Mi’raj: The Night Ascension
For the supervision and guidance of the creation, Almighty Allah sent down the Prophets. Each Prophet had been granted miracles related to the issues that were prevalent and ubiquitous at their times. For instance, during the time of Prophet Musa, magic and wizardry were at its peak. In order to eradicate that magic, Prophet Musa ordered the rod to become dragon and swallow the magic of all of the magicians and the rod did what it was actually gestured or ordered about. When they saw the miracles of Prophet Musa who’s miracle were of the same kind, all of the magicians then believed in Allah. Similarly, the Prophet Jesus was given even the power to raise the dead, in order to establish his legitimacy before the Jews and also treated many diseases that doctors could not cure.
Until the day of resurrection the whole of humankind is the Ummah of the Prophet Muhammad (SAAS). Just for his love, Allah Almighty has created the whole universe for Prophet Muhammad (SAAS) and has granted countless miracles to his beloved Prophet (SAAS). In this Ummah, where science and technology is highly advanced, these innumerable miracles granted to Prophet (SAAS) were answers to all objections made by this highly scientific world. Nowadays the world has seen an unprecedented number of scientific and technological advancements such as utilization of radiant energy, travelling in space and landing on moon, achieving what is arguably humanity’s greatest feat of exploration but still most of the people, scientists, astronomers etc. have doubt if the journey really did happen and they are astonished by seeing the miracle of the Prophet Muhammad’s heavenly journey (Mi’raj).Undoubtedly that Al-Israa` (the night journey) followed by Al-Mi`raj (the heavenly ascension) was one of the miracles in the life of our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
According to the most of the Hadith scholars, it happened on the 27th of Rajab, the seventh month of the Hijri calendar, in the tenth year of prophethood of Muhammad (SAAS), before Prophet Muhammad (SAAS) migrated to Madina from Mecca.The wisdom of selecting the month of Rajab by Allah for glorious journey of Mi’raj is that, it is His month (Rajab is considered as the month of Allah).
Clearly Prophet Muhammad (SAAS) suffered all kinds of hurts and all kinds of tribulations in his life. Firstly, his selfless sacrifice and countless effort to invite people to Islam in Mecca were sometimes met with disappointments. The Prophet (SAAS) worked day and night together for this task, but the infidels were often staunch and disinterested. He (SAAS) was being called names like magician, liar, poet and all kinds of nasty names were being hurled at him. Secondly, the Prophet (SAAS) had to endure the personal tragedy of the death of his uncle Abu Ta’lib and his wife Sayyida Khadija (RA), who both were his source of physical protection and comfort. Thirdly, the episode of Ta’if hurt the Prophet (SAAS) immensely and he used to tell Aisha (RA) that it was the worst day of his life. He travelled there to invite people to Islam, but the inhabitants instead of believing, tortured and troubled the Beloved Prophet (SAAS).
All these factors made the Isra &Mi’raja very special gift from Allah Almighty to the Prophet (SAAS). As Pir Muhammad Karam Shah al-Azhari in his book, “Zia al-Qur’an” notes, the historical circumstances at the time meant there was no better time for the night journey to occur. Despite the obvious hardship and strain, Allah reiterated His closeness and love for the Prophet (SAAS) by inviting him to the heavens. The heavenly journey of the Prophet of Islam has been lucidly explained in two chapters of the Qur’an. In other chapters as well, we see citations to this journey. Omnipotent Allah eloquently describes this beautiful journey in His book al- Qur’an:
Holy (free of any imperfection, weakness and insufficiency) is He Who took His (most beloved and intimate) Servant in a small portion of a night from the Sacred Mosque to al Aqsa, whose surroundings We have blessed, in order that We might show him (the Perfect Servant) Our Signs. Surely He is the One Who is All-Hearing, All-Seeing.(Al-Israa`a’ 17:1)
It is reported in the literature of Hadith, that the Messenger of Allah was carried in a body from the Sacred Mosque in Mecca to the “Remotest Mosque” (Al-Masjid al-Aqsa) located in today’s Zionist occupied Jerusalem on an animal called Al-Buraq in the company of the archangel Gabriel (AS). There he led a congregational prayer of the prophets of Allah. Then Gabriel took him to the heavens where he met the prophets Adam, Yahya (John), Isa (Jesus), Musa (Moses), Haroon (Aaron) and Idris (peace be on them all). In the seventh heaven, he met Prophet Abraham (AS). He was then brought to the Divine Presence. The details of this meeting are beautifully detailed in the beginning of Surah An-Najm: verse 52.
Nowadays, some people on the basis of science are raising questions regarding the authenticity of Prophet’s Mi’raj and are denying the heavenly journey of Prophet (SAAS). Another group of people says that it is simply a spiritual journey of Prophet (SAAS) and some people went a step further and believed that Holy Prophet (SAAS) experienced the Mi’raj during his sleep or dream. Firstly, they are arguing that how it is possible that such a long journey could be completed in a blink of an eye. But alas their logic is not correct because “electric light” created by human beings is so fast that it travels 300, 000 kilometres per second. When the “light” created by the creation is so powerful, then who can imagine the quickness and ascent of the One (SAAS) who is absolute light. Secondly, they are arguing that it is only a spiritual journey. But their argument is null and void as the clearest proof that Mi’raj was a physical trip, took place in a state of full consciousness, is the word ‘Abdihi’ mentioned in above Qur’anic verse (17:1). It is obvious that the word ‘Abd’ (Lit. slave or servant) is used to mean both body and soul. Had it not been so, Almighty Allah would have said his (Muhammad’s) soul only and then the term slave would not have been used. This shows that Mi’raj was a physical journey, with both, the blessed body of the Holy Prophet (SAAS) and His blessed soul (As given in Tafseer Razi, Surah Bani Israil-1).
Furthermore, the Buraq would not have been used to carry for the soul as the soul does not need any kind of vehicle in order to move from one place to another. Thirdly, they claim that the whole journey took place in dream, if so then there would be no cause for amazement or astonishment to Polytheists of Mecca, as even today, an individual can sleep sound in his bed in Kashmir and dream of being in faraway places such as London, Mecca and Madinah. Finally I conclude by saying that Prophet (SAAS) by the will of Allah was taken on the Mi’raj, and all that subsists in it belongs to Him and He is the architect and engineer of this wonderful and perfectly arranged system. Allah is a Subhan (free from all deficiencies) who causes the seed-grain and the fruit-stone to burst forth and sprout, who cleaves through the dark of the night, and causes the (light) the day to burst forth, who brings life to those who are dead, in the depths of ocean keeping alive Prophet Yunus (AS) in the whale’s belly, keeping alive Prophet Yusuf (AS) in the deep well, converting a stick into a dragon, splitting the moon, and many other miracles confirm the fact that no ambiguity can be placed on the Mi’raj of the Prophet.
- The writer is Doctoral Fellow at University of Kashmir. He can be reached at: email@example.com