Why was this mighty Ascension to heavens special to Prophet Muhammed?
Despite numerous corruptions in the texts of Holy Scriptures like the Torah, Gospels, and Psalms, in recent times even, an exacting scholar like Husayn Jisri extracted one hundred and fourteen good tidings of Muhammad’s prophethood (PBUH), which he set forth in his Risale-i Hamidiye. 1.(Husayn al-Jisri, Risale-i Hamidiye 4 vols. Turk.tr. Manastırlı İsmail Hakkı (Istanbul: 1308); Suyuti, al-Khasa’is al-Kubra, i, 26, 73.)
It has been proved historically that there were many predictions accurately forecasting the prophethood of Muhammad (PBUH), like those of the two soothsayers Shiqq and Satih, which, a while previously to his prophethood, gave news of it and the fact that he was to be the final prophet. 2.(Ibn Sayyid al-Nas, ‘Uyun al-Athar, I, 29; Qadi Iyad, al-Shifa’, i, 364-6.)
There were hundreds of extraordinary happenings, famous in history, called irhasat, that is, signs forewarning men of a coming prophet, like, for example, on the night of Muhammad’s (PBUH) birth, the idols in the Ka’ba fell from their places and the famous palace of Khosroes the Persian was rent asunder. 3. (Qadi Iyad, al-Shifa’, i, 366-8; Bayhaqi, Dala’il al-Nubuwwa, i, 126.)
History and the Prophet’s biographies show that he satisfied the thirst of an army with water flowing from his fingers, that in the presence of a large congregation in the mosque, the dry wooden support against which Muhammad (PBUH) was leaning moaned like a camel.
And wept on being separated from him when he ascended the pulpit, and that he was distinguished by close on a thousand miracles attested to by the verses of the Qur’an, such as, And the moon split, 4 (Qur’an, 54:1.) referring to the splitting of the moon and verified by those who investigated them.
Anyone who considers the facts and is fair and just cannot hesitate to agree that, as is unanimously agreed by friend and foe alike, good moral qualities were to be found at the highest degree in his personality, and that, in accordance with the testimony of all his dealings and actions, attributes.
And character of the greatest excellence were apparent in the way he performed his duties and proclaimed Islam, and, in accordance with the fine qualities and conduct enjoined by the religion of Islam, laudable virtues of the highest order were to be found in the law he brought.
As is alluded to in the Second Indication of the Tenth Word, it is a requirement of wisdom that Divinity be manifested. And this desire of Divinity to be manifested is met at the highest level and most brilliantly by the comprehensive worship performed by Muhammad (PBUH) in the practice of his religion.
Also, wisdom and truth require that the Creator of the world displays His beauty in its utter perfection through some means. And the one who met that wish and displayed and described His beauty most perfectly was self-evidently the person of Muhammad (PBUH).
“It was also clearly Muhammad (PBUH) who, in response to the desire of the world’s Maker to exhibit and attract attentive gazes towards His perfect art within infinite beauty, heralded that art with the loudest voice.”
“Again, it was necessarily Muhammad (PBUH) who, in response to the desire of the Sustainer of All the Worlds to proclaim His unity in the levels of multiplicity, announced all the degrees of unity, each at the greatest level of unity.”
“And, as is indicated by the utter beauty in beings and as is required by truth and wisdom, the world’s Owner desires to see and display in mirrors, His infinite essential beauty and the subtleties and qualities of His exquisiteness. And again, it was self-evidently Muhammad (PBUH) who, in response to that desire, acted as a mirror and displayed His beauty in the most radiant fashion, and loved it and made others love it.”
“Also, in response to the desire of the Maker of the palace of this world to exhibit His hidden treasuries, which are filled with the most wonderful miracles and priceless jewels, and through them to describe and make known His perfections, it was again self-evidently Muhammad (PBUH) who exhibited, described, and displayed them in the most comprehensive fashion.”
“Also, since the Maker of the universe has made it in such a way that He adorns it with different varieties of wonders and embellishments and has included conscious creatures in it so that they might make tours.
And excursions and ponder over it and take lessons, wisdom requires that He should desire to make known the meanings and value of the works of art to those who observe and ponder over them. And it was again self-evidently Muhammad (PBUH) who, in response to this desire of the universe’s Maker, by means of the All-Wise Qur’an, acted as guide in the most comprehensive fashion to jinn and man, indeed, to spirit beings and angels.”
“Also, the All-Wise Ruler of the universe wishes, by means of an envoy, to cause all conscious beings to unravel the obscure talisman containing the aims and purposes of the change and transformations in the universe and to solve the riddle of the three perplexing questions:
“Where do beings come from?”, “What is their destination?”, and “What are they?” And again, it was self-evidently Muhammad (PBUH) who, in response to this wish of the All-Wise Ruler, by means of the truths of the Qur’an, unraveled the talisman and solved the riddle in the clearest and most comprehensive fashion.”
“Also, the All-Glorious Maker of the universe desires to make Himself known to conscious beings by means of all His fine artefacts and to make them love Him through all His precious bounties, and, most certainly, to make known to them by means of an envoy His wishes and what will please Him in return for those bounties.
And again, it was self-evidently Muhammad (PBUH) who, in response to this desire of the All-Glorious Maker, by means of the Qur’an, expounded those wishes and things that please Him in the most exalted and perfect fashion.”
“Also, since the Sustainer of All the Worlds has given to man, who is the fruit of the universe, a comprehensive disposition which encompasses the universe and has prepared him for universal worship, and since, because of his faculties and senses, multiplicity and the world afflict man, the Sustainer desires to turn man’s face from multiplicity to unity, from transience to permanence.
And again, it was self-evidently Muhammad (PBUH) who, in response to this desire, by means of the Qur’an, acted as guide in the most comprehensive and complete fashion, and in the best way, and carried out the duty of prophethood in the most perfect manner.”
“Among beings the most superior are animate beings, and among animate beings the most superior are conscious beings, and among conscious beings the most superior are true human beings. So, the one among true human beings who carried out the above-mentioned duties at the most comprehensive level.
And in the most perfect manner would rise through an all-embracing Ascension to the distance of two bow-lengths, knock at the door of eternal happiness, open the treasury of Mercy, and see the hidden truths of belief. Again, it would be him.”
“Seventhly: As is plain to see, beings are made beautiful with the utmost degree of fine embellishment and adornment. Such an embellishment and adornment clearly demonstrate that their Maker possesses an extremely strong will to make beautiful and intention to adorn.
The will to make beautiful and adorn demonstrates that the Maker necessarily possesses a strong desire for and holy love towards His art. And among beings the one who displayed altogether in himself the most comprehensive.
And subtle wonders of art and knew them and made them known and himself loved, and who appreciated the beauties to be found in other beings, declaring: “What wonders God has willed!”, and was most beloved in the sight of his Maker, who nurtures and loves His art, would most certainly be him.”
“Thus, the one who, declaring: “Glory be to God! What wonders God has willed! God is most Great!” in the face of the exquisiteness that gilds beings and the subtle perfections that illuminate them, causes the heavens to ring out, and who, through the strains of the Qur’an, causes the universe to reverberate, and through his admiration and appreciation, his contemplation and display, and his mentioning of the Divine Names and affirmation of Divine unity, brings land and sea to ecstasy, is again self-evidently that one (PBUH).”
“And so, according to the meaning of ‘the cause is like the doer,’ it is pure truth and sheer wisdom that the one in whose scales shall be found the equivalent of all the good deeds performed by his community, and whose spiritual perfections draw strength from the benedictions of all his community, and who, as a result of the duties he discharged in his messengership, received immaterial recompense and boundless emanations of Divine mercy and love, should advance by the stairway of the Ascension as far as Paradise, the Lote-tree of the farthest limit, the Divine Throne, and the distance of two bow-lengths.”
-“Man is only able to ascend to a height of one or two kilometers with a thousand difficulties by means of the aero plane. How then could someone come and go bodily within a few minutes covering a distance that would normally take thousands of years?”
“According to your science, in its annual rotation a heavy body like the earth cuts a distance of approximately one hundred and eighty-eight hours in one minute. In one year, it covers a distance of approximately twenty-five thousand years.
Should an All-Powerful and Glorious One, then, who causes its regular motion and revolves it like a stone in a sling be unable to convey a human being to His Throne?
Should a wisdom that causes the body of the earth, which is extremely heavy, to travel around the sun through a dominical law known the sun’s gravity like a Mevlevi dervish be unable to raise a human body to the Throne of the All-Merciful One like lightning through the gravity of that All-Merciful One’s mercy and the attraction of the Pre-Eternal Sun’s love?”
– All right, so he could ascend there, but why did he and why should he? Would it not have been enough if he had gone just in heart and spirit like the saints?
“Since the All-Glorious Maker wished to display His wondrous signs which lie in both the outer aspects of things and in their aspects that look directly to Himself, and to make the workshops and sources of the universe spectacles to be gazed upon, and to point out the results of man’s actions in the hereafter, it was necessary to take together with his heart and spirit as far as His Throne Muhammad’s (PBUH) eyes,
which were like the key to the world of visible objects, and his ears, which perceived the signs in the world of sound. Furthermore, it is required by wisdom and reason that the All-Glorious Maker should have taken as far as His Throne his blessed body, which was like the machine of his spirit comprising different members and components, by means of which be performed his duties. Just as in Paradise
Divine wisdom makes the body accompany the spirit, because it is the body that is the means by which the duties of worship are performed and the means of innumerable pleasures and pains, so did his blessed body accompany his spirit. Since the body goes to Paradise together with the spirit, it is pure
wisdom that He should have made the blessed body of Muhammad (PBUH) accompany his self, which ascended to the Lote-tree of the farthest limit, which is the trunk of the home of Paradise.”
– Is it not impossible to traverse a distance of thousands of years in several minutes?
“The motion in the different works of the All-Glorious Maker’s art varies to the utmost degree. For example, it is well-known how different are the speeds of light, electricity, spirit, and imagination, and that of sound. And, as has been established by science, the speeds of the motion of different planets are so different that it astounds the mind.
How then should the motion at the speed of spirit of his subtle body, which followed his exalted spirit during the Ascension, seem contrary to reason?
Furthermore, it sometimes happens that on sleeping for ten minutes you are subject to a year’s-worth of different states.
And even, if the words spoken and heard during a dream lasting one minute were collected together, for them to be spoken and heard in the waking world, a day or even longer, would be necessary. That means a single period of time is relative; it may seem like one day to one person and like a year to another.”
“Consider the meaning of this by means of a comparison. Let us imagine a clock which measures the speed of the movement displayed by man, cannon-balls, sound, light, electricity, spirit, and imagination. The clock has ten hands. One shows the hours while another counts the minutes in a sphere sixty times greater.
Another hand counts the seconds in a sphere sixty times greater than the previous one, and yet others each count regularly decreasing fractions to a tenth of a second in vast spheres that regularly increase sixty times. Let us suppose the circles described by the hand counting hours was the size of our clock, so that of the hand counting tenths of a second would have to be the size of the annual orbit of the earth, or even larger.”
“Now, let us suppose there are two people: One of them is as though mounted on the hour-hand and observes according to its motion while the other is on the hand counting tenths of a second. There will be an enormous difference, as great as the relation between our clock and the annual orbit of the earth, as regards the things observed by these two individuals in the same period of time.
Thus, since time is like a hue, shade, or ribbon of motion, a rule that is in force in motion is also in force in time. And so, although the things we observe in the period of one hour would be equalled in amount by the conscious individual mounted on the hour-hand of the clock, like the one mounted on the hand counting tenths of a second, God’s Noble Messenger(Peace and blessings be upon him) mounted Buraq of Divine Assistance and in the same space of time, in that specified hour, like lightning traversed the entire sphere of contingency, saw the wonders of the outer aspects of things.
And the aspects which look to their Creator, ascended to the point of the sphere of necessity, was honoured with Divine conversation and favored with the vision of Divine beauty, received his decree, and returned to his duty. It was possible for this to happen, and it did happen.”
– And again, it comes to mind that you would say: “Yes, so it could happen, it is possible. But everything possible does not occur, does it? Is there anything else similar to this so that it can be accepted? How can the occurrence of something to which there are no similar cases be posited through only probability?
“To which we would reply: There are so many similar cases to it that they cannot be enumerated. For example, anyone who possesses sight can ascend with his eyes from the ground to the planet Neptune in a second. Anyone who has knowledge can mount the laws of astronomy with his intellect and travel beyond the stars in a minute.
Anyone who has belief can, by mounting his thought on the action and pillars of the obligatory prayers, through a sort of Ascension, leave the universe behind and go as far as the Divine presence. Anyone who sees with his heart and any saint of perfection can, through his spiritual journeying, traverse in forty days the Divine Throne and the sphere of the Divine Names and attributes.
And certain persons, even, like Shaykh Geylani and Imam-i Rabbani, truthfully recorded their spiritual ascensions as far as the Throne, which lasted a minute. Furthermore, there is the coming and going of the angels, which are luminous bodies, from the Divine Throne to the earth and from the earth to the Throne in a short period of time.
And the people of Paradise ascend to the gardens of Paradise from the plain of resurrection in a short space of time. Of course, this many examples demonstrate that it is pure wisdom, completely rational.
And an occurrence about which there can be no doubt that the person of Muhammad (PBUH), who is the Lord of all the saints, the leader of all the believers, the head of the people of Paradise, and is accepted by all the angels, should have had an ascension which was the means of spiritual journeying, and that it should have been in a form appropriate to his rank. (See. Badiuzzaman Said Nursi, The Words, The Thirty-First Word)
– What are the fruits and benefits of the Ascension?
“We shall mention only five, by way of example, of the more than five hundred fruits of the Ascension, which has the meaning of the Tree of Tuba.”
This fruit has brought to the universe and mankind a treasury, a gift of pre-eternal and post-eternal Light, which is to see with the eyes the truths of the pillars of belief and to behold the angels, Paradise, the hereafter, and even the All-Glorious One.
It raises the universe from an imaginary state of wretchedness, transitoriness, and disorder and, through that Light and fruit, shows its reality, which is its consisting of sacred missives of the Eternally Besought One and being a beautiful mirror to the beauty of Divine oneness.
It has made happy and pleased the universe and all conscious beings. Furthermore, through this Light and sacred fruit, it shows that man is not merely bewildered, wretched, impotent, impoverished, with endless needs and innumerable enemies, ephemeral and impermanent, which is like the state of misguidance.
It shows man in his true form of being a miracle of the Eternally Besought One’s power on ‘the most excellent of patterns,’ a comprehensive copy of the Eternally Besought One’s missives, an addressee of the Pre-Eternal and Post-Eternal Monarch.
The special bondsman, the admirer and friend of His perfections, the lover bewildered at His beauty, and a beloved guest appointed to eternal Paradise. It has filled all human beings who are true human beings with infinite joy and infinite longing.
This fruit has brought to jinn and man as a gift the fundamentals of Islam, and first and foremost the prescribed prayers, (Bayhaqi, Dala’il al-Nubuwwa, iii, 406; al-Sunna al-Kubra, iv, 362.) which constitute those things pleasing to the Sustainer, the Ruler of Pre-Eternity, and Post-Eternity, who is the Maker of beings, Owner of the universe, and Sustainer of all the worlds. To discover the things that please Him brings such happiness it cannot be described.
For how eager everyone is to find out, from a distance, the desires of a powerful benefactor or generous king, and if they find out, how delighted they are. They say longingly: “If only there was some means by which I could communicate with that personage directly. If only I could learn what he wants of me.
If only I knew what would please him that I could do.” Man, then, should understand just how necessary it is to be desirous and eager to discover the wishes and pleasure of the Ruler of Pre-Eternity and Post-Eternity. For all beings are in the grasp of His power, and the beauty and perfections to be found in all beings are but pale shadows in relation to His beauty and perfection, and being needy for Him in innumerable ways, man constantly receives countless numbers of His bounties.
Thus, as a direct fruit of the Ascension, Muhammad (PBUH) heard with utter certainty what it is that pleases the Monarch of Pre-Eternity and Post-Eternity, behind seventy thousand veils, and returning, brought it as a gift to mankind.
Indeed, how curious is man to learn the conditions on the moon. If someone was to go there and return bringing news of it, both what self-sacrifice he would display, and, if he was to understand the conditions there, how he would be overcome by wonder and curiosity.
But the moon is merely touring in the domain of a Lord of such dominion that it encircles the globe of the earth like a fly, and the globe flies round the sun like a moth, while the sun is one lamp among thousands and is just a candle in a guesthouse of that Glorious Lord of All Dominion.
Thus, Muhammad (PBUH) saw the works and wonders of art and treasuries of mercy in the everlasting realm of this All-Glorious One, and he returned and informed mankind. And so, if mankind does not listen to him with complete wonder, curiosity, and love, you can understand how contrary to reason and wisdom is their attitude.
Muhammad (PBUH) saw the treasury of eternal happiness, obtained the key, and brought it as a gift to jinn and men. Yes, through the Ascension, he saw Paradise with his own eyes and witnessed the eternal manifestations of the All-Glorious and Merciful One’s mercy; he understood eternal happiness with absolute and utter certainty and brought as a gift to jinn and men the good news of its existence.
If wretched jinn and men imagine themselves and all beings to be in the soul-searing situation of an unstable world amid the upheavals of decease and separation, being poured with the flood of time and motion of particles into the oceans of non-existence and eternal separation, it cannot be described how precious and enheartening such good news is in the ears of ephemeral jinn and men, who thus supposed themselves to be condemned to eternal annihilation.
If, at the moment he is to be executed and sent to non-existence, a man is pardoned and given a palace in proximity to the king, what great joy this would cause him. So, gather up all such joy and happiness to the number of jinn and men and then evaluate this good news.
Just as he himself sampled the fruit of the vision of Divine beauty, so did he bring to jinn and men the gift of this fruit being attainable by all believers. You may understand from the following how delightful, pleasing, and exquisite a fruit this is.
Everyone of fine perception loves one who possesses beauty and perfection and is benevolent, and his love increases proportionately to their degrees; it reaches the degree of worship and a pitch whereat he would sacrifice his very life. On seeing that person only once, his love becomes such he would sacrifice the world.
However, in relation to the beauty, perfection, and benevolence of God Almighty, the beauty, perfection and benevolence of all beings are not the equivalent of even a few tiny sparks in relation to the sun. That is to say.
If you are a true human being, you may understand how delightful and fine a fruit it is and what happiness and joy it brings to receive in eternal happiness the vision of the All-Glorious One of Perfection, Who is worthy of boundless love, infinite longing, and being gazed upon eternally.
Man’s being the precious fruit of the universe and the petted beloved of the Maker of the universe was understood through the Ascension, and he brought this fruit to jinn and men. This fruit raises man, an insignificant creature, a weak animal, an impotent conscious being, to an elevated rank of pride above all the beings in the universe. It gives man indescribable pleasure and joyful happiness.
For if it is said to an ordinary private: “You have been promoted to the rank of field marshal,” how delighted he will be. But wretched man is an ephemeral, impotent ‘rational animal’ who constantly suffers the blows of decease and separation.
If then he is told that not only will he make excursions and tours with the speed of imagination and breadth of the spirit in an eternal never-ending Paradise within the mercy of an All-Compassionate and Generous Merciful One, and journey in the mind in accordance with all the desires of his heart in both the outer dimensions of things.
And those dimensions that look directly to their Creator, but that he will also behold the vision of Divine beauty in eternal happiness, you can imagine what a profound joy and true happiness a human being who has not fallen from the level of humanity would feel in his heart. We shall show you through two short comparisons the great value in one or two further fruits.
For example, you and I are together in a certain country. We see that everything is hostile to us and to each other and is strange to us. Everywhere is full of ghastly corpses. The sounds to be heard are the weeping of orphans and the lamentations of the oppressed.
So if someone appears when we are in that situation bringing good news from the king of the country by which those of his subjects who were strange to us assume the form of friends and the enemies turn into brothers, and the ghastly corpses are seen to be worshipping and praising and glorifying in deep humility and submission.
And if the piteous weeping becomes praise and exaltation and cries of “Long live the king!”, and the deaths and plunder and pillage are transformed into demobilizations and release from duty; and if we join the general joy to our own joy, you will certainly understand how joyful and happy that news is.
Thus, when the beings in the universe are considered with the eye of misguidance, as they were before the light of belief, which is one fruit of the Ascension of Muhammad (PBUH), they are seen to be strange, menacing, troublesome, dreadful, terrifying corpses the size of mountains, while the appointed hour is severing people’s heads.
And casting them into the pit of eternal, never-ending nothingness. Although misguidance interprets all the voices as being lamentations occasioned by separation and decease, the truths of the pillars of belief, which are fruits of the Ascension, show you that just as beings are brothers and friends to you.
And praises and glorifiers of the All-Glorious One, so are death and decease a demobilization and discharge from duties; in reality those voices are all glorifications of God.
The Second Comparison: You and I are in a place resembling a vast desert. There is a sandstorm in the sea of sand and the night is so black we cannot see even our hands. If suddenly, without friend or protector, hungry and thirsty, we were despairing and giving up hope, a person was to pass through the curtain of blackness.
And approach us bringing a car as a gift; and if he was to seat us in it, and then instantly install us in a place like Paradise where our future was secure, food and drink ready prepared, and where we had a most kindly and sympathetic protector, you can understand how pleased we would be.
Thus, that great desert is the face of this world. The sea of sand consists of beings and wretched man, who are tossed around by the force of the flood of time and the motion of particles within events. All human beings see the future with the eye of misguidance, enveloped in terrifying darkness, and their hearts are harrowed with anxiety.
They know no one they can make hear their cries for help. They are infinitely hungry, infinitely thirsty. However, when this world is seen in terms of things pleasing to God, which is a fruit of the Ascension; that is, it is seen to be the guesthouse of Someone exceedingly generous, and human beings are seen to
His guests and officials, and the future to be as delightful as Paradise, as sweet as mercy, as shining as eternal happiness, you will understand what a delightful, exquisitely sweet fruit it is. (see. Badiuzzaman Said Nursi, The Words, The Thirty-First Word).
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