Monday, May 15, 2006

Salawat Nariyyah/Tafrijiyyah

A good friend of mine came up to me on MSN and asked me about the Salawat Nariyyah/Tafrijiyyah. She saw on a website that said its meaning is bid'ah. I never really got what the website was or what was mentioned, but I believe its another of those anti-Sufis. She thought why were there no one to counter them, but I told her they're just too many out there. So she requested that put up an explanation of the meaning of the Salawat somewhere in the web, and I've decided to put it here.

(This is not meant to be authoritative, any input to the meanings is appreciated. I have reworded the explanation here from the chat module.)

The Salawat Nariyyah/Tafrijiyyah has been around for at least 300 years in the Muslim tradition. Chiefly, it is closely associated with the Chishti Order of Sufis and is widely practiced by them daily and by many Sunni Muslims worldwide. If anyone has wishes to be fulfilled, he would recite it 4444 times as prescribed by the Sufi shaykhs of the Chishti Order.

Salawat is an obligation to Muslims as a noble salutation to the Chief of Creation, Sayyidina Muhammad s.a.w. When we make a salawat upon the Prophet s.a.w., we always recite "Allahumma Salli 'ala Muhammad", meaning "O Allah send peace and blessings upon Muhammad". So that means its not us who make salawat, but Allah is the one who makes it, absolute. Who are we to send our peace and blessings upon Muhammad s.a.w.? This confirms the verse which means "Verily Allah and His Angels send their prayers and salutations upon The Prophet. O You who believe, send prayers and peace upon him with a bounteous and beautiful salutation!" The order is for us, believers, but it is Allah who will pray upon him for us. So Salawat is as much a du'a as it is a salutation of the highest order.

Its Meaning
Allahumma salli salaatan kaamilatan
wa sallim salaaman taamman 'ala sayyidina Muhammadin alladhi tanhallu bihil 'uqod, wa tanfariju bihil qurob, wa tuqdo bihil hawaaiju, wa tunaalu bihir ragha`ib, wa husnul khawaatiim, wa yustasqal ghamaam, biwajhihil karim, wa 'ala aalihi wa sahbihi fi kulli lamhatin wa nafasim bi'adadi kulli ma'lumin lak.

"O Allah! Send Your prayers the Salawat of perfect salutations and send Peace of complete fullness upon our Master Muhammad, with whom ceases all that binds, and ends all sadness, and fulfills all wishes, and attains all desires, and ends with goodness, and the pouring of rain, by his generous countenance, and upon his Family and his Companions, as much as every blink of an eye and every breath that is made that is in Your Knowledge."

What these all mean?
The Prophet s.a.w. is Rahmah, he brings Mercy, he brings love, he is Protector, and Comforter; these are amongst his numerous names. What he brings to his Ummah cannot put them into difficulty, for that is against his noble characteristic. That is why the Salawat invokes Allah for blessings by recalling the subtleties of the Prophet's s.a.w. sublime and holy character, that for his sake alone we send our salutations and wish for our needs be fulfilled.

Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. is Master, "Mawlana", because he is Chief of creation, Master of creation, Prince of Prophets, Highest of creation, the one sent as Mercy to all the Universes. Allah is "Absolute Mawlana" in the sense that He is Creater, Sustainer, Cherisher, Giving life and death, and to Him alone we worship and fulfill our servanthood. But he bestows His Grace and Love to His creation by sending His mirror, Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. as a reflection of His Divinely Majesty, one who holds the Key to the secrets of all creation from beginning to the end. For that, we mention the Prophet s.a.w. as "Mawlana", Our Master, because he represents the Key of our Reality in this existence to the Door of the Divinely Grace, Allah 'Azza wa Jall.

The Prophet s.a.w. taught us how to make du'a to Allah, that in the beginning and the end of du'a we must mention the Salawat. Unless we recite it in our du'a, it will not be accepted. The Salawat thus is interceding for us to Allah Almighty by the love and grace of the Prophet s.a.w. and for His Beloved's sake only we beseech Allah for succour in this world and the next. The Prophet s.a.w. is Bashir, bringer of glad tidings, Wali, a witness unto us, Shafi', intercessor, and through him we are blessed with Islam and correct guidance to our Lord Most High. We call upon Allah Almighty to make Salawat upon His Beloved by his names and noble attributes, which makes our salutation more perfect and beautiful.

As mentioned above, everything the Prophet s.a.w. brings from Allah reflects his noble station of Mercy to all the Universes "Rahmatan lil 'Alamin". Hence, whatever the Prophet s.a.w. brings to us from beginning till the end cannot but bring goodness. That is why we invoke for everything to end with goodness, from sickness, life, wealth, family, death, even trials and tribulations.

Rain is brought down to earth as mercy. It is water that brings life to man and nature. Allah brings down rain as an order to His Angels to perform. However, Angels were not created only that they are subservient to the commands of the Prophet s.a.w. So rain is brought down as a mirror of the Prophet's s.a.w. mercy and generosity, as reflected in the salawat "by his generous countenance". One of the Prophet's names include Rahim, Merciful, and Karim, Generous. We have seen from his Sirah how his Generosity is boundless and unmatched! To invoke the Prophet's generous countenance is an sign of reverence and gratitude with regards Allah's own Generosity towards His Beloved s.a.w. Rain is a sign of that Generosity.

The Salawat invokes peace and blessings upon the Prophet's Family and Companions. This is a sign of love and respect as the Prophet s.a.w. says "None of you is a believer unless and until he loves me and my family more than he loves his own self and his own family". It is obligatory upon Muslims to show love and reverence to the Family of the Prophet - Ahl al-Bayt - for they truely are of a noble and honoured lineage. The Prophet s.a.w. also says, "My Companions are like stars in the sky. From whichever one you follow surely you will be guided". This means his Companions are also his chosen amongst his Community, and that they are a holy and noble people.

The Salawat we make upon the Prophet is bountiful and has tremendous goodness for us in the end. For every salawat we make, Allah gives 10 salawat to us! The Salawat of the Angels upon us are their du'a to Allah that the Lord Almighty will forgive our sins. But Allah Almighty's Salawat upon us, even if only one, outshines that because His Salawat upon His creation brings not only forgiveness, but neverending blessings and bliss! That is why the Salawat invokes Allah Almighty that the quantity of the Salawat, for each that one recites, accounts to the number of "blinks of an eye" and that "of every breath that is made", whether by human beings, or any other creation between the heavens and the earth, from beginning till the end. Surely, such numbers are beyond our fathoming! It is a knowledge that lies with Allah Almighty alone.

The Dervish Returns!

After so many days of absence, the Superdervish Returns to action!

Albeit, he has to apologise first.... to Mawlana Shaykh Nazim having anything posted on his birthday...urgh!

Please forgive me, Mawlana! You are everything to me!