Gems from Embodied Light, Class 1 with Sidi Amjad Tarsin (Part 1)

One of my goals for Rabi al Awwal is to follow a series about the character of the Prophet called Embodied Light. The series is taught by Sidi Amjad Tarsin of the Muslim Chaplaincy at the University of Toronto (for more information on how to get involved please see here) and from what I’ve listened to so far, is a beautiful class. This is the first part of my notes from the first session. As always, the notes aren’t complete, but you can find the audio of the class here.

Why is this the title of the course?

  • Allah describes the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, as a light. The thing about light is that we appreciate it on so many levels. In the material world, it helps us see, helps things grow, gives us warmth. Light is an extremely important quality in the material world. And then Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. One of the Names of Allah is al-Nur, the Light. There is a whole other dimension of what light is. So we have light in the physical world, spiritual light and Allah is the Ultimate Light.
  • Allah describes the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him as a light. That is why this is the title of the course because even on a physical level, the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him was light. Was one of his qualities and miracles. Allah says in the Qur’an, “There has come to you from Allah a light and a manifest book. (5:15)
  • Different interpretations of this verse but many people say the light is the Prophet, and the book is the Book.
  • The Prophet also has a beautiful dua: O Allah place light in my heart, and in my hearing light and light in my sight and light on my right and light above me and light below me; place light in my sinew, in my flesh, in my blood, in my hair and in my skin; place light in my soul and make light abundant for me; make me light and grant me light, and light behind me..and make me a light.
  • We know that the Prophet’s dua is answered. We should make this dua. It’s a dua that highlights this light, this luminosity, this nur.
  • 33:45-46  from the Qur’an: “O Prophet! Truly We have sent thee as a witness, a bearer of glad tidings, and warner.  And as one who invites to Allah’s grace by His leave, and as a lamp spreading light. Then give the glad tidings to the Believers that they shall have from Allah a very great bounty.”
  • A luminous lamp – this is the title Allah gave the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him. The beautiful thing about a siraaj (lamp) is that it is an object that gives light in and of itself.  The sun is a lamp. The light the sun gives off is intrinsic to itself. The light the moon gives off is a reflection. So when Allah describes the Prophet as a lamp, He is saying the Prophet’s light is intrinsic.
  • Qadi Iyad: The Prophet was called a luminous lamp because of the clarity of his cause and the illumination he brings to the hearts of believers.
  • So when we say embodied light, this is from the way Allah describes the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him.
  • How did the Companions of the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him describe him? Hadith when Abu Hurarira said ” I never saw anything more beautiful than the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him. Was as if the sun was running its course through his face.”
  • Companions said every time we saw the Prophet, was like seeing the sun rise. As if the sun was running its course through his face.
  • Story related by Sayyidna Aisha where she relates that she was sewing and it was dark, and the needle fell. She kept looking for it and couldn’t find it because it was dark. Then the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him walked into the room and the light from his face, made her see. His face was so luminous, peace and blessings be upon him that she could see. So she picked up the needle and started laughing. Then the Prophet said, O my beloved young one, what makes you laugh? And she said, I was looking for the needle and you walked in and I could see. And the Prophet said “woe to (waylun, waylun, waylun), to the one who doesn’t see my face on the Face of Judgement!” And she said O Messenger of Allah, who doesn’t see your face? And he said, “the miserly one.” And she said, who is miserly? And he replied, someone who when my name is mentioned doesn’t send peace and blessings upon him.”
  • There is a physical light to the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him’s face.
  • Another companion was walking with the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him when it was a full moon (reminder: this is before pollution, no city light). And this companion is looking up at the full moon, and he is looking at the face of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, he is looking up at the full moon, and looking at the face of the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him . And he said, “I swear by Allah, his face was more luminious than the full moon. More light was shining from the face of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him than the full moon.
  • Great grandson of Sayyidna Yasir and Sumaiya (first martyrs of Islam). He was asking an older women to describe the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. And she said, “my son, if you saw him, you saw the sun rising.”
  •  The light of the Prophet was visible in his father even before he was born.
  • So embodied light is chosen as the title of the course because that is what he was, peace and blessings be upon him. He was a light of guidance but he also had this luminosity. We also believe as Muslims that certain people have light in their face. And all of that is from following the one who was described by Allah as a light and a luminous lamp.


Shamail

  •  In this course going to cover the book, The Ways of Reaching the Characteristics of the Messenger by Shaykh Nabahani from Shaam.
  • Author was alive about 100 years ago.
  • Beautiful book where he took a lot of content from different books.
  • Shamail – character and nature. (plural)
  • Old Arabic word.
  • Can also mean how a person looks.
  • Shamail literature – all dedicated to the way the Prophet looked and acted and his qualities internally and externally.
  • Qualities of the Prophet, internally and externally. Not seerah in the sense of not going to go through the Prophet’s biography.

Why Study this Science

  • When someone is in love, they never get full of the beloved. All different cultures have love poetry. Some of the most popular types of poetry is love poetry. At university certain type of love is romanticized,  but there are so many different types of love. There is the love we have for parents, for siblings, for people who do good things for us, love of beauty (in form of love of art, literature, landscapes) all of those are very positive things. One of the strongest values and emotions we have to cultivate is love. Because the love of Allah, what does that mean? What is the reality of that? The love of the Prophet, what is the reality of that? How do we go about doing that?
  • Most of us have heard the hadith, “no one truly believes until they love the Prophet, more than themselves..” It’s a hadith. How? We might think, why does Allah require for me to love someone I haven’t met or seen?  But there is a way. The way our ummah has always fallen in love with the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him is by studying his example.
  • Because there are many ways you love. If you look at beauty as a reason for loving, when you study the character of the Prophet and start to get an idea, an image in your mind of the way that he looked, you realise he was the most beautiful person. Scholars say that the Prophet  peace and blessings be upon him was more beautiful than Prophet Yusuf,  but Allah veiled his beauty so that people could function around him. His contemporaries took a lot of time and effort to describe what he looked like.
  • If the companions didn’t think it was important they wouldn’t have shared it, and the tabi’een wouldn’t have shared it to the next generation and so forth. When you realise that Allah created him a certain way and gave him beauty externally and internally, than that is something to love and appreciate. When you look at the beauty of his character peace and blessings be upon him and his generosity and you look at his courage, his patience, his mercy, his forgiveness, and the way he dealt with people, you see that his overall character, peace and blessings be upon him is beautiful. When someone reflects on that, they can’t help but fall in love.  It’s extremely important to reflect on all of that and to learn about the character of the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him.

Why is this science important?

  • This is one of the most prolific genres of Islamic literatures. One of the reasons is that the Prophet in and of himself is a foundational pillar of our iman. If you look at people who are not sure they believe, who have a crisis of faith, most of the time, not all the time, but most of the time, it’s because people don’t have a strong connection to the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, Most people who are suffering from a spiritual crisis, they haven’t been exposed to who the Prophet is. A goal of this course is to feel closer to the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. To know we have  a connection to the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. To learn about the sacrifices that he made for his ummah, peace and blessings be upon him. To increase in love. And to emulate him because he is a role model.
  • When we see who the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him  is and we have that love for Allah and we want to be loved by Allah, go no further than the Prophet. He is everything we need. The beauty is that Allah sent us a  human being who is the best of creation to show us who we can become. It’s not an abstract religion. Allah sent us the Qur’an and the light that came with the Qur’an is the Prophet.
  • Sayyidna Aisha said that “he was a walking Qur’an. His character was the Qur’an.”
  • So the shortcut to everything, I promise you this, put this in practice in your life and you’ll see it. The shortcut to every goodness is the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. Look no further. Till the end of time you have what you need in the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him.
  • I promise you by the end of this there will be a transformation. I can promise and guarantee you not from myself, but from who the one Allah sent as a guide for us, that when we look at his life, and we study and commit ourselves to being like him, our lives will transform. I promise you that. It’s one of the most amazing experiences.

Lineage

  • Why is his lineage important?
  • Miracles that happened even to his forefathers.
  • Human beings, whether it’s founded or not, we associate people with their families.
  • So the Prophet’s lineage is very important. It matters. Since the beginning of time, Allah has protected the Prophet.
  • He is Sayyiduna Muhammed ibn Abd Allah ibn Abd al-Muttalib ibn Hashim ibn Abdu Manaf ibn Qusayy ibn Kilab ibn Murrah ibn Ka’b ibn Lu’ay ibn Ghalib ibn Fihr ibn Malik ibn Al-Nadr ibn Kinanah ibn Khuzaymah ibn Mudrikah ibn Ilyas ibn Mudar ibn Nizar ibn Ma’add ibn Adnan
  • Lot of blessing in accounting lineage. Prophet highlighted for us that there is a significance in his lineage. Allah placed the Prophet in the best households from mother and father. Best lineage. Best family.
  • Scholars say that one of the ways that a person benefits from the blessing of the Prophet’s lineage is by memorizing it. One of the ways a person becomes more able to see the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him in a dream.  Extremely important because when we talk about the Prophet we have to recognise that he is the expression of human perfection on every single level.

{Addition from the notetaker for memorization]

مَعٍ شَهٍ عَقٍ كَمٍ كَلَغْفَمِنْ كَخْمٍ اَ مِنْ مَعٍ

Each letter in the mnemonic corresponds to the first letter in the names of the Prophet’s (Allah bless him and grant him peace) ancestors.
In transliteration it reads:

Ma’in shahin ‘aqin kamin kalaghfa min
Kakhmin ‘amin ma’in

You can use the mnemonic to insha’Allah memorise the following lineage of the Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him peace.

1) Sayyiduna Muhammed سَدُ نَا مُحَمَّد 
2) Abd Allah عَبدُاللّه
3) Shaybah (Abd al-Muttalib) شَيْبَة (عَبدٌ الٌمطَّلِب) 
4) Hashim هَا شِم
5) Abdu Manaf عَبْدُ مَنَف
6) Qusayy قُصَي
7)Kilab كِلاَب       
8) Murrah مُرَّة 
9) Ka’b كَعْب
10) Lu’ay لُوَ ي
11) Ghalib غَالِب
12) Fihr فِهْر
13) Malik مَالِك 
14) Al-Nadr النَّضْر
15) Kinanah كِنَانَة 
16) Khuzaymah خُزَيمَة    
17) Mudrikah مُدْرِكَة
18) Ilyas إليَس
19) Mudar مُضَر
20) Nizar نِزَار
21) Ma’add مَعَدّ      
22) Adnan عَدْنَان

Names of the Prophet

  • Some scholars record up to 200 names for the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him.
  • In Arabic language the names and titles a person has, is a sign of honouring and enobling someone.
  • One of the ways that we cultivate love is through names. When we love someone we call them by the most beautiful names. Hayati, jaan.
  • The Prophet said that one of things that secures the love of your brother or sister for you, is by calling them the most beautiful names. So even if you have a nickname for someone, make sure it’s a positive one because that cultivates love.
  • To the people of Paradise, the Prophet is Abd Karim. (the servant of the most generous)
  • He is the pinnacle of servitude to al-Karim.
  • His name to the people of the Fire is Abd Jabbar. The servant of the Overwhelming One. Because Allah manifests himself as al-Jabbar to them.
  • The malaika know the Prophet as the servant of the most Praised. The most Praiseworthy.
  • The rest of the angels know him as the servant of the most Glorious.
  • This is a way, gives us insight to the glory of Allah because He is giving His gifts of these titles to His Prophet.
  • Abd-Wahhab – Prophets know the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him by this name,
  • Al-Wahhab is the One who gives and never has any fear of losing by giving. Gives and the treasure chests never get empty by giving. Endless, Infinite giving. The Prophets know that Allah gave the Prophet the most. He is Abd-Wahhab. The servant of the One who Gives.
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One thought on “Gems from Embodied Light, Class 1 with Sidi Amjad Tarsin (Part 1)

  1. Pingback: Gems from Embodied Light, Class 1 with Sidi Amjad Tarsin (Part 2) | Immersing in the Sea

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