TO KNOW PROPHET MUHAMMAD (pbuh) BY HEART

The rose is the symbol of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). The most important lessons in this world are:

To become acquainted with that King of Roses (pbuh),

To benefit from the holy fragrance of this rose (pbuh) and His spiritual world, and

To be the dew on the leaf of this Rose (pbuh)

When a believer begins to feel the Prophet’s love deep inside his soul, and begins to get his share from Prophet’s spirituality, then he is in the way of becoming the same with Him and deriving pleasure from His love.

A dervish asked a gnostic:

“Who is more prominent, Junayd al Baghdadi or Bayazid al Bistami?”

The gnostic replied:

“In order to determine the difference in their level of virtue, one must be a greater saint than they are…”[1]

In other words, not everyone can comprehend the horizon of virtue that the friends of Allah have. When human intelligence is not even capable of comprehending the level of virtue of the saints, how can it comprehend the value and worth of Allah’s Beloved (Prophet Muhammad)?

One often wonders, with the limiting nature of human language and words, how much of the reality of Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) life is expressed in all the books that have been written about him.

ENDLESS SPIRITUAL CAPACITY

One day when Jalal al-Din Rumi was chatting with his disciples, Shams-i Tabrizi asked the following question in order to test him:

“Who is more prominent? Bayazid-i Bistami or Muhammad (pbuh)?”

Rumi became terrified and said in anger:

“What kind of question is this?! How can you compare a Prophet who is sent as mercy for all the world with a saint whose only capital is to follow the Prophet (pbuh) and receive enlightenment from Him?!”

Shams-i Tabrizi calmly explained his question as follows:

“If Bayazid asked Allah to put him in Hell and make his body large enough so that no one else could fit, but at the same time being faced with some divine manifestation, said ‘What an honored and exalted person I am! I praise myself!”, then why would Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), despite his countless divine revelations, act as humbly as he did, while thanking and praising Allah, requesting more revelations?…”

This explanation brought Rumi to the brink of knowledge, which could be attained by the intellect. It was impossible to answer the question from this respect. Thus, Shams directed him to further stations. Moreover, beyond the evident universe is the endless universe of spirituality.

With the effect of this unexpected sudden development, Rumi gave the following answer as if he had memorized it before like it was one of the statements of the positive science:

“The words of Bayazid “What an honored and exalted person I am! I praise myself!” are the expressions of spiritual saturation. In other words, his spiritual thirst is satisfied with a small drop of divine manifestation. The volume of the ocean was eternal but his heart’s capacity was limited. For this reason, with a small divine manifestation, his soul became not only satisfied, but saturated, so much that he could not handle any more. Thus, he stepped out of the realm of intelligence.

On the other hand, the Prophet (pbuh) had attained the secret of “Have We not expanded for you your breast”[2]In spite of divine revelations that covered him from every direction, his heart, which was as big as the universe was not becoming satisfied enough with them. As the distance between the heart of a servant and his Creator is infinite, the loading capacity of Him was also infinite. For this reason, even the endless divine revelations were not satisfactory for his love of Allah, on the contrary the more he drinks the more his thirst was increasing. He wanted to be closer and closer to his Almighty Creator. He was continuously being elevated from one station to another and at every level he was asking for forgiveness and praying “O my Lord, I couldn’t know You as I should and as You deserve… I couldn’t be a servant for You as You deserve…’[3]

Rumi surpassed the limits of knowledge by maturing through this kind of mysterious and wise manifestations. He became one of the greatest friends of Allah from whose heart people have been benefiting for centuries.

IF ITS SAINT IS LIKE THIS …

Gurju Hatun (Georgian Lady), the daughter of a Seljuk Sultan and the disciple of Rumi, sent Ayn al-Dawlah, the famous painter and muralist of the palace, to Rumi to paint his picture secretly and bring back to her. The painter somehow unintentionally told the situation to Rumi. With a smile on his face, Rumi said:

“Do, if you can, what you were told!”

The painter began to paint. However, at the end he realized that the picture he had been drawing had nothing to do with the person in front of him and restarted his painting. Thus, while trying to paint the portrait of Rumi, he wasted twenty pieces of paper. Finally, he realized that he was not able to do it and quit trying. [4]

This incident awakened the heart of the painter. He got lost in deep thoughts in amazement, awe, and shivering and it made him a traveler of his own universe. At the end, the painter, who saw the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) from the window that opened up in his heart, uttered the following words:

“If a saint of a religion is like this, I wonder how its Prophet would be!”

IT IS IN THE EXTENT OF THE CAPACITY OF
THE SENDER

Khalid bin Walid(r.a)spent the night with a Muslim tribe in one of his expeditions. The leader of the tribe asked him:

“Can you tell us about the Messenger of Allah (pbuh)?”

Khalid bin Walid (r.a) said:

“It is beyond my power to explain the infinite beauties of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). Now, if you want me to tell you in detail, it is further impossible!”

When the leader told him:

“Tell us what you know! Explain to us briefly!”

Khalid replied:

The one who is sent is in the extent of the capacity of the sender!..”[5]

In other words, when the sender is the Lord of all the worlds, you can imagine the glory of the one who is sent by Him!..

In short, no human power is enough to comprehend fully the greatness of the Messenger of Allah Muhammad (pbuh). We cannot measure his greatness with our limited comprehension. Because of the limited human comprehension, our Lord introduces and praises him in the following verse:

“Allah and His angels send blessings on the Prophet: O ye that believe! Send ye blessings on him, and salute him with all respect.” (33:56) Our Almighty Lord Himself announces to human comprehension that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is the most perfect creation.

In this respect, to understand Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) becomes the most crucial step in being a servant to Allah. Without understanding him, knowing him well, following him, and getting our share from his spirituality, neither our faith becomes complete, nor can we comprehend the Noble Qur’ān, nor can we be a real servant.

In the Qur’ān, it is stated that:

“With it came down the spirit of Faith and Truth to thy heart and mind, that thou mayest admonish in the perspicuous Arabic tongue.” (26: 193-195)

His twenty three year prophetic life was like an interpretation of the Noble Qur’ān. The mysteries and wisdom of the Qur’ān can only be understood by taking lessons from the spiritual world of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh).

THE MOST PROSPEROUS WAY TO GET TO KNOW THE PROPHET (pbuh)

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) would be better known by reading him from the hearts than reading about him from the books. In other words it is necessary to understand him by receiving inspiration and spirituality from the worlds of the scholars and gnostics who are pious and follow the principles of prophetic morals in every aspect of their lives. He can be understood in a perfect sense only by the sincere heartfelt feelings of pious believers. We can only know Him to the extent of our piety.

It is commanded in the following verse that:

“…So fear Allah. For it is God that teaches you….” (2: 282)

So, learning the life of the Prophet (pbuh) cannot be accomplished just by engaging in a chronological reading activity. The best of those who know the life of the Prophet (pbuh) are those whose lives resemble most to the life of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). Those who know him the best are the pious friends of Allah, who live the Sunnah (traditions) of the Messenger of Allah with extreme sensitivity, and who follow that sun of mercy with love and longing. This is because they follow the enlightened path of the Messenger of Allah with the absolute loyalty and allegiance of a shadow to its owner.

As it was confirmed by a verse of the Noble Qur’ān the Prophet (pbuh) would never speak out of his own desires. He was only the translator, implementer, explainer, declarer, and representative of what was revealed to him.

Those friends of Allah who have achieved the rank of Fana fi al-Rasul, that is, those who are utterly lost in the love of the Messenger of Allah, also do not speak out of their passions and desires. They emptied their inner world from everything except Allah the Almighty, like a reed flute, all voices of guidance heard from them are shares from the prophetic breath whose morals they have adopted. Their hearts are bright mirrors where the lights of God and truth are reflected. As it is stated in a prophetic saying: “…Allah the Almighty becomes his sense of hearing with which he hears, and his sense of sight with which he sees, and his hand with which he grips, and his leg with which he walks …” (Bukhari, Kitab al-Riqaq, 38)

The Prophet (pbuh) is a sun who spreads the excitement of eternal bliss and who illuminates all the worlds. The friends of Allah, who are the inheritors of prophets, are in the rank of a moon which is a mirror to the Sun. The existence of the moon depends on the existence of the sun. This is because all of the light, beauty, and magnificence of the moon are little reflections which come from the Sun.

Sheikh Sadi tells in a representative style in the following story from his work called Gulistan (“The Land of Rose”) how the friends of Allah owe their beauty to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and how all of their spiritual states come from the spirituality of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh).

“One person goes to the public bath. In the public bath one of his friends gives him a nice smelling clay (cleaning soil) so that he can clean himself. A wonderful scent emanates from the clay that caresses the spirit. The man asks the clay:

“Oh dear! Are you musk or amber? I am in ecstasy due to your beautiful scent that attracts the hearts…”

The clay responds to him as follows:

“I am neither musk nor amber. I am just an ordinary soil. However, I was under a rose sprout and every dawn I was being kneaded by the dews that were dropping from the rosebuds. So, the scent that you are feeling which refreshes the hearts belongs to those roses…”

Rose is the symbol of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). This world is like a classroom and in this classroom, the most important education is

To get to know the Sultan of the Roses

To have a share from the holy scent of that Rose,

To be a drop of dew in the petal of that Rose.

The most essential material needed in this path is the love for him.

THE LOVE FOR MUHAMMAD (pbuh)

Our knowledge of the Prophet of Islam is dependent on the amount of love we have for him. . Allah’s Beloved (pbuh) had said:

“The person is with whom he loves.”(Bukhari, Adab, 96)

In other words, love is the most effective thing that provides spiritual togetherness. Love connects the hearts just like a network of electricity. This state is just like the law of communicating vessels, so long as their contact through love towards each other lasts their states also become alike. The tastes, hate, feelings, and points of view tend towards becoming the same.

Two persons who truly love each other exchange gifts by offering each other what they commonly love. He brings whichever flower he likes; and does whatever he likes. This is because the one who loves also loves what the beloved one loves and dislikes what the beloved one dislikes; never forgets and always speaks about the beloved.

BECAUSE HE (pbuh) USED TO DO THIS AND THAT

Since his childhood, Abdullah b. Omar (r.a) had devoted himself to following closely the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), and his whole life passed by trying to do everything the Prophet (pbuh) did – whether he knew the wisdom behind it or not.

For example, once he saw that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) drank water from a certain fountain, and then, he, too, from time to time began to go there and drink water from that fountain; he saw the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) resting in the shade of a tree; he, too, from time to time began to rest under that same tree; again, he saw that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) sat for a while leaning on a rock, which is the same rock to which he would occasionally retreat and lean against..

Also, once Abdullah b. Omar (r.a) sat on a rock by the side of the Jabal-i Rahmah (Mountain of Mercy) during a pilgrimage (Hajj). When he was asked the reason for his action, he responded:

“Our Master the Prophet (pbuh) had sat down on this rock for a while after His farewell sermon.”

Again, once when he was traveling with a caravan, he had the caravan stop at a certain place and he went to a tree on a nearby hill and came back. He responded to those who asked the reason for this act:

“The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) had gone to that tree and had come back once when we were passing from here.”

The state of this loyal Companion of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) in his death bed also teaches us important lessons:

One day, Ibn-i Omar (r.a) suddenly fell ill. According to narratives, he was poisoned by Hajjaj, the ruler at the time. He was in grave pain. People took this old man to a tent. At that time, he was neither able to speak nor move his hands or arms. He tried to tell something to the people around him. However, they couldn’t understand what he was asking for. While they were waiting helplessly, someone who knew Abdullah b. Omar (r.a) well entered the tent.  The people told that person that Abdullah b. Omar was trying to tell them something but that they could not understand. That person asked:

“What did you do to him a minute ago?” They said:

“We had him make ablution.”

The person asked again:

“Okay, but while making ablution, did you rub his ears?” They said:

“No, we forgot!” Then, that person says:

“Don’t you know this person? Throughout all his life he tried to do everything the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) did and tried to stay away from everything he (pbuh) avoided.

Upon this, they immediately rubbed the back of his ear. After this, Abdullah b. Omar’s nervousness went away, he relaxed and smiled and afterwards handed his blessed spirit in serenity.

Indeed, the loyal companions whose hearts are filled with the love for the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) paid great attention not only to the commands of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) which he openly communicated to them, but also to His allusions or implied messages. So much so that it was sufficient for them to see Him doing a good deed once. There would be no need for the Prophet (pbuh) to command it separately, they would begin to practice that beautiful tradition right away and keep practicing for all their lives.

Indeed Anas (r.a) said that:

“Once I saw the Prophet (pbuh) performing Duha (forenoon) prayer in six units. After that day I never quit that prayer.”

The person, who relates this tradition, Hassan Al-Basri, who also had the same sensitivity, said the following:

“After this statement of Anas (r.a), I also never quit performing the Duha prayer.”(Tabarani, Awsat, II, 68/1276)

Jaber (r.a) related the following incident:

“One day, the Prophet (pbuh) held my hand and took me to his home. He took a piece of bread and asked His family the following:

“Is there anything that goes with this?”

They said:

“There is nothing at home except vinegar.”

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said:

“What good bread companion vinegar is!”

Since I heard this from the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) I too love drinking vinegar.” (Muslim, Ashribah, 167-169)

Indeed, even they changed their tastes and preferences out of their love for the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). Another example for this state of mind is the one about the great scholar and renovator in religion, Imam Nawawi.He was trying to be a follower of the Messenger of Allah with such sensitivity that because he did not know how the Messenger of Allah ate watermelon, he refused to taste watermelon, never having eaten it, throughout his entire life because he was afraid to behave of the Prophet.

Also, Ahmad Yasawi, an enlightened friend of Allah who was in love with that Sun of Guidance, stopped wandering around on Earth at the age of 63 since the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) had passed away to the everlasting life at the age of 63. For ten years until his death, he continued his life of providing guidance to people in a place like a grave.

The muadhdhin (caller to prayer) of the Messenger of Allah, Bilal (r.a) could not stay in Medina after the death of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). This loyal companion of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), who lived the rest of his life longing for the day he would meet the Prophet again, passed away during his early sixties in Damascus. While on his death bed, he said:

“Tomorrow, God willing, I will meet my beloved friends, Muhammad (pbuh) and His Companions.”

While his sad wife was crying and saying:

“–Look what happened to me!” Bilal (r.a), whose heart was filled with the love of Prophet (pbuh), was rejoicing and saying “Oh, how nice!” (Zahabi, Siyar, I, 359)

Of course, if a life is passed like the life of Bilal (r.a), then death becomes like a wedding festivity where the joy of union will be lived.

How nicely Rumi once expressed:

“Come o heart! The real festivity is the union with Muhammad. This is because the brightness of the world is due to the light of the face of that holy being.”

Indeed, for those loving hearts which are like moths attracted to this light, death is a wedding night and a joyful moment of union. Truly, the following state of Aisha (r.ha), who was the life Companion of the Prophet (pbuh) and the mother of the believers, teaches us great lessons:

The Prophet (pbuh) had rejoined the Highest Friend (Allah) in the room of our mother Aisha and had been buried there. Our mother Aisha, who was blessed with being the wife of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), did not leave that room after the Prophet’s death. She continued living there like a loyal tomb keeper next to the grave of happiness. After two years and three months, her father Abu Bakr (r.a) also passed away. He was also buried near the feet of our Master. There was only room for one more grave in her room. Aisha (r.ha) was considering that place for herself. However, when Omar (r.a) asked her permission on his deathbed to be buried there, she demonstrated an extreme virtue and altruism and gave up her right to him.

According to the traditional story, our mother Aisha (r.ha) would move around comfortably, when in her room of happiness there were only the Prophet (pbuh) and Abu Bakr (r.a). However, after Omar’s (r.a) burial she had a curtain hung to divide the room in two due to her extreme sense of modesty.

The following two-article will was written close to her death, which is an exceptional indication of one’s excitement in drawing closer to union with the Noble Messenger:

“1. When I pass away, after processing it appropriately bury my body with no delay even if it is night time.

2. When carrying my deceased body to the grave, light up dry date branches by the side of my coffin.”

According to ancient Arabian customs, they used to light up dried date branches when the bride was being taken to the house of the groom on the wedding night. Indeed, it is likely that what inspired Rumi with the concept of “Shab-i Arus” (Wedding Night) is this will of our mother Aisha (r.ha).

THE SENSITIVITY TOWARDS THE SUNNAH (THE TRADITIONS OF THE PROPHET MUHAMMAD (pbuh))

The biggest piece of evidence that proves one’s knowledge of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and love for him is the ability to practice his traditions properly. Complying with his traditions without the love for him in the hearts is following him only by appearance and by force and so it is devoid of the inspirations, spirituality, and spiritual rewards.

Abdullah b. Daylami expresses the importance of loyalty with love to the traditions of the Prophet (pbuh) as follows:

“According to what I heard, the beginning of the destruction of religion will start with the avoidance of Sunnah (traditions of the Prophet (pbuh)). Just like a string is first loosened piece by piece, and then it finally breaks off, religion is finally lost after leaving aside the traditions of the Prophet (pbuh) one by one.”(Darimi, Muqaddimah, 16)

In other words, the withdrawal of the traditions of the Prophet (pbuh) from our lives –God forbid- renders our eternal happiness dependent on a thin cotton string.

Because of this, the greatest marvel of the friends of Allah and the gnostics who know the Prophet (pbuh) best has been their following and living according to the Sunnah of the Prophet with great sensitivity.

No doubt, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) is the person who is most worthy of being loved, the most exemplary personality that our Lord has blessed us with, and the greatest miracle that has manifested in humanity. The inner world of his heart is an exhibition of beauties that is much beyond a garden of Paradise, ornamented with rare and elegant flowers and roses with musk scents.

At his point we have to ask ourselves certain questions:

At what state are we when it comes to our benefiting from the spirituality breezes coming from that garden of Paradise?

How similar is our family life to his?

How close is our commercial life to the style that he would accept?

To what extent is our social life within the boundaries he had established?

While his heart beats with compassion for his nation, how sensitive are we towards the poor, helpless, destitute, oppressed, orphans, and those who await guidance towards the straight path?

In response to his good morals, how well are we representing his nation and the smiling face of Islam, its spiritual fabric, spiritual structure, elegance, kindness, and aesthetics?

May Allah the Almighty make us sincere subjects to His Exalted Being and a worthy nation to the Prophet (pbuh)! May He grant us the opportunity to read the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) with a spiritual eye, who He bestowed upon all humanity as the best exemplary personality until Judgment Day. May He grant us the opportunity to receive our share from his heart and live upon his traditions! May He bestow upon us the opportunity to meet with our Prophet (pbuh) under the Flag of Praise and drink plentiful from the Celestial Pool of Abundance (Kawthar) and achieve his Great Intercession.

Amin…

[1].      Ahmed Eflâkî, Menâkıbu’l-Ârifîn, II, 225.

[2].      Qur’an 94; 1.

[3].      Munavi, Fayz al Kadir, II, 520.

[4].      These drawings are still in the Mawlana Museum.

[5].      Munavi, V, 92/6478; Kastalani, Mewahib-i Ledunniyye Translation, Istanbul 1984, p. 417.