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Sallallahu 'Alaihi Wa Sallam

An Appreciation by Siddiq Osman Noormuhammad


The salaam by Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Rahmatullahi 'alaih in Urdu is spontaneous and overflowing as if inspired, and brings out the best of both the 'aalim (learned scholar) and the kaamil murshid (accomplished spiritual master) in the great Imam. He has composed all types of Muslim religious poetry in Urdu (and some in Farsi) like hamd, munajaat, na'at, gazal, qasaid, rubaiyyat, munqabat, madah, shajjarah, salawaat and mathnawi, all contained in his kitab Hadaaiqi Bakhshish (Gardens of Gifts) but A'la Hadrat as he is affectionately called, will for ever be remembered for his most memorable "salaam" on the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam which is the longest salaam in any language with 169 verses.

It is so spiritually captivating that you will see tears run down the cheeks of muhibbeen (beloved disciples) as they render it in their melodious voices. It is a complete integrated whole but for purposes of understanding, it can be said to be composed of:

1. Sifat (praise) of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam in general (verses 1 to 32),
2. His physical appearance (verses 33 to 80),
3. His life and times (verses 81 to 107),
4. Sifat of the Ahl u'l Bayt and Sahaba, Rady Allahu 'Anhum (his family and companions) (verses 108 to 147),
5. Sifat of the awliya and saleheen (the saints and the pious) (verses 148 to 169).

This salaam is unique in that the Imam has sung the praises of the miraculous powers of Muhammad-e-'Arabi, Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam, as well as the miraculous powers of each of his physical features, for example, his ears, his vision, his blessed mouth, his blessed tongue, his speech and khutbah (sermons), his smile, the mohr Nubuwwah (seal of Prophethood), his arms, and his fingers. The miraculous powers of his fingers is borne out in the following hadith:

Narrated Jabir bin Abdullah (Rady Allahu Anhu): I was with the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam and the time for the Asr prayer became due. We had no water with us except a little which was put in a vessel and was brought to the Prophet Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam. He put his hand into it and spread out his fingers and then said, "Come along! Hurry up! All those who want to perform ablution. The blessing is from Allah". I saw the water gushing out from his fingers. So the people performed the ablution and drank, and I tried to drink more of that water (beyond my thirst and capacity), for I knew that it was a blessing. The sub-narrator said: I asked Jabir (Rady Allahu Anhu), "How many persons were you then?". He replied, "We were one thousand four hundred men". (Bukhari).

The Imam captures this incident in his own inimitable style:

Nur ke chashme lehraen darya bahen
Ungliyon ki karamat pe lakhon salaam.

Fountains of spiritual light, like seas overflowing
Millions of salutations on the miracle of his fingers.

And everyone would respond with the chorus:

Mustafa jaane rahmat pe lakhon salaam
Sham-ay bazme hidayat pe lakhon salaam

Millions of salutations on Mustafa, essence of mercy
Millions of salutations on the light of guidance.

Let us savour 12 selected verses to gain the baraka (blessing) of this salaam (verse numbers are given in brackets).

Fat'he baabe nubuwwat pe bayhad durood
Khatme dauray risaalat pe lakhon salaam

Jis ke aage saraysarwara kham rahe
Us saretaaj rif'at pe lakhon salaam

Jis ke maathe shafa'at ka sehra raha
Us Jabheene sa'adat pe lakhon salaam

Jis taraf uth gaee dham may dham aagaya
Us nigaahe inayat pe lakhon salaam

Wo dahan jis ki har baat wahiye Khuda
Chashmae ilmo hikmat pe lakhon salaam

Wo zabaan jis ko sab kun ki kunjee kahen
Us ki naafaz hukumat pe lakhon salaam

Hajjre Aswad-e Ka'ba-e Jano Dhil
Ya'nee Mohre Nubuwwat pe lakhon salaam

Kul jahan milk aur jaun ki roti gizaa
Us shikan ki qana'at pe lakhon salaam

Jis suhanee garee chamka Tayba ka chaandh
Us dhil afroze sa'at pe lakhon salaam

Unke Maula ke un par karoron durood
Unke as'haab-o-'itrat pe lakhon salaam

Kaamilaane Tariqat pe kaamil durood
Haamilaane Shariat pe lakhon salaam

Ek mera hee Rahmat pe da'wa naheen
Shah ki saari ummat pe lakhon salaam

Unlimited blessings on the Seal of Prophethood
Millions of salutations on the end of the era of Messengers (13)

Millions of salutations on one crowned with success
Before whom the kings silently stood to attention (34)

The bridegroom garlanded with powers of intercession
Millions of salutations on his immensely good nature (40)

Millions of salutations on that enriching glance
Which brought life in whichever direction it turned (45)

The blessed mouth whose every word was a revelation from Allah
Millions of salutations on the fountain of knowledge and wisdom (55)

The tongue which was the key to all the orders of Allah
Millions of salutations on its well-established governance (58)

Millions of salutations on the seal of Prophethood
Which abides like the Black Stone of the Ka'ba in the heart (66)

He owned the whole world yet fed on barley bread alone
Millions of salutations on that contented appetite (76)

The beautiful moment when Tayba's moon shone bright
Millions of salutations on that joy-filling moment of his birth (81)

A billion salutations on him from his Lord
Millions of salutations on his companions and offspring (108)

Complete blessings on those who tread the spiritual Path
Millions of salutations on those who live by the Sacred Law (153)

I am not the only one with a claim in his mercy
Millions of salutations on all the followers of that king (167)

This salaam has become so popular among devotees in all Tariqas like the Qadiriyya, Naqshbandiyya and Chishtiyya that many other scholars have composed salaams in Urdu with the same rhyme and rhythm, as for example, Janab Hamid Siddiqi, Mawlana 'Abdul Masjud Wujud Jabalpuri and Pirzadah Muhammad 'AbdulSabur Baig Manshur as given in Majmu'a Na'at (Collected Hymns) compiled by Janab Anis Ahmad Nuri Saheb.

Yet other scholars like Janab Akhtar-ul-Hamdi Saheb have made a takhmees of it! In Urdu, it is called tazmeen. They have taken a couplet from A'la Hadrat and prefixed to it three more verses of their own to make it a quintet! The following quintet for example, is developed on the all too familiar verse number 45.

Aur pargaee jis pe mehshar may bakhshaa gaya
Dekha jis simt abray karam chaa gaya
Aur rukh jidhar hogaya zindhagi paa gaya
Jis taraf uth gaee dham may dham aagaya
Us nigaahe inayat pe lakhon salaam.

Those he glances at on the Day of Judgement are saved
Mercy enveloped the direction he looked at
And whichever place he turned to, received life, (indeed)
Millions of salutations on that enriching glance
Which brought life in whichever direction it turned.

Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Rahmatullahi 'alaih composed yet one more salaam in Urdu with 45 verses, also given in Hadaaiqi Bakhshish (Gardens of Gifts) whose chorus is the universally familiar Yaa Nabi Salaam 'Alaika. Its opening couplet is:

Mustafa Khairul Waraa Ho
Sarware har Dosaraa Ho
Apne Ach-chon ka Tasadduq
Ham Bhadon ko bhi Nibhaho

Mustafa you are the best of creation
You are the leader of both the worlds
For the sake of your good followers
Take in your fold us sinners as well.

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