By Christiane Gruber
The normal account of the Prophet Muhammad’s ascension has encouraged generations of writers and storytellers from the beginnings of Islam until eventually this present day. via the 10th century, narratives describing Muhammad’s come across 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 an exceptionally infrequent Persian "Book of Ascension," which was once written in Persian through an nameless writer and dates from the Ilkhanid interval (1256-1353). Christiane Gruber offers an English translation along the unique manuscript textual content, including serious observation. The textual content looks to advertise adherence, in addition to to motivate conversion, to Sunni Islam -- delivering a desirable perception into the interaction among inventive practices and missionary efforts aimed toward selling Sunni Islam in Persian lands in the course of Ilkhanid rule.
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Extra info for The Ilkhanid Book of Ascension: A Persian-Sunni Devotional Tale (I. B. Tauris & Bips Persian Studies Series)
Although this ‘Book of Ascension’ conveys the legitimacy of Sunni Islam, borrows symbolic terms from the Sufi lexicon, and functions as a pedagogical tool for teaching prayers in Arabic, it also provides the author with a platform for engaging in various philosophical discussions about natural phenomena,135 proper behaviour, and lessons to be learned from Muhammad’s mi‛rāj. When he begins each of his disquisitions, the author addresses his audience directly, thus causing an interruption in the main narrative (which is otherwise delivered in the first person singular by Muhammad) in order to add an argumentative larger to the tale.
The ascension is more appropriate for our Prophet because he is higher in rank. ’ Thus, in their denial they are biased in this matter. ’ Likewise, the soul of every slumbering person can rise to the highest place and to God’s throne, and it returns to him immediately and painlessly when he awakes. ’ 6 Moreover, there are some devotees who have a vision [of ascending] in their hearts. If it were thus, then the Prophet would not be exceptional and would be one of them. His ascension was a miracle because it was specific to him.
Similarly, the final painting provides a potent visual argument for the embracing of Islam through the Prophet’s miraculous ascent and vision. By collating the contents of the Ilkhanid Mi‛rājnāma text with this painting, it is clear that both the textual and pictorial modes could be marshalled in an effective combination to explain and to endorse the superior status of Sunni Islam. 30 T HE I LKHANID B OOK OF A SCENSION What circumstances might have prompted the last Ilkhanid ruler Abū Sa‛īd to commission an illustrated Mi‛rājnāma with paintings containing strong religious messages and promoting Islamic prayer practices?
The Ilkhanid Book of Ascension: A Persian-Sunni Devotional Tale (I. B. Tauris & Bips Persian Studies Series) by Christiane Gruber