The Prophet as Universal Man [al-Insan al-Kamil]

Discussion in 'Seerat ar-Rasul' started by naqshbandijamaati, Jun 8, 2007.

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  1. Universal Man

    The Prophet, besides being the leader of men and
    the founder of a new civilization, is also the perfection of the human norm and the model
    for the spiritual life of Islam. He said 'I am a human being like you' [ana basharun
    mithlukum], to which Muslim sages over the ages have added, yes, but like a precious gem
    among stones [ka'l-yaqut bain al-hajar]. The profound symbolism contained in this saying
    is connected with the inner nature of the Prophet. All men in their purely human nature are
    like stones, opaque and heavy and a veil to the light that shines upon them.

    The Prophet
    also possesses this human nature outwardly. But inwardly he has become alchemically
    transmuted into a precious stone which, although still a stone, is transparent before the
    light and has lost its opacity. The Prophet is outwardly only a human being [bashar], but
    inwardly he is the full realization of manhood in its most universal sense. He is the
    Universal Man [al-insan al-kamil], the prototype of all of creation, the norm of all
    perfection, the first of all beings, the mirror in which God contemplates universal
    existence. He is inwardly identified with the Logos and the Divine Intellect.

    Islam considers all prophets as an aspect of the
    Universal Logos, which in its perspective is identified with the 'Reality of Muhammad'
    [al-haqiqat al-muhammadiyyah], which was the first of God's creation and through whom God
    sees all things. As the Muhammedan Reality the Prophet came before all the other prophets
    at the beginning of the prophetic cycle, an it is to this inner aspect of him as the Logos
    to which reference is made in the Hadith 'He [Muhammad] was prophet [th Logos] when Adam
    was still between water and clay.'

    So did the cycle of Prophecy begin with the
    Muhammedan Reality, with the inner reality of Muhammad, while it ended with the human
    manifestation of him. He thus is inwardly the beginning and outwardly the end of the
    prophetic cycle which he synthesizes and unifies in his being. Outwardly he is a human
    being and inwardly the Universal Man, the norm of all spiritual perfection.

    The Prophet possessed in himself that reality which
    later gained the technical name of Universal Man. But the 'named' was there long before
    this name was given to it.
    -from an article by SH Nasr


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