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Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Glorification to Our Master Muhammad A-Mustafa (PBUH)

Welcome by the Lantern who illuminated the Universe (Episode One - The Light)
Nowadays we are inhaling the aroma of the descending blessings of the coming celebrations festivals of (Al-Mawled Al-Nabawi Al-Sharif) the anniversary occasion of the birth of our Master Muhammad Al-Mustafa PPBUH. (Al-Mawlid is a sufficient word to all Sudanese, because there no other Mawlid than; Mawlid Al-Rasoul salla Allahu Alayihi wa-sallam).
As a highly graded tradition we are -the Sudanese- are celebrating Al-Mawlid festivals for a consecutive twelve days.
we would like to gain the honor of participation in this season by bringing up the phenomenon and some of the events in the universe which, if we look deeply into it, it tells us about the role our Messenger and Prophet, our master Muhammad Al-Mustafa (PPBUH) and his Message he promulgated, which are revealed in the Qur’an accompanied by some commentaries –if God Wills.
Our first episode would be the light –as the Prophet is being to the light to illuminate our life.
God is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The parable of His Light is as if there were a Niche and within it a Lamp; the Lamp is enclosed in Glass, the Glass as it were a brilliant star lit from a blessed Tree, an Olive, neither of East nor of the West, whose Oil is well-nigh Luminous, though fire scarce touched it: Light upon Light! God guides to His Light whom He Wills. God does set forth parables for men. And God All-Knower of everything. (35)

Among the benefits of the Qur’an –not the least is that which sends its mystic interpreters into ecstasies of spiritual delight. While it’s plain meaning contains noble precepts of ordinary conduct, its mystic passages reveal spiritual mysteries which can only be expressed by the phrase “Light upon Light!” {Surat Al-Nour 24 verse 35). It is an endless chain of illumination in which ordinary knowledge dissolve as if it were ignorance.
The light place among the mystic interpreters should be assigned to Imam Al-Ghazali, whose book [Mishkat-ul Anwar] deals with the verse of Light (S.24 verse 35), the contrasted verse of Darkness [verse 40), and the saying of the holy Prophet quoted by from the Hadith:”God has Seventy Thousand Veils of Light and Darkness: were He to withdraw their curtains, then would the splendors of His Aspect (or Countenance, or Face = Wajh) surely consume everyone who apprehended Him with his light”. In the Mishkat=Bab-ul Masjid- end of section 2 Jibril [the angel] says:” Between me and Him are seventy thousand veils of Light”.
English readers will thank scholar A. Yusuf Ali for drawing their attention to the meritorious English translation of Imam Al-Ghazali’s interpretation of these sublime passages.
Imam Al-Ghazali died in A.H. 505 = (1111 A.D.) He lived in an age when Greek philosophy and other philosophies had been studied by Muslims, many new arts and sciences had been added by them to the world’s stock of knowledge, but the quest of the Timeless and the Universal was still urging thirsty enquirers on. It was his mission to expose the hollow pretensions of some superficial thinkers who pursued mirages. He turned Muslim thought in the direction of the subtler Realities of spiritual life. Within a century and a half of his death the Muslim world was engulfed in a mighty cataclysm which well-nigh wiped out its channels of culture and civilization.
Imam Al-Ghazali argument:  
If we take physical light as ordinarily understood, it is a phenomenon or appearance, and is therefore liable to pass away. For its illuminative power it has to depend upon perceiving faculty or the perceiving instrument, the Eye. But the Eye has many defects. It is only the perceiving faculty or intelligence which is properly entitled to the name of Light considered as a source of enlightenment.
The verses of the Qur’an –in relation to Intelligence- have the value of sunlight in relation to eyesight. The Qur’an is therefore spoken of as the Light :( Surat Al-Nisa’a 4 verse 174): 
O’ mankind! Verily, There has come to you a convincing proof from your Lord, for We have sent down to you a Light (that is) Manifest. 174  
Thus the physical eye sees by the sun; the spiritual eye sees by Revelation [the Qur’an]. There is a world invisible, with Light of its own, quite different from the world visible, with its own physical light. The former –the spiritual world- is far above the physical world; not in space, for there is no question of space, but in grade. Yet the World of Sense is a type of the World of the Realm Celestial. All the Prophets are Lamps, and so are the Learned; but the difference between them is incalculable.
If the Prophet of God is a Lamp illuminant, that from which the Lamp is itself lit may fitly be symbolized by Fire. It is the Spirits Celestial, the angels, considered as the kindling-source of the Lamp Terrestrial that can be compared alone with Fire: (Surat Al-Qassas 28 –verses 29-30):
Now when Moses had fulfilled the term, and was travelling with his family, he perceived a fire in the direction of Mount Tur. He said to his family: “Wait! I perceive a Fire; I hope to bring to you from there some information, or a burning firebrand, that you may warm yourselves. (29) 
So when he came to it (the Fire), a voice was heard from the right bank of the valley, in the blessed place/hallowed ground from the tree: “O’ Moses! Verily, I am God, the Lord of the worlds (mankind, Jinn and all that exists). (30)    
These Lamps are Celestial, have their own grades and orders, and the highest is the one nearest to the Ultimate Light. That Ultimate Light is the final Fountain-head; He is Light in and by Himself, not a light kindled from other lights. The term ‘light’ as applied to any other than this primary Light is purely metaphorical. But these metaphorical lights have various gradations. So are there gradations in their opposite? There is no darkness so intense as the darkness of Not-being. A dark thing is called “dark” simply because it cannot appear to anyone’s vision; it never comes to exit for sight, though it may exist in itself. But that which has no existence for others nor for itself, is assuredly the very extreme of darkness. In contrast with it is being, which is therefore light. Thus God Most High is the only Reality, as He is the only Light.     
In the physical world Light is itself visible and makes other things visible. It lies behind all colors, and is apprehended with color. Through its intense union with colors, it may appear [under refraction] as colors and not as light at all. Its very intensity may cause its invisibility. So God is with all things, but some visions perceive Him not on account of His very brightness. [The absorption of some colors through the media through which they pass may result in the appearance of other colors.  Some may consider it as a merit of the media. But it detracts from the appearance of the perfect colorless Light, which is the type for the perfection of God’s Light].
From the material world, the world of Sense, we rise through the world of Intelligence to the spiritual world, or the world of the Realm Supernal (or Celestial). This world of the Realm Supernal contains Light-substances, high and lofty, called “Angels”, from which substances the various lights are effused upon the various mortal spirits.
The human soul has five faculties or spirits: (1) the sensory spirit which takes in the information brought by senses; (2) the imaginative spirit, which records the information conveyed by the senses and presents it to the intelligential spirit above it, when required; (3) the intelligential spirit, which apprehends ideas beyond the spheres of sense and imagination; these ideas are of universal application, and are symbolized by the particular things that are known by the senses; (4) the discursive [or ratiocinative] spirit, which takes the data of pure reason, combines them, and deduces from them abstract knowledge; (5) the transcendental prophetic spirit, which is possessed by prophets and some saints; by it the unseen tables and statutes of the Law are revealed from the other world, together with several of the sciences of the Realms Celestial and Terrestrial, and pre-eminently Theology, the science of Deity, which the intelligential and discursive spirits cannot compass. All of these are Lights, for it is through them that every kind of existing thing in manifested, including objects of sense or imagination.
These five faculties or spirits are symbolized by the Niche, Glass, Lamp, Tree, and Oil in the verse of Light. The Niche is the sensory spirit, whose lights come through the eyes, ears, nostrils, etc. the Glass is the Imagination; for it is made out of opaque substances [like sands, soda, potash, etc], but is clarified and refined till it becomes transparent to the light of a lamp, and it also keeps the lamp from being put out by a draught or violent jerking. So Imagination –though its origin is from the ideas of grosser substances- becomes clarified and transparent to ideas of intelligence and to the light from them, as well as serves to hold knowledge together and prevents it from being disturbed, unsettled, and dissipated. The Lamp is the intelligential spirit, which gives cognizance of divine ideas. The Tree is the ratiocinative spirit, which begins with a proposition, then branches into two, which become four, and so on. It leads to conclusions which in their turn become germs producing like conclusions, these latter being also susceptible of continuation, each with each. The Tree in the symbol is the Olive, which gives oil producing the most radiant illumination. So the ratiocinative spirit multiplies, establishes, and fixes all knowledge. Illumination can be infinitely multiplied; therefore a tree like the olive, whose oil can multiply light infinitely, is entitled to be called “blessed” above other trees like fruit trees, whose fruit is consumed in use. Again, the ramifications of pure intelligential propositions do not admit of relation to direction or distance, and therefore the symbolical Tree may well be said to be “neither of the East nor of the West”.
Finally, the Oil is the type of the transcendental prophetic spirit, which is absolutely luminous and clear. The thought-spirit is divided into that which needs to be introduced, advised, and supplied from without, if the acquisition of knowledge is to be continuous; while a portion of it is absolutely clear, as though it were self-luminous, and had no external source of supply. There are Saints whose light shines so bright that it is well-nigh independent of what the Angels supply. For the human soul there is a great succession of Lights, and this explains the phrase “Light upon Light”.
Now we come to the Darkness-verse: [Surat Al-Nour 24 verse 40]:
Or (the unbelievers’ state) is like the depths of darkness, in a vast deep ocean/sea. Overwhelmed with billow/wave topped by billow/wave, topped by (dark) clouds; depths of darkness, one above another: if a man stretches out his he can hardly see it! And for any to whom God has not appointed/gives light, for him there no any light. (40)
The man who has turned away from the path of guidance [light, truth], he is false, he is darkness; nay, he is darker than darkness. For darkness is neutral (or negative); it leads one neither one way nor the other. But the minds of the misbelievers, and the whole of their perceptions, are perverse, and support each other mutually in the actual deluding of their owners. That “vast deep ocean/sea” is this world of mortal dangers, of evil chances, of blinding trouble. Wave upon wave of selfish passion darkens the man’s soul. And the dark clouds above are rank beliefs and corrupt imaginings, which become so many veils veiling the misbeliever from the true faith, from knowledge of the Real, and from illumination by the sunlight of the Qur’an and human intelligence. As all our lights have their source in the great Primary Light, the One Reality, there can be no light unless God gives the Light.
What is the meaning of the Prophet’s saying that: “God has Seventy Thousand Veils of Light and Darkness”? The number, 70,000, varies in different versions, and is not by way of definite enumeration, but rather to denote some indefinitely great quantity. There are three classes of men who are veiled from the ineffably glorious Light of God: (1) those veiled by Pure Darkness; (2) those veiled by mixed Light and Darkness; and (3) those veiled by Pure Light. In each class there are numerous sub-divisions. [When we take account of all these, we may well speak of 70,000 Veils].
Those veiled by Pure Darkness are such as the atheists, or such as who take something else which is not God, for God. For example; they take Nature or Self for God. But there are numerous varieties of such men. One particularly mentioned by Imam Al-Ghazali is the sort of men that confess with their tongues the creed of Islam, but are probably urged to it by fear alone, or the desire to beg from Muslims, or to curry or beg a favor with them, or to get financial [or other] assistance out of them, or -by a merely fanatical zeal- to support the opinions of their fathers. If the Creed fails to impel those to good works, it will not secure their elevation from the darkness sphere to light. Rather are their patron-saints devils, who lead them from the light into darkness. But he whom the Creed deeply touches him, that evil disgusts him and good gives him pleasure, has passed from pure darkness, even though he may be a great sinner still.
Those veiled by mixed Light and Darkness may be: (1) those veiled by the darkness of the Senses; they are above those who worship Self, but they give God’s attributes of Majesty and Beauty to sense-perceived bodies, or to Nature or the forces of nature; (2) those veiled by some light, mixed with darkness of the Imagination; they have got above the senses, but they allow their Imagination to govern their ideas of God, Who is above anything that imagination of man can conceive; and (3) those veiled by some Light divine, mixed with the darkness of Intelligence; they fall into anthropomorphism in their ideas of God [and fail to perceive that the Soul is above the Intellect].
Those veiled by Pure Light are those who have perceived spiritual truths up to a certain point, but whose eyes have been so dazzled by the Light itself that there is a Veil between them and the Light. But these are only the Few of the Few whom “the splendors of the Countenance sublime consume”, and the majesty of the Divine Glory obliterates; so that they are themselves blotted out, annihilated. For self-contemplation there is no more a place, because with the self they have no longer anything to do. Nothing then remains save the One, the Real: that becomes the experience of the soul. That is the true meaning of attainment or Salvation. Imam Al-Ghazali concludes with the words: “Hard, hard it is to essay the discovery of the Lights Supernal that are beyond the Veil”.    How true, and how appropriate for all who seek to interpret the LIGHT! May God grant that their own feeble lights may not act as a veil between them and the LIGHT DIVINE!