The highest level of shahood is known as Fatah (exploration). This happens when someone gains excellence in shahood to a point where while witnessing the unseen he is unable to close his eyes owing to the mounting pressure; they are compelled to remain open. When that happens then sayr (journey), shahood, and other spiritual experiences are witnessed with open eyes. During this stage, the student witnesses the period between the creation and the end-time with his own eyes while performing normal daily routines of his life. From the far corners of the universe, he sees creation in progress, the birth of numerous galaxies and their stars, their chronological evolution, and their eventual demise as well.
A mere second of fatah sometimes may be an encircling of the period between creation to the end time. Experts of Astronomy claim that it takes more or less four years for any light, that is from any system other than our own solar system, to reach us. According to them, there are even some stars whose light reaches us in thousands of years. This means the stars that we look at at night are the figure that existed thousands of years ago. We are then bound to recognize the fact that the present moment is a thousand years old moment. A point to ponder is that between these two moments, which are in fact one, thousands of years elapse. Where do those thousand of years go?
This suggests that these thousands of years are nothing but an angle of perception. This has divided this single moment into thousands and thousands of years. Just as this angle of perception sees the thousands of years in the present moment, it could as well see the future thousands of years in the present moment. Therefore, the period from the creation to the end is a single moment that has been divided by the angle of perception into the various stages between the beginning and the end of time.
This division is what we know as Space (makaan), meaning the entire period between the creation and the end is Space (makaan) and all the incidents that this universe has seen are confined in the divisions of that single moment. It is the grace of the perception that has given that moment the appearance of the beginning to the end.
The perception that we are used to could never be able to see the length of that single moment. The perception that could is mentioned in the Sura Qadar of Qur’an (Koran):
‘And We have revealed this during the night of power. And what dost thou sense what night of power is? That night of power is better than thousands of months. Angels and the Holy Spirit descend on that night by the Will of their Lord to do the work. That night is all peace till dawn.
The aforesaid night of power is that perception that reveals the affairs of the period between creation and the end-time. This perception is thirty thousand times or even greater than the normal perception because one night was compared with thousand of months. With the help of this perception, man is able to get acquainted with the spirits and angels and witness the mysteries of creation.
The following is an excerpt from the author’s book Jannat Ki Sayr (Urdu, Al-Kitab Publications) in which he is relating an incident from the early days of his spiritual life.
I was returning home from the city market on a bus. It was so crowded that it seemed like passengers were loaded like cargo. Besides exhaust fumes and heat, the smell of passengers sweating was all over the bus. Every time when the bus would restart after the stops, the air filtering through the sweats of passengers would make my brain explode.
A few passengers were wearing perfumes while others had hair creams that smelled like a stinking drug. This mixture of bad and good smells was giving me a headache and I felt like I was being suffocated. When this happened suddenly a thought crossed rm, mind, why there is so much odor in a man?
My mind was so focused on that thought that my eyes became a little mushy. Then I saw a circle. There were six more circles on top of that. Each circle was made of a different color. Some were blue while others were green, red, or black and one was transparent. My eye concentrated on those circles. Suddenly they turned into six more circles (chakra) and suddenly I became aware that every creation exists under these six circles (chakra).
When I paid more attention to it the space between them started to increase. The first circle (e/iakru) was seen in the middle of the head, the second one at the forehead, the third under the neck, the fourth one in the middle of the chest, the fifth one at the heart, and the sixth one at the navel.
The circle (chakra) at the navel was dark and dingy. I was a bit surprised to find that in the middle of all those bright circle (chakra)s there existed this dark, polluted and dingy circle (chakra) but why? I felt as if my mind had already left my body. The body of bones and flesh felt like an empty envelope. I was no longer aware that I was traveling on a bus. I saw that on every man’s shoulders there were two angels. They were writing something, however, the way they were writing was not the way we write in our world. They had no pen, nor tablet on which to write. The angel’s mind would take notice of something and that would appear in the form of a film. The forms and figures of the film would show if the mind of one of them was engaged in thoughts of greed while someone else is busy thinking about jealousy and other negative thoughts. A third person is bent on murdering someone. This person left his home with this plan. One of the angels quickly inspired him that murdering someone is a big sin and the punishment for this crime is execution. Nevertheless, this person would ignore this inspired message and kept on going according to his plan.
When the inspiration failed, the other angel took notice of it and recorded that person’s plan to commit murder and the entire episode appeared on that film including his rejection of the inspiration. This person went ahead and stabbed to death another human being just like him. The second angel recorded the entire incident.
After committing the murder, that person’s conscience became uneasy. His mind was now burdened with enormous guilt and the realization that he will eventually have to pay for this crime. That guilt itself became an image in the recording.
These three men acted on their will and the way they had planned the outcome in their mind and acted on their schemes, every action and every movement became an image that was recorded by the angels. On the other hand, there was another person who left his home for prayers in the mosque. After entering the mosque he with honest heart prostrated himself before God. God loves honesty.
Because of God’s approval of honesty, he became eligible for Divine Mercy (Rahma) and rewards. Even though he did not know whether his prayers were approved, because his intentions were pure, after performing the prayers his conscience became content and he felt peace and serenity. The station of peace and serenity is heaven. After becoming content, his consciousness became aware that his final station is heaven.
The moment focus shifted to heaven, the entire heaven with its trees, fruits, creatures, lakes of honey, the well of kauthar, they all came into my vision. When consciousness was able to witness all that, then the angel turned his focus on the film and this entire episode was recorded in his film as well.
On the other hand, there was another man who also left his home for prayer. His mind is filled with filth and hatred for God’s creatures. Injustice is his hobby. Cruelty, insensitivity, and violence are his favorite actions. He entered the mosque and prayed for a while; however, his conscience is not satisfied. This unsatisfactory condition of conscience can be labeled nothing but the condition of hell. This person finished his prayers but his conscience was not content. The angel in his film also recorded this state.
The Angels then told me:
“There are two different characters in front of you. One of the characters ignored the angelic inspiration and instead followed his own carnal impulses and went ahead and killed his fellow human being. One of the other persons performed an action that otherwise seems like a nice deed but his intentions were not honest. He was deceiving himself. The second group is the one whose intentions are honest, their minds are pure and clean, and they do respect the Divine laws. Now we are going to give you the accounts of the daily life of one person from each group.
“The one committed the murder. Whenever he gets time off from the grind of a daily busy life is afflicted with enormous guilt. His heart gets uneasy and his mind gets worried and confused and he finally sinks into depression. Now the images on the film made by the angels get deeper as the things get worse by the will of that person. The bright circle (chakra) inside that person gets dim and that cloud finally settles on the circle (chakra) that is at the navel. At the circle (chakra), the lights are absorbed by the darkness. When someone gets in this state then darkness and dinginess become a smelly wound. That smell becomes part of that person’s blood. This stage gets worse to the point when the other circle (chakra) gets out of touch with that person.”
I was absorbed listening to the sermon of the angel when I heard this huge sound. It sounded like ringing bells. When I paid attention to this sweet melody, my hearing was struck by a voice saying:
“God has sealed their hearts, their ears and their sight with a heavy curtain, for these disobedient the punishment is everlasting damnation.”
The moment I heard this voice my heart became so fearful that I started trembling. I felt as if all the pores in my body had opened. I was shocked and started crying. I was weeping so strongly that I ended up having hiccoughs. People who saw thought that I was some crazy person. Some were even sarcastic and made fun of me. How unfortunate it was that not a single person expressed any sympathy towards me. I then left the bus and started walking towards my home.
When I got home it was dark, but I was so morose from the experience that I went straight to bed. I was really hurting. It felt like someone had nailed my heart. Suddenly my focus turned towards the mercifulness and kindness of the Prophet Muhammad. I saw those two angels were still present and trying to comfort me. The angel, who was making the film of good deeds, started to open his film right in front of me and that film turned into a screen.
Glory to God! That same circle (chakra) at the navel which was dark and smelly turned into a bright circle (chakra) right in front of my eyes. It was so bright that the brightness of the sun seemed like a lamp in comparison. That filth and sadness imposed on my mind were washed away in an instant.
That person who had offered his prayers with purity and had in his heart respect for the laws created by God was also present. The rays from the bright circle (chakra) inside that man were revolving like the rays from the sun. It was placid almost like a still ocean. The bright and shins’ heart was festive and intoxicated with ecstasy and in this joyous occasion, that person was strolling in the valley of Paradise. The scenery of paradise is beyond words. The palaces were so great that no one in this world could even imagine the artistic beauty of their architecture. In the middle of the palace of diamonds and pearls, I saw that same man resting. For his service there were hoorins and different types of birds were busy– singing as if they were singing his praise. The pools were made of rare pearls and precious stones whose beauty far exceeds any worldly gems.
There is it higher station in heaven which is reserved for people who pray to God with purity and honesty. Their hearts are filled with the desire to serve God’s creatures. Their hearts are seekers of Truth and they respect other human beings as offspring of Adam and Eve. They feel other’s pain as their own and try their best to relieve them of their misery. By beholding that serene world, I, myself became peaceful. I surrendered my intelligence and my hearing seemed to be sinking. The sight that sees the world seemed like a fake and my eyes became watery. However, these were not the tears of sadness and fear but were of thankfulness. After seeing me happy the angels became happy as well and then they inquired of me, “Do you know whose station is this?”
“This is the station of those who followed the path of God’s prophets with honesty and these are those whom God has called His friend (wali). Verily God’s friends have neither fear nor are they accustomed to sadness.”
These angels were kramin katibeen.