In the name of Allah, the All-Merciful, the Most Merciful, and may Allah bless His Prophet and Messenger Muhammad and his family and companions and grant peace
Dars for Saturday 16th December København
This year marks a century and a year from the day of the final dismantling of the khalifate, and thus the rise to total dominance of the Judaeo-Christian world order, not comprising two ‘Abrahamic religions’ but two archetypal distortions of the revelation. The first was the Jewish accommodation with power, with subjection, and the centrality to it of legalisms and rituals, and the embrace of usury and banking. The second was the Christian accommodation with power; the Roman oligarchy offered them the seat of power if not its reality, and they accepted, and so the Roman Church and the Holy Roman Empire were born. Their dominant features were theology and metaphysical speculation which they took over from the Greeks.
The true din of their Prophets and ours, may Allah bless him and grant him peace and them, was trifold: nomocracy rather than autocracy or democracy, tawhid, the unitary science, and tasawwuf. About this latter, Shaykh Dr. Abdalqadir as-Sufi said that it is futuwwa – chivalry and the noble qualities of character, but that its secret is ma‘rifah. Modern sufis think that tasawwuf is ma‘rifah.
But because the theme of ma‘rifah has something very important for us, let us pursue that. It is that Allah is knowable directly and not only through theological reasoning and metaphysical speculation. In fact, all Muslims have some share of this, but when we speak about it, we ordinarily mean the summit of it, which is a gift which Allah gives to those of His slaves with whom He is well pleased.
To approach it let us take a hadith that is not a hadith. Please note that the scholars of our tradition are the most fair and just of people, contrary to the modern hadithi movement. Often scholars say about a hadith that others dismiss, correctly, as fabricated that it has no sound isn?d but its meaning is true. And this is what is said about the following:
“Whoever knows his self knows his Lord”
There is no isnad whatsoever that connects this as an attribution to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, but nevertheless the meaning is true.
Some have deduced from this that knowledge of the Lord is impossible because one cannot possibly know oneself, given that the subject and object, the knower and the known, would be the same.
But if we accept the apparent promise of the text, how do you know the self? We have the mirror. But the mirror only shows khalq – the exterior form, whereas the self is the khuluq – the inner form, the character. So one needs another kind of mirror. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace said, “The mu’min is the mirror of the mu’min.” The mu’minun are mirrors to each other by which they can come to know their selves and thus come to know their Lord.
We ought also to hear other dimensions of the hadith. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was given concise and comprehensive words. They can often contain different levels of meaning none of which contradict the other. Al-Mumin is a name of Allah meaning the Author of Security and Safety. The hadith also means that the mu’min is the mirror of al-Mumin reflecting His Divine attributes in this world. The world itself is the place in which the Divine names and attributes manifest. In one sense, all the world is a mirror, but clearly the best mirror is the one which is most polished. The best of the Muminin is of course the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, who is the clearest reflection. It has been said that when Abu Bakr looked at the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, he saw his own highest possibilities as a being, but that when Abu Lahab looked, he only saw an Arabic man from his own family.
As mirrors of the Divine names and attributes, the Mu’minun are the embodiments of the Noble Hadith, “I was only sent to perfect the noble qualities of character,” and this is futuwwa, and embodiments of the hadith, “The best of you are those who when seen then Allah is remembered by them.” The mu’minun acting as mirrors to each other can, of course, only happen to the degree that they keep each others’ company. And the best of this community were not called disciples, students or followers but Companions because they kept the company of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and of each other in Mad?nah. A part of that today is to be occupied together in common projects, whether of the world or the next world, and we shouldn’t despise the importance of working together on worldly ones, those that involve the mu‘amalat.