Sura Najm 53:Verse 1
“By the star when it goes down”
Urdu transalation by Ala Hazrath Imam Ahmad Raza Khan (Rahmatullahi alaihi)
I take an oath by that Beloved Shining Star Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam)’s return from the Meraj
This Chapter (Sura) of the Holy Qur’aan, an-Najm, deals with the Meraj of the Holy Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam). The first Verse (Ayat) is short yet it has a depth of meaning. Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) speaks of the Holy Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) and takes an oath (kasam) by him.
The origin of the universe
Najm means ‘star’. As a noun it means original’ (Asl) or root, from where something originates. In Hadith literature for a Hadith that has no source or origin it is said,
Root is from which something originates.
Imam Jaafar Saadiq (Radiallahu anha) commenting on this verse states:
The question that arises is the origin of what or whom! What is it associated with? Allah says, ‘ My Beloved Rasul (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) is the origin of this entire universe.’ Of everything that Allah is the Sustainer, Creator, Nourisher (Rab) of, His Beloved Rasul (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) is the origin or root of. The universe contains ‘the creator’ and ‘the creation’. The Holy Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) is the origin of everything other than Allah. He is the origin of Jinn, Man, Earth, Heaven and Arsh; i.e. of everything created. There is a well-known Hadith, quoted by many scholars including Allama Imam Ismail Haqi in Tafsir Ruh al-Bayaan that material minded scholars shy away from. The Hadith is as follows:
The Holy Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) asked Jibraeel (alai’ his salaam) as to how old Jibraeel was. Jibraeel (alai’ his salaam) replied that there is a star that appears once every 70 000 years and he had seen that star 72000 times. Rasul (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) replied, ‘ O Jibraeel I am that star that you saw, it was my noor.’
Allah takes an oath by his ascent and decent
Another meaning is,
” By Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) when he was born- (Hawiun).
As Hawiun, It also could mean ascended or rose. “Najm” means ‘a bright star.’ The root word hawa- if comprehended as hawiun, means ” to go up” and as huwiun means ‘to go down. Therefore izza hawa could mean, ‘I swear by your ascending and descending during Meraj’. Why has he been called a star? – Not sun? The sun can burn and cause discomfort, whilst the moon borrows light from the sun, whereas, he (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) is the star which is cooling and original.
It is courtesy to come out and welcome ones guest and on this basis Imam Sharani (Rahmatullahi alaihi) says, ‘Allah said,
“Stop! Your Rab wants to send salaat on you”
Salaat also means Qurb (closeness or proximity) and it also means to send blessing or peace. Allah sends Salato Salaam all the time, but here was a special welcoming salaam and closeness.
“Huwiun” – ‘how you descended – I swear by your ascent and descent’. Your ascension is a miracle and your descent is a miracle. Allah swears by the ascending and descending. This was a special ascension and descent – with body and soul. In dreams everything can happen, Allah will not swear by it. It is an Arabic rule, that when Allah swears by anything he raises its honour. Here Allah is warning us not to underestimate the matchless constitution of the body and soul of the Holy Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam).
Holy Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) ‘s status is above man and angels
The Almighty demonstrated on the night of Meraj, when The Holy Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) led the salaah of all the leaders of men, the Prophets, at Aqsa and then ascended, that my Holy Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) is human (bashar) but he is above all human beings. At sidratul muntaha, Jibraeel (Alai’ his salaam), the leader of all the Angels (created of light), said he cannot proceed further or his wings will burn, and The Holy Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) continued the journey. Here Allah demonstrated that My Prophet is Nur (light) but he is above the leader of the lights. The Holy Prophet (salla’ llaahu’alaihi wa sallam) has said,
O’ Abu Bakr, no one knows my reality except Allah.
The Holy Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) who is the first of Allah’s creation was, and who was created as light, in a spiritual sense because of Allah’s light, went to his place of origin and returned. Therefore his returning is a greater miracle than his going up, because the Hadith says
Everything returns to its origin
He, who loves his Ummah so much, returned out of love for us leaving that station where the radiation of His Beloved’s beauty is centred. Here there is a lesson in Seerah because he came back from the highest status for a slave. Sheikh Abdul Quddus Gangohi (Rehmatullah-alai) says, he would not have returned from a meeting with the Beloved, but the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) returned for his Ummah. Do not misinterpret the status of this all-loving and compassionate Prophet who left his prayer mat (Musalla) when a beggar called out to him. He who stood on the highest level with his blessed sandals on his blessed feet walks barefooted on the streets with an old woman that needs comforting.
Another meaning of hawa is a speedy journey. It is stated with reference to the speed of his journey, that his wudhu water had still not been absorbed into the soil, his bed was still warm and the chain of his door was still swaying. With reference to time and space it has also been stated that ‘The Day of Judgement’ (qiyama) will be like 50 000 years for a sinner and like the duration of 4 rakaats Asr salaah for the pious. The Qur’aan says that after Hazrath Uzayr (Alai’ his salaam) awoke from his 100-year sleep, his food was still fresh but his mule had decomposed. Allah controls time. The word lailun means a short time.
Another meaning of hawa is muhabbat (love) and of Najm is qalb (heart). Therefore another meaning is,
” I swear by your heart that overflows with love.”
Describing the proximity Allah says in Sura an-Najm 8,9,10
Both the words Dana and fatadalla mean close. The law of Arabic says that the word with more letters increases the intensity of the meaning. Commentators of the Holy Qur’aan have stated that Dana refers to The Holy Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) approaching Allah (Dana, spelt by the letters dal, nun and yeh): whilst tadalla refers to Allah’s infinitely intense approach to the Holy Prophet (tadalla, spelt by the letters teh, dal, lam, lam, yeh). The Holy Prophets approach was within limits because he is the creation, whilst Allah’s approach was unlimited because He is the Creator.The word qaba qowsain amidst a multitude of meanings also refers to an Arab custom where, when two leaders meet they exchanges bows and shoot an arrow with each other’s bow to demonstrate their togetherness and close relationship. At this stage of Meraj it is demonstrated that all differences between the Lover and Beloved are dispelled except the difference in status as Creator and Creation. Here the Creator has revealed and given everything to His Beloved.
Thats why Ala Hazrath RA says:
We out of ignorance make differences Allah has dispelled the differences Sura al Nisaa v 150
Do not make differences between Allah and His Rasul
Here only one difference remains, that of Creator and created, therefore to safeguard against any notion of shirk at the start Allah says asrra bi abdihi and at the end He says fa owha ila abdihi. The word Abd or slave is emphasised that despite all his greatness The Holy Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) is still the slave of Allah.
Another meaning of hawa is that portion of the anatomy that is between the throat and belly. This analogy points to the fact that he is below the creator and above the created.
Thats why Ala Hazrath RA says:
Only Allah knows your status This also refers to his intermediate status shaane Barzaki. One hand takes from Allah whilst the other gives faiz (spiritual benevolence) to the creation. The arsh or the Throne of Allah is above all creation and the creation is below the arsh. Here the arsh is below the blessed sandals of the Holy Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) Sheikh Saadi (Rehmatullah-alai) has stated.”
Baaduz khuda buzurk tuhi kissa mukthsar
Yaad hai mujh ko tuur par, teri wo lan taraniya,
Unseh kaha nahi nahi, aap ko sab dikhladiya.