The "Noor" (Light) of Muhammad (S.A.W.)
By: Syed Saeed Akhtar Rizvi
The "Noor" (Light) is created When Allah intended to create the creatures, He first created the "Noor" (Light) of Muhammad. Al-Qastalani (in Al Mawahibu'l-Ladunniyah, vol. 1, pp. 5, 9, 10) has quoted the Prophet's traditions to this effect as transmitted through Jabir ibn 'Abdullah al-Ansari and 'Ali (a.s.).
The well-known historian al-Mas'udi (in his Maruju 'dh-dhahab) quotes a lengthy tradition from 'Ali (a.s.) to the effect that when Allah created, first of all, the Light of Muhammad, He said to it: "You are My chosen one and the Trustee of My Light and Guidance. It is because of you that I am going to create the earth and the skies, lay down reward and punishment, and bring into being the Garden and the Fire." Then the tradition goes on to speak about the Family of the Prophet, about creation of the angels, of the souls, of the world, of the covenant taken from the souls which combined the belief in the One God with acceptance of Muhammad's Prophethood.
This is why Ibn 'Abbas narrates saying that the Prophet said: "I was Prophet when Adam was between soul and body (i.e. when Adam's creation was in its preliminary stages)" (at-Tabarani, Al-Mu'jjam al-Kabir; Al Khasa'is al-Kubra, vol.1, p.4).
Muhammad's Light adorned the 'Arsh (Throne) of God. When eons later, Adam was created, that Light was put in his forehead. It continued its journey, generation after generation, through numerous prophets and their successors till it came to Prophet Ibrahim (a.s.). From Ibrahim (a.s.), it came to his eldest son, Prophet Isma'il (a.s.).
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.w.) said: "Verily Allah chose Isma'il from the progeny of Ibrahim, and chose Banu Kinanah from the progeny of Isma'il, and chose Quraish from the Banu Kinanah, and chose Banu Hashim from Quraish, and chose me from Banu Hashim." At-Tirmidhi has narrated this tradition from Wathilah ibn al-Asqa' and has said that this tradition is sahih (correct).
Abul-Fida quotes in his Tarikh (History) a tradition wherein the Prophet (s.a.w.w.) says: "Gabriel said to me: 'I looked at the earth from the east to the west, but I did not find anyone superior to Muhammad, and I looked at the Earth from the east to the west but did not find any progeny superior to the progeny of Hashim."