How must we understand the ascension of The Prophet Muhammad?
Is the Ascension possible?
The Ascension is one of the greatest miracles of the Prophet Muhammad, upon
him be peace and blessings. The Prophet realized a spiritual perfection and
full refinement through belief and worship and, as a reward, God took him to
His holy Presence. Escaping from the imprisonment of ‘natural’ laws and material
causes and rising beyond the limits of bodily existence, the Prophet, upon him
be peace and blessings, crossed distances swiftly and transcended all dimensions
of the material world until he reached the holy Presence of God.
Atomic physics has changed many notions in physics and established that the
material world is a dimension or an appearance of existence. Besides this world,
there are many other worlds or dimensions of existence, each of which has its
own particularities. Einstein put forward the notion that time is only one of
the dimensions of existence. Science has not yet drawn the final conclusions
about existence and new findings and developments continually change our view
of it. Therefore, especially in our day, it is completely illogical to question
the event of Ascension. People have difficulty in understanding how one can
penetrate all time at the same moment as a single point. In order to understand
this subtle matter, consider the following analogy.
Imagine that you are standing with a mirror in your hand, with everything
reflected on the right representing the past, while everything reflected on
the left represents the future. The mirror can reflect one direction only since
it cannot show both sides at the same time as you are holding it. If you wish
to reflect both directions at the same time, you will have to rise high above
your original position so that left and right directions are united into one
and nothing remains to be called first or last, beginning or end.
In the Ascension, the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings,
must have moved with the speed of the spirit and he traveled through all time
and space and all dimensions of existence in a very short period. During that
heavenly journey, he met with the previous Prophets, saw angels and beheld the
beauties of Paradise and the terrors of Hell. He also observed the essential
realities of all the Qur’anic issues and the meanings and wisdom of all the
acts of worship. He went as far as the realms where even the greatest of angels,
Gabriel, cannot reach and was honored with vision of God’s ‘Countenance’ free
from any qualitative and quantitative dimensions and restrictions. Then, in
order to bring humanity out of the darkness of material existence into the illumined
realm of belief and worship, through which they could realize a ‘spiritual’
ascension each according to his capacity, he returned to the world where he
was made subject to all kinds of persecution.
Discussing The Ascension from Islamic perspective
(Note: Belief in the Prophet’s Ascension is the result of belief in the pillars
of faith and draws its light and strength from those pillars. For sure, the
Ascension cannot be proved independently to irreligious atheists who do not
accept the pillars of faith, because it is impossible to discuss the Ascension
with those who neither know God, nor recognize the Prophet, nor accept the angels,
and who deny the existence of the heavens. Firstly, those pillars must be proved.
Since this is so, in the following we shall address the believer who, since
he deems it unlikely, has doubts about the Accession. However, from time to
time we shall turn to the atheist who is the third party in our discussion and
is in the position of listening, and speak to him.
In the Name of God, the merciful, the Compassionate.
Glory be to Him Who transported His servant by night from Masjid al-Haram
to Masjid al-Aqsa’, the environs of which We had blessed, so that We might show
him some of Our signs. Surely He is the One Who is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing.
It is naught but a revelation revealed. One with mighty power taught it,
one exalted in wisdom and strength: he rose, while he was in the highest horizon.
Then he approached and came nearer. He was at a distance of two bows’ length
or even nearer. And He revealed unto His servant what He revealed. The heart
did not falsify what he saw. Will you then dispute with him concerning what
he saw? Surely he saw him (another time when) he (Gabriel) descended, near the
Lote-tree of the farthest limit, beside it is the Garden of Abode. It was when
what enveloped the Lote-tree enveloped it. The eye did not waver, nor did it
stray. Truly did he see some of the greatest signs of his Lord. (53.4-18)
Out of the vast treasury of the first mighty verse above, we shall only describe
two points which the pronoun He in Surely He is refers to as a principle of
eloquence, since they are included in our present concern here.
After mentioning the journey of the noble Beloved of God, upon him be the
best of blessings and most perfect peace, from Masjid al-Haram in Makka to Masjid
al-Aqsa’ in Jerusalem, which was the beginning of his Ascension, the Wise Qur’an
concludes: Surely He is the One Who is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing. Together
with this phrase itself, the pronoun in the Surely He is, which alludes to the
furthest point of the Ascension indicated by the verses from sura al-Najm (sura
53), refers either to Almighty God or to the Prophet, upon him be peace and
If it refers to the Prophet, according to the rules of rhetoric and the relationship
between the pronoun and its antecedent, the meaning is this: this journey, which
is apparently particular, is in reality so comprehensive and signifies such
universal ascent that the Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, heard and
saw during it all the signs of the Lord and the wonders of Divine art which
caught his sight and encountered his ears as the results of the manifestations
of Divine Names in universal degrees as far as the Lote-tree of the farthest
limit and the distance of two bows’ length. Thus, through its conclusive phrase,
the verse describes that particular journey as the key to understand a (higher)
journey that is universal and full of extraordinary events.
If the pronoun in Surely He is, refers to God Almighty, the meaning is this:
in order to call a servant of His on a journey to His presence and entrust him
with a duty, after sending him from Masjid al-Haram to Masjid al-Aqsa’, which
is where the Prophets gather, and causing him to meet with them and showing
that he is the absolute, indisputable heir of the principles of the religions
of all the Prophets, He took him through both the external and inner dimensions
of His dominion as far as the Lote-tree of the farthest limit and the distance
of two bows’ length.
For sure, he was a servant and that journey was a particular ascension. However,
since he was given a Trust which is connected to the whole of the universe,
was accorded a light which would change the colour of the universe, and also
had with him a key with which to open the door to eternal happiness, Almighty
God describes Himself as the One Who hears and sees all things so that His world-embracing,
comprehensive and all-encompassing wisdom in the Trust, the light, and the key,
might be observed and understood.
This mighty truth contained in the Ascension may be dealt with under four
heads or four principles:
• Why was the Ascension necessary?
• What is the reality of the Ascension?
• What is the wisdom in the Ascension?
• What are the fruits and benefits of the Ascension?
Why was the Ascension necessary?
It is asked: Almighty God is nearer to one than one’s jugular vein. He is
closer to everything than itself; He is absolutely free of corporeality and
space. Therefore, while all the saints are able to converse with Him in their
hearts, why was it necessary for the sainthood of Muhammad, upon him be peace
and blessings, to make a long journey like the Ascension in order to succeed
in holding a conversation with God that any saint is able to do in his heart?
We shall make this profound mystery easier to understand by means of two
comparisons. Consider the following two comparisons from The Twelfth Word which
concern the mystery of the Qur’an’s miraculousness and the mystery of the Ascension.
First comparison: A king holds two kinds of conversation and interview and
has two modes of address and favor. One is that he converses with an ordinary
subject or citizen about a particular matter or a special need by means of a
private telephone. The other is that under the title of supreme sovereignty,
and in the name of supreme kingship and on account of being the ruler of the
whole country, and with the aim of publishing and promulgating his commands,
he converses with an envoy of His connected to those affairs or with a high
official of His related to those commands, or speaks to him by means of a magnificent
royal decree manifesting his majesty.
God has two kinds of conversing and speaking
As in the comparison (and God’s is the highest comparison) the Creator of
this universe, the Master of the whole existence in its external and inner dimensions,
and the Lord of eternity, has two kinds of conversing and speaking, and two
manners of favoring. One is particular and private, the other, universal and
general. The Ascension is the manifestation of the sainthood of Muhammad, upon
him be peace and blessings, in a form more universal than, and much superior
to, all other sainthood. It is the Prophet’s being honoured with the conversation
and direct address of Almighty God through His Name of the Lord of the whole
universe and His title of the Creator of all existence.
Second comparison: A man holds up to the sun a mirror he has in his hand.
According to its capacity, the mirror receives from the sun light which contains
seven colours. The man has a relation with the sun by means of the mirror and
in accordance with its capacity of reflecting the sun. If he directs the shining
side of the mirror towards his dark house or his small, private garden which
is covered by a roof, he can benefit from the sun not in proportion to the sun’s
value but in accordance with the capacity of the mirror.
Another man, however, puts down the mirror, and facing the sun directly,
sees its splendour and comprehends its grandeur. Afterwards, he climbs a very
high mountain and stands in the sun without veil, witnessing the majesty of
its broad dominion. Then he comes back and in order to have a direct connection
with the constant light of the sun, he makes large windows in his house or in
the roof of his garden, and obtains other means of benefiting from the sun directly.
Facing it, he may speak to the sun in indebtedness, and say: ‘O amiable sun,
the beauty of the world and darling of the skies, who gilds the face of the
earth with light and makes it and all the flowers smile in joy and happiness!
You have illuminated and heated my house and garden as you illuminate the whole
world and heat the face of the earth.’ However, the former one with the mirror
cannot say the same, since the reflection of the sun through the mirror is restricted
and in accordance with the mirror’s capacity.
How God manifests Himself to people?
Likewise, the Single, Eternally Besought-of-All, Who is the Sun without beginning
and the Lord of eternity, manifests Himself to people is in two forms, which
comprise innumerable degrees.
The first is a manifestation occurring in the mirror of the heart by means
of one’s relationship with the Lord. Whether particular or universal, everyone
may receive a manifestation of the light and conversation of the Eternal Sun
in accordance with his capacity and the character of his spiritual journeying
in traversing the degrees toward sainthood, and his ability to receive the manifestations
of Divine Names and Attributes. That is why there are innumerable degrees in
sainthood which is attained through journeying within the shade of some particular
Name or Attribute.
The second is that since by virtue of having a comprehensive nature and being
the most enlightened fruit of the tree of creation, man is able to reflect all
together, in the mirror of his spirit, the Divine Names manifested in the universe,
Almighty God manifests Himself and all His Beautiful Names in the greatest of
mankind at the greatest level and most comprehensively. It was thus this form
of manifestation that occurred in Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings,
in His Ascension, in which his sainthood found its meaning and became the first
stage of his Messengership.
The difference between the relation of a Prophet with God and that of a saint,
or Is it believable that the Ascension took place almost in an instant?
In sainthood there are veils or screens between a man’s heart and the manifestations
of Divine Names; it is as in the case of the first man in the second comparison
above. While in Prophethood there are neither veils nor screens; as in the case
of the second man in the second comparison, it is connected directly with the
manifestation of the Majestic Being with all His Names in a single being. Since
the Prophet Muhammad’s Ascension was the greatest wonder of his sainthood and
marked its final, greatest station, it was transformed into the rank of Messengership.
The Ascension, in its inner aspect, signifies sainthood and was a journey from
the created to the Creator. As regards its apparent aspect, it is Messengership
and signifies a return from the Creator to the created. Sainthood consists in
journeying through the degrees of nearness to God; it requires attainment of
many ranks and therefore needs some length of time. As for Messengership, whose
light is greatest, it proceeds from the realization of Divine nearness in all
its comprehensiveness, which occurs in an instant. It is for this reason that
a tradition says: ‘The Ascension took place in an instant. The Prophet went
and returned in the same instant.’
Now we say to the atheist who is the third party in our discussion and therefore
in the position of listener: Since this universe is a like a most orderly country,
magnificent city, or adorned palace, it surely must have a ruler, owner, and
builder. Since there is such a magnificent, Majestic Owner, All-Perfect Ruler,
All-Gracious Maker; and since there is a man with a universal view who has relationship
with that entire country, city or palace, and is connected to all of them through
his senses, feelings and faculties, certainly, the Magnificent Maker will have
sublime relationship to the fullest degree with that man, whose view is universal
and consciousness comprehensive, and will favor him with a sacred address.
Since among those who have been honored with this relationship from the time
of Adam, upon him be peace, up to now, according to the testimony of his achievements
(he has taken half of the world and a fifth of mankind under his control and
influence and enlightened the universe, giving it a new spiritual form and furnishing
it with a sublime meaning(the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings,
displayed this relationship at the fullest degree. Most certainly, the Ascension,
which consists in the fullest degree of that relationship is most deserved by,
and suitable for, him.
What is the reality of the ascension?
It is the journeying of the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings,
through the degrees of perfection. That is, Almighty God has various Names and
titles manifested in the arrangement and disposition of creatures, and displays
diverse works of His Lordship (His upbringing, training, sustaining and providing)
as the results of execution of His absolute authority in invention and administration
of creatures in the levels of the heavens where He executes His Lordship in
different ways according to the conditions of each level.
Thus, in order to show those works of His Lordship to that special servant
of His and thereby make him a being encompassing all human perfections and receiving
all the Divine manifestations, one who would view all the levels of the universe
and announce the sovereignty of His Lordship, and who would proclaim the things
of which He approves and unveil the enigmatic meaning of creation, God Almighty
mounted him on Buraq (a mount of Paradise) and had him travel through the heavens
like lightning, promoted him to higher and higher ranks, and caused him to observe
the Divine Lordship from mansion to mansion and from sphere to sphere, and showed
him the Prophets, his brothers, whose abodes are in the heavens of those spheres,
one after the other. Finally, He raised him to the station of the distance of
two bows’ length and honoured him with the special manifestation of all of His
Names to the fullest degree and with His Speech and the vision of Himself.
We may examine this sublime truth through the telescope of two comparisons.
First comparison: A king has different titles in the departments of his government,
different names and attributes vis-a-vis the different classes of his subjects,
and different designations and marks in the spheres and offices of his rule.
For example, just ruler in the department of justice, sovereign in the civil
service, Commander-in-Chief in the army, chief teacher in the department of
education, and so on. In each sphere and department he has a seat or chair,
which has the meaning of a throne. That single king may have a thousand names
and titles in the spheres of his sovereignty and departments of his government.
He may have a thousand thrones of sovereignty one within or adjacent to the
It is as if that ruler is present, and knows what is going on, in every sphere
through his collective personality and through his telephone. He sees and is
seen in every department through his laws and regulations, and representatives,
and he administers and observes from behind the veil in every level through
his rule, knowledge and power. He has a different center and headquarters in
every sphere. The rules of every sphere and department are different from one
another. That king designates a person among his subjects, and showing him to
all those spheres and departments of his government and making him witness his
imperial dominion and commands special to each, brings him to his presence.
Then he entrusts him with certain general and universal commands concerning
all those spheres and departments and sends him back.
Likewise, the Lord of the Worlds, Who is the Sovereign of eternity, has attributes
and qualities in the levels of His Lordship that are all different but that
are related with one another; and Names and signs in the spheres of His Divinity
that are all different but appear one within the other; and manifestations and
inspirations in the performance of His majestic acts that are all different
but resemble one another. He has also titles in the execution of His Power that
are all different but hint at one another; and sacred revelations in the manifestation
of His Attributes that are all different but point to one another; and operations
in the manifestation of His actions that are all different but complement one
another; and He has aspects of His majestic Lordship in His colorful art and
multicolored creatures that are all different but observe one another.
It is because of this mysterious reality that He has organized the universe
in an amazing and wonderful fashion with different formations one over the other
from particles (which are the smallest level of creatures) to the heavens, and
from the first level of the heavens to the Greatest Throne of God, each heaven
being the roof of a different world, a chair for exercise of Divine Lordship,
and a center for the Divine operations. Although on account of His Absolute
Oneness, all the Divine Names may be found in all those spheres and levels,
and He may manifest in them Himself with all His titles, just as in the department
of justice the title of Just Ruler is dominant with the others subordinate,
so too, in each level of creatures, in each heaven, a Divine title is dominant
and the others are subordinate to it. For example, in whichever heaven the Prophet
Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, met with the Prophet Jesus, upon
him be peace, who had been made distinguished with the manifestation of the
Divine Name of the All-Powerful, Almighty God is in constant manifestation in
that heaven primarily with His Name, the All-Powerful. Again, in the sphere
of the heavens which is the Prophet Moses’ abode, upon him be peace, God’s title
as Speaker, with which He distinguished Moses, is most predominant. And so on.
The Prophet Muhammad was connected to all the spheres of Divine Lordship
Finally, the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings (since he
was honored with the manifestation of the Greatest Name of God and also with
those of all His other Names, and since his Prophethood is universal) must certainly
be connected with all the spheres of His Lordship. Also, it was certain that
the reality of the Ascension would require the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be
peace and blessings, to meet with the Prophets whose seats are in those spheres,
and to pass through all those levels.
Second comparison: The title of Commander-in-Chief, which is one of the titles
of a king, is manifested in every rank in the army from that of the head of
the military staff to that of a corporal. A private sees in the person of his
corporal the sample of the imposing title of Commander-in-Chief, and so takes
his orders from him and obeys him. When the private becomes a corporal, he sees
the sergeant in the commanding position and obeys him. Then, if he becomes a
sergeant, he sees a sample of the title of Commander-in-Chief and a manifestation
of it in the lieutenant’s office. And so on. He will see the title in each of
the spheres of captain, major, colonel, general, and field-marshal in proportion
to the smallness or largeness of the sphere.
If the Commander-in-Chief wills to entrust a private with a duty connected
with all the offices of military ranks, if he wills to accord him a rank where
he can appear in every office and control it like an inspector, then, for sure,
in order that the private should have the necessary knowledge of all the offices
and be recognized by the personnel, he will cause him to make a tour of study
and inspection of the offices from that of a corporal to the highest. Then he
will admit him into his presence, and honoring him with private conversation
and bestowing on him a decoration and decree, will send him back whence he came.
The following point must be noted in the comparison: if the king is not powerless
and, besides governmental, has also spiritual power, he will not deputize persons
like field-marshal, general and lieutenant to act in his name in different offices,
but himself will be present everywhere in person and give orders directly, appearing
in the form of those persons of certain ranks. In fact, there are narrations
that certain kings who were saints of the highest level executed their rules
in many spheres in the form of certain individuals. As far as the truth we are
trying to explain in this comparison is concerned, since the Commander-in-Chief
is in no way powerless, the decrees and commands come directly from him in every
office and are executed through his command, will, and power.
So, as in the comparison, the Ruler of the heavens and the earth, Who is
the Absolute Sovereign and the Lord of Eternity having the command of ‘Be!’
and it is, has a sphere of Lordship, a level of rulership in the levels of creatures
and classes of beings, ranging from particles to the planets, from flies to
the heavens, which, whether small or great, particular or universal, are all
different but related with one another. In each of these spheres His regulations,
statutes and commands are carried out in perfect order and obedience. Thus,
in order to comprehend the elevated aims and tremendous results in the whole
of the universe and, witnessing the duties of worship particular to each of
those levels and classes and observing the sovereignty of Lordship of the One
of Grandeur and the majesty of His rule, to understand what is pleasing to Him,
and to be a herald of His sovereignty, one must make a journey through all those
levels and spheres of His rulership until one reaches the Supreme Throne, which
is the title of the greatest, all-encompassing sphere, and attain to the rank
which is the ultimate one a servant can reach, and is called the distance of
two bows’ length, and meet with the One of Majesty and Grace. This journey constitutes
the reality of the Ascension.
Like ordinary human beings traveling in the mind with the speed of imagination
and saints journeying in the heart with the speed of lightning, like angels,
whose bodies are of light, circulating with the speed of spirit from God’s Throne
to the earth, from the earth to God’s Throne, and like the people of Paradise
who will rise from the Place of Gathering to Paradise covering a distance of
five hundred years (a distance which is normally covered in five hundred years
on foot) with the speed of Buraq, it is certain that the body of Muhammad, upon
him be peace and blessings, will go as far as God’s Throne together with his
elevated spirit. For the body of Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings,
is the store of the faculties of the spirit of Muhammad and the means for the
performance of its duties, which is of pure light and has the abilities of light,
and is more refined than the hearts of the saints, lighter than the spirits
of the dead and the forms of angels, and finer than the energetic envelopes
Now, turning to the atheist who is in the position of listener, and says
to himself: ‘I do not recognize God or know of the Prophet, so how should I
believe in the Ascension?’, we say to him:
The universe must have an Author
Since there is the universe with all the creatures and many diverse acts
in it, and a continual creation is observed, and since an orderly act cannot
occur without an author, a meaningful book cannot be without a writer and a
skilful design cannot be without a designer, for sure, the wise and purposeful
acts that fill the universe must have an author, and the meaningful letters
and amazing inscriptions or designs that cover the earth and which are renewed
from season to season, must have a writer and designer. Also, since when two
rulers interfere in the same affair, it causes disorder, and since there is
a perfect order in everything from the wings of a fly to the lamp of the skies,
then the ruler is One. For if He was not One, since the art and wisdom in everything
are so wonderful and amazing that they require an All-Powerful and All-Knowing
Maker, then there would have to be gods to the number of creatures. Since in
this case those gods would be both opposite and similar to one another at the
same time [because the acts and creatures in the universe are in infinite diversity
and yet resemble one another in many ways], it is infinitely inconceivable that
this amazing order would not be upset.
Again, since those creatures are clearly seen to be moving with a command
in an order a thousand times more organized than an army; and since each group
of creatures from the sun, the moon and stars to almond flowers, display in
a perfect and organized manner and in a thousand times more orderly fashion
than an army, the uniforms, decorations and other kinds of beautiful garments
that the Eternal All-Powerful One has accorded them, and exercise the movements
that He has assigned to them (since this is so, then this universe has an Absolute
Ruler behind the veil of the Unseen, Whose commands all of the creatures heed
and carry out.
Furthermore, since, as testified by both all of His wise acts and the majestic
works He displays, that Ruler is a Majestic King; since, as is demonstrated
by His favors, He is an extremely Compassionate Lord; since, as the most beautiful
works of art He has produced bear witness, He is a Maker, Who is Lover of art
and loves His own art; since, as is apparent from the decorations and curiosity-exciting
arts He exhibits, He is a Wise Creator Who wants to attract the appreciative
gaze of conscious beings to His works of art; since, as is understood that,
due to the wisdom of His Lordship, He wants to inform conscious beings of the
meaning of the amazing and wonderful decorations He has displayed in the creation
of the universe, and of where creatures come from and where they are bound to
go; then, for sure, this Wise Ruler and All-Knowing Maker wishes to demonstrate
His Lordship. Also, since He wills to make Himself known to, and loved by, conscious
beings through all those traces of grace and mercy and the wonders of art that
He displays, then, of a certainty, He will by means of an envoy inform conscious
beings of what He wants them to do and what is pleasing to Him. He will choose
one among conscious beings and declare His Lordship by means of him. In order
to exhibit His favorite arts, He will honor a herald with the nearness of His
presence and employ him in exhibiting them. In order to display His perfections
by informing conscious beings of His lofty purposes for the creation of the
universe, He will appoint one among them as a teacher. He will certainly appoint
a guide so that the mystery of creation, the enigma of existence do not remain
meaningless. In order not to allow the beauties of art that He displays for
the eyes to see, to remain useless, He will choose a guide who will teach the
purposes contained in them. Also, He will pick out one among conscious beings
and, in order to communicate to them the things that please Him, raise him to
a rank above the others, and inform them of those things by means of him.
Since reality and wisdom require it to be so and the one most worthy to perform
these duties was the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, because
He actually performed them most perfectly, a fact to which the world of Islam
that he founded and the light of Islam that he showed are truthful and just
witnesses, then he would have to rise high above all other creatures and attain
to a rank where he held a universal and elevated conversation with the Creator
of the universe. This is what lies in the reality of Ascension.
In short: Since Almighty God has formed, organized and decorated this vast
universe in this way for mighty purposes and great aims such as those mentioned
above; and since among beings there is mankind to see the universal Divine Lordship
with all its subtleties, and this mighty Divine sovereignty with all its truths,
most certainly, that Absolute Ruler will speak to mankind and inform them of
His purposes. However, since everyone is not able to free himself from being
a simple individual occupied with low matters and rise to the highest, universal
position to directly receive the Ruler’s universal address, then, for sure,
certain special individuals among mankind will be entrusted with that duty.
Those individuals should be from among mankind so that they can teach human
beings, while, in order to be able to be the direct addressees of God, they
should also be extremely exalted spiritually.
So, since among human beings the one who taught the purposes of the universe’s
Maker most perfectly, unveiled the mysterious meaning of the universe and creation,
and heralded the beauties of the dominion of His Lordship in the best way was
Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, most certainly, in order to rise
spiritually high above all other human beings to the most exalted and comprehensive
rank, he would make an Ascension in the form of journeying through the corporeal
world and then reaching beyond seventy thousand veils which consist in the manifestations
of Divine Names, Attributes and acts, and all the levels of creation. This is
Questions concerning Ascension
How should I believe it?
What does it mean to cover a distance of thousands
of years to a Lord Who is nearer to all things than themselves and to meet with
Him after passing through seventy thousand veils?
Almighty God is nearer to everything than itself but everything is infinitely
far from Him. Consider that if the sun had consciousness and the power of speech,
it would be able to converse with you by means of a mirror in your hand. It
would have the power of disposal over you as it wished. Although it is nearer
to you than the pupil of your eye, which is like a mirror, you are millions
of miles away from it and could in no way draw closer to it. If you rise to
a position corresponding to the moon and come to the point of being face to
face with it, you would still only be able to be a kind of mirror to it.
Likewise, the Majestic One, Who is the Sun of Eternity, is nearer to everything
than itself but yet everything is infinitely distant from Him. In order to be
honored with some sort of nearness to Him, one should pass through all the levels
of existence, and being freed from the restrictions of being a single particular
to rise higher and higher beyond thousands of veils in the degrees of universality,
draw near to a Divine Name encompassing the whole of the creation, and then
traverse many other degrees beyond it.
Again, for example, as mentioned above, a private is far below the rank of
the Commander-in-Chief. He views him through an insignificant sample of command
that he sees in a corporal, at a great distance and beyond many veils. In order
to be nearer to his position, the private should be promoted to the higher and
comprehensive ranks of lieutenant, captain, major, and so on. Whereas the Commander-in-Chief
is always present with the private through his rules, decrees, knowledge, and
commanding. Since this truth has been convincingly argued in The Sixteenth Word,
I cut short the discussion here.
I deny the levels of the heavens and do not believe in angels. How should
I believe in one’s journeying through the heavens and meeting with angels?
It is really difficult to convince those like you whose minds are dependent
on their eyes. But since the truth is so brilliant as even the blind can see,
we say: As scientists generally agree (and have been trying to establish for
almost two centuries), space is full of some matter called ‘ether’. Subtle and
refined matters like light, electricity and heat point to the existence of some
more subtle and refined matter which fills space. For just as fruits demonstrate
the existence of trees that bear them, flowers their flower-bed, shoots their
field, and fishes the sea, the stars, also, present to the mind’s eye the existence
of their origin, field, sea, and flower-bed. Since there are different formations
in the celestial realm above us and different rules are in force under different
conditions, then the heavens which require the existence of those rules must
also be different. Since, just as in man there are immaterial ‘worlds’ apart
from his material body, like the mind, heart, spirit, imagination, and memory,
certainly, in the universe, which is the macro-human and the tree of which man
is the fruit, there are other worlds apart from the corporeal one. Also, each
world has a heaven, from the world of the earth to the world of Paradise.
As far as the angels are concerned, we say this: On the earth, medium-sized
among the planets and insignificant and dense among stars, animate and conscious
beings, the most valuable and enlightened among creatures, are to be found in
countless numbers. So, of a certainty, the stars, which are like adorned castles
and perfectly-built palaces compared to the earth, which is like a dark house,
and the heavens, which are like the seas of the stars, will be the dwelling-places
of angels and spirit beings, who are conscious, animate, extremely numerous,
and of different sorts. Referring the reader to The Twenty-ninth Word concerning
angels, we cut short the discussion here.
In short: The heavens are formed of ‘ether’ and they are the source of subtle
and refined matters or energies or forces like light, heat, electricity, and
gravity. As pointed to in the hadith, The heaven is a wave stretched and restrained,
they were made favorable for the motion of stars and planets. Wisdom and reason
require that, from the Milky Way to other further systems and the closest planet,
the heavens should consist of seven levels in different states and formations,
each being a heaven to a world, from the world of the earth to the intermediate
world of the grave and world of symbols or ideal forms and to the world of the
Man is only able to ascend to some height by means of aircraft. How then
could someone go and come back bodily within a few minutes covering a distance
that would normally take thousands of years?
According to science, whose findings you accept without question, a heavy
body like the earth with its annual movement cuts a distance of about six hundred
miles in one minute. In one year it covers a distance of approximately one hundred
and sixty million miles. Should an All-Powerful One of Majesty, Who causes the
earth to make that regular motion and revolves it like a stone in a sling, be
unable to convey a human being to His Supreme Throne? Should a Wisdom which
causes the heavy earth to revolve around the sun like a Mawlawi darwish through
a law of Divine Lordship known as gravity be unable to raise the body of a human
being like lightning to the Throne of the All-Merciful One through the ‘gravity’
of the All-Merciful One’s Mercy and the attraction of the Eternal Sun?
Let us accept that he could ascend, but why did he and why should he? Would
it not have been enough if he had ascended just in heart and spirit like the
Since the Majestic Maker has willed to show His amazing signs in the inner
and external dimensions of His domain, and to make the ‘workshops’ and sources
of this world observed, and to display the results of man’s actions pertaining
to the Hereafter, most certainly and as required by the reason and wisdom, together
with Muhammad’s spirit, He would take to His Supreme Throne his eyes, the key
to the world of visible objects, his ears, which perceived His signs in the
world of sound and voices, and to cut it short, his blessed body, which is like
the machine of his spirit comprising different members and components by means
of which he performed his countless duties. Just as the Divine Wisdom makes
the body accompany the spirit in Paradise, because it is the body that is the
means by which numerous duties of worship are performed and the means of innumerable
pleasures and pains, so also it is pure wisdom that He would make his blessed
body accompany his spirit ascending to the Lote-tree of the furthest limit,
which is the ‘trunk’ of the Garden of Abode.
According to reason, is it not impossible to cover in a few minutes a distance
which would normally take thousands of years?
In the art of the All-Majestic Maker, the motions are of infinitely different
degrees. For example, everybody knows how different are from one another electricity,
spirit, imagination, and sound. Also, as has been established by science, the
speeds of the motion of different planets are so different that it astonishes
the mind. So, why should it be deemed contrary to reason that the body of Muhammad,
upon him be peace and blessings, which acquired some sort of refinement, accompanied
his spirit in the Ascension and moved at its speed? It sometimes occurs that
you sleep for ten minutes but have one year’s experiences. Even, if the words
one spoke and heard in a dream lasting one minute were collected together, it
would take a day and even more to speak or hear them in the waking state. That
means a single period of time means one day for one while a year for another.
Consider this by means of an analogy. Let us imagine a clock to measure the
speed of man, a cannon-ball, sound, light, electricity, spirit, and imagination.
The clock has ten hands to show the hours, minutes, and seconds down to fractions
of an hour to the power of ten, and also it has ten circles one round the other
and sixty times larger than it respectively. If the circle with the hand showing
the hours was the size of a normal clock, the circle we imagine to have a hand
showing fractions of an hour to the power of ten would have to be the size of
the annual orbit of the earth, or even much greater.
Now let us suppose there are two people. One is as though mounted on the
hour-hand and observes according to its motion while the other is on the hand
showing fractions of an hour to the number of ten. There will be an enormous
difference, as great as the proportion between our clock and the annual orbit
of the earth, with respect to the things these two individuals observe in the
same period of time.
Thus, since time is like an aspect or a ‘ribbon’ of motion, a rule which
is in force in motion is also in force in time. While the things we observe
in the period of one hour are of the same amount as the observations of the
individual mounted on the hour-hand, which moves in the smallest circle at the
lowest speed, like the one mounted on the hand showing fractions of the hour
to the power of ten, God’s noble Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings,
gets on the mount of Divine assistance and in the same space of time, in that
same hour, like lightning, traverses the entire sphere of contingency, and seeing
the wonders of the external and inner dimensions of Divine dominion and rising
as far as the limits of Divine realm, is honored with Divine conversation and
vision of His Beauty, receives the decree, and returns to his duty. It was possible
for him to do that, and he did it.
So, it is possible. But everything possible does not occur. Is there anything
else similar to this so that we could accept it? How can we accept the occurrence
of something to which there are no similar cases, only because it is possible?
There are so many cases similar to it that they cannot be enumerated. For
example, anyone with sound sight can ascend with his eyes from the ground to
the planet Neptune in a second. Any astronomer can mount the laws of astronomy
in his mind and travel beyond the stars in a minute. Anyone who believes can
mount in thought on the acts and pillars of the prescribed prayers, and leaving
the universe behind through some sort of Ascension, go as far as the Divine
presence. Any perfected saint who sees with his heart can, through his spiritual
journeying, traverse in forty days the Divine Throne and the spheres of His
Names and attributes. Certain persons, even, like ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani and
Imam Rabbani, truthfully reported that they used to ascend spiritually as far
as the Divine Throne in one minute.
Furthermore, the angels, whose bodies are of light, come and go between the
ground and Divine Throne in a very short time. The people of Paradise will ascend
to the gardens of Paradise from the Place of Gathering in a short period of
time. Many examples such as these demonstrate that it is pure wisdom, and completely
rational, and it undoubtedly occurred, that the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be
peace and blessings, who is the lord of all the saints, the leader of all the
believers, the head of all the people of Paradise, and is accepted by all the
angels, made an ascension which would be the means of his spiritual journeying
(beyond the ranks of sainthood), and that it would be in a form appropriate
to his position.
What is the wisdom in The Ascension?
The wisdom in the Ascension is so elevated that human minds cannot reach
it. It is so profound that the mind cannot comprehend it, and so subtle and
fine that the intellect cannot grasp it. However, even if we cannot know the
reality of the wisdom in the Ascension or the exact Divine purposes for it,
we can nevertheless, by means of some indications, show the existence of some
of those purposes. They are as follows.
In order to demonstrate the light of all of His Names throughout the universe
and the concentration of the manifestations of His Names on certain beings and
thereby show His Unity or Oneness, the Creator of this universe distinguished
an eminent individual with an Ascension in the form of a link between the furthest
limit of the realm of multiplicity and corporeality and the starting point of
the dominion of pure unity and spirituality. Addressing him on behalf of all
the creatures, He explained all the Divine purposes to him in the name of conscious
beings and made them known through him. He also willed to observe through his
sight the beauty of His art and the perfection of His Lordship in the mirrors
of His creatures, and also to cause them to be observed by others.
Furthermore, as is testified by His works, the Maker of the world has infinite
beauty and perfection. Both beauty and perfection are loved because of themselves.
Since this is so, the One with infinite beauty and perfection has a boundless
love for His beauty and perfection. That boundless love manifests itself in
many ways in the works of His art. He loves His works of art because He sees
His beauty and perfection in them. The most lovable and elevated among His works
of art are animate beings. The most lovable and elevated among animate beings
are conscious beings, and by virtue of their comprehensiveness, the most lovable
among conscious beings are to be found among human beings. The most loveable
individual among human beings is the one who has most fully developed his potentiality
and manifested the samples of the perfections observed in all the creatures.
Thus, in order to see at one point and in one mirror all the manifestations
of His Love pervading all of the creatures, and to display all the varieties
of His beauty, focused on one individual, the Maker of beings chose one among
human beings who is of the quality of an illustrious, enlightened fruit of the
tree of creation and whose heart is like a seed containing the essential elements
of that tree. Then, in order to demonstrate how He loves that individual in
the name of the universe, He drew him to His presence through an Ascension,
which is like a thread linking the seed, which is the origin, with the fruit,
which is the end, and honored him with the vision of His Essential Beauty. In
order that the others could copy him in his holiness and excellence, He favored
him with His Word and entrusted Him with His Decree.
In order to comprehend this exalted wisdom, we shall observe it through the
telescope of two comparisons.
First comparison: As is explained in detail in the parable of The Eleventh
Word, suppose there is a glorious king who has vast treasuries full of many
varieties of jewels. He has great skill in strange crafts, comprehensive knowledge
of innumerable curious arts, and profound learning in numberless sciences. Since
anyone with beauty and perfection wants both to see and display his beauty and
perfection, of course that skilful king too will wish to set up an exhibition
where he will reveal before the people’s eyes the majesty of his dominion, the
glitter of his wealth, the wonderful works of his art and the marvels of his
skills. By doing so, he also wants to observe his own beauty and perfection
in two ways: he wants both to see them with his own eyes penetrating as far
as the fine, delicate points, and also to observe them through the sight of
So, the king begins to build an imposing, magnificent, extensive palace.
He divides it into apartments and mansions in an amazing way. Then, He adorns
it with jewels of great variety from his treasures, and decorates it with the
finest, the most beautiful works of his art. He furnishes it with the most delicate
works of his knowledge and science, and decks it out and completes it with the
miraculous works of his learning. Next, he spreads tables with varieties of
bounties and the most delicious of foods worthy for each group and prepares
a general banquet. Then, in order to show his perfection, he invites his subjects
both to eat of the foods and to see the palace with everything in it.
Then he appoints one among his subjects as representative and accords him
the highest rank with himself. He invites him up from the bottom floor to tour
all the mansions and floors one after or above the other. Showing him the successive
machinery and all the workshops of his wonderful art and the storehouses for
the produce coming from below, he brings him up to his own private apartment.
There, he honors him with his presence and the vision of his blessed person,
who is the origin of all those perfections, He informs him of the true nature
of the palace and of his own perfections. Appointing him as a guide for the
rest of his subjects, he sends him back to describe to the people the maker
of the palace by means of its contents, inscriptions, and wonders. The guide
will also inform them of the meanings of the inscriptions, what the works of
art and well-proportioned and well-arranged furniture and decorations signify,
and how they point to the perfections and skills of the palace’s owner. Again
he will teach them the correct behavior and formalities in visiting the palace
and beholding the exhibition in it, and describe the protocol and ceremonies
that are in accordance with the pleasure and desires of the learned and skilful
king, who does not appear to them.
In exactly the same way (God’s is the highest comparison( the Majestic Maker,
Who is the Lord of Eternity, desired to see and display His infinite Beauty
and perfections. So He made the palace of this world in such a fashion that
each creature voices His perfections in numerous tongues and points to His Beauty
with many signs. Through all the beings in it, this universe shows how numerous
immaterial treasuries are hidden in each of His Most Beautiful Names and how
many subtleties are concealed in each of His sacred titles. It shows this in
such a way that although together with all their laws and principles all sciences
have studied this book of the universe since the time of Adam, they have not
yet been able to discover one-hundredth of the meanings and signs which that
book contains concerning the Divine Names and perfections.
Thus, the Wisdom of the Majestic One of Beauty, the Beautiful One of Majesty,
the Maker having perfection, Who has made that palace of the universe like an
exhibition to see and display His perfections and transcendent Beauty, requires
that He should inform someone of the meanings of His signs contained in that
palace so that they do not remain vain and without benefit for conscious beings
on the earth. His Wisdom really requires that He should have someone to travel
through the exalted worlds, which are the sources of the wonders in that palace
and the storehouses where the results of their lives accumulate; that He should
raise him above all others, honor him with nearness to Him in His presence and
get him to tour the worlds of the Hereafter, and entrust him with many duties
such as being a teacher to all His servants, a herald of the sovereignty of
His lordship, a conveyor of the things pleasing to Himself, and an expander
of His signs in the creation and operation of the palace of the universe; that
He should show his pre-eminence through the decorations of the miracles which
He would enable him to work, and that He should proclaim through a decree like
the Qur’an that that person is a truthful personal interpreter of the Majestic
We have so far demonstrated through the telescope of this comparison a few
of the instances of wisdom in the Ascension only as examples. You may infer
others by analogy.
Second comparison: Suppose there is a knowledgeable, skilful person. If that
person wants to write a miraculous book, on each page of which are as many truths
as would fill a hundred books, and in each line of which are as many subtle
meanings as would fill a hundred pages, and in each word of which as many truths
as would fill a hundred words, and if all the meanings and truths of that book
point to the transcendent perfections of its miracle-displaying writer, he most
certainly would not leave such a treasury closed and thereby make it worthless.
He would surely teach it to some others so that such a valuable book would not
remain meaningless and vain. He would teach it so that his hidden perfections
would be unveiled and his beauty (his intellectual and spiritual excellence) would
be seen; and so that he should himself be pleased and make himself loved. To
this end, he would have someone go through that wonderful book from the first
page to the last and instruct him in all its meanings and truths so that that
person would then teach them to others.
In exactly the same way, in order to display His perfections, Beauty and
the truths of His Names, the Eternal Inscriber has ‘written’ the universe in
such way that all creatures proclaim and express in innumerable ways His infinite
perfections, Names and Attributes. Of course, if the meaning of a book is not
known, then it would have no value. But a book (such as the universe) each letter
of which contains thousands of meanings cannot be reduced to nothing, nor are
they allowed to do so. That being the case, the One Who has written that book
will certainly make it known and cause each group of creatures to explain a
part of it according to capacity. He will also teach the whole of it to an individual
who has the most comprehensive view, the most universal consciousness, and the
greatest capacity. However, to teach the whole of such a book with all its universal
truths requires that, starting from the furthest limits of the levels of multiplicity) the
corporeal world) which is the first page of the book, as far as the realm of
Unity, which is the final page, the individual should be taken on a most elevated
and universal journey. Thus, thorough this comparison, to a degree you can look
at the exalted instances of wisdom in the Ascension.
Why is the ascension special to The Prophet Muhammad?
• It has been elaborated in many places in the previous Words. So here we
shall set out a brief list containing signs to demonstrate Muhammad’s Prophethood,
upon him be peace and blessings, and his perfections, and why he is the most
worthy to make the Ascension.
• Despite many corruptions in the previous Scriptures like the Torah, the
Gospels and the Psalms, a discerning scholar like Husain al-Jisri, still in
this century, was able to find in them one hundred and ten signs indicating
the Prophethood of Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, and quoted them
in his Risala al-Hamidiya.
• As authentically recorded by history, many soothsayers such Shiq and Satih,
some time before his Prophethood, accurately foretold his Prophethood, and even
that he was the Last of the Prophets.
• Before his Prophethood, there were many extraordinary events, famous in
history, called irhasat that is, signs forewarning people of a coming Prophet.
For example, on the night of his birth, the idols in the Ka‘ba were toppled
over, and the pinnacles of the famous palace of Chosroes, the Persian ruler,
• He satisfied the thirst of an army with water flowing from his fingers;
he split the moon, as confirmed by the Qur’anic verse, The moon split (al-Qamar,
54.1), and the dry wooden pole against which he leant while preaching his sermons
in the Mosque moaned like a camel in the presence of a large congregation because
of separation from him. With all his miracles such as these numbering almost
one thousand, related by history and biography, he was distinguished and made
superior to all other Prophets.
• Friend and foe alike agree that all the good qualities were to be found
to the highest degree in his character, and that, as demonstrated by his conduct,
the attributes and character of the highest excellence were apparent in the
way he performed his mission, and, in accordance with the moral principles prescribed
by the religion of Islam, praiseworthy virtues of the highest order are to be
found in the Law he brought.
• It is a requirement of wisdom that Divinity be manifested because of Its
perfections. It is the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, who
manifested the Divinity of God at the greatest level and in the most brilliant
fashion through the most perfect and comprehensive way of worship contained
in his religion.
• The Creator of the world wants, as a result of the wisdom in the creation
of the universe, to display His most perfect Beauty and Grace through some appropriate
means, and it is evidently Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, who demonstrated
and described His Beauty and Grace in the most perfect fashion.
• The Maker of the world wants to exhibit and draw attentive gaze towards
His perfect art of infinite Beauty, and, again, it is evidently Muhammad, upon
him be peace and blessings, who proclaimed that art with the clearest voice.
• Again, it is necessarily Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, who,
in response to the desire of the Lord of the worlds to proclaim His Oneness
in the realms of multiplicity, announced Unity with all Its aspects in the most
• The Owner of the world wants, as a consequence of His Wisdom, both to see
and to show in the mirrors of all beings, His infinite essential Beauty and
Grace, with all their manifestations, and again it is evidently Muhammad, upon
him be peace and blessings, who reflected them in the most brilliant fashion
and made others love them.
• It is evidently Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, who, in response
to the desire of the Builder of the palace of the world to describe His perfections
by exhibiting His unseen treasuries full of invaluable gems, displayed and described
them in the most perfect way.
• The Maker of the universe has decorated the universe with the most beautiful
and exquisite kinds of embellishments and included in it His conscious creatures
in order that they should travel therein both to get enjoyment and to ponder
over it and reflect. He therefore wants, as a result of His Wisdom, to communicate
to people who observe and reflect, the meaning and value expressed by the works
of His art. Again, it is evidently Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings,
who guided, in the most comprehensive way, men and jinn, and even angels, in
this respect by means of the Qur’an.
• Also, the All-Wise Ruler of the universe wants, by means of an envoy, to
reveal to all conscious beings the purpose of the changes and transformations
in existence and the answer to these three perplexing questions, Where do beings
come from? Where are they going? What are they? Again, it is evidently Muhammad,
upon him be peace and blessings, who revealed, by means of the truths of the
Qur’an, this purpose and provided the answer in the clearest and most perfect
• The Maker of this world also wants to make Himself known to conscious beings
through His exquisite works and to be loved by them through the precious bounties
He bestows on them. As a result, He desires to communicate to them by means
of an envoy what He wants them to do and how they may obtain His approval in
return for those bounties. It is evidently Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings,
who communicated, by means of the Qur’an, the things that please God in the
most exalted and perfect way.
• The Lord of the Worlds has endowed man, who is the fruit of the tree of
creation, with such a comprehensive disposition as will encompass the whole
universe, and with a corresponding ability, and even need, to perform a universal
worship. Man, on the other hand, because of his feelings, is usually inclined
to the world with its varying attractions. So, God wills, by means of a guide,
to turn man’s attention from worldly multiplicity to Divine Unity, from transience
to eternity. Again, it is evidently Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings,
who, in response to this will, by means of the Qur’an, guided man to this end
in the most desirable fashion and performed the duty of Messengership in the
most perfect way.
• Thus, the most superior among creation are living beings, and among living
beings the most superior are conscious beings. The most superior of conscious
beings are true human beings, and among the human beings the one who carried
out all the duties mentioned in the most perfect and comprehensive way would,
of a certainty, rise through an all-embracing Ascension to the nearness of ‘two
bows’ length’, that is, to the station nearest to God, knock at the door of
eternal happiness, open the treasury of Mercy, and become a direct witness of
the unseen truths of faith.
• As observed in the whole universe, everything displays the most pleasing
instances of beauty and utmost degree of adornment. This beauty and adornment
clearly demonstrate that their Maker possesses a most vigorous will to make
things beautiful and to adorn them. This will in turn shows of a necessity that
the Maker has a strong inclination and sacred love towards His art. Therefore,
the one among beings who has the most comprehensive disposition to display in
himself all the wonders of art, one who knows them and makes them known and
thus makes himself lovable, and who also deeply appreciates the beauties manifested
in other beings in full appreciation of their having come from the Maker will
evidently be the most beloved in the sight of the Maker, Who greatly loves His
• It is the same being who, in full awareness of the exquisite qualities
that adorn all beings; and of perfections that illuminate them, makes the heavens
echo the words: Glory be to God! What wonders God has willed, and All these
are from God! God is the greatest!, and who causes the universe to reverberate
with the sounds of the Qur’an, and enraptures land and sea with his appreciative
reflections and glorification, and his proclamation and demonstration of Divine
Unity. Such a being is he that, according to the principle, The cause is like
the doer, he receives the reward equivalent to that of all the good deeds performed
by each member of his community; his spiritual perfections draw strength from
the blessings prayed for him by each member of his community, and, as a result
of the duties he performed in his Messengership, receives immaterial recompense
and infinite emanations of Divine Mercy and Love. It is, therefore, the certain
result of pure truth and absolute wisdom that this being should advance by means
of Ascension as far as Paradise, Sidra al-Muntaha (the Lotus Tree), which is
the farthest limit of contingency, the Divine Throne, and to the nearness of
two bows’ length. The second: What do you mean by saying that he is the seed
of the universe? You also say that the universe was created from his light,
and also that he is its farthest and most enlightened fruit. What does that
Questions concerning why the Prophet Muhammad only was favored with the Ascension?
What do you mean by saying that the Prophet Muhammad is the seed of the universe?
You also say that the universe was created from his light, and also that he
is its farthest and most enlightened fruit. What does that mean?
The truth in understanding of which you have difficulty, is so elevated and
profound that the mind cannot comprehend it; it can be discerned only through
the light of belief. However, we will try to make it understandable through
When considered with regard to the wisdom in its purposes, this universe
appears to have the meaning of a mighty tree. Just like a tree, this world,
has branches, leaves, flowers, and fruits: the elements are like its branches,
the plants its leaves, the animals its flowers, and human beings its fruits.
His Name the All-Wise requires that any law of the Majestic Maker which is prevalent
in trees should also be prevalent for this greatest tree. So it is a requirement
of Wisdom that this tree of creation would have to be formed from a seed also;
a seed which would, besides those of this world of corporeality, also have to
encapsulate the models and foundations of other worlds. For the origin and essential
seed of the universe, which comprises thousands of different worlds, cannot
be a dried, inanimate piece of matter. Since there had been no other trees prior
to that tree of creation, for sure, it is again the requirement of the Divine
Name the All-Wise that the meaning or the light which constituted the seed or
origin of that tree would have to be clothed in the covering of a fruit. Since
a seed cannot remain naked for ever, and since at the beginning of creation
it was not clothed in the coat of a fruit, and since, as was previously pointed
out, among human beings the most well-known and illustrious fruit is the Prophet
Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, who has attracted the attentions
of all mankind to himself, who has caused the attentions of, in particular,
half of the globe and one fifth of mankind to be fixed on himself, and through
his spiritual beauties and personal virtues made the world consider him with
the view of either love and amazement, then, for sure, the light which constituted
the seed of the universe would be clothed in his body and appear in the form
of the final fruit.
O listener! Do not deem it unlikely that this amazing, mighty universe was
created out of the particular nature of a man. Why should the All-Powerful One
of Majesty, Who creates a huge pine tree, resembling a world of some sort, from
a seed the size of a grain, have not created or have not been able to create
the universe from the light of Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings? The
tree of the universe being, like the Touba tree of Paradise, upside down, with
its roots and trunk upwards and branches downwards, there is a link of light,
a link in meaning, between the position of the fruit below and that of the essential
seed above. The Ascension is the form of that link, that the Prophet Muhammad,
upon him be peace and blessings, opened up that way; he went through sainthood
and came back with Messengership, leaving the door open to it, to some sort
of ascension. The saints among his community travel in heart and spirit on that
highway of light under the shadow of the Prophetic Ascension and rise to the
elevated stations each according to his capacity.
Also, as argued previously, the Maker of the universe has made the universe
in the form of a palace for the purposes pointed out in the answer of the first
difficulty. Since the means for the accomplishment of those purposes is the
Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, prior to the universe he
would have to be under the eyes of the favor of the universe’s Maker and receive
His Manifestation first of all. For the result or the fruit of something is
considered first. That means the latest in existence is the first in meaning.
So, since the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, is both the
most perfect fruit and the means for the value of all other fruits and the cause
for the realization of all the purposes (for the creation of the universe),
then his light would of a necessity receive the first manifestation of Divine
In your foregoing explanations you say that he made his Ascension in order
to rise to the elevated realm and to see the machinery and workshops whose produce
or works are exhibited in the realm of the earth and the storehouses where the
results of the earthly lives of those works are kept. What does this mean?
This is so comprehensive that narrow-minded people like us cannot understand
it. We can only have a glimpse of it from afar.
The life of this material world and the laws to govern it are pre-determined
in the celestial worlds. The results of the actions of the innumerable beings
living on the earth, which is the place teeming with all kinds of creatures,
and the consequences of the deeds of men and jinn take on form also in those
worlds. Together with the testimony of numerous indications and many Prophetic
traditions, the wise Qur’an suggests and the wisdom in the universe and the
Divine Name the All-Wise require, that the good deeds of men and jinn take on
the forms of the fruits of Paradise, while their evil deeds take on the forms
of the bitter, poisonous fruits of the tree of Hell.
Indeed, creatures exist on the earth in such abundance and creation has been
divided into so many branches that the groups and species of beings and divisions
of creatures are to be found on the earth in much greater number than all other
creatures in all other parts of the universe. These beings and creatures are
constantly replaced by newer and newer ones, the world continuously filling
with, and being emptied of, them. All these particular, multiple beings and
creatures have their sources and origins in the universal laws and universal
manifestations of Divine Names, which are first of all reflected in, and received
by, the heavens. Simple to some degree and pure, each of those heavens is like
the roof of a different world, and it represents a center or an aspect of the
Supreme Divine Throne (from which God administers that world), and regulates
its affairs. One of those worlds is the Garden of Abode, an apartment of Paradise,
which is beside the Lote-tree (Lotus Tree) of the farthest limit. The Truthful
Reporter, upon him be peace and blessings, informs us that the praises and glorifications
of God performed on the earth take on the forms of the fruits of that Garden.
That means, the storehouses where the results or fruits of the works done on
the earth accumulate are in those heavenly worlds; the harvest obtained on the
earth is sent there (to ‘reap’ on a pre-determined day.)
Do not say: Now does a single utterance of mine, All Praise be to God, which
is lost in the air, become embodied in a fruit of Paradise? Because, sometimes
you utter an agreeable word while awake in the daytime and have it back and
‘eat’ it in dreams in the forms of a delicious apple. A disagreeable word you
utter in the daytime is returned to you at night as a bitter thing to swallow.
If you backbite someone, they will make you eat it as decaying flesh. That being
so, whatever good or bad words you utter in this worldly sleep, you will eat
them in the forms of fruits in the world of the Hereafter, which is the world
of being awake. You should not deem that unlikely.
What are the fruits and benefits of The Ascension?
Out of numerous fruits of the Ascension, which is like an elaborate tree
of Paradise in meaning, we shall mention only five as examples.
The vision of the truths from which the pillars of faith originate and the
seeing of angels, Paradise and the Hereafter and even the Majestic Being, became
the cause of such a treasury and an eternal light and gift for the universe
and mankind that it has freed the universe from being seen as a disordered heap
of things doomed to destruction and showed that, in reality, it is the harmonious
collection of the sacred ‘writings’ of the Eternally Besought-of-All and lovely
mirrors where the Grace and Beauty of the Single One are reflected. It has pleased
and rejoiced the universe and all conscious beings. Again, through that light
and gift, it has freed man from the confused state of misguidance in which he
was seen as a wretched, completely helpless and destitute being entangled in
innumerable needs and hostilities and doomed to eternal annihilation, and showed
that, in reality, he is of fairest composition and the best pattern of creation,
one who, being a miracle of the Power of the Eternally Besought-of-All and a
comprehensive copy of the collection of His ‘writings’, is addressed by the
Sovereign of Eternity, and one who is His private servant to appreciate His
perfections, His friend to behold His Beauty in amazement, and His beloved and
an honorable guest of His designated for Paradise. It has implanted infinite
joy and enthusiasm in those who are truly human.
The Ascension brought to men and jinn as a gift the essentials of Islam,
including primarily the prescribed five daily prayers, which contain all the
things pleasing to the Ruler of Eternity, Who is the Maker of creatures, the
Owner of the universe, and the Lord of the Worlds. People must be so curious
about perceiving those things pleasing to Him, and the perception of them brings
so great happiness that it cannot be described. For everyone is desirous of
knowing the wishes of a renowned benefactor or a benevolent king to the degree
that he says: ‘I wish I had a means of communication and talked to him directly!
I wish I knew what he asks of me! I wish I knew what things of me are pleasing
to Him!’ God has the possession of all creatures, and the grace, beauty and
perfections shared by all creatures are but a dim shadow in relation to His
Beauty, Grace and Perfection. You may understand to what degree mankind, who
need Him in infinite respects and receive His boundless bounties every moment,
should be curious about and desirous of perceiving His wishes and the things
pleasing to Him.
It was as a fruit of the Ascension that having left seventy thousand veils
behind, the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, heard of the
things pleasing to the King of Eternity directly from Him with absolute certainty
and brought them to mankind as a gift.
Mankind are extremely curious to know facts about the moon and any other
planet. They desire that someone will go there and tell them about it. They
are ready to make great sacrifices for this end. But the moon travels in the
domain of such a Master that if flies around the earth like a fly. The earth
flies around the sun like a moth. As for the sun, it is only a lamp among thousands
of other lamps and functions like a candle in a guest-house of the Majestic
Master of Kingdom. Thus, such are the acts and qualities of the Majestic Being,
and the wonders of His art and the treasuries of His Mercy in the eternal world,
that the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, saw during the Ascension
and then told mankind about. You may understand how contrary to reason and wisdom
it will be if mankind do not listen to that person with utmost curiosity and
in perfect amazement and love.
The Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, saw the hidden treasury
of eternal happiness during the Ascension and brought its keys to men and jinn
as a gift. Through the Ascension he saw Paradise with his own eyes, observed
the everlasting manifestations of the Mercy of the Majestic All-Merciful One,
and perceived eternal happiness with absolute certainty, and then he brought
to men and jinn the good tiding that there is eternal happiness (in an everlasting
It is indescribable how great happiness it aroused in the mortal, wretched
men and jinn who had regarded themselves as condemned to eternal annihilation,
that such a good tiding was given to them at a time when all creatures were
giving out heart-rending cries at the thought of being in a flux amidst the
convulsions of death and decay in an unstable world, going into the ocean of
non-existence and eternal separation through the flow of time and the motion
of particles. Consider how such a tiding delights a man if he is given a palace
by the king in the vicinity of his residence just when he (the man) is about
to be hanged. Add together the instances of joy and happiness to the number
of all men and jinn, and understand the value of this good tiding.
As the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, himself received
the fruit of the vision God’s Beautiful ‘Countenance’, he brought it to men
and jinn as a gift that every believer may be honored with the same vision.
You can understand how delicious, fine, and beautiful that fruit is when you
make a comparison like this:
Anyone with a heart loves a beautiful, perfect and benevolent one. This love
increases in proportion to the extent of beauty, perfection and benevolence
and mounts to the degree of adoration and self-sacrifice. It even increases
to the degree that one may sacrifice whatever one has and one’s life for the
sake of a single vision of the beloved one. Whereas, when compared to His, all
the beauty, perfection and benevolence shared by the whole of the creation cannot
even be like a few flashes of the sun in comparison to the sun itself. You may
understand from this what a pleasant, beautiful, rejoicing and blissful fruit
it is that one deserves in the abode of eternal happiness the sight of a Majestic
One of perfection, Who is worthy of infinite love, the sight of Whom deserves
to inspire an infinite eagerness.
It was understood through the Ascension that man is a valuable fruit of the
universe and a darling beloved of the Maker of the universe. This understanding
is one of the fruits of the Ascension, through which man, who is outwardly an
insignificant creature, a weak animal and an impotent conscious being, has risen
to a position so high that it is the cause of pride for man above all other
creatures. The joy and happiness it must give to man is indescribable. For if
you tell an ordinary private that he has been promoted to the rank of field-marshal,
he will feel infinite joy. While being a mortal, helpless, reasoning and articulating
animal that had been continually receiving the blows of decay and separation,
man was told unexpectedly through the Ascension:
‘In the inner and external dimensions of God’s dominion and in an everlasting
Paradise, enveloped by the Mercy of an All-Merciful, All-Compassionate and All-Magnificent
One, you may succeed in realizing all the desires of your heart and in recreation,
in travelling, to and fro with the speed of imagination and in the broad sphere
of the spirit and the mind. You may also succeed in seeing His Most Beautiful
‘Countenance’ in the abode of eternal happiness.’ You may imagine what great
joy and happiness one who is truly human will feel in his heart on hearing this.
Now, turning to the one in the position of listener, we say: Tear apart the
shirt of atheism and put on the ears of a believer and the eyes of a Muslim.
By means of two comparisons, we will show you the degree of the value of one
or two of those fruits.
For example: Suppose you and I are together in a land. We see that we have
chanced upon an unfriendly environment; everything and everyone is hostile and
strange both to us and to one another. Everywhere is filled with dreadful corpses.
Whatever we hear is either the cries of orphans or the laments of the oppressed.
While in this state, if one gets a good tiding from the king of that land, through
which all those hostile to us become friendly, enemies change into friends,
those dreadful corpses emerge as worshipping beings occupied with praising and
glorification in veneration and humility, the cries and wailings are heard as
shouts of approval or acclamations, and deaths, killings, and robberies change
into acts of discharge from the duties of life, and if, together with experiencing
ours, we share the joy and happiness of others, then certainly you will understand
how joyful that tiding is.
Prior to the light of belief, which is one of the fruits of the Ascension
of Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, when considered with the view
of misguidance, all creatures in the universe seemed to be strange, harmful,
troublesome and frightening objects, and such bodies as mountains seemed like
dreadful corpses. Death cut off the head of everybody and threw it into the
well of non-existence. All the voices heard were cries of lament coming from
deaths and separations. Having come just at that time when misguidance presented
everything to the mind thus, the truths contained in the pillars of faith, which
are a fruit of the Ascension, show you every creature as a friend or brother
to you and something which mentions and glorifies its Majestic Maker, and death
as discharge from the duties of life, and voices as praises and glorifications
of God. If you want to comprehend this truth perfectly, you may refer to the
Second and Eighth Words.
Second comparison: Suppose you and I are in a place like a big desert. Caught
by a sand storm in the midst of night, we cannot see even our hands. While in
this wretched state (hungry, thirsty, hopeless and without protection) if someone
appears unexpectedly with a car, and picking us up, takes us to a Paradise-like
place where an extremely merciful lord welcomes us and takes us under his protection,
where our future has been secured, and a banquet has been prepared for us, you
may guess how we will rejoice and feel happy.
So, the desert is the world, and the sands stand for helpless men and other
creatures tossing about in the violent disturbances of time and events. Every
human being is anxious about his future, at which he looks with the view of
misguidance, and sees it in a thick darkness. There is no one he knows to hear
his cries. He is extremely hungry and thirsty. But thanks to God’s wishes and
the things pleasing to Him, which we come to know as a fruit of the Ascension,
the world is the guest-house of an extremely Generous One with men in it being
his guests and officers; when, in such a guest-house, the future appears to
you as beautiful as Paradise, as lovely as mercy and as brilliant as eternal
happiness, you may understand how lovely, pleasant and beautiful that fruit
O brother! I congratulate you. May God Almighty include us in the intercession
of His noble Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings. Amen.
O God! Bestow blessings from the beginning of the world until the end of
the Day of Judgement, on him by whose sign the moon split, and from whose fingers
water gushed forth like the spring of Paradise; who made the Ascension and whose
eyes did not waver (our master Muhammad, and on all of his family and Companions).
Glory be to You! We have no knowledge save what You have taught us. Surely
You are the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.
O Lord! Accept from us (our prayers and all other forms of worship); surely
You are the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing. O Lord! Do not call us to account
if we forget or make errors. O Lord! Do not make our hearts swerve after You
have guided us. O Lord! Complete our light for us and forgive us. Surely You
are powerful over all things. The last of their call is all praise to God, the
Lord of the Worlds.