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NEWSPRESS: AL-SHARḤ

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94:1-4 Did We not expand for thee thy breast, and lift from thee thy burden that weighed down upon thy back, and raise up for thee thy mention?

Know that when God brought the creatures from the concealment of nonexistence to the confines of existence with the command “Be!” and when He scattered over them the treasuries of mercy and the gardens of blessings, He showed largesse to that master of the world, that greatest child of Adam, through exalted bounties, generous gifts, and various sorts of favor. From the beginning of the cosmos to the annihilation of the children of Adam, all creatures are his followers. The first thing desired by the beginningless gentleness was he. He is the king, and the rest of the creatures are his army and horse. He is the dear guest, and the dear ones are all his followers and hangers-on. Look carefully at the edict of his splendor and the book of his good fortune to see if the specification and explicit statement of this announcement of generosity and elevation were given to any other prophet.

Did We not expand for thee thy breast? “O paragon of the universe! O honored chosen one! O foremost messenger! O ennobled eminent one! Did We not brighten your heart with the light of recognition, give it courtesy and rectification with the subtleties of contemplation and unveiling, give it goodliness and proximity with the generous gifts of exaltedness and elevation, and give your clay the cape of adornment and the robe of elevation?

“O master! The goal of creation was to unveil the sign of your perfection, the flag of your majesty, and the form of your beauty. ‘But for thee, I would not have created the spheres. But for thee, the world would have neither bottom nor top.’

“O master! You were the first in prophethood and the last to be sent out. You are the manifest in union and the nonmanifest in blessings. You are the first of all creatures in nearness and familiarity and the last in judgment and felicity. You are the manifest in sinlessness and greatness and the nonmanifest in the majesty of the state.”

In the reports about the miʿrāj, it has come that Muṣṭafā said, “The All-Compeller said to me, ‘Ask, O Muḥammad!’ “I said, ‘My Lord, You took Abraham as a bosom friend, You gave David a tremendous kingdom [4:54] and forgave him his slip, You bestowed on Solomon a kingdom such as no one after me will have [38:35], You spoke to Moses directly [4:164], You raised Idris to a high place [19:57],  You taught Jesus the Torah and the Gospel [3:48] and You made him heal the blind and the leper and give life to the dead with Your permission [3:49].’

“My Lord said to me, ‘O Muḥammad, I took thee as a beloved just as I took Abraham as a bosom friend. I spoke to thee as I spoke to Moses, directly. I sent thee to all people as a good news bringer and a warner [34:28]. I expanded for thee thy breast, I lifted from thee thy burden, and I raised up for thee thy mention, so I will not be mentioned without thy being mentioned along with Me. I bestowed upon thee seven of the oft-repeated and the tremendous Qur’an [15:87] and did not bestow them on any prophet before thee. I bestowed upon thee the concluding verses of the Surah al-Baqara and did not bestow them on any prophet before thee. I bestowed upon thee the abundance [108:1]. I bestowed upon thee the eight whose names are the submission, the emigration, the struggle, the prayer, the charity, the fasting of Ramadan, commanding the honorable, and forbidding the improper. And I made you an opener and a seal.’”

The chieftain of the engendered beings, the master of the masters, is saying this: “On the night of proximity and generosity, the night of nearness and familiarity when I was taken on the miʿrāj, I reached the Exalted Presence and this call came from the Presence of All-Compellingness: “O Muḥammad, speak so that I may listen! Ask so that I may bestow!” He said, “When this generous address and infinite caress reached me, my tongue began to flow with felicity, my heart found the luster of mastery, my secret core saw the exaltation of increase, and I became bold in the Presence, having found the closeness of solace and the robe of good fortune. I said, ‘O Lord, every prophet has received a bestowal from You. You gave Abraham bosom friendship, You spoke to Moses without an intermediary, You conveyed Idris to a high place, You gave David a tremendous kingdom and forgave his slip, You gave Solomon a kingdom the worthiness for which You gave no one after him, and You taught Jesus the Torah and the Gospel in his mother’s belly and made it easy for him to bring the dead to life.’”

When Muṣṭafā finished talking, an address came in answer from the Exalted Threshold: “O Muḥammad, though I gave Abraham bosom friendship, I gave you love. Though I spoke to Moses without an intermediary, there was a veil in the midst—he heard the words but did not see the speaker. With you I speak without intermediary and without a veil; you hear the words and you see the speaker. Though I conveyed Idris to heaven, I made you pass through the heavens and conveyed you to the presence of two-bows’ length in the way station of He drew close and the seclusion of or closer [53:8-9]. Though I gave David the tremendous kingdom and forgave his slip, I gave your community the kingdom of contentment and forgave their sins with your intercession. Though I gave Solomon the empire, I gave you the seven oft-repeated, the tremendous Qur’an, and the conclusion of the Surah al-Baqara, which I gave to no prophet but I gave to you; and I responded to your supplications at the end of Surah al-Baqara.

“Outside of these, I honored you with three traits. With these three traits, I made you more excellent than the folk of heaven and earth. First, did We not expand for thee thy breast? Second, and lift from thee thy burden? Third, did We not raise up thy mention for thee? We opened up your empty breast and limpid heart and made them vast for accepting the traces of power and for holding firm to the Unseen and the assurance of the Real.

“And lift from thee thy burden: The burden of the community’s sins was weighing down upon your back and making you weak, and you were unsettled and without ease in sorrow for the disobedient. We put aside that burden from you, We forgave all their sins, and We gave your heart stillness and quiet.

“And raise up for thee thy mention: We lifted high your name, mention, and fame, for We bound it to Our own name and paired it with the formula of tawḥīd. O Muḥammad, whenever the sun of your having been raised up shone on someone, he took a portion: From your status and being raised up Adam the chosen found the rank of chosenness. Because of you, Idris found the rank of chieftainship. In relation to you the Bosom Friend found the good fortune of bosom friendship. Through your love, Moses found the exaltedness of speaking with God. By being your doorkeeper Jesus found confirmation and help.”

The command came to the proximate angels of the Presence and the beings of the realm of creativity: “All of you place the brand of love for Muḥammad on your hearts, strike the fire of yearning for him in your spirits, and attest to his messenger hood and prophethood! With the effusion of munificence, We have brought him into existence at the end of the cycle, made him the leader of the world’s folk, and placed him on the throne of good fortune at the forefront of messenger hood. All those reached by his gaze will be exalted and raised up. All those who have faith in him will have lucky stars. All those who wear the bells of his community around their necks will have his love and affection in the heart and will walk straight in his Shariah and Sunnah. Today they will be purified of faults and their sins will be expiated, and tomorrow they will drink from the Pool of Abundance. Their place will be the perfumed paradise, and their robe of honor will be vision and the approval of the Greatest Lord.”

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