The Vision of the Divine Beauty
The Holy Prophet (Sallallaahu alaihi vasallam) continues his account:
When I reached to the Divine Throne, I wished to remove my sandals, but the Throne spoke to me and said, ?Oh Beloved of Allah (Sal), step upon me with your blessed sandal, so that I might rub the dust from it on my face, and take pride in the fact that the dust from the sandal of the Beloved of Allah (Sal) has fallen upon me.?
Again I tried to remove my sandals, but this time a call came to me from the Divine Person, saying, Oh My Beloved, do not remove your sandals so that My Throne might be honoured and blessed with the dust from the soles of your sandals. I then entreated my Lord, saying, ?When You called the Prophet Musa to come to the mountain of Tur (Sinai), You ordered him to remove his sandals.? Again this word came to me from the Divine Person, saying, In My view, you are more cherished and honoured than he; Musa was My Word (Kalimullah), whereas you are My Beloved (Habibullah). Look ahead and see what you will see!?
I looked and I saw a great sea, so great that there was no end to it, and no shore in sight. On its near side there was a tree, and upon that tree, there was a bird the size of a dove. In its beak this bird bore a piece of clay as big as a lentil. ?Do you know what this is?? I was asked. I answered, ?My Lord knows best.? And He Almighty told me, ?You are forever entreating Me to forgive your nation their sins. This sea is the likeness of the Sea of Mercy. That tree signifies the world, the dove-like bird is the likeness of your nation and that bit of clay is the likeness of their sins. Now you have seen the relation of your nation?s sins to the vastness of My Mercy, so let your heart be at rest.
When the secret of that, which the mind is incapable of grasping was revealed to the Holy Prophet (Sal) in this Holy Verse of the Qur?an,
..He stood poised, being on the higher horizon,
then drew near and suspended hung,
two bows?-length away, or nearer,
then revealed to His servant that He revealed.
His heart lies not of what he saw; what, will you dispute
with him what he sees?
The Star, 6-12
He, the Almighty addressed him in the following words: ?Draw nearer to Me, oh you Best of all Mankind! Draw nigh, oh Ahmad, oh Muhammed, so that the Friend may be in intimate association with His friend!?
In this way, the Holy Prophet (Sal) was granted the unmediated vision of the Sublime Beauty of Him who is beyond all space and time, free from all conditions or qualities, the Unmitigated Principal of all things.
This is the avowed preference of the Ahl-i-Sunna wa-l-Jama?at.
The Prayer of Tahiyyat
To continue with the Holy Prophet’s (Sal) account:
When faced with the unparalleled honour of a glimpse of the Lord?s Divine Beauty, it came to me to express myself in the following words:
At-tahiyyatu li-llahi wa-s-salawatu wa-t-tayyibatu.
(Salutations be to Allah, all praise and glory to Him; all worship and good works are due to Him Almighty;)
that is to say, All praise, exaltation and worship in speech, all worship through actions and property is due to the Almighty alone, the only One to whom worship is due.
After I had pronounced these words, the Lord of Might and Glory answered me, saying,
As-salamu aleyka ayyuha-n-nabiyyu wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu;
And salutations to you, oh Prophet, and the Mercy of Allah and His Blessings),
which is to say, Peace be upon you, oh Prophet; may you be safe from the trouble and difficulties of this world and the next, oh My glorious Prophet! May the Mercy and Blessings of Allah be upon you.?
In this way, He proffered very special greetings upon me. In response, I said:
As-Salamu aleyna wa ala ibadillahi-s-salihin;
(And peace be upon us and upon the righteous servants of the Lord;)
that is to say, May the peace of this world and the next be upon us, for our answering and acceptance of these greetings, upon all us Prophets of the Lord, and upon His righteous servants, which is the name given to the nation of Muhammed.?
Jibreel was informed of this secret, and he from his post concluded:
Ash-hadu an la ilaha illallah, wa ash-hadu anna Muhammedan abduhu wa rasuluhu.
(I bear witness that there is no god but Allah and I bear witness that Muhammed is His Servant and His Prophet.)?
After this, Allah Almighty, the Possessor of Majesty and Glory, asked me,Do you know, oh Muhammed, which actions the inhabitants of the heavens approve of and what they desire to be done? I replied, Oh my Lord, I know nothing, and You know everything, moreover all that is hidden and secret.? Again the Lord spoke to me and said, ?Oh Muhammed, do you know what actions the heavenly hosts love and approve of?? Again I replied, Oh my Lord, I know it not, for You know all things, and you know all that is hidden. After this, He in His Grace and Infinite Kindness and Benevolence taught me all the knowledge I was in need of. Then again He asked me the same question, Do you know what actions the heavenly hosts rejoice in and are happy to see performed?? This time I answered, They are happy with works that are performed in compensation for sins committed and with works that lead to raised stations in Paradise – those are the works the heavenly folk rejoice in. The Lord of Hosts continued to ask me, And what are these works that are compensation for sins committed? I answered, On a cold day, to perform one?s ablutions with cold water and in such a way that one?s limbs are wetted entirely; to walk the distance required to join the prayer in congregation; after having prayed one prayer, to wait for the next (that is to say, to make ready as the time approaches, and to wait in readiness;) these are actions that are compensation for sins. Whoever performs such works, he will live his life in goodness and righteousness and only good will be his lot. He will be as pure as on the day his mother brought him into the world.
The meaning of these last two statements can be understood as referring to good works in general, but it can also be understood as supplication and incentive, in which case it would be read as follows:
Whoever persists in these three actions, I pray and plead that his may be a goodly life. May he always be surrounded by goodness and remain as pure as on the day he was born.
But to pursue the Holy Prophet’s account:
Then my Lord resumed His questioning and said, ?Which are those actions that lead to high stations in Paradise?? And I answered, ?To share food with people and to show hospitality, to give Salams to a Muslim whom one encounters on the road, to rise for prayer at night when everyone is asleep – these three actions lead to high stations in Paradise.?
After this the Lord Almighty said to me, Speak, oh Muhammed! What shall I say, oh my Lord I answered. Recite this Dua, he said,
Allahumma inni asaluka amalan bi-l-hasanati wa tarkan l-il-munkirati, wa idha aradta bi-qawmin fitnatan wa ana fi-him,
fa-qbidni ilayka ghayra maftun.
(Oh my Lord, I ask of You to be granted good works and to be released from bad actions, and should You have decreed disaster for a people and I should be among them, then take me from their midst before calamity takes its toll.)?
The Leader of the World, the Foremost and Elect of all the Sons of Adam, the Messenger of Allah, Muhammed (Sal) thus reached the Station of Nearness and was granted the vision of Divine Beauty. From the Station of the Knowledge of Certainty (?ilm-ul-yaqin), he passed to the Station of the Witnessing of Certainty (?ayn-ul-yaqin) through holding direct converse with the Lord of Majesty and Might. His blind faith in the unseen was turned into faith supported by direct witnessing. The Exalted Lord Almighty informs of this in the revelation of this verse of the Holy Qur?an,
The Messenger believes in what was sent down to
him from his Lord..
Here the word messenger (rasul) indicates Rasulullah, Muhammed our Prophet (Sal).
The Holy Prophet (Sal) recounts,
Concerning the above mentioned verse, I said, ?Yes my Lord, I believe in all that has been revealed aforetime. The Lord then asked, And who else believed in it? I said, And the believers; each one believes in God.? (The Cow, 285) The Lord then asked again, ?And what else do they believe in?? I replied, And His angels, and His Books and His Messengers. We make no division between any of His Messengers (The Cow, 285); we accept and confirm them all.? The Lord then asked, ?What did the believers say when the revelation came to them with the laws and injunctions from their Lord ? I answered, They said, We hear, and obey (The Cow, 285), oh my Lord!? The Lord then said, You have spoke truly, oh Muhammed, for they have received My Word and pledged obedience to My Commands. Now ask of Me what you wish, it will be granted. To this I said, Oh Lord, grant us Thy
Forgiveness; unto Thee is the homecoming. (The Cow, 285)? Admit us to Your Divine Presence having granted us Your Mercy and Forgiveness. Thereupon the Almighty replied, I have forgiven you and your nation. And after this, the Lord of Majesty and Might spoke,
God charges no soul save to its capacity,
standing to its account is what it has earned,
and against it what it has merited.
(The Cow, 286)
And after this, He said, ?Oh Muhammed, this night is the night of gifts, ask therefore for whatever you wish, it will be granted.? I then said,
take us not to task
if we forget or make mistake.
(The Cow, 286)
The Lord then said, ?I have forgiven you and your nation for whatever sins they have committed from heedlessness and forgetfulness. And I have forgiven them the sins which they were forced to commit. So ask again, it will be granted.? I said,
charge us not with a load such
as Thou didst lay upon those before us.
(The Cow, 286).
The Holy Prophet (Sal) wished to express this: Do not charge us with as heavy a load as that which You laid upon previous nations.?This alludes to previous injunctions, which required the giving away of one fourth of one?s possessions in Zakat, the cutting off of a defiled piece of clothing; swift punishment for crimes committed, and similar punishments. For instance, something that was permitted to them before was forbidden to them as a punishment for their crimes, or they were changed into pigs and monkeys for an act of disobedience; if they committed a sin during the night, it would be written upon their foreheads or above their doors, in express letters, stating the crime and the punishment due to the perpetrator. ?This man has committed a crime during the night and as a punishment, he must kill himself,? (for instance by burning himself, or by cutting off certain limbs.) Thus the sins they committed were out in the open and on that account they suffered public disgrace. The obligation to always pray in their churches was also imposed on them, it was not lawful for them to pray in any other place. On a day of fasting, it was forbidden to them to take any food or drink after the onset of the night, or to approach their women after that hour.
To continue with the Holy Prophet’s (Sal) narration:
I made supplication for my nation that they might not be burdened with all the weight that previous nations had to bear. My Lord then said to me, I have granted ease to your nation and made their burdens light. So ask of Me what you want, it will be granted.? Then I said,
do Thou not burden
us beyond what we have the strength to bear
(The Cow, 286),
meaning disasters and calamities. The Lord answered, ?I will not place upon you and your nation burdens which exceed their strength to carry them. But ask more of Me, I will grant it. I replied, Pardon us! (The Cow, 286); and He replied, I have pardoned you and your nation. Forgive us!? (The Cow, 286). I have forgiven you and your nation.
According to another version, the Holy Prophet (Sal) here explicitly asked for pardon for each and every act of disobedience, to each of which the Lord Almighty replied, I have forgiven them.
The Prophet (Sal) continues,
At last I said, ?Have mercy on us?, (The Cow, 286), and the Lord answered, I have mercy on you. Then I said, ?Thou art our Protector;? (The Cow, 286) and the Lord said, ?The Friend and Protector of all believers is Allah Almighty, Lord of Might and Glory; the unbelievers have no Protecting Friend.? Then I said, ?And help us against the people of the unbelievers?(The Cow, 286). And the Lord replied, Up to the Day of Judgment, I have made you and your nation to be victorious over the unbelievers. The Lord then asked again, saying, ?Oh My Beloved, other than this, if there is anything you should wish for, ask it of Me, for I will grant it to you. Thereupon I said, Oh my Lord, you have chosen Ibrahim to be Your intimate friend, and have spoken to Musa without intermediary. To Da?ud You granted great possessions, and made iron to be soft as wax in his hand; You have made the mountains and its stones and the birds of the air to be subservient to his command, so that they joined him in singing Your praises. Idris You have transferred to a high place. To Sulayman You gave a kingdom and such possession as no one after him will ever come to possess and enjoy. And You made subservient to him mankind and Jinn, the demons and wild beasts, the birds and the winds. And You also taught him the tongues of the birds and the beasts. To Isa You gave knowledge of the Torah and the Injil, and by his prayer, You made the blind seeing, the afflicted whole and the ailing to regain their health; You made him revive the dead, and You made him and his mother safe from the wiles of the devil and gave them protection. What will be the equivalent gift You will make to me?? The Lord Almighty replied to this in all His Grandeur and Majesty, saying, ?Oh Muhammed, I have chosen you as My Beloved, just as I chose Ibrahim as My faithful friend. To be the Beloved of Allah is even more excellent than being His bosom friend. I have also privileged you with the vision of My Divine Beauty, and I have spoken to you without intermediary, even as I spoke to Musa.?
Beyond this, I have given you the chapters of the Qur?an, ?al-Fatiha? (The Opening) and the end of ?al-Baqara? (The Cow), which are both from the treasure troves of My Divine Throne. These were not given to any Prophet before you, but reserved for you and your nation.?
Also, I have sent you as My Messenger to all the peoples of the world, to mankind and to Jinn, be they black or white or of any other description; never before have I sent a Prophet with so universal a mission.
I have made the whole earth a means of cleansing for your nation. When you find water and are sound enough to perform your ablutions, make Wudu and take your Ghusl. But when you do not find water or you have not the strength to wash, you may perform Tayammum and cleanse yourself by means of the dust of the earth.?
I have made the whole Earth to be as a Masjid, a place for prayer, so that wherever you may find yourselves, you may pray and perform your worship.?
I have made lawful to you and your nation the spoils of war, so that you may profit from them. To previous nations these were not lawful.?
And I have strengthened you in that I have cast fear into the heart of your enemy, even if there is a distance of one month?s journey between you and them.?
I have granted you the right of intercession for whomever you desire. I have sent down to you the greatest and most august of all revealed scriptures, the Glorious Qur?an. And I have split your breast and removed from you all sinfulness.?
I have elevated your name, for wherever My Name is mentioned, there your name is pronounced as well.?
Did He not find thee an orphan, and shelter thee?
Did He not find thee erring, and guide thee?
Did He not find thee needy, and suffice thee?
(The Forenoon, 6-8)
When the Lord Almighty had spoken to me thus, all I could answer was, ?Yes, my Lord, all these great favours You have bestowed upon me and honoured me beyond all measure.?
?Then the Lord spoke again and said, ?Among all the people belonging to your nation, I have made one group in whose hearts resides the Holy Qur?an. (meaning: I have made the Holy Qur?an easy to memorize, so that they may learn it by heart and recite it from memory.) This was not given to other nations before yours; they did not commit to memory the books their prophets brought to them. This privilege I have reserved for your nation alone. I have made your nation more excellent than all previous nations; your nation is a nation of the middle way, and a nation of justice.?
You I have created before anything else, and I have sent you on your prophetic mission as the last of all the Prophets. I have given you to drink from the waters of Kawthar (=abundance), and I have given you eight shares; these are: Islam, the Hijra (migration), Jihad (holy war), Salat (ritual prayer), Zakat (obligatory donations to the poor), the fast of Ramadan, enjoining good and discouraging evil (amr-b-il-ma?ruf wa nahiy-?an-il-munkar).?
After the Lord had stopped speaking, I asked Him, ?Oh my Lord, after I had passed and seen all of creation, I experienced a moment of extreme terror. At that moment, I heard a voice that sounded to me exactly like the voice and inflection of Abu Bakr, and it said to me, ?Oh Muhammed (Sal), stay your step! For Allah is praying (= raining His blessings).? When I heard this, two questions arose in my mind. One was this: Has Abu Bakr overtaken me and come here before I have? The second question on my mind was this: My Lord has no need to pray, and yet I am told He is praying, what can that mean?? The Lord then answered me, ?Indeed, I have no need to turn to any in prayer, but recite the verse which I have revealed unto you:
It is He who blesses you, and His angels,
to bring you forth from the shadows into the light.
He is All-Compassionate to the believers.
(The Confederates, 43)
This verse will teach you that the meaning of My prayer is nothing but Mercy for you and for your nation.?
As for Abu Bakr, oh Muhammed, it is as with the staff of the Prophet Musa, your brother among the Prophets. Musa always had his staff with him and it was for him something familiar and friendly. Therefore, when on the mountain of Tur (Sinai) he was nearly overcome with awe as the Divine Call came to him, We addressed him, saying, ?What is that in your hand, oh Musa?? and Musa answered Me and said, ?It is my staff.? When he remembered the name of this familiar object, the excessive dread and awe he felt at the Divine Call departed from him. In this instance you are like Musa, oh Muhammed. The most familiar being in this world and the closest to you is your friend Abu Bakr. When you were in the grip of awesome terror, We created an angel for you in the shape and form of your familiar friend Abu Bakr and gave him his voice and tone with which to speak to you, so that you might feel the comfort of that familiarity when you heard him speak. Then the awesomeness and terror left you entirely, and so that you were not totally overcome by tbe majesty of this revelation and were able to ask what you wish from the Divine Essence. By means of this familiarity you were able to speak normally and without dread. I have in My Divine Majesty made Myself free from all defect and weakness, and My Mercy outstrips My Wrath (that is to say: My Mercy has many more destinations than my Wrath.) Therefore, state your wishes, and ask of Me whatever you need and desire.?
After these words, the Lord added, ?What of the Angel Jibreel?s request, which he asked you to make?? I replied, ?Oh my Lord, You are the All-Knowing; there is no need to speak of it, as You know already, all Bounty and Munificence being Thine.? The Lord replied to this, ?I do grant his request and fulfill his wish. On the Day of Judgment when your nation prepares to cross the Bridge of Sirat, let them take a hold of his wing and cross with ease. Only the ones who loved you and your companions will cross with ease; I grant My Divine Sanction.?
To this I rejoined, ?Oh Lord, you have sent punishment upon the nations that went before mine in many and varied forms. There were some upon whom You sent a rain of stones to destroy them; while others you drowned in the waters. Some were destroyed by Jibreeil?s shout, and some You caused the Earth to swallow. Some perished when You sent against them a rain of fire, and others died in a harsh, bitter wind. Some you transformed into swine and apes, thus causing their destruction. Oh Lord, what will become of my nation after I have gone??
The Lord of Mercy and Munificence, the Lord of the Universe then intoned in all His Majesty and Splendour, ?My Wrath has been spent on those nations before thine; upon your nation I will shower only Mercy. I turned into apes and swine those that went before, but for your nation I will transform their badness into good actions. To the corrupt among them I will grant the gift of repentance, and bring them into a good state of being. I will deliver them from their bad traits and help them acquire good characteristics. I will rid them of their ignorance and change their minds to understanding and perfect knowledge. Whoever calls upon Me, saying, ?Oh My Lord!? and turns to Me with true humility in his heart, to him I will answer, ?I am at your service, oh My servant; tell Me what it is that you desire, and I will create it.?
To you I give the right of intercession for your nation, oh Muhammed, you may be the advocate on their behalf, and I pledge to accept all your intercession.?
And then He Almighty said, ?Oh Muhammed, I have not made your nation excessively wealthy, so that their accounts will not be overly long. And I have not made their bodies very great, so that they might not require much of worldly food and drink and dress. I have not made their lives to be exceedingly long, so that their hearts might not be blackened by pride in reliance upon a long life span and that they might always be aware of death and make their preparations for the afterlife that follows. I have not made death to come to them suddenly, but I have made illness precede it and provide a cause, so that they might not meet with a sudden death when they have plunged and sunk in the sea of heedlessness. When they fall ill, they repent of their sins, they pay their debts, they try to make up for past mistakes and shortcomings. They make their last will and testament. I have brought them into the world after every other nation, so that their time in the grave might be of short duration; they will remain trapped in their tombs only until all the people of their nation have come and gone. When that is done, their time is up and they will attain to their blissful stations in Paradise, enjoying its undying delights.
Then the Lord said to me, ?Oh Muhammed, sometimes your nation will be obedient to Me, at other times they will be rebellious. Their obedience to Me meets with My Pleasure, and to Me are acceptable all their works, which accord to My Good Pleasure; I forgive them their minor misdoings and accord to them generous recompense. For I am the All-Bountiful, and I show Myself to them in My aspect of Bounty. The disobedient among them are subject to My Judgement; but because it is the Judgement of past eternity, I forgive them their disobedience, for I am the All-Merciful, and I show them My Mercy.?
And then He said, Oh Muhammed, say to your nation: ?The Lord Almighty says to you: just as you love a person for that he shows you loving kindness and generosity, I am much more deserving of your love and affection than any other in this world. For I have created you when you were naught and I have given you a pleasing form and fine limbs and I continue to ceaselessly shower you with innumerable blessings. Not a moment passes in which I do not bestow upon you a new form of goodness.. Therefore you ought to love Me more than any other, obeying My Commands and submitting to My Law.
And again, He Almighty says to you, ?If you are going to fear anything that dwells between heaven and earth, it is I whom you ought to fear more than any, for My Power pervades all and everything. My chastisement is violent and swift, no one can flee or hide from it, or run to another master in order to save himself from Me, for no one has such powers. As this is the reality, you must beware of acting contrary to My wishes and commands.
And the Lord said, If you are going to ask of any, I am most worthy of being asked, for it is I alone who accepts all prayers of need and fulfills all wants.? And He says: ?You feel shame and regret when you have ill-treated someone or been unkind, whereas I am the most deserving of your shame and remorse, for I have brought you into being when you were naught and to this very moment I have heaped upon you endless gifts and blessings. I have made you safe from all manner of affliction, and yet you disregard My injunctions and do what I have forbidden to you. Therefore, contrition is your due and restraint from actions that I have prohibited. Obey Me and My Commands!
And the Lord addresses Himself to you, saying, ?If you choose for reasons of personal and covetous choice, I am the most deserving of your preference, for I am your Creator, and your Provider, and the only object of your worship. Therefore, turn to Me, worshipful, in your actions and with meritorious conduct.? All this He Almighty commanded me to expound to you.
Then Allah Almighty complained to me about my nation. One of His objections was this: ?I do not ask of them to perform anything ahead of time, all I ask is for them to do what they should in its own time. But, by contrast, they ask of Me to provide them ahead of time. While I have provided them perfectly for so many years, they are not satisfied, even though they do not know whether their lives will last long enough to use up what they have been given. Even so, their greed for the things of this world is ever increasing, and they complain of not having the wherewithal of a livelihood, always asking for more. Do they not regard the birds in the skyways? Every morning the birds of the fields leave their nests with empty crops to return in the evenings having eaten their fill, though the whole world be covered in snow. Does not your nation take a lesson from this? While the whole world is covered in snow and not a speck of earth is to be seen, He who provides the birds with their shares, will He not provide them also with their own portions – why does your nation not place their reliance on Him who has forever guaranteed their subsistence? ?The second complaint is this: ?I do not give their provisions to any other than them; in spite of this, they perform actions for the sake of other than Me (that is to say, they behave hypocritically and occasion false appearances). My third complaint is this: While they are consuming the portions that I have provided for them, their gratitude goes out to someone else. They will say, for instance, ?In my vineyard I had a harvest of so and so much and from my fields such an amount, from my trade so much.? But was it not I who caused the vines to grow in his vineyard and the crops in his field, and who gave him success in his commerce? Why do they remember Me not and mention not My Name when they speak of the yields of their vineyards and fields, and the profits of their trade? Wherefrom is this heedlessness, do they feel no shame??
And My fourth complaint is this: Mine is all Might and Glory; it is I who grants Honour in this world, in the grave and in the world to come. Even so, they still look to honours coming from other sources. They will say, for instance, ?Were I only to occupy high office, I would surely grow very rich.? Thus they expect honour to come to them through riches and high office, whereas all these are only of a passing nature. When death comes to them, all connection ceases. Does that signal true honour? It is My Command, by which they must abide, it is I who gives them Honour and Dignity in this world and the next.?
My fifth complaint against them is this: I have created Hell for the unbelievers. Why is it that they persist in performing actions that will land them in Hellfire??
To these charges against my nation, I replied, ?Oh my Lord, Your Word is true, my nation is guilty of all that You have laid against it. But You are He who covers all shame and forgives all sins; You are the Supremely Rich and Generous, the Clement and All-Forgiving Lord (ar-ra?uf wa-r-rahim). In Your Infinite Grace and Kindness, forgive them their failings, conceal their disgrace, and in Your Endless Benevolence, pardon their great and small sins! Let them be overtaken by Your Boundless Mercy and with Your All-Gracious Compassion lead them into the Paradise, oh My Lord!?
In answer to this supplication, the Lord Almighty said to me, ?Had your nation not been so sinful, I would have created a nation of sinners, so that I might make Myself known as the Forgiver of Sins in that I granted them forgiveness. Oh Muhammed, ?You are My Beloved, as you are My servant. All Creation I have brought into being for your sake alone. Because of your nation’s sins, I have created My Mercy Oceans. Oh Muhammed, regard the high station of honour and dignity you have been granted, in that you are honoured by an encounter with My Divine Beauty. I have granted you direct intercourse with My Divine Person without interpreter or intermediary. Whoever is acceptable to you is also acceptable to Me, and he who refuses you, is refused by Me, too.
Then He said, Indeed, you will be the first of all the Prophets to enter Paradise, and no Prophet can enter it before you. Your nation will be the first nation to enter Paradise and no other nation will be admitted before they have gone in.?
After this He said, Oh Muhammed, set not your hopes on any nation of mankind, for they have nothing at all. Let your hopes always be pinned on Me and let your converse be with Me, for to Me is your return. Do not become attached to this world in your heart, for I have not created you for this world.?
Then He Almighty said, ?Oh Muhammed, of your nation I have forgiven one third for your sake; another third I will forgive on the Day of Judgement, so that the high regard and station you occupy in My Regard may become clear to all creation on the Day of Gathering, oh Muhammed.
After this, the Almighty informed me of a great many weighty and important matters, but He denied me permission to divulge this knowledge to you.
It was made obligatory upon my nation to pray fifty times during one day and one night and to make ablutions for major impurity seven times, and to wash a defiled piece of clothing seven times. He commanded me to make these conditions known to my nation in His Name. I then replied, ?Everyone who comes home from a journey, brings presents for those who remained at home; therefore, give me something to take back to my nation as a present. The Lord Almighty then said, One of the gifts to your nation is this: as long as they reside in the world, I will be their Helper; I will protect them from disaster and calamity and I will grant success to their good actions. I will grant them various favours. When they pray to Me, I will accept their prayers, I will protect them from what they fear and I will grant them what they desire.
Another gift to your nation is this: When their lives come to an end, I will be their Helper. I will protect them from the wiles of Shaytan and I will give them tidings of Paradise and show them their stations within it. I will make it easy for them to draw their last breath and I will help them pass over into the Hereafter in safety.
Another gift to your nation is this: When they are placed within their graves, I shall be their only Helper. I will release them from the darkness and oppression of the grave, I will lighten their tombs and make them spacious and wide. I will assist them in answering the questions of the angels Munkar and Nakir and I will make their tombs to be as a Garden of Paradise.?
Another gift to your nation is this: When they arise from their graves, I will be their sole Helper. I will raise them from their tombs and make them light of face and clothe them in garments from Paradise. I will help them mount upon their steeds and lead them to the site of the Gathering with an entourage of angels in a display of splendour and grace. I will spare them the terror of that Dire Day. I will lead them underneath your banner and give them to drink of the waters of the Pool of Kawthar. I will make them to be close associates and companions of the prophets, messengers, saints and martyrs and the righteous whom I have favoured with a place beneath the shadow of My Divine Throne. After having been given many special favours from Paradise, their books of reckoning will be placed in their right hands, and their accounts will be made light and their scales of the balance made heavy for them. I will help them cross the Bridge of Sirat with lightness and ease and lead them into the highest gardens of Paradise in the Boundlessness of My Grace.?
May Allah Almighty gladden our hearts with these gifts, which He granted us all for the sake of His Holy Prophet Muhammed (Sal), Amin! Oh Most Merciful of those that show Mercy!
The Holy Prophet (Sal) continues:
The Lord then said to me, ?Oh Muhammed, of all created beings, you are the one who has reached the highest honours. On the Day of Resurrection I will give you such great honours as will stupefy the whole world with wonderment. Oh Muhammed, do you wish to behold what I have prepared for your nation?? I replied, ?Oh Lord, I wish to see it, yes.? He then said, ?My trusted servant, the angel Jibreel will show it to you.?
As soon as I returned from there, Rafraf came into view. I seated myself upon him and he carried me down. I descended as far as the Sidra-t-ul-Muntaha where I met with Jibreel who said to me, ?Good tidings to you, oh Muhammed (Sal), for you have been chosen as the best of all Creation and the foremost of all Prophets and Messengers. The Lord Almighty has greeted and honoured you as He has not honoured any other created being, neither from among His Prophets or His Messengers, nor from among His Angels brought Nigh.?
Then Jibreel said to me, ?Come with me, for I am to show you
So he brought me to Paradise. On its gates I saw written these words:
For one gift of Sadaqa, ten rewards are granted.
To one who gives on loan, eighteen rewards are granted.
I asked Jibreel, ?What is the secret wisdom of these lines, that one gift of Sadaqa carries ten merits, while a loan given carries eighteen merits after it?? Jibreel told me, ?Oh Rasulullah (Sal), sometimes Sadaqa is given to one who is in need, sometimes to one who is not. Not so, however with a loan: a loan is given only to him who is in need of it.?
?Upon the highest rim of the gates of Paradise I read these three lines:
In the first line was written:
LA ILAHA ILL?ALLAH, MUHAMMEDUN RASULULLAH
In the second line was written:
ma qaddamna, wajadna; wa ma akalna, rabahna;
wa ma tarakna, khasirna.
(what we have sent before us, here we have found; what we have eaten has remained with us as gain; and what we have left behind, is our loss.)?
In the language of the People of Paradise, this means to say: ?Of what we owned, that which we spent in the way of goodness, what we gave to the poor and the needy as Sadaqa, today we have found it here waiting for us. As for that part of our property which we used up and expended, we have already had the good use of it; as for that, which we have left behind us when we died, we were misled and now count it as our loss.?
In the third line was written:
The nation of Muhammed (Sal) is a nation of great and abounding sinfulness. Therefore they are so placed as to be the nation of Muhammed (Sal), so that they might find the light of guidance and become enlightened. Herewith the Lord who is the All-Forgiving manifests the Bliss of Light upon Light. He forgives all their sins and transgressions, great and small, secret and obvious, committed knowingly or unknowingly, all vice and disgrace. Through His Favour and Grace and Bounty, He aids them in attaining His all-encompassing Mercy, gratuitously, and He brings them into the highest of the Gardens of Paradise. He makes them taste the greatest delights and the highest joys of all, and He makes them endlessly satisfied. This is what distinguishes the nation of Muhammed (Sal) and endows them more highly than any other nation.?
As it is written in these verses of the Holy Book of the Qur?an:
Say: ?Oh my people who have been prodigal
against yourselves, do not despair of
God?s mercy; surely God forgives sins
altogether; surely, He is the All-Forgiving,
(The Companies, 53)
as well as in another verse, which reads:
You are the best nation ever brought forth to men,
bidding to honour, and forbidding
dishonour, and believing in God.
Had the People of the Book believed,
it were better for them;
some of them are believers,
but the most of them are ungodly.
(The House of Imran,105)
To continue in the words of the Prophet Muhammed (Sal):
The gate of Paradise was made of red gold, and the thickness of the doors was five hundred years of traveling. The gate had four hundred columns, which were of pearl, of topaz, of ruby and of emerald. In the middle of each of these pegs there was a great ring of red ruby stone of immense dimensions. In it were contained forty thousand cities, and each city had forty thousand domes. Within each of these domes dwelt forty thousand angels holding two platters each in their hands. One was filled with celestial raiment; the other was filled with light. I asked Jibreel about them and he told me, ?Oh Rasulullah, these angels were created eighty thousand years before Adam, and since that time they are waiting in this very place, bearing platters of light. Their sole purpose is to plead for you and for your nation. On the Day of Resurrection, when you appear before your nation in honour and bliss, the moment your foot touches the threshold, these angels will welcome you and your nation and bestrew them with the contents of their platters as they pass through the gates of Grace and Bounty.?
Then Jibreel knocked on the gates of Paradise. The guardian angel of the Garden, Ridwan called out asking, ?Who is it?? Jibreel answered, ?It is I, Jibreel.? ?And who is it with you?? asked the Keeper. ?He is Muhammed (Sal),? answered Jibreel. ?Has his time of prophet hood arrived then?? asked the angel from within. ?Yes, it has come,? replied Jibreel. ?Al-Hamdulillah!? said Ridwan and opened the gates. I then saw that the hinges of the door were of silver, its threshold was of pearl and its casings were of precious jewels.?
We stepped inside and I beheld Ridwan, seated upon a carved throne, surrounded by a host of angels who stood in attendance. They gave me honour and saluted me with respect. I greeted them and gave my Salams. Ridwan answered me and welcomed me with joy, giving me these good tidings, ?Most of the People of Paradise are from your nation.? I asked him, ?Tell me about my nation.? He said, The Lord Almighty has divided the Janna into three parts, two of which are appointed for your nation, while one is for all other nations.? In front of Ridwan there were a great number of keys, and I asked him, ?What are these keys?? He told me, ?When a person of your nation pronounces the words, La ilaha illallah, the Lord Almighty creates for him a mansion in Paradise, and He gives the keys to this mansion into my safekeeping. On the Day of Resurrection, when that person rises from his tomb, I give him the keys to his mansion and he takes up residence therein.?
Then I noticed the helpers and assistant angels of Ridwan. One stood guarding the gate to the Garden and each one had seven hundred thousand other angels to serve him. But Ridwan had seventy thousand commanders, and each of these commanded a troop of seventy thousand angel soldiers.?
The Tasbih I heard Ridwan utter was this:
Subhana-l-musibu man a?tahu jannata-n-na?im..
(Praised be the All-Knowing Creator,
Praise be to the Most Bounteous of the Bountiful,
Praised be He who leads into Paradise Bliss
whosoever obeys Him.)?
Then I was shown the bliss of Paradise. In a word, I beheld such a wealth of manifold delights that, even were I to spend the rest of my lifetime trying to describe them, it would not suffice to complete the task.?
The walls of the Janna were thus: one brick was of gold, the next of silver. Then followed one of red ruby, and next one of green chrysolith, then a brick of pearl. In place of mortar, musk and camphor had been used. The thickness of the wall was a distance of five hundred years? traveling. At the same time it was so clear as to be transparent from inside out and outside in, as a window of glass. From there, all seven layers of the heavens and of the earth were visible, including the Divine Throne and the Divine Court. The soil of Paradise is made up of musk, amber and camphor, its grasses were of saffron-yellow and purple hues. The pebbles there consisted of emeralds, rubies and pearls. Then I beheld the habitations of Paradise; some where made of rubies, and their domes were of pearl. Some were of gems and their domes were of emeralds, while others were all of gold. In every mansion there were seventy thousand palaces and to every palace there were seventy thousand suites. Every suite consisted of seventy thousand rooms. In every room there was a throne, either made of silver or of gold. Upon each throne was a tent of beryl, in every tent there were seventy thousand beds of embroidered silk. Each of these differed from the other, and they were filled with amber and musk.?
The Huris in them wore robes so transparent that their skin and flesh and bones, nay, even the marrow of their bones were visible. Each one of the Huris wore upon her head a crown embellished with jewels, and each had forty thousand locks of sweetly-scented hair curling down. Each lock was adorned with seventy thousand adornments, and each one of these trinkets separately emits the sweetest of notes, a delight to the ear. In front of each of the Huris seventy thousand servants stand in attendance. Around each of the thrones are set up stools made of silver, pearls, emeralds and camphor, each differing from the other.?
Then I beheld the rivers of Paradise, of milk, of water, of wine and of honey. A branch of these four rivers flows to each one of the paradise homes and the water is whiter than camphor, sweeter than honey and its scent more fragrant than musk.?
I also beheld there the springs of Rahiq, Salsabil and Tasnim. The banks of these rivers and the brim of these springs are of gold and pearls, of silver and rubies. The pebbles in the riverbeds and at the mouth of the springs are various precious gems and pearls of many colours. The foam upon the waters is of musk and amber, and around the fountainheads grow hyacinths and saffron crocus. The trees I saw there were so great that if a man on the back of a swift horse were to ride at full speed for seventy thousand years, he would not emerge from under its shade. The roots of these trees are of gold, their branches of ruby, pearls and chrysolith. Its leaves are of silk, brocade and velvet. Each one of its leaves reaches from one end of the world to the other. Each fruit of this tree is as great as a great water jug, and each one has seventy different flavours. Each of these fruits offers itself to the People of Paradise. Whenever they desire to eat of it, it falls from its branch and upon a platter of gold comes floating up to their mouths, without effort or a moment?s delay. Even were this tree to be at a distance of a thousand years wayfaring, as soon as one of the blessed wished for its fruit, it would be right there at his disposal, close to his lips. He would then eat from it as much as he wished, and after he had eaten, a new fruit would immediately take the place of the one consumed.?
I also beheld birds in these trees of Paradise, alike unto camels. They were coloured in all the hues of Paradise. They flew about before the divans, singing hundreds of different tunes and melodies. The People of Paradise ask one of these birds, ?Which is more beautiful, your voice or your form?? and they receive this answer, ?My flesh is the best of all.? After saying this, he instantly turns himself into a roasted fowl and presents himself to the dweller of Paradise, should he have expressed an appetite. He is just as he wants him to be, and after he has eaten, he instantly comes back to life and sings anew in the boughs of the tree. All these birds sing the praises of the people of Paradise.?
I was shown eight different Paradise gardens, four of these were actual gardens and orchards.
Their names were:
The four others contained palaces and pavilions amidst gardens and orchards. These were:
In each of these four last-mentioned gardens there were gardens and flowering meadows as numerous as the stars in the night sky and grains of sand in the desert.?
The sky of the highest Paradise is the base of the Divine Throne. I was shown only the mansions in the Paradise of Adn (Eden), and they were as the starry skies at night. A great many of them were destined for my companions and for people of my nation. Each of these mansions was as great as the distance between heaven and earth. Jibreel showed me these mansions and told me the names of those who were destined to inhabit them. I espied one which was higher and larger than the others and I asked whose was this great mansion. Jibreel told me, It is the mansion of Abu Bakr as-Siddiq.? Then he showed me those belonging to Umar, Uthman and Ali.
Here, the Holy Prophet (Sal) paused to turn to Abu Bakr and he said to him, ?Oh Abu Bakr, I have seen your palace in Paradise, it is made all of red gold. And I have seen all the immense favours and rewards, which lie in store for you there.? To this Abu Bakr replied, ?May the owner of that paradise pavilion be sacrificed for you, oh Prophet of Allah (Sal)!? The Holy Prophet (Sal) then went and told ?Umar that he had seen the palace destined for him in Paradise and that it was made of ruby. ?A great many Huris were there, and as I entered inside it, I remembered your jealousy.?
After this he said to ?Uthman, ?I saw you in each of the heavens, and I have seen and regarded your house in Paradise.? After this He said to Ali, ?Oh Ali, I saw your shape in the fourth heaven. I asked Jibreel about it and he told me, ?Oh Rasulullah (Sal), the angels yearned to see Ali, therefore the Lord Almighty created an angel in the form of Ali and placed him in the fourth heaven where the angels can go to visit him. Then I went inside your designated palace. I picked a fruit of one of the trees and sniffed at it. A Huri came out from it, drawing her veil across her face. I asked her, ?Who are you?? She answered, ?I was created for your brother and cousin Ali, oh Rasulullah (Sal).?
Then the Holy Prophet (Sal), the Messenger to both mankind and Jinn, the Imam of both Sanctuaries continued, ?Before me I heard footsteps and I asked Jibreel, ?Whose footfall is this?? He answered me, ?It is the tread of your Muadhdhin Bilal, oh Messenger of Allah!?
According to one tradition, the Holy Prophet (Sal) asked Bilal, ?On the night of my Mihraj, I heard the sound of your step in the gardens of Paradise. What have you done to achieve such high rank?? Bilal answered the Prophet (Sal), ?There is nothing very special in my works. Only, as often as I break my Wudu?, I perform ablution anew, and after repeating my Wudu? I pray a prayer of two Rak?ats.? The Prophet (Sal) then said, ?These then are the actions which have allowed you to run ahead of me.?
The Holy Prophet (Sal) continued: ?Again I heard the sound of a footfall ahead of me and I asked Jibreel who told me, ?It is the step of Ghamsa bint Milhan, a daughter of one of the Ansar renowned for her patience in poverty.? I also saw two great mansions belonging to Zayd bin Amr bin Nufayl, and I asked wherefore he was so honoured. One reason was this: that he lived according to the law of Isa, and another was that he accepted the new law when I was given prophet hood and the law of ?Isa was superseded, and he lived by it for the rest of his days. Therefore he was given double reward.?
Then I came upon domes built all of pearls. and their mortar was of musk. I asked Jibreel who they were meant for and he told me they were for the Imams and Muadhdhins of my nation.?
And I saw this, too: Ja?far ibn Abi Talib flying along with the angels. And I saw my uncle Hamza reclining on a divan in the Gardens of Bliss. I saw also my wife Khadija of blessed memory in a pavilion of pearls built over one of the rivers of Paradise.?
The Tuba Tree
I came upon a tree in Paradise of such beauty as nothing I had seen before this could equal. When I came up to its trunk and looked aloft, I realized how tremendous a tree it was. Its boughs spread out in all directions so that nothing else was to be seen but this tree. It gave of such a fine scent that in all Paradise I had not smelled anything finer. I examined the whole tree. Its leaves were white and red and green and yellow and each had a special coating and covering in the distinctive colours of Paradise. The fruits of this tree were like long poles. Each one of them contained the pleasures and delights, all of the good tastes and smells that are found in heaven and on earth – all were assembled in a single fruit of this tree.?
?I remained spell-bound before the wondrous beauty of this tree and the loveliness of its form, and I asked Jibreel, ?What tree is this?? Jibreel told me, ?It?s name is ?Tuba?, it is the Tuba Tree.?
The Waters of Kawthar
In the middle of the Janna, I saw a river that sprang from somewhere by the pillars on which rests the Divine Throne. Its flow was made up of water, milk, wine and honey, and yet these four did not mix. The banks of this river were of chrysolith and the pebbles of the riverbed were precious gems. Its mud was amber and its weeds were saffron crocusses. All along its banks were innumerable drinking cups of silver, as many as there are stars in the sky. Birds flew alongside whose necks were as the necks of camels. To eat of their flesh and to drink of the waters of that river – a sign of the Lord?s manifest Favour!?
I asked Jibreel about this river and he told me, ?This is the water of Kawthar. Inform your nation of this. In every grove and garden of Paradise there flows a stream the waters of which rise from the spring of Kawthar.? Along the banks of this stream, I saw tents of pearl and red ruby. I asked Jibreel and he said, ?Those are the dwellings of your wives.? Within the tents I espied moon-faced Huris whose features shone with the radiance of the sun. All at once, they broke out into song, and this is what they sang:
We always sing our tune, never do we tire;
We are always pleased, and we know no sadness;
We are always clothed, we are never bare.
We are forever young, and never shall grow old;
We are contented anytime, never are we cross.
We shall always be, never we shall die.
We belong to them, and they to us forever;
ah, everlasting bliss!?
The Huris voices reached to all the far corners of Paradise. They reached every pavilion and every tree, and all resounded with such profound bliss that, were only the slightest part of it to reach the Earth, no trouble would remain upon it, nor death.?
?Jibreel then asked me, ?Do you wish to behold their beauty? Indeed, I do, I replied. Thereupon, one tent flap was lifted and I glimpsed a face of such beauty, that even were I to spend the rest of my life my life trying to describe it, I would not accomplish even a fraction of its description. Their faces were whiter than milk, their lips redder than red ruby, and more radiant than the sun. Their complexions were softer than the velvety petals of the red rose or the softest silken cloth. More luminous were they than the moon at its fullest, and their scent was more pleasing than musk. Their tresses were of the darkest shade of ebony. Some wore them plaited, while others wore their hair loose, and some bound it with ties. Those who wore their hair loosened were covered by it as by a tent when they were seated, their hair reaching down to their feet. Each had in front of her a servant. Jibreel explained to me, ?These are intended for your nation.?
One of the most amazing things I saw in the Janna were the four rivers that flowed through it.?
As Allah Almighty describes in His Holy Book:
This is the similitude of Paradise,
which the God-fearing have been promised:
therein are rivers of water unstaling,
rivers of milk unchanging in flavour
and rivers of wine ? a delight to the drinkers,
rivers, too, of honey purified;
and therein for them is every fruit
and forgiveness from their Lord.
To continue in the Prophet?s (Sal) words:
I asked Jibreel, ?Whence do these waters come and whither do they flow?? He told me, ?All I know is that they flow out of the pool of Kawthar, but their actual source I cannot tell. You are most highly esteemed in the Divine Presence; perhaps if you ask, you will be told.? While yet thinking about this matter, my eye fell upon an angel so great, Allah alone knows his true size. He had a great number of wings and he spoke to me, saying, ?Place your blessed feet upon one of my wings and shut your eyes!? I did as he bade me, and he flew off. After a while he told me to open my eyes again, and when I did so, I beheld a tree. Beneath this tree, I saw a dome, which was so great that were you to place the whole world upon it, it would resemble a bird that has alighted upon a huge mountain. There was a golden key to this dome and it had a door made of beryl. I then perceived that the four rivers issued from beneath that dome.?
After I had seen that much, I wished to return, but the angel said to me, ?Don?t you wish to enter that dome and find out the actual source of these waters?? ?The door is locked,? I answered. The angel replied, ?But you have the key.? ?What is that key?? I asked, marveling. The angel said, ?The key is this:
Speak these words, and the door will open.?
So I stepped forward and spoke these words: ?BISMILLAHI-R-RAHMANI-RAHIM;? and lo, the door sprang open. I then saw that the four rivers flowed from the four walls of the building. The angel said to me, ?Look carefully!? and as I did so, I saw that on one wall were written the words; BISMI (In the Name of), on another wall: ALLAH (Allah), on the third wall: AR-RAHMAN (the All-Merciful), and on the fourth: AR-RAHIM (the All-Compassionate).
From the mouth of the letter ?mim? in the word AR-RAHMAN flowed the river of wine,
From the mouth of the letter ?mim? in the word AR-RAHIM flowed the river of honey.
From the mouth of the letter ?mim? in the word Bi-ISMI flowed the river of water;
From the eye of the letter ?ha? in the word ALLAH flowed the river of milk;
Thus I saw that the sources of the four rivers were these four holy words.?
?When I wished to depart from this place, a Divine Address came to me, saying,
Inni man dhakarani bi-hadhihi-l-kalimat
wa qala bi-qalbin salihin
saqaitahu min hadhihi-l-anharu-l-arba?a.
(Whoever remembers Me by speaking these words
with a pure heart and sincere intent,
him I will give to drink from these four rivers of Paradise.)
All Praise is due to the Lord of the Worlds, Amin.?
I saw some palaces and pavilions of the Janna, which were of pearls and rubies. Between each of them lay a distance as great as east is removed from west. I asked Jibreel, ?For whom are these pavilions?? and he told me, ?They are for such people as took a blind man by the hand and led him for seven paces.? I asked, ?Shall I give news of this to my nation?? and he answered, ?Yes, give them the good news, but know that there is even better cheer yet ahead, and tell them of that as well. If a Muslim rises in the morning, saying ?Bismillahir-rahmani-r-rahim?, then makes his ablution and prays his morning prayer, Allah Almighty will prepare for him a place in Paradise which is twenty times as large as the Earth from east to west.?
After this, I came to see Idris, the Prophet, and I saluted him. He returned my Salams ceremoniously and bade me welcome. I then said to him, ?What a beautiful place you have come to dwell in!? He said to me in response, ?What is it to me; if only I could have been in the world now to be reckoned as one of your nation!? I then said, ?You have been spared the pangs of death and have reached this high station; what do you want of the world?? He answered me, ?And if I had to suffer the death throes of the entire world since the day of its creation, if only I had been honoured to be alive in your time, thus to be counted as one of your nation. I then asked him, ?Oh my brother Idris, what is the reason for this desire of yours?? He replied, ?Whichever Paradise mansion I go to, however many Huris I turn towards, all of them are saying, ?We belong to the nation of Muhammed (Sal).?
?One day I came to a mountain, which they call the ?Jabal-ur-Rahma?, the Mount of Mercy. Its peak reaches up to the Divine Throne and it is made of musk and amber. There are two entrances set upon this mountain, both made of pure white silver. The distance between these two doors is so great that a rider galloping in haste upon a swift steed for five hundred years would not be able to cross it. Inside it were such a great number of palaces and mansions that would be impossible to enumerate. To attempt to describe their beauty and splendour is likewise beyond all human means. I asked, to which one of the Prophets do these mansions belong ?? The Lord Almighty then addressed me, saying, ?This is not a place belonging to any Prophet, but for any one of the nation of Muhammed who prays two Rak?ats, to him I will give a mansion here.? For these reasons I wish to belong to your nation.?
In a word, I there witnessed Divine Gifts of Grace such as no eye has seen, no ear has heard and no man?s heart has ever imagined. After all was done, I left the Janna together with the Angel Jibreel and we descended once more to the seventh heaven. I spoke to the Prophet Ibrahim. We saluted each other and he congratulated me on my Mihraj. He did not put any questions to me.?
Then we descended to the sixth heaven and I met the Prophet Musa who also congratulated me on the Mihraj. We greeted one another, then he asked me, ?Oh Rasulullah (Sal), what has been imposed upon your nation?? I began to tell him, ?The Lord has commanded them to pray fifty times during one night and one day, to fast six months of the year, to wash seven times when having incurred a state of major impurity, and to wash a contaminated garment seven times to purify it.? When Musa had heard all this, he replied, ?Your nation has not the strength to keep all these commands. By Allah, before your time, I have experienced the nature of man, I employed various and sundry means to persuade my nation, the Bani Isra?il, by oath and by injunction. Still, they could not fulfill this obligation. Go back, implore the Lord that He lessen the burden for your nation.?
Thereupon I turned back until I reached the Sidra-t-ul-Muntaha where I threw myself down in prostration before the Lord, pleading with Him, ?Oh my Lord, my nation is a weak nation; fifty prayer times a day, six months of fasting, seven purification baths, they and I will not be able to keep, and we will fall short of our requirements. By Thine Grace and Loving kindness, lighten our load!?
After this plea, ten prayer times, one month of fasting and one bath were lifted. Again I met the Prophet Musa and told him what I had been given. He said, ?Your nation will still not be able to carry forty periods of prayer, five months of fasting and six purification baths, they will fall short of their requirement. Have pity on your nation and plead for their load to be lightened. ?So again I went back to the Sidra and begged Allah to lighten my nation?s burden. Again ten prayer times, one month of fasting and one bath were lifted from them. I came back to the Prophet Musa and told him what I had received. He said, ?Your nation is a weak nation, thirty times of prayer, four months of fasting and five baths are still too much for them. Go back and ask for their load to be lightened.? Again I returned to the Sidra and threw myself down before the Almighty, praying that He might lift some more of the load off my nation, and again my prayer was granted. I came back and spoke once more to the Prophet Musa; again he sent me back, and I went yet again to plead with the Lord and to ask for more lightening of the task. In this way it went on, until I had received the command for my nation to keep five prayer times during one night and one day; to fast one month a year; to bathe once for purification and to wash their polluted garment once only. When I came back and told Musa what the Lord had commanded, he said, ?Go back again and ask to be given less.? But I replied, ?I have now gone many times and asked for the load to be lightened for my nation, and each time the Lord granted it to me. I am ashamed to go back again; this much I am willing to accept.?
After I had left Musa, I received a Divine Call, ?I have lightened the load of worship for My servants, I accept that they pray five prayers daily. Oh Muhammed, let them pray five times a day and I will grant them the reward of fifty prayers. Anyone belonging to your nation who intends an act of goodness and later fails to carry it out, I will grant him one reward in accordance with his intention. If he performs the action as he intended, I will grant him a tenfold reward, and increase it up to seven hundred fold, layer upon layer of recompense. Even if he intends to perform a sinful action and in the end he does not do so after all, I will write a reward for him for not having committed a sin. And should he commit it, I will write for him a single sin.?
After this, I climbed upon the wing of the Angel Jibreel and we came to the Bayt-ul-Maqdis (Jerusalem). I saw the Buraq tied to the ring where I had left him. I entered the mosque and prayed there two Rak?ats of thanks to Allah Almighty for His Infinite Grace and Favour, Mercy and Munificence upon me, all praises be to Him Almighty! Then I mounted again upon the Buraq and in less time than it takes to bat an eyelid, I arrived back in Mecca. By the Infinite Power of Allah, I found that during my absence my bed had not even grown cold yet.?
The Duration of the Mi?raj
Ammar told us, ?The Mihraj of our Holy Prophet (Sal) took place in three hours.?
Abdullah bin Munabbih however tells us, ?Rasulullah?s (Sal) Mihraj was accomplished within four hours.?
The truth of the matter is that Allah alone knows how long it really took. It is one of the articles of our faith to fully believe in the reality of this Mihraj. Whoever refuses to believe that the Holy Prophet (Sal) went as far as Jerusalem is reckoned an unbeliever. For there are hard proofs for this fact, as declared in the Holy Book of the Qur?an,
Glory be to Him who carried His servant by night
from the Holy Mosque to the Further Mosque
the precincts of which We have blessed,
that We might show him some of Our signs.
He is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing.
(The Night Journey, 1)
Whoever denies that the Prophet (Sal) actually ascended from the Masjid-ul-Aqsa (Jerusalem) to the heavens is a heretic (lit.: an inventor of harmful innovations) and has gone astray. For it has been determined by way of Hadiths of many different paths of extraction that the Prophet (Sal) did actually ascend to the heavens. We declare our belief and confirm them all.
Therefore, because the honour of ascension was granted to him, the Holy Prophet (Sal) bears the epithet of ?Sahib-ul-Mihraj?, ?He who was granted ascension to the heavens?.
May Allah?s Blessing and Benediction be upon him, Amin.
The Prophet?s (Sal) Return from his Mihraj
Another one of the Holy Prophet?s (Sal) names is al-Muayyad, ?he who is strengthened, corroborated?, for that Allah Almighty confirmed all that he brought home from his Mi?raj.
When Muhammed (Sal) returned from his Mihraj, he asked the angel Jibreel, ?Who will believe me when I tell them that I have performed a Mihraj?? Jibreel then answered him, ?Abu Bakr will confirm whatever you say, for he is Siddiq, Truthful.?
When it was morning, the Holy Prophet (Sal) stepped forth into the Haram-ash-Sharif in an exalted state of bliss and enlightenment. When he sat down, Abu Jahl, the enemy of Allah went up to him and, seeing the Prophet (Sal) in an aura of light and majesty, he thought to himself, ?There is something strange about this; let me go and find out and see whether I can?t manage to annoy him a bit.? So he sat down beside the Holy Prophet (Sal) in order to vex him in some way and said to him in mockery, ?Oh Muhammed (Sal), you look so happy. I guess you must have come across something useful?? ?Yes indeed,? replied the Holy Prophet (Sal). Abu Jahl then went on, ?And what was that?? ?Last night the Angel Jibreel came to me and took me along with him while I was wide awake..? Abu Jahl asked, ?Where did he take you to?? The Holy Prophet (Sal) answered, ?He led me from the Kaaba-t-ul-Mukarrama to the Bayt-ul-Maqdis (Masjid-ul-Aqsa). Abu Jahl then asked, ?You are telling me, that this very night you were at the Masjid-ul-Aqsa (in Jerusalem), and that you came back to Mecca and are right here among us this morning?? ?Yes,? replied the Holy Prophet (Sal), the Rightly-Guided Messenger, the Intercessor on the Day of Reckoning. Abu Jahl then had this suggestion to make, ?If I called together the people, would you repeat to them what you have just told me?? ?Yes,? said the Holy Prophet (Sal). Thereupon, Abu Jahl called out in a loud voice so all could hear, ?Come here, all you sons of Ka?b, oh people of Quraysh!?
When they had all assembled and were seated around him, Abu Jahl turned to the Prophet Muhammed (Sal) and asked him to repeat before the assembled Quraysh what he had told him privately. The Holy Prophet (Sal) then said, ?Last night Jibeeil came to me and took me along with him.? ?Where did he take you to?? everyone wanted to know. ?He took me to the Bayt-ul-Maqdis, to Jerusalem,? said the Prophet (Sal). They said, ?Last night you went all the way to Jerusalem and yet you are here among us this morning?? To this the Holy Prophet (Sal), the Prince of the Prophets, the Light of the Eyes of the Saints replied, ?Yes, indeed.? But they would not believe him and cried him lies.
Aisha as-Siddiqa (the Truthful) relates the following concerning this controversy:
When the story of the Mihraj became known, some of those who had declared their faith earlier, apostatized and fell away from their new faith. Some of the idolaters went to Abu Bakr and told him about this. His response was to ask them, ?Is that really what he says?? ?Yes, that is what he claims.? ?If he says so, then it must be true. If he says that he went and came back in one night, then he truly did do so.? Again they asked him, ?Do you then confirm the claims he makes?? Abu Bakr replied, ?And were he to claim to have gone even farther than that and to have returned in that same night, I would believe him and confirm the truth of it.?
From that day on, Abu Bakr was given the by-name ?as-Siddiq?, a title meaning ?the eminently Truthful?.?
The assembled idolaters challenged the Holy Prophet (Sal), saying, ?We know what the Holy Mosque, the Bayt-ul-Maqdis in Jerusalem looks like; if you have truly been there, you will be able to answer our questions when we ask you concerning its shape and aspect? There are many among us who have been there on repeated occasions. If you can give the answers corresponding to reality, it will be known that you have really been there.?
Then they began to ask him questions concerning the appearance of the Bayt-ul-Maqdis. The Lord of Absolute Power, Allah Almighty then revealed to the Holy Prophet (Sal) a vision of the Bayt-ul-Maqdis at Jerusalem, so that he saw it before his very eyes. Whatever they asked him about it, he was able to describe to them all the details of the holy site. The men listening to him were forced to admit, ?By God, everything he tells us about it is true. Even those among us who have been there many times could not describe it in such accurate detail.? Then they said, ?We are not satisfied to hear that you went there and came back. Tell us about our caravans.? The Holy Prophet (Sal) then said, ?I chanced upon such-and-such a caravan belonging to a certain tribe at a place named Rawha. They had lost one of their camels and were searching for it. I was very thirsty, and there happened to be a cup of water there. I took it and drank from it, then I placed it back where it had been. When the men of the caravan return to you, ask them about this cup of water: did they find it full of water, or not??
Later this caravan arrived. People questioned them as the Prophet (Sal) had told them. They confirmed all he had said and recounted, ?At Rawaha we had lost our camel and we went in search of it. When we returned, we found that someone had drunk the water we left in the cup, it was empty.?
They asked the Prophet (Sal), ?Tell us about our caravan, which was journeying in the other direction.? The Prophet (Sal) agreed and said to them, ?I met them in a place called Tan?im.? Then they asked him to relate in greater detail their numbers and burdens and beasts, and when their return to Mecca could be expected. The Holy Prophet (Sal) replied to every one of their questions, giving even the names of the men in the caravan. He said, ?On such and such a day at sunrise, this caravan will arrive, and at its head will go a white camel, tinged with black.?
On the day he had indicated, all those assembled went out into the desert to watch for the caravan?s arrival, though there was still no sign of it. Some said, ?It arrived at the time he said it would.? Others said ?As soon as the sun rose, the caravan appeared.? Others again said, ?The caravan was seen with a white camel leading it.? They confirmed everything the Prophet (Sal) had said about the caravan and all turned out to be true. They all witnessed these events, but in spite of the fact that there could be no doubt as to the Prophet?s (Sal) journey to Jerusalem and his return in one night, not one of them believed in him, all called him a liar.
One day after his Mihraj, the Angel Jibreel came again to the Holy Prophet (Sal) who was in a state of vexation because of his nation. The angel said to him, ?Oh Prophet of Allah (Sal), do not grieve all that much over your nation, for today I have come to you with great good tidings.? The good tidings he brought were these:
In the fourth heaven there is an angel who commands twelve thousand angels. During your Mihraj, when all the other angels rose from their places to greet you, this angel did not rise to his feet along with the others. Today when I passed by the gate of that heaven, I heard the sound of moaning, and when I turned to look, I saw that the sad sound came from that particular angel whom I was used to seeing. I saw that his wings had been plucked, and his light had been taken from him, he lay bundled in a corner, sighing pitifully. When he saw me, he began to weep. I said to him, Why do you weep, you who are such a great and honoured angel? He said, I am that angel, but I have committed a grave error. For my Lord has reproached me, saying, ?Why, when My Beloved Prophet (Sal) came to the heavens to visit you, did you not rise to welcome him?? I answered, Oh my Lord, at that time I was so absorbed in my worship and adoration of Your Almighty Holiness that I did not think of deflecting my attention to anything else. I saw Muhammed (Sal) coming, but I did not think it so important an event.
?The Lord then loosed His Wrath against me, and brought me into this condition in which you behold me now, my light withdrawn, my feathers plucked, and myself demoted from my angelic station. Oh Jibreel, pray, intercede for me with my Lord! I therefore prayed to the Lord and begged Him to pardon His angel?s failing, who pledged never to commit another act of negligence. The Lord Almighty then replied, Let him recite Salat-wa-Salam on My Holy Prophet (Sal), and I will forgive him.
I went and told this to the angel, who immediately started reciting peace and blessings upon the Prophet (Sal), and when he had recited them ten times, all his wing feathers had grown back, and he flew off joyfully.
This is the good news I have come to tell you, oh Rasulullah (Sal). For the Lord will forgive and pardon all those from your nation who recite peace and blessings to you with a loving heart and He will grant them access to Paradise.
When the Holy Prophet (Sal) came out to his companions after this, his face was as radiant as the moon at its fullest, and he smiled so broadly that his back teeth showed. He then informed his companions of the good tidings the angel had brought him, of how the Lord would forgive all those who recited Salat-wa-Salam upon him, and all his blessed Companions rejoiced with him.
Allahumma salli wa sallam wa barik ala
Sayyidina Muhammedin wa ala alihi wa sahbihi
wa sallam tasliman,
———- The End ———