It is generally agreed by Shia scholars that the Prophet’s assumption of the prophetical office took place on the twenty seventh day of the blessed month of Rajab. This is supported by the authority of traditions derived from the holy Imams.
Sunnis, however not only differ from Shias, but contradict each other in dating the assumption, some of them declaring it was on the seventeenth day of the blessed month of Ramadan, and others that it was on the eighteenth of that month; others say that it was on the twenty fourth of Ramadan, and others again affirm that it was on the twelfth of Rabiul Awwal. There are still some other accounts of the date of that year, but truth is with the first statement.
According to authentic accounts, at that time the Prophet was of forty years of age. Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) relates in authentic traditional reports that Jibraeel descended to the Prophet on the day of Nauruz. But it is evident from undoubted traditions that the Prophet was always a Prophet, as he himself said, “I was a Prophet when Adam was yet clay and water, or uncreated.”
The compiler is of opinion that before his assumption, the Prophet conducted himself according to his own law, and received divine communications, and was aided by the Ruhul Qudus, and that after completing forty years, he first publicly appeared as a Prophet. In Nahjul Balagha, it is narrated from Amirul Momineen (a.s.) that the Prophet from his birth was attended by an angel, who was commissioned by the Almighty Allah to preserve in him the most perfect manners and best disposition.
In reliable traditions, it is narrated from Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) that before the Messenger of Allah (S) was appointed to prophethood, he used to hear the angels till Jibraeel came with prophethood and he used to see Jibraeel in his true form.
It is narrated through Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) in another report that there is a Ruh greater than Jibraeel and Mikaeel, which always remained with the Prophet and made him follow good morals and straight path and the same Ruh accompanies the Holy Imams (a.s.) which keeps them informed of the Unseen knowledge and during their childhood it trains and helps them. There are many traditions in this regard, which shall be mentioned in the book of Imamate.
It is narrated from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) in reliable traditions that when Jibraeel waited upon the Prophet, he sat in the manner of a servant before the Prophet, and that he did not enter the Prophet’s house till invited to do so. He stood at a place which is today known as Maqam Jibraeel. It is mentioned in other traditions that sometimes when the Messenger of Allah (S) used to be with the companions he suddenly swooned and fell into a profuse perspiration.
This was a sign of descent of divine revelation This, according to Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.), was occasioned by his awe at the words of God, and at the majesty and glory of the Eternal one. This state did not occur on Jibraeel’s visiting him, but only when he received a direct communication from the Almighty Allah.
It is narrated from Amirul Momineen (a.s.) that divine communications are made to prophets in different ways; sometimes through angels, and sometimes directly from Allah. The Prophet asked Jibraeel how he received divine communications. He replied, “From Israfeel.” “And where does Israfeel get them?” “It falls into his heart,” said Jibraeel.
Ali bin Ibrahim has narrated from Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) that Jibraeel said to the Messenger of Allah (S) that Israfeel is the porter of the Lord, and of all creatures, nearest to the place from where divine communications proceed. There is a tablet of ruby between his eyes, which on a communication being given touches his forehead. At this signal he looks at the tablet, and imparts the communication to us, and we transmit it through the heavens and earth.
The same Imam relates that as the inhabitants of heaven had heard no communication from the time of Prophet Isa (a.s.) till the assumption of the prophetical office by the Prophet, they swooned with terror at the thunder of a voice, like the sound of iron on a hard rock, communicating the Qur’an.
When the communication was ended, Jibraeel came down through the heavens and quelled the fears of the inhabitants. And Ayyashi has narrated from Imam Ali (a.s.) that when the Prophet received Surah Maidah, as he was riding his Mule called Shahba, and such was the weight, that the mule stopped and bent under the burden till its stomach nearly touched the ground. The Messenger of Allah (S) swooned and his hand was on the head of Mamba bin Wahab.
When the condition normalized, he recited Surah Maidah. Ibn Tawus has narrated from Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) that Uthman bin Mazun has stated that I was passing the door of the Prophet in Mecca and I saw him sitting at the door and I also sat down with him and began to converse with him.
Suddenly I saw that his eyes were raised to the sky and for some time the Messenger of Allah (S) turned his eyes to the right and continued to nod his head like a person listening to the talk of a person. After sometime he continued to look at the sky for along time. Then he look to the right and then to me. Sweat was dripping from his holy face. I said: “O Messenger of Allah (S), I never saw you in this condition?” He replied: “Have you seen it now?” “Yes, O Messenger of Allah (S).” The Prophet said: “Jibraeel had come with the following verse:
إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالْإِحْسَانِ وَإِيتَاءِ ذِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَيَنْهَىٰ عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنْكَرِ وَالْبَغْيِ ۚ يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ.
“Surely Allah enjoins the doing of justice and the doing of good (to others) and the giving to the kindred, and He forbids indecency and evil and rebellion; He admonishes you that you may be mindful.”1
Uthman says: “I arose from there and came to His Eminence, Abu Talib and narrated the verse to him. He said: “O Ghalib, obey Muhammad, so that you may be guided and be successful. By Allah, he is inviting you to a perfect code of ethics.
Shaykh Tusi has narrated through authentic chains of narrators from Ibn Abbas that Amirul Momineen (a.s.) used to attend the Prophet every morning and the latter also liked his visits most. He came one day and saw that the Holy Prophet (S) was sleeping in the courtyard and his holy head was in the lap of Dahiya Kalbi. Imam Ali (a.s.) said: “Peace be upon you, how is the Holy Prophet (S)?”
Dahiya said: “O brother of the Messenger, he is well.” Imam Ali (a.s.) said: “May Allah, give you a good reward.” Dahiya said: “I like you and I have brought a gift for you. You are the chief of believers and one who will take your followers to Paradise. After the Prophet you are the best of the creatures. On Judgment Day, Liwaul Hamd will be carried by you. You and your Shias will be the first to enter Paradise with the Prophet.
One who is devoted to you has obtained deliverance. And deprived of deliverance is one who denies your Wilayat. Whoever loved, loved Muhammad (S) and whoever hates you is in fact inimical to you because of his enmity to the Prophet and he is deprived of the intercession of the Prophet. Come near me, because you are deserving of this.” and he gave the Prophet’s head into his lap and went away.
When the Messenger of Allah (S) awoke, he asked: “Who was it that you were speaking to?” Imam Ali (a.s.) replied: “It was Dahiya Kalbi.” He said: “No, he was Jibraeel and he called you by the title that the Almighty Allah has given you. It is the Almighty Allah who has inculcated the hearts of believers with your love and your awe is put into the infidels.
Himyari has narrated through authentic chains of narrators from Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) that when divine revelation was stopped for some days, people asked the Prophet about it and he said: “How can it come, when you don’t cut your nails and carry foul smell.”
Ibn Babawayh has narrated through authentic chains of narrators from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) that the accursed Iblis pleaded four times: One when he was driven out from the court of the Almighty. Second when he was sent to the earth. Third when the Messenger of Allah (S) was invested with the office of prophethood. Fourth when the Surah Hamd was revealed.
Ali bin Ibrahim has narrated through authentic chains of narrators from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) that when the Almighty Allah constituted the Holy Prophet as a Prophet, He commanded Jibraeel to dig the earth with a stroke of his wing, and left it for the Prophet and the Prophet was enabled to see every place as distinctly as a person sees his own hands.
He surveyed the world from east to west, and addressed every people in their own tongue, summoning them to embrace his faith; and by divine power the whole world saw the Prophet, heard his words, and understood his mission.
Ali bin Ibrahim, Ibn Shahr Ashob and Shaykh Tabarsi, rather all tradition scholars and exegetes have narrated that before his assumption of the prophetical office, the Prophet retired from his people and lived alone on Mount Hira, in devotion to Allah. There the Almighty Allah imparted to him religious guidance, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, with true dreams, the voices of angels, and just meditations. Meanwhile he advanced in the degrees of divine love and knowledge, and was adorned with all that is praiseworthy and excellent.
No one understood all this except Ali and Khadija. When thirty seven years of his life had elapsed, he dreamed that an angel addressed him by the title Rasoolullah, Messenger of Allah (S). One day when pasturing the sheep of Abu Talib among the mountains of Mecca, a person approached and addressed him by the same epithet. On inquiring who the stranger was, he replied, “I am Jibraeel, whom God has sent to invest you with the prophetical office.”
Having brought water from heaven for the purpose, or, as another tradition declares, having thrust his foot down into the ground caused a fountain to spring up, Jibraeel performed ablutions and prayers, teaching the Prophet these acts, in which he instructed Ali at noon. When he came home, he performed with Khadija evening prayers the same day.
After some days His Eminence, Abu Talib came with Ja’far and saw that the Prophet was praying with Ali and Khadija. Abu Talib said to Ja’far: “You also pray with your cousin.” And he also joined the worshippers. It is mentioned in authentic traditions from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) that the Messenger of Allah (S) said: “I was sleeping in Abtah with my hand under my head.
Ali was sleeping on my right, Ja’far Tayyar, on my left, and Hamza at my feet. Suddenly terror came upon me at the sound of the wings of Jibraeel, Mikaeel, and Israfeel, and I heard Israfeel inquire of Jibraeel, “To which of these are we sent?” Jibraeel pointed to me and said, “To this one, whose name is Muhammad, and who is the best of the prophets. The one on his right is his brother and successor, the best of all who have possessed that office.
On his left is Ja’far, the son of Abu Talib, who will hereafter fly in Paradise with two splendid wings; the other is Hamza, the chief of martyrs on Judgment Day.” According to another tradition, Jibraeel sat at the head of the Prophet and Mikaeel at his feet and they did not waken him due to good manners. When he himself awoke, Jibraeel conveyed the message of Allah. When he arose and was about to leave, the Messenger of Allah (S) clung to the tail of his robe and asked: “Who are you?” He replied: “I am Jibraeel.”
It is narrated from Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) that when the Prophet reached to the age of forty years the Almighty Allah made him absolutely humble and sincere and found him to be most obedient to Him. So He created a light in his eyes and when He issued the command, the doors of the heavens were opened up.
Angels arrived in groups to the earth to see the Prophet and the Almighty Allah joined His mercy from the leg of the Arsh to His Eminence. Jibraeel came down encompassing the earth and the sky and holding the arm of the Prophet said: “O Muhammad, read.” He asked: “What should I read?”
اقْرَأْ بِاسْمِ رَبِّكَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ. خَلَقَ الْإِنْسَانَ مِنْ عَلَقٍ.
“Read in the name of your Lord Who created. He created man from a clot.”2
Then he conveyed divine revelation to him. According to another tradition Jibraeel descended again attended by seventy thousand angels, and Mikaeel by the same number, and that they brought a majestic throne for the Prophet, and placed the crown of prophecy on his head, put the banner of praise (Liwa Hamd) in his hand, and directed him to ascend the throne and praise the Lord.
According to another report that throne was made of ruby and its feet of emeralds and pearl. When the angels returned to heaven, the Prophet descended from Mount Hira, and such glory beamed from him that no one could endure the light. Every tree and herb and stone he passed, bowed down before His Eminence, and saluted him with the epithet of Messenger of Allah (S), saying in fluent language: Peace be upon you, O Prophet of Allah. Peace be upon you, O Messenger of Allah (S).
On entering his house was illuminated by his effulgence and Khadija asked, “What light is this?” He replied, “This is the effulgence of prophecy: Say, There is no god but Allah; Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah (S).” Khadija replied, “I have known for years that you were a Prophet.” She then repeated the creed and professed the faith. He then said to her, “I am cold, cover me with another garment,” and laying down he received a divine communication:
يَا أَيُّهَا الْمُدَّثِّرُ. قُمْ فَأَنْذِرْ. وَرَبَّكَ فَكَبِّرْ.
“O you who are clothed! Arise and warn, and your Lord do magnify.”3
The Holy Prophet (S) arose and raising his hands to his ears, said: Allah is the greatest (Allahu Akbar). Whoever heard the voice attested to his veracity. It is mentioned in Nahjul Balagha that at that time, except for the house of the Prophet, Islam had not entered any other house. I and Khadija used to witness the effulgence of divine revelation and prophethood and smell the fragrance of prophethood.
And we heard the wails of Satan when revelation descended on the Prophet. I asked: “What wail is it?” He replied: “It is Satan and he has despaired that people will ever worship him now. O Ali, I also hear whatever you hear and see what you see, but you are not a prophet, you are my legatee and you shall have a good end.
Tabarsi etc. have narrated that during that time a terrible famine struck Mecca and Abu Talib had many children. The Holy Prophet (S) told Abbas: “Your brother, Abu Talib is having many issues and the times are very hard. Let us distribute his burden.” The Holy Prophet (S) took Imam Ali (a.s.) under his care and he always accompanied the Prophet. So much so that he declared his prophethood and the first to profess faith in him was Imam Ali (a.s.).
Through many authentic chains, it is narrated from Afif that he said: I was a trader and I reached Mina during the Hajj season and came to Abbas to sell some goods to him. Suddenly I saw a person emerge from the tent and he began to look at the sky. Seeing that the sun has begun its decline from the zenith, he stood up to pray.
Then a boy came out and stood besides him. Then a lady came and stood behind them and they all prayed the ritual prayer. I asked Abbas what religion these people were following and that I have seen nothing like it. He said: “This is Muhammad bin Abdullah, and he claims that the Almighty Allah has invested him with prophethood and he says that the treasures of Kaiser and Kisra will be obtained by him in booty.
And that lady is his wife, Khadija and that boy is the son of his uncle who has professed faith in him. Except these, no one else has professed faith in him. Afif used to regret that he didn’t profess faith that day. In another report, it is mentioned that Lady Khadija asked Waraqa bin Naufal, her cousin who followed the Christian religion and was well versed in heavenly scriptures, and was a very old man who had lost his vision: “Who is Jibraeel?” Waraqa replied: “Quddus, Quddus.
How did you learn about him in a town where God is not worshipped?” Khadija said: “Muhammad bin Abdullah says that Jibraeel came to him.” “He is right, I have read about his distinctive qualities in divine books. Jibraeel is that great angel of God who came to Prophet Musa and Prophet Isa (a.s.).
I have read in Taurat and Injeel that the Almighty God will send a Prophet who would be an orphan. God will afford refuge to him. That he would be poor but the Almighty God will make him needless of the people. He would walk on water and speak to the dead and stones and trees will salute him and testify to his prophethood.”
Then Waraqa said: “I have dreamed for three consecutive nights that Almighty God has sent a prophet towards Mecca. I don’t find anyone else more deserving of the office of prophet.” Then Khadija went to the Jew monk named Adas. He was so old that his eyebrows hung upon his eyes. Khadija said: “Tell me about Jibraeel.” Adas immediately fell down in prostration exclaiming: “Quddus Quddus.
How did you hear the name of Jibraeel in a town where people do not worship God?” Khadija adjured him not to disclose this to anyone and told him that Muhammad claims that Jibraeel visits him. Adas said: “Jibraeel is that great angel of God who came to Prophet Musa and Prophet Isa (a.s.). Sometimes Satan also comes in the form of angel. Take this amulet of mine to him.
If it is Satan or Jinn it will leave him alone and if this is really a divine matter, no harm will come to him.” Lady Khadija returned from there to find the Holy Prophet (S) seated and Jibraeel was reciting the following verses to him:
ن ۚ وَالْقَلَمِ وَمَا يَسْطُرُونَ. مَا أَنْتَ بِنِعْمَةِ رَبِّكَ بِمَجْنُونٍ.
“Noon. I swear by the pen and what the angels write, By the grace of your Lord you are not mad.”4
Khadija was pleased to hear these verses. Then Adas came to the Prophet and witnessed the signs he had read in the books. He said: “Please show me the seal of prophethood.” When he saw the seal of prophethood, he fell down in prostration exclaiming: “Quddus, Quddus! By Allah, you are the prophet whose glad tidings Prophet Musa and Isa (a.s.) gave.”
Then he said to Lady Khadija: “The great affair and profound news will be seen from him.” And he asked the Prophet if he had also been commanded Jihad to which the Prophet replied in negative. Adas said: “You will be driven out of this town. You will be commanded Jihad and if I survive till that time, I will fight with the infidels.” It is narrated from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) that Jibraeel had descended on the Prophet on the day of Nauroz.
Shaykh Tabarsi, Ibn Tawus, Ibn Shahr Ashob and all Shia and Sunni scholars have narrated through multiple channels that after the communication of the verse:
وَأَنذِرْ عَشِيرَتَكَ الْأَقْرَبِينَ
“And warn your nearest relations…”5
And according to the recitation of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.), along with this was revealed the following also:
“And warn nearest relations and sincere people…”
“…the Holy Prophet (S) called Ali and directed him to make one saa of wheat into bread, cook one leg of mutton, provide one cup of milk, and invite the sons of Abdul Muttalib to the entertainment at the defile of Abu Talib. Imam Ali (a.s.) called them and they were forty persons and according to some thirty and according to some ten. One of the invitees, Abu Lahab observed, after receiving the invitation, “Does the Prophet think he can satisfy us? Each of us would eat a whole sheep, and drink a great vessel of milk, and not have enough.”
The next morning all the uncles of the Prophet, including Abbas, Hamza, Abu Talib and Abu Lahab assembled, and on entering made their salutations according to the idolatrous custom, which the Prophet returned according to the rules of Islam, which was disconcerting to them. Ali broke the bread into the mutton curry, and placed the dish with the cup of milk before the guests; the Prophet first putting his hand on the food and pronouncing Bismillah, said: “Eat in the name of Allah.”
This likewise displeased them but as they were very hungry they began to eat without raising any objection, and continued till they were all satisfied, when it appeared that the provisions were not in the least diminished. Nor was the milk lessened after all had freely eaten of it. As the Prophet was about to address them, Abu Lahab preceded him, saying to the company, “Your host has shown a famous magic trick in satisfying you with so little provision which still remains as it was.”
And they all dispersed from there. The Holy Prophet (S) said: “That man anticipated me today, so I didn’t say anything. Make the same preparations again, and assemble them tomorrow that I may announce to them my prophetical mission.” Amirul Momineen (a.s.) says that he made the same preparations the next day and when all had eaten, the Prophet said: “O sons of Abdul Muttalib, I think no one among the Arabs can have bestowed on his relatives a greater benefit than I have brought you.
Verily, I offer you the good of this world, and of that to come. If I should forewarn you that your enemies would attack you in the morning, or in the evening, would you not believe? They replied in the affirmative, adding that they esteemed him to be a teller of truth. He replied, “Know that a well-wisher will not deceive.
Verily the Almighty Allah has sent me as a Prophet to the universe, and has commanded me to summon first to His worship my relatives and friends, and warn them with future punishment. You are my near kindred, and this food of which you have eaten, and witnessed my miracle, is like the table spread for the Bani Israel in the wilderness.
Whoever after partaking of this food does not believe in me, Allah will punish him more severely than He has yet punished any one of mankind. Know you sons of Abdul Muttalib; Allah has sent no Prophet for whom He has not appointed, of his own people, one to be his vizier, successor and heir. Now whoever of you first believes in me, shall be my brother, vizier and Caliph among my community, and sustain the same rank towards me that Harun did to Musa.
Who then will take precedence in obeying me, and be my brother, my helper against opponents, and become my successor; be my Caliph after me, and cancel all my obligations? If you do not choose this office, another will, to whom its advantages will accrue.” The Prophet ceased, but all were silent. Ali then rose and said, “I will render you obedience on your own conditions, and will obey whatever you command.”
The Prophet directed him to take his seat, saying, “Perhaps some who are your seniors may arise.” He then repeated his proposals, but all still were silent, and again Ali arose and pledged his faith. This was repeated three times, when the Prophet approved Ali’s acceptance of the offer, dropped saliva from his own blessed mouth into the mouth of Ali, and cast it between his shoulders and breasts.
Abu Lahab sneeringly said, “You have given your cousin a fine reward for accepting your offer, by filling his mouth with your spittle!” “No,” said the Prophet, “I have filled him with knowledge, gentleness and understanding.” The party then rose and went away laughing, and observed to Abu Talib, “Muhammad will order you to obey your own son.”
It is mentioned in a reliable tradition from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) that when revelations began to descend on the Prophet, he remained in Mecca for 13 years. And for three years and according to another report for five years remained concealed and was fearful of the idolaters of Quraish. Except for Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) and Lady Khadija no one supported him, till the Almighty Allah revealed the verse:
فَاصْدَعْ بِمَا تُؤْمَرُ وَأَعْرِضْ عَنِ الْمُشْرِكِينَ
“Therefore declare openly what you are bidden and turn aside from the polytheists.”6
It is narrated from Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) that at first only Ali and Khadija believed in the Prophet, who remained three years concealed in Mecca in constant apprehension from the infidels, and expecting to be compelled to flee. At length he was commanded publicly to proclaim his message.
He then came to the Masjid, and standing by the rock of Ismail, cried with a loud voice, O you Quraish and Arab tribes, I call on you to testify to the unity of God, and to believe in me as a Prophet. I command you to renounce idolatry and obey the faith to which I summon you, that you may be sovereign of the Arabs and crowds of non-Arab obey you, and you be kings in Paradise. The Quraish derided this message, and Abu Lahab said, “Destruction to you! Was it for this you invited us to a feast?” At that juncture, the following Surah was revealed:
تَبَّتْ يَدَا أَبِي لَهَبٍ وَتَبَّ
“Perdition overtake both hands of Abu Lahab, and he will perish.”7
The infidels of Quraish said that Muhammad was deranged, and heaped upon him all sorts of verbal abuse, but fear of Abu Talib prevented them from physical violence.
After many had embraced faith, the Quraish infidels met Abu Talib and said, “Your nephew befools the people, reviles our gods, corrupts our youths, and causes divisions among us. If poverty compels him to take such a course, we will make a collection for him and enrich him above any of the Quraish, and give him in marriage any woman of the tribe whom he desires, and constitute him our chief, on condition that he ceases to assail our gods.”
Abu Talib asked the Prophet what doctrine it was that raised such an uproar among his people. He replied, “Uncle, it is a faith which God approves, and of which He has constituted me a messenger.” Abu Talib then told him what offers his people had made. “If,” said the Prophet, “they put sun in my right hand, and moon in my left, and give me in possession the whole face of the earth, I would not disobey my Lord.
I want one word of them, which if they utter, they shall become sovereigns of the Arabs and non-Arabs, and be kings hereafter in Paradise.” “What word is that?” he inquired. “That they testify to the unity of God, and to my prophetical office.” They asked, “Shall we forsake three hundred and sixty gods, to worship one? This is a strange requirement indeed.” Again the Quraish visited Abu Talib, and proposed to give him Ammara bin Walid, a person of the highest rank, very handsome and accomplished, in exchange for Muhammad, that they might put him to death. “You do me great injustice,” said Abu Talib, “in making such a proposition. Shall I give my son to be slain, and bring up your son?”
Ayyashi has narrated through authentic chains of narrators from Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) that when idolaters passed the Prophet, they used to hide their faces behind their garments lest he sees them. At that juncture, the following verse was revealed:
أَلَا إِنَّهُمْ يَثْنُونَ صُدُورَهُمْ لِيَسْتَخْفُوا مِنْهُ ۚ أَلَا حِينَ يَسْتَغْشُونَ ثِيَابَهُمْ يَعْلَمُ مَا يُسِرُّونَ وَمَا يُعْلِنُونَ
“Now surely they fold up their breasts that they may conceal (their enmity) from Him; now surely, when they use their garments as a covering, He knows what they conceal and what they make public…”8
Kulaini has narrated through authentic chains of narrators from Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) that Abu Jahl the accursed came to Abu Talib along with a group of Quraish: “Your nephew has harassed us and our gods. Tell him not to talk ill of them.” His Eminence, Abu Talib called the Messenger of Allah (S) and when he arrived he saw the infidels and said:
وَالسَّلَامُ عَلٰى مَنِ اتَّبَعَ الْهُدٰى
“…and peace is on him who follows the guidance…”9
Then he took his seat. Abu Talib said: “These people are have certain complaints.” The Holy Prophet (S) said: “Is it possible from them to say something that is better, which an make them the most exalted and powerful over all the Arabs?” Abu Jahl said, “Yes, it is possible, what is it?”
He said: “Say: there is no god except Allah.” When they heard this, they plugged their ears and make a hasty exit from there and ran away saying: “We have heard that there is no good of the hereafter in this religion. It is only a calumny.” At that juncture, the Almighty Allah revealed the initial verses of Surah Saad.
Furat Ibn Ibrahim narrates from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) that the Prophet recited the Qur’an in a more melodious and delightful manner than any other person. Indeed his recitation were so enchanting that when he rose at night to perform prayer, Abu Jahl and other idolaters often came to listen to his recitations of Qur’an, but put their fingers in their ears when he repeated the introductory formula: In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.
And then they ran away from there to return again. Abu Jahl observed, “Muhammad repeats the name of his God a great deal, and verily loves Him.” “Abu Jahl in this told the truth,” remarks Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.), “although that cursed one was a notorious liar.” Then the Almighty Allah revealed the following verse:
وَإِذَا ذَكَرْتَ رَبَّكَ فِي الْقُرْآنِ وَحْدَهُ وَلَّوْا عَلٰى أَدْبَارِهِمْ نُفُورًا.
“…and when you mention your Lord alone in the Qur’an they turn their backs in aversion.”10
Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) said that when the Messenger of Allah (S) used to recite, “In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful”, they used to run away showing their backs. In another reliable tradition, it is narrated from the same Imam that the idolaters proposed to the Prophet that one year he should worship their gods and the next year they would worship Allah. So the Almighty Allah revealed Surah Kafiroon and they despaired that the Holy Prophet (S) would ever be inclined to their gods.
Kulaini has through good chains of narrators, narrated from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) that one day the Prophet having arrayed himself in a new set of clothes, and being engaged in prayer in the place of devotion, the idolaters threw camel’s entrails on his back and defiled his garments.
He complained of this outrage to Abu Talib, who, inflamed with passion, seized his arms, mounted his camel, and attended by Hamza and the Prophet, went to the Masjid where he found the Quraish, who terrified at his wrathful countenance, did not venture to move. He then ordered Hamza to rub the bloody, filthy entrails on the infidels, which Hamza did.
When this satisfaction was taken, Abu Talib turned to the Prophet, saying, “Your rank among us demands such retaliation.” According to Ibn Shahr Ashob and Rawandi it is mentioned that on the directions of Abu Jahl, Aqba bin Abi Muit brought entrails of camel and put them on the Prophet’s back when he was praying.
The Holy Prophet (S) threw away the entrails from his back and protested: “My Lord, only You can rid me of Quraish, Abu Jahl, Shaibah and Umayyah.” Abbas says: “By Allah, whoever was named by the Prophet that day, was killed in Badr.” Thus when this blatant act of Aqba was reported to Hamza he was infuriated and he came to the mosque and found Abu Jahl there. He snatched his bow and hit with it on his head and he picked that cursed one and threw him on the ground.
People gathered and saved the cursed one from His Eminence, Hamza and said: “It seems that you have also professed the faith of Muhammad.” “Yes,” he replied in anger and repeated the dual formula of faith. Then he came to the Prophet who recited verses of Qur’an to prove his veracity. Hamza repeated the formula again and became strongly attached to the religion of Islam. Abu Talib was highly pleased and recited some couplets in praise of His Eminence, Hamza.
Ayyashi has narrated through authentic chains of narrators from Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) and Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) that the Messenger of Allah (S) suffered much harassment from his people. One day while he was prostrating, the idolaters threw sheep entrails on him. Lady Fatima arrived when the Prophet was in prostration, and she cleaned the filth from him.
At last, what the Prophet wished was fulfilled by the Almighty Allah. In the Battle of Badr, the Messenger of Allah (S) did not even have a single horse to ride, but on the day of the conquest of Mecca he was surrounded by 12000 mounted men and Abu Sufyan and other idolaters were praying for his forgiveness.
After the passing away of the Messenger of Allah (S), Amirul Momineen (a.s.) had to bear the tortures at the hands of the hypocrites because he had no support among the people. Hamza was martyred in Uhud and Ja’far in the Battle of Mutah.
Shaykh Tabarsi etc. have narrated that once the Messenger of Allah (S) was seated in front of the Kaaba when a man complained to him of the injury he had received from the Quraish, and asked him if he would not pray for their deliverance.
The Prophet was shocked and he said, “Of those who were believers in former times, some were raked to pieces with iron combs, and others sawn asunder, yet they patiently endured, and did not forsake their religion. Do you then endure patiently, for verily, God will so completely establish this faith that a single horseman who believes, may go alone from Mount Safa to Hadhramaut, and fear nothing but God.”
Kulaini has narrated through authentic chains of narrators from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) that the Messenger of Allah (S) said: “The Almighty Allah has ordered me to be cheerful and nice to the people and to pray the obligatory prayer. And he said in another reliable tradition that Jibraeel came to the Prophet and said that the merciful and kind Lord has sent greetings to him and told him to be kind and affectionate to the people.
Through trustworthy chains of narrators, it is narrated from Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) and Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) that when people falsified the Messenger of Allah (S), the Almighty Allah wanted to destroy all the people of the world except Amirul Momineen (a.s.). He revealed the following verse:
فَتَوَلَّ عَنْهُمْ فَمَا أَنتَ بِمَلُومٍ
“Then turn your back upon them for you are not to blame.”11
After that the Almighty Allah had mercy on the believers and addressed the Prophet as follows:
وَذَكِّرْ فَإِنَّ الذِّكْرَى تَنفَعُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ
“And continue to remind, for surely the reminder profits the believers.”12
It is mentioned in reliable tradition from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) that the Almighty Allah commanded the Messenger of Allah (S) to express Islam but when the Prophet considered the paucity of Muslims and excess of idolaters, he became much aggrieved. The Almighty Allah sent Jibraeel with a leaf of Sidratul Muntaha and said that the Prophet should wash his head with it. The Messenger of Allah (S) fulfilled the directions and his grief was dispelled.
Ali bin Ibrahim has narrated that the Messenger of Allah (S) said: “The Almighty Allah has sent me to eliminate all the kings of falsehood and to reserve rulership and kingdom for you, O Muslims.” Abu Jahl said due to his jealousy and enmity of the Prophet: “O God, if Muhammad is right, rain upon us stones or send a painful chastisement.”
Then he said: “We and Bani Hashim were like two horses who galloped together and were equal to each other. Now we cannot bear to see him claiming prophethood and that there should be a prophet among them and none in Bani Makhzum. Then he prayed for divine forgiveness. The Almighty Allah revealed the following verse:
وَمَا كَانَ اللَّهُ لِيُعَذِّبَهُمْ وَأَنْتَ فِيهِمْ ۚ وَمَا كَانَ اللَّهُ مُعَذِّبَهُمْ وَهُمْ يَسْتَغْفِرُونَ.
“But Allah was not going to chastise them while you were among them, nor is Allah going to chastise them while yet they ask for forgiveness.”13
When they began to harass the Prophet and forced him to leave Mecca, the following verse was revealed:
وَمَا لَهُمْ أَلَّا يُعَذِّبَهُمُ اللَّهُ وَهُمْ يَصُدُّونَ عَنِ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ وَمَا كَانُوا أَوْلِيَاءَهُ ۚ إِنْ أَوْلِيَاؤُهُ إِلَّا الْمُتَّقُونَ
“And what (excuse) have they that Allah should not chastise them while they hinder (men) from the Sacred Mosque and they are not (fit to be) guardians of it; its guardians are only those who guard (against evil)…”14
And they are the Messenger of Allah (S) and his companions. At last, the Almighty Allah sent chastisement on them in the Battle of Badr and they were killed.
Ibn Shahr Ashob has narrated from Kathir bin Aamir that one day a rider came to Mecca from the direction of Abtah, followed by 17 camels loaded with silken garments. One each camel rode a black slave and he was inquiring about the Prophet. When people asked him what he wanted from the Prophet, he said: “My father had willed that I should hand over these camels and slaves to him.”
Abul Bakhtar signaled to Abu Jahl and said: “That is the one you are looking for.” He came to Abu Jahl and could not find the signs he had been told about and he said: “You are not the one.” And he began to roam about in Mecca till he reached the Prophet and identified him by those signs. He kissed the hands and feet of the Prophet and the Messenger asked: “Are you Naji bin Manzar?”
“Yes, O Messenger of Allah (S),” he replied. He asked, “Where are those 17 camels on each of which rides a black slave dressed in silk and gold?” Then His Eminence mentioned each of their names. He said, “Yes, O Messenger of Allah (S), they are at your service.” The Prophet said: “Hand over the goods to me, I am Muhammad.”
When he handed over the camels and goods to the Prophet, Abu Jahl screamed, “O, Aale Ghalib, if you don’t help me against Muhammad, I will stab myself to death.” All this wealth belongs to the Kaaba and Muhammad wants all of it to be under his discretion.” Then he mounted and drawing out the sword roamed the streets of Mecca till he had mobilized thousands.
When Bani Hashim learnt about this, Abu Talib called all the descendants of Abdul Muttalib and gathered around the Prophet. Then he went to them and asked what they wanted from Muhammad. Abu Jahl said: “Your nephew had been very dishonest with us and when people brought some gifts for the Kaaba that boy (Muhammad) deceived them and admitted them in his religion and took all the gifts they had brought for the Kaaba.”
Abu Talib said, “Wait, I will go and ask Muhammad, what the matter is.” Then he came to the Prophet and told me to give all the goods to Abu Jahl but he said: “I will not give him anything from it.” Abu Talib suggested, “You keep ten camels and give him the rest.” But the Holy Prophet (S) refused saying, “I will take these gifts with camels to him and we will ask the camels to adjudicate between us.”
Abu Talib came to Abu Jahl and informed him about his decision and remarked that Muhammad has done justice to you and he has said that you all should gather tomorrow at sunrise in the mosque and the camels will be brought with all the goods and asked to judge the matter.
They returned home and the next day, the accursed Abu Jahl came to the Kaaba, paid obeisance to Hubal and mentioned everything asking Hubal to make the camels speak up in his favor so that Muhammad may not get a chance to be victorious over them, as he (Abu Jahl) is worshipping Hubal for forty years and so far has not asked for anything from it.
“If you fulfill my wishes today, I will get a robe of white pearls for you. And gold bangles for both of your hands and silver sticks. And crown of gems.” Meanwhile the Holy Prophet (S) also arrived and the camels were brought along with their load. Abu Jahl was asked to question the camels. He tried in every way but there was no response from the camels.
After that His Eminence asked the camels and they began to speak up with the command of Allah; they testified to his prophethood and said that all these goods belong to the Prophet. The Messenger of Allah (S) again told Abu Jahl to question the camels, but yet there was no response from them. Again the Prophet asked them and again they testified and this went on for seven times. At last the Prophet took the goods and camels in his custody and Abu Jahl was badly humiliated.
It is mentioned in some books that when the Almighty Allah ordered the Messenger of Allah (S) to openly invite the Quraish to Islam, the Holy Prophet (S) proclaimed his mission at a time when pilgrims were assembled at Mecca, stood for the purpose on Mount Safa, and cried with a loud voice, “O people, I am the Messenger of the Lord of the universe.” The people looked at him in wonder, but were silent.
He then ascended Marwah, and three times repeated the same announcement. The accursed Abu Jahl on hearing this hurled a stone at him, which wounded his luminous forehead. The rest of the idolaters then picked up stones and pursued him. He ascended Mount Abu Qubais, and reclined in a spot which is now called Muttaka (the reclining place), the infidels meanwhile seeking him in all directions.
A person went and told Ali that the Prophet was slain, upon which he ran weeping to Khadija, saying, “It is reported that the idolaters have stoned the Prophet, and it is certain he is nowhere to be found. Give me water, and do you take food, and let us make haste to find and offer him refreshment.” Imam Ali (a.s.) told her to go by the valley and that he was going to ascend the mountains, he wept and cried, “O Prophet, O Messenger of Allah (S), may my life be your sacrifice! In what valley are you hungry and thirsty and have not taken me with you?”
Khadija cried, “Show me the way to the chosen Prophet, the vernal beauty, the sufferer for God’s sake.” In this state of things, Jibraeel descended to the Prophet, who wept at meeting the angel, and said, “See what my people have done to me; they have charged me with falsehood, and wounded me with stones of oppression.” “Give me your hand,” said Jibraeel, and he seated the Prophet on the mountain top.
He had brought under his wing a carpet of Paradise which was woven of pearls and rubies; this he spread in the air, and it covered all the mountains of Mecca, and again taking the hand of the Prophet seated him on it, and said to him, “Do you wish to know in what estimation you are held by the Almighty Allah?” He replied in the affirmative. “Then call that tree to you,” said Jibraeel.
Immediately it obeyed the summons and made a prostration before the Prophet, and on his ordering it to return, it promptly obeyed. The angel Ismail, regent of the first heaven, now descended, and saluting the Prophet said, “My Lord has commanded me to obey you implicitly in everything. If you order, I will pour the stars upon your enemies and burn them.
The angel of the sun appeared and offered to consume the Prophet’s enemies by bringing the sun upon their heads; the angel of the earth proposed to have them swallowed up by the opening ground; the angel of the mountains wished to hurl all the mountains on them; the angel of the ocean asked permission to drown them beneath the might of the sea.
Having first demanded of these angels if they were all commanded to aid him, and receiving an affirmative answer, he raised his blessed face toward heaven and said, “O my Lord, I am not sent to dispense chastisement, but am enjoined to be the mercy of the universe. Leave me to my people, for they are ignorant, and this is the reason of their treating me thus.”
Jibraeel observed Khadija weeping in her search for the Prophet through the valley, pointed her out to him saying, “The angels of the heavens also weep with her. Call her to you, give her my salutation, and tell her she has a house in Paradise built of pearl and adorned with gold, where there is no sound creating fear.” He called Ali and Khadija, blood continuing to drop from his forehead, but he did not permit it to fall on the earth, lest the Almighty Allah should take vengeance on all its inhabitants.
At night Ali and Khadija brought the Prophet back to his house, and placed a large flat stone over the place where he sat, to protect him from stones descending in that quarter, while before him stood Ali and Khadija, shielding him with their own bodies, for the idolaters having heard of his return, came and assaulted the house with missiles.
At length Khadija exclaimed, “Are you not ashamed, you Quraish, to be hurling stones at the house of a woman who is of the highest rank among you? If you do not fear God, yet for honor’s sake desist.” At this rebuke the idolaters went away. The next day the Prophet went to the Masjid to perform his devotions, and the Almighty Allah inspired his enemies with such fear that they did not harass him anymore.
It is recorded that in the fifth year of his prophetical office, Sumayyah, the mother of Ammar bin Yasir, was martyred. She was of those who were tortured by the idolaters to compel them to forsake Islam. Abu Jahl the accursed, passed by her and thrust a spear into her heart.
With regard to Meraj or Ascension, the reader should know that it is related in the Qur’an, and in the most authentic and continuous traditions. At night, the Prophet was carried from sacred Mecca to the Masjid at Jerusalem and thence was transported through the heavens to Sidratul Muntaha, and to the high empyrean.
The wonders of heaven were shown him, secret mysteries and boundless knowledge was imparted to him, and in Baitul Mamoor, and at the throne of the divine empyrean, he worshipped the Almighty Allah and met the spirits of the Prophet. He entered Paradise and surveyed its abodes. Both Shia and Sunni traditions declare that the ascension was physical (bodily), and not merely in (bodiless) spirit; in the state of wakefulness, not of sleep.
Regarding this, there was no disagreement among the ancient Shia scholars. Thus Ibn Babawayh and Shaykh Tabarsi (r.a.) etc. have clarified the doubts which some have entertained whether the ascension was bodily, or only in the spirit, have arisen from want of examining the subject, or from disbelief of its divine attestations, and listening to people who are without faith themselves.
For how can one who possesses faith in the declarations of Allah and His Prophet, and in the Imams of the truth, the verses of the Qur’an, and thousands of traditions which relate in various ways and the clearest manner to a bodily ascension, deny or explain away the whole? In almost every book of Shia and Sunni traditions there is allusion to ascension, and were I to collect all that is said on this subject, the mass would make a volume like this volume.
I shall merely give some specimens of the whole. So that religious-minded friends may gain knowledge about them. We should know that is agreed by Shias and Sunnis that the ascension was before the Hijrat, or flight from Mecca. It is probable that the ascension was afterwards repeated. But that which occurred before the Hijrat, according to some authorities, happened on Friday night, the seventeenth of the blessed month of Ramadan, or on Saturday the twenty-first of this month, and six months before the Hijrat, Some say it was in the month of Rabiul Awwal, two years after the Prophet’s assumption of the prophetical office.
Others maintain that the ascension occurred on the twenty-seventh of the month of Rajab, in the second year of Hijrat. There are differences respecting the place whence the ascension was performed: some say it was from the house of Ali’s sister, Umm Hani, some from the defile of Abu Talib, and others from the Holy mosque of Kaaba.
It is not agreed whether the ascension was repeated, but respectable traditions will be adduced to show that it was repeated many times, and all the disagreement about the ascension may have arisen from this reason: that one account relates to one ascension and another statement to certain other ascension.
Of the verses relating to the Meraj, this is the following:
سُبْحَانَ الَّذِي أَسْرٰى بِعَبْدِهِ لَيْلًا مِنَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ إِلَى الْمَسْجِدِ الْأَقْصَى الَّذِي بَارَكْنَا حَوْلَهُ لِنُرِيَهُ مِنْ آيَاتِنَا ۚ إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْبَصِيرُ
“Glory be to Him Who made His servant to go on a night from the Sacred Mosque to the remote mosque of which We have blessed the precincts, so that We may show to him some of Our signs; surely He is the Hearing, the Seeing.”15
Some maintain that the phrase, ‘sacred Masjid’ refers to the city of Mecca, as the whole city is a place for prayer and is held sacred; and that the remote Masjid means the one famous in Shaam. But from many respectable traditions, it appears that the remote Masjid is one in the fourth heaven, and the most remote of all the Masjids. Ali bin Ibrahim has narrated through authentic chains of narrators from Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) that he was once asked by a man what people said about this verse.
He replied, “They say the Prophet went from the Kaaba to Baitul Maqdas, that is not the meaning,” said the Imam, “but the Prophet went from the mosque on earth to the Baitul Mamoor, which stands perpendicularly over the Kaaba. And the whole space between it and the Kaaba is a holy protected sanctuary.
And Ayyashi has narrated from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) that he was also asked which were the most sacred and honorable Masjids, to which he replied, “The remote Masjid mentioned by Allah is in the heavens and the Kufa Masjid is better than the one in Shaam.16
In another instance the Almighty Allah says:
وَالنَّجْمِ إِذَا هَوٰى
“I swear by the star when it goes down.”17
It is narrated from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) that ‘Najm’ denotes the Messenger of Allah (S) and the above statement means:
“By the star when he went for Meraj or came down from it.”
مَا ضَلَّ صَاحِبُكُمْ وَمَا غَوٰى
“Your companion does not err, nor does he go astray…”18
It is mentioned in many traditional reports that it implies that Muhammad (S) has not erred about the Caliphate of Ali (a.s.) and neither does he lie about it. Whatever you mentioned in his excellence is:
وَمَا يَنْطِقُ عَنِ الْهَوٰى. إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا وَحْيٌ يُوحٰى
“Nor does he speak out of desire. It is naught but revelation that is revealed…”19
عَلَّمَهُ شَدِيدُ الْقُوٰى
“The Lord of Mighty Power has taught him…”20
That is Jibraeel has told him about it.
ذُو مِرَّةٍ فَاسْتَوٰى
“The Lord of Strength; so he attained completion…”21
That is, he stood for two nights in the form created by the Almighty Allah with absolute greatness and majesty.
وَهُوَ بِالْأُفُقِ الْأَعْلَى
“And he is in the highest part of the horizon.”22
…when the Messenger of Allah (S) saw him in his form.
ثُمَّ دَنَا فَتَدَلَّى فَكَانَ قَابَ قَوْسَيْنِ أَوْ أَدْنٰى
“Then he drew near, then he bowed. So he was the measure of two bows or closer still.”23
Then he came close to the Prophet to tell him the divine secret. Thus there was less than a distance of two bows between them. Some say that Muhammad (S) reached the ideal point of proximity of the Almighty Allah, a position higher than which is not possible.
At that time, the Merciful and the Beneficent Lord, made him close to His blessings and gifts as if two persons are very close to each other. It is narrated through authentic chains from Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) that the Holy Prophet (S) reached to the spot from where divine revelations descend and at that place, the ears of the Prophet were less then a bow length from it.
فَأَوْحَى إِلَى عَبْدِهِ مَا أَوْحٰى
“And He revealed to His servant what He revealed.”24
It is mentioned in many reliable traditions that the Almighty Allah revealed about the Imamate, exalted status and glory of Amirul Momineen (a.s.).
مَا كَذَبَ الْفُؤَادُ مَا رَأٰى
“The heart was not untrue in (making him see) what he saw.”25
Thus whatever extraordinary things that the Prophet witnessed were not denied by his heart. He accepted everything with the radiance of certainty.
أَفَتُمَارُونَهُ عَلَى مَا يَرٰى
“What! do you then dispute with him as to what he saw?”26
O people, do you doubt about that which Muhammad (S) saw on the night of Meraj?
وَلَقَدْ رَآهُ نَزْلَةً أُخْرٰى. عِنْدَ سِدْرَةِ الْمُنْتَهٰى.
“And certainly he saw him in another descent, at the farthest lote-tree…”27
Then the Messenger of Allah (S) saw Jibraeel in his true form near the Sidratul Muntaha. That tree is located at the seventh heaven which is the last point of the flight of the angels and the deeds of human beings.
عِندَهَا جَنَّةُ الْمَأْوٰى
“Near which is the garden, the place to be resorted to.”28
And near is the Paradise that is the abode of the pious.
إِذْ يَغْشَى السِّدْرَةَ مَا يَغْشٰى
“When that which covers covered the lote-tree…”29
At the time, it had covered the Sidra, that which had covered it, that is it was covered by the angels and spirits and the majesty of the Lord of the worlds.
It is narrated that an angel stood at each leaf of the Sidratul Muntaha praising the Lord.
مَا زَاغَ الْبَصَرُ وَمَا طَغٰى
“The eye did not turn aside, nor did it exceed the limit.”30
That is the eyes of the Prophet did not see to the right and left, they were only focused on what was to be seen. That is the Messenger of Allah (S) was standing with utmost respect to the Almighty Allah and was not attentive to anything except the Almighty Allah. He heard whatever he was told with absolute concentration and saw what he was shown without doubting anything.
لَقَدْ رَأَى مِنْ آيَاتِ رَبِّهِ الْكُبْرٰى
“Certainly he saw of the greatest signs of his Lord.”31
The Almighty Allah has mentioned that the Messenger of Allah (S) saw the great signs of His Lord to protect from misunderstanding those who think that the Messenger of Allah (S) saw the Almighty Allah Himself and that people should know that God cannot be seen through the physical eyes as the Holy Prophet (S) himself says: “That night I saw the Almighty Allah with the eyes of my heart.” It is mentioned that of all those signs was that the Messenger of Allah (S) saw Jibraeel in his true form and his six hundred wings had surrounded the whole sky.32
Ibn Babawayh has through authentic traditions narrated from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) that he declares: “He is not a true Shia who denies one of these four doctrines: the Prophet’s ascension to heaven; angels questioning the dead in the grave; the existence of Paradise and Hell; and the intercession of the Prophet at the judgment.”
It is narrated from Imam Ali Reza (a.s.) that one who does not have faith in Meraj, has denied the Messenger of Allah (S). In another trustworthy traditions it is mentioned that the true Shia is one who believes in: The Meraj of the Prophet, Intercession, Hauze Kauthar, angels questioning the dead in the grave; the existence of Paradise and Hell; Sirat Bridge and Mizan (balance of deeds), accounting, Judgment Day and resurrection.
Ibn Babawayh and Saffar etc. have narrated through authentic chains of narrators from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) that he said: The Almighty Allah transported the Prophet to heaven a hundred and twenty times. And each time he emphasized Wilayat and Imamate of Amirul Momineen (a.s.) and regarding all the purified Imams more than He emphasized on other religious commands.
Ali bin Ibrahim has narrated through good chains of narrators from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) that on the night of ascension, Jibraeel, Mikaeel and Israfeel brought the creature, Burraq for the Prophet. One held the bridle, another the stirrup, and the third arranged the clothes of the Prophet as he mounted.
Burraq being silent, Jibraeel gave him a blow asking it why it was silent, for he was never mounted by a more worthy rider. As Burraq flew on his way, Jibraeel showed the Prophet the wonders of earth and the heavens. The Messenger of Allah (S) says: As we proceeded, a voice came on my right, which I disregarded. Then I heard another voice on my left, but to this I paid no attention.
Next I saw a woman before me with bare arms and adorned with all the ornaments of the world: she cried, “Look at me O Muhammad, and let me speak to you,” but I paid no notice to her and was proceeding, when suddenly such a frightful noise assailed my ears as filled me with terror. Jibraeel now directed me to alight and perform prayers, saying, “this is the sacred place, Medina, to which you will flee.” Having mounted and gone some distance he again directed me to alight and pray, observing, “This is mount Sina where the Almighty Allah spoke with Musa.”
After mounting and proceeding a little, he again told me to alight and pray, saying “This is Bait-e-Najam (Bethlehem), where Isa was born.” He then took me to Baitul Maqdas and bound Burraq with a chain to which the ancient prophets tied their animals, and I entered the Masjid with Jibraeel on my right. There I saw Ibrahim, Musa and Isa, with a multitude of prophets who were assembled on my account.
Jibraeel pronounced the Azan, stationed me in advance of the rest, and all the prophets in a rank performed prayers behind me. The treasurer of Baitul Maqdas brought me three vessels: one of milk, one of wine and one of water. I heard a voice say, “If he takes the water, he and his community will be drowned; if he takes the wine, they will wander from the right way; but if he takes the milk, he and his community will find religious direction.”
I took the bowl of milk and drank it. “You have found guidance,” said Jibraeel, “and your community also.” “But what did you notice on the way?” he inquired. On telling him he remarked that the voice I heard on my right was of a seducing Jew, whom if I had answered, my community would have become Jews.
The voice on my left was a Christian lure, a reply to which would have made my community Christians and the woman that strove in vain to fascinate me, was the world: if I had spoken to her, my community would have preferred this world to the future. Jibraeel said moreover, that the terrific noise I heard was the sound of a rock I hurled from the verge of Hell, seventy years before, and which struck the bottom of the abyss that night. After this dreadful indication of the depth of future woe, the Prophet never laughed.
“Jibraeel now conducted me,” said the Prophet, “to the first heaven. There I saw Ismail, the angelic regent of that place, and lord of the meteors with which every Satan is repelled from the celestial mansions as the Almighty Allah says:
إِلَّا مَنْ خَطِفَ الْخَطْفَةَ فَأَتْبَعَهُ شِهَابٌ ثَاقِبٌ.
“Except him who snatches off but once, then there follows him a brightly shining flame.”33
Under the orders of Ismail are seventy thousand angelic officers, each of whom commands a division of seventy thousand angels. “Who is this with you?” asked Ismail to Jibraeel. “The Prophet,” replied my conductor. “Has he appeared?” “Yes,” said my guide. Ismail then opened the gate of heaven, and we exchanged salutations, and mutually implored divine blessings on each other, and he said, “Hail and welcome! my worthy brother, and worthy Prophet.”
The angels advanced to meet me, and all that saw me laughed for joy. And I entered the first heaven. At length I met an angel more gigantic than I had ever seen before, with an ugly look and signs of wrath in his countenance. He like the rest prayed for my benediction, but did not smile like them. I inquired of Jibraeel who he was, for I was afraid of him. “You have cause to fear him,” replied my conductor “we all stand in awe of him.
He is the overseer of Hell, and has never smiled since the omnipotent Lord made him ruler of that dreadful world. His wrath against the enemies of God, and against sinners violating the divine law, is continually increasing; and by him Allah will take vengeance on them. If he has smiled on any one it had been on you, but he never smiles.” However I exchanged salutations with him and he congratulated me about Paradise.
As Jibraeel was the ruler of the angels, I asked him if he would not command this angel, Malik, to show me Hell. Accordingly he removed a curtain and opened a door of Hell, when suddenly a flame blazed forth which I feared would envelop me, and I asked Jibraeel to order him to quell the flame and shut the door. Malik ordered it to return to Hell and it obeyed his command.
Passing from there, I saw a very large man, of a wheaten complexion, and inquiring who he was, Jibraeel said, “This is your father, Adam.” Suddenly I saw this his sons were brought to him. They used to say that they are nice flowers and they are fragrant breeze that has ensued from a better body. His Eminence, recited the following verse:
كَلَّا إِنَّ كِتَابَ الْأَبْرَارِ لَفِي عِلِّيِّينَ.
“Nay! Most surely the record of the righteous shall be in the Iliyin.”34
We exchanged salutations and implored blessings on each other, and he bade me hail and welcome, as a worthy son and Prophet sent in a worthy time. Proceeding on, I came to an angel seated in a company of angels. He held the world between his knees, and a tablet of light in his hand. Something was written on the tablet, on which he looked with steady gaze of a melancholy man.
On inquiring who he was, Jibraeel said, “This is the angel of death; he is incessantly occupied in taking away life.” After being introduced by my conductor as the Prophet of mercy, I exchanged salutations with him, and he bade me hail and welcome, saying that my community was good. I replied by expressing thanks to Allah.
Jibraeel now remarked, “This angel’s work is greater and more severe than that of any other angel.” I inquired if he alone took away the spirit of all. “Yes,” said Jibraeel. I then asked the angel of death if he saw and approached every individual. “Yes,” he replied, the world over which Allah has given me an office is no more in my hand than a dirham.
There is not a house whose inmates I do not observe one by one five times a day. When relatives weep the departure of a friend, I say to them, weep not for him, for I must visit you again and again till none of you are left. I remarked, “Death is enough to cause grief and overwhelming sorrow.” “That which follows death, added Jibraeel, is far more dreadful than dying.”
Passing from there, I came to a company seated at tables laden with the daintiest viands, and with the most putrid flesh, which they devoured without tasting that which was delicious. “Who are these?” I inquired. “They are those of your community,” said Jibraeel, “that eat forbidden things in preference to that which is lawful.”
Next I saw an angel whom Allah had created of immense size. Half his body was fire, and half was snow: the fire did not melt the snow, nor the snow quench fire. He cried with a loud voice, “I ascribe holiness to the Lord, who preserves the entire conflicting elements of my being: O Lord, who has united snow to fire, impart unity to the hearts of those that believe in You.”
On inquiring who he has, Jibraeel said, “This is the most benevolent angel of Allah towards true believers, and from the day of his creation till now he has uttered this prayer for the objects of his good will.” I saw two other angels, one of whom cried, “O Lord, whoever gives in your cause, do you reward him;” and the other cried, “O Lord, whoever is misery and gives not in your cause, do You destroy his property.”
Proceeding from there, I saw several companies that had lips like a camel; and angels cut the flesh off their sides with scissors and threw it in their mouths, forcing them to eat it. At my inquiry, Jibraeel said, “These derided believers, and sought out their faults.” Next I saw a party beating their heads with stones. “These,” said my conductor, “went to sleep without performing the prayers.”
Next I saw a company into whose mouths angels were pouring fire, which passed the natural way through their bodies. They had unrighteously devoured the property of orphans, and it is declared in the Qur’an:
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَأْكُلُونَ أَمْوَالَ الْيَتَامَىٰ ظُلْمًا إِنَّمَا يَأْكُلُونَ فِي بُطُونِهِمْ نَارًا ۖ وَسَيَصْلَوْنَ سَعِيرًا.
“(As for) those who swallow the property of the orphans unjustly, surely they only swallow fire into their bellies and they shall enter burning fire.”35
Then I passed a crowd of people who could not rise on account of their huge stomachs. These were usurers, that in the Qur’an are compared to the people of Firon, dreading the wrath to come: “They shall be exposed to the fire of Hell morning and evening; and the day whereon the hour of judgment shall come, it shall be said unto them, Enter, O people of Firon, into a most severe torment.”
Passing from there, I saw a party of women suspended by their breasts. These had committed adultery, and attributed their illicit offspring upon their husbands, and secured them an inheritance in their husbands’ property. At this the Prophet remarked, “Terrible is the wrath of Allah against the woman guilty of such crimes.”
I then beheld a number of angels, whom the Lord of the universe had formed as it had pleased Him, and placed their faces in whatever position He chose. All their members uttered praises to the Almighty Allah, in all manner of voices, and they wept through fear of God. Said Jibraeel, “These were created in the form you see, and since their creation they have not spoken to each other, nor raised their heads, nor looked under their feet, such is their awe, humility and fear of the Holy and Divine.”
They returned my salutation only by a sign. Jibraeel then informed them that I was Muhammad, the Prophet of mercy, the last and best of the prophets, and inquired if they would not speak to me. They then saluted and honored me, and congratulated me on the goodness bestowed on me and my community.
Jibraeel now conducted me to the second heaven, where I saw two persons much resembling each other. “Who are these?” I inquired, Jibraeel replied, “They are two cousins, Yahya and Isa.” We exchanged salutations and mutually implored blessings on each other, and they bade me hail and welcome, worthy brother and Prophet! In this heaven I saw angels inspired with awe, whose faces were turned in the direction God had commanded, and they looked to no other quarter.
In various voices they uttered praise and ascribed holiness to the Almighty Allah. I now ascended the third heaven, and saw there a man exceeding all others in beauty as much as the full moon excels the stars. Jibraeel said to me, “This is your brother, Yusuf.” We saluted each other, mutually invoking blessings.
Here again I saw angels filled with awe, like those I had seen in the heaven below. And Jibraeel told them the same thing about me that he had said to the angels on the lower heaven and they also replied in the same way. On ascending the fourth heaven, I met a man who, Jibraeel informed me, was Idris whom God transported on high, according to a declaration in the Qur’an:
وَرَفَعْنَاهُ مَكَانًا عَلِيًّا
“And We raised him high in Heaven.”36
We saluted each other, mutually imploring blessings. Here too were angels inspired with awe, who pronounced congratulations on me and my community. In this heaven, I saw an archangel seated on a throne, under whose orders were seventy thousand angelic officers, each commanding a company of seventy thousand angels. I thought there was no angel greater than this. Presently Jibraeel bade him rise, which he did, and he will remain standing till Judgment Day.
Ascending the fifth heaven, I saw an old man with large eyes, greater than whom I had not seen. I marveled at the multitude of his community that were around him. “This,” said Jibraeel, “is the Prophet whose community loved him – Danial. Then I saw another person and asked who he was. I was told that he was Harun, the son of Imran.
I saluted him also. Here, likewise were angels of awe. Proceeding up to the sixth heaven, I saw a tall man of wheaten complexion and very long hair. I heard him say, “the Bani Israel think me the dearest with the Almighty Allah, but this man, - meaning myself, - is dearer than I am.” Being informed he was Musa, the son of Imran, we exchanged salutations and the imploring of blessings.
In this heaven also were angels of awe. When I ascended the seventh heaven and every angel I passed said to me, “Practice cupping (blood letting), and command your community to do the same.” Presently I saw a man whose hair and beard were white, and he was seated on a throne. I inquired, who is this in the seventh heaven, in the neighborhood of the divine presence, at the door of Baitul Mamoor? “This” replied Jibraeel, is your father, “Ibrahim, and this is the region for the pure of your community.” In relating this, the Prophet here recited the verse:
إِنَّ أَوْلَى النَّاسِ بِإِبْرَاهِيمَ لَلَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُوهُ وَهٰذَا النَّبِيُّ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا ۗ وَاللَّهُ وَلِيُّ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ.
“Most surely the nearest of people to Ibrahim are those who followed him and this Prophet and those who believe and Allah is the guardian of the believers.”37
We exchanged salutations, and he hailed me a worthy son and Prophet. There I saw angels of awe, as in the other havens, who pronounced congratulations upon me and my community. In the seventh heaven, I saw seas of glittering light whose effulgence dazzled the eyes; I also saw seas of darkness, and seas of snow.
When overcome by fear at the sight of these sublime wonders, Jibraeel bade me rejoice and render thanks to Allah, Who held me so dear as to confer on me such favors. The Almighty Allah then imparted to me power to survey those wonders, and understand those mysteries. While lost in admiration, Jibraeel said to me, “Are these things wonderful in your eyes? the greatness of your Lord, beyond compare, exceeds all you behold.
Verily, between the Almighty Allah and His intelligent creation are ninety thousand curtains, or material divisions, which separate Him from the place whence divine communications proceed. Myself and Israfeel enjoy the nearest approach, and between us are four divisions, one of light, another of darkness, the third of cloud, and the fourth of water.”
Among the number of divine wonders that met my eyes was a cock that stood on the foundation of the seventh or lowest earth, and his head reached the empyrean. He had two wings, which when expanded, outstretched the limits of the east and west, and his note of praise was “Holy is my lord, ineffably exalted.” Every morning this cock expands and beats his wings and calls aloud in praise, proclaiming, “Holy is the King of Holiness; holy is the Lord of greatness and bounty; there is no God but the Living and Eternal.”
When this morning call resounds, all the cocks on earth clap their wings and utter praises to the Almighty Allah; and when their angelic leader is silent, they become quiet. The wings of that empyrean cock are white, the feathers under his wings are green, and the beautiful effect of these colors is indescribable.
Attended by Jibraeel, I now entered Baitul Mamoor, and performed two rakats of prayer. There I beheld a company of my followers clothed in white garments, and a crowd clothed in old soiled garments. Those beautifully arrayed were admitted into the mosque, but the others were inhibited. On coming out, I saw two rivers, one called Kauthar, and the other named the river of mercy.
I drank from the water of Kauthar and bathed in the stream of mercy. The road to Paradise led me along these rivers, on whose banks I saw palaces for myself and family, and for my pure women. The soil of Paradise is musk. Seeing a girl swimming in the rivers of Paradise, I inquired who she was. She replied, “I am the daughter of Zaid bin Haritha.” On returning to earth, I congratulated Zaid on his future bliss with that celestial nymph.
In that happy region, I beheld birds equaling in size the largest camel, whose beaks were as large as a great bucket. I saw a tree in Paradise so immense that a bird could not fly around its trunk in seven hundred years, and its branches extended to every house in that blissful abode. “What tree is this?” I inquired. Jibraeel replied, “This is Tuba, concerning which Allah has said:
طُوبٰى لَهُمْ وَحُسْنُ مَآبٍ
“Tuba shall be theirs and a goodly return.”38
The Messenger of Allah (S) says: After entering Paradise, my fear was dispelled and I inquired of Jibraeel what those seas were I had seen in the seventh heaven. He replied, “They are curtains stopping the light of the empyrean or it would burn everything under it.” I passed on to Sidratul Muntaha, every leaf of which could shade a great community. From this point, I advanced within a bow’s length, or nearer:
قَابَ قَوْسَيْنِ أَوْ أَدْنٰى
“So he was the measure of two bows or closer still.”39
…the divine presence of my Lord, Who addressed me, saying:
آمَنَ الرَّسُولُ بِمَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَيْهِ مِنْ رَبِّهٖ
“The apostle believed what was sent him from his Lord.” 40
وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ ۚ كُلٌّ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَمَلَائِكَتِهِ وَكُتُبِهِ وَرُسُلِهِ لَا نُفَرِّقُ بَيْنَ أَحَدٍ مِنْ رُسُلِهٖ
“…and (so do) the believers; they all believe in Allah and His angels and His books and His apostles; We make no difference between any of His apostles…”41
I then added:
وَقَالُوا سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا ۖ غُفْرَانَكَ رَبَّنَا وَإِلَيْكَ الْمَصِيرُ.
“and they say: We hear and obey, our Lord! Thy forgiveness (do we crave), and to Thee is the eventual course.”
The Almighty Allah said:
“Allah does not impose upon any soul a duty but to the extent of its ability; for it is (the benefit of) what it has earned and upon it (the evil of) what it has wrought:”43
رَبَّنَا لَا تُؤَاخِذْنَا إِنْ نَسِينَا أَوْ أَخْطَأْنَا
“Our Lord! Do not punish us if we forget or make a mistake…”44
So the Almighty Allah said that He would not account us of mistakes. Then I said:
رَبَّنَا وَلَا تَحْمِلْ عَلَيْنَا إِصْرًا كَمَا حَمَلْتَهُ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِنَا
“Our Lord! do not lay on us a burden as You didst lay on those before us…”45
The Lord accepted that also. Then I said:
رَبَّنَا وَلَا تُحَمِّلْنَا مَا لَا طَاقَةَ لَنَا بِهِ ۖ وَاعْفُ عَنَّا وَاغْفِرْ لَنَا وَارْحَمْنَا ۚ أَنْتَ مَوْلَانَا فَانْصُرْنَا عَلَى الْقَوْمِ الْكَافِرِينَ.
“Our Lord do not impose upon us that which we have not the strength to bear; and pardon us and grant us protection and have mercy on us, You are our Patron, so help us against the unbelieving people.”46
The Almighty Allah replied, I grant all your requests on behalf of yourself and community. Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) says: The Almighty Allah did not honor and exalt any prophet as He honored the Messenger of Allah (S) and the Holy Prophet (S) said: O Lord, You didst impart peculiar excellencies to your prophets, therefore bestow such a favor on me.
The Almighty Allah answered: Of the things I grant you are these two expressions from my empyrean treasury, namely, ‘There is no power and strength except by Allah’, and ‘there no refuge for except Him’. The Messenger of Allah (S) says: The carriers of the divine empyrean taught me a supplication which I recite every morning and night and it is as follows:
“O Allah, my injustice is in the refuge of Your forgiveness. And my sin is in the refuge of Your clemency and my degradation is in the refuge of Your honor. And my poverty is in the refuge of Your needlessness. And my condition and lowliness is in the refuge of Your power which is eternal, having no end.”
His Eminence, said: I now heard an angel, who never before had been seen, proclaiming the Azan. After he had twice recited, Allah is the greatest! The Almighty Allah said: My faithful servant declares truly that I am greater than created minds can comprehend. When he said: I testify that there is no god but Allah, the Almighty Allah said: My servant speaks truth in the declaration, there is no Lord but Me.
When he had twice said: I testify that Muhammad is Messenger of Allah (S), the Almighty Allah added: True says my angel, Muhammad is My servant and messenger; I have sent him and chosen him. When the crier pronounced: Hasten to prayers, the Almighty Allah declared: True says My servant; he calls men to a religious duty, and whoever from earnest desire endeavors to be present and to please Me, this is an atonement for his sins.
When the angel cried: Hasten to prosperity, the omnipotent Lord said: Prayer is the means of worthiness and prosperity and salvation. I then performed prayers, standing in advance of the angels, who were arrayed behind me as the prophets had been at Baitul Maqdas. When prayers were finished, the effulgence of the love of Allah encompassed me and I fell in adoration.
The Almighty Allah called to me and said: I made fifty prayers daily obligatory on every community before you, and enjoin the same number on you and your followers. On my return through the heavens, Ibrahim and the other prophets made no inquiry of me concerning this matter, but when I came to Musa (a.s.), at his inquiry, I told him: The Almighty Allah had made fifty prayers obligatory on me and my community.
He replied: “The Lord has no need of your religious services; your community is the last and weakest of all, and unable to perform fifty prayers a day: return to your Lord, and implore Him to lighten the burden of your community.” Accordingly, I returned to Sidratul Muntaha, where I fell in adoration and said: O Lord, you have made fifty prayers obligatory on me and my community; the duty is hard for us to perform; for the sake of your own exaltation, lighten the burden.
The Almighty Allah then remitted ten prayers, but on meeting Musa (a.s.) again he sent me back to intercede that Allah would still farther diminish the number, when another ten were cancelled; but Musa (a.s.), not yet content, sent me back again, to beseech more abatement, and thus the number of obligatory prayers was at last reduced to five.
Musa not satisfied even now, told me to return and implore a still further discount, but I replied that I was ashamed to intercede for another discount, for we could well endure the burden of five daily prayers. Immediately a voice from the Almighty Allah announced: Since you are patient in the performance of five prayers, I will grant you the benefit of the whole fifty, and will accept one prayer as equivalent to ten.
Whoever of your community performs a good act, I will give him credit for ten, and if he purposes to do it, and fails, I will still write for him a single reward due to such an act. Whoever, on the other hand, resolves to commit a sin and does it not, I will record nothing against him; and if he is guilty of the act, I will only write against him the single sin itself. Regarding this, Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) adds: May Allah give Musa bin Imran (a.s.) a good reward for this interest in the Muslims in lightening their burdens.
Ibn Babawayh has narrated through authentic chains of narrators that Zaid, a son of Imam Zainul Abideen, asked his father why his illustrious ancestor, the Prophet, in his ascension did not himself beseech reduction of the fifty prayers enjoined on him by the Almighty Allah. The Imam replied that the Prophet thought it against courtesy to decline what Allah commanded, but when a prophet of Musa’s exalted rank advised him to return and request for a discount, one could not in civility refuse.
“But if Musa was not satisfied when the number of prayers was reduced to five; why did not the Prophet go back again and entreat for further discount?” “Because,” said the Imam, “while he wished to ease his community, he was anxious not to lessen their reward, desirous that they should still enjoy the benefit of fifty prayers, which benefit they would have lost had the prayers been reduced to a lesser number, for the Almighty Allah declares:
مَن جَاء بِالْحَسَنَةِ فَلَهٗ عَشْرُ أَمْثَالِهَا
“Whoever brings a good deed, he shall have ten like it…”47
Thus when the Messenger of Allah (S) returned to the earth, Jibraeel appeared and said: O Prophet, the Creator of the Universe greets you and says that these five prayers are like fifty. Neither I change My statements nor am unjust to the people.”
Through authentic chains of narrators, it is narrated that Abu Hamza asked Imam Zainul Abideen: “Can Allah be said to have a place, and has He a local residence?” The Imam replied, “Allah is too exalted and holy to be restricted to place.” “Why” then replied Abu Hamza, “did He transport His Prophet to heaven?” “To show him the wonders of the heavens,” answered the Imam, “and to unfold to his view the marvels of His works and the mysteries of His creation.” “What then,” continued the inquirer, “is the meaning of the passage which says:
ثُمَّ دَنَا فَتَدَلّٰى فَكَانَ قَابَ قَوْسَيْنِ أَوْ أَدْنٰى
“Then he drew near, then he bowed. So he was the measure of two bows or closer still.”48
“The Prophet,” said the Imam, “was thus near the curtains of divine light, whence he surveyed the kingdom of the heavens, and suspended over, looked down on earth, seeing the whole kingdom of this world so distinctly that he thought himself to be at a distance of less than the two ends of the bows or less.”
It is narrated through correct chains that Yunus asked Imam Musa Kazim (a.s.) why the Almighty Allah transported His Prophet to heaven, thence to Sidratul Muntaha, and thence to the curtains of light, and revealed mysteries to him, when He had no peculiar place, he replied, “The Lord of the universe has no local residence: to His presence all places are the same, and time has neither past or future.
But he willed, by the visit of the Prophet, to ennoble the angels and inhabitants of heaven by their beholding the incomparable perfection of that star of the constellation of glory, and to show him the wonders of His own divine greatness, some parts of which the Prophet might relate to men on his return to earth for the increase of their faith. The reason of his being borne to heaven was not that Allah is only present there, as the doubters say.
Ibn Babawayh and Ahmad bin Abi Talib Tabarsi have related through reliable chains from Imam Ali Reza (a.s.) and Ibn Abbas that the Prophet declared: Allah made Burraq obedient to me, which is better than the possession of the world. Burraq is an animal of Paradise, of medium height, with a human face, and hooves like horses, and a tail like an ox, and is in size larger than an ass, and smaller than a mule.
Its saddle is ruby, with stirrups of pearl, and he has seventy thousand gold bridles. Its pair of wings are set with jewels, and adorned with pearls, rubies, emeralds and various other precious gems. On its forehead is inscribed: There is no god but Allah, who has no associate, and Muhammad is Messenger of Allah (S). His color is the most beautiful of all animals, and if Allah permitted him, he would circuit this world and the next in one step.
Another tradition from Ibn Babawayh says that the Prophet declared: I shall be mounted on Burraq at Judgment Day. His face is human, his form like that of a horse. His mane is of pearls, his ears are emeralds, his eyes sparkle like Venus, and his body is radiant like the sun; from his breast, pearls are exuded in perspiration, its limbs are long and he is possessed of reason like mortals. And it is narrated from Amirul Momineen (a.s.) that Burraq is Abu Hilal and Kulaini has narrated through authentic chains of narrators from Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) that Jibraeel brought the Burraq for the Holy Prophet (S) which was bigger than a donkey and smaller than a mule.
Its ears were in constant motion and it covered the distance within its sight in one step. When it climbed the mountain its forelimbs reduced in size and its legs lengthened and when it descended to lower altitude, its legs reduced in size and the forelimbs prolonged. It was having long and thick hair that hung to its right. It had a pair of wings behind the head.
Kulaini and Ibn Babawayh have narrated through authentic chains from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) that when the Almighty Allah took the Messenger of Allah (S) to the seven heavens, in the first heaven, the Almighty Allah sent a blessing on the Prophet, and in the second heaven taught him all things obligatory, and in the third heaven sent for him a litter of forty different colored lights which surround the divine empyrean, and whose effulgence eyes cannot sustain.
One of their lights is yellow which is the source of all yellow colors; one is crimson, which is the source of all crimson and one is white, the source of all whites. In the same way are other lights. That litter had silver chains. The Prophet was seated in it and taken to heavens when angels saw they fell in adoration, and uttered praises:
Subboohun Quddoos. Rabbona wa rabbul malaikate war rooh.
Glorified be the Holy One. Our Lord and the Lord of the angels and spirit.
How similar is this effulgence to the effulgence of the empyrean of the Lord. Jibraeel said: Allahu Akbar. Allahu Akbar. The angels fell silent and the gates of heavens opened till on Jibraeel’s announcing the Prophet to them, they flew with the utmost alacrity to salute him. They asked how his brother, Ali was to which he replied that he was in health. Angels said: When you meet him, convey our greetings to him.
The Holy Prophet (S) asked: “Do you know him?” “How can we not know him, when the Almighty Allah has taken confession of your prophethood and his Imamate. We always continue to invoke blessings on you and him. The Almighty Allah decorated the litter further with more lights on the first heaven and none of these resembles the previous lights. And He also added to them many more links.
From there the Holy Prophet (S) was taken to the second heaven. When he reached the door, the angels flew away and fell in adoration reciting the same recitation of: Subboohun Quddoos. Rabbona wa rabbul malaikate war rooh. Whereas Jibraeel said: I testify that there is no god except Allah, twice. The angels heard him and they opened the gates of heavens and asked him who this gentleman is.
Jibraeel said that he is Muhammad (S). They asked if he has appeared to which he replied in the affirmative. The angels saluted me and said: “Convey our greetings to your, brother, Ali also.” I asked: “Do you know him?” “How can we not know him when the Almighty Allah has taken the covenant of love for him and his followers (Shia) till Judgment Day.
And all of us everyday ask of the well being of his Shia and we see them five times a day, that is at the time of prayers. After that the Almighty Allah added forty types of radiances to the previous ones that were different from the former ones and He increased the rings and links. The Holy Prophet (S) says that when I was taken to the sixth heaven, the angels of that place flew to the seventh heaven. And said: Subboohun Quddoos. Rabbona wa rabbul malaikate war rooh.
Whereas Jibraeel said: I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. When the angels heard this testimony, they came running to me and opened the gates of the heavens and said: Welcome, O the first Prophet whom the Lord created and whom He decreed to be the greatest. And the Prophet of the last period of time whom the Almighty Allah sent after all the prophets and the Hashir (account taking) Prophet in whose time, Judgment Day will be held and Nashir Prophet who will spread knowledge, good deeds and perfections among the creatures.
That is he is the seal of the prophets. And Hail Ali who is the best of the legatees. After that the angels greeted me and inquired about the well being of Ali (a.s.). I said: I have left him as my representative on the earth. Do you know him? They said: Once a year we go for the Hajj of Baitul Mamoor and in it is written your name and that of Ali and Hasan and Husain and the Imams from his progeny and the names of all the Shia who will appear till Judgment Day.
We always draw our hand on that documents in order to seek blessings from it. After that the Almighty Allah added forty types of radiances to the previous ones that were different from the former ones and He increased the rings and links. And I was taken to the fourth heaven. I heard muffled sound of angels as if their voices were caught in their chests. The gates of the heavens were promptly opened and angels gathered around me.
Jibraeel said: Hasten to prayers twice and Hasten to deliverance twice. Angels remarked: Two voices are joined together. Through Muhammad (S) we will pray and through Ali (a.s.) would we obtain deliverance. Then Jibraeel (a.s.) said: The prayer is established. The angels said: It is for the followers (Shia) of Ali as they will continue to establish prayer till Judgment Day as it deserves to be established.
Then the angels asked me where and in what condition have I left Ali (a.s.). I asked them: Do you know him? “Why not? There is a book in Baitul Mamoor in which are mentioned the names of Muhammad, Ali and Hasan and Husain and their Shia, in which not a single name will be added or subtracted. And it is a covenant that is taken from us. It is recited to us every Friday. I prostrated in thankfulness and I was addressed by the Almighty Allah: Look beneath your feet. I saw that the Holy Kaaba was below Baitul Mamoor.
If I had dropped anything, it would have fallen in Kaaba. Then a voice came: O Muhammad, this is a Holy sanctuary and you are the Holy Prophet and whatever is present in the earth has a facsimile in heaven. The Lord then commanded me to open my hand, and take of the water flowing from the right pillar of the empyrean, which I did; and for this reason it became meritorious to take up the water for ablution with the right hand.
A voice then commanded: Wash your face with this water, that you may become pure to behold the light of My majesty and glory; then wash your hands to the elbow, for you will take my word, and draw your wet hands over your feet to the ankles, and over your head, which last act signifies that I will draw the hand of mercy over your head, and send down my blessing on you. Drawing the hand over the foot is because I will carry you up through several regions where foot has never trod, nor will again after you.
Thus was the mode of prayer and ablution established. The Almighty Allah then commanded: O Muhammad, turn to the black stone which is before you, and extol Me according to the number of curtains by saying, Allah is the greatest! And on this account, seven repetitions of this exclamation were ordained for prayer, because the curtains were seven. Each time he passed a curtain, he said, Allah is the greatest! After passing three curtains he came to the oceans of light of the Lord of forgiveness, and on repeating the Takbir he passed two more curtains, and came to another sea of light.
When the last two Takbirs were pronounced, he passed the sixth and seven curtains, and came to still other oceans of light. Therefore it was ordained that three consecutive Takbirs should be pronounced, after which a prayer should be recited, then two more Takbirs and another prayer, next the last two Takbirs, closing with a prayer of steadfast looking to Allah after the example of the Prophet.
He passed the seven heavens and seven curtains of exaltation and glory, and arrived near the place of communion with the merciful Lord of glory; and prayer is the celestial ascent (Meraj) of the believer. When the perfect believer thus ascends and recites the seven Takbirs, the curtains of darkness, which on account of errors of worldly inclination come between him and the Almighty Allah, are removed and he approaches near the Lord of Lords.
The Lord then commanded the Prophet, Now you have arrived at this place of near intercourse with me, pronounce My name. Accordingly the Prophet said, In the name of God the compassionate, the merciful! For which reason this phrase was established to commence chapters and writings. Being commanded to offer praise, he said, Thanks to Allah the Lord of the universe, and proceeded in this manner till he recited the whole Surah commencing with, “Praise be to God, the Lord of creatures.”
A voice then commanded him to recite the Surah on divine unity, saying: That Surah is a description of my praise and attributes. What likeness can exist between me and my creatures? After I had recited this Surah, “Say, God is one God; he begets not, neither is he begotten; and there is not any like unto him.” the voice said, Bow before My exaltation, and put your hands on your knees and look towards My empyrean.
On doing this, light from the effulgence of the glory of Allah overpowered me, and I fell into a swoon and by divine inspiration said: Praise and thanksgiving to the God of glory. In purity I name the Lord of exaltation, and am employed in His praise. After repeating this I soon recovered and the terror of my spirit subsided when by divine inspiration I had seven times pronounced this ascription of praise.
On this account, it was ordained that this expression of praise should, in the performance of prayer, be recited in the bowing (Ruku) position. I was then commanded me to raise my head and stand erect, on which I heard the voices of the angels uttering praises and ascribing unity and thanksgiving to Allah.
I said: Allah hears everyone that utters His praises. I looked up and saw a light more intense than that which before caused me to swoon, and this made the bird of my reason fly away, and my terror was greater than in the former instance. From awe, I fell prostrate before the king, the Lord of glory, and placed my face in the dust of humility, and on account of the exaltation I witnessed, seven times repeated, by divine inspiration, Glory and praise to the exalted Lord.
At each repetition of this ascription, my terror diminished, till I recovered from that state of overwhelming awe, and attained to perfect knowledge of God. I then raised my head from prostration, and sat till relieved from the condition of amazement into which I had fallen. By divine inspiration, I again looked upward, and saw light more overpowering still than I had before witnessed, and again fell involuntarily in prostration before the Lord of vengeance, and seven times more repeated. Glory and praise to God.
Becoming thereby more worthy to behold the divine lights, I again raised my head, and sat for a little time, and looked towards them. For this reason two prostrations in prayer were established, and sitting a short time after them became meritorious (Sunnat). I then arose and stood like a servant before my Lord, when He commanded me to recite again the Surah Hamd, and afterwards Surah Qadr.
Again I stooped with my hands on my knees, and prostrated myself with my head on the ground, as at first, and as I was about to rise, the Almighty Allah commanded, mention My favors to you and pronounce My name. By divine inspiration, I said in the name of Allah and by him: there is no god but Allah, and all perfect names belong to Allah. When I had repeated the two testimonies commanded, pronounce blessings on yourself and your family.
I prayed, O Lord, impart mercy to me and to my family; which was answered with blessings from the Almighty Allah. On looking around I beheld the angels and spirits of the prophets arrayed in ranks behind me, and the Almighty Allah commanding me to salute them, I said peace be upon you and the mercy and blessing of God.
The Almighty Allah then addressed me, saying, I am your peace, mercy and blessing, and of the Imams after you. As the prayer of Meraj consisted of two rakats, there should be no doubt in regard to the number now; that it was the first two units of Noon prayer and the first obligatory prayer on the Prophet.
Shaykh Karajili has related that the Prophet declared that on the night of ascension the Almighty Allah commanded me to inquire of the past prophets for what were they commanded, and they all testified, we were raised up to confess to your prophetical office, and the imamate of Ali bin Abi Talib, and of the Imams of your posterity A divine voice then commanded, look on the right side of the empyrean.
I looked and saw the similitude of Ali, Hasan, Husain, Ali Ibnul Husain, Muhammad Baqir, Ja’far Sadiq, Musa Kazim, Ali bin Musa Reza, Muhammad Taqi, Ali Naqi, Hasan Askari and Mahdi, all performing prayers in a sea of light. “These” said the Almighty Allah, “are My proofs, vicegerents and friends, and the last of them, Mahdi, will take vengeance on My enemies.”
It is narrated through authentic chains of narrators from Ibn Abbas that the Prophet stated that when he went to Meraj, the angels inquired so particularly about Ali that he began to conclude Ali was better known in heaven than himself, “when I arrived,” he continued “at the fourth heaven, I saw the angel of death, who said that it was his office to take the soul of every creature except mine and Ali’s;” “Your spirits,” said he, “the Almighty Allah will Himself take away, by the hand of His power.”
When I came under the empyrean, I saw Ali bin Abi Talib standing there, and said to him, “O Ali, have you got here before me?” “Whom are you addressing?” said Jibraeel. “My brother Ali,” said I, but Jibraeel said: “O Muhammad, this is not Ali, it is an angel of the merciful God, whom He created in the likeness of Ali; and when those of us privileged to approach near the Deity wish to behold Ali, we visit this angel.”
Shaykh Hasan bin Sulaiman has narrated that the Messenger of Allah (S) said: When I went to Meraj and reached the levels of ‘two bow lengths or lesser’ I saw the facsimile of Ali. The Almighty Allah asked me if I recognized that face and I said: “It is the face of Ali.” The Almighty Allah revealed to me: “Give the hand of Fatima in marriage to Ali and appoint him as your Caliph.”
In Ibn Babawayh’s Meraj it is narrated from Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.), that when the Holy Prophet (S) performed ascension, he was seated on a throne of ruby, inlaid with emerald figures. Angels transported the throne to heaven where Jibraeel directed the Prophet to recite the Azan, which he did, the angels repeating it after him.
They then inquired after his successor Ali. “I left him,” said the Prophet, “in my own place among my people.” They replied, “You have left a good Caliph. Verily, Allah has made it obligatory on us to obey him.” The Prophet was then carried up through the heavens, the angels of each of those blessed abodes making the same inquiries and receiving the same answers as those of the first heaven.
In the seventh heaven he met Isa, who saluted him and inquired about Ali. “I have put him,” said the Prophet, “in my own place among my community.” Isa replied: “You have chosen a good Caliph, obedience to whom Allah has made obligatory on the angels.” He then met Musa and all the prophets, all of whom repeated the inquiries after Ali. “I then,” said the Prophet, “asked the angels where my father Ibrahim was.”
They answered, “He is with the infant of Shias of Ali.” On entering Paradise, I saw Ibrahim seated under a tree, which had fruits like udders, and each of the infants had a teat in its mouth. Whenever a teat fell out of the mouth of an infant, Ibrahim arose and replaced it.
I exchanged salutations with Ibrahim, who likewise inquired after the health of Ali bin Abi Talib, and repeated that the obedience of the angels was due him. Ibrahim said that he had besought the Lord to give him the office he enjoyed of training up the infant Shias, and that every taste from those droughts imparted to them the flavor of all the fruits and rivers of Paradise.
In the same way, in the same book it is narrated from Jabir bin Abdullah Ansari that when on night of Meraj I was taken to the seventh heaven, I found inscribed on every door: There is no god except Allah, Muhammad is the messenger of Allah, Ali Ibn Abi Talib is Amirul Momineen. When I reached to the curtains of light, I found the same formula inscribed on each curtain and when I reached to the empyrean, I found the same inscribed on that also.
In that same book, it is quoted from Amash that Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) said that the Messenger of Allah (S) said: When during Meraj I reached the fifth heaven, I saw the face of Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.). I asked Jibraeel about it and he said that angels had expressed a desire to see the face of Ali (a.s.) so they prayed: O Lord, everyday human beings look at Ali, the Caliph and successor of Prophet Muhammad, so please grant the same opportunity to us also.
So the Almighty Allah created a similitude of Ali in the heavens by His divine light. Then Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) said: When Ali was martyred by Ibn Muljim, his celestial likeness appeared wounded also, wherefore the angels visiting that similitude morning and evening, curse the assassin.
When the Imam Husain (a.s.) was martyred, the angels carried him to the fifth heaven, where all passing upward and downward beheld him stained with blood, and poured their imprecations on Yazid and Ibn Ziyad, and all the murderers of that Imam and this will continue till Qiyamat. Amash says that this tradition is from the secret sciences, so do not mention it to anyone except one who is deserving of it.
It is mentioned in the same book that the Messenger of Allah (S) said: When I went up to Meraj I did not hear any discourse better than that of my Lord. I said: O Lord, You made Ibrahim (a.s.) Your Khalil and spoke to him; raised Idris (a.s.) to a high position; bestowed Dawood (a.s.) with Zabur; bestowed a kingdom to Sulaiman which is not deserved by anyone; what will You bestow me?
The Almighty Allah said: O Muhammad, I have taken you as My beloved, like I made Ibrahim (a.s.) as my Khalil (confidant) and I spoke to you like I spoke to Musa; and I gave you the opening of the book and Surah Baqarah to you which I did not bestow to any prophet; and appointed you as a prophet for people of every stock and also on the Jinn kingdom; I made the earth pure and a place of adoration for you and the people of your Ummah, and legalized war booty for you and your Ummah and helped you with such an awe which I put into the hearts of your enemies that they tremble to a distance of two months’ journey; and I gave you the best Book, which will testify all the heavenly scriptures and it is the first and last collection. And I raised your name with My name in such a way that wherever My name is uttered, your name is also recalled.
In the same book it is mentioned from Salman Farsi (r.a.) that the Messenger of Allah (S) said: When I was taken up to the heavens during Meraj on the first heaven I saw a silver palace in which two angels were posted. I asked to whom that palace belonged and they told me that it belonged to a youth of Bani Hashim.
Then I ascended the second heaven and there I saw a palace of gold which was better than the first palace and two angels were posted here also. I asked Jibraeel and he asked whose palace it was and we were told that it belonged to a young man of Bani Hashim. On the third heaven I saw a palace of red ruby which was again manned by a couple of angels. I asked Jibraeel and we were told that it also belonged to a young man of Bani Hashim.
On the fifth heaven, I saw a palace of yellow pearls guarded by a pair of angels. On inquiring about it we were informed that it was owned by a Bani Hashim youth. On the sixth heaven again we witnessed a palace of green emeralds with a pair of angels acting as sentries and we were told that it belonged to a young man of Bani Hashim.
I reached the seventh heaven and saw a palace of divine light. A couple of angels stood at its gate and we were told that it belonged to a young man of Bani Hashim. From there we ascended further and traversing oceans of light and darkness reached till the Sidratul Muntaha. Jibraeel stopped there leaving me to move on further.
I said: “You are leaving me alone at such a crucial point?” He replied: “By the One Who has sent you with truth, the point crossed by you has not been crossed by any messenger prophet or any privileged one and no one has ever reached this point. I don’t have the power to go beyond it. I entrust you to the Kind and Merciful Lord.
Thus I moved forward and oceans of lights and waves of divine majesty continued to submerge me from light to darkness and from darkness to light. Till the Beneficent Lord brought me to His celestial kingdom where He wanted me to bring. A call ensued for me: O Ahmad, stand up in My court.
When I heard the call of the Lord I began to tremble and lost control. Then a voice came: The Powerful Lord sends you His greetings. I said: Only He is safety and the safety is from Him and safety turns back to Him only. Another voice same: O Ahmad! I said: Here I am my Lord and master. I was told:
آمَنَ الرَّسُولُ بِمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْهِ مِن رَّبِّهٖ
“The apostle believes in what has been revealed to him from his Lord…”49
I said to the divine inspiration:
وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ ۚ كُلٌّ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَمَلَائِكَتِهِ وَكُتُبِهِ وَرُسُلِهِ ...غُفْرَانَكَ رَبَّنَا وَإِلَيْكَ الْمَصِيرُ .
“…and (so do) the believers; they all believe in Allah and His angels and His books and His apostles…Thy forgiveness (do we crave), and to Thee is the eventual course.” 50
The Almighty Allah said:
لَا يُكَلِّفُ اللَّهُ نَفْسًا إِلَّا وُسْعَهَا ۚ لَهَا مَا كَسَبَتْ وَعَلَيْهَا مَا اكْتَسَبَتْ
“Allah does not impose upon any soul a duty but to the extent of its ability; for it is (the benefit of) what it has earned and upon it (the evil of) what it has wrought…”51
رَبَّنَا لَا تُؤَاخِذْنَا إِنْ نَسِينَا أَوْ أَخْطَأْنَا ۚ رَبَّنَا وَلَا تَحْمِلْ عَلَيْنَا إِصْرًا كَمَا حَمَلْتَهُ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِنَا ۚ رَبَّنَا وَلَا تُحَمِّلْنَا مَا لَا طَاقَةَ لَنَا بِهِ ۖ وَاعْفُ عَنَّا وَاغْفِرْ لَنَا وَارْحَمْنَا ۚ أَنْتَ مَوْلَانَا فَانْصُرْنَا عَلَى الْقَوْمِ الْكَافِرِينَ.
“Our Lord! do not punish us if we forget or make a mistake; Our Lord! do not lay on us a burden as Thou didst lay on those before us, Our Lord do not impose upon us that which we have not the strength to bear; and pardon us and grant us protection and have mercy on us, Thou art our Patron, so help us against the unbelieving people.” 52
So the Almighty Allah said: I have given you and your Ummah whatever you have asked. When I concluded this whispered conversation with the Almighty Allah, I was asked whom I had appointed as my successor on the earth. I said: I have appointed my cousin as my successor. Then for seven times a voice came from celestial kingdom: O Ahmad, behave nicely with Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) and protect his sanctity.
Then I was told to look at the right side of the Arsh. I saw inscribed on the right leg of the Arsh: There is no god except Me and I have no associate and Muhammad (S) is My Messenger. And I have helped him through Ali. O Ahmad, I have derived your name from My name. I am Mahmud and Hamid and you are Muhammad.
And the name of your cousin is also derived from My name: I am Ali and friend of Ali. O Abul Qasim, O the guiding one and the guided. Go back. May your heavenly visit be blessed and what to say of you and one who believes in you and testifies for you. Then I fell down in the ocean of light and its waves brought me down. When I returned to Jibraeel at Sidratul Muntaha, Jibraeel said: O my friend, may your heavenly sojourn be blessed.
What did you say and what did you hear? I told him what was worth and concealed whatever was worth concealing. Jibraeel asked: What was the last call made to you? I said: I was told: O Abul Qasim, O guiding one and guided. Jibraeel asked: Did you inquire why you were called by the epithet of Abul Qasim? “No, O spirit of Allah.”
Suddenly a voice came from the High Celestial kingdom: “No, O Ahmad, I have given you the Kunniyat of Abul Qasim because you will distribute My favors among My creatures on Judgment Day. Jibraeel said: O my beloved, good cheers of this gift from your Lord. By the one who sent you with prophethood, the honor bestowed on you was not received by anyone else before you. The Messenger of Allah (S) said: Then with Jibraeel (a.s.) I came to the palace. Jibraeel told me ask who that Hashemite youth is. “Your cousin, Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.),” said the angels at every stage.
Kulaini (r.a.) has narrated through good chains of narrators from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) that when the Messenger of Allah (S) was taken by Jibraeel to the point where he himself had to stop, and told the Holy Prophet (S) to move on. Jibraeel stopped there leaving me to move on further. I said: “You are leaving me alone at such a crucial point?”
He replied: “By the One Who has sent you with truth, the point crossed by you has not been crossed by any messenger prophet or any privileged one and no one has ever reached this point. In another traditional report it is narrated from the same Imam that people asked him how many times did Meraj occur and the Prophet declared that he performed the ascension twice.
Jibraeel brought the Holy Prophet (S) to that elevated place and said: No messenger prophet or any privileged angel one has ever reached this point. And indeed your Lord send you His benedictions and says: I am absolutely sacred and pure. I am the Lord of the angels and spirits. My mercy precedes My wrath.
The Holy Prophet (S) said: O Lord, I seek Your forgiveness and blessings. Then the Messenger of Allah (S) went to the point of ‘two bows length’ and reached a luminous curtain of light made of green emeralds and pin point light appeared along with a voice: O Muhammad, whom have you chosen as your legatee on your Ummah. I said: The Almighty Allah knows better.
It was said: Ali Ibn Abi Talib Amirul Momineen (a.s.) leader of Muslims and leader of the bright-faced ones. Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) says: The Imamate of Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) is divinely ordained, and the Almighty Allah directly without intervention of any angel told His Prophet about it.53
Through correct chain of narrators it is narrated from Imam Ali Reza (a.s.) that the Messenger of Allah (S) said: On the night of Meraj I was taken to the celestial world. It was revealed to me from the curtain, in such way that there was no angel in between. Among the revelations was: One who degrades my Wali and my friend is like one who has made war on me. And I also make war on one who makes war on me. I asked: “O Lord, who is Your Wali?” He replied: “One who believes in the Imams from your successors.”
Through authentic chains of narrators it is narrated that Nafe said to Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.): I want to ask you about something which none can reply except a Prophet or his successor. “What is it?” asked the Imam. He said: “Please tell me what was the period between Isa and Muhammad?” “Five hundred years, and according to your statement, it was 300 years.” He said: “Please explain the following statement of the Almighty Allah:
وَاسْأَلْ مَنْ أَرْسَلْنَا مِنْ قَبْلِكَ مِنْ رُسُلِنَا أَجَعَلْنَا مِنْ دُونِ الرَّحْمٰنِ آلِهَةً يُعْبَدُونَ.
“And ask those of Our apostles whom We sent before you: Did We ever appoint gods to be worshipped besides the Beneficent God?”54
Nafe said: “When you say that there was a difference of 500 years between Muhammad (S) and prophets. How did Allah ask them to ask the prophets?” Imam (a.s.) replied: When the Almighty Allah called His Prophet for Meraj and among the signs that He showed to him was that He gathered all the souls of the prophets in Baitul Maqdas and then commanded Jibraeel to recite the Azan and Iqamah and recited: Hasten to the best of deeds in Azan.
The Messenger of Allah (S) fell down in adoration and then all the prophets prayed with him. When he concluded, he asked them by the command of Allah: “What do you testify and whom do you worship?” The prophets said: “We conclude that except for One there is no God and there is no associate of His in creation or lordship and we testify that you are His prophet. And it was on this point that covenant was taken from us.” Nafe said: “O Abu Ja’far, you are right.”
Through good chains of narrators it is narrated from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) that on the night of Meraj, Jibraeel brought the Burraq for the Holy Prophet (S). He mounted and traveled to Baitul Maqdas where he met his brothers and prophets. Upon his return, he told his companions: I went on Meraj last night and entered the Baitul Maqdas. The proof of my veracity is that on the way I saw the caravan of Abu Sufyan returning from Shaam and that it had halted at a certain place.
A red camel of theirs is lost and they were looking for it. That caravan will reach Mecca at sunrise tomorrow and that lost camel will be ahead of the caravan. Some infidels of Quraish said in ridicule: What a fast rider he is that he went to Shaam and back within a night. There are present some people who have been to Shaam.
If this man is right he should describe Baitul Maqdas. Ask him about its lanterns, pillars and the description of the market of Shaam so that his falsehood is proved. So people asked him: and Jibraeel showed the scene of Shaam to him. Whatever they used to ask, the Holy Prophet (S) used to look at it and reply to them. Till he told them everything, but except for a few no one believed in him. So the Almighty Allah revealed the following verse:
وَمَا تُغْنِي الْآيَاتُ وَالنُّذُرُ عَنْ قَوْمٍ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ.
“…and signs and warners do not avail a people who would not believe.”55
Kulaini, Tabarsi and Ibn Babawayh have narrated from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) that when on the night of Meraj, the Messenger of Allah (S) reached before Masjid Kufa, Jibraeel said: This is the Masjid of your forefather, His Eminence, Ibrahim (a.s.) and it is the place of prayers of the prophets. So the Messenger of Allah (S) prayed two units of prayers there and then went to the heavens.
It is mentioned in Ikhtisas from Imam Ali Naqi (a.s.) that the Messenger of Allah (S) said: “During Meraj, when I reached the fourth sky, I saw such a dome that I had never seen a dome better than it. It had four pillars and four doors of green mica. I said: O Jibraeel, what dome is it? Jibraeel said: It is blue print of a city called Qom. Believing servants of Allah will gather here and wait for Judgment Day for the intercession of the Messenger of Allah (S) and they will suffer many sorrows.
The narrator asked: “When will they get relief from these trials?” He was told: “When water will appear from underground.” Ibn Babawayh has narrated through authentic chains of narrators from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) that the Messenger of Allah (S) said: “On the night I went to Meraj, Jibraeel made me sit on his right shoulder and on the way I was taken to a red-colored land which was brighter than saffron and more fragrant than musk.
I saw an old man there wearing a tall cap. I asked Jibraeel what land was it. He said: It is a land where your and Ali’s devotees will gather. I asked who that man is and I was told that it was the accursed Iblis who wants to restrain them from love and Wilayat of Amirul Momineen (a.s.) and to encourage them transgression.
I asked to alight there and Jibraeel took me there as fast as lightning. I said: “Stand up (Qom!) O accursed, and mix with the women, children and wealth of his enemies, you will not have power to deviate the Shias of Ali.” From that day, the city was called Qom. Sayyid Ibn Tawus has narrated through authentic chains of narrators from the Messenger of Allah (S) that he said: One night I was sleeping in Hajare Ismail when suddenly Jibraeel pressed my feet.
I awoke but did not see anyone. He pressed my feet again and I didn’t see anyone. Then he took my hand and seated me on a chair and I reached another place in the blink of an eye. Jibraeel asked if I had any idea where I was and I replied in negative. Jibraeel said: You are in Baitul Maqdas where all the creatures will be gathered. Then he raised the finger of his right hand and recited the Azan along with the phrase of ‘Hasten to the best of deeds,’.
Then he recited the Iqamah also in the same way and at last he said: “Indeed the prayer has been established.” After that a light flashed from the heavens by which the graves of the prophets opened and they emerged from them saying: Labbaik and gathered in Baitul Maqdas. They were 4414 in number and they stood in array.
Jibraeel caught my arm and moved me forward saying: “O Muhammad, pray with the prophets; they are your brothers and you will end their series. Then I looked to the right and saw my father, Ibrahim wearing two green garments. Two angels stood on each of his sides. I glanced to the left and saw my brother, Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) standing there wearing two robes and he was also straddled by two angels.
I was elated on seeing Ali (a.s.) and after the prayer went to His Eminence, Ibrahim (a.s.) and he shook hands with me and held my hand in his and said: “Hail, O the chosen Prophet and the one sent in the best of times. Then Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) arrived and His Eminence, Ibrahim (a.s.) shook hands with him also saying: “Hail, the chosen son and the legatee of the chosen Prophet.” In the morning, I and Ali were in Batha and we did not feel any tiredness.
Ibn Babawayh has narrated through authentic chains of narrators from the Messenger of Allah (S) that he said: When Jibraeel took me to the heavens, he took my hand and made me enter Paradise and made me seated on a sofa and gave me a quince, which opened, and a Hourie came out of it with very black eyelashes.
The Prophet greeted her, saying, “Who are you? God be gracious to you!” She replied, “I am Contentment. The upper part of my person is composed of camphor, the next of amber, and the last of musk, I was kneaded in the waters of life. Allah said to me, Be, and I came into being for your brother and legatee, Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.).”
Through authentic chains of narrators, it is narrated that one night Jibraeel brought a quadruped for the Holy Prophet (S) which was smaller than a mule and bigger than an ass. Its legs were longer than its legs and it covered the distance visible to the eye in one step. When the Holy Prophet (S) wanted to mount, it stopped him. Jibraeel said: “This is Muhammad (S).” When it heard the name of the Prophet, it became so humble that it lowered itself to the ground and the Holy Prophet (S) mounted it.
When it climbed altitudes its forelegs reduced and hind legs increased in size and when it came down the incline its forelegs prolonged and the hind legs reduced in size. In this way the Prophet passed a company carrying trading goods of Abu Sufyan. Their camels ran on the sound of the wings of Burraq. Some camels stumbled scattering their wares and the leg of the camel was fractured. The Holy Prophet (S) moved on and reached Bulgar.
He said: O Jibraeel, I am thirsty. He brought a bowl of water which the Prophet consumed. They moved on from there and saw a company suspended by their feet on hooks of fire, because when the Almighty Allah had made them rich in lawful things, they coveted what was unlawful. Another company were having their mouths sewed up with needles and threads of fire because they had deflowered virgins through fornication.
Moving forward he saw a man trying to lift a bundle of sticks but he could not lift it and more sticks were loaded on it. On asking he was told: He is a debtor who did not repay his debts but continued to take loans. From there they reached to the east mountain of Baitul Maqdas. The Prophet found the climate very hot there and he heard a horrific sound. He was told that they belonged to Hell.
The Holy Prophet (S) said: I seek the refuge of Allah from Hell. Then a fragrant breeze came from his right and a nice sound was heard. He was told that it belonged to Paradise. He said: I beg the Almighty for Paradise. They set out from there and reached the gates of the city of Baitul Maqdas. A Christian was present there who was entrusted with the keys of the shrine.
That night no matter how much they tried, the door could not be closed. People came and told him that the door cannot be closed. He suggested them to appoint a nice guard for it. When the Holy Prophet (S) entered, Jibraeel raised the stone of Baitul Maqdas and took out three bowls from under it: one of milk, one of wine and one of water.
When he was offered wine he said that he was satiated. Jibraeel said if you had taken it, your whole community would have deviated and separated for you.” Then the Holy Prophet (S) prayed in Baitul Maqdas and a group of prophets followed him. That night with Jibraeel had come an angel, who had never before descended to earth, who met the Prophet and offered him the keys of worldly treasure, saying, “If you please, be the Prophet of servants, or, if you prefer it, take these keys and be the Prophet of kings.”
Jibraeel signaled to Prophet to be humble, and he said, “I prefer to be a humble servant of Allah and I don’t desire the sovereignty of earth.” From there they moved to the heavens and on reaching there Jibraeel told them to open the door. Angels asked: “Who is accompanying you?” He said: “Muhammad (S).” “Welcome,” said the angels and they opened the door.
The Prophet says: “Whichever group of angels I passed used to greet me and invoke blessings on me in welcome. We passed an old man seated below a tree surrounded by many children and the Prophet asked who he was and whose children they were. Jibraeel said: This is your father Ibrahim, and these are children of believers.
His Eminence, takes care of them in Paradise.” Then we saw another old man seated on a chair, who, when he looked on his right hand, laughed and rejoiced, but when he looked on his left, mourned and wept. “This,” said Jibraeel, is your father Adam; when he beholds those of his children who will enter Paradise, he rejoices and is merry, but when he sees those of his posterity doomed to Hell, he is afflicted and weeps.
On moving ahead we saw an angel seated on a chair and he saluted me but there was no smile on his face and when I asked Jibraeel about it he said: This is Malik the caretaker of Hell. He was more cheerful than other angels, till the Almighty Allah kept him as the caretaker of Hell, and he saw the punishments that the Almighty Allah has fixed for those who are disobedient to Him, and that is why he is so scared.
Then the Prophet passed from there till he reached the position of whispering to the Lord of Might. The Almighty Allah made fifty prayers obligatory on his Ummah and through the request of Musa (a.s.) were reduced to five. On his return, he passed by His Eminence, Ibrahim (a.s.) and His Eminence, said: O Muhammad (S), convey my salutations to your Ummah, give them glad tidings of Paradise whose water is sweet, sand is fragrant and land is plain; its trees are created through the recitation of: Glory be to Allah, and praise be to Allah, and there is no god except Allah and Allah is the greatest and there is no might or strength except by Allah.
So order your community to mention this often so that there may be many trees for them in Paradise. His Eminence set out from there and on the way reached to a caravan of Quraish, and dismounting, he told the people of Mecca of his ascent to heaven, and in proof of it, that he passed the caravan of Abu Sufyan in such a place, and that a camel there started, threw its load, and broke its foreleg, and that the caravan would enter Mecca about sunrise, all of which circumstances were found to be true.
Ibn Babawayh and Ali bin Ibrahim have narrated through trustworthy traditions from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) that the Messenger of Allah (S) said: One night I was asleep in Abtah. Ali was to my right, Ja’far to my left and Hamza near me. Suddenly I heard the sound of the wings of angels and someone was saying: Who have we come for? Jibraeel pointed at me and said: This is the best of the humans, and to his right is his legatee, cousin and son-in-law and the other is his uncle, the chief of the martyrs.
And that one is his cousin, Ja’far, whom the Almighty Allah will give a pair of colored wings to glide in Paradise with the angels. Keep quiet as his eyes sleep but his ears and heart are aware. Their example is of that king who makes a house and spreads various types of dishes in it and calls his slave for dinner. In reality the king is the Almighty Allah and that house is the world and the palace is the Paradise of the Almighty Allah. And the one invited by the Almighty Allah is the Holy Prophet (S).
Then Jibraeel mounted the Holy Prophet (S) on Burraq and took him to Baitul Maqdas and made him halt in the prayer niches of the prophets. The Holy Prophet (S) prayed there and returned. On the return, he passed a caravan of Quraish which was camping at a place and it had lost a camel and they were searching for it. There was a vessel filled with water in the caravan. The Holy Prophet (S) drank from it and threw away the rest.
When he returned to Mecca, he narrated that last night he had gone to Baitul Maqdas where he saw relics and positions of the prophets. On my return I saw the caravan of Quraish which had camped at a particular place and they had lost a camel. I drank water from their vessel and threw away the rest. Abu Jahl said: “Ask him how many pillars are there in Baitul Maqdas and how many chandeliers are there.
The Almighty Allah brought the Baitul Maqdas before the view of the Prophet and he could reply each of their queries. Then people said: Let us see when the caravan arrives. He said: “The caravan will reach at sunrise and the red haired camel will be in lead.” Next day the Meccans gathered at Aqba to check the veracity of the Messenger of Allah (S). When the sun arose, the caravan appeared according to what the Prophet had predicted. The members of the caravan reported what the Prophet had mentioned about them, but after witnessing this miracle their rebellion and deviation increased.
Ibn Babawayh has narrated through authentic chains of narrators from Ibn Abbas that the Messenger of Allah (S) told Amirul Momineen (a.s.): O Ali, when I was taken to the seventh heaven the place where there is Sidratul Muntaha and from there to the holy curtains, the Almighty Allah honored me with a confidential conversation and informed me of many mysteries and also said: O Muhammad, know that Ali is the Imam of my friends and he is a light for one who obeys Me. He is that word that I have made obligatory for the pious.
Whoever obeyed him, obeyed Me. Whoever disobeyed him, disobeyed Me. So convey glad tidings to Ali. When the Holy Prophet (S) came to the earth he gave the glad tidings to Ali (a.s.) that the Almighty Allah had sent. Amirul Momineen (a.s.) said: “O Messenger of Allah (S), has my honor scaled to his level that my name should be mentioned at such a lofty place?” “Yes Ali,” said the Prophet “You should thank your Lord for that.” Amirul Momineen (a.s.) fell down in adoration as thanksgiving for that bounty. At last the Holy Prophet (S) said: “O Ali, raise your head as the Almighty Allah boasts to His angels about you.”
From another channel it is narrated from Ibn Abbas that when the Messenger of Allah (S) was taken to the heavens, Jibraeel took him to a river of light as mentioned in Qur’an:
وَجَعَلَ الظُّلُمَاتِ وَالنُّورَ
“…and made the darkness and the light…”56
…and Jibraeel directed him to cross, adding it had never yet been passed by angel or prophet, Jibraeel said that he bathed in it everyday, and washed his wings, and that the Almighty Allah, of every drop which fell from his wings, created an exalted angel having twenty thousand faces and forty thousand tongues, each of which speaks a distinct language unintelligible to the rest.
Passing that river, the Prophet arrived at the curtains or partitions, which are five hundred in number, and between every two of which is the immense space of five hundred years’ journey. Jibraeel directed the Prophet to proceed alone, saying that he could advance no further, Another tradition says that the angel declared, if he should go the length of a finger joint further, he should be consumed.
The Prophet now proceeded alone as far as Allah willed, where He proclaimed: I am Mahmud and you are the Prophet; I derived your name from My own. Whoever unites with you in love and obedience, I will come near him in favor and mercy; and whoever separates from you, I will cut him off from My regard. Go down to My servants and inform them what honor I have conferred upon you. I have given a vizier to every Prophet I have sent; you are My apostle, and Ali is your vizier.
Through authentic chains of narrators, it is narrated from Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) that on the night of Meraj, the Almighty Allah said: O Muhammad, your prophethood is about to end and these are your last days, have you appointed anyone as your successor? The Holy Prophet (S) said: I examined your creatures and did not find anyone as obedient to You as Ali.”
The Almighty Allah said: “You are right, inform him that he is an ensign of the path of My guidance and the leader of My friends; and he is a light.” The Holy Prophet (S) says that he returned from there and seated on an arm of an angel, I passed the Sidratul Muntaha and reached to the Arsh and clung to the leg of the Arsh. A call came: I am God, and there is no god or deity except Me. I am pure of every defect.
I afford security from My chastisement to the believers. I am the caretaker and witness of the creatures. I am powerful, dominant and strong. Greatness is restricted to Me. I am kind and merciful to My creatures. The Holy Prophet (S) says: I saw the Almighty Allah through the eyes of the heart and not through the physical eyes.
Shaykh Tusi has narrated through authentic chains of narrators from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) that the Messenger of Allah (S) said: When I was taken to the heaven and I entered Paradise, I saw a palace of red ruby and it was so transparent that the light of interior was visible from outside. It had ten domes of pearls and emerald.
I asked about it and was told that it was for one who spoke the good word, who is generous in feeding others, who fasts much by day and prays when others are asleep. Amirul Momineen (a.s.) says: I asked the Holy Prophet (S) who in his Ummah could have such a nature. The Prophet (S) said: “Good word is: Glory be to Allah, and praise be to Allah, and there is no god except Allah, and Allah is the greatest.
And fasting all the time means fasting during the month of Ramadan. And feeding too much means that he earns livelihood for his family members so that they are not in need of others. And being busy in nights is that he should pray the Midnight prayers, when Jews, Christians and all disbelievers sleep.
Ibn Babawayh has narrated through multiple channels from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) that the Messenger of Allah (S) said: “On the night of Meraj, the Almighty Allah said to me: O Muhammad, know that Ali is the leader of the pious, ruler of believers and chief of the bright faced ones that is one who will take the Shias to Paradise.
And from another reliable tradition, it is narrated from the same Imam that the Messenger of Allah (S) said: “On the night of Meraj, the Almighty Allah spoke to me saying: O Muhammad, after you, Ali is My proof on the creatures and he is the leader of those who obey me. Whoever obeyed his command, obeyed My command, whoever disobeyed him, disobeyed Me. So appoint him as the ruler on your Ummah so that My servants may be guided through him after you.
And it is narrated through many authentic traditional reports that on the night of Meraj, the Almighty Allah told the Messenger of Allah (S): “O Muhammad, whom have you appointed as your legatee on your Ummah?” His Eminence, said: “My Lord, You only appoint him.” It was told: “After you I have appointed your beloved, Ali (a.s.).”
And through other reliable chains it is narrated from Ibn Abbas that the Messenger of Allah (S) said: “When I was taken from the seventh heaven to Sidratul Muntaha and from there I reached to the curtains of light, the Almighty Allah said to me: “O Muhammad, you are My servant and I am your Lord. So be humble for Me.
Worship Me and rely on Me. Do not rely on anyone other than Me, because I have chosen you as My favorite, messenger and prophet and chosen your brother, Ali to be My Caliph and the one to have preference in My court. Therefore he is My proof on My servants and the leader of My creatures. Only through him would my friends and enemies be recognized. Only through him would the army of Satan be distinguished from My army.
Only through him would my religion be established and My limits shall be protected and My laws will be enforced. And O my beloved, I shall be merciful on My servants and slave girls through your and their descendants who will be Imams. And through your Qaim will inhabit My earth with My glorification and praise. And through him would I clean My earth from My enemies and shall make My friends inherit it.
And through him would I degrade the word of disbelievers and exalt My word. And through him would I enliven My servants and populate My cities and with My will, reveal My treasures. And I will make him aware of My secrets. And help him through My angels who shall help him in enforcing My laws. He is My Wali and the one who will guide the servants with truth.
It is narrated through authentic chains of narrators from Imam Ali Reza (a.s.) that Amirul Momineen (a.s.) said that the Messenger of Allah (S) said: “The Almighty Allah has not created anyone more excellent to me.” I asked: “O Messenger of Allah (S), are you superior to Jibraeel?” The Messenger of Allah (S) said: “O Ali, indeed the Almighty Allah has given precedence to messenger prophets over the privileged angels and given me superiority over all prophets.
After that you and the Imams after you are given precedence. Indeed the angels are our servants. O Ali, the carriers of the Arsh and the angels surrounding them praise and glorify the Lord. And they seek forgiveness for those who bring faith in your Wilayat. O Ali, if we had not been there, the Almighty Allah would have created neither Adam nor Hawwa, neither Paradise nor Hell, neither sky nor the earth.
And why should we not be superior to angels when we have preceded them in glorification of the Lord, because our souls were created first of all by the Almighty Allah. And after that He made us speak with His praise and then created the angels. When they beheld the souls with a light, and witnessed the greatness of our Noor, they considered our lights to be extremely great.
I said: Glory be to Allah, so that the angels may know that we are creatures of Allah. And the Almighty Allah is pure of all the qualities of creatures. Angels learnt the manner of divine glorification through us and they considered the Almighty Allah to be pure of all qualities. And when they witnessed our greatness and majesty, we said: There is no god except Allah, so that the angels may know that we are the creatures of Allah and that we have no partnership in His divinity and except for Him no one is deserving to be worshipped.
When the angels realized our greatness, we said: Allah is the greatest, so that they may know that Allah is greater than the greatest in the world, and all greatness and power belong only to the Almighty Allah. Then we said: There is no power and might except by Allah. So the angels understood that the Almighty Allah has made our obedience obligatory on all the creatures and we said: Praise to be to Allah.
So the angels were guided through our merits and they understood the praise and glorification of the Almighty Allah. Then the Almighty Allah created Adam (a.s.) and placed our Noor in his loins and commanded the angels to prostrate for our respect and honor. Their prostration was in obedience of Allah and was due to the respect of Adam, because we were present in his loins. So why we cannot be superior to the angels because they prostrated before Adam.
And when I was taken to the heavens Jibraeel recited the Azan and Iqamah and said to me twice: “O Muhammad, go ahead and lead the prayers.” I asked: “O Jibraeel shall I take precedence over you?” He replied: “Yes, because the Almighty Allah has given precedence to all prophets over angels and given you precedence on all creatures.”
So I stood in front of him and led the prayer. But I don’t say this in pride. From there I reached to the curtains of light and Jibraeel said: “O Messenger of Allah (S), go ahead.” And he stopped there. I said: “Are you leaving me alone at this juncture?” He said: “O Messenger of Allah (S), it is the last point I have access to, if I go ahead, my wings will burn out.”
So I was immersed in the ocean of light and I began to swim in the divine lights till I reached the point that the Almighty Allah wanted me to reach. Then a call from the high said: “O Muhammad, You are My servant and I am your Lord. Worship Me and rely on Me. Indeed you are My Noor among My servants, My Prophet among My creatures, My proof among My servants; and I have created Paradise for those who obey you and created Hellfire for those who disobey you and for your legatees, I have made my bestowals and miracles obligatory.
And for their Shias I have made divine rewards compulsory. I said: “O Lord, show my legatees to me.” He said: “Your legatees are those whose names are inscribed on the leg of My Throne.” When I looked, I saw twelve lights on the leg of Arsh and in each Noor I saw a green line in which the name of each legatee was mentioned. The first of them was Ali and the last, Mahdi. I asked: “My Lord, would they be my legatees after me?”
“Yes, O Muhammad, after you they shall be My friends, legatees and proof on the creatures. And they are your legatees and successors. And after you they are the best of the creatures. By my honor and majesty, I shall express My religion through them and exalt my Word through them. And through their last purify the earth of My enemies. And give the whole world into his control.
Give the wind under his control and make the hard cloud obedient to him so that he may ride it anywhere he likes in the sky and the earth. Help him through my armies and strengthen him through My angels. So much so that My call should be raised and all the creatures gather on my Oneness. And after My friends one after the other I will make as the leader of My faith. So his rulership will continue till Judgment Day.”
Through authentic chains it is narrated from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) and Ibn Abbas that one day when the Messenger of Allah (S) was showering affection on Fatima by kissing her, Ayesha arrived there and said: “Why are you kissing such a grown up girl and why are you so affectionate to her?” The Messenger of Allah (S) said: “O Ayesha, when I went to the fourth sky during Meraj, Jibraeel recited the Azan and Iqamah and then all the folks of the sky prayed in my leadership.
Then I looked to my right saw Prophet Ibrahim (a.s.) in a garden of Paradise surrounded by angels. When I reached the sixth sky, a call came: “O Muhammad, what a nice ancestor is Ibrahim for you and what a nice brother is Ali.” Then I reached to the curtains of greatness and majesty. Jibraeel took my hand admitted me to Paradise.
There I saw a tree of Noor, under which two angels were folding robes and jewelry. I asked to whom the tree belonged. They said: “It belongs to your brother, Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) and these two angels are folding robes and jewelry for him; they shall continue to do so till Judgment Day.” I moved forward and some dates, softer than butter were brought for me, more fragrant than musk and sweeter than honey.
I tasted one date and it became a sperm in my back. When I returned to the earth, I joined with Khadija and she became pregnant with Fatima. Thus Fatima is a Hourie of Paradise in the human form. When I become eager of Paradise, I kiss Fatima, because she is the fragrance of Paradise. According to another report he said: When I perceive the fragrance of tree of Tuba.
In the same way, through reliable chains it is narrated from Imam Zada Abdul Azim from Imam Muhammad Taqi (a.s.) that Amirul Momineen (a.s.) and his wife, Fatima, one day visited the Prophet and found him weeping profusely. May my parents be your sacrifice! said Ali; what is the cause of your grief, O Messenger of Allah (S)? He replied, On the night I was carried to heaven I saw a number of the women of my community in great torment, and it is for them I weep.
I saw a woman suspended by her hair, and her brain was boiling from excessive heat. Another was suspended by her tongue, and liquid from the fountain of melted copper in Hell was poured down her throat; and another was hung up by her breasts. I saw a woman eating the flesh of her own body, which fell from her, and fire meanwhile was flaming under her.
I saw a woman bound hand and foot, and assailed on all sides by serpents and scorpions. Another, blind, deaf and dumb, was encased in a coffin of fire, and her brain was dropping out at her nostrils, and her body was falling to pieces from gangrene and leprosy. I saw a woman suspended by her feet in a furnace of fire; the flesh of another was being cut off on all sides with scissors of fire.
I saw a woman whose face and hands were burning, and who ate her own entrails. I saw a woman with the head of a hog and the body of an ass, tormented in a million different ways. I saw a woman in the form of a dog, and fire was poured through her body, issuing at her mouth, and the angels were beating her with maces of iron.
Fatima exclaimed, O beloved of my soul, and light of my eyes, tell me what they had done and what they had been that the Almighty Allah inflicted on them such horrible torments. The Prophet replied, “Dearest daughter, the woman suspended by her hair, did not conceal it from the view of men. The one suspended by her tongue, tormented her husband with that member.
The one hung up by her breasts would not acknowledge her husband’s conjugal rights. She suspended by her feet, was in the habit of going out without her husband’s consent. The one that ate her own flesh, adorned her person for the view of those who had no right to see her. The woman bound hand and foot, neglected to wash herself and cleanse her garments. She did not perform the necessary and obligatory ablutions, and held prayer of light account.
The one blind, deaf and dumb, bore children from adulterous intercourse, and caused her husband to bear the burden of their support. She whose flesh was cut off with fiery scissors, showed herself to incite men to desire her. The woman who was burning and ate her own entrails, was a procuress, and brought together wicked men and women.
She with the head of a hog was slanderer and liar; and the one in the form of a dog was a professed singer, and mourner, and envier, whose practice was to excite discontent under the providence of God. Woe, said the Prophet, to the woman that angers her husband, and happy is she that contents him. Through authentic chains it is narrated from Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) that one day Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) asked about a companion of his and it was said that he was unwell.
The Imam went to visit him and he was in his last moments. Imam (a.s.) said: “Have good expectation from your Lord.” He said: “I do have a good expectation, but I am aggrieved on account of my daughters.” The Imam said: “Just as you hope to increase your good deeds and wipe off your sins, in the same way you should hope in the well being of your daughters.
Perhaps you have not heard the Messenger of Allah (S) say: “When on Meraj, I reached to Sidratul Muntaha, some of its branches were hanging like teats from some of which flowed milk, honey from some, oil from some and white flour from some. Some clothes and some fruits like berries. I asked to myself for whose use all these are?
Since Jibraeel was not with me I could not ask him; as he had stopped at his stage and I had climbed further. So the Almighty Allah said: O Messenger of Allah (S), all these are food for your children, so tell the fathers of girls that they should not worry about their daughters as like We have created them in the same way We will provide sustenance to them.”
Through reliable chains of narrators it is narrated from Imam Ali Reza (a.s.) that the Messenger of Allah (S) said: On the third heaven on the night of Meraj, I saw a man seated there, one of his legs was in the east and the other in the west and he was looking at a slate and shaking his head. I asked: “O Jibraeel, Who is this?” Jibraeel replied: “He is the angel of death.”
Through reliable chains of narrators, it is narrated from Imam Husain (a.s.) that he said: I heard my grandfather, the Holy Prophet (S) say: On the night of Meraj, I saw an angel, who was carrying a sword of Noor that he was slashing like the Amirul Momineen (a.s.) slashed Zulfiqar in the battlefield. I said: “O Lord, is he my brother, Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.)?”
A voice from Allah said: “O Muhammad, he is an angel that I have created in the form of Ali so that he may worship Me before the Arsh and the reward of that worship is dedicated to Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) till Judgment Day.
Through reliable chains of narrators, it is narrated that Habib Naqshbani asked about the interpretation of the following verses:
ثُمَّ دَنَا فَتَدَلَّى فَكَانَ قَابَ قَوْسَيْنِ أَوْ أَدْنٰى
“Then he drew near, then he bowed. So he was the measure of two bows or closer still.”57
Imam (a.s.) said: “O Habib, this verse means that the Holy Prophet (S) at the ideal proximity became very near to the court of the Almighty; he was very near to it, till he was only at a distance of half a bow or less than that. At that time the Almighty Allah revealed to him what He wanted. When the Messenger of Allah (S) conquered Mecca, he used to prostrate much to thank for that bounty. One day Imam Ali (a.s.) was with him.
The Holy Prophet (S) performed excessive Tawaf of Kaaba. When darkness spread, both of them went to Safa to perform the Sayy. Then they came down and turned their attention to Marwah. At that point a Noor came down from the sky which covered them. All the mountains were illuminated and all the eyes were dazzled by it. And a great awe overtook them.
When they went to Mount Marwah, the Holy Prophet (S) looked at the sky and beheld two pomegranates near his head. He stretched his hands and a voice came: O Muhammad, these are the fruits of Paradise, none can consume them except you and your legatee Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.). From there the Holy Prophet (S) was taken to the heavens till he reached Sidratul Muntaha.
Jibraeel stopped there and told the Holy Prophet (S) to go ahead, because he could not go beyond that. Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) says: The tree is called Sidratul Muntaha because as the angels take the deeds of people till there and note them down on the heavy slates. The Holy Prophet (S) beheld each branch of Sidratul Muntaha that it has reached to below the Arsh and is surrounding it.
Then a ray of the greatness and majesty fell on the Messenger of Allah (S) due to its dazzle, his eyes closed and he began to tremble. The Almighty Allah strengthened his heart and bestowed strength to his eyes. And He gave another Noor to him with which he saw the signs of his Lord, which he saw. And he heard the discourses of his Lord, that he heard. When he returned to Sidratul Muntaha, he saw Jibraeel again as the Almighty Allah says:
وَلَقَدْ رَآهُ نَزْلَةً أُخْرٰى. عِنْدَ سِدْرَةِ الْمُنْتَهٰى
“And certainly he saw him in another descent. At the farthest lote-tree…”58
Which means that: He saw Jibraeel in the form as Ahle Sunnat say: And saw Allah through the vision of his heart. And saw through his physical eyes. He saw His great signs which neither any creature has seen or will ever see. Imam (a.s.) says: The circumference of the tree, Sidratul Muntaha, is a hundred years’ journey as time is reckoned on earth; and that one of its leaves would cover all the people in the world. There are certain angels who are the protectors of trees, otherwise wild beasts would destroy all the fruit. The Prophet forbid certain natural acts under fruit trees, because the angels were there.
It is narrated from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) that people asked him why Maghribain and Morning Prayers are recited aloud and other prayers recited softly. Imam (a.s.) said: When the Holy Prophet (S) was taken to heavens, the first prayer that the Almighty Allah made obligatory on the Prophet was Zuhr prayer on Friday. Angels were commanded to follow the Prophet and He told the Holy Prophet (S) to recite the prayer aloud so that his excellence may become known to the angels. Then Asr prayer was made obligatory and none of the angels were ordered to follow him.
The Holy Prophet (S) was told to recite it softly as no one was following him. Then Maghrib and Isha prayer was made obligatory and the angels were commanded to follow him and he was asked to recite loudly so that angels may hear him. When he returned to the earth at dawn, Morning Prayer was made obligatory and he was commanded to pray with the people so that his excellence is known to the people as it was known to the angels.
People asked them why in the last two rakats, is there more excellence in reciting Tashbihat Arba instead of Surah Hamd? He replied: “During the last two rakats rays of light fell on the Prophet, which made the Prophet fearful so he recited: “Glory be to Allah, and praise be to Allah and there is no god, except Allah, and Allah is the greatest.” That is why it is more rewarding to recite these recitations than Surah Hamd.
It is also narrated through reliable chains that people asked Imam Musa Kazim (a.s.): “Why one Ruku and two sajdahs were made obligatory in each rakat of prayer?” Imam (a.s.) said: “The first prayer that the Holy Prophet (S) performed was in front of the Divine Throne. Because on the night of Meraj, the Messenger of Allah (S) was carried to the heavens and when he reached below the Arsh, the Almighty Allah said to him: “O Muhammad, wash your face and hands at the stream of Saad and pray for your Lord.
The Holy Prophet (S) went to that spring and performed the complete ablution, and stood up to pray. The Almighty Allah commanded him to initiate the prayer and the Holy Prophet (S) recited the Takbir. He was told to recite from In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful to the end of Surah Hamd. Then recite Surah Tauheed.
The Messenger of Allah (S) after these recitations said: “As my Lord is”. He was ordered to perform ruku and he obliged and the Almighty Allah told him to recite: Glory be to my Lord who is most great and praise be to Him. Which the Prophet said thrice and then he was told to raise his head. The Holy Prophet (S) stood erect.
He was then told to prostrate to his Lord. When he prostrated he was ordered to recite: Glory be to my Lord who is most High and praise be to Him. The Messenger of Allah (S) recited it thrice and the Almighty Allah said: O Muhammad, now sit up straight. His Eminence, sat up and mentioned the greatness and majesty of his Lord and then by the order of the Lord of the Lords went into prostration again and recited the Tasbih thrice.
Then he was told to stand and recite the chapters of Qur’an. Again he was ordered to perform Ruku and Sajdah. When he performed the first Sajdah, he mentioned about the majesty of his Lord and then performed the second Sajdah. The Almighty Allah said: Raise your head from the Sajdah, the Almighty Allah will exalt you. Now recite the Tashahud. When the Prophet concluded the Tashahud he was told to recite salutation to his Lord.
The Almighty Allah said in reply: And peace be upon you. O Muhammad, you have received the bounty of worshipping Me along with the other bounties. I have bestowed you with prophethood with My infallibility and made you My beloved. Imam Musa Kazim (a.s.) says: In each rakat, the Almighty Allah commanded one Ruku and one Sajdah, the Holy Prophet (S) because of the imagination of the greatness of Allah, added another Sajdah and the Almighty Allah made that also obligatory.
People asked the Imam what Saad is? He replied: It is a spring that flows from a pillar of Divine Throne which is also called as the ‘nectar of life’ as the Almighty Allah has said:
ص وَالْقُرْآنِ ذِي الذِّكْرِ
“Suad, I swear by the Qur’an, full of admonition.”59
It is narrated through authentic chains of narrators from Imam Musa Kazim (a.s.) that people asked him: “Why seven Takbir were appointed before prayers and why in ruku are we supposed to recite: Glory be to my Lord the most great and praise be to Him and why we say Glory be to my Lord the most High and praise be to Him in Sajdah? Imam (a.s.) said: The Almighty Allah has created seven heavens seven levels of earth and seven curtains.
When the Messenger of Allah (S) went up to Meraj, he reached Qaba Qausain three times and from the seven curtains of Paradise one curtain was removed for the Prophet so he recited ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is the Greatest), on removal of each curtain, he said: ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is the Greatest); since prayer is the Meraj of believers, that is why it became recommended to recite seven Takbirs in the beginning.
So that the curtains that lie because of distance may be lifted from him. When after the removal of curtains from the heart of the Messenger of Allah (S) lights of greatness and majesty of Allah became illuminated for him, the Holy Prophet (S) began to tremble due to awe and he bowed down in Ruku and said: Glory be to my Lord the most great and praise be to Him, three times.
When he straightened, a Noor of that greatness shone on him and he fell down in prostration and recited seven times: Glory be to my Lord the most High and praise be to Him, and the awe that had come upon him was dispelled. That is why these recitations were made a part of Ruku and Sajdahs.
Through reliable chains, it is narrated that people asked Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) why the Messenger of Allah (S) tied Ihram for Hajj in the Masjid Shajarah and not at some other place?
Imam (a.s.) said: On the night the Messenger of Allah (S) was taken up for Meraj, when he reached perpendicular to Masjid Shajarah, the Almighty Allah said: O Muhammad, did I not find you in grief and accorded space to you? And did I not find you lost and showed you the path? The Holy Prophet (S) replied: “Indeed the praise and bounty is only for You. You have no associate. Here I am my Lord!” That is why he used to wear Ihram from Masjid Shajarah.
Shaykh Tusi has narrated through reliable chains from Ibn Abbas that the Messenger of Allah (S) said: The Almighty Allah has given me five merits and given five to Ali. He gave me the comprehensive word and gave comprehensive knowledge to Ali. He gave me prophethood and made me my legatee. He gave me Kauthar and gave Salsabeel to him. He honored me with divine revelation and gave direct inspiration (Ilham) to him.
They took me to the heavens and for him the doors of the heavens were opened so that he could observe me and I could observe him. Then the Holy Prophet (S) began to weep. I asked: “O Messenger of Allah (S), May my parents be sacrificed on you, why are you weeping? The Messenger of Allah (S) replied: “O Ibn Abbas, the first thing that the Almighty Allah said to me was: O Muhammad! I raised my head and saw that the curtains have been raised and the doors of the heavens are opened and Ali has raised his head and he was seeing me.
Then Ali and I spoke to each other and the Almighty Allah spoke to me.” I asked: “What did He say to you?” He replied: “The Almighty Allah said: I have appointed Ali as your legatee, Vizier and your Caliph after you. Tell him to listen to your statements properly and from that place sent the divine message to Ali and he replied: I have heard and obeyed.”
The Almighty Allah commanded angels to send greetings to Ali and all greeted him and he replied to the greetings. I saw that the angels were highly pleased at the reply of Ali (a.s.) and I didn’t pass any group of angels but that they wished me about the Caliphate of Ali (a.s.) and said: “By the one who sent you with truth, angels are highly pleased because the Almighty Allah has appointed your brother, Ali as the Caliph.”
And I saw the upholders of the Arsh that they were looking to the earth. I asked: “O Jibraeel, why are the upholders of the Arsh looking to the earth?” Jibraeel said: “At this moment there is no angel who is not looking at Ali (a.s.) with pleasure, except for the upholders of the earth who have been permitted to look at you.” When I came back to the earth, Ali (a.s.) narrated to me whatever I had seen. At that time I realized that curtains were removed for Ali (a.s.) from all the places that I had visited.
Ayyashi has narrated through reliable chains from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) that the Messenger of Allah (S) performed Isha prayer on the earth and went up to Meraj and came back before the morning and prayed the Morning Prayer on the earth.
It is narrated through reliable chains from Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) that the Messenger of Allah (S) said: On the night of Meraj, when I came back to the earth, I asked Jibraeel if he had any wish. He said: My wish is that you convey my and Allah’s greetings to Khadija. When the Messenger of Allah (S) conveyed it to Khadija she said: “My God is security and all safety is from Him only and all safeties turn to Him only.
It is mentioned in reliable books of Ahle Sunnat that the Messenger of Allah (S) said: On the night I went for Meraj, I saw on the fourth heaven an angel sitting on a pulpit of light surrounded by many angels. I asked Jibraeel about him and was told to approach him and greet him. I went to him and greeted him and saw that he was my brother, Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.).
I said: “O Jibraeel, has Ali preceded me to the heavens?” He replied: “O Messenger of Allah (S), angels petitioned the Almighty Allah that they should be allowed to see Ali (a.s.), so the Almighty Allah created with Noor this angel in the form of Ali and angels every Friday eve perform his Ziarat a thousand times and glorify and praise the Almighty Allah and gift that reward to the followers of Ali (a.s.).
Manaqib Khwarizmi has narrated through many reliable chains that the Messenger of Allah (S) was asked by the people: In what language did the Almighty Allah speak to you during Meraj? He replied: “He addressed me in the language or style of Ali and He inspired me.” I asked: “O Lord, are you speaking to me or it is Ali?” Voice came: “I don’t resemble anything and neither anything resembles Me. I cannot be compared with anything or anyone. I am speaking to you in the language and style of Ali so that you may feel comfortable.
Ali bin Ibrahim has narrated through good chains of narrators from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) that the Messenger of Allah (S) said: When on the night of ascension, I entered Paradise, I beheld a white plain where a number of angels were building palaces of gold and silver bricks. Now they plied their work, and then they stood idle.
I asked them why their labors were thus interrupted? They replied, “We wait to have expenses paid.” “What expenses?” I asked. They answered, “The recital on earth by believers of such ascriptions as: Glory be to Allah, and praise be to Allah, and there is no god except Allah, and Allah is the greatest. Whenever they pronounce these ascriptions, we build; but when they cease, our work also ceases.
Shaykh Tusi has narrated from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) that the Messenger of Allah (S) said to Imam Ali (a.s.): On the night I was taken up for Meraj, I was welcomed on each heaven by the angels and they gave many glad tidings till Jibraeel introduced me to many groups of angels. All said: If the people of your community had united on the love of Ali (a.s.), the Almighty Allah would not have created Hell.
O Ali, the Almighty Allah presented you for me on seven occasions so I derived your company and comfort: (1) When I reached to the heavens Jibraeel asked: Where is your brother, Ali (a.s.)? I said: “I have left him on the earth. Jibraeel told me to pray to Allah to bring him there for me. I prayed and saw your facsimile and then saw some angels in array. I asked: “Who are these?”
Jibraeel replied: “They are some groups through whom the Almighty Allah will be proud about you on Judgment Day.” I went to them and spoke with them about the past and future events till Judgment Day. (2) When I was taken to the Arsh for the second time, Jibraeel asked: O Muhammad, where is your brother, Ali (a.s.)?
I said: “I have left him on the earth. Jibraeel told me to pray to Allah to bring him there for me. I prayed and saw your image and all the curtains of the seven heavens were removed from my eyes. I saw the inhabitants of the celestial kingdom and saw every person who was in the sky at any place and you also saw him. (3) When I was sent for the Jinns, Jibraeel asked: O Muhammad, where is your brother, Ali (a.s.)?
I said: “I have left him in my place, but whatever I said to the Jinns and whatever they said to me was heard and memorized by you. (4) The Almighty Allah specialized me with the Night of Power (Lailatul Qadr) but you share it with me. (5) When I whispered in secret to the Almighty Allah at the highest heaven, you were with me.
And each time I prayed to the Almighty Allah for you and He gave everything to you except prophethood, because there will no prophet after me. (6) When I circled Baitul Mamoor, I saw you with me and when the prophets prayed behind me your facsimile was behind me. (7) During the period of Rajat (return) when I will eliminate the groups of infidels, you will be there with me.
O Ali, the Almighty Allah has given me excellence over all the people of the world and gave you excellence over them after me. And gave excellence to Fatima over all the ladies of the world and gave excellence to Hasan and Husain and Imams from the progeny of Husain (a.s.) over all the people after me and you.
O Ali, I found your name joined to my name and on some occasions this afforded me peace and comfort. First of all, on the night of Meraj when I reached Baitul Maqdas, I found written on the arch of Baitul Maqdas: “There is no god, except Allah. Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. I have strengthened Muhammad through his vizier and helped him through him.” I asked Jibraeel: “Who is my vizier?” “Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.).”
Secondly when I reached Sidratul Muntaha I found written there: “There is no god except Me and Muhammad is My chosen one from My creatures. I have strengthened him through his vizier and brother and helped him through him.” Thirdly, when I passed Sidratul Muntaha, and reached to Divine Throne, I found it inscribed on the pillar of Arsh: “I am Allah, the One and Muhammad is My beloved and My chosen one from My creatures.
I have strengthened him through his vizier and brother and helped him through him.” I asked Jibraeel: “Who is my Vizier?” “Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.),” said he. Sayyid Ibn Tawus has narrated through reliable chains from Amirul Momineen (a.s.) that the Messenger of Allah (S) said: “One night I was sleeping in Hijre Ismail when all of a sudden Jibraeel arrived and woke me up gently and said: “O Muhammad, come mount this, as your Lord has summoned you.”
And he had brought a quadruped which was smaller than a mule and bigger than an ass. Its steps were in proportion to its body. It had wings of gems and it was named Burraq. I mounted it and when I reached to Aqba I found a person standing there and his hair were lying on his hands. When he saw me, he said: Peace be upon you, O the first. Peace be upon you, O the last one. Peace be upon you, O the gatherer (Hashir). Jibraeel said: “Reply to his greetings.”
So I said: “And peace be upon you and the mercy of Allah and His blessings.” When I reached in between the Aqba I saw a white haired person who also greeted me like the first person and without Jibraeel urging I replied to his salutation. He said thrice: Protect the dignity of your legatee, Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) because he is the privileged servant of the Creator. When I reached Baitul Maqdas, I saw there an extremely handsome man who also saluted me in the same manner, and I replied to him as Jibraeel signaled.
He said thrice: O Muhammad, protect the sanctity of your legatee, Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) because he is the privileged one of the Almighty Allah and the trustee of Hauze Kauthar and the intercessor of Paradise.” Then I dismounted and Jibraeel held my hand to enter Baitul Maqdas. The mosque was full of people I could not recognize. Jibraeel took me ahead of the rows of people and suddenly a voice came from the heavens: O Muhammad, come forward to lead the prayer. Jibraeel made me stand ahead and I prayed with all of them.
A staircase of pearls was fixed to the first heaven. Jibraeel held my hand and took me to the sky. When we reached near the sky I beheld guards and arrows of fire. Jibraeel knocked at the door; angels asked who it was. “I am Jibraeel.” “Who is with you?” “Muhammad (S).” Angels asked: “Has he been raised?” “Yes.”
They opened the gate and said: “Welcome O brother of a high rank and Caliph of the Lord of the lords and chosen one of the powerful God. You are the last of the prophets, and there will be no prophet after you. Then a staircase of ruby was fixed, which was adorned with green emerald. Through it I reached to the second heaven.
Jibraeel knocked at the door; angels asked like the angels of the first heaven. When the door was opened, I was welcomed in the same manner and then from there a staircase was fixed to the third sky. This was surrounded my many types of lights. Jibraeel said: O Messenger of Allah (S), remain firm footed and the Almighty Allah will guide you.
In this way I crossed all the heavens and reached the seventh heaven, where I heard a great sound and was told that it belonged to the Tree of Tuba and it produced that sound in my eagerness. I was struck with terror. Jibraeel said: O Messenger of Allah (S) you have reached the point not reached by any creature. Go near your Lord.
If the merit of your companionship had not been there even I would not have been able to reach till here and my wings and feathers would have burnt up in divine effulgence. Then due to the Taufeeq of the Almighty Allah I crossed the stations of majesty and honor and seventy veils were removed from my eyes.
Then a voice came from the Lord: “O Muhammad.” When I heard this, I fell in prostration saying: “Labbaik, O Lord of power.” “O Muhammad, rise up and ask whatever you like. I will give it to you. Indeed you are My beloved, My chosen one, My prophet on My creatures and My trustee on My servants. When you have come in My vicinity, whom have you appointed as your successor?”
I said: “O my Lord, I have appointed one whom you know better than me. He is my brother, son of my uncle.” The Almighty Allah said: “I swear by My might and honor, I will not accept the faith of anyone in My being and on your prophethood if it is not accompanied with faith in his Imamate and Wilayat. O Muhammad, do you want to see him in the celestial kingdom?” “Yes,” said I. “Raise your head.”
I raised my head and saw Ali (a.s.) along with the privileged angels on the high heavens and I was elated to see him and I said: “O Lord, my eyes have become illuminated.” I was told: “O Muhammad, I make a covenant about Ali (a.s.), Ali is the ensign of the path of My guidance, chief of the righteous ones, eliminator of infidels and leader of the obedient ones. He is word that I have made compulsory for the pious.
And gave My knowledge and understanding in his inheritance. Therefore whoever loved me has loved Me. And whoever has been inimical to him has been inimical to Me. I will test the people through him. O Muhammad give him these glad tidings.” Jibraeel came to me and said: O Messenger of Allah (S), go on further.
When I moved ahead, I reached a stream whose banks were having domes of gems and rubies. And the water of that stream was whiter than snow, sweeter than honey and more fragrant than musk. Then Jibraeel came to me and I asked him about it. He said: “This is Kauthar, which the Almighty Allah has presented to you as He says:
إِنَّا أَعْطَيْنَاكَ الْكَوْثَرَ
“Surely We have given you Kauthar.”60
I saw some people in the act of being cast into Hell, and on inquiring who they were, was told they were Kharijis, Nasibi and Bani Umayyah, and those that are inimical to the Imams of your the Prophet’s progeny and your sons, and these five groups have nothing to do with Islam. Are you happy? I said: I thank that God, Who made Ibrahim (a.s.) as his Khalil, spoke to Musa (a.s.), bestowed the great kingdom to Sulaiman (a.s.) and spoke to me and made me His beloved and gave me a great matter with regard to Ali (a.s.).
O Jibraeel, tell me who were those whom I saw in the first Aqba and they saluted me. He said that he was his brother, Musa who had said: Peace be upon you, O the last one, because you are the last prophet. And his saying: Peace be upon you, O the gatherer (Hashir), it is so because all the communities will be raised during your prophethood.
Then I asked: Who were those seen in between the Aqba. Jibraeel (a.s.) said: He was your brother, Isa (a.s.), who advised you about your brother, Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.). I asked: “Who were those in Baitul Maqdas?” He said: “He was your respected father, Adam (a.s.) and he told you about Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) that he is the king of the believers.”
I asked: “Who were the ones who had prayed behind me in Baitul Maqdas. He said: They were prophets and angels whom the Almighty Allah had presented for your dignity. So that they may pray behind you. Thus when the Messenger of Allah (S) returned that night from Meraj, he called for Ali (a.s.) and said: “O Ali, let me narrate to you that Musa and Isa and your father Adam (a.s.) have sent greetings to you and all have recommended about you.”
Ali (a.s.) began to weep in joy and he said: “I praise the God Who made me known among His prophets.” Then he said: “O Ali, I give you another good news, that when I reached to the Arsh of my creator, I saw your image over there and the Almighty Allah took promise from me about you. O Ali, all the inhabitants of the high heavens pray for you and the chosen persons of the lofty heavens pray to Allah for permission to visit you and you will intercede for communities on Judgment Day when they will stand besides Hell.
It is narrated through reliable chains from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) that one day a person came to Imam Ali (a.s.) in Kufa Masjid and inquired about the interpretation of the following verse:
وَاسْأَلْ مَنْ أَرْسَلْنَا مِن قَبْلِكَ مِن رُّسُلِنَا
“And ask those of Our apostles whom We sent before you…”61
He said: “When the Almighty Allah took His beloved on the night of Meraj from Masjidul Haraam to Masjidul Aqsa (and it is Baitul Mamoor which is in the heavens). There Jibraeel took him to a stream and said: “O Prophet, perform ablution from this stream.” Then Jibraeel recited the Azan and Iqamah and sent the Prophet ahead to lead the prayers of a group of prophets and messengers whose number is only known to Allah.
In the first row will be Adam, Nuh, Hud, Ibrahim, Musa and Isa (a.s.) and all the prophets who were sent to the world since the time of Adam (a.s.) to the Holy Prophet (S). The Prophet led the prayers and all followed him. When he concluded the prayer, the Almighty Allah revealed to him: O Muhammad, ask them if they used to worship anyone else other than the One God.
So the Prophet posed this question: “To what do you testify?” they said: “We testify that there is no deity except Allah and He has no partner and we testify that you are the Messenger of Allah and the best of the prophets and Ali is the best of the successors and the Almighty Allah has taken covenant from all of them regarding you and Ali (a.s.). And all have chosen you and Ali from all the world.
In another reliable traditional report, it is narrated from Imam Musa Kazim (a.s.) that the Messenger of Allah (S) said: On the night of Meraj, I was taken to a tree and it was so tall and beautiful that I had not seen anything better. An angel was appointed at each of its branch and leaf and the tree was surrounded by divine light.
Jibraeel said: “This is Sidratul Muntaha. Before you, no prophet has gone further than this point. The Almighty Allah will carry you from here to Behisht to show you His great signs. So remain assured and steadfast with Allah’s support so that the light of divine miracle is perfected for you. You move towards the proximity of the Almighty Allah.” So with the help of the Almighty Allah I moved to the higher level till I reached Arsh.
A green curtain was drawn before me whose brilliance and beauty I cannot describe. When I clung to it, it was pulled up till I entered the holy court and I glided through the loftiness of my position and reached a point where even the sound of an angel cannot reach. I became oblivious of myself and all fear was dispelled. I thought that all the creatures had died. Then the Almighty Allah gave me some respite so that I may regain my consciousness and my fear may be dispelled, and I closed my eyes by the Taufeeq of Allah and I opened the eyes of my heart and saw the celestial and the earthly world as the Almighty Allah has said:
مَا زَاغَ الْبَصَرُ وَمَا طَغٰى. لَقَدْ رَأٰى مِنْ آيَاتِ رَبِّهِ الْكُبْرٰى.
“The eye did not turn aside, nor did it exceed the limit. Certainly he saw of the greatest signs of his Lord.”62
Then the Almighty Allah called out to me: “O Muhammad, have you seen your status and greatness in My view?” I replied: “Yes, my master.” The Almighty Allah said: “Have you recognized the status of your successors in My view?” I replied: “Yes, my Lord.” He said: “O Muhammad, what do the inhabitants of My high heavens say about the grades and heaven and the rewards of good deeds?
And do you know what they are?” I said: O my Master, You know better.” He said: “Performing complete ablution in winter time and to struggle for prayers for you and your descendants and to wait for prayer after one prayer, to feed the people and to pray at nights when the people sleep. Then my Lord made bestowals to me and presented gifts to my Ummah.
And then He said: I ask you, even though I know better than you, tell me who have you appointed as your representative on the earth?” I replied: “My cousin, Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) who has helped Your religion.” You are right, O Muhammad, I chose you with prophethood and raised you with messengership and tested Ali for conveying your messages to your Ummah and appointed him as My Proof on the earth, with you and after you.
He is the light of my friends and the Wali of those obedient to Me. I gave Fatima in marriage to him and made him your Wasi, inheritor of your knowledge and helper of your religion. He will be killed because of his relation with religion and for being related to Me and you. The vilest man of this Ummah will slay him.” The Messenger of Allah (S) says: “Then my Lord, commanded me for certain things which he did not permit me to disclose.
Then I was conveyed below through the curtain of honor, till I came to Jibraeel. And when they took me below Sidratul Muntaha, I saw my and Ali’s dwellings. Jibraeel was speaking to me. Suddenly a ray of divine light fell upon me and I glanced at it like a point of a needle; it was also like the Noor I had seen near the Divine Throne.
After that the call of truth reached my ears: “O Muhammad, My mercy precedes My anger for you and your progeny. You are my privileged one among My creatures. Only you are my trustworthy and My prophet. I swear by My might, if My creatures come to Me with all types of worship acts, but having doubts in your prophethood, or has enmity to My chosen Imams from your progeny, I will throw all of them into Hell and care less about it.
O Muhammad, Ali is the chief of believers, leader of the Muslims and who will lead the Shias to Paradise, and who will be martyred unjustly.” After that the Almighty Allah encouraged me for prayers and other things that He wanted. Through reliable chains, it is narrated from Ibn Abbas that the Messenger of Allah (S) said: “When I taken to the heavens, at each level angels inquired about the well being of Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) and said: O Messenger of Allah (S), when you return to the earth, convey our greetings to Ali and his Shia.
When I reached the seventh heaven and moved ahead from there, all angels and Jibraeel separated from me. I reached the curtains only through Taufeeq of the Almighty Allah and entered the holy court from one curtain to another. Veil of honor, veil of power, veil of light, veil of miracles, veil of greatness, veil of highness, veil of Noor, veil of dignity, veil of perfection; till the Taufeeq of the Almighty Allah enabled me to cross seventy thousand curtains.
After that through the wings of acceptance, I flew up the divine sanctuary and reached to the curtain of majesty and stood on the legs of servitude in a special chamber and whispered to my Lord. Whatever the Almighty Allah liked, He revealed to me and whatever I asked for myself and Ali (a.s.), was granted by Allah. And He promised me intercession for the Shia of Ali.
Then the Almighty Allah called out: “O Muhammad, whom do you like best in My creatures?” I said: “I like one whom You like.” I was told: “Hold Ali dear, as I hold him dear. I also hold dear one who holds him dear.” I fell down in prostration and praised and thanked the Almighty Allah.” Then a voice came: “O Muhammad, Ali is my Wali, My chosen one among My creatures.
I have chosen him after you so that he may be your brother, successor, Vizier, chosen one and your legatee and that he may be your helper in the heavens. O Muhammad, I swear by My might, I will surely destroy the tyrant that harbors enmity against Ali (a.s.) and I will surely defeat and kill the enemy that confronts Ali (a.s.). O Muhammad, I know what My servants hold and found Ali (a.s.) most obedient to you, therefore you should consider him as your brother, successor and Caliph and give your daughter, Fatima Zahra in marriage to him.
I will bestow him with two sons, who are pure and righteous. By My self, I have made it compulsory that one who loves Ali, his wife and Imams from his sons more than others, I will doubtlessly raise him to the Divine Throne and admit him to Paradise and make him drink the water of the holy fountain. I will deprive their enemies from all these bounties and take them away from the courtyard of My mercy and increase My chastisement and curse for them.
O Muhammad, indeed you are My messenger to all My creatures. And Ali is My Wali and the leader of believers. It was on this belief that I have taken covenant from all My creatures when they were in the form of spirits before I created the heavens and the earth due to the love I have for you, Ali and the Shia. And I have created your Shia from your essence.”
I said: “O my Lord, please unite my whole community on his Imamate.” It was said: “They are examiners and others are examined through them. Through them will I put to test in the heavens and the earth so that I may complete their rewards who obey Me about you. And curse be on those who disobey Me about your rights and through you I will separate the evil doers from the righteous. O My beloved, I swear by My might, if I had not created you, I would not have created Adam.
And if I had not created Ali, I would not have created Paradise. Because through you, I will punish and reward My servants on Judgment Day and through Ali and his sons, I will take revenge from My enemies. Thus all their return is to Paradise on Judgment Day. After that I will appoint you and Ali as the rulers over Paradise.
Your enemies will not enter Paradise and your friends will not enter Hell and I have sworn by My sacred being that I will do this only.” Thus when I returned from there and came out of the curtains, I heard a voice from behind: “O Muhammad, endear Ali, O Muhammad, honor Ali. O Muhammad, give precedence to Ali, O Muhammad, appoint Ali as your brother, successor and Caliph.
O Muhammad, endear one who endears Ali. O Muhammad, I advise you about Ali and his Shia. When I reached the angels, I was congratulated in the heavens: “O the Messenger of Allah (S), good cheers for you and Ali (a.s.) for this exaltation.”
Through reliable chains, it is narrated from Imam Ali Reza (a.s.) that the Messenger of Allah (S) said: “When I entered Paradise, I saw a tree on which, instead of fruits, there were robes and jewelry. There were Houries between it and below it were piebald horses. And that tree was shaded by the pleasure of the Almighty Allah.
I asked: “O Jibraeel, for whom this tree is?” He replied: “It is for your cousin, Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.). When the Almighty Allah commands that people should be admitted into Paradise, Shia of Ali will be brought below this tree and they will wear the robes and jewelry and mount those horses. Then the caller will call out: These are the followers of Ali (a.s.) who bore the troubles of the world with patience and today they are bestowed with these bounties.
Through reliable chains, it is narrated from the Messenger of Allah (S) that he said: “When I was taken to the heavens during Meraj, I reached a palace of pearls which was gilded with gold water and it shone bright. I came to know that the Almighty Allah had prepared that palace for Ali and Abbas.”
Through reliable chains, it is narrated from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) that: “One night the Messenger of Allah (S) was in Abtah. Suddenly Jibraeel appeared with Burraq upon which were tied a thousand saddles. Burraq prevented him from mounting, so Jibraeel gave her a slap such that it began to perspire and he said: “Keep straight, this is Muhammad (S).” So I mounted and the Burraq flew to Sidratul Muntaha.
When we reached the first heaven, the sound of the wings of Burraq and the brilliance of its Noor caused the angels to fly away in fear. Jibraeel said: “God is the greatest, God is the greatest.” Then the angels understood that it was some creature of Allah and they returned to Jibraeel and asked: “Who is this?” He replied: “It is Muhammad, the angels saluted him and then Burraq flew up to the second heaven. The angels of that place also dispersed in fear. Jibraeel said: “I testify that there is no god, except Allah.” Angels said: “It is a creature of Allah.”
And they came back to Jibraeel and asked what the matter was. When they recognized the Holy Prophet (S), they greeted him. This was repeated at every level and Jibraeel recited a part of Azan at every juncture. When they reached the seventh heaven the Azan was complete. There the Holy Prophet (S) led the prophets and angels in prayers. Then Jibraeel took him to a place where he stood and said: “You go ahead from here, I can’t move forward beyond this point.”
From there the Almighty Allah took him up by His limitless power till the point He wanted to take him. And He opened the doors of knowledge and recognition as much as He wished. Then He said: O Muhammad, who have you appointed for the guidance of your Ummah. He said: “Allah knows better.” The Almighty Allah said: “Ali is the chief of the believers.”
Through reliable chains, it is narrated by Ali bin Ibrahim from the Messenger of Allah (S) that he said: “When I entered Paradise, I saw the tree Tuba, whose root is in Ali’s celestial palace, and its branches shaded all the houses of Paradise. On the tree were pails filled with garments of brocade and satin of Paradise. A million pails were allotted to every believer, each pail contained different colored garments, all of different colors and fashions.
The shadow of Tuba is so extended, that a horseman could not gallop across it in a hundred years. The fruit of that tree is the food of the inhabitants of Paradise. Every branch in the palaces of believers, produces a hundred thousand different colored fruits, such as you have seen on earth, with a vast variety never found there. The place of fruit plucked from this tree, is immediately supplied by fresh fruit. As the Almighty Allah says:
لَّا مَقْطُوعَةٍ وَلَا مَمْنُوعَةٍ
“Neither intercepted nor forbidden…”63
Beneath that tree is a river having four branches: one of clear water, one of milk, another of wine, and the fourth of honey. Ibn Babawayh has narrated through authentic chains that the Messenger of Allah (S) said: “When I reached the seventh heaven during the night of Meraj, my sweat dropped on the ground through which a red flower grew up.
That flower fell into the sea and a fish tried to catch it and an Amus (a worm having a broad head and a thin tail and which appears in dirt) also wanted to snatch it. The Almighty Allah sent an angel who distributed it equally to both of them. Due to this green leaves that are present in petals are half thin like the tail of Amus and do not have petals on some sides and on one side they have petals and one side is missing. Thus that flower is half like a fish and half like the Amus. Iranians have versified this subject also.
Ibn Shahr Ashob has narrated that when the Messenger of Allah (S) went for Meraj and His Eminence, Abu Talib did not find him in his bed, he was much worried, and he gathered Bani Hashim and said: “Be prepared, if Muhammad is not found till the morning, I will take up the sword and kill whomsoever from the enemies of Muhammad that I may find. He was in this turmoil when the Holy Prophet (S) came down to the house of Umm Hani, sister of Amirul Momineen (a.s.).
Abu Talib was pleased to see him return and taking his hand brought him to Masjid Haraam and said to Bani Hashim: “Remove your swords.” And to the Quraish he said: “If he had not returned tonight, by Allah I would not have spared anyone of you.”
In the same way it is narrated that the Messenger of Allah (S) six months before Hijrat, on Saturday 17th Ramadan, on the basis of different reports, he was in the house of Umm Hani or in the house of Lady Khadija or in the defile of Abu Talib or Masjidul Haraam. And according to another report, two years after Besat it was the month of Rabiul Awwal, when Jibraeel and Mikaeel came down each with a thousand angels.
All greeted the Prophet and congratulated him. They had a quadruped with them which has a human face, legs like camels and arms like that of horses and the tail of a cow. It had a pair of wings on its thigh. Its bridle was made of red ruby and it was attached to its head. When the Prophet mounted it, it flew towards the heavens. It flew from one heaven to the other and angels were saluting the Prophet and giving him glad tidings.
The Holy Prophet (S) could see the prophets on the heavens and also heard glad tidings from them. So much so that he passed the heavens and reached to the curtains of light. At this point the Holy Prophet (S) heard that the angels of curtains were reciting Surah Noor and when he reached till Kursi, the angels were seen reciting Ayatul Kursi. When he reached the Arsh, the upholders of the Arsh were reciting Surah Momin.
There it was told a thousand times: Come near. And each time a big wish of the Prophet was fulfilled. Till he reached to the level of Qaba Qausain (two bows) and he was told to mention his need. The Holy Prophet (S) said: “You have made Ibrahim as the Khalil, made Musa as the one spoken to, Sulaiman got the great kingdom; what did You bestow me with?”
The Almighty Allah said: “If I made Ibrahim as my Khalil, I made you as my Habib (beloved). If I spoke to Musa at Mount Tur, I spoke with you at the mat of Noor. If I gave the great kingdom to Sulaiman, I gave you the everlasting kingdom of the hereafter and gave Paradise in your charge and also gave you intercession.”64
Shaykh Tusi, Ali bin Ibrahim and other tradition scholars have narrated that when the call of the Messenger of Allah (S) gained strength and some people joined the religion of the Prophet, the infidels of Quraish united to harass those who had converted to Islam, so that perhaps they may recant their faith. So people of every clan decided to harass those of their clans who had accepted Islam.
And since the Holy Prophet (S) had not been commanded to perform Jihad against the infidels; in the 5th year of Besat, by the order of Allah, a group of Muslims was ordered to migrate to Habasha, whose King, Najjashi also named as Ashama was a nice king who neither oppressed nor agreed to oppression.
The Muslims were ordered to migrate to Habasha and remain there in his refuge, till the Almighty Allah gives relief to the Muslims. There were exigencies in their migration. They helped in conversion of Najjashi and people of Habasha and their acceptance of Islam strengthened the Muslims. Thus eleven men and four women secretly left Mecca and set out for Habasha.
Uthman was also among them as was his wife, an adopted daughter of the Prophet. Zubair, Abdullah bin Masud, Abdur Rahman bin Auf, Abu Huzaifa and his wife, Sahla, Musab bin Umair, Abu Salam bin Abdul Asad and his wife, Umm Salma binte Abu Umayyah, Uthman bin Mazun, Aamir bin Rabia and his wife Laila binte Abu Khathima, Khatib bin Amr and Suhaili bin Baiza.
All of them set out individually in a secret manner. When they reached the sea side a boat of traders was present there. They boarded and set out for Habasha. When the infidels of Quraish came to know about it, they set out in their pursuit but they could not apprehend them. They remained in the country of Najjashi during the months of Shaban and Ramadan.
And they returned in the month of Shawwal and each of them entered into the security of a Meccan, except for Ibn Masud and he went back to Habasha. Due to this Hijrat, idolaters of Mecca increased their atrocities on the Muslims. Then next time the Holy Prophet (S) permitted them by the command of Allah and they migrated to Habasha and according to the report of Ali bin Ibrahim, this time His Eminence, Ja’far bin Abi Talib went to Habasha with seventy-two Muslims.
According to others they were eighty-two, other than women and children. In one report it is mentioned that eleven ladies accompanied them. This time the idolater of Quraish sent Amr bin Aas and Ammara bin Walid with gifts and presents to Najjashi so that he may get them back to Mecca. There was enmity between Amr bin Aas and Ammara, which Quraish had reconciled. Ammara was a handsome young man.
Amr bin Aas had also taken his wife along. When they boarded the ship, they had wine and Ammara told Amr to tell his wife to kiss him. “How is it possible?” asked Amr. When Amr was also intoxicated and was sitting on the edge of the ship, Ammar slapped him and threw him into the sea. Amr held at the ship and some people pulled him aboard. This created further enmity between them. When they came to Najjashi, they prostrated before him and presented the gifts. Then he said: “Some of our people have opposed us in our religion and they abuse our gods and they have fled our country and taken refuge over here.
We request you to send them back.” Najjashi called for Ja’far. Ibn Masud says: “When we went to Najjashi, Ja’far told us to remain quiet and that he would speak to the king. Thus when we entered Najjashi’s court, the officers told us to prostrate before Najjashi. Ja’far said: “We don’t prostrate before anyone other than Allah.” Najjashi told them about the claims of Quraish and His Eminence, Ja’far said: “O King, ask them if we are their slaves?” Amr Aas said: “No, they are free and they belong to the noble class.”
His Eminence, Ja’far said: “Ask them if we are indebted to them?” Amr Aas said: “No, we are not owed anything by them.” His Eminence, Ja’far said: “Ask them if we have committed any murder for which they want to punish us.” Amr Aas said: “No.” His Eminence, Ja’far said: “Then what do you want from us? You have harassed us too much and we left your country.” Amr Aas said: “They oppose us on our religion and they abuse our gods and disaffect our youth from our religion, and create discord in our unity. Give them back to us so that we may settle the matter.”
His Eminence, Ja’far said: “O King, our opposition with them is based on the fact that the Almighty Allah has raised a Prophet among us and he commands us not to attribute any partner to Allah. And not to worship anyone except the One God, not to gamble, to pray, pay Zakat, deal with justice and favor, do a good turn to the relatives, and he restrains from evil, oppression, unjust bloodshed, adultery, usury, offal and blood.
And he is the prophet whose arrival was predicted by Isa (a.s.) and his name is Ahmad.” Najjashi said: “The Almighty Allah has sent His Eminence, Isa (a.s.) also with the same code of law. Najjashi was pleased by Ja’far’s discourse. Amr here exclaimed, “O king, these people contradict your assertions respecting Isa. “What says your Prophet of that matter?” demanded Najjashi. Ja’far replied, “He says of Isa what God has declared concerning Him, that He is the Spirit and Word of God who caused Him to be brought forth of a virgin.”
Najjashi, turning to his scholars, observed, “More than this cannot be claimed for Isa;” then addressing Ja’far, he inquired, “Do you remember any communications which your Prophet has received from God?” Ja’far replied in the affirmative, and began to recite Surah Maryam, and when he came to the verse:
وَهُزِّي إِلَيْكِ بِجِذْعِ النَّخْلَةِ تُسَاقِطْ عَلَيْكِ رُطَبًا جَنِيًّا. فَكُلِي وَاشْرَبِي وَقَرِّي عَيْنًا
“And shake towards you the trunk of the palm tree, it will drop on you fresh ripe dates: So eat and drink and refresh the eye.”65
…Najjashi and the Christian scholars, who were in the assembly, began to weep excessively, and the king said to Ja’far, “Prosperity be to you and to him from whom you come! I testify that he is a Messenger of Allah (S), the one on whom Isa bin Maryam pronounced blessings. If my royalty did not hinder me, verily, I would go and assume the office of bearing his shoes. You have leave to retire, and no one shall molest you.”
At the same time he ordered them to be furnished with provisions and clothing, and whatever was necessary. Amr complained, saying, “O king, this is contrary to our religion; deliver Ja’far to us.” At this Najjashi struck Amr on the face, bidding him be silent, and swearing if he said anything ill of Ja’far, he would put him (Amr) to death. The king then ordered the gifts which Amr had brought, to be returned to him, and the wretch left the assembly with blood dripping from his face. He was saying: “If you say, we will not criticize him.”
During this audience, a maid that stood behind Najjashi fanning him, fell in love with the handsome Ammarah, and as Amr had met with such severe rebuke, in order to involve his companion in trouble from the motive of their old enmity, he said to him, “The king’s maid was much smitten with you; send someone to foster her passion. Ammarah was stupid enough to engage in the intrigue, and receiving a favorable answer from the maid, next took Amr’s insidious advice to send to her for some of the king’s perfume.
When it was brought, Amr, instigated by the old hatred, took it from the wretched fool Ammarah and carried it to Najjashi, saying, “I am under the greatest obligations to preserve the king’s honor, and serve him, as I am in his territory and enjoy his protection, and must not, therefore, act a false and dishonest part towards him. My colleague has beguiled your maid, who has sent him some of the royal perfume.
Being duty bound, I have informed the king of this matter, and here return the stolen perfumes.” This tale, attested as it was by the perfume, threw Najjashi into a rage, and at first he resolved to put Ammarah to death; but on reflection, concluded that was inexpedient, as the young man had entered his dominions under his own royal protection.
However he summoned his magicians and ordered them to inflict on Ammarah a punishment worse than death. Accordingly they apprehended him, and inserted mercury in his sexual organ which made him insane, and he ran mad into the wilderness and associated with wild men. The Quraish, hearing of his condition, sent a party after him, who, concealing themselves by a spring where he came with the wild men for water, caught him, but he yelled and struggled in their hands till death relieved his sufferings.
Amr despairing of obtaining the restoration of the refugees, returned to the Quraish, and reported his failure. Ja’far and his companions continued to enjoy the favor of Najjashi till the Prophet fled to Medina and made peace with the Quraish. After this event, the Muslim party in Habasha started for Medina, and met the Prophet on the day of the conquest of Khyber. Abdullah bin Ja’far was born through Asma binte Umais in Habasha. While Ja’far was in Habasha, a son was born to the king, whom he named Muhammad.
Ali bin Ibrahim has narrated that Umm Habib binte Abu Sufyan was the wife of Abdullah bin Jahash. Abdullah died in Habasha and the Messenger of Allah (S) sent message to Najjashi to marry her to him (the Prophet). Najjashi performed the marriage and gave 400 gold coins as dower on behalf of the Prophet and sent her a nice dress and perfumes.
Then he prepared for her journey to the Holy Prophet (S). She was accompanied by Mariya the Copt, mother of Ibrahim, also with a lot of garments and horses. And he sent thirty Christian scholars to study and ascertain in what manner he spoke, ate, drank, sat, prayed, and other particulars of his habits and customs. When they reached Medina, the Holy Prophet (S) invited them to Islam and recited the following verse:
إِذْ قَالَ اللَّهُ يَا عِيسَى ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ اذْكُرْ نِعْمَتِي عَلَيْكَ وَعَلَىٰ وَالِدَتِكَ إِذْ أَيَّدْتُكَ بِرُوحِ الْقُدُسِ تُكَلِّمُ النَّاسَ فِي الْمَهْدِ وَكَهْلًا ۖ وَإِذْ عَلَّمْتُكَ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَالتَّوْرَاةَ وَالْإِنْجِيلَ ۖ وَإِذْ تَخْلُقُ مِنَ الطِّينِ كَهَيْئَةِ الطَّيْرِ بِإِذْنِي فَتَنْفُخُ فِيهَا فَتَكُونُ طَيْرًا بِإِذْنِي ۖ وَتُبْرِئُ الْأَكْمَهَ وَالْأَبْرَصَ بِإِذْنِي ۖ وَإِذْ تُخْرِجُ الْمَوْتٰى بِإِذْنِي ۖ وَإِذْ كَفَفْتُ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ عَنْكَ إِذْ جِئْتَهُمْ بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ فَقَالَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْهُمْ إِنْ هٰذَا إِلَّا سِحْرٌ مُبِينٌ.
“When Allah will say: O Isa son of Maryam! Remember My favor on you and on your mother, when I strengthened you with the holy Spirit, you spoke to the people in the cradle and when of old age, and when I taught you the Book and the wisdom and the Taurat and the Injeel; and when you determined out of clay a thing like the form of a bird by My permission, then you breathed into it and it became a bird by My permission, and you healed the blind and the leprous by My permission; and when you brought forth the dead by My permission; and when I withheld the children of Israel from you when you came to them with clear arguments, but those who disbelieved among them said: This is nothing but clear enchantment.”66
On hearing this passage, they wept and believed and returning to Najjashi extolled the agreeable manners of the Prophet and repeated verses to him at which the king and all his scholars wept. The king became a Muslim, but did not disclose his faith to the people of Habasha through fear they would kill him. He left his kingdom with the intention of attending on the Prophet, but after his embarkation, died. On this event, the Almighty Allah revealed this verse:
لَتَجِدَنَّ أَشَدَّ النَّاسِ عَدَاوَةً لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا الْيَهُودَ وَالَّذِينَ أَشْرَكُوا ۖ وَلَتَجِدَنَّ أَقْرَبَهُمْ مَوَدَّةً لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا الَّذِينَ قَالُوا إِنَّا نَصَارٰى ۚ ذٰلِكَ بِأَنَّ مِنْهُمْ قِسِّيسِينَ وَرُهْبَانًا وَأَنَّهُمْ لَا يَسْتَكْبِرُونَ.وَإِذَا سَمِعُوا مَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَى الرَّسُولِ تَرٰى أَعْيُنَهُمْ تَفِيضُ مِنَ الدَّمْعِ مِمَّا عَرَفُوا مِنَ الْحَقِّ ۖ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا آمَنَّا فَاكْتُبْنَا مَعَ الشَّاهِدِينَ.
“Certainly you will find the most violent of people in enmity for those who believe (to be) the Jews and those who are polytheists, and you will certainly find the nearest in friendship to those who believe (to be) those who say: We are Christians; this is because there are priests and monks among them and because they do not behave proudly. And when they hear what has been revealed to the apostle you will see their eyes overflowing with tears on account of the truth that they recognize; they say: Our Lord! we believe, so write us down with the witnesses (of truth).”67
Shaykh Tabarsi etc. have narrated through authentic chains of narrators from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) that one day Najjashi called Ja’far with his companions and when they came, they saw that Najjashi was seated on the ground wearing old clothes. Ja’far says: When we saw this, we were shocked and when he noticed our apprehension, he said: “I thank the Almighty Allah who helped Muhammad and lighted my eyes with his help.
Would you like to hear the good news? “Yes,” I said. He said: “Right now my spy has told me that the Almighty Allah helped his Prophet and killed many of his enemies. So and so was killed and so and so were taken captive. Their battle took place in a valley called Badr. As if I can see that valley in which I used to graze the sheep of my master which was situated in Bani Zumra.”
Ja’far asked: “O good king, why are you seated on the ground and why have you donned old clothes?” He replied: “O Ja’far, we have read in Injeel that when the Almighty Allah, the generous one, bestows some favor to the servant, the servant is duty bound to offer thanks at that moment and it is mentioned in that same Injeel that in the view of Allah no thankfulness is better than humility. Thus I have adopted this humility to thank for the victory of the Prophet.”
When the Messenger of Allah (S) heard this he said to his companions: “Sadaqah increases the wealth of the giver, so you must also pay Sadaqah so that the Almighty Allah is more merciful to you humility results in honor, so you must also adopt humility; so that the Almighty Allah also raises your grades and forgiveness increases respect. So forgive the mistakes of others so that the Almighty Allah may hold you respectable.
Shaykh Tabarsi and Qutub Rawandi etc. have narrated that the Messenger of Allah (S) wrote a letter to Najjashi respecting Ja’far and his companions and sent it through Amr bin Umayyah Zumri, the purport of which was this: In the name of Allah the Compassionate, the Merciful. This is a letter from Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah (S), to Najjashi, king of Habasha. Peace be on you! I render thanks to Allah, the Holy King and faithful Protector.
I testify that Isa the son of Maryam is the Spirit and Word of Allah. The Almighty Allah bestowed that one chosen and created by Himself, on Maryam, a virgin, who had been kept separate from men, who was pure and holy, and who was unstained by fornication or carnal intercourse. She conceived Isa by the breath of the Holy Spirit, and Allah breathed into Him His own chosen Spirit, as by His own power He created Adam of clay, and breathed into Him His own chosen Spirit.
I call you to the acknowledgment and worship of the sole God Who has no associate. I enjoin you to be the friend of man, in obedience to Allah. I summon you to follow and believe in me and in that which has been revealed to me. Verily, I am a Prophet sent by Allah. I have sent to you my cousin, Ja’far bin Abu Talib, with a company of Muslims. On their arrival, entertain them and be not haughty.
I summon you and your army to the cause of God. And now the divine message with which I am charged concerning you is executed. I have laid before you the conditions of future good. Receive my counsel, and the peace of God be on him who follows the path of religious instruction.
In reply to the Prophet’s letter, the king wrote as follows: In the name of Allah the Compassionate, the Merciful; this is a letter to Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah (S), from Najjashi, the son of As-ha. Peace be to you from Allah, O apostle of Allah and of mercy and blessing be to you from Allah besides Whom there is no Lord. He has guided me into the faith of Islam. Verily, your letter has reached me, O Messenger of Allah (S).
I swear by the Lord of heaven and earth, that what you say concerning Isa is true, and that he is no more than you have described him to be. I have fully understood the rest of your reverenced epistle, and have honored your cousin and his companions. I testify that you are the Messenger of Allah (S), truth-speaking, and witnessed to be true. I have believed in you, and have pledged myself to your cousin, and by his instrumentality have become a Muslim, a true believer in the Lord of the universe. I have sent to you, apostle of Allah, my son.
I have no power to make any one a Muslim but myself. If you command it, I will wait upon you in person. I testify that all your commands are according to truth. Najjashi accompanied his letter with presents, and sent Mariya the Copt, who became the mother of the Prophet’s son Ibrahim, along with a group of persons who embraced Islam at his hands and then returned.
It is related that His Eminence, Abu Talib wrote a letter to Najjashi asking him to help and support the Messenger of Allah (S) and had also mentioned some couplets therein as follows:
O king of Habasha, you should know that Muhammad (S) is a prophet like Musa and Masih bin Maryam (a.s.) and he also brought the divine teachings like the previous prophets had brought. And you read about the veracity and qualities of the Messenger of Allah (S) in your books. So do not associate anyone with the Almighty Allah and accept Islam which is the true path and which is an illuminated and a clear path. It is not dark and concealed.
Ibn Babawayh has narrated through authentic chains of narrators from Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) that when Jibraeel (a.s.) informed the Holy Prophet (S) about the passing away of Najjashi, King of Habasha, the Messenger of Allah (S) wept in grief and remarked: “Your brother, As-hama has departed from his holy abode today.”
Then the Holy Prophet (S) came out of the Baqi cemetery and the Almighty Allah lowered all the highlands till the Holy Prophet (S) saw his bier in Habasha and recited his funeral prayers with seven Takbirs. The same report Shaykh Tabarsi has quoted from Jabir Ansari and Ibn Abbas etc. in which it is also mentioned that when the Messenger of Allah (S) recited the funeral prayer of Najjashi, the hypocrites commented: He is reciting the funeral prayer of a Christian of Habasha whom he has never seen. At that juncture, the following verse was revealed in their refutation:
وَإِنَّ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ لَمَنْ يُؤْمِنُ بِاللَّهِ وَمَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَيْكُمْ وَمَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَيْهِمْ خَاشِعِينَ لِلَّهِ لَا يَشْتَرُونَ بِآيَاتِ اللَّهِ ثَمَنًا قَلِيلًا ۗأُولٰئِكَ لَهُمْ أَجْرُهُمْ عِنْدَ رَبِّهِمْ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ سَرِيعُ الْحِسَابِ.
“And most surely of the followers of the Book there are those who believe in Allah and (in) that which has been revealed to you and (in) that which has been revealed to them, being lowly before Allah; they do not take a small price for the communications of Allah; these it is that have their reward with their Lord; surely Allah is quick in reckoning.”(68)(69)
Kulaini, Ibn Babawayh and Shaykh Tabarsi etc. have narrated through authentic chains of narrators from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) that His Eminence, Ja’far returned from Habasha and reached the Prophet on the day of the conquest of Khyber. The Messenger of Allah (S) was highly elated and he said: “I can’t say on which to express more happiness: on the conquest of Khyber or the return of Ja’far.”
When Ja’far arrived, the Prophet embraced him and accorded him a warm welcome and asked: “Do you want me to bestow you something?” “Yes, O Messenger of Allah (S).” People thought that the Holy Prophet (S) would give him a lot of wealth from the booty of Khyber and they craned their necks to see what he was giving. The Holy Prophet (S) said to Ja’far: I give you something and teach you an act which if you perform everyday, it will be better than everything in the world.
Or even if you perform it once a month or once a year, all sins committed during this time will be forgiven.” Then the Messenger of Allah (S) taught him a prayer called Prayer of Ja’far at-Tayyar. Shaykh Tabarsi has narrated that His Eminence, Ja’far returned to the Holy Prophet (S) on the day of the conquest of Khyber along with sixty-two persons of Habasha and eighty people from Shaam including Bahira, the monk.
The Messenger of Allah (S) recited Surah Yasin before them and they wept a great deal and said: How similar is this discourse to the one revealed on Prophet Isa (a.s.)!
Shaykh Tabarsi and Qutub Rawandi have narrated that in the eighth year of the Prophet’s prophetical office, when the Quraish infidels and idolaters of Mecca saw that Hamza had become a Muslim, and heard that Najjashi had protected the Muslim refugees, and had himself become a believer, and when they witnessed the resolution with which Abu Talib and most of the Bani Hashim defended the Prophet, and that Islam was spreading among most Arab tribes, and the truth of the Prophet’s claims manifested to multitudes – in view of all these things, they were greatly perplexed, and the fire of hatred and of idolatry blazed afresh in their bosoms.
Under the influence of these feelings, they assembled in Darul Nadwa, a noted place, and carried their hostile resolutions so far that they pledged themselves to each other by oath, and signed a covenant, that they would not eat, nor speak, nor trade, nor intermarry with the Bani Hashim, till they were forced to deliver the Prophet to them so that they can put him to death.
They resolved, moreover, that Muhammad should be put to death whenever an opportunity offered. On being informed of these resolutions of Quraish, Abu Talib assembled the whole company of Bani Hashim, who were in all forty men, and swore by the Kaaba, that if, by means of an enemy, a thorn pierced the foot of the Prophet, he would kill them all.
He then took the Prophet, and with the company of Bani Hashim, retired to a defile, called, in consequence, the defile of Abu Talib. He stationed guards day and night at the passes leading to his retreat, in order to protect the Prophet from all harm. Sword in hand, while the Prophet slept at night, he guarded him with the greatest vigilance, and as a moth circles a candle, so he continued to march around that lamp of prophecy.
He used the additional precaution of having the Prophet sleep part of the night in one place, and part in another, and moreover caused Ali, the dearest of his sons, to sleep with the Prophet during the first part of the night, so that if an enemy at that hour had observed the Prophet, and afterwards attempted his life, the stroke might fall on Ali and the Prophet escape. In this arrangement, Amirul Momineen (a.s.) most cordially acquiesced, cheerfully exposing his life on behalf of the Prophet. The same vigilant guard was kept up during the day, Abu Talib making his sons and nephews responsible for the Prophet’s safety.
The party in the defile were at length reduced to great straits; no Arab coming to Mecca ventured to sell anything to Bani Hashim, for if he did, his property was plundered by the Quraish. Abu Jahl, Aas bin Wail, Nazar bin Harith and Aqba bin Muit was particularly active in intimidating caravans and preventing them from relieving the Bani Hashim.
Khadija spent the greater part of her large fortune in support of her husband and his party when they were in the defile. All the Quraish chiefs had signed the agreement against the Bani Hashim, except Motam bin Adi, who declared it was a tyrannical proceeding, and he would have nothing to do with it.
Forty Quraish chiefs, among whom was Abu Lahab, set their seals to the covenant, which was wrapped and hung up in the Kaaba. At the seasons of pilgrimage, sacred from war and violence, the Prophet left the defile, and, mingling with the pilgrim Arabs, said, “I am sent as a Prophet from Allah, and call on you to embrace my faith, enter the pale of my religion, and protect me from the designs of my enemies, and I will be surety that you shall enjoy Paradise.” Abu Lahab followed the Prophet, saying to the people, “Do not listen to what this fellow says; although he is my nephew, he is liar and a sorcerer.”
The Prophet and his protectors remained in the defile for four years, only venturing to leave their asylum at the seasons of Hajj, of which there were annually two, one called Umrah, in the month of Rajab, and the other the great pilgrimage, in the month of Zilhajj. During these seasons, the Bani Hashim left their valley, traded and returned, and however much hunger and other necessities pressed them, through fear of the Quraish they did not venture out again till another pilgrim season.
During this period, the Quraish sent a message to Abu Talib, promising to make him their king on the condition that he would deliver up to them Muhammad to be put to death. The brave chieftain answered in an extemporaneous ode in which he extolled the Prophet in the highest degree, manifested his own faith in him, and declared he would defend him as long as he lived. This ode from Abu Talib threw the Quraish into despair.
Abu Laith bin Rabia, a son-in-law of the Prophet, brought his camels laden with wheat and dates to the entrance of the defile, and shouted after them till they had gone in, when he returned. Goods were unloaded and the camels came out again. On this generous act the Prophet said, “Abu Laith had done nobly by us, fulfilling the obligation of a son-in-law.”
The distress of the Bani Hashim at last reached that pitch that the cries of their children for food prevented the people of Mecca from sleeping. Most of the Quraish now began to repent of the agreement into which they had entered, but having signed the covenant they could not act contrary to it. When they met at the Kaaba in the morning, and inquired for each other’s health, some would say they could not sleep the past night on account of the crying children of the Bani Hashim from hunger. This indeed caused the most malignant to exult, but some of the Quraish were troubled by it.70
It is mentioned in Tafsir Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) that when Quraish forced Bani Hashim to take refuge in the defile of Abu Talib, the Quraish appointed some persons to guard the entrances so that they may prevent rations from them. Companions of the Prophet were reduced to the greatest distress; they were miraculously relieved by the Prophet, Allah sending them better supplies than the manna and quails provided for the Bani Israel.
And all got what they so desired. They once complained about their confinement in the defile and the Holy Prophet (S) signaled to the walls of the defile to move further and a huge field appeared in the defile. Then the Holy Prophet (S) signaled with his hands to the desert to throw up miraculous vegetation and streams of water etc. Then Bani Hashim complained to the Prophet that their clothes had become old and soiled.
He commanded them to breathe on them, draw their hands over them in putting them on, and pronounce blessings on him and his sacred family, by which means their garments were rendered white, clean, and becoming, and their grief and trouble were removed, and their persons moreover were thus perfectly cleansed.
They exclaimed, “How wonderful it is that by pronouncing blessings on you and your family, our garments and persons should become so pure!” He replied, “This likewise purifies your hearts from hypocrisy, enmity, and everything bad, and washes out the record of your sins more entirely than the soiling of your garments.”
It is related in previous reports that after Bani Hashim had lived four years, by another account three years, and by another still two years in the defile, the Almighty Allah sent termites against that cursed scroll of Quraish, which they had placed in the Kaaba, and utterly cleared the parchment of every word except the name of Allah, which was written on it. Jibraeel revealed this to the Prophet, who reported it to Abu Talib.
At these glad tidings, the chieftain dressed and started for Kaaba, where he found the Quraish chiefs assembled. On seeing Abu Talib, they said to one another, “He is now forced to surrender the Prophet to us.” At his approach, they rose and treated him with the greatest deference and respect, and said, “We perceive you have come to unite your counsels with ours and deliver your nephew to us.”
“No, indeed!” said Abu Talib, “I come for no such purpose; but my nephew, who never lies, has assured me that the Almighty Allah has sent termites that have totally effaced your cursed agreement, and obliterated the tyrannical and unjust compact into which you entered, and that nothing remains on the parchment, but the name of Allah. Produce it now: if the Prophet’s declarations herein prove true, then fear God, and turn, from your oppressive and unmerciful doings: if what he has asserted is false, I will deliver him to you, and if you please, put him to death.”
They agreed that this was an equitable proposition, and bringing the parchment from the Kaaba, they found the seals perfect, but when they opened the instrument, it appeared in just the state the Prophet had described. The Quraish hung their heads, while Abu Talib warmly exhorted them to fear God and leave off their tyranny. Several of them like Motam bin Adi, Abul Bakhtari bin Hisham and Zubair bin Umayyah now rose and declared they were heartily sick of the embargo, and it was agreed to tear the sheet on which it had been written, notwithstanding Abu Jahl’s efforts to have it re-established.
The Bani Hashim now left the defile, and returned to their houses, and two months after this event, Abu Talib fell sick. When the Prophet visited him and saw that he was soon to depart, he said, “O my uncle, you brought me up in infancy, assisted me in manhood, and supplied my wants in my orphan state. May God, on my account, grant you the best rewards.
I ask one word from you that my eyes may be enlightened.” The object of the Prophet in this was, that it might be publicly known that Abu Talib was a Muslim, though he had not openly professed Islam, that he might more effectually serve the Prophet. Abu Talib now repeated the creed, declared his faith in Islam, and after committing to the Prophet the relics of the prophets, and the covenant of Ibrahim, departed to the eternal God.71
The Prophet consigned his remains to the tomb, and wept, saying, “O my uncle, your kindred kindness has been unceasing, may Allah give you a good reward!” It is well known that Abu Talib’s death occurred in the tenth year of the Prophet’s prophetical mission. Thirty-five days after that melancholy event, or according to some, three days afterwards, Khadija departed to the holy world.
By these calamities, one speedily following the other, the Prophet was grievously afflicted. Both of these individuals had been his viziers, assistants, and helpers in promoting Islam, and were his companions in most pressing adversities.
Shaykh Tabarsi has narrated from, Ibn Abbas that the death of Abu Talib occurred on the twenty-sixth of the month of Rajab, in the last part of the tenth year of the prophetical mission of the Prophet, and Khadija dying three days afterwards, the Prophet named that the year of grief (Aamul Huzn). Ibn Babawayh has narrated that when Khadija was near her departure to the eternal world, the Prophet visited her and said, “To me it is a heavy burden to see you thus, but when you reach your place in Paradise give your companions my salutation.”
“Who are they?” she inquired. He replied, “Maryam, daughter of Imran, Kulthum, sister of Musa, Asiya wife of Firon, all of whom, with yourself, will be my wives in Paradise.” “May the union be blessed,” added Khadija. It is well known that Khadija was sixty-five years old when she died. The Prophet buried her at Hajoon. He entered the grave himself to lay her in it.
Kulaini his through good chains narrated from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) that after the death of Abu Talib, Jibraeel descended and directed the Prophet to depart from Mecca, for no one was left able to defend him from Quraish, who were becoming more, exasperated against him. Accordingly he left the city, and went to a mountain near Mecca, called Hajoon.
Ayyashi has also narrated from the same Imam that the Messenger of Allah (S) after Besat remained in concealment for three years from the idolaters of Quraish and there was no one with him except Amirul Momineen (a.s.) and Khadija. Till the Almighty Allah commanded him to disclose his faith and not to care about the idolaters.
At that time the Prophet declared his faith to the Arab tribes and sought their help, but they used to deny him and drive him away. And Shaykh Tabarsi has narrated that after the death of Abu Talib when the harassment of Quraish increased he went to Taif in order to call the people towards the true religion.
He met the three chiefs of Thaqif tribe who were brothers; Abde Bil Lail, Habib and Masud bin Amr. The Holy Prophet (S) invited them to embrace Islam and complained about the harassment of his people and sought their help in this regard. They replied in the nastiest way and instigated their own people to harass the Prophet and the wretched people stood in his way. Wherever the Prophet went, he was welcomed with stones, till his feet were injured and bleeding. At last he took shelter under a tree in an orchard.
He met Atba and Shaibah and since he was aware of their enmity, he was aggrieved to see them. One of their slaves, Adas was from the Nainawa area and the two of them sent him to the Prophet with a tray of grapes. When Adad came to the Prophet, the latter asked him to which place he belonged. Adas said that he was from Nainawa. The Holy Prophet (S) said: “You are from the righteous servant of Allah, Yunus bin Mata. Then he narrated to him the story about Prophet Yunus (a.s.) and invited him to Islam.
The Holy Prophet (S) did not consider anyone too lowly to be invited to embrace Islam; he considered all equal in this regard. Since Adas was a learned man and had studied the past books, when he came to know about the perfections and good qualities of the Prophet, he accepted Islam and fell down at the bleeding feet of the Messenger of Allah (S). He kissed the feet of the Prophet and rubbed his eyes against him.
Then he returned to that accursed duo who asked him why he had prostrated to Muhammad while even though they were his masters, he had never prostrated to them. He said it was because I became aware of his greatness and majesty and I got his recognition, and I found my heart brimming with his love.
The due laughed and said: “Do not be deceived by him, he is a sorcerer.” And Ibn Shahr Ashob has narrated that when the Holy Prophet (S) reached Taif, he saw the accursed duo seated on chairs and seeing the Prophet, they remarked: “He is coming, now he will stand before us.” But when the Prophet came near, their chairs bowed down in obeisance and the duo fell down. So they said: “When your magic did not work on Meccans, you have come to Taif?”
According to one report it is mentioned that the Holy Prophet (S) went to Taif with Zaid bin Haritha in the 10th year of prophethood in the end of the month of Shawwal. And he stayed there for 10 or 50 days. After that he set out for Mecca. On the way, he halted at a grapevine and supplicated the Almighty:
“O Allah, I complain to You for the weakening of my strength and lack of my determination and dependence to people. You are the most merciful of the merciful ones. Lord of the deprived ones. And You are the Lord; to whom do you entrust me to? To the people who do not obey me or to any enemy” Who has the control of all my affairs.
If there is no anger from you, I don’t care. But Your forgiveness is most vast for me. I seek refuge from the light of Your face which dispels all the darknesses. And due to which all the affairs of the world and hereafter were reformed, that Your anger should come upon me or Your chastisement should fall on me. All the prayers are from you till are not pleased…”
This supplication is proved effective in removal of hardships. When the Holy Prophet (S) reached Nakhla, the Almighty Allah sent a group of Jinns to him, which embraced the faith.
Ali bin Ibrahim has narrated that when the Holy Prophet (S) returned from Taif, he donned the Ihram for Umrah and tried to enter Mecca. He sent a man from Quraish who had secretly believed in the Prophet to Akhnas bin Shareek and said that Muhammad wants to enter Mecca and perform Umrah and Sayy under his guarantee, and the Prophet himself hid in Hira cave along with Zaid. When this message was delivered he said: I am not from Quraish, I am their Caliph.
I doubt if they would accept my guarantee and this would be humiliating for me. Then the Holy Prophet (S) sent him to Suhail bin Amr seeking his guarantee but he also declined. Then Motam bin Adi was contacted and he said: “I have given guarantee to you, you may come to Mecca and do whatever you like.”
And he told his sons and sons-in-law and his brother, Taima to arm themselves and publicly declared that he has stood as a surety for Muhammad. “Keep circling the Kaaba and grant him protection, so that he may perform the Tawaf and Sayy.” They were ten persons in all. When the Prophet entered Mecca, the accursed Abu Jahl said: “O Quraish, Muhammad has come alone, his protector and helper is dead. You can do whatever you like with him.”
Taima heard this and said: “Shut up, my brother has stood as surety for him.” The accursed Abu Jahl came to Motam and asked: “Have you all become a member of Muhammad’s religion?” “No,” said he, “but I have stood as a surety for him.” When the Messenger of Allah (S) concluded the Tawaf and Sayy, he came to Motam and said: “O Abu Wahab, you stood as a surety for me and did a favor on me. Now I am leaving your protection.” He asked: “Why don’t you continue in my protection? Quraish will cause no harm to you.”
The Holy Prophet (S) said: “I don’t want to stay in the protection of an idolater for more than a day.” Motam called out: “Muhammad has gone out of my protection.” The Messenger of Allah (S) used to invite the Arab tribes to accept faith in every season and he used to visit their homes and propagate Islam. That year he married Ayesha, the daughter of Abu Bakr, and Saudah, the daughter of Rabia.72
Ali bin Ibrahim has narrated that Asad bin Zurarah, and Zakwan bin Abde Qays, of the tribe of Khazraj, had visited Mecca in one of the Umrah seasons in the month of Rajab. Between the Khazraj and the tribe of Aws the fire of war had been blazing for years, and about the time just mentioned, the Battle of Baas was fought, in which the tribe of Aws were victors.
Asad and Zakwan came therefore to Mecca to negotiate an alliance with the Quraish, to enable their tribe to repulse the victorious enemy. Asad being acquainted with a Quraish chief, named Atba bin Rabiah, on arriving at Mecca, alighted at his house and declare the object of his visit. Atba replied, “Our country is distant from yours, and we have now special business on our hands, which will prevent us from meddling with others’ affairs.”
“What important matter may this be?” inquired Asad, as you dwell in the sacred and secure city. “A man has arisen among us,” replied Atba, “who claims to be the Messenger of Allah (S), talks nonsense on the subject of religion, reviles our gods, and beguiles our youth.” “Is he one of yourselves, replied the other, or a stranger?” “He is one of us,” said Atba, “and of the best class of us, the son of Abdullah bin Abdul Muttalib, and is the most noble, excellent, and illustrious among us.”
As the tribes of Aws and Khazraj had often been told by the neighboring Jews of the tribes of Bani Quraiza, Bani Nuzayr, and Bani Qinqaa, that a Prophet was to arise at Mecca, flee to Medina, and slay a great many Arabs, Asad, on hearing Atba’s account, thought that this man must be that same Prophet described by the Jews, and therefore inquired where he was. Atba replied, “You will now find him seated by Hajar Ismail, but he and his party are shut up in a defile, except at the season of pilgrimage.
But say you nothing to him, nor listen to his words, for he is a magician, and by the sorcery of his words, robs people of their hearts.” This conversation, it will be observed, happened during the period the Bani Hashim were besieged in the defile of Abu Talib. Asad replied, “I have come on a pilgrimage, and of course must go to the Masjid to perform the religious circuits.” “Fill your ears with cotton,” then said Atba, “that you may not hear what he says.”
Asad followed the advice he had received, and entering the place of devotion, beheld the Prophet, with a party of Bani Hashim, seated at Hajar Ismail. The visitor began his circuits, and passed before the Prophet, who looked at him and smiled. In the second circuit, Asad said to himself, “How silly I am to return to Medina without finding out the truth of this matter which is agitating Mecca.”
He then took the cotton out of his ears, and approaching the Prophet, saluted him with, “Good morning,” which was the customary form of salutation. The Prophet, raising his head, said, “Allah has given me a better salutation, even than that of the inhabitants of Paradise, namely, peace be on you!” “To what do you call us?” asked Asad. He replied, “I call you to testify to the unity of God and to my prophethood.
Ascribe no associate to Allah; do good to your father and mother; do not kill your children through fear of poverty: abandon open and secret sins; put no one to death unjustly; touch not the property of orphans except to improve it; let your weight and measures be perfect; speak accordingly to justice and truth; incline not to one side to favor a kinsman, and fulfill your covenant with God. This is the message God sends you, perhaps you will remember it.”
On hearing these words the light of faith entered Asad’s heart, and eternal felicity made him her own. He exclaimed, “I testify that there is no God but Allah, and I testify that you, O Messenger of Allah (S), are His apostle. May my father and mother be your sacrifice! I am of Medina, of the tribe of Khazraj. Between us and the tribe of Aws the bonds of friendship are broken. If God should reunite them by your means, and restore peace between us, none would be more esteemed among us than yourself.
I have colleagues here of my own tribe; if they should embrace this faith, I am hopeful our matters will be arranged by your good offices. Verily, I have heard of you from the Jews, who congratulate us on your future coming to Medina, and give us descriptions of your character, and I hope our region will be honored by your removal there, for which the Jews have assured us.
I thank God for the favor of having seen you; verily, I came to sign a treaty with Quraish, and God has imparted to me something better than I sought.” Then Zakwan arrived and Asad told him that he had found Muhammad respecting whom the Jews had congratulated them, and described his character to his colleague, who also believed.
They then implored the Prophet to send a person with them to teach the Qur’an and call their people to the faith of Islam. He accordingly sent with them Musab bin Umair, who was still a mere youth. He had been very tenderly brought up, was the darling of his father and mother, who watched over him so affectionately that he had never been out of Mecca before he became a Muslim. His parents then treated him very cruelly, and banished him from their presence.
He took refuge with the Prophet in the defile, and his personal appearance was much altered, because it was difficult for him to endure hardships. He had treasured up in his memory very much of the Qur’an, and of the divine precepts. Asad and Zakwan, with their Muslim teacher, Musab, now departed for Medina, and on rejoining their people, related the story of the Prophet, and narrated his perfections.
One or two persons of every tribe at Medina directly became Muslims. Musab lodged in the house of Asad, and went daily among the parties of Khazraj, calling on them to embrace Islam, and he won the youth over to faith. At that time Abdullah bin Ubayy was chief of the Khazraj, with who the Aws came into an agreement to make him chief over both tribes, on account of his noble rank and generosity.
A crown was being prepared for him, its completion being delayed for want of gems to be set in it. The Aws, notwithstanding because he did not aid the Khazraj at the Battle of Baas, declaring the war unjust on their part. The spread of Islam at Medina caused the royal power of Abdullah to totter, for which reason he endeavored to put a stop to the new schism among his people. Asad now said to Musab, “My maternal uncle, Saad bin Maaz, is one of the chiefs of Aws.
He is a noble and intelligent man, of the greatest influence in the clan of Amr bin Auf. If he should become a Muslim, our affairs would be complete. Let us, then, visit their quarter.” So they arrived there, and seating themselves by a well, a party of young people came around them, to whom Musab began to recite the Qur’an.
The news soon reached Saad bin Maaz, who called a chief named Usaid bin Khuzayr, and said to him, “I hear that Asad, with a Quraish man, has come to our quarter, and is corrupting our youth. You go and put a stop to their doings.” When Usaid appeared, Asad observed to his companion, “This is a great and noble man, if he should join our party, I am hopeful our object would be accomplished.”
Usaid, on approaching, said to Asad, “Your maternal uncle sends you this message: Come not into our assemblies, corrupt not our youth, and fear the Aws.” “Sit down,” replied Musab, “and give us leave to explain: if our doctrine pleases you, accept it; if not, at your wish we will leave your district.”
Usaid complied, and Musab had no sooner recited a chapter of the Qur’an to him than the light of Islam illumined his heart, and he inquired, “What must one do who embraces this faith?” Musab replied, “He must bathe, put on two clean garments, pronounce the two testimonies, and pray at the Kaaba.” Usaid immediately threw himself into the well, came out, wrung his clothes, and said, “Tell me the testimonies.”
He then repeated the creed: There is no god but Allah; Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah (S); and performed two rakats of prayer.” Now, said Usaid to Asad, “I will go, and by one device or another will send your uncle to you.” As this fortunate man was approaching, Saad swore he was coming back with a new face on him.
Usaid put his stratagems in operation and succeeded in sending Saad to Musab, who had no sooner recited to him the chapter entitled, Ha Mim than the light of faith illumined his mind. After sending home for two clean garments, he bathed, pronounced the creed, and performed two rakats of prayers. He then took the hand of Musab, brought him to his house, and said, “Proclaim your religion and fear no one.”
Saad went himself to the tribe of Amr bin Auf, and proclaimed with a loud voice, “O you children of Amr bin Auf let neither man nor woman, boy nor girl, remain, but all come out, for this is not a day for any one to stay behind the curtain.” When all were assembled, he demanded what rank and reputation he held among them.
They replied, “You are our chief, and whatever you command we will do, rejecting no order whatever.” Saad replied, “It is unlawful for any of you to speak to me till you testify to the unity of God and the prophethood of the Prophet. I praise God for the great favor conferred on me. This is the same Prophet of whom the Jews have given us information.” The whole tribe became Muslim that day.
Islam now prevailed among the Khazraj and Aws, their chiefs having embraced the faith. This conversion was readily accomplished because the Jews had given such description of the character of the Prophet. Musab reported his success to the Prophet, who thereupon gave permission to all Muslim suffering oppression for their faith, to remove to Medina, which they did one by one. On arriving at that city the tribes of Khazraj and Aws took the refugees to their houses, and treated them with the greatest hospitality and respect.
It is differently related by some, that in the eleventh year of his prophethood, after coming out of the defile of Abu Talib, the Prophet met six men of Khazraj tribe, who were: Asad bin Zurarah, Aun bin Harth, Rafe bin Malik, Qatba bin Aamir, Aqba bin Aamir and Jabir bin Abdullah. The Messenger of Allah (S) asked them who they were and they said that they were from Khazraj tribe. The Prophet asked them to grant him some audience and they obliged him.
The Prophet invited them to Islam and recited the verses of Qur’an. When they witnessed the veracity of the Prophet, they remarked that he was the same Prophet about whom the Jews used to narrate. “So we should take precedence in accepting faith.” So they embraced Islam and on their return to Medina they brought their people to embrace Islam. In the twelfth year of prophethood, twelve persons of Ansars came to the Prophet and paid allegiance to him at Aqbah, which is the first allegiance of Aqbah.
According to this report, this year the Messenger of Allah (S) sent Musab bin Umair with them to instruct them in the faith. And call them to Islam and Qur’an. At the next season of pilgrimage, in the thirteenth year of prophethood, many from the tribes of Aws and Khazraj, both Muslims and infidels, came to Mecca to see the Prophet. He asked them, “Will you defend me that I may read you the book of God, and will you become Muslim and receive your reward in Paradise?”
“Yes,” they replied, “and will grant you whatever covenant you desire in respect to yourself and your God.” The Prophet appointed the twelfth night of Rajab to form the league, the place to be the summit of Mount Mina, where the Ansaris, after performing the ceremonies of the pilgrimage, arrived. A great number had become Muslims, but the majority of them were yet idolaters, among whom was Abdullah bin Ubayy.
On eleventh Rajab, the Prophet directed the Ansaris to assemble by night at the house of Abdul Muttalib, at Aqbah, but to come singly and awake no one from sleep. He himself went to the appointed place, with Ali, Hamza, and Abbas. Seventy, or by another account, seventy-three men and two women of Aws and Khazraj assembled there.
The Prophet called on them to embrace Islam, declaring it the pledge of Paradise. Asad bin Zurarah, Barra bin Marror, Abdullah bin Kharam replied, “O Messenger of Allah (S), make such conditions with us as you please in respect to yourself and your God.” He answered, “I make it a condition that you protect me as your own lives, and my family as your own.” “What shall we receive for doing this?” they asked. He replied, “Paradise will be yours, and on earth you will be kings of Arabs, and non-Arabs will obey you.”
To which they replied that they were satisfied. Abbas bin Zilah, of the tribe of Aws, now arose and said, “People of Aws and Khazraj, do you know what you are doing? You are plunging into war with both Arab and non-Arab, and arraying yourselves in hostility against all the kings in the world, or whenever an injury befalls the Prophet, you must abandon him, as you will do.
Deceive him not then, let him remain in his own country; for although his kindred opposes him, he is still noble and great among them, and no one has power to injure him.” The speaker was now interrupted by Abdullah bin Kharam, Asad bin Zurarah, Abul Hasheem bin Taihan demanded what business he had to talk in that manner; then addressing the Prophet, they said, “O Messenger of Allah (S), be our blood the sacrifice for yours, and our life the ransom of your own.
Make what conditions with us you please for your Lord and for yourself. The Prophet now said to the Ansaris, “Appoint twelve persons of your number who shall be your sureties and agents, in like manner as Musa established twelve chiefs among the Bani Israel.” They said to him, “You may choose whom you please.” Jibraeel indicated the proper persons, and the Prophet chose nine men of Khazraj: namely, Asad bin Zurarah, Buraa bin Maroor, Abdullah bin Kharam, the father of Jabir, Rafe bin Malik, Saad bin Ubadah, Manzar bin Amr, Abdullah bin Rawaha, Saad bin Rabi, and Ubadah bin Samit.
Similarly, he chose three men of Aws: Abul Hasheem bin Taihan, Usaid bin Khuzayr, and Saad bin Khatheema. Just as these men had pledged themselves to the Prophet, Iblis shouted near Aqbah, “O you Quraish and other Arabs, the Prophet is here with the Aws and Khazraj, who are leaguing with him to fight against you.” At this announcement, the Quraish became tumultuous, and seizing their weapons advanced on Aqbah.
The Prophet ordered the Ansaris to disperse, but they said, “If you command, we will draw our swords and fight them.” He replied, “Allah has not yet given me permission to fight.” “Will you come away with us?” they asked. He answered, “I wait for the command of Allah.” When the Quraish advanced with their whole force, Hamza and Ali drew their swords and met them at the entrance of Aqbah.
Addressing Hamza, the Quraish demanded, “What business is this for which you are assembled?” “There is no assembly here,” said Hamza, adding with an oath that if any of them ventured to advance, he would cut of their heads.
The Quraish returned, and the next day meeting Abdullah bin Ubayy, they said to him: “We understand your people have leagued with the Prophet to fight against us.” But as he knew nothing of the meeting the last night, he swore it was not so, and the Quraish believed him. The Ansaris returned to Medina and were in high expectation of the coming of their illustrious guests.73
Ali bin Ibrahim, Shaykh Tusi, Shaykh Tabarsi, Ibn Shahr Ashob etc. have narrated through reliable chains about the migration of the Messenger of Allah (S) that when the Quraish infidels saw that the cause of the Prophet gained ground daily, and that all their plots to overthrow it availed nothing, and when they were informed of the Prophet’s league with the Ansaris, they assembled at Darul Nadwa to deliberate what was to be done.
They had an old custom of assembling at this place for consultation whenever any calamity befell them, and no one under forty years of age was admitted into the council of Darul Nadwa. Here forty of the old Quraish chiefs now met, and Satan, the accursed in the form of an old man, attempted to enter. The door keeper stopped him, and demanded who he was. He replied that he was an old man of Najd tribe, and added, “You have need of my experience; on hearing that you were assembling to overthrow this man, I came to give my advice on the subject.”
The door-keeper told him to enter. Ayyashi etc. have narrated through authentic chains of narrators from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) that Quraish summoned a man from each tribe and they moved to Darul Nadwa so that they may think of some solution against the Messenger of Allah (S). When they reached there they found an old man standing there and he requested them to allow him to join them. People asked: “Who are you?”
He replied: “I am an old man of Mudhir tribe. I have a very good suggestion on the topic of your discussion.” They admitted him also. It is narrated in reliable traditions that Satan four times assumed a human shape, and one was this occasion of Darul Nadwa consultation. Thus they gathered at Darul Nadwa and began to deliberate. Abu Jahl introduced the business saying, “O Quraish, among all the Arab tribes there are no one nobler than ourselves.
We are the people of the house of God, and twice a year, men come to us on pilgrimage from the utmost bounds of the earth, and they all honor us. We are in the house, and no one can molest or injure us. Such has always been our state, till Muhammad bin Abdullah took birth and grew up among us. We called him Amin, for His probity, calmness and truth, but when he arrived at maturity, and was in great esteem among us, he proclaimed himself the Messenger of Allah, and claims that he was a Prophet and he receives communications from heaven.
Next he imputed to us stupidity, reviled and degraded our gods, corrupted our youths, and sowed division among our people. He declares that our departed ancestors are in Hell and all this is very troublesome to us. In reference to him I have a suggestion.” “What is it?” inquired the council. Abu Jahl continued, “Let us send a man to kill him secretly, and if the Bani Hashim demand the price of blood, we will pay the ransom tenfold.”
“This is a miserable plan,” said Satan. “Why?” they inquired. “Because,” he resumed, “whoever slays Muhammad will certainly be put to death, and who of you will consent to be killed on this account? When Muhammad is slain, the Bani Hashim and their patrons of the tribe of Khuzah, will retaliate and never consent that the slayer of Muhammad should walk the earth. From this cause, in the sacred place there will be fighting among you till you all kill one another.”
Aas bin Wail, Umayyah bin Khalaf and Ubayy bin Khalaf proposed to build a prison in such a manner that no one could approach the Prophet, who should be shut up in it, and food thrown in to him through an aperture till he died like Zuhair, Nabaqa and Imrul Qays. “This plan,” said Satan, “is worse than the other, for the Bani Hashim will never consent to such a thing, at the season of pilgrimage they will appeal to the assembled Arab tribes, and procure his release.
Have you another plan?” concluded Satan. Atba, Shaibah and Abu Sufyan answered, “We will expel him from our country and attend to the worship of our own gods in peace.” Another tradition says that they proposed to bind the Prophet on a furious camel, and enrage the animal by piercing him with spears, that he might rush away and tear his rider to pieces among the mountains. “This project is worse than either of the others,” said Satan.
“If Muhammad leaves your country alive, as he is more beautiful and eloquent than any other man, by the sweetness of his tongue, and the plausibility of his address, he will deceive all the Arab tribes, and bringing against you such armies of horse and foot as you cannot withstand, will annihilate you.” Being now at their wit’s end, they said to Satan, “O Shaykh, what is your advice in this matter?”
“My scheme,” said he, “is that from every tribe agreeing in your object, you select one or more persons, and bring over one man of the Bani Hashim to join you, and let the whole company thus appointed to take their weapons and all at once put him to death, that his blood may be so widely diffused that the Bani Hashim will be utterly unable to demand penalty for it, because they cannot oppose all the tribes.
Should they require the price of blood, then pay them the ransom three-fold.” “We will give ten ransoms,” replied the council; adding the Shaykh of Najd has proposed the right plan. Shaykh Tusi says Abu Jahl offered this scheme, and that it was approved by Satan; whichever way it was, this plan was agreed on, and the council broke up. Of the Bani Hashim, Abu Lahab was brought into this plot. The Almighty Allah then revealed this verse, warning the Prophet:
وَإِذْ يَمْكُرُ بِكَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لِيُثْبِتُوكَ أَوْ يَقْتُلُوكَ أَوْ يُخْرِجُوكَ ۚ وَيَمْكُرُونَ وَيَمْكُرُ اللَّهُ ۖ وَاللَّهُ خَيْرُ الْمَاكِرِينَ
“And when those who disbelieved devised plans against you that they might confine you or slay you or drive you away; and they devised plans and Allah too had arranged a plan; and Allah is the best of planners.”74
Having made the arrangement to rush into the Prophet’s house at night and kill him, they came to the sacred Masjid, and whistled and clapped their hands and jumped about the Kaaba. As the Almighty Allah says:
وَمَا كَانَ صَلَاتُهُمْ عِنْدَ الْبَيْتِ إِلَّا مُكَاءً وَتَصْدِيَةً
“And their prayer before the House is nothing but whistling and clapping of hands…”75
At night the party came to assassinate the Prophet, but Abu Lahab would not consent to their entering till the next morning, saying, “There are women and children here, and they must not be harmed. Guard Muhammad the whole night and we will enter the house in the morning.”
Shaykh Tabarsi has narrated through authentic chains of narrators from Hind bin Abi Hala and Ammar Yasir etc. that when the Quraish had completed their plot for killing the Prophet, Jibraeel descended and gave him information of the matter, and revealed to him the divine command to flee to Medina. The Prophet called Ali, and imparted to him the tidings of Jibraeel, and added, “The Almighty Allah commands me tonight to escape to Medina.
Tonight I will camp in the cave of Thawr; sleep in my place, so that it may not be known I have gone. Do you have any suggestion?” Amirul Momineen (a.s.) inquired, “O Prophet of Allah (S), will your safety be secured by my sleeping in your place?” On being answered in the affirmative, Ali was happy and he thanked Allah for the privilege of exposing his own life to save that of the Prophet, and fell in adoration, and this was the first prostration of thanksgiving that was made in Islam.
Ali laid the side of his face on the ground, and when he raised his head, he said, “Go wherever Allah has commanded you; let me be your sacrifice. Order what you please, and on my life I will do it, and in this and in ever other matter I supplicate for Taufeeq of my Lord.” The Prophet replied, “Allah will make you resemble me: then sleep on my carpet, and put my Khizarmi sheet over you. Know that the Almighty Allah tries his friends in proportion to their faith and their rank, therefore the trials and calamities of prophets are greater than all others, and those most like them receive the next degree of trial.
O brother, Allah has tried you, and he tries me on your account, as He tried Ibrahim, the friend, and his son Ismail. It is more grievous to me thus to expose you to the daggers of my enemies, than it was for Ibrahim to lay down Ismail to slay him. Your perfect readiness to be exposed is greater than Ismail’s voluntary submissiveness to the knife of his affectionate father. Endure faithfully, O brother, for the mercy of God is close to those that do well.”
Saying this, the Prophet embraced Ali, with flowing tears both parted, and Jibraeel led the Prophet out of the house which the Quraish had already surrounded. The Prophet recited this verse:
وَجَعَلْنَا مِنْ بَيْنِ أَيْدِيهِمْ سَدًّا وَمِنْ خَلْفِهِمْ سَدًّا فَأَغْشَيْنَاهُمْ فَهُمْ لَا يُبْصِرُونَ
“And We have made before them a barrier and a barrier behind them, then We have covered them over so that they do not see.”76
The Almighty Allah had sent a sleep upon them, so they did not perceive the Prophet’s departure; and he cast a handful of dust at them, saying: “Ugly be your faces! Doing thus by your own Prophet.” One tradition says they were awake, and Allah covered their eyes that they did not see. Jibraeel now directed the Prophet to go to mount Thawr, and conceal himself in the cave. Meanwhile Ali was lying in the Prophet’s place and cover.
In that period the houses of Mecca were without doors, and the walls were low. The Quraish infidels therefore saw Ali, and mistaking him for the Prophet, threw stones at him. Both Shias and Sunnis relate that the following verse was revealed in commendation of Ali on the night he exposed his life to save that of the Prophet:
وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَنْ يَشْرِي نَفْسَهُ ابْتِغَاءَ مَرْضَاتِ اللَّهِ
“And among men is he who sells himself to seek the pleasure of Allah…”77
According to continuous Shia and Sunni reports, this verse was revealed in the honor of Imam Ali (a.s.), because he had sacrificed his life for the Messenger of Allah (S). Thalabi and Ahmad bin Hanbal, and Ghazzali in Ihya and other Shia and Sunni traditions scholars and exegetes declared that: On that night when Imam Ali (a.s.) slept in the bed of the Messenger of Allah (S), the Almighty Allah revealed to Jibraeel and Mikaeel that He has made them as brothers of each other. And your ages are greater than each other.
Which of you will dedicate his life to the other? None of them agreed to it. The Almighty Allah revealed to them: “Why can’t you be like Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.)? I made him the brother of Muhammad and he is sleeping in his bed after dedicating his life to him. So go to the earth and protect Ali from his enemies. So they came down and Jibraeel sat at Ali’s head and Mikaeel at his foot and said: “Good cheers for you of son, Abu Talib, who can be like you? That the Almighty Allah boasts about you to the angels?
Then the Almighty Allah revealed the above verse in honor of Imam Ali (a.s.). Akhtab Khwarizmi who is a Sunni tradition scholar has narrated that the Messenger of Allah (S) said: “The morning next after I was in the cave, Jibraeel came to me overjoyed and I asked him what has made him happy? He replied: “Why I should not be happy when the Almighty Allah honored your brother, successor and the Imam of the Ummah last night, and He was proud of him and He said: O angels, look at My proof after My Prophet how he is risking his life for the Prophet.
Then Jibraeel says: I prostrated in thanksgiving and I testify O Allah, that he is the chief of Your creatures and the Master of all Your creation. Thus when the Prophet was departing for the cave of Thawr, he met Abu Bakr and took him along, through fear of exposure of the secret, or for some other reason.
Hind Abi Hala also went with the Prophet, who on arriving at the cave, retained Abu Bakr and sent back Hind on some business. Another tradition is, that Abu Bakr saw the Prophet departing, and pursued him, who, apprehending it was one of the Quraish, hastened on, but struck his blessed foot against a stone and bruised it. He was much troubled at being pursued, till at length Abu Bakr came up and the Prophet took him along from sheer necessity.
Shaykh Tusi has narrated from Umm Hani, sister of Imam Ali (a.s.) that when the Almighty Allah commanded his Messenger to migrate, His Eminence, made Amirul Momineen (a.s.) sleep on his bed and himself recited the first verses of Surah Yasin and left his house throwing a handful of dust on the idolaters so that they might not see him.
Umm Hani says: The Holy Prophet (S) came to my place and in the morning said: “O Umm Hani, Jibraeel has informed me that the Almighty Allah has protected Ali (a.s.) from the enemies. The Prophet departed for the Cave of Thawr in the darkness of dawn, remained there for three days and on the fourth day departed for Medina.
It is mentioned in the previous narrations that when morning dawned, the Quraish infidels drew their swords and ran upon Amirul Momineen (a.s.), Khalid bin Walid being in advance of the rest. That lion of God, Ali, leaped up, and seizing Khalid by the arm, wrung it so that he bellowed like a camel.
He then caught the sword of Khalid, and presented so bold a front to his assailants, that they all fled. When he had driven them out and they knew it was Ali, they said to him, “We have nothing to do, with you, where is Muhammad?” He replied, “Did you entrust him to me? You wished to expel him, and he has gone away himself.”
Qutub Rawandi has narrated that Ibn Kawwa, the Khariji, once asked Amirul Momineen (a.s.) where he was when Abu Bakr was in the Cave of Thawr. Imam Ali (a.s.) said: “I was sleeping in the bed of the Messenger of Allah (S) after having dedicated my life on him. When the Quraish came with drawn swords, and did not see the Prophet, they were infuriated and they began to penalize me.
Tied me up in chains and cast me in a room and then they locked the house. After that they appointed a woman to guard me and departed in pursuit of the Holy Prophet (S). I heard a voice: “O Ali.” At once all the discomfort disappeared. Again a voice said: “O Ali.” All the chains fell away at this voice. Again a voice said: “O Ali.” All the doors opened and I came out.
It is mentioned in Tafsir Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) that Allah sent His revelation to His Eminence (S): O Muhammad, after Durood and salaam, Allah says that Abu Jahl and Quraish have planned to kill you and I command you, make Ali sleep on your bed. And He said: Ali’s status is like that of Ibrahim Khalillullaah and Ismail Zabihullaah.
He will sacrifice himself on you and make his soul a shield of your soul. And Allah orders you to take Abu Bakr with you. If he is friendly with you and helps you and remains firms on his covenant, he will be your friend in the hereafter. Thus His Eminence (S) asked Ali: Ali, do you agree that if they search for me and I am not found and they find you, the ignorant people may attack and kill you. Ali (a.s.) replied: Allah’s Messenger, I accept it gladly that my soul should be a shield of your soul and it be sacrificed for your brother, a close relative or an animal, if it will be beneficial to you.
I like to spend my life only for your service and for your help and to fight your enemies. If it is not so, I don’t want to be alive for a moment in the world. Hearing Ali’s words, His Eminence (S) said: O Abul Hasan, angels of the divine tablets have told me about your argument and informed that such a reward has been prepared for you that no eye has seen and no ear has heard and no one has imagined it.
After that His Eminence (S) asked Abu Bakr, do you agree to stay with me and suppose the enemies search for me and also search for you and come to know that you have only encouraged me in the claim of Prophethood and because of me, you have to suffer?
He said: O Prophet, if I get a long life and always remain in severe difficulties and not get peaceful death and any kind of peace, and all this happens because of your love, I prefer it very much than if I were to get rulership to go against you and spend my life in pleasure; Allah’s Messenger, my family and children be sacrificed on you.
His Eminence (S) said: If Allah finds your heart as your tongue, He will make you to me just as ears, eyes and head are for the body, and just as soul is necessary for the body; in the same way as Ali is for me. And Ali (a.s.) is more than this, due to his excellence.
O Abu Bakr, one who makes a covenant with Allah and does not break it and does not make any changes in it and is not jealous to one whose excellence Allah has mentioned; that person will be in Paradise with me. And when you follow the way that Allah likes and do not adopt the wrong way with which He is displeased; when Allah raises you in Qiyamat, you will be considered eligible for Allah’s Wilayat and earn our companionship in Paradise.
Then he said: Abu Bakr, look up. When he looked at the sky, he saw angels of fire riding fire horse with spears in their hands and one of them says: O Muhammad, allow us to cut your enemies into pieces. His Eminence (S) said: Abu Bakr, now put your ear on the ground. When he put his ears on the ground, he heard that the earth was calling: O Muhammad, allow me to attack your enemies. Then said: Now look at the mountain and listen.
When he did so, he heard the mountain saying: O Muhammad, allow us to destroy your enemies. Then His Eminence (S) said: Now listen to the sea; and the waves came before him saying: O Muhammad, allow us to destroy your enemies, we shall obey you. After that he heard the sky and the earth and the seas all calling out aloud: Your Lord did not command you to hide in the cave because you are unable to fight your enemies, but because Allah wants to test your patience and toleration so that He can distinguish between your pure men and women.
O Muhammad, those who fulfill your covenants, will be your neighbor in Paradise and those who break them, shall be companions of Iblis in the lowest stage of Hell. After that His Eminence (S) asked Ali (a.s.): O Ali, you are for me like ears, eyes and head for the body and soul of the body. You are as beloved to me as a person suffering from the disease of thirst loves cold water. Then said: O Abul Hasan, cover yourself with my sheet. When disbelievers come to you, Allah will send His help and on account of this, you will escape from their hands.
At last when Abu Jahl and other infidels came with their swords drawn, Abu Jahl said: Don’t kill a sleeping person. First throw a stone and awaken him and then kill him. They started throwing big stones taking aim. When these infidels did thus, Ali (a.s.) lifted the sheet from his head and asked: What are you doing?
When these accursed saw him, they came to know that he was Ali. Seeing this, Abu Jahl said to his companions: Did you see that Muhammad made him sleep in his place and fled from here, so that we remain busy and he can escape. Don’t say anything to Ali (a.s.), because he is deceived by him so that he himself may be killed and Muhammad be saved. If it is not so, why didn’t he sleep in his own place?
When Allah was the helper according to his thinking, Ali (a.s.) said to him: O Abu Jahl, are you talking about me? It is not so, because Allah gave me so much sense that if it is to be given to all the senseless people of the world, they will all become intelligent. And Allah has given me so much strength that if it is distributed among all weak people of the world, they all would become brave and strong.
And Allah has given me such tolerance that if it is distributed among all the foolish people of the world, they all would become magnanimous. If the Prophet had not commanded me that I should not make any fight till I meet him, indeed there would have been a great fight between you and me and I would have killed you. O Abu Jahl, shame on you.
When the sky, the earth, seas and mountains asked permission from His Eminence (S) to destroy you, he did not allow them and continued to be kind and hospitable to you so that all of you who are destined to bring faith may do so. Believers are born from loins and wombs of infidel men and women and by eliminating you, Allah doesn’t like to deprive them from His mercy and blessings. If this had not been kept in view, Allah would have destroyed you all, because Allah is great and you are helpless.
Allah does not make you helpless and then forces you to believe, but whatever He commands you, He also gives strength to you and ends your excuses too. Hearing the discourse of Ali (a.s.), Abul Batri bin Hassham became furious and pulled out the sword to attack him. Suddenly he saw the mountain move towards him and the earth split to crush him.
He saw waves of the sea coming to drown him in the sea and the sky came down to crash upon him. Seeing this, his sword fell from his hand and he became unconscious. The people carried him away. Abu Jahl consoled them and to cast aspersion on the incident said: He was having cholera, that is why he becomes unconscious; and nothing else.
When Ali (a.s.) came to the Holy Prophet (S), His Eminence (S) said: O Ali (a.s.) when you argued with Abu Jahl that night, Allah raised your voice and sent it to Paradise. The treasurers and Houries of heaven asked: Who is he, that he is so obedient to Muhammad (S) at this time? The people of Mecca falsified him and drove him away.
They were told: He is his deputy and he slept in his place to make his soul a shield to save him and sacrificed his soul for him. The treasurer of Paradise requested: O Allah, make me his treasurer. The Houries of Paradise said: O Allah make us his wives. Allah said: “You are for him, his chosen friends and devotees, and he shall divide you by My command among those whose well being he knows very well. Do you agree?” They said: “Yes, our Lord and Master, we are happy.”
It is mentioned in reliable traditions that when the Quraish realized that the Prophet had escaped, they sent people in all direction to seek him out and the accursed Abu Jahl ordered them to have it announced in the surroundings of Mecca that one who apprehends Muhammad and brings him to them or informs of his whereabouts will be rewarded with a hundred camels. Then he summoned Abu Bakr Zakhzai who was an expert in reading spoors and he said: “This is the day of proving your expertise.
If you can do this today, we shall be obliged to you forever. Detect the footprints of Muhammad and follow them so that we can pursue him.” When Abu Bakr saw the prints he at once recognized them to belong to Muhammad. He said: “They are like the facsimiles of the prints that are present at Maqam Ibrahim. And the other set of footprints belong to Abi Qahafa or his son.” So they followed the footprints till the entrance of the cave.
They saw that it was barred by a cobweb and pair of pigeons had built a nest. According to another report, a pair of partridge had built a nest and laid eggs in it. The guide said: “They have come till here but not entered the cave. If they had done so, the cobweb would have been broken and the birds have flown away. Either they went up to the sky or sunk into the earth.” The Almighty Allah sent an angel who stood guard at the entrance of the cave.
He said that there was no one there and they must look for him in the mountain passes. According to yet another report, when the Messenger of Allah (S) entered the cave, he called for a tree and it stood at the entrance of the cave and the Almighty Allah sent the pigeons and spider to build their dwellings. According to the report of Ibn Shahr Ashob, when the Prophet reached the cave, its entrance was so narrow that no one could enter it.
But by the power of Allah it became so wide that the Holy Prophet (S) entered it mounted on a camel. Then it narrowed down once again and at that time a tree grew up by the command of Allah at the entrance of the cave. Ahle Sunnat have narrated that Abu Bakr was very much worried of the Quraish and the Messenger of Allah (S) continued to comfort him as the Almighty Allah has mentioned it in the Holy Qur’an:
إِلَّا تَنْصُرُوهُ فَقَدْ نَصَرَهُ اللَّهُ إِذْ أَخْرَجَهُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا ثَانِيَ اثْنَيْنِ إِذْ هُمَا فِي الْغَارِ إِذْ يَقُولُ لِصَاحِبِهِ لَا تَحْزَنْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَنَا ۖ فَأَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ سَكِينَتَهُ عَلَيْهِ وَأَيَّدَهُ بِجُنُودٍ لَمْ تَرَوْهَا وَجَعَلَ كَلِمَةَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا السُّفْلَىٰ ۗ وَكَلِمَةُ اللَّهِ هِيَ الْعُلْيَا
“If you will not aid him, Allah certainly aided him when those who disbelieved expelled him, he being the second of the two, when they were both in the cave, when he said to his companion: Grieve not, surely Allah is with us. So Allah sent down His tranquility upon him and strengthened him with hosts which you did not see, and made lowest the word of those who disbelieved; and the word of Allah, that is the highest…”78
It is narrated from Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) that ‘word of the infidels’ implies the atheistic statement of a person who has no relation with Faith. The Almighty Allah only sent down tranquility on the Prophet and wherever tranquility is mentioned in Qur’an, the Almighty Allah has also included the believers in it. But since here there was no believer with the Prophet, that is why tranquility is restricted to the Prophet.79
It is mentioned in Basairud Darajat from Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) that when the idolaters set out in pursuit of the Prophet, Imam Ali (a.s.) feared lest they harm the Prophet in some way, Imam Ali (a.s.) climbed Mount Thabir while the Holy Prophet (S) was on Mount Hira.
The Holy Prophet (S) saw him asked: “O Ali, what is the problem?” He replied: “May my parents be sacrificed on you, I feared lest the idolaters cause harm to you, so I followed you.” The Holy Prophet (S) said: “Hold my hand.” Mount Thabir joined mount Hira due to the miracle of the Prophet. Imam Ali (a.s.) stepped on mount Hira and Thabir returned to its position.
Ayyashi has narrated from Imam Zainul Abideen (a.s.) that Lady Khadija passed away a year before migration and Abu Talib passed away after a year. When the two supporters of the Prophet passed away, it became difficult to remain in Mecca. The Messenger of Allah (S) complained to Jibraeel about his travails.
The Almighty Allah revealed to the Prophet: Leave this place as the people here are oppressors and go to Medina since you have no supporter in Mecca now and fight Jihad with the idolaters. At that time the Messenger of Allah (S) migrated to Medina. And Shaykh Tusi and Shaykh Tabarsi have narrated through authentic chains of narrators that the Holy Prophet (S) stayed in the cave for three days and Imam Ali (a.s.) used to bring him food and water.
And he arranged for three camels for the Holy Prophet (S), Abu Bakr and Ajir, the guide. The Holy Prophet (S) left Imam Ali (a.s.) in Mecca to restore the trusts of people, because the Quraish during the period of Jahiliyya used to consider the Holy Prophet (S) honest and trustworthy, referring to him as Muhammad the Amin.
In the same way, whoever visited Mecca during Hajj kept his belongings with the Prophet and after the declaration of prophethood also they considered him honest and trustworthy. The Messenger of Allah (S) told Amirul Momineen (a.s.): Every morning and night announce in public that whoever has any trust with the Prophet should come and take it.
And return the trusts to them openly. “And O Ali, I appoint you as my representative for my daughter and entrust both of you to Allah. And prepare camels for myself and Fatima Zahra and my mother Fatima binte Asad and those from Bani Hashim, who want to migrate.” Along with this he made many recommendations and said: “When you are free from all this, prepare to migrate to Allah and His Messenger and when you receive my communication you must depart without any delay.”
After that the Messenger of Allah (S) turned his attention to Medina. When Abdullah bin Ariqat came near the cave to steal sheep, the Holy Prophet (S) asked him: “Will you take care of me if I entrust my life to you and take us to Medina from an unknown route?” Ibn Ariqat said: “Seeing the cobweb and nest of pigeons I realized that you are the Messenger of Allah and I believed in you. I will protect you and I will accompany you wherever you go.”
The Holy Prophet (S) said: “I want to go to Medina.” He said: “I will take you there most readily through such a route that no one will see you.” So they set out for Medina. And Shaykh Tusi has narrated that the Holy Prophet (S) migrated to the cave on the thirteenth year of Besat in the thirteenth night of Thursday, in the month of Rabiul Awwal. And Amirul Momineen (a.s.) slept in his bed the same night. And he set out to Medina on the night of the fourteenth. On the way, many miracles occurred at his hands which were mentioned in the chapters of miracles.
And Kulaini has narrated through good chains from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) that when the Prophet set out from the cave to go to Medina, Quraish announced a reward of a hundred camels on his head. Surakha bin Malik bin Jatham came out in his search. When he came near, the Holy Prophet (S) prayed: “O Allah, save me from the mischief of Surakha in any way you like.” Surakha’s horse sunk in the ground and he leaped from the beast to save himself.
He came running to the Holy Prophet (S) and said: “O Muhammad, I understood that this calamity has come from your side. Please pray that the Almighty Allah saves my horse. I swear by my life that if I cannot give you any benefit I will cause you no harm also.” The Prophet prayed and his horse was saved. But again he wished to act against the Prophet and again the horse sunk and this happened thrice. After the third time, he said: “You can take my camels and slaves.
I will now return and will not allow anyone to follow you.” The Holy Prophet (S) said: “I have no need of your things.”According to Qutub Rawandi, when the Messenger of Allah (S) escaped the idolaters of Quraish and fled to Medina and on the way reached the encampment of Umm Mabad, Abu Bakr, Umar, Amir bin Fahera and Abdullah Ibn Arihat were with him.
Umm Mabad was sitting outside her tent when the Prophet approached her to sell some dates and meat. She said nothing was available. The Prophet saw a goat tied in a corner and asked what was wrong with her. She said because of weakness she could not accompany the flock. The Prophet asked if it produced milk? She replied that she has not produced any milk since so many years.
The Holy Prophet (S) said: “Allow me to milk her.” She said, “May my parents be sacrificed on you, you may take anything that is in her udders. The Prophet drew his hand over the udders and prayed: “O Allah, give her barakat (increase),” and immediately milk flowed from her. The Prophet called for a vessel, which could satiate many persons and began to milk her till the vessel was full.
He gave it to Umm Mabad who drank it to satiation, then he gave to his companions, who also became satiated and after all had drunk, he himself took some of it remarking: “The leader must come last.” Then he milked her again till the vessel was full and the people drank from it again and left Mabad the rest.
When her husband, Abu Mabad returned home, he asked from where that milk had come, Umm Mabad narrated the whole incident. Abu Mabad said: “He must be the same Prophet who has appeared in Mecca.” He came to Medina with his family and became a Muslim.
Shaykh Tusi has narrated through authentic chains that when the Messenger of Allah (S) came to Medina, first he halted at Quba with the tribe of Amr bin Auf. Abu Bakr said: “O Prophet, please proceed to Medina as the people are waiting for you.” The Prophet replied: “I will not enter Medina till my brother, Ali and my daughter, Fatima do not arrive.”
As much Abu Bakr insisted as much the Prophet declined. At last Abu Bakr left the Prophet in Quba and proceeded to Medina. The Holy Prophet (S) sent a communication to Imam Ali (a.s.) through Abu Waqid Lubni to join him as soon as possible. When Imam Ali (a.s.) received this communication, he prepared to migrate and told the weak believers to leave Mecca quietly with minimum luggage and gather at Zituwa at night.
And he took with him Fatima Zahra, his mother, Fatima binte Asad and Fatima binte Zubair bin Abdul Muttalib and set out from Mecca. Some have narrated that the daughter of Zubair named Ziya-a and Ayman son of Umm Ayman, a freed slave of the Holy Prophet (S) and Abu Waqid set out with Amirul Momineen (a.s.).
Abu Waqid began to drive the camels of the ladies fast. Imam Ali (a.s.) said: “O Abu Waqid, be gentle to the ladies and drive their camels slowly as ladies are delicate and weak.” Abu Waqid said: “I fear that the idolaters of Mecca may come out in our pursuit. The Imam said: “Don’t worry, because the Holy Prophet (S) has told me that they will cause me no harm.” Thus Abu Waqid drove the ladies’ camels and Imam Ali (a.s.) was reciting a war poem:
Other than Allah there is no deity and helper.
So don’t worry about anyone else.
Because the Almighty Allah is caretaker of all your affairs.
When Imam Ali (a.s.) reached near the desert, ten armed riders of Quraish came to him and one of them was Jina, slave of Harith bin Umayyah. He was very daring. When Amirul Momineen (a.s.) saw him, he told Ayman and Abu Waqid to make the camels sit and make the ladies alight from the camels. Then he pulled out the sword and turned to the idolaters.
They said: “Do you think you will be able to take the women? Bring them back.” Imam Ali (a.s.) said: “What will you do if I don’t?” They said: “We will break your head.” Saying this, they moved to the ladies’ camel. Amirul Momineen (a.s.) scolded them and Jina attacked him. The Imam deflected his blow and attacked him on his shoulder and he fell down dead. Then Imam Ali (a.s.) sat on the horse and leaped on the group like a hungry lion, reciting the following war poem:
Give way to one who fights Jihad in the way of Allah.
By Allah, I am not frightened of anyone else, except for One God.
At last the idolater turned saying: “O son of Abu Talib, let us go, we have no concern with you.” Imam Ali (a.s.) said: “Now I go to Medina openly to meet my brother, the Messenger of Allah (S). One who wants to irrigate the earth with his blood should come near to me.”
Then he said to Ayman and Abu Waqid to drive the camels and he set out from there with a great dignity and camped in the desert. He halted there for a night and all night remained busy in prayers, standing sitting and lying down. Next morning he prepared to traverse the second stage of the journey and in this way reached the illuminated Medina. Before that the Almighty Allah revealed the following verses in his praise:
إِنَّ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَاخْتِلَافِ اللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ لَآيَاتٍ لِأُولِي الْأَلْبَابِ ﴿١٩٠﴾ الَّذِينَ يَذْكُرُونَ اللَّهَ قِيَامًا وَقُعُودًا وَعَلَىٰ جُنُوبِهِمْ وَيَتَفَكَّرُونَ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ رَبَّنَا مَا خَلَقْتَ هَٰذَا بَاطِلًا سُبْحَانَكَ فَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ ﴿١٩١﴾ رَبَّنَا إِنَّكَ مَنْ تُدْخِلِ النَّارَ فَقَدْ أَخْزَيْتَهُ ۖ وَمَا لِلظَّالِمِينَ مِنْ أَنْصَارٍ ﴿١٩٢﴾ رَبَّنَا إِنَّنَا سَمِعْنَا مُنَادِيًا يُنَادِي لِلْإِيمَانِ أَنْ آمِنُوا بِرَبِّكُمْ فَآمَنَّا ۚ رَبَّنَا فَاغْفِرْ لَنَا ذُنُوبَنَا وَكَفِّرْ عَنَّا سَيِّئَاتِنَا وَتَوَفَّنَا مَعَ الْأَبْرَارِ ﴿١٩٣﴾ رَبَّنَا وَآتِنَا مَا وَعَدْتَنَا عَلَىٰ رُسُلِكَ وَلَا تُخْزِنَا يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ ۗ إِنَّكَ لَا تُخْلِفُ الْمِيعَادَ ﴿١٩٤﴾ فَاسْتَجَابَ لَهُمْ رَبُّهُمْ أَنِّي لَا أُضِيعُ عَمَلَ عَامِلٍ مِنْكُمْ مِنْ ذَكَرٍ أَوْ أُنْثَىٰ ۖ بَعْضُكُمْ مِنْ بَعْضٍ ۖ فَالَّذِينَ هَاجَرُوا وَأُخْرِجُوا مِنْ دِيَارِهِمْ وَأُوذُوا فِي سَبِيلِي وَقَاتَلُوا وَقُتِلُوا لَأُكَفِّرَنَّ عَنْهُمْ سَيِّئَاتِهِمْ وَلَأُدْخِلَنَّهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِنْ تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ ثَوَابًا مِنْ عِنْدِ اللَّهِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ عِنْدَهُ حُسْنُ الثَّوَابِ ﴿١٩٥﴾
“Most surely in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the night and the day there are signs for men who understand. Those who remember Allah standing and sitting and lying on their sides and reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth: Our Lord! Thou hast not created this in vain! Glory be to Thee; save us then from the chastisement of the fire: Our Lord! surely whomsoever Thou makest enter the fire, him Thou hast indeed brought to disgrace, and there shall be no helpers for the unjust: Our Lord! surely we have heard a preacher calling to the faith, saying: Believe in your Lord, so we did believe; Our Lord! forgive us therefore our faults, and cover our evil deeds and make us die with the righteous. Our Lord! and grant us what Thou hast promised us by Thy apostles; and disgrace us not on the day of resurrection; surely Thou dost not fail to perform the promise. So their Lord accepted their prayer: That I will not waste the work of a worker among you, whether male or female, the one of you being from the other; they, therefore, who fled and were turned out of their homes and persecuted in My way and who fought and were slain, I will most certainly cover their evil deeds, and I will most certainly make them enter gardens beneath which rivers flow; a reward from Allah, and with Allah is yet better reward.”80
It is mentioned in a reliable tradition that when the Messenger of Allah (S) migrated to Medina, the poor Muslims who were harassed by the idolaters of Mecca, they fled one by one and joined the Prophet. But defenseless Muslims were bitterly persecuted by the infidels of Mecca; some being put to death, and others compelled to say blasphemous things against the Prophet.
Among were Ammar, and his father Yasir, and his mother, Sumayyah, and Suhaib, and Bilal, and Khabab, who had attempted to flee, but fell into the hands of the idolaters, and were compelled to revile the Prophet. Ammar, knowing if he did not do this, he should certainly be killed, said what they bade him in religious dissimulation, but faith remained firm in his heart.
His father and mother, refusing to blaspheme the Prophet, were martyred by the most cruel tortures, and were, it is said, the first martyrs to Islam. When tidings of this reached Medina, some said that Ammar had become an infidel, but the Prophet denied the report, and declared that Ammar from head to foot was full of faith, and that faith was mingled with his very flesh and blood.
When at length Ammar escaped to the Prophet, he wept, and said, “O Messenger of Allah (S), I have suffered the greatest trials; they would not withdraw their hands from me, till I spoke unworthy things of you and praised their idols.” The Prophet wiped away Ammar’s tears with his hand, saying, “No fault is attached to you; if you should be in such circumstances again, repeat what you have said.”
And Kulaini has narrated through authentic chains of narrators from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) that the Meccans forced Ammar to utter the word of infidelity even though his heart was faithful. So the Almighty Allah revealed the following verses:
مَنْ كَفَرَ بِاللَّهِ مِنْ بَعْدِ إِيمَانِهِ إِلَّا مَنْ أُكْرِهَ وَقَلْبُهُ مُطْمَئِنٌّ بِالْإِيمَانِ
“He who disbelieves in Allah after his having believed, not he who is compelled while his heart is at rest on account of faith…”81
The Holy Prophet (S) said: “O Ammar, if the idolaters force you again, you may repeat what you said, as the Almighty Allah exempted you from it.”
Shaykh Tabarsi and Ibn Shahr Ashob have narrated that three months after the allegiance of Aqbah, the Prophet fled to Medina, which he entered on Monday, the twelfth of Rabiul Awwal. Before his arrival, the Ansaris, used to go out everyday and gaze on the road in expectation of his arrival. The day he came, a party had been out with this view, most of whom, after waiting some time in vain returned home.
At length he arrived at the site of the Masjid Shajarah, and inquired the way from the tribe of Bani Amr bin Auf and followed that road. A Jew, from the walls of his fort, saw three riders going in the direction of Bani Amr, and shouted, “O you Muslims, the man you desire has come, bringing great fortunes to you.”
This announcement was echoed through Medina, and men, women and children, filled with joy, ran out to meet the Prophet, who, by divine direction, proceeded to Quba, where he dismounted and was soon surrounded by the tribe of Bani Amr bin Auf. He became the guest of Kulthum, a worthy man.
The tribe of Aws all met him, but as the fire of war and carnage still blazed between them and the Khazraj, the latter tribe, through fear, were to a man prevented from meeting him. As night came on, Abu Bakr left the Prophet and entered the city, but he remained at Quba, in the house of Kulthum. After the Prophet had performed evening and night prayers, Asad bin Zurarah, clad in armor, came in, and excused himself for not appearing sooner to pay his respects, on account of the hostility raging between his tribe and that of Aws.
The Prophet then addressed the chiefs of Aws tribe, inquiring who of them would guarantee Asad’s safety. They replied, “O Messenger of Allah (S), our own safety is in your keeping, do you then be his security.” “No,” he replied, “one of you must give him protection.” Awim bin Saidah and Saad bin Khathima agreed to give protection. So they began to visit the Prophet and sit in his audience till the Prophet entered Medina.
Ibn Shahr Ashob narrates that fifty-three years of the Prophet’s life had passed when he fled to Medina; he remained three days in the cave, or, as one tradition says, six days, and that on Monday, the twelfth, or, by another account, the eleventh of Rabiul Awwal, he entered Medina. This was the first year of the Hijrat but its era is dated from the month Mohurrum.
First the Holy Prophet (S) stayed in the house of Kulthum bin Hadam, then he shifted to Khathima, of the Aws tribe. Three days, or, according to some reports, twelve days later, on Ali’s arrival, he entered Medina. During his stay at Quba, he built a Masjid there. People of Medina used to visit him. When somewhat more than a month of the Hijrat had passed, the length of prayers was increased. Eight months after the Hijrat, the Prophet constituted brotherhood between believers; and in this first year of Hijrat, Azan was established.
Kulaini has narrated through authentic chains of narrators that Saad bin Musayyab asked Imam Zainul Abideen (a.s.): “What was the age of Amirul Momineen (a.s.) when he embraced Islam?” Imam (a.s.) said: “Keep quiet, he was never a disbeliever? Ali was ten years old when the Prophet assumed the prophetical office, and at that day also he was not a disbeliever but apparently he preceded others by three years in believing and praying.
And the first prayer he performed with the Prophet was two rakats, at noon. Which was only two rakats in the first ten years and the Muslims performed only two rakats in every prayer, which law continued till the Hijrat. The Prophet left Mecca on the first day of Rabiul Awwal, leaving Imam Ali (a.s.) in Mecca to complete some errands, which none but he could perform, and he left Mecca on Thursday, 1st Rabiul Awwal in the thirteenth year of Besat and arrived at Medina on Monday, the twelfth of the month after meridian (Zawal) and halted at Quba and performed two rakats each of the Zuhr and Asr prayers.
The Prophet remained, for more than ten days and according to one account, fifteen days with Bani Amr bin Auf, who offered to build him a Masjid if he would dwell with them, but he refused, saying, “I only wait here the arrival of Ali bin Abi Talib. I have told him to join me at the soonest. And I will not decide about my permanent stay till he does not arrive.
And if Allah wills, he will soon be here.” When Amirul Momineen (a.s.) arrived the Holy Prophet (S) was staying in house of Amr bin Auf. As soon as Imam Ali (a.s.) arrived, the Holy Prophet (S) took him and came to Bani Auf and that day was Friday and the Sun was just rising. The Prophet marked a spot for a Masjid for them and fixed the prayer direction.
He prayed two rakats of Friday prayer there and then entered Medina. When he came with him, and mounted on the same she-camel he had rode from Mecca, the Prophet entered Medina on Friday, having started at sunrise, and stopped with Bani Salim bin Auf till afternoon prayers. Every clan of the Ansaris came out and besought him to become their guest, but he replied, “Open a way for my camel; she is under divine guidance, and will go to the place Allah has appointed for me.”
At the same time he threw down the reins, and let the camel take her own course. “Here she stopped,” said Imam Zainul Abideen (a.s.), pointing to the door of the Prophet’s Masjid, where prayers over the dead are recited. The camel lay down and the Prophet dismounted. Abu Ayyub Ansari, anticipating the rest, seized and carried the Prophet’s things to his house, and had the Prophet for his guest till houses were built for him and Ali (a.s.).
The narrator asked the Imam, “Was Abu Bakr also with the Prophet when he entered Medina, if not, where he had separated from the Prophet?” Imam (a.s.) explained that when the Holy Prophet (S) was waiting for Ali at Quba Abu Bakr wanted to go ahead and not wait for Ali. Hence Abu Bakr was angry that the Prophet waited for Ali before entering Medina, and conceived great jealousy for him. This was the first enmity that was expressed against Ali (a.s.) and this was the first opposition to the Prophet that Abu Bakr expressed.
The Holy Prophet (S) remained in Quba waiting for Amirul Momineen (a.s.). So he left the Messenger of Allah (S) and came to Medina. The narrator asked: “When did the Holy Prophet (S) marry Fatima to Ali (a.s.).” “Ali married Fatima the year after Hijrat, when she was nine years old. She was the Prophet’s only child by Khadija, after his assumption of the prophetical office. Khadija passed away one year before Hijrat and Abu Talib expired a year later.
When both these personalities left the world, the Holy Prophet (S) was much aggrieved and he found it dangerous to remain in Mecca. When he complained to Jibraeel, the Almighty Allah commanded him to leave the place and go to Medina and after that he can take up arms against the idolaters. It was then that he performed the Hijrat.” The narrator asked since when the daily prayers became obligatory as they are recited this day.
Imam (a.s.) said: When Islam gained strength in Medina, the Almighty Allah made Jihad obligatory on Muslims and the Holy Prophet (S) by the command of Allah added seven rakats to daily prayers. Two rakats each were added to Zuhr, Asr and Isha prayers and one rakat was added to Maghrib prayer. And the Morning Prayer remained as it was. This was so, because the angels of the day and the night both used to be present with the Prophet, so the Almighty Allah says:
وَقُرْآنَ الْفَجْرِ إِنَّ قُرْآنَ الْفَجْرِ كَانَ مَشْهُودًا
“…and the morning recitation; surely the morning recitation is witnessed.”82
Imam Zainul Abideen (a.s.) said: It means that at the time of Morning Prayer, angels who note down the deeds of the night as well the angels who note down the deeds of the day, both are present there.
According to another report, it is mentioned that Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) said: “Recite more prayers in Masjid Quba, because it is the first Masjid in which the Prophet first prayed on his way to Medina. And it is mentioned in another good tradition that the Almighty Allah says: it is the Masjid whose foundation is laid on piety since the first day. And in another correct report it is said that: The Holy Prophet (S) reached Medina and drew a line with his foot around the city and said: “O Allah, don’t bless those who sell the houses of Medina.”
Shaykh Tabarsi etc. have narrated that Aws and Khazraj tribes had numerous idols before accepting Islam, which they used to worship and each of their nobles had an idol at home, to which they applied fragrance, sacrificed animals and prostrated. When twelve persons from Ansars paid allegiance to the Prophet and returned to Medina, they threw out the idols and those who obeyed them, all threw away the idols from their homes.
And when seventy persons paid allegiance and came to Medina, and after the Prophet’s arrival among them, the faith spread to that degree that Saad bin Rabiah and Abdullah bin Rawaha went about and broke all the idols that remained in the tribe of Khazraj. Prophet entered Medina one or two days after the coming of Ali (a.s.) on a Friday.
The tribe of Amr bin Auf gathered and collectively prayed to him to lodge with them as they possessed glory and honor. “We will support you with our lives and wealth.” The Prophet said: “Leave my she-camel, it will halt at the place the Almighty Allah has commanded her.” When Aws and Khazraj learnt of the Prophet’s arrival in Medina, they armed themselves and rushed out to welcome him and collected around the she-camel of the Prophet.
Wherever the Prophet went, people welcomed him and pleaded him to lodge with them, but the Holy Prophet (S) said to them: The she-camel is pre-ordered by the Almighty Allah.” When the Messenger of Allah (S) reached Bani Salim tribe, it was the time of decline of the sun from its meridian. They had constructed a Masjid before the Prophet’s arrival.
They also asked him to stay with them but when the she-camel halted at the gate of the Masjid, the Holy Prophet (S) alighted and entered it. Recited the sermon and performed the prayer with a hundred followers. Then he came out again and mounted the camel, leaving the rein free. The she-camel was moving according to the command of Allah. When the Messenger of Allah (S) passed Abdullah bin Ubayy, he did not ask the Prophet to stay with him; rather he placed a cloth on his nose as a lot of dust arose by the crowd of Ansaris.
He said: “Don’t stay here. Go to those who are involved in your help and who have called you here.” So the Almighty Allah as a miracle of the Holy Prophet (S) sent ants on the people of Abdullah’s tribe that destroyed their homes and they had to flee the area. Saad bin Ubadah said: “O Messenger of Allah (S), don’t pay any heed to this accursed man, because before your arrival, we had decided to appoint him as our ruler; but since we cancelled that decision he is talking this nonsense due to jealousy. O Prophet, please stay with us.
We will provide you with army, wealth and glory and anything that you may need.” The Holy Prophet (S) did not incline to anyone. His she-camel continued to move on and lay down at a place where presently the Prophet’s mosque stands. In that time there was only a compound wall which belonged to two orphans of Khazraj tribe under the guardianship of Asad bin Zurarah. The she-camel halted at the door of Abu Ayyub, whose name was Khalid bin Zaid.
The Prophet alighted and the people surrounded him, each of whom wanted him to stay in his place. But Ayyub’s mother took the Prophet’s luggage inside and the matter was decided. When people insisted, the Holy Prophet (S) said: “A man is with his luggage,” and he entered the house of Abu Ayyub.
And Asad bin Zurarah took the Prophet’s camel to his house. Ibn Shahr Ashob has narrated from Salman what when the Messenger of Allah (S) reached Medina, people clung to the rein of his camel to take him to their homes. The Holy Prophet (S) said: “Leave the she-camel as she is ordered by the Almighty Allah and wherever she halts, I will stay at that place.”
Since she halted at the door of Abu Ayyub, he called his mother to open the door, for the Prophet had come to them. She being blind, lamented the loss of her sight that she could not see him. The Prophet drew his hand over her eyes and her sight was restored. This was his first miracle in Medina.
Ali bin Ibrahim has narrated that three tribes of Jews lived in Medina. These tribes were the Bani Quraiza, Bani Nuzayr and Bani Qinqaa. When the Messenger of Allah (S) came to Medina, they approached him and asked: “To what do you invite?” He replied: “Testify to the Oneness of Allah and my prophethood.
I am the one who is described in Taurat and the scholars have informed you that I will migrate from Mecca to this terrain. And a Rabbi from Shaam had told you that he has abandoned wine and other pleasures and all luxuries are destroyed because a prophet will be raised in this area. He will emerge from Mecca and migrate to this city. He will be the last prophet and the best of them. He will be riding a mule, donn old garments and feel satiated on dry loaves of bread.
There will be redness in his eyes and the seal of prophethood will be engraved between his shoulders. He will undertake armed resistance without caring for anyone. He will be extremely of good nature. His kingdom will stretch to every accessible place.” Jews said: “We know all this and that is why we have come here to make peace with you on the condition that neither we will support nor oppose you.
And we promise that we will not support your enemies and not harass your supporters. You will, in return, not oppose our supporters till we can see how your mission progresses.” The Holy Prophet (S) accepted these conditions and a document was prepared with these stipulations. It was also mentioned that if they violated any of the terms, it would be lawful to shed their blood, captivate their women and children and seize their property.
Huyy bin Akhtab signed this on behalf of Bani Nuzayr. When he returned home, his brothers asked how he found Muhammad. He replied: “He is the same whose descriptions we have seen in the scriptures and heard from the scholars. But I will remain his perpetual enemy, because prophethood is transferred from the progeny of Ishaq to the progeny of Ismail due to him and we can never render obedience to the progeny of Ismail.
Kaab bin Asad signed on behalf of Bani Quraiza and Mukhairiq on behalf of Bani Qinqaa. The latter was the wealthiest of all. He asked: “Do you know that he is the same Prophet? Come let us go and embrace faith on his hands and gain from Taurat as well as Qur’an.” But his followers did not agree.
The Prophet performed prayers a number of times in the house of Abu Ayyub. He then directed Asad bin Zurarah to buy a certain plot of land for him. Asad went to negotiate the business with the two orphans that owned it, and who immediately declared it a present to the Prophet. He refused to receive it without paying its value, and the bargain was at length closed by the payment of ten gold coins.
The Prophet ordered bricks to be made on the ground, and stones were brought to lay the foundation of a Masjid, he toiling with the rest in this laborious work. Usaid bin Khuzayr seeing him carrying a heavy stone, said to him, “Let me carry it, O Messenger of Allah (S).” “No,” he replied, “You go and bring another.” When the foundation was brought up to the level of the ground, they then built walls of sun-dried brick.
Kulaini has narrated from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) that the walls were at first the thickness of a single brick’s width, but on the increase of the Muslims, the Masjid was enlarged, the walls being made a brick and a half in thickness. On a further increase of members, they besought the Prophet to allow another enlargement of their place of worship, when he ordered the walls to be built two bricks thick, in that style in which the joints of one layer are covered by the bricks of the next course.
As the heat became oppressive, the Muslims petitioned for a roof to the Masjid. The Prophet ordered date-posts to be set up to support date-rafters, and a thatch of date-leaves and grass. When the rainy season commenced, the Muslims proposed to protect themselves by a clay roof, but the Prophet ordered the roof to be of wood, bound together like that Musa made, adding, “more than this, I cannot do for the Masjid;” and it remained in that state till he left the world.
The walls, before the roof was put on, were the height of a man. When the shadow of the wall extended one cubit noon prayers were performed, and on the further extension of a cubit, the afternoon prayers were offered. Shaykh Tabarsi and other tradition scholars have narrated that after the erection of the Masjid, the Prophet ordered houses to be built around it for himself and Ali and the rest of the Muhajireen; and they all had their doors open towards the Masjid.
A house was marked for His Eminence, Hamza also and its door opened in the Masjid. People used to come into the mosque from their homes. Jibraeel now descended and said to the Prophet, “Allah commands you to order all the doors opening towards the Masjid to be closed up, except your own and that of Ali.”
Companions were unhappy due to this and Hamza was also angry at this order, and said, “Ali is younger than myself, and is my nephew.” The Prophet replied, “Do not be vexed, my uncle, for it is not my doing, but the Almighty Allah has commanded it.” “I am satisfied,” replied Hamza, “and commit myself to Allah and the Prophet.”
It is related in Tafsir Majmaul Bayan, that when Islam was spreading in Medina, before the Hijrat, the Ansaris said among themselves, “The Jews have a day, Saturday, on which they assemble weekly for worship, and the Christian, also have a day for the same purpose, namely, Sunday. Let us likewise have a fixed day for assembling to worship, and rendering thanksgiving to Allah.”
Accordingly the Holy Prophet (S) appointed Friday, which, in those times, was called Uruya, which day received the name Friday, from its being the day for religious convocation. At this period, Asad bin Zurarah led the prayers of the Muslims, gave them a discourse and exhortation, and sacrificed a sheep for them, which served the party for breakfast and dinner, as they were but few in number.
Subsequently, the Almighty Allah sent the verse relating to Friday. But the first Friday kept by the Muslims was that of Asad, and the first observed by the Prophet was after his arrival at Medina. He came to Quba on Monday, where he laid the foundation of a Masjid and remained till Friday, when he started for Medina and performed the Friday prayers at the Masjid of Bani Salim, which is in the midst of the valley.
It is mentioned in reliable books that among the events of the first year of Hijrat is the incident of the wolf that testified to the prophethood of the Prophet as was mentioned previously. The same year the Holy Prophet (S) sent Zaid bin Harith and Abu Rafe to Mecca to bring Saudah binte Rabiah, wife of the Prophet and his daughters. He married Ayesha the same year. There was addition to units in daily prayers.
The Messenger of Allah (S) also established brotherhood between the believers and himself adopted the brotherhood of Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.). It is narrated from Amirul Momineen (a.s.) that when the Messenger of Allah (S) established brotherhood between believers and Muhajireen, people did not inherit on the basis of their relations, they used to inherit on the basis of their brotherhood. When Islam became strong, the Almighty Allah revealed the verse of inheritance and the previous command stood cancelled.
And it is narrated that in that time, the fast of Ashur of Mohurrum became obligatory. Salman, the Farsi, in this year became a Muslim, as will be explained in the coming pages. As did Abdullah bin Salam, a Rabbi, who having proposed a number of questions to the Prophet, and receiving convincing answers, embraced faith. Abdullah admitted that Jews were a pack of liars and “if they come to know that I have embraced Islam they will make allegations against me also.
“Conceal me, therefore,” said he; “call them here and ask them what my reputation is among them.” They testified that Abdullah was of the very highest respectability, as was his father before him, both for virtue and wisdom. “If he becomes a Muslim,” inquired the Prophet, “will you also embrace Islam?” “May God keep him from that?” exclaimed the Jews.
“Come forth, Abdullah,” said the Prophet. He did so, saying, “I testify that there is no god but Allah; I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah (S).” Immediately the Jews denounced him and his father as the most wicked and stupid of their tribe. Azan was formulated the same year. During this year, Bara bin Maroor a chief of Medina, Asad bin Zurarah and Kulthum bin Hadam passed away, while two of the Meccan infidels, Aws bin Wail and Walid bin Mughira, went to Hell.