By Sadia Dehlvi
Feb 26 2010
Let us rejoice for tomorrow is the 12th of Rabi-ul-Awwal, the third month of the Islamic calendar, the day that Prophet Mohammad was born in Mecca in the year 570 CE. In the Quran, God assures that he sent him as a rahmat tul alameen, a Mercy for all of creation, and is all praise for the Messenger of whom He is the Rab, the Nurturer. “And thou standst on an exalted standard of character” (68:4). He commands us to follow the Messenger. “If you do love Allah, Follow me: Allah will love you and forgive you your sins: For Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful” (3:31). During my Sufi initiation, my Master taught never to forget that loving and following the Prophet was to follow God.
Love and devotion to Prophet Mohammad forms the axis of the Sufi doctrine. Sufism requires not just an understanding of Islamic essentials, but a look into the life and role of Prophet Mohammad. For mystics, Prophet Mohammad mirrors Allah’s attributes and remains the perfect vehicle to inner enlightenment, for even in slumber he remained connected to Allah.
As Rumi glorifies:
“The Prophet said, ‘My eyes sleep’,
But my heart is not asleep to the Lord of Creation
While your eyes are closed and your heart slumbers,
My eyes are closed and my heart open in the contemplation of the Divine
Do not judge me with your own inadequacy;
What is night for you is bright day for me,
What for you is a prison is for me an open garden.
In the very midst of worldly engagement I am detached.
It is not myself that sits beside you; it is my shadow;
My reality is beyond the realm of thoughts,
For I have passed beyond all thought,
Racing ahead, far past that realm”.
The Prophet’s unique position stems from many of his sayings such as, “The first thing that Allah created was my Light, which originated from His Light and derived from the Majesty of His greatness” and “Truly, Allah made me the seal of prophets when Adam was between water and clay”.
The essence of Sufism stems from the belief that the universe was created from Nur e Mohammadi, Light of Prophet Mohammad, and from this pre-existent Light Allah took a handful to build His Universe.
Mevlana Rumi asks, ‘‘How could we commit error? For we are in the light of Ahmad!”
The 12th century Turkish mystic Khaqani writes:
“God (Haqq) loved this light and said:
My Beloved friend (habibi)!
And became enamoured (ashiq) of this light”.
Yunus Emre, another Turkish poet of the 14th century, explains the Sufi creed, that God created the two worlds for His Beloved:
“I created him from My own light
And I love him yesterday and today!
What would I do with the worlds without him
My Mohammad, My Ahmad , My Light”.
The spiritual path established by the Messenger fuels the Sufi quest for deeper meanings of why humanity was created. He inspires with the words, “I have come to perfect noble character”. Ayesha, the Prophet’s wife, once commented, “His character was the Quran”. Muslim piety accepts the Prophet as Habib Allah, the beloved of God who revealed hidden mysteries of the universe laying emphasis on the heart. In established traditions, Mohammad said, “When in doubt ask your heart for a decision for virtue is when the heart and soul are at peace”.
— Sadia Dehlvi is a Delhi-based writer and author of Sufism: The Heart of Islam
Source: The Asian Age, New Delhi.