The Glories of Muhammad & His Followership (blessings and peace be upon him) [Part 2]

The Glories of Muhammad & His Followership (blessings and peace be upon him) [Part 2]

al-Nabi al-Ummi’—The Transcendent Glory of Muhammad ﷺ
The Human Mode of Muhammad’s Morality

The Glories of Muhammad & His Followership

[At the end of Part-1 of this dissertation, it was mentioned that Part-2 will be a detailed study of the sublime, magnificent and noble moral character of the Beloved Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) and his high virtues. Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri has blessed us with a huge reservoir of the teachings enshrined in the Qur’an and Sunna about the exalted morality of Allah’s Beloved Messenger (blessings and peace be upon him). These teachings are contained in the video recordings of his speeches, talks and printed books on the subject. The contents of this dissertation comprise his addresses on al-Nabi al-Ummi, the Prophet’s divine morality. His books on the subject of Husn-e-Akhlaq have also been employed to develop the argument. The treatise has been translated and developed by Shaykh Abdul Aziz Dabbagh, (Sqn. Ldr. Retd.), NNA Research, MQI.]

Translated by Shaykh Abdul Aziz Dabbagh (Sqn. Ldr. Retd.),
NNA Research, MQI




1. God’s Favour to Humanity

The Qur’an has revealed in Sura al-Baqara that the Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) supplicated Almighty Allah:

﴿رَبَّنَا وَٱبۡعَثۡ فِيهِمۡ رَسُولًا مِّنۡهُمۡ يَتۡلُواْ عَلَيۡهِمۡ ءَايَٰتِكَ وَيُعَلِّمُهُمُ ٱلۡكِتَٰبَ وَٱلۡحِكۡمَةَ وَيُزَكِّيهِمۡۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ ٱلۡعَزِيزُ ٱلۡحَكِيمُ﴾

O our Lord! Raise up from amongst them the (Last and the Exalted) Messenger (Muhammad [blessings and peace be upon him]), who shall recite to them Your Revelations, and teach them the Book and wisdom (logic and good judgment, making them gnostic of the divine secret), and purify and sanctify (their hearts and ill-commanding selves). Certainly, You alone are All-Mighty, All-Wise.’ [Q.2:129]

The Almighty God conceded this honour to humankind and revealed:

﴿كَمَآ أَرۡسَلۡنَا فِيكُمۡ رَسُولًا مِّنكُمۡ يَتۡلُواْ عَلَيۡكُمۡ ءَايَٰتِنَا وَيُزَكِّيكُمۡ وَيُعَلِّمُكُمُ ٱلۡكِتَٰبَ وَٱلۡحِكۡمَةَ وَيُعَلِّمُكُم مَّا لَمۡ تَكُونُواْ تَعۡلَمُونَ﴾

Likewise, We have sent you (Our) Messenger (blessings and peace be upon him) from amongst yourselves who recites to you Our Revelations and purifies and sanctifies (your hearts and ill-commanding selves) and teaches you the Book and inculcates in you logic and wisdom and enlightens you (on the mysteries of spiritual gnosis and divine truth) which you did not know. [Q. 2:151]

The Lord of universe calls it a great favour conferred on the people of the earth that he raised His exalted Messenger Muhammad (blessings and peace be upon him) to impart to humanity education on the Book and wisdom.

﴿لَقَدۡ مَنَّ ٱللَّهُ عَلَى ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ إِذۡ بَعَثَ فِيهِمۡ رَسُولًا مِّنۡ أَنفُسِهِمۡ يَتۡلُواْ عَلَيۡهِمۡ ءَايَٰتِهِۦ وَيُزَكِّيهِمۡ وَيُعَلِّمُهُمُ ٱلۡكِتَٰبَ وَٱلۡحِكۡمَةَ وَإِن كَانُواْ مِن قَبۡلُ لَفِي ضَلَٰلٍ مُّبِينٍ﴾

Indeed, Allah conferred a great favour on the believers that He raised amongst them (the most eminent) Messenger (blessings and peace be upon him) from amongst themselves, who recites to them His Revelations, purifies them, and educates them on the Book and Wisdom though, before that, they were in manifest error. (3:164)

In chapter 62 of the Qur’an, Almighty Allah has revealed that he sent his beloved Messenger to teach the Book and Wisdom to the unlettered and illiterate people.

﴿هُوَ ٱلَّذِي بَعَثَ فِي ٱلۡأُمِّيِّ‍ۧنَ رَسُولًا مِّنۡهُمۡ يَتۡلُواْ عَلَيۡهِمۡ ءَايَٰتِهِۦ وَيُزَكِّيهِمۡ وَيُعَلِّمُهُمُ ٱلۡكِتَٰبَ وَٱلۡحِكۡمَةَ وَإِن كَانُواْ مِن قَبۡلُ لَفِي ضَلَٰلٍ مُّبِينٍ﴾

He is the One Who sent a (Glorious) Messenger (blessings and peace be upon him) amongst the illiterate people from amongst themselves who recites to them His Revelations and cleanses and purifies them (outwardly and inwardly) and teaches them the Book and wisdom. Indeed, they were in open error before (his most welcome arrival). [Q. 62:2]

Yet he calls his beloved Messenger with a unique title al-Nabi al-Ummi, which the people mistakenly translate as ‘the unlettered Prophet’. Here we shall study its exact denotation connotations. He gives glad tidings to those who believe in his Messengership and follow him that they will, for sure, flourish and prosper:

﴿ٱلَّذِينَ يَتَّبِعُونَ ٱلرَّسُولَ ٱلنَّبِيَّ ٱلۡأُمِّيَّ ٱلَّذِي يَجِدُونَهُۥ مَكۡتُوبًا عِندَهُمۡ فِي ٱلتَّوۡرَىٰةِ وَٱلۡإِنجِيلِ يَأۡمُرُهُم بِٱلۡمَعۡرُوفِ وَيَنۡهَىٰهُمۡ عَنِ ٱلۡمُنكَرِ وَيُحِلُّ لَهُمُ ٱلطَّيِّبَٰتِ وَيُحَرِّمُ عَلَيۡهِمُ ٱلۡخَبَٰٓئِثَ وَيَضَعُ عَنۡهُمۡ إِصۡرَهُمۡ وَٱلۡأَغۡلَٰلَ ٱلَّتِي كَانَتۡ عَلَيۡهِمۡۚ فَٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ بِهِۦ وَعَزَّرُوهُ وَنَصَرُوهُ وَٱتَّبَعُواْ ٱلنُّورَ ٱلَّذِيٓ أُنزِلَ مَعَهُۥٓ أُوْلَٰٓئِكَ هُمُ ٱلۡمُفۡلِحُونَ﴾

(They are the people) who follow the Messenger, the Prophet (titled as) al-Ummi (who imparts to the people from Allah the news of the unseen and knowledge and secrets of socio-economic disciplines of life without himself being taught by any human in the world); whose (eminent attributes and exquisite powers) these people find written in the Torah and the Injil (Gospel); who enjoins on them virtues and forbids them vices, declares wholesome things lawful and impure ones unlawful for them and removes from them their heavy burdens and yokes (i.e., shackles) weighing upon them (due to their acts of disobedience and blesses them with freedom). So those who will believe in this (most exalted Messenger [blessings and peace be upon him]) and venerate and revere him and serve and support him (in his Din [Religion]) and follow this light (the Qur’an) that has been sent down with him, it is they who will flourish and prosper.’ [Q. 7:157]

In the next holy verse, Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) asks His beloved Messenger to urge the people to believe in him and the Lord of the universe:

﴿قُلۡ يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلنَّاسُ إِنِّي رَسُولُ ٱللَّهِ إِلَيۡكُمۡ جَمِيعًا ٱلَّذِي لَهُۥ مُلۡكُ ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِۖ لَآ إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ يُحۡيِۦ وَيُمِيتُۖ فَ‍َٔامِنُواْ بِٱللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ ٱلنَّبِيِّ ٱلۡأُمِّيِّ ٱلَّذِي يُؤۡمِنُ بِٱللَّهِ وَكَلِمَٰتِهِۦ وَٱتَّبِعُوهُ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تَهۡتَدُونَ﴾

Say: ‘O mankind! I have (come) to all of you (as) the Messenger of Almighty Allah to Whom belongs the kingdom of the heavens and the earth. There is no God except He. He is the One Who grants life and causes death.’ So believe in Allah and His Messenger, who is a Prophet crowned with the glory of being al-Ummi (i.e., he has not learnt anything from anyone except Allah, but knows far more than the entire creation, and is innocent and pure like a newborn baby, despite his upbringing in an infidel and polytheistic society), who believes in Allah and (all) His (revealed) Books and follow him alone so that you may take guidance. [Q. 7:158]

Before the commissioning of his Prophethood, the angel Gabriel came to the seclusion of Hira cave for the first revelation. The details of this episode are reported in al-Sahihayn from ‘Urwa b. al-Zubayr that ‘Aa’isha (may Allah be well pleased with her), the mother of the believers narrated:

“The Revelation that came to the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) commenced with good dreams. He never saw a dream but it came true like bright daylight. Then seclusion was made dear to him, and he would go to the cave of Hira and worship there. He devoted himself to worship for a number of nights before coming back to his family to collect more provisions. He would then go back again yet to return to Khadija (may Allah be well pleased with her) to collect more provisions for the next time. This went on until the truth came to him suddenly when he was in the cave of Hira’. The angel Gabriel came and said, ‘Read!’ The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) said, ‘I am not a reader. Then the angel took hold of me and squeezed me until I could not bear it anymore; then he released me and said, ‘Read!’ I said, ‘I am not a reader.’ He took hold of me and squeezed me a second time until I could not bear it anymore; then he released me and said, ‘Read!’ I said, ‘I am not a reader.’ He took hold of me and squeezed me a third time until I could not bear it anymore, then he released me and said, ‘Read! (commencing) with the Name of Allah, Who has created (everything). He created man from a hanging mass (clinging) like a leech (to the mother’s womb). Read, and your Lord is Most Generous, Who taught man (reading and writing) by the pen, Who (besides that) taught man (all that) which he did not know.” [Q. 96:1–5].

[Set forth by al-Bukhari in al-Sahih, vol. 1, p. 4 §3. Muslim in al-Sahih, vol. 1, p. 40 §160.]

When Gabriel had read out these verses, Allah’s Messenger (blessings and peace be upon him) recited them exactly as these were uttered to him and did not add anything from his own. This proved that his speech was absolutely the revealed speech, pure of even a bit of self-expression. Saying that he was not a reader brought forth his unique attribute of being an Ummi which the Qur’an has described in a heart-moving and an inclusive style:

﴿ٱلَّذِينَ يَتَّبِعُونَ ٱلرَّسُولَ ٱلنَّبِيَّ ٱلۡأُمِّيَّ ٱلَّذِي يَجِدُونَهُۥ مَكۡتُوبًا عِندَهُمۡ فِي ٱلتَّوۡرَىٰةِ وَٱلۡإِنجِيلِ يَأۡمُرُهُم بِٱلۡمَعۡرُوفِ وَيَنۡهَىٰهُمۡ عَنِ ٱلۡمُنكَرِ وَيُحِلُّ لَهُمُ ٱلطَّيِّبَٰتِ وَيُحَرِّمُ عَلَيۡهِمُ ٱلۡخَبَٰٓئِثَ وَيَضَعُ عَنۡهُمۡ إِصۡرَهُمۡ وَٱلۡأَغۡلَٰلَ ٱلَّتِي كَانَتۡ عَلَيۡهِمۡۚ فَٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ بِهِۦ وَعَزَّرُوهُ وَنَصَرُوهُ وَٱتَّبَعُواْ ٱلنُّورَ ٱلَّذِيٓ أُنزِلَ مَعَهُۥٓ أُوْلَٰٓئِكَ هُمُ ٱلۡمُفۡلِحُونَ﴾

(They are the people) who follow the Messenger, the Prophet (titled as) al-Ummi (who imparts to the people from Allah the news of the unseen and knowledge and secrets of socio-economic disciplines of life without himself being taught by any human in the world); whose (eminent attributes and exquisite powers) these people find written in the Torah and the Injil (Gospel); who enjoins on them virtues and forbids them vices, declares wholesome things lawful and impure ones unlawful for them and removes from them their heavy burdens and yokes (i.e., shackles) weighing upon them (due to their acts of disobedience and blesses them with freedom). So those who will believe in this (most exalted Messenger [blessings and peace be upon him]) and venerate and revere him and serve and support him (in his Din [Religion]) and follow this light (the Qur’an) that has been sent down with him, it is they who will flourish and prosper.’ [Q. 7:157]

Allah Most High asks His beloved Messenger to call the people believe in his Prophethood and al-Ummi status:

﴿فَ‍َٔامِنُواْ بِٱللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ ٱلنَّبِيِّ ٱلۡأُمِّيِّ ٱلَّذِي يُؤۡمِنُ بِٱللَّهِ وَكَلِمَٰتِهِۦ وَٱتَّبِعُوهُ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تَهۡتَدُونَ﴾

So believe in Allah and His Messenger, who is a Prophet crowned with the glory of being al-Ummi (i.e., he has not learnt anything from anyone except Allah, but knows far more than the entire creation, and is innocent and pure like a new-born baby, despite his upbringing in an infidel and polytheistic society) . [Q. 7:158]

This is significant to note that the station of Messengership and Prophethood requires knowledge of both the seen and the unseen while, in the verse under reference, the title Ummi follows the divine designation al-Nabi. This warrants understanding what the word Ummi denotes and connotes.

2. The Meanings of Ummi

The lexicologists agree that ummi signifies a person who neither writes nor reads.

الأمي: الذي لا يكتب ولا يقرأ من كتاب.

al-Ummi is the one who can neither write nor read.

[al-Raghib al-Asfahani, al-Mufradat, p. 87.]

The famous linguist al-Zajjaj holds that ummi is a person who has not read any book throughout his life since birth. Abu Ishaq believes that this is instinctual with him not to read and write. When the Almighty Allah raised him as His Final Messenger, he would neither read nor write, yet he recited the Qur’anic verses with outright rhythmic pauses, which the Arabs would always fail to perform. The Prophet’s Ummi status was, therefore, a miracle. The Lord of all the worlds had blessed him with a divine capability of perfect retention and remembrance of the revelations.

[Ibn Manzur, Lisan al-‘Arab, vol. 12, p. 34. al-Zubaydi, Taj al-‘Urus min Jawahir al-Qamus, vol. 16, p. 29.]

These facts establish the truth that the word ummi does not just mean an unlettered or untutored person; he is rather the one who never needs to acquire knowledge through any worldly source. Neither does he possess any acquired knowledge, nor does he learn from any book or person or source to write and read, nor does he owe any knowledge to any book, manuscript or tutor. However, the infused knowledge can be bestowed upon one through indirect divine means as the Qur’an has revealed:

﴿فَوَجَدَا عَبۡداً مِّنۡ عِبَادِنَآ ءَاتَيۡنَٰهُ رَحۡمَةً مِّنۡ عِندِنَا وَعَلَّمۡنَٰهُ مِن لَّدُنَّا عِلۡمًا﴾

Then both found (there) one of Our (elite) servants (Khidr) upon whom We had bestowed from Our Presence (special) mercy and had taught him infused knowledge (i.e., the inspired knowledge of secrets and gnosis). [Q. 18:65]

The infused knowledge comes from the divine source and cannot be acquired by one’s own diligence from any of the worldly sources. The Almighty Allah honoured His Final Messenger (blessings and peace be upon him) with this station when He had already awarded him with the treasures of knowledge of the heavens and the earth, declaring him Ummi at the same time.

﴿وَكَذَٰلِكَ أَنزَلۡنَآ إِلَيۡكَ ٱلۡكِتَٰبَۚ فَٱلَّذِينَ ءَاتَيۡنَٰهُمُ ٱلۡكِتَٰبَ يُؤۡمِنُونَ بِهِۦۖ  وَمِنۡ هَٰٓؤُلَآءِ مَن يُؤۡمِنُ بِهِۦۚ  وَمَا يَجۡحَدُ بِ‍َٔايَٰتِنَآ إِلَّا ٱلۡكَٰفِرُون﴾

And, (O Beloved,) you never recited any book before this, nor did you write it with your own hand in which case the disbelievers would certainly have doubted. [Q. 29:48]

This holy verse elaborately explains the meaning of Ummi: ‘You never acquired any knowledge from any book in this world, nor did you ever write anything with your hand. Had it been so, the disbelievers must have had doubts about the divine originality of the revealed message of the Oneness of Allah and your Messengership.’ This verse has also rejected the blame the Jews used to level against the Prophet: ‘Muhammad has authored the Qur’an.’ Almighty Allah has established the truth that all the knowledge the Prophet possesses comes directly from the Divine Source and does not include even a speck of the knowledge acquired in this world. It is all revealed to and bestowed upon the Messenger by Almighty Allah directly:

﴿وَمَا يَنطِقُ عَنِ ٱلۡهَوَىٰٓ. إِنۡ هُوَ إِلَّا وَحۡيٌ يُوحَىٰ. عَلَّمَهُۥ شَدِيدُ ٱلۡقُوَىٰ.﴾

And he does not speak out of his (own) desire. His speech is nothing but Revelation, which is sent to him. The Lord of Mighty Powers (directly) conferred on him (perfect) knowledge. [Q. 53:3–5]

The Lord of the universe has made it categorically clear that whatever speech, expression and communication Allah’s exalted Messenger makes is not of his own desire; he speaks what is sent to him to speak. The Lord of knowledge has bestowed on him all-inclusive knowledge without any indirect media. His status, therefore, is beyond human understanding and he possesses transcendent faculties of knowledge and expression.

3. The Transcendent Knowledge and the Morality of the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him)

The title Ummi refers to transcendence of the attribute. According to Imam Raghib, the word Umm implies the origin of something. Mother is called Umm in Arabic. Umm signifies everything that becomes the origin of other things through training, reform or generation.

[al-Raghib alAsfahani, al-Mufradat, p. 85.]

al-Nabi al-Ummi therefore, is the exalted Messenger of Allah who is the origin of the entire universe. He stepped into a human society that had gone astray, plunged into the quagmire of immorality and given to polytheism of various kinds. The Arabs were overwhelmingly adherents to indecency, epicurean ideal, voluptuous practices, violence and bloodshed. The Prophet, however, guarded himself against all these evils and rose to a pious, unblemished and blameless adulthood amongst tribulations and torments of inhumane socio-economic havocs. Even his dead enemies would bear testimony to his sublime morality and transcendent character. Commenting on the holy verse of Chapter 53—sura al-Najm—of the Qur’an:

﴿مَا ضَلَّ صَاحِبُكُمۡ وَمَا غَوَىٰ﴾

He who bestowed on you his companionship (i.e., the Messenger, who made you his companions,) has never lost his way, nor has he (ever) strayed from the right path. [Q. 53:2]

Imam Fakhr-ud-Din al-Razi writes:

Indeed, whoever Allah Most High intends to raise as His Messenger, He protects him from any inclination or proclivity for disbelief, evil morality, corruption, fornication and telling lies from early childhood. Allah has revealed: He who bestowed on you his companionship has never lost his way, nor has he (ever) strayed from the right path.

[al-Razi, al-Tafsir al-Kabir, vol. 28, p. 281.]

4. Umm and Ummi

Allah well-guarded His Messenger from acquiring any knowledge in this world through learning from any person, by writing or reading or any other means. The underlying reason is that Allah had to ascertain the absolute purity of His Messenger, keeping the divinity of his reality and pureness of his contact with his origin intact. He let not even the shadow of impiety and profanity creep up on his holy personage. The divinity of his human self was a transcendent entity, which was a godly alien in the earthly existence. That is the truth the word Ummi elaborately reveals.

4.1 Root, Origin

In Arabic, Umm also denotes “root”. The mother is called Umm because her position resembles that of a root. The root whence the whole of universe including the celestial and terrestrial realms germinated is the light of the venerable personage of Muhammad. Allah created the cosmos and kept expanding it from Muhammad’s light. His light, therefore, is the source and origin of the universe, hence Ummi.

As Umm connotes the source or origin, Allah calls al-Lawh al-Mahfuz in the Qur’an the Real Book, the origin of all the knowledge, mysteries and secrets of the entire universe.

﴿يَمۡحُواْ ٱللَّهُ مَا يَشَآءُ وَيُثۡبِتُ ۖ وَعِندَهُۥٓ أُمُّ ٱلۡكِتَٰبِ﴾

And with Him alone is the Real Book (the Protected Tablet [al-Lawh al-Mahfuz]). [Q. 13:39]

On another occasion, it has been revealed about the holy Scripture:

﴿وَإِنَّهُ فِيٓ أُمِّ ٱلۡكِتَٰبِ لَدَيۡنَا لَعَلِيٌّ حَكِيمٌ﴾

And verily, it is inscribed with Us in (al-Lawh al-Mahfuz [the Preserved Table]), the origin of all the Books. It is certainly exalted (over all the Books), full of wisdom. [Q. 43:4]

4.2 al-Lawh al-Mahfuz

According to Imam Raghib Asfahani, the word Umm has been used for al-Lawh al-Mahfuz because all the disciplines and branches of knowledge are ascribed to the Protected Table which is the fount of the whole of knowledge of the universe. It extends the meaning further. Allah then

﴿بَلۡ هُوَ قُرۡءَانٌ مَّجِيدٌ. فِي لَوۡحٍ مَّحۡفُوظ.﴾

It is indeed the Glorious Qur’an, (inscribed) in the very Well-guarded Tablet (al-Lawh al-Mahfuz). [Q. 85:21–22]

Allah has also revealed:

﴿فَإِنَّهُۥ نَزَّلَهُۥ عَلَىٰ قَلۡبِكَ بِإِذۡنِ ٱللَّهِ﴾

He (Gabriel) is the one who has brought (the Qur’an) down upon your heart only by Allah’s command. [Q. 2:97]

That O esteemed beloved! This Qur’an is inscribed in your heart. Gabriel brought it to you, incised and safeguarded in your heart.

4.3 al-Lawh al-Mahfuz and the Messenger’s Protected Heart

The Qur’an has been enshrined in al-Lawh al-Mahfuz and also slit into the Protected heart of Allah’s Messenger. The Almighty Allah calls al-Lawh al-Mahfuz Umm-al-Kitab, the origin of the Scripture, and so is the effulgent heart of the Messenger of Allah the light house of Allah’s Word; hence Muhammad, ‘al-Nabi al-Ummi’.

4.4 Umm al-Qura and the Nabi al-Ummi

Allah Most Exalted has also called Mecca the Umm al-Qura, which is, according to the scientific research, the pivotal land that first of all appeared as part of the earth in the creative phase of universe after water lowered and dried up and the earth and the oceans formed. So Allah calls Mecca Umm al-Qura, the land that first appeared as earth. In like manner, the first of Allah’s mark of beautiful creation that made its debut was the light of Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, who was the first one to manifest Allah’s creation and the creation of the rest of the universe followed; hence, Muhammad, the Nabi al-Ummi.

4.5 Nabi al-Ummi and all-Inclusiveness

The word Umm connotes all-inclusiveness and collectivism as well; the word Ummah is derived from it, which denotes a community living with common culture, civilization and Din, enjoying unity of time and space. al-Lawh al-Mahfuz is Umm-al-Kitab, the origin of the Scripture, also because of its inclusiveness and holistic knowledge of the entire universe. Allah Almighty has honoured His beloved final Messenger with the attribute of al-Nabi al-Ummi. It is rather far from possible to assess or evaluate what realms of knowledge the Most High Creator endowed His beloved Messenger with and made him the epitome of light and transcendent infused knowledge. The epithet Ummi, however, unfolds that he is the manifestation of Allah’s light, the origin of the infiniteness of knowledge. He is the single entity who the One and the Only God created peerless and singular; he encompassed the whole universe, the Prophets Adam, Noah, Ibrahim, Ismael, Ishaq, Ya‘qub, Yusuf, Dawud, Sulayman, Zakariya, Yahya, Isa, all in one. The Divine Beauty, in sporadic appearance, manifested itself into over a hundred thousand prophets but when synthesized, it made a retrospective exposition in the portrayal of Muhammad called al-Nabi al-Ummi. The foregoing Prophets were the divine disclosures of the Divine Beauty manifested sporadically at the time scale; however, when put together, the Final Messenger of Allah, al-Nabi al-Ummi was raised.

4.6 The Application of Ummi—the Teacher of Humanity

Umm, therefore, is a station of knowledge. With reference to the Book, Ummi signifies al-Lawh al-Mahfuz. In regard to Prophethood, Muhammad is al-Nabi al-Ummi. In like manner, Mecca is Ummi; the Qur’an is Ummi. All the truths whom Allah made origins, roots and the founts owned the exalted grade of Ummi. Ummi, with regard to knowledge, connotes the Qur’an; when signifying tidings, it implies al-Lawh al-Mahfuz; when pointing to some city, it portends Mecca and indicating the dawn of the realm of moral excellence and supreme proprieties, it denotes al-Nabi al-Ummi the Final Messenger Muhammad, the teacher, instructor, trainer and the tutor of entire humanity:

﴿هُوَ ٱلَّذِي بَعَثَ فِي ٱلۡأُمِّيِّ‍ۧنَ رَسُولًا مِّنۡهُمۡ يَتۡلُواْ عَلَيۡهِمۡ ءَايَٰتِهِۦ وَيُزَكِّيهِمۡ وَيُعَلِّمُهُمُ ٱلۡكِتَٰبَ وَٱلۡحِكۡمَةَ وَإِن كَانُواْ مِن قَبۡلُ لَفِي ضَلَٰلٍ مُّبِينٍ﴾

He is the One Who sent a (Glorious) Messenger (blessings and peace be upon him) amongst the illiterate people from amongst themselves who recites to them His Revelations and cleanses and purifies them (outwardly and inwardly) and teaches them the Book and wisdom. Indeed, they were in open error before (his most welcome arrival). [Q. 62:2]

According to this verse, the principal duty of Allah’s Messenger is reciting the Qur’an to the illiterate people, which unfolds the divine erudition of the personage raised for this Prophetic assignment. This makes evident how deeply enlightened and subtly cognizant is the Final Messenger who Allah has imparted the knowledge of the seen and the unseen. He is transcendent of any worldly tutelage and pupillage, for he himself is the light that stemmed from Divine light, made perfectly knowledgeable by the Lord of Universe, possessing cognition hidden from the entire human and non-human creation and infinitely capable of educating the human societies and communities on developing into people capable of conquering the universe and architecting a world permeated with peace, justice, contentment and happiness. Allah taught him the Qur’an and its communication and exalted him to the unique station of al-Nabi al-Ummi.

The title al-Nabi al-Ummi failed the disbelievers’ belying the trueness of Allah’s Messenger, for he did not learn anything nor acquired any knowledge from any worldly means, while Allah had instilled in him His light of knowledge. The disbelievers could not doubt and blame him of seeking from someone or concocting himself the divine message. Allah has revealed:

﴿وَمَا كُنتَ تَتۡلُواْ مِن قَبۡلِهِۦ مِن كِتَٰبٍ وَلَا تَخُطُّهُۥ بِيَمِينِكَۖ إِذًا لَّٱرۡتَابَ ٱلۡمُبۡطِلُونَ﴾

And, (O Beloved,) you never recited any book before this, nor did you write it with your own hand in which case the disbelievers would certainly have doubted. [Q. 29:48]

The Qur’an has categorically declared that venerating, following, serving and supporting the Final Messenger of Allah is the key to prosperity and emancipation. He is Ummi and possesses transcendent morality. He is innocent and pure like a newborn baby, despite his upbringing in an infidel and polytheistic society:

﴿ٱلَّذِينَ يَتَّبِعُونَ ٱلرَّسُولَ ٱلنَّبِيَّ ٱلۡأُمِّيَّ ٱلَّذِي يَجِدُونَهُۥ مَكۡتُوبًا عِندَهُمۡ فِي ٱلتَّوۡرَىٰةِ وَٱلۡإِنجِيلِ يَأۡمُرُهُم بِٱلۡمَعۡرُوفِ وَيَنۡهَىٰهُمۡ عَنِ ٱلۡمُنكَرِ وَيُحِلُّ لَهُمُ ٱلطَّيِّبَٰتِ وَيُحَرِّمُ عَلَيۡهِمُ ٱلۡخَبَٰٓئِثَ وَيَضَعُ عَنۡهُمۡ إِصۡرَهُمۡ وَٱلۡأَغۡلَٰلَ ٱلَّتِي كَانَتۡ عَلَيۡهِمۡۚ فَٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ بِهِۦ وَعَزَّرُوهُ وَنَصَرُوهُ وَٱتَّبَعُواْ ٱلنُّورَ ٱلَّذِيٓ أُنزِلَ مَعَهُۥٓ أُوْلَٰٓئِكَ هُمُ ٱلۡمُفۡلِحُونَ. قُلۡ يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلنَّاسُ إِنِّي رَسُولُ ٱللَّهِ إِلَيۡكُمۡ جَمِيعًا ٱلَّذِي لَهُۥ مُلۡكُ ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِۖ لَآ إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ يُحۡيِۦ وَيُمِيتُۖ فَ‍َٔامِنُواْ بِٱللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ ٱلنَّبِيِّ ٱلۡأُمِّيِّ ٱلَّذِي يُؤۡمِنُ بِٱللَّهِ وَكَلِمَٰتِهِۦ وَٱتَّبِعُوهُ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تَهۡتَدُونَ.﴾

(They are the people) who follow the Messenger, the Prophet (titled as) al-Ummi (who imparts to the people from Allah the news of the unseen and knowledge and secrets of socio-economic disciplines of life without himself being taught by any human in the world); whose (eminent attributes and exquisite powers) these people find written in the Torah and the Injil (Gospel); who enjoins on them virtues and forbids them vices, declares wholesome things lawful and impure ones unlawful for them and removes from them their heavy burdens and yokes (i.e., shackles) weighing upon them (due to their acts of disobedience and blesses them with freedom). So those who will believe in this (most exalted Messenger [blessings and peace be upon him]) and venerate and revere him and serve and support him (in his Din [Religion]) and follow this light (the Qur’an) that has been sent down with him, it is they who will flourish and prosper.’ Say: ‘O mankind! I have (come) to all of you (as) the Messenger of Allah to Whom belongs the kingdom of the heavens and the earth. There is no God except He. He is the One Who grants life and causes death.’ So believe in Allah and His Messenger, who is a Prophet crowned with the glory of being al-Ummi (i.e., he has not learnt anything from anyone except Allah, but knows far more than the entire creation, and is innocent and pure like a newborn baby, despite his upbringing in an infidel and polytheistic society), who believes in Allah and (all) His (revealed) Books and follow him alone so that you may take guidance. [Q. 7:157–158]

4.7 ‘Al-Nabi al-Ummi’, the Qur’an and the Qur’anic Morality

Almighty Allah has revealed in the Qur’an:

﴿وَلَوۡلَا فَضۡلُ ٱللَّهِ عَلَيۡكَ وَرَحۡمَتُهُۥ لَهَمَّت طَّآئِفَةٌ مِّنۡهُمۡ أَن يُضِلُّوكَ وَمَا يُضِلُّونَ إِلَّآ أَنفُسَهُمۡۖ وَمَا يَضُرُّونَكَ مِن شَيۡءٍۚ وَأَنزَلَ ٱللَّهُ عَلَيۡكَ ٱلۡكِتَٰبَ وَٱلۡحِكۡمَةَ وَعَلَّمَكَ مَا لَمۡ تَكُن تَعۡلَمُۚ وَكَانَ فَضۡلُ ٱللَّهِ عَلَيۡكَ عَظِيمًا﴾

And, (O Beloved,) had not Allah’s bounty and mercy been upon you, a party of these (treacherous) people would have resolved to lead you astray, whereas they are only leading themselves astray and can no way do any harm to you. And Allah has revealed to you the Book and Wisdom and has bestowed upon you all that knowledge which you did not possess. Mighty indeed is Allah’s bounty on you. [Q. 4:113]

﴿رَبَّنَآ ءَامَنَّا بِمَآ أَنزَلۡتَ وَٱتَّبَعۡنَا ٱلرَّسُولَ فَٱكۡتُبۡنَا مَعَ ٱلشَّٰهِدِينَ. وَمَكَرُواْ وَمَكَرَ ٱللَّهُ ۖ وَٱللَّهُ خَيۡرُ ٱلۡمَٰكِرِينَ.﴾

The Lord of Knowledge bestowed upon him the knowledge and revealed to him the Book and Wisdom. He protected him from all harms that the treacherous disbelievers could inflict on him. They had the designs to lead him astray. But Allah is the Best of Secret Planners. [Q. 3:54]

Allah’s mighty bounty was opening the chest of His Messenger. He revealed this broadening of his breast in the Qur’an which will be recited until the Day of Resurrection:

﴿أَلَمۡ نَشۡرَحۡ لَكَ صَدۡرَكَ. وَوَضَعۡنَا عَنكَ وِزۡرَكَ. ٱلَّذِيٓ أَنقَضَ ظَهۡرَكَ.﴾

Have We not broadened your breast for you (for the light of knowledge, wisdom and spiritual gnosis)? And We have taken off the load (of grief of the Umma [Community]) from you, (the load) which was growing heavier on your (holy) back. [Q. 94:1–3]

5. The Phenomenology of Prophet’s Contac with God

We have already learnt on the preceding pages from the hadith narrated by ‘Urwa b. al-Zubayr from ‘A’isha, the mother of the believers. Only he who can absorb the divine light into his illumined self can develop a contact with the celestial world. He rises above the human limitations and enters into the realm of light. Allah blesses His Prophets with this distinction. al-Qadi ‘Iyad has described this experience in these words:

فَجُعِلُوا مِنْ جِهَةِ الْأَجْسَامِ وَالظَّوَاهِرِ مَعَ الْبَشَرِ، وَمِنْ جِهَةِ الْأَرْوَاحِ وَالْبَوَاطِنِ مَعَ الْمَلَائِكَةِ.

“Bodily, their externality exists with people but, spiritually, their inner self abides with angels.”

[al-Qadi ‘Iyad, al-Shifa, 2:96.]

These exalted spiritual and effulgent souls seek solitude just for contact with the realm of light. Absorbing light, they rise to the central source of light, the Divinity. Since this phenomenon is transpires gradually, the angels do not descend all of a sudden. Their intellectual, extrinsic and intrinsic faculties are fostered first, manifested in the form of unseen voices or flashes of light. Similarly, dreams too are part of the same evolutionary process. ‘Alqama b. Qays has narrated:

إِنَّ أَوَّلَ مَا يُؤْتَى بِهِ الْأَنْبِيَاءُ فِي الْمَنَامِ حَتَّى تَهْدَأَ قُلُوبُهُمْ، ثُمَّ يَنْزِلُ الْوَحْيُ بَعْدُ فِي الْيَقَظَةِ.

“Whatever is bestowed upon the Prophets (peace be upon them) is first conferred on them in dreams until their hearts are contented and acclimatized. Then the process of revelation starts.”

[Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani, Fath al-Bari, vol. 1, p. 9. al-Suyuti, al-Khasa’is al-Kubra, vol. 1, p. 157. Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya wa al-Nihaya, vol. 3, p. 4.]

The mother of the believers, ‘A’isha (may Allah be well pleased with her) has narrated about the exalted station of Messengership:

“The revelation to the Prophet first started in dreams. Whatever he dreamt would prove true like the daylight.”

[Set forth by al-Bukhari in al-Sahih, vol. 1, p. 4 §3. Muslim in al-Sahih, vol. 1, p. 40 §160.]

6. Dreaming the Heart-Wash

Whatever he dreamt would transpire the same way in daylight when he was awake. These dreams contribute towards verve and proclivity in meeting angels. The Prophet feels delight, calm and tranquility in coming across angels instead of feeling anxiety or disquiet. ‘Urwa b. al-Zubayr has narrated:

“He dreamt that he was in Mecca and someone came to the roof and started disassembling the timber shafts of the ceiling. Having dismantled the whole of it, he slithered a silver ladder down by which two men came down. The Prophet said, ‘I wanted to make a request to somebody (while sleeping), but my voice failed. One of the two sat beside my head while the other took position near my chest side. One of them inserted his hand inside me and took out two of my ribs and then pushed his hand into my belly until I felt its coolness. Then he took out my heart and placing it on his palm said to his companion: How pure is the heart of this pious man! Then he placed my heart back into its position and set the ribs as well in their place. Then he climbed along with the ladder after which I woke up.’”

The dream then transpired in daylight. The angels Jibril and Mika‘il factually came, opened my chest, took the heart out, filled it with secrets and the range of knowledge and then put it in its place.

[Set forth by Abu Nu‘aym in Dala’il al-Nubuwwa, p. 219 §166. al-Suyuti in al-Khasa’is al-Kubra, vol. 1, p. 158.]

7. The Status of Heart in the Philosophy of Action: the Inner Seat of Morality

Heart is that dominant governing force in human personality that imposes its command over the entire organism at the same time. Nor is it unsure that it overrides the powers and faculties of reason and intellect as well. It is the inner self called heart that sets a person’s line of action, leanings and habits. The sense media’s existential entirety gains perfection when heart realizes them. If heart is deficient in exalted attributes, the sense media too fall short of the mark and fail to perform up to expectations. The Qur’an has revealed:

﴿خَتَمَ ٱللَّهُ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِهِمۡ وَعَلَىٰ سَمۡعِهِمۡۖ وَعَلَىٰٓ أَبۡصَٰرِهِمۡ﴾

Allah (as a result of their own choice) has set a seal on their hearts and their ears, and there is a blindfold (set) over their eyes. [Q. 2:7]

When hearts are sealed, senses are extinguished. The Qur’an then describes them:

﴿صُمُّۢ بُكۡمٌ عُمۡيٌ فَهُمۡ لَا يَرۡجِعُونَ﴾

They are deaf, dumb and blind. So they will not return (to the right path). [Q. 2:18]

The Qur’an has further elaborated it on another occasion:

﴿فَإِنَّهَا لَا تَعۡمَى ٱلۡأَبۡصَٰرُ وَلَٰكِن تَعۡمَى ٱلۡقُلُوبُ ٱلَّتِي فِي ٱلصُّدُورِ﴾

So the fact is that it is not the eyes (of such people) that are blind, but the hearts, which are in the breasts, turn blind. [Q. 22:46]

The eyes are apparently functioning, but are unable to discern the truth or perceive the reality. They do not meet the pre-requisites of awareness; they are somatically intact but psychically blind because hearts that beat in the breasts have been sealed. They have gone eyeless, sightless and blind. The seal of the hearts has therefore blindfolded the eyes. So if a sealed and diseased heart morphs the organically functioning organs into useless parts, the purified and protected heart renders senses into extra-sensory media. The heart with a divine blend enlarges and expands the domain of sensory apparatus enabling them to see even the invisible, hearken the inaudible, feel the intangible and understand the intelligible. The Qur’an has elaborately described the overwhelming vitality of heart:

﴿ثُمَّ قَسَتۡ قُلُوبُكُم مِّنۢ بَعۡدِ ذَٰلِكَ فَهِيَ كَٱلۡحِجَارَةِ أَوۡ أَشَدُّ قَسۡوَةًۚ وَإِنَّ مِنَ ٱلۡحِجَارَةِ لَمَا يَتَفَجَّرُ مِنۡهُ ٱلۡأَنۡهَٰرُۚ وَإِنَّ مِنۡهَا لَمَا يَشَّقَّقُ فَيَخۡرُجُ مِنۡهُ ٱلۡمَآءُۚ وَإِنَّ مِنۡهَا لَمَا يَهۡبِطُ مِنۡ خَشۡيَةِ ٱللَّهِۗ وَمَا ٱللَّهُ بِغَٰفِلٍ عَمَّا تَعۡمَلُونَ﴾

Then (even) after this, your hearts hardened. So (in hardness) they (have become) like stones or even harder. For of stones there are some from which streams burst out; and certainly, some out of them are such (stones) that split up and water gushes out of them; and indeed there are others of them that fall due to fear of Allah. (Alas! Your hearts have not remained even that much soft, tender and feeble) and Allah is not unaware of what you do. [Q. 2:74]

Stoneheartedness is a disease that shuts moral conduct and turns one into amoral or immoral human being. Allah says: “In their hearts is a disease. So Allah has worsened their disease.” The Messenger of Allah was raised to cure them and soften their hearts such that streams of love burst out, and water of benevolence gushes out and they fall due to fear of Allah.

The Qur’an has revealed:

﴿وَٱذۡكُرُواْ نِعۡمَتَ ٱللَّهِ عَلَيۡكُمۡ إِذۡ كُنتُمۡ أَعۡدَآءٗ فَأَلَّفَ بَيۡنَ قُلُوبِكُمۡ فَأَصۡبَحۡتُم بِنِعۡمَتِهِۦٓ إِخۡوَٰنًا﴾

But call to mind the blessing of Allah upon you when you were enemies (one to another). Then He created the bond of love amongst your hearts, and by His blessing you became brothers. [Q. 3:103]

7.1 The Prophet’s Heart

The Messenger of Allah was raised from amongst the humans with a divine heart to brng about the Qur’anic revolution in human society endowed with a heart described in the Qur’an:

﴿لَقَدۡ جَآءَكُمۡ رَسُولٌ مِّنۡ أَنفُسِكُمۡ عَزِيزٌ عَلَيۡهِ مَا عَنِتُّمۡ حَرِيصٌ عَلَيۡكُم بِٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ رَءُوفٌ رَّحِيمٌ﴾

Surely, a (Glorious) Messenger from amongst yourselves has come to you. Your suffering and distress (becomes) grievously heavy on him (blessings and peace be upon him). (O mankind,) he is ardently desirous of your (betterment and guidance. And) he is most (deeply) clement and merciful to the believers. [Q. 9:128]

Allah Most High revealed the Qur’an to His beloved Meseenger (blessings and peace be upon him) gradually, in pauses, to strengthen his heart:

﴿وَقَالَ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ لَوۡلَا نُزِّلَ عَلَيۡهِ ٱلۡقُرۡءَانُ جُمۡلَةً وَٰحِدَةًۚ كَذَٰلِكَ لِنُثَبِّتَ بِهِۦ فُؤَادَكَۖ وَرَتَّلۡنَٰهُ تَرۡتِيلًا﴾

And the disbelievers say: ‘Why has the Qur’an not been (put together and) sent down to this (Prophet) in one go?’ It has been revealed gradually (in segments) so that by this We may strengthen your (most sanctified) heart, and (that is why) We have recited it gradually with pauses (in order that your heart may feel tranquil by receiving Our message again and again). [Q. 25:32]

The Messenger of Allah was raised to make the Divine Message home to humanity and purify their hearts and illumine them with divine teachings, reason and intellect:

﴿كَمَآ أَرۡسَلۡنَا فِيكُمۡ رَسُولًا مِّنكُمۡ يَتۡلُواْ عَلَيۡكُمۡ ءَايَٰتِنَا وَيُزَكِّيكُمۡ وَيُعَلِّمُكُمُ ٱلۡكِتَٰبَ وَٱلۡحِكۡمَةَ وَيُعَلِّمُكُم مَّا لَمۡ تَكُونُواْ تَعۡلَمُونَ﴾

Likewise, We have sent you (Our) Messenger (blessings and peace be upon him) from amongst yourselves who recites to you Our Revelations and purifies and sanctifies (your hearts and ill-commanding selves) and teaches you the Book and inculcates in you logic and wisdom and enlightens you (on the mysteries of spiritual gnosis and divine truth) which you did not know. [Q. 2:151]

The Creator of the universe and humanity is Ever-Merciful. He bestowed upon humanity His great favour and sent His Final Messenger to purify our hearts and fill them with divine guidance. He raised him under His Divine care and broadened his breast to send down His divine guidance, the Qur’an, upon his heart:

﴿أَلَمۡ نَشۡرَحۡ لَكَ صَدۡرَكَ. وَوَضَعۡنَا عَنكَ وِزۡرَكَ. ٱلَّذِيٓ أَنقَضَ ظَهۡرَكَ.﴾

Have We not broadened your breast for you (for the light of knowledge, wisdom and spiritual gnosis)? And We have taken off the load (of grief of the Umma [Community]) from you, (the load) which was growing heavier on your (holy) back. [Q. 94:1–3]

Then He said:

﴿وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلَىٰ خُلُقٍ عَظِيمٍ﴾

And assuredly, you are placed high on the Most Glorious and Exalted (seat of) character (i.e., adorned with the Qur’anic morality and endowed with the character traits of Allah). [Q. 68:4]

The sending of the Qur’an down upon the effulgent heart of the Final Prophet and his transcendence to the realm of divinity required his heart-wash by divine means, for he was about to ascend to the extreme nearness— two bow-lengths or even less than that—to Allah, the Creator of the universe, the Light. His heart was adorned with the Qur’anic morality and endowed with the character traits of Allah.

7.2 Washing of Heart before Proceeding on the Night Journey

In a very long hadith in the Book of “The Merits of al-Ansar” referring to the incident of the Night Journey and Ascension (al-‘Isra’ wa all-Mi‘raj), Imam al-Bukhari narrated on the authority of Anas b. Malik (may Allah be well pleased with him) who reported on the authority of Malik b. Sa‘sa‘a (may Allah be well pleased with him) that Allah’s Messenger (blessings and peace be upon him) described to them his night journey, saying:

“While I was lying in al-Hatim or al-Hijr, suddenly someone came to me and cut my body open from here to here” and pointed to his chest. I asked from Jarud sitting beside me and he said: from throat to navel. And I heard (from Anus) ‘below navel’. “Then my heart was taken out. Then a golden tray full of Belief was brought to me and my heart was washed and filled (with belief and then) returned to its original place…” The Hadith of al-Isra’ was narrated by more than 20 of the companions of the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) and was reported in all the books of the hadith.

[Set forth by al-Bukhari in al-Sahih, vol. 3, p. 1410 §3674.]

7.3 The Heart-Wash when under Halima’s Care

Anas b. Malik (may Allah be well pleased with him) reported that Gabriel came to the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) while he was playing with his playmates. He took hold of him, lay him prostrate on the ground, tore open his breast and took out the heart from it. Then he extracted a blood-clot out of it and said: “That was the part of Satan in you”. He then washed it with the water of Zamzam in a golden basin after which it was joined together and restored to its place. The boys came running to his mother, i. e. his nurse, Halima (may Allah be well pleased with her) and said: “Verily Muhammad has been murdered.” They all rushed toward him (and found him all right). His color was changed. Anas said. I myself saw the marks of needle on his breast.

[Set forth by al-Bukhari in al-Sahih, vol. 6, pp. 2730–2731 §7079. Abu ‘Awana in al-Musnad, vol. 1, pp. 109–112, 113–115 §§338, 343. Abu Nu‘aym in Dala’il al-Nubuwwa, p. 221 §168.]

Halima bint Harith has reported:

“We were in the backyard of the house while Muhammad was with his foster brother grazing the cattle. Suddenly his brother came running, saying: “Two men clad in white dress came to our Qureshi brother, laid him down on the ground and opened his abdomen.” Me and my father sprinted to reach him but found him standing with a changed colour though. My father hugged him and asked about the occurrence. He said: “Two men dressed in white came to me, laid me down and opened my chest. They took something out, threw it off and restored me normal.” Then we brought him home. My father said: “Halima! I fear of him some possession. I feel before anything of that sortr happens, we should take him back to his family.” According to Haleema, “When we took him to his mother, she said with concern: ‘You were so fond of keeping him with you, what has made you bring him back.” There is just no problem; Allah has made us fulfil our responsibility. Apprehending some harm, we felt like taking him back to his family.” His mother said: “You should apprise me of the truth.” On her insistence, we narrated to her the whole occurrence.” She said: “Your are possessed. By God! Satan dare not go near him. The true glory of my son is about to manifest soon. Should I share with you his true station?” We both submitted our curiosity. She said: “When I was on family way, I dreamt of some light emitting from me, which illumined the palaces of Syria. When he was born, he had raised his head towards sky supporting it with his hands.

[Set forth by Muslim in al-Sahih, vol. 1, p. 92 §162. Ahmed b. Hanbal in al-Musnad, vol. 3, p. 149.]

7.4 The Secrets of Washing the Prophet’s Heart

We have already studied various aspects of the glory of al-Nabi al-Ummi. The Qur’an has elaborately dealt with the human aspect of Prophethood. Divine in origin, he has been raised as a human being amongst human beings to communicate to the humanity the divine message of guidance. Here, the creation of a human being is of utmost significance.

Qur’an has elaborated the concept of the creation of humankind at many places. For instance:

﴿خَلَقَ ٱلۡإِنسَٰنَ مِن صَلۡصَٰلٍ كَٱلۡفَخَّارِ. وَخَلَقَ ٱلۡجَآنَّ مِن مَّارِجٍ مِّن نَّارٍ.﴾

He is the One Who created man from a dry mud sounding like earthenware, and created the jinn from a flame of fire. [Q.55:14–15]

On another occasion it has been revealed that after creating a human from mud, Allah breathes His spirit into the human physical organism:

﴿وَإِذۡ قَالَ رَبُّكَ لِلۡمَلَٰٓئِكَةِ إِنِّي خَٰلِقُۢ بَشَرًا مِّن صَلۡصَٰلٍ مِّنۡ حَمَإٍ مَّسۡنُونٍ. فَإِذَا سَوَّيۡتُهُۥ وَنَفَخۡتُ فِيهِ مِن رُّوحِي فَقَعُواْ لَهُۥ سَٰجِدِينَ.﴾

And (recall) when your Lord said to the angels: ‘I am about to create a human organism from old (and) black stinking, resounding mud. So when I accomplish the perfection of his (physical) constitution into his real being, and breathe My (divine) spirit into (the inner self of) this (human physical) organism, then fall down prostrate before him.’ [Q. 15:28–29]

This subject has been taken up with diverse details on various occasions in the Qur’an. In Sura al-Shams, Allah Almighty has described two aspects of human nature:

﴿وَنَفۡسٍ وَمَا سَوَّىٰهَا. فَأَلۡهَمَهَا فُجُورَهَا وَتَقۡوَىٰهَا. قَدۡ أَفۡلَحَ مَن زَكَّىٰهَا. وَقَدۡ خَابَ مَن دَسَّىٰهَا.﴾

And by the human soul and by the One Who provided it with an all-dimensional poise, proportion and perfection. Then He inspired it with (discrimination between) vice and virtue. Indeed, the one who purifies his (ill-commanding) self (from all vain and vicious desires and cultivates in it virtue and piousness) succeeds, but the one who corrupts himself (in sins and suppresses virtue) is doomed indeed. [Q. 91:7–10]

The Qur’an has also revealed that Satan has declared itself an open enemy to humankind and challenged to derail them from the right path. The Qur’an says:

﴿قَالَ رَبِّ بِمَآ أَغۡوَيۡتَنِي لَأُزَيِّنَنَّ لَهُمۡ فِي ٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَلَأُغۡوِيَنَّهُمۡ أَجۡمَعِين﴾

He said: ‘O Lord, then grant me respite (to remain alive) until the Day when people will be raised up (again) from the graves.’ Allah said: ‘(Be off!) Indeed, you are amongst those granted respite, till the Day of the appointed time (Resurrection).’ Iblis said: ‘O Lord, because You have led me astray, I will (also) best adorn and embellish for them (the sins, revolts and violations) in the earth and will certainly lead all of them astray by all means. [Q. 15:39]

﴿قَالَ فَبِمَآ أَغۡوَيۡتَنِي لَأَقۡعُدَنَّ لَهُمۡ صِرَٰطَكَ ٱلۡمُسۡتَقِيمَ. ثُمَّ لَأٓتِيَنَّهُم مِّنۢ بَيۡنِ أَيۡدِيهِمۡ وَمِنۡ خَلۡفِهِمۡ وَعَنۡ أَيۡمَٰنِهِمۡ وَعَن شَمَآئِلِهِمۡۖ وَلَا تَجِدُ أَكۡثَرَهُمۡ شَٰكِرِينَ.﴾

He (Iblis) said: ‘Since You have led me astray, (I swear that) I will (also) sit on Your straight path (to waylay the children of Adam till I cause them to deviate from the path of truth). I will assuredly approach them from their front, from their rear, from their right and from their left, and (consequently) You will not find most of them grateful.’ [Q. 7:16–17]

﴿قَالَ أَرَءَيۡتَكَ هَٰذَا ٱلَّذِي كَرَّمۡتَ عَلَيَّ لَئِنۡ أَخَّرۡتَنِ إِلَىٰ يَوۡمِ ٱلۡقِيَٰمَةِ لَأَحۡتَنِكَنَّ ذُرِّيَّتَهُۥٓ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا﴾

(And Satan also said:) ‘Tell me, is it he You have exalted over me? (What is its reason after all?) If You grant me respite till the Day of Resurrection, I shall root out his children except a few of them (by bringing them under my control).’ [Q. 17:62]

The expression la-ahtanikanna dhurriyyatuhu is significant. al-hanak means the upper inside of the mouth and some say it refers to the lower part of the mouth. Sometimes a rope is passed through the mouth of a horse or donkey so that it can be held by the owner to control the animal. The Qur’an says that Iblees has challenged that he will surely tie a rope through a human’s mouth to pull and drag him behind him wherever he wants, i.e. to drive him wherever he pleases. Selfish ends are the rope that nose strap a human and demean him. The commands of celestial guidance can only benefit him when one shuns these selfish pursuits. Iblees, however, is on the job to strap him and bring him humiliation and destruction.

The creation of a human from ‘dry mud sounding like earthenware’, ‘black stinking, resounding mud’ and ‘breathing into human organism the divine spirit’ with the susceptibility to discriminate between vice and virtue with free choice is the human’s ropewalking endeavour to win or lose his real status in the world. The constitution of the physical organism of a human being is endowed with the potential to obey or rebel against the Word of God. The environment permeated with Satanic propensities, practices and pursuits pollute the virtuous potential of human soul, and those following the people of Aad, Thamud and Pharaohs, spoil human society to its marrow. Such tribulations have been inflicting miseries on human communities and a war has always been waged to protect human rights from evil forces and establish justice, peace and harmony amongst communities. The shadows of Satanic intrigues and aggression, however, have always been looming large to inundate humanity with bloodshed, war and its perils.

Under such perilous and menacing social milieu of Arab society, the nobility and transcendence of the exalted Messenger of Allah had to be ensured. His human self was, therefore, protected from the surrounding evils by divinity and his heart was especially washed by angels in his early childhood as well as later in life. His was a divine self, raised in the human attire amongst human beings to instill purity and righteousness into human communities for a just, honourable and dignified worldly life.

For the purpose, the Almighty Allah washed the noble heart of His beloved Messenger on two occasions.

8. The Phenomenology of the Manifestation of Prophet’s Qur’anic Morality

By washing and cleansing His beloved Prophet’s heart, Allah Almighty purified him of Satanic influences and purged his refined self of human traits that stem from ignorance and darkness. The state of his human organism was now altogether different from that of other humans. His surviving human attributes manifested the divinity in him supported by the revelations of the Qur’an in order that his worldly human qualities disappear and Allah bestows upon his effulgent self His divine morality and the transcendent and sublime attributes. This is a great mercy of Allah Most Kind that on different occasions different Qur’anic verses were sent down displaying different divine qualities of his holy personage. The Qur’an has revealed this gradual manifestation of his excellent morality in this verse:

﴿وَقَالَ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ لَوۡلَا نُزِّلَ عَلَيۡهِ ٱلۡقُرۡءَانُ جُمۡلَةً وَٰحِدَةًۚ كَذَٰلِكَ لِنُثَبِّتَ بِهِۦ فُؤَادَكَۖ وَرَتَّلۡنَٰهُ تَرۡتِيلًا﴾

And the disbelievers say: ‘Why has the Qur’an not been (put together and) sent down to this (Prophet) in one go?’ It has been revealed gradually (in segments) so that by this We may strengthen your (most sanctified) heart, and (that is why) We have recited it gradually with pauses (in order that your heart may feel tranquil by receiving Our message again and again). [Q. 25:32]

The Qur’an was revealed to his most sanctified heart gradually with pauses to provide him strength at every step of his Prophetic journey. This perpetual contact with the Lord of the universe made him tranquil on the rock-strewn gritty path of spreading the Divine Message amongst the antagonist disbelievers and brought to fore his sublime morality while dealing with the hostile society and preaching Din Islam.

The phenomenology of the disclosures of his divine attributes took roots from a state of anxiety that is generated when the heart and the inner self join to move on bringing to the fore the human self and its worldly characteristics. Then some revelation would enlighten him in such a state to remove the human trait and replace by bestowing on him some divine moral conduct which used to be indicated or expressed in the revealed verse.

During the battle of Uhud, when his holy teeth were damaged and blood stained his blessed face, his human self reacted and he said: “How the people would triumph who tarnished the face of their Messenger with blood, while he was inviting them to their Lord?”

[Set forth by Muslim in al-Sahih, vol. 2, p. 108 §1791.]

On this occasion the verse was revealed:

﴿لَيۡسَ لَكَ مِنَ ٱلۡأَمۡرِ شَيۡءٌ﴾

(O Beloved! Now) this matter is not your concern. [Q. 3:128]

After the revelation of this Qur’anic verse, the Messenger of Allah arrayed himself in patience and the anguish morphed into peace and composure. There and then he declared: “Whoever turns towards me, I guarantee him Paradise.”

9. The Qur’anic Revelations and Corresponding Prophetic Morality Synchronized

Since the revelation of the Qur’anic verses transpired on different occasions synchronized with the manifestation of his attributes, the morality of the Prophet came to be connected with the Qur’an. The revelation of the Qur’an brought about exhibition of various aspects of the Prophet’s moral self. Both these activities would transpire in a corresponding manner. The revelation would follow the dawn of his moral horizons so that the Qur’an becomes the index of his divine morality. The Qur’an is thus a description of his sublime morality. Revelation of the Qur’an coordinated with the actualization of his attributes aimed at the correction and reformation of the community. The Prophet said: “God has with Him a treasure of morality. When He intends to do some good to a servant, He gives him a portion of it.” The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace upon him), stating the purpose of his Messengership, said:

بُعِثْتُ لِأُتَمِّمَ حُسْنَ الْأَخْلَاقِ.

I have been sent to accomplish proprieties and moral excellence.

[Set forth by Malik in al-Muwatta, vol. 2, p. 904.]

This has also been reported that he said: “Allah Most Benevolent has one hundred moral phenomena. If he confers just one of them on someone, he will enter Paradise. It can only be assessed through heavenly revelation. Allah has granted awareness of His Beautiful Names to His servants because He invites them towards these attributes. If He had not endowed humans with the susceptibility to acquire these traits, He would never had invited them towards them because this His mercy which He only bestows upon His notable servants.”

This elaboration reveals the connotations of what the mother of the believers ‘A’isha (may Allah be well pleased with her) said:

فَإِنَّ خُلُقُ نَبِيِّ اللهِ كَانَ الْقُرْآنَ.

“The morality of the Prophet of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) is (enshrined in) the Qur’an—the treasure of the Divine Morality.”

[Set forth by Muslim in al-Sahih, vol. 1, p. 256 §746.]

This tradition contains numerous secrets, and subtly indicate the morality of God. Of her modesty and decorum, she called the Prophet’s morality the Qur’an instead of saying ‘Allah’s morality’. With subtlety, humility and gentility, she kept it covert, which bears testimony to vastness of her knowledge and self-effacement. This brings to the fore the semantic coherence of the following two verses of the Qur’an:

﴿وَلَقَدۡ ءَاتَيۡنَٰكَ سَبۡعًا مِّنَ ٱلۡمَثَانِي وَٱلۡقُرۡءَانَ ٱلۡعَظِيمَ﴾

And surely We have bestowed upon you the seven oft-recited Verses (i.e., Chapter al-Fatiha) and the Glorious Qur’an. [Q. 15:87]

﴿وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلَىٰ خُلُقٍ عَظِيمٍ﴾

And assuredly, you are placed high on the Most Glorious and Exalted (seat of) character (i.e., adorned with the Qur’anic morality and endowed with the character traits of Allah). [Q. 68:4]

10. Placed on the Most Exalted Seat of Character (wa innaka la‘ala khuluq-in ‘azim)

The Almighty Allah has placed His Beloved Messenger (blessings and peace be upon him) on the exalted seat of glorious and godly character and morality by addressing him directly as second person singular. Allah is the Creator and the Supreme Authority of the universe. He has declared His sublime blessing on His most distinguished and unequaled Prophet by telling him in person about his superiority and virtuous glory. This speaks of his real transcendent station amongst the entire Creation. Pronouncing his apex seat amongst His Creation, the Lord of the universe describes the zenith of His Beloved Prophet’s stature in the Realm of Light:

﴿ذُو مِرَّةٍ فَٱسۡتَوَىٰ. وَهُوَ بِٱلۡأُفُقِ ٱلۡأَعۡلَىٰ. ثُمَّ دَنَا فَتَدَلَّىٰ. فَكَانَ قَابَ قَوۡسَيۡنِ أَوۡ أَدۡنَىٰ. فَأَوۡحَىٰٓ إِلَىٰ عَبۡدِهِۦ مَآ أَوۡحَىٰ. مَا كَذَبَ ٱلۡفُؤَادُ مَا رَأَىٰٓ. أَفَتُمَٰرُونَهُۥ عَلَىٰ مَا يَرَىٰ. وَلَقَدۡ رَءَاهُ نَزۡلَةً أُخۡرَىٰ. عِندَ سِدۡرَةِ ٱلۡمُنتَهَىٰ. عِندَهَا جَنَّةُ ٱلۡمَأۡوَىٰٓ. إِذۡ يَغۡشَى ٱلسِّدۡرَةَ مَا يَغۡشَىٰ. مَا زَاغَ ٱلۡبَصَرُ وَمَا طَغَىٰ. لَقَدۡ رَأَىٰ مِنۡ ءَايَٰتِ رَبِّهِ ٱلۡكُبۡرَىٰٓ.﴾

Then He decided to unveil (Himself). And he (Muhammad [blessings and peace be upon him]) was on the uppermost horizon (of the realm of creation during the Ascension Night i.e., on the apex of the created cosmos). Then He (the Lord of Honour) drew closer (to His Beloved Muhammad [blessings and peace be upon him]) and then drew even closer. Then a distance measuring only two bow-lengths was left (between Allah Unveiled and His Esteemed Beloved), or even less than that (in extreme nearness). So (on that station of nearness) He (Allah) revealed to His (Beloved) servant whatever He revealed. (His) heart did not take it contrary to what (his) eyes beheld. Do you argue with him about what he saw? And assuredly, he saw Him (Allah Unveiled) the second time (again and you argue only about seeing Him once). At the farthest Lote-Tree—Sidra al-Muntaha, adjacent to that is the Eternal Paradise—Janna al-Ma‘wa. When theophanies (i.e., effulgent disclosures) of the divine light wrapped up al-Sidra (the Lote-Tree at the Far End), covering it expansively, his eye neither inclined aside nor overstepped the limit; (it gazed in ecstasy at Whom it was to gaze). Surely, he saw the greatest signs of His Lord (during the Ascension Night). [Q. 53:6–18]

Immersed in Divine light, the exalted personage of Allah’s Beloved Messenger (blessings and peace be upon him) engaged in permeating the human society with his transcendent morality and divine character. What we normal human beings do is the result of what we hold and think upon in our hearts—the wellspring, or source, of our conduct, actions and interactions. The heart washed and illumined with the divine rays of mercy, compassion, leniency, forgiveness, pity, compassion, kindness, moderation and clemency showered divine morality upon humans, the animal and the vegetable worlds and non-living realms like a stormy fragrance of morals, manners and proprieties. From his transcendent heart gushed out a unified ethical system anchored in eternally valid and life-enriching moral principles enshrined in the Qur’an. All that aimed at self-purification and the key to self-purification is the practice of faith through moral actions.

Every aspect of human personality, disposition, action, interaction, habit and practice forms part of morality. Speech, conversation, dialogue, even thought and imagination are included in character. The basis, however, is intention and sincerity. It is a huge complex whole under the threats of ill-commanding self.

The love of Allah and His exalted Messenger (blessings and peace be upon him) is the only panacea that can cure all the problems. If the worldly inclination and pursuits are a greater love than Allah’s and His Messenger’s, then Allah has vividly elaborated it in the Qur’an:

﴿قُلۡ إِن كَانَ ءَابَآؤُكُمۡ وَأَبۡنَآؤُكُمۡ وَإِخۡوَٰنُكُمۡ وَأَزۡوَٰجُكُمۡ وَعَشِيرَتُكُمۡ وَأَمۡوَٰلٌ ٱقۡتَرَفۡتُمُوهَا وَتِجَٰرَةٌ تَخۡشَوۡنَ كَسَادَهَا وَمَسَٰكِنُ تَرۡضَوۡنَهَآ أَحَبَّ إِلَيۡكُم مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِۦ وَجِهَادٍ فِي سَبِيلِهِۦ فَتَرَبَّصُواْ حَتَّىٰ يَأۡتِيَ ٱللَّهُ بِأَمۡرِهِۦۗ وَٱللَّهُ لَا يَهۡدِي ٱلۡقَوۡمَ ٱلۡفَٰسِقِينَ﴾

(O Esteemed Messenger!) Say: ‘If your fathers (and forefathers) and your sons (and daughters) and your brothers (and sisters) and your wives and your (other) kith and kin and the riches that you have earned (so hard) and the trade and business that you fear may decline and the homes you are fond of are dearer to you than Allah and His Messenger (blessings and peace be upon him) and struggling in His cause, then wait until Allah brings His command (of torment). And Allah does not guide the disobedient.’ [Q. 9:24]

It is the utmost love for the Lord and His exalted Apostle that merits supreme for a believer. This love guarantees the successful conformity to the spiritual, moral, ethical and material standards of life. His model is our ideal that we can achieve through embedding his love in the innermost depths of our beings.


[Note: Allah willing, Part-3 of this dissertation on Prophet’s sublime morality will comprise the translated material of his eminence, Shaykh-ul-Islam’s teachings on wa innaka la‘ala khuluq-in ‘azim. It will include the effulgent appearance of the Prophet’s transcendent personage and the glowing attributes of his moral excellence].

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