Summary of Jaihoon’s presentation entitled ‘Poetics of Prophetism and Manufacturing Cross Cultural Dialogues’ at Markaz Garden Group of Institutions, Calicut, Kerala – India (Dec 10, 2014)

We all love someone in this world. In fact human existence is almost impossible without endearing any other. The heart is like a shell. It has to have a pearl inside it.

We may allow atheist to debate if God ever exists. But never for a moment imagine a speck of dust to fall on the historicity of Rasool Sallallahualaihiwasallam.

It’s extremely difficult to attempt to elaborate on the greatness of our Holy Prophet. Our reasoning and its resultant sciences are insufficient to superimpose over the personality of Rasool Sallallahualaihiwasallam, who is only just next to God.

His companions celebrated his praises during and after his lifetime in different forms during his very lifetime. There was built an exclusive pulpit in the masjid Nabawi solely for a poet to cherish the praise of Prophet (Sallallahualaihiwasallam). Moreover, the Merciful Prophet used to listen to poetic presentations and even honour them.

Arabs, in those days, used to converse and express in poetry, even at battlefield. As we browse through Prophetic praise, we shall find poetic lines dedicated especially for his eyes, cheeks, hands, sweat, eyebrow and so on.

Our predecessors believed that engaging in Prophetic praise was of healing benefit for its candidae. Hence, Qadi Iyad’s masterpiece on Prophet, “Kitab us Shifa” is aptly titled. This book is used in traditional Muslim communities as a healing treatise. Our own Manqus Maulid is an example widely used in Kerala.

Dalail Nubuwwa (proofs of Prophethood) and Shamail (about his physical attributes) were two traditional forms of Prophetology. Abu Isa Tirmidhi’s Shamail is a famous treatise detailing the physical appearance of Holy Prophet Sallallahualaihiwasallam.

Some poets described his eye-brow as the qibla of their heart. Others called the strings of his sandals, which touched the vicinity of the Arsh of Allah, as the strings their souls.

Yet another love-overwhelmed Pathan poet sang of his clothes, “in white, he looked like a pearl / in red, like a rose”.

Another form of Prophetology in Muslim community is fine calligraphy inscribing the name and praise of Prophet Sallallahualaihiwasallam in Arabic. This is especially famous in Turkey where it is called Hilya, which usually consist of beautifully crafted text on a cloth material and hung on the walls of homes. Annamarie Schimmel, the famous orientalist, writes of a Turkish childless widow who regarded the nine hilyas she made in place of her unborn children who would intercede for her in the hereafter.

All that is beautiful is Islamic and everything that is beautiful is Islamic too.

Sunnah

We should also not lose sight of Sunnah, the greatest form of everyday Prophetology in the life of a believer. We imitate, emulate and integrate the habits of our Beloved Prophet Sallallahualaihiwasallam into our daily lives.And it would not be an exaggeration to argue Sunnah, considered as voluntary according to Islamic jurisprudence, is more relevant and important than card, the obligatory acts of worship.

Sunnah is what defines our existence. Right from when we wake up from bed, we recite the dua of awakening which is a Sunna. We step into the toilet with our left foot reciting the dua. Sunna. We brush our teeth. Sunna. We make ablution for prayer. We step out with our right foot reciting the dua. Sunna. We leave the home to masjid with our left foot. Sunna. We smile at our brothers on way to masjid. Sunna. We remove our sandals starting with the left foot. Sunna. We enter masjid with the right foot. Sunna. And only then after this series of Sunna, we join the obligatory prayer. We celebrate the practices of Prophet, of course expecting Divine reward, even before we stand in prayer before our Lord.

Sunna is not of just private individual significance. There is a global implication of Sunna for the Muslim world. Even as I traveled to Uzbekistan, Egypt, the Emirates and finally in India at the moment, the Sunnah practices act as a binding force across these lands. Sunna is the believer’s code of conduct, especially in this largely globalised to-be homogenous world. Sunna ensures a minimum sense of unity and uniformity even as it honours the diversity of human experience.

An American and a Chinese believer may eat and dress differently. But their hearts and actions are knit by the Sunnah of Beloved Prophet Sallallahualaihiwasallam. Thus, Sunna helps us to reduce the dissimilarity between the divergent customs in the Muslim world.

Once Sayyid Ahmed Khan, the famous educational reformer, discussed with then mufti of Delhi whether eating mangoes was permissible as the Prophet is not recorded to have ever eaten them.

Ba Yazid Bustami didn’t eat water melons because he didn’t know how Rasool cut them.

I leave it to your conscience as to what level shall you celebrate and commemorate Prophetology in your lives.

Imparting Prophetology

On the question of how to impart Prophetology to the other communities in India. Firstly we have to understand that the Holy Prophet is not the prophet of Islam alone. So when we speak or write about him, we are talking about Mercy to all Worlds, a universal Prophet for the entire humanity as well as the plants and animals and jinns.

The Beloved Prophet is not the private property of our narrow minded communal attitude. Rosool Sallallahualaihiwasallam belongs to Allah and HE is the creator of the entire universe.

Secondly the compassion and mercy with which he was sent. Don’t be in a hurry to damn the ‘other’ to hell. Among Muslims we should be ready to accommodate diversity of opinions. Allotting the ticket to paradise is not our job. If paradise is an everlasting eternal real estate, the only authorised agent to allot it is our Holy Prophet Sallallahualaihiwasallam. And he happens to be Rahmathan lil Alameen. He was God-sent to maximize the inmates to paradise whereas some of us are struggling to reduce the numbers.

When we present Prophetology, it is not just the immediate audience listening to us. Media, social or mainstream, is broadcasting everything these days. We ought to be extremely cautious and vigilant of our analogies. Refinement of language is essential for this mission.

We at times wish and cherish ourselves as the lovers of Prophet Sallallahualaihiwasallam. But the Prophet Sallallahualaihiwasallam has described himself as the Beloved of Allah meaning Allah is his Lover. How then could we dare to claim such a title? We are too humble and simple to even qualify for asserting such a title.

posted Jan 22 20115 (Rabiul Awwal 12 1436)