The Golden Pearls
This is the ad-Durr ‘n-Nadeer (the Golden Pearls) of Shaykh Ahmad ibn Ahmad ibn Ahmad ibn Umar ibn Muhammad Aqit at-Tinbukti as-Sanhaji al-Massini at-Takruri as-Sudani al-Maliki. He was born on the 21th of Dhu’l-Hijjah in the year 963 A.H., (the 26th of October, 1556) in the famous city of Tinbuktu, which was at that time the literary and cultural center of Islamic-Africa, and died in the year 1036 A.H. (22nd of April, 1627) at the age of 73.
The full name of the text is ad-Durru an-Nadeer Fi Kayfiyat as-Salaat `Ala as-Shafi` al-Basheer (The Golden Pearls Regarding the Methodology of Sending Blessings Upon the Mediating Bringer of Good News). This tex t although small is one of the best texts composed on the legal rulings of sending blessings upon the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, its diverse methodologies and its abundant merits. The Shaykh divided the text into an introduction, four chapters and a conclusion.In the beginning the Shaykh deposited the purpose, advantage and secret of the text which emphasizes the entire scope of the Spiritual Path. In this statement the Shaykh reveals that the act of sending blessings upon the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace is the ultimate cause for the creation of the cosmos and indeed the means by which existence unfolded from pure non-existence into its completion. It is as though the Shaykh is informing us that since Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace was the first light which was created and from which every created thing took its origin, then the Eternal Act of Allah sending blessing upon Muhammad, is in affect the creative act hidden between the letters kaaf and nuun when Allah ta`ala says to a thing: “Be and it is”.
The introduction to the Golden Pearls is very small and briefly discusses the causative factor behind the descent (sabab ‘n-nuzuul) of the Qur’anic verse regarding the legal judgment of sending blessings upon the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. It is safe to assume that the reason that the author did not cite the verse is because it is well known with those who have the least amount of knowledge in Islam. The verse in reference is the famous words of Allah ta`ala: “Verily Allah and His Angels send blessings upon the Prophet; O you who believe send blessings and peace upon him abundantly.”
The first chapter “On Some of What Has Been Narrated Regarding the Merits of Sendings Blessings Upon Him, may Allah bless him and grant him peace”. In it the shaykh narrates seven sound pro phetic traditions from sources like ad-Daylami, Abu Dawud, at-Tirmidhi, Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Ibn Abi Asim, Ibn Maja and others indicating the obligation, merits and advantages of sending blessings upon the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. These seven prophetic traditions act as the incentive for the text and is the legal motivation for a spiritual aspirant embarking on the important task of sending blessings upon the Best of Creation, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.
The second chapter “The Verified Prophetic Traditions Regarding the Methodology of Sending Blessings Upon Him, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and the Number of Their Expressions.” In this chapter the Shaykh narrates 32 sound and verified prophetic traditions with narrations going back to the two Shaykhs and others. In this chapter the Shaykh establishes the legal source for the methodology of sending blessings upon the Prophet, as he, may Allah bless him and grant him peace transmitted to us in his own words. These narrations are important because the expressions utilized in them are the same which every Muslim must use in the obligatory sunnan and superogatory prayers. These specific versions are called as-salaat al-ibrahimiyya (‘the Abrahamic salutations’), because they include in their expression the sending of blessings and peace upon Prophet, Ibrahim and the family of Ibrahim. It is the consensus of the scholars of Islam, that these are the best means of sending blessings upon the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.
The third chapter “What Has Been Narrated From the Historical Sources from the Companions and the Righteous Ancestors and Those After Them On the Methodology in This.” The Shaykh gives us narrations from the early community on the diverse means and ways of sending blessings upon the Prophet, may Allah bless hi m and grant him peace. In this chapter the Shaykh demonstrates that sending blessings upon the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace is not limited to those which were narrated by the Prophet to us, but that this form of drawing near to Allah ta`ala is as innumerous as the number of existing things, the extent of the Angels and as vast and immense as the very Essence of Allah ta`ala. This is so because, sending blessings upon the Prophet is an Eternal Act of Allah ta`ala, which has no beginning to it and no ending to it, which is then combined with the blessings and salutations of the Angels of the terrestrial, celestial, and divine realities with the immensity of their stations. When this is combined with the blessing and salutations given by a servant of Allah ta`ala whose heart has been transformed through spiritual struggle (mujaahida ) and has been given vast spiritual openings; there is no doubt that the sending of blessings upon the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace are as varied, diverse and unfathomable as the deep oceans and vast heavens.
The fourth chapter “Mentioning What Is Said About the Most Superior Methodology.” In this wonderful chapter, the Shaykh gives us thirteen golden pearls universally accepted as the most superior forms of sending blessings upon the Best of creation, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.
And finally, the Shaykh ends the ‘Golden Pearls’ with a conclusion, which is actually a wird taken from the renowned Shaykh Muhy ‘d-Deen Junayd al-Yemeni called Salaat al-`Ashir (The Ten Prayers). He titled it “mentioning of the Ten Prayers.” In it he said: “…whoever recites it necessitates for himself spir itual safety from the anger of Allah ta`ala; the descent of a succession of mercies; Divine protection from all evils; and the facilitating of all affairs.”
The fact that Shaykh Ahmadu Baba singled out Shaykh Muhy’d-Deen Junayd al-Yemeni for mentioning indicates the high status that this sage had among the servants of Allah at that time. It is well known that Shaykh Junayd al-Yemeni attained his spiritual stations solely through the persistent sending of blessings upon the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. Shaykh Ahmadu Baba concluded with a quote from Shaykh Junayd al-Yemeni who said: “It is essential to arrange these ten prayers by reciting them ten times every morning and evening. Whoever does so will obtain the Supreme Pleasure of Allah ta`ala and safety from His wrath.
The Sankore’ Institute of Islamic-African Studies International offers this text to all Muslims as a means to reconnect and return to the Source, whose Light existed before the creation and whose appearance is a mercy to all the worlds. May Allah ta`ala reward its author, Shaykh Ahmadu Baba, with the best that He rewards those who call people to send blessings upon our Beloved Messenger, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.
Shaykh Muhammad Shareef