Descent of the Light of Muhammad

The Narration of Ka’b al-Ahbaar

This narration is from Ka`b al-Ahbaar, who was known as Abu Ishaq. Ka`b was of the learned scholars of the Jews and during the blessed lifetime of the Holy Prophet (s he lived in the land of Yemen. He did not accede to the honor of true faith during the Prophet’’s (s) lifetime, but only thereafter, during the Khalifa of Abu-Bakr as-Siddiq, or, according to other accounts, during the time of ‘`Umar (r). He is referred to in some of the hadith related by the honorable companions of the Holy Prophet (s). One of these companions, Sahif bin ‘`Umar al-Ansari (r), claims to have heard from his father ‘Amr:

During the Holy Prophet’’s (s) lifetime I became acquainted with Ka`b and I used to meet him in a number of assemblies. It was his intention to come and attend the association of the Holy Prophet (s), and without yet having met him, he confirmed that he was indeed the Seal of the Prophets; he frequently described his characteristics to us. One day he told us that this was going to be the Holy Prophet’’s (s) last year, and that he very much wished he could make ready and go to meet him on time. He hastened his preparations and set out on the journey. There came one night, however, when he was seen to dart in and out (of the tent) at frequent intervals during the night, gazing intently at the night sky and weeping copiously.

As it dawned, I addressed him and said: ““Oh, Abu Ishaq, what has befallen you? How is it that you have spent the night gazing at the sky and weeping? What hidden wisdom is there in your action?”” He turned to me and answered:

During this night the Holy Prophet (s) at Madinah al-Munawwara was transported from this world to the next. I looked at the skies and saw that the gates of Heaven were opened wide to receive him, and I saw all the angels stand in attendance and celebrate his coming with songs of praise and honor. And on the whole earth there is no better place than that place where his blessed remains are to be buried; it is the choicest of all spots in this world.” Thus he spoke and swore by Allah.

I was completely dumbfounded by this explanation and therefore took exact note of the very date and hour when he uttered these words. So when we actually arrived in Madinah, we heard that it was indeed on that very night that the Holy Prophet (s) had departed from this passing abode to that of permanence. But at that time, I did not meet Abu Bakr as-Siddiq; only later, after his death, during the Khalifa of ‘`Umar, when I went to see the Khalifa at Madinah, I heard that he was there. I met him and gave him Salams. He looked at me and recognized me, and he honored me by admitting me into his close company.

I then told him and all those assembled of what I had observed of Ka`bu ‘l-Ahbaar. Everyone present marveled at this, saying he must be a sorcerer, a wizard. But Ka`b who was there with me spoke up and said: “”God forbid, I am neither sorcerer nor wizard, Allahu Akbar!”” and he took from beneath his seat a small box which resembled a white pearl, fastened by a golden lock which was sealed with a golden seal. He broke the seal and opened the box that revealed a piece of green silk folded up in many folds. “”Do you know what this is?”” he asked the assembly. “”I don’t know,”” I answered him. He said, ““In this is wrapped (a volume) of the divinely revealed books of the Torah and the Injil (Old and New Testaments) in which the signs and characteristics of the Holy Prophet are set down by the revelation of the Almighty.” Thereupon we all cried out: “”Oh Abu Ishaq! May Allah Almighty have mercy on you! Do tell us of the very beginning of creation, when the Prophet was created!”” We entreated him and he began to speak:

وعن كعب الآخبار قال لما أراد الله تعالى أن يخلق محمدا صلى الله عليه وسلم أمر جبريل أن يأتيه بالطينة التى هى قلب الأرض وبهاؤها ونورها قال فهبط جبريل فى ملائكة الفردوس وملائكة الرقيع الأعلى فقبض قبضة رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم من موضع قبره الشريف وهى بيضاء منيرة فعجنت بماء التسنيم فى معين أنهار الجنة حتى صارت كالدرة البيضاء لها شعاع عظيم ثم طافت بها الملائكة حول العرش والكرسى وفى السموات والأرض والجبال والبحار فعرفت الملائكة وجميع الخلق سيدنا محمدا وفضله قبل أن تعرف آدم عليهما السلام،

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