Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim!
In the Name of Allah, The Most Merciful, The Most Merciful!
DR. PASHA’S ISLAMIC SOLUTIONS
Dhul Hijjah 15, 1426/January 16, 2006
From the United States of America
I hope you are well.
Regularity or Periodicity of E-Letters
These E-Letters come to you -- as we had indicated at the very beginning -- as our time and resources allow us to send them to you.
So, please forgive us if we send several of them to you at one time in quick succession, or if we go through long dry spells when we may be unable to contact you.
Don’t forget the two key words: time and resources.
Or if you want, change them to two other words: Allah’s will.
More than Ar-Rahman and Ar-Raheem? How Can It Be?
As I said in my previous E-Letter, it is not just Ar-Rahmaan and Ar-Raheem, but more.
Much much more!
If, to our limited way of knowing, thinking and understanding, that is at all possible. Because, Ar-Rahmaan has already covered it all once. And then Ar-Raheem covers everything all over, a second time.
How much overlap there is between these two and how much distinction, who is to say?
And when I say “once,” don’t ask me for the meaning of that expression, because, frankly, I have no idea what the word “once” means in this context. Or what any other word means when I use it in the context of the Qur’an.
I am using the word “once” here only to indicate that “first” in the “sequence” comes Ar-Rahmaan, which is “then” “followed by” Ar-Raheem.
Why so? And what does it signify?
Allahu Akbar! Who can tell? Except the one whose word -- whose Kalaam -- it is.
More Is Less?
Therefore, this is a case where more is really less. Because the more understanding is given to you, the less you seem to know. Because every stage of understanding you seem to attain opens the door to a new, as yet unattained, stage of knowing.
And the spiral continues -- should the mercy of Allah be your companion in this journey. If not, nothing happens, except maybe a numbing, animal-like smugness, even exultation, in your own state of ignorance and opaqueness.
As the Qur’an puts it: Ulaa-i-ka Kal-An’aami …
And now, after all this, we are saying there is more? There are things beyond even Ar-Raheem, just as Ar-Raheem follows, impossibly as it seems to us, Ar-Rahmaan? How is it possible?
But clearly it is. And it is one of those most amazing miracles of the Deen of Islam -- and of the most glorious Al-Qur’an.
And of Allah’s most wonderful and beloved Rasul, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam.
Let us see how.
Al-Asmaa’ Al-Husnaa! All those most, most beautiful and wonderful names of Allah, Subhanahu wa Ta’aala! Let us take a look at some of them.
The Miracle of the Expression “Subhanahu wa Ta’aala“
And while we do that, let us pick up another miracle along the way: the most wonderful miracle of the divine expression “Subhanahu wa Ta’aala.”
You know you find yourself saying it all the time. Right?
Every time you say Allah, you would also tend to say “Subhanahu wa Ta’aala.”
Or just say “Ta’aala” as in “Allah Ta’aala.”
You also know that most Muslims in most parts of the world would do that too: say it exactly the way you say it -- “Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’aala” or simply “Allah Ta’aala.”
Ever wonder what an amazing thing this is? Same common expression, being used in precisely the same context, by hundreds of millions of people around the world -- a veritable united nations and united colours of humanity: from India to Indonesia; from Japan to Jordan; from Malaysia to Morocco; from America to Australia, Europe, South America and the Caribbean?
How this single common expression unites and binds over a billion people together?
Allahu Akbar! If you are looking for miracles, look no more, for, this is a miracle that is staring you right in the face. It is as good or big a miracle you are ever going to find in this world.
And it is part of the rope of Allah, about which Allah gave the guarantee that it will never snap -- Lan-Fisaama Lahaa!
It is your bridge to Allah, Shbhanahu wa Ta’aala.
And it is, on this earth, 1400 years old -- going back to the time of our beloved Rasul, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam.
Where Did It Come From?
Ever wonder where we Muslims got these expressions from: Subhaanahu and Ta’aala and Subhaanahu wa Ta’aala together? And how we got into the habit of saying them so mechanically and routinely?
Well, they are directly from the Qur’an! Nothing less.
They came to us directly out of the pages of the Qur’an -- and in saying them the way we do, we are directly applying the Qur’an to our life. That means we are practicing the Qur’an -- yes, practicing the Qur’an.
Not even Hadith, mind you, but the Qur’an itself -- directly. Even though Hadith would have been good enough, and it would have been wonderful -- like a lot of things that we Muslims do that come from Hadith -- and even though these are expressions that Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, himself taught his followers.
So, in that way, they automatically become part of Hadith.
But the fact remains that this thing is directly from the Qur’an. That is where we got those expressions from: the Qur’an.
That means, these expressions are all parts of different Aayats of the Qur’an, including this one: Subhanahu wa Ta’aala ‘Ammaa Yushrikoon.
Directly from the Pages of Qur’an
The story of these divine expressions in the Qur’an is most instructive and exciting. Let us follow it step by step.
First, there is “Ta’aala,” all by itself (7:190; 23:92; 27:63) .
Then, there is “Subhanahu,” all by itself (9:31).
And then the two come together in the form of “Subhanahu wa Ta’aala.”
Not just once, but twice (10:18; 39:67).
Another interesting miracle in the Qur’an that I hope Allah will enable me to talk about in future: How the Qur’an repeats some Aayats or parts of Aayats systematically.
And what do the Muslims do? They take those parts of the Aayats of the Qur’an and put them in practice by repeating those divine expressions every time they mention the name of Allah, Subhanahu wa Ta’aala.
That is what the Muslims learned from the Qur’an. The Muslims, thus, practice the Qur’an. That is right: Muslims, thus, put the Qur’an in practice.
Just as the Qur’an showed them.
The Unbreakable Rope of Allah
And just as Allah’s beloved Rasul, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, taught them. And the Muslims, thus, also practice the Hadith or the Sunnah of our beloved Rasul, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam.
That is also what the entire generation of the noble companions of the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, and their followers practiced -- Sahaabah and Taabi’een as we call them.
And every single great generation after them -- for the past 1400 years -- till it came down to our generation, in our time and place, wherever we live today -- in a firm and unshakable chain of narration, practice, teaching and continuity.
To that extent, the Muslims are faithfully following also the path of their noble spiritual ancestors -- Salaf Saliheen.
The pedigree and authenticity of this Muslim practice -- of saying “Subhanahu wa Ta’aala” or just “Ta’aala” every time we say Allah -- is quite mind-bogglinng. And to the best of my knowledge, there is nothing quite like it anywhere, in any culture. There never was.
Nor is it likely to be in future.
Can you now see how it is all part of that unbreakable rope of Allah?
Permanent vs. Transient
That is because man-made things -- human inventions, if you will -- become prey to the ravages of time. They get trampled upon and brushed aside by the march of civilizations. They are flimsy and transient by their very nature.
But that which comes down from God, and is taught and illustrated by his Rasul, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, marches on forever. Those things are robust and permanent.
What a glorious miracle!
And what a wonderful proof of the truth and validity of the Qur’an and of the mission and message of Sayyidina Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam. These simple expressions of “Subhanahu wa Ta’aala” and “Ta’aala” as Muslims practice them, so quietly and so unobtrusively, throughout the world -- and throughout their history -- often unbeknownst to themselves.
It is Allah’s mercy -- Ar-Rahman Ar-Raheem that he is -- that he makes these things happen that way and makes them clear and visible to those who have eyes to see.
Muslim Ummah in Compliance
This puts the Muslim Ummat in compliance.
And that is why in the midst of all the gloom and all the bad news that so many people seem to direct at Muslims, much of it rightly and deservedly, I am so tempted to change the tune and cry out: “Rejoice Ummat of Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam! You are in compliance!”
I want to say to the Muslims: In spite of all the things you do wrong -- and they are legion -- and in spite of all the things you have done wrong in the past -- and they are many -- you are still in compliance with the basic commandments of Allah, in his own book, revealed and taught through his own beloved Rasul, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, and practiced without break or letup, throughout history, generation after generation, for the past 1400 years.
Allahu Akbar! What a place to be.
That is the place your God -- the Rahmaan, the Raheem -- has chosen to keep you all through your history through the blessing of his beloved Rasul, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, mercy to the worlds -- Rahmatul Lil ‘Aalameen.
Threfore, this divine expression “Subhanahu wa Ta’aala“. Allah used it in the Qur’an.
Allah’s Rasul, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, used it and taught it to his companions.
The companions then used it and taught it to those who came after them -- the Taabi’een.
And they used it and taught it to the generation that came after them.
And so on down the ages, till it came down to us -- you and me in our own generation and time period and in whatever part of the world it is that we are located -- through continuous and unbroken practice.
Unbroken, continuous mass practice -- that is what it is. Super-practice.
The Ummah: A Living Miracle
That is part of the story of the little miracle of “Subhanahu wa Ta’aala.” I thought I would share it with you.
I am saying “little” because I want to put it in some kind of perspective in comparison to some other “larger” miracles you may have in mind. But to me, I have not the slightest doubt, this “little” miracle is bigger than all the universe combined.
And do you know what all this makes the Ummah of Sayyidina Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, in every time and place, right down to our own time, in our respective habitats? A standing, walking, talking, breathing, living miracle of the beloved Rasul of Allah, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam.
For, that is who we are -- such as we are -- a standing proof and a living miracle of the mission and message of Rasulullah, Sallallahu Aaihi wa Sallam!
In every age and place!
Saying exactly the same words that he brought from Allah, and saying them, after 1400 long years, exactly the same way he said them and taught them to his followers -- whom in a miraculous display of human equality and personal humility he called his companions: Ashaab.
The Miracle of the Expression “Ashaab“
Just think about it for one moment.
All kinds of people in this world have all kinds of “followers.” However, no one in the entire history of the human race -- to the extent we know that history -- had more devoted and dedicated followers than Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam.
And these were no ordinary men and women. Before Islam, they were all proud, self-respecting, fierce and free children of the desert, for most of whom their sword was their final arbiter and point of reference. And yet when they embraced Islam, they became such faithful followers of Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, that his merest wish became to them their most sacred and urgent command.
Not even a drop of water did they allow to fall to the ground when he washed his face or performed Wudu -- ablution -- preparatory to Salaah -- prayers as modern-day Muslims call them.
When he read the Qur’an to them, they sat frozen as if birds were perched on their heads. Some of the best of them seemed heartbroken that he would not permit them to throw themselves at his feet in prostration. Others readily fell to their knees in front of him -- not a popular custom among the wild warriors of the endless deserts of Arabia.
Their devotion to him was so complete, so profound and so deep that when the enemy invaded them and they were forced to defend themselves, they defended him with their own bodies and warded off oncoming enemy arrows with their bare hands.
And, in addition to all that, every single thing that they did in their lives, they did exactly the way he had either told them or shown them. He called the way he did things his Sunnat -- his way -- and they followed his way -- his Sunnah -- to the letter as well as in spirit.
Who in History Had More Devoted Followers? Or Had More of Them?
No human being ever followed another human being so devoutly, completely and faithfully, either in form or in spirit or both, as the companions of Muhammad, Rasulullah, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, followed him. And yet what does he call them? His “followers“? No, he simply talks of them as his “companions.”
Though Allah in the Qur’an calls them his followers -- Alladheenat-Taba-‘oohu -- and tells him to tell them to follow him -- Qul in Kuntum Tuhibboonallaha Fat-tabi-‘oonee -- he himself tends to refer to them as “My companions” -- Ashaabee.
And not just a few or a handful of people -- but a veritable mass of humanity and bulk of the neighbouring Arab populations tens of tens of thousands of men and women of all ages and social status.
And all this at a time when there were no newspapers, no radio, no television, no film and no Internet! Nor did he spend millions or billions of money or hire armies of professionals to do propaganda, public relations or advertising for him.
The way he lived, his house did not even have a guard!
Which One of You Gentlemen is Muhammad: Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam?
The noble concept of human equality never saw a more glorious day under the sun than when Muhammad moved among his companions -- Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam.
And when he sat down in a group among his so-called “followers” -- his Ashaab -- he became such a complete part of them, and he was so indistinguishable from the least prominent among them, that an onlooker could not tell the difference. Visitors and strangers, who did not know him, almost invariably ended up asking: “Which one of you is Muhammad,” Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam?
What a living, practical miracle of human equality this was -- and continues to be!
And to this day, after the passage of 1400 years, that is how the Muslims of the world -- this blessed and beautiful Ummah of Allah’s beloved Rasul, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam -- refers to them: The Sahaabah!
Sahaabah Kiraam, Radiyallahu ‘Anhum!
Another “little” miracle -- this time from the life of Sayyidina Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam -- that I thought I would share with you.
Muslims! To the extent you keep referring to them as “Sahaabah” and “Ashaab,” you become a part of that ongoing miracle. You become the living proof, in your own age and place, of the truth of the mission and message of Rasulullah, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam.
Another Little Miracle: This Time from the Hadith
Well, how many of us Muslims say “Assalamu Alaikum” to one another? In any part of the world? Will you say practically everyone does, everywhere?
But did you ever wonder how you came by that most amazing expression? Who invented it? How you came to own it?
Thereby hangs another “little” miracle, and we shall return to when and as Allah makes it possible for us to do so.
We will also return to Al-Asmaa’ Al-Husnaa in other letters, Inshallah.
In the meantime, join me in saying: Allahummaghfir Li Ummati Muhammadin, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam!
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Nothing but Drafts
Do bear in mind that our manuscripts -- whatever we write, put on the Web or send in the form of letters and E-mails, etc. -- are mostly drafts in need of further research and revision, which we are often unable to undertake or complete due to time and resource constraints.
Part of that time and resource constraint is our inability to be more exact in our Transliteration. If there are inconsistencies, please overlook them.
As you read, please do not forget me, my parents, teachers and ancestors in your Du’as.
And do please find within you the generosity and compassion to forgive me if I have in any way offended you; or said something I should not have said; or said it in a way I should not have.
May Allah be with you!
Where and in the way you want him to be!
Wassalaamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullah!
© 2006 Syed Husain Pasha
Dr. Pasha is an educator and scholar of exceptional
talent, training and experience. He can be reached at DrSyedPasha [at]
AOL [dot] com or www.IslamicSolutions.com.