Naqshbandiya Foundation for Islamic Education

The Naqshbandiya Foundation for Islamic Education (NFIE) is a non-profit, tax exempt, religious and educational organization dedicated to serve Islam with a special focus on Tasawwuf(Sufism),

Monday, November 21, 2016

Shah Wali Allah and Devotion to the Prophet (saws)- (His Views on Mawlid)- Dr.Marcia Hermansen

       Shah Wali Allah and Devotion to the Prophet (saws) Part 2 -Dr.Marcia Hermansen                                                                                                                   
  In the second volume of the author’s most famous work ,Hujjat Allah al-baligha ( The Conclusive Proof from God ), under the topic of Spiritual Practices ( ihsan ), specifically the form of remembrance ( dhikr ) of sending blessings on the Prophet ( saws ), he discusses several well known hadith on this theme:
          The Prophet (saws) said.” Whoever sends one salutation to me, I salute him in return ten times” and “The closest person to me on the Day of Resurrection will be the one who has sent the most salutations to me.” I say “The inner meaning of these hadith is that human souls must turn to the divine states. There is nothing more effective in this {endeavor} than turning towards the  lights of God’s process of drawing nearer to us ( tadalliyat ), turning towards the emblems of God on His earth, opening  ourselves to receive them and reflecting deeply on them and especially on the spirit of those who have drawn near to Allah. They are the best among the Higher Angels and are intermediaries of God’s generosity to the people of the world, in the sense already mentioned. Remembering  the Prophet (saws) with reverence and seeking Allah’s good things for him are a sound means of turning to God, due to their element of preventing deviation-in so far as a person is only remembering the Prophet (saws) in order to seek mercy for him from God Exalted.
The spirits of perfected ones, once they have separated from their physical bodies, become like a restrained wave. They are unshaken by a changing will or a chance motive, while the souls who are below them can become attached to them through concentrated zeal (himma) so that they become clothed in light from them and in form appropriate to the spiritual.
This is what is expressed in his saying (saws) “There is no person who sends salams to me but that God returns my spirit to me so that I can return salams to him.” I have witnessed such things on innumerable occasions during my voyage to Medina in the year 1144/1732.”
In Fuyud al- haramayn some of these occasions are recorded. Fuyud al- haramayn means “The Emanations of the Two Holy Cities,” and the majority of emanations refer to the person of the Prophet (saws) in the role of a spiritual guide who answers questions about Islamic doctrine and spiritual practice posed by the Sufi during waking visions and dreams. These demonstrate the sense of the Prophet (saws) as a living presence who continues to inspire and guide his followers directly. In some visions the Prophet (saws) mentions the high rank of the Ulama (scholars) and the muhaddithun (scholars of hadith), and in a number of others he refers specifically of familiar conflicts which are causing tensions in the Muslim umma (community) at the time of Shah Wali Allah (r.a). Some of these issues were, for example which of legal schools should be preferred, the ranking of early caliphs, and the wahdat al-wujud (unity of existence) versus wahdat al-shuhud (unity of awareness). In his answers one sees the tendency to moderate and resolve such disputes, a tendency which Shah Wali Allah (r.a) adopted in his major works, legal opinions, and fatwas (formal declarations about sharia).
Al-Durr al-thamin
The treatise al-Durr al-thamin fi mubashsharat al-Nabi al-amin is an unusual work since it contains forty reports which were received directly from the Prophet (saws) during the visionary experiences of either Shah Wali Allah (r.a), his father or his spiritual teachers. The first section records the compiler’s own visionary experiences and repeats some of the visions found in the work Fuyud al-haramayn. Two of the reports of his father’s visionary experiences are especially relevant to the theme of this conference:
#16- The durud (prayer of benediction) he received from his father. “My father commanded me to say the following salutation on the Prophet (saws), Allahumma salli ala muhammadin al nabi al-ummi wa alihi wa barik wa sallim.’ And I received this in a dream and saw that the Prophet (saws) approved of this salutation.”
#22- On the celebration of the mawlid, “My master, my father, informed me, saying, “On the mawlid days I used to have food prepared in honor of the Prophet (saws). One year I did not have anything to make the food with except fried chick peas, so I distributed these to the people. Then I saw him with those chick peas in front of him, and he was smiling delightedly.”
Atyab al-nagham
                  The work Alyah al-nagham fi madh Sayyid al-‘arab wa-al-‘ajam is comprised of four Arabic poems and their explanations in Persian, composed by the author at the request of his disciple, Muhammad Amin Kashmiri. He begins the work by stating, “This poor person. Wali Allah, may God forgive him, says that praising the Master of the Prophets (saws) and recording his outstanding traits (manaqib) are important ways of honoring his presence and remembering his Prophetic mission. Therefore I agreed to compose a qasida on this topic.” What follows is a description of each of these four poems.
                  1) The first qasida is the one which he calls Ayab al-nagham fi madh Sayyid al-‘arab wa-al-‘ajam (The Best of Melodious Recitations in Praise of the Master of the Arabs and non-Arabs). He states that it resembles the Arabic qasida of Sawad ibn Qarib, one of the Companions. The themes elucidated in the poem progress through twelve sections and feature difficult Arabic terms which are explained in the Persian commentary. The commentary is said to have been completed on 24 Rabi’ al-thani 1156 (17 June 1743).
                  2) The second of the Arabic poems is the “Humziya,” a form of verse in which every couplet ends in the letter “hamza” (the glottal stop of the Arabic alphabet). It is in the form of na’t (a poem in praise of the Prophet (saws). According to Baljon the poem was written in 1157/1745 and the commentary in 117/1762.
                  3) The third is called “ta;iya,” a verse form in which every couplet ends in the letter “ta’.” Its orientation is mystical. In the commentary, Shah Wali Allah (r.a) mentions the subtle spiritual evolution of the world (adwar).
                  4) The fourth is “lamiya,” a verse form in which every couplet ends in the letter “lam.
                  The poem, “Atyab al-nagham,” is divided by the author into twelve sections. For each couplet he has provided a Persian commentary which explains the difficult words and the internal references to Koran or hadith.
                  The first section is the commencement of the poem, in which he mentions some difficult circumstances of the times, for which help must be sought for the spirit of the Prophet (saws).
                  The second section explains the most outstanding trait (manqaba) of the Prophet (saws), which is intercession for the community on the Day of Judgment- as described in the sahih(sound) hadith collections.
                  The third section puts forth some of the evidence (dala’il) of Muhammad’s prophecy foretold by previous prophets such as Ibrahim, Ismail, and Isa (upon them be peace).
                  The fourth section clarifies another dimension of the evidence of prophecy, evidence gained by contemplating the qualities (shama’il) and virtues of the Prophet (saws), such as the following: moderation of the character, eloquence, bringing benefit to humanity, temperance, nobility, great zeal, courage, a forgiving nature, patience, asceticism, and so on.
                  Section five points out another type of evidence of prophecy which includes the situation of the Arabs and non-Arabs and their religions before the mission of the Prophet (saws). It reflects on the state of the “Illiteracy” of the Prophet (saws) and the fact that he did not frequent the company of scholars. The manner in which the Prophet improved the situation of his people also constitutes a proof of his authenticity.
                  Section six explains yet another type of evidence that becomes apparent when reflecting on the divine law, which constitutes guidance for establishing worship, refining the soul, managing the household, and governing the state.
                  Section seven concerns the evidence of the Prophet’s miracles.   
Section eight features a prayer for the family and companions of the Prophet (saws).
Section nine recalls and prays for the generations of Muslims who have firmly preserved the     religion century after century.
Section ten discusses the love of the Prophet (saws) and the Uwaysi connection.
Section eleven completes the qasida with the supplication (ibtihal) for the Prophet (saws).
In all, the poem and commentary are about twenty three pages.
In his work al-Tafhimat al-ilahiya, Shah Wali Allah  (r.a) also discussed the practice of sending salutations to the Prophet (saws):
“Praise be to God, Lord of the Worlds, and may salutations and blessings be upon our Master, Muhammad (saws), and upon his family. If someone were to hold that there is no benefit in sending salutations to the Prophet (saws), because the meaning of salutations is seeking mercy, ennobling, and confirming, and because the Prophet (saws) has already reached a limit which cannot be surpassed, then this would be oppose the [hadith] text which says “Whoever sends salutations to me once, I will salute them ten times.” Thus this benefit returns to the one who sends salutations.

--> From this brief introduction we learn that Sha Wali Allah (saws) who is recognized as one of the great Muslim scholars, both advocated and practiced sending salutations to the Prophet, commemorating his noble birth (Mawlid), and experiencing him as a living presence and spiritual guide. Watch Video at Youtube

Shah Wali Allah and Devotion to the Prophet (saws) -Part 1-( His Views on Mawlid) -Dr. Marcia Hermansen

Shah Wali Allah and Devotion to the Prophet (saws) -Part 1-Dr. Marcia Hermansen ( His Views on Mawlid)                                                                                                                            
Devotion to Prophet (saws) played a prominent role in the thought & practice of Shah Wali Allah of Delhi (r.a), a great Muslim Scholar & Thinker who died in 1176/1762.Shah Wali Allah (r.a) was also a Naqshbandi Sufi with links to the Naqshbandiya-Mujaddidiya, as well as to many other Sufi orders. He is respected throughout the Muslim world and his works are still studied in Egypt, Iran and Malaysia. In the sub-continent, all groups honor his contributions, including followers of the Deobandi school, the Ahl-e-Hadith, and even Abu al- Ala Mawdudi , who has written of his contributions.
Works of Shah Wli Allah (r.a) which concern the Prophet (saws)
  A number of Shah Wali Allah ‘s lesser known works deal with the theme of devotion to the Prophet (saws).Examples of such works are Fuyud al-harmayn (The Emanations of the Two Holy Cities), Atyab al-nagham ( The Best of Melodious Recitations ) and al-Durr al-thamin ( The Precious Pearl). This devotion is also demonstrated by the fact that early in his career he translated an abbreviated biography of the Prophet (saws), Nur al- uyun fi talkhis siyar al-Amin al- mamun by Shaykh Abu al-Fath Muhammad ibn Muhammad from Arabic into Persian, giving it the title Surur al- makhzun (The Hidden Happiness).
  Some of these works refer specifically to practices of devotion in honor of the Prophet (saws) including the celebration of the mawlid by Shah Wali Allah and his father, the Naqshbandi spiritual guide, Shah Abd al-Rahim (d.1131/1719). Other reflect the process of communication which went on between the Sufi and the spirit of the Prophet (saws) in dreams and waking visions.
Fuyud al- Harmayn 
  Fuyud al-Harmayn was composed early in the career of Shah Wali Allah (r.a) and reflects the Indian Nqashbandiya-Mujaddidiya Sufi tradition of compiling treatises containing the spiritual visions and dreams with which they were inspired during the performance of the pilgrimage to the Holy Cities of Mecca and Medina.
  In this work Shah Wali Allah recounts these visions and the answers to spiritual questions which were provided to him during them. Many of the visions feature the spirit of the Prophet (saws) whom he experiences as his spiritual guide.
  In one section he specifically mentions attending a ceremony ( Mawlid ) in honor of the Prophet’s birthday (saws) while he was in Mecca for the Hajj season. 1144/1732.
            “The light of Mercy ( rahmat ) is the strongest and is very apparent. Before this I had attended a blessed Mawlid in Mecca in honor of the birthday of His Honored Presence, may peace and blessings of God be upon him.People were reciting salutations and memorializing the remarkable signs which surrounded his noble birth and the visions which preceded his mission. Then I saw lights which flashed once and I cannot say whether I perceived this with my physical sense of sight or with my spiritual insight, and God knows better which of them was. I reflected upon these lights and I found that they came from angels who are in charge of such apparitions and gatherings, and I saw that the lights of the angels are mixed with the lights of Mercy.”
   A further report that concerns Shah Wali Allah (r.a) and the commemoration of the Mawlid is “As was my old custom on the 12th of Rabi al-awwal, I read the Koran and had food distributed.” He then reports on the blessings of such actions, which issue from the angels and the spirit of the Prophet (saws).
  In the second volume of the author’s most famous work ,Hujjat Allah al-baligha ( The Conclusive Proof from God ), under the topic of Spiritual Practices ( ihsan ), specifically the form of remembrance ( dhikr ) of sending blessings on the Prophet ( saws ), he discusses several well known hadith on this theme:
          The Prophet (saws) said.” Whoever sends one salutation to me, I salute him in return ten times” and “The closest person to me on the Day of Resurrection will be the one who has sent the most salutations to me.”   
*Lecture at International Mawlid un Nabi (saws) Conference, Chicago,Illinois. Sponsored by Naqshbandiya Foundation For Islamic Education (* Video at Youtube-

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Q & A: The Mawlid-un-Nabi (saws): 

    Shaykh Fakhruddin Owaisi al-Madani
Q1: What is the ruling (hukm) regarding celebrating the Mawlid-un-Nabi?
A1: Any action we do may be judged by the Shari ah as being of one of the following five categories: Fard (Obligatory),Mustahabb (Recommended), Mubah/Ja iz (Simply Permissible), Makruh (Discouraged),Haram (Forbidden).Past and present Ulama from the four Madhabs (Hanafi, Shafi, Maliki and Hanbali) have considered the commemoration of the Prophet (salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) birth as being Mubah, i.e. permissible, as there is no evidence in the Shari ah that prohibits such an event. In fact, there is some evidence that actually supports the commemoration of the noble birth. For example:- Allah says in the Qur’an:
“Say in the Bounty of Allah and His Mercy Let them rejoice.” (Surah Yunus, verse 58).
There is no greater bounty given to creation than the Holy Prophet (salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam).- The Qur an narrates to us the stories of the births of Prophets Isa, Musa and Yahya (‘alayhis-salam) in an honorable manner. As the greatest of the Prophets, the birth of Nabi Muhammad (salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) is even more deserving of such attention.
- Imam al-Bukhari narrates that when the Prophet (salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was born, his uncle, the unbeliever Abu-Lahab freed the slave-girl Thuwaybah that brought him the
 good news, by gesturing to her with his finger. When Abu-Lahab passed away, his brother Sayyidna al-Abbas (radiya Allahu ‘anhu) saw him in dream and asked him about his condition. He replied: I am in severe punishment, but my punishment is lessened every Monday as I am allowed to suck some water from that finger of mine with which I freed Thuwaybah.- It is also narrated by Imam Muslim that the Prophet (salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) used to fast on Mondays. When asked why, he (salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) replied:That is the day I was born.
That is why many scholars have been very supportive of the Mawlid. For example, the great 9th Century Shafi i scholar Imam Jalaluddin al-Suyuti writes in his Al-Hawi lil Fatawi:To commemorate the Mawlid, which is basically gathering people together, reciting parts of the Qu’ran, narrating stories about the Prophet’s birth and the signs that accompanied it, then
 serving food and afterwards, departing, is one of the good innovations; and the one who practices it gets rewarded, because it involves venerating the status of the Prophet and expressing joy at his honorable birth. However, while commemorating the Mawlid cannot be considered Haram, it also must not be considered Fard. It must be understood that it is simply a beneficial practice that is nevertheless not obligatory. Note, too, that while commemorating the Mawlid itself is only Mubah, many of the actions done in it are Mustahabb (Recommended) such as recitation of Salawat, coming together of Muslims, discussing the life of the Prophet (salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), feeding the hungry etc.
People will undoubtedly be rewarded for these actions. Wa Llahu A’lam.
Q2: Is commemorating the Mawlid un-Nabi a bid ah (an innovation)?
A2: Bid’ah refers to beliefs and practices that appeared after the era of the Holy Prophet (salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). Broadly speaking, bid’ahs are acceptable or unacceptable depending upon whether or not they fall under the general principles and spirit of the Qur’an and Sunnah.Given this they will be classified according to the five Shari’ah rulings mentioned above. Therefore, some bi’dahs may be obligatory such as writing books on the din and the gathering of the Qur’an and hadith into book form. Some may be recommended such as the translation of the Qur’an, the congregational Tarawih prayer and the second adhan for Jumu’ah. Some Bid’ahs may simply permitted such as performing Eid Salah in Mosques, qira’ah programs, Quranic competitions and the commemoration of Mawlid as noted earlier. Depending upon the intention and results, such permitted bid’ahs may even become recommended.Discouraged innovations would be to have the Holy Qur’an on a cellphone, as some Ulama have said. Forbidden bid’ahs are any innovated beliefs and practices that are in clear violation of agreed upon principles and rulings of the Shari’ah. The hadith that states that every bid’ah is a misguidance refers to this last category of bid’ah only as explained by hadith authority Imam al-Nawawi in his commentary on Sahih Muslim (Volume 6, p154):“What is meant by it is new matters that are not validated by the Shariah. That – and that alone – is what are meant by innovations.”
Q3: What is the ruling on standing up to recite Salawat (Salutations) and Salam (Greetings of Peace) upon the Prophet (salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam)?
A3: It is permissible if done with the intention of respecting the Prophet (salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), and without the belief that it is obligatory. The Qur’an has ordered us to present the Salam to the Prophet (salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) in a respectful manner as implied in the verse Wa Sallimu Taslima i.e. “And send worthy greetings of Peace upon him.” (Qur’an 33:56).Furthermore, it is permissible in Islam to stand up to greet any honorable or beloved person. The Prophet (salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) used to stand up to greet many people, including his beloved daughter Sayyidah Fatimah Zahra (radiya Allahu ‘anha).Imam al-Bukhari narrates that once the Prophet (salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was sitting in the Mosque and saw a funeral passing by. So he immediately stood up in respect of it. He was then told that it was actually the funeral of a Jew. So he (salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) replied; It is still a soul.The Ulama have also deemed it permissible to stand up for a national anthem.It has for centuries been the custom in many Muslim lands to stand up when reciting the Salawat and Salam on the Prophet (salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), especially upon hearing the news of his Birth, so as to display love, gratefulness and respect. This practice has been commended by Ulama from all four Madhhabs.
The Mufti of the Shafi’i madhhab of Medina al-Imam al-Sayyid Ja’far al-Barzanji wrote in his Mawlid that:“Scholars of great character and knowledge have commended the practice of standing up at the mention of the Prophet’s (salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) birth. So glad-tiding to the one whose goal and purpose is to honor the Prophet (salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam).”This was written by him in Medina four centuries ago, and he referred to scholars before his time.The Salawat can be recited in all positions: sitting as in the Jalsah (sitting position) in Salah, or standing as in the Salat-ul-Janazah or even while lying down.Furthermore, it is general command of the Shariah to display all sorts of love, honor and veneration to the Prophet (salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) [Qur an 7:157; 33:6 amongst others], as long as it does not involve any prohibited action. Wa Llahu A’lam.
Q4: Is it possible for the Prophet (salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) to be present at a Mawlid gathering?
A4: The blessed body of the Prophet (salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) is buried in Medina. But his Soul, like the souls of all Prophets and pious believers, is free to roam in the Kingdom of Allah to attend blessed gatherings. Evidence for this is what occurred on the Night of the Mi’raj when all the Prophets gathered in al-Quds to meet and pray behind our Prophet (salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). Many of them met him again in the Heavens.Ibn al-Qayyim mentions in his Kitab al-Ruh that the famous Companion Sayyidna Salman al-Farisi (radiya Allahu ‘anhu) said:“The souls of the believers are in a partition from the (visible) earth, they go anywhere they want to.”He also quotes the great Imam Malik as saying:
“I was informed that the soul is free; it goes anywhere it wants to.”The above has also been confirmed by great Classical scholars such as Imam al-Suyuti and Imam Ibn-Hajar al-Haytami in their Fatawa.However, a person who experiences the spiritual presence of the Prophet (salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) at any gathering should normally keep such things to him or herself. In general, this is a matter of the unseen and it is best to not to delve into the issue unnecessarily.
Q5: What are the Riwayats popularly recited in Cape Town?
A5: The Riwayats are basically narrations on the happenings of the noble Birth of the Prophet (salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), compiled in a book from by the 16th century Mufti of the Shafi’i madhhab in Medina al-Imam al-Sayyid Ja’far al-Barzanji. Whatever is mentioned in them is authentically sourced from the books of Hadith and Sirah (biographies of the Prophet). It is a blessing to recite them as it is a blessing to recite any hadith of the Prophet (salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). Muslim throughout the world recite these Riwayat during the blessed month of Mawlud.They are usually referred to in other parts of the world as Mawlid al-Barzanji.

Shaykh Fakhruddin Owaisi al-Madani is a Lecturer in Hadith at IPSA. Shaykh Fakhruddin completed a Master s dissertation on the issue of Mawlid and Bid’ah at the University of Cape Town.

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