Fifth Truth: The indication of the truth of Mercy whose works are seen in the world of living beings, Hz. Muhammad (PBUH) and the names of Answerer of Prayer and Compassionate to the hereafter.
The gate of Compassion and Muhammadan Worship,
the Manifestation of the Names of
Answerer of Prayer and Compassionate
Is it at all possible that a Lord possessing infinite compassion and mercy, Who most compassionately fulfils the smallest need of His lowliest creatures in the most unexpected fashion, Who heeds the muffled plea for help of His most obscure creature, and Who responds to all the petitions He hears, whether vocal or mute — is it at all possible that such a Lord should not pay heed to the greatest petition of the foremost among His servants, the most beloved among his creatures, that He should not hear and grant his most exalted prayer? The kindness and ease manifested in the feeding and nurturing of weak and young animals show that the Monarch of the cosmos exercises his dominicality with infinite mercy.
Is it at all possible that a compassion merciful to this degree in the exercise of dominicality should not accept the prayer of the most virtuous and beautiful of all creation? (1) This truth is explained in the Nineteenth Word, but let us repeat our statement of the matter here:
O friend listening to these words together with my own soul! We said in the comparison that a meeting took place on a certain island, and a most noble commander delivered a speech there. In order to find out the truth indicated in the comparison, come, let us depart from this age, and in our mind and imagination travel to the Arabian Peninsula in the blessed age of the Prophet, in order to visit and watch him while he is performing his duties and engaging in worship. See, just as he is the means for the attainment of eternal bliss, by means of his messengerhood and guidance, so too he is the cause for the existence of that bliss and the means for the creation of Paradise, by means of his worship and prayer.
Now see! That being is praying for eternal bliss in such supreme supplication, with such sublime worship, that it is as if this island, or even the whole world, were praying and supplicating together with him. For the worship he performs contains within itself not only the worship of the community that follows him, but also that of all the other prophets, in its essential form, by virtue of the correspondence existing between him and them. Moreover, he performs his supreme prayer and offers his supplications in such a vast congregation that it is as if all luminous and perfect men, from the time of Adam down to the present, were following him in prayer and saying “amen” to his supplications! (2) He is praying for so universal a need —immortality— that not merely the people of this earth, but also the inhabitants of the heavens and the entirety of creation are participating in his supplications and silently proclaiming, “yes, o Lord! Grant his prayer; we too desire it.” He petitions for everlasting bliss with such touching sadness, in so yearning, so longing, and so pleading a fashion, that he causes the whole of the cosmos to weep and thus to share in his prayer.
See, he desires and prays for bliss, for such a purpose and goal that he elevates man and all creatures from captivity in the abysmal state of utter annihilation, from worthlessness, uselessness, and purposelessness to the apex of preciousness, eternity, exalted function, and the rank of being a script penned by Allah.
See, he makes his petition with such elevated plea for succour, makes his supplication with so sweet a request for mercy, that it is as if he caused all beings, the heavens and Allah’s throne itself to listen, and to echo his prayer ecstatically with cries of “amen, o Lord, amen!” (3)
See, he requests bliss and eternity from a Being, One so All-Hearing, Generous and Powerful, so All-Seeing, Merciful and Knowledgeable that He sees, hears, accepts and takes pity upon the most secret wish, the slightest desire of the most obscure of his creatures, this, in observable form. He answers all pleas even if they are silently proffered. He bestows all things and answers all pleas in so wise, percipient and merciful a fashion that no doubt remains that all that nurturing and regulating can derive only from One All-Hearing and All-Seeing, One Generous and Merciful.
Let us listen to what the Pride of All Being is requesting, that source of honour for all of mankind, that one unique in all of creation, who bears on his back the burden of all men, who standing on this earth lifts up his hands towards Allah’s throne and offers up a prayer which in its reality contains the essence of the worship of all of mankind. See, he is asking for eternal bliss for himself and for his community. He is asking for eternity and Paradise. He is making his plea together with all the Divine Sacred Names that display their beauty in the mirrors of all created being. You can see, indeed, that he is seeking intercession from those Names.
If there were not countless reasons and causes for the existence of the hereafter, a single prayer of that exalted being would be enough for the creation of Paradise, a task as easy for the power of the Merciful Creator as the creation of spring. (4)
Indeed, how could the creation of spring be difficult for the Possessor of Absolute Power Who each spring makes the face of the world into a plain of resurrection, and brings forth there a hundred thousand examples of resurrection? In just the same way that the messengerhood of the Prophet was the reason for the foundation of this realm of trial —the saying “were it not for thee, were it not for thee, I would not have created the spheres” (5) being an indication of this— so too the worship he performed was the cause for the foundation of the abode of bliss.
Is it at all possible that the flawless perfection of artistry, the peerless beauty of dominicality expressed in the order of the world and the comprehensive mercy that reduce all to bewilderment, should not answer his prayer, and thus tolerate an extreme form of ugliness, cruelty and disorder? Is it possible that it would listen to the most petty and insignificant desires and grant them, but dismiss significant and important desires as worthless, and fail to fulfil them? No, a thousand times no! Such beauty can never accept such ugliness and itself become ugly. (6)
So just as the Prophet opened the gates of this world with his messengerhood, he opens the gates of the hereafter with his worship.
May the blessings of the Compassionate One be upon him, to the extent of all that this world and paradise contain. O Allah, grant blessings and peace to Your servant and Messenger, that Beloved One who is the Master of both Realms, the Pride of all the Worlds, the source of life in both spheres, the means for the attainment of happiness here and in the hereafter, he who flies on two wings, who is the messenger to both men and jinn — to him, and to his Family, and all of his Companions, as well as his brethren from among the prophets and messengers. Amen.
(1) He whose kingdom has lasted one thousand three hundred and fifty years, who has generally had more than three hundred and fifty million subjects, to whom his subjects daily renew their pledge of allegiance and to whose perfections they continually bear witness, whose commands are obeyed in perfect submission, whose spiritual hue has coloured half of the globe and a fifth of mankind, who is the beloved of men’s hearts and the educator of their spirits — such a being is without doubt the greatest servant of the Lord Who holds sway over the universe. Also, since most of the realms of beings applauded that being’s function and duty through each bearing the fruit of his miracles, he is for sure the most beloved creature of the Fashioner of the cosmos. Similarly, the desire for perpetuity existing in all men by virtue of their very nature, a desire that lifts men from the lowest of the low to the highest of the high, is the greatest of all desires and petitions, fit to be presented to the Provider of all Needs only by the greatest among His servants.
(2) From the time that the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) first made his supplication down to the present, all the invocations upon him of peace and blessings made by his community are a kind of eternal amen to his prayer, a form of universal participation in it. Every invocation of peace and blessings upon him by every member of the Muslim community in the course of his prayer, as well as the prayer for him uttered after the second call to prayer according to the Shafi‘i school — this too is a powerful and universal amen to his supplication for eternal bliss. So the eternity and everlasting bliss desired by all men with all of their strength, in accordance with their primordial disposition, is requested in the name of humanity by the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him), and the luminous segment of humanity says “amen” after him. Is it at all possible that such a prayer should not be accepted?
(3) Indeed, it is not at all possible that the Master of this world, all of Whose doings are self-evidently inspired by consciousness, knowledge and wisdom, should be unaware and uninformed of the acts of the foremost among all of His creatures. Again, it is not at all possible that the All-Knowing Master should remain indifferent to the deeds and prayers of that foremost among His creatures, and deem them unimportant despite being aware of them. It is further impossible that the Powerful and Merciful Master of the World should not accept his prayers, having not remained indifferent to them. Yes, through the light of the Muhammadan Being the form of the world has changed. The true essence of men and all beings in the cosmos became apparent through that light; it became clear that they are each missives of the Eternally Besought One proclaiming the Divine Names, precious and profound beings with God-given functions and destined to manifest eternity. Were it not for that light, beings would be condemned to utter annihilation, they would be valueless, meaningless, useless, confused, the result of blind chance, sunk in the darkness of illusion. It is for this reason that just as men say “amen” to the prayer of the Prophet, so too all other beings, from the face of the earth up to Allah’s throne, from the soil to the stars, all take pride in his light, and proclaim their connection with him. The very spirit of the worship of the Prophet is indeed none other than this prayer. Again, all the motions and workings of the cosmos are in their essence prayer. For example, the progress of a seed until it becomes a tree is a form of prayer to the Creator.
(4) To display wondrous samples of art, and examples of resurrection on the face of the earth that, compared with the hereafter is like a narrow page, to inscribe and include on that single page, in perfect order, all the different species of creation, that resemble three hundred thousand separate books, is certainly more difficult than building and creating the delicate and symmetrical structure of Paradise in the broad realm of eternity. Indeed, it may be said that to whatever degree Paradise is more elevated than the spring, to that degree the creation of the gardens of spring is more difficult and wondrous than the creation of Paradise.
(5) ‘Ali al-Qari, Sharh al-Shifa, i, 16; al-‘Ajluni, Kashf al-Khafa, ii, 164.
(6) It is unanimously agreed the total reversal of truths is impossible. It is quite impossible that something should become the very opposite and reverse of itself, and impossible to the thousandth degree that something should retain its own nature, and yet at the same time become identical with its opposite. Thus infinite beauty cannot become ugliness, while yet remaining beauty, and, in our example, it is not possible that the beauty of dominicality, a beauty perceptible and manifest in its existence, should retain its quiddity as the beauty of dominicality, but become the very essence of ugliness. This would be the strangest of all impossible and false notions in the world.
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