By Asif Jehangir Naqshbandi-Haqqani
A translation of the Prolegomena of Shan-Habib-ar-Rahman min Ayatul Quran by Hadrat Mawlana al-Haaj Mufti Ahmad Yar Khan Naeemi Badayuni
The truth is that if the Holy Koran is read with the eyes of faith it is nothing but praise of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) whether it is hymns to God or exposition of creed, stories of the previous prophets and their nations, or commandments. In other words, every topic of the Koran contains within it eulogy of the beloved one who brought it, upon him be blessings and peace of God. For example, in Sura Ikhlas, let us take Qul huwallahu Ahad (Say, He is One). In it is mention of the attributes of God; and take Sura Lahab i.e. tabbat yada Abi Lahabbin wa tabb (perish the two hands of Abu Lahab and perish he!) which in its outer meaning relates the story of the infidel Abu Lahab and his wife from beginning to end, but when one thinks deeper both these Suras are full to the brim with praise for the beloved Prophet. In Qul huwallahu it says, “O Beloved, you say: He is Allah, the One. Allah, the Eternally Besought of all! He begetteth not, nor was He begotten,” etc. but one word, qul ([Oh Beloved you] say), turns this whole Sura into an encomium (of the Prophet) because it is the Will of the Divine that, Oh My Beloved the words shall be Mine but the tongue shall be yours:
By saying, “Say!” He heard His own words from thy mouth
That is how thy speech is beloved to Allah.
You relate My attributes to the world and say, “Allah is One” and I shall relate your attributes and say, “Muhammad is the Messenger of God and those with him are harsh against the unbelievers”, that is you make others say, “La illaha il Allah (There is no god but Allah)” and I shall make them say, “Muhammadur Rasool Allah (Muhammad is the Messenger of God).” In other words I desire to hear My praise from your lips: you say to Me, “Allah is One.” Without suggesting any likeness, think of it like one listens to the words of one’s most beloved son because the words from his tongue appear sweet and lovely and one asks him to speak so that one may hear him again and again. The Lord made His Beloved recite the Koran only so that He may hear it from him because the Prophet was the first to acknowledge His Oneness [tawhîd] from the time of the Day of the Covenant [Yawm al Mithâq]. Or the meaning of “qul” (“Say”) is this that Oh Beloved say to people, “Allah is One” therefore if anyone believes in My attributes without accepting your slavehood first he will definitely not be accepted as a gnostic or a monotheist until he accepts the monotheism which you teach by clinging to your holy robe. That is the reason why the first kalimah (credo) is also known as the kalimah of monotheism. But in it, alongside the remembrance of Allah there is also Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah so that in the first half there is monotheism and in the second half the blessed name of the one who taught us about monotheism because real monotheism cannot be achieved without the help of prophethood (upon him be the blessings and peace of God.)
A eulogy to the Prophet is also present in Perish the two hands of Abu Lahab. We saw the praise of the Prophet in Say (O’ Beloved): He is Allah, the One was due to His saying, “Say” and here it is due to His not saying it. This is because once Abu Lahab ibn Abd al Muttalib said, “May you perish! (tabbâlak)” to the Holy Prophet and the Lord of the Worlds avenged these accursed words with, Perish the two hands of Abu Lahab i.e. O’ Abu Lahab may you be destroyed and he was indeed destroyed. In other words, Oh Beloved (peace and blessings be upon you) don’t you give a reply to this, I shall reply to it Myself. Now, where mention of Abu Lahab’s destruction and misguidance is made, alongside it we also learn of the honour and greatness of the Master of Both Worlds in the court of the Divine. One who utters even the least disrespect about the Prophet becomes an enemy of the Lord: “I declare war on him who shows enmity to my Friend [man ‘âda li waliyann faqad adhantuhu bi’l harabi] (Mishkat al Masabih)”.
The stories of the Companions, and of the Prophetic Household, the virtues of Mecca the Noble and Medina the Illuminated, which are mentioned in the Koran are, in reality, praise of the Chosen One. Praise of the king’s slaves, and of his throne and crown is really praise of the king himself. The mention of the wickedness of the unbelievers and the admonishment of the idol worshippers is also eulogy of that King of Kings whose enmity was the reason why these people became accursed.
In the same manner, let us look at the Verses of Command [âyat e muhkam] for the praise of the Prophet is evident in all of them. For example, in many places in the Koran there is a command to pray and to give alms or to perform the Hajj but we are not told how to pray in detail, what time to pray, how many cycles [raka’ah] to pray; similarly, we are not informed who should give alms, on how much wealth it is to be paid, how much to give. Likewise, we are commanded to do Hajj but have not been informed of all the rules, all of which is to say that, I have issued the commands but if you now wish to know the details of these commands and how to carry them out then observe the blessed words and actions of My Beloved (upon him be the peace and blessings of God); his sacred life is a complete exegesis of all My commands and the truth is that prayer, fasting, Hajj, etcetera, are the names of the Beloved’s actions [ada]; his actions are beloved and whoever, sincerely, performs the same actions as him will be accepted. If someone changes the order of the Koran to be recited during the prayer by reciting the Koran during genuflexion [ruku’] and prostration and reads the Tahiyyah during standing [qiyâm] his prayer will not be valid. But why is this? It is because although he performed all the pillars [arkân] and recited all the remembrance of God [dhikr] he did not do them in the same manner as the Beloved (peace and blessings be upon him) used to do them. It is his actions which are dear to Me not your performing of them! Look, canonical prayer [namaz] and recitation of the Koran must be performed [lâzim] in the Arabic language for this is the language of the Beloved. We love parrots and mynah birds because they can mimic a language similar to our own. So, Oh Muslims, you too…should speak the language of that Beloved, even if you speak it without understanding it, you will get reward [sawâb]. If the canonical prayer was simply a supplication [to God] it could have been said in any language for God understands all tongues.
What is there in Hajj? Halting somewhere, running somewhere, throwing pebbles somewhere, circumambulating somewhere else. Why did these actions become acts of worship during these days? Because they are all actions of the people of God. It says in a hadith, “Whoever imitates a people is one of them [man tashabbaha bi qawmin fa huwa min hum].” The same is true of our prayers and all our worship, that we may achieve some imitation of the Beloved Prophet, and that Allah may forgive us for the sake of its blessings.
Prayers in the darkness of the night,
Supplications for the Ummah’s forgiveness,
His prostrations’ the pride of worship,
Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him!
Our prostrations are merely in imitation of his prostrations which are accepted. Thus, all the verses of command are really praise of the Prophet.
In the same way only that action is a sin which displeases the Messenger. God Almighty says, “Those who vex the messenger of Allah, for them there is a painful doom. (Walladhina yu’dhuna Rasoolallah la hum adhabun alîm)”. The fact that ‘la hum’ is before [adhabun alim] tells us that only those will be tormented who hurt the Messenger, ergo the unbelief of every unbeliever and the sin of every believer hurts the Messenger. If the Messenger is upset by an act of worship, such worship is a sin and if someone’s disobedience should please the Messenger then such disobedience is an act of worship! The venerable Abu Bakr allowing himself to be bitten by a snake in the cave is not suicide but the acme of worship, Abu Umayyah Dhumri’s uttering blasphemous words under duress is not blasphemy, the venerable Ali missing his ‘Asr prayer during the battle of Khaibar is not a sin but worship, for in all of these things the Prophet was pleased. But it was a sin for the venerable Ali to marry a second time during the life of the Lady Fatimah for such a marriage would have hurt the Prophet; but leaving the Maghrib prayer in the plains of Arafat is worship because it pleased the Prophet. However in this little book we shall only deal with those verses of the Koran which directly eulogise the Messenger of Allah (upon him be the blessings and peace of God!). Come! Let us sing the praises of our Prophet and finish this prolegomena on this note.
The Throne is his, the crown is his
In both the worlds he does reign!
Jinn and angels are his soldiers,
His kingship over all God’s creation.
King and pauper pay him homage,
All are proud of being his slaves.
The most elevated are here abased,
All look up at his lovely face.
The Ka’aba’s ornament from his breath,
Medina’s radiance from his feet.
Let alone the Ka’aba, the whole world
Is singing his praises, every person, place.
The beautiful rose in Abraham’s garden
The desire of Noah’s Ark,
Mercy to the Worlds, his body a pearl
Upon him be God’s peace and blessings!
Know that his is a mighty court!
All the beggars await at the gate
Present are both stranger and intimate!
Hopes pinned on him alone.
I am an old wretch at this gate
My father and mother also!
Turn your graceful gaze hither!
Have mercy on poor Salik too!
Ahmad Yar Khan Naeemi, may Allah forgive him .
Dedication and Acknowledgments: I would like to dedicate this translation to the Prince of Martyrs, the grandson of the Prophet, Imam Hussain ibn Ali (upon them both be peace) and to all those who were martyred alongside him at the plains of Karbala on the Day of Ashura, the 10th of Muharram, 61 AH. May Allah have mercy on me and forgive me my sins for the sake of the sacred blood of the noble scions of the Prophetic Household. Amen! I would like to thank my younger brother Kamran for his help with the typing.