Chapter 3 - The Seal of Prophethood

Chapter No.: 

The humanity reached its peak in the most distinguished self of Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). The Divine Light and knowledge was attained to its maximum possible limit by him. In other words, the quintessence of all the creation was achieved. Every Messenger of Allah Ta’ala was predominantly the seat of expression of one of the Attributes of Allah Ta’ala, but the greatest and the last Messenger of Allah Ta’ala, Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) was the seat of the expression of all the Attributes of Allah Ta’ala . This way he completed the chain of Messengers and put a seal on the Prophethood. He utilised the faculties of Qalb to the utmost and got the Divine Light of the highest degree. He received the Divine revelation—the Qur’ân, therefore, no room was left for any other person to go higher than this and no deficiency was left in the level of knowledge that could be achieved by any human being.

Allah Ta’ala certifies this seal of prophethood by Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) in the Qur’ân as:

مَا كَانَ مُحَمَّدٌ أَبَا أَحَدٍ مِنْ رِجَالِكُمْ وَلَكِنْ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَخَاتَمَ النَّبِيِّينَ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمًا

“Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but (he is) the Messenger of Allah Ta’ala and the seal of prophets and Allah Ta’ala has full knowledge of all things”. (33:40)

Five capacities of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)

The five capacities in which Allah Ta’ala has sent Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) are mentioned in the Qur’ân as follows:

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ إِنَّا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ شَاهِدًا وَمُبَشِّرًا وَنَذِيرًا () وَدَاعِيًا إِلَى اللَّهِ بِإِذْنِهِ وَسِرَاجًا مُنِيرًا ()

"O, Prophet, Truly we have sent thee as a witness, a bearer of Glad Tidings and a Warner. And as one who invites to Allah Ta’ala’s (grace) by His leave and as a lamp spreading light." (33:45-46)

1. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) as a witness:

Allah Ta’ala says that He has sent Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) as a witness to all men about the spiritual truths which had been obscured by ignorance, superstition and by dust of sectarian controversy.

2. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) as a bearer of glad tidings of Mercy of Allah Ta’ala:

He comes as a bearer of the glad tidings of Mercy of Allah Ta’ala . No matter how far men have transgressed, they have hope if they believe, repent, and live a good life.

3. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) as a warner:

He also comes as a warner to those who are heedless. This worldly life will not last long. There is a future life that is all important.

4. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) as one who invites:

He comes as one who has a right to invite all men to repentance and the forgiveness of sins, but he does this, not of his own authority, but by the permission and authority given to him by Allah Ta’ala . This is said lest people may deify prophet as they did with other prophets.

5. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) a Lamp spreading light:

Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) comes as a light or lamp (Siraj) to illuminate the whole world.

We have seen that the spiritual truths get obscured by ignorance and superstition etc. These jewels of spiritual truths and faculties of understanding thus remain in darkness and hidden. Allah Ta’ala due to immense mercy on mankind, sent Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) as a lamp spreading light {Siraj) so that the spiritual faculties of man get enlightened to enable him to understand the Divine Revelation, the Qur’ân and get the knowledge of the ultimate Reality.

It is, therefore, important that if one wants to come out of this spiritual darkness and to understand the Divine Revelation—the Qur’ân, one has to get the light from this lamp spreading light, i.e., Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). Without the aid of this light one cannot understand the ‘Reality’ and can never come out of the spiritual darkness.

قَدْ جَاءَكُمْ مِنَ اللَّهِ نُورٌ وَكِتَابٌ مُبِينٌ

“There hath come to you from Allah Ta’ala a (new) light and perspicuous book". (5:15)

Authentic commentators of the Qur’ân are of the opinion that the ‘Nur’ (light) mentioned in this verse, means Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). Allah Ta’ala has sent him as a lamp which spreads light as already quoted from the Qur’ân in the preceding verse. So we have got two lights, Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) is the one light and al-Qur’ân is the other light as it has also been mentioned as Nur.

Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) says:

"First thing that Allah Ta’ala created was my Nur (light)”. (Musanaf Abdul Razak)

You can well imagine the significance of this ‘Nur’ (light) of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam).

Anyone who wants to have knowledge of the Ultimate Reality—Almighty Allah Ta’ala and the Divine Light of the Qur’ân, needs the light of Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam).

قُلْ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللَّهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِي يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللَّهُ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ

“Say (O! Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) ‘If you do love Allah Ta’ala, follow me: Allah Ta’ala will love you and forgive your sins: For Allah Ta’ala is Oft-Forgiving Most Merciful’”. (3:31)

If you want favour and bounties of Allah Ta’ala, if you want His pleasure and if you want His immense mercy, then you have no other way but to follow the light of Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam).

Allah Ta’ala wants man to follow this light of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), He says:

لَقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِي رَسُولِ اللَّهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ لِمَنْ كَانَ يَرْجُو اللَّهَ وَالْيَوْمَ الْآخِرَ وَذَكَرَ اللَّهَ كَثِيرًا

"You have indeed in the Messenger of Allah Ta’ala (Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam),an excellent exampler for him who hopes in Allah Ta’ala and the Final Day, and who remembers Allah Ta’ala much”. (33:.21)

So it becomes quite obvious that there is only one door that leads to the Reality—‘Allah Ta’ala’ i.e., the door of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). There is only one way of coming out of the spiritual darkness, that is by following the light of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam).

Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) says:

حَدَّثَنَا الْحَسَنُ بْنُ عَرَفَةَ حَدَّثَنَا إِسْمَاعِيلُ بْنُ عَيَّاشٍ عَنْ يَحْيَى بْنِ أَبِى عَمْرٍو السَّيْبَانِىِّ عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ الدَّيْلَمِىِّ قَالَ سَمِعْتُ عَبْدَ اللَّهِ بْنَ عَمْرٍو يَقُولُ سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- يَقُولُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ خَلَقَ خَلْقَهُ فِى ظُلْمَةٍ فَأَلْقَى عَلَيْهِمْ مِنْ نُورِهِ فَمَنْ أَصَابَهُ مِنْ ذَلِكَ النُّورِ اهْتَدَى وَمَنْ أَخْطَأَهُ ضَلَّ فَلِذَلِكَ أَقُولُ جَفَّ الْقَلَمُ عَلَى عِلْمِ اللَّهِ قَالَ أَبُو عِيسَى هَذَا حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ.

Abdullah Ibn Umar (RA) narrated that he heard Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) as saying “Indeed Allah Ta’ala created His creations in darkness then bestowed upon them His light” so whosoever got his share from the light he found the right path and whosoever did not get his share from this light” he went astray” (Tirmidhi, Ahmad )

Qalb—The seat of faculty of understanding and knowledge

Allah Ta’ala says in the Qur’ân:

وَلَقَدْ ذَرَأْنَا لِجَهَنَّمَ كَثِيرًا مِنَ الْجِنِّ وَالْإِنْسِ لَهُمْ قُلُوبٌ لَا يَفْقَهُونَ بِهَا وَلَهُمْ أَعْيُنٌ لَا يُبْصِرُونَ بِهَا وَلَهُمْ آذَانٌ لَا يَسْمَعُونَ بِهَا أُولَئِكَ كَالْأَنْعَامِ بَلْ هُمْ أَضَلُّ أُولَئِكَ هُمُ الْغَافِلُونَ

“ Many are the jinns and men we have made for Hell. They have hearts where-with they understand not, eyes wherewith they see not and ears wherewith they hear not. They are like cattle -nay more misguided: for they are heedless (of warning)”. (7:179)

Here Allah Ta’ala once again clearly reveals that the seat of faculty of understanding is Qalb and those who do not make use of this faculty, they are as good as cattle.

Rabeea Al-Jurashi (RA) quotes Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) as saying:

“An angel came to him and said, "Let your eyes sleep, let your ears hear but your Qalb (heart) remain awakned”. (Mishkaat Sharief)

This is a vast subject, I would like to conclude it in the light of the Qur’ânic revelations and Ahâdith which I have quoted, the following conclusions become quite crystal clear to us:

1. Qalb is the seat of faculty of understanding and divine knowledge.

2. Qalb is the instrument which has been specially devised for receiving and appreciating the eternal light.

3. For proper understanding of the Qur’ân, a pure, live and properly functioning Qalb is needed.

4. The spiritual jewels have been kept hidden in darkness in the Qalb.

5. Blind Qalb can neither attain any spiritual height nor know the Reality.

6. To bring Qalb out of darkness so that it can utilise its higher faculties, a light is needed.

7. The light can be had from one and the only lamp and that is Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) .

8. In other words we can say understanding of the Qur’ân is the function of Qalb which is illuminated and the enlightened by the light of the lamp of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) , which makes it capable of receiving eternal light necessary for unraveling the spiritual truths.

What destroys the highest inherent capabilities of Qalb

عَنْ أَبِى هُرَيْرَةَ أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- قَالَ : إِنَّ الْمُؤْمِنَ إِذَا أَذْنَبَ كَانَتْ نُكْتَةٌ سَوْدَاءُ فِى قَلْبِهِ فَإِنْ تَابَ وَنَزَعَ وَاسْتَغْفَرَ صُقِلَ قَلْبُهُ فَإِنْ زَادَ زَادَتْ فَذَلِكَ الرَّانُ الَّذِى ذَكَرَهُ اللَّهُ فِى كِتَابِهِ ( كَلاَّ بَلْ رَانَ عَلَى قُلُوبِهِمْ مَا كَانُوا يَكْسِبُونَ)

Abu Huriarah (RA) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) has said: "Indeed when a man commits sin, there occurs a black stain on his heart. Then if he repents and asks forgiveness (from Allah Ta’ala) his heart gets cleaned and if he commits more sins, that black stain increases in size till it covers the whole heart. It is that cover of impure (sins), which has been called Ra'an (rust), which Allah Ta’ala mentions in the verse No. (83:14)” (Ibn Majah)

كَلَّا بَلْ رَانَ عَلَى قُلُوبِهِمْ مَا كَانُوا يَكْسِبُونَ

"By no means! But on their hearts is the stain of the (ill) which they do”. (83:14)

The heart of man, as created by Allah Ta’ala is pure and unsullied. When a man does an evil deed, it makes a stain on his heart. But on repentance or forgiveness, this stain gets washed off. If such a person doesn't repent or is not forgiven, this stain deepens as well as spreads more and more, until his heart is sealed and eventually he dies a spiritual death. These are such stains which prevent the heart from perceiving truths which are otherwise obvious to enlightened hearts.

Allah Ta’ala says

خَتَمَ اللَّهُ عَلَى قُلُوبِهِمْ وَعَلَى سَمْعِهِمْ وَعَلَى أَبْصَارِهِمْ غِشَاوَةٌ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ

“AlIah hath set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing and on their eyes is a veil, Great is the chastisement They (incur). (2: 7)

Pure heart is like a mirror. If it is free from these evil stains, it has the ability to receive and reflect the Divine Light which penetrates the veils lying between the Reality and the eyes. But if this mirror of Qalb (Divine) is stained with evil deeds, it gets sullied and hence unable to receive this light. It loses its function and becomes as good as dead. This dead state of Qalb is here referred to in Aayat (2:7) as a seal, as if their hearts have been sealed.

The biggest and the darkest stain on Qalb is caused by Kufr (not believing in Allah Ta’ala and His Messenger—Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) )

This evil almost completely darkens the Qalb and one can say it gets completely sealed or shut off from the Reality.

In case of believers the ratio of the stain on Qalb and the evil deeds is directly proportional. More the evil deeds, more the stains and vice versa. If a believers do not desist from these kind of deeds and remains adamant on the evil deeds of major significance, there is every apprehension that his heart may also get sealed which he may not be even knowing.

May Allah Ta’ala protect our hearts from this disease- Aamin.

Allah Ta’ala says in the Qur’ân:

فَبِمَا نَقْضِهِمْ مِيثَاقَهُمْ وَكُفْرِهِمْ بِآيَاتِ اللَّهِ وَقَتْلِهِمُ الْأَنْبِيَاءَ بِغَيْرِ حَقٍّ وَقَوْلِهِمْ قُلُوبُنَا غُلْفٌ بَلْ طَبَعَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهَا بِكُفْرِهِمْ فَلَا يُؤْمِنُونَ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا

“(They have incurred divine displeasure): In that they broke their covenant. That they rejected the signs of Allah Ta’ala; that they slew the Messenger in defiance of right; that they said, “ Our hearts are the wrappings” Nay, Allah Ta’ala hath set the seal on their hearts for their blasphemy, And little is it they believe”.(4:155)

أَفَلَا يَتَدَبَّرُونَ الْقُرْآنَ أَمْ عَلَى قُلُوبٍ أَقْفَالُهَا

"Do they not then Earnestly seek to understand The Qur’ân, or is that there are Locks upon their Hearts.” (47:24)

Because of these serious evils, Allah Ta’ala sets the seal on their hearts so that they no more deserve the Divine Light and divine pleasure. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) , says that: "The hardened heart (the heart which is stained and darkened) is disliked by Allah Ta’ala the most.”.