Researcher of Political Science & Classical Islam. Initiated by the Khwajagan i-Naqshband.
Q. What is your belief regarding of the Hadith of Jabir which states, “Awwalu ma khalaqallahu nuri” and how would you explain it based upon the following Hadith wherein the Prophet (s) is reported to have said: “Allah created Adam in His Image” (Al-Bukhari, Vol. 8, Hadith 246)?
A. Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem. It is the correct belief of Muslims that Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta`ala) cannot be literally “seen” (in this life), as to literally “see” Him Most High would mean that He would occupy a direction, but He is the Creator of directions, and beyond all directions. The answer is, Allah cannot be seen, but the Madhahar, Manifestation, of His Nur can be seen. Hence, the meaning of “in His Image” is a reference to the Madhahar of Allah; the Manifestation of His Nur; Meem Haa Meem Daal; Nur Muhammad, which is Nurim min Nurillah. The meaning of “Adam” is related to the statement of Shaykh al-Akbar Muhiuddin Ibn Arabi’s statement, “Allah created one hundred Adams, we are the descendents of the last” and Mawlana Shaykh Nazim’s statement, “so many Adams have been created-no one knows their (exact) number!” The Holy Qur’an states that Adam was created from Turab, it is my understanding, as I will explain below, that the Adam mentioned in this Hadith is actually Abu Turab, the first Adam.
The hadith of Jabir (rad) which you quoted states that the Messenger of Allah (S) said, “Awwalu ma khalaqallahu Nuri” (The first thing that Allah created was my Nur). This light was then divided into 4 parts, then 4 more parts, then 4 more parts, then 4 more parts, then the Twelve Veils were manifest. This is symbolized in the 28 letters of the Arabic alphabet (i.e. 4+4+4+4+12=28). There are different transmissions of this hadith, and the hadith stating “Awwalu ma khalaqallahu Nuri” has been declared weak according to some Ulema and authentic according to others. The truth in this matter is that it is weak, but not because of the fact that the Nur Muhammad is Awwal, the first, which it is, without any doubt, but rather only becuase of the words “created” which appear in the narration of Jabir (rad). The Light of the Holy Prophet (S) is not created, because Allah did not “create” Himself, but rather the correct position is that the Light of the Prophet (S) is the Manifestation of Allah’s own Light, meaning Allah Manifested Himself as Light and that Light was manifest through Muhammad (S) as Nur Muhammad. There are many meanings of this hadith, but the one most relevent one to our goal is the following:
The Light mentioned in the hadith is the Light of Allah Himself, as the Holy Quran states, “Allah is the Light of the Heavens and Earth”. This Light (Manifested) was divided into 4 parts, these are represented by the 4 letters of the Ism Muhammad, Meem Haa Meem Daal, which then formed Nur Muhammad. This Light was then divided into 4 more parts, these are represented by the 4 letters Alif, Haa, Meem, Daal, from the Ism Ahmad. This Light was then divided into 4 more parts, these are represented by the 4 names `Ali, Fatimah, Hasan and Husayn, who are from Ahmad (sallallahu alaihi wa aalihi wa sallam). There are nineteen Arabic letters in the names Muhammad Ali Fatima Hasan Husayn, similar to the 19 Arabic letters in the Bismillah formula. This Light was then divided into 4 more parts, and these four parts are represented by the 4 letters Qaf, Ra, Ya, Shin, from the word Quraysh. In Takhrij ahadith sharh al-mawaqif (p. 32 #12) Imam Jalaluddin Suyuti cites the following hadith: “The Quraysh were a light in front of Allah.” These 4 parts were then divided into the Twelve Veils, which represent the Twelve Imams, about whom the ahadith state, “There will be after me Twelve Sucessors, all of them from Quraysh.”
Hadrat al-Ghawth Mawlana Sultan ul-Awliya Shaykh Nazim al-Qubrusi (Q) said regarding the Muhammadan Realilty, the Manifest source of all creation, including the Kursi, Qalam and the Tablet: “Allah appeared through him (Meem Haa Meem Daal, Muhammad). There is one Muhammad. I am Muhammad, you are Muhammad. The Manifest One is Manifested through Muhammad.”
Hu Allah. Human, Hadrat Hajji Imdadullah Muhajir Makki declared, “Creation is nothing but the visible manifestations of Allah. Just like Allah’s Asma al-Husna (Beautiful Names) are not other than Him, similarly these Hawadith are not other than Him.” Allah does not have a corporeal form. Anyone who believes that Allah is like is creation is a misbeliever. Allah used His Three Thousand Names to describe Himself, one thousand went to the Angels, one thousand to Prophets and one thousand to Mankind. Of these one thousand to Mankind, three hundred were known during the time of the Torah, three hundred during the time of the Zubur, three hundred during the time of the Injil and ninety-nine were revealed in the Holy Qur’an.
Khalifatullah and the Importance of Letters
The first revelation was “Iqra”, read, or recite. One form of reading is based on forming words with meanings from letters, huruf. The Holy Qur’an states, “Huw Allahul ladhi…” (He is Allah..). In this verse, “Hu” comes before “Allah”. What is “Hu”?, it is the Madhahar. From the Madhahar these Names which Allah used to describe Himself to His creation were manifest as letters, huruf, forming words with meanings i.e. Raufur Raheem. For example, while He cannot be literally “seen”, or “comprehended”, He calls Himself “Allah”. The Ism “Allah” is comprised of four letters, Alif, Laam, Laam, Ha, Allah. Using the ABJAD system, the value of Ism “Allah” is Alif=1, Laam=30, Laam=30, Ha=5, bringing the total (Jaml i-Kabir) to 66. The Jaml i-Waseet of Ism “Allah” is 6+6, meaning 12. The Jaml i-Saghir of Ism “Allah” is 1+2, meaning 3. These 3 represent the Reality, the three Haqaiq, which are taught as an elementary lesson in Sufism as the three realities, Allah, Rasul, and the Guide, Wali, or Shaykh. This doctrine originates from the Jaml i-Saghir of Ism “Allah” which is 1+2, meaning 3. The reality of this 3 are the Reality of “AllahMuhammadAli“.
The total letters in the Ism “Allah” are 4, which are part of the Madhahar of the Ism “Allah”, not seperate, because together they form the Ism, and they are part of the Ism itself, not seperate. The Madhahar of Hu-Allah (He is Allah) in the form of these 4 letters is in the form of Meem Haa Meem Daal, 4 letters. The complete Hadith of Jabir (rad) states that the Light was then divided into 4, these are the letters in the Ism Allah, Alif, Laam, Laam, Ha, and they are represented by the letters Meem Haa Meem Daal, and the Prophet (S) declared that his family is from him, not seperate from him. Hence, these 4 letters represent the creation of ‘Ali, Fatima, Hasan, Husayn, the Ahlul Bayt, his family. Imam Suyuti reported that Ibn Abbas asked the Prophet (S) about the words which Adam received from his Lord. The Prophet (S) replied,’ He prayed saying, “O Allah, for the sake of Muhammad:’Ali, Fatima, Hasan and Husayn, do turn towards me”, and “He turned towards him”.
The Jaml i-Waseet of the ABJAD value of Ism “Allah” is 6+6, which is 12, as I described above. This 12 represents the Twelve Veils, meaning the Twelve Imams; all from Qaf, Ra, Ya, Shin: Quraysh. Coming back to my point, while it is clear that these letters (Alif, Laam, Laam, Ha) are not “Allah” in Himself, He however, used them, Alif, Laam, Laam, Ha, to identify Himself to His creation, and therefore these letters are from “Allah” in the sense of belonging to His introduction of Himself and His own Name, “Allah”. It is from this same understanding that the Sufi doctrine Wahdatul Wajood stems, and it is on the basis of the letters representing a Manifestation, which could be witnessed, the counter of al-Wajood, Wahadtul Shuhud stems. Hence, the reality of those two doctrines is that both are equally correct. This is why we must be pure when touching the Holy Qur’an, because it is composed in the letters of the Arabic alphabet, the same letters Allah used to make His Names and Attributes Known, and thereby make Himself known to His Khalifa, Insan al-Kamil, as I will explain below.
The Manifest One
The Holy Qur’an states, “He is the First, the Last, the Manifest, the Hidden” (Hu wal Awwalu wal Aakhiru wadh Dhahiru wal Batinu) and al-Bukhari states ‘Allah created Adam in His Image’ (Bukhari, v. 8, Hadith no. 246).
What is the meaning of this? One meaning is that the name of that Manifested Nur from Allah is Meem Ha Meem Daal, the Madhahar of Allah, Nur Muhammad. Again, by saying the name of the Manifested Nur is “Muhammad” I mean the letters “Meem, Haa, Meem, Daal”.
This Nur, the Manifestation of the Primary Nur, is the manifest Nur of the Heavens and the Earth which is described in the Holy Qur’an. It is the meaning of the vision of our GrandShaykh Sultan ul-Awliya Mawlana Shaykh ‘Abd Allah Daghestani (q) wherein he spoke of the conversation between Imam ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (karram Allahu wajhu) and Uwais al-Qarni, wherein Hadrat ‘Ali declared that he actually only saw the Holy Prophet (S) twice, similar to what the Holy Qur’an states about the Vision of Allah of the Holy Prophet (S) about which Ibn Abbas declared, “The Holy Prophet (S) saw Allah twice in his heart.”. Our GrandShaykh said Hadrat ‘Ali said when he saw twice, everywhere he looked in all directions of creation to the Throne and beyond, all he saw was Muhammad.
Insan al-Kamil, the Khalifatullah, Man, was created in the form of these perfect letters, Meem, Haa, Meem, Daal, which are the Madhahar of Nur Allah: Meem, Haa, Meem, Daal; Muhammad; Nur Muhammad. That is the meaning of the Hadith, ‘Allah created Man in His Image’. The “image” is the form of letters, in which He Manifested His Own Light, Meem Haa Meem Daa, Nur Muhammad. The meaning of this statement is, in the form of letters then, the Human head is in the form, image, of the letter Meem, the body with the ribs are in the form of the letter Haa, the hips until the knees are in the form of the the second letter Meem and the legs from the knees to the feet, which face forward in the manifested form of the letter Daal. Thus the Human is formed in the image of the perfectly Manifested letters, the Madhahar of the Nur Allah: Nur Muhammad, Meem Haa Meem Daal, which are Muhammad, the primary of Divine Manifestation.
Ibn `Ajibah writes in the explanation of the Hadith of Al-Bukhari regarding “image” in al-Mabahith al-Asliyyah, line 22: “And the Reality of the Human has a pattern in the Divine.”
Hadrat Haji Imdadullah Muhajir Makki (rah) used to say that Insan is outwardly a Slave (‘Abd, the Primary being ‘Abduhu wa Rasulu) and inwardly (Batini) the Haqq.
He Created Adam in His (Manifested) Image
The spiritual son of Ghawth al-Adham Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani (Rad), Shaykh al-Akbar Muhiuddin Ibn Arabi wrote in his Futuhat al-Makkiyya ‘Allah created one hundred Adams, we are the descendents of the last’.
The venerable Ghawth Mawlana Shaykh Nazim al-Qubrusi (q) revealed in one of his illustrious discources,
“Our GrandShaykh says, ‘Knowledge is an endless ocean…Saints know about from before the time of Adam (peace be upon him)….Our GrandShaykh said that this is the period of our father Adam (peace be upon him) and his sons. We are living in it now. But before our father’s period, so many Adams have been created-no one knows their (exact)number!…Each Adam, and his sons were generally like us, in that they may be recognized as sons of Adam. All are servants of our Lord. Also, He Almighty, alone, knows how many Adams will come after us, how many periods there will be….Our GrandShaykh says, ‘Allah Almighty was addressing those Adams that were created before our father, Adam (peace be upon him) with the secrets of the Holy Quran. Quran, the Holy book, contains endless secret knowledge. Its secrets are such that you can find, included in it, all news from before and after us.” (Mercy Oceans: The Teachings of Maulana Abdullah al-Faizi ad-Daghestani, on p. 104-105)
Hadrat ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (karram Allahu wajhu) declared, “Anna Adamul Awaal” (I am the First Adam). Regarding the excellence of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, Imam Rabbani Mujadid Alf Thani declared in his Maktubat Vol. 1,
“O Brother! Indeed Imam ‘Ali is the holder of the keys of the Sainthood, Wilayah, of the Prophet Muhammad [s] and the training regime for the status of Aqtab, Awtad and Abdaal, who are from amongst the reserved Awliya, is done under the shelter of his Sainthood. The rank of Qutb al-Aqtab, who is the greatest Qutb and the guide and mentor of others, lays under his (‘Ali’s) feet. His orders are issued under the supervision and support of ‘Ali and he performs his duties under the supervision and support of ‘Ali and fulfills his tasks. Sayyida Fatima and both of her sons, the Imams (Hasan and Husayn) share this rank with ‘Ali.” (Maktubat Imam Rabbani, Volume 1, page 438 Letter 251)
In the Maktubat, Imam Rabbani went further to declare that he believed that Hadrat ‘Ali enjoyed his exalted status even before his physical birth, stating,
“And there is another way close to the spiritual sovereignty and this is the way of the Saints and the general friends of Allah, and this way is marked by its characteristic passion and it carries the guarantee of mediation and the leader and chieftain of the Saints of this way is ‘Alī al-Murtada. And this grand office is reserved for him. On this way, the feet of the Holy Prophet are on ‘Alī’s head and Fatima and Hasan and Husayn are included with him. I believe that he enjoyed this position even before his physical birth, as he did after it, and whosoever has received the divine blessing and guidance, has received it through him, because he is closest to the last point on this way and the centre of this spot belongs to him. And when his period ended, the grand office passed on to Hasan and Husayn and then on to each one of the Twelve Imāms, individually and elaborately. And whosoever received guidance in their life and after their death, received it through these saints. And the refuge and place of shelter of the saints of high ranks are these saints, (because they are the centre of all spiritual activity) and the sides tend to converge on the centre” (Maktubat, Volume 9:173#123).
Hadrat ‘Ali existed before the creation of our Adam. Hadrat ‘Ali declared “Anna Adamul Awaal” (I am the First Adam), that means, while Meem Haa Meem Daal is the primary Manifestation of the Light of Allah, ‘Ali is the Manifestation of perfectly surrendered form of the letters Meem Haa Meem Daal, Muhammad, the Khalifatullah, as Adam, the first Human.
Adam was created according to the Holy Quran from “Turab” (khalaqahu min turabin…) and the Messenger of Allah (S) said in an authentic hadith that ‘Ali was Abu Turab, meaning the Father of Turab. Ism ‘Ali, represents one of the three of the Jaml i-Saghir of Ism Allah as mentioned above, Allah Muhammad ‘Ali, ‘Ali is the father of Turab. Turab is earth, dust, and the earth and creation came from Nur Muhammad, from the 12 Veils. These 12 Veils are from the Jaml i-Saghir of Ism “Allah”, 3, as mentioned above. The Reality of this Jaml i-Saghir, which is 1+2, meaning three, is Allah, who is Rab, and Muhammad and ‘Ali.
The ABJAD Value of Rab is Ra=200 + Ba=2, meaning 202. The ABJAD Value of Muhammad is Meem=40 + Haa=8 + Meem=40 + Daal=4, meaning 92, and the ABJAD Value of ‘Ali is Ayn=70 +Laam=30 + Ya=10, meaning 110. Allah is Rab, and the ABJAD Value of Rab is 202. If the ABJAD Values for Muhammad and ‘Ali are added, 92 (Muhammad) + 110 (‘Ali) we get the same ABJAD Value as Rab, 202. ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib is Abu Turab, and Adam (the later) was created from Turab, meaning from the 12 Veils, which came from the Jaml i-Saghir, Allah Muhammad ‘Ali, which came from the 4 letters, which are the Mudhahar.
When Insan, Man, who is created in the image of these primary Manifested letters, in the form of Meem Haa Meem Daal, Muhammad, Nur Muhammad; which is the Madhahar of Nur Allah, as Mawlana Shaykh Nazim declared, “There is one Muhammad. I am Muhammad, you are Muhammad. The Manifest One” , he (Man) is then ready to come “down” to earth as the Khalifatullah, in the form of the letters Meem Haa Meem Daal, he becomes ready to be born from his mother. Again, I would like to make it clear that it is the correct belief of the people of Islam that it is Kufr, misbelief, to believe that Allah can be likened to His creation. When I am speaking here, it is of form, not corporeal form, but rather based on letters, like I explained earlier, which Allah used Himself to describe Himself. I will quote Hadrat Haji Imdadullah Muhajir Makki here again, “Creation is nothing but the visible manifestations of Allah. Just like Allah’s Asma al-Husna (Beautiful Names) are not other than Him, similarly these Hawadith are not other than Him.”
Continuing, when the Human is ready to ‘come to earth’, the Human baby in the mothers womb enters the perfect birthing position, which is head down and feet up. Man with head up and feet down, represents the form of the letters Meem Ha Meem Daa, as I explained above. However, with his head down and feet up, he forms the letters of Ism ‘Ali. See this Ambigram of Ism Muhammad and Ism ‘Ali below to get a better understanding.
To further explain, Allah is Rab. He Manifest Himself as Meem Haa Meem Daal, and from this, as Nur. The Name of the manifestation of that Nur is Meem Haa Meem Daal, Muhammad; Nur Muhammad. The Prophet (S) declared, “I and ‘Ali are from One Light.”.
The numeric value using ABJAD of “Rab”, is Ra=200, Ba=2, meaning 202.
The ABJAD value of Ism “Muhammad” (S) is 92
The ABJAD value of Ism “Ali” is 110
When we add the Values of Ism Muhammad (S) and Ism Ali, 92+110, we get 202, the same Value for “Rab”.
Hence, the proper meaning of the Hadith is not that Allah is like His creation, but rather that Allah Manifest His Own Light as Meem Haa Meem Daal, Nur Muhammad, Muhammad; nurim min nurillah. Adam, the first Adam, referred to in the Hadith was created in the form of that Manifestation. The meaning of Adamul Awwal has been explained. Adam is the Khalifatullah, the Wali of Allah. That Adam was created in the form, image, of the Madhahar (letters) of the Nur Allah. The Adam’s which came after, were created from Turab, and this Adam is Abu Turab. That is the correct meaning of “Allah created Adam in His image”.
“Creation is nothing but the visible manifestations of Allah. Just like Allah’s Asma al-Husna (Beautiful Names) are not other than Him, similarly these Hawadith are not other than Him.” –Hajji Imdadullah Muhajir Makki (rah)
And Allah Knows Best!
Sayyid Ahmed Amiruddin
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