One of the Speeches Given in the Celebration of the Birth of the Prophets, peace be upon him
All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, the Owner of the Day of Judgment who prescribed Mercy for Himself and sent the Prophet, peace be upon him, as both benevolent and merciful [Ra-uf Raḥīm] toward the Believers and as a mercy to the worlds, ‘And We have not sent you, [O Muḥammad], except as a mercy to the worlds, (2:107) [s]o by mercy from Allah , [O Muhammad], you were lenient with them, and if you had been rude [in speech] and harsh in heart, they would have disbanded from about you. So pardon them and ask forgiveness for them and consult them in the matter. And when you have decided, then rely upon Allah . Indeed, Allāh loves those who rely [upon Him]. (3:159)
He began His revealed books with the statement, ‘In the Name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful’, and said, ‘Verily, Allāh is truly Benevolent and Merciful toward people’. (2:143) He also made His Mercy that encompasses all things close to the People of Iḥsān (al-Muḥsinīn) (an apparent indication of the quranic clue, Surely the mercy of God is near to the People of Iḥsān , (7:56)) after Him having said, ‘The Most Merciful (55:1) taught the Qur’an, (55:2) created man, (55:3) and taught him eloquence (55:4) all as an expression of the all-encompassing nature of His Mercy in every living being. The forms of His Mercy, be He exalted, and its elements in every atom are unlimited in their capacity to clear away harm and as fundamentals of the good (found in those places).
We known already that Islām, which is Allāh’s eternal religion, is the leader of the Divine Mercy from the start of the revelation of the Sacred Law until that point in which Allāh inherits the earth and those upon it and He is the Best of Inheritors. The Noble Qurān has recorded the commitment of all the Prophets and the pride they have in their submission to Allāh. Regarding Nuḥ, upon whom be peace, it says, ‘[a]nd I am commanded to be of those who submit to Allah (10:72). It said, regarding the Father of the Prophets and Messengers, ‘Ibrāhīm was neither a Jew nor a Christian but was rather a submissive monotheist and was not from the polytheists’. (3:67) The Book also states, ‘And Ibrāhīm instructed his sons [to do the same] and [so did] Ya’qūb, [saying], “O my sons, indeed Allah has chosen for you this religion, so do not die except while you are Muslims.” (2:132) It states, regarding the Prophets of The Tribe of Isra-īl, ‘Surely We revealed the Torah, wherein is guidance, from error, and light, that is, an exposition of the rulings, by which the prophets, from the Children of Isrā-il, who had submitted. (5:44) It said, with regard to Mūsā, upon whom be peace, ‘Oh my people! If you have believed in Allāh then trust in Him if you are of those who submit. (10:74) It narrates, regarding the supplication of Yūsuf, upon whom be peace, ‘Cause me to die as one who submits and include me amongst the Righteous’. (12:101) It says, regarding Suleymān, upon whom be peace, ‘Do not be exalted against me, but come to me as those who submit’. (27:31) It says, regarding Bilqīs, ‘And I have submitted with Suleymān, to the Lord of the Worlds. (27:44) It says, regarding Īsā and the Disciples (al-Ḥawāriyyīn), upon whom by peace, ‘We have believed in Allāh and bear witness that we are Muslims’. (3:52) It said regarding the Seal of the Prophets and the Master of the First and the Lasts, ‘Say: My prayer, my devoutness/ceremonies, my life, and my death are all for Allāh, the Lord of the Worlds. He has no partner. This is what I was commanded with. I am the First of Those Who Submit.’ (6:163)
Oh Brothers! Adherence to Islām is being exposed to the Divine Mercy. Thus, encounter this Mercy by adherence to this eternal religion that Allāh said regarding it, ‘Truly, the religion with Allāh is Islām’, (3:19) ‘and whoever seeks a religion other than Islām, it will never be accepted of him…’(3:85) Islām is the rejection of polytheism and the worship of the Single, the One, the Unique, the Everlasting, ‘He hasn’t begotten nor was He born and no one is comparable to Him’(112:4), with sincerity , ‘They have only been commanded to worship Allāh with sincerity making religion for Him alone’. (98:5) ‘None of you will ever enter Paradise by virtue of his deeds. (He/she will only do so) by His being enveloped by Allāh’s Mercy, as the authentic tradition narrates, just as the Noble Āyah says, ‘Say: By the Grace of Allāh and His Mercy. Let them rejoice on account of that, it is better than that which they amass’, (10:58) with that one must act in accordance (with command of Allāh) ‘And And establish prayer and pay the alms, and obey the Messenger, that perhaps you may find Mercy.’(24:56)
Oh Brothers! Be certain with a firm decision that with faith in Allāh, alone and submission to the rules of Islām and Iḥsān in worship that Divine Mercy will descend just as the āyah indicates, ‘Verily, the Mercy of Allāh is near to the People of Iḥsān, (7:56) and His saying, ‘And obey God and the Messenger, so that you may find Mercy. (3:132) Obedience to the Prophet, peace be upon him, is adherence to the Book and the Prophetic Habit and His character was the Quran, ‘A.L.M. That is the Book in which there is no doubt. It is a guidance for the People of Allāh Consciousness. They are those who believe in the unseen, establish the prayer, and spend from that which they have been provided ‘ (2:1-3) and He said, ‘Those who repent, those who worship, those who give praise, those who fast, those who bow, those who enjoin decency and forbid to indecency, those who maintain Allāh’s bounds…’ (9:112) ‘Indeed the men who have submitted and the women who have submitted, and the believing men and the believing women, and the obedient men and the obedient women, and the men who are truthful and the women who are truthful, in their faith, and the patient men and the patient women, [steadfast] in [performing] acts of obedience, and the humble men and the humble women, and the charitable men and the charitable women, and the men who fast and the women who fast, and the men who guard their private parts and the women who guard their private parts, from what is unlawful, and the men who remember God often and the women who remember God often — for them God has prepared forgiveness, of [their] acts of disobedience, and a great reward, for their acts of obedience. (33:35)
Oh My Brothers! This is the path to practically desire the Mercy of Allāh with. From that which cools the chest is the Mercy of Allāh has no limit, nor perimeter. Al-Ṭabarī says in his book (note: his book of quranic exegesis) that when Allāh created Paradise He said to it, ‘Extend. It replied, ‘To what extent’? He replied, ‘Extend 100,000 years.’ Thus it complied and extended. He said to it, ‘Extend. It replied, ‘To what extent’? He replied, ‘Extend 100,000 years.’ Thus it complied and extended. He said to it, ‘Extend. It replied, ‘To what extent’? He replied, ‘Extend 100,000 years.’ Thus it complied and extended. He said to it, ‘Extend. It replied, ‘To what extent’? He replied, ‘Extend 100,000 years.’ Thus it complied and extended. He said to it, ‘Extend. It replied, ‘To what extent’? He replied, ‘Extend 100,000 years.’ Thus it complied and extended. He said to it, ‘Extend. It replied, ‘To what extent’? He replied, ‘Extend 100,000 years.’ Thus it complied and extended. He said to it, ‘Extend. It replied, ‘To what extent’? He replied, ‘Extend 100,000 years.’ Thus it complied and extended. He said to it, ‘Extend. It replied, ‘To what extent’? He replied, ‘Extend to the extent of My Mercy ’ and thus it is ever expanding. So Paradise has no limit just as the Mercy of Allāh has no limit. The inroad to that reality is learning the religion and following it.
Through this example you know and can quantify the value of these kinds of gatherings for the remembrance of the appearance of this Mercy that the Most Gracious and Most Merciful bestowed on this great day and huge celebration, and noble festival that is the celebration of his birth, peace be upon him. I renew my advice to the Muslim youth that they should learn this religion and then to learn every beneficial knowledge and that you remember His saying, be He exalted, ‘ And all that, ‘We relate to you of the accounts of the messengers, that with which We might strengthen your heart’. (11:120) They said, ‘The stories of an army from amongst Allāh’s armies helps the heart of whom He wants from amongst His slaves and they are armed by the path of the Pious Ṣufiyya, the Slaves of Allāh, the-Ones-Drawn-Close, the Allāh-Conscious, whom blazed the path of the Muḥammadaic Habit and made it too difficult for the hands of the invading colonial tyrants to tamper with the foundations of Islām by their own admittance and the truth that the enemies bear testimony to. From that which is regrettable is the ignorance of the educated that is found today. They slander the Ṣufiyya while mentioning the Prophetic Habit, claiming protectiveness over it. However, is the Prophetic Habit anything other than what Muḥammad, peace be upon him, brought?
From amongst these people are those who busy themselves with the Tijānī Tarīqa-that path that is only attributed to Shaikh Aḥmad al-Tijānī in terms of the authorization he has to disseminate it. Otherwise its “owner” has described it as being Muḥammadaic-Abrahamic. It is comprised of seeking forgiveness, salutation upon the Prophet, peace be upon him, in any formulation, and reciting the ‘there is no god but Allāh-all to be recited morning and evening.
Is it disbelief in Allāh for the sincere slave to say, ‘There is no god but Allāh?
Or to ask Allāh forgiveness hoping for His forgiveness for the sins his hands committed?
Oh People! If that is disbelief, then stick to disbelief, for you will praise its outcome….
-Shaikh Ibrāhīm ibn al-Hāj ‘Abdullāh Inyās, al-Jūz al-Thālith min Khuṭab wa Rasā-il, 196-200
Translated by Imam Muhammad Abdul Latif Finch
Imam Muhammad Abdul Latif Finch converted to Islam at the age of 20 and has earned ijazas in Islamic Sciences including Quranic Sciences, Hadith, Maliki and Shafi’i Jurisprudence, Usul al-Fiqh, Seerah, Logic, and Arabic Grammar and Morphology under the tutelage of numerous scholars, including Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, Shaykh Salik bin Siddina, Imam Zaid Shakir, Shaykh Abdur Rahman Taahir, Qari Umar Bellahi, Shaykh Abdullah Ali, and Shaykh Yahya Rhodus.
Imam Muhammad Abdul Latif Finch co-founded the Lighthouse Mosque in Oakland, California where he served as the Imam for 3 years until he resigned in 2012 to focus on his graduate studies. In addition, he was a teacher and a program developer for Deen Intensive Foundation, Seekers Guidance and had assisted Zaytuna College’s Summer Arabic Intensive program for three years in a row.
Imam Muhammad Abdul Latif Finch has recently attained a Master’s degree in Philosophy from the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology, a member of the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley.
Many thanks to Imam Muhammad Abdul Latif Finch for contributing to this blog.
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