First Question: Why did the Companions not discover the troublemakers with the eye of sainthood since they were superior to saints and why were three of the four Rightly-Guided Caliphs martyred?
My Dear Brother!
YOUR FIRST QUESTION
Why didn’t the Companions discover the troublemakers with the eye of sainthood, so that it resulted in three of the four Rightly-Guided Caliphs being martyred? For it is said that the lesser Companions are greater than the greatest saints?
T h e A n s w e r : There are two Stations in this matter.
This question is solved by explaining as follows a subtle mystery of sainthood:
The Companions’ sainthood, known as the ‘greater sainthood,’ is a sainthood which arose from the legacy of prophethood, and, passing directly from the apparent to reality without travelling the intermediate path, looks to the unfolding of Divine immediacy. Although this way of sainthood is very short, it is extremely elevated. Its wonders are few, but its virtues many. Illuminations and wonder-workings are to be encountered infrequently on it. Moreover, the wonder-working of the saints is mostly involuntary; wonders appear from them unexpectedly as a Divine bestowal. And the majority of these illuminations and wonder-workings occur during their spiritual journeying, when they traverse the intermediate realm of the Sufi path; they manifest these extra-ordinary states because they have withdrawn to a degree from ordinary humanity. As for the Companions, due to the reflection, attraction, and elixir of the company of prophethood, they were not compelled to traverse the vast sphere of spiritual journeying present on the Sufi way. They were able to pass from the apparent to reality in one step, through one conversation with the Prophet (Blessings and peace be upon him). For example, there are two ways of reaching the Night of Power, if it was last night:
One is to travel and wander for a year and so come to that night. One has to traverse the distance of a year in order to gain this proximity. This is the way of those who take the way of spiritual journeying, which most of those who follow the Sufi path take.
The second is to slip free of and be divested of the sheath of corporeality, which is restricted by time, to rise in the spirit, and to see the Night of Power, which was last night, together with the night of the ‘Id, which is the day after tomorrow, as being present like today. For the spirit is not restricted by time. When the human emotions rise to the level of the spirit, present time expands. Time which is the past and the future for others is as though the present æor such a person.
And so, according to this comparison, in order to reach the Night of Power, one has to rise to the level of the spirit and see the past as though it was the present. The basis of this obscure mystery is the unfolding of Divine immediacy. For example, the sun is close to us, for its light and heat are present in our mirror and in our hand. But we are far from it. If we perceive its immediacy from the point of view of luminosity, and understand our relation to its image in our mirror, which is a similitude; if we come to know it by that means, and know what its light, heat, and totality are, its immediacy is unfolded to us and we recognize it as close to us and we become connected to it. If we want to draw close to it and get to know it from the point of view of our distance from it, we are compelled to embark on an extensive journeying of the mind, so that by means of thought and the laws of science, we may rise to the skies in the mind and conceive of the sun there, and through lengthy scientific investigation understand its light and heat and the seven colours in its light. Only after this may we attain to the non-physical proximity the first man attained with little thought through his mirror.
Thus, like this comparison, the sainthood of prophethood and of the legacy of prophethood looks to the mystery of the unfolding of Divine immediacy. The other sainthood proceeds mostly on the basis of proximity, and is compelled to traverse numerous degrees in spiritual journeying.
Those who were the cause of those events and instigated the trouble did not consist of a few Jews so that having discovered them the trouble could have been prevented. For with numerous different peoples entering Islam, many currents and ideas which were opposed to and contrary to one another had confused the situation. Particularly since the national pride of some of them had received awesome wounds at the blows of ‘Umar (May Allah be pleased with him); they were waiting to take their revenge. For both their old religion had been rendered null and void and their old rule and sovereignty, the source of their pride, been swept away. Knowingly or unknowingly, they were emotionally in favour of taking their revenge on Islamic rule. It was therefore said that certain clever and scheming dissemblers like the Jews took advantage of that state of society. That is to say, it would have been possible to prevent those events through reforming the social life and various ideas of that time. They could not have been prevented by discovering one or two troublemakers.
I f i t i s s a i d : Why did ‘Umar (May Allah be pleased with him) not see his murderer, Firuz, who was at his side with that piercing eye of sainthood of his, although while in the pulpit he said to one of his commanders called Sariya who was a month’s distance away, “Sariya! The mountain, the mountain!”,1 making Sariya hear it and in wondrous fashion causing a strategic victory-showing how piercing his view was?
T h e A n s w e r : We answer with the answer that the Prophet Jacob (Upon whom be peace) gave. That is, it was asked of Jacob, “How did you perceive the odour of Joseph’s shirt from Egypt when you did not see him in the well at Cana’an close by?” He replied: “Our state is like lightening; sometimes it appears and sometimes it is hidden. Sometimes it is as though we are seated on the highest spot and can see everwhere. And sometimes we cannot even see the arch of our foot.”
In Short: However much man acts with choice, still, in accordance with the verse,
You do not will it except as Allah wills,2
Divine will is fundamental, Divine Determining is dominant. Divine will gives back human will. It confirms the statement, “If Divine Determining speaks, human power cannot speak, man’s will falls silent.”
1. Tabari, Ta’rikh al-‘Umam wa’l-Muluk ii, 380; Abu Na’im, al-Dala’il iii, 210, 211; Bayhaqi, Dala’il al-Nubuwwa vi, 370; Suyuti, Ta’rikh al-Khulafa’ 128; Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya wa’l-Nihaya vii, 131; al-‘Asqalani, al-Isaba ii, 3; Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqa 101; Imam Sahawi, al-Maqasid al-Hasana 474 no: 1331; Suyuti, al-Durar al-Muntathira 182 No: 462; al-‘Ajluni, Kashf al-Khafa’ ii, 380; al-Albani, Silsilat al-Ahadith al-Sahiha no: 1110.
2. Qur’an, 76:30.
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