Followers

02 August, 2010

Resolving the Nur, Bashar Dispute !

Say: "I am but a man like yourselves, (but) the inspiration has come to me, that your Allah is one Allah: whoever expects to meet his Lord, let him work righteousness, and, in the worship of his Lord, admit no one as partner.
(Surah Al Kahf 18:110)
Indeed, I am a man like you



Some people have a tendency to find 'hidden' meanings in everything, even when they go against the established visible meaning. Qur'an is a manifest message. Indeed, there are layers of hidden , deep and multi-dimensioned meanings in the Ayaat of the Qur'an but they don't contradict the visible meaning. Particularly, the Ayaat of Qur'an dealing with 'Aqaaid (beliefs) are uncomplicated and clear-cut and they are oft repeated to enroot them in the hearts of people. The recurrence of similar Ayaat highlights the weight of the particular matter.
It is essential to discuss the issue that whether Prophet Muhammad was solely a Nur (نور), as the brailvi school of thought claims, or is the truth against it (The Brailvi movement started in 1880. The founder of the movement was Ahmad Raza Khan Brailvi) . It is vital to settle the dispute and have a belief in-line with the Qur'an, on this issue because: (1) It is the first thing that divides the brailvis and the non-brailvis. (2) The extensions of this Belief open the doors of Shirk.
The way a Muslim resolves his matters is that he first looks it up in the Qur'an and if he doesn't find any clear-cut message or principle regarding it in the Qur'an then he moves on to the expanse of Prophetic traditions and searches them for guidance on the issue. He ignores any information that contradicts with the clear message of the Holy Qur'an, no matter from where he gets it. Though, I firmly believe that there is no 'authentic' tradition that unequivocally declares Prophet Muhammad to be made up of Nur, but, even if there was any such tradition then it would have held no significant value for it goes against the Holy Qur'an.
Qur'an has quoted the argument of Polytheists or Non-Believer's at several places. They had grave problems in accepting someone as a Messenger of Allah who was a Human like them ( بشر مثلكم).
The chiefs of the Unbelievers among his people said: "He is no more than a man like yourselves: his wish is to assert his superiority over you: if Allah had wished (to send messengers), He could have sent down angels; never did we hear such a thing (as he says), among our ancestors of old." (Surah Al Mo'minun 23:24)
Qur'an has clarified that it is a polytheistic thought to expect Prophets to be like Angels (Nur)[3]. Qur'an has mentioned similar arguments of Polytheists at several places. See these Ayaat : Surah Hud 11:27, Surah Ibrahim 14:10, Surah Al Anbiya 21:3, Surah Al Mo'minun 23:33-34, Surah Al Mo'minun 23:47, Surah As Shu'ara 26:154, Surah As Shu'ara 26:186 and Surah Yaaseen 36:15.
The incident narrated in Surah Ibrahim regarding the People of Nuh, 'Aad and Thamud and those who came after them is explicit enough to clear the doubts.
Their messengers said: "Is there a doubt about Allah, The Creator of the heavens and the earth? It is He Who invites you, in order that He may forgive you your sins and give you respite for a term appointed!" They said: "Ah! ye are no more than human, like ourselves! Ye wish to turn us away from the (gods) our fathers used to worship: then bring us some clear authority."
Their messengers said to them: "True, we are human like yourselves, but Allah doth grant His grace to such of his servants as He pleases. It is not for us to bring you an authority except as Allah permits. And on Allah let all men of faith put their trust. (Surah Ibrahim 14:10-11)
Prophet Muhammad (Peace be Upon Him) was attacked the same way. Allah ordered him to reply:
Say: "I am but a man like yourselves, (but) the inspiration has come to me, that your Allah is one Allah: whoever expects to meet his Lord, let him work righteousness, and, in the worship of his Lord, admit no one as partner.
(Surah Al Kahf 18:110)
Raazi الرازي(Death 606 H) has written in the explanation of this Ayah, " There is no superiority between me and you in anything amongst the characteristics, except that Allah sends his revelation upon me".
Shanqiti الشنقيطى(Death 1393 H) writes in his commentary on this Ayah , "Indeed, I am a human like you, like any other human amongst you. Except that Allah has selected me and sends revelation on me regarding His Oneness and His orders".
Syed Tantawi سيد طنطاوي (1928-2010) explains the Ayah, "Say to them : I am a human like you. Allah brought me to this world by His powers, through mother and father, like he brought you. And my lineage and your lineage ends at Adam, whom Allah created from dust" .
The words taught to Prophet Muhammad were إنما أنا بشر مثلكم.
Stress # 1 – Qur'an uses the word إنما (indeed) which is used for stress.
Stress # 2 – Qur'an does not stop on : إنما أنا بشر(Indeed, I am a human), but adds مثلكم (like you) for stress.
Stress # 3 – Qur'an repeats the same message in Surah Fussilat.
Say thou: "I am but a man like you: It is revealed to me by Inspiration, that your Allah is one Allah: so stand true to Him, and ask for His Forgiveness." And woe to those who join gods with Allah.
(Surah Fussilat 41:6)
Hence, the Holy Qur'an explicitly declares Prophet Muhammad to be a Bashar ( بشر) like all of us.
When once he made some mistake in Salah and the Sahaba pointed out, he replied using the same words: " Indeed, I am a man like you (إنما أنا بشر مثلكم), I forget like you do"
(Sahih Al Bukhari & Sahih Al Muslim). In the physical domain, he was a complete Human like us. He was born of a mother and a father like us. His respiratory, digestive, excretion systems worked like all other human beings. He went to markets and walked in the streets like all of us. But, in the spiritual domain he was very conspicuous:
Allah's Apostle forbade Al-Wisal. The people said (to him), "But you fast Al-Wisal," He said, "Who among you is like me? When I sleep (at night), my Lord makes me eat and drink.
(Sahih Al Bukhari & Sahih Al Muslim)
The dispute can be resolved by a careful insight into the composition of ibn-e-Adam (ابن اّدم, the sons of Adam), that is Aadmi (اّدمى, belonging to Adam), or Insaan(انسان) . Muslim Mystics (Sufis, Muhsin) have discussed the topic at length. One cannot understand the spiritual wisdoms in the Islamic rulings if he is not clear about this matter. Meanings of many Ayaat of Qur'an remain vague until we understand the composition of Insaan. The knowledge of Ruh (روح, spirit) and Ruhaniyyah (روحانية, spiritualism) reached its climax in the writings of Shah Waliullah (1703-1762). He can be considered as a neutral person for people belonging to all schools of thoughts try to own him. Discussing the topic of human composition from his book 'Hujjat ullah ul Baaligha' (حجة الله البالغة, The Conclusive Argument from Allah) will help us resolve this issue.
The summary of human composition is that there is an angelic (containing nur) and an animalistic element in every body. The angelic element is the ruh which is in actual the nur. This angelic element belongs to the spiritual domain. Similarly, we have the human body as the animalistic element in the physical domain. Allah has fused in insaan these two elements, and hence deposited in man through His wisdom two forces, One is an angelic force which branches out from the emanation of the spirit particularized for man into the natural spirit (al-ruh al-tabi'yya). This natural spirit pervades the body, and it receives that emanation and is subject to it. The second is an animalisitic force (quwwa bahimiyya) common to all animals which is given shape by the faculties inhering in the naural spirit. The former pulls towards the high and the latter toward the low. Whenever the animal force becomes apparent and its effects dominate, the angelic side is concealed, and likewise the reverse.
Discussing the issue further he says, " The one whose angelic side is the highest of all is the one sent for leadership of religion and world simultaneously. He subsists through what God wills and works on His behalf in all of the universal order, such as in the Caliphate and the leadership of the religion. These ones are the prophets and the heirs" .
Hence, Prophet Muhammad was the one with the most prominent angelic side, and the most concealed animalistic one, but yes he had the animalistic side and he was a bashar like all of us.
Conclusion
After a lengthy discussion we reach the following conclusions:

[1] In the physical dimension, every insaan (human) has a material or animalistic element in himself which can be referred to as the bashar (بشر) that is the mortal human body that we see.
[2] In the spiritual dimension, every insaan (human) has an nur (نور , spiritual light) which is normally named as the ruh (روح).
[3] How Allah fused these two elements belonging to separate dimensions is beyond the comprehension of human-mind. Hence, every insaan is made up of nur in one dimension. Angels (ملائكة) are beings that are made of nur only.
[4] In addition to this, in another dimension, every insaan (human) has an evil jinn called shaitan (شيطان, satan) attached with him, in this world.
[5] A constant encounter is going on between these elements. The bashar is forcing the insaan towards material wants. The shaitan is pulling him towards evil deeds and the ruh is compelling it to feed it by righteous deeds.
[6] This battle is going on inside every insaan.
[7] Prophet Muhammad possessed all the characteristics of bashar being an insaan but he was conspicuous from all others because his nur was the most dominant. No-one has ever over-powered his bashar to such an extent. Furthermore, he surpassed everyone else by beating his shaitan to such an extent that he made him a muslim.
[8] As far as the physical existence (بشر) of Prophet Muhammad is concerned. He was just like us. This is proved from the explicit Ayaat of the Holy Qur'an. Any argument against it is not acceptable for it goes against the manifest message of the Holy Qur'an. There is no need twist the meaning of the Qur'an to make it compatible with something that we learnt from any other source.
[9] Prophetic Traditions (Ahadith) that are used to prove that Prophet Muhammad was made of nur alone are unauthentic because of two reasons : (a) their chain is weak (b) they go against the clear-cut message of Qur'an
[10] Those who deem Prophet Muhammad to be made of nur alone go against the Holy Qur'an and the very basics of Spirituality (روحانية, Sufism).

May Allah Give us All the understanding of religion (Aameen)


Author : Mohammad Awais Tahir

The author may or may not have the same views on the topic and would not like to be quoted on what has been said above. The author, however, deems nothing wrong with changing opinions, hence, he does not wish to amend/remove posts that do not resonate with his current thinking. 
“Those who never retract their opinions love themselves more than they love truth.”

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6 comments:

Waqar Akbar Cheema said...

Masha'Allah... a nice writing explaining the issue in a wonderful way..

Perhaps the most important thing to highlight after the Quranic references is the what you quoted from Shah Waliullah to avoid confusion and to avoid the issue becoming more of an emotional issue.

may Allah reward you for putting up the thing nicely

khurram khan said...

Aslaam o alikum,

Awais bhai you have properly mentioned the sequence of references from different fields of knowledge.. even though from sufism which is really hard to understand within its own domain of sufi knowledge .. but u have clearly removed the misconception regarding the Noor & Bashar concept .. definitely Rasool (SAW) was the perfect human being amongst all the humen on this earth and his spiritual power is dominant than any other human on this earth ... According to Qura'an the most prominent aspect which distinguish Nab (SAW) from the rest of human beings, was the revelation upon him .besides this there were hundreds of other characteristics which also makes him a role model for every human on this earth whether he is in the role of a father,a Commander-in-Chief, An Alim, A intellectual and great spiritual leader etc ..

Now i want you to write on different kinds of bida'h in islam with proper reference for each one so that the people going through your articles can easily have clear piture about it . thanx

fee aman Allah

Muhammad Awais Tahir said...

JazakAllah brothers.

May Allah give me the energies and knowledge to intellectually tackle all the bid'aat. And May Allah give us the power to demolish the bid'aat culture forever.

Muhammad Majid said...

an important issue clarified in a very best manner......... May Allah bless for this effort of yours......AMEEN

Muhammad Majid said...

an important issue clarified in a very best manner......... May Allah bless for this effort of yours......AMEEN

Waqar Akbar Cheema said...

Masha'Allah... a nice writing explaining the issue in a wonderful way..

Perhaps the most important thing to highlight after the Quranic references is the what you quoted from Shah Waliullah to avoid confusion and to avoid the issue becoming more of an emotional issue.

may Allah reward you for putting up the thing nicely

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