The Truth of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.A.)
Allama Husayn Ansariyan
Since the Holy Prophet is inwardly and outwardly the root of Ahl al-Bayt and their spiritual dignity, we must get to know the Holy Prophet thoroughly in order to know Ahl al-Bayt.
Based on narrations, four truths are referred to as the first creatures:
The first thing Allah created was light.34
The first thing Allah created was pen.35
The first thing Allah cre ated was intellect.36
The first thing Allah created was my light.37
The first thing Allah created was my soul.38
The Holy Prophet himself is, owing to the signs of wonder that flow from his sacred interior and the truths that emanate from his heavenly heart, the perfect meaning of light, pen, and intellect in these statements. It is for this very reason that the Holy Prophet has in the last two narrations introduced his light and soul as the first creations. Although these four names are different in appearance, they are identical in referring to the Holy Prophet himself.
We will discuss this important point by invoking the Holy Quran and narrations based on reason, without any bias:
Defining light, the philosophers say that light is a truth which is manifest by itself and makes other things manifest. Intellect in the aforesaid narration means a truth. It is a medium between man and all information and truths in the creation. The Holy Quran describes the Holy Prophet as a light-giving torch: O Prophet! Surely, We have sent you as a witness, and a bearer of good news and a bearer of warning. And, as the one who invites towards Allah, by His permission, and is a light-giving torch. (33:45-46)
The Holy Prophet was light - that is the same as truth, which is luminous in all aspects. He gave light to all others. He knew the entire truth inwardly and outwardly. He was eagerly willing to make others aware of the truth of their existence and their relation with the outward and inward of universe.
This is the meaning of light as mentioned by theosophists: Light is a quality, being manifest by itself to reveal other things.39
Based on many authentic narrations, Allah created the light of Muhammad (S) before all creatures and then created the other truths of light, intellect, spirit, and material from the rays of his light. He, then, removed the veil of darkness from the face of all creatures thanks to the blessing of this light. Actually, Allah made him a medium of realization between Himself and all other creation. Based on the Holy Quran (33:46), the Holy Prophet has described himself as the sun: I am the sun.40
What a wonderful comparison! The sun is the origin and source of solar system. All the planets of solar system depend on the sun. There was a time when Mars, the Earth, Venus, Saturn, Mercury, Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto were parts of the sun. When Allah willed to create the solar system in its present-day form, a big explosion occurred in the sun and a series of actions and reactions followed. As a result the parts that had been separated were placed at a distance on a special orbit. Presently, they all move attracted to the sun and are illuminated by the sun.
Likewise, the light of the Holy Prophet was created before all other creatures and due to Allah's will, all truths emanate from that source of light manifesting themselves on the earth thanks to the light of Muhammad (S). Just as the planets of the solar system are the same as the sun but of a different shape and, on the words of philosophers, in a state of reduced individuation, so also are the heavenly creatures reduced individuation of the light of the Holy Prophet. In this relation, the Holy Prophet has been reported as saying: I am the sun, Ali the moon, Fatimah Venus, Hasan and Husayn two stars.41
In this narration, the comparison made by the Holy Prophet, who is the most eloquent speaker, shows the wonderful nature of the narrations that compare a spiritual truth to a physical manifestation in creation. Firstly, it makes it known for all that the truth of Muhammad (S) is nearer to Allah than the rays of the sun to its source. Secondly Muhammad (S) is the medium for realization of all creatures. They are indebted to him and he has a claim on all creatures for material and spiritual rights.
And obey Allah and the Apostle, that you may be shown mercy (3:132)
And know that whatever thing you gain, a fifth of it is for Allah and for the Apostle… (8:41)
The ownership of all blessings belongs to the Holy Prophet by the permission of Allah. And we benefit from the blessings he gives us. Hence, we should pay him what is due to him and the profit of what we give returns to ourselves thanks to the favor and generosity of the Holy Prophet.
Say: Whatever reward I have asked you, that is only for yourselves… (34:47)
Pen in the aforementioned narration means a truth that determines all spiritual and inward (esoteric) affairs and registers happiness, guidance and favors, and spreads mercy for the world’s nations with the hand of Allah's will.
Pen, in one sense, is the truth of Muhammad (S) by whom Allah has sworn in the Holy Qur'an: Nun; I swear by the pen and what the angels write. (68:1)
Pen, in another sense, is the mission of the Holy Prophet who determines the happiness and prosperity of anyone who has the merit and spreads mercy for the nations with its guidance and binding laws: And we have not sent you but as a mercy to the world. (21:107)
Intellect, in its primary meaning, is the truth of Muhammad (S) who is not only the first creation but also the most-loved by Allah: By my Glory and honor (I swear), I have not created anyone more loved to Me than you.42
Now that the narrations have introduced the Holy Prophet as the dearest and most-loved by Allah, why should we not regard intellect, the most-loved creation, as the Holy Prophet himself? He is indeed the universal intelligence; and all the signs of intellect and intelligence, which are the most positive and useful phenomena in universe, manifest themselves in the Holy Prophet.
Spirit, based on the Holy Qur'an, is from the realm of ‘Command’ that comes to existence with the word ‘Be’ and not from the position of creation, which is the origin of material elements: Surely, His is the creation and the command. (7:54)
The spirit whose truth is not known by anyone is the outcome of the Divine Decree and comes into existence with the word ‘Be’: And when He decrees an affair, He only says to it – Be - so there it is. (2:117)
And they ask you about the soul (spirit). Say: the soul is one of the commands of my Lord… (17:85)
Spirit is the first creation of Allah, as has been mentioned by the Holy Prophet: The first thing Allah created was my spirit.
The Holy Prophet wishes to make others understand him using different expressions according to people's capacity. That is why, on one occasion, he says: The first thing Allah created was light.
On another occasion, he says: The first thing Allah created was pen.
On other occasions, he says: The first thing Allah created was intellect.
Or, The first thing Allah created was my light.
And, The first thing Allah created was my spirit.
With this explanation, we conclude that there is a unity in meaning of light, pen, intellect, and spirit, all of which refer to one truth - the truth of Muhammad (S). Therefore, Allah created the truth of Muhammad (S) consisting of light, pen, intellect, and spirit directly from His own light and created other beings for his sake. In this relation, Imam al-Sadiq (a.s) says: Allah created the Divine decree by itself and then created all beings by means of the Divine decree.
That is to say, Allah created the Divine decree, which is another name for the light of Muhammad (S) without any medium and then created other beings from the light of Muhammad (S). Without the light of Muhammad (S), which is an expanded Grace, no relationship between the Creator and the created is possible. Therefore, the manifestation of Allah and the light of His perfect beauty is the Grace of Muhammad (S) and the intuitive decree and the light of the Holy Prophet as mentioned in the following narration: Allah created intellect and it was the first of spiritual creations to be made from His light on the right side of the throne.43
The Perfect Light of Ahl al-Bayt (A.S.)
Based on the following authentic narration reported on the authority of the Holy Prophet: The first thing Allah created was my light.
And, based on the fact that Ahl al-Bayt are the manifestation of this light, we should admit that Ahl al-Bayt are light in essence and this light is the light of Allah which cannot be put out by the puffing of the ignorant ones: They desire to put out the light of Allah with their mouth, but Allah will perfect His light, though the unbelievers may be averse. (61:8)
The famous Ziyarah al-Jamiah al-Kabirah, which is a well-documented form of Ziyarah (statements addressed to the Holy Infallibles when their tombs are visited) composed by Imam al-Hadi (a.s), is recited in the Ziyarah of all the infallibles; we read: Allah created you in the form of light.44
Again in the same Ziyarah, we read: Your souls, light and forms are the same; pure and pious altogether.45
In the famous Ziyarah Warith, we read: I testify that you were light in the lofty loins and pure wombs.46
In the Books of Maqtal (story of Imam al-Husayn's martyrdom), we read that when Imam Ali ibn al-Husayn (al-Sajjad) was placing his father's body, with the head cut off, in the grave, he said: "O father, the world is in dark after you and the Hereafter is illuminated with your light."47
The follower of Ahl al-Bayt, Abu-Khalid Kabuli says: I asked Imam al-Baqir to explain the following holy verse: Therefore believe in Allah and His Apostle and the Light which we have revealed…(64:8)
The Imam said: “O Abu-Khalid, by Allah (I swear), the Imams are that light until the Day of Judgment; and by Allah, they are the light of Allah in the heavens and on the earth. O Abu-Khalid! By Allah, the light of the Imam in the hearts of believers is brighter than the sun shining in daylight. By Allah, the Imams give light to the hearts of believers. Allah, may He be honored and glorified, hides their light from whomever He wishes whereby their hearts become dark. By Allah, O Abu-Khalid! No one loves us but those whom Allah has purified their hearts; and Allah does not purify a servant’s heart unless that servant surrenders himself to and is at peace with us. Therefore, if one is at peace with us, Allah will keep one safe from Reckoning and from fear on the Judgment Day.”48
To live with the love for Ahl al-Bayt and to follow them in all material and spiritual aspects is like living the life of Prophets. Reporting the Holy Prophet, Imam al-Baqir (a.s.) has said: If one likes to live a life similar to Prophets, die as a martyr, and dwell in a Paradise - all the trees of which are planted by Allah, one should accept the leadership of Ali, make friend with his friends and follow the Imams after him, for they are my household (Ahl al-Bayt) and they have been created from my essence. O Allah! give a share of my understanding and essence to them. Woe to their enemies from among my ummah! O Allah let not their enemies have my intercession.49
34. Ilal al-Shara’i: 593, H. 44
35. Sharh Usul al-Kafi, chapter 4, H. 1
36. Awali al-La'ali: 99/4, H. 141
37. Awali al-La'ali: 99/4, H. 140
38. Bihar al-Anwar: 309/4
39. Majma al-Bahrayn: 504/3
40. Maani al-Akhbar: 114
41. Maani al-Akhbar, 114, H. 2
42. Al-Kafi, 10/1, H 1
43. Al-Kafi, 85/1, H. 4
44. Al-Faqih: 613/2
45. Al-Faqih: 613/2
46. Tahdhib al-Ahkam: 113/6, H. 17
47. Pishwaye Shaheedan: 230
48. Al-Kafi, 194/1 H. 1
49. Al-Kafi: 208/1 H. 3