05 Nov Fourth sign.Part2
The future events that the Most Noble Messenger (Upon whom be blessings and peace) predicted were not isolated incidents; he rather predicted general and recurring events in a particular way. That is, in each such report, he displayed a different aspect of one phenomenon out of several. This is why when the narrator combines these different aspects, they may seem at variance with reality. There are, for example, varying narrations concerning the Mahdi, each with different details and descriptions. However, as was explained in a section of the Twenty-Fourth Word, the Noble Messenger gave the tidings, relying on Revelation, of a Mahdi who would come in every century to preserve the morale of the believers, help them not to fall into despair in the face of disasters, and link the hearts of the believers with the people of the Prophet’s Family, who constitute a luminous chain in the world of Islam. Similar to the Great Mahdi who is promised to come at the end of time, one Mahdi from the Prophet’s Family, or more, has been found in every century.
Indeed, one of them, found among the ‘Abbasid Caliphs who were descendants of the Prophet’s Family, was found to have many of the characteristics of the Great Mahdi. In this way the attributes of the Mahdi’s deputies and of the spiritual poles who were Mahdis who were to precede the Great Mahdi and were samples and forerunners of him, were confused with the attributes of the Great Mahdi himself, and the narrations concerning him were seen to conflict with one another.
Since none other than God knows the Unseen, the Noble Messenger (Upon whom be blessings and peace) could not know it himself. Instead, God Almighty communicated to him the tidings of the Unseen, and he made them known. And since God Almighty is All-Wise and Compassionate, His wisdom and mercy require that most of the matters of the Unseen be veiled or obscure. For in this world events disagreeable to human beings are numerous; prior knowledge of their happening would be painful. It is for this reason that death and the appointed hour of death are left obscure, and the calamities that are to befall human beings remain behind the veil of the Unseen. Again, as a result of His wisdom and mercy, God Almighty did not entirely or in detail inform His Messenger about the dreadful events that would befall his Family and Companions after his demise, in order not to hurt his extremely tender compassion for his community and his firm affection for his Family. For certain Divine purposes, He made some of these significant events known to him, but not in all their awesomeness. As for pleasant events, He communicated them to the Messenger sometimes in outline and sometimes in detail, and the Messenger in turn made them known to his Companions. Thus those tidings were accurately transmitted to us by the scholars of Hadith who were at the height of piety, justice, and truthfulness, and who feared very much the warning of the Hadith,Whoever knowingly tells a lie concerning me should prepare for a seat in Hell, and that of the Qur’anic verse,Who, then does more wrong than the one who utters lie concerning God?
Although some qualities and aspects of the Most Noble Messenger(Upon whom be blessings and peace) have been described in books of history and biography, most of those qualities relate to his humanness. But in reality, the spiritual personality and the sacred nature of this blessed being are so exalted and luminous that the qualities described in books fall short of his high stature. For according to the rule, “The cause is like the doer,” everyday, even at this moment, the amount of the worship performed by all his community is being added to the record of his perfections. He is also everyday the object of the countless supplications of his vast community, in addition to being the object of infinite Divine mercy in an infinite fashion and with an infinite capacity to receive. He is, indeed, the result and the most perfect fruit of the universe, the interpreter and the beloved of the Creator of the cosmos. Hence his true nature in its entirety, and the truth of all his perfections, cannot be contained in the human qualities recorded in books of history and biography.
Certainly, the stature of a blessed being with the Archangels Gabriel and Michael as two aides-de-camp at his side in the Battle of Badr, is not to be found in the form of a person bargaining with a beduin in the marketplace over the price of a horse, bringing forth Hudhayfa as his sole witness.
In order not to proceed in error, one should raise his head beyond the ordinary qualities of the Prophet (PBUH) that pertain to his participation in the human state, and behold instead his true nature and luminous stature that pertain to the rank of messengership. Otherwise, one will either show him irreverence, or instil doubts in oneself. Heed the following comparison for an understanding of this mystery.Suppose that a seed of the date-tree was planted under the earth, has sprouted and become a large, fertile tree, and is still continuing to grow taller and broader. Or that the egg of a peacock was incubated, a chick was hatched from it and became a beautifully adorned peacock gilded all over with the imprint of Power, and is still growing bigger and more beautiful. Now, there exist qualities, properties and precisely balanced elements that belong to the seed and the egg, but are not as great and significant as those of the tree and the bird that emerge from them.
So, while describing the qualities of the tree and the bird together with those of the seed and the egg, one should turn one’s attention from the seed to the tree, and from the egg to the bird, so that one’s reason may find the description acceptable. Otherwise, if you claim: “I have obtained thousands of dates from a seed,” or, “This egg is the king of all birds,” you will invite others to contradict and deny your words.The humanness of God’s Messenger may be likened to the seed or egg, and his essential nature, illumined with the function of messengership, to the Tuba-tree of Paradise, or to the birds of Paradise. His essential nature is, moreover, continually moving to greater perfection. That is why, when you think of the man who disputed in the market with a beduin, you should also turn the eye of imagination to that luminous being who, riding the Rafraf, leaving Gabriel behind, reached the Distance of Two Bowstrings.
Otherwise you will either be disrespectful toward him, or fail to convince the evil commanding soul.