the universe, the interpreter and the beloved of the Creator of the cosmos. Hence his true nature in its entirety, and the truth of all his perfections, cannot be contained in the human qualities recorded in books of history and biography. Certainly, the stature of a blessed person with the Archangels Gabriel and Michael as two aides-de-camp at his side in the Battle of Badr,1 is not to be found in the form of a person bargaining with a beduin in the marketplace over the price of a horse, bringing forth Khuzayma as his sole witness.2
In order not to proceed in error, one should raise his head beyond the ordinary qualities of the Prophet (UWBP) that pertain to his participation in the human state, and behold instead his true nature and luminous stature that pertain to the rank of messengership. Otherwise, one will either show him irreverence, or instil doubts in oneself. Listen to the following comparison for an understanding of this mystery.
Suppose that a date seed was planted in the earth, has sprouted and become a large, fruit-bearing tree, and is still continuing to grow taller and broader. Or that a peahen’s egg was incubated, a chick was hatched from it and became a beautifully adorned peacock gilded all over with the imprint of power, and is still growing bigger and more beautiful. Now, there exist qualities, properties and precisely balanced elements that belong to the seed and the egg, but are not as great and significant as those of the tree and the bird that emerge from them. So, while describing the qualities of the tree and the bird together with those of the seed and the egg, one should turn one’s attention from the seed to the tree, and from the egg to the bird, so that one’s reason may find the description acceptable. Otherwise, if you claim: “I have obtained thousands of dates from a seed,” or, “This egg is the king of all birds,” you will invite others to contradict and deny your words.
The humanness of God’s Messenger (Upon whom be blessings and peace) may be likened to the seed or egg, and his essential nature, illumined with the function of messengership, to the Tuba-tree of Paradise, or to the birds of Paradise. His essential nature is, moreover, continually moving to greater perfection. That is why, when you think of the man who disputed in the market with a beduin, you should also turn the eye of imagination to that luminous being who, riding the Rafraf, leaving Gabriel behind, reached the “distance of two bowstrings.”(53:9) Otherwise you will either be disrespectful toward him, or fail to convince the evil-commanding soul.
Bukhari, , 11; Ahmad al-Banna al-Sa’ati, al-Fath al-Rabbani, xxi, 26.
Abu Da’ud, ‘Aqdiyya, 20; Musnad, v, 215.