The Thirty-first Word


The Ascension of Prophet Muhammad


(NOTE: Belief in the Prophet’s Ascension is the result of, and draws its light and strength from, belief in the pillars of belief.172 The Ascension may not be proved independently to those who do not accept these pillars, without first proving them. Therefore we address believers who doubt it. From time to time, however, we will address unbelievers. Some aspects of the Ascension’s truth have been mentioned elsewhere in the Risale-i Nur. At the insistence of my brothers, we seek God’s grace and help to unite them with the essence of that truth and make them into a mirror to reflect the total beauty of the perfections of Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings.)

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

All-Glorified is He Who took His servant for a journey by night from al-Masjidu’l-Haram to al-Masjidu’l-Aqsa’, the environs of which We had blessed, so that We might show him of Our signs. Surely He is the Hearing, the Seeing. (17:1)

It is but a Revelation revealed. One with mighty power has taught it, one firm, with the ability to penetrate and perfect in spirit, rose with all splendor, when he was in the highest horizon. Then he drew near and came close, so he was at a distance between the strings of two bows or even nearer. And He revealed to His servant what He revealed. The heart did not contradict what he saw. Will you then dispute with him concerning what he saw? Surely he saw him during a second descent, by the Lote-tree of the farthest limit, near it is the Garden of Refuge and Dwelling. It was when what enveloped the 172 These are belief in God’s Existence and Unity, angels, Scriptures, Prophethood and Divine Messengership (including belief in all of God’s Prophets and Messengers), and the Resurrection, and Divine Decree and Destiny, without excluding human free will. (Tr.)

Lote-tree enveloped it. The sight did not swerve, nor did it stray. Truly did he see one among the greatest signs of his Lord. (53:4-18)

OUT OF THE FIRST VERSE’S VAST TREASURY, WE WILL DESCRIBE ONLY TWO points which the pronoun He in Surely He is refers to as a principle of eloquence, as they are included in our present concern.

After mentioning the Prophet’s journey from the Masjidu’l Haram in Mecca to the Masjidu’l-Aqsa’ in Jerusalem (the beginning of his Ascension), the Qur’an concludes: Surely He is the Hearing, the Seeing. The pronoun He in Surely He is, which alludes to the furthest point of the Ascension which is indicated in 53:4-18 above, refers either to Almighty God or the Prophet.

If it refers to the Prophet, according to the rules of the language and the preceding part of the verse, it means: This apparently particular journey is, in reality, comprehensive. It signifies such a universal ascent that, during it, the Prophet heard and saw all of the Lord’s signs and the Divine art’s wonders that caught his sight and encountered his ears due to the Divine Names’ manifestations in universal degrees as far as the Lote-tree of the farthest limit and the nearness of the distance between the strings of two bows. Thus, through its conclusive phrase, the verse describes that particular journey as the key to a journey that is universal and full of extraordinary events.

If this pronoun refers to God Almighty, it means: In order to invite one of His servants on a journey to His Presence and entrust him with a duty, God Almighty took him from the Masjidu’l-Haram to the Masjidu’l Aqsa’, where the Prophets came together. There, He caused him to meet with them and showed that he is the absolute, indisputable heir of all the Prophets’ principles of religion. Then He took him through both the external and inner dimensions of His dominion as far as the Lote-tree of the farthest limit and the nearness of the distance between the strings of two bows.

We know that he was a servant and that his Ascension was a particular event. However, since he was given a trust connected to the whole universe, was accorded a light that would change the universe’s color, and also had a key that opens the door to eternal happiness, Almighty God describes Himself as the One Who hears and sees all things so that His world embracing, comprehensive and all-encompassing wisdom in the trust, the light, and the key might be observed and understood.

This mighty truth contained in the Ascension may be dealt with four principles: Why was the Ascension necessary, what is its reality, what is its wisdom, and what are its fruits and benefits?

Bediuzzaman Said Nursi