By Christiane Gruber
The conventional account of the Prophet Muhammad’s ascension has encouraged generations of writers and storytellers from the beginnings of Islam until eventually at the present time. by way of the 10th century, narratives describing Muhammad’s come upon with prophets and angels, his colloquy with God, and his visits of heaven and hell bring about the formation of the "Book of Ascension," a novelizing and interesting literary style most ordinarily written in Arabic and Seljuk Turkic. this can be the research of a really infrequent Persian "Book of Ascension," which used to be written in Persian by way of an nameless writer and dates from the Ilkhanid interval (1256-1353). Christiane Gruber offers an English translation along the unique manuscript textual content, including severe observation. The textual content looks to advertise adherence, in addition to to motivate conversion, to Sunni Islam -- offering a desirable perception into the interaction among creative practices and missionary efforts geared toward selling Sunni Islam in Persian lands in the course of Ilkhanid rule.
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Additional resources for The Ilkhanid Book of Ascension: A Persian-Sunni Devotional Tale (I. B. Tauris & Bips Persian Studies Series)
They call this [first] ascension from Mecca to Jerusalem (bayt al-muqaddas) a miracle. The second ascension occurred between Jerusalem and the heavens, the Lote Tree (sidra), the fluttering cloth (rafraf), the veils, and God’s throne (‛arsh) and His pedestal (kursī). Every person who denies the Prophet’s ascension is an (f. ’1 Praise be to the Pure One, the Lord Who carried His servant during one night from the sacred mosque to the mosque of Jerusalem in Syria (bi-shām), three hundred farsangs2 on Burāq, the steed of the prophets, which was brought from the sky.
Furthermore, through such philosophical digressions the author seeks to moralize certain narrative elements found in the ascension tale, thereby adding a sermonic character to it. The interruptive technique of moral declamations directly addressed to an audience of reader-listeners parallels the manner in which, within an oral delivery of such a tale, a storyteller would have relayed the mi‛rāj by mixing narration with elucidation. By punctuating his tale with wisdoms and allegories, a storyteller or author thus ensures that his audience will grasp certain moral messages.
Ahmāsp (r. mad Mūsā. mad Mūsā executed for the Ilkhanid monarch. mad Mūsā. ammad’s specific statements, neither the painter’s nor the calligrapher’s signature survives. The Mi‛rājnāma paintings that he discusses in his preface and includes subsequently in his album unfortunately were cropped from their original setting and in remounting lost their attending text. 145 Although these panels serve as the compiler’s attributions and opinions and therefore do not provide definitive evidence of the Ilkhanid master painter’s hand, they nevertheless provide the worthwhile opinion of a sixteenth-century expert on Islamic painting and calligraphy.