Saturday, 19 November 2016

Metaphorical Meaning of Sun, Moon and Stars in the Holy Qur'an (Part 2)

In the Name of Allah; the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful
May salutations of peace and blessings be upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad, and upon his companions and family.


In a previous entry, we discussed how there is repeated mention of the sun (Shams), moon (Qamar), stars (Najm), and planets (Kawakib) throughout the Holy Qur’an, and that these words have an inner meaning that signify the genus of pious and saintly people such as Prophets, Awliya, Ulama, and other extraordinarily righteous Believers.
First let us focus on the inner meaning of Qamar (moon). According to Lane’s Lexicon, one of the meanings of القَمَرُ is “the moon, absolutely, in many instances, so called because of its whiteness.” (Book I; p. 2562). Similarly, a meaning of قُمْرَةٌ is “clear, or pure, whiteness” (ibid). A meaning of أَقْمَرُ is “intensely white” (ibid; p. 2563). According to the Arabic-English Dictionary of Qur’anic Usage, the meaning of the root Q-M-R is “whiteness” (p. 775)
The Prophet (peace be upon him) is described as being exceedingly bright, radiant and white. This meaning explains why often the Prophet’s Companions compared him (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) to the full moon in all its glory. For example, the companion al-Baraa’ b. ‘Aazib (Allah be pleased with him) was asked whether the Prophet’s face resembled a shining sword, to which he replied:
لَا بَلْ مِثْلَ الْقَمَرِ
“No, rather it resembles the full-moon”
(Sahih al-Bukhari; Kitab al-Manaqib)
Similarly, the companion Jabir b. Samurah (Allah be pleased with him) observed:
رَأَيْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فِي لَيْلَةٍ إِضْحِيَانٍ ، فَجَعَلْتُ أَنْظُرُ إِلَى رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَإِلَى الْقَمَرِ وَعَلَيْهِ حُلَّةٌ حَمْرَاءُ فَإِذَا هُوَ عِنْدِي أَحْسَنُ مِنَ الْقَمَرِ
“I saw Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) on a clear night, so I looked at Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) and I looked at the moon, and he was wearing a red hullah, he looked better than the moon to me.”
(Jami’ al-Tirmidhi)
Consider also the poetry of the illustrious companion Hassaan b. Thabit (Allah be pleased with him) eulogizing the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam):
لا نـورَ مـن نـورهِ فـي نــــــــورهِ غرقتْ والـوجهُ مـثل طلـوع الشّمس والقـمـــــــر
روحٌ مـــــــن النّور فـي جسمٍ مـن القـمـــر كحُلّةٍ نُسِجت مـن أنجـم الزهـــــــــــــر
The lights from his light are drowned in his light and his faces shines out like the sun and moon in one.
A spirit of light lodged in a body like the moon, a mantle made up of brilliant shining stars.
And similarly that of the great Muhaddath and Mujaddid of the 14th century, Hadrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadiyan:
پہلوں سے خوب تر ہے، خوبی میں اک قمر ہے
اسپہ ہر اک نظر ہے، بدر الدّجی یہی ہے

Consider also the vision of the Prophet’s beloved wife and our mother Safiyah bint Huyay before she married over even met the Prophet (peace be upon him). Safiyah was from the Jewish tribe of Bani Quraizah. It is said that on her wedding night when she was married to Kinanah b. al-Rabi’ she saw in a vision:
أَنَّ قَمَرًا وَقَعَ فِي حِجْرِهَا
“That the moon was placed in her lap”
When she related this vision to Kinanah, he became enraged, stating that she wished to be with the “King of the Hijaz, Muhammad”, and slapped her on her face, blackening her eye. According to another version, it was her father who slapped her, leaving a mark on her face, stating that she wished to be with the “King of the Arabs”, after he was informed of this dream of hers. (Asad al-Ghabah; Kitab al-Nisa)
Similarly, the Prophet’s beloved wife and our mother A’ishah (Allah be pleased with her) had a vision, which she described:
رَأَيْتُ ثَلَاثَةَ أَقْمَارٍ سَقَطْنَ فِي حُجْرَتِي فَقَصَصْتُ رُؤْيَايَ عَلَى أَبِي بَكْرٍ الصِّدِّيقِ " ، قَالَتْ : " فَلَمَّا تُوُفِّيَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَدُفِنَ فِي بَيْتِهَا ، قَالَ لَهَا أَبُو بَكْرٍ : هَذَا أَحَدُ أَقْمَارِكِ وَهُوَ خَيْرُهَا
“I saw three moons fall into my room, and I related my vision to Abu Bakr asSiddiq.” Then, when the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) died and was buried in her house, Abu Bakr said to her: “This is one of your moons, and he is the best of them.”
(Muwattaa’ Lil-Imam Malik; Kitab al-Jana’iz; Bab Maa Ja’a fi Dafnil-Mayyit)
Note that along with the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam), his first and second successors, namely, Abu Bakr and ‘Umar (Allah be pleased with them both) were buried alongside him in what was A’ishah’s room. The three of them are symbolized by the three moons of A’ishah’s vision.
Keeping this inner meaning of Qamar (moon or full moon) in mind, consider the following Verse of the Holy Qur’an:
تَبَارَكَ الَّذِي جَعَلَ فِي السَّمَاءِ بُرُوجًا وَجَعَلَ فِيهَا سِرَاجًا وَقَمَرًا مُنِيرًا
Blessed is the One (Allah) Who has made in the Heaven a constellation of stars, and placed therein a Lamp and luminous Moon. (Sura 25: 61)
The inner meaning of this Verse is that Allah has placed in Heaven a great host of Saints who are likened to a constellation of stars in the sky, and from among them is a Lamp and luminous Moon, namely, the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam).

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