Muhammad the Light of Allah?

O people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians)! Now has come to you Our Messenger (Muhammad SAW) explaining to you much of that which you used to hide from the Scripture and passing over (i.e. leaving out without explaining) much. Indeed, there has come to you from Allah a light (Prophet Muhammad SAW ) and a plain Book (this Quran). Surah 5:15 Hilali & Khan translation 


 This is the follow up to my last blog post that explored the doctrines surrounding the person of Muhammad traditionally held by Islam. As I said last time many Muslims and non-Muslims( especially in the west) are unaware of some of these narrations. This is mainly because of the popularity of Wahhabi Islam and and the petro dollar fueled media tsunami coming out of Saudi Arabia for the last few decades. 

Next we will explore the belief of "Haqiqat al Muhammadiyyah" or roughly translated The Muhammadan reality(Muhammad's inner nature being the Kalimah/Logos of Allah). Regrading the Quranic verse quoted above Surah 5:15, most classical quranic interpreters have said "Light" in this passage is speaking about the prophet of Islam Himself. Here are a few quotes on 5:15..


"It is the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace)" (Tafsir al-Jalalayn, 139)

 "By Light He means Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace), through whom Allah has illuminated the truth, manifested Islam, and obliterated polytheism; since he is a light for whoever seeks illumination from him, which makes plain the truth" (Jami‘ al-bayan, 6.161).

And as we have already seen in the quoted text by the modern Salafi scholar Dr. Muhsin Khan

Some have interpreted "Light" in 5:15 as the religion of Islam, but the earliest sources confirm it is Muhammad as testified by At Tabari. Interesting enough this passage is addressed to Christians, telling them not only has a new Book come to abrogate the Bible, but obviously a new Light has come to abrogate the previous light(John 8:12: " Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world..."). So to be clear Surah 5 ayat 15 is a direct call for Christians to apostate and leave the Church, abandon the Bible, and the supremacy of Christ in order to take Muhammad as mediator between man and Allah, as the Light from heaven that has come into the world, and as we will see later a sort of metaphysical manifestation of Allah. 


There is no loss of controversy over what it means to call Muhammad light, with many like the Salafis and Deobandi's saying when Allah called him light what was meant is, he is a source of guidance, and guidance is like light. Yet there are other Muslim's who are adamant that Muhammad's essence was literally the Light of Allah in a human body. The controversy also centers around certain hadeeth's that say he was created from a special light(some reports say Allah's own Light) and was the first of all creation and the universe was created for his sake, many Muslim sects disagree with weather they are authentic, weak or possibly fraudulent. 

It is related that Jabir ibn `Abd Allah said to the Prophet : "O Messenger of Allah, may my father and mother be sacrificed for you, tell me of the first thing Allah created before all things." He said: "O Jabir, the first thing Allah created was the light of your Prophet from His light, and that light remained (lit. "turned") in the midst of His Power for as long as He wished, and there was not, at that time, a Tablet or a Pen or a Paradise or a Fire or an angel or a heaven or an earth. And when Allah wished to create creation, he divided that Light into four parts and from the first made the Pen, from the second the Tablet, from the third the Throne," [and from the fourth everything else]."

Some of those who accepted this hadeeth are Indian Muhaddith Abd al-Haqq al-Dihlawi, Abd al-Razzaq (d. 211) whom both Imam Bukhari and Muslim took narrations from, Imam al-Bayhaqi (d. 458) a master in hadeeth sciences.

Also it has been reported Muhammad said that part of the meaning of Surah 33:7 was

the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, "I was the first of the Prophets to be created and the last of them to be sent." Ibn Abi Hatim in his Tafsir, Abu Nu‘aym in Dala’il al-nabuwwa, Imam Suyuti records nine similar ahadeeth in al-Khasa’is al-kubra.

The Prophet of Allah (sallallahu `alayhi wasallam) said: “Allah said: When Adam made the mistake, he asked: O Allah! I ask you for the sake of Muhammad to forgive me. Allah said: O Adam! How do you recognise Muhammad when I have not yet created him? Adam said: O Allah! When you created me and blew into me the spirit, I lifted my head and saw written on the `Arsh ‘La ilaaha illallah Muhammadur rasoolullah’. So, I got to know that you would only join your name with him who is most beloved to you. Allah said: O Adam! You have spoken the truth. Indeed Muhammad is more beloved to me than anything and when you asked me for his sake, I pardoned you. If Muhammad was not in existence, I would not have created you” (Also from Imam Subki in Shifa as-Siqam and Shihab in Naseem) 

Ibn Taymiyya said about this hadeeth....
"And this hadith is narrated by al-Haakim in his Mustadrak, from the hadith of 'Abdillah bin Muslim al-FiHree, from Isma'il bin Salama. And Haakim said, 'and it is the first hadith I have mentioned from 'Abdur-Rahman in this book. And Haakim says that it is sahih. And it is related by Shaykh Abu Bakr al-Aajuri, in the book 'ash-Shari'ahmawqufan on 'Umar from hadith 'Abdillah bin Isma'il bin Abi Maryam mawqufan from 'Abdur Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam." In al-qaida al-jaleela fit- tawwasali wal-waseela

Sufi scholar Allamah al-Sayyid Mahmud Alusi said about this issue of Muhammad being the Light of Allah the following: 

"The Prophet being a mercy to all is linked to the fact that he is the intermediary of the divine outpouring over all contingencies [i.e. all created things without exception], from the very beginnings (wasitat al-fayd al-ilahi `ala al-mumkinat `ala hasab al-qawabil), and that is why his light was the first of all things created, as stated in the report that "The first thing Allah created was the light of your Prophet, O Jabir," and also cited is: "Allah is the Giver and I am the Distributor." The Sufis -- may Allah sanctify their secrets -- have more to say on that chapter." [Tafsir Ruh al-Ma`ani, Volume 017, Page No. 105]

And also examine this quote from 
Imam Rabbani Mujaddid Alfi Thani regrading this topic of Muhammad being light manifested( Note Haqiqah means reality):

"You have to know: The Muhammadiyyan Haqiqah is the first which appeared and is the Haqiqah of Haqiqahs. All other Haqiqahs, no matter if the Haqiqah of other Prophets or the Haqiqah of the great Angels, they all are the shadow of the Haqiqah of our Prophet. The Haqiqah of the Prophet is the foundation/fundament of all other Haqiqahs. The Prophet says: "Allah first created my noor and I was created from Allahs Noor and the Muminun were created from my Noor." (Al-Maktubat Letter 121 Volume 3 first paragraph)

After examining all this the logical conclusion is that traditional
 Islam views Muhammad as at least partly-divine, the description of Him from these sources reminds me of Arianism. In summery The essence of Muhammad is created first as light or Word, then all of of the universe is created through and for Him by Allah, with this Light or Word being manifested in human form as Muhammad in the last days.

Additional Islamic sources on the topic:

http://www.marifah.net/forums/topic/4185-the-prophet-being-the-first-of-creation-and-nur/
http://www.ahlus-sunna.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=60&Itemid=114
http://www.masud.co.uk/ISLAM/nuh/masudq7.htm


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