The Prophet moved in space for another five hundred thousand light-years until they reached the third Paradise. It is called Dar al-khuld: the Abode of Eternity. As they approached their destination they heard great voices that thundered all around them. “That is the sound of angels praising their Lord,” said Gabriel. As they approached they heard the music of the angels by which everything moves in the orbits of the heavenly worlds. Gabriel stopped at a door made of a pure, burnished heavenly copper, and he knocked. “Who is there?” said a voice behind the door.
“Gabriel, bringing Muhammad.”
“Has he been sent for?”
“Yes.” And the door was opened.
The Prophet entered and he saw an angel who changed from one shape to another in every moment. As he changed, his color changed also. He seemed as one moving in a flash and yet immobile like a moving series of pictures and yet each picture is fixed in its place. Behind the angel the Prophet saw seven hundred thousand angels, all of them moving like the first angel, from one colorful image into another, like countless kaleidoscopes. Their feet reached the seven earths. Their musical praise was: Subhana al-hayy al-qayyum alladhi la yamut: “Glory to the Living One, the Self-Subsistent who never dies!” The melody of their praise moved the entire heavens to unutterable joy which showered mercy on the earth and its inhabitants. The Prophet asked Gabriel to ask the angel whether human beings could hear that music and if it were possible for them. The angel said: “Anyone who opens his angelic power and connects himself to us will hear that melody and he will receive the reward that we receive for uttering this praise.” Then the angel recited:
Secret Reality! Angelic heart of light,
Kingdom of power, shining in steadfast light,
Firm in foundation, in beauty all complete,
Its essence descended from Adam’s heart enthroned,
Just as the All-Merciful descended on His Throne.
Essence of angels’ light in Adam manifest,
And yoked with it Gods’ trust fulfilled,
The grant He made to all mankind.
Here appeared knowledge of God’s light
Known only to chosen saints who alone can see.
Where His knowledge glows imperfection flees
And all worldly cares dim and disappear.
Here ends and begins the place of drawing near
Where the pure ones settled, similar to light upon light.
As they moved forward they saw a handsome man before whose beauty everything paled. “This is Joseph, the Prophet,” said Gabriel. The Prophet Muhammad approached him and greeted him, and Joseph greeted him back with the best greeting of heaven. Gabriel said: “Out of the beauty of Joseph came the beauty of all human beings. His is the beauty of the full moon, the sun and the stars.” Yearning for angelic beauty will melt the hearts of the stone-hearted. The faint-hearted cannot hope to approach its secret, for they will immediately fall under its power and extinguish themselves in it. That is the meaning of the sweetness of painful yearning in love: the approach of beauty in its absence is sweeter still than its embrace and possession. For possession of the beloved entails the satisfaction of the lower self, while to remain in pain because of the beloved is better than comfort and contentment.
by Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani
Behind Joseph the Prophet saw a great human crowd, all of them wearing radiant angelic dresses. The Prophet asked, “Who are these people, O Gabriel?” He answered: “Behind Joseph God created seven hundred thousand posts in Paradise; on each post there are seven hundred thousand red jewels; each jewel contains seven hundred thousand palaces; in every palace there are seven hundred thousand rooms, and in every room there are seven hundred thousand windows. These rooms are inhabited by human beings who carry angelic powers and spend their lives in love of each other and nature. Their hearts are filled with love of Me and devoid of low desires. They pine for Me and I pine for them. Every day these human beings appear at their windows and look at the people of Paradise. From their beauty a great light shines forth, in the same way that the sun appears in the windows of the sky and sheds its light over the people on earth. Then the people of Paradise say: ‘Let us run towards the Lovers of God.’ As soon as they reach them these Lovers adorn them with all kinds of rainbows and showers of light. They give them a dress made of green silk which symbolizes the qualities of those made perfect and agreeable to God.”
copyright 2017 Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani
© 2016 As-Sunnah Foundation of America