THE FOURTH PARADISE: THE SHELTERING GARDEN
Then Jibraeel called for prayer and Muhammad (pbuh) led the prayer among all the inhabitants of paradise. Then the buraq moved for another five hundred thousand light-years during which they travelled towards the fourth heaven which is called Jannat al-Maawa: the Sheltering Garden. There they heard a voice mixing angels and spirits.The door was made of silver upon a floor of gold. Again, the voice behind the door asked: "Who is there?" and Jibraeel answered,"Muhammad." "Has he been sent for?" "Yes." And the door opened.
Muhammad (pbuh) saw angels standing and sitting, lying and bowing, praising and saying: "Subhan al Malik al Quddus Rabb al Malaaikati warRuh," : "Glory to the holiest King, Rabb (Lord) of the angels and the Spirit!" Muhammad (pbuh) asked Jibraeel, "Jibraeel, is that not the prayer of my grandfather Abraham?" and Jibraeel said, "Yes, this is how your grandfather Abraham used to pray, and Allah was so happy with that prayer that he created an entire host of angels and filled the fourth heaven with them. He ordered them to repeat the same prayer. If anyone recites that praising among human beings, Allah will give them rewards according to the number of these angels."
Then Muhammad (pbuh) saw two angels, one of transparent crystal like spring water, and one denser like salt water. Jibraeel said: "One isthe angel of sweet waters. He carries all the oceans of this universe with his right thumb. The other is the angel of salty waters. He carries all the oceans of this universe in his left thumb. These are the angels responsible for supporting every creature in creation through water, sweet or salty. They meet without mixing, as Allah hassaid: "He has loosened the two seas. They meet. There is a barrier between them. They encroach not one upon the other." (40:19-20)
Behind them Muhammad (pbuh) saw angels shaped like birds, standing on the bank of a great river of paradise. When a human being on earth says: "There is no god only Allah," one of these angel-birds opens his wings. If the person says: "Glory to Allah," the angel-bird enters the river to swim in it. When the person says: "Praise be to Allah," the angel-bird dives into the water. When the person says: "Allah is greatest," the angel-bird comes out of the river. When the person ays: "There is no power nor might except in Allah," the angel-bird will shake off the water from him, and seventy thousand drops of water will come from him, out of each of which Allah creates an angel that sks forgiveness for that person until Judgment Day. In addition to this, Allah orders forty thousand rewards written in the book of that one and keeps them for him until his resurrection.
Then Muhammad (pbuh) saw a man who leaned against the books of human beings, in which were inscribed all their deeds. Muhammad (pbuh)asked: "Who is this?" Jibraeel said: "This is the Prophet Idris, peacebe upon him." Muhammad (pbuh) approached Idris and greeted him. Idris greeted him back and said: "Welcome to the pious brother and perfect prophet." Above him Muhammad (pbuh) saw a dome of light on which was written: "There is no god only Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger ofAllah." Muhammad (pbuh) looked inside it and saw a venerable old man with a white beard filled with light and crowned with a white turban.He asked: "Who is that, Jibraeel?" He answered: "That is an angel representing the Prophet Idris." Muhammad (pbuh) greeted him and said:"My brother! Allah has elevated you and honoured you, and you have entered paradise before me and saw its pleasures." Idris said:"Beloved one! At first I did not enter paradise nor see its pleasure.But when I left this world I entered a garden with a door on which I saw: 'Beyond this door none may enter before Muhammad (pbuh) and his nation.' And I asked Allah, 'For the sake of my grandson Muhammad(pbuh), let me in.' Allah let me in, so now because of you I am in this place."
Then Idris recited:"This Station sought by all for shelter,This lofty place where all people bow subdued And stands the noble Messenger With wisdom and might endued, Station of guidance and angelic light Where gloom of night and orphans' sadness At once are effaced, This is the Station of direct communication And the firm foothold for those determined to reach.The All-Merciful called him His beloved one And he is the beloved one of the universe And from his light came the light of all life."
THE FIFTH PARADISE: THE GARDEN OF BEAUTY AND FELICITY
Muhammad (pbuh) travelled for five hundred thousand light-years, afterwhich he arrived at the fifth paradise which is called Jannat alNaeem: "the Garden of Beauty and Felicity." Its door is made of mixed gold and silver from heaven. Jibraeel knocked at the door and a voice said: "Who is it?" "Jibraeel, bringing Muhammad (pbuh)." "Has he been sent for?" "Yes." "Welcome, Beloved one, to the fifth paradise!" The door opened and Muhammad (pbuh) saw five beautiful ladies whose radiant light among their servants made them appear like diamonds surrounded by pearls. His heart was moved towards them. He asked Jibraeel: "Who are these ladies?" He answered: "This is Hawwa (Eve),the mother of human beings, this is the Virgin Maryam (Mary), themother of Isa (Jesus), this is Musa's (Moses') mother Yukabid, and this is Assia, the wife of Pharaoh." The fifth lady looked like a sun among stars. Her light shone over the rest of the inhabitants of that paradise like a gentle breeze passing through the tree-leaves. Jibraeel said: "This is an angel representing your daughter Fatima"
Muhammad (pbuh) asked: "Jibraeel, what is the secret of this paradise?" Jibraeel said: "Allah created this paradise to reflect the beauty and perfection of women. The light of this paradise is the source of the angelic lights of all women on earth. Women have been created to carry the secret of creation in themselves. Allah has honoured them greatly by making their wombs the repository of His word which represents the Spirit. He looks at the most sacred place and there descends His mercy and blessings. He perfected that place and covered it with three protective layers to shelter it from any damage.The first is a layer of light, the second a layer of love, and the third a layer of beauty. There he fashions and creates human beings after His likeness, as Muhammad (pbuh) said: 'Allah created Adam after His likeness.' He orders the angels of the womb to perfect His creation by giving the baby life, beauty, health, intelligence, and all kinds of perfect attributes that will make each one distinguished among human beings."
"Women are not created weaker but more generous than men. They are created more beautiful and less fierce, as beauty hates to hurt beings, and women arecloser to the angelic nature than men, as they are readier than men to carry angelic light. It is the good manners and ethics of spirituality which they carry which makes them less forceful than men. Even physically, however, they are extremely strong. They undergo great upheavals in their body without flinching for the sake of childbirth,a nd face the direst physical conditions more successfully than men because Allah has enabled them to insure the survival of generations."
"Allah gave women five angelic qualities which men rarely have. Theyare the source of peace, as Allah said that He created them "so that you might find rest in them" (30:21). This is the attribute of thefirst paradise which is named "the Abode of Peace." They are oasis of constancy in the midst of chaos and change. That is why they give birth as the mother nurtures and shelters the baby more reliably than the father. This is the attribute of the second paradise, which isnamed 'the Abode of Constancy.' They perpetuate generations. Through their offspring Allah creates angelic prophets and saints who establish His perpetual remembrance on earth as the angels establish it in heaven. This is the attribute of the third paradise which is named 'the Abode of Eternity.' They are generous and bountiful. They are described as 'a fertile land' in all Scriptures because they give without counting, including life. They sacrifice themselves for the sake of another creation, and this is the attribute of the fourth paradise which is named 'the Sheltering Garden.' Finally, they are the source of Beauty. Through their softness and subtlety, Allah has crowned the earth with the diadem of angelic grace. This is the attribute of the fifth paradise which is named "the Garden of Beauty."
THE SIXTH PARADISE: THE GARDEN OF EDEN
Muhammad (pbuh) travelled again on the buraq for five hundred thousand years. On his way to the sixth paradise which is called Jannat alAden: "the Garden of Eden," he saw nations and nations of saffron-coloured angels standing on pedestals of pink marble. They had one thousand wings and on each wing there were one thousand faces. Each face had one thousand mouths saying: "Praise be to the Rabb(Lord) of Majesty and Splendour!" Jibraeel knocked at the door of the sixth paradise which was made of aquamarine and gold. As usual, avoice asked from behind the door who was there and the answer was given: "Jibraeel, bringing Muhammad (pbuh)." "Has he been sent for?"said the voice. "Yes," replied Jibraeel. The door was opened. Muhammad(pbuh) entered and what he saw passed all imagination and all recorded books, all fabled accounts, all legends, all histories.
Silent gold sat on stars of pearl. Under every pearl fifty thousand angels whirled in a lake of galaxies producing a heavenly sound like a million birds humming on top of the buzzing of a million bees. Everything is moving at the speed of light but at the same time everything is silent and still. Each angel spoke words of greetings to Muhammad (pbuh) at the same time in a different language but distinctly and without any clash one with the other. Their words were phrased in diadems and garlands of light which he wore one after the other on his head and around his neck. A huge angel named Semlaeel appeared at the head of ten thousand processions of similar angels wearing a crown of multi-coloured garnets and reciting praise of Allahin an angelic language which made each angel swoon and rise up inturn. These were the karubiyyun: 'Those brought near.' No one on earth can see them and live because of the intensity of their light whichthey borrow from the One they behold.
Muhammad (pbuh) asked: "Jibraeel! What is this untarnished heavenly sound?" "Rasool Allah!" Jibraeel answered, "This is the music of the angelic souls in the presence of their Rabb (Lord) trembling like a leaf, not daring to move or speak, awed and annihilated by perfection, yet vivified and moved by divine Light, rushing to the divine meeting and announcing your coming."
Muhammad (pbuh) saw a honey-coloured angel of astounding beauty and ofyet even greater majesty so that his majesty overpowered his beauty. He had a long mane of hair and a long beard out of which light flashed like thunderbolts. He had a stern face and yet a child's eyes. His enormous chest seemed to heave like a dormant volcano under his shirt of heavenly brocade. When Muhammad (pbuh) enquired about him, Jibraeel said: "This is your brother Musa (Moses). He is the one who prayed six times on the Mount of Sinai in order to be a simple servant in your Nation. He is the vanquisher of tyrants and the secret of his fatherYaqoob (Jacob). Allah wrote for him the character of a fiery servant.That is why he approached the burning bush and was not afraid when HisRabb (Lord) wanted to speak to him."
Musa (Moses) was crying and he said to Muhammad (pbuh): "Prophet of the Last Nation! Intercede for me and my people." Muhammad (pbuh)said: "Why are you crying, my brother Musa (Moses)?" He replied: "Icry for love of you and for the great honour where Allah has raised you and made your nation countless people and other nations very few, even mine. Muhammad! you are the seal of prophets and the light of creation. Allah is raising you today to His presence, to a station where no-one can reach. Remember me there as Allah made you the intercessor for all human beings including prophets, from Adam to Isa(Jesus). Then he recited:
"Prophet sprung from Hashim's line, Lover of Him Who is lauded above,Sealer of every book revealed to mankind.Opener of treasured knowledge sublime Who mounted the buraq to ascend to his Rabb (Lord), Allah in Whose presence none before had remained, Approach that place where only angels draw near Messenger of Allah before whom winds and clouds move And lay open clear myriad paths to celestial light. For your intercession human souls plead and yearn, Prophet at whose sight angels delight! It is you for whom paradise was made and adorned, For you the furthest-tree of farthest limit is made to stand And bear the fruit of compassion in every land. Beloved Muhammad, may Allah grant us to be Always numbered in your noble band."
THE SEVENTH PARADISE: JANNAT AL FIRDAWS
Muhammad (pbuh) arrived at the seventh paradise whose roof touches the Heavenly Throne and whose name is Jannat al Firdaws, after a travel offive hundred thousand light-years. He knocked at the door which was made of pure emerald, topaz, beryl, and gold. After he entered he saw another gate of light. From it came the praise of nations of hidden angels at whose sight one would die of awe because of their intensebeauty. Their laud was simply: "Praise be to the Creator of Light!" Beyond this it is not permitted to speak about them. Muhammad (pbuh) greeted them with the greeting of peace and proceeded past the gate ofgold to a dome of light which encompassed all the previous heavens,a lthough the distance he had travelled between the sixth and the seventh heaven was the same as that between each two of the other layers of paradise.
Inside the dome Muhammad (pbuh) saw an angelic being which resembled him in every fashion and who was leaning against a wall of white silk which seemed to move like a waterfall and yet stand firm. Muhammad(pbuh) asked who that was and Jibraeel said: "This is your grandfather Ibraheem (Abraham), the leader of the pure of heart and a great one among prophets." Ibraheem (Abraham) said: "Welcome to the pious son and the perfected Prophet!" Around Ibraheem (Abraham) stood crowned angels. Each of their crowns contained four hundred diamonds, each worth more than what the entire earth contains. At their service stood throngs of angels crowned with the light of the previous angels andall were reading the Ayat ul Kursi. Jibraeel said: "This is the verse that keeps the universe firm in the balance. This is the secret of theorder of Creation." And the angels recited:
Allah! There is no god save Him, the Living, the Eternal, Neitherslumber nor sleep overtakes him. Unto him belongs whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in earth. Who is he that intercedes with him save by His leave? He knows that which is in front of them and that which is behind them, While they encompass nothing of His knowledge except what He will. His Kursi includes the heavens and the earth, And He is never weary of preserving them. He is the Sublime, theTremendous. (2:255)
Circumambulating the building against which Ibraheem (Abraham) leaned, the entire universes, the throngs of angels of the seven heavens, the angels of mercy and the angels of wrath, the angels of beauty, the angels brought near, the great and the small angels, the visible and the invisible angels, and all the human beings whose angelic souls had been purified and elevated to the divine presence, the prophets, the truthful saints, the martyrs, the righteous, all of creation whirled and turned in the same direction as every heavenly body, counterclockwise, around the Kaaba of the heavens. Muhammad (pbuh)said: "Jibraeel, How wondrous are the incredible marvels of my Rabb(Lord)!" And Jibraeel replied: "Muhammad! You have seen only a glimpse of the wonders of Allah."
Blessings and Peace on Muhammad, his Family, and his Companions.