The Prophet Muhammad

The Prophet as (λόγος) Logos

The Prophet Muhammad

as the Logos (λόγος) of Creation.

Imam al-Busiri writes in the Qasidat al-Burda (‘The Ode of the Prophetic Mantle’):

و كيف تدعوا الى الدنيا ضرورة من * لولاه لم تخرج الدنيا من العدم

[wa kayfa tad`u ila al-dunya darurata man * lawlahu lam tukhriji al-dunya min al-`adami]

How can the necessities of such a noble personality incline him towards this world.

When had it not been for him this world would not have come out of non existence.

It has often been mentioned by many Muslims that our beloved Prophet (Allah’s abundant blessings and peace be upon him) was the reason why Allah created this world, i.e. it is grounded in him as the ultimate objective for realisation of the Divine plan. This has become one of the many points on which doctrine battles have taken place (and continue to do so) in these new internet debate and discussion forums that often contain no etiquette or proper conduct of disagreement whatsoever but only slandering, accusations, excommunicatory takfirs, and gross misunderstandings from both sides in the debate.

One esteemed scholar of our classical tradition often quoted in these online debates to attack those who do propose a possible understanding that our beloved Prophet is the logos of creation is the great Hanbali jurist, Mujtahid and shaykh al-Islam Imam Ibn Taymiyya (May Allah’s mercy be upon him). He is often depicted as an anti-Sufi, anti-rationalist, anti-jurist and anti-theologian literalist. My own view is that this could not be far from the truth. There has been a specific polarisation of Imam Ibn Taymiyya by a certain ill-tempered scholars of the Muslim world and if one only peruses his many works, they would come away with eye-brows raised high at what they read.

Regarding the topic of the question, Imam Ibn Taymiyya made the following remarks regarding the Prophet as possible logos of creation:

“And the superior excellence of our Prophet manifested itself over the angels on the night of al-Mi’raj where he reached a level where he could hear the scribbling of the pens and he rose far above the stations of the angels. Moreover, Allah has manifest some of His Mighty Power and unfathomable Wisdom through righteous human beings, prophets and saints (al-awliya’), the likes of which He has not manifest through the angels, for He combines in the former group qualities which are scattered among other creation. Thus He creates [man’s] body from the earth and his soul (ruhahu) from the Celestial Company, and this is why it is said, ‘Man is a microcosm (al-‘alam al-saghir), and a copy of the greater Universe (al-‘alam al-kabir)’ and Muhammad is the Chief of the Children of Adam (sayyid waladi Adam), the Best of Creation (afdal al-khalq), the noblest of them [in the sight of Allah]. For this reason some have said that, ‘Allah created the Universe due to him (li-ajlihi),’ or that, ‘Were it not for him, He would have neither created a Throne, nor a Footstool, nor a heaven, earth, sun or moon.’

However, there is neither a sahih or da’if hadith on the authority of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) regarding this neither have the people of knowledge transmitted any such hadith from the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) nor anything known from the Sahaba rather it is an anonymous statement but it may be explained from a correct aspect as in Allah saying {Everything has been subjected to you in the heavens and the earth}[1] as well as {Allah is He Who created the heavens and the earth and sent down water from the clouds, then brought forth with it fruits as a sustenance for you, and He has made the ships subservient to you, that they might run their course in the sea by His command, and He has made the rivers subservient to you. And He has made subservient to you the sun and the moon pursuing their courses, and He has made subservient to you the night and the day. And He gives you of all that you ask Him; and if you count Allah’s favours, you will not be able to number them; most surely man is very unjust, very ungrateful}[2] and similar such verses of the Qur’an where Allah explains that he has created creation for human beings (bani adam). It is also known that there is enormous wisdom in what Allah has created and more although He explained the benefits it has for human beings and the bounties he has bestowed in it for them. Similarly, the person who says, ‘if it were not for such and such reason then such and such would not have been’ does not rule out there being some other enormous wisdom in it. However, because Muhammad is the best of all human beings and his being created is the ultimate end and purpose as well as the ultimate wisdom sought and there is none greater than him, it follows that the fulfillment of creation and the fulfillment of all perfection is realized through Muhammad (Allah’s abundant peace and blessings be upon him) […]

The Prophet said: ‘truly I was written as Seal of the Prophets with Allah while Adam was being kneaded with clay’ […] and since if human beings are the best and seal or terminus of Allah’s creation as well as its microcosm, and because the best of man is the best of all creation absolutely, then it follows that Muhammad being as it were the pupil of the eye, the axis of the mill or  distributer of divine gifts is the ultimate purpose from all the purposes of creation (ghayat al-ghayat al-makhluqat). Thus, one may not deny such statements as, ‘if it were not for him then I would not have created such and such’; so if statements such as this are interpreted and explained with what the Book and the Sunna indicates, then it will be accepted.”[3]

وقد ظهر فضل نبينا على الملائكة ليلة المعراج لما صار بمستوى يسمع فيه صريف الأقلام، وعلا على مقامات الملائكة، والله تعالى أظهر من عظيم قدرته وعجيب حكمته من صالحى الآدميين من الأنبياء والأولياء ما لم يظهر مثله من الملائكة، حيث جمع فيهم ما تفرق في المخلوقات‏.‏ فخلق بدنه من الأرض، وروحه من الملأ الأعلى، ولهذا يقال‏:‏ هو العالم الصغير، وهو نسخة العالم الكبير ‏.‏ومحمد سيد ولد آدم، وأفضل الخلق، وأكرمهم عليه‏.‏ ومن هنا قال من قال‏:‏ إن الله خلق من أجله العالم، أو أنه لولا هو لما خلق عرشًا، ولا كرسيًا، ولا سماء ولا أرضًا ولا شمسًا ولا قمرًا‏.‏

لكن ليس هذا حديثًا عن النبى صلى الله عليه وسلم لا صحيحًا ولا ضعيفًا، ولم ينقله أحد من أهل العلم بالحديث عن النبى صلى الله عليه وسلم، بل ولا يعرف عن الصحابة، بل هو كلام لا يدرى قائله‏.‏ ويمكن أن يفسر بوجه صحيح كقوله‏:‏ }‏وَسَخَّرَ لَكُم مَّا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ‏}‏ ‏[‏الجاثية ‏:‏13‏]‏، وقوله‏:‏ ‏}‏وَسَخَّرَ لَكُمُ الْفُلْكَ لِتَجْرِيَ فِي الْبَحْرِ بِأَمْرِهِ وَسَخَّرَ لَكُمُ الأَنْهَارَ وَسَخَّر لَكُمُ الشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ دَآئِبَينَ وَسَخَّرَ لَكُمُ اللَّيْلَ وَالنَّهَارَ وَآتَاكُم مِّن كُلِّ مَا سَأَلْتُمُوهُ وَإِن تَعُدُّواْ نِعْمَتَ اللّهِ لاَ تُحْصُوهَا إِنَّ الإِنسَانَ لَظَلُومٌ كَفَّارٌ‏}‏ ‏[‏إبراهيم‏:‏ 32 ــ 34 ‏]‏ وأمثال ذلك من الآيات التي يبين فيها أنه خلق المخلوقات لبنى آدم‏.‏ ومعلوم أن لله فيها حكمًا عظيمة غير ذلك، /وأعظم من ذلك‏.‏ ولكن يبين لبنى آدم ما فيها من المنفعة، وما أسبغ عليهم من النعمة ‏.‏

فإذا قيل‏:‏ فعل كذا لكذا لم يقتض ألا يكون فيه حكمة أخرى‏.‏ وكذلك قول القائل‏:‏ لولا كذا ما خلق كذا‏.‏ لا يقتضى ألا يكون فيه حكم أخرى عظيمة، بل يقتضى إذا كان أفضل صالحى بنى آدم محمد، وكانت خلقته غاية مطلوبة، وحكمة بالغة مقصودة أعظم من غيره، صار تمام الخلق، ونهاية الكمال، حصل بمحمد صلى الله تعالى عليه وسلم ‏.‏

والله خلق السموات والأرض وما بينهما في ستة أيام، وكان آخر الخلق يوم الجمعة، وفيه خلق آدم وهو آخر ما خلق، خلق يوم الجمعة بعد العصر في آخر يوم الجمعة‏.‏ وسيد ولد آدم هو محمد ـ صلى الله تعالى عليه وسلم ـ آدم فمن دونه تحت لوائه ـ قال صلى الله تعالى عليه وسـلم‏:‏ ‏(‏إني عند الله لمكتوب خاتـم النبيين وإن آدم لمنجدل(‏ أي كتبت نبوتي وأظهرت لما خلق آدم قبل نفخ الروح فيه، كما يكتب الله رزق العبد وأجله وعمله وشقى أو سعيد إذا خلق الجنين قبل نفخ الروح فيه‏.‏

فإذا كان الإنسان هو خاتم المخلوقات وآخرها /وهو الجامع لما فيها، وفاضله هو فاضل المخلوقات مطلقًا، ومحمد إنسان هذا العين، وقطب هذه الرحى، وأقسام هذا الجمع كان كأنها غاية الغايات في المخلوقات، فما ينكر أن يقال‏:‏ إنه لأجله خلقت جميعها، وأنه لولاه لما خلقت، فإذا فسر هذا الكلام ونحوه بما يدل عليه الكتاب والسنة قبل ذلك.

Some points

Shaykh al-Islam’s reasoning appears to be as follows:

Absolute Differentiation: He first points out the ontological differentiation of our beloved Prophet from all other categories of creation by his exemplification of two unique properties: [1] The Prophet Muhammad had the property of being the Seal of the Prophets before any other Prophet and [2] The Prophet Muhammad had the property of being the best of Allah’s creation. Both these properties have not been exemplified by any other category of created beings. Thus, there is a pre-bodily, pre-temporal existence or reality of Muhammad before human beings were even created.

Deduction: His reasoning is a form of transitive relation where if one thing A is = B and B = C then A = C or if one thing A is > B and B > C, then A > C, etc.

Deduction one

P1. Human beings are the best of God’s creation.

P2. The best of human beings is Muhammad (because of absolute differentiation).

______________

Therefore,

C. Muhammad is the best of human beings who are the best of God’s creation.

From this it follows that Muhammad is Allah’s greatest creation.

Deduction two

P1. The terminus (= ultimate aim, purpose and goal) for the creation of the world is for the sake of human beings.

P2. Muhammad is Allah’s greatest creation.

______________

Therefore,

C. The terminus (= ultimate aim, purpose and goal) for the creation of the world is for the sake of Muhammad.

Deduction three

P1. For any created entity, there can be another greater than it.

P2. However, there cannot be a greater created entity than the Prophet (because of absolute differentiation).

P3. If the world can make sense to be created due to a lesser entity than the Prophet for some ultimate divine wisdom, plan and realisation, then it makes sense that it be created due to the Prophet himself who is the greatest of Allah’s created entities (from deduction one).

______________

Therefore,

C. It is conceivable that the world can make sense to be created due to the Prophet for some ultimate divine wisdom, plan and realisation.

  • There is thus an interpretive possibility for the claim that the Prophet is the logos of creation in accordance with the Islamic viewpoint.
  • Imam al-Busiri’s verse quoted above may not be dismissed as being a statement of kufr (‘disbelief’) or shirk (‘polytheism’) but one reflecting an insight gained from reflection about the reality of Allah’s unfolding plan.
  • It is extremely dangerous for Muslim groups to draw takfir battle lines along this exegetical point because it is a subsidiary element of doctrine and not a foundational element.
  • It is also not permitted to insist on denying this interpretive possibility.
  • The Prophet’s rank, status and position are unparalleled and none has the right to attempt to restrict, demean or subvert that.

 

And Allah alone grants success.

peace and blessings upon
our Master Muhammad,
His pure family,
HIs noble Companions
and all those who follow them.

[1] See surat al-Jathiya:13.

[2] See surat al-Ibrahim:32-34.

[3] See Ibn Taymiyya, al-Majma’ al-Fatawa, vol.11, pp.94-99. Cf. U. Hasan, “Muhammad as the Reason for All of Creation”, pp.1-5 available at http://www.scribd.com/doc/22396399/Muhammad-as-the-Reason-for-All-of-Creation-Ibn-Taymiyyah

One thought on “The Prophet as (λόγος) Logos

  1. Pingback: Mustafa Jaane Rehmat_the uniqueness of the Prophet | دار نيـقـوسـيــا

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