Question: I’m looking for this hadith: ” Awwalu ma khalaqallahu nuri” (The first thing that Allah created was my nur) Then author of Kashful Khifa quotes Al-Mawahib and says it’s in Musannaf Abdur Razzaq but the muhaqqiq of Mawahib says it’s not there and this hadith is mawdu`. He also says that sheikh Abdullah Ghumari wrote a risalah saying it’s mawdu` and Allamah Suyuti in Al-Hawi lil Fatawi says it’s not established.
The Ahlus Sunnah wa’l Jamaah believe that it is indeed permissible to call the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) as ‘Nur of Allah’. The Qur’an has itself applied this description to the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) at many places and so have overwhelming ahadith.
“Hadith of Jabir (RadiAllahu Anhu)”
It is related that Jabir ibn `Abd Allah (RadiAllahu Anhu) said to the Prophet ﷺ : “O Messenger of Allah, may my father and mother be sacrificed for you, tell me of the first thing Allah created before all things.” Heﷺ said: “O Jabir, the first thing Allah created was the light of your Prophet from His light, and that light remained (lit. “turned”) in the midst of His Power for as long as He wished, and there was not, at that time, a Tablet or a Pen or a Paradise or a Fire or an angel or a heaven or an earth. And when 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].”
The judgments on this narration vary greatly among the scholars. Their words are listed below under the alphabetical listing of their names.
`Abd al-Haqq al-Dihlawi (d. 1052) the Indian hadith scholar cites it as evidence in Madarij al-nubuwwa (in Persian, 2:2 of the Maktaba al-nuriyya edition in Sakhore) and says it is is sahih (sound and authentic).
`Abd al-Hayy al-Lucknawi (d. 1304) the Indian hadith scholar cites it in his al-Athar al-marfu`a fi al-akhbar al-mawdu`a (p. 33-34 of the Lahore edition) and says: “The primacy (awwaliyya) of the Muhammadan light (al-nur al-muhammadi) is established from the narration of `Abd al-Razzaq, as well as its definite priority over all created things.”
`Abd al-Razzaq (d. 211) narrates it in his Musannaf according to Qastallani in al-Mawahib al-laduniyya (1:55) and Zarqani in his Sharh al-mawahib (1:56 of the Matba`a al-`amira edition in Cairo). There is no doubt as to the reliability of `Abd al-Razzaq as a narrator. Bukhari took 120 narrations from him, Muslim 400.
`Abidin (Ahmad al-Shami d. 1320), the son of the Hanafi scholar Ibn `Abidin, cites the hadith as evidence in his commentary on Ibn Hajar al-Haytami’s poem al-Ni`mat al-kubra `ala al-`alamin. Nabahani cites it in his Jawahir al-bihar (3:354).
`Ajluni (Isma`il ibn Muhammad d. 1162) in his Kashf al-khafa’ (1:265 of the Maktabat al-Ghazali edition in Beirut) narrates the hadith in its entirety from Qastallani in his Mawahib.
Alusi (al-Sayyid Mahmud) in his commentary of Qur’an entitled Ruh al-ma`ani (17:105 of the Beirut edition) said: “The Prophet’s being a mercy to all is linked to the fact that he is the intermediary of the divine outpouring over all contingencies [i.e. all created things without exception], from the very beginnings (wasitat al-fayd al-ilahi `ala al-mumkinat `ala hasab al-qawabil), and that is why his light was the first of all things created, as stated in the report that “The first thing Allah created was the light of your Prophet, O Jabir,” and also cited is: “Allah is the Giver and I am the Distributor.” [See al-Qasim #261.] The Sufis — may Allah sanctify their secrets — have more to say on that chapter.” Alusi also cites the hadith of Jabir as evidence in another passage of Ruh al-ma`ani (8:71).
Bakri (Sayyid Abu al-Hasan Ahmad ibn `Abd Allah, d. 3rd c.) in his book al-Anwar fi mawlid al-nabi Muhammad `alayhi al-salat wa al-salam (p. 5 of the Najaf edition) cites the following hadith from `Ali: “Allah was and there was nothing with Him, and the first thing which He created was the light of His Beloved, before He created water, or the Throne, or the Footstool, or the Tablet, or the Pen, or Paradise, or the Fire, or the Veils and the Clouds, or Adam and Eve, by four thousand years.”
Bayhaqi (d. 458) narrates it with a different wording in Dala’il al-nubuwwa according to Zarqani in his Sharh al-mawahib (1:56 of the Matba`a al-`amira in Cairo) and Diyarbakri in Tarikh al-khamis (1:20).
Diyarbakri (Husayn ibn Muhammad d. 966): He begins his 1,000-page history entitled Tarikh al-khamis fi ahwal anfasi nafis with the words: “Praise be to Allah Who created the Light of His Prophet before everything else,” which is enough to disprove al-Ghumari’s exaggerated claim that “anyone who reads it will be convinced that the hadith is a lie.” Then Diyarbakri cites the hadith as evidence (1:19 of the Mu’assasat Sha`ban edition in Beirut).
Fasi (Muhammad ibn Ahmad d. 1052) cites it as evidence in Matali` al-masarrat (p. 210, 221 of the Matba`a al-taziyya edition) and says: “These narrations indicate his primacy (awwaliyya) and priority over all other creations, and also the fact that he is their cause (sabab).”
Ghumari (`Abd Allah) in his Irshad al-talib al-najib ila ma fi al-mawlid al-nabawi min al-akadhib (p. 9-12 of the Dar al-furqan edition), commenting on Suyuti’s words (quoted below) whereby the hadith has no reliable chain: “This shows great laxity on the part of Suyuti, which I thought him to be above. First, the hadith is not present in `Abd al-Razzaq’s Musannaf, nor in any of the books of hadith. Secondly : the hadith has no chain of transmission to begin with. Thirdly: he has not mentioned the rest of the hadith. It is mentioned in Diyarbakri’s Tarikh, and anyone who reads it will be convinced that the hadith is a lie about the Messenger of Allah.” This exaggerated conclusion is disproved by the fact that Diyarbarkri himself does not consider it a lie since he cites the hadith in the first words of his book.
Gilani (Shaykh `Abd al-Qadir, d. 561) in his book Sirr al-asrar fi ma yahtaju ilayh al-abrar (p. 12-14 of the Lahore edition) said: “Know that since Allah first created the soul of Muhammad ﷺ from the light of His beauty, as He said: I created Muhammad from the light of My Face, and as the Prophetﷺ said: The first thing Allah created is my soul, and the first thing Allah created is the Pen, and the first thing Allah created is the intellect — what is meant by all this is one and the same thing, and that is the haqiqa muhammadiyya. However, it was named a light because it is completely purified from darkness, as Allah said: There has come to you from Allah a Light and a manifest Book. It was also named an intellect because it is the cause for the transmission of knowledge, and the pen is its medium in the world of letters. The Muhammadan soul (al-ruh al-muhammadiyya) is therefore the quintessence of all created things and the first of them and their origin, as the Prophet said: I am from Allah and the believers are from me, and Allah created all souls from me in the spiritual world and He did so in the best form. It is the name of the totality of mankind in that primordial world, and after its creation by four thousand years, Allah created the Throne from the light of Muhammad himself ﷺ, and from it the rest of creation.” This book has now been translated by Shaykh Tosun Bayrak al-Jerrahi as The Secret of Secrets (Cambridge: Islamic Texts Society, 1994).
Halabi (`Ali ibn Burhan al-Din, d. 1044) cites it as evidence in his Sira (1:31 of the Maktaba Islamiyya edition in Beirut) and then states: “It provides evidence that he is the root of everything that exists (in creation) and Allah knows best.”
Haqqi (Isma`il, d. 1137) cites it as evidence in his Tafsir entitled Ruh al-bayan and says: “Know, O person of understanding, that the first thing Allah created is the light of your Prophet… and he is the cause for the existence of everything that was brought to existence, and the mercy from Allah upon all creatures… and without him the higher and the lower worlds would not have been created.” Yusuf al-Nabahani mentions it in his Jawahir al-bihar (p. 1125).
Haytami (Ahmad ibn Hajar d. 974) states in his Fatawa hadithiyya (p. 247 of the Baba edition in Cairo) that `Abd al-Razzaq narrated it, and cites it in his poem on the Prophet’s birth entitled al-Ni`mat al-kubra `ala al-`alamin (p. 3).
Ibn al-Hajj al-Abdari (Muhammad ibn Muhammad d. 736) in his book al-Madkhal (2:34 of the Dar al-kitab al-`arabi in Beirut) cites it from al-Khatib Abu al-Rabi` Muhammad ibn al-Layth’s book Shifa’ al-sudur in which the latter says: “The first thing Allah created is the light of Muhammad ﷺ, and that light came and prostrated before Allah. Allah divided it into four parts and created from the first part the Throne, from the second the Pen, from the third the Tablet, and then similarly He subdivided the fourth part into parts and created the rest of creation. Therefore the light of the Throne is from the light of Muhammad ﷺ, the light of the Pen is from the light of Muhammad ﷺ, the light of the Tablet is from the light of Muhammad ﷺ, the light of day, the light of knowledge, the light of the sun and the moon, and the light of vision and sight are all from the light of Muhammad ﷺ.”
Isma`il al-Dihlawi (Shah Muhammad, d. 1246), one of the leaders of the Wahhabi-influenced Deobandi school in the Indo-Pakistani Subcontinent in one of his booklets entitled Yek rawzah (p. 11 of the Maltan edition) says: “As indicated by the narration: The first thing Allah created was my Light.”
Jamal (Sulayman d. 1204) cites it as evidence in his commentary on Busiri entitled al-Futuhat al-ahmadiyya bi al-minah al-muhammadiyya (p. 6 of the Hijazi edition in Cairo).
Gangowhi (Rashid Ahmad) a leader of the Wahhabi-influenced Deobandi school of India and Pakistan in his Fatawa rashidiyya (p. 157 of the Karachi edition) said that the hadith was “not found in the authentic collections, but Shaykh `Abd al-Haqq (al-Dihlawi) cited it on the basis that it had some grounding of authenticity.” Actually Shaykh `Abd al-Haqq not only cited it but he said it was sound (sahih).
Jili (`Abd al-Karim, b. 766) in his Namus al-a`zam wa al-qamus al-aqdam fi ma`rifat qadar al-bani ﷺ cites it as evidence. Nabahani relates it in his Jawahir al-bihar (see below).
Kharputi (`Umar ibn Ahmad, d. 1299) in his commentary on Busiri entitled Sharh qasidat al-burda (p. 73 of the Karachi edition).
Maliki al-Hasani (Muhammad ibn `Alawi) in his commentary on `Ali al-Qari’s book of the Mawlid entitled Hashiyat al-Mawrid al-rawi fi al-mawlid al-nabawi (p. 40) said: “The chain of Jabir is sound without contest, but the scholars have differed concerning the text of the hadith due to its peculiarity. Bayhaqi also narrated the hadith with some differences.” Then he quoted several narrations establishing the light of the Prophet.
Nabahani (Yusuf ibn Isma`il) cites it as evidence in al-Anwar al-muhammadiyya (p. 13), in his Jawahir al-bihar (p. 1125 or 4:220 of the Baba edition in Cairo), and in his Hujjat Allah `ala al-`alamin (p. 28).
Nabulusi (`Abd al-Ghani d. 1143) says in his Hadiqa al-nadiyya (2:375 of the Maktaba al-nuriyya edition in Faysalabad): “The Prophet is the universal leader of all, and how could he not be when all things were created out of his light as has been stated in the sound hadith.”
Nisaburi (Nizamuddin ibn Hasan, d. 728) cites it as evidence in elucidation of the verse: “And I was ordered to be the first of the Muslims” (39:12) in his Tafsir entitled Ghara’ib al-Qur’an (8:66 of the Baba edition in Cairo).
Qari (Mulla `Ali ibn Sultan, d. 1014) cites it in full in his book al-Mawlid al-rawi fi al-mawlid al-nabawi (p. 40), edited by Sayyid Muhammad `Alawi al-Maliki. He also said in his Sharh al-Shifa, in commenting upon the Prophet’s title “as a Lamp spreading Light” (33: 46): “Muhammad… is a tremendous light and the source of all lights, he is also a book that gathers up and makes clear all the secrets… sirajan muniran means a luminous sun, because of His saying: “He hath placed therein a great lamp and a moon giving light” (25:61). There is in this verse an indication that the sun is the highest of the material lights and that other lights are outpourings from it: similarly the Prophet is the highest of the spiritual lights and other lights are derived from him by virtue of his mediating connection and pivotal rank in the overall sphere of creation. This is also inferred from the tradition: “The first thing Allah created is my light.”” (Sharh al-Shifa 1:505)
Qastallani (Ahmad ibn Muhammad, d. 923) narrates it in his al-Mawahib al-laduniyya (1:55 of the edition accompanied by Zarqani’s commentary).
Rifa`i (Yusuf al-Sayyid Hashim) cites it as evidence in Adillat ahl al-sunna wa al-jama`a al-musamma al-radd al-muhkam al-mani` (p. 22): `Abd al-Razzaq narrated it.
Suyuti in al-Hawi li al-fatawi, in the explanation of Surat al-Muddaththir: “It has no reliable chain”; and in Takhrij ahadith sharh al-mawaqif: “I did not find it in that wording.”
Thanwi (Ashraf `Ali), a leader of the Wahhabi-influenced Deobandi school in the Indian Subcontinent, in his book Nashr al-tib (in Urdu, p. 6 and 215 of the Lahore edition) cites it as evidence on the authority of `Abd al-Razzaq, and relies upon it.
Zarqani in Sharh al-mawahib cites it (1:56 of the Matba`a al-`amira edition in Cairo) and refers it to `Abd al-Razzaq’s narration in his Musannaf.
Zahir (Ihsan Ilahi), a leader of the Wahhabi-influenced Deobandi school and declared enemy of the Barelwi school of Ahl al-Sunna in Lahore, India, in his book Hadiyyat al-mahdi (p. 56 of the Sialkut edition) says: “Allah began His creation with the Muhammadan light (al-nur al-muhammadi), then He created the Throne over the water, then He created the wind, then He created the Nun and the Pen and the Tablet, then He created the Intellect. The Muhammadan Light is therefore a primary substance for the creation of the heavens and the earth and what is in them… As for what has come to us in the hadith: The first thing which Allah created is the Pen; and: The first thing which Allah created is the Intellect: what is meant by it is a relative primacy.”
Blessings and peace on the Prophet Muhammad, the Light of the Full Moon in its beauty, and upon his Family and Companions.
-Shaykh GF Haddad ©