Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Message of Rabi al-Awwal: Recognizing the Deeper and True Sunnah of the Messenger


1.
Reply of Love is only by Love

The response of Love's call
can only be given through Love.
There is nothing else,
neither below, nor above.
Reply of Love is only by Love.

How can you not commemorate the praising of him
who is the fountain of praise, and when
Allah Himself praises His beloved abundantly?
Alas! Have you gone blind to love's reality!

There is no one, neither in heaven nor in earth
more worthy to be addressed as Habib, the sweet fragrant beloved.
Through perfected love for Ahmed
enliven faith in soul can be embedded.

I pray to You Ya Allah,
may our entire being become enamored (ashiq) by partaking
in the fragrance of Your Chosen Rose
that is Muhammad. Ya Nur! Ya Ahad!

His love is healing for every ailment,
The Physician of hearts, the Physician of souls is he,
Behold! From Divine Effulgence
emanates the Muhammadan Reality.

Hear if you have the ear. The truth is this:
Love's response can only be by Love,
there is nothing else,
neither below, nor above.

O seekers of Love made perfect!
Continue to praise the Locus of Divine Love,
until you realize your praise can never offer
the matching praise of the Great Lover.

Allahumma salli ala Saiyyidina Muhammad.
Be our witness ya Muhammad!

In this street of love,
may we be all content in becoming
a beggar of Your Love -
pleased and well pleasing unto You.
So bestow upon us O the All Generous Giver,
for indeed we are all Misaqin!
Alhamdulillah! Alhamdulillah ya Rabbil alamin!

~ A Poem on Miladun-Nabi / Sadiq M. Alam / 8th Rabiul Awwal, 1433 A.H.



2.
Rabi al-Awwal: The Month when Spring comes to the Hearts of ahlal-Qulub (the people of Heart)

In the Islamic Hijri calendar we have now inside the month of Rabi'al Awwal, literally the month of spring. This is not only the month of spring for the nature, but also the month of spring for people of Heart; for in this very month, the Holy Messenger, the Divine Informer after which no other Prophet came and will not come until the Second coming of Christ, was born and also in this very month he returned to his Lord. May Allah send abundant blessings and peace to the noble soul of our Master Muhammad and count us among his community.

It is both a month of joy and month of sadness. Joy for his arrival among us and sadness for his departure. And even the tears of departure can become tears of joy when we realize the reality that he has returned to his Rafiq al 'Ala, the Highest Friend and has returned to his blessed station, maqam al mahmuda and to know his true promise that in God's Kingdom, "one will be with those whom he or she loves." And we hope to be meet him, to drink from his fountain and to united with the Habib Allah in the akhirah. That is our hope, the best glad tidings for us.

There are no shortage of Islamic literature that speaks of the significance of this month. Among the Muslims many are commemorating this month to remember the birth of the Prophet, some are engaged in discussing his life (seerah), his beautiful ways, remembering his message and thus giving life to their heart through remembering him. While others are afraid that celebrating his birthday may lead people to astray just as the celebration of Christmas made Christians forget the real message of Christ and later to turn the occasion an excuse for secular materialism divorced of any Godly consciousness, something which is very contrary to Christ's ideal and message for which he dedicated his life to. 

For the people of Remembrance and for the people of the Heart, any and every occasion to remember the Truth and aspects of Truth is an occasion to celebrate, an occasion to observe. There is wisdom in commemorating and setting days aside for remembering exclusively because in this world of million distractions, if we do not set reference point, we often find ourselves lost in the sea of confusion. Just as there are reference point in maps, certain dates and months in calendar are reference points in our ever escaping life and time in the world which is the harvesting field for the eternal life to come. These special days are reference points when we turn to our true direction, turn to the truth of our life, our position in the cosmos and our reality beyond this limited existentiality.

From this perspective, the month of Rabi al-Awwal is remembered as a month of the appearance of the Divine Message to unveil the Message. Lest we forget that it is also the month when our Master returned to His Lord, leaving behind the Truth for which he was the Bearer. Lest we forget that through his leaving behind the Message, now it is upon all faithful who have come to know the truth, to transmit that truth on behalf of him. That is why he said, "the people of sacred knowledge are my spiritual inheritors (warith)."

Thousands and millions of benediction and salutation of peace to the Message Bearer of Light. 

Allahumma salle ala Saiyadena Muhammad
an-noor al-anwar, wa sirr al-asrar, Saiyyad al-abrar.

''O' Allah shower Thy Blessings upon our Beloved Prophet Muhammad
who is light, actual light and the mystery amongst the mysteries and the leader of the excellents.''


3.
Message of Rabi al-Awwal: Parable of a man of excellence and his unworthy son

Once there was a man of excellent character, a very helpful man who lived in a small town. He was very affectionate, loving and would help everyone in the town who were in need. No one would leave empty handed from his door if anyone came to ask help. He always greeted people with a bright smile on his face. His character was very pleasing, everyone loved him. He had such character that he would go out in the dark hours of the night and would find out if anyone were hungry and living on the street. If he found any stranger like that and he would invite that person to have dinner with him in his table without any discrimination. He would take care of any orphan who couldn't go to school due to financial inability. People in his town really loved him universally and used to call him their trustworthy friend. It was even difficult to imagine his stature of goodness in his time. Days passed by and this man grew ancient and one day passed away. His aging only increasing his saging, and as a sage he returned to his Maker.

Now this man had a son. In time the child grew and became adult when his father died. The son knew well that everyone loved his father and remembered likewise, so when he wanted to compete for local election, in order to convince the people of the town that he is a son like his father, he start to do certain things.

For example he started to wear the same styled clothing that his father wore, he started to eat at the same kind of restaurant where his father used to eat at, he started to buy shoes from the same brand that his father used to wear etc, even he matched his socks like how his father used to wear. Moreover, he used the same brand of perfume that his father used, he even tried to look like his father by matching his appearance and soon he started to grow beard like his father (of same style, of same length).

But importantly none of his father's beautiful nature and character was to be found in him. He never helped any needy, in fact he refused to help anyone who used to receive help from his father. His character was not anything close to his magnanimous father, but rather he was impolite, sometime harsh in his dealings. He never cared for people who were poorest of the poor, all he was after was his selfish pursuits. He did not like to go to the poor neighborhood of the town, for him it was too unclean and unhygienic to go walk. He never helped any homeless or hungry. He never bothered even to be a person of upright, truthful nature. Yet he was busy showing off his appearance as if he is like his father and took great pride in speaking of his father and how much he loved his father etc. 

The people of the town very soon realized that his man is nothing close to his father. Despite the kind of socks or shoes or perfume or even appearance, he was quite opposite to his father. All the good qualities of his father is missing in him. So naturally they didn't like this man and didn't bother about him at all. 

This is the same situation for the Muslims as well. In Islam the Way of the Messenger is known as Sunnah. Somehow the Muslims are convinced that the Sunnah is wearing like the Prophet, eating like him, to utter certain words after his name to show veneration, to grow beard to be like him - but none of his real qualities, the best of his character for which Allah praised him - his gentleness, his compassion, his utter concern for the poor, needy, widow, orphans are to be found among the Muslims. What about his immense generosity, his all giving, self-effacing nature, his quality of uncompromising justice for all, quality of nondiscrimination between any member of humanity, his deep contemplative nature, love for knowledge, forgiving nature even for the worst of enemies, love and respect for women, always concern how to improve the condition of people and raise their dignity? Do we see any of such real qualities for which a person becomes a true human being? Unfortunately those who claim to follow the Sunnah has become like the unworthy son of an excellent father.

"Verily I am like a father to you."
- Hadith of the Prophet


al-nabiyu awlā bil-mu'minīna min anfusihim
"The Prophet is closer to the believers than their own selves" (Qur'an, 33:6)

The Message of this Rabi al-Awwal is to know about the real Sunnah, the deeper Sunnah of our Master, which is his character, his being rahmatallil alamin, his being universally compassionate to all beings, his being harisun alaikum bil mu'minina raufur rahim, the fountain of compassion and concerned, caring and responsive for well being of the believers - where are those qualities?

Regarding his way, his Sunnah, Prophet Muhammad said, "O my son, the one who has cherishes my sunnah without doubt he has cherished me and he who has cherished me will be with me in Paradise."

Contemplating on this true saying of the Prophet, Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan wrote, "O Muslims, reflect a little; even if a thousand souls would sacrifice themselves for this word, "with me," it would still be little! To be together in Paradise with the Apostle of Allah is such a glad tidings that verily both worlds have no value whatsoever in comparison with the reality! What a good fortune the person enjoys who is granted to be with the Prophet Muhammad! Alas, where do you err wandering around? Whatever gracious gift there is, it is in the sunna of the Prophet, by God, in nothing else, in nothing else, in nothing else!"



4.
Getting to know the Spiritual Beauty of the Master of Messengers by knowing the Deeper Sunnah

The best richness, is the richness of the soul.
- Messenger of God

The Sunnah or Way of the Messenger is no doubt of great importance. But to take the outward only by dispensing the inward is of grave mistake. Just like the parable of the unworthy son, it amounts to nothing when inward reality is discarded and one busies one's self with the outward alone. This is like a corpse devoid of soul and outward Sunnah without the combination of the Spiritual Beauty of the character of the Prophet is a disrespect to the sublime honor of the Sunnah.

The Prophet, may peace and blessings of Allah be with him, said, "Verily I am like a father to you." Indeed the Messenger is the spiritual father to the community. If we do not have regard for his character, his state of being and only imitate the outward, then it is very likely we will end up being like the unworthy son in the parable who fools himself and others with the outward while having no share of the inner truth and reality of the real qualities.

We may be reminded here by the saying of the Messenger himself, "Allah does not look at your outward appearances but looks at your heart."

I quote here from the writings of Annemarie Schimmel from her book, "And Muhammad is His Messenger." We know from his description in the sacred tradition that Prophet was the paragon of physical beauty. But his external beauty was but a mirror of his interior beauty, for God had created him perfect in nature and moral qualities, khalaqan wa khulqan

His signature characteristics were concern for the weak, the marginals, those without voice and his kindliness is always highlighted. Being a truthful, always, he loved what is true and hated what is false and covering up of truth. He was the most sincerest of all, trust worthy. Among all report of the Prophet's inner quality, one quality that is particularly emphasized in the Prophet is his humility and kindness. Our Master had a friendly, kindly but at the same time a serious attitude. He is said to have a most winning smile that never failed to enchant his followers. His modesty and bashfulness, haya is what the believer is expected to possess in large measure. He had a softspoken humor.

When someone came with a request he was not sent off before it had been granted or before he had at least received a  friendly word. The Prophet's friendliness and largesse encompassed every one; he was like a father for his companions.

Tirmidhi describes as as, "He was well acquainted with sorrow, much absorbed in thought, had little rest, was silent for long periods and did not talk without cause. He began and finished his talk with the formula, 'In the name of God.' His talk pithy, neither too long nor too short, not coarse, but also not too playful or light. He honored each of God's signs of grace, even though it might be small, and never found blame in anything."

His Way was the way of pure humility which words can not exhaust. He embraced poverty through his generosity and would not rest until he gave away what extra he had in his hand to the most needy and worthy of his community. Poverty was his pride (Faqri fakhrim, 'my poverty is my pride'), both inward and outward and is the motto of the mystical seekers. Poverty is understood not merely as destitution but rather as a spiritual stage that consist in man's knowledge of his own need before God, the One Who has No Need (al-Ghani). A Muslim's love of the poor is a sure sign of love for the Prophet, for Prophet's love and care for the poor is unparallelled. 

The Prophet Muhammad, may Allah perfect our love for him, is the model for the nihil habentes, omnia possedentes of Islam. Part of this mystical concept of poverty is gratitude. The words of Job, "The Lord has given, the Lord has taken away - praised be the name of the Lord!" express the Muslim's ideal of acceptance. It was this kind of gratitude the Prophet practiced, and his saying, "I cannot account the praise due to Thee" has been the central to mystical reflection upon gratitude and praise of God.

Prophet Muhammad's lovingkindness extended over all beings. He was noted for his love of children, and used to greet them in the street and play with them. He was also know for his love of animals, specially his liking for cats.

"Laqad kaana lakum fi rasulillahi uswatun hasanatun, liman kaana yarju 'llaha wal yaumal akhira, dhakara 'llaha kathiran." (33;21) "Certainly in the Prophet of Allah (Muhammad) there is an excellent example for one whose hope is in Allah and the Last day, and remembers Allah much." 

"Laqad jaa`akum rasulun min anfusikum azizun alaihi maa `anitum, harisun `alaikum, bil mu`minina ra`ufun rahim." (9:128) "Now there has come to you a messenger from among yourselves who takes your suffering seriously and is concerned for you; caring and responsive to those who believe."  


5.
If you want to know the Sunnah of the Rasulullah Alaihi wa salatus saalam

Allah Subhana Huwa ta'ala says of the Prophet alaihis salatus saalam, "Wa ma arsalnaka illa rahmatallil 'alamin. He says, "Harisun alaikum bi mukmina raufur rahim." Alaihis salatus saalam says, "La yukmim billah hatta yuhibli akhliki ma yuhibli nafsi." (You attain not the faith in God unless you love for your brother what you love for yourself).

If you want to know the sunnah of the Rasulullah Alaihi wa salatus saalam: its not something that grows out of your chin, its not something that you put on your head. Its not some clothes you wear. Its mercy to other human beings, its love of other human beings, its compassion for other human beings, its concern for your fellow human beings.

If you want the proof of the sunnah, its not to come here once a year, its not to come to jummah once a week. Allah! It is to live in this world as a representative of the Prophet alaihis was salatus saalam in this time. It is to dispense mercy and justice to other human beings.

Rasulullah alaihi salatus saalam is the mentor for all human beings, for all nations, for all tribes, for all colors, for all languages, for all people, for all times.

People love Love. When they love Love, they love you. This is the khuduwa hasana (beautiful nature) of the Rasulullah alaihi wassalatus saalam. He was love, they loved him. You love him, he loves you. You love him, you love your fellow human beings and peace, shekinah comes on the people.

~ Shaykh A. Nooruddeen Durkee, talk was delivered at Mawlid event in Sterling, VA. 2008


6.
Allahumma salli ‘ wa sallim was baarik ala Sayyidina Muhammadil
nil-fatihi lima ughliqa
wal khatimi lima sabaqa
wan-naa-siril-haqqi bil-haqqi
wal-hadi ila Sirati-kal-mustaqima sal-lal-lahu ‘alayhi
wa ‘ala alihi wa-ashaabihi haqqa qadrihi wa-miq-da rihil-’azim.

O God bless our Noble Master Muhammad
who opened what had been closed,
and who is the Seal of what had gone before,
he who makes the Truth Victorious by the Truth,
the guide to Thy golden path,
and bless his holy family as is the due of his immense position and grandeur.

- Durood specially recited by the Tijaniyya Sufis, this (Durood) benediction is considered one of the most power

“Say (O Muhammad): ‘If you (really) love Allaah, then follow me, Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allaah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. Say: ‘Obey Allaah and the Messenger.’ But if they turn away, then Allaah does not love those who cover up the Truth.” [The Quran, 3:31-32]

Wa maa arsalnaka illa rahmatallil 'alamin.
And We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], except as a mercy to the worlds. (The Quran 21:107)

We did not send you, O Muhammad, except as a mercy, that is, to [give] mercy, to all.

And according to leading interpretations, Prophet Muhammad is sent as a mercy, to give mercy to all, with no discrimination and the term "mercy" encompasses, compassion, love, grace, lovingkindness and care and that is the deepest of Sunnah of our Master Muhammad, the Messenger of God, the Divine Informer.

May Allah open our heart to realize this truth, may Allah prepare us and increase our capacity to internalize his true Sunnah, his true ways, may Allah make us worthy to know and love him as due to him.


7.
Bless him, with blessings worthy of You O King of kings!
 
O Allah! Send Your Blessings, and send peace, in all the affairs of the Revealed and the Hidden, upon the one, our Master Muhammad. Bless him, a blessing which befits him, from You to him. And grant him peace in accordance with this blessing as he is worthy of its Abundance and Favor, and also his holy family who are the suns of the heavens, and his companions and his followers and those who come after.

O Allah! He is Your Secret, which unites all secrets, and Your light which encompasses all lights, and Your Guide who leads, through You to You, and the Leader of Your Worlds traveling to You; and Your Greatest Veil, who stands before You, for You, so that no one arrives to You except through his noble presence.

O Allah! Join us to his spiritual line of descent and make his praised noble descent true through us, and let us know him, a knowledge with what we can see his noble face, and through which we can become his manifestation, in the way that he loves, and in the ways that satisfies him. And through which we are freed from the source of ignorance, through his deep knowledge. We drink freely from it, from fountain of Bounty, through his knowing. To his presence, which is connected to Your Holy Presence, and which shines with the Revelation of his human virtues.

And O Allah! Make his spirit the Secret of our Reality by tasting and through state. And let his Reality unify all worlds in the abodes of knowledge, in this world and the next.

O You who believe! Send your prayers upon him, and greet him with your deep peace. O Allah! Send Your prayers upon him from us, the Most befitting Prayers, and greet him with the most complete sending of peace, for surely we cannot estimate his great value and we do not know what befits him of respect and glorification.

The Glance of Grace of Allah, Exalted is He, and His Peace, and His Greetings  and His Mercy and His Blessings upon our Master Muhammad, Your servant, Your Prophet and Your Messenger, the unlettered Prophet, and upon his family and his companions, of even and uneven numbers, and of the numbered complete and blessed words of our Lord.

- Selection from Wazifa ash-Shadhiliyya, reaching through the blessings of Shaykh Muhammad al-Jamal, inheritor of the Prophet both in form and spirit, the Present Guide of Shadhili Sufi Order



# Further:
* Know the Prophet Muhammad, A talk given by Shaykh Nooruddeen Durkeed during Mawlid 1430
* What is the Authentic Date of Birth and Death of Prophet Muhammad?

# Past Post on Milad an-Nabi
* Blessed month of Prophet's birth | Rabi-al Awwal (03/2008)
* Milad-e-Nabi | Milad-un Nabi | Maulid | Mawlid (03/2008)
* Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources | The best book to read and as gift in this Mawlid Season (03/2007)
* Ghazel for the Prophet’s Birthday | Kabir Helminski 
* Remembering the Prophet (04/2007)
* Mawlid Celebration in Egypt | in Photo (04/2007)
* Prophet's birthday celebration across the world (03/2008)
* Mawlid : Speed linking across the blogsphere (03/2007)
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