual truths compete. Looked at it another way, it also means that the state is more important than the individual. To cap it all, Abu Haneefa was no hermit, or a pure academician, cloistering himself in a monastery or a mosque or a university. He was a rich man, a successful merchant, a wonderful human being who lived among common folk with the zest and enthusiasm of a believer; he contributed to the life of the community that he was a part of.
The story of Imam Abu Haneefa is the story of the famed city of Baghdad. With the Abbasid Revolution of 750 CE, the center of gravity of political power shifted from the Arab heartland to Persia, Khorasan and Central Asia. Acknowledging this shift in power, the Caliph al Mansur wished to relocate his capital from Damascus in Syria.
Imam Abu Haneefa was commissioned by the Caliph to locate and plan a site for the new capital. Abu Haneefa chose the current location, around a bend of the River Tigris, paying careful attention to defense and communications. There were no computers or computer aided design in those days. To obtain the concurrence of the Caliph, Abu Haneefa marked out the geometrical layout of the planned capital on the ground, showing in detail the location of the palace, the mosque, the marketplace, the residential areas and the fort. Then he sprinkled cotton seeds over the marked outlines. Selecting a moonless night when there was little background radiation, Imam Abu Haneefa set fire to the cotton seeds. One of the characteristics of cotton seeds is that they radiate a brilliant light when they are burned. Using the burning cotton seeds as his guide, Imam Abu Haneefa showed the outline of the planned city to the Caliph from a tower specially constructed for observation on the occasion. The Caliph was pleased and authorized the construction.
Imam Abu Haneefa studied in the Halaqa of Imam Ja’afar as Sadiq and benefited from the spiritual knowledge transmitted through the Ahle Bait. The school of jurisprudence named after him offers the greatest latitude to a jurist to formulate legal opinions to meet the requirements of changing times. The usool ul fiqh or principles of the Hanafi fiqh include the Qur’an, the Sunnah of the Prophet, the Ijma or collective opinion of some, not necessarily all the companions, Qiyas or analogy and Estehsan or creative juridical opinion based on sound principles. The principles of Qiyas and Estehsan are available to the large number of Muslims who live as minorities in India, China, Europe and America to apply the Shari’ah and deduce legal opinions that meet the requirements of their social, political and economic context.

The Mu’tazilites and the Age of Reason

Of all the sciences that the Muslims came in contact with, it was Greek rational thought that caught their fancy and they fell in love with its rigor and its precision. Aristotle became their hero and reason their guide. The Caliph al Mansur adopted and promoted Greek philosophy (the philosophy of the ancients as it was called) as court dogma. Muslim scholars set out to apply rational methods to physical phenomenon as well as social, cultural and religious issues with excitement and enthusiasm. These scholars were called the Mu’tazilites.

Al Mansur established an academy called Baitul Hikmah (the House of Wisdom) where scholarly books from around the world were translated into Arabic. From India came the Siddhanta of Aryabhatta, from Greece came the works of Aristotle, Plato and Hippocrates, from China came the technology for manufacturing porcelain and papermaking and from Iran the art of constructing windmills. Baitul Hikmah was a cosmopolitan academy. Among the scholars who worked there were Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus and Zoroastrians.
The application of classical Greek rational thought in an Islamic paradigm was not without its challenge.  The Greeks assumed that time was “eternal”. A second issue was “cause and effect” in nature. There were other issues of disagreement as well, namely, human free will (ikhtiar) and man’s responsibility for his actions.  These assumptions when applied to theological issues presented profound and fundamental doctrinal challenges to Muslim scholars. Resistance set in and it was led by the usuli ulema, spearheaded by Imam Ahmed ibn Hanbal. Faced with mounting public pressure, the later Abbasid Caliphs relented. In 846 CE, the Caliph al Mutawakkil disavowed the Mutazilites and banished them from his court.

The Scientists

The aftermath of the Mutazilite convulsions influenced the development of the natural sciences in the Islamic world in a profound way.
The classical Islamic civilization that emerged in the post-Mutazilite period was scientific-empirical. Indeed, the Muslims were arguably the originators of the empirical method. For more than five hundred years (700-1258 CE), Muslim scientists were the torchbearers of knowledge, advancing human civilization with their discoveries and inventions. It was this light that awakened Europe from its slumber in the Dark Ages (600-1200 CE). Some of the noted scientists of the era include al Khwarizmi (d. 840) after whom the word Algorithm is named; the physician al Razi who was the first to identify smallpox and communicable diseases; al Masudi the first empirical historian; al Baruni whose book Kitabul Hind was a masterpiece about medieval India; the physician ibn Sina whose book Cannons of Medicine was the standard textbook in Europe until the sixteenth century; the mathematician Omar Khayyam who compiled the precise Jalalian calendar; al Idrisi the geographer; Ibn Rushd the philosopher and the inventor al Jazari, one of whose inventions, the camshaft that converts linear motion into rotary motion, was one of the greatest inventions of humankind similar in its import to the plough and the stirrup.  This momentum towards a scientific culture was setback by the advent of Al Ghazzali towards the end of the twelfth century.  Basing his powerful dialectic on the earlier works of al Ash’ari, Al Gazzali argued that there was no cause and effect in nature, and that all natural events happen by the Will of God.
Al Ghazzali’s writings were carried far and wide through a chain of madrassas established by the powerful Seljuk dynasty and had a chilling effect on the pursuit of science in the Islamic world. His impact is to be felt in the thinking of the mullahs and the maulanas even to this day. ↓

The Sufis

The word Sufi literally means a practitioner of tasawwuf, a term that derives from the Arabic root s-w-f, meaning purity. In the context of tasawwuf, it means purity of the heart or purity of the soul.
Tasawwuf grew its roots and had solidified its position in the Islamic world when the Mongol cataclysm descended upon it in the thirteenth century. Genghiz Khan and his successors destroyed a civilization. Centers of learning and culture like Samarqand, Bukhara, Nishapur, Herat and Baghdad were obliterated.  India was a beneficiary of the Mongol invasions. This is where the story of Islam in northern India begins. As the centers of learning burned in Central Asia, many of the Sufi shaikhs and scholars found refuge with the Sultanate of Delhi.  If there is one word that captures the essence of how Islam captured the hearts of one third of South Asia, it is love. The key to the success of the Sufis lay in the spiritual bent of the Indian mind. Every culture produces an archetype that personifies the ethos of that culture. For instance, in contemporary America, it is the successful entrepreneur like Bill Gates. During the Dark Ages in Europe, it was the monk. In medieval Japan it was the Samurai. In the Muslim Middle East, it was the traditionalist. In India, it was the sadhu and the rishi. The Sufi could intuitively and immediately relate to the Indian culture in a manner that the learned doctors of law could not. Thus, it was that the great Sufis not only succeeded in introducing millions of Indians to Islam but also contributed to the evolution of a unique Hindustani language, culture, poetry and music which amalgamated the ancient inheritance of India with the vibrancy of Islam. If the center of gravity of the Muslim world today is closer to Kuala Lumpur, Lucknow and Lahore than to Cairo and Damascus, it is due not so much to the power of the Sultans or the preaching of the mullahs, but to the spiritual approach of the Sufi shaykhs.  Zawiyas, Tekkes and Khanqas spread out throughout the subcontinent offering the seekers of spiritual knowledge instruction not just in the Qur’an and the sunnah but also fiqh, tasawwuf, history, languages and mathematics. Well known zawiyas existed in Multan, Lahore, Delhi, Agra, Jaunpur, Patna, Murshidabad and Sylhet. The training was individualized and personal, from a shaikh to the mureed. The archetype of the age was a man of the spirit like Shaikh Moinuddin Chisti of Ajmer, Baba Farid of Lahore, Shaikh Shamsuddin Yahya of Kashmir, Shaikh Jalal of Sylhet, and Gaysu Daraz of the Deccan. Together, these men transformed a continent, molded it in a spiritual crucible, lit the candle of faith in the hearts of millions and laid the spiritual foundation for one of the richest and most powerful dynasties the world has ever known, namely the great Moghuls of India.


The emergence of tasawwuf as a powerful force in the Indian milieu did not go unchallenged by competing ideas.  The historian Barani describes an interesting confrontation between the Sufis and kadis in the magnificent Tughlaq courts in old Delhi. The kadis and the ulema sought a ban on sama’a (music), declaring it to be against the injunctions of the Shariah. To sort out these controversies, Gayasuddin Tughlaq, Sultan of Delhi, convened a conference of the leading ulema, kadis and philosophers in Delhi at his court in 1320. Nizamuddin Awliya was also invited. What started as a conference turned into a court martial of the Chishtiya Sufis. Kadi Jalaluddin, chief kadi of Delhi and Shaykhzada Jam argued against sama’a. Nizamuddin Awliya defended the practice basing his arguments on certain Ahadith. The discussion became heated, so the Sultan turned to Shaykh Ilmuddin who was a philosopher (Mu’tazilite) and had traveled extensively through Persia, Iraq, Syria and Egypt. Shaykh Ilmuddin answered that sama’a was halal for those who listened to it with their hearts and was haram for those who heard it with their nafs. The Emperor deliberated and, not to be drawn into a religious controversy, gave a split decision permitting sama’a gatherings for the Chishtiya Order but forbidding it to the followers of the Qalandariya and Haidari Orders.
Such antipathy towards music and other scientific disciplines persists in the religious circles of the subcontinent even to this day. As a result, the graduates of Islamic seminaries have no clue about electromagnetic theory, earthquakes, electron motion, Newtonian mechanics or windshear that brings down aircraft, all of which are based on harmonic or biharmonic equations.

The Rockets of Tipu Sultan

Science and Technology did not die out with the Mongol invasions; they shifted from the core Arab domains to the Indian, Turkish and Maghreb periphery. The Ottoman, Safavid and Mogul empires rose in Eurasia while Africa saw the advent of the great Songhay and Mali empires. Great center of learning spring up as far away as Timbuktu, Gao and Kano in Africa and Aceh in Indonesia. Isfahan, Istanbul, Delhi and Agra replaced Cairo, Damascus and Baghdad as centers of art and culture. The world renowned Ibn Batuta, the historian Ibn Khaldun, astronomers such as Ulugh Bey, master-builders like Muammar Sinan of the Ottoman empire, and Ustad Ahmed, the architect of the Taj Mahal, were all products of this age. But perhaps the most convincing evidence of this position is offered by the rockets of Tipu Sultan.  It comes as a surprise to many people that the American National Anthem, The Star Spangled Banner, was inspired by the rockets invented by an Indian Muslim king, Tipu Sultan of Mysore.  It was the year 1814. The Anglo-American war which started in 1812 was in full swing. The British forces, after burning down Washington and conducting a raid on Alexandria, proceeded up the Chesapeake Bay to capture Fort McHenry in Baltimore. Caught in the cross fire were two American lawyers, Francis Scott Key and John Stuart Skinner, who had gone over to negotiate a truce and prisoner exchange with the British. Key and Skinner were allowed to board the British flagship HMS Tonant and present their proposals to Major General Robert Ross.
Since they had overheard the detailed war plans, Key and Skinner were held back by the British and were witness to the bombardment of Baltimore on September 13, 1814. Orange and red flashes of rocket fire illuminated the skies over Fort McHenry. The bombardment went on all night and it was not clear as to which side would prevail in this clash of arms. At daybreak, as the first rays of the sun hit the fort and the fog lifted over the Bay, the American flag was still aloft over Fort McHenry, fluttering in the morning breeze. This was the moving sight that inspired Francis Scott Key to compose the Star Spangled Banner.  The rockets used in the War of 1812 were a takeoff on the rockets captured by the British from Tipu Sultan of Mysore after the fourth Anglo-Mysore war of 1799.  


The late Dr. Abdul Kalam, the architect of India’s rocket programs, called Tipu Sultan the father of modern rocketry.  When Tipu Sultan was martyred during the fourth Anglo-Mysore war of 1799, the British sent some of the captured Mysore rockets to the Royal Laboratory in England. A development team led by Colonel Congreve back-engineered Tipu Sultan’s rockets. The modified Mysore rockets, renamed the Congreve rockets, were used against Napoleon at the Battle of Boulogne in 1806 and against the Americans in the assault on Baltimore in 1814.  A solid propellant rocket is a system. It requires a host of technologies and a large number of subsystems. Tipu Sultan’s achievement was to create an advanced technological eco-system in the Kingdom of Mysore which was a match for any in Europe or America and in some respects was more advanced. This included metallurgy, iron smelting, fine grain casting, precision boring, solid propellant physics and chemistry, packing, loading, use of composite materials, standardization of materials, processes, manufacture, assembly, testing and deployment of rockets. Tipu Sultan not only established the karkhanas or factories for the production of rockets on a mass scale but backed it up by establishing research laboratories in several forts and advanced schools for the training of military engineers.
The advances made by the rocket engineers of Tipu Sultan show that as late as the eighteenth century, technological developments in Asia were not far behind those in Europe. It was only in the nineteenth century that Europe acquired a decisive technological edge over Asia.

What went wrong?

If the land empires of the Ottomans, the Safavids and the Great Moguls were so powerful and prosperous, what went wrong?
Most noticeable was the delay in the introduction of the printing press which was introduced in Germany in 1439 and spread throughout Europe by the end of the fifteenth century. In Italy alone, there were no less than 77 printing presses in the year 1500. The printing press made possible the spread of knowledge. It was one of the main engines for the Renaissance which produced the likes of Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci. It was only in 1728 that the printing press was introduced into the Ottoman Empire. It was introduced into Mughal India much later, at the beginning of the nineteenth century. In both cases, what held back the introduction of this technology was the opposition of the ulema who held that the Word of God would be defiled by contact with wooden presses. Indeed, the ulema increasingly became hostile to the basic sciences which they did not understand. A case in point is the destruction of the Taqiuddin Observatory in Istanbul which was built in 1570 and destroyed in 1577 CE at the behest of the religious establishment, who suspected that the Ottoman defeat in the Battle of Lepanto (1571 CE) was somehow related to the ungodly pursuits of the astronomers.

The impact of colonialism

Europe used its technological and scientific advantage to colonize much of Asia and Africa. India was the first great Asian civilization to fall to the West (1757-1947).
The European powers dismantled the educational infrastructure of the colonized lands which had grown over many centuries, thereby injecting a discontinuity in the intellectual development of the colonized people. The zawiyas and madrassas which had provided the educational foundation of the Muslim world were either marginalized or disappeared. Their place was taken up by government schools run by the colonial authorities whose purpose was to educate the native population to man the lower echelons of the huge administrative bureaucracies in the colonized lands. Science and technology, which at best were flickering in the old institutions, died out.

The modern age

It was only in the latter half of the nineteenth century that the Islamic world woke up to the need to relearn the natural sciences from the west. In India, the Anglo-Mohammedan College, later to become Aligarh Muslim University was founded by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan (d 1898). It was the genius of Sir Syed that he saw for the first time in history, the possibility of cooperation between the West and the ancient civilizations of the East based on science and rational thought. In the Ottoman Empire, a determined effort was made to cultivate science and technology through the Tanzeemat.
However, from a global perspective, the Islamic world continues to lag behind the west in science and technology. Less than one percent of the names that appear in the database of the United States Patents and Trademarks Office are Muslim and a similar trend is observable in the respectable scientific journals of the world. Literacy among Muslims is among the lowest in the world. What is more alarming is that the education gap between Muslim communities and the emerging economies such as those of China is increasing. War, occupation, physical dislocation and government neglect have all taken their toll. Meanwhile, Muslims continue to be bogged down with arguments over halal, haram, bida’, shirk, kufr, length of beards and halal meat. In Pakistan and Afghanistan, women and girls are attacked for going to school. In India girls are harassed for covering their heads. The term a’lim is reserved for one who has studied in a madrasa. Scholarship in the sciences is not valued. Knowledge has been compartmentalized into deeni and dunavi. The ignorant mullahs look down upon the natural sciences as secular, western and debasing. Clearly, a paradigm shift is needed.

The future

Poverty is a curse on humankind. Poverty breeds ignorance and ignorance breeds poverty. Education provides an exit door from this vicious cycle. What drives education today is technology. If the subcontinent is to emerge from the clutches of mass poverty, it must pay attention to its education system.
• Develop a framework to encourage the pursuit of the natural sciences. Instead of engaging in endless disputes about what divides us, would it not be more productive if India, Pakistan and Bangladesh evolved a common science curriculum for K-12 and reinforced each other by sharing the best practices through technological networks? Dhaka and Calcutta, Bangalore and Hyderabad, Mumbai and Karachi, Delhi and Lahore would become the nodes of such a network. Let this be the day when we proposed in this forum,the idea of a South Asian Primary and Secondary Education Network (Let us call it SAPASENET).
• Influence government policy. Primary education is one of first requisites of good governance. The governments of South Asia have washed their hands off of this responsibility. The privatization of primary education was one the worst developments in post-independent India. K-12 education should be free, universal, compulsory and of the highest quality.
• Establish institutions. Encourage bright students to compete and pursue higher education. There are 80 million Muslims in the Gangetic belt stretching from Delhi to Calcutta. While the rich use coaching and training to score high in competitive exams and get into good schools, the poor among the Muslims and the Dalits are left in the lurch. The admissions into IITs and IIMs speak for themselves.


• Introduce ethics into the school curriculum. Tarbiyet is as important as Ta’leem.
• Train the religious establishment, the a’lims and the mullahs, in the basics of science and technology.


Islam is a great civilization. Our hope is that it will once again rise up to the current challenges, renews itself and will march forward with the light of knowledge. The path to that renewal lies in universal, compulsory and free mass education of the highest quality driven by technology, nourished by compassion and love and governed by reason.

Islamic Heritage of South Asia

Al-Zahrawi, the father of Surgery

Submitted by Prof. Dr. Ibrahim B. Syed, Clinical Professor and Director of Nuclear Medicine Sciences, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, Kentucky, USA

Abstract

Abu al-Qasim Khalaf ibn al-Abbas Al-Zahrawi was born near Cordoba, Spain, when it was part of the Islamic Empire. He was a physician, surgeon and chemist. He is best remembered for his encyclopedia of medicine, the Al-Tasrif li man ajaz an-il-talif (An Aid for Those Who Lack the Capacity to Read Big Books), known as the al-Tasrif. This became a standard reference in Islamic and European medicine for over 500 years. In Europe, Al-Zahrawi was known as Albucasis, and was particularly famous for his surgical knowledge.

Al-Zahrawi’s encyclopedia included sections on surgery, medicine, orthopedics, ophthalmology, pharmacology and nutrition. In it he described over 300 diseases and their treatments. He also included detailed descriptions of numerous surgical procedures, and the use of over 200 surgical instruments, many of which he developed. The most famous section of the encyclopedia, on surgery, was translated into Latin by Gerard of Cremona in the 1100s. From this time it also became a standard text in Europe, and was still being reprinted in the 1770s. Considered the greatest surgeon of the Middle Ages, he has been described as the father of surgery

While famed for his writing, Al-Zahrawi was also a prominent practitioner and teacher. In recognition of his skills, he was appointed as the court physician to King Al-Hakam II of Spain.[1]

 Early Life

Abū al-Qāsim Khalaf ibn al-‘Abbās al-Zahrāwī al-Ansari (‎ 936–1013), popularly known as Al-Zahrawi (الزهراوي), Latinized as Abulcasis (from Arabic Abū al-Qāsim), was an Arab Muslim physician, surgeon and chemist who lived in Al-Andalus. Considered the greatest surgeon of the Middle Ages, he has been described as the father of surgery.

Al-Zahrawi’s principal work is the Kitab al-Tasrif, a thirty-volume encyclopedia of medical practices. The surgery chapter of this work was later translated into Latin, attaining popularity and becoming the standard textbook in Europe for the next five hundred years. Al-Zahrawi’s pioneering contributions to the field of surgical procedures and instruments had an enormous impact in the East and West well into the modern period, where some of his discoveries are still applied in medicine to this day.

He was the first physician to identify the hereditary nature of hemophilia and to describe an abdominal pregnancy, a subtype of ectopic pregnancy that in those days was a fatal affliction.

Al-Zahrawi was born in the city of Azahara, 8 kilometers northwest of Cordoba, Andalusia. His birth date is not known for sure, however, scholars agree that it was after 936, the year his  birthplace city of Azahara was founded. The nisba (attributive title), Al-Ansari, in his name, suggests origin from the Medinian tribe of Al-Ansar, thus, tracing his ancestry back to Medina in the Arabian Peninsula.

He lived most of his life in Cordoba. It is also where he studied, taught and practiced medicine and surgery until shortly before his death in about 1013(at the age of 77), two years after the sacking of Azahara.

 He was a contemporary of Andalusian chemists such as Ibn al-Wafid, al-Majriti and Artephius. He devoted his entire life and genius to the advancement of medicine as a whole and surgery in particular.

Surgical career

Al-Zahrawi specialized in curing disease by cauterization. He invented several devices used during surgery, for purposes such as inspection of the interior of the urethra and also inspection, applying and removing foreign bodies from the throat, the ear and other body organs. He was also the first to illustrate the various cannulae and the first to treat a wart with an iron tube and caustic metal as a boring instrument.

While al-Zahrawi never performed the surgical procedure of tracheotomy, he did treat a slave girl who had cut her own throat in a suicide attempt. Al-Zahrawi sewed up the wound and the girl recovered, thereby proving that an incision in the larynx could heal. In describing this important case-history he wrote: So, I hurriedly sutured the wound and treated it until healed. No harm was done to the slave-girl except for a hoarseness in the voice, which was not extreme, and after some days she was restored to the best of health. Hence, we may say that laryngotomy is not dangerous.

Al-Zahrawi also pioneered neurosurgery and neurological diagnosis. He is known to have performed surgical treatments of head injuries, skull fractures, spinal injuries, hydrocephalus, subdural effusions and headache. The first clinical description of an operative procedure for hydrocephalus was given by Al-Zahrawi who clearly describes the evacuation of superficial intracranial fluid in hydrocephalic children.

Kitab al-Tasrif

Fig. 1. Title page from the first Latin translation of the Al-Tasrif, here called the Liber theoricae nec non practicae Alsaharavii (Theoretical and practical book by al-Zahrawi). (1599). (Public Domain)  [2]

Al-Zahrawi’s thirty-volume medical encyclopedia, Kitab al-Tasrif, completed in the year 1000 CE, covered a broad range of medical topics, including on surgery, medicine, orthopedics, ophthalmology, pharmacology, nutrition, dentistry, childbirth, and pathology. The first volume in the encyclopedia is concerned with general principles of medicine, the second with pathology, while much of the rest discuss topics regarding pharmacology and drugs. The last treatise and the most celebrated one is about surgery. Al-Zahrawi stated that he chose to discuss surgery in the last volume because surgery is the highest form of medicine, and one must not practice it until he becomes well-acquainted with all other branches of medicine. Al-Tasrif is an illustrated encyclopedia of medicine and surgery in 1500 pages.

The work contained data that had accumulated during a career that spanned almost 50 years of training, teaching and practice. In it he also wrote of the importance of a positive doctor-patient relationship and wrote affectionately of his students, whom he referred to as “my children”. He also emphasized the importance of treating patients irrespective of their social status. He encouraged the close observation of individual cases in order to make the most accurate diagnosis and the best possible treatment.

Not always properly credited, modern evaluation of al-Tasrif manuscript has revealed on early descriptions of some medical procedures that were ascribed to later physicians. For example, Al-Zahrawi’s al-Tasrif described both what would later become known as “Kocher’s method” for treating a dislocated shoulder and “Walcher position” in obstetrics. Moreover, Al-Tasrif described how to ligature blood vessels almost 600 years before Ambroise Paré, and was the first recorded book to explain the hereditary nature of hemophilia. It was also the first to describe a surgical procedure for ligating the temporal artery for migraine, also almost 600 years before Pare recorded that he had ligated his own temporal artery for headache that conforms to current descriptions of migraine. Al-Zahrawi was, therefore, the first to describe the migraine surgery procedure that is enjoying a revival in the 21st century, spearheaded by Elliot Shevel a South African surgeon.

On Surgery and Instruments

On Surgery and Instruments is the 30th and last volume of Kitab al-Tasrif. It is without a doubt his most important work and the one which established his authority in Europe for centuries to come. On Surgery and Instruments is the first illustrated surgical guide ever written. Its contents and descriptions has contributed in many technological innovations in medicine, notably which tools to use in specific surgeries. In his book, al-Zahrawi draws diagrams of each tool used in different procedures to clarify how to carry out the steps of each treatment. The full text consists of three books, intended for medical students looking forward to gaining more knowledge within the field of surgery regarding procedures and the necessary tools.

He divided the surgery section of Al-Tasrif into three parts:                                                                                1. on cauterization (56 sections);                                                                                                                                                2. on surgery (97 sections),                                                                                                                              3. on orthopedics (35 sections).[3]

 Some of the procedures and techniques detailed in these chapters include the following:

  • Surgery of the eye, ear, and throat. He fully described tonsillectomy and tracheostomy.
  • He devised instruments for internal examination of the ear.
  • He devised an instrument used to remove or insert objects into the throat.
  • He described how to use a hook to remove a polyp from the nose.
  • He described the exposure and division of the temporal artery to relieve certain types of headaches.
  • He utilized cauterization, usually to treat skin tumors or open abscesses. He applied cauterization procedure to as many as 50 different operations.
  • Application of ligature for bleeding vessels and internal stitching utilizing catgut. He preceded the famous French military surgeon Ambroise Pare (1510–1590), claimed to be the first European to utilize sutures, by five centuries.
  • Treatment for anal fistulas.
  • Setting dislocated bones and fractures. His method for setting and reducing a dislocated shoulder was centuries before Kocher introduced his similar technique to European medicine.
  • Removal of urinary bladder calculi. He advised that the treating physician has to insert a finger into the rectum of the patient, move the stone down to the neck of the bladder, then make an incision in the rectal wall or the perineum and remove the stone.
  • He devised instruments for inspection of the urethra.
  • He is credited to be the first to describe ectopic pregnancy.
  • He devised several dental devices and artificial teeth made of animal bones.
  • Al Zahrawi is considered the father of operative surgery. He is credited with performance of the first thyroidectomy. The last chapter of his comprehensive book, named “On Surgery”, was dedicated to surgical instruments. He introduced over 200 surgical tools, a staggering number by all standards. He gave detailed descriptions of for using probes, surgical knives, scalpels, and hooks. He also devised and invented surgical scissors, grasping forceps and obstetrical forceps. His illustrations of surgical instruments were the earliest intended for use in teaching and in methods of manufacturing them. [4]

The book was translated into Latin in the 12th century by Gerard of Cremona. It soon found popularity in Europe and became a standard text in all major Medical universities like those of Salerno and Montpellier. It remained the primary source on surgery in Europe for the next 500 years, and as the historian of medicine, Arturo Castiglioni, has put it: al-Zahrawi’s treatise “in surgery held the same authority as did the Canon of Avicenna in medicine”.

In the beginning of his book, al-Zahrawi states that the reason for writing this treatise was the degree of underdevelopment surgery had reached in the Islamic world, and the low status it was held by the physicians at the time. Al-Zahrawi ascribed such decline to a lack of anatomical knowledge and a misunderstanding of the human physiology. He who devoted himself to surgery must be versed in the science of anatomy.

Noting the importance of anatomy, he wrote:

    “Before practicing surgery one should gain knowledge of anatomy and the function of organs so that he will understand their shape, connections and borders. He should become thoroughly familiar with nerves muscles bones arteries and veins. If one does not comprehend the anatomy and physiology one can commit a mistake which will result in the death of the patient. I have seen someone incise into a swelling in the neck thinking it was an abscess, when it was an aneurysm and the patient dying on the spot.”

Al-Zahrawi introduced over 200 surgical instruments, which include, among others, different kinds of scalpels, retractors, curettes, pincers, specula, and also instruments designed for his favored techniques of cauterization and ligature. He also invented hooks with a double tip for use in surgery. Many of these instruments were never used before by any previous surgeons.

His use of catgut for internal stitching is still practised in modern surgery. The catgut appears to be the only natural substance capable of dissolving and is acceptable by the body. An observation Al-Zahrawi discovered after his monkey ate the strings of his oud. Al-Zahrawi also invented the forceps for extracting a dead fetus, as illustrated in the Al-Tasrif. [4]

Fig. 2. Albucasis blistering a patient in the hospital at Cordova. [5]

In addition to sections on medicine and surgery, there were sections on midwifery, pharmacology, therapeutics, dietetics, psychotherapy, weights and measures, and medical chemistry.

Fig. 3. Page from a 1531 Latin translation by Peter Argellata of Al Zahrawi’s treatise on surgical and medical instruments.  [4]

Al Zahrawi is considered the father of operative surgery. He is credited with performance of the first thyroidectomy. [4]

 

Figure. 4. Two pages from a manuscript of Al-Zahrawi’s Al-Tasrif, preserved at the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences, Baku [6]

Abdel-Halim et al gave a detailed study of Al Zahrawi’s technique of cystolithotomy.

Al Zahrawi contributed early descriptions of neurosurgical diagnoses and treatment including management of head injuries, skull fractures, spinal injuries and dislocations, hydrocephalus, subdural effusions, headache and many other conditions.

In addition, he made significant contributions to pediatric surgery. In addition to his description of hydrocephalus, he described harelip, adenoids, ranula, imperforated external urinary meatus, perforated anus, hermaphrodites, gynecomastia, supernumerary and webbed fingers.  He was the first to describe in detail the medical aspects of hemophilia.

Finally, he emphasized child education and behavior, school curriculum and academic specialization. He advised that gifted and intelligent students be encouraged to study medicine after completing their primary education in language, grammar, mathematics, astronomy and philosophy.  [4]

CONCLUSION

Thus, in conclusion, Al-Zahrawi was not only one of the greatest surgeons of medieval Islam, but a great educationist and psychiatrist as well. He devoted a substantial section in the Tasrif to child education and behavior, table etiquette, school curriculum, and academic specialization.

The methods of Albucasis eclipsed those of Galen and maintained a dominant position in medieval  Europe for five hundred years, i.e long after it had passed its usefulness. He, however, helped to raise the status of surgery in Christian Europe; in his book on fractures and luxations, he states that ‘this part of surgery has passed into the hands of vulgar and uncultivated minds, for which reason it has fallen into contempt.’ The surgery of Albucasis became firmly grafted on Europe after the time of Guy de Chauliac (d.1368), the 14th century, French surgeon. He quoted al-Tasrif over 200 times. Pietro Argallata (d. 1453) described Al-Zahrawi as “without doubt the chief of all surgeons”. Al-Zahrawi’s influence continued for at least five centuries, extending into the Renaissance, evidenced by al-Tasrif’s frequent reference by French surgeon Jacques Daléchamps (1513–1588). [5]

 We can reasonably assume that Al-Zaharawi knew about Sushruta. In the eight century CE, Sushruta Samhita was translated into Arabic by Caliph Mamun  as “Kitab Shah Shun al –Hindi” and “Kitab – I – Susurud.” Al-Zaharawi lived in the 10th Century. [7]

  Fig. 3 in  in this article appears  similar to the instruments used by Sushruta.  However, I made a comparison and found there is no resemblance. Actually, instruments used by Sushruta look modern.    They are not the same.    Sushruta (Sanskrit: सुश्रुत, lit. “well heard”) was an ancient Indian ayurvedic physician, known as the main author of The Sushruta Samhita (ca. 600 BCE), an important early medical text and the first text to represent the process of rhinoplasty. One of the earliest documented plastic surgeons, he also described procedures for treating hemorrhoids and fistulae, as well as cataract surgery. Sushruta has been called “father of surgery” and “father of plastic surgery”.   Al-Zaharawi (936-1013) wrote Al-Tasrif (The Method of Medicine), a 30-part medical encyclopedia in Arabic wherein  he introduced his collection of over 200 surgical instruments, many of which were never used before. He is  the first to describe and prove the hereditary pattern behind hemophilia, as well as describing ectopic pregnancy and stone babies. He has been called the “father of surgery”.

References 1.http://broughttolife.sciencemuseum.org.uk/broughttolife/people/Albucasis 2. https://www.ancient-origins.net/artifacts-ancient-writings/al-zahrawi-legacy-father-modern-surgery-004693 3. https://muslimheritage.com/abu-al-qasim-al-zahrawi-the-great-surgeon/ 4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6077085/ 5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Zahrawi 6. https://hekint.org/2017/01/22/abulcasis-the-pharmacist-surgeon/ 7.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5512402/   
Islamic Heritage of South Asia

Life After Birth

Submitted by Dr. M. Basheer Ahmed, Texas

Transmitted from Ron Little

In a mother’s womb were two babies. One asked the other: “Do you believe in life after delivery?” The other replied, “Why, of course. There has to be something after delivery. Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves for what we will be later.”

“Nonsense,” said the first. “There is no life after delivery. What kind of life would that be?”

The second said, “I don’t know, but there will be more light than here. Maybe we will walk with our legs and eat from our mouths. Maybe we will have other senses that we can’t understand now.”

The first replied, “That is absurd. Walking is impossible. And eating with our mouths? Ridiculous! The umbilical cord supplies nutrition and everything we need. But the umbilical cord is so short. Life after delivery is to be logically excluded.”

The second insisted, “Well I think there is something and maybe it’s different than it is here. Maybe we won’t need this physical cord anymore.”

The first replied, “Nonsense. And moreover, if there is life, then why has no one ever come back from there? Delivery is the end of life, and in the after-delivery, there is nothing but darkness and silence and oblivion. It takes us nowhere.”

“Well, I don’t know,” said the second, “but certainly we will meet Mother and she will take care of us.”

The first replied “Mother? You actually believe in Mother? That’s laughable. If Mother exists, then where is She now?”

The second said, “She is all around us. We are surrounded by her. We are of Her. It is in Her that we live. Without Her, this world would not and could not exist.”

Said the first: “Well I don’t see Her, so it is only logical that She doesn’t exist.”

To which the second replied, “Sometimes, when you’re in silence and you focus and listen, you can perceive Her presence, and you can hear Her loving voice, calling down from above.”

Perhaps this was one of the best explanations for the concept of GOD.

Comment: The human has lost the capacity to see with the inner eye. Immersed as he is in the ocean of Divine grace, he cannot perceive the presence of the Owner of Grace. The human is like the fish in the ocean which asks, “where is the ocean?”. Or, as Mevlana Rumi said: “You ride your horse from village to village asking everyone: ‘Have you seen my horse?”.

 

Islamic Heritage of South Asia

Tanazzulat: (The Descent of Divine Grace) – Insan (The Human)

Book: NOOR UL HAQEEQAT

Author: Shaikh Shah Syed Ismail Qadiri al Multani

Transmitter: Shaikh Badashah Qadiri

Compiled by: Prof. Mevlana Syed Ataulla Hussaini

Translated and condensed from Urdu by Prof. Dr. Nazeer Ahmed

Summary

Allah created the human to manifest His Asma wa Sifat (Names and Attributes). Allah created the human “with two hands”, meaning, with Jalal wa Jamal (beauty as well as majesty). All other creation was created “with one hand”, meaning, they manifest but a single attribute of Allah and they praise Him with that attribute. Allah created Iblis to manifest His attribute of “Al Mudill”.

KNOW THAT the sixth descent of Divine Grace (Tanazzul)  is Insan (the human). The meaning of Insan is “a body with sight”. When this body can see everything with its hidden eye but cannot see itself, it is said that it is “the human”.

In the station of Wahdat, Reality was manifest in Unicity and multiplicity was hidden. Then, as Reality was made manifest in its multiplicity, the multiplicity took over and Unicity was concealed.

God willed that He manifest His Essence as an integrated whole in an entity which would at once be a compendium of light as well as darkness, hidden as well as the manifest, visible as well as the invisible. There was no creation that was a corpus of perfections and attributes and was at the same time a reflector of Divine Names. The other creation reflected only specific aspects of divine attributes according to their fixities. Hence, Allah created the human as a compendium of all existence that has come into being since the beginning and will continue to come into being till eternity.  For this reason, the human is also called “Jahan e sagheer” (The small universe).   

The human is the Khalifa (regent) on earth and a Khalifa has a rank higher than the creation over which he exercises his khilafat (regency) and has authority over it. Whatever grace reaches the cosmos does so because of the inherent sanctity of the human. That is why the angels prostrated before the human even though he was created only after the angels were created. The human is the purpose for the creation of the universe. For this reason, he  is also called “Illat e Ghayi” (the real purpose) of the universe.

Allah created the human “with both hands”. In other words, the human was created with both Jalal and Jamal (beauty as well as majesty).  The rest of the universe was created “with one hand”. The angels did not understand this subtlety. Therefore, they said:

“Will you create one
Who will make mischief and shed blood,
While we extol You, praise You, and sanctify You?”

The angels could not understand that they praise Allah only with the one attribute they knew while Allah has many Names and attributes that the angels are not even aware of.

Allah created Adam as “Insan e Kamil” (a perfect human being) and taught him all the names because the perfect man becomes a reflector of the Dhat (Essence) which is the sum total of all the Asma wa Sifat (divine Names and attributes), Therefore, his praise is higher than the praise of the angels. Allah gathered all the angels and asked them to name the names of entities in the cosmos. In other words He called them to name the Names that are manifest in the cosmos and with which the cosmos praises Him. The angels were not haughty; they excused themselves. Adam recited all the Names, thereby demonstrating his superiority over the angels. All the angels bowed before Adam except Iblis. He was haughty and conceited.

And when We commanded the angels
To prostrate before Adam,
They prostrated, except Iblis.
He refused and was arrogant,
And he was of the disbelievers.

Iblis construed Adam as made of clay. He did not know that the Dhat (divine Essence) was made manifest in him with all the Names and attributes. Adam was also a compendium and manifestation of all the appropriate attributes of the cosmos. Iblis showed his haughtiness towards Adam which he should not have and because of it he was repudiated by Allah.

Iblis was a jinn and was a personification of evil. It is impossible that anything but evil emerge from him. He said: “O my Lord! I swear by your honor! I will for sure mislead and deceive the human”. Iblis accepted this task of misleading the human so that the attribute “Al Mudil” (the Abaser) would be made manifest.

The human is a compendium of all the Asma (the divine Names) in his intrinsic self but in the open he is a guide to the divine path. Therefore, Allah made Satan the enemy of the human. The Insan e Kamil (the perfect man or the Wali) does not follow anything but the guidance from Allah. Even when he does something wrong, he asks for forgiveness. This is the result of divine guidance. It is a manifestation of the divine attribute of forgiveness.

When an Insan e Kamil (the perfect man, Wali) dies, immediately, another one takes his place so that the world may continue. When there is no Insan e Kamil and Wilayet (the continuity of Awliyah) disappears, the Day of Judgment will arrive.

The angels bowed before the human but this bow becomes a burden on the hapless human even if he is in great numbers. That is because he becomes a follower of Iblis and follows his commands. The angels are under him but they do not prevent him from doing wrong. Similarly, when the human does good, the angels are happy but Satan is unhappy. The footsteps of Satan lead to disbelief and Shirk. In this state, the human retains only his face; in his deeds he becomes an animal and falls into the abyss of Asfala Safileen (the lowest of the low),

Wa Sallallahu Ta’la A’la Khair e Khalqhe Sayyidina Muhammed Wa Ala Alehi Wa Sahbihe Ajmaeen. Be Rahmitika Ya Arhamar Rahimeen. 

Islamic Heritage of South Asia

Tanazzulat: (The Descent of Divine) A’lame Amthal (The Realm of Similes)

Book: NOOR UL HAQEEQAT

Author: Shaikh Shah Syed Ismail Qadiri al Multani

Transmitter: Shaikh Badashah Qadiri

Compiled by: Prof. Mevlana Syed Ataulla Hussaini

Translated and condensed from Urdu by Prof. Dr. Nazeer Ahmed

The fourth Tanazzul is Alam e Mithal (The domain of similarities). This is a subtle bridge-world between Ajsam (entities) and Arwah (the Spirits/ the angels). It is also called Alam e Barzaq (the bridge-world), Alam e khayal (the world of imagination), Alam e Dil (the world of the heart). This is the world of the Spirit. It is a treasure of Light. It is similar to a material treasure in that it can be felt and measured. And it is similar to the treasure of sanctified thought in that it is Light itself. In other words, despite it being measurable and similarity to materiality it is similar to the Spirit because it cannot be broken up, grown or captured.

The reason Alam e Mithal is named as such is that this world is similar to Alam e Ajsam and everything in Alam e Ajsam has a similarity to an entity in Alam e Mithal. Everything makes its first appearance in divine knowledge in Alam e Mithal and is then created in Alam e Ajsam.

There are two categories of Alam e Mithal:

  1. The first is the category whose appearance is not conditional upon mental exertion. It is called Khayal e Munfasil (Separated thought), Mithal e Munfasil (Separated similarity), Mithal e Mutlaq (Unconstrained or independent similarity), Khayal e Mutlaq (Unconstrained or independent thought).
  2. The second is the category whose appearance is conditional upon mental exertion. It is called Khayal e Mutassil (connected or dependent thought), Mithal e Mutassil (connected similarity), Mithal e Muqayyad (constrained similarity), Khayal e Muqayyad (constrained thought).

Alam e Mufassil (the connected world) is a world of subtle existence in which the Ajsam (bodies) receive the Arwah (the Spirits) and the Arwah (the Spirits) receive the body. It is in this world that Hazrath Jibreel (as) appeared before the Prophet as an honored person transmitting the divine message. It is in this world that Khizar (as), the blessed Prophets and the Awliyah appear. Izrael (as) also appears before a dying person in this world and the Ruh (Spirit) moves into this domain after death. The interrogations of Munkir and Nakir and the joys and punishment of the grave are also done in this domain. For this reason, this domain is also called “the domain of the grave”. On the Judgement Day these are the Ajsam (entities) who will be resurrected individually. These Ajsam (entities) will be very subtle. It is in this world that the people of Jannat will enjoy the fruits of their good deeds even though the deeds, as the primary source are absent, their realities will be manifest as treasures. For instance, in the Manfasal (separated thoughts) the bad deeds will appear as scorpians, serpents and fire. Some bad deeds like fornication, even though they give pleasures in this world, will appear in their reality as “fire that burns”.

In this world, deeds appear in different forms. For instance, the good deeds will be like rides (like horses) and they carry the doer towards Jannat. On the other hand, the bad deeds will ride on the person. The good deeds will stand at the station of intervention (Maqam w Shifa) and speak up for the doer. The bad deeds will haunt the doer. Similarly, the deviant beliefs will become fire and burn the heart.

The constrained similarity surfaces when the constraining power acts. Example: The appearances that are seen in dreams.

  1. Sometimes these appearances are in accordance with realities that are present. Such appearances do not require an interpretation or explanation because what is seen reflects what happens. These are (Ru’a-e-Sadiqa) truthful sights. Hazrath Aisha (r) said that in the early stages of his Prophethood, Prophet Muhammed witnessed such truthful sights. In other words, whatever dreams he had, they appeared as if the light of the dawn and whatever he saw had no defect or doubt in it and it did not require an interpretation or elaboration. The truthful dreams are called “Ru’ya e Saleha” (the virtuous sights) “Ru’ya e Sadiqa” (truthful sights) and “mubasshirat” (the good sights).
  2. Sometimes the dreams, even though they are consistent with present realities, appear as something different. These require an interpretation. Therefore, the reality of the appearance will be its interpretation. Example: The Prophet (pbuh) saw knowledge as milk and faith as a Hazrath Ibrahim (pbuh) saw himself slaughtering his son Hazrath Ismael whose interpretation was to slaughter a lamb. 

Then, there are the dreams that require interpretation. For instance, Hazrath Yusuf saw in his dream that eleven stars and the sun and the moon were prostrating before him. The interpretation of the eleven stars were his brothers. The sun and the moon were his father and mother. This portion of the dream was explained. But the prostration did not happen physically; it was allegorical because his brothers, father and mother became dependent on him.Sometimes the faces in the dreams are entirely different from reality. There is no similarity either in wakeful hours or in the hidden world, for instance, the dreams of mad people, patients with mental disease and ordinary folks. This is because the angelic world is higher than the corporeal world in its existence and rank and the help that the corporeal world receives has been delegated to the angels. Because of their essential differences, the corporeal bodes and the angels cannot be one because the one (the body) is the entity that carries the rider and the other (the angel) is the rider. Therefore, God has made Alam e Amthal (the world of similarities) as a bridge between Alam e Arwah (the angelic world) and Alam e Ajam (the corporeal world) so that they two can interact.

Similarly, Ruh e Inani (the human spirit) and Jism e Insani (the human body) are different and camaraderie between the two is forbidden. Therefore, Allah created the Nafs e Haywani (the animalistic self) as a bridge between the spirit and the body. The power that comes with the ruh e haywani gets into different parts of the body according to their capabilities and acts as the “rider” on them. In this respect the animalistic self is similar to the spirit in as much as both are spread out over the entire body and both control the actions of the body (although in opposite directions). 

It is not a secret that the bridge in which the Arwah (the spirit or the angels) live in the afterlife in different from the bridge between the spirit and the body in this world. The stations of existence are different in descent and ascent. The station that was before an entity came into this world is one from the Tanzzulat (stations of descent) which is called “Awwaliyet” (what was there in the beginning). The station after death is one from the stations of exit and is called “Akhira” (what comes after or afterlife).

In Barzaq e Akhir (the bridge of afterlife), faces are appended to the Arwah (the spirits) in accordance with the deeds of this world. This is opposed to the faces in Barzaq e Awwal (the bridge before this life). In their similarity they are one (they refer to the same human) but in their manifestation they become a reflection one of the other. Barzaq e Awwal is called “Ghaib e Imkan” (The hidden that is possible to witness) because it is possible to witness it. The other Barzaq is called “Ghaib e Mahal” (the hidden that is not possible) because its witness is forbidden. The first bridge is unveiled on a large number of people; the second on only a few.

Islamic Heritage of South Asia

TANAZZULAT- (THE DESCENT OF DIVINE GRACE) – A’lam e Ajsam

Book: NOOR UL HAQEEQAT

Author: Shaikh Shah Syed Ismail Qadiri al Multani

Transmitter: Shaikh Badashah Qadiri

Compiled by: Prof. Mevlana Syed Ataulla Hussaini

Translated and condensed from Urdu by Prof. Dr. Nazeer Ahmed

The fifth Tanazzul is Alam e Ajsam (The world of structures, entities or bodies). It is also called Alam e Shahadat (The world of witness).

The Ajsam (entities) are of two kinds:

  1. ‘Uluyiyat (the higher structures). Examples: Arsh wa Kursi (the divine station and the Throne), the Seven Heavens, the planets and the stars, thunder and lightning, the wind and the clouds. 
  2. Sifliyat (the lower structures). Examples: Elements and compounds such as metals, flora and fauna, animals and the human body.

Similarly, there are other worlds that are in the category of Ajsam (entities) and have structures such as movement and rest, wisdom and foolishness, subtlety and slyness, light and color, sound and smell.     

Reflect that in the world of “A’ma” (non-space or la-makan), after the Universal Intellect and the Universal Soul, the “Hulay e Kulli” (the Universal Reason) was created which is also called “Hiba’”. This is the essence of entities in which Allah has opened the bodies and appearances of the cosmos. They are also called “Anqa” because it can be felt but cannot be seen. Manifestation is granted only to the appearance not to the essence.

The “sphere” that surrounds all of the worlds of Ajsam is the Sphere of the High Throne (the Divine Throne). In the world of ‘Ama (non-space) it is held up by four Angels. What rides this Throne is not a body but Rahman (the Most Gracious). It means there is His manifestation on the Throne. Thus, His Rahmat (Grace) is reflected on all the cosmos. The Grace of God is available to anyone who asks; it has no constraints. Therefore, it is called “Rahmat e Imtenaniya” (Grace or mercy that is not denied to anyone). It is also called “Rahmat e Mutlaqa” (Grace or mercy that is firmly established). Divine Grace is a part of existence so much so that there is mercy even in divine wrath.

Shrouded in the Exalted Throne, there is a hidden entity. It is the seat of divine blessings (Kursi e Kareem). This seat has on it two “steps” of Rahman (the Most Compassionate). One step is mercy, the other is wrath. On this char are angels who are occupied with transmitting the mercy and the wrath to creatures. 

According to Shaikh Syed Meeran Abul Hasan Qadri (May Allah be pleased with him), the manifestation of existence increases as the Tanazzilat descend from one station to the other. He said:

“The manifestation of existence in Arwah (the domain of the angels) is better than the manifestation of existence in the world of meanings (the descriptive world).

The manifestation of existence in Amthal (the divine conceptual domain) is more complete than the manifestation of existence in the world of angels.

The manifestation of existence in Ajsam (the domain of entities) is better than the manifestation of existence in the world of concepts.”

Thus, the manifestation of existence is most complete in the human.

Islamic Heritage of South Asia

Tanazzulat: (The Descent of Divine Grace) – A’lam-e-Arwah (The Dominion of Angels)

Book: NOOR UL HAQEEQAT

Author: Shaikh Shah Syed Ismail Qadiri al Multani

Transmitter: Shaikh Badashah Qadiri

Compiled by: Prof. Mevlana Syed Ataulla Hussaini

Translated and condensed from Urdu by Prof. Dr. Nazeer Ahmed

Summary

The Dominion of the Angels (A’lam e Arwah, A’lam e Anwar)

The angels fall into two categories:

  1. “Karrubiyan” (They have no part in the material world. They are always immersed in divine praise)
  2. “Ruhaniyan” (They are actively engaged in the material world)

Sub-categories of the Karrubiyan

  • Aql e Awwal (The First Intellect)  Nafs e Kul (The Universal Soul)Aqlam (They transmit the divine writ)Alwah(They carry out the divine writ)       Jibrael, Mikael, Israfil, Ezrael (The exalted angels)Malaek e Tabiya (The angels who follow)

Subcategories of the “Ruhaniyan”

  • Ahl e Malakut e A’la (family of the higher angels)Ahl e Malakut e Asfal (family of the lower angels)Ruh e Insani (The human spirit)Ruh e Haiwani(The animalistic spirit)

Meethaq e Risalat is the covenant that all the Arwah made with the Ruh of the Prophet (sas) to obey him and follow him. This happened after Meethaq e Rububiyet (The Covenant with the Creator).

KNOW THAT the third descent of divine Grace (or the third fixity) is the manifestation of the Spirit. The Spirit is the essence of bodies and is free of defects. It does not have a shape or form.

The world of the Angels (Alam e Arwah) is also called A’lam e Af’ali (the world of action), Alam e Anwar (the world of Light), Alam e Mujarridat, (the immaterial world), Alam e Mufariq (the separated world), Alam e Malakut (the world of angels), Alam e U’lwi (the angelic world), Alam e Ghaib (the hidden world), Alam e Amr (the world of command), Alam e Ghair Mahsoos (the imperceptible world), Alam e Rabbani (the world of the Suistainer), Alam e Lateef (the subtle world), Alam e Berang (the colorless world).

The angels in the world of Alam e Arwah (the angelic world) are of two categories:

  1. The first category is one which has no part in the planning and execution of events in the material world. The angles in this category are called Karrubiyan.
  2. The second category is one which takes part in the planning and execution of events in the material world. The angels in this category are called Ruhaniyan.

The Karrubiyan are, in turn, divided into two sub-categories:

  • The angels in the first sub-category are heedless of themselves and of the created world. They are steeped in the majesty and beauty of the Creator ever since they were created. These are called Malaek e Maheemeen.  Allah created them in the first ‘ama (non-space) In the Sharia we call them Mala e A’la or Malaek e A’lia.

Then, He created another angel with the same attributes and bestowed upon that angel the knowledge of all things from the beginning till the end. This angel is called ‘Aql e Kul (the universal Intellect), ‘Aql e Awwal (the first Intellect), and Qalm e A’la (the exalted Pen).

Then, Allah created another angel so that the Exalted Pen may teach him all the detailed knowledge. It is called Nafs e kul (the Universal Soul) and Luh e Mahfooz (the Preserved Tablet). Whatever is in it cannot be changed.

There are other angels to whom some knowledge has been given. These angels are ”in between”. They are scribes or Aqlam(“Pens”); they take information from the higher angels and transmit it to the angels below them.

The angels in the lower realm are called Alwah. They are responsible for construction and destruction. The Aqlam keep writing to these Alwah all the time. The sounds of the Pens that the Prophet (peace be upon him) heard during M’eraj ware the sounds of these pens. The Exalted Pen had already finished writing.

  • The angels in the second sub-category of the Karrubiyan are there as a favor from Rububiyet (a favor from the Sustainer). These are called Hujjabil Wahiyet.

In the ‘Ama (spaceless domain), all the angels are lined up and are engaged in their tasks. They cannot leave or exceed their stations. Next to the Universal Reason and the Universal Soul, the Exalted Angels such as Hazrath Jibreel and Hazrath Mikael are waiting in the Exalted Row for Allah’s commands. They cannot be disobedient since they are created that way and are incapable of wrongdoing.

Next are the Malaek e Tab’iya who are responsible for delegated tasks. Some of them are tasked with the production of species, some for provision of sustenance, some for support for physical bodies and some in the documentation of deeds. They are from the categories of the Aqlam and the Alwah. These Alwah are the station of construction and destruction. The wrongdoings that are documented by them are erased by the Grace of the Creator.

Every angel praises Allah with the attribute that it witnesses and this remembrance is performed with the exalted and pure Divine Names.

The Ruhaniyan can also be divided into two sub-categories:

  • In the first sub-category are the angels that are preoccupied with the heavens. They are called Ahl e Malakut e A’la (Family of the Exalted Angels).
  • The second sub-category are the angels who are preoccupied with the earth. They are called Ahl e Malakut e Asfal (Family of Angels of the lower rank).

Millions of angels oversee humankind and many more oversee the material world and the animal kingdom. Every drop of rain has an angel associated with it. Sufis of Kashf (unveiling) maintain that even a leaf cannot fall unless it is with an angel. There is a mention in the Ahidith of some of the angels: Malik al Jibal (the angels of the mountains), Malik ur Reeh (the angels of the winds), Malik ur Re’ad (the angels of thunder), Malik ul Barq (the angels of lightning) and Malik us Sihab (the angels of clouds).

Attributes of the Human Spirit (Ruh e Insani) and the Animalistic Spirit (Ruh e Haiwani)

The human spirit is from the Ruhaniyan.  It is attached without materiality and is a subtlety from the subtleties of the Creator. It is the equivalent of Luh and Qalam (the Tablet and the Pen) and includes them both because the human spirit is the integrated manifestation of all the material entities in creation and of the divine Names. It knows every entity through its interactions with other entities. It acquires whatever knowledge it seeks from the Universal Intellect and the Universal Soul without hindrance even though these two occupy higher stations.

The human spirit is one but it it is fixed in many fixities and it is manifested in many faces. These faces are called Arwah e Haiwani (the animal spirits).  Every human has an animal spirit. Ruh e Haiwani is a subtle entity that acts as a bridge between the spiritual world and the material world. It transforms and appears in every part of the body so that every aspect of it is ingrained in every part of the body. You do not even feel that the animal spirit is something separate from the body.

From every ray of the Universal Intellect (A’ql e Kul) is derived an animal spirit, which is a power in the collection of powers bestowed upon an individual.  It is this power that provides a distinction between good and evil and benefit and loss.

There is another power that emerges from a ray of the Universal Intellect which is the individual soul. It supplies the higher virtues to a perfect body (a person of higher attainment). At the same time, it holds on to the spirit to stay alive and meet the demands of the animalistic tendencies in the body.

One of the powers of the animalistic spirit (Ruh e Haiwani) is Ruh e Shaitani (The satanic spirit) which nudges the nafs towards what is forbidden and satisfy bodily pleasures. There is another power of Ruh e Haiwani (animalistic spirit) which is Quwwat e Malaki (the angelic power). It demands good deeds for the hereafter, commands such deeds and is serves the spirit.

The relationship of the animalistic spirit to the human spirit is like imprisonment to freedom or the simple to the comprehensive.  The animalistic spirit is the body of the human spirit and it is intermingled with it. Ruh e Haiwani) is with all entities. By itself it is bereft of sorrow and pleasure. However, when it is in a body, it loses it acquires the characteristics of sorrow and pleasure.

Ruh e Haiwani (the animalistic spirit) is also a subtle treasure and it is eternal. It is not annihilated with death. When it is separated from the body, it is said that the body is dead. When the Ruh is separated from the body, it becomes a bridge. In other words, it acquires an appearance from a host of similar appearances and does not maintain a connection with a worldly body. In the grave, it is the animal spirit that is interrogated along with Jism e Barzaqi (the body that is in transition) because it (the Ruh e Haiwani) is indestructible and is “eternal” (timeless).

When the body is asleep, the Ruh e Haiwani (the animalistic spirit) travels around. When it returns, it re-enters into every organ of the body. Even though Ruh e Haiwani is with the body, it is so subtle that it can also be with the Arwah (spirits). Shaikh Syed Meeran Warangee has said that even though Ruh e Haiwani is present is large numbers, its appearance and disappearance from individuals is apparent to the A’rifeen (people of inner knowledge), whereas the common folks are unaware of it and become doubtful about it. Some have called the Ruh e Haiwani, “Shakhs e Insani” (the individual human). It is through this individuality that some humans acquire a higher position than others.

Once it comes into existence, Ruh e Haiwani (the animalistic spirit) is never annihilated. In this world it takes on “Jism e ‘anseri” (the individual material body), in Barzaq (between death and resurrection) it takes on “Jism e Barzaqi: (the body of barzaq or the bridge) and in the Akhira (hereafter) it takes on “Jism e Mahshoor” (the body of the Judgment Day).

Ruh e Haiwani is the companion of Ruh e Insani. The perfect human (Insan e Kamil) protects the Ruh from the pleasures of the Nafs and destroys the Ruh e Haiwani under the gaze of Ruh e Insani and witnesses the freedom of Ruh e Insani .

There are differences in the rank of the Awliya in accordance with their ma’rifat (inner knowledge) of the Ruh. The secret is this: There is one Ruh but in terms of its fixity it is many. Every fixity pridyces its own attributes, specific as well as general. Therefore, some of the fixities get caught up in ignorance and fall into the lowest of the low whereas others befriend ‘Irfan (inner knowledge) and reach the level of ‘Aliyun (an allusion from the Qur’an, meaning, highest of the high). The differences in Ma’rifat arise from the capabilities of these fixities.

Summarily, Ruh e Haiwani (the animalistic spirit) is both complete and incomplete, capable of enjoyment as well as suffering in accordance with the conditionality of its fixity. Qalm e Ala and Luh e Mahfuz (The Exalted Pen and the Preserved Tablet) are inherent in Ruh e Insani (the human spirit).

Meethaq e Risalat (The Covenant of the Arwah with the Prophet)

The exalted Ruh of Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) is the sublime Ruh which is always with the attributes of knowledge and perfection. He was the prophet in the Alam e Arwah. All the entities in that domain, whether they were perfect or imperfect, have believed in him and all the Arwah (angels) have made a promise that even when his Ruh comes into its worldly existence, they will obey and follow him.  This covenant with the Prophet (Meethaq e Risalat) took place after the covenant with the Sustainer (Meethaq e Rububiyet).

Sadaq Allahu Azeem wa Sadaqa Rasoolehil Kareem. Wa astaghfirullahu Rabbi.  

Islamic Heritage of South Asia

Tanazzulat: (The Decent of Divine Grace) – Wahdat

Book: NOOR UL HAQEEQAT

Author: Shaikh Shah Syed Ismail Qadiri al Multani

Transmitter: Shaikh Badashah Qadiri

Compiled by: Prof. Mevlana Syed Ataulla Hussaini

Translated and condensed from Urdu by Prof. Dr. Nazeer Ahmed

Wahdat, the First Descent

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim (In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful)

Allah swt declares:

“I was a hidden treasure (In other words, all the attributes were hidden under the power of His Essence). I willed that I be known. So I created a creation (that would know Me).”

The manifestation of Reality is found in the Tay’unat (fixities) and is witnessed by the A’rifeen (people of inner knowledge). It is witnessed in two ways:

  1. When the Dhat (Essence) descends into Asma (The Divine Names) or Arwayh (The Spirit), the A’rif (person of inner knowledge) first witnesses it and then looks at the state of its manifestation in the Tay’unat (fixities. Then, the Arif witnesses how it is encapsulated in the Tay’unat (fixities), whether the fixities are named or unnamed. This is the witness of the sages of the highest attainment. It was the witness of Hazrath Abu Bakr Siddique (r), as he said:

             “I did not witness anything unless I first witnessed Allah”.

  • The second witness is the perception of the limitless Essence between Tay’un and Tajalli (between fixity and its manifestation) whether it be with witnessing the Essence of the fixity or after witnessing the fixity. This is the witness of Hazrath Utham (r) who said:

                     “I did not witness anything unless I saw Allah with it”.

The fixities of this Reality are limitless. However, they can be grouped into six categories.

  • Two of these categories are hidden because both the Essence and Non-essence are absent from them. Nothing is manifest in its reality in these two hidden categories and no entity has the privilege of manifestation. The first hidden category attains its hidden Tay’un (fixity) from Ghaib (the Hidden). Similarly, the second hidden category attains its hidden Tay’un (fixity) from Ghaib (the Hidden).
    • The next three categories are “Koni” (derived from the verb ‘kun”, the verb to be, which is the divine command for creation).
    • The sixth category embraces all the categories.

The First Fixity, or the First Manifestation of Reality is that He “found Himself” and declared,“I am” (Ana), and all creation came into His knowledge.

It is apparent that the un-manifested cosmos is not separate from Reality. The universe is not separate from the Essence. The Essence has the power and the capability to manifest the cosmos. 

The Essence (dhat) contains all the Asma wa Sifat (the Names and the Attributes of Allah). For instance, the attribute “All-Hearing” (As Samee’) is not separate from “All-powerful” (Al Qadir). In other words, no single divine Name is separate from the other. Multiplicity, whether real or imaginary, is not manifest at the station of Essence. All the worlds are nonexistent here.   

When the Essence found its own Existence, and said “Ana” (I am), then four entities came into being: Dhat al Wajud, Sifat e Ilm, Ism e Noor and Fa’el e Shuhood.

  1. The Existence of the Essence (dhat e wajud). In other words, He “found Himself: by declaring “Ana” (I am). The Essence is by itself the Exisence.
  2. The attribute of Knowledge (Ilm).
  3. Noor or Light. When His Light manifested upon Himself, He was to manifest to Himself. The manifestation is Noor

Some elders have called “Anaya” (the “I” in I am) as the Noor.

  • The act of Witness (Shuhood). In other words, when He saw Himself, He witnessed Himself. This is called Shuhood.

The First Fixity (Ta’yun e Awwal) is also called Wahdata e Haqeeqi, Martabul Jama’ wal Wajud, Martabaye Jamiya, Ahdiyet Jamiya, Ahdiyet Jama’, Muqam e Jama’, Haqeeqatul Haqaeq, Barzaq ul Baraziq, Barzaq e Kubra, Haqeeqat e Muhammadiya, Aql e Awwal, Halm q A’la, Ruh e A’zam, and Tajalli e Awwal.

The Wahdat (Unicity) is worthy of the Dhat. At the position of Dhat , nasoot is not preferred over malakut (which is a station of the Spirit), malakut is not preferred over jabaroot (which is a station of Sifat), and jabroot is not preferred over lahut (which is a station of dhat).

Wahdat has two foundational concepts or ideas (E’tebarat):

  1. Ahdiyet. No concept (idea, thought, notion) is present or absent in this Dhat (Essence).  Looked at from different perspective, the integration (amalgamation) of all concepts (ideas, thoughts, notions, perceptions) is present in this Dhat (Essence). (It should be noted that) all concepts (ideas, thoughts, notions, perceptions) and attributes are associated with one and only one Essence.
  2.  
  3. Wahdiyet.  There are unlimited notions (thoughts, ideas) in this Dhat (Essence). The manifestation of Essence, its existence, its beginning and its presence are related to this idea. This is the Dhat (Essence) that is with all ideas and attributes. Wahed (Unicity) is an evidentiary Name.

There is no “otherness” in these two ideas. The presence or absence of evidence makes no difference to the Essence. 

Wahdat is the Unicity of the Essence which recognizes itself without conditions. It is the first manifestation of Dhat. Ahdat and Wahediyet are its two aspects just as the lover and the beloved are two aspects of love; both would disappear in the absence of love. In the same way, Ahdiyet is above Wahdat and Wahediyet is below Wahdat. Wahdat is like a bridge between the two.

This Wahdat is also called Tajalliye Awwal, Tanazzul e Awwal, Haqeeqatul Haqaeq, Barzaq e Kubra, Asal ul Barasiq, Aw Adna and Alif.

Sadaq Allah u Azeem Wa Sadaqa Rassolehil Kareem.

Islamic Heritage of South Asia

TANAZZULAT – THE DESCENT OF DIVINE GRACE – Wahdiyet

Book: NOOR UL HAQEEQAT

Author: Shaikh Shah Syed Ismail Qadiri al Multani

Transmitter: Shaikh Badashah Qadiri

Compiled by: Prof. Mevlana Syed Ataulla Hussaini

Translated and condensed from Urdu by Prof. Dr. Nazeer Ahmed

KNOW THAT the third Tanazzul (Wahdiyet) is the third fixity of Reality. In this position, the divine Essence (Dhat) recognized itself with every attribute and capability because the Essence contains in it all the Asma wa Sifat (Names and attributes) whether they are collective or individual. The 99 Names of Allah are revealed at the Tanazzulat of Wahdiyet. At this position, each attribute (Sifat) is different from the other, each Name (Ism) is separated from the other, and multiplicity is exhibited in the created world.

For the sake of clarification, it may be said that the divine Essence (dhat) recognized its own attributes in three ways:

  1. Sifat e dhati: Those attributes that are not dependent on their demonstration. These are called the essential attributes. Examples: life, knowledge, intent, will, hearing, seeing, speech, life, acceptance, self-sufficiency, holiness.
  2. Sifat e Afa’li: Secondly, those attributes that can be demonstrated and whose demonstration depends on their being executed. These are called demonstratable attributes. Examples: procreation, provision of food, taking a life or preserving it.
  3. Sifat e Anfe’ali: Third, those attributes that are accepted as self-evident and are not dependent on their demonstration. For instance, life and death, createdness, sustenance (food and water).

The Sifat e dhati (essential attributes) and Sifat e Afa’li (demonstrable attributes) describe the attributes of the Creator.

The Sifat e Anfe’ali are attributes of the created world. The Sifat e Anfe’ali are also called A’yan e Thabita, Suwwar e Ilmiya, mahiyet, haqaeq e alam, Alam e M’afi, Ummahat e A’lam, Aiyena e haye wajud and A’dem.

The position of Wahdiyet has two relationships:

  1. The relationship “above” it is called “Haqaeq e Ilahiya” (Realities of the divine realm). Their existence is essential.
  2. The relationship “below} it is called “Haqaeq e Kawnia” (Realities of the Created world). Their existence is only possible and contingent.

In between these two relationships is the human.

At the position of Wahdiyet, conceptual multiplicity appears. On the surface, the names, attributes and entitites are many but they are not separated from the one Reality. Some Sufis have said that the multiplicity in the Haqeeq e Ilahiya (the divine real) is only relational, whereas the multiplicity in Haqeeq e Kawnia (the created realm) is real.

The divine Names and Attributes (Asma wa Sifat e Ilahiya) are called Khazaen e Ilahiya (the divine treasures) because every Name and Attribute has hidden in it treasures of divine commandments and divine imprints.

The Suwware Ilmiya ( divine thoughts- divine ideas) do not have an external existence (they remain only divine ideas unless they come into existence by divine command).

The Suwware Ilmiya (divine Knowledge –divine Ideas) have two aspects:

  1. One is that the Divine Ideas are the mirrors of the Reality and the Asma wa Sifat (Names and Attributes of Allah) which are embedded in those mirrors.
  2. The second is that the Reality is itself the mirror of the Divine Ideas and the Reality that is the mirror is hidden behind a curtain.

In this divine position (Wahdiyet), there are two Realities that stand out:

  1. One Reality contains the attributes of self-evidence. Examples are: freedom, action, Unicity, existence of the Essence, exaltedness. This is the mandatory Reality and refers to Allah.
  2. The second Reality contins the attributes of created beings. Examples: boundedness, non-existence, contingent existence. This Reality is one of possibilities and refers to the human and the the created world.

To manifest the Suwware Ilmiya (divine thoughts) that were possibilities (Imkani), Allah created the external world in conformance with His detailed knowledge and in accordance with the capabilities of each creation.

It should not be inferred that Wahdat and Ilahiyet are new names for the Creator (Na’woozu Billah) because not even a hint of the rank of Dhat (the divine Essence) is bestowed upon Wahdat and Ilahiyet. These are explanations and elaborations offered only to foster understanding and faith.

La ilaha Il Allah, Muhammad Rasool Allah. Wa Astaghfirullahu Rabbi wa Atoobu Ilayh.

Islamic Heritage of South Asia

Noorul Haqeeqat

Author: Shaikh Shah Syed Ismail Qadiri al Multani

Transmitter: Shaikh Badashah Qadiri

Compiled by: Prof. Mevlana Syed Ataulla Hussaini

Translated from Urdu by Prof. Dr. Nazeer Ahmed

Tannazulat (Descent of Divine Grace)

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim (In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful)

The stations of prayer (hamd), all of them, are only for Allah (swt) who exists by His own essence and has bestowed existence on the cosmos. And Salam and Darood be on our Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) whose Reality is the unity of essence and the core of the cosmos, and upon his family and companions (may Allah be pleased with them) who are the guides for both Shariah and Tareeqa and are masters of Reality (Haqeeqat) and Inner Knowledge (Ma’rifat).  

The Pristine State (Martab e Oola)

KNOW THAT, when there was nothing, neither water nor dust, neither air nor fire, neither the earth nor the sky, neither trees nor stones, no animals – then, there was one Reality that was existent on its own. In Arabic it is called “Huwiyet”. In Farsi it is called “Hastee”. In Dakhni it is called “Hai Pan”. Some elders also call it “Love(Ishq).

This Reality was free of any constraints and its attributes and perfections were hidden. Due to its self-perfection, it was not oriented in any direction. It was present to itself. It was not turned towards “the other” of itself because there was no “other”. All of its attributes were contained within itself. Therefore, at this station, none of its names or attributes were manifest. There was no relationship or increase (or decrease) so that it was beyond any hidden or manifest attribute. At this station, one cannot even talk about the Creator or the created. Some elders have called this station “Allah”. Many of the Sufi masters have called it only an allusion to a Name because there is no limit to language; you can give this Reality any name you want. However, there is no benefit in giving it a name because the intent of giving a name is to understand and teach and here the situation is without “fixity” (ta’yun”). One can neither find this Reality nor understand, see or comprehend it. If this is the situation, then, why use language? It (the Reality) cannot be expressed in words no matter how many names you give it.

That Reality transcends creation due to its Unicity because the essence, by its nature, considers existence and non-existence to be the same. It does not desire to exist and it is not inclined towards non-existence. This (level of) transcendence is specific only to the Essence (dhat). No one, not even a wali (sage) or a prophet can comprehend this Reality at this station because this Reality, due to its primal unfettered freedom, desires not to be known or be constrained (by understanding). It is a compulsion of knowledge that seeks to understand the object of knowledge (which is not possible at this station).

It is therefore futile to investigate the nature of “Essence”. To exert oneself in investigating the “Essence” without recourse to fixities (ta’yunat), names (Asma), attributes (Sifat) and manifestations (Mazahir) is a waste of one’s life. It is reaching out for the impossible. Such inner knowledge (ma’rifat) is forbidden to anyone but Himself.

The cosmos is a vehicle for the reflection of the beauty of the transcendent Reality that lies beyond the cosmos.

That Reality, in its own state, is beyond fixity. No single fixity is appropriate for it. In any given state, it takes on a fixity in accordance with that state. It captures and is captured without being altered in any way.  It is collective as well as individual, common as well as specific, alone as well as multiple. Shaikh al Junaid (may Allah be pleased with him) has said: Al Aan Kama Kaan (Allah is as He was in the Beginning).

This station of Essence is also called Ghaib e Huwiyet (the hidden essence of He), Ghaib al Ghuyub (the hidden of the Most Hidden), Ibtan Kul Batin (the womb of all that is hidden), Huwiyet Mutlaqa (the essential aspect of He), La Ta’yun (non-fixity), Ayn ul Kafur (the essence of the musk), Dhaat e Sazid (the Essence of the most complex), Munqata al Isharat (the limit of allusion), Munqat al Wajdan (the limit of inquiry), Ahdiyate Mutlaqa (the essential Unicity), Mujhul ul Naat (devotional praise for the One who is not known), A’nqa (the priceless jewel), Nuqta (the dot) and Ganje Maqfi (the hidden treasure).

Sadaq Allah ul Azeem. Wa Sadaqa Rassolehil Kareem.