Naqshbandiya Foundation for Islamic Education

The Naqshbandiya Foundation for Islamic Education (NFIE) is a non-profit, tax exempt, religious and educational organization dedicated to serve Islam with a special focus on Tasawwuf(Sufism),

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Utmost State of Devotion for Prophet(saws) Fana Fi al-Rasul Part 3 of 4,Dr. Marcia Hermansen

Utmost State of Devotion for Prophet Muhammad (saws). Fana Fi al-Rasul.A lecture by Dr.Marcia K.Hermansen,Professor of Theology,Director World Islamic Studies ,Loyola University,delivered at International Mawlid un Nabi Conference,1996,UIC,Chicago.Sponsored by Naqshbandiya Foundation for Islamic Education (
TRANSCRIPT: Part 3 of 4
Returning to the commentary on the Gulshan-i Raz, Lahiji further observes,
Thus due to loving me (Muhammad) the characteristic of belovedness (mahbubiyyat) will become present in you and just as I am the beloved of God, you will also become the beloved of God because of this connection to me, and God will love you and through the decree of, “When I love him I become his hearing and his sight” you will reach the rank of “perfected one” and union, at the station of wilayat of the Prophet which is “Essential Unity” (tauhid-i dhati);--that of “la yas’ni fihi malak muqarrab wa la nabi mursal” (there is no place for any near angel or any prophetic messanger)[1] and you will become a location of the manifestation of the Muhammadan perfections, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.
Out of love he became the beloved of God
Whatever he desired became the will of God
Love became the manifestation of harmony
Without love the world is imperfect
Due to love fire became light
Due to love the demon became a houri
Due to love thorns became roses
Due to love vinegar became honey
Once the sun of love begins to shine
Mastery becomes servitude and servitude becomes mastery.

Along this same theme, a further line from Shabistari reads,
“From ‘if you love me’ you will achieve it””
Lahiji comments on this line, saying:
That is, the lover (muhibb) of God and the supreme lover (‘ashiq-i mutlaq) since he knows that the means of achieving the desired end which is attaining union with the Beloved, depends on obeying the Prophet and on following his speech, actions, and deeds, according to one’s ability, will give priority to making attempts and efforts to follow in the footsteps of the Prophet on the path of shari’a and tariqa. Every mirror in which the belovedness of the Holy Prophet shines through the saint (wali) finds a way to the place of solitude of “Allah will love you”[2] which is the rank of “mahbubiyyat”. Then the “muhibb” and the “mahbub” become a single entity and all duality and otherness is eliminated”.
Once love becomes perfected, the friend of Allah (wali), due to his following the Prophet, certainly attains the rank of “the belovedness” (mahbubiyyat) of Allah which is, “Follow me, and Allah will love you .[3]
We see the doctrine of fana’ fir-rasul fully articulated in the later 18th century work, ‘Ilm al-Kitab,[4] of the Naqshbandi Sufi and Urdu poet, Khwaja Mir Dard (d. 1785) who writes
Since the Prophet is an intermediary (wasta) between humans and God the exalted, fana fi-Allah is impossible without fana’ fir-rasul. Thus the spiritual guide (murshid) is an intermediary and means of connection (wasila) between the umma and the Prophet. Without fana fi-s-shaiykh, fana fir-rasul is illusory and imaginary.[5]
In every Sufi tariqa, according to the masters of the spiritual path, there have been determined to be three types of fana, firstly fana fi-l-shaykh, secondly fana fir-rasul, and thirdly, fana fi-Allah. Proximity (qurb) to Allah will not be achieved by the spiritual aspirant (salik) without these three fanas. They say that the salik progresses from the degree of fana’ fi-s-shaykh and by means of the Pir then arrives at the level of fana fir-rasul.”[6]
[1]"I have a time with Allah, beyond any of the nearest angels and any of the prophetic messengers", is a Sufi hadith, the meaning of which is discussed by al-Jˆlˆ in his both his treatise Qab-i Qausayn p. 238 and his treatise Nasˆm al-sahar (Cairo: Maktaba al-Jindˆ, n. d.), p. 50-52 which is the 12th part of the same larger work al-Nam¨s al-a…Ωam wa-l qam¨s al-aqdam fˆ ma…rifat qadr al-nabˆ ™ (The highest realm and the greatest ocean in recognizing the stature of the Holy Prophet™) as Qab-i qausayn, which is its tenth section. All but three sections of this larger work appear to be lost.
[2]The conclusion of the Qur'anic verse.
[3]Gulshan-i raz, 239-240.
[4]Delhi: al-Anßarˆ, 1890. In fact the last three sections of over one hundred in Dard's book are on the themes of fana', the virtues of mu˙abbat (love), and following the Prophet. pp. 634-648.
[5]Ibid, 55.
[6]Khwaja Mˆr Dard …Ilm al-Kitab (Delhi: al-Anßarˆ, 1890). Dard goes on to say, "After the appearance of the †arˆqa Mu˙ammadiyya, blessings and salutations upon its master, and the emergence of this lofty †arˆqa which is the most exalted of paths and their seal, this interpretation was required until progress had been made to that more complete level. Then for the guidance of the people of Mu˙ammad, the pure ones manifested (the station of) subsisting through the Prophet (baqa' bi-ras¨l). When this world-illuminating sun rose, all the stars went into obscurity so that in every place spiritual energy (fai∂) emerged from this same spiritual connection (nisbat) and all groups came under and beneath its sway. Thus, all the groups branch out from the hand of the mediation of the master of this spiritual connection (nisbat) encompassing the entire Muslim community in every path and group which exists. Because the essential, partial, accompanying and inclusive in following him was recorded and all the saints, gnostics, believers and Muslims entered under this noble spiritual affiliation to Mu˙ammad; what level could ever be higher than this level of pure (Mu˙ammadiyya) Mu˙ammadanism; so that a person could reach anything higher? . . . No sharˆ…a will be affirmed after the sharˆ…a of Mu˙ammad, not even at the inner (ba†inˆ) level, nor will any new †arˆqa ever appear." (p. 116)


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