The Red Rose; a Gift from the Night Ascension of the Messenger of Allah Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him
The Rose, a creation which grants delight to all those who cast their glance upon it and delight to all those who seek its fragrance yet perceive it not. A creation which grants solace in times of loss and anguish as much as it bequeaths joy in times of jubilation. The beauty of its form allures all those beloved, and one appreciative sniff of its fragrance infatuates even the sternest of creation. We find that the works of the traditional doctors and scholars of Islam are laden with passages on the Rose, for it serves more than a mere aesthetic pleasantry; the scholars have long marvelled at its curative potency and ability to heal even the most detrimental of illnesses. Shaykh Muhammad Umar al-Tunsi, one of the leading botanists of his time, writes extensively on the Rose and its subsequent types in his work Kitab al-Nabat. He begins with a generic summary of the Rose as the world knows it and then goes on to mention specific species of this magnificent plant; namely the ‘Damascene Rose’ and the ‘French Rose’. About the former he writes:
“The Damascene Rose by origin grows in Sham and is planted in gardens for the beauty of its sight, the delight of its fragrance and the blossom of its red petals. This type of rose has been named ‘The Faded Rose’ for when picked its fragrance ceases. Its taste is ever so slightly bitter and it acts as a light laxative.
It should be employed as a laxative for small children and can also be used in ointments and can be pressed to excrete a most beneficial liquid which is used in drops. It is also used in most medicines which are consumed orally to rectify external and internal illnesses.”
Imam Abd al-Wahhab al-Sha’rani, may Allah sanctify his noble secret, one of the luminaries of the Ahl al-Sunnah and a literary marvel in the dominion of the Sufis, prescribes the usage of rose petals for several different illnesses in his abridgment of al-Suwaydi’s Tadhkirah fi al-Tib. To give but one example:
Whoever is inflicted by a headache caused by intense heat should:
- Bandage his head with bandages soaked in fresh rose, or alternatively cover his head with fresh rose petals.
- Inhale the fragrance of fresh rose.
- Boil dried rose petals in water and then apply to the forehead.
Despite the rose’s foundational relevance within our history, many Muslims remain oblivious to its merit and reverence within Islam. Many people associate the rose with European Christian tradition, yet the Damascene Rose only reached their shores in the 12th Century after the crusaders tore them up in their thousands from Damascus and took them back to their lands, and by the 14th Century it arrived at France impregnating a sudden surge in the Perfumes Market. Yet, the Rose was a flower used by the Muslims both in their medicine and for aesthetic delight; for when the crusaders were expelled from al-Quds al-Sharif by Sayyiduna Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi, he ordered 500 camel loads of Damascene Rose Water to cleanse the Masjid of Sayyiduna Umar b. al-Khattab (May Allah be pleased with him).
But what is it that gives the Rose its grandeur and beauty? What is it that makes the Rose a creation of such merit and causes its veneration by thousands of Muslims; scholars and laymen alike? The answer, simply put, is that the Rose is a flower that has been granted nobility by Allah and His messengers, and particularly the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him). Dawud al-Antaki a 19th Century Doctor whose works suggest an esoteric tendency, writes in his renowned guide to medicine Tadhkirah Uwlil alBab:
“The Rose is the light of every plant… It has been said that it is the bush which Musa was addressed from, and is the bush which forms the foliage around Bayt al-Maqdis.”
However, far greater of a merit of the blessed Rose can be ascertained from the narrations relating to its noble origin. Al-Sakhawi records in his al-Maqasid al-Hasana that Abu al-Farj narrates on the authority of Anas Ibn Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said:
“When I was ascended with into the heavens, the earth cried after me and brought forth a hill by merit of its weeping. When I returned, a drop of my perspiration fell upon the ground and brought forth a red rose. Whoever wishes to smell my fragrance should smell a red rose.”
Abu al-Farj commented:
“Whatever has come by way of this narration is but a fraction of that which Allah ennobled His Prophet with, and it indicates upon his merit and the loftiness of his rank. Its meaning has been reported to us by several paths, yet we have presented but this one.”
Shaykh ‘Abd al-Haq Muhaddith al-Dehlawi states that the remarks of the Hadith scholars are true, yet the merit of the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) is a truth beyond all truths. It is for this reason, Imam Abu al-Farh Harwani (May the mercy of Allah be upon him) states that whatever has been mentioned in these narrations is but a droplet from the ocean of the merit of the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) which Allah bestowed upon him.
The narration of the Rose is but a drop from an ocean of magnificent realities which remind us that the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) is the source of all beauty and his beauty is the cure to all diseases. The rose which kindles love and grants life to bodies once dead, has only been granted the merit to do so because it is a gift from the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) to this earth. The rose which teaches man of grandeur and beauty only reflects but a fraction of the beauty of the blessed perspiration of the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him). Thus, the rose is not a universal symbol of love and beauty, but is a direct source for us to seek out a path towards his love and beauty, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.
”Of the fragrance of a rose red do our hearts forever keep
For the beauty of mercy manifest did the earth beneath us weep
Sanctified is the night when Jibril was the servant of his master
Forever we seek the beauty of al-Mustafa not only here but in the here after.”
A few words written in but a few moments, but written for the one for whom time itself is a slave.
Seeking the fragrance of the Beloved (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam).
By Ustadh Muhammad Danyaal
Seeker Of The Sacred Knowledge |