The one and only font of mercy and love that takes one to the ocean of Divine Love is the Blessed Prophet (pbuh). To love and to obey him is to love Allah, glory unto Him; likewise, rebelling against him is tantamount to rebelling against the Almighty.
Allah declares in the Quran:
“Say: If you love Allah then follow me and Allah will love you and forgive you your faults. Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.” (Ali Imran, 31)
Directly following لاَ اِلهَ اِلاَّ الله(There is no God but Allah) in the Word of Tawhid in the professing of faith are the words مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُولُ الله, (Muhammad is His Messenger). Each Word of Tawhid, every salawat in loving remembrance of the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) is an investment toward the nearness and love of the Real. It is through the investment of His love that the joy of both worlds is acquired, that all spiritual conquests are obtained. The universe is a manifestation of Divine Love, the core essence of which is the Light of Muhammad, the love of whom is the only road to reaching the Essence of the Divine.
The spirituality that infuses deeds of worship, the elegance that pervades behavior, the courtesy that governs morals, the delicacy of the heart, the beauty shone upon appearance, the exquisite charm of languages, the grace that permeates feelings, the profundity of gazes, and in short, all beauties are but sparkles of the love of that Light of Being (pbuh) mirrored unto hearts.
Gracefully depicted, this is, by Mawlana Rumi:
“Come, o heart, to the real festival that is union with Muhammad…for the light you see in the universe is but a glow from the face of that blessed person.”
It is for that reason that abidance by the exemplary ways of the Noble Messenger (pbuh) is an inevitable means for attaining the love and pleasure of the Almighty. Becoming an insan’ul-kamil, the ‘perfect human’ which Islam aims towards raising, will forever remain out of reach for a Believer, who shrinks back from covering distance on the path of the Sunnah of the Great Prophet (pbuh). Neither will he achieve the true peace and bliss of the religion. Allah, glory unto Him, exhibited the archetype of the ‘perfect human’ in the person of the Noble Prophet (pbuh), rendering him a mercy for all being and a quintessential example for Believers.
Then how important an abidance must it be that Allah has specified it as a condition for loving His servants?
This sublime feeling undoubtedly begins with a sincere, a genuine love of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), from the bottom of the heart, and seeking to be granted a share from his richness of heart. With regard to obeying him, our sole uswat’ul-hasanah, Allah, glory unto Him, declares, through the verses of the Quran:
“So take what the Messenger assigns to you, and deny yourselves that which he withholds from you; and fear Allah, for Allah is strict in punishment.” (al-Hashr, 7)
“O Believers! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger, and render not your actions vain. ” (Muhammad, 33)
“And whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger, these are with those upon whom Allah has bestowed favors from among the prophets and the truthful and the martyrs and the good; and a goodly company are they! ” (an-Nisa, 69)
The Quran, a Divine proclamation revealed by the Almighty, has just as well been exhibited straight from the inner world of the Noble Prophet (pbuh). To be sure, the mysteries of the Sacred Book, too, are exposed to the extent one becomes enshrouded in the spirituality of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). If, like the Companions, we become honoured with access into that world to delightfully gaze at the manifestations of Divine beauties, wisdoms underlying the permissible and the impermissible as well as those of knowledge; or to put it more bluntly, if we are able to read the Divine Word with the manifestations and glosses as have transpired within the climes of the Prophet’s (pbuh)heart, only then will we able to become, just like the Companions of the Age of Bliss, moths around the flame of his love, taste the ecstasy, devotion and love, in exclaiming, like the Companions, to his every command, word or even gesture:
“May my mother, father…my belongings, even my life be sacrificed to you, Messenger of Allah…”
The gracious existence of the Prophet (pbuh)is, for humankind, an object of love and a source of inspiration. The wise know that the reason for being for the whole of existence is the love it fosters for the Light of Muhammad (pbuh). The whole universe, therefore, is virtually dedicated to the Muhammad Mustafa (pbuh), the Light of Being; it has been created in his honour, as a wrapping for his light. Such a personality he is that Allah, glory unto Him, has labelled him His “Beloved”.
Bliss for those Believers who nurture sincere affection for Allah and His Messenger and adhere to them with love, of a kind that they hold aloft above all other kinds of love…
Gaining closeness to the Truth of Muhammad (pbuh)is not so much through reason than it is with love and affection.
The skies of the month of Rabiulawwal, in which he graced the universe, were opened as a mercy and compassion for Believers.
According to sources, another of the fortunate women to have been the foster mother of the Noble Prophet (pbuh)was Suwaybah, the slave of Abu Lahab, the Prophet’s uncle and staunch enemy.
When Suwaybah heralded the news of the blessed birth, Abu Lahab, out of reasons purely clannish freed her as a reward. (Halabi, I, 138) Even a joy instigated by clannish patriotism was enough to alleviate Abu Lahab’s torment on every Monday evening, as explained below by Abbas (r.a) :
“A year following his death, I saw my brother Abu Lahab in a dream. He was in a horrid state.
‘How were you treated?’ I asked him.
‘For freeing Suwaybah out of celebration for Muhammad’s birth’, he told me, ‘my torment is lightened, every Monday. On that day I am freshened with some water that springs forth from the small hole between my thumb and index finger.’”
Ibn Jazari comments:
“If the torment of an enemy of the Prophet of the calibre of Abu Lahab is alleviated simply for the joy he showed on the day of the Prophet’s birth, actuated solely by feelings tribal, one must ponder on the unimaginable kinds of generous blessings awaiting a believer, who from respect to the night of the Prophet’s birth, opens the feast of his heart for the love of the Eternal Grace of the Universe. What must be done, during the month of the blessed birth, is to revive enthusiasm by engaging in spiritual talks, to arrange feasts for fellow believers in order to make the most of the concealed blessings of the month, to mend broken hearts by doing all sorts of good to the poor, orphans, the lonesome and the helpless, to make them happy by handing them charity, and to read and listen to the Quran…”
The Companions’ Love of the Prophet of Allah (pbuh)
The Noble Prophet had endeared himself to the Companions to such a deep extent that its profundity is simply incommunicable. Such love, which is otherwise impossible, can only be established through Divine Love and inspiration.
Like a fortress knit with love, the Companions had formed a tight bond of loyalty around the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), becoming stars in the skies of his abidance, so great, that among them there were those who, in order to breathe in the zest of abiding by him, walked the path he walked, stopped where he stopped and smelt the rose he smelt, simply because he had done those very things.
Expressions of the epic love felt by the Companions for the Blessed Prophet (pbuh)are innumerable. Provided below are just a few examples:
The honourable Aisha used to describe the beauty of the Prophet’s (pbuh)countenance as:
وَلَوْ سَمِعَ أَهْلُ مِصْرَ أَوْصَافَ حَدِّهِ
لَمَا بَذَلوُا فِي سَوْمِ يُوسُفَ مِنْ نَقْدٍ
لَوَائِمُ زُلَيْحَا لَوْ رَأَيْنَ جَبِينَهُ
َلآثَرْنَ بِالْقَطْعِ الْقُلُوبَ عَلَى اْلأَيْدِ
“Had the folk of Egypt heard of His beauty,
In the bargain for Yusuf they would not have spent a dime,
Had those who condemned Zulayha seen His face,
Not their hands but their hearts would have been put to knife…”
As is evident in the Word of Tawhid, the Noble Prophet (pbuh)is certainly a “servant” insofar as he is human, though in essence, he is “the peak of prophets”. The great Aziz Mahmud Hudayi gives poetic articulation to his experience of gazing at the realm of these mysteries:
The universe is a mirror, by the Truth all things hold,
From the Mirror of Muhammad is seen Allah, behold…
The Blessed Prophet (pbuh)is the centre of the manifestation of Divine Love, which develops worldly, metaphorical loves, evolving them to greatness. The moment a believer begins to tremble before the spiritual presence of the Blessed Prophet (pbuh)and sense inexpressibly beautiful feelings budding in his heart, and empties his soul of all appearances and silhouettes belonging to the self, is surely when he is on the way of becoming one with him, of acquiring a share of his love.
“Both worlds were created for one heart. Think of the meaning of the expression ‘Were it not for you, I would not have created the universe’”, says Mawlana Rumi –quddisa sirruh-.
For that reason is the love of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) is the greatest means to granting one honor in both worlds and in honor of their unfathomable love for the Prophet did the Companions soar to high ranks.
Below is another of those numerous scenes from the matchless love of the Companions:
On the way to the Cave of Sawr on the journey of Hegira, Abu Bakr (r.a)was walking behind the Prophet (pbuh) one moment and in front of him the next.
“Why are you walking like that?” the Prophet (pbuh) asked Abu Bakr (r.a), noticing his distinct manner.
“I fear the idolaters may catch up to you from behind, which is when I walk from behind you”, said Abu Bakr (r.a). “And when I think they may be staking out ahead of you, I then quickly move in front of you.”
It was evening when they eventually arrived at the mouth of the Cave.
“Please wait here until I clean out the Cave, Messenger of Allah”, Abu Bakr (r.a)told him. He then meticulously sorted out the Cave, checking for holes, blocking them one by one with some fabric he instinctively ripped off from his clothes. He ended up using his entire shroud in blocking the holes, leaving all but one, which he used the sole of his foot to block.
“You can now come inside, Messenger of Allah.”
Realizing the situation in the morning, the Noble Prophet asked amazedly:
“Where is your shroud, Abu Bakr?”
Abu Bakr (r.a)recounted what had happened the evening before. Immensely touched by his act of great magnanimity, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) lifted his hands and prayed for him.
Likewise, so moving is the devotion felt for the Prophet (pbuh) by a woman, whose husband, father and two sons were martyred at the battlefield of Uhud:
‘Muhammad has been killed!’ was the dreadful news that shook the skies of Medina on the day of Uhud, with screams of panic reaching the heavens. Everyone had poured out onto the streets, in hope of receiving some news from those coming in to the town. Even though Sumayra g, an Ansari woman, had received the terrible news that her husband, two sons and father had all been slain martyred at the field of Uhud, she had little taken heed; her mind preoccupied with the real anxiety, her heart racing for the wellbeing of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh):
“Is he all right?” she was repeatedly asking.
“Alhamdulillah he is alive and well”, the incoming Companions were answering, “just as you wish he is.”
“My heart will not rest at ease until I see him. Show me the Messenger of Allah”, she then replied, still nervous.
When they did show her the Blessed Prophet (pbuh), the courageous Sumayra raced towards him and grabbing hold of the edge of his shirt exclaimed:
“May my parents be sacrificed for you, Messenger of Allah! So long as you are alive, nothing can make me worry me anymore.” (Waqidi, I, 292; Haythami, VI, 115)
Anas ibn Malik (r.a)narrates:
“A man came to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and asked:
‘When will the Day of Judgment arrive?’
‘What have you prepared for the Day of Judgment?’ asked the Prophet (pbuh) in return.
‘The love of Allah and His Messenger’, responded the man.
Thereupon the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) told him:
‘Then you shall be with whom you love…’”
Commenting on his narration, Anas (r.a)then adds:
“Apart from entering Islam, nothing has made us happier than the words of the Messenger of Allah ‘you shall be with whom you love’. And I myself, too, love Allah and His Messenger, and Abu Bakr and Omar; and though I have not been able to match what they have done, I expect to be with them.” (Muslim, Birr, 163)
Undeniably, in order to find a place within the encouraging promise made by the Noble Prophet (pbuh), each believer must embellish his heart with the Prophet’s (pbuh) love and inspiring light.
At the time of the passing away of the Blessed Messenger (pbuh), the Companions were like candles melting from the flame of grief. That day, from separation from the Great Friend (pbuh), hearts had suddenly scorched from the fires of longing, and Companions were flung from one distraught state to another. Even Omar (r.a)had for a moment lost consciousness, struggling under pangs of great intensity, until Abu Bakr (r.a)eventually stood and calmed people down. Loving hearts, which could not resist not seeing him even for a day, would now no longer be able to see the Noble Prophet (pbuh) with in this life. Unable to bear this pain for much longer, the brokenhearted Abdullah ibn Zayd (r.a)lifted his hands to the Almighty and prayed entreatingly:
“Allah…Blind my eyes! Do not let me see anything of the world after the Prophet whom I loved more than anyone else!” His prayer, amid the downpour of sincere tears, was granted and he became blind there and then.
Thereafter, whenever Abu Bakr (r.a) attempted to narrate a hadith of the Blessed Prophet (pbuh), memories of him would reduce him to tears, finding it difficult to even utter a word.
Describing his condition is Abu Hurayra (r.a):
“Abu Bakr (r.a) once ascended the pulpit and said:
‘As you know, the Messenger of Allah had last year stood where I am standing now and…’ He began to cry, unable to continue. He then repeated these words, but once again cried. He tried for the third time, only to be reduced to tears once again.” (See, Tirmidhi, Daawat, 105/3558; Ahmad, I, 3)
Despite always being by the side of the Prophet (pbuh) in his life, Abu Bakr (r.a) would constantly miss him; and after the Prophet’s (pbuh) passing away, the longing became fiercer, aggravated with the desire to join him.
The honorable Aisha elaborates the excitement her father felt at the time of his death to unite with the Blessed Messenger (pbuh):
“My father Abu Bakr asked, on his deathbed:
‘What day is it today?’
‘Monday’, we told him.
‘If I die tonight’, he then said, ‘do not wait tomorrow for my burial…for the most favorite time for me is that which is nearest to my reunion with the Messenger of Allah (pbuh).’” (Ahmad, I, 8)
Among the Companions were those who would be envious of the ill, thinking their long awaited reunion with their beloved Messenger (pbuh) would be now imminent now that they were lying on their deathbeds, and would send their greetings to the Sultan of the Hearts (pbuh) with them. Muhammad ibn Munqadir (r.a), just to name one, had visited Jabir (r.a), a Companion immersed in the love of the Prophet (pbuh), during his final illness. Realizing his death was pending, to console Jabir (r.a), heartsick from longing for the Prophet (pbuh), he remarked:
“Send my greeting to the Messenger of Allah…” (Ibn Majah, Janaiz, 4)
The Companions, the devoted lovers of the Prophet of Allah (pbuh), would take great pleasure in listening to recollections of him.
Bara (r.a) recounts his father’s ingrained desire to listen to a memory of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) whenever the slightest opportunity presented itself:
“Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (r.a) had bought a saddle from my father for thirteen dirhams, before requesting:
‘Tell Bara to deliver it to our house if he can.’
‘No way’, my father said. ‘Not until you tell me how you made the Hegira from Mecca to Medina with the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) with the idolaters behind your trail!’
Abu Bakr (r.a) then recapped the journey in the following:
‘We left the Cave and began to move. We walked all night and the following day. Come noon, I took a look around with the hope of perhaps finding a shade. Nearby I saw a rock with some shade. I quickly leveled the ground under the shade and laid out a mantle for the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) to sit.
‘Please, Messenger of Allah,’ I said. ‘Have some rest.’
The Prophet of Allah (pbuh) resigned for a little rest. I began looking around to see whether anyone was coming. What I saw instead was a shepherd, steering his sheep towards the rock. Like I a moment ago, he too was searching for shade.
‘Whose shepherd are you?’ I asked him. He gave a name from Quraysh, a person I knew.
‘Do the sheep have milk?’ I then inquired.
‘Yes’ he replied.
‘Then can you milk us some? I asked him.
‘Of course I can’, he said, ‘with pleasure…’
He then swiftly got hold of a sheep from the herd. I told him to thoroughly clean his hands and the sheep’s breasts. He cleaned his hands by striking them, rubbing them together, before milking the sheep awhile and then handing me the milk. I had been carrying with me a leather bottle, for the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), which I had closed off with a piece of cloth. I poured some water from it on the milk, which cooled it down somewhat. I presented it to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). He had just awoken from a nap.
‘Please, Messenger of Allah…Have some milk’, I said.
He drank the milk. Only then did I feel somewhat at ease…’” (Bukhari, Ashab’un-Nabi, 2; Ahmad, I, 2)
The Companions felt so great a love and respect for the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) that there were some who would not cut their hair simply because the Prophet’s (pbuh) hands had touched it. (Abu Dawud, Salat, 28/501)
A beautiful manifestation of love indeed, is the following account bearing the way in which female Companions instilled the love of the Blessed Messenger (pbuh) in their children; women who would scold them when they would delay, for too long a time, seeing the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). One of them was Huzayfa (r.a), admonished by his mother for not having seen the Prophet (pbuh) for a few days. Huzayfa (r.a) himself recounts:
“My mother asked me of the last time I had seen the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). ‘It has been a few days’, I told her.
She told me off, rebuking me severely.
‘Don’t be mad’, I said. ‘I will go to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) at once and perform the maghrib salat with him, and ask him to pray for forgiveness for both you and I.’” (Tirmidhi, Manaqib, 30/3781; Ahmad, V, 391-392)
The condition of Bilal (r.a), the chief muaddhin of the Prophet’s mosque, was something else. Once the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) departed the world, he virtually lost his tongue; even the sharpest of knives could not part his lips. Despite all her enormity Medina had grown small in his eyes.
In reminiscence of the sweet memories of the adhans of the time of the Blessed Prophet (pbuh), Caliph Abu Bakr (r.a) pleaded Bilal (r.a) on numerous occasions to recite the adhan once again for old time’s sake. Instead, the distressed Bilal (r.a) would ask to be pardoned.
“If you ask how I feel, Abu Bakr, I have lost all power to call the adhan after the passing away of the Messenger of Allah…So please, leave me to myself.”
But Abu Bakr (r.a) was committed to rehear the adhan of the sweet times gone by.
“As if the loss of their Prophet is bearable, do you wish to deprive the ummah of his muaddhin too?”
Yielding to the adamant requests, Bilal (r.a) finally made his way up the minaret one morning, at dawn, downcast and teary eyed, to call the adhan for fajr salat; though overcome with emotion, he made his way back down, unable to keep his voice from choking, unable to do the call. Abu Bakr (r.a) insisted no more.
Bilal (r.a) could not remain in Medina any longer, a town evoking vivid memories of the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) at every corner, and immediately after the fajr salat that morning, he left for Damascus. Infused with the hope of reuniting with his beloved Prophet (pbuh), he took active part in battles in the frontiers, one after another, with martyrdom eluding him every time however, much to his disappointment. Years had gone by. In spite of the plague that laid waste to Damascus claiming twenty-five thousand lives, Divine decree had again spared Bilal (r.a) from breathing his last, his heart ever burning amid the scorching fire of separation.
One day he saw the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) in his dream.
“How long must this separation last, Bilal?” he was telling him, with grievance. “Isn’t it time you visited me?”
Distressed, Bilal (r.a) suddenly woke up. Without further ado, he left, this time to visit the hallowed grave of the Noble Prophet (pbuh) in Medina. Just as he was bowling his eyes out in the presence of his beloved, shedding tears on his grave, Hasan and Husain arrived. Elated to see the dear grandsons of the Noble Prophet (pbuh), who used to treasure them as ‘thesweetbasils’ of paradise, Bilal (r.a) warmly hugged them.
“We would love to hear you call the adhan, Bilal”, they pleaded, and to their wish Bilal (r.a) succumbed. His adhan shook Medina. When he came to the part Ashadu anna Muhammadan Rasulullah, all the men and women of the town took to the streets and began pouring into the Mosque, thinking the Noble Prophet (pbuh) had come back to life. Since the passing away of the Blessed Prophet (pbuh), never had there been a day in which the dwellers of Medina shed more tears.
The celebrated Companion, a genuine devotee of the Prophet (pbuh), ultimately passed away in Damascus. He was over sixty at the time.
Right before his death, it is reported that he was jovially exclaiming, “Tomorrow, Allah willing, I shall reunite with my dear friends…the Messenger of Allah and his companions.”
His wife mourning the looming death of her husband in the background, Bilal (r.a), in the meantime, was expressing joy, murmuring, “How wonderful…” (Dhahabi, Siyar, I, 359)
The exuberant love of the Companions for the Prophet of Mercy (pbuh) can equally be seen in their narration hadith. Apprehensive of unknowingly making a mistake while conveying the words of the Prophet (pbuh), it was not uncommon for them to shake in the knees and turn pale. Abdullah ibn Masud (r.a), for one, would begin to violently tremble the moment he would begin to quote the Blessed Messenger (pbuh). In consideration of their perceived weaknesses, after quoting the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), many Companions would be quick to tentatively specify, “…he either said that or something along those lines.” (Ibn Majah, Muqaddimah, 3)
Such a grand Prophet he was that the date log on which he would give the sermon would moan from his longing. For his thirsty ummah, his fingers became fonts from which they quenched their thirst. The ill, who took sips from the bowl from which he had taken wudu, found cure. Those eating with him heard the invocations of morsels. Sakal-ı Şerif, the hallowed strands of his hair and beard, has been kept in mosques to this day, cherished as part of his loving legacy.
The leader of the plain of resurrection in the Hereafter is Him…
To intercede for sinners is Him,
Weeping ummatii, ummatii (my ummah, my ummah) is Him,
The Flag of the Liwa’ul-Hamd of the Hereafter rests in His hands,
All prophets are under His shade,
The hands that will open, for the first time, the doors of Paradise, are again His…
Vibrantly depicting this scene is Sheikh Galib:
On the pulpit of the eternal climes, your sermon is read
In the Trial of the Final Court, your verdict is kept
Your gulbang’i qudum is shouted upon the Throne,
Mentioned is your noble name in the Heavens and Earth
The Fountain of Love after the Companions
The convoy of love and affection for the Blessed Prophet (pbuh), a mercy encompassing all worlds, continued with the same enthusiasm, following the Companions, to flow like a blustery torrent towards the ocean of reunion, fully conscious that only through loving the Prophet (pbuh) would the peace and bliss of both worlds be obtained.
The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) has foretold that his lovers will not cease until the Final Hour:
“Some of the most to love me, among my ummah, shall be from among those that will appear after me. To see me, they are eagerly prepared to forfeit their families and belongings.” (Muslim, Jannat, 12; Hakim, IV, 95/6991)
May Allah, glory unto Him, include us, His helpless slaves, amongst those praised in the hadith!
The below heartrending account, recounted by Abdullah ibn Mubarak, reveals that the love of the Noble Prophet (pbuh) transcends all pains mortal:
“I was next to Imam Malik, who was narrating some of the hadith of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). But that he was in agony could be seen in his face. However much he may have been turning pale by the moment, he still continued conveying the Prophet’s words regardless. Once the lesson was over and the students disbanded, I said to him:
‘Abu Abdullah…There seems to be something strange about you today.’
‘Yes’, he replied. ‘A scorpion came from nowhere and bit me several times during the lesson. But I held out from my reverence for the Messenger of Allah (pbuh).’”
Out of respect for the ground walked by the Noble Prophet (pbuh), Imam Malik never rode a camel or a horse within Medina; neither did he wear any shoes. Whenever a visitor would arrive by his door with the intent of clearing a query with regard to a hadith, from esteem of the words of the Blessed Messenger (pbuh), he would first take wudu, wrap an imamah around his head, put on some sweet fragrances and sit on a high stool; only then would he accept the visitor. He would thereby prepare himself spiritually for the grace of the Noble Prophet (pbuh), taking utmost care to observe the manners suitable for conveying his words. The Imam always spoke with a low voice at the Rawdah, the area between the pulpit and the blessed grave of the Prophet (pbuh) at the Mosque of Medina; and so was quick to caution Abu Jafar Mansur, the Caliph of then, who momentarily raised his voice there:
“Lower your voice in this area, Caliph. Allah’s warning not to raise one’s voice in the presence of the Messenger of Allah was revealed to a group much virtuous than you…”
Imam Malik, again, forgave the Governor of Medina who had caused him unjustified troubles, remarking:
“I would feel embarrassed to seek my rights in the Hereafter from an offspring of the Prophet of Allah (pbuh).”
Among the notables of the ummah celebrated for their loving devotion to the Prophet of Mercy (pbuh), Sayyid Ahmad Yasawi, stemming from his profound love, bade farewell to living above the ground after he turned sixty-three, the age in which the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) had passed away, and for ten years until his death, continued his life of calling people to the true path, from a grave like place below the ground.
The great scholar of hadith Imam Nawawi similarly never ate a watermelon in his life, for the sole reason that he did not know the manner in which the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) had eaten it.
A saint who could provide a stepping stone to elevating one to the reality of the Gracious Prophet (pbuh), was perceived by Yavuz Sultan Selim, incidentally a world emperor, above anything else on Earth, a feeling to which he gives voice in the below couplet placing a yearning accent on attaining closeness to the friends of Allah and His Messenger:
Being a sultan to the world, it turns out, is a scuffle, boring,
But being a disciple to a saint is superior to the whole thing…
There was a custom, in times bygone, of engraving a couplet or a quotation in seals. In elaboration of how the Almighty created the universe in honor of His love for the Light of Muhammad, Bezmi Alem Valide Sultan had the ode below engraved in her seal:
From love, was Muhammad born,
Without Muhammad…love is forlorn
From its manifestation did Bazm-i Alam befall…
The fire is depicted by Fuzuli in his legendary Su Kasidesi as follows:
Do not shed, my eyes, your water of love for my hearts fire,
For flames so rampantly rising, there is no cure in water
Perplexed, my eyes do not know wherefrom the skies get their color,
Have my tears pervaded the skies or has it really the color of water?
From watering the rose garden let not the gardener bother
A rose like His face won’t bloom, even if a thousand, he were to water
With my wish unfulfilled of kissing His hand, my friends, if I expire
Cast a pot from my soil and with it present to my beloved some water
All their lives, dashing their heads against one rock to another,
To reach the grounds He walked, like a drifter, flows water
“An extraordinary light which even the sun orbits”, a poetic remark belonging to Suleyman Çelebi, who conceives even the sun as revolving around the Great Prophet (pbuh).
Sultan Ahmed had an image of the footprints of the Noble Prophet (pbuh) copied onto his turban, with the intent of receiving inspiration from what it evoked, under which he wrote the poem:
What if I carried above my head, like a crown,
…The pure feet of the Sultan of Prophets?
Of the Prophets garden, he is the Rose after all,
So be crowned, Ahmed, with the soles of that Rose
The same love is articulated by Aziz Mahmud Hudayi as:
Your arrival is a mercy, a blissful pleasure,
A cure for the lovesick, Prophet, is your sight,
Grant intercession to Hudayi, be it inner or outer,
Curled by your door, he is a slave in plight
En route to Pilgrimage, with Medina visible from a distance, poet Nabi was deeply upset to see a pasha (army general) unknowingly stretch his feet out towards the Sacred Rawdah. Grief-stricken, he put pen to paper to write the poem below giving voice to his reverence of the Blessed Prophet (pbuh):
Desist from disrespect; this is the land of the Lords Beloved,
The focus of Divine view, this is the site of the Prophet,
Enter this shrine, Nabi, intent only on utmost conduct,
The busegahof Prophets this is, the precincts of the sacred…
As a consequence of the sincere inspiration that flowed directly from Nabi’s heart, with the miraculous signal of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), the muaddhins of the Rawdah recited the poem aloud from the minarets during the salat of fajr. Nabi, extremely moved by the emotional sight, entered the Mosque teary eyed.
M. Esad Effendi, among the greatest sheikhs of late, lyrically describes how he is reduced to ashes amid the smouldering flames of the Prophet’s love:
From your spellbinding appearance, my love, spring is on fire,
On fire is the rose, the nightingale, the hyacinth, soil and spine…on fire
Burning all lovers is but the rays of your beaming face,
On fire is the tongue, the heart, eyes crying from your love…on fire
How is it possible to cleanse the martyrs of love with all this fire?
On fire is the body, the shroud, the sweet water for cleansing…on fire
The touching poet of late, formerly a Christian who adopted the name Yaman Dede after experiencing the zest of the Muhammedan Light, becoming an emotional believer and a loving devotee of the Blessed Prophet (pbuh), articulates the beautiful poem below:
I would feel no pain if thirsting in a scorching desert, I breathed my last
I feel no dampness in oceans, in my heart volcanoes blast,
If the skies rained flames, barely would I feel its glaze,
Relief through your beautiful appearance, o Prophet, for I am ablaze
To pass away on your lap with your love, what ecstasy it would be,
To die in your chamber, my lord, is it really that unlikely?
They will feel safe from harm dying in your love, as my eyes give way,
Relief through your beautiful appearance, o Prophet, for I am ablaze
Brokenhearted, I am deplete, with you is the cure for my concern,
Scorched from fire, my lips murmur your name around your throne,
Bless this poor nobody whenever your heart pleases, make his day
Relief through your beautiful appearance, o Prophet, for I am ablaze
Kemâl Edib Kürkçüoğlu gives eloquent voice to the excitement and exhilaration of the heavens occasioned by the Miraj, the Ascension, of the Prophet (pbuh) thereto:
At the night of Miraj for staring at his face,
To the ground, in gratitude, heavens fall prostrate
Excitedly wearing his ihram every evening,
The Holy Spirit aches to enter as guest through his gate
Whoever sees once, screams ‘Allah Allah’, hoping,
With their minds lost, to see again his face…
Such a character is the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) that everyone to have accepted him as the guide and followed him has become unique personalities in their own rights, like the stars in the skies. The Companions, the friends of the Truth and the righteous were able to gain virtue and worth only to the extent of their closeness to that Great Light of Being (pbuh).
How much of a share do we have, one cannot help but wonder, of the inner feelings of Abdullah ibn Zayd, Bilal Habashi, Imam Nawawi, Sayyid Ahmed Yesevi and the likes? Within the framework of the love manifest since the Companions, we too must measure our love for the Prophet (pbuh), weigh the extent in which we are worthy of being his ummah and inject a dose of spiritual revival, an awakening in our souls.
The distinguished Muslim notables aforementioned are, to be sure, embodiments of the highest standards, as lofty as the stars. But what has made them stars in the skies of Muslim hearts is the intensity of their love and devotion for the Prophet (pbuh).
Love, we know, is like an electric current between two hearts. To be a Believer true to the spirit it is vital to acquire the heart this capacity. The trauma haunting contemporary humankind is simply a consequence of the loss of this capacity of the heart, a tragedy that lays waste to many a great potential, crushing it under the hammer of the ego; and when inclinations are always worldly and egotistic, nobody seems to be able to find a way in reinvigorating the spirit. The elevation to Real Love from that which is metaphorical, for Majnun to at long last reach his Lord in a journey that begun with Layla, is possible through the maturation of a crude heart, through exercise, and its gaining the capacity for that Real Love, of which humankind today is in desperate need. All the evil, the atrocities and the crudeness so rampant is because of a lack of love.
The greatness of a love is measured by the sacrifice made for the beloved, when the need arises, and the risk taken. A true lover can sacrifice his life, if need be, without even thinking to have made a sacrifice at all; he rather moves calmly, as if paying a debt. Those ignorant of real love and unable to seize a share have effectively desisted entering the path of maturation, preferring to abide by the domination of their egos, squandering their hearts, laying it on the path of waste.
Acceptance of the amanah, the trust, from which even the mountains recoiled, is in fact a privilege granted by the Almighty to humankind. The precondition of having this privilege lies in reaching real love. Only in real love does the conflict and battle raging in the soul of man melt away and perish. A mature person, through the inspiring reflections acquired from an exemplary character, rids his soul of bestial inclinations and turns his heart into a garden of paradise, in which windows are opened for the viewing of Divine spectacles.
“…I breathed from my Spirit”, (al-Hijr, 29) states our Lord in the Quran, reminding the sublime essence, of His Own, He gave man. Once that sublime essence is allowed, through love, to usher a Believer to maturation, then the heart begins to cover distance towards the realm of Divine mysteries, revealed in which is the truth of matter, the gist of man and the universe. One is then granted the manifestations of a pure heart.
When one reaches that level of maturation, curtains of ignorance, hitherto separating the servant from his Lord, are parted, and meted out is a share of the secret ‘to die before death’. The world, its fleeting love and all its passing pomp is then removed from the sight, discarded from the heart. The spirit, then, indulges in the inexpressible zest of gaining closeness to its Maker.
Those who have not tasted real love have been unable to shatter the bestial frame surrounding man and take a step inside the angelic realm. The heart of one who does not know how to love is akin to raw soil. Love is the abode of wisdom, insofar as it is the reason for being.
The Divine Mercy necessary to accompany humanity if it is to take a leap from depravity to bliss is the Messenger of Allah(pbuh), presented as a quintessential example for mankind. The path to real happiness is paved upon learning real love from him, in becoming annihilated in his character and following his unswerving lead with such love.
The Blessed Prophet (pbuh) is the Beloved of the entire universe and the reason for its existence. He is a guide of union between the Lord and the servant. With a sublime series of conduct, both those that are communicable and those that elude even the most articulate of descriptions, until his very last breath, the Noble Messenger (pbuh) has for us provided the best example of being a servant to the Real.
In short, he is a mercy and a love that encompasses the entire realms of existence. Hearts aching for him in this universe will forever burn with his love, inhaling with every breath the air of a long awaited reunion; and amid these flames of the heart, they will plead:
“Relief through your beautiful appearance, for I am burning o Prophet”, a cry through which they will give vent to a love intensifying by the moment.
It is this love that has rendered the likes of Bahauddin Naqshiband, Yunus and Mawlana Rumi the sparkling stars of the spiritual skies. It was with this love that Mawlana Rumi took a step inside the real and the eternal climes of happiness; a happiness that was reunion with the Eternal, the Supreme. Insofar as they covered distance towards eternity by virtue of slipping away from the captivity of the mortal flesh, nothing short of the Eternal would have pleased them. After all, how could real happiness, everlasting, blend with the mortal, afflicted with impermanence? The road towards the blissful clime passes through surrendering love and affection to its deserved place.
The subsequent words of Mawlana Rumi, in a sense, reveal the source of his joy:
“So long as I am alive, I am at the service of the Quran, a dust on the path of Muhammad (pbuh). I am distant from the person, and his words, who conveys a word other than that what I say.”
The gist of becoming a dust on the path of the Noble Messenger (pbuh) and devotedly adhering to his path is a lifelong loving abidance by him and obeying the Sunnah in all matters great and small.
Another way of acquiring the required blend in abiding by the Light of Being (pbuh) and becoming enshrouded in his spirituality is to keep the salawat’us-sharifah rolling constantly of our tongues, sure to reinforce the bond of our hearts with him and inspire his dear love within.
. See, Tirmidhî, Manâqib, 1/3616; Dârimî, Muqaddima, 8; Ahmad, VI, 241; Haythamî, IX, 29.
. Ibn Kathîr, al-Bidâya, Cairo 1993, II, 277; Ibn Sad, I, 108, 125.
. See, Ibn Kathîr, al-Bidâya, III, 222-223; Ali al-Qârî, Mirkât, Beirut 1992, X, 381-382/6034; Abû Nuaym, Hily, I, 33.
. Qurtubî, al-Jâmî, Beirut 1985, V, 271.
. Arab custom regarded the milk of all livestock to be permissible for travelers. Stock owners would ensure the shepherds they hired did not prevent any wayfarers passing by from helping themselves to the milk of the herd. Judging in accordance with custom is an accepted part of the methodology of Islamic jurisprudence. (Suhayli, Ravd’ul-Unuf, Beirut, 1978, II, 152) The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) states: “There are three groups of people with whom Allah shall not speak in the Hereafter: those who withhold the excess water they have from a traveler, those who after asr give false oath just to sell their goods and those who pledge allegiance to the Caliph, then keep their word if the Caliph provides for them and turning back on their heels if he does not.” (Abu Dawud, Buyu’, 60/3474)
. Ibn Esîr, Usdü’l-Ghaba, I, 244-245; Dhahabî, Siyaru A‘lâm’in-Nubelâ, Beirut 1986-1988, I, 357-358.
. For that and similar miracles see, Bukhârî, Manâqib, 25.
. Gülbâng-i kudûm is the prayer or the ceremonial chant collectively recited in the company of religious music, or the ceremonial welcoming and praises said in tribute of the arrival of a person.
. Münâwî, Fayzü’l-Qadîr, Beirut 1994, III, 333; Suyutî, Miftâhu’l-Jannah,, p. 52.
. A busegah denotes any given spot that receives kisses.