First Principle: The reason for the Ascension’s necessity.
The reason for the Ascension’s necessity
It is said, for example, that Almighty Allah is closer to him than his jugular vein.1 He is closer to everything than anything else. He is free of and beyond corporeality and space. However, all the saints are able to converse with Him in their hearts, so why was the Saint, Muhammad (PBUH), successful in holding an inward conversation with Allah that any saint may do in his heart, only after and as a result of a long journey like the Ascension?
The Answer: We shall make this profound mystery easier to understand by means of two comparisons. Consider these two comparisons from the Twelfth Word, which are about the mystery of the Qur’an’s miraculousness and the mystery of the Ascension.
First Comparison: A king has two sorts of interviewing, conversation, and discussion at his disposal, and two modes of address and favour. The first is to converse with a common subject about a particular matter and special need by means of a private telephone. The second, under the title of august sovereignty, in the name of supreme kingship, with the dignity of universal rule, and with the aim of publishing and promulgating his commands, is to converse and speak through an envoy connected to those matters or by means of a high official related to those commands. It is also to speak through an illustrious edict that proclaims his majesty.
Thus, And Allah’s is the highest similitude,2 like this comparison, the Creator of the universe, the Lord of all things with their apparent and inner faces, the Sovereign of Pre-Eternity and Post-Eternity, has two modes of conversing, speaking, and favouring. The first is particular and private, the other universal and general. The Ascension, therefore, was a manifestation of the sainthood of Muhammad (PBUH) in the form of a universality and exaltedness superior to all other sainthood. It was being honoured by Allah Almighty’s conversation and address through His Name of Sustainer of All the Universe and title of Creator of All Beings.
Second Comparison: A man holds up the mirror he is holding to the sun. According to its capacity, the mirror receives light, which contains the seven colours, from the sun, and a reflection. The man becomes connected with the sun and converses with it in relation to these. If he directs the luminous mirror towards his dark house or his tiny, private garden, which is covered by a roof, he cannot benefit in relation to the sun’s value, but only in accordance with the capacity of the mirror.
A second man, however, puts down the mirror, faces the sun directly, and sees its majesty and understands its grandeur. Then he climbs a very high mountain, sees the brilliance of the sun’s broad dominion and converses with it in person and without veil. Then he returns and makes large windows in his house and in the roof over his garden, and opens up ways to the sun in the sky, and speaks and converses with the constant light of the actual sun. And he is able to speak to it gratefully as follows:
“O amiable sun, who is the beauty of the world and pet of the skies, who gilds the face of the earth with its light and makes it and the faces of all flowers smile! You have heated and illuminated my little house and garden in the same way that you have illuminated the whole world and warmed the face of the earth.” The first man with the mirror, however, cannot say that, for the sun’s reflection and traces are limited and restricted by the mirror, and are in accordance with the restriction.
Thus, the manifestation of the Single and Eternally Besought One, the Pre-Eternal Sun and Post-Eternal Sovereign, appears in the human essence in two forms, which comprise innumerable degrees.
The First is a manifestation through a dominical relationship which is extended to the mirror of the heart. Through it, everyone may receive the particular and universal manifestation of the Pre-Eternal Sun’s light, discourse, and conversation in relation to his capacity, and in the relation to the manifestation of the Divine Names and attributes in his traversing the degrees in his spiritual journeying. The degrees of sainthood, which proceed under the shadow of most of the Names and attributes, arise from this sort.
The Second: Since man possesses comprehensiveness and is the most enlightened fruit of the tree of the universe, and since he is able to display at once in the mirror of his spirit all the Divine Names manifested in the universe, Almighty Allah displayed, through the manifestation of His Essence and at the greatest level of the Most Beautiful Names, in the member of the human race who reflected them most comprehensively the greatest manifestation of those Names. This display and manifestation is the inner meaning of the Ascension of Muhammad (PBUH), by which his sainthood became the source of his messengership.
Sainthood proceeds through shadow and resembles the first man in the Second Comparison. While in messengership there is no shadow, it looks directly to the oneness of the All-Glorious One and resembles the second man in the Second Comparison. As for the Ascension, since it was the greatest wonder of Muhammad’s sainthood and also its highest degree, it was transformed into the degree of messengership. The inner face of the Ascension was sainthood, it went from creation to Creator. While its apparent face was messengership, it came from Creator to creation. Sainthood is spiritual journeying in the levels close to Allah; it needs a certain amount of time and many degrees must be traversed. While messengership, whose light is greatest, looks to the mystery of uncovering Divine immediacy, for which the passing instant is sufficient. It was for this reason that it is said in the Hadith: “He went and returned in an instant.”3
Now we say to the atheist who is in the position of listener: “Since the universe resembles a most orderly country, magnificent city, and adorned palace, it surely must have a ruler, owner, and builder. And since there is such a magnificent, All-Glorious Owner, All-Perfect Ruler, and All-Beauteous Maker; and since there was a human being whose view was universal and who demonstrated a relationship with the entire world, country, city, and palace and was connected to all of them through his senses and faculties of perception; certainly, the Magnificent Maker would have an elevated relationship to the fullest degree with that human being, whose view was universal and consciousness comprehensive, and would favour him with an exalted and sacred address.
Among those who manifested this relationship from the time of Adam (Peace be upon him) up to now, Muhammad the Arabian (Peace and blessings be upon him) demonstrated it at the very fullest degree according to the testimony of his achievements, that is, his having taken half the globe and a fifth of mankind under this direction and control and having transformed and illuminated the spiritual shape of the universe. This being so, the Ascension, which comprised the very fullest degree of that relationship, is most worthy and suitable for him.
1. Qur’an, 50:16.
2. Qur’an, 16:60.
3. Suyuti, al-Khasa’isal-Kubra, i, 439, 444; Qadi Iyad, al-Shifa’, 190, 192.
Please click on the following link to continue reading;
- Fourth Principle: The definition and comparison of revelation and inspiration. An explanation of the following verse, “If the ocean were ink..
- The Second Addendum to the Twenty-Fourth Letter: It is a short explanation about the Ascension (Miraj) of Hz. Muhammad (pbuh) and his Birth. The meaning of Mawlid and the necessity of reciting Mawlid.
- Second Principle: The reality of the Ascension.
- Some questions that can come to the mind about the miracle of Miraj (Ascension): Why is the great Ascension peculiar to Hz. Muhammad (pbuh)? A plane can go up to one or two kilometers with a lot of difficulties.
- Third Ray: While everything is infinitely distant from Allah, Allah is infinitely close to everything.
- Second Branch: The degrees of manifestation of divine names: The all- encompassing manifestation which is universal; the manifestation for species; the manifestation for individuals.
- Isra and the Miracle of Miraj (Ascension)
- First Question: Why did the Companions not discover the troublemakers with the eye of sainthood since they were superior to saints and why were three of the four Rightly-Guided Caliphs martyred?
- First Ray: The omnipresence of Allah and His closeness to everything more than anything; Divine Unity and Oneness.
- The Third Reason: The prophethood versus sainthood; the difference between the rank of sainthood and prophethood.