Taqwiyat al-Īmān: Rasūlullāh is Master of the World and the Best of Creation


Explaining the meaning of sayyid (master), Shāh Ismā‘īl Shaḥid (1779 – 1831) writes in Taqwiyat al-Īmān:

Now, it should be heard that the term “master” (sayyid) has two meanings. One is that he is himself owner and free-acting and is not subject to anyone; he can do whatever he wants of himself, just like a king apparently [does]. Such a thing is the character of Allāh alone. There is no “master” in this meaning besides Him.

The second is that while being a subject, having a distinction above other subjects, in that the original command of the Commander comes first to him and from conversing with him, it reaches others, like the Choudhry of every work and the zamindar of every village.

In this sense, every prophet is master of his Ummah, and every Imām of the people of his time, and every Mujtahid of his followers, and every saint of his Murīds, and every ‘Ālim of his students, in that these seniors first establish Allāh’s command themselves and then teach it to their juniors thereafter.

Thus, in this manner, our Messenger (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) is the master of all the world since in Allāh’s view his position is the highest of all, and he is the most practising of Allāh’s commands, and everyone is dependent on him in learning Allāh’s path. In this meaning, referring to him as the master of all the world is no problem. In fact, he must be regarded as such.

In terms of the first meaning, they are not to be regarded as master of even an ant, because of their own, they cannot exercise control over even an ant. (Taqwiyat al-Īmān, p. 92-3)

According to Barelwī mythology, Taqwiyat al-Īmān brings down the status of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) and reflects Wahhābī teaching. This is one passage that clearly contradicts this belief.

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