Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Continuation of Divine Inspiration (Part 4)

This is the fourth part of the series ‘Continuation of Divine Inspiration’. In the previous entry we looked at the reality of the Muhaddath, and the confirmation of the existence of Muhaddathin within the Ummah as a critical proof that divine inspiration continues after the ‘Finality of Prophethood’ of sayyidina Muhammad . In this entry we shall look at specific instances of divine inspiration to the Ummah, particularly to the Sahabah (may Allah be pleased with them). In a previous entry we examined the Ayat of the Holy Qur’an where visitation by a Messenger (Angel) is one of the three mediums through which Allah Most High communicates with a human being (Sura 42: 51). The Prophet said:

إِنَّ لِلشَّيْطَانِ لَمَّةً بِابْنِ آدَمَ وَلِلْمَلَكِ لَمَّةً فَأَمَّا لَمَّةُ الشَّيْطَانِ فَإِيعَادٌ بِالشَّرِّ وَتَكْذِيبٌ بِالْحَقِّ وَأَمَّا لَمَّةُ الْمَلَكِ فَإِيعَادٌ بِالْخَيْرِ وَتَصْدِيقٌ بِالْحَقِّ فَمَنْ وَجَدَ ذَلِكَ فَلْيَعْلَمْ أَنَّهُ مِنَ اللَّهِ فَلْيَحْمَدِ اللَّهَ
Indeed, Satan has an effect on the son of Adam, and the Angel also has an effect. As for Satan, it is by threatening evil repercussions and rejecting the truth. As for the effect of the Angel, it is by his promise of a good end and believing in the truth. Whoever finds that, let him know that it is from Allah, and let him praise Allah for it. (Tirmidhi Sharif)

An example of this happened to the companion Hudaifah b. al-Yaman (may Allah be pleased with him):

عَنْ حُذَيْفَةَ بنِ الْيَمَانِ أَنَّهُ أَتَى النَّبيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ، فَقَالَ : بيْنَمَا أَنَا أُصَلِّي إِذْ سَمِعْتُ مُتَكَلِّمًا يَقُولُ : اللَّهُمَّ لَكَ الْحَمْدُ كُلُّهُ ، وَلَكَ الْمُلْكُ كُلُّهُ ، بيَدِكَ الْخَيْرُ كُلُّهُ ، إِلَيْكَ يُرْجَعُ الْأَمْرُ كُلُّهُ ، عَلَانِيَتُهُ وَسِرُّهُ ، فَأَهْلٌ أَنْ تُحْمَدَ ، إِنَّكَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ ، اللَّهُمَّ اغْفِرْ لِي جَمِيعَ مَا مَضَى مِنْ ذَنْبي ، وَاعْصِمْنِي فِيمَا بقِيَ مِنْ عُمْرِي ، وَارْزُقْنِي عَمَلًا زَاكِيًا تَرْضَى بهِ عَنِّي ، فَقَالَ النَّبيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ : " ذَاكَ مَلَكٌ أَتَاكَ يُعَلِّمُكَ تَحْمِيدَ رَبكَ
Hudaifah b. al-Yaman narrates that he came to the Prophet and said: While I was praying Salat I heard a speaker saying:

Allaahumma Lakal-Hamdu Kulluhu, wa Lakal-Mulkuhu Kulluhu, Biyadikal-Khayru Kulluhu, Ilayka Turja’ul-Amru Kulluhu, ‘Alaaniyatuhu wa Sirruhu, fahlun an Tuhmada, Innaka ‘alaa Kulli Shay’in Qadeer. Allaahummaghfirlee Jamee’a maa Madaa min Dhanbee, waa’simnee feemaa Baqiya min ‘Umree, Warzuqnee ‘Amalan Zaakiyan Tardaa bihi ‘Anee

The Prophet said: “That was an Angel who came to you to teach you Praise of your Lord.” (Musnad Ahmad)

Similarly, on the day of Khaibar, the Prophet’s companion Hassan b. Thabit was reciting poetry inspired to him by Angel Gabriel to lampoon the unbelievers, and this is confirmed when the Prophet said to him:

جِبْرِيلُ مَعَكَ
“Gabriel is with you”
(Bukhari & Muslim)

In fact, the Prophet prayed that his companion Hassan b. Thabit be strengthened by the Holy Spirit just as Jesus of Nazareth was (Sura 2: 87, 253; Sura 5: 110):

اللَّهُمَّ أَيِّدْهُ بِرُوحِ الْقُدُسِ
“O Allah, strengthen him (Hassan) with the Holy Spirit”
(Bukhari & Muslim)

A magnificent companion, Abdullah the father of Jabir, told his son on the eve of the Battle of Uhud:

مَا أُرَانِي إِلاَّ مَقْتُولاً فِي أَوَّلِ مَنْ يُقْتَلُ مِنْ أَصْحَابِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم
“I see that I will be the first of the Companions of the Prophet  to be killed.”
And so this divinely inspired premonition of Jabir’s father was fulfilled and he was the first person to be martyred in that battle (Bukhari)

This is an example of Kashaf (vision of the unseen).

The continuity of Ilham (divine inspiration) in the Ummah was confirmed by the Prophet

إِذَا أَرَادَ اللَّهُ بِعَبْدٍ خَيْرًا فَقَهَّهُ فِي الدِّينِ وَأَلْهَمَهُ رُشْدَهُ
“When Allah intends for his servant goodness, He gives him understanding in the Religion and inspires him with His guidance.” (Musnad al-Bazar)

Another form of divine inspiration is called Firasah (spiritual insight). The Prophet is reported to have said:

اتَّقُوا فِرَاسَةَ الْمُؤْمِنِ فَإِنَّهُ يَنْظُرُ بِنُورِ اللَّهِ
“Beware of the Believer’s Intuition, for indeed he sees with Allah’s Light.” (Tirmidhi)

Some people may object and say all the examples given thus far of the divine inspirations to the Prophet’s Companions (Allah be pleased with them) were during the Prophet’s own lifetime. They insist that it is only after the death of the Prophet that all forms of divine inspiration have ceased absolutely. But this idea too is baseless. The first divine revelation to have occurred immediately after the death of the Prophet was experienced by many of his Companions concerning how to wash the Prophet’s body:

سَمِعْتُ عَائِشَةَ، تَقُولُ لَمَّا أَرَادُوا غَسْلَ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالُوا وَاللَّهِ مَا نَدْرِي أَنُجَرِّدُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم مِنْ ثِيَابِهِ كَمَا نُجَرِّدُ مَوْتَانَا أَمْ نُغَسِّلُهُ وَعَلَيْهِ ثِيَابُهُ فَلَمَّا اخْتَلَفُوا أَلْقَى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمُ النَّوْمَ حَتَّى مَا مِنْهُمْ رَجُلٌ إِلاَّ وَذَقْنُهُ فِي صَدْرِهِ ثُمَّ كَلَّمَهُمْ مُكَلِّمٌ مِنْ نَاحِيَةِ الْبَيْتِ لاَ يَدْرُونَ مَنْ هُوَ أَنِ اغْسِلُوا النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَعَلَيْهِ ثِيَابُهُ
Narrated Aisha, Ummul Mu'minin: When we intended to wash the Prophet , by Allah, we did not know whether we should take off the clothes of the Messenger of Allah as we took off the clothes of our dead, or wash him while his clothes were on him. When they (the people) differed among themselves, Allah cast slumber over them until every one of them had put his chin on his chest. Then a speaker spoke from a side of the house, and they did not know who he was: “Wash the Prophet while his clothes are on him.” (Abi Dawud)

This mysterious voice is a form of divine Revelation. In Judaism it is known as Bat Kol
The Rabbis teach that upon the death of the latter prophets, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi, “the Holy Spirit departed from Israel”; the prophets continued to be informed of God’s will, choice or judgment to humankind by means of a heavenly or divine voice — a bat kol. Bat kol literally means “daughter of a voice,” the word “bat” (daughter) suggesting that this was not a direct voice from heaven, but a derivative sound issuing from that voice, a sort of echo. The rabbinic statement implies that the classic prophetic experience of ruach hakodesh (the holy spirit) or gilui shekhinah (manifestation of God’s presence) could no longer be experienced in rabbinic times and that the experience of a bat kol was an entirely different phenomenon. As the sole means of communication between God and man after the cessation of prophecy, the bat kol was sometimes perceived as an external voice and at other times only in dreams.

In Islam, another form of divine inspiration is Sharh al-Sadr (lit. ‘opening of the heart’). This term is mentioned in the Holy Qur’an with respect to Prophets Moses and Muhammad (Sura 20: 25; Sura 94: 1). However, the Holy Qur’an informs us that Sharh al-Sadr is not exclusive to Prophets:

فَمَن يُرِدِ اللَّـهُ أَن يَهْدِيَهُ يَشْرَحْ صَدْرَهُ لِلْإِسْلَامِ
So whoever Allah wants to guide - He expands his chest to Islam
(Sura 6: 125)

أَفَمَن شَرَحَ اللَّـهُ صَدْرَهُ لِلْإِسْلَامِ فَهُوَ عَلَىٰ نُورٍ مِّن رَّبِّهِ
So is one whose chest Allah has expanded to Islam and he is upon a Light from his Lord
(Sura 39: 22)

And this form of divine inspiration was given to the Prophet’s first successor, sayyidina Abu Bakr (Allah be pleased with him) immediately after the Prophet’s death. At that time, many of the Bedouin tribes became apostate and were in open rebellion against Islam by rejecting the Zakat and the succession of Abu BakrRA. Despite many other immanent challenges facing the nascent Muslim community, Abu BakrRA was determined to fight the apostate tribes. Initially, the rest of the Companions strongly discouraged him from doing so, but Abu BakrRA was adamant because he was being inspired by Allah to take that course of action:

قَالَ عُمَرُ فَوَاللَّهِ مَا هُوَ إِلاَّ أَنْ رَأَيْتُ أَنْ قَدْ شَرَحَ اللَّهُ صَدْرَ أَبِي بَكْرٍ لِلْقِتَالِ فَعَرَفْتُ أَنَّهُ الْحَقُّ

UmarRA said: “By Allah, it was nothing, but I noticed that Allah opened Abu Bakr’s heart towards the decision to fight, therefore I realized that his decision was right” (Bukhari & Muslim)


  1. In the Hadith of the Firasah of the Believer (which al-Haythami declared authentic), the Prophet ﷺ recited the Ayat: إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّلْمُتَوَسِّمِينَ "Verily, in that are Signs for those who discern" (Sura 15: 75). It is reported from several different chains that Mujahid b. Jabr interpreted للمتوسّمين to mean للـمتفرّسين 'for those who have Firasah' (Tafsir Ibn Jarir)

  2. السلام عليكم
    Is there anyway I could contact you?


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