Prophet Muhammad (S), a Divine Mercy for the Worlds 3

The Law of the Noblest Contingent

From the time of Aristotle a law was accepted by philosophers known as the law of the Noblest Contingent; Muslim philosophers, whether the peripatetics, the illuminists as well as the transcendental metaphysics all regarded this law with special attention. The meaning of the law of the Noblest Contingent, in a nutshell, is that there is no leap in the cone of creation be it in the bow of descent or ascension.

This means in the bow of descent until and unless the Noblest Contingent doesn’t exist the less noble contingent cannot come into existence for the leap is impossible. Similarly, in the bow of ascension, unless and until a contingent fulfills the perfection of all the previous contingents, cannot elevate to a higher stage for leaping is impossible. The conclusion of this law is that the first manifestation of God must be the noblest of His creation.

Now the question is what is and who is the Noblest Creation of God? Numerous ahadith introduce the first manifestation of God as ‘the light of the lights’, ‘the light of Muhammad’, ‘water’, ‘the pen’, ‘the manifest Imam’, ‘the intellect’ and similar expressions which are different names for one reality who is by definition the noblest manifestation of divine attributes and for whose sake the rest of creation appeared.

According to ibn Arabi he is the perfect man who is the manifestation of the greatest name of God and all His attributes of beauty and glory. Ibn Arabi asserts that this is none other than the reality of Muhammadia.(1)

It is narrated from Prophet Muhammad (S) to have said about himself that ‘I am Qotham’ which means ‘I am the owner of comprehensiveness and the collection of all goodness’.(2) It is for this reason that in the supplication of the night of Mab’ath it is narrated in respect to the Prophet of Islam (S) “O Allah, Surely I ask You by Your greatest manifestation in this night and in this great month and Your most honoured messenger.”

Ibn Arabi in his mystical encyclopedia states that the first creation who is the nearest to God is the reality of Muhammad who is known as the intellect and is the master of the entire world and the first who appeared in the world of contingents. He furthers that the nearest to Him is Ali ibn Abu Taleb (as) the Imam of the world and the secret of all the prophets.(3)

The First Manifestation in Ahadith

Numerous ahadith indicates that the first manifestation of Allah is the light of Muhammad and Ale Muhammad and all the rest are created in honour of them. Note that the light of Muhammad is an expression for his essence and spirit which is before the creation of matter.

Jabir ibn Abdullah said, “I asked the Messenger of Allah what was the first that God created? The prophet replied, “Light of your prophet O Jabir. God created him and then from him created every good.”(4)

Jabir ibn Yazid narrated from Imam Baqir (as), “O Jabir. Verily the first that God created was Muhammad and his pure family. Those who guide and are guided. They were the spirits of light before the mighty hand of God.’ Jabir said I asked the Imam what he meant by the spirits of light? The Imam replied, ‘Shadow of the Light’”(5).

It seems the meaning of the shadow of the Light refers to the fact that God is “The Light’ as is refers to in Ayatul Noor and the spirit of Muhammad is His shadow and His first Manifestation.

Jabir ibn Abdullah narrated from the Prophet (S), “The first that the Almighty God created was my light who created it from His Light and it derived from the glory of His greatness. Then that light approached circulating by the might until it reached the Glory of the Greatness in seventy thousand years and then prostrated for God in glorification. Then from that light the light of Ali gushed out and so my light was encompassing by the Glory and the light of Ali was encompassing by the Might.(6)”

Abu Dharr al Ghifari in a long hadith in description of the journey of ascension narrated from the prophet, “I said O angels of my Lord. Do you know us as we deserved to be known? They said, ‘O Prophet of God. How don’t we know you and you are the first creation of God, He created you as the spirits of light from His Light in a light from the sublimity of His Dignity and the sublimity of His Kingdom and the sublimity of His Honorable Face.”(7)

Imam Ali (as) said, “Surely the Almighty God created from the light of Muhammad twenty oceans of light. In every ocean there is knowledge that none other than God knows about… Surely the light of Muhammad was sent down from the ocean of dignity so he came down to the ocean of patience then to the ocean of reverence then to the ocean of humbleness then to the ocean of satisfaction then to the ocean of loyalty then to the ocean of forbearing then to the ocean of piety… Until it went through twenty oceans.

When it exited from the last ocean the Almighty God said ‘O My friend and the master of My messengers and the first of My creation and the last of My messengers, you are the intercessor on the day of gathering.’ Thus the light prostrated then he stood up and from that light many drops dropped that they numbered 124000 drops. So the Almighty God created from every drop of his light a prophet.”(8)

By: Sh. Mansour Leghaei

NOTES:

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1. Sharheh Fusoos al Hikam, Fass Adami.

2. Behar al-Anwar Vol.16 p.130.

3. Al-Fotoohatul Makkiah vol2 p227.

4, Behar al-Anwar Vol. 15, p. 24.

5. AlKafi 1:442.

6. Behar al-Anwar Vol. 25, p. 22.

7. Behar al-Anwar Vol. 1, p. 5:8.

8. Behar al-Anwar Vol. 57, p. 200.