By Amin Valliani
December 24th, 2015
THE message of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) is indelible. Despite the lapse of many centuries, his words, actions and examples continue to illuminate all those who want to uplift themselves in the fields of practical ethics, knowledge, and spirituality, even in warfare and statecraft. The Holy Prophet — being the perfect man — upheld his principles all through his life.
We find many metaphors for the Prophet mentioned in the Holy Quran. In verses 33:45-46 Allah says: “O’ Prophet! Indeed We have sent you as witness (shahid) and the bearer of glad tidings (mubashir) and a warner (nazir); And as one who invites to Allah by His leave (dai) and as a lamp spreading light (sirajum munirah)”.
All these metaphors reflect the Holy Prophet’s mission and contain deep meanings. Their proper understanding can be an engine for creating a more united and cohesive worldwide Muslim community. One such metaphor of the Holy Prophet is sirajum munirah. As-siraj means the lamp which emits light to banish darkness. In verse 71:16 Allah says we have made the sun as-Siraj (a lamp). The Prophet is like the sun, whose spiritual light, guidance, knowledge and examples of ethical behaviour illuminate the believer’s path. They find eternal peace, happiness and success in the world and the hereafter.
In our physical world, the sun has many distinctive features. First, it is one of the greatest signs of Allah’s creation, which emits light, energy and heat from the very start. It never sets, though we tend to say that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. In actuality it never rises nor sets. It rotates around its axis and is ever-shining, ever-glowing. The earth’s portion which falls in front of it becomes bright and a new day dawns. Similarly, the Holy Prophet — being the spiritual sun — never sets. He is the last and final Prophet and his light continues to guide humanity in general and believers in particular towards eternal bliss.
Secondly, the sun does not need any proof of its existence. All can see the existence of the sun. Similarly, the Holy Prophet does not require any evidence to prove his spiritual merits. Only those in the Arab society who were without ‘sight’ did not see his spirituality and remained ignorant. The Holy Quran refers to them in verse 7:179, “that they have eyes wherewith they see not”. They included persons like Abu Jahal, Abu Lahab and others who were unable to free themselves from a rigid mindset.
The third feature of the physical sun is its limitlessness. No person on earth has ever ventured to measure the sun’s radiance, light and its capacity in exactitude. Only estimates have been expressed. Similarly, in the spiritual realm, no one has ever imagined the greatness, respect and dignity of the Holy Prophet. His coming among believers has been declared a great favour by Allah (3:164).
Another important feature of the physical sun is that it is a source of abundant energy, which makes our planet liveable. Many cultures know how to use sunlight to heal a number of illnesses. A moderate amount of sun exposure spurs the human body to make Vitamin D, which strengthens human bones and kills harmful germs and bacteria. Since many diseases are caused directly or indirectly by the absence of sunlight, therefore, the sun has an essential role in the elimination of diseases.
Similarly, the Holy Prophet’s coming to this world uplifted humanity. It banished many spiritual diseases like ignorance and vanity that cast ominous shadows all over. He opened new avenues of knowledge, promoted intellectual thinking and supported selfless service.
Just as the physical sun solves so many of mankind’s problems, the problems that lie on the spiritual path that stand in the way of ethical elevation have solutions within the teachings of the Holy Prophet.
The sun’s heat melts snow which fills rivers with water. This enables crops to grow. With the energy of the sun, the earth grows fruits, flowers and grains. It helps rain to come down to spread greenery and make the earth verdant. It increases soil fertility, but not all soil responds positively.
Similarly, the Holy Prophet’s spiritual message increases the radiance of the heart of the believer. Before the Prophet’s appearance in Arabian society, there were some who were engaged in looting the trade caravans, killing their newborn daughters and other unethical practices. But the Holy Prophet transformed their lives and made them into exemplary individuals. In this connection, the example of his companion Hazrat Abuzar Ghaffari can be cited.
Humanity remains indebted for the bounties of the spiritual sun — the Holy Prophet. His teachings and example must be acted upon and passed on to the new generation.
Amin Valliani is an educationist with an interest in religion.