(On the occasion of the 12th Rabi-ul-Awwal, the Prophet’s birthday)
Prophet Mohammed was born on a Monday, the twelfth night of Rabi ul awwal in Mecca in the year 570 CE. It is a day to rejoice as God sent him as a rahmat tul alamin, “We sent thee not, but as a Mercy for all creatures” (21:107). God is all praise for the Prophet of whom He was the Nurturer (Rab). “And thou standst on an exalted standard of character.” (68:4). He commands us to follow the Messenger. “If you do love Allah, Follow me: Allah will love you and forgive you your sins: For Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (3:31).
Sufi aspirants seek ihsan, an excellence of the heart as demonstrated by Mustafa, the chosen one. Sufi philosophy is both generated and illustrated by Prophet MohammedÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s spirituality. The Quran calls the Prophet siraj un munir, a lamp of Divine radiance. “So it is those who believe in him, honour him, help him, and follow the light which is sent down with him,- it is they who will prosper.” (7:157) It is this Light( Nur) of Mohammad that enables the Sufi to travel towards Ã¢â‚¬Å“the Reality of Mohammad and arrive at the Reality of God. Of this prophetic light, the Persian Sufi poet Fariduddin Attar (d 1235 ) writes:
The origin of the soul is the absolute Light, nothing else
That means it was the light of Mohammed, nothing else
This unique position of Prophet Mohammed is endorsed by many of his sayings like, Ã¢â‚¬Å“ The first thing that Allah created was my Light, which originated from His Light and derived from the Majesty of His greatnessÃ¢â‚¬Â and Ã¢â‚¬Å“ Truly, Allah made me the seal of prophets when Adam was between water and clay.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Sanai (d 1150) the Persian poet comments on the seal of Prophecy in his “The Walled Garden of Truth”.
I addressed the wind “Why do you serve Solomon?”
He said, “Because MohammedÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s name was engraved on his seal”
The essence of Sufi devotion is the certainty that the Universe created from Nur e Mohammadi or the Light of Prophet Mohammad and it was from this Preexistent Light that Allah took a handful to build His Universe. The Turkish mystic Khaqani wrote:
God ( Haqq) loved this light and said;Ã¢â‚¬Â My Beloved friend (habibi)! And became enamoured (ashiq) of this light.
The mysticism of Prophet Mohammed is the subject of countless verses in RumiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Mathnawi.
Listen to the discourse of the greatest of all masters Ã¢â‚¬Å“Prayer without presence of the heart is imperfectÃ¢â‚¬Â.
Rumi continues : “How could we commit error? For we are in the light of Ahmad!” The Sufis ascribe to Prophet MohammedÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s unity with God on the basis of his sayings such as, “Whoever has seen me has seen God.” Commenting on these Prophetic words Rumi describes the Sufi path:
If you have seen me, you have seen God
And circled the Kaaba of sincerity
Another Turkish mystic poet Yunus Emre (d 1320) explains the Sufi creed (aqeeda) that God Created the two worlds for His Beloved as he imagines the words of God:
I created Him from My own light
And I love him yesterday and today!
What would I do with the worlds without him
My, My Mohammed, My Ahmad, My Light
God made Prophet Mohammed the (shahi”) witness for mankind, who will testify for us on the Day of Judgement. “O Prophet! Truly We have sent thee as a Witness, a Bearer of Glad Tidings, and Warner” ( 33: 45). Amidst the spectacle of the Day of Judgement the crown of intercession (shafaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢a) belongs to Prophet Mohammed. The Delhi poet Mir Taqi Mir (d 1810) echoes:
Why do you worry, O Mir, at the thought of your black book
The person of the Seal of Prophets is a surety of your salvation
Sindh Shah Abdul Latif (d 1752) writes:
My prince will protect me – therefore I trust in God
The beloved will prostrate, will lament and cry-
Therefore I trust in God.
Mohammed the pure and innocent, will intercede there for his peopleÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
When the trumpet sounds, the eyes will be opened..
The pious will gather, and Mohammed, full of gloryÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
Will proceed for every soul to the gate of the BenefactorÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
And the Lord will honour him, and forgive us all our sinsÃ¢â‚¬â€
Therefore I trust in God
The ProphetÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Ascension to the Heavens best illustrates the tale of love between Prophet Mohammed and God. It is spirituality at its highest as it carries clues on the secrets of the Heavens and gives us the remarkable news that the gulf between the finite and Infinite can be bridged. This night journey forms the basis for the ultimate Sufi experience which seeks a vision of the One King on the Divine Throne.
In an enchanting imagery of the Prophets Ascension to the Heavens and the theme of intercession Rumi comments:
On the steed of love, Gods prophet rose, through the blazing heavens,
The messengers of God rose to salute him, noble browed, he blessed them all,
Gabriel himself, holding the reins, flew with Mohammad,
Like two stars, outshining all other stars, through the dark of the trackless void,
Then that emissary sublime called to Mohammad
Go alone, thy eye alone may witness where my sight would flinch and fail
Since his eye gazed unfaltering, he was called Ã¢â‚¬Å“the witnessÃ¢â‚¬Â
Collyrium ,from Ã¢â‚¬Å“Have We not dilatedÃ¢â‚¬Â, made his vision clear and true
All the stations of AllahÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s servant by that eye were witnessed
Gone was the veil of self and dissipation, he saw which souls were high and base
Hence his intercession is sought, for he is Mohammad
A falcon knows all the land that lies beneath him; thus the Prophet discerns souls
Photo: “Miraj” Persian Miniature Painting