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Significance of Isra and Miraj

Editorial


There is no doubt that Al-Isra (the night journey) followed by Al-Miraj (the heavenly ascension) was one of the miracles in the life of our Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). According to the most accepted view, it happened on the 27th of Rajab, the seventh month of the Hijri calendar, in the tenth year of Muhammad’s prophethood. One major lesson of that miraculous event, was that space and time which are bound by laws of nature for humans, are not so bound for Allah. On that night prophet Muhammad bridged time and space and this world, traveling to the heavens by Allah’s will. As far as the Muslims are concerned, there is no particular celebration, fast or prayer to commemorate Al-Isra and Al-Miraj.

There is no doubt that Al-Isra (the night journey) followed by Al-Miraj (the heavenly ascension) was one of the miracles in the life of our Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).

 

According to the most accepted view, it happened on the 27th of Rajab, the seventh month of the Hijri calendar, in the tenth year of Muhammad’s prophethood.

It is reported in Hadith literature, that the Messenger of Allah was carried from the Sacred Mosque in Makkah to the “Farthest Mosque” (Al-Masjid al-Aqsa) in Jerusalem on a creature called Al-Buraq in the company of the archangel Gabriel (peace be upon him). There he led a congregational prayer of the prophets of God.

Then Gabriel took him to the heavens where he met the prophets Adam, John, Jesus, Idris, Aaron, and Moses (peace be on them all). In the seventh heaven, he met Abraham (peace be on him).

He was then brought to the Divine Presence. The details of this encounter are beautifully detailed in the beginning of surat An-Najm (52).

During this time, Allah ordered for his nation fifty daily prayers. But on the Prophet’s return, he was told by Prophet Moses (peace be on him) that his followers could not perform fifty prayers.

Thus, he went back and eventually it was reduced to five daily Prayers. After this, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) returned to Makkah on the same night itself.

Therefore, Muslims should be thankful to Allah for this gift. They should take care of it and never neglect it. It is the thing that allows the Muslim to communicate with the creator five times as day.

One major lesson of that miraculous event, was that space and time which are bound by laws of nature for humans, are not so bound for Allah. On that night prophet Muhammad bridged time and space and this world, traveling to the heavens by Allah’s will.

For those who study philosophy the abstract as well as the symbolic implications of the event might be very stimulating indeed. The gap between the reality of this life and that of the life to come simply diminished.

This is illustrated by the Prophet’s encounter with other prophets who were long since dead as far as we normally think of it but who, in reality, live as beings in a different form somewhere else.

The implications of the night journey cannot be overstated. The miraculous nature of the Prophet’s journey established his divine-stated legitimacy as the seal of all prophets. Allah brought him to Him to show us his true worth in the sight of Allah.

All religious traditions share the concept of miracles, that is, something that defies logic, nature, or the established constitution and course of things.

Prophet Moses was given several miracles, which included his staff that turned into a massive snake and culminated in his parting of the Red Sea, as a divine response to the extreme infidelity of Pharaoh.

Similarly, Prophet Jesus was given even the power to raise the dead, in order to establish his legitimacy before the Jews who would ultimately condemn him to death for blasphemy. Nevertheless, his miracles were undeniable by their nature, and it was only the obstinacy and arrogance of the people to whom he was sent that enabled them to deny him.

Muhammad’s night journey was obviously not easy for the pagan Makkans to believe. Nevertheless, the Prophet proved it logically by describing the approaching caravans that he overtook on his miraculous return.