The Light of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) and His Special Distinction – PART 1

There has arisen today a group of Muslims who are “angry” that the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jammah praises the Prophet Muhammad  (صلى الله عليه وسلم) “too much”, and claim that he is no more than an ordinary man like us.

They have no reservations against praising or elevating themselves and their own people, with praises which they would be reluctant to apply to the Blessed Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم). Rather, they seek to denigrate his status to their own, and cast aspersions of misguidance and heretical innovation on anyone who declares that he (صلى الله عليه وسلم) has unique qualities separating him from the rest of creation, or that he is a light from Allah (Most High).

This is due only to their arrogance, which has blinded them, for they see no one higher than them but Allah Himself, and so if someone (like the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) or his righteous inheritors) is praised above them, they imagine that he is being given the same status as Allah Himself!

It would do them well to become humble and learn what their religion says about this unique blessed being, and not fall under the warning and curse of Allah which He saves for those who belittle His most Beloved (صلى الله عليه وسلم).

So in this chapter, we mention some of what has come concerning his special distinctions, especially his being the first (created) light from Allah.

FROM THE QUR’AN

1) Allah (Most High) Himself has called the Prophet Muhammadﷺ a “light from Allah” and “a light-giving lamp”. He said:

“There has come to you from Allah a Light and a Manifest Book” (Q5:15).

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The vast majority of the Mufassirin (excluding the Mu’tazila like Zamakhshari) interpreted the “light” in this verse to refer to Prophet Muhammadﷺ, in that in his original reality he is a light from Allah.

They include:

  • Imam Suyuti (Tafsir al- Jalalayn),
  • Imam Fakhruddin ar-Razi (Mafatih al-Ghayb),
  • Baydawi (Tafsir Anwar at-Tanzil),
  • Ibn Jawzi (Zad al-Masir),
  • Baghawi (Ma’alim at-Tanzil), Shawkani (Fath al-Qadir),
  • Sayyid Mahmud al-Alusi (Tafsir Ruh al-Ma’ani),
  • Ibn Jarir at-Tabari (Jami’ al-Bayan),
  • al-Khazin in his Tafsir,
  • an-Nasafi (Tafsir al-Madarik),
  • Qurtubi (Ahkam al-Qur’an),
  • Abu’s Su’ud, and others.

2) Allah also said: “O Prophet! We have truly sent you as a witness, a bearer of good news, and a warner, and one who invites to Allah by His Permission, and a light-giving lamp (sirajan munira)”(Q33:45-46).

About this verse, Mulla ‘Ali Qari al-Hanafi writes in his Sharh al-Shifa’ (1:505) the following:

“Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) is a tremendous light and the source of all lights…sirajan munira means a luminous sun, as in Q25:61.

There is in that verse an indication that the sun is the highest of the physical lights, and that other lights are outpourings from it. Similarly, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) 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 sphere of creation. This is also inferred from the hadith ‘The first thing Allah created is my light, O Jabir!’”

3) As for the verse (Q18:110): “Say, I am a human like you who is Divinely inspired…”, then this is no contradiction to saying that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) is created from the Light of Allah. The poet said: “Muhammad is a human being, but not like humankind; he is a precious ruby, while people are stones.”

The ruby is also a stone, but it has special distinctions and qualities that set it apart from other stones. Nor do we mean by “light” the physical light that we see when we turn on the switch in our rooms (even though his light did have a material aspect and on occasion manifested physically).

Rather, there are other lights besides the purely material, which can be seen in such sayings of his (صلى الله عليه وسلم) as: “You should keep to the dhikr of Allah, for it is a light for you,” (*) and “Wudu’ is bright light” (Sahih Muslim, #246).

Indeed, he is both the “light from Allah” and a “human being,” and the inability to grasp both aspects of his blessed being is the shortcoming of the individual. Furthermore, this verse only means that he is a human creature, in other words, created and not creator, and that is the only way in which he is like us other humans. Otherwise, which one of us can say that he has received direct revelation from Allah, or that he has went beyond the universe and spoken with, heard, and saw Allah Most High (all at the same time)?

It is a grave error to think that this verse means he is like us in all aspects, for he himself (صلى الله عليه وسلم) also said, “I am not like you…,” as we will see below. This image of him and attitude towards him is the exact and fundamental reason why the previous nations went astray and were punished.

Compare the words of these Muslims today who have no reverence for their Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) to the words of the disbelievers before them:

– “… They (Fir’awn and his people) became arrogant, and they were indeed a haughty group.

They said, ‘shall we believe in two humans like us, when their tribes are subservient to us?’ So they rejected them, and came to be among those who were utterly destroyed” (Q23:46-48).

– “So they (the disbelievers) tasted the severity of their doing, and for them is a grievous punishment. That is because their Messengers came to them with the clear proofs, and they said, ‘shall (another) human guide us?’” (Q64:5-6).

– “So the disbelievers among his people said, ‘we do not see you except as a human like us…’” (Q11:27).

… and other similar verses. This view of him (صلى الله عليه وسلم) as being no different than any other human is a fatal sickness and a stain of disbelief (kufr) upon the hearts, which must be removed to receive the light and guidance of Allah.

Another manifestation of that sickness and skewed understanding of Tawhid can be seen in the response of Iblis to the Order of Allah to prostrate to Adam (Alaihi salaam). He claimed that he was defending Tawhid because he refused to bow down before anyone except Allah, and not give “undeserved reverence” to any other creature.

It is this same misunderstanding which is seen in those who imagine that by bringing down the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) to our level as simply another human, we are safeguarding the Divine Oneness, when in truth we should be recognizing the awesome status and sublime heights which Allah (Most High) honored His Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) with, and giving him his due reverence (صلى الله عليه وسلم). Ubayy ibn Ka’b , when the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) struck his hand upon his chest to correct him, said: “I began to sweat profusely and it was as if I was looking at Allah Most High Himself” (Muslim #1356, Ahmad 5:127, 129).

So, for example, in explaining the meaning of the Prophet’s (صلى الله عليه وسلم) words: “Do not over-extol me in the same way that Christians extol their Prophet…” (Bukhari #3189) – meaning, do not attribute Divinity to me – al-Busairi stated in his poem Burdat al-Madih:

“Leave what the Christians claim concerning their Prophet, then decide and say what you wish in praise of him (صلى الله عليه وسلم). And attribute to his being what you can of excellence, and attribute to his dignified status as much greatness as you wish.”

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(*) Recorded by Imam Ahmad (3:82, 266) and Abu Ya’la (2:284 #1000) in their Musnads on the authority of Abu Sa’id al-Khudri, and by Bayhaqi (Shu’ab al-Iman, #4942), Tabarani in his Mu’jam as-Saghir(2:66-67); also recorded by Imam Qushayri with his chain in hisRisala (Beirut ed. 1998, p. 141).

 

(Original Content  Source: http://salafiaqeedah.blogspot.in)

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