Sunday, May 2, 2010


From the Layman’s Desk:7 – Miracles, Islamic Perspective in Brief:

Part 10 – Continued:

In the Name of Allah, Most Beneficent, Most Merciful.

If Allah does not give Noor to someone, he cannot become enlightened (“Munawwar”) – Qur’an, Surah Noor, v.40

Let us refer to some more miracles: Tayy al-Musaafa:

Shaykh Abd al-Haqq Muhaddith Dehelwi states in Madarijun Nabuwat:

“Allah the Exalted has given the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) the strength and power to go anywhere he likes; he can go with his own body or only in soul, on the earth, in the sky, in the grave, while maintaining connection with his own shrine.”

In Tafseer Roohul-Bayaan, it is mentioned that Imam Ghazali said: The Holy Prophet (s) and his Companions’ souls have been the right to travel the world and many Awliya-Allah have seen the Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam). Hence, the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) is conscious of the believers and observes them by Divine leave.

In the physical world, some pious believers who include the Awliya-Allah are able to traverse great distances in moments. This is called Tayy al-Musaafa. But as we are not discussing prophets and angels miracles about the speed and so we won’t cite those examples, including the incident of Night of Isra and Ascension.

In the book, Wahhabiyya, it is written: “Traversing long distance in a moment is a Karama bestowed upon Awliya. It is ‘Wajib’ to believe in this.”

Therefore, prophets and Awliya, as well as angels are able to traverse great distances within short time. Spiritual power being unconstrained by space and time such occurrences also occur with the permission of Allah in the cases of prophets and Awliya and pious people who have assumed a veil of departure from this material world.

Sahl bin Abdullah, a great and venerable Sufi, was known for his self-mortification and ascetic training. He has been quoted as saying that he heard from a saint (Wali) called Abdallah bin Salih that every ‘Kaamil’ (complete) saint gather in Makkah every Thursday evening, i.e. the night of Jumma’ and it was for that and the reason that countless blessings and mercies descend on the city when angels perform the ‘Tawaaf’ (circumambulation) of the Baitullah day and night, and since he has seen wonders there that he had stayed awhile longer than his practice. Among the wonders he haad seen was regarding one called Maalik bin Qasim Jili whom he asked why did his hand smell of cooked meat when he replied that he had in fact not eaten for the entire week but that he had just fed his mother way back home and buried back to catch the Fajr prayer with the gathering. He had in fact travelled 900 ‘Farsakh’ or 2700 miles between his home and Makkah in a short span of time. After relating this wonder, Abdullah bin Salih asked Hazrat Sahl bin Abdullah whether he believes him. When the latter replied in the affirmative, the former exclaimed: “Praise be to Allah! I have found one Mumin person.

From the above incident it is evident that even in the physical world of ours it is possible for a Friend of Allah or a pious believer to travel long distances in a short period of time or within moments.

In fact there are numerous accounts given in the Rowdh and other Islamic literature where not only the time for travel is reduced to moments but the ground beneath the feet itself is not felt or if felt, it is as if walking on the “rolling waves”; or the shoes being dry despite walking on the rain-soaked muddy mire (e.g. as stated by Hazrat Data Ganj Baksh about his Shaykh.) In Kashful Mahjub, he mentions the narration of Abu Warraq’s regarding his journey along with his Shaykh al-Hakim (Muhammad bin Ali Tirmidhi) from Tirmidh to the Desert of Bani Isra’il and back within a short time so that the disciple could not restrain himself from asking his Master: O Shaykh, O Shaykh, how did we reach the Desert of Bani Isra’il from Tirmidh in such a short time?” The answer that he got was: It is your business to arrive (‘rasidan’) and not to ask questions (‘pursidan’).

We are informed by the author of Kashful Mahjub, Hazrat Ali bin Uthman al-Hajweri (Data Ganj Baksh ®) that once he went to pay his respects to Baab ‘Umar and his old wife Fatima so that the Shaykh who was one of the Awtaad (high-ranking saints or officers of the Divine Court who have the power to loose and bind) might look on him with kindness. For this he had to travel from Uzkand to a remote village Ashlaatak in Farghana. He was surprised to learn that the Shaykh had been continually seeing him from the day of his initiation to the path. The Shaykh also informed him that travelling distance (Tayy al-musaafa or sipardan-e-musaafat) is child’s play. He bade his wife to bring them something to eat, when she brought some fruits which could not have been procured during that season and in that village. The Shaykh advised him to pay visits by means of thought.

Ibn Hajar Haytami (Reh.) wrote in his Fatwa:  “The number of those who have said that if a Wali goes to a very distant place in the west (in a short time) after having performed the evening salaat, and if the sun has not set there yet, he does not need to perform the evening salaat for the second time at that place, are many.”

Imam ar-Rabbani mentions in his Letters that some awliya were seen far from the place where they lived, and that it was the appearance of their soul in bodily forms.

Hazrat Shaykh Muhiyudden Abdul Qadir Jilani Ghousul Azam ® too had spiritual powers to go to the far-flung places instantly to the rescue of the ones in distress who appealed for his aid. In fact, even his maternal grandfather, Abdullah as-Sawma’i, was known for numerous miracles and people used to ask for his spiritual intervention in times of distress as stated in the introduction of Jila’ al-Khatir (Purification of the Mind) which contains edited discourses of Hazrat Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani ®. Once a caravan of group of merchants of Jilaan while heading for Samarkand was accosted by bandits. The merchants who were unable to defend themselves invoked the intercession of the saint. Suddenly, they saw ‘Abdullah as-Sawma’i in their midst. He was reciting the formula. The bandits took to their heels and the saint disappeared as suddenly as he had appeared among them. When the merchants related the story to the people of Jilaan, they told them that the saint in fact had never left Jilaan during the time of their journey.

In his book, Lawaaqi-ul Anwaar Fi Tabqaatil Akhyaar (The Infused Lights of the Biographies of the Righteous), Shaykh Abdul Wahab Sha’rani (reh.) records an incident to show that Awliya can appear at far off places from their actual location. A disciple of Sayyidi Muhammad Ghamri ® was once passing through the bazaar when the foot of the animal on which he rode, slipped. In extreme panic he screamed: “Ya Sayyedi Muhammad, Ya Ghamri!” As if by co-incidence, Ibne Omar Saeed the ruler, who had been made a prisoner by Sultan Chiq’miq was also passing through the bazaar at the same time. He too heard the screams. He inquired of the disciple as to who was Sayyidi Muhammed ®. When he was informed about him he also screamed: “Ya Sayyedi Muhammad, Ya Ghamri!” No sooner he had proclaimed the name, than the great Wali and spiritual master appeared and drove away his captors, freeing the captured ruler. The Shaykh then departed, blessing the ruler.

Hazrat Habib al-Ajmi, the disciple of Hasan Basri ® was another Awliya-Allah who was known for Tayy al-Musaafa. Many times during the Haj season he was seen at Basra (Iraq) on the 8th day of the lunar month of Dhu’l Hijja, and on the next day on the 9th he was spotted at the plains of Arafat near Makkah. This is mentioned in Jami’s Shawahid an-Nabuwa that documents the miracles of Sahaba and Tabiian.  The distance between Basra and Makkah by flight is at least 1,238 kilometres or over 769 miles. Imagine then, that those were the days of caravan and how many months it used to take to cover that distance on land! Dhows were the other mode of transport. 

There is another classic case of Tayy al-Musafaa and this relates to Khwaja Abdul Wahid bin Zaid Abul Fadhal (d.793 c.e.) a student of Imam Abu Hanifa and disciple of Hazrat Hasan Basri and Master of Hazrat Fudhail bin Ayadh.   Abdul Wahid Bin Zaid relates:  I purchased a slave on the condition that he serves me. Once, when it became dark I looked for him in the house, but could not find him.  Early in the morning he came and presented me with a dirham. I asked, “Where did you get it from?” He replied, “I receive a dirham daily and will only give it to you on the condition that you do not ask for me at night.” He would disappear every night and return in the morning with a dirham.  One day my neighbours approached me and shrieked, “O Abdul Wahid sell your slave. He is a grave digger!” This news depressed me. After this I decided to keep a vigilant eye on him. That night after Isha Salah, the slave stood up to leave, he pointed to the door and it opened. He made his way to the second door and did the same and then the same again to the door from which I was watching him. He left the house so I followed him till he reached a stretch of barren land.  He took off his clothes and put on a cloth sack and prayed till Fajr. He then lifted his hand towards the heaven and said, “Oh my Master, give me my small masters pay”. A dirham then fell from the sky. I was mystified and amazed at this. I stood up and performed two rakats and sought forgiveness from Allah, from the evil thought that had crossed my mind. I promised myself that on returning, I would free him.  As I made by way back I looked for him but could not find him. He was no where to be seen. All of a sudden a knight on an armoured horse appeared. He asked, “Oh Abdul Wahid what are you doing here?” I related the incident to him. He then inquired, “Do you know the distance from here to your city?” Oblivious to where I was, I replied in the negative. He informed me that I was approximately two years travelling distance from home. He then said, “Do not move from here till your slave returns tonight”.  When it became dark my slave came. He came with a tray full of food and greeted me with joy and said, “Eat my master, you should not have followed me here”. I ate while he prayed till Fajr. Once he had finished he held my hand and walked a few steps. Instantly we were back to my house. He said, “Oh master now that we are back, did you not make the intention to free me?” I replied affirmatively. He added, ”Free me and take the money you paid for me and you will be rewarded”. He then picked up a stone and gave it to me. I looked at it. Astonishingly it had turned into gold.  He had come to realize that his slave was not a grave-digger but a 'Noor' digger.

 Those who refuse to understand the powers that Allah bestows upon his pious believers and Awliya (not to speak of the high-ranking prophets and messengers a.s.) come out with a convenient answer that there is a Jinn (genie) behind miracles. While it is true that according to Mishkaat the Iblis on hearing the call for prayers runs thirty-six miles away from that place and comes back in an instant after the completion of the call, it is misleading to attribute the Karamaat of Awliya to the deeds of deceiving Jinns. This assertion about the Jinn being behind the miracles is far-fetched and not true. 

Tayy al-masaafa is one of the powers, among others, bestowed on the Friends of Allah by the Creator Himself and so it cannot be the handiwork of a Jinn as the deniers of Karamaat would have us believe. We have noted in the last post how Asif bin Barkhiya was not of the Jinn but a human being, “one who had the knowledge of the Book,” and yet he was instrumental in bringing the throne of the Queen of Sheba (Bilqis) before Sulaiman (a.s.) in twinkling of an eye, and thus leaving the wonders of the Jinns far behind. This is also called “Tayy al-Ardh” (Folding up of earth) that is, instead of taking a step forward towards the object, the earth turns towards the traveler rapidly no matter how far the distance. Islamic scholars have defined this as “The ceasing and termination of the matter in the initial location, and its reappearance and creation in its final location.” Otherwise too, the physical world may be restricted but the spiritual world is free from the restriction of time and place. In short, Awliya-Allah of high ranks are able to travel great distances in a short time. The term they use is “Tayy al-Makaan”.

Ibn Taimiyya says: “Sometimes the Jinn will take the form of those admired and stand at ‘Arafat and who believe well of him will think that he actually stood in ‘Arafat. Many others have also been actually carried by the devils to ‘Arafat and other sacred places.”  He further says: 

“Satan is able to make such misdeeds appealing to them by convincing them that they are among the Karamaat of the righteous…”  (Al-Furqaan Bayna Awliyaa ar-Rahmaan wa Awliyaa ash-Shaytaan)

Now, at the outset the question arises why would the Satan do that by making people think that they have sighted an “admired one?” Wouldn’t that, on the contrary, strengthen the belief in miracles?  Anyway, it is significant to remember that a perfect Wali is an inheritor of the Messenger of Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam), his status being proportional to the degree of Allah’s love for him. Hence the Karamaat of the perfect Wali can never be in contradiction of the Islamic letter and spirit – this too we have noted before. Suggesting that a Jinn may take the form of a Wali is mischievous and misleading.

According to Sayyidi Abdulhakim Arwasi (Reh.), the Shafi’i scholar, Allamah al-Jaili, wrote in his commentary to Sahih al-Bukhari: “The Devil cannot appear in the shapes of perfect Walis who are Rasool-Allah (s) inheritors, just as it cannot take Rasool-Allah’s (s) shape.”

Once it is accepted that a Jinn cannot impersonate a perfect Wali, the theory of Jinn impersonating Awliya-Allah for misleading people falls flat  to the ground.

Sayyidi Abdulhakim Arwasi (reh.) also informs us that according to jurisprudence and principles thereof, the ‘ulema and Awliya among the community of the Messenger of Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) are the inheritors of his every “Haal” save those which are among his “Khasais” (i.e. peculiar or special to him).

To continue…Insha Allah!


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