ELEMENTS IN THE QUR'AN
resemblance between all this and the Muhammadan legend
of Muhammad's Miraj.
In the Zardusht-Namah, a work which was probably
composed in the thirteenth century of the Christian
era, there is related a legend that Zoroaster himself,
centuries earlier than Arta Viraf, ascended up to heaven,
and afterwards obtained permission to visit hell also.
There we are told he saw Ahriman, who closely corresponds
with the Iblis of the Qur'an.
Nor are such legends confined to the Persian portion
of the Aryan world. In Sanskrit also we have similar
tales, among which may be mentioned the Indralokagamanam,
or "Journey to the World of Indra," the god
of the atmosphere. There we are told that the hero Arjuna
made a journey through the heavens, where he saw Indra's
heavenly palace, named Vaivanti, which stands in the
garden called Nandanam. The Hindu books tell us that
ever-flowing streams water the fresh, green plants that
grow in that beautiful place, and in its midst there
stands a tree called Pakshajati, bearing a fruit styled
Amrita or Immortality, the αμβροσια
of Greek poets, of which whoever eats never dies. Beautiful
flowers of varied hues adorn that tree; and whoever
rests under its shade is granted the fulfilment of whatever
desire he may conceive in his heart.
The Zoroastrians have also an account of the existence
of a marvellous tree, called Hvapa in the
TRADITIONS OF ISLAM.
Avesta and Humaya in Pahlavi, the meaning
in each case being "possessed of good water,"
"well watered." In the Vendidad it
is described in these words:— "In
purity do the waters flow from the sea of Puitika into
the sea of Vourukasha, to the tree Hvapa: there grow
all plants and of all kinds." Hvapa and Pakshajati
are identical with the Tuba' or tree of "goodness"
of the Muhammadan paradise, which is too well known
to need description here.
It must, however, be noted that very similar legends
are found in certain Christian apocryphal works also,
especially in the "Visio Pauli" and the "Testament
of Abraham," to the latter of which we have already
had to refer more than once. In the "Visio Pauli"
we are told that Paul ascended to the heavens and beheld
the four rivers of Paradise and Abraham also viewed
the wonders of the heavens in his legendary "Testament,"
each returning to earth to relate what he had seen,
just as Arta Viraf and Muhammad are said to have done.
Of Abraham it is said: "And
the archangel Michael descended and took Abraham up
upon a cherubic chariot, and he raised him aloft into
the ether of the sky, and brought him and sixty angels
upon the cloud and Abraham was travelling over the whole
inhabited earth upon a conveyance."
This "cherubic chariot" assumes another