The 7 heavens


The painting was inspired by the Miraj, where Muhammad visits heaven in one night and meets the prophets that preceded him and receives instruction. From the Myths and Legends of the Swahili reading, the description of the 7 heavens (and hell), by Muhammad was so vivid that it prompted me to try and represent it visually (although I have no experience in painting). Though some elements in Muhammad’s description of the heavens are missing in the painting, I try and capture all the prophets and angels he meets shinning in gold, representing the light of Muhammad which was passed to all the prophets in some measure. At the very bottom of the painting is the earth, above which the heavens start. In the first heaven there is Adam in front of two arches, and on his right lies the garden of paradise and to his left lies the gates to hell. Above this first level is the so called sea of life, which leads to the second level where Jesus, John the Baptist, and an angel with numerous heads are found. In the third heaven there is Joseph, who I have tried to present in the colours of his magnificent robe of many colours. In the heaven resides David and Solomon and a sea representing Noah’s sea. In the fifth heaven resides the prophet Moses, and in the sixth there sits the angel of death with two lists, one (white) with the names of those that will live in that hour and another one (black) with names of those who will die. I represented the seventh heaven with scales which are said to be found there, and all of these heavens are subsumed by an angel whose feet are on earth and whose head is above the seventh heaven.

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