LOVE FOR THE HOLY PROPHET MUHAMMAD (P.B.U.H)
A STUDY BY ABDULLAH PIRKANI
The Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) made his emergence as an emblem of mercy and kindness. Rescuing mankind from the shackles of falsehood, the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) led man unto the ultimate reality, the discovery of true virtue and the hidden value of the essential relation between man and God Himself. He is the manifestation, the relation, the essence himself. So that love for the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) is the love one bears for God, and vice versa. He is the one to be sought after. Allah Almighty says in the Holy Quran in the honor of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H):
Translation: “Say: If ye do love God, follow me: God will love you and forgive you your sins.” (Surah III, Ayah 31)
Translation: “An epitome of love and affection, Muhammad (P.B.U.H) came as a mercy for all the worlds” (Surah Al-Ambia, Ayah 107)
His profoundness veneration was reserved for the personality of Holy Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H). Next to him, the Ahl-e-bai'at (members of the Prophet's household and their descendents), the Prophet's Companions and the great spiritual masters, were the other focal points of his reverence. He also treated with great deference his teachers as well as their family members and even those who were in any way connected with them.
Babuji's reverence and love for the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) knew no bounds at all, and their extent and depth cannot be expressed adequately in words. The very mention of the Prophet's (P.B.U.H) sacred name would make him humbly bow his head, and would often bring tears of emotion to his eyes. Paying humble tribute to the memory of the Prophet (P.B.U.H) was an integral part of Babuji's daily sama sittings, with Naats of Maulana Abdul Rahman Jami occupying the pride of place. As the annual Hajj season drew near, Babuji's yearning for a visit to the land of the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) grew more and more intense.
In one of his letters, Babuji (R.A) wrote that Allah is Most Merciful and the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) mercy for all the worlds. He is considerate towards the sinful creatures provided they have true devotion. Wealth and property are no criteria regarding the sincerity of a person. Spiritual adherence and a heart-felt devotion devoid of materialistic pursuits draws his mercy unto oneself. He keeps an eye on the heart and not on a person’s outward appearance. It goes the physical screen of existence.
It was with a heart full of deep love and exceptional devotion that Babuji (R.A) would pray for a visit to Madina Munawwara. His regard for the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) was so profound that never ever did he allow a newspaper with a mention of Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) be placed at a level lower when seated on his bed or resting at some higher place. While on a visit to Madina Munawwara he would feed the stray animals with his own hands.
Letters written to Madni Sahib and other followers reflect an intense love and affection coupled with extreme regard for the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H).
In his letter to Hazrat Madni Sahib dated 17.4.1945, Hazrat Babuji (R.A) wrote in reply:
“Received your letter expressing pangs of separation and grief. On reading this, tears started rolling down my cheeks. This is caused by your true love. I have several grieves. The foremost grief is due to the separation from the Holy Shrine or the Holy places. The third one is caused by departing from friends like your good self.
A great Persian Poet Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi (R.A) has said in his Masnavi:
Translation: “Hearken to this reed forlorn, breathing ever since it was torn from its rushy bed, a strain of impassioned love and pain”.
Kindly pray that we return again to ‘Batha’ and visit the shrine of the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) – the beloved of Allah and Rehmatull-lil-Alameen. I am grief-striken because of separation from you who is the most respectable, noblest of Syeds, and possesses excellent character my heart has been made captive of. With all humility and reverence, kindly present my salat and salams before the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) for whose sake this universe was created.
Further he wrote to Madni Sahib that he may kindly present his “salat and salam” (salutations) before the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) and submit: “We don’t look towards our sins but to your blessings and beneficence. Kindly bless your servants with your magnanimity for God’s sake.”
Babuji (R.A) further requested him in his letters to remember him every time he offered prayers in the Harem Sharif (Prophet's Mosque - Masjid-e-Nabavi (P.B.U.H) and to present his salutations before the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H). He could never forget his kindness for this act and cannot repay him for his blessings. May Allah reward ate him for this.
Moreover, he requested Madni Sahib to present these verses on his behalf before the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H): For God’s sake, cast one glance from your enamorous eyes on your poor slaves – O’ Benevolent master:
Translation: “As I could not reach your doorsteps, I placed my forehead on the road that leads to you. My objective is to offer prostration and if not there, let it be done here”.
Hazrat Babuji (R.A) wrote, “I have sent to you a petty amount of 92 guineas (Rs. 4894) for distribution amongst the deserving poor and orphans residing in the city of Allah’s beloved (P.B.U.H).”
In a letter dated 28.03.1961, Babuji (R.A) wrote to Madni Sahib:
“Earlier, I sent you a congratulatory letter on Eid-e-Saeed. Now I am communicating the happy news of the birth of Ghulam Qutb-ul-Haq (son) and Bibi (daughter) twins of dear Shah Abdul Haq on 5th Shawal, Thursday night. (23 March, 1961).
I request you to kindly present my salat and salams before the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) and pray for our forgiveness and peace in this world and the next. Moreover, kindly pray specially for their long life, health and prosperity".
In a letter dated 18th May 1964, addressed to Maulana Gul Faqir Ahmad, Babuji (R.A) quoted these verses:
Translation: “ Thy love hath guided me unto thee while Asceticism roamed aimlessly all my life. Thy love and frenzy took me there, otherwise it was impossible for this traveller to reach that high destination”.
Translation: “ There was such a magic in thy eyes that all the people were robed by thy single glance.”
The poet’s utterances were an out come of his intensity of love and veneration to the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H).
Babuji (R.A) advised that one should always cherish love of God and that once whole being should become an embodiment of love of Almighty and the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H):
“Your ‘Iman’ gets completed when your love for the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) exceeds love for all the worldly relations”.
Translation: “ Remember your friend with intensity of sincere emotions”.
In his letter dated 4.2.53, Babuji (R.A) wrote:
“I am extremely happy that Malik Abdul Aziz Ibn-Saud has directed Ameer Madina Munawwara not to demolish any original structure of Masjid-e-Nabavi and may do the extension work. Please verify this and if it is correct, may send a letter of thanks on my behalf to Malik Abdul Aziz Ibn-Saud as this has granted immense relief to people and removed their anxieties. In case you do not find writing to him proper, you may visit Ameer Madina Sharif and convey my sincerest thanks for this noble decision”.
Devotion needs no ornaments. High flown words and a cacophony of sounds appear to fill up the gap in the absence of sincerity. It is the intensity of emotions and true love that replaces the verbal jargon and assigns integrity even to a spontaneous overflow of emotions or a silent communion with the beloved. Such is the touchstone to once devotion as supported by the anecdote relating to Prophet Mosses (A.S) who once snubbed a shepherd who was addressing God as if talking to an ordinary human being.
The words uttered by the shepherd seemed quite prosaic and Mosses thought them to be too unbecoming and in the words of Rumi (a renowned Persian Poet) the duty of Moses was to bring people nearer to God rather than tear them apart from them:
Babuji (R.A) upheld the view that true love is the essence of worship. Hence one should add to one’s zeal and love for him.
In his letter to Madame Sara Okcu of Turkey, Babuji (R.A) advised her to learn Islamic rules and follow them as the road to emancipation lay only within. In further stressed upon her to follow the directives of the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) and establish contacts with the friends of Allah. Friends lead one to the ultimate Being. It was by love that copper becomes lustrous, and sour becomes sweet. By love a king becomes a slave and the dead becomes alive. True love has the potential to create and to reform. It can redeem and lead man to God Himself.
In one of his letters dated 13.10.1943, Babuji (R.A) wrote: “He is my Lord and I must thank Him in all circumstances. He is my Lord, I am a sinful servant. He showers this infinite blessings every moment. I have lost my dear relative, Chan Pir. This is His Omnipotence and power. He may do as He wills. Non there say anything”.
This is what Babuji (R.A) meant by true love – a silent reverence and an whole – hearted acceptance of the Divine Will. While explaining the sanctity of the Holy mosque and the spiritual decorum to be maintained within the premises of the mosque of the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) in Madina Munawwara, Babuji (R.A) stated that one should set there with great respect and a conviction that the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) is present in person and is himself viewing the on-comer. At this moment, Babuji (R.A) recited a Quranic verse stressing on the social norms to be observed by the follower whenever in the presence of the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H).
Translation: “ Don’t raise your voice louder than that of the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H).”
Intensity of love, plus a disciplined spiritual and emotional stance accompanied with a sense of humility and reverence, is what makes up the final version of love for the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) as reflected by the companion of the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H). Despite their piety and great respect they commanded from others, the companions observed humility – the only gift possible to be taken to the beloved at the time of “Shab-e-Miraj” (The night marking heavenly ascension).
The list reads endlessly, though one of the examples to be sited is that of Hazrat Imam Abu-Hanifa who performed one hundred Hajj on foot and recited fifteen Separas (Quranic divisions) of the Holy Quran while standing on one leg and fifteen Separas while on the other and yet he remained unsatisfied.
Babuji (R.A) felt that people visiting Madina Munawwara and holding a stay over there must maintain a very high standard of piety. Maulana Rumi in this regard has beautifully captured the philosophy as expressed in the following verse:
Translation: “A visit to Kaabah is but to prepare one for the final destination i.e. “Madina Munawwara”. It is nothing but a grooming up of a pilgrim’s soul to embrace God’s beloved”.
A comparison is not intended. The intention is to reveal the transition from one spiritual phase to another. The pilgrim’s move is from God to God’s beloved and as such respect and regard is a pre-requisite. To reach God one has to direct one’s approach to the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) and the Kaabah teaches one as to how and why. May Allah bless us with the opportunity of visiting frequently with deep love and full dedication (Amen).
For years on end, he used to regularly visit the Holy land for the annual Hajj or Umrah at the head of a large group of devotees, and as part of this journey to pay his respects daily at the tomb of Prophet (P.B.U.H). He exhibited deep respect for every thing and every one belonging to the city of Prophet (P.B.U.H), including the animals that roamed its streets and suburbs. His sadness increased as the date of leaving Madina for the home-ward journey at the end of Hajj / Umrah approached, and found expression in prolonged tears of emotions at the time of actual departure. As the caravan of cars or buses carrying him and his companions left Madina city on the return journey, he would have all vehicles stopped at a point a few miles away from Madina, from where the minarets of the Prophet's (P.B.U.H) tomb could be seen for the last time before they disappeared beyond the horizon. Here every one would disembark and sand respectfully with his or her face turned towards the tomb. Mahboob qawwal was then asked by Babuji to recite some Punjabi couplets suitable to the occasion, after which all would bow to kiss the sacred earth, and the journey was then resumed with hearts heavy with grief.
As an expression of his deep veneration and love for the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H), Hazrat Babuji instituted at Golra, from 1949 onwards, a Majlis (sitting) on the night between 11th an 12th Rabi-ul-Awwal every year to celebrate Milad-un-Nabi (Birthday of the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H). This Majlis has now become a regular annual feature and attracts a large crowd. It begins after Isha prayers on 11th Rabi-ul-Awwal, lasts the whole night when Darud Sharif is recited by every one present and speeches are made by ulama glorifying the life and achievements of Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H). It concludes at break of dawn, the known time of the Prophets birth, with a salute of 101 crackers shots heard for miles around.
Babuji’s (R.A) first visit to Madina Munawwara
Babuji (R.A) visited Madina Munawwara for the first time in 1930. On his return he narrated the following incident that happened during that visit:
“I was standing one day after Asr Prayers (Pre-evening prayers) with Sheikh-ul-Jamia Sahib and others when a lean person dressed in Arabian outfit came to me and eagerly looked at me. He then raised his eyes towards the sky and said: “A great revolution will take place in 1937”.
I construed this as a possible reference to the passing away of my father and, therefore, I kept marking time but did not tell this to anyone till 1937 approached and Hazrat breathed his last. Since the British King also vacated the throne in the same year, I concluded that the reference had been made to the apparent and the hidden change that was to take place during that year”.
In one of his letters dated 4.7.1962, Babuji (R.A) wrote, “Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) is a great blessing for the whole creation. We look to his support, and I am leading my life due to his blessings. May Allah keep this reverential link. Even sinful people are his servants”. He punctuated it with a verse by Jami (R.A) (a renowned Persian poet) as follows:
Translation: “How could thou neglect and ignore thy fellow beings when thou art all mercy”.
While on one of his visits to the holy city of Madina Munawwara, Babuji (R.A) met an eminent scholar from India who came to pay homage to Babuji (R.A) as well. During the course of their conversation on 25.5.1967 Babuji (R.A) translated in Urdu the Punjabi verse:
Babuji (R.A) said: “The face of the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) shows the formless and shapeless. To comprehend the ultimate Reality one has to look at the face of Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H). This face shows the way to Allah.
In the next verse the poet, Hazrat Syedna Pir Meher Ali Shah (R.A), reiterates the truth that face not only shows the path but the Divine reality itself, and that this subtle truth cannot be appreciated by every one. Only those endowed with great insight into mysteries of life can comprehend it.
In the last lines, the poet expresses his own humility by stressing the point as to how a person like him could praise the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) as there is no comparison between clay, and a spiritually clean one. The poet earnestly feels that his vision being polluted and sinful, it was impertinent on his part to cast a glance at the face of the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H):
Babuji’s (R.A) for the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) shines through in his letter dated 7.6.1941 in which Babuji (R.A) quoted the following verse:
Translation: “The caravans reached their destination but for me left gazing at the foot-print”.
In his letter dated 18.10.1956, Hazrat Babuji (R.A) wrote:
“Last night Eid Milad-un-Nabi (P.B.U.H) was held. Everyone was in a state of trance. I wish the milad night had prolonged and such a majlis be held every night…. praise be to Allah that Mahboob’s daily entreaties and piteous supplications have been accepted by Rehmatull-lil-Alameen (P.B.U.H). This was due to his holy kindness, whatever we are after all; we are of Him. There is none else for us. May Allah grant strength to complete this blessed journey… . first we will visit Madina Munawwara.
In his letter dated 28.5.1958, Babuji (R.A) expressed his desire for the Holy presence as follows:
“I wish for a sea-shore, a moon-lit night, a state of isolation, the uncontrollable multi-layered ebb and flow of the sea-waves, an aching heart drenched in “dard” and pain, with Madina Munawwara before me. He, within my heart and the bulbuls (the singing bird) from Rum singing before me… But for those who adore such a “Zaat”. Me – the sinful and he – the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H). I can’t even think of expressing such a desire – God forbid. May He, for their Holy sake, have mercy”.
In his reply to Madame Sara Okcu, dated 4th July 1964, Babuji wrote:
“While I appreciate moon and its light, I advise you to indulge in the longing of seeing the prettiest moon of dreams, the handsomest of all the creation – the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) Hazrat Ahmad-e-Mujtaba Muhammad-e-Mustafa Sallalla-ho-Alaieh-e-Wa-Alehi-Wasallam, tiny sign of whose finger cut the moon into two pieces”.
Intense love for the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H)
One of Pir Meher Ali Shah’s (R.A) devotees from Sahiwal (then Montgomery) was admitted to Kitson Ward (Cantonment Hospital Rawalpindi) in the year 1953. It was Babuji’s (R.A) custom to pay a visit to the patient daily. In view of the follower’s hopeless condition, the doctors requested the family to have the patient discharged for his body cells were registered as totally devoid of any life – synonymous to “dust like”.
At night the patient in his dream saw Hazrat Syedna Pir Meher Ali Shah (R.A) accompanied with the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H), Hazrat Ghaus-e-Azam (R.A), and the four Caliphs of Islam. They had come to inquire about his health. When narrated to Babuji (R.A) the next morning, he wept saying if only the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) had visited Golra as well since he (P.B.U.H) had come too close.
"I shed tears of yearning for the land where I had first set eyes on the beauty of my loved one (i.e., the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) ); (In the hope) that someone brings to us the tidings of grace from that neighbourhood".
Babuji (R.A) requested for another medical test which to everyone’s surprise showed the patient’s body in its working order. The patient lived for four more years till 1957. Babuji’s (R.A) regular visits to the hospital had earned a holy visit for the patient.
The point to be noted is that if Babuji’s (R.A) followers could receive such a merciful bounty what about his own spiritual level, and yet Babuji (R.A) would never personally acknowledge such a spiritual grandeur.
Hazrat Babuji (R.A) - the beloved of the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H)
In the memoirs, Hazrat Syed Ahmad Bin Mahdar-ul-Atas Madni Sahib has written that on 6th Rajab 1365 A.H. when he was presenting in all humility and rapt attention the salutation of Syed Hazrat Ghulam Muhyuddin before the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H), he had the vision of the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) who was sitting with five other persons but Madni Sahib did not know those persons.
“Hazrat Ali (Karam Allah-o-Wajho) was standing with Abu-Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah (R.A) on the left side. I saw Syed Ghulam Muhyuddin coming from the front passage which leads to Hazrat Fatima. He stopped near Abu-Ubaidah. At that moment, the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) smiled and pointing with blessed hand towards Babuji, Syed Ghulam Muhyuddin said: “O Aamer! Here is my beloved”.
After this, Abu-Ubaidah went towards the blessed shrine and Hazrat Babuji (R.A) followed him.
All those who were sitting there stood up and shook hands with the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) and then left, and disappearing from my view. After two months, on 10th of Ramadhan-ul-Mubarak as I was having siesta at noon, I saw in my dream that I was sitting near the gate of Masjid Sabbaq outside Bab-e-Shami in Madina; many people were all around. Some one was proclaiming that the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) was arriving. All stood up. The Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) arrived near the gates. Out of the gathering on the right side, a person came forward. He was Syed Ghulam Muhyuddin bin Syedna Pir Meher Ali Shah (R.A). The Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) whispered in his ears but non-else could understand. Then the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) with his blessed hand pointed towards him (Babuji) and said, “He is my beloved”.
This fact is inline with the ayah 152, of Surah Al-Bakra (Surah II) of the Holy Quran, in which God Almighty says:
Translation: "Remember Me (O mankind!) and I shall (also) remember you". (II, 152) So, as much as one loves Allah and His Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be Upon Him), with the same intensity or even more, becomes the beloved of God Almighty and the Holy Prophet (Peace and Blessings be Upon Him).