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),

Friday, November 27, 2009

Shah Wali Allah & Devotion to the Prophet(saws) Part 1 of 2 , Dr.Marcia Hermansen

Shah Wali Allah (r.a) and Devotion to the Prophet Muhammad (saws) -A Video Lecture by Dr. Marcia Hermansen is Director of the Islamic World Studies Program and Professor in the Theology Department at Loyola University Chicago where she teaches courses in Islamic Studies and the academic study of religion. She received her Ph. D. from the University of Chicago in Arabic and Islamic Studies , delivered at International Mawlid un Nabi Conference held at University of Illinois at Chicago on September 17, 1994, sponsored by Naqshbandiya Foundation for Islamic Education (


Shah Wali Allah and Devotion to the Prophet (saws)
Part 1
Marcia Hermansen, Ph.D

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.”
Source: Remembrance. Proceedings of the First Annual International Milad an-Nabi Conference,Chicago,1994. Edited by Professor Alan Abdal Haqq Godlas.Published by Naqshbandiya foundation for Islamic Education (NFIE)


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