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The Meaning of “Read in the Name of Your Lord”

Prophet Muhammad, a Model For Coexistence

Mawlana Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

31 March 2013 New Jersey

Interfaith Dialogue at Rutgers University

As-salaamu `alaykum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh.

It’s my honor, and I am so privileged to be between the lovers of Sayyidina Muhammad (s) and his family. They told me don’t approach too much toward the microphone! When we approach too much towards reality, we are burned.

Muhammadun basharun wa laysa kal-bashari bal huwa yaqootatun wa ’n-naasu ka ’l-hajaari.

Muhammad is a human being, but not a human being. He is a gem and people are stones.

(Imam Muhammad Busayri in Burdat ash-Shareefa)

When it comes to speaking about Prophet (s), I feel worried because we cannot give to the Family of Prophet (s) what Allah gave to them of love and of rights. Allah (swt) put them under the abba of Prophet (s), under the cloak of Prophet (s), including Sayyidina `Ali, Sayyida Fatima, Sayyidina Hussayn and Sayyidina Hassan (r). They are the most beloved in the universe, and we believe that and we live that, and also all of you believe that and we do that. Allah (swt) gave them that Attribute of Bismillahi 'r-Rahmani 'r-Raheem which, as you know, is made of nineteen letters, and (the names of) Ahlu ‘l-Abaa, i.e., Muhammad (s), Fatima az-Zahra, Sayyidina `Ali, Sayyidina Hasan and Sayyidina Hussayn, are nineteen letters. Letters or numerology in Islam is a very well-known science, so this means a lot; it means the secret of ‘Bismillahi 'r-Rahmani 'r-Raheem’ is with the Ahlu ‘l-Bayt!

That is why Prophet (s) said:

أنا مدينة العلم و علي بابه

Anaa madinatu 'l-`ilmi wa `Aliyyun baabuha.

I am the City of Knowledge and `Ali is its Door (or Gate). (al-Haakim, Tirmidhi)

Since `Ali is the door and Prophet (s) is the city, so who is inside the city? It is the Ahlu ‘l-Bayt. From them knowledge comes and from them peace comes and from them `adl, justice comes. So coexistence doesn’t mean only to be just, `adl, to be a just person, a just human being. You are living under the banner of Ahlu ‘l-Bayt, so we have to be just people. And Allah (swt), The Creator, as I heard just now from the professor when she spoke about Jibreel (a), “He came to Prophet (s) and said, “Iqra, read!” I like this subject very much. And Prophet (s) said, maa ana bi qaari, “I am not a reader.” That is one meaning, and the second meaning is, maa ana bi qaari, “What do you want me to read, about what?”

So it has two meanings: one is, “I am not a person that reads,” and the second is, “I am a person that Allah poured in my heart. I don’t read, it is Divine Revelation.”

Revelation is meant to get what Allah wants and Prophet (s) was seeing it. So when you want to read you have to see; you cannot read without seeing. Just now when we were coming here, we were looking at the program and reading it, and we are seeing the program. So Prophet (s) was able to see in order to read! And what was he reading when he said, maa anaa bi qaaree, “What do you want me to read?” He saw from `Uloom al-Awwaleen, the Knowledge of Before, and `Uloom al-Akhireen, the Knowledge of After. “Do you want me to read from these sacred knowledges?”

Jibreel (a) said, “No, read, bi ismilladee khalaq, “In the Name of your Creator, Who created.”

Prophet (s) was seeing the Creation at that moment! The mu’min and Muslim believe that Prophet (s) was able to do that as Allah (swt) gave him power to see from what is before Creation was created all the way to what is after Creation, because he was able to describe what is before Creation and what is after Creation. And what did he described as before Creation when he was asked what did Allah creat first? Prophet (s) said, “What Allah created first was the light of Muhammad, yaa Jabir.”

رواه عبد الرزاق بسنده عن جابر بن عبد الله بلفظ قال قلت: يا رسول الله، بأبي أنت وأمي، أخبرني عن أول شيء خلقه الله قبل الأشياء. قال: يا جابر، إن الله تعالى خلق قبل الأشياء نور نبيك من نوره،...

`An Jaabir ibn `AbdAllah qaala: qultu yaa Rasoolullah, bi-abee anta wa ummee, akhbirnee `an awwala shayin khalaqahu ’Llaaha qabla’l-ashyaa? Qaala: yaa Jaabir, inn Allaha ta`ala khalaqa qabla al-ashyaa noora nabiyyika min noorih...

When Jaabir (r) asked, “Let my father and mother be sacrificed for you, oh Prophet of Allah! What is the first thing that Allah (swt) created?” the Prophet (s) said, “The first thing that Allah (swt) created is the Light of your Prophet from His Light, O Jaabir.” (Musannaf `Abdu ’r-Razzaq)

So that reality that Allah (swt) gave to him from before and the reality of what is going to happen in the Last Days and what happens in Paradise shows that Prophet (s) was someone who knew what was Before and what is After all Creation. So for someone who knows that, you have to give him importance and that is `adl, as asaas al-mulk al-`adl, “The principle of ruling is to have justice.” So Prophet (s) had justice, he was a just person, and you can understand his justice from this: Allah gave him the Just Book, we are not denying other books, but He gave him the Holy Qur’an. The Holy Qur’an did not leave anything without mention. Allah mentioned the importance of the Torah and the Bible in the Holy Qur’an, that both of them have light in them. The people of Musa (a) have to follow the Torah, the people of `Isa (a) have to follow the Injeel, and the people of Sayyidina Muhammad (s) have to follow the Qur’an, the Injeel and the Torah in order to be considered as accepting the other prophets.

So Prophet Muhammad (s) was dressed, or as we say in Arabic, ‘manifested,’ Allah (swt) revealed the Holy Qur’an and dressed it on Prophet (s). That is why we say he was al-qur’an an-naatiq, “the speaking Qur’an.” As Mr. Sean Stone said, in Qur’an it is mentioned how the Jews believed in Moses and we accept that, and Christians believed in Jesus and as Muslims we have to accept that. And (being) from the family of the Prophet (s) we have to accept that; we cannot deny it. So since Prophet (s) is a just person because he is dressed with the Holy Qur’an, Allah (swt) said in Holy Qur’an:

لَوْ أَنزَلْنَا هَذَا الْقُرْآنَ عَلَى جَبَلٍ لَّرَأَيْتَهُ خَاشِعًا مُّتَصَدِّعًا مِّنْ خَشْيَةِ اللَّهِ وَتِلْكَ الْأَمْثَالُ نَضْرِبُهَا لِلنَّاسِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ

Law anzalna haadha ’l-quraana `alaa jabalin la-raaytahu khaashi`an mutasaddi`an min khashyatillaahi wa tilka ’l-amthaalu nadribuhaa li ’n-nasi la`allahum yatafakkaroon.

Had We sent down this Qur'an on a mountain, verily you would have seen it humble itself and cleave asunder for fear of Allah. Such are the similitudes that We propound to men that they may reflect. (Surat al-Hashr, 59:21)

“If We revealed this Qur’an on a mountain, the mountain would shatter completely, as if it is not existing, because no one could carry the Holy Qur’an.” And Allah revealed Holy Qur’an on Prophet (s) and he did not shatter, Allah gave greatness to His Prophet (s)! (Salawaat.) O Muslims! Allah honored His Prophet (s) and how did He honor him? It’s because the Prophet was dressed with the Holy Qur’an, so Allah honored human beings and that is why Prophet (s) said:

دم فمن دونه تحت لوائي ولا فخر

Adam faman doonahu tahta liwaa’ee yawm al-Qiyamah wa laa fakhr

Adam and whoever is other than him will be under my flag on the Day of Judgment, without vanity.

(Ahmad, Musnad)

Everyone is going to come to their nations, to their prophets, and we are coming to Sayyidina Muhammad (s) on the Day of Judgment. Allah has to fill the Paradises, otherwise why did He create Paradises, only for show or He has to put some people inside? If He is only going to put some people inside, then Paradises are going to be empty. Why not put everyone inside, is there any problem with that? Can anyone complain on the Day of Judgment if Allah says, “I want to put everyone I created in Paradise!” Can anyone say no? Even prophets are shaking on the Day of Judgment in front of Allah (swt)! Prophet (s) said:

اللَّهُمَّ لَا تَكِلْنِي إِلَى نَفْسِي طَرْفَةَ عَيْنٍ وَلَا أَقَلَّ مِنْ ذَلِكَ

Allahumma laa takilnee ila nafsee tarfat `aynin wa laa aqala min dhalika.

O Allah! Don't leave me to my ego for the blink of an eye or less. (al-Haakim in al-Mustadrak, al-Bayhaqi in al-Asmaa wa’s-Siffaat, Sunan al-Kubra of an-Nisaa’ee)

This means, “Don’t let me listen to my ego for a blink of an eye, wa la aqala min dhalik, and even less than that; don’t let me follow my desires.” If Prophet (s), whom Allah (swt) has dressed with Holy Qur’an is saying this, do we have to refuse some people and accept some people, not to build relationships or extend our hands to the other groups, to the other races? I will give you an example: when Prophet (s) migrated to Madinatu 'l-Munawwara, for seventeen months when he came to Madina, Allah (swt) said in Holy Qu'ran:

قَدْ نَرَى تَقَلُّبَ وَجْهِكَ فِي السَّمَاء فَلَنُوَلِّيَنَّكَ قِبْلَةً تَرْضَاهَا فَوَلِّ وَجْهَكَ شَطْرَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَا

Qad naraa taqallaba wajhika fi 's-samaai fa-lanuwalliyannaka qiblatan tardaaha fawalli wajhaka shatara ’l-masjidi 'l-haraam.

We see the turning of your face towards the Heavens. Now We will turn you to a qiblah that will please you. Turn then your face in the direction of the Sacred Mosque. (Surat al Baqara, 2:144)

“We are seeing you look in the skies; where do you want to face when you pray? What is your qiblah?” Was Prophet (s) not able to say, “Yaa Rabbee, I want to pray towards Ka`bah?” He used to live in Mecca, he loved Mecca and he missed it, so was he not able to say, “I want turn my face towards Ka`bah?” But he didn’t say that, instead he turned his face towards Masjid al-Aqsa. Why did he turn his face towards Masjid al-Aqsa? There are too many explanations of these verses of Holy Qur’an in Surat al-Baqarah, which say that although he loves Ka`bah, he preferred to make justice and to show the Jewish community in Madina that he is turning his face towards that qiblah in order to attract them and extend his hand towards them, and for them to accept what he said to them or whatever they discussed. That is a big sign, that Prophet (s) extended his hand in order to live together, and we saw that in the (famous treaty), the Declaration of Madinah..

We see that Prophet (s) was the first to do interfaith with Sayyidina Musa (a); he was the first one to speak with Sayyidina Musa directly. When Prophet (s) went into Israa’ and Mi`raaj, in the Fourth Heaven he prayed in jama`ah with all prophets and everyone knows that from our Islamic teachings, and between them was Moses and Jesus and he prayed with them, and then Allah ordered him to continue until he reached Qaaba Qawsayni aw Adnaa, which we will not explain, but to say he reached far away, where no one is able to reach.

There Allah ordered him to pray fifty prayers a day; I think it is described in the Seerah of Ibn Ishaq. Who was the one giving advice, shu`arah to the Prophet in the Fourth Heaven when he was descending? It was Sayyidina Musa (a), who was speaking with Prophet (s) and asked him, “What did Allah give you?”

Prophet (s) said, “Allah gave me fifty prayers.”

Musa (a) said, “No, no, no, no way, don’t accept it!” You see how much they joked with each other? “No, no! I know my people; they are like your people, so don’t rely on them that they will pray fifty prayers! Ask Allah to decrease it.”

So from the Fourth Heaven, Prophet (s) asked, “Yaa Rabbee, decrease it, as my colleague, my brother Moses is asking me to do and I am following, because I appear after him so I am following his advice.”

Then Allah (swt) reduced it by five prayers and it became forty-five prayers a day.

Musa (a) said, “What did Allah give you?”

He (s) said, “He gave forty-five prayers.”

Sayyidina Musa (a) said, “No, no, no way! Bring them down some more.”

That discussion between both of them continued until Allah made it five prayers a day, but He made the reward for fifty prayers a day! And then, do you know what Sayyidina Musa told Prophet (s) at the end?

Sayyidina Musa (a) said, “Yaa Muhammad (s), even that they are not going to pray.” It means, they are going to be busy, but busy in what? Busy in many things in their lives.

So interfaith between prophets was always being discussed and since Prophet Muhammad (s) came at the end, everything was put together in the Holy Qur’an in order for justice to prevail everywhere in the world. That is why we cannot attack or we cannot touch any person with harm because they are Allah's servants.

I will tell you one hadith that I read and it struck me, and I don’t know why many people do not mention that hadith. It is mentioned in the book Ad-Dawaa ash-Shaafee, The Medicine That Cures by Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyya, a student of Ibn Taymiyya. I am sorry I am mentioning Ibn Taymiyya here, but I must show you the source of the hadith because you have to give from their own sources, and of what Ibn Qayyim said according to Sahih Muslim, one of Ahlu ’s-Sunnah wa ’l-Jama`ah’s authentic books, the ahadeeth, sayings of Prophet (s).

"إن أول الناس يقضي يوم القيامة عليه رجل استشهد، فأتي به فعرفه نعمه فعرفها . قال: فما عملت فيها؟ قال قاتلت فيك حتى استشهدت، قال: كذبت، ولكنك قاتلت لأن يقال: جريء، فقد قيل. ثم أمر به فسحب على وجهه حتى ألقي فى النار...."

Inna awwal an-naasi yuqdaa yawm al-qiyamati `alayhi rajulun ustushida fa utiya bihi fa-`arafahu ni`amahu fa-`arafahu. Qaala famaa `amilta feehaa? Qaala: qaataltu feeka hattaa ustush-hidtu. Qaala: kadhabta, wa laakinaka qaatalta li-an yuqaal: jariyy, faqad qeel. thumma amara bihi fa-sahaba `alaa wajhihi hattaa ulqiya fi ’n-naar.

The first of people against whom Judgment will be pronounced on the Day of Resurrection will be a man who died a martyr. He will be brought and Allah will make known to him His favors and he will recognize them. (The Almighty) will say, “And what did you do about them?” He will say, “I fought for you until I died a martyr.” He will say, “You have lied! You did but fight that it might be said (of you), ‘He is courageous,’ and so it was said.” Then he will be ordered to be dragged along on his face until he is cast into Hellfire!.... (Muslim, Tirmidhi, Nasaa'ee)

On the Day of Judgment, Allah will call three groups of people. The first group to be judged and sent to Paradise are the martyrs. yasta’b ish-shuhadaa, “He calls upon the martyr,” and Allah shows him His favors that He is going to give to him and says, “These favors I wrote for you in your life, what did you do for Me to deserve them?”

Are you hearing? That is important, as no one touched on this and I am surprised; it might be they were not allowed to touch on it. We have to check, because usually in Arab countries one day the Grand Mufti makes a fatwa and the next day he changes it because the government tells him to change it, so they have to change it.

So Allah (swt) orders the martyr to come and says, “These are the favors that I am going to give to you. What did you do for Me to deserve them?”

He says, “Yaa Rabbee, I killed myself for you, I became a martyr for you.”

Allsh (swt) says, “What you did to be martyr for Me?”

The martyr says, “I went and fought the kufaar, the unbelievers.”

Allah (swt) looks at him and says, “You are a liar! O My angels, come and take him to Hellfire.”

“Yaa Rabbee, what did I do?”

Allah says, “You did that for people to say you are courageous person. You didn’t do that for Me, you did that for yourself.”

Today they are doing it in order to have a video clip like what we saw just now, a video clip of a convert to Islam. They want to have video clips on Islam on YouTube and everywhere, and they put their names and what they are doing, then they go and kill innocent people and they call themselves shuhadaa, but these are the first ones going to Hellfire!

O Muslims! We are living in a time that Allah honored His Prophet (s). And I would like to touch on this because I still have five minutes! It’s nice to have five minutes, because one time in 1998 I was in a conference in Washington and I invited my teacher, Shaykh Nazim, and there were 150 speakers, and the only one who could approach him to give him a paper (with reminders of time constraints/duration of speech) was me. So I was giving him the paper and he took it and threw it; one after one, he kept throwing them away, then he said, “Because you are giving these papers, now I am going to speak for one hour!” (Laughter)

Allah (swt) wants to show the importance of His Prophet (s) and as Muslims, and you are the majority here, how did He honor him to be His Beloved One and the Honored One? It is very simple, and we comes across that ayah everyday:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا صَلُّوا عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا

Inna-Llaaha wa malaa'ikatahu yusalloona `ala 'n-nabiyy, yaa ayyuha ’Lladheena aamanoo salloo `alayhi wa sallimoo tasleema.

Verily, Allah and His angels send praise on the Prophet. O Believers! Pray upon him and greet him him with a worthy salutation. (Surat al-'Ahzaab, 33:56)

All His angels--from the past, future and in this moment of what He is creating now--all of them are included. It is a khitaab `aam, a general order, that no angel can say no and in every moment all angels in Heavens and Earth, wherever they are, are praising Muhammad (s)! What kind of salawaat are they doing? That is what is important. Do you think they only recite the salawaat, “Allahumma salli `alaa Sayyidina Muhammad wa `alaa aalihi Muhammad,” as we say? No, because if they do only one salawaat, then the second salawaat has to be different as they cannot repeat, no repetition! Every moment they are doing salawaat, which have to be changed as every angel is doing salawaat different than the other. Imagine the the greatness that Allah gave to Sayyidina Muhammad (s)! Allahumma salli `alaa Sayyidina Muhammad wa `alaa aalihi Muhammad, wa baarik. May Allah (swt) keep our tongues busy (as in the advice when) someone came to the Prophet (s) and said:

عن عبد الله بن بسر رضي الله عنه أن رجلا قال: يا رسول الله إن شرائع الإسلام قد كثرت علي فأخبرني بشيء أتشبث به؟ قال لا يزال لسانك رطبا من ذكر الله" الترمذي.

Yaa Rasoolullaah inna shara`ia 'l-islaam qad kathurat `alayya fa-akhbirnee bi-shayin atashabbath bihi. Qaala: laa yazaal lisaanak ratban min dhikrillah.

A man came to the Prophet (s) and said, "O Rasoolullah! The rules of Islam became heavy on me, so give me news of something that I can maintain." Prophet (s) said, "Make your tongue wet with dhikrullah." (Tirmidhi)

Salloo `ala 'n-Nabiyy (s) is the best dhikr of Allah (swt), so make salawaat as much as you can as Prophet (s) said for everyone around the world, and Ahlu ’s-Sunnah wa ’l-Jama`ah and the Jaafari school of thought follow:

اذكر الله حتى يقال مجنون

Idhkurallah hatta yuqaal majnoon.

Make dhikr (or salawaat) until people say, “You are crazy.”

Don’t listen to people, make salawaat! Allahumma salli `alaa Muhammad wa `alaa aalihi Muhammad wa sallim.


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