Saturday, July 14, 2018

Muhammad: The First and the Last Prophet

Without a doubt everything has been created from the secret treasure / For the sea of love rose and moved with the winds of love
Aziz Mahmud Hudâyi

Haqiqat-i Muhammadiyya and Nur-i Muhammadi within Sufi Culture

The Sufi understanding states that all the other Prophets were the proxies of Prophet Muhammad in this world before he emerged. This act of proxy is the representation of Haqiqat-i Muhammadiyya. (1)
When Prophet Muhammad was asked: "When did you become a Prophet?" he replied; "I was a Prophet when Adam was between the water and the mud -before he came into existence." (2) In the Sufi perception, another concept that symbolizes this Haqiqat-i Muhammadiyya", which encompasses all the prophets from the first prophet, Adam to the final prophet, Muhammad, is the concept of Nur-i Muhammadi. It is known that Prophet Muhammad is described in the Holy Quran (Al-Ahzab 33:46) as a "lamp that gives light". In another verse, it is conveyed to us that Prophet Muhammad is a "light from Allah" (Al-Maida 5:15). (3)
Another appellation used for Prophet Muhammad is Nuru'l-Huda (Light of God).
Bursawi emphasizes that Prophet Muhammad is presented within the Quran as a "lamp that gives light". Within this verse, Prophet Muhammad is likened to a candle. If there were no candles, it would not be possible to reach a destination; likewise if the candle of Prophet Muhammad's existence had not existed, everybody would have remained in the dark and would not have found the path to the light of existence and would not have reached the path where the source of prosperity existed. (4)
The Light on the Foreheads of Our Ancestors
For Islamic scholars this light is of more than a mere symbol. According to some accounts, when Allah created Adam He placed on Adam's forehead a pearl-like light which shone like a sun in daytime and like a moon in nighttime. This light was passed on to his pregnant wife Eve and then on to Seth. The father and the mother of Prophet Muhammad were the final link of the light, which had passed from a hundred people, fifty of whom were male, and the other fifty female. (5) Ibn Ishaq, (d. 150/767) speaks about a woman who tried to seduce Abdullah, the father of Prophet Muhammad just before he married his wife Amina. After Prophet Muhammad was conceived, Abdullah saw the same woman, yet the woman turned her face away. When he asked her why she had acted in such a way, the woman replied "The light I saw on you has forsaken you today." According to Ibn Ishaq, this woman had seen a bright mark between the eyes of Abdullah, which disappeared after Prophet Muhammad was conceived. Ibn Ishaq states that this woman was the sister of Waraqa ibn Nawfal (although she is given different names in different sources); she had been warned by her brother that the arrival of a prophet was imminent. Naturally, what the woman had seen on the face of Abdullah was the light of prophethood. This story was used by later historians. (6)
In relation to the light inherited from the forefathers, it is even said that the ancestors of Prophet Muhammad had been informed about his arrival by means of a light or glowing trees being perceived in their dreams.(7)  An incident regarding Abdulmuttalib which supports this is as follows:
According to reports, while Abdulmuttalib, the grandfather of Prophet Muhammad was sleeping in Hijr, he suddenly awoke startled.
Abbas tells us: "Then I was just a child, who hardly understood what was being said. I followed Abdulmuttalib. He came to the Quraishi oracles and said: ‘In my dream, I saw a silver chain coming out of my back. This chain had four ends. One end stretched to the east, one to the west, one end to the depths of the sky and the other end stretched to the depths of the earth. While I was looking at this chain, it turned into a radiant green tree. While I was standing in this position, two old men passed by. To one of the men I said:
‘Who are you?'
He replied ‘I am Noah, the prophet of Almighty God.'
To the other man I said: ‘And who are you?'
He replied: ‘I am one dear to Almighty God.' And then I woke up.
The Quraishi oracles replied to him ‘If you really had this dream, then it means that a prophet will emerge from your descendents; everybody on earth and in the sky will have faith in him. The links of the chains are interconnected, which shows that the subjects and the helpers of the prophet will become abundant and strong. The transformation of the chain into a tree shows that the religion brought by this prophet will last forever and that he will have a high level of honor.' Later, on the day of Hunayn, Prophet Muhammad said "There is no denying this, I am a prophet. I am the grandson of Abdulmuttalib" (8); he was speaking of Abdulmuttalib's dream." (9).
Prophet Muhammad describes his mother's dream as follows:
"When Adam was still mud, I was assigned by Allah as hatamu'n-nabiyyin (the last of the Prophets). I will show you my first signs now. They are my father's prayer, good news of Jesus and the dream my mother had when she was pregnant. In that dream, my mother saw a light emitting from her that illuminated the castles of Damascus." (10)
Approach in Sufi Classics
Sahl ibn Abdullah Tustari (d. 283/896) is considered to be the first Sufi to have used the Nur-i Muhammadi approach within Sufi literature. (11) Tustari suggested that Allah had created Muhammad for the first time from His own light and he pointed out that the Muhammadi presence existed before the presence of the universe. Within the tafsir of Surah Al-Baqarah, verse 30; "Before Allah created Adam, He said unto the angels: I am to place a viceroy on earth and He created Adam from the mud of excellence and from the light of the Muhammad. (12)
Shaykh Abdulqadir al-Gilani interprets the "Light verse" in reference to Prophet Muhammad as follows: The dead body of Prophet Muhammad is the oil lamp of His Spirit. Within the oil lamp exists the vessel of the light of revelation. His conveyance of the imparted revelation is a lamp. When the light of prophethood spreads the vessels of the lamp of the heart, light is added onto light. (13)
In the thirteenth century, Yunus Emre set out in the following verses the Muhammadi light's existence before the universe:
He created Muhammad seventy thousand years earlier
He loved Muhammad himself, the excuse is a star
That star had the soul of Adam in it
Even before the names of the Prophets were known
Scholars would not know this, not even the most intelligent of them
This is divine guidance made known to Yunus through his master (14)
The Earth and the Heavens were created for the sake of Muhammad
"Had it not been for you" is the proof that the Earth and Heavens would not have existed without him.(15)
Sufis indicate two ways of creation. The first one is the creation of something without an instrument. In this respect, the thing created is the essence of Prophet Muhammad. What is meant by "Allah creating things out of nothing" is this sort of creation. The second creation is calling something into being with the help of an instrument and creating it out of something else. In this context, the act of creating is the creation of things other than the essence of the Prophet. Thus, the fact that the essence of Prophet Muhammad as the first essence is an instrument between the other essences and the One or Absolute Existence is not something that occurred once or ceased to be. The essence of the Prophet Muhammad is the first reflected essence of the manifestation which arises constantly and perpetually from the One, and at the same time it is the essence that enables the first manifestation to reach the other essences. The fact that Ibn Arabi saw within the essence of Prophet Muhammad an individualistic manifestation results from this aspect. Ibn Arabi explains this incident by saying "Prophet Muhammad is the most competent entity among humanity, thus the duty (act of creating or emerging) began with him and came to an end with him." (16)
Ibn Arabi says that when the essence of Prophet Muhammad existed, it existed as the ruler, sultan and the one who is guarded. When the creation of the body was delayed, Allah created agents on behalf of him. His first agent and viceroy was Adam. Then the reproduction and proliferation of humanity began; Allah had always created viceroys through all eras until the pure body of the Prophet Muhammad was achieved. The body of Prophet Muhammad appeared like a strong sun. Now all the lights were contained in his vivid light, all the verdicts were hidden in his verdicts, all the laws yielded to him and his hidden rule emerged. As a consequence, Prophet Muhammad is the "first, last, spiritual and the all knower. (17)
Prophet Muhammad is one who possessed the meanings of all names, because he was granted with javamiu'l-kelim. "Allah" is the one who encompasses all the innate capabilities and abilities with this title. This is known as the "shadow of Allah" or the "first shadow". Moreover, within the masivallah the shadow of Allah is the man of maturity. (18)
Maulana evaluated the creation of the Prophet with love, and in his Masnawi interpreted with love the sacred hadith (saying of the Prophet) "If you had not existed, I would not have created the heavens":
Love boils the sea like clay. Love smashes and melts the mountains like sand.
Love ruptures the sky, opening hundreds of cracks. Love shakes the earth with no reason.
The immaculate love was equivalent to Prophet Muhammad...
Because of love, God said to him "If you had not existed...." He was solely of love. Thus, God selected him from among the prophets.
If you had not been of immaculate love, if you had not possessed love, would I have created the heavens?
I glorified the divine sky for you to understand the divinity of love.
For you to smell the scent of the contemptibleness of lovers,
I completely degraded the soil and stretched it under mankind.
For you to understand how a poor one changes with love, I gave the soil greenery and freshness.
These unmovable mountains speak to you of the perseverance of lovers." (19)
In the following verses, Abdurrahman Jami expresses how the light of Prophet Muhammad was transformed into a source of life for all the prophets, from Adam to Jesus:
His light was seen on the forehead of Adam,
Therefore the angels prostrated their heads
In the hazards of the flood
Noah received his help in his tiny ark,
His scent of goodness reached Abraham,
And from Nimrod's wood bloomed his rose
Joseph was just a servant worth seventeen drachmas
In the palace of grace
His face illuminated Moses' fire
His lips taught Jesus how to resurrect the dead. (20)
He is Both the Source of the Light of the Universe and the Source of the Light of Adam (21)
Allah calls Himself the "Light" in the following verse: "Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth" (An-Nur 24/35). The heavens and the earth were in darkness of non-existence. Allah revealed them by giving them existence. He calls Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) the "Light" as well, because the first light that Allah created and took from the darkness of non-existence was the light of Prophet Muhammad.. Afterwards, Allah created the universe and everything in it from the light of Prophet Muhammad and created them from each other. He called Prophet Muhammad the "Light" because all beings were created from his light. (22)
Imam Rabbani (d.1034/1624) said "The origin of something is its essence". (23)
There is significant information in Imam Rabbani's Maktubat on Haqiqat al-Muhammadiyya. Firstly, he states that Prophet Muhammad was the reason for the creation of the universe in the 44th letter: "If Prophet Muhammad had not existed, Allah would not have created the universe and He would not have revealed that He is the Creator. Prophet Muhammad was already a prophet when Adam was between the water and the earth."
Whoever takes this as an impetus in his works,
He shall not be bound with the binds of captivity of sins. (24)
According to Rabbani, love comes before existence and the center of this love is the Haqiqat al-Muhammadiya. The Haqiqat al-Muhammadiya, which is the haqiqat of all haqiqats, is the love of existence that is the starting point of existence and the creation of beings. This issue is referred to in a hadith al-qudsi: "I was a secret treasure; I wanted to be known and created the creatures for them to know Me." The first thing that came into existence in this secret treasure is the love that resulted in the creation of the creatures. If this love had not existed, the door of creation would not have been opened and the universe would have been left in non-existence. The importance of the following verse is related to this issue: "If I had not existed, I would not have created the heavens and I would not have shown my rububiyat." (25)
Prophet Muhammad as the Seal of Prophethood
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) explains how he is the seal of prophethood by saying: "My role in comparison with the other prophets before me is that of a man who has built a house nicely and beautifully, except for the place of one brick in a corner. People wonder at its beauty, but say: "Shouldn't that brick be put in its place?" So I am that brick and I am the last of the Prophets." (26)
The Sufi approach evaluated the term hatam an-nabi (seal of the prophets) with two different meanings. The first one is that Prophet Muhammad is the last prophet and the second one is that with him the prophethood has been completed. (27)
People asked "What is the conclusion?" He answered "The conclusion is humans' returning to where they started from!" (28)
The relationship between the beginning and ending has an important place in Ibn Arabi's theory of existence. In a concept of circular existence, the beginning exists with the ending and the endings are added to the beginnings. The fact that Prophet Muhammad is the first prophet in ontological terms and the last prophet in chronological terms is consistent with the fact that he is the first prophet in terms of existence and the essence of the humans, but he is the last in terms of his appearance in the universe. (29)
Again Maulana Jalaladdin al-Rumi mentions Allah's promises about "the last Prophet" in his Masnawi:
"God's blessings made promises to Mustafa (Prophet Muhammad) and said: "Even if you die, this religion, this faith will not die. I shall praise your book and your miracle. I shall prevent the ones who try to erase something from or add something to the Holy Quran. I shall protect you in both worlds. I shall leave the ones who oppose your words and I shall make them ashamed... Do not look for a better protector than me! I shall increase your gleam day after day and I shall imprint your name in gold and silver. I shall build pulpits and niches for you. I love you so much that your sorrow is mine. They secretly say your name for they fear; they hide when they are performing the prayer. Your religion is secretly practiced because of the fear of the damned infidel...
I shall place minarets all around the universe. Your servants shall take over cities and discover places. Your religion shall spread everywhere from the fish to the moon. Your Quran is like the rod of Moses and it wipes out blasphemy. You sleep under the earth, but that clean word is aware of everything like a rod. The hands of the attackers cannot reach that rod. Sleep o Sultan sleep... May your sleep be blessed! (30)
"The conveyance which brought Islamic law" was definitely sealed with the death of Prophet Muhammad. In the same that the Muhammadi haqiqat shed a light on history via other prophets before Prophet Muhammad came, it will continue with his successors. Above all, "Are not the guardians of this community like the prophets of the previous community?" (31)
Finally, Hudayi says:
Prophet Muhammad is the capital of earthly happiness and heavenly happiness.
Prophet Muhammad is the reason for the creation of Adam.
Although Adam came before Him in form,
Prophet Muhammad is the pioneer and leader.
Prophethood is a divine position, Hudayi,
But Prophet Muhammad is the friend of Allah
Prophet Muhammad is the last prophet. (32)

Nuran Döner

1. For the term Haqiqat, see: Ibn Manzur, Lisânu`l-Arab, Beirut, ts. X, 52; further, D.B. Macdonald, I.A., V, 100-1, Ist. 1977; Uludağ Süleyman, Tasavvuf Terimleri Sözlüğü, Ist. 1995, 215-6.
2. For this form of the hadith, see: Ibn Arabi, Futûhât, I, 243; Abu Bakr Sirajaddin, (Martin Lings) expresses that the other world existed before and after the time in its own unity and with all its traditional ranks. This understanding is expressed with the following hadith of Prophet Muhammad which refers to the creation of the body of Adam at the beginning of time and His own prophethood in the other world: “I was a Prophet when Adam was between the water and the mud” Therefore, it can be concluded that beyond mankind lies not only a historical and “horizontal” past, but also a spiritual and a “vertical” past. Abu Bakr Sirajaddin, The Book of CertaintyYakîn Risâlesi, translated by Veysel Sezigen, Vural yay. Ist. 2006, 67-8; For an individual section on Haqiqati Muhammadiya, see: Michel Chodkiewicz, Seal of Saints, translated into English by Liadain Sherrard, Cambridge,1993, 60 et all.
3. Krs. Tabari, Tafsir, Saudi Arabia, 2003, VIII, 264; Bursawi, Tafsir, Translation, Hasan Kamil Yilmaz and others IV, 495; See also, Ferâh, 52, 91 yet, in some of the tafsirs this light is described as referring to the Holy Quran; Muhyiddin ibn Arabi, Rahmatun mina´r-Rahman, fi tafsiri isharati´l-Quran, Damascus, 1989, II, 13.
4. Bursawî, Ferahu´r-Ruh,68.
5. Nabhani, Yusuf ibn Ismail, Huccetullâhi ´ale´l-âlemîn, fî mucizâti seyyidi´l-murselin, Diyarbakir ts. 216-220; See also: The light over the foreheads of the forefathers. Ahatlı Erdinc, Peygamberlik ve Hz. Muhammed´in Peygamberligi, 89.
6. For information related to the issue See: A. Guillaume, The life of Muhammed; A.Translation of Ibn Ishâq´s Sîrat Rasul Allah; Karaci, 1982 68-9, Ibn Hisham, Sire, Beirut, 1971, I, 164-5; Abu Nuaym, Delail, I, 130 Haleb print, 90-1; Mawardi, A´lamu´n-Nubuvva, Beirut 1994, 291-2; Ibn Sad, Tabakat, Cairo, 1989, I, 95-6; Bursawi, Ferahu´r-Ruh, 89; Algul Huseyin, Islam Tarihi, I, 121; For a contemporary Persian sirat, the preface of which is written by Riza Tevfik and in which the desirer of this light, Fadima Al-Hashimiyya´s love for Abdullah is depicted exquisitely, See. Zeynel Abidin Rahnuma, Fahrialem, translated by Hayati Aydin, Cemil Sonmez, Ist. According to the work in 2004, Prophet Muhammad met this woman on the day of his mother´s death. For information on the issue See: “Nur-i Muhammadi” article of Louis Massignon in I.A, IX, 362, 1964.
7. U. Rubin, Pre-existence and Light:Aspects of the concepts of Nur-i Muhammed, Israel Oriental Studies, V/62-119, Tel Aviv, 1975.
8. Bukhari, Jihad, 97.
9. Bursawi, Tafsir, III, 377-8; VII, 277-8; Maulana interpreted the dream of a man in which a tree grew by sea as follows: “This infinite sea manifests the greatness of the Divine and Glorious Allah, the huge tree is the sacred existence of Holy Muhammad (pbuh), the branches of the tree are the ranks of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and the guardians, large birds, are their souls, and the sounds of these birds are the secrets and mysteries of their language.” Eflaki, Ariflerin Menkibeleri, translated by Tahsin Yazici, I, 595 Ist. 2001; See also; Annemarie Schimmel, and Muhammed is his Messenger, (Chapel Hill, 1985) 131; For a different version of the dream See: Ebu Nuaym, Delail, I, 99-100.
10. Ahmed ibn. Hanbal, Musnad, IV, 127; Bayhaqi, Delail, I, 83.
11. Böwering, Gerhard, Early Sufism Between Persecution and Heresy, this article was published within Islamic Mistisizm Contested, (ed. Frederick De Jong-Bernd Radke, Leiden, 1999). 60 vd. For the Turkish translation of the article, See; Abdurrezzak Tek, Zulme Ugrayan ve Ilhadla Suclanan Sufiler, UUIFD. XII, issue. 2, 2003, 361 et al. For a separate article related to Nur-i Muhammadi See; Demirci, Mehmet, Nur-i Muhammedi, DEUIFD. Izmir, 1983, I, 239; For Haqiqat-i Muhammedi and its historical development See; Same author, "Haqiqat-i Muhammediye", DIA, XV, 180; Kara, Mustafa, Tasavvuf ve Tarikatlar Tarihi, Ist. 1995, 147 et al.
12. Tustari, Tafsir, 15; For the interpretation of Sehl regarding Nur-i Muhammedi See; Böwering, Gerhard, The mystical vision of, existence in classical Islam: 149-151 Berlin, 1980; Böwering, "The prophet of Islam: The First and the Last Prophet", Within "The Message of the Prophet", 49-52 Annemaria Schimmel, ibid., excerpted from 125.
13. ureddin Ebu´l-Hasan, a.g.e., 141.
14. Yunus Emre, Divan, Prepared by Mustafa Tatci, 234.
15. Yunus Emre, ibid., 372.
16. İbnu´l-Arabî, Fususu´l-Hikem, Translation and commentary Ekrem Demirli, Commentary section, 522.
17. Futûhât, Translation, Ekrem Demirli, I, 390 et al.; 416.
18. Futûhât, Beyrut, ts. III, 312.
19. Maulana Jalaladdin al-Rumi, Mathnawî, V, 223-4.
20. Schimmel, a.g.e., 133; for the exquisite opinions on the light of Prophet Muhammad and his first place in creation, see also Maulana, Mathnawi, trans. Veled Çelebi, MEB. Yay. Istanbul, 1991, II, 69 vd., VI, 150.
21. Bursawi, Tafsir, III, 377.
22. Bursawi, a.g.e., IV, 496.
23. 496 Rabbanî, Maktubat, Istanbul, ts., II, 192; for the translation of the letters in three volumes see Talha Hakan Alp and his friends, Istanbul, 2004.
24. Imam Rabbani, Mektubat, I, 88.
25. Rabbani, ibid. II, 522-5.
26. Bukhari, Manaqib, 18; Muslim, Fazail, 22.
27. Hakim Tirmizi, Kitabu Hatmi al-Awliya, 342.
28. Mahmud Shabustari, Gulshen Raz, (trans.) Abdulbaki Gölpınarlı, Ist. 1989, 31-32.
29. Ibnu al-Arabi, Fususu al-Hikam, Translation and commentary, Ekrem Demirli, şerh kısmı, 512 et al.
30. Maulana, Mathnawi, III, 97-98.
31. Ibnu al-Arabi, Futuhat, I, 223.
32. Bursawi, Tafsir, IV, 152.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Our unending sorrow, Quds and Masjid Al-Aqsa

Honorable Believers!
Our Prophet’s (pbuh) wife Maymunah asked him: “O Messenger of Allah! Would you tell us about Baitul Maqdis?” Allah’s Messenger says: “It is the land of the Resurrection and the Gathering. Go and pray there, for one prayer there is like one thousand prayers elsewhere.” When Maymunah asks, “What if I cannot travel and go there, o Messenger of Allah?” the Messenger of Mercy answers: “Then send a gift of oil to light its lamps, for whoever does that is like one who goes there.”[1]
Venerable Muslims!
Imagine a city that was the home to many prophets’ fight for oneness. Imagine a city that was the qibla of three monotheistic religions. Imagine a city that was deemed sacred and blessed with its name and site. That city is Jerusalem, the holy city, also known as Baitul Maqdis. The cradle of civilizations for thousands of years and an attraction center, Jerusalem and its surrounding region witnessed many prophets like Abraham, Ishmael, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Solomon, and Jesus. Masjid al-Aqsa, the first qibla of Islam and the place where our Prophet (pbuh) experience Isra and Mi’raj[2]are also in Jerusalem. Allah’s Messenger wanted us to have a spiritual bond with Baitul Maqdis for that reason. He advised us to perform umrah in that city.[3]
Brothers and Sisters!
Jerusalem achieved peace with the conquest of Caliph Umar. Especially during the Ottoman period, Muslims ruled justly and mercifully, never intervening in the life, property and religious freedom of people from different religions. In fact, non-Muslims sought the justice of Islam in resolving disputes among themselves. The best example of our religion’s vast tolerance and embracing understanding is the inscription on the inner wall of Bab el-Khalil. Our ancestors wrote, “La ilahe ilallah, Ibrahim Halilullah,” which means “There is no god but Allah, Ibrahim is His friend.” Thus, they engraved on the walls of Jerusalem the name of Abraham who is considered a prophet by members of all monotheistic religions.
Honorable Believers!
It should be stated regretfully that Jerusalem, which has been the Darussalam or the center of peace and calm in history, has been in grief for a long time. Masjid al-Aqsa, our first qibla, is wounded. Jerusalem is now far away from being the city of peace after experiencing all kinds of transgressions. The ancient city that has in its every corner the collective traces and memories of humankind now longs for peace. The unity, togetherness, and most sacred values of believers are targeted more and more every day in the land of prophets. Innocent people are murdered in cold blood. Muslims are cruelly and barbarically prevented from worshipping in their own mosques. Friday prayer could not be performed at Masjid al-Aqsa last week for the first time since 1967. It should be remembered that there can be no legal grounds, no religious basis, and no humane reason for shutting down a temple. On those who keep people off their temples and destroy those temples, Allah enjoins the following quite clearly: “Who are more unjust than those who prevent the name of Allah from being mentioned in His mosques and strive toward their destruction? It is not for them to enter them except in fear. For them in this world is disgrace, and they will have in the Hereafter a great punishment.[4]
Honorable Believers!
As our region suffers great pain, the incidents in and around Masjid al-Aqsa have caused tremendous concern for every person with common sense. We believe that the occupation will end at once in this holy land that houses prophets, and reason, moderation, and peace will prevail. It is our greatest wish that common sense comes into action in Jerusalem, the heart of Muslims and the common value of all humankind.
It is a fact that as Muslims there are no embarrassing inhumane practices in our history such as right violations, cruelty, and savagery. However, all the disasters, cruelty, and oppression suffered by our brothers and sisters today teach us a lesson. We must strengthen our brotherhood of faith with the mentality of an Ummah as soon as possible. We must protect the dignity, rights, and gains of one another. Each one of us must work with all our power to make the Ummah of Islam a glorious one again.
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
We as a nation have never broken our spiritual ties with Jerusalem and Masjid al-Aqsa throughout history. We cannot. With that mentality, we open our hands in Friday prayer and supplicate to Allah: O Allah! Make us feel in our hearts the pain of all oppressed brothers and sisters in Jerusalem and around the world! Do not let us side with the short-sighted, the unwise, the heartless, and the cruel! O Allah! Do not allow those who attempt to occupy Masjid al-Aqsa and the cities of Islam! Help our Muslim brothers and sisters so they may overcome the hardships they are going through as soon as possible! Grant us to keep justice alive once again as a glorious Ummah! Answer our prayers on this blessed Friday, o Allah!

[1] Ibn Majah, İkâmetü’s-Salât, 196; Abu Dawud, Salât, 14.
[2] Al-Isra, 17/1.
[3] Abu Dawud, Salât, 14; Ibn Majah, Menâsik, 49.
[4] Al-Baqarah, 2/114.

Written by: General Directorate of Religious Services, 21 July 2017

Tuesday, October 10, 2017


In the Holy Quran, Allah, glory unto Him, vows by the Prophet’s (pbuh) life. Mentioning his great name next to His Own, the Almighty has required belief in his prophethood, as a precondition of being a worthy servant. Allah took offense in others raising their voices in the presence of His Beloved (pbuh), cautioning against calling out his name like any other. What’s more, the Almighty has stated that He and the angels send their numerous blessings, salawat’us-sharifah, to the Prophet (pbuh), ordering his ummah amply do the same.
In accordance with the ayah:
“Allah and His angels send blessings on the Prophet: O Believers! Send your blessings on him and salute him with all respect,” (al-Ahzab, 56) sen
ding salawat’us-sharifah to that Great Being is a duty for all Believers, laid down by Allah, glory unto Him.
Narrating the following is Ubayy ibn Kab (r.a):
“A third of the night had passed when the Messenger of Allah awoke from his sleep and said:
Remember Allah, people, remember Allah! Blown will be the first horn that will rattle the ground. Then will follow the second. Death will arrive with all its intensity; death will arrive with all its intensity…’
‘I send lots of salawat’us-sharifah, Messenger of Allah’, said I. ‘How often should I do it?’
As much as you wish’ he replied.
‘Would it be right if I spared a quarter of my prayer for it?’ I again inquired.
Spare as much from it as you wish’, he advised. ‘But it will be better for you if you spared more.’
‘Then I will spare half’, I proposed.
As you wish…But better if you spared more’, said he.
‘How about I spared two-thirds then?’
As you wish… But better if you spared more’.
‘How would it be then if I send salawat’us-sharifah in the entire time I spare for prayer?’ I then asked.
If you do’, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) replied, ‘then Allah will rid you of all your troubles and forgive your sins.’” (Tirmidhi, Qiyamat, 23/2457)
Devotees of the Prophet (pbuh), therefore, embrace the salawat’us-sharifah as a continuous chant, for they are means of increasing the love of the Prophet in a Believer’s heart. Appropriately following the Blessed Messenger (pbuh) and making the most of the quintessential example he has provided doubtless comes through a grasp of the reality of the Quran and Sunnah, which in turn is possible only by virtue of drawing closer to the exemplary morals of the Prophet (pbuh), and delving into the depths of his heart.
No mortal has succeeded in describing his essential attribute; his towering morals and disposition has eluded comprehension. The wise, those spiritual sultans, even the great Jibril, have all accepted being on his path as the greatest honor, begging by his door as the most indefinable bliss.
On another note, according to the manners of prayer advised by Islam, all prayers begin and end with thanking Allah, glory unto Him, and sending blessings to the Blessed Prophet (pbuh). There is an established conviction that Allah, glory unto Him, never turns down a salawat’us-sharifah, which, in essence, is a prayer and plea to the Almighty; the precise reason as to why prayers are adorned with it, both in the start and in the end. That is to say, squeezing in personal prayers amid two, whose acceptances are highly expected, is to ensure their acceptance as well.
“A prayer is left hanging between the earth and the skies,” states Omar (r.a) “and is not raised to Allah until blessings are sent to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh).” (Tirmidhi, Witr, 21/486)
Indeed, the Noble Prophet (pbuh) one day happened to see a man who, after salat, was praying without expressing thanks to Allah, glory unto Him, and sending blessings to His Messenger.
The man rushed it”, the Prophet (pbuh) then remarked, before calling him over to give advice:
Upon wishing to make a prayer, one should first thank and praise Allah and send blessings to His Prophet…and then afterward continue in whichever manner desired.” (Tirmidhi, Da’awat, 64/3477)
The importance in prayers of resorting to tawassul, submitting the Prophet’s name (pbuh) as a means, reverberates in the following incident recounted by Ibn Abbas (r.a):
“There was an ongoing war between the Jews of Khaybar and the tribe of Ghatafan, where the Jews were always routed. In the end they prayed:
‘Lord…we ask for victory in the name of the Unlettered Prophet whose appearance in the Final Epoch you have avowed’, after which they defeated Ghatafan. Yet, once Allah, glory unto Him, did make appear the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) whose name they appealed in their prayer, the Jews rejected his prophethood and the book revealed to him; whereupon Allah proclaimed:
‘And when there came to them a Book from Allah verifying that which they have, and aforetime they used to pray for victory against those who disbelieve, but when there came to them (Prophet) that which they did not recognize, they disbelieved in him; so Allah’s curse is on the unbelievers.’” (al-Baqara, 89)(Qurtubi, II, 27; Wahidi, p. 31)
Evident is thus the fact even non-Believers were able to make use of the mercy and abundance that permeated the universe with the coming of the Prophet of Mercy (pbuh), owing to his splendid honor in Divine Sight.
Addressing the Prophet (pbuh), Allah assures:
“But Allah will not punish them while you are with them, nor will He punish them while they seek forgiveness.” (al-Anfal, 33)
This Divine assurance was also revealed with regard to non-Believers. Since even they are given such a privilege, simply owing to their physical proximity to the Blessed Prophet (pbuh), the blessings awaiting Believers is simply inconceivable; especially provided they not only affirm faith in the Exceptional Being, but moreover receive a share of his love as the core of their faith. Words, here, are powerless…Beyond a shadow of a doubt, the extent of happiness in the world and the greatness of ranks in the Hereafter are to the degree of depth a Believer lets his heart immerse in the love of the Prophet (pbuh).
Therefore do not forget sending your blessings and peace to him…for you too stand in need of his intercession in the darkest of hours!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Ahl’ul-Bayt and the Love of Ahl’ul-Bayt

Ahl’ul-Bayt denotes the members of a family living under the same roof. In the technical sense, it covers the entire members of the Blessed Prophet’s family, as well as his extended family; hence the families of, first and foremost, the Prophet of Allah (s.a.s), and then of Ali, Jafar, Aqil and Abbas.
Just as praying for and sending greetings (salat’u salam) to the Noble Prophet (s.a.s) is a duty for all Muslims, so is respecting and adhering to the Ahl’ul-Bayt with love. It is impermissible for the Ahl’ul-Bayt to receive alms (zakat). Seeing on one occasion the little Hasan (r.a) take a piece of date from the pile reserved for zakat in the Treasury to his mouth, the Blessed Prophet (s.a.s) quickly made him spit it out and said:
“Don’t you know that Muhammad’s family does not receive zakat?” (Bukhari, Zakat, 57; Ahmad, I, 200)
Recounting the following is Zayd in Arqam (r.a): “One day, by the Hum Creek between Mecca and Medina, the Messenger of Allah (s.a.s) stood and gave us a talk. After praising and glorifying Allah, he gave us some advice, which he followed up by saying:
‘People…! I, too, am but a man. Soon the messenger of my Lord will come and I will accept his invitation and leave. I leave you two important things. One of them is the light and guide that takes one to the truth, which is the Quran. Stick to it and do not let go!’
He then gave some advice regarding holding fast to the Quran and adhering to it. He then continued with the words:
‘And I leave you my Ahl’ul-Bayt. Fear Allah and show them respect! Fear Allah and show them respect!’”
Zayd ibn Arqam (r.a) was then asked as to who exactly Ahl’ul-Bayt was and whether or not the Prophet’s (s.a.s) wives were also included.
“His wives are also included”, replied Zayd.
“But his real Ahl’ulBayt are those for whom alms are impermissible even after the Messenger of Allah (s.a.s).”
“And who are those?”
“They are the families of Ali, Aqil, Jafar and Abbas.” (Muslim, Fadail’us-Sahabah, 36)
The Blessed Prophet (s.a.s) has stated:
“Love Allah for having showered you with His blessings. Love me for the love of Allah. And love my Ahl’ul-Bayt for the sake of my love!” (Tirmidhi, Manaqib, 31/3789)
Again, one day holding his dear grandchildren Hasan and Husayn by the hand, the Blessed Prophet declared:
“Whoever loves me, them and their parents shall be in my company on the Day of Judgment.” (Tirmidhi, Manaqib, 20/3733)
The Companions had great love and respect for the family and relatives of the Blessed Prophet (s.a.s).
Naturally, one nurtures feelings of affection not only for the beloved but, to the extent of the love felt, also for his or her friends and moreover every little thing that helps remind of the beloved, like the clothes worn, foods eaten, and so forth. The deeper the love grows, the deeper it permeates everything that surrounds the beloved. The Companions would let their love bursting forth from the depths of their hearts for the Blessed Prophet (s.a.s) show with various acts, like holding the stirrups of a horse or a camel a relative of the Blessed Prophet (s.a.s) was to mount.
Profoundly conscious that on the Day of Judgment all other ties of blood would be severed except for the bond one had with the Blessed Prophet (s.a.s), they were eager to marry one of his relatives to reinforce their bond of love with a bondship of kin.
The descendants of the Noble Messenger (s.a.s) today survive in various parts throughout the Muslim world. The term Sayyid is used in reference to those to have descended through the line of Husayn (s.a.s), and Sharif for the descendants of Hasan (r.a).
The Ottomans referred to sayyids as amir, and the turban they wrapped around their heads as amir turbans. Women of the Noble Prophet’s (s.a.s) lineage would also carry a green mark on their hijabs. Serving the Ahl’ul-Bayt was considered by the Ottomans a duty, to the point where they even found an official institution for the purpose.
Officials exclusively entrusted with the duty of seeing to this service were called naqib’ul-ashraf, also chosen from among the members of the Ahl’ul-Bayt. Among the various aspects of their needs the naqib’ul-ashraf dealt with included registering their lineage, births and deaths included, preventing them from entering any old profession, distributing among them their share of taxes and spoils and precluding their women from marrying men not their equal.
Being successors of the children of the Blessed Prophet (s.a.s) and owing to the honor of the duty they carried out, the naqib’ul-ashraf were given the one of the highest official ranks, second behind the Caliph in protocol. The naqib’ul-ashraf would be the first to officially pledge allegiance to the sultan upon his ascension to the throne and pray for his wellbeing, only after which the remainder of the protocol would follow.
Priority of congratulation during eids also belonged to the naqib’ul-ashraf, for whom the sultan would rise to greet during the proceedings of both eids. A sayyid or a sharif found guilty of committing a crime or acting in an unacceptable manner would be dealt with by the naqib’ulashraf, if in Istanbul, or by the official head of a district, if elsewhere.
Before the actual punishment, the official would remove the green turban from their heads and kiss it; and eventually restoring it once the punishment came to an end.

Osman Nuri Topbaş