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The Moslem and the Advent of Mohammed Program Circular
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From the "The Unveiling of Secrets" the visionary autobiography of Ruzbihan Baqli, Carl Ernst translation
The Prophet Muhammad:
Between Humanity and Divinity
by Carl Ernst the Prophet Muhammad
Muhammad was, to the Arabs of 7th-century Mecca and to a great many others, the vehicle for the manifestation of God. The problem of understanding his role and nature has remained, however, a difficult one. In an effort to clarify this problem, the Persian Sufi ‘Ayn al-Qudat Hamadani juxtaposed two remarkable statements: in the Quran (24.35), it is said that "God is the light of the heavens and earth," and Muhammad himself stated that "the first thing that God created was my light." What is the relationship between the light of God and the light of Muhammad? Are they somehow the same, and somehow different? These questions are not easy to answer. As Ayn al-Qudat forcefully explains, the relationship between Muhammad and God can only be understood by spiritual experience, and not by any theoretical construction. This insistence on experience over theory should not come as a surprise. To know the spiritual being of a light such as Muhammad's would be to open oneself up to an illumination that blinds the beholder. Theory can have no place in this condition.
‘Ayn al-Qudat provides no ready-made answer to the problem of understanding Muhammad’s relationship to God, but he subtly indicates the necessity of a spiritual approach to the figure of the man who brings God. After all, what do we really know of the nature of the God-man? Does our knowledge of him consist of facts from books, or of the vision of the heart? The Sufi maintains that it is only by inner knowledge that we have genuine experience of the reality of Muhammad. Ordinary books are valuable only insofar as they lead us to that inner experience, and books that deal with Reality are very different from the "factual" newspapers of today. Valmiki's Ramayana is no ordinary history, but the product of an ecstatic vision. Krishna's discourse in the Bhagavad Gita is reported from afar by the supernormally perceptive Sanjaya. In the cases of Buddha, Jesus, and Zarathustra, the distance of centuries has obscured their disciples' accounts of their words and deeds, but that does not diminish the spiritual power that brings them close to us. So in contemplating Muhammad the Prophet, let us not be deluded by the comparatively greater amount of historical material, nor imagine that we know him by these external details; we need the eye of the spirit to let us see through the events of history to the eternities that lie behind.
Nonetheless, it is good to begin with what is well-known about Muhammad's humanity. According to Muhammad's cousin and son-in-law ‘Ali, Muhammad was "neither tall and lean nor overly short, but of medium height. His hair was neither curly ringlets nor lank, but straight locks . . . His eyes were deep black and large, his eyelashes long. His disposition was noble . . . His feet and hands were rough and coarse. When he walked, he moved his feet as if he were walking downhill. When he turned, he turned around completely."
Many stories are told about Muhammad's personality and way of life. His justice and trustworthiness were famous even when he was a child, so that while still a youth he was called on to solve disputes. One such case occurred when the Quraysh tribe was rebuilding the sacred Ka'bah in Mecca. They had gotten to the point of restoring the famous black stone to its place, and the leading men were arguing over who should have the right to install it. The young Muhammad appeared, and the men asked him to arbitrate the matter. Muhammad told the four most eminent leaders to place the stone on a blanket, and then each take a corner of the blanket and lift it. When the stone was up to the proper height, Muhammad then took the stone and set it in its place. Muhammad lived simply, patching his own sandals, doing household chores, and in lean times often going hungry. He was especially fond of children, and used to joke and play with them. Once he teased his wives by announcing that he had a present for the one he loved best; all waited in anticipation to discover who was the lucky one, as he finally handed the present to a granddaughter. He was also tender toward animals. And specifically ordered his followers to avoid hurting animals needlessly.
The course of Muhammad's life was a dramatic one. He was born into a powerful Arab clan in Mecca around 570 A.D., when that city was becoming an important center of international trade. He himself was experienced in business, and visited Syria in his youth as a trader. His honesty so impressed the widow Khadijah, his employer, that she married him when he was twenty-five and she forty. It was when Muhammad reached the traditional prophetic age of forty that he began to retire to a cave on Mount Hira outside of Mecca, where a series of extraordinary experiences befell him.
Of the lifting of the veil that concealed his spiritual nature we can only get a glimpse from a few early passages of the Qur'an. Consider the opening lines of Surah 53:
By the star, when it sets! Your companion does not err, nor is he deceived, nor does he speak from his own desire. This is nothing but inspired revelation, which One mighty in power taught him, One vigorous — and He grew clear to view when He was on the highest horizon, then drew near and came down, till he was two bows' lengths away, or nearer. Then He revealed to his slave that which He revealed. The heart did not lie about what it saw, so will you then dispute with him about what he saw? And he did see Him another time, near the Lotus Tree of the Farthest Boundary, near which is the Garden of the Abode . . . His vision did not shrink nor was it overbold. Truly he saw the greatest of the signs of his Lord."
The interpretation of this passage is difficult. Traditional Muslim scholars have explained Muhammad's revelation as a message conveyed by God through the angel Gabriel, but the figure who appears on the horizon is described by terms ("His slave”) used only to refer to God. The Qur'an has several hints of this type, but the bulk of it is concerned with stories of previous prophets and the regulation of the religious life of the community.
After experiencing the fullness of the divine nature, Muhammad turned to a prophetic task: he denounced the superstitious idolatry of his people and called them to the worship of the one true God. When he started praying in the ancient cube shaped Meccan temple, the Ka'bah, and called for the destruction of its 360 idols, Meccan society became alarmed. The pagan cult of the Ka'bah was the center of highly profitable annual trade-fair and pilgrimage which was the principal source of the community's income. When Muhammad refused to drop his preaching, he and his followers became objects of a persecution of a particularly nasty type, and his life would have been in danger but for the protection of a powerful uncle. After some very difficult years in Mecca, with only a few followers, Muhammad finally left in 622 in the famous hijrah (or "emigration'') to Medina, where he had been invited to become the leader and arbitrator of that city. Eventually, after a period of raids and battles against the Meccans, Muhammad's forces grew to an overwhelming superiority, and he triumphantly entered Mecca without a fight in 630, immediately forgiving all his opponents. Two years later, Muhammad died peacefully.
There are several aspects of the life of Muhammad that are difficult for modern Westerners to understand. One is the atmosphere of battles and violence, which some cannot reconcile with their notion of spirituality. Yet it was Jesus who said "I come not to bring peace, but a sword." Likewise Krishna's disciple, Arjuna, wished to avoid shedding the blood of friends and relations, but Krishna ordered him fulfill his duty as warrior, and kill with detachment. One particular action which has bothered moderns was the killing of the men of the Jewish Banu Quraydah tribe, who fought Muhammad in Medina and were captured; Muhammad let one of his companions decide their fate, and the latter had them put to death. Those who would judge this as a crime should recall the story of Moses and the deathless prophet Khidr*, from Surah 17 of the Qur’an. Moses objected to Khidr’s apparently violent and senseless actions, not knowing there was a divine purpose behind them that he could not fathom. The same is true of the actions of the perfect one; ordinary Gods of discipline do not bind one who has attained the goal.
The other subject that is a stumbling-block for some is the question of Muhammad’s marriages; he was formally married to 19 women, and consummated 11 *some times spelled Khizr - webmaster of these marriages. To be sure, some of these were purely formal arrangements made for compassionate or political reasons. But the fact remains that Muhammad was a family man who had five children, and the dissensions among his wives had major repercussions in the early Muslim community. Many of Muhammad's actions certainly had to do with spiritual needs known only to him, but it can be seen that he lived the life of a man among men, to show how life can be lived. Yet the requirements of the times were different from those of today. Muhammad's actions need not be explained away or denied, and in the same way, it is foolish to try to judge his actions by the hypocritical standards of middle-class morality. As Hafiz said, "About what you hear from the master, never say it is wrong, because, my dear, the fault lies with you." The Sufis did not fail to meet directly the problem of interpreting Muhammad's involvement with the world. One of the sayings attributed to Muhammad goes, "Three things from your world been made beautiful for me: women, perfume, and my delight in prayer." Far from glossing over such a saying, the perfect master Ibn 'Arabi made it the focus of his meditation on the Prophet Muhammad in the culminating chapter of his Bezels of Wisdom.
So much on the human side. What, then, of his relationship with God? It is commonly asserted that Muslims regard Muhammad as a mere human who was privileged to convey God's message to humanity. This is more or less the position of mainstream Islamic theology. Muhammad himself often stressed this, even in homely ways, saying, "I am a man like you, whose grandmother used to eat dried camel meat." Meher Baba called it Muhammad's "divine mistake" that he maintained that he was only human. But as the words of 'Ayn al-Qudat suggest, there was much speculation of a mystical type on the close relationship that exists between the light of Muhammad and the light of God. While the Sufis used daring language to express the intimate relationship between Muhammad and God, they have generally considered the concept of "incarnation" to be inadequate, because of the semi-materialistic idea of the spirit which this implied in Islamic circles. Describing the "I am God" state, Rumi said, "This ‘I’ was ‘He' (God) in the inmost consciousness, through oneness with the Light, not through incarnation" (Mathnavi V. 2038 Nicholson, adapted). Sufi mystical literature, which is mostly unknown in the West, gives a far different impression than the "Official" interpretations of Muhammad's spiritual nature. Relying on little-known but authentic sayings of Muhammad, the Sufis have explained Muhammad as the preexisting reality on which creation depends, as one who has attained perfect union with God, and as the unique spiritual leader who stands out above all others.
All students of Islam are familiar with the hadith, the vast corpus of sayings attributed to Muhammad, but few in the West know the hadith gudsi or divine sayings. These are extra-Qur'anic revelations in which God speaks through Muhammad in the first person. It is here that we find remarkable indications of the pre-existent nature of Muhammad. God said, "If it were not for you (Muhammad), I would not have created the world." In another place, God said to Muhammad, "I created you for My sake." Thus Muhammad is the reason for the world's existence, and exists in a special relationship with God. He referred to his own primordiality in saying, "I was a prophet when Adam was between water and clay." That is, Muhammad was fully perfected before humanity was perfected. There is a very interesting theme developed by early Sufis, who interpreted the famous "light verse" (Qur. 24.35) as a description of Muhammad. The verse says, "God is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The symbol of His light is as a niche in which is a lamp. The lamp is in a glass, and the glass is as though it were a shining star. The lamp is kindled from a blessed tree, an olive neither of the East nor of the West, whose oil would almost blaze up with no fire touching it. Light upon light! God guides whom He wills with His light . . ." * Meditating on this passage, the 9th-century Sufi master Sahl al-Tustari said, "The first light of God is Muhammad the Beloved, because when God wished to create Muhammad, He manifested a light from His own light that illuminated the entire kingdom. When Muhammed reached the divine *In the Koran translated by Yusuf Ali, 1934 p. 907, it reads:
“God is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The parable of His Light is as if there were a Niche and within it a lamp: The Lamp enclosed in Glass: The glass as it were a brilliant star: Lit from a blessed Tree, an Olive, neither of the East Nor of the West, Whose Oil is well-nigh Luminous, though fire scarce touched it: Light upon Light! God doth guide whom He will to His light.” - webmaster
Majesty, he then prostrated himself, and God created from his prostration a pillar of light, transparent as glass, the outside of which is seen from the inside, and the inside from the outside. In this Muhammad worshipped before God a million times, with the character of faith, with the revelation of the hidden of the hidden, before the beginning of creation."
However one may interpret the unusual imagery in this description, the point is clear that Muhammad is the unique spiritual being who takes precedence over all creation as a pure emanation of the light of God.
Another group of sayings stress Muhammad's perfect union with God. It is in this sense that some read Qur. 4. 82, "Who obeys the Messenger obeys God. Muhammad himself said, Who sees me has seen God" Elsewhere Muhammad hinted at his experience of union, saying, "I have a time with God in which no archangel or prophet has a share." Likewise, when Muhammad's forces were being defeated at the battle of Badr, he picked up a handful of dust and flung it at the Meccan pagans, somehow turning the tide of battle into victory by this act. In the Qur'an (8.17), God said of this event, "you did not throw when you threw; We threw!" Some Sufis loved to see a reference to Muhammad's union with the divine in Qur'an 64.6, where the Meccan Pagans say, “’Shall a mortal lead us?' Thus they were unbelievers." The implication is that they were wrong in seeing Muhammad as a mere mortal. These sayings are admittedly enigmatic in their suggestiveness, and do not spell out precisely and boldly the divine aspect of Muhammad. Still, it is interesting to see how the great Sufi Rabi'ah experienced this. She found that she spent all her time thinking of God, and not Muhammad. One night the Prophet appeared to her in a dream, and asked her, "Do you love me?" Rabi'ah replied, "Forgive me, but the love of God has kept me busy from loving you." Muhammad answered her, "Whosoever loves God loves me." These are only a few of the indications of Muhammad's union with God, but for the Sufis, this divine aspect was clearly uppermost.
Finally, the universal nature of Muhammad's mission is a testimony to his extraordinary qualities. The Qur'an is quite explicit on this point. Muhammad is "a mercy for creation" (21.107) and "a bringer of good tidings for all people" (34.28). Muhammad is also known as the seal of the prophets" (Qur'an 33.40) whose message supersedes all previous dispensations of truth. Muhammad said, "I shall be pre-eminent among the descendants of Adam on the day of resurrection, the first from whom the grave will be cleft open, the first intercessor and the first whose intercession will be accepted."2 Here is an anecdote that reveals how Muhammad disclosed his status to his followers, at a
He is God There is no god but God Muhammad is God's Messenger
1 Sahl al-Tustari, in Daylami's Kitab 'Atf-al Alif, ed. J. Vadet, Cairo, 1962, p. 34, modified by the translation of Herhard Boewering, The Mystical Vision of Existence in Classical Islam, Berlin, 1980, pp. 149-50.
2 Mishkat al-Masabih, trans. Robson, p. 1230. time when they were discussing previous Prophets:
Ibn ‘Abbas told that when some of the companions of God's messenger were sitting he came out, and when he came near them he heard them discussing. One of them said God had taken Abraham as a friend, another said he spoke direct to Moses, another said Jesus is God's word and spirit, and another said God chose Adam. God's messenger (Muhammad) then came out to them and said, "I have heard what you said, and your wonder that Abraham was God's friend, as indeed he was; that Moses was God's confidant, as indeed he was: that Jesus was His spirit and word, as indeed he was and that Adam was chosen by God, as indeed he was. I am the one whom God loves, and this is no boast. On the day of resurrection I shall be the bearer of the banner of praise under which will be Adam and the others, and this is no boast. I shall be the first intercession and the first whose intersession is accepted on the day of resurrection, and this is no boast. I shall be the first to rattle the knocker of paradise, and God will open for me and bring me into it accompanied by the poor ones among the believers, and this is no boast. I shall be the most honorable in God's estimation among those of earliest and latest times, and this is no boast."
Here is the voice of authority speaking, and in its echo we can get a hint of the qualities of majesty and glory that Muhammad embodied.
Even to attempt to enumerate the ways in which the Prophet Muhammad has been described would be an almost impossible task.
All these meditations are, as it were, sparks from the light of Muhammad. Yet if a summary could be made, it might well use the words of praise which the martyr Husayn ibn Mansur al- Hallaj addressed to his beloved:
The lights of prophecy emerged from his light, and his lights appeared from His light. There is not among their lights a light brighter and more splendid save the light of the Master of the Sanctuary . . . Eyes see by his guidance, conscience and consciousness know through him; God made him speak, the Guide made him sincere, and God dispatched him. He is the guide and he is the guided. He is the one who polished the rust from the mirror of the suffering breast. He is the one who brought an eternal Word, not temporal, not spoken, and not made, united with God without separation, passing out of the understood . . . .No learned man has attained to his knowledge, and no sage is aware of his understanding . . . if you fled from his fields, then where would be the path, with no guide, O weak one? For the wisdom of the sages, next to his wisdom, is shifting sand.**
For Further Reading The best general survey of the facts of Muhammad's life is W. Montgomery Watt'sMuhammad: Prophet and Statesman, London, 1961. The oldest Arabic biography of the Prophet is The Life of Muhammad by Ibn Ishaq (edited by Ibn Hisham), translated by Alfred Guillaume, London, 1955. Modern Muslim biographies (Ameer Ali, Rahnama, Haykal) are also of interest. The hadith collections are gradually being translated; the most convenient collection is al-Khatib al-Tabrizi's Mishkat al-Masabih, translated by J. Robson, published by Muhammad Ashraf in Lahore, 1960. It is arranged by subject. The hadith gudsi have been studied by William A. Graham in Divine Word and Prophetic Word. The best recent surveys of Sufi thought on the Prophet are the books of Annemarie Schimmel, especially Mystical Dimensions of Islam, Chapel Hill, 1975. A forthcoming book by her is devoted to the study of the veneration of the Prophet. Sufi texts describing the Prophet are found in Book XX of al- Ghazali’s Ihya’ ‘Ulum al-Din by L. Zolondek, Leiden, 1963; Ibn 'Arabi's description of Muhammad is in The Bezels of Wisdom, trans. R.W. J. Austin, New York, 1980, pp . 269-84. *Ibn., p. 1231. **Husayn ibn Mansur al-Hallaj, Kitab al-Tawasin 1.6, 9, 13, 17, ed. Paul Nwyia, Beirut, 1972 (MUSJ 47), my translation.
La Ilaha Illallah Muhammad Rasul Allah
La Ilaha Illallah Muhammad Rasul Allah
Swimming in the Oceans
Dearest Flower of Baba, My Friend in Illusion
The Writer will say that
Can a Moslem become a Meher Baba lover?
Yes, if it is Baba’s will. But truly a Moslem must have certain
prerequisites to fall in the orbit of Meher Baba’s love.
Here are a few:
1-His surrender to the will of Allah must be total.
He should have no will of his own.
2-He should have a burning inside him, a longing to
drown in Allah that would make him to begin to forget
3-He must read all of Meher Baba’s books.
4-He will have a copy of Hafiz by his bed side.
5-He should mentally remove himself from the circle of
6-He must accept the ridicule of his fellow Muslims
and turn his back to rituals and religious ceremonies.
7-He must love Prophet Muhammad and take Him to be
Allah personified. In this Meher Baba will be his best
guide to help him know that for a Moslem God in Human
form is infinitely more helpful than the Impersonal
8-He must be independent in his search for truth, not
looking for outside help. Must seek within and have
longing for God. Without internal longing for God, a
Moslem will remain in his ego shell, a Muslim type of
shell, for ever and ever.
9-He will miss the presence of Prophet Muhammad and
cry out for Him. When the fire of burning is intense
enough, Avatar Meher Baba will manifest Himself to him
and he will know that He is the same Ancient one come
again. He is now a Meher Baba lover. He now has one
goal, to lose himself at Beloved Meher Baba’s feet.
When he succeeds in doing so, Avatar Meher Baba will
manifest in him as God in Human Form. He is drowned
in God, like Cha (the great Fauna Fellah Majzoob of
the 7th plane), no vestige of separateness remains.
He is now a true Moslem. How many Muslims are there in
There is only One In different forms.
Victory to the Ancient One
Victory to Ezad
The Only One Worthy of Worship
Copyrights belong to the Ancient One, the Advent, and the Devotee Workers