with perfect obedience and order. Each appears as a sphere of dominicality, a level of rulership in the levels of creatures and classes of beings, which stretch from particles to the planets and from flies to the heavens, and which, great and small, particular and universal, are all different but are such that they look one to the other.
Now, the way to understand the exalted aims and mighty results of the entire universe and to see all the different duties of worship of all its levels; and, through observing the sovereignty of dominicality of the One of Grandeur and the splendour of His rule, to understand what is pleasing to Him; and to be the herald of His sovereignty, is to make a journey through all those levels and spheres until the Sublime Throne, which is the title of the greatest sphere, is reached; until The distance of two bow-lengths. It is to meet there with the All-Glorious and Beauteous One. And this journey is the reality of the Ascension.
Like ordinary human beings travel in the mind with the speed of imagination, and saints journey in the heart with the speed of lightning, like angels, which are luminous bodies, circulate with the speed of spirit from the Throne to the earth and from the earth to the Throne; and like the people of Paradise will rise to Paradise from the resurrection with the speed of Buraq through a distance greater than five hundred years;1 of a certainty the body of Muhammad (PBUH) went together with his elevated spirit as far as the Divine Throne. For the body of Muhammad (PBUH) was the treasury of the faculties of the spirit of Muhammad (PBUH), and the means for the performance of its duties, which is light and has the characteristics of light, is subtler than the hearts of the saints, more insubstantial than the spirits of the dead and the bodies of the angels, and more ethereal than the astral bodies and subtle bodies.
Now we consider the atheist who is listening. It comes to mind that he would think of saying: “I do not recognize God and I do not know the Prophet (PBUH), how should I believe in the Ascension?” To which we would reply as follows.
Since the universe and beings exist, and within them are acts and creation; and since an orderly act cannot occur without an author, a meaningful book cannot be without a scribe, and a skilful embroidery be without an embroiderer; the purposeful acts which fill the universe surely have an author, and the meaningful letters and amazing embroideries which cover the face of the earth and are renewed from season to season have a scribe and an embroiderer.
And since two governors directing the same matter spoils the order in that matter being spoilt; and since from a fly’s wing to the lamps in the heavens
Bukhari, viii, 147; Ibn Mubarak, al-Zuhd, ii, 122.