by Shaykh Muhammad Shareef bin Farid
When examining the ruling of the mawlid of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, we are obligated to examine it not only from the level of the mortality and life of the Prophet, but also from the level of the immensity of the pre-existence of his light in the realm before Allah ta`ala created the physical existence.
It is transmitted in the al-Muwaahib: “It states in the Ahkaam of Ibn’l-Qataan in what was transmitted by Ibn Marzuuq on the authority of Ali ibn al-Husayn on the authority of his father, on the authority of his grandfather that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace said:
)) ﻛُﻨْﺖُ ﻧُﻮْﺭًﺍ ﺑَﻴْﻦَ ﻳَﺪَﻱِّ ﺭَﺑِّﻲ ﻗَﺒْﻞَ ﺧَﻠَﻖَ ﺁﺩَﻡَ ﺑَﺄَﺭْﺑَﻌَﺔِ ﻋَﺸَﺮِ ﺃَﻟْﻒِ ﻋَﺎﻡٍ ((
“I was a light in the presence of my Lord, before He created Adam by fourteen thousand years.”
Our proof that it was this light of Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace from which Allah ta`ala created everything is established in the prophetic traditions as well. It has been related by Ahmad, at-Tirmidhi, at-Tabarani and al-Haakim on the authority of Ibn `Amr that he said: “Once the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace said:
)) ﺇِﻥَّ ﺍﻟﻠﻪَ ﺗَﻌَﺎﻟَﻰ ﺧَﻠَﻖَ ﺧَﻠْﻘَﻪُ ﻓِﻲ ﻇُﻠْﻤَﺔٍ ﺛُﻢَّ ﺃَﻟَﻘَﻰ ﻋَﻠَﻴْﻬِﻢْ ﻣِﻦْ ﻧُﻮْﺭِﻩِ ﻓَﻤَﻦْ ﺃَﺻَﺎﺑَﻪُ ﻣِﻦْ ﺫَﻟِﻚَ ﺍﻟﻨُّﻮْﺭِ ﺍَﻫْﺘَﺪَﻯ ﻭَﻣَﻦْ ﺃَﺧْﻄَﺄَﻩُ ﺿَﻞَّ ((
‘Verily Allah ta`ala created His creation in darkness, then He threw on them some of His light. Whoever that light struck was guided, and whoever that light missed was astray.’ It is for this reason that I say the Primordial Pen has been drained of the knowledge of Allah.”
In another narration by Ibn Jareer on the authority of ad-Daylami who said: “I once said to Abdallah ibn `Amr: ‘It has reached me that you said: ‘The Primordial Pen has been drained’. He said: ‘I heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace say:
)) ﺇِﻥَّ ﺍﻟﻠﻪَ ﺧَﻠَﻖَ ﺍﻟﻨَّﺎﺱَ ﻓِﻲ ﻇُﻠْﻤَﺔٍ ﺛُﻢَّ ﺃَﺧَﺬَ ﻧُﻮْﺭًﺍ ﻣِﻦْ ﻧُﻮْﺭِﻩِ ﻓَﺄَﻟْﻘَﺎﻩُ ﻋَﻠَﻴْﻬِﻢْ ﻓَﺄَﺻَﺎﺏَ ﻣَﻦْ ﺷَﺎﺀَ ﻭَﺃَﺧْﻄَﺄَ ﻣَﻦْ ﺷَﺎﺀَ ﻭَﻗَﺪْ ﻋُﻠِﻢَ ﻣَﻦْ ﻳَﺨْﻄَﺌَﻪ ﻣِﻤَﻦْ ﻳُﺼِﻴْﺒُﻪُ ﻓَﻤَﻦْ ﺃَﺻَﺎﺑَﻪُ ﻣِﻦْ ﻧُﻮْﺭِﻩِ ﺷَﻲْﺀٌ ﺍَﻫْﺘَﺪَﻯ ﻭَﻣَﻦْ ﺃَﺧْﻄَﺄَﻩُ ﺿَﻞَّ ((
‘Verily Allah created people in darkness. Then He took a light from His light and threw upon them. This light struck whom He willed and it missed whom He willed. He knew whom this light would miss and whom it would strike. Whoever was struck with something from His light was guided, and whoever it missed was astray’. It is for this reason that I said that the Primordial Pen has been drained.”
In all the above prophetic traditions when the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace mentions: “…from His light…”; has an immense meaning far greater than the outward expression indicates. In fact tawheed demands that this expression be interpolated properly so that a person does not slip on the slippery slope of polytheism and anthropomorphism.
“It is not meant by his words: ‘…from His light’ to mean the outward expression that Allah ta`ala has a light which exist by itself apart from Him because this is impossible, because light does not exist except with mass. Rather what is meant here is that Allah created a created light, the light of Muhammad, as a precedence.
Allah only attributed this light to Himself, because he was the One who created it…Thus the attributing of this light to Himself is merely clarification, which means that He created the light of His Prophet from the light of His Essence. However not with the meaning that His light is a substance from which the light of the Prophet was created; but rather, that Allah ta`ala connected His Divine Will with the bringing into existence of this light without the mediation of anything in existenc.
This is the foremost response corresponding to what al-Baydawi mentioned regarding the words of Allah ta`ala: “He then formulated him and blew into him from His spirit”; where he said that Allah attributes this spirit to Himself in order to honor it, as a notice that this spirit is a wondrous creation, and that it has an immense relationship with the presence of Lordship.”
This is the reality of the Nuur al-Muhammadiyya which was given its mortal or physical manifestation on the 12th of Rabi al-Awwal in the year of the Elephant. Just as everything which has a beginning must have an end, so too did this light which Allah ta`ala created when Adam was between water and clay, come to its physical cessation at the same time.
Shaykh Abdullahi Dan Fodio said in the conclusion of his Ta`leem al-Anaam:
“When the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, passed, it was Monday the middle of the day on the twelfth day of Rabi’u al-Awwal, eleven years after his hijra. He was then sixty-three years old.
On that day, the sky darkened, and the people came out in crowds weeping. They were in disagreement concerning the passing of the Prophet. Some of them said he had died, while others said that his spirit ascended. Umar ibn al-Khataab, may Allah be pleased with him, was among this latter group.
Then Abu Bakr came from his house – that was located in the quarter of Madina called as-Sanhi – and came to the mosque. He did not speak with the people until he had entered the house of ‘A’isha. He went and tapped the body of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, who was covered with a cloth. Then he removed the cloth from his noble face, he then kissed it and began to weep.
He said, “May my mother and father be sacrificed for you. By Allah! Allah will not cause you to die twice. As for the first death it has been foreordained and you have tasted it.”
He then went out to the mosque while Umar was talking with the people. He sat down and the people gathered around him. He then said.
“O People! Whoever among you worshipped Muhammad, and then know that Muhammad is dead. Whoever among you worshipped Allah, verily Allah is the Living who will never die. He ta’ala says: “Muhammad is but a Messenger. Messengers have passed before him. If he were to die or were killed, would you then turn on your heels? Whoever turns on his heels, will never harm Allah in the least. He will soon reward the thankful.” The people listened to his words and heeded him.
Then Ali ibn Abi Talib, his uncle al-‘Abaas, his two sons al-Fadl and Qutham, Usama ibn Zaid, and his freedman Saalih entered to wash the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. Then Aws ibn Khawliy al-Ansaari called from beyond the door saying.” O Ali! Give us our rightful due.” Then he was given permission to enter.
Ali ibn Abi Talib was commissioned to wash the body, while al-‘Abaas, al-Fadl, and Qutham were responsible for turning the body over as it was being washed. Usama and Saalih were charged with pouring water over the body. Aws did nothing until after the body was washed.
The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was in his long shirt while the washing was being done. The water which was poured over him came from the well of Sa`d ibn Haithama, which the Prophet used to drink from often when he was alive. He was washed three times. The first time it was done with clear water, and then with water mixed with lotus, then with water mixed with camphor. They then did what is normally done to the deceased. They then wrapped him in three cloths from white sahuliyati cotton cloth. They then carried him and placed him on his bed.
Al-‘Abaas then called two men and said to them, “One of you go to Abu ‘Ubayda ibn Jarraah. He used to dig the graves in the Meccan fashion for the people of Mecca. The other one go to Abi Talha. He used to dig the graves in the Madinan fashion for the people of Madina.” Al-‘Abaas then said, “O Allah! Choose for Your Messenger.”
Thus, the man who was sent to Abi ‘Ubaida could not find him; but the one who was sent to Abi Talha was able to find him. He came and they said: “Where should we bury him?” Abu Bakr then said to them: “I heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say, ‘A Prophet is only buried in the place where be dies’.” They then moved his bed and Abi Talha began to dig the grave in the Madinan fashion at the spot where the Prophet’s bed was.
Then Ali, al-‘Abaas and the remainder of the Banu Hashim prayed over his body. After they came out the Muhaajirun entered and prayed over him, then the Ansaars, then all the people came and prayed over him, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. Everyone prayed singularly without following behind an Imam.
After that, the women entered and prayed, then the children. He, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was then lowered into his grave by those who washed his body. He was placed in the niche of the grave (lahd) and they then covered the niche with nine adobe bricks. They all came out of the grave and began to throw earth in the grave.
Qutham ibn al-‘Abaas was the last to come out of the grave, thus being the last person to have physical contact with the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace in this life. That was Wednesday during the last part of the night. Then the people returned to their homes.
That night Fatima said to her husband: “O Abu ‘l-Hasan! Have you all finished burying the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace?” He said, “Yes. The command of Allah cannot be disobeyed.”
She then said: “By my father the Prophet of mercy! Now the revelation will no longer come. Now Jibril has been cut off from us! O Allah! Join my spirit with his spirit! Heal me with the sight of his face!” She only remained after that for six months. She joined him as she desired.
Fatima went to his grave and took some of the earth in her hands, smelled it and said in poetic verse:
“What is with the one who smells the dust of Ahmad
That he cannot smell the tragedies in this stretch of time?!
Many misfortunes have befallen me that had it
Befallen upon the days they would have been changed into nights!”
And Abu Bakr said in poetic verse answering her:
“When I saw our Prophet being carried
I became depressed because of the alternation of their honor
My heart became alarmed at that point because of his death
And even my bones were no longer ashamed to shatter and break.
Indeed life says woe on to you that my dear one has been buried
For your father’s soul is enraged over all these dangers
If only earlier, before the absence of my companion,
I had been concealed in the tomb covered with solid rocks.
For astonishing things have been invented after him
By which hearts and souls have become totally blind.”
The poetic verses giving eulogy to him, may Allah bless him and grant him peace cannot be counted. After his death, a voice was heard but no one saw its source saying.
“Peace be upon you O People of the House and His mercy and blessings. Every soul must taste death so do not let your rewards die on the Day of Standing. Verily Allah is consolation for every perishable thing and He is compensation for every transitory thing. By Allah hold firmly to Him, from Him you should hope and know that real affliction is being forbidden the reward of the Hereafter. Peace be upon you and His mercy and blessings.” It was related that it was the voice of al-Khidr upon him be peace.
Abdullah ibn Zaid al-Ansaari the caller to prayer, when he heard of the death of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, he was in his garden.
He said: “O Allah! Take away my sight.” He became blind while standing in his place. When he was asked about that, he said, “The pleasures of the eyes are sight. Does there remain any pleasure on the face of the earth after Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.”
Shaykh al-Akbar Ibn Arabi al-Hatimi said that reason that Allah ta`ala created creation was in order to manifest the Light of Muhammad, His perfect servant and slave who worshipped Him with all the varieties of praise and worship as He is deserving. Thus, the creation was perfected and completed with the physical birth of the Prophet, with the first revelation of the Quran to him and with the revelation: “This day have I completed My favor on you” by the completion of the Quranic revelation and the emergence of the Best community that has ever emerged from humanity.
The universe was perfected with Muhammad, and when he passed away, it was as if the universe and existence went to sleep. It thus became the responsibility of the 124000 Companions who were alive when he died to then begin the duty of reviving the Living Sunna of the Prophet; and this has been the responsibility of all the Awliyya until the Day of Judgment. By reviving the Living Sunna of Muhammad, the universe and existence is revived and awakened. This is the meaning of celebration of the mawlid (birthday) and moussem (passing) of the Beloved Prophet.
The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace once said: “The mercy of Allah is with my khalifs.” It was said, “Whom are your khalifs?” He said, “Those who revive my sunna and teach it to the people. Whoever revives my sunna, has given life to me. Whoever gives life to me, will be with me in Paradise.”
Thus, the mawlid & moussem of our Beloved Prophet, although, it occurred on the 12th of Rabi al-Awwal; in actuality it is celebrated each time one of the Awliyya and every common Muslim revive the inward and outward Sunna of the Prophet…success is with Allah ta`ala.
Commentary Upon the Ta`leem al-Anaam: