Friday, 21 July 2017

Continuation of Divine Inspiration (Part 1)


بسم الله الرحمـن الرحيم

والعاقبة للمتقين

وصلى الله على نبينا محمد وعلى آله واهل بيته اجمعين
Have all forms of divine communication from Allāh ‘Azza wa Jall ceased with the sealing of Nubuwwa through the last and final Prophet Muhammad ? This is a very contentious issue among the Muslim Umma due to misunderstanding the reality of the ‘Finality of Prophethood’. Indisputably, our Prophet  is is the last in the long chain of Prophets to have been sent to this world for the guidance and spiritual rectification of mankind. While the ancient Prophets such as Noah, Abraham, Moses, Elias and Jesus (peace be upon them all), were sent to a specific time or nation (such as the Children of Israel), our Prophet Muhammad is Rahmatan Lil-‘Ālamīn ‘a Mercy for all the worlds’, and he has been sent for all nations and all times until Judgment Day. Through him the door of Nubuwwa or prophethood has not only been shut but sealed forever. This means that the Revelation and guidance which he came with, being perfect and complete, is for all nations and all times and nothing will come after it to either abrogate or even amend a single jot of it. Now we see that the wisdom and essence of ‘Finality of Prophethood’ is not concerning divine communication with Allāh, but rather perfection and completion of the Religion through its laws and regulations, i.e., Sharī’a. In this way, sayyidinā Muhammad is not only the last Prophet, but his Qur’ān is the last divinely revealed Scripture, his Umma (nation) is the last chosen people and his Mosque in Madīna is the last place of worship to bear the sanctity of a religious shrine. It is quite noteworthy that virtually no other major world religion (Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Taoism etc.) makes such an uncompromising and glorious claim to absolute finality and perfection as Islām does.

As for the question of the cessation of all forms of divine revelation, or Wahi this has historically been a contentious issue among the Muslim Umma. On one side were the rigid Mu’tazilites, a rationalist sect averse to the idea that someone could receive divine communication from Allāh in any form after the passing away of the Prophet . Occupying the opposite end of the pole are the Sūfis, with the essence of Sufism being the idea that Allāh communicates, via inspiration, with the Islamic saints who strive to replicate the Prophetic experience through intensification of devotion and remembrance of Allāh.
A modern so-called ‘Islamic’ intellectual, Mr. Jāwaid Ghāmidi, heavily under the influence of the heretical Mu’tazila and corrosive modernism, outright rejects any form of divine inspiration to an Ummati: “Thus no possibility remains for a person to receive divine revelations or visions or to converse and come in contact with God. After the termination of the institution of prophethood, all these things have ended too.” (Faith and Beliefs, p. 87)
Ghāmidi asserts that there is absolutely no means available to anyone to have contact and communication with Allāh:
 
The only redemption for Ghāmidi in this regard is that he confesses to the possibility of Ru’ya al-Sādiqa meaning a good dream that a Believer may see in his sleep bearing glad tidings. Apart from this, for him all forms of divine inspiration and communication from Allāh have ceased absolutely.
Now in order to deconstruct and demolish Ghāmidi’s doubt, I will first present some Ayāt of the Qur’ān al-Karīm which lays down a fundamental principle concerning divine inspiration and direct guidance from Allāh. In condemning the worshipers of the golden calf, Allāh the Exalted says:


أَلَمْ يَرَوْا أَنَّهُ لَا يُكَلِّمُهُمْ وَلَا يَهْدِيهِمْ سَبِيلًا

Did they not see that it could not speak to them nor guide them a way? (Sūra 7: 148)


أَفَلَا يَرَوْنَ أَلَّا يَرْجِعُ إِلَيْهِمْ قَوْلًا وَلَا يَمْلِكُ لَهُمْ ضَرًّا وَلَا نَفْعًا

Did they not see that it could not return to them any speech and that it did not possess for them any harm or benefit? (Sūra 20: 89)


وَالَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ مِن دُونِهِ لَا يَسْتَجِيبُونَ لَهُم بِشَيْءٍ

Those who are invoked apart from Him (Allah) cannot respond to them in anything (Sūra 13: 14)


These and other Verses lay down a critical doctrine that defines Islām; Allāh is Someone Who speaks and communicates for the purpose of guiding those Whom He wishes to guide, unlike the dead, lifeless and useless idols crafted by the hands of man which are deaf, mute and blind. Allāh’s Attribute of Kalām ‘speech’ and being Mutakallim ‘One Who speaks’ is an article of faith for Muslims. It is one of the things which distinguishes Him as the true God from the unclean idols that are falsely worshiped. Therefore, to say that Allāh does not speak to His servants, or that He used to speak to them in ancient times but no longer does so until Judgment Day, is tantamount to denying the glory of Allāh. From the Salaf, Hārūn b. Ma’rūf (d. 231 H) said: “Whoever claims that Allāh does not speak then he is a worshiper of idols.”
The Qur’ān likewise informs us that Wahi or divine revelation is not given exclusively to Prophets, but saintly non-Prophets have also been honored with Wahi, such as the mother of Moses (Sūra 28: 7), Mary mother of Jesus (Sūra 3: 42-43, 45-46) and the Disciples of Jesus (Sūra 5: 111). How then is it conceivable that Allāh honored the saintly non-Prophets from the Children of Israel with divine inspiration, but the Ummat of Muhammad is barred from it? The fact of the matter is that divine inspiration will continue to descend upon the hearts of saintly Believers until Judgment Day, but it is not the kind of Wahi that contains fresh commands and prohibitions, nor can it abrogate or contradict the Prophetic Revelation, especially the Holy Qur’ān. Rather, it is the kind of divine inspiration, similar to that which descended upon the saintly non-Prophets of the Children of Israel, which is meant for guiding to the truth, and giving personal instructions that do not conflict with the Sharī’a. For example, if a Muslim is confused as to what to do or what decision to make, he or she prays to Allāh for guidance, then Allāh puts divine inspiration into their heart guiding them to the right course of action. Likewise, if a person’s heart is pure, Allāh may put divine inspiration in his or her heart guiding them to Islām or the Saved Sect of Islām. Therefore no Muslim can deny the divine inspiration of guidance, although the divine inspiration of legislation (Tashrī’) has certainly ceased with the ‘Finality of Prophethood’. Then there is also the divine inspiration of comforting a distressed heart of someone beloved to Allāh, as in the example of the Mother of Moses (Sūra 28: 10):
 

وَأَصْبَحَ فُؤَادُ أُمِّ مُوسَىٰ فَارِغًا ۖ إِن كَادَتْ لَتُبْدِي بِهِ لَوْلَا أَن رَّبَطْنَا عَلَىٰ قَلْبِهَا لِتَكُونَ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ

And there was a hole in the heart of Moses’s Mother. She was about to disclose [the matter concerning] him had We not bound fast her heart that she would be of the believers. (Sūra 28: 10)

Yet another form of divine inspiration that hasn’t ceased is that which contains glad tidings. This form of inspiration is known as al-Mubashshirāt and particularly manifests itself as good and pious Visions that a Believer sees in a dream. It is in fact one of the forty-six parts of Nubuwwa (Prophethood) which remains among the Umma. This is the only means for a non-Prophet from the Umma to be acquainted with something of the Mughayibāt or affairs of the Unseen; as ordinarily knowledge of the Unseen is only revealed to a Rasūl or Messenger of God (Sūra 72: 26 – 27). So we have concluded that while divine inspiration of legislation, or Wahi al-Tashrī’ has terminated absolutely, other forms of inspiration for guidance to the truth, personal guidance, emotional comfort and strengthening of the heart, and glad tidings (in the form of good dreams) have not ceased.
To be continued ان شاء الله

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