Shaykh Nuh Keller on Haqiqa al-Muhamadiyya (The Muhammadan Reality)
“The Muhammadan Reality,” Sheikh ‘Adel told me one night on the way to Zarqa, “is the Divine Unmanifestness (Butun) become manifestness (Dhuhur).” He opened his hand with the palm up: “Inward to outward.”
It was not an obligatory tenet of faith, but rather of the knowledge that Allah discloses to some individuals of the Umma and not others, who need not know. The story of Moses and Khidr (upon whom be blessings peace) in the Koran (18:60-82) establishes the possibility of such knowledge. Whatever exception may be taken thereat, Sheikh ‘Adel was conscious of the Muhammadan Reality as the telelogical cause of the entire cosmos, the effective reason for which all had been created.
To clarify, Allah created the universe for a purpose, a context in which alone it has meaning; namely, as the theophany of His Names and Attributes, that He may be known. He says, “Nor did I create jinn and mankind except to adore Me” (Koran 51:56), which according to Mujahid, the student of the prophetic Companion Ibn ‘Abbas, means “except to know me” (Tafsir al-Baghawi , 5.230). That is, the entire spectrum of divine names, entailing outcomes from divine favor to divine wrath, corresponds to the entire spectrum of human possibilities, from highest felicity to direst ruin. These fates, in turn, are fully manifest only in the ultimate outcomes of eternal paradise or hell, eternal because the individual’s choice is to continue in his chosen way, could he do so, forever.
To say it again, the text of the universe is illegible, and what it may signify unknown, unless one understands who it exists for: namely the thinking beings who choose and realize their potentialities through it-“one party in paradise, and one party in the blaze” (Koran 42:7).
These outcomes are governed by a logic that any thinking being can understand, direct his will to, and utilize to his advantage; namely, the revelation and guidance sent by Allah to mankind through the prophets: Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and all those between them. Their historical succession – each bearing one single message of monotheism, but providentially different in religious commands and prohibitions – culminated in the Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him an give him peace). “Culminated,” first, because his final and comprehensive sacred ethos was not sent to a single people, but to all mankind together: “We have not sent you except to all people entirely” (Koran 34:28); and secondly, because its religious forms superseded those of all previously valid religions, that Allah might make it “paramount over all religion whatsoever” (Koran 9:33).
So the final standard for the human outcomes which manifest the divine name to their fullest extent is the ultimate revelation – which was historically manifest in the inspired person and mission of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). This is the Haqiqa al-Muhammadiyya or Muhammadan Reality, whose manifestation is, in this specific sense, the “reason” for the whole universe.
– Taken from Sea without Shore