Testimony 17 - 19

+ Larger Font | + Smaller Font

Testimony: The Bodily ascent of the Prophet Muhammad


In Testimony 16 I have referred two groups of Sahabas (=companions of the Prophet). Both the groups hold the bodily ascent of the Prophet of God to seven heavens, but the second group which consists of Abdullah bin Abbas, Kaab, Abu Zar and Anas etc. (radhiallah anhum) holds that the Apostle of Allah (S.A.W) was ennobled with perceiving Allah by his ocular vision. Whereas the other group agrees that the Prophet saw Allah by his heart but disagree in Prophet’s seeing God by his carnal eyes.

I discuss herewith, the facts stated by the mother of the believers Aesha (radhi Allah anha) in support of the contention held by Ibn Abbas.

Masruq narrated: I was reclining on (a pillow) at Aesha’s house. She said: There are three things, anyone talked about any of them, he fabricated the greatest lie about Allah.

I said: What are they?

She said: Whoever held that Muhammad (S.A.W) saw his Lord (by his eyes) told a lie against Allah.

He said: I was reclining (but) I sat up and said: O Mother of the believers! think don’t be hasty. Did’nt Allah, the Mighty, the Majestic say, ‘And surely he beheld him on the clear horizon, and verily he saw him at another descent.’

She said: I am the first of this Ummah (people) who asked the Apostle of Allah about it. (i.e. these verses) He said: ‘Verily he is Gabriel. I did not see him in his original shape, as he was created, save twice. I saw him descending from the heaven to the earth filling (the space) in between the sky and the earth.’

She said: Didn’t you hear Allah said: Vision comprehendeth Him not, but He comprehendeth (all) vision. He is the Subtile, the Aware. (6/103).

Didn’t you hear Allah said: And it is not (vouchsafed) to any mortal that Allah should speak to him, unless it be by revelation or from behind a veil, or (that) He sendeth a messenger to reveal what He will by His leave. Lo! He is exalted, wise. (42/51)

She said: Whoever claimed that the Apostle of Allah (S.A.W) concealed anything from the Book of Allah, fabricated the greatest lie against Allah. Allah says: O Apostle! Proclaim that which hath been revealed to thee, from thy Lord, for if thou do it not, thou will not have conveyed His message. (5/67)

She said: Whoever said that he would inform about what was going to happen tomorrow, fabricated greatest lie against Allah, Say thou (Muhammad) : None in the heaven and the earth knoweth the unseen save Allah. (27/65)

Commenting on seeing of Allah by the Prophet (S.A.W) most of the scholars have agreed with the second group of Sahabas and have commented on the narrative of the Mother of the believers Aesha (radhi Allah anha). I cite their comments from Tafsir ‘Al Khazin’:

Al Khazin referring to Mohiuddin Al Nawawi writes: There are many facts, which conclusively prove the visioning of Allah by the Prophet of God (S.A.W), we shall only narrate major of them:

1) Ibn Abbas said: Do you wonder that intimacy (of Allah) be to Abraham, His conversation be with Moses and Muhammad (be blessed with His ocular vision (alaihim alsalam).

2) Akramah said: Ibn Abbas was asked, ‘If Muhammad (sallallaho alaihi wasallem) saw his Lord. He said, ‘Yes’.

3) It is reported with unobjectionable evidence from Shoaiba, and he from Qatada, and he from Anas who said: Muhammad saw his Lord, the Glorified.

4) The root cause in this matter is the report of Ibn Abbas who is the prelate of the Muslim people, and known as authority in the principal matters and Abdullah bin Omar accepted his version who sent for him asking if Muhammad (S.A.W) saw his Lord, the Glorified. He informed him that he saw Him.

It is, therefore, the contention of Aesha (radhi Allah anha) is ineffective because she did not say she heard the Prophet (S.A.W) saying he didn’t see his Lord. She interpreted the verses preceded.

If any one among the companions of the Prophet gives, an opinion and the other companion dissents from it, then that opinion is not taken as binding. The reports from Ibn Abbas are correct, and when he spoke in affirmative about the vision, the visioning of Allah by the Prophet of God (S.A.W) is taken as proved, because it is not correct to think that Ibn Abbas spoke in this matter on his own, he spoke only when he heard from the Prophet (sallallaho alaihi wasallam).

5) When this controversy was referred to Moammar bin Rashid he said: “...Ibn Abbas spoke affirmative of what was negated. One who affirms a fact has the priority over the one who denies, because he has the knowledge to uphold a fact as he heard it (from the Prophet), and the other denies because he did not hear it.

6) Syedah Aesha (radhiallah anha) protested against the visioning of Allah by the Prophet (S.A.W) and in support of her contention produced the verse: Vision comprehendeth him not but He comprehendeth = (yudrik) (all) vision, He is Subtile, the Aware.

Ibn Kathir says: “The Arabic word ‘idrak’ (=comprehend) is much more specific than ‘Roya’ (=Vision). Idrak means to encompass full knowledge about Allah, to encompass full knowledge about Him or to fully understand His Being is impossible, it does not mean that to vision Him is also impossible, As for example, if we cannot encompass all knowledge’s, it does not mean that we shall remain destitute of knowledge. God said: ‘They encompass nothing of His knowledge save what as Thou lauded Thyself,’ it does not make his laudation impossible.

Ibn Abbas defining, ‘The vision comprehendeth Him not’ said: No sight can encompass His entity.

7) Khazin said: If to encompass His entity is impossible, it does not mean to vision Him is also impracticable. Aesha’s (radhiallah anha) protest from the verse that ‘It was not vouchsafed to any mortal that Allah should speak to him unless it is revelation or behind a veil can be replied in various ways:

Firstly, the vision is not necessarily associated with speech, so the presence of vision is possible without speech.

Secondly, this visioning of Allah was particular due to the reason preceded.

Thirdly, the scholars explaining, ‘Behind the veil’ said: “They hear His speech whereas they do not see Him...”

8) Concerning the descent of the revelation, ‘And it was not vouchsafed to any mortal...” it is reported: The Jews asked the Prophet (S.A.W), Why don’t you talk with God, and see Him, as did Moses, he talked and saw Him. He (Prophet) said:

Moses didn’t see God, then this revelation was descended.

Khazin says: Conversation in this world with the Lord is possible only behind the veil. This diction is verified by the following report. In a narrative from Jabir bin Abdullah, when Abdullah bin Amar bin Haram was martyred on the Day of Ohad. ‘The Apostle of Allah said: O Jabir! ... God did not talk to any one except behind the veil, but he talked to your father face to face...’ (Ibn Maja)

Ibn Kathir said: This conversation occurred in the world of spirit, this revelation shows that no face to face talk is possible in this world (only).

The aforesaid tradition of the Prophet (S.A.W) proved that what Syedah Aesha (radiallah anha) interpreted was not correct because the Prophet (S.A.W) was not blessed with His vision in this world but it was in the Heaven and close to the Lote Tree. This revelation negates the visioning of Allah in this world.

It is narrated that Akramah asked Ibn Abbas, Did Muhammad (S.A.W) see his Lord? He said, ‘Yes’. Akramah said: O Ibn Abbas!

Didn’t God say? “Vision comprehendeth him not but He comprehendeth (all) vision. “ He said: That is the Light, which is His Light. If He reveals His Light (Glory), nothing can comprehend Him. (Al Baihaqui and others)


The first half of the 9th century (C.E) witnessed a great tumult against the basic beliefs of Islam. A class of people known as Moatazilah (The Rationalists) were born who won the patronage of Abbasid Caliphs, Mansur, Mamoon, Moatasim and Wathiq billan. They gave a grievous blow to the beliefs of predestination, dubbed the Quran as creation, and they held that Islamic laws of society should be subservient to human action and only such Sunnah should be accepted which befits the rationalistic principles.

The Great Imam Ahmad Bin Hanbal stood against Moatazilahs’. He held that Islam is the Quran and Sunnah only. The Rationalists (Moatazillis) couldn’t support their convictions from the Quran and Sunnah. He was imprisoned and canned many times, but he stood like a rock against the false beliefs of Moatazilis. I have reported this historical event in my book ‘Nabi al Anbia’ (Urdu) VOL.II. pp.68-71, under the caption, ‘The Tumults against Islam Were Due To The Interpretation of The Quran by Ones’ Own Opinion.

The belief of Predestination has been dealt in detail by Muhammad Badr Alam (Almadni) in his book ‘Tarjuman Al Sunnah Vol.III.

Moatazilahs also held that visioning of Allah is impossible in this world and in Hereafter.

The people of Heaven will be blessed with visioning of Allah. The Quran is very positive about it. Its denunciation is to denounce the various verses of the Quran. In the preceding pages I have quoted the Prophet’s traditions and various citations of the companions of the Prophet and the commentators of the Quran in proof of visioning of Allah without encompassing full knowledge about him.

The Quran said:

That day faces will be resplendent looking toward their Lord. (75/22-23)

The people asked the Apostle of Allah (S.A.W) Will we see our Lord on the Day of Judgement. He said: Do you feel any difficulty in seeing the sun and the moon in a cloudless sky. They said: No. He said: Lo! You shall see your Lord like that. There is a chain of traditions reporting the visioning of Allah by the people of Heaven. (agreed tradition)

Ibn Kathir says: The companions of the Prophet and all the great scholars of Islam are unanimous that the people will perceive Allah by their ocular vision. Those who denunciated said: The Arabic word ‘Nazirah’ means waiting virtue by their Lord. Khazin says: This translation is against the Arabic language. Ibn Kathir said: This translation is absurd, and said how could they reply this verse wherein about the sinfuls it is said:

Verily they will be veiled that day from their Lord. (83/15)

Imam Shafai said: The veiling of sinful from their Lord means that the righteous will be favoured to see their Lord by their ocular vision. (Ibn Kathir)

All the above facts prove that Moatazilah were basically out of the fold of Islam.

34. The descent of Jesus will be before the Doomsday. (See. Vol. I. p.III)

35. A place from where the angels copy the order from the Preserved Tablet for implementation all over the world.

36. Kauthar a river in Paradise endowed specially to the Prophet of God (sallallaho alaihi wasallam). It is whiter then milk and sweeter than honey running on a bed of pearls and rubies and smelling musk.

37. The doctrine that God is transcendent reality of which the material universe and man are only manifestations. It involves a denial of God personality and expresses a tendency to identify God and nature.

38. The power of the vision of angels should not be judged to our power of sight. Even on the Day of Judgement the people will be given such an amazing power that they will see everything happing among the billions.

39. Albaihaqui said in a report, the Prophet (Sallallaho alaihi wasallam- while being carried to Aqsa Mosque saw Moses in his grave praying and then again in 6th Heaven, similarly he saw the prophets on land (Jerusalem) and the in the heavens. There can be no doubt to their presence in different places in different times as they are alive like martyrs (Vol.II p.135)

40. It is a temple mentioned in the Quran (52/4), which is visited by the heavenly beings for the adoration of their Creator. It is said to have been spiritual prototype of Kaaba in Makkah. (Ibn Kathir). A Yusuf Ali quite opposed to the agreed tradition gave his own explanation which denied its existence in the 7th heaven and derogated to Sunnah.

41. It was said that a more solid substance was crusted down to dust whereas Moses had only fallen senseless. The answer is the bodies of the prophets are like the bodies of the people of the Heaven which would never decay. See Testimony 18 a, b, c.

42. On the very gate of Hell, there is a bridge all over the Hell leading to the Heaven. It is sharper than a sword and thinner than a hair. The people of Heaven will pass over it to the tune of their good deeds. Some like the blinding lightening and some like the wind sent forth. The infidels will fall from over it into the Hell-Fire. The Fire will say to the believer: Pass thou over, for thy light is extinguishing my flame.