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Prophet's Night of Meraj

The Prophet's Night Journey and Ascension

17:1: "Praise be to God Who has enraptured His servant by night from the Sacred mosque (Mecca) to the Farthest Mosque (Jerusalem)."
33:56: "Lo! God and His angels shower blessings on the Prophet. O ye who believe; ask blessings on him and salute him with a worthy salutation."
53: 1-18: "By the star when it setteth, Your companion erreth not, nor is deceived:
Nor doth he speak of his own desire.
It is naught save an inspiration that is inspired,
Which one of mighty powers hath taught him,
One vigorous; and he grew clear to view
When he was on the uppermost horizon.
Then he drew near and came down
Till he was distant two bows' length or even nearer,
And He revealed unto His slave that which He revealed.
The heart lied not in seeing what it saw.
Will ye then dispute with him concerning what he seeth?
And verily he saw him yet another time
By the lote-tree of the utmost boundary,
Nigh unto which is the Garden of Abode.
When that which shroudeth did enshroud the lote-tree,
The eye turned not aside nor yet was overbold.
Verily he saw one of the greater revelations of his Lord.

God ordered Gabriel to go down with seventy thousand angels to the Prophet Muhammad, Peace be upon him, and stand by his door. "Accompany him to My presence. And you, Michael, take the hidden knowledge and go down with seventy thousand angels and stand by the door of his bedroom. You, Israfil, and you Azra'il, do as Gabriel and Michael have been ordered." Then He said to Gabriel: "Increase the light of the moon with the light of the sun, and increase the light of the stars with the light of the moon." Gabriel asked: "O God, has the Day of resurrection dawned?" God said: "No, but tonight We are calling to Our presence the Prophet, the last Messenger who came after Jesus to reveal to him a secret that pertains to Us." Gabriel said: "O God, what is that secret?" God said: "O Gabriel, the secret of kings cannot be given to the servants. Go with My order and don't ask."
And Gabriel began his descent carrying with him the heavenly message. All the angels accompanied him as God had ordered, until they reached the door of the Prophet. When they arrived, they said: "Qum ya sayyidi: Arise, my Master, and prepare yourself! Ride on the back of the Buraq, the heavenly creature that will carry you on your journey to the Lord of Power through the land of the angels!"  

The Buraq (Heavenly Beast)

When God ordered Gabriel to carry with him the Buraq for the Prophet to ride, he went to the Paradise of buraqs and there he found forty million buraqs. Every buraq had a crown on its forehead inscribed with the words: "There is no god except God, and Muhammad is His Messenger." Under it was written: "Believe in Me, in My angels, in My holy books, and in My prophets." Gabriel saw among them a buraq who secluded himself and who sat alone crying. Gabriel came to him and asked him why he was in such a state. The Buraq answered: "I heard the name of Muhammad forty thousand years ago, and my yearning for him has prevented me from eating and drinking." Gabriel chose that buraq and he took him.
The Buraq had the body of a horse but the face of a human being, with big black eyes and soft ears. His color was that of a peacock whose plumage was set with red rubies and corals, on which sat a white head of musk on a neck of amber. His ears and shoulders were of pure white pearls attached with golden chains, each chain decorated with glittering jewels. His saddle was made of silk lined with silver and gold threads. His back was covered with green emerald and his halter was pure peridot.
The speed of the Buraq is according to his sight. His legs reach wherever his eyes can see. Gabriel said: "O Prophet, this night is your night, and your turn has come to shine in the sky of creation. You are the sun of ancient and recent knowledges, you are the moonlight of the beauties of the worlds, the happiness of creation and the adornment of the lands of human beings and angels. You are the cup of love from the river of milk and honey. The River of Kawthar in Paradise overflows in anticipation of seeing you. O Joy of all creation, O Pride of Paradise, the tables are ready and the Palaces of heaven are waiting for your coming!"
- "O Gabriel," said the Prophet, "did you come with a message of mercy or wrath?"
- "O Muhammad, I came with a message from your Lord to give you a secret."
- "What does the Lord of Generosity want to do with me?"
- "He wants to shower you with His mercy and all human beings that accept you."
- "Give me a moment to prepare myself."
- "I brought you water of paradise and a turban with a message enscribed: 'Muhammad the servant of God; Muhammad the prophet of God; Muhammad the beloved of God; Muhammad the Friend of God.'"
- "O Gabriel, tell me more about that turban."
- "God created a turban from his light and he entrusted it to Ridwan, the angel-custodian of Paradise, and the praising of Ridwan's host of angels belonged to the owner of that turban before heaven and earth were created. Tonight, when the order came for your visit, Ridwan took the turban from Paradise, and all forty thousand angels said with him: 'O our Lord, you have ordered us from time immemorial to praise the owner of that turban. Honor us tonight with his sight and permit us to walk before him.' And God granted them what they asked. Then God ordered me, Gabriel, to hand Michael the precious jar of the pure water of Salsabil, and Michael to give to Azra'il, and Azra'il to give it to Israfil, then Israfil to Ridwan, then Ridwan sent that water another time to the Highest Paradise: Jannat al-Firdaws, where all the beautiful maiden-angels washed their faces with that water and shone even more brightly. Then they sent back that water to me, and I am giving it to you."
And the Prophet showered with the water from Paradise. As soon as it touched his noble body he became covered with a garment of subtle angelic light, and Gabriel gave him the Buraq to ride. But the Buraq stopped and asked Gabriel: "Is that the Prophet Muhammad who is invited to our Lord?" Gabriel said: "yes." The Buraq asked: "Is he the owner of the blessed pond in Paradise?" Gabriel said: "yes." The Buraq said: "Is he the leader of the People of Paradise?" Gabriel said: "yes." The Buraq said: "Is he the intercessor on Judgment-Day?" Gabriel said yes. At that time the Buraq began to melt like ice and snow melt in the light of the sun. He knelt down and said to the Prophet: "O Pride of creation, ride on me; but I have one request to ask of you: Do not forget me on the day of intercession."  

The Journey to the Far-Distant Mosque

When the Prophet began to ride he was crying. Gabriel asked him: "O Prophet, why are you crying? " He said: "I remembered human beings. Are they going to ride on Judgement Day as I am riding now on the Buraq, and go to their heavenly palaces in Paradise?" Gabriel said: "Yes, verily, we are going to resurrect the pious ones in delegations of riders: On the Day when We shall gather the righteous unto the Beneficent, a goodly company (19:85)."
At that the Prophet felt happy, and he rode forward on the Buraq. Gabriel took hold of the reins while Michael held the saddle, and Israfil the saddle-cloth. The Buraq moved in space until in the blink of an eye they reached the place appointed for their first stop in the middle of the desert. Gabriel said: "O Muhammad, go down and pray to God in this place." The Prophet said: "What is this place?" Gabriel said: "This is the place where you are going to emigrate, and it is going to be your second city." That was the town of Yathrib not far from Mecca, and its name was going to be al-Madina.
In the blink of an eye they again passed through space until they stopped a second time, and Gabriel told the Prophet to come down and pray.
- "Which place is this, O Gabriel?" asked the Prophet.
- "This is Sinai, where Moses used to speak with God."
Then the Buraq moved in space another time until he reached a third place where Gabriel ordered him to pray.
- "And now, where are we, O Gabriel?"
- "You are in Bethlehem, where Jesus was born and from where he spread the message of the King of heavens and of the earth."
As the Prophet walked with delight on the soil where Jesus was born, he felt someone moving near his right shoulder who said: "Muhammad! wait, I want to ask you a question." But the Prophet did not respond. Then another call came from behind his left shoulder, but again he did not answer it. Finally, an unimaginably beautiful moutain covered with the wealth and beauty of this world appeared in front of him and spoke to him with a human voice, but for the third time the Prophet did not respond. Then he asked Gabriel about the three voices. Gabriel said: "If you had listened to the first voice all your nation would have been corrupted because it is the voice of evil; and had you listened to the second one, all your nation would have been tyrants because it is the voice of Satan. And if you had stopped to hear the decorated mountain all your nation would have preferred this world to the eternal world."
The Prophet continued his way and saw two beautiful angelic beings, one masculine and one feminine. They wore a beautiful dress and the fragrance of heaven. They kissed him between his eyes and left. He asked Gabriel who these were and he said: "These are the believers of your nation. They are going to live in happiness and die in happiness and they are going to enter Paradise."
Then another angel appeared to him and offered him three cups to drink: one of water, one of milk, and one of wine. He took the cup of milk and drank, and Gabriel said: "You have chosen the cup of fitra: innocence." Then a maiden-angel appeared and offered the Prophet three suits of cloth, one green, one white, and one black. He took the first two. Gabriel said: "White is the color of believers and green is the color of Paradise. All of your followers are going to be believers in this world and all are going to enter Paradise in the next."
Then, as the Prophet was walking on the place where Jesus taught, he entered the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem. He found the Temple full of angels waiting for him. Every angel in the Temple represented a group of angels in paradise. Then he saw all the Prophets standing in rows. He asked Gabriel who all these were. Gabriel said: "These are your brothers from among the prophets, and these angels are the leaders of all the angels of Paradise." Then Gabriel made the call to prayer, after which he said: "O Muhammad, Most honorable of beings in the sight of God, proceed to prayer." And the Prophet came forward and led the prescribed prayer, and all the prophets and the angels followed him.
Adam spoke saying:
    - "Praise be to God Who created me with His hands and ordered the angels to prostrate for me and brought out all the prophets from among my descendants!"
Then Noah said:
    - "Praise be to God Who accepted my prayer and saved me and my people from drowning with my ship and the help of the angels, and honored me!"
Then Abraham said:
    - "Praise be to God Who took me as His friend and gave me a huge kingdom, and gave me prophets for descendants, and saved me from the fire of Nimrod, and made it cool and safe for me!"
And Moses said:
    - "Praise be to God Who spoke to me without an intermediary and chose me for His message, and made me victorious over Pharaoh with the help of his angels, and gave me the Torah which Gabriel taught me how to write, and adorned me with His love."
And David said:
    - "Praise be to God Who revealed the Psalms to me, and softened the iron between my hands and all other elements, and chose me for His Message!"
And Solomon said:
    - "Praise be to God Who has made subject to me the winds, the jinn, and human beings; who taught me the language of birds; who gave me a kingdom which he never gave anyone after me, and supported me with all his angels."
And Jesus said:
    - "Praise be to God Who sent me as a Word from Him to the world, taught me the Torah and the Gospel, made me cure the deaf, the dumb, and the leper, made me bring back the dead by His permission, and supported me with Gabriel and all His angels."
And Muhammad said:
    - "All of you praised your Lord and I praise Him also, Who sent me as a mercy for human beings and revealed the Koran to me, expanded my breast, took out my sins, raised me up, made my Nation and all human beings the best that could be, and called me 'Kind and Merciful'"!
And Gabriel said:
    - "That is why, O Muhammad you are the last of Prophets and a Mercy for human beings. O prophets and angels, O creations large and small, God and His angels send blessings and salutations on His Prophet! You also send much blessings upon him and utmost greetings! Increase your praise. Praise is an angel with two eyes and two wings that flies to God directly to ask forgiveness for its reciter until Judgment Day."
Then the Prophet continued his way, riding on the Buraq together with all the angels that came to greet and accompany him. Whenever he passed through a different universe he found the angels of that universe gathered to greet and dress him with all kinds of gifts and adornments. They dressed him with the cloaks of perfection and made him the possessor of every beauty.
Then the Prophet heard a very powerful voice coming from the Archangel Israfil from behind the veils of Lordly Power and Angelic Perfection:
    - "O Paradises and heavens! O angels! O mountains and trees and oceans and rivers! O moons and suns and stars and planets and constellations! Plunge in to the beauty and perfection of the Prophet. O angels and houris of Paradise, walk with pride! O creation, be happy tonight, for we are receiving in our presence the Master of human beings and the Seal of Prophets."

The Ascent - al-Mi'raj

Another voice came from an angel called Ishmael, saying:

    "O heavenly stairs, show yourselves and descend!" upon which the ladder of heaven descended all the way from Firdaws, the loftiest Paradise, until it reached the Temple of Solomon. The arms of the ladder shone with two heavenly lights, red amethyst and green jasper of the greatest perfection. Every believer is going to see that ladder and climb on it. It has one hundred steps and it goes from the Temple to the First Heaven.
Gabriel called the Prophet and the Buraq climbed the first step. There the Prophet saw all kinds of angels red in color. On the second step, the Prophet saw angels in yellow cloth, on the third step the angels were green and all of them were greeting him and giving him heavenly gifts which he took and gave to Gabriel to keep as a trust for the believers on earth. On the fourth step messenger-angels came and said: "O Gabriel, keep rising for the Lord is waiting!" And the Prophet saw their subtle bodies shining and their faces glittering like mirrors in the sun.
Then he climbed the fifth step of the ladder and saw a huge world of angels that had no beginning and no end. All of them were praising God and their only words were: "There is no god but God." He asked Gabriel: "How many are these angels?" for he was awed by their numbers. Gabriel said: "If the skies and the earth and the moon and the sun and the stars and galaxies were crushed in to dust and were all piled up, their dust particles would not be one tenth of the angels of this step of the ladder of Paradise." Then the Buraq climbed up to the sixth step and there a great surprise awaited the Prophet, and a great event took place which passed all description. An immense, white-upon-white angel sat on a chair of burnished white gold, accompanied by a great host of angels with wide, awe-struck gazes looking at the divine majesty. The white angel stood up and said: "O Muhammad, welcome! I beg you to bless my seat by sitting on it." When the Prophet sat on the chair, it melted with love for him and became a cloud of multicolored light chanting the praise of God. Out of every drop of that cloud God created another throne and another great angel sitting upon that throne.
Then the Buraq climbed to the seventh heaven and the Prophet saw angels whose light replaced the light of his vision, as in the case when someone looks at the sun and his sight is stolen away. At that time, he became able to see whatever these angels were seeing. Then he climbed the eighth step of the ladder and saw nothing but angels in prostration. He quickly climbed to the ninth so as not to disturb them. On the ninth step of the ladder he saw angels which passed description and he stood in awe, unable to comprehend their creation. At that time their leader appeared and said: "O Prophet! we are dressing you with the secret of our creation and enabling you to understand all things by God's permission."
Then the Prophet went up to the tenth step of the ladder and saw the angels that praised God in all the languages that had been created since the beginning of creation. The Prophet wondered at the limitless creations of God. At the eleventh step, the angels numbered even more than the angels of the fifth step, and out of them an infinite number of colors glowed, different for each single one of them. At the twelfth step, the Prophet found angels with faces like moons and eyes like stars. The light of their faces were covering their words. On the thirteenth step, the most beautiful angels appeared and these were the angels of God, praising God with soft voices and revelling in other-worldly beauty. Their music did not resemble any other kind of music and if one tone of that music were heard on the earth everyone on it would faint.
On the fourteenth step the Prophet saw the angel Ishmael with seventy thousand angels riding on horses. Behind everyone of them was a battalion of one hundred thousand angels created from the attribute of Beauty. It is the duty of each and everyone of these angels to appear on earth at least one time to bring it the touch of his beauty. The fifteenth to the twenty-fourth steps were under the command of the angel Ruqya'il, great and small, thin and wide. The twenty-fifth step to the ninety-ninth were presided by the angel Qala'il. His right hand was under the first heaven. Between each two of his fingers there are seven hundred thousand angels continuously praising God. For each of the praises that they utter strings of pearls come out of their mouth. The diameter of every pearl is eighty-one miles. For each pearl God creates an angel that guards it and keeps it as a trust for human beings until they enter Paradise.
Then the Prophet saw a huge throne from a precious element other than gold standing on five posts. Each post has two wings and each wing encompasses the constellation of our world five times. On each wing rest fifty thousand angels, each of whom ask forgiveness for human beings in a different dialect and yet in complete harmony and with an angelic sound that melts the rocks of the seven earths. Out of each one of their tears God creates fifty thousand angels more whose task is to ask forgiveness in the same way as these angels do and in many times more dialects than they. Then the throne spoke to the Prophet and said: "I and the angels who guard me were created to carry human beings to their stations in Paradise." Then, the throne invited the Prophet to sit on it, and when he sat he felt a pleasure he had never experienced before.

The Seven Gardens of Paradise and The Ultimate Ascent

The First Paradise: The Abode of Peace

The Prophet arrived at the hundredth step where he heard the angels praising and glorifying their Lord in the First Heaven. It is called Dar al-Salam, the Abode of Peace, and has one hundred and twenty-four thousand doors. Each door represents a prophet. Gabriel knocked at the door reserved for the Prophet Muhammad. A voice said from inside: "Who it it?" Gabriel replied: "It is Gabriel and the Prophet Muhammad." The voice said: "Has he been sent for?" Gabriel said: "Yes, he has been called to the Divine Presence." The door was opened. The angel Ishmael came on a horse of light, covered in a cloth of light, holding a staff of light. In his right hand, Ishmael carried all the deeds of human beings performed during the day, and in the other, all that they had done during the night. One thousand processions of angels accompanied him.
Ishmael said: "O Gabriel, who is with you?" He replied: "The Prophet Muhammad, Peace be upon him." Ishmael said: "Has he been sent for?" Gabriel replied yes. Then the Buraq was invited to land on the first Paradise, the nearest Paradise to the world. It is also called al-sama al-dunya: the nearest Heaven. This Paradise can be compared to a rolling wave held in mid-air; God spoke to it and said: "Be a red emerald," and it was. The praising of its inhabitants is: Subhana dhil Mulki wal Malakut: "Praise be to the Possessor of the Earthly and the Heavenly Dominions."
Then the Prophet looked at the First Heaven and found an angel formed like a man. Al the actions that belong to human beings are displayed to him. If the spirit of a believer comes to him he sends it to Paradise; if the spirit of an unbeliever comes to him he asks forgiveness for it. When forgiveness is granted he sends it to Paradise. He has a tablet made of light which hangs from the Throne to the first heaven. He writes on it the names of those who are sent to Paradise. Then the Prophet saw a man with an angelic power towards whom he felt a great attraction. When he asked who that man was, Gabriel said: "This is your father, Adam." Adam greeted him and said to the Prophet: "Welcome to the good son and the righteous Prophet."
There are two doors to the right and the left of Adam. When he looks at the right side he is happy and when he looks at the left he weeps. The Prophet asked what these two doors were. Gabriel said: "The door to the right is the door to Paradise and Rewards. When Adam sees his children entering it he smiles and is happy. The door to the left leads to punishment and the fire. When Adam sees his children entering it he weeps and is sad for them. Out of each of his tears God creates an angel who asks forgiveness until the day when forgiveness is granted and they are allowed to enter into Paradise."
Then the angels began to recite poetry:
    "I yearn to see the one whom God created
    To be unique in creation!
    No beloved one is purer nor more elevated than that one,
    God's beloved is His servant, the Praised One
    Whose name was cut out from the name
    Of the Most Glorious One.
    His are the attributes that no eloquence can express.
    It is enough honor that for him the moon split in two.
    What more do you ask than God's perfecting of his beauty?
    And verily God endowed him with the best character.
    And verily God created his light to be the greatest blessing,
    And He called him "beloved" before He created creation.
    And because of his light the sun was clouded over,
    Because of his overwhelming light filling the firmament.
    The clouds showed a great miracle and moved
    Like a wild herd,
    And thunder clapped and rain poured
    Upon his mere request.
    What more do you want than the softening of the rock
    When he walked upon it with his sandaled feet,
    Although you did not see its marks
    When he tread on the sand?
    God has elevated him to His presence
    And the angelic world.
    Were it not for him, there would never be Paradise,
    Nor heavens, and no earth.
    What an honor God bestowed upon him when He gave
    Ten salutations to those who would
    Send to him only one!"
     

They moved for five hundred thousand light-years within the radius of the First Paradise. The Buraq moved faster than the speed of light, for each of its steps could reach wherever his sight did. The entire distances they travelled were filled with angels whose number is known only to the Creator, praising Him and glorifying Him with all kinds of praises. There was not one handful of space but it was occupied by an angel in prostration. They were all sizes, big and small. A voice came saying: "O My beloved Muhammad! all these angels are glorifying Me, and I am sending all this praise as waves upon waves of angelic blessings to support human beings through their daily life. These blessings will guide them towards everything that concerns them, and open for them all kinds of physical and spiritual knowledges that will help them progress in their ways of life, materially and spiritually. I will raise them through this angelic power and enable them to enter My Paradises when they come to My Divine Presence."


Blessings and Peace on the Prophet, his Family, and his Companions.

The Second Paradise: the Abode of Constancy

Then Gabriel ordered the Buraq to take the Prophet to the second Paradise, whose name is Dar al-Qarar, the Abode of Constancy. He then knocked at one of the doors of the Second Paradise. It was made of a heavenly element that has no name in our language. The angel Jarja'il came with one thousand processions of angels who made an even greater and happier music than the angels of the First Paradise. A voice said:
- "Who is it?"
- "Gabriel."
- "Who is accompanying you?"
- "Muhammad, the Prophet of Mercy."
Then the door was opened. The Prophet saw angels whose faces were like the disk of the sun, riding horses and girded with spiritual swords and lances. The Prophet asked: "O Gabriel! who are these?" Gabriel answered: "These are angels whom God created to support human against devils. Their praising is: Subhana dhil `Izzati wal Jabarut: 'Glory to the Lord of Force and Might,' and they are wearing yellow turbans on their heads. When they praise God their turbans move and radiate a yellow light that supports the light of the sun. They radiate another light also, which makes the devils run away and chases out gossip from the heart of believers." Then the Prophet saw two very handsome men sitting on a throne made of red rubies. He asked: "Who are these?" Gabriel said: "They are your relatives, John and Jesus." Jesus was of a reddish complexion as if he came out of the bath. Then angels came to the Prophet in battalions, greeting him one by one. God extended time in such a way that one second was enough to greet all of the angels and pray with them, for the time of prayer had come. Jesus and John greeted the Prophet farewell, and Gabriel ordered the Buraq to go to the Third Paradise.

Blessings and Peace on the Prophet, his Family, and his Companions.

The Third Paradise: The Abode of Eternity

The Prophet moved in space for another five hundred thousand light-years until they reached the third Paradise. It is called Dar al-khuld: the Abode of Eternity. As they approached their destination they heard great voices that thundered all around them. "That is the sound of angels praising their Lord," said Gabriel. As they approached they heard the music of the angels by which everything moves in the orbits of the heavenly worlds. Gabriel stopped at a door made of a pure, burnished heavenly copper, and he knocked. "Who is there?" said a voice behind the door. "Gabriel, bringing Muhammad." "Has he been sent for?" "Yes." And the door was opened.
The Prophet entered and he saw an angel who changed from one shape to another in every moment. As he changed, his color changed also. He seemed as one moving in a flash and yet immobile like a moving series of pictures and yet each picture is fixed in its place. Behind the angel the Prophet saw seven hundred thousand angels, all of them moving like the first angel, from one colorful image into another, like countless kaleidoscopes. Their feet reached the seven earths. Their musical praise was: subhan al-hayy al-qayyum al-ladhi la yamut: "Glory to the Living One, the Self-Subsistent who never dies!" The melody of their praise moved the entire heavens to unutterable joy which showered mercy on the earth and its inhabitants. The Prophet asked Gabriel to ask the angel whether human beings could hear that music and if it were possible for them. The angel said: "Anyone who opens his angelic power and connects himself to us will hear that melody and he will receive the reward that we receive for uttering this praise." Then the angel recited:
    Secret Reality! Angelic heart of light,
    Kingdom of power, shining in steadfast light,
    Firm in foundation, in beauty all complete,
    Its essence descended from Adam's heart enthroned,
    Just as the All-Merciful descended on His Throne.
    Essence of angels' light in Adam manifest,
    And yoked with it Gods' trust fulfilled,
    The grant He made to all mankind.
    Here appeared knowledge of God's light
    Known only to chosen saints who alone can see.
    Where His knowledge glows imperfection flees
    And all worldly cares dim and disappear.
    Here ends and begins the place of drawing near
    Where the pure ones settled, similar to light upon light.

As they moved forward they saw a handsome man before whose beauty everything paled. "This is Joseph, the Prophet," said Gabriel. The Prophet Muhammad approached him and greeted him, and Joseph greeted him back with the best greeting of heaven. Gabriel said: "Out of the beauty of Joseph came the beauty of all human beings. His is the beauty of the full moon, the sun and the stars." Yearning for angelic beauty will melt the hearts of the stone-hearted. The faint-hearted cannot hope to approach its secret, for they will immediately fall under its power and extinguish themselves in it. That is the meaning of the sweetness of painful yearning in love: the approach of beauty in its absence is sweeter still than its embrace and possession. For possession of the beloved entails the satisfaction of the lower self, while to remain in pain because of the beloved is better than comfort and contentment.
Behind Joseph the Prophet saw a great human crowd, all of them wearing radiant angelic dresses. The Prophet asked, "Who are these people, O Gabriel?" He answered: "Behind Joseph God created seven hundred thousand posts in Paradise; on each post there are seven hundred thousand red jewels; each jewel contains seven hundred thousand palaces; in every palace there are seven hundred thousand rooms, and in every room there are seven hundred thousand windows. These rooms are inhabited by human beings who carry angelic powers and spend their lives in love of each other and nature. Their hearts are filled with love of Me and devoid of low desires. They pine for Me and I pine for them. Every day these human beings appear at their windows and look at the people of Paradise. From their beauty a great light shines forth, in the same way that the sun appears in the windows of the sky and sheds its light over the people on earth. Then the people of Paradise say: 'Let us run towards the Lovers of God.' As soon as they reach them these Lovers adorn them with all kinds of rainbows and showers of light. They give them a dress made of green silk which symbolizes the qualities of those made perfect and agreeable to God."


Blessings and Peace on the Prophet, his Family, and his Companions.

The Fourth Paradise: the Sheltering Garden

Then Gabriel called for prayer and the Prophet led the prayer among all the inhabitants of Paradise. Then the Buraq moved for another five hundred thousand light-years during which they travelled towards the fourth heaven which is called Jannat al-Ma'wa: the Sheltering Garden. There they heard a voice mixing angels and spirits. The door of the Prophet was made of silver upon a floor of gold. Again, the voice behind the door asked: "Who is there?" and Gabriel answered, "Muhammad." "Has he been sent for?" "Yes." And the door opened.
The Prophet saw angels standing and sitting, lying and bowing, praising and saying: "Subhan al-malik al-quddus rabb al-mala'ikati war ruh," : "Glory to the holiest King, Lord of the angels and the Spirit!" The Prophet asked Gabriel, "O Gabriel, is that not the prayer of my grandfather Abraham?" and Gabriel said, "Yes, this is how your grandfather Abraham used to pray, and God was so happy with that prayer that he created an entire host of angels and filled the fourth heaven with them. He ordered them to repeat the same prayer. If anyone recites that praising among human beings, God will give them rewards according to the number of these angels."
Then the Prophet saw two angels, one of transparent crystal like spring water, and one denser like salt water. Gabriel said: "One is the angel of sweet waters. He carries all the oceans of this universe with his right thumb. The other is the angel of salty waters. He carries all the oceans of this universe in his left thumb. These are the angels responsible for supporting every creature in creation through water, sweet or salty. They meet without mixing, as God has said: "He hath loosed the two seas. They meet. There is a barrier between them. They encroach not one upon the other." (40:19-20)
Behind them the Prophet saw angels shaped like birds, standing on the bank of a great river of Paradise. When a human being on earth says: "There is no god but God," one of these angel-birds opens his wings. If the person says: "Glory to God," the angel-bird enters the river to swim in it. When the person says: "Praise be to God," the angel-bird dives into the water. When the person says: "God is greatest," the angel-bird comes out of the river. When the person says: "There is no power nor might except in God," the angel-bird will shake off the water from him, and seventy thousand drops of water will come from him, out of each of which God creates an angel that asks forgiveness for that person until Judgment Day. In addition to this, God orders forty thousand rewards written in the book of that one and keeps them for him until his resurrection.
Then the Prophet saw a man who leaned against the Books of human beings, in which were inscribed all their deeds. The Prophet asked: "Who is this?" Gabriel said: "This is the Prophet Idris, Peace be upon him." The Prophet approached Idris and greeted him. Idris greeted him back and said: "Welcome to the pious brother and perfect prophet." Above him the Prophet saw a dome of light on which was written: "There is no god but God, and Muhammad is His Messenger." The Prophet looked inside it and saw a venerable old man with a white beard filled with light and crowned with a white turban. He asked: "Who is that, O Gabriel?" He answered: "That is an angel representing the Prophet Idris." The Prophet greeted him and said: "O my brother! God has elevated you and honored you, and you have entered Paradise before me and saw its pleasures." Idris said: "O Beloved one! at first I did not enter Paradise nor see its pleasure. But when I left this world I entered a garden on which door I saw: 'Beyond this door none may enter before Muhammad and his nation.' And I asked God, 'For the sake of my grandson Muhammad, let me in.' God let me in, so now because of you I am in this place."
Then Idris recited:
    "This Station sought by all for shelter,
    This lofty place where all people bow subdued
    And stands the noble Messenger
    With wisdom and might endued,
    Station of guidance and angelic light
    Where gloom of night and orphans' sadness
    At once are effaced,
    This is the Station of direct communication
    And the firm foothold for those determined to reach.
    The All-Merciful called him His beloved one
    And he is the beloved one of the universe
    And from his light came the light of all life."
     


    Blessings and Peace on the Prophet, his Family, and his Companions.

The Fifth Paradise: The Garden of Beauty and Felicity

The Prophet travelled for five hundred thousand light-years, after which he arrived at the fifth Paradise which is called Jannat al-Na`im: "the Garden of Beauty and Felicity." Its door is made of mixed gold and silver from heaven. Gabriel knocked at the door and a voice said: "Who is it?" "Gabriel, bringing the Prophet, Peace be upon him." "Has he been sent for?" "Yes." "Welcome, O Beloved one, to the fifth Paradise!" The door opened and the Prophet saw five beautiful ladies whose radiant light among their servants made them appear like diamonds surrounded by pearls. His heart was moved towards them. He asked Gabriel: "Who are these ladies?" He answered: "This is Eve, the mother of human beings, this is the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus, this is Moses' mother Yukabid, and this is Assia, the wife of Pharaoh." The fifth lady looked like a sun among stars. Her light shone over the rest of the inhabitants of that Paradise like a gentle breeze passing through the tree-leaves. Gabriel said: "This is an angel representing your daughter Fatima, O Prophet!"
The Prophet asked: "Gabriel, what is the secret of this Paradise?" Gabriel said: "God created this Paradise to reflect the beauty and perfection of women. The light of this Paradise is the source of the angelic lights of all women on earth. Women have been created to carry the secret of creation in themselves. God has honored them greatly by making their wombs the repository of His word which represents the Spirit. He looks at the most sacred place and there descends His mercy and blessings. He perfected that place and covered it with three protective layers to shelter it from any damage. The first is a layer of light, the second a layer of love, and the third a layer of beauty. There he fashions and creates human beings after His likeness, as the Prophet said: 'God created Adam after His likeness.' He orders the angels of the womb to perfect His creation by giving the baby life, beauty, health, intelligence, and all kinds of perfect attributes that will make each one distinguished among human beings."
"Women are not created weaker but more generous than men. They are created more beautiful and less fierce, as beauty hates to hurt and harm others. That is why they seem weak to people, but in reality they are not. Angels are the strongest of created beings, and women are closer to the angelic nature than men, as they are readier than men to carry angelic light. It is the good manners and ethics of spirituality which they carry which makes them less forceful than men. Even physically, however, they are extremely strong. They undergo great upheavals in their body without flinching for the sake of childbirth, and face the direst physical conditions more successfully than men because God has enabled them to insure the survival of generations."
"God gave women five angelic qualities which men rarely have. They are the source of peace, as God said that He created them "so that ye might find rest in them" (30:21). This is the attribute of the first Paradise which is named "the Abode of Peace." They are oases of constancy in the midst of chaos and change. That is why they give birth as the mother nurtures and shelters the baby more reliably than the father. This is the attribute of the Second Paradise, which is named 'the Abode of Constancy.' They perpetuate generations. Through their offspring God creates angelic prophets and saints who establish His perpetual remembrance on earth as the angels establish it in Heaven. This is the attribute of the Third Paradise which is named 'the Abode of Eternity.' They are generous and bountiful. They are described as 'a fertile land' in all Scriptures because they give without counting, including life. They sacrifice themselves for the sake of another creation, and this is the attribute of the Fourth Paradise which is named 'the Sheltering Garden.' Finally, they are the source of Beauty. Through their softness and subtlety, God has crowned the earth with the diadem of angelic grace. This is the attribute of the Fifth Paradise which is named "the Garden of Beauty."


Blessings and Peace on the Prophet, his Family, and his Companions.

The Sixth Paradise: The Garden of Eden

The Prophet travelled again on the Buraq for five hundred thousand years. On his way to the Sixth Paradise which is called Jannat Adn: "the Garden of Eden," he saw nations and nations of saffron-colored angels standing on pedestals of pink marble. They had one thousand wings and on each wing there were one thousand faces. Each face had one thousand mouths saying: "Praise be to the Lord of Majesty and Splendor!" Gabriel knocked at the door of the Sixth Paradise which was made of aquamarine and gold. As usual, a voice asked from behind the door who was there and the answer was given: "Gabriel, bringing the Prophet, Peace be upon him." "Has he been sent for?" said the voice. "Yes," replied Gabriel. The door was opened. The Prophet entered and what he saw passed all imagination and all recorded books, all fabled accounts, all legends, all histories.
Silent gold sat on stars of pearl. Under every pearl fifty thousand angels whirled in a lake of galaxies producing a heavenly sound like a million million birds humming on top of the buzzing of a million million bees. Everything is moving at the speed of light but at the same time everything is silent and still. Each angel spoke words of greetings to the Prophet at the same time in a different language but distinctly and without any clash one with the other. Their words were phrased in diadems and garlands of light which he wore one after the other on his head and around his neck. A huge angel named Semla'il appeared at the head of ten thousand processions of similar angels wearing a crown of multi-colored garnets and reciting praise of God in an angelic language which made each angel swoon and rise up in turn. These were the karubiyyun or cherubim: 'Those Brought Near.' No-one on earth can see them and live because of the intensity of their light which they borrow from the One they behold.
The Prophet asked: "O Gabriel! what is this untarnished heavenly sound?" "O Prophet!" Gabriel answered, "this is the music of the angelic souls in the presence of their Lord trembling like a leaf, not daring to move or speak, awed and annihilated by perfection, yet vivified and moved by divine Light, rushing to the divine meeting and announcing your coming."
The Prophet saw a honey-colored angel of astounding beauty and of yet even greater majesty so that his majesty overpowered his beauty. He had a long mane of hair and a long beard out of which light flashed like thunderbolts. He had a stern face and yet a child's eyes. His enormous chest seemed to heave like a dormant volcano under his shirt of heavenly brocade. When the Prophet enquired about him, Gabriel said: "This is your brother Moses. He is the one who prayed six times on the Mount of Sinai in order to be a simple servant in your Nation. He is the vanquisher of tyrants and the secret of his father Jacob. God wrote for him the character of a fiery servant. That is why he approached the burning bush and was not afraid when His Lord wanted to speak to him."
Moses was crying and he said to the Prophet: "O Prophet of the Last Nation! Intercede for me and my people." The Prophet said: "Why are you crying, O my brother Moses?" He replied: "I cry for love of you and for the great honor where God has raised you and made your nation countless people and other nations very few, even mine. O Muhammad! you are the seal of prophets and the light of creation. God is raising you today to His presence, to a station where no-one can reach. Remember me there as God made you the intercessor for all human beings including prophets, from Adam to Jesus. Then he recited:
    "O Prophet sprung from Hashim's line,
    Lover of Him Who is lauded above,
    Sealer of every book revealed to mankind.
    Opener of treasured knowledge sublime
    Who mounted the Buraq to ascend to his Lord,
    The God in Whose presence none before had remained,
    Approach that place where only angels draw near
    O Messenger of God before whom winds and clouds move
    And lay open clear myriad paths to celestial light.
    For your intercession human souls plead and yearn,
    O Prophet at whose sight angels delight!
    It is you for whom Paradise was made and adorned,
    For you the lote-tree of farthest limit is made to stand
    And bear the fruit of compassion in every land.
    O beloved Muhammad, may God grant us to be
    Always numbered in your noble band."


Blessings and Peace on the Prophet, his Family, and his Companions.

The Seventh Paradise: Jannat al-Firdaws

The Prophet arrived at the Seventh paradise whose roof touches the Heavenly Throne and whose name is Jannat al-Firdaws, after a travel of five hundred thousand light-years. He knocked at the door which was made of pure emerald, topaz, beryl, and gold. After he entered he saw another gate of light. From it came the praise of nations of hidden angels at whose sight one would die of awe because of their intense beauty. Their laud was simply: "Praise be to the Creator of Light!" Beyond this it is not permitted to speak about them. The Prophet greeted them with the greeting of peace and proceeded past the gate of gold to a dome of light which encompassed all the previous heavens, although the distance he had travelled between the sixth and the seventh heaven was the same as that between each two of the other layers of Paradise.
Inside the dome the Prophet saw an angelic being which resembled him in every fashion and who was leaning against a wall of white silk which seemed to move like a waterfall and yet stand firm. The Prophet asked who that was and Gabriel said: "This is your grandfather Abraham, the leader of the pure of heart and a great one among prophets." Abraham said: "Welcome to the pious son and the perfected Prophet!" Around Abraham stood crowned angels. Each of their crowns contained four hundred diamonds, each worth more than what the entire earth contains. At their service stood throngs of angels crowned with the light of the previous angels and all were reading the Verse of the Throne. Gabriel said: "This is the verse that keeps the universe firm in the balance. This is the secret of the order of Creation." And the angels recited:
Circumambulating the building against which Abraham leaned, the entire universes, the throngs of angels of the seven heavens, the angels of mercy and the angels of wrath, the angels of beauty, the angels brought near, the great and the small angels, the visible and the invisible angels, and all the human beings whose angelic souls had been purified and elevated to the divine presence, the prophets, the truthful saints, the martyrs, the righteous, all of creation whirled and turned in the same direction as every heavenly body, counterclockwise, around the Kaaba of the heavens. The Prophet said: "O Gabriel, How wondrous are the incredible marvels of my Lord!" And Gabriel replied: "O Muhammad! you have seen only a glimpse of the wonders of God."

Blessings and Peace on the Prophet, his Family, and his Companions.

The Lote-Tree of the Furthest Boundary

The Prophet and Gabriel travelled once more until they reached the absolute limit of the created intellect, named sidrat al-muntaha: "The Lote-Tree of the Furthest Boundary." There they saw nothing which the tongue could describe. The effect of the sight they beheld on the Prophet is a secret which took place in his heart. A sound came to them from above which dissipated some of the Prophet's astonishment. At that time he saw a large tree which does not resemble any of the trees of Paradise, a tree without description, covering all the Paradises, heavens, and universes. The trunk of the Tree was a huge angel named Samrafil. The Prophet could see nothing else besides it. It grew from an infinite, unimaginable, indescribable ocean of musk. The tree had an infinite number of branches, created from a heavenly element that has no name in a created language. The distance between one branch and another was five hundred thousand light-years. On every branch there was an infinite number of leaves. If all the created universes were placed on a single one of these leaves they would disappear, like an atom disappears inside an ocean of water. On every leaf sat a huge angel in a multi-colored light. On his head was a crown of light and in his hand a staff of light. Written on their forehead was the inscription: "We are the inhabitants of the Lote-Tree." Their praise was: "Praise be to God Who has no end." Their names are the sarufiyyun or Seraphim, "The Secret Ones," because they are created from the absolute secret of their Lord.
From the trunk of the tree four absolute springs issued. The first was a pure, transparent, crystal water; the second was a river of white milk; the third was a river of pleasurable, untarnished wine that elevates without abasing; the fourth was a river of pure honey mixed with gold. Inside the trunk was the prayer-niche of Gabriel, and his constant words of praise are:
    Allahu Akbar: God is Great!

to which the reply always comes from above:
    Ana Akbar: I am Greater!
    Ana Akbar: I am Greater!
Gabriel entered his prayer-niche and he called for the prayer. All the seraphim stood in rows and the Prophet led them in prayer. The prayer finished and all the seraphim were ordered to give their greetings to the Prophet one after the other. After this, a great angel came out from behind Gabriel's prayer-niche and asked the Prophet to approach.
The Prophet and Gabriel entered the trunk of the tree and reached in a glance the entire sight of creation. On the top of the tree they saw Adam and Eve and Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and all the other prophets whom they had just visited. With them they saw all their respective nations, sitting with them in spirit together with those of the Prophet's nation who had already left this world. All were sitting there together, happy, basking in the love and beauty of their Lord's mercy and praising Him.
That Lote-Tree carries the knowledge of all of God's creation from the beginning of its sequence in time. Whatever is created is part of it and contained in it. It was called the tree "of the furthermost boundary" because everything ends in it and after it begins a new life. God decorated it with the light of His own essence. It has three characteristics: a continuous shade of light extending over every creation, a continuous pleasure reaching everyone from the fruit of its branches, and a continuous fragrance from its flowers scenting with beauty the life of creation.
Then the Prophet and Gabriel moved forward. A stern and severe angel appeared and covered the horizon before them. Gabriel said: "O Prophet! this is the angel of death Azra'il." The angel of death said: "Welcome, O Muhammad! you who bear goodness, and welcome to all the Prophets and their nations. This is the place from which I gaze at the destinies of every person and seize the spirits of those whom I am commanded to bring to eternal life."
The Prophet asked: "Tell me how you take the souls of the dying." The angel of death revealed to the Prophet: "When God orders me to take the spirit of a human being at the last hour of his life and the first hour of his afterlife, I send to him my deputies who carry with them the smell of Paradise and a branch from the tree of paradise which they put between his eyes. When that sweet smell reaches him and he catches a glimpse of that heavenly branch, his spirit is attracted and his soul begins to ascend to paradise, until it reaches his throat. At that time, I descend from my place and I take his spirit with the greatest care, because God wants this moment to be easy on His servant. I then carry his soul to Paradise. On the way, whenever I pass by angels, then angels will greet this soul and salute it until it reaches the presence of its Lord. God the Exalted says to that soul at that time: "Welcome to the good spirit which I created and placed in a good body! O my angels! write the upper layer of Paradise as a reward for that person." Then angels take him up to Paradise, where he will see what God has prepared for him and he will be happy to stay there. However, God orders the spirit to go back to his body on earth, where he can see the people washing him, crying for him, and all those who love him standing around him until they take the body to the grave. There the soil says to him: "Welcome, O my beloved one! I was always yearning for you when you were above me. Now you are in me and I will show you what I am going to give you." Immediately, his grave will be enlarged beyond sight, until the two angels of the grave come and ask him about his Lord and about his belief. He will give them the correct answers by God's permission. At that time they will open for him a door leading to Paradise and his spirit will go back upward to the same place where God first called him to His presence."

    "I remember when death had separated us.
    I consoled myself with the thought of the Beloved Prophet.
    I said: All of us go on this way one day.
    Who does not die today, he will die tomorrow.
    Be happy, O my soul, because your Lord is waiting for you
    And the beloved one is calling you."
     

Then Gabriel moved forward another five hundred thousand light-years, mounted on the Buraq, until they reached a place where Gabriel began to slow down. The Prophet said: "O Gabriel! why are you slowing down? Are you leaving me?" Gabriel replied: "I cannot go further." The Prophet said:
"Gabriel, don't leave me alone." "O Muhammad!" Gabriel said, "you now have to step down from the Buraq and move to a place which no-one has entered before you." At that moment the Buraq stopped and was unable to move further. The Prophet stepped down and moved hesitantly. Gabriel said: "O Prophet, move forward without fear. If I were to continue with you I would be annihilated for the greatness of the Light."
The Prophet moved, and moved, and moved. He saw Michael standing ahead of him, afraid and trembling. The light of his face was changing quickly from one color to another. The Prophet asked: "Michael, is this your station?" "Yes," Michael answered, "and if I were to trespass it I would be annihilated. But you go on and don't stop." The Prophet moved, and moved, and moved. Then he found Israfil with his four huge wings, one of which covered his face to veil him from the light which came from the horizon of everything. The Prophet asked him: "Is this your station, Israfil?" Israfil said, "Yes. If I trespassed it that light would burn me. But you move on and do not fear." And the Prophet moved, and moved, and moved. He saw the Spirit to whom God gave the power of earth and the heavens. From the top of his head to the bottom of his feet and from every cell of his there were faces with traits of subtle light, the number of which no-one knows but God, and from the each of which God creates an angel-spirit which looks like the Spirit, whom He then takes to himself as the spirit-angels of the Divine Presence.
Every day the Spirit looks into hell three times, and because of the cool light of his angelic gaze the fire of hell melts until it becomes as a rainbow. The Spirit also looks into Paradise three times every day and extends to it the divine light which God gives him. If God gathered the tears of the eyes of the Spirit it would flood all the created universes and make Noah's flood seem like the drop gathered by an needle dipped into the ocean. This is the Spirit whom God mentioned in the Koran:
"The day when the Spirit and the angels rise, no-one shall speak except with permission from His Lord."
The Prophet said: "O Spirit! is this your station?" The spirit replied: "Yes, and if I trespass it I will be annihilated by the light which I am receiving. O Muhammad! move forward and do not be afraid. You are invited and you have permission." The Prophet moved forward. God inspired his heart with the following discourse: "I the Lord, have veiled myself from the inhabitants of Paradise, as I have veiled myself from the inhabitants of the earth. As I veiled Myself from their minds, I veiled myself from their vision. I am never in anything, and I am never away from anything."
The Prophet then moved through one veil after another until he passed through one thousand veils. Finally he opened the Veil of Oneness. He found himself like a lamp suspended in the middle of a divine air. He saw a magnificent, great and unutterable matter. He asked his Lord to give him firmness and strength. He felt that a drop of that presence was put on his tongue and he found it cooler than ice and sweeter than honey. Nothing on earth and the seven paradises tasted like it. With this drop, God put into the Prophet's heart the knowledge of the First and the Last, the heavenly and the earthly. All this was revealed to him in one instant shorter than the fastest second. He was ordered to move forward. As he moved he found himself elevated on a throne that can never be described, now or later. Three additional drops were given to him: one on his shoulder consisting in majesty, one in his heart consisting in mercy, and an additional one on his tongue which consisted in eloquence. Then a voice came from that presence, which no created being had heard before: "O Muhammad! I have made you the intercessor for everyone." At that moment the Prophet felt his mind enraptured and taken away to be replaced with an astonishing secret. He was placed in the Fields of God's Eternity and Endlessness. In the first he found no beginning and in the second he found no end. Then God revealed to Him: "My end is in My beginning and My beginning is in My end." Then the Prophet knew that all doors were absolutely closed except those that led to God, that God cannot be described within the confine of a place in speech, and that God encompasses the everywhere of all places. This is a secret that no tongue can be stirred to express, no door opened to reveal, and no answer can define. He is the Guide to Himself and the Lord of His own description. He is the Beauty of all beauty and the speech by which to describe Himself belongs to Him alone.
    O God My Creator, in Your infinity do I stand amazed.
    In Your ocean of unity do I drown submerged.
    O God, at times You closet me in familiar intimacy.
    At times You leave me without, veiled and strange,
    Hidden in Your sovereign Majesty.
    Give me to drink the wine of Your love,
    For only drunk from it am I able to say:
    My Lord! Let me see You.
     

The Prophet then looked on his right and saw nothing except His Lord, then on his left and saw nothing except his Lord, then to the front, to the back, and above him, and he saw nothing except his Lord. He hated to leave that honored and blessed place. But God said: "O Muhammad, you are a messenger to My servants as all messengers, if you stay here you would never be able to communicate My Message. Therefore descend back to earth, and communicate My message to My servants. Whenever you want to be in the same state as you are now, make your prayers, and I shall open this state for you." This is why the Prophet stated: "Prayer is the apple of my eyes," and he called it also: "Our rest."
Then the Prophet was ordered to go back to earth, but he left the self in heaven and his spirit at the Lote-tree, and his heart in the unutterable divine presence while his secret was left suspended without place. His self wondered: "Where is the heart?" and the Heart wondered: "Where is the spirit?" and the spirit wondered: "Where is the secret?" and the secret wondered where it was. And God revealed: "O self of the Prophet! I granted you the blessing and the forgiveness, and O spirit! I granted you the mercy and the honor, and O heart! I granted you the Love and the Beauty, and O secret, you have Me." God then revealed to the Prophet the order to recite: "He is the one who sends blessings on you, together with His angels, in order to bring you out from darkness into light" (33:43). "O Muhammad! I have ordered the angels of all My heavens, those created and those yet uncreated, to send blessings on you and My creation unceasingly, with My own praise. I am your Lord Who said: My Mercy has taken over My anger. And all My angels I have created for you human beings." And God ordered the Prophet to descend with this angelic message back to earth.


Blessings and Peace on the Prophet, his Family, and his Companions.



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