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Friday, November 16, 2012

Argument No. 11: Addition of the word Rabb to the names of the righteous as a form of means

The prayer proves effective if the word Rabb is added to the name of a righteous person. For example, if one addresses Allah as Muhammad's Lord or as the Lord of some saint or virtuous person, the prayer gains in effectiveness and itself becomes an agent of intermediation. The Qur’ān says:
And, through your mercy, make me among the righteous who are close to You.[21]
Allah says in regard to those who have attained His pleasure through noble acts and pious deeds and, therefore, have achieved a level of self-contentment rarely available to human beings on this earth. These are the people who remain unruffled and unhinged even when the winds blow harshly, the heat wave is sizzlingly inhospitable and the cold is biting. As the Qur’ān states:
O contented self! Return to your Lord in such a state that you should seek His pleasure as well as be the object of His pleasure (as if you desire His pleasure and He desires your pleasure). So join My tested servants and enter My Paradise (of nearness and presence).[22]
This Qur’ānic verse relates to a person who is about to hear the glad tidings of Allah’s mercy, kindness and nearness. Allah is proud of his obedience. He actually gloats over his perseverance and sincerity in His service. This man does not indulge his desires, rather he sacrifices them for the collective happiness of the people. Each moment of his life is focused on seeking Allah’s pleasure. He crushes all those desires which tend to deflect his concentration from righteous and pious deeds. Each phase of his life is a confirmation of his faith in Allah, not a deviation from it. He is not under the thumb of his self, rather his self is under his thumb and even the devil is scared of seducing him because he knows that all his efforts to derail him from the track of virtue are doomed to failure. He sacrifices his comforts to win Allah’s pleasure. He is totally in the infinite goodness of his Lord and this immersion in virtue becomes a guarantee of his survival and a source of that self-renewing contentment which brings him increasingly closer to Allah. He achieves a level of self-satisfaction which is denied to the common run of people and he presents a perfect model of submission to the will of the Lord. His own desires, which are usually self-seeking, are pushed into the background and his leading light is the will and pleasure of Allah. He is, in reality, one of those honoured and exalted persons with whom Allah is totally pleased. As a result, there is no dividing line between such a person and the Lord Himself. When he speaks, it seems as if the Lord is speaking through him; when he talks, it sounds as if the Lord is talking through him; when he walks, it appears as if the Lord Himself is walking; even his hearing turns into a divine act of hearing. In short, there is complete identity between him and the Lord because a person who has achieved this level of self-control shall never indulge in an act that can clash with the will and pleasure of the Lord. He has been tested and retested by Allah; as a result of his stresses and tribulations Allah has vested him with such a high status. Therefore, if one approaches Allah through people like him and say, “O Lord of the righteous,” His mercy bubbles over and grants the prayee’s wish. At that time He is not concerned about the status of the petitioner; He is rather concerned about the status of His own loyal servants who have attained His pleasure. Therefore, to approach Allah through the righteous people is also one of the practices of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم). After the Fajr prayer, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) used to pray:
O Lord of Jibrīl, and Mīkā’īl, and Isrāfīl and Muhammad! I seek Your protection from the fire of Hell.[23]
Shaykh Muhammad bin ‘Alawī al-Mālikī said, “Its specific mention in his du‘ā’ is understood as tawassul (توسل), as if he were saying, “O Allah, I ask You and I seek Jibrīl (Gabriel), Isrāfīl, Mikā’īl (Michael) and Muhammad the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) as means to You.”[24]

[21]. Qur’ān (an-Naml) 27:19.
[22]. Qur’ān (al-Fajr) 89:27-30.
[23]. Hākim narrated it in al-Mustadrak (3:622) through Usāmah bin ‘Umayr; Tabarānī in al-Mu‘jam-ul-kabīr (1:195#520); and Haythamī in Majma‘-uz-zawā’id (2:219). Nasā’ī also narrated it with a few different words through ‘Ā’ishah in his Sunan (8:278); Ahmad bin Hambal in Musnad (6:61); and Haythamī in Majma‘-uz-zawā’id (10:104, 110).
[24]. Muhammad bin ‘Alawī al-Mālikī, Mafāhīm yajib an tusahhah (p.153).