The Thirty-First Word

On the Ascension of the Prophet Muhammad

(Peace and blessings be upon him)

[NOTE: The Ascension is a question that results from the essentials and pillars of belief, and follows on after them, a light that draws strength from the lights of the pillars of belief. For sure, the Ascension cannot be proved independently to irreligious atheists who do not accept the pillars of belief, because it cannot be discussed with those who neither know God, nor recognize the Prophet, nor accept the angels, and who deny the existence of the heavens. Firstly those pillars must be proved. Since this is the case, we shall address the discussion to a believer who, since he considers it unlikely, has misgivings about the Ascension and we shall explain it to him. However, from time to time we shall take into account the atheist who is the position of listener and shall set forth the matter to him. Some flashes of the truth of the Ascension have been mentioned in others of the other Words. At the insistence of my brothers we seek the grace from Almighty God to unite all those different flashes with the essence of the truth, and with all of them to form a mirror to the beauty of the perfections of Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him). ]

In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

Limitless in His glory is He Who transported His servant by night from the Inviolable House of Worship to the Remote House of Worship, the environs of which We had blessed, so that We might show him some of Our signs: for, indeed, He is All-Hearing, All-Seeing.1

It is no less than inspiration sent down to him; He was taught by one mighty in power, Endued with wisdom: for he appeared in stately form While he was in the horizon’s loftiest part. Then he approached and came closer, And was at a distance of but two bow-lengths or even nearer; And thus did God reveal unto His servant whatever He revealed. The servant’s heart in no way falsified what it saw. Will you, then, dispute with him as to what he saw? For, indeed, he saw him at a second descent, Near the Lote-tree of the farthest limit, Near it is to the Garden of Abode. Behold, the Lote-tree was shrouded in mystery unspeakable. His eye did not waver, nor yet did it stray. Truly did he see some of the most profound of his Sustainer’s signs.1

Since it is related to our question here, I shall expound two allusions –based on principles of the science of rhetoric– contained in the pronominal phrase for indeed He, which is part of the vast treasury of the first sublime verse mentioned above. It was also explained in the treatise about the Qur’an’s miraculousness.

After mentioning the journey of God’s Most Noble Beloved (Upon whom be the best of blessings and most perfect peace) from the mosque at Mecca to the mosque in Jerusalem, which was the beginning of his Ascension, the All-Wise Qur’an says: He is All-Hearing, All-Seeing. This phrase, together with the pronoun in the phrase, for indeed He, which alludes to the furthest point of the Ascension indicated to by the verses from Sura an-Najm, refers either to Almighty God or to the Prophet (PBUH).

If it refers to the Prophet (PBUH), the rule of rhetoric and the relationship in the sequence of the words states the following: there is, within this particular journey a general one and a universal ascent during which the Prophet (PBUH) heard and saw the dominical signs and wonders of Divine art which his eyes and ears happened upon within the universal degrees of the Divine Names as far as the Lote-tree of the farthest limit and the distance of two bow-lengths. It indicates that his insignificant and particular journey was like the key to a journey that is both universal and an exhibition of marvels.

If the pronoun refers to Almighty God, it is thus: in order to invite one of His servants on a journey to His presence and to entrust him with a duty, after sending him from the Mosque in Mecca to that in Jerusalem, which is where the prophets gather, and causing him to meet with them and demonstrating that he was the sole heir of the principles of the religions of all the prophets, He took him on a journey through both the external face of the world of existence and the face that looks to its Creator as far as the Lote-tree of the farthest limit and the distance of two bow-lengths.

Certainly, he was a servant and the journey was a particular Ascension, but he had been accorded a Trust that was connected to the whole universe and had been given a light that would change the colour of the universe. Moreover, since he had with him the key to open the door leading to eternal happiness, God Almighty bestowed on him the attribute of “seeing and hearing all things” so that he might demonstrate the world-embracing comprehensive wisdom of the Trust, light, and key – wisdom and purposes which encompassed the whole universe and embraced all creatures.

This profound truth contains four Principles.

The First: Why was the Ascension necessary?

The Second: What was the reality of the Ascension?

The Third: What was the wisdom and purpose of the Ascension?

The Fourth: What are the fruits and benefits of the Ascension?