The Fourth Heaven
This heaven is created of raw silver, or, according to a different narration, from white pearl. The name of this Heaven is Zahir. Its gate was of Light and the lock to the gate was of Light and written upon it were the words, ?La ilaha illallah, Muhammedur Rasulullah.? The angel guarding the gate to this Heaven was the angel Salsa?il. After we had knocked on the gate and had answered the same questions as before, we were admitted and the gates were opened to us. I beheld the angel in charge, Salsa?il. He was responsible for all that happened here. Under his command were four hundred thousand angels, and each one of these angels commanded another four hundred thousand angelic lieutenants. These angels praised the Lord in the following words:
Subhana khaliq-iz-zulumati wa-n-nur,
Subhana khaliq-ish-shamsi wa-l-qamar-il-munir,
(Praise be to the Creator of darkness and light,
Praise be to the Creator of the sun and the shining moon;
Praise be to the Highest of the High.)?
Among these angels I noticed a special group; some of them stood in Qiyam, some were prostrated in Sajda, their gaze unswerving from the place of their prostration, so rapt were they in devotion. Another party of those in Sajda were so entranced that they remained gazing at their noses. The Tasbih of these three groups of angels was this:
Subbuhun quddus, Rabbun-ar-Rahman-ar-Rahim
illadhi la ilaha illa huwa.
(Glorified be our Lord, the All-Holy, the All-Compassionate,
the All-Merciful, besides whom there is no other god.)?
I then asked Jibreel, ?Is this their form of worship?? Jibreel replied, ?Ever since they were created, they have remained in this pose of humility. Make supplication for your nation that they, too, might be given this form of worship.? I prayed and asked this for my nation, and my nation, too, was given this attitude of humility during their prayer.?
?Then I met the Prophets Idris and Nuh. I gave them Salams and they replied reverentially, saying, ?Greetings to you, oh righteous brother, oh righteous Prophet of Allah (Sal)!? and they gave me glad tidings of many good things to come. This was the Tasbih of Idris:
Subhana-lladhi ?ala fa la yablughu ?uluwwahu ahad.
(Glorified be He who answers those who ask of Him,
Praised be He who constrains the tyrants,
Praised be He whose lofty height none can reach but He.)?
The Tasbih of the Prophet Nuh was this:
(Glory be to God, the Living and Gentle,
Glory to God, the True and Munificent,
Glory to God, the Powerful and Wise.)?
Thereafter, I saw Maryam, the mother of Isa, and the mother of Musa, Buhayyid, and the wife of Fir awn, Asiya may Allah be well pleased with them. They all came to greet me. Maryam, the mother of Isa, had seventy thousand mansions, all made of white pearls. The mother of Musa had seventy thousand mansions all made of green emeralds. Finally, Asiya had seventy thousand mansions made of red corals.?
?After this, I came to a great sea the water of which was white with snow. ?What sea is this?? I asked. Jibreel told me, ?This sea is called the ?Sea of Snow?.? After we had passed by there, we came to the sun.?
According to one narration, the size of the sun was one hundred and sixty times the size of the earth. According to Ibn ?Abbas, the sun is as great as a distance of seventy years? wayfaring.
After Allah Almighty had created the Sun, He created a boat of pure gold in which He placed a throne of red ruby. This throne stands on three hundred and sixty legs and an angel holds on to each one of them. In this way they place the Sun in this boat and every day three hundred and sixty angels guide the sun-boat from east to west, and every night they guide it back from west to east. Then these angels engage in worship and the following day, another three hundred sixty angels come and perform this duty, and so it will go on until the Day of Resurrection. Every group of angels will only perform this duty once. In the Holy Qur?an this verse refers to the movement of the sun:
And the sun ? it runs to a fixed resting-place;
that is the ordaining of the All-Mighty, All-Knowing.?
(Ya Sin, 38)
The learned commentators, may Allah have Mercy on them, have said that the sun comes to rest beneath the Divine Throne. The angels take the sun to its place beneath the Throne every night where it bows and prostrates itself before the Almighty Lord. Thus it will continue until the Day of Judgement is nigh. Then a Divine Command will be heard, ?Let the Sun stop in the west, and let it rise from there!
(A detailed interpretation of this vision is given in the work entitled ?Ara?is-i-Salabi?.)
Thereafter, Jibreel intoned the Adhan and Iqama, and I led all the angels and inhabitants of the fourth heaven in a prayer of two Rak?ats. Then we proceeded to ascend to
The Fifth Heaven.
Allah Almighty created this heaven from red gold and its name is Safiya. The keeper of the gate is called Kalqa?il. As before, we requested entry at its gates. After a set exchange of certain questions and answers, the gates opened and we entered. Upon entering, I beheld the guardian of this heaven seated upon a throne of light. I greeted him, and he returned my Salams with much respectfulness. Five hundred thousand angels are at his service, and each one of these has another five hundred thousand attendants at his disposal. They are constantly engaged in glorification of the Lord, and their Tasbih is this:
Quddusun quddus Rabb-ul-arbab,
Quddusun Rabb-ul-malaikati wa-r-ruh
(Holy, Holy, the Lord of All Lords!
Glory to our Lord, the Lofty, the Majestic!
All-Holy the Lord of the angels and the spirit.)?
Having passed by these angels, I came upon another flock, and Allah alone knows their number. These were seated in an attitude of perfect devotion in the posture of Qa?da, never raising their gaze from their knees as they recited this Tasbih:
Subhana-l-?adl illadhi la yajur.
(Praise be to the Possessor of Greatest Grace.
Praise be to the Perfectly Just One who wrongs none.)?
I turned to Jibreel and asked, ?Is that their form of worship?? He replied, ?Yes, since the day they were created, they have busied themselves with their devotion. Entreat your Lord that He might grant your nation this form of worship as well.? I prayed for this and the Qa?da (kneeling position) was thus included in our ritual prayer.?
?We passed on and met the Prophets Isma?il, Ishaq, Ya?qub, Lut and Harun. I gave them my greetings and they replied, ?Welcome to you, oh righteous son, our upright brother and truthful Prophet!? They greeted me with full honours and and gave good tidings of great good things to be.
?Their glorification was the following:
Subhana man la yasifu-l-wasifuna ?azhmatahu wa muntahahu
Subhana man hada?at lahu-r-riqab wa dhallat lahu-s-sifaq.
(Glory to Him before the Extremity of whose Majesty all attempts
at description must pale,
Glory to Him before whom princes bow their heads and the
brazen are humbled).?
Having passed by, we came to a sea the expanse of which is known to Allah Almighty alone, and no but He can say aught about it. I asked, ?What is this sea?? Jibreel answered, ?This sea is called the ?Bahru-n-Niqam?, the Sea of Vengeance. From here descended the waters of the flood of Nuh.?
We passed on and Jibreel called the Adhan and the Iqama, and I led all the inhabitants and angels of the fifth heaven in a prayer of two Rak?ats. After this we ascended to
The Sixth Heaven
Allah Almighty has created this heaven from a yellow gem and has called it Khalisa. Its guardian is Samkha?il. We came to its gates and requested their opening; the customary question and answering took place and the gates opened for us. As we entered, I beheld the angel Samkha?il. He had six hundred thousand angels at his command, and each of these had another six hundred thousand helpers under him. All were engaged in glorification of the Lord, chanting these words:
Subhana-lladhi huwa ilahu man fi-s-samawati wa ilahu man fi-l-ard.
(Glory be to the Munificent, Glory to the Unmistakable Light,
Glory to Him who is God of all that is in the heavens and on the earth.)?
I greeted the angel Samkha?il and he returned my greetings with full appreciation and ceremony. Then he made this supplication: ?May the Almighty bless your good works, your works of sanctity and the light within your heart!? to which I rejoined, ?Amin!
Then we passed on until we came upon a group of angels who are called the Cherubim (Karubiyun). Only Allah knows their number. Their chief is a great angel who is given seventy thousand angels in attendance. Each of these helpers had another seventy thousand angels to serve him. With loud voices, they are continuously chanting Tasbih and Tahlil. Passing by them, I met my brother, the Prophet Musa. I greeted him and he rose in response and kissed me between the eyes. Then he spoke and said, ?Praise be to Allah who has sent you and shown you to me. The Lord has given me tidings of the great miracles about to be performed. Tonight, you are to be honoured by meeting and conversing with the Lord of the Universe. However, do not forget your weak nation. Whatever bliss you are granted, ask also of it for your nation. Should anything be made obligatory on them, ask for it to be reduced to a minimum.
The glorification of Musa was this:
Subhana-l-Hadi man yasha?u. Subhana-l-Mudillu man yasha?u;
(Glory be to Him who leads to righteousness whomsoever He will;
Glory to Him who leads astray whom He will;
Glory to the All-Forgiving, the All-Merciful.)?
As we took leave of Musa, he began to weep. I asked him why he wept, and he said, ?I weep because a Prophet has appeared after me who will lead many more people of his nation into paradise than I will lead of mine.
Passing on, we reached the angel Mikha?il who was seated upon a tremendous throne. In front of him was a great set of scales. Each scale of the balance was so great that it might have contained all the heavens and earths. A great many scrolls of paper were stacked in front of him. I went up to him and gave him my Salams. He received my greetings and rose to greet me in return. Then he made this supplication on my behalf: ?May Allah increase your powers of sanctity and your bliss,? to which I replied, ?Amin!? He then gave me these joyous tidings, ?No nation has ever before received such goodness and munificence as the blessings with which your nation will be favoured. Therefore their scales weigh heavier than those of all other nations. Happy is the man who follows you with love, and woe upon the man who turns against you and rebels.
There were so many angels surrounding Mikha?il that Allah alone can know their number. They all spoke to me and said, We are all subservient to your command, and we constantly recite Salawat upon you. From twenty-five thousand years before the creation of Adam until this very moment, there has been one particular angel responsible for the delivery of every single drop of rain or snow. For all the growing plants and fruits and crops, there is an angel assigned to every single one of them, and he performs his duty perfectly. Having performed his duty once, he does not repeat his chore again until the Day of Judgement. From this you can gauge the immense number of angels that are created.?
The Tasbih of these angels is this:
Subhana Rabbi kulli mu?minin wa kafirin,
Subhana man tada?u min haybatihi ma fi butuniha-l-hawamil.
(Glory be to the Lord of every believer and every infidel;
Glory to Him, from awe of whom pregnant women bring forth what is in their wombs.)?
The glorification of the angel Mikha?il is this:
(Glory be to the Highest Lord)?
According to one narration he (Sal) is to have said: ?If a person perseveres along his life in reciting this Tasbih, ?Subhana Rabbi-l-?Ala?, when his time to die has come, the angel Mikha?il will send the Angel of Mercy to him with a gift. He who is visited in his grave by the Angel of Mercy is made safe from the punishment of the grave.?
On account of this vision, the Holy Prophet (Sal) included this Tasbih in his Sunna, since Muslims recite this phrase in every Sajda, so that they may ultimately reach to this felicity.
The Holy Prophet (Sal) then continued:
After this we reached a luminous green sea where there was a multitude of angels – Allah Almighty alone knows their number ? and their Tasbih was this:
(Glory be to the Mighty, the All-Powerful;
Glory to the Most Generous of the Generous,
Glory to the Glorious, the Illustrious.)?
I then asked, ?What sea is this?? and Jibreel told me, ?The name of this sea is ?Bahr-ul-Akhdar?, the Green Sea.? Then Jibreel recited the Adhan and Iqama, and I led the angels and inhabitants of the sixth heaven in a prayer of two Rak?ats. Then we rose up to
The Seventh Heaven
This Heaven Allah Almighty has created from Light. Its name is Ghariba and the name of its guardian angel is Afra?il. Jibreel requested entry at the keeper of the gates as he had done before, and after a succession of questions and answers, the gates swung open and we were admitted. I beheld Afra?il and the seven hundred thousand angels under his command. Each one of these had in turn seven hundred thousand helpers, and their glorification was this:
Subhana-lladhi sataha-s-samawati wa rafa?aha,
Subhana-lladhi basata-l-arda wa farashaha,
Subhana-lladhi atla?a-l-kawakiba wa azharaha,
Subhana-lladhi arsa-l-jibala wa haya?ha.
(Glory be to Him who has fashioned the skies as a roof and raised them aloft;
Glory to Him who has flattened the earth and fitted it accordingly;
Glory to Him who brought forth the stars and made them to be adornments;
Glory to Him who has set up the mountains and fixed them in their places.)?
I greeted Afra?il and he received my greetings with pleasure. He gave me glad tidings of many spiritual gifts of grace and much reward for accepted good works.?
Above the gate to this heaven were written these words: La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammed-ur-Rasulullah, wa Abu Bakr as-Siddiq.
There I beheld an angel whose head was at a level with the Throne, while his feet were placed firmly on the earth. He was so great that he might have swallowed up all the seven layers of heaven with one gulp, had Allah Almighty permitted him to do so. The Tasbih of this tremendous angel was this:
Subhana-l-muhtajibi bi jalalihi,
Subhana-l-musawwiri fi-l-arhami ma yasha?u.
(Glory be to Him who is veiled by His Majesty,
Glory be to Him who forms in the womb
Whatever He wills.)?
Then I saw an angel with seven hundred thousand heads, and each of these heads bore seven hundred thousand faces. On every single face there were seven hundred thousand mouths, and in every single mouth there were seven hundred thousand tongues and with each tongue he speaks seven hundred thousand different languages. This angel also has seven hundred thousand wings. Every day, this angel plunges seven hundred times into the Ocean of Light, which is in Paradise, and each time he comes up out of the water, he shakes himself. From every drop of light that flies off him, the Almighty creates an angel, which glorifies the Lord as follows:
Subhanaka ma ?azhama sha?nuka,
Subhanaka ma ?azhama makanuka,
Subhanaka sayyidi ma arhamaka bi khalqika.
(Be Thou glorified, how immense is Thy dignity!
Glory be to Thee, how high is Thy station!
Glory to Thee, my Lord, how great Thy Mercy
on Thine creation!)?
After passing by this one, I beheld another angel, seated upon a throne. His head was beneath the Divine Throne, and his feet reached to the bottom of the earth. He was so great, that he could have swallowed up the world and what is within it in a single gulp. The tip of one of his wings touched the west, whereas the other touched to the east. Seven hundred thousand angels were at his service, and each one of these commanded another seven hundred thousand angels. ?Who is this?? I asked the angel Jibreel. ?This is Israfil,? he told me. I went up to him and gave him Salams and he received them well and gave me great good tidings. His Tasbih was this:
Subhana-l-muhtajibi ?an khalqihi,
Subhana Rabbina wa ta?ala.
(Glory be to Him, the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing,
Glory be to Him who is veiled from His Creation,
Glorified and exalted be He, our Lord Almighty.)?
After this, I came upon a person all drowned in Light. He was seated upon a throne in an attitude of awesome dignity, and before him was a multitude of little children. I asked Jibreel who was this person of such light, majesty and awe, and who were all the children with him. The angel answered me, ?This is your great grandfather Ibrahim. He loves you and the entire nation that believes in you. He once prayed to the Lord of the Worlds that he might be of service to your nation, and the Lord heard his supplication. He gave him all these little children who are the little boys and girls from your nation who die before reaching adulthood. Allah Almighty has entrusted Ibrahim with their upbringing and education. Until the Day of Judgement, he will be instructing them in proper behavior and training their minds in the useful sciences. After having perfected their schooling, on the Day of Gathering he will lead them forth and bring them to the site of Resurrection. There, before the Lord?s Holy Presence, he will entreat Him with these words: ?Oh my Lord, here are the youngsters of the nation of Your Beloved Muhammed (Sal) who died before reaching the age of maturity. According to Your order and command, I have taught and trained them in all useful branches of knowledge, and brought them before Thy Majestic Throne. Thine is all kindness, favour and grace.?
At this invocation, the Almighty Lord will reply with the full glory of His Majesty, ?Oh children, go and enter the Gardens of Paradise.? Thereupon, these children will reply, ?Oh our Lord, by Thy Grace and Thy Munificence, let our parents go with us!? The Almighty Lord will again direct His Divine Speech at them, and say, ?You have nothing to answer for, go and enter into Paradise forthwith; as for your parents, they are accountable and there are things they have to answer for.? Again, these children entreat the Lord, ?During their lives in the material world, we caused them sorrow through our absence; now, by the vastness of Thine Mercy which floods the universal expanse, let us be the cause of happiness for them.? Upon this plea, the All-Merciful and Benificent Lord accepts the childrens? supplications and addresses them, saying, ?Go then and take from the wine of the spring of Kawthar and give your parents to drink therefrom.?
Thereafter, Jibreel turned to me and said, ?Go ahead and give Salams to Ibrahim.? I stepped forth and greeted him, whereupon he honoured me and received me well. Then he spoke to me, saying, ?Welcome to you, oh virtuous son and righteous Prophet! Tonight you are to be honoured in that you will witness the splendor of the Lord of the Universe, and you will be admitted to behold all manner of sacred displays. As for your nation, it is the last of all nations and it will be a very weak nation, so do not neglect to intercede with your Lord on their behalf.?
And he continued, ?Oh Muhammed (Sal)! Give Salams to your nation from me and convey to them my advice: the World (dunya) is of a passing nature and rapid in its decline. In the eyes of the Eternal Lord it is but base and contemptible matter. He attributes to it not even the value of a fly?s wing. Tell them not to waste their lives in the pursuit of its vain beauties, its pomp and palaces; not to be deceived by its many and varied tastes, by promises of grandeur and large followings. For it is the world to come, which is lasting, and eternal. Therefore, let them busy themselves in following the pure ways of the Shari?a (Divine Law) by night and by day, and the guidance contained in your Sunna (practice of the Prophet (Sal)) and thereby gain the good pleasure of the Almighty Lord. The Gardens of Paradise are vast, so let them plant there many, many trees.?
I asked him then, ?How does one plant a tree in the Janna?? He replied, ?Through the recital of this Tasbih:
wa la ilaha ill-Allahu wallahu akbar,
wa la hawla wa la quwwata illa billahi-l-aliyyi-l-azhim.
(Glory be to Allah and Praise,
none is worthy of worship but Allah alone,
and Allah is Mosty Great!
There is no Might and no Power save with Allah,
the Exalted, Majestic.)?
Tell them to recite this Du?a (prayer), for each time they recite it, a tree is planted in Paradise.?
Then Jibreel called the Adhan to prayer and made Iqama; I then led the angels and the inhabitants of the seventh heaven in a prayer of two Rak?ats, then we ascended to
The Bayt-ul-Ma-mur (The Heavenly House)
This is a highly revered building in the seventh heaven. It is of the same size as the revered Kaaba, which stands upon the earth and it is situated right above it. Were it to be let down from the Heavens, it would land right on top of the Ka?aba. Allah has created it from red ruby stone and given it two doors made from green emerald. Ten thousand lamps of pure gold illuminate it and it has a minaret of pure silver, which has a height of five hundred years travelling. At the door of this building there is a Minbar (a pulpit), and every day since their creation up until the Last Day, seventy thousand angels come here to visit this house. In front of it there is a sea of light in which they first bathe, then take thereof a veil of light each and wrap it around themselves. This is their Ihram (ceremonial clothing of the pilgrimage). Then they begin to circumambulate the Heavenly House in Ihram, calling out Labbayk (At Your service!), as the pilgrims do on earth. Having once completed their Tawaf (circumambulation), these angels do not return a second time until the Day of Judgement, and it is only the angels of the seventh heaven who go there at all. Jibreel then took me by the hand and we went inside. He said to me, Oh Rasulullah (Sal), do lead us here in prayer too!? Then he called the Adhan, and all the inhabitants of the seven heavens now followed as I led them in a prayer of two Rak?ats. When I beheld the immense multitude, it came to my mind, Oh if only my nation were granted such a communal prayer.? Thereupon, the Lord who knows all hidden thoughts realized my secret wish in that He commanded, Oh Muhammed (Sal)! Your nation will be granted such a communal prayer: it will be on a Friday, and it will be obligatory.
It is written in some of the books of admonition:
Every Friday the great angels assemble round the Holy House. Jibreel calls the Adhan and Israfil delivers the Khutba (sermon) while Mikha?il leads the prayer as Imam. All the angels of the seven heavens follow his lead. After the Jum?a prayer is complete, Jibreel addresses the gathering as follows, ?Oh gathering of angels, bear witness that I pass on the reward for this Adhan to the Muadhdhins of the nation of Muhammed (Sal)!? Then Israfil rises and says, ?Oh ye angels! Bear witness that I donate the reward for this Khutba to all the Khatibs of the nation of Muhammed (Sal)!? Then Mikha?il steps forth and says, ?Oh angels, I too have made over the merit of leading this prayer to the Imams of the nation of Muhammed(Sal)!?
All the angels then present the merit for their prayer to those of the nation of Muhammed (Sal) who have prayed the Jum?a prayer. Then there comes a call from the Highest Lord, saying, ?Oh Angels of Mine! Do you seek to outdo Me in generosity, whereas I am He who created all Generosity and Munificence! Hear then My Decree: whoever honours the day of Jum?a from among the nation of Muhammed (Sal), man or woman alike, I will forgive them their sins and free them from the torments of Hell!?
Thus He Almighty grants us His Grace and Mercy. Oh Allah, make us also recipients of Your Munificence and ease our way to reach such a degree of merit, for the honour of the Trusted Prophet Muhammed (Sal), oh Most Merciful of the Merciful, Amin!
Then,? continued the Holy Prophet (Sal), ?we proceeded to ascend to
Concerning the ?Sidrat-ul-Muhtaha?, the learned ?Ulama have proffered various differing opinions, particularly with regard to the name itself. Ibn ?Abbas relates: ?It is called ?Sidrat-ul-Muntaha? (the lotus tree of the extreme limit) because it is the end of all that is knowable, and nobody can know what is beyond it.?
Some others have explained: ?Whoever comes from above, arrives here and cannot pass on further down. Whoever comes from below, reaches this point and cannot ascend further. Therefore it is called by this name.?
Yet others try to explain it in this way: ?The world of spirits ends at this point, therefore it is called the lote tree of the extreme limit.?
Ibn ?Abbas tells us: ?It is a tree which is made all of gold. Some of its boughs are made of emerald, some are of ruby. The tree measures a distance of one hundred and fifty years from its foot to its top. Its leaves resemble the ears of the elephant, and they are very great: a single one of them would cover the entire world. Its fruits are shaped like water jugs. The whole tree is engulfed by light.?
The Holy Prophet (Sal) continues:
?Upon this tree I saw such a number of angels that only Allah Almighty can know. They enfolded all the leaves of that tree and glittered like locusts, flashing like stars.?
This holy verse was revealed concerning this vision:
Indeed, he saw him another time
by the Lote-Tree of the Boundary
nigh which is the Garden of the Refuge,
when there covered the Lote-Tree that which covered;
his eye swerved not, nor swept astray.
Indeed he saw one of the greatest signs of his Lord.
(The Star, 12)
The commentators interpret this verse as meaning that the whole tree was surrounded and embraced by the multitude of angels upon it. It is related that there were as many angels upon the leaves of that tree as there are stars in the sky and grains of sand in the earth. Some angels took the form of golden butterflies. All of them came to greet the Prophet of Allah (Sal), and when they beheld his saintly beauty, they all gave thanks to the Lord and gave to him the assurance of Allah?s Mercy. They also made over all the merit of their devotional actions to the nation of Muhammed (Sal).
Jibreel, too, had his place upon the branches of this tree, and his was a branch made of green emerald. It was at a height of one hundred thousand years of journeying. There is a leaf there, the breadth of which is that of the seven layers of the heavens and the seven beds of the earth. Upon it there is a carpet spread of light, and on it there is a Mihrab made of red ruby. This Mihrab is the place of the Angel Jibreel. Before it was placed a seat of honour reserved for the Holy Prophet (Sal) upon which no one had sat since the day it was set in place.
The Holy Prophet?s (Sal) narration continues:
Jibreel then led me along and sat me upon that seat of honour. I saw that other seats had been placed alongside. Before it there were ten thousand such seats, and upon them sat angels who were writing the Torah. Each seat was surrounded by forty thousand other seats upon which angels sat reciting the Torah. To the right there were ten thousand stools made of green emerald. Angels sat upon them, busied with the writing of the Injil. Each of these was surrounded by forty thousand stools upon which angels sat reciting the Injil. To the left there were also ten thousand stools made of beryl, and the angels seated upon them were writing out the Zabur. Forty thousand other angels reciting the Zabur surrounded each seat. Behind us there were again ten thousand stools of red ruby. The angels seated on these were writing out the Holy Qur?an, and around each stool there were seated another forty thousand angels reciting the Holy Qur?an.?
This has been explained as follows:
The wisdom of the Torah being placed before Muhammed (Sal), the Injil to his right, and the Zabur to his left is this: before the Holy Prophet (Sal), the Choice of all Humankind, had yet appeared in the world and begun fulfilling his mission, those Holy Scriptures had already been revealed. All of them contained descriptions of the Prophet to come and told of his characteristics and excellence, and of the pre-eminent position of his nation among all other, previous nations. The Holy Qur?an was placed behind him because its Judgement is to remain valid and unsurpassed until the Day of Judgement, and even the Day of Judgement would be conducted by its rulings. It is a sign of its remaining free and safe from abrogation, substitution, alteration or corruption.
The Holy Prophet (Sal) continues:
Jibreel then said to me, ?Oh Rasulullah (Sal), I have a request to make of you: that you would deign to pray two Rak?ats here, so that my Maqam might gain blessings from it.?
I therefore prayed a prayer of two Rak?ats there and all the angels of the Holy House and the Sidrat-ul-Muntaha followed suit.?
In this way the Holy Prophet (Sal) was shown to be even more honoured than the angels.
The Four Streams of Paradise
Rasulullah (Sal) continues his account:
Below this tree there flowed four streams, two of which were evident and two of which were hidden. Jibreel told me, ?The two hidden streams flow into the gardens of paradise, while the two visible ones flow down to the Earth. One of them is the Euphrates, the other is the Nile.? Then I beheld another stream, by the banks of which tents had been set up that were of ruby, pearls and chrysolite. By their banks flew birds of emerald green whose necks resembled the necks of camels. Jibreel then said to me, ?What you see here is the spring of Kawthar. Allah Almighty has made you a gift of it.?
As it is written in the Holy Qur?an,
Surely, We have given thee abundance(=Kawthar);
so pray unto thy Lord and sacrifice.
Surely he that hates thee, he is the one cut off.
This stream flowed along over pebbles of rubies and emerald and its waters were whiter than milk. I took up a cup and drank from it. Its taste was sweeter than honey, and its scent more pleasing than musk. A spring gushed forth beneath that tree. Jibreel told me its name: Salsabil. It was the source of two waters, one is Kawthar (Abundance), the other is Rahma (Mercy). Both streams flow before the gates of the Garden. Those entering into Paradise drink from the waters of Kawthar, and when they do so, all the calamities of the heart, base character and bad habits disappear and they become cleansed. Then they bathe in the spring of Rahma (Mercy). The men assume the dimensions of Adam, who measured sixty yards in height and seven yards in breadth. They will all be thirty-three years of age and will have green moustaches. As for the ladies, they will emerge as virgin girls of eighteen and their virginity will not be rent. Thus they will enter into Paradise, and never again will they age and become old. The spring of Salsabil is the source of these waters.?
Then I saw groups of angels passing in rows before the Sidra, and their rows were joined together. They formed such long formations, that were a bird of swiftest flight to fly along it for a hundred years, he would not reach its other end. They moved faster than the wind, as swiftly as the arrow flies. I then asked Jibreel, ?Whence comes this great multitude of angels, and whither are they going? And when did they begin their passage?? Jibreel explained to me, saying, ?They have been passing by since the time they were created, ceaselessly in passage. I know not whence they come nor whither they are going.? I marveled at their great number, remarking on it under my breath. Instantly this verse was revealed to me through Jibreel:
....and none knows the hosts of thy Lord but He.
Then they brought before me three bowls; one containing wine, one containing honey and a third containing milk. I chose the one with milk and drank from it. Jibreel then said to me, ?You have chosen the natural disposition of Islam and your nation will be firmly established in the religion of Islam. Had you chosen the cup of wine, your nation would have been a rebellious and fickle one.?
I saw an angel at the Sidra greater than all the other angels I had seen. He measured a thousand times thousand years wayfaring distance. This angel had seventy thousand heads. Every head had seventy thousand faces. On every face there were seventy thousand mouths. And each head was covered with seventy thousand cloths. Each one of these coverings was embellished with one thousand times thousand pearls. Each of these pearls was so great that there appeared a sea in its midst in which fish were swimming. Upon their backs was written the Kalimat-ut-Tawhid, the Declaration of Unity: LA ILAHA ILLALLAH, MUHAMMEDUR RASULULLAH.
This angel engaged in exaltation of the Lord, placing one hand upon his head and one hand behind his back. The beauty of his voice was such that it caused a commotion at the Divine Throne itself. I asked Jibreel to tell me who that angel was and he said, ?The Lord Almighty created this angel two thousand years before He created Adam.? I then asked where he had been all this time and where was his place of dwelling. Jibreel replied, ?In Paradise there is a place to the right of the Divine Throne, that is the abode of this angel. From there he was brought here.?
Ramadan, the Blessed
I went up to him and greeted him and he rose in answer to my Salams. Then he spread his wings, and all the heavens and the Earth were covered by their expanse. He then kissed my face and said, ?Good tidings to you, and to your nation! The Lord Almighty has decreed that your nation might have a singularly blessed month so that He might forgive them their sins. This holy month is the month of Ramadan and it is meant as a gift for you and your nation. For its sake your nation will find forgiveness. I have been sent here this very night to announce to you this great gladness.? Then I saw two boxes standing before him. On each of them there was a key of light. I asked that angel what was inside of those boxes. He told me, ?In one of these boxes there are the letters of release from Hellfire for those among your nation who fast the whole month of Ramadan until the new moon, uptil the Day of Judgement.
According to a different narration, the angel is to have said, ?Every day of Ramadan, at the time of Iftar (the breaking of the fast), the Lord Almighty frees from Hellfire six hundred thousand of His servants who have fasted. When Jum?a (Friday) has come, He frees six hundred thousand prisoners every hour for twenty-four hours from Hellfire until the Night of Power has come. On that blessed night, that is to say, during the twenty-four hours making up that night and day, at the beginning of every hour the Lord frees from Hell as many of His servants as He has freed since the beginning of the holy month, including the Jum?a days. The last day of Ramadan, at the time of Iftar (the breaking of the fast), the Lord sets free as many of His servants as He has freed during the whole month, including the Jum?a days and the Night of Power.?
The Holy Prophet (Sal) continues:
The angel told me that the other box contained this precious gift: ?On the Day of Judgement, seventy thousand persons of your nation will be granted entry into Paradise without questioning or reckoning. Their release certificates are contained in this box. In addition to these seventy thousand, each one of them will be granted the release of another seventy thousand from among his friends and relations and other disobedient Muslims. They, too, will be released without reckoning and granted accession to the heavenly gardens. This box contains the letters of release for all of them. Tuba, glad tidings to you and your nation, oh Rasulullah (Sal)!
By the term Tuba he meant to say, ?Oh Rasulullah (Sal), among all the countless and unbounded pleasures of the People of Paradise, the delights of the Tuba tree are reserved for you and your nation.?
This expression is a metaphoric one; the part signifies the whole, and speaking about the Tuba tree, signifies the totality of delights in the entire heavenly realm. In the sense mentioned above, Tuba signifies a tree in Paradise. However, the word tuba is also (grammatically) the feminine form of the word ?atyab?, (which means better, more excellent). This can be interpreted as follows: I give tidings of gladness to you and your nation; those who pass their days in the world in a good way and spend their time in a commendable fashion, who perform good works all their lives, and when they reach the end of their days will return their trusts in the light of faith, uttering the words of unity; whose questioning in the grave by the angels Munkar and Nakir will be made easy and whose graves will resemble a Garden of Paradise in which they will be at ease; who on the Day of Gathering will be gathered under the Banner of Praise and who will receive many gratifications under the shadow of the Great Throne; who will be given their book of accounts into their right hand and whose reckoning will be light; who will cross the bridge of the Sirat along with those who are the first to cross it, and who will by the Grace of Allah be of those who enter Paradise freely, without questioning or Judgement; who will be granted the sweetest of all bliss in being privileged to gaze upon the Divine Beauty of the Lord and thus will have attained their ultimate desire ? these are the tidings I give to you and your nation, oh Muhammed (Sal).
The Holy Prophet?s (Sal) report goes on:
I then beheld another angel who had the shape and form of a rooster and was created from white pearls. This angel had seventy thousand wings to his left and seventy thousand wings to his right. On each wing there were seventy thousand feathers made of pearls, and seventy thousand feathers made of rubies, and seventy thousand feathers of red gold, and seventy thousand feathers of silver, and seventy thousand feathers of pure musk, and seventy thousand feathers made of camphor, and seventy thousand feathers of ambergris, and seventy thousand feathers made of saffron. He reached in height from the Throne to the lowest of the seven layers of the earth. On each one of his wings were written these words:
La ilaha ill?Allah, Muhammedun Rasulullah.
Kullu shay?in halikun illa wajhahu, al-Wahid ul-Qahhar.
(In the Name of Allah, the All-Merciful, the All Compassionate. There is no God but Allah, Muhammed is Allah?s Messenger.
All must perish save His Divine Countenance,
He who is One, the All-Vanquishing.)?
At every prayertime, this angel would raise his head and repeat the glorification:
Bismillahi-l-?azhim wa bi-hamdihi
(In the Name of Allah, the Mighty and in Praise of Him.)?
His Tasbih was thus:
Subhanaka, ma a?zhama sha?nuka.
(Praise be to Thee, how great is Thy Glory!)?
After this, he would flap his wings together, and as he did this, wondrous sounds issue forth from this flapping. When these tones reach the Paradise Gardens, the boughs of the trees of Paradise would bend and sway against each other, and it would carry on to the ruby and garnet domes of Paradise which resound with melodious echo. These tones rouse the Huris and Ghilman of Paradise, and they say to each other, ?Good news! The time for prayer has come to the nation of Muhammed (Sal)!? Then, this great angel begins to move and his movement makes the Throne tremble. The Lord then asks him, ?What makes you tremble?? and the angel answers Him, ?Oh my Lord, the nation of Muhammed (Sal) has risen for prayer, and yet there are among them such a great number of sinners. Therefore I tremble.? The Lord thereupon says, ?Oh angel, be unperturbed! I am obliged to dispense of My Mercy upon those who pray. Witness that I train upon them the Gaze of Mercy and that I have forgiven them. I have freed them from Hellfire, for the honour of My Beloved, I have granted them dwelling in the Paradise of Mawa.? Thus the Lord proclaims His great Kindness and Munificence.?
The Angel Jibreel’s Appearance
Here, too, I beheld the angel Jibreel in his very own shape and form. He had six hundred wings, which were made of various kinds of jewels and pearls. Whenever he would open up a pair of these wings. They filled all the space between east and west. The wings were embellished by all sorts of precious stones. It would have taken a swift-flying bird five hundred, or according to other sources, seven hundred years to measure the distance from one shoulder to the other.?
Then we came to an open space from where we could hear the sounds of the writing of the Divine Pen. I said to Jibreel, Go ahead, but Jibreel answered, ?You go ahead, for in the eyes of Allah you are more honoured than I and all the world. I then passed on ahead of him and Jibreel went behind me. We came unto a veil of gold. Jibreel shook the veil and a voice was heard from behind it, saying, Who are you? Jibreel answered, I am Jibreel, and Muhammed (Sal) is with me. From within the veil this angel intoned: ?Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar. From behind the curtain came a voice which said, My servant has spoken truly, I am indeed the Greatest, no Greatness is due to any but Me. Then the angel called, Ash-hadu an la ilaha illAllah. Again there was a call, My servant has spoken truly, Ana la ilaha illa ana, I am He beside whom there is no other God.? The angel repeated the words of the Shahada, Ash-hadu anna Muhammedan Rasulullah, I bear witness that Muhammed (Sal) is the Prophet of Allah. Again there was a call, My servant has spoken truly, I have sent Muhammed (Sal) as My Messenger-Prophet.? Then I heard the angel say, Hayy ala-s-sala, Hayy ala-l-falah. Another call was heard, My servant has spoken truly; he calls My servants to come to Me, worshipful. I have invited them to My gate, and whoever answers My invitation, will be saved and meet with success. Thereafter I heard the angel say, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar. Another call came, ?My servant has spoken the Truth: Ana Akbar, I am the Greatest. The angel then said, La ilaha illAllah?. A call came, saying, ?My servant has spoken truly, there is no God but I.?
Then I heard another call, ?Oh Muhammed (Sal), Allah has honoured you with perfect honour over all those who went before you and who are yet to come.? I then asked Jibreel, ?Who is this angel?? Jibreel told me, ?I swear by the Might and Glory of Allah who has sent you as His Messenger of Truth: I have never seen this angel, I do not know who he is or anything about him, but you are now about to find out.? I then asked, ?Are you not going any further then? Does a true friend leave his friend in midstream?? Jibreel then said, ?Oh Rasulullah (Sal), every angel has his place and station beyond which he cannot go. If I advance even the breadth of a finger, the Wrath of Allah will burn me. My ultimate station is the Sidratu-l-Muntaha. Up to this very moment, I have never gone as far as this point. For your sake and honour, however, I have been given permission, and I have brought you here. But I can proceed no further than this.?
Then I asked, ?Is there anything you request of the Lord Almighty? If there is anything you desire, I will ask it of Him.? Jibreel answered, ?My request of the Lord is that He permit me, when your nation is ordered to march across the Bridge of the Sirat, to spread my wing across that bridge and assist them in crossing it in safety in this way.?
Then an angel stretched forth his hand from behind the veil, and in less time than the blinking of an eye, he pulled me through to the farther side. Then he said to me, ?Oh Rasulullah (Sal), proceed ahead of me.? In a short while, he had brought me before a curtain of pearls. When he stirred the curtain, an angel?s voice was heard from behind it, asking, ?Who is this?? The angel accompanying me said, ?I am the angel of the golden curtain and with me is the most-honoured Prophet of the Lord.? The angel behind the veil then said, ?Allahu Akbar? and, stretching out his hand from behind the veil, he pulled me across. In as little time as it takes for the eye to blink, I had traversed the curtain and found myself standing before him, where he greeted me with every mark of honour and respect.
In this way I passed through seventy thousand veils, each one of them made of a different kind of jewel. The distance between each of these curtains was one of five hundred years? wayfaring, and the thickness of each was that of another five hundred years. When I had passed through all of the veils, I remained all alone. Then Rafraf came to me and became visible in the shape of a green settee, which greeted me with greetings of peace. He spoke to me, saying, ?Seat yourself upon me, for I will be your transport.?
In the night of his Mihraj, the Holy Prophet (Sal) journeyed upon five different conveyances: the first was the Buraq, which took him up to al-Quds (Jerusalem). The second was the Mihraj (the steps) on which he ascended up into the earthly skies. The third was the angel Jibreel?s wing; on it he approached as far the veil. The fourth were the angels who pulled him from one veil to the next. The fifth was the Rafraf; with this he proceeded as far as Allah Almighty wished him to go.
The Holy Prophet (Sal) continues:
I mounted upon the Rafraf and it took me as far as the Kursi (Divine Courtyard). The Lord Almighty has created the Kursi from pearls, and it is very great, so great it is that it defies all description.?
In the Holy Qur?an, Allah says about the Kursi:
His Throne ( Kursi) comprises the heavens
and the earth;
the preserving of which oppresses Him not.
(The Cow, 255)
The most excellent of commentators, Ibn ?Abbas, says about this in his commentary: ?If the seven layers of the earth and the seven layers of the heavens were put together and spread out, next to the Kursi they would be as a tiny ring which has been lost in a desert.?
Between the Kursi (Divine Court) and the ?Arsh (Divine Throne) there are seventy veils. If not for these, the angels of the Kursi would be burnt from the Light of the Divine Throne (?Arsh).
The Holy Prophet (Sal) went on:
I passed beyond those veils. Between each of the veils, I beheld various thrones that were bedecked with fine throws studded with many gems. All around the thrones curtains were drawn, as if these thrones were still waiting for their occupants. An air of expectancy surrounded these bejewelled seats of honour. I asked the guardians of these thrones, ?Who is to be seated upon them?? and they answered me, ?They will be occupied by the spirits.? I asked, ?The spirits of which prophets are they meant for?? and I was told, ?These are not for those ranking among the prophets, their ranks are far beyond that. These thrones are intended for the spirits of two groups from among your nation.? I asked again, ?Whose are these spirits?? And I was told, ?One group is made up of those who have learnt by heart the words of the Holy Qur?an revealed to you, who understand its meaning and who act in accordance to its injuctions. The other group comprises those who rise at night to worship their Lord when all the world lies fast asleep.
?Indeed, I beheld many wondrous marvels between the layers of these veils. I saw numberless strange seas and within them strange and wondrous creatures. I saw many angels of dreadful guise, but to comprehend them or describe or explain them exceeds all human means.?
After passing through all the veils, I reached to the Divine Throne. Allah has created it of green emeralds and it has four legs of red ruby. The Divine Throne has as many tongues as there are created beings, and each of these glorifies the Lord unceasingly.?
An angel holds on to each one of the feet of the Divine Throne and holds it aloft until the Day of Judgment. On that day, there will be two angels holding each foot of the Throne, eight angels in all. The size of these angels is such that the distance between the heel and the ankles of each is that of five hundred years? wayfaring, and from their earlobe to their neck is another five hundred years? traveling distance. The Throne-bearing angels never once raise their heads to gaze upwards, for the dazzling gleam of the light of the Throne. One of these angels has the form of a man, and he is always praying, interceding on behalf of humankind, that they may be granted their sustenance and provisions and that their sins may be forgiven. The second one of these angels has the shape of an eagle and he is always praying for the provision of the birds and flying creatures. The third of these angels has the form of a lion, and he prays for the beasts of prey to be given their provisions. The fourth one is shaped like an ox and he prays constantly for the ruminant animals to be granted their provisions.
Compared to the greatness of the Divine Throne, the entire Divine Court, the seven heavens and the seven layers of the earth are as a single lamp suspended beneath the sky. All around it are seventy thousand rows of angels circumambulating it at all times, reciting Takbir (Allahu Akkbar) and Tahlil (La ilaha illallah). Behind them are again seventy thousand rows of angels standing upright and reciting Takbir and Tahlil. Behind them are one hundred thousand rows of angels who hold their right hands clasped over their left hands and each one of them recites a different Tasbih. Seventy thousand veils separate these angels from the Divine Throne.
Then I beheld a single pearl of emerald green upon which was written this line of writing:
LA ILAHA ILL?ALLAH,
ABU BAKR AS-SIDDIQ wa UMAR AL-FARUQ
The Declaration of Unity (Kalimat-ut-Tawhid) is written on the base that supports the Divine Throne, and upon the legs of the Throne itself, and it is written over the gates of the seven heavens. Sometimes, this phrase was added: ?I have strengthened him through Ali.?
When I reached the Divine Throne, I witnessed great events. One drop fell from the Throne into my mouth and the sweetness of it surpassed everything I have ever tasted. When I had swallowed it, the Lord of the Universe enlightened my heart with the knowledge and wisdom of all that had gone before and was yet to come. The light from the Throne surrounded me and I was engulfed by it. I was aware of nothing but that light. When faced with this light, I perceived everything through my heart?s eye as clearly as though I were looking through my eyes. I perceived what was behind me as clearly as that, which was before me, at a level with my chest.
After all this occurred, I came into a state when I heard absolutely nothing, not the voices of the angels, nor the sound of any other thing. This state caused me to experience great terror. Then I suddenly heard a voice that seemed to be the voice of Abu Bakr saying to me, Qif, ya Muhammed, inna rabbuka yusalli. (Stay your step, oh Muhammed (Sal), for your Lord is praying (=blessing). When I heard this voice, all the terror departed from me completely, and I began wonder to myself, What is Abu Bakr doing here? Has he surpassed me, I wonder? And what does this mean, the Lord is praying, the Lord who is free from all exigency! What could be the meaning of all this?
This is a very important subject which needs to be well understood: the reason for the Holy Prophet?s (Sal) proceeding to the Divine Throne was not to see the Lord Almighty, for the Almighty God is exempt from any particular place. The Holy Prophet (Sal) was taken to these stations in order to witness the entirety of creation, and to see the manifestation of the Divine Lords Supreme Majesty and Power, as He says in these verses of the Holy Quraan:
Indeed, he saw one of the greatest signs of his Lord.
and in Sura Isra:
...that We might show him some of Our signs.
(The Night Journey, 1)
Apart from this, there is another matter which it is important to understand: Let it not be imagined, that the greatness of the things described in this account are exaggerated, for the Lord says in His Holy Book:
Indeed, he saw one of the greatest signs of his Lord.
(The Star, 15)
The Lord of the Worlds Himself here describes a thing as being ?great?; how great then must it be! For perhaps the Holy Prophet (Sal) has given us only a summary report of what he saw in accordance with our minds? capacity; most of what he saw he did not reveal to us, for it is not possible to give a description of the greatest things that he witnessed, as the mind of man is not equipped to comprehend such things. Therefore, he did not mention those matters, this must be understood.