Sunday, August 17, 2008

Adab or Statement of Fact?

In Chapter 23 of Ibn al-Jawzi's Kitab al-Adhkiyaa' he says:

We have related from Al-Abbas bin al-Muttalib that he was asked "Who is older (akbar) you or the Messenger of Allah salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam?" So he said, "The Messenger of Allah salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam is (akbar) and I was born before him."

There are two possible meanings that can be taken from this hadith:

- The first is the one that Ibn al-Jawzi took from it, as indicated by its placement in this chapter of this book. According to this understanding, Al-Abbas(r.a.), out of his great intelligence and his adab towards Rasool Allah salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam, didn't want to say that he was akbar from Rasool Allah, because the word "akbar" has more than one meaning: Besides the meaning of "older", it can also mean "bigger" and "greater". So he avoided saying that word out of respect, saying that Rasool Allah is akbar (in its meanings other than being older), but that he was born before (and therefore older).

- The other possible meaning is that Al-Abbas was referring to the creation of sayyidna Muhammad before any other creation, and that his light, salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam, was Allah's first creation, but his birth in his human body came after the birth of sayyidna al-Abbas. So sayyidna al-Abbas was saying that sayyidna Muhammad is older than he is, but was born later.

and Allah knows best,
and salla Allahu ala sayyidna Muhammad and upon his family and companions, who gave sayyidna Muhammad his due respect.

No comments: