Sunday, 30 October 2016

Ahl al Hadith Abdullah Ghaznawi (R.A) and Revelation of Qur'anic Verse to Non-Prophet

In the Name of Allah; the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful
One of the objections leveled against Hadrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the founder of the Ahmadiyya movement, is that he arrogated the status of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) to himself by claiming that certain Ayaat (verses) of the Holy Qur’an in which the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) is singularly addressed by Allah have been revealed upon him and that he (Hadrat Mirza) is being addressed by Allah Most High in those same Ayaat. The anti-“Qadiani” site Irshad.org which is the official site of the Idara Dawat-o-Irshad, USA, Inc., has a list of eighteen such verses of the Holy Qur’an in which Allah is addressing the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) specifically, and allege that Hadrat Mirza sahib “misappropriated” the meaning of these verses to himself by claiming that they were revealed to him and that Allah is addressing him in those verses. The reader may refer to point number 6 of the article entitled “Qadiani Changes to the Translation of the Holy Quran” on the Irshad.org website here, which begins with this absolutely false statement: “Mirza Ghulam Qadiani claimed that the following verse revealed in the Holy Quran to prophet Muhammad(SAW) were revealed and intended for him and not the prophet Muhammad(SAW)!”
While it is true that Hadrat Mirza sahib did indeed claim that these cited verses of the Holy Qur’an were revealed to him, it is blatantly false and a manifest lie on the part of the Irshad.org website to state that Hadrat Mirza further claimed that these verses were not originally “revealed and intended for the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam)”. We challenge Irshad.org or any other anti-“Qadiani” group or individual to produce any evidence proving that Hadrat Mirza held the belief that any verse of the Holy Qur’an was not originally revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) or that Allah did not address the Prophet in any one of these eighteen verses.
The truth is that Hadrat Mirza sahib’s belief is that these eighteen verses cited by Irshad.org were indeed originally revealed upon the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) and that he (the Prophet) was specifically addressed by Allah in these verses. However, Allah continues to inspire chosen saints within the Ummah with revelations and inspirations, and there are many examples of saints and pious people within the Ummah getting fresh inspirations from Allah containing verses of the Holy Qur’an – including verses in which the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) is specifically addressed.
For example, Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani has stated in his Futuh al-Ghaib discourses that a saintly person who attains nearness to Allah will be addressed with words from the Holy Qur’an which the Prophet Joseph (peace be upon him) is being specifically addressed:
إِنَّكَ الْيَوْمَ لَدَيْنَا مَكِينٌ أَمِينٌ
Surely, thou art in Our presence today dignified, trusted (Sura 12:54)
I have already uploaded the reference including scanned page from Futuh al-Ghaib in a previous entry on my blog here.
Shaikh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani (Rahimahullah) also claimed that the following verse of the Holy Qur’an in which Allah addresses Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) was revealed to him and he (Sh. Abdul Qadir) is being addressed by Allah:
وَاصْطَنَعْتُكَ لِنَفْسِي
And I produced you for Myself. (Sura 20:41)
There are many other examples of verses of the Holy Qur’an in which originally Allah is addressing another Prophet or even the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) but which various Muslim saints from the Ummah have claimed that they were inspired by Allah with the same Verses and they too are being addressed in them. The very eminent and saintly scholar of the Tawhid movement and associated with the Ahl-al-Hadith or Salafiyyah sect of Islam – namely ‘Allamah ‘Abdullah Ghaznawi (Rahimahullah) himself had frequent revelations and inspirations from Allah containing Verses of the Holy Qur’an, including such verses in which the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) is specifically addressed. He too was accused by narrow-minded Mullas of the Indian subcontinent of heresy. In response to this specific allegation, and to clarify an important point, his son, Mawlana Abdul Jabbar Ghaznawi wrote:

مغالطہ: اور قرآن میں بعض آیات ایسے ہیں کہ ان میں خاص رسول اللہ صلعم ہی مخاطب ہےانکے سوائے کوئی مخاطب بن نہیں سکتا۔
ھدایہ: اگر الہام میں اس آیت کا القا ہو جس میں خاص آنحضرت کو خطاب ہے تو صاحب الہام اپنے حق میں خیال کر کےاسکےمضمون کو اپنے حال سے مطابق کریگا اور نصیحت پکریگا
Translation: “Error 162: Certain verses of the Qur’an are such that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) has been addressed specifically, and no one else can be addressed by them. Clarification: If in the Ilhaam (inspiration) there is a verse in which the Prophet (peace be upon him) is specifically addressed, then the Saahib-i-Ilhaam (recipient of inspiration) should, nevertheless, understand it as concerning himself and fit it into his own personal circumstances so as to obtain beneficial guidance from it.”

Reference: Ithbat al-Ilham; p.142


Splitting of the Moon; An Eclipse?

In the Name of Allah; the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful
Allah Most High says:
اقْتَرَبَتِ السَّاعَةُ وَانشَقَّ الْقَمَرُ۝
وَإِن يَرَوْا آيَةً يُعْرِضُوا وَيَقُولُوا سِحْرٌ مُّسْتَمِرٌّ۝
The Hour has come near, and the moon has split [in two]. And if they see a Sign, they turn away and say, “Passing magic.” (Sura 54:1-2)
The famous miracle of the Prophet (peace be upon him) of splitting the moon into two is accepted by all Muslims except some of the most deviant Hadith-rejecters and modernists. However, examining the reality of this powerful Sign from Allah and determining as to whether the moon was literally broken into two, or whether it refers to a kind of eclipse, is surely a legitimate undertaking.
Those who believe in a literal cracking of the moon into two pieces are faced with a dilemma as to why there is no historical, extra-Islamic source which confirms the fact that the moon appeared “split” from anywhere else in the world. If the moon was indeed literally broken into two pieces, such an extraordinary event would surely have other historical witnesses from at least somewhere else in the world apart from Arabia.
The fact that apparently there exists no other such historical evidence corroborating the occurrence of this miraculous sign upon its literal conception, lends credence to our view that the splitting of the moon was a local phenomenon in Mecca and its vicinity only. This could only be true if it is accepted that the splitting of the moon was not a literal breaking of the moon into two, but a kind of eclipse. This view is strongly supported by the narration of Abdullah b. Mas’ud (Allah be pleased with him) as reported in Sahih Muslim:
عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ مَسْعُودٍ ، قَالَ : " انْشَقَّ الْقَمَرُ عَلَى عَهْدِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فِلْقَتَيْنِ ، فَسَتَرَ الْجَبَلُ فِلْقَةً ، وَكَانَتْ فِلْقَةٌ فَوْقَ الْجَبَلِ ، فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ : " اللَّهُمَّ اشْهَدْ "
Abdullah b. Mas’ud narrates that the moon was split in the time of Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) into two parts. The mountain concealed a part, and [the other] part was [visible] above the mountain. So Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “O Allah, bear witness”
This narration from Abdullah b. Mas’ud (Allah be pleased with him) clearly indicates that the Sign of the splitting of the moon manifested itself as a kind of eclipse, where the moon was partially eclipsed or concealed by a mountain. However, an obvious objection to this view is that how could such a thing be considered as a miracle or a Sign of God?
It has also been suggested that the splitting of the moon was perhaps a type of shared Kashaf (vision). This means that Allah made the people of Mecca and its vicinity see the moon split into two parts. An example for this kind of vision is found elsewhere in the Holy Qur’an, when Allah says:
فَارْتَقِبْ يَوْمَ تَأْتِي السَّمَاءُ بِدُخَانٍ مُّبِينٍ۝
يَغْشَى النَّاسَ هَـٰذَا عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ۝
Then watch for the Day when the sky will bring a visible smoke. Covering the people; this is a painful torment. (Sura 44:10-11)
Once again, Abdullah b. Mas’ud (Allah be pleased with him) has interpreted the reality of this Sign of smoke from the sky, just as he interpreted the reality of the splitting of the moon:
قَالَ عَبْدُ اللَّهِ : إِنَّمَا كَانَ هَذَا لِأَنَّ قُرَيْشًا لَمَّا اسْتَعْصَوْا عَلَى النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ دَعَا عَلَيْهِمْ بِسِنِينَ كَسِنِي يُوسُفَ ، فَأَصَابَهُمْ قَحْطٌ ، وَجَهْدٌ حَتَّى أَكَلُوا الْعِظَامَ ، فَجَعَلَ الرَّجُلُ يَنْظُرُ إِلَى السَّمَاءِ ، فَيَرَى مَا بَيْنَهُ وَبَيْنَهَا كَهَيْئَةِ الدُّخَانِ مِنَ الْجَهْدِ ، فَأَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى : فَارْتَقِبْ يَوْمَ تَأْتِي السَّمَاءُ بِدُخَانٍ مُبِينٍ { 10 } يَغْشَى النَّاسَ هَذَا عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ { 11 } سورة الدخان آية 10-11
Abdullah said: It (i.e., the imagined smoke) was because, when the Quraish refused to obey the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam), he asked Allah to afflict them with years of famine similar to those of (Prophet) Joseph. So they were stricken with famine and fatigue, so much so that they ate even bones. A man would look towards the sky and imagine seeing something like smoke between him and the sky because of extreme fatigue. So Allah revealed: “Then watch you for the Day that the sky will bring forth a kind of smoke plainly visible, covering the people; this is a painful of torment.” (44.10-11)
Sahih al-Bukhari; Kitab Tafsiril Qur’an
Now although the apparent wording of the Holy Qur’an is that the smoke shall come from the sky, the reality, as explained by the eminent companion Abdullah b. Mas’ud (Allah be pleased with him) is that the smoke appeared to the starving people of Quraish due to their mental state caused by the seven years of extreme famine. They would collapse due to extreme hunger and fatigue and their vision would become cloudy or foggy, as if they were seeing smoke coming from the sky, perhaps because they were lying on their back gazing at the heavens. In summary, the vision of the smoke from the sky was a hallucination due to starvation and not that there was literally smoke coming from the direction of the sky.
So when we examine this issue of the splitting of the moon, we see that there are two plausible and reasonable alternative possibilities: 1. That the splitting of the moon was a type of eclipse caused by the moon being partially concealed behind the top of a mountain as explained by Abdullah b. Mas’ud, and 2. That the splitting of the moon was a special vision restricted to the people of Mecca but the moon was not literally split, just like the vision of the smoke from the sky was not literal but a special vision due to hallucination from hunger as explained by Abdullah b. Mas’ud.


It is my view that these two possible explanations are not necessarily mutually exclusive. My view is that (and Allah knows best), the moon being eclipsed by the mountain was what triggered this powerful vision that was shared by the people of Mecca. This would answer the initial question as to how could the mere eclipse of the moon in the sense of it being partially concealed by the top of a mountain be considered a miracle or an extraordinary heavenly Sign. The Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) himself explained that the eclipse of the sun and the moon are two signs from the Signs of Allah, notwithstanding the fact that a solar and lunar eclipse are natural phenomena, and not extraordinary or supernatural.
The Qur’an states in the subsequent verse that when the polytheists witnessed this Sign they described it as “passing magic” (54:2). Anas b. Malik (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the people of Mecca requested of the Prophet (peace be upon him) that he show them a Sign, and in response the moon was immediately split into two. Now even if the splitting of the moon, due to eclipse or being concealed by the top of the mountain, occurred naturally and not supernaturally, it is still a Sign because of the time of its occurrence immediately after the polytheists demanding a Sign. For example, rain is a natural and ordinary occurrence, but the sudden occurrence of rain in unfavorable circumstances of weather is a Sign when the Prophet (peace be upon him) supplicated to Allah to send down rain and in response it immediately began to rain. This explains why the dumbfounded polytheists, who immediately witnessed the splitting of the moon, even if as a natural occurring phenomena, just moments after demanding a Sign from the Prophet, could find no means of escape except to allege that what had just transpired was an example of “passing magic”. And Allah knows best!

The Rider on the Camel: A Prophecy of Muhammad (Peace be upon him)

In the Name of Allah; the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful

One of the very clear prophecies in the Hebrew Bible concerning the advent of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is the following:

וְרָ֣אָה  רֶ֗כֶב  צֶ֚מֶד  פָּֽרָשִׁ֔ים  רֶ֥כֶב  חֲמ֖וֹר  רֶ֣כֶב  גָּמָ֑ל  וְהִקְשִׁ֥יב  קֶ֖שֶׁב  רַב־  קָֽשֶׁב

And should he see chariotry of a pair of riders, one riding an ass, (and) one riding a camel” (Book of Isaiah; ch.21 v.7)

The rider of the ass (donkey) is a clear reference to the Messiah (Zechariah 9:9). It is said that the Messiah of Nazareth fulfilled this prophecy by riding into Jerusalem seated on a colt, the foal of a donkey, as mentioned in the Gospel of Mark (ch. 11).

The Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) also used to ride on a donkey, but he was most well known for riding on the camel, thus the “one riding a camel” aptly describes him. During the Hijrah (exodus), the Prophet (peace be upon him) famously rode into the town of Medina seated upon a camel. Similarly, during the conquest of Mecca, he rode humbly into the city that had persecuted and expelled him upon a camel.

What is quite interesting, however, is that learned Jewish rabbis have acknowledged the fact that this prophecy of Isaiah was fulfilled by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) specifically, and the Ishmaelites (Arabs) generally. The mid-8th century Jewish apocalyptic text the Nistarot or Secrets of Rabbi Shimon b. Yohai has been translated by John C. Reeves and can be read here. It is attributed to the great Jewish sage of the 2nd century, Rabbi Shimon ben Yohai. A passage in this Jewish apocalypse states:

R. Šim‘on answered and said: ‘From whence are they (understood as) our deliverance?’  He said to him: ‘Did not Isaiah the prophet speak thusly? “And should he see chariotry of a pair of riders, one riding an ass, (and) one riding a camel” (Isa 21:7).’ Why did he put the ‘rider of an ass’ before the ‘rider of a camel’? Should he not instead have said ‘rider of a camel, rider of an ass’? (No, the textual sequence means that) when the one who rides the camel (Ishmael or Muhammad) emerges, the kingdom ruled by the ‘one mounted upon an ass’ (Zech 9:9) has manifested (lit. ‘sprouted’) by his (i.e., Ishmael’s or Muhammad’s) agency. Another opinion: ‘rider of an ass’ (connotes) at the (same) time when he ‘rides upon an ass’ (Zech 9:9). Consequently they (Ishmael) are a deliverance for Israel like the deliverance (associated with) the ‘one mounted upon an ass’ (Zech 9:9).

Similarly it is stated in the Tefillat or Prayer of Rabbi Shimon b. Yohai (translated here):

I turned to Metatron and said to him, ‘Are the Ishmaelites a deliverance for Israel?’ He said to me, ‘Did not Isaiah the prophet speak thusly? “And should he see chariotry of a pair of riders, one riding an ass, (and) one riding a camel” (Isa 21:7).’ “Chariotry”—this (word) refers to the Achaemenid empire. “Pair”—this (word) refers to the Greek empire(s).  “Riders”—this (word) refers to the Roman empire. “One riding an ass”—this (phrase) refers to the Messiah, as Scripture attests: “humble and mounted upon an ass” (Zech 9:9). “One riding a camel”—this (phrase) refers to the kingdom of Ishmael, during whose rule the Messianic kingdom will sprout. This is why (the phrase) “one riding an ass” precedes (the phrase) “one riding a camel” (in the verse from Isaiah). The “one riding a camel” will rejoice at the advent of the Messiah; nevertheless, the sages perish and the power of the riff-raff grows stronger.’

To summarize, the Jewish apocalypticist who composed this text in the mid-8th century, or if it is indeed originally attributed to the 2nd century Jewish sage Rashbi, believed that the prophecy of the rider on the ass refers to the promised Jewish Messiah and that the rider on the camel is a prophecy of our beloved master Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the emergence of the Ishmaelites (Arabs) after him.


However, one point which has caused difficulty for this apocalyptic Jewish view is that the rider of the ass preceeds the rider of the camel in the text of Isaiah chapter 21. For us Muslims this is no problem as we do believe that Jesus was the promised Messiah and preceded our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon them both) by some six centuries. However, the Jews failed to recognize their own Messiah and were thus puzzled as to why the rider of the camel (Prophet Muhammad) is preceded by the rider of the ass, i.e., the Messiah, whom they are still expecting.

The Valley of Ants

Image result for ant swarm
In the Name of Allah; the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful
Continuing our theme of the esoteric meanings found in the Suhuf-i-Mutahhara (the Qur’an), we come to the passage referring to the Valley of Ants:
حَتَّىٰ إِذَا أَتَوْا عَلَىٰ وَادِ النَّمْلِ قَالَتْ نَمْلَةٌ يَا أَيُّهَا النَّمْلُ ادْخُلُوا مَسَاكِنَكُمْ لَا يَحْطِمَنَّكُمْ سُلَيْمَانُ وَجُنُودُهُ وَهُمْ لَا يَشْعُرُونَ۝
Until, when they came upon the Valley of the Ants, an ant said, “O ants, enter your dwellings that you not be crushed by Solomon and his soldiers while they perceive not.” (Sura 27:18)
The phrase “Valley of the Ants” is interesting, because ants are not ordinarily associated with valleys. Ants, as in the insect, live in colonies and build unique nests for themselves. Ants are fascinating creatures, according to the article on them in Wikipedia: “Ant societies have division of labour, communication between individuals, and an ability to solve complex problems. These parallels with human societies have long been an inspiration and subject of study.”
In addition to the fact that ants are already recognized as creatures that have “parallels with human societies”, the Holy Qur’an elsewhere gives similitudes of animals with human beings. For example:
أَمْ تَحْسَبُ أَنَّ أَكْثَرَهُمْ يَسْمَعُونَ أَوْ يَعْقِلُونَ إِنْ هُمْ إِلَّا كَالْأَنْعَامِ بَلْ هُمْ أَضَلُّ سَبِيلًا۝
Or do you think that most of them hear or reason? They are not except like livestock. Rather, they are [even] more astray in [their] way. (25:44)
Allah Most High compares the astray human beings who lack reason to livestock or cattle.
مَثَلُ الَّذِينَ حُمِّلُوا التَّوْرَاةَ ثُمَّ لَمْ يَحْمِلُوهَا كَمَثَلِ الْحِمَارِ يَحْمِلُ أَسْفَارًا
The example of those who were entrusted with the Torah and then did not take it on is like that of a donkey who carries volumes of books (62:5)
Allah Most High compares the Jewish rabbis, scribes and teachers of the law who were entrusted with the Holy Torah but subsequently failed to follow its precepts to a donkey which is overloaded with books. For the donkey, which is unable to gain any benefit from the books, the heavy load it is forced to carry is only a burden. Elsewhere, the Holy Qur’an compares the polytheists who flee from the preaching of the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) to “alarmed donkeys” (74:50).
فَمَثَلُهُ كَمَثَلِ الْكَلْبِ إِن تَحْمِلْ عَلَيْهِ يَلْهَثْ أَوْ تَتْرُكْهُ يَلْهَث
So his example is like that of the dog: if you chase him, he pants, or if you leave him, he [still] pants. (7:176)
Allah Most High compares one who was given knowledge of Allah’s Signs but subsequently detaches himself from them to a dog.
And there are many other such similitudes to be found from the authentic Ahadith of the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam).
Returning to the ants, it is not at all too far fetched to understand the meaning of “ants” along these lines of descriptive or expressive allegory.
Another strong indication of this is the meaning of the roots from which the names of certain animals are derived. For example, according to the Arabic-English Dictionary of Qur’anic Usage, the meaning of ح-م-ر (H-M-R)  from which the word donkey is derived is, among other things: “to be difficult; donkey” (p.234) Similarly, the meaning of خ-ن-ز-ر (KH-N-Z-R) the root from which the name for pig is derived, is, among other things: “to be rough and crude; pig” (p.287). The meaning ofك-ل-ب  (K-L-B) from which the name for dog is derived, is: “dog, any wild animal, to train animals and birds for hunting; to become fierce; rabies; to fight over; hanging hook; gluttony” (p.815)  And likewise, the meaning of  ق-ر-د (Q-R-D) from which the name for monkey is derived, is, among other things: “to deceive; to subdue, to humiliate; monkey” (p.749).   Taking into consideration these linguistic meanings associated with the root from which the names of all these animals, we can definitely say that Himaar, apart from meaning an actual donkey, can also mean a person who is stubborn or “difficult”. Khinzeer means pig but also a person who is “rough” and “crude”. Kalb means dog but also a person who is “fierce” and combative. Qird means an ape or monkey but also a person who has been “subdued” or “humiliated”.
Likewise, let us consider the linguistic meaning of the root ن-م-ل (N-M-L) from which the name for ant is derived: “ants; tips of the fingers; to invisibly mend a garment; to tell lies; to be restless, active person.” (p.966) In summary, the word Namlah (a singular ant) can mean a “restless, active person”, apart from the actual insect. Again, this is taking it from a purely linguistic point of view. Our interpretation is reinforced and strengthened by the fact that the Holy Qur’an is a religious text that naturally employs allegory, parables, and symbolism. Finally, the anthropomorphic description of the “ant” in Sura 27, for example, the term “Valley of the Ants”, the speaking of the ant and commanding the other ants to enter into their “dwellings” lends further credence to the view that in this passage the “ants” can mean an active or laborious people who were quartered in a particular valley. Allah Most High has referred to them as “ants” to expressively describe the fact that they were hard-working laborers, perhaps already in the employment of Prophet Solomon (and Allah knows best). It is noteworthy that “ants” are mentioned in the Book of Proverbs attributed to Prophet Solomon (Proverbs 6:6, 30:24).

The order to the “ants” that they should enter into their dwellings lest they be crushed by Solomon and his forces is understood to mean that when a mighty king and his cavalry march through some inhabited valley civilians are usually trampled under foot and it is expected that they should remove themselves from harm and seek safety inside their dwellings, (and Allah knows best).

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

The Reality of Yazid b. Mu'awiya

In the Name of Allah; the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful
The occasion of Ashura (10th of Muharram) having recently passed us, I felt it necessary in light of ongoing debates and controversy over the incident of Karbala, to shed some light on the personality of Yazid b. Mu’awiya. The latter was the ruler of the Muslim world who succeeded his father Mu’awiya in 680 C.E. During his tyrannical reign, the beloved maternal grandson of the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam), al-Imam al-Hussayn (‘alayhis salaam) was martyred along with a small band of his relatives and followers on the plains of Karbala in the country of Iraq. This tragic incident has remained the greatest stain in the history of Islam after the passing away of the Prophet (peace be upon him).
Recently, a modern trend has emerged among certain sections of the Muslim world in which Yazid is being defended. It is argued that Yazid was not responsible for the death of Imam Hussayn (peace be upon him), or that, God forbid, he was within his legitimate rights to order the fighting against Imam Hussayn and his family members which resulted in their martyrdom. This neo-Yazidi camp sometimes exhibit Nasibi tendencies (enmity towards the Ahl al-Bayt or household and progeny of the Prophet peace be upon them). According to this camp, Yazid was a righteous man and he was promised salvation citing the Hadith about the conquest of Constantinople as evidence. According to that Hadith it is stated that those Muslims who will form the first battalion to attack Constantinople will be forgiven and granted salvation. The Yazidi camp allege that Yazid was among that first battalion [a claim we dispute]. Others of this tendency take the position that it is forbidden to curse or dislike Yazid, as he was a Muslim and a legitimate Caliph of the Muslim Ummah.
In this specific entry, I only seek to unveil the reality of Yazid from a purely Islamic position, specifically in light of the sayings and prophecies of our Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam).
First, the general principle with regard to cursing Yazid can be understood from the following Hadith:
عَنْ عَوْفِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ ، عَنْ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ، قَالَ : " خِيَارُ أَئِمَّتِكُمُ الَّذِينَ تُحِبُّونَهُمْ وَيُحِبُّونَكُمْ ، وَيُصَلُّونَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَتُصَلُّونَ عَلَيْهِمْ ، وَشِرَارُ أَئِمَّتِكُمُ الَّذِينَ تُبْغِضُونَهُمْ وَيُبْغِضُونَكُمْ ، وَتَلْعَنُونَهُمْ وَيَلْعَنُونَكُمْ ، قِيلَ : يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ، أَفَلَا نُنَابِذُهُمْ بِالسَّيْفِ ، فَقَالَ : لَا ، مَا أَقَامُوا فِيكُمُ الصَّلَاةَ وَإِذَا رَأَيْتُمْ مِنْ وُلَاتِكُمْ شَيْئًا تَكْرَهُونَهُ ، فَاكْرَهُوا عَمَلَهُ وَلَا تَنْزِعُوا يَدًا مِنْ طَاعَةٍ "
It was narrated from ‘Awf bin Malik that the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “The best of your rulers are those whom you love and they love you, who invoke blessings upon you and you invoke blessings upon them. The worst of your rulers are those whom you hate and they hate you, and you invoke curses upon them and they invoke curses upon you.” It was said: “O Messenger of Allah, should we fight them with the sword?” He said: “No, not so long as they establish prayer among you. But if you see something in your rulers that you dislike, then hate their deeds, but do not withdraw your hand from obedience to them.” (Sahih Muslim; Kitab al-Imarah)
According to the purport of this Hadith, Yazid b. Mu’awiya is perhaps the worst of the rulers who ruled the Muslim Ummah because undoubtedly he is the most hated and cursed of such rulers by the Muslims, both Sunni and Shi’i, until this day. No other ruler has been as cursed and hated as Yazid.
Now let us turn to an authentically reported prophecy from the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) concerning Yazid:
حَدَّثَنَا هَوْذَةُ بْنُ خَلِيفَةَ ، عَنْ أَبِي خَلْدَةَ ، عَنْ عَوْفٍ ، عَنْ أَبِي الْعَالِيَةِ ، عَنْ أَبِي ذَرٍّ ، قَالَ : سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ، يَقُولُ : " أَوَّلُ مَنْ يُبَدِّلُ سُنَّتِي رَجُلٌ مِنْ بَنِي أُمَيَّةَ "
Abi Dharr (Allah be pleased with him) says: I heard Allah’s Messenger Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam saying: “The first person to change my Sunnah is a man from the Bani Omayya.” (Musannaf of Ibn Abi Shaybah and Al-Awa’il of Ibn ‘Asim)
According to another version from Abu Dardaa’ (Allah be pleased with him):
قَالَ أَبُو الدَّرْدَاءِ : سَمِعْتُ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ، يَقُولُ : " أَوَّلُ مَنْ يُبَدِّلُ سُنَّتِي رَجُلٌ مِنْ بَنِي أُمَيَّةَ , يُقَالُ لَهُ : يَزِيدُ "
I heard the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) saying: “The first person to change my Sunnah is a man from Bani Omayya, he called him ‘Yazid’” (Tarikh al-Islam of Imam al-Dhahabi)
According to this prophecy, Yazid, who was the second of the Omayyad rulers, was the first person to go against and change the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him).
The most eminent Salafi Muhaddith of this time, Muhammad Nasir Uddin al-Albani (1914-1999), authenticated this Hadith:
Reference: Silsilat al Ahadith al-Sahiha; no. 1749
But more damning for Yazid is the prophecy concerning Luka’ bin Luka’
حَدَّثَنَا يَحْيَى بْنُ أَبِي بُكَيْرٍ حَدَّثَنَا كَامِلٌ أَبُو الْعَلَاءِ ، قَالَ : سَمِعْتُ أَبَا صَالِحٍ ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ ، قَالَ : قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ : تَعَوَّذُوا بِاللَّهِ مِنْ رَأْسِ السَّبْعِينَ ، وَمَنْ إِمَارَةِ الصِّبْيَانِ  .
وَقَال : لَا تَذْهَبُ الدُّنْيَا حَتَّى تَصِيرَ لِلُكَعِ ابْنِ لُكَعٍ  .
Abi Hurairah (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “Seek refuge in Allah from the turn of the seventieth year, and from the rule of young boys.” And he said: “The world world will not pass until it first belongs to a mean Fool son of a mean Fool.”
Reference: Musnad Ahmad; no. 8303
According to other versions of this prophecy, it is the sixtieth year (of the Islamic calendar), incidentally, the year in which Yazid b. Mu’awiya seized control of the government.
The interpretation of eminent figures of this Ummah, no less a figure than Abi Hurairah (Allah be pleased with him) is that the rule of young boys and the tribulation of the sixtieth year is a reference to the rule of Yazid b. Mu’awiya (see the following article http://www.livingislam.org/n/ahtv_e.html for more details).

Consequently, my own interpretation is that the figure Luka’ b. Luka’ (the fool son of the fool, or disgraced son of disgraced), is a reference to Yazid in light of the Hadith I have cited above. In that Hadith Luka’ bin Luka’ is mentioned in the same breadth as the evil government of young boys.

Iqbal's Book Islam and Ahmadism...Refuted (Part 2)

In the Name of Allah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful

Continuing from my last entry regarding Iqbal’s Islam and Ahmadism, we now move on to another example of the author’s woeful ignorance. Iqbal says:

The history of Muslim Theology shows that mutual accusation of heresy on minor points of difference has, far from working as a disruptive force, actually given an impetus to synthetic theological thought.” (pp. 18-19)

Keep in mind that Iqbal has made the above claim on the basis of history. The reason is because just a few lines after this claim, Iqbal will once again shift gears and claim that it is in fact the “synthetic spirit of Islam” which is the remedy to the sectarian mischief of the mullas.

We see that Iqbal is forced to emphasize his fantastic notion of Islam’s synthetic spirit because his earlier claim of the history of Muslim theology giving impetus to synthetic theological thought is simply untrue. On the contrary, the history of Muslim theology is a history of bitter divisiveness, sectarianism and even violence. In our previous entry we already mentioned the first inquisition in the history of Islam known as the Mihnah. But in fact, the theological disputes that arose throughout the early, middle, and modern history of Islam even managed to create political division within the Ummah, not to mention appalling bloodshed and violence. Many Muslim theologians were executed by the government of their day for heresy. Others suffered persecution, imprisonment, and exile. Apart from Islamic theologians, jurists, and imams, Sufi mystics have also suffered persecution. The mystic Mansur al-Hallaj was executed for heresy. While it is true that many of those executed or imprisoned by the rulers of the time were often implicated in political intrigue or revolt against the State, nevertheless, the State did invoke heresy as the prima facie for their persecution of various theologians, jurists and mystics. The historical Islamic governments and dynasties also executed on charge of heresy many individuals for making heretical claims of being prophets, angels, a reappearance of a prophet, or possessing some kind of divinity. In modern times this phenomenon continues. Take for example the execution of Sayyid Qutb in Egypt, Mahmud Taha in Sudan, just to name a few in an ocean of such examples of outright religious persecution of Islamic theologians, reformers, mystics and claimants to prophethood or divinity.

The Sunni – Shi’ite controversy is the elephant in the room. But if Iqbal or anyone else were to insist that the horrendous history of bloodshed, persecution and violence among the Muslims as a result of this particular controversy is essentially political and not theological, there are still a host of other examples of purely theological controversies that have acted as forces of disintegration for the Muslim Ummah. The sectarian riots in medieval Baghdad and Nishapur should not be forgotten. Various theological camps like the Hanbalis, Asharis, Mu’tazila, Karramiyya, Najjariyya, Mushabbiha, etc., arranged themselves into divided sections of urban centers. There was frequent rioting, with one sect engaging in mischief against the other, by setting fire to the quarters of their rivals. They also engaged in political intrigue against the other, each faction attempting to win control over an academy or secure for one of its scholars the office of Qadi (adjudicator). These sectarian squabbles did not restrict themselves to street violence and agitations, they also manifested themselves into real political and national divisions among the Muslims. The Fatimid dynasty championed its particular brand of Ismailiyya. The Safavids transformed Iran into a Twelver Shi’ite state. The Ayyubids defeated the Fatimids and made Egypt a Sunni Ashari state. The Ottomans promoted the Hanafi school of jurisprudence. The Mughals in India also championed the Hanafi rite. The Saud dynasty enforced its conservative brand of Hanbalism over Arabia. Oman remains to this day the surviving Kharijite state. How absolutely incorrect was Iqbal then when he claimed that the theological variation among the Muslims has acted as a synthetic force for the Muslims. On the contrary, it has led to unimaginable fracture and irreconcilable political division within the Ummah.

Now coming to an allegation that Iqbal levels specifically against the Ahmadiyya movement: “I believe, for reasons to be explained presently, that the idea of a full prophet whose denial entails the denier’s excommunication from Islam is essential to Ahmadism” (p. 20), Iqbal has failed to cite any evidence in his paper that the Ahmadiyya movement expelled anyone from Islam on account of denial of the “prophethood” of its founder Hadrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. On the contrary, the latter himself stated:

ابتدا سے میرا یہی مذہب ہے کہ میرے دعوے کے انکار کی وجہ سے کوئی شخص کافر یا دجّال نہیں ہوسکتا۔

From the beginning, my belief has always been that denial of my claims does not render any person a Kafir or a Dajjal.”


Reference: Ruhani Khaza’in; v.15, p.432



Friday, 21 October 2016

Iqbal's Book Islam and Ahmadism...Refuted (Part 1)

In the Name of Allah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful

The poet and philosopher Sir Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938) is widely respected throughout the Muslim world for his contribution to Islamic thought. However, I am of the opinion that Iqbal’s ideas are extremely harmful for the Muslim world and that he promoted the cancer of modernism and materialism by deceptively giving them an Islamic coloring.

Iqbal once described the founder of the Ahmadiyya movement in Islam, Hadrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian (d. 1908) as “probably the profoundest theologian among modern Indian Muslims.” (Indian Antiquary, vol. 29, September 1900, p. 239)

Regrettably, Iqbal later changed his view and became an opponent of the Ahmadiyya movement and its respected founder. The booklet Islam and Ahmadism was authored by Iqbal where he states his objections and arguments to the Ahmadiyya in a reply to an inquiry on the subject by Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru (1889-1964), India’s first Prime Minister.

In this entry, I shall analyze this booklet and respond to the fallacious objections raised by Iqbal against Hadrat Mirza and the Ahmadiyya movement:

In the first attack on the Ahmadiyya in this booklet, Iqbal states: “the Pandit and the Qadianis [Ahmadiyya], perhaps because both inwardly resent, for different reasons, the prospects of Muslim political and religious solidarity particularly in India.” (p.9)

Iqbal explains this further: “It is equally obvious that the Qadianis, too, feel nervous by the political awakening of the Indian Muslims, because they feel that the rise of political prestige of the Indian Muslims is sure to defeat their designs to carve out from the Ummat of the Arabian Prophet a new Ummat for the Indian prophet.” (pp.9-10)

In this latter statement Iqbal has compounded one false allegation against the Ahmadiyya with an ever more grievous one. He claims that the Ahmadiyya movement “resent” and is “nervous” about a political awakening and solidarity among the Indian Muslims. Secondly, and more seriously, he fabricates a baseless allegation that the Ahmadiyya seek to “carve out” a new Ummah from the Ummah of the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam). Iqbal has absolutely no evidence to substantiate this latter allegation in particular. The emphatic claim of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad and his followers is that they are part and parcel of the Ummah of the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) and that their Movement is not a distinct Ummah, but rather, a Jama’ah and Firqah (Sect) that is within the confines of the Muslim Ummah. Hadrat Mirza himself did not claim to be a Prophet in a real or independent sense, but rather a prophet by way of reflecting the light and being infused with the spiritual excellences of the Prophethood of his master Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam). Hence, Hadrat Mirza claimed to be an Ummati Nabi, that is, a prophet who is also an Ummati and follower of Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam).

As for the objection that the Ahmadiyya Movement is somehow threatened by the political solidarity of the Indian Muslims, this too is patently false. It should be borne in mind that the Ahmadiyya Movement is purely a religious movement and a sect within the circle of Islam. It is not a political party or movement, but nonetheless has the same feelings and hopes that the general body of Muslims have as it relates to their betterment and solidarity. In other words, the Ahmadiyya is distinct from other Muslims sects with regard to creed or beliefs, but in political affairs, being a part of the Muslim Ummah, it has no separate or distinct interests from the general body of Muslims. The son and second successor of the founder, Mirza Mahmud Ahmad (1889-1965), made this fact explicitly clear in the book Political Solidarity of Islam, wherein he states: “We have never made any distinction between ourselves and the other Muslims while demanding political rights for them. We have always supported the general Muslim demand, and for the attainment of this object have made sacrifices beyond our means.” (p.6)

History bears testament to this fact. The Ahmadiyya movement, for example, struggled along with the general body of Muslims for greater political autonomy and protection of Muslim interests and political rights in India. The Ahmadiyya was on the side of the Muslim League and the demand for Pakistan, while many of the narrow-minded opponents of the Ahmadiyya, such as the Deobandi mullas and the Ahrar (an obscure political party) opposed the political interests of the Muslim Ummah and opposed the creation of Pakistan by giving priority to their Indian nationalism. An eminent member of the Ahmadiyya community, Sir Zafrullah Khan (1893-1985) was in fact the first Foreign Minister of Pakistan, and also played a crucial role in arguing the case of the Arabs before the international community in opposing the Zionist takeover of Palestine.

Having failed to specify in what way the Ahmadiyya movement has opposed the political solidarity of the Muslims, Iqbal cleverly shifts gear by claiming that the very existence of the Ahmadiyya sect with its unique beliefs acts as a “disintegrating factor” that threatens to bring about “dissolution” of the community. Iqbal cites the excommunication of Spinoza by the Jewish elders of Amsterdam as an example. Spinoza was a pantheist and held unorthodox views which angered the Jewish elders who felt it necessary to have him excommunicated from their small and vulnerable community in order to protect it from disintegration. Similarly, according to Iqbal, the Indian Muslims are justified in excommunicating the Ahmadiyya sect from the fold of Islam.

There are two essential problems with Iqbal’s contention. Firstly, the Ahmadiyya sect’s difference with the mainstream Sunni Muslims is in fact a valid difference of interpretation that is within the confines of disagreement according to the principles of orthodox Sunni Islam. The disagreement or difference of interpretation revolve around the question of the life or death of the Messiah Jesus of Nazareth (peace be upon him), and the reality of the prophecy of the second coming of Jesus. In brief, the Ahmadiyya believe that Jesus of Nazareth died a natural death, and that the Islamic prophecy contained in the Hadith regarding his second advent signifies the birth of a saintly Muslim reformer from within the Ummah who, due to spiritual resemblance with the original Jesus, play the role of a new Messiah for the rejuvenation of Islam. The Ahmadiyya believe therefore that the second coming of Jesus was fulfilled in the person of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. This position, though rejected by the majority of mainstream Sunni Muslims, cannot conceivably be understood as a rejection of any fundamental of Islam.

Iqbal, who himself diverges quite strongly with the mainstream Muslims, rejects the idea of the expectation of a coming Messiah. He characterizes such a doctrine as the penetration of a “Magian” idea into Islam. Thus, if on this point the Ahmadiyya movement has deviated beyond the pale, Iqbal himself is an even greater deviant because he rejects the second coming of the Messiah altogether, while the Ahmadiyya do not reject the second coming but merely have a difference of interpretation with the mainstream Sunni Muslims regarding its reality and details.

The second problem is evident from a purely Islamic perspective. Islam is a universal religion in which the values of truth and justice are paramount. Unlike Judaism, it is not a tribalistic community whose primary concern is political solidarity. The Holy Qur’an repeatedly condemns the attitude of the Jewish elders and community leaders who have a notorious history for opposing Prophets of God, including their own Messiah, in the name of social cohesion and political solidarity. It is well known that the Jewish Sanhedrin opposed the promised Messiah Jesus of Nazareth because they felt he was a threat to the political solidarity of their community that was occupied by the iron fist of the Roman empire. The Sanhedrin attempted to persuade the Roman governor of Judea province to have Jesus of Nazareth put to death on the cross for this very reason. Iqbal has defended the actions of the Jewish elders in Amsterdam for excommunicating Spinoza, but by the same token and using the exact same rationale, he should have also defended the actions of the Sanhedrin for doing the same to a Prophet recognized by Islam!

Next, Iqbal attempts to gloss over the dark chapters in Islamic history when he states: “Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru seems to think that a society founded on religious principles necessitates the institution of Inquisition. This is indeed true of the history of Christianity; but the history of Islam, contrary to the Pandit’s logic, shows that during the last thirteen hundred years of the life of Islam, the institution of Inquisition has been absolutely unknown in Muslim countries.” (Islam and Ahmadism; p.15)

The fact of the matter is that Iqbal is simply incorrect in making such a grandiose claim about the history of Islam. He seems to have deliberately ignored the first theological inquisition in the history of Islam known as the Mihnah. This inquisition was instituted by the Abbasid ruler Al-Ma’mun in 833 C.E and lasting for some eighteen years. Through this inquisition, the Abbasid government attempted to enforce the Mu’tazilite creed upon the Muslims, specifically the doctrine that the Qur’an is created. Any Imam or scholar who dissented from the official doctrine of the State was severely punished or imprisoned, among them the eminent Sunni Imam Ahmad b. Hanbal (may Allah have mercy on him).


A modern manifestation of the Inquisition which occurred after the death of Iqbal were the proceedings in the National Assembly of Pakistan in 1974 as a result of which the Ahmadiyya sect were officially declared as a non-Muslim minority expelled from Islam by way of an amendment to the Constitution.

Metaphorical Meaning of Sun, Moon and Stars in the Holy Qur'an

In the Name of Allah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful
In this entry I would like to begin a new series involving a deep introspection and study of the inner meaning of the Book of Allah, the Holy Qur’an.
Many deluded individuals and those effected by the excessively literalist thought claim that the Holy Qur’an must only be understood upon its apparent meaning. They further allege that the Holy Qur’an contains no inner meanings, and label those who hold the contrary view as Batiniyya (esotericists). For example, Jawed Ahmad Ghamidi, a contemporary modernist, writes:
“It is evident from the foregoing discussion that what makes the Qur’an a document having one definite meaning and which resolves all differences of interpretation and thus verifies Imam Farahi’s words الْقُرْآنُ لَا يَحْتَمِلُ إِلَّا تَاْوِيْلاً وَاحِداً  (There is no possibility of more than one interpretation in the Qur’an) about it is the coherence it possesses.” (Principles of Understanding Islam; p.56)
*Note: Hamid Uddin Farahi (1860-1930) was a modernist scholar. His ideas were inherited by Jawed Ghamidi via Amin Ahsan Islahi (1904-1997).
However, this idea that there is no possibility for multiple interpretations of the Holy Qur’an is false in light of the proceeding statement of the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam):
أُنْزِلَ الْقُرْآنُ عَلَى سَبْعَةِ أَحْرُفٍ ، لِكُلِّ آيَةٍ مِنْهَا ظَهْرٌ وَبَطْنٌ
“The Qur’an was revealed in seven dialectic modes. Every Ayah (verse) of it has an apparent and a hidden (meaning).”
In fact, the Holy Qur’an itself issues an important disclaimer that it contains two kinds of verses, the Muhkamaat which are foundational and unambiguous verses that are the “mother of the Book”, and the Mutashabihaat, or verses that are allegorical, whose true meaning is known only by Allah and those who are firmly grounded in knowledge (Sura 3:7).
Even a cursory reading of the Holy Qur’an will make it quite evident to the reader that it is a Book filled with parables, literary expressions, metaphors, and religious symbolism.
One example I would like to focus on for this entry is the repeated mention of the sun, moon, and stars throughout the Holy Qur’an.
The vision of the Prophet Joseph (peace be upon him) where he saw eleven stars, the sun and moon making obeisance to him (Sura 12:4) is a key to understanding the reality of this subject. The sun and moon were Joseph’s parents, the sun symbolizing his father Prophet Jacob (peace be upon him), and the eleven stars symbolizing his eleven brothers (Sura 12:100).
Based on this we are given a strong indication that sun, moon and stars, as used in the Holy Qur’an, connote Prophets and saintly people.
Keep in mind that this is not a denial of the apparent meaning of sun, moon and stars, and no doubt, these words have also been used in their apparent sense. But the beauty and salient feature of the Holy Qur’an is that its words have both an apparent and inner meaning, and both should be studied and accepted whole-heartedly.
In many Ahadith, the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) has elucidated on the inner meaning of sun, moon and stars;
أَوَّلُ زُمْرَةٍ تَدْخُلُ الْجَنَّةَ عَلَى صُورَةِ الْقَمَرِ لَيْلَةَ الْبَدْرِ وَالَّذِينَ عَلَى إِثْرِهِمْ كَأَشَدِّ كَوْكَبٍ إِضَاءَةً قُلُوبُهُمْ عَلَى قَلْبِ رَجُلٍ وَاحِدٍ
“The first batch (of people) who will enter Paradise will be like the full moon, and those upon the trace of their steps will be like the brightest star, their hearts will be like the heart of a single man…” (Sahih al-Bukhari)
Regarding the illustrious Sahaba (companions of the Prophet may Allah be pleased with them) there is the Hadith:
أَصْحَابِي كَالنُّجُومِ بِأَيِّهِمُ اقْتَدَيْتُمُ اهْتَدَيْتُمْ
“My Companions are like the Stars, whoever of them you follow you will be guided.”
In describing the ‘Ulamaa (scholars) of his Ummah, the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said:
هُمْ عُلَمَاءُ أُمَّتِي الْكَوَاكِبُ زِينَةُ السَّمَاءِ ، وَالْعُلَمَاءُ زِينَةُ أُمَّتِي
“The Ulema of my Ummah are the Stars which adorn the sky, and the Ulema are the adornment of my Ummah.” (Tarikh Jarjan; no. 215)
This Hadith in particular correlates to and helps to explain the inner meaning of the verse of the Holy Qur’an:
إِنَّا زَيَّنَّا السَّمَاءَ الدُّنْيَا بِزِينَةٍ الْكَوَاكِبِ
Indeed, We have adorned the Heaven of the world with an adornment of Stars (Sura 37:6)
These and many other Ahadith demonstrate for us that saintly and pious people like the Prophets, the Sahaba, and the Ulema, have been described as the shining objects in Heaven that glitter with light, i.e., sun, moon and stars.
The 53rd Sura of the Holy Qur’an is called Al-Najm, or the Star, because it begins with Allah drawing out attention to the Star when it descends:
وَالنَّجْمِ إِذَا هَوَىٰ ۝
مَا ضَلَّ صَاحِبُكُمْ وَمَا غَوَىٰ۝
By the Star when it descends. Your Companion (Prophet Muhammad) has not strayed, nor has he erred. (Sura 53:1-2)
Since the subject matter of the Sura is the Mi’raj (ascension) of the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam), for this reason Islamic exegetes have understood the descending star as referring to the Prophet as he descended back into this world at the conclusion of his experience of the Mi’raj. Imam Sahl al-Tustari (818-896 C.E) and the eminent Sufi, Abdul Karim al-Qushayri (986-1074) have mentioned this in their respective Tafsirs.
Reference: Tafsir Tustari; p. 261 and Tafsir Qushayri; v.3, p.247




Let us now re-examine some selected verses of the Holy Qur’an keeping this inner meaning in mind:
وَالشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ وَالنُّجُومَ مُسَخَّرَاتٍ بِأَمْرِهِ
The Sun, the Moon and the Stars, subjected by His command (Sura 7:54)
The inner meaning is that here Allah is stating that the Prophet, the Messiah, and the saintly and learned people of this Ummah are in a state of willing subjection to His command.
أَلَمْ تَرَ أَنَّ اللَّـهَ يَسْجُدُ لَهُ مَن فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَن فِي الْأَرْضِ وَالشَّمْسُ وَالْقَمَرُ وَالنُّجُومُ وَالْجِبَالُ وَالشَّجَرُ وَالدَّوَابُّ وَكَثِيرٌ مِّنَ النَّاسِ
Do you not see that to Allah prostrates whoever is in the Heavens and whoever is on the Earth and the Sun, the Moon, the Stars, the Mountains, the Trees, the moving creatures and many of the people (Sura 22:18)
While it is certainly true that the inanimate and unconscious objects of the cosmos and nature are in a state of subjugation or prostration before Allah, the inner meaning is also quite profound. Here Allah has mentioned that those who prostrate to Him are the Angels, and those who are on the Earth, such as the Sun (the Prophet), the Moon (the Messiah), the Stars (saintly and learned believers), the Mountains (great nations), the Trees (tribes or clans based on their lineages), beasts meaning perhaps beastly individuals, and many ordinary people.
Similarly, the Stars, both Al-Nujum and Al-Kawakib have been mentioned throughout the Holy Qur’an, but particularly in a sense of being vanished, effaced, scattered, or dimmed (see 52:49, 77:8, 81:2, 82:2).

The profound inner meaning of the vanishing or dimming of the Stars is a prophecy that as Judgment Day approaches the saintly and pious believers will become scarce or of a lesser degree than those who preceded them.

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