My article from the last week ended with me quoting from an article that appears in the book Farrakhan, God’s Man on the Straight Path; here is the remainder of that quote taken from an article that appeared originally in the February 20, 1987 edition of The Atlanta Journal Constitution:
“Libya, under the radical leadership of Qaddafi, has been an urgent concern, some say an obsession, in the White House throughout the Reagan administration. President Reagan’s initial meeting with his National Security Council on his first full day in office, January 21, 1981, focused on Libya and Iran. In mid-1985, emboldened by Reagan’s overwhelming re-election and frustrated by four years of indecisive struggle against Qaddafi through covert actions and unconventional means, senior figures in the White House and CIA called for a direct military confrontation, according to sources who provided information for this article.
“The 17-day ordeal of hijacked TWA Flight 847 in June, 1985 precipitated a shift in U.S. policies toward both Libya and Iran. The hijacking dramatized U.S. vulnerability to terrorism in the Middle East and fed White House determination to take strong action.
“Iran’s influence in the freeing of the TWA passengers and crew from terrorists in Lebanon suggested that an opening to Teheran could help free remaining U.S. hostages held by pro-Iranian groups, the sources said. The thinking about Libya went in the other direction: Although there was no direct connection between Libya and the TWA hijacking, top officials at the NSC and CIA became determined to get tough with Libya, the most vulnerable of the terrorism-generating states to U.S. action.”
My article continued: “That which we look at, of excerpts from the article that appeared in The Atlanta Journal Constitution (February 20, 1987), which is based on a report by The Washington Post, is a sign of specific aspects of the coming judgment. The truth of Minister Farrakhan’s vision was established prior to the recent revelation in the press of the fact that President Reagan and his aides planned the death of Qaddafi and the invasion of Libya, before September 17, 1985.
“It is a matter of public record that Minister Farrakhan publicly announced his vision in Libya, in 1986, before representatives of 80 nations.
“So, how did the Minister receive the information about such a top secret planning of the American government, weeks before he got it if not in the way he has stated?
“To what extent does this say that every other aspect of his vision is true? This takes us ultimately back to the question of tests and trials, as mentioned in chapter three.”
Among the visions people have had, which I have been privileged to learn of, there is one–which was and is still of great importance–which contains a major factor in it, which, when brought to bear on the vision of Minister Farrakhan, helps us to see its truth.
If someone can think of a better illustration than the one I am about to give, I am open to it. I hope Muslims, both in America and in other parts of this globe, are not offended by the reference I am about to make. To disallow my respectful use of Muhammad’s vision, however, to make a little clearer an aspect of Minister Farrakhan’s vision is hypocritical, especially when they have not objected to some European’s deliberate and disrespectful misuse of it.
Muhammad ibn Abdullah had a powerful spiritual experience–vision from Allah, the apex of which was that he was blessed to be in the Divine presence. A vast amount of literature has developed around his vision. This is reflected in the fact that there are different versions of major aspects of this particular experience. It was so powerful, however, that its effects are felt or reflected down to this day in several respects, in art, literature, etc.
Many have said that this vision was really two, or even three different visions. Others view it as really one incident. In any case, even though the scholars differ, it is a fact that there are three places in two surahs (chapters) in the Holy Qur‘an in which mentions of visions are made. It is far beyond the scope of this chapter to delve into the fascinating accounts, and compelling arguments, the scholars have produced on this great subject. However, these three places are Surah 17:1; Surah 60; and Surah 53:10-18
Here are these verses from the Muhammad Ali translation:
“Glory to Him Who carried His servant by night from the Sacred Mosque to the Remote Mosque, whose precincts We blessed, that We might show him of Our signs! Surely He is the Hearing, the Seeing.” (17: 1)
“And when We said to thee: Surely thy Lord encompasses men. And We made not the vision which We showed thee but a trial for men as also the tree cursed in the Qur’an. And We warn them, but it only adds to their great inordinacy.” (17:60)
“So He revealed to His servant what He revealed. The heart was not untrue in seeing what he saw. Do you then dispute with him as to what he saw? And certainly he saw Him in another descent, at the farthest lote-tree. Near it is the Garden of Abode. When that which covers covered the lote-tree; the eye turned not aside, nor did it exceed the limit. Certainly he saw of the greatest signs of his Lord.” (53: 10-18)
It is far beyond the purpose of this chapter to comment specifically on these wonderful verses. Nor is anything which follows to be taken even indirectly to be that. These words are rich, however, with significance.
Most share the view that what Muhammad experienced was literal. Others claim it was a vision, a purely spiritual experience. In any case he was reportedly escorted by an angel and carried on a horse, in the night, from the Sacred Mosque in Mecca to what is called the Remote Mosque in Jerusalem.
Then, Muhammad and the angel mounted upon a ladder fixed for them. Gabriel then introduced Muhammad successively to various prophets of the past, in seven heavens. The angel stopped at the next to the last stage of their journey and Muhammad made the last portion of it alone. He continued to ascend until he reached the highest place in heaven. Some say that there he saw the face of God. Others have a different view of what all he saw. But all agree that in some manner he was in the presence of Allah.
Whether or not, or to what extent, Muhammad’s experience was physical, solely spiritual, or in some way a mixture of both, and whether or not he had one, two or three such powerful experiences, has been a matter of much discussion for many centuries. As I just mentioned that discussion, what it means for the deeper aspect of man’s nature, is beyond the scope of this book. There is one part of his experience, however, that is highly relevant to Minister Farrakhan’s extraordinary vision. Let us look at facts which, to my best knowledge, have not been successfully refuted despite being disputed by knowledgeable persons who have studied Muhammad’s vision.
First, consider this from the 22nd chapter– “The Light of Thy Countenance”–of a book titled: Muhammad–His life based on the earliest sources, by Martin Lings:
“On one occasion, when they had all prayed the night prayer behind the Prophet, Umm Hani invited him to spend the night with them. He accepted her invitation; but after a brief sleep, he rose and went to the Mosque, for he loved to visit the Ka’bah during the night hours. While he was there, the desire to sleep came over him again, and he lay down in the Hijr.
“Whilst I was sleeping in the Hijr,” he said, “Gabriel came to me and…” and then what follows is the description of Muhammad’s spectacular vision.
This narration ends with the following words:
“When the Prophet and the Archangel had made their descent to the Rock at Jerusalem, they returned to Mecca the way they had come, overtaking many southbound caravans. It was still night when they reached the Ka’bah. From there the Prophet went again to the house of his cousin. In her words: ‘A little before dawn the Prophet woke us, and when we had prayed the dawn prayer, he said: ‘O Umm Hani’, I prayed with you the last evening prayer in this valley as thou sawest. Then went I to Jerusalem and there prayed; and now have I prayed with you the morning prayer as thou seest.’ He rose to go, and I seized his robe with such force that it came away, laying bare his belly, as if it had been but cotton cloth draped round him. ‘O Prophet of God,’ I said. ‘Tell not the people this, for they will give thee the lie and insult thee.’ ‘By God, I will tell them,’ he said.
“He went to the Mosque and told those whom he met there of his journey to Jerusalem. His enemies were immediately triumphant, for now they now felt they had an irrefutable cause for mockery. Every child of Quraysh knew that a caravan takes a month to go from Mecca to Syria and a month to return.”
More next issue, Allah willing.