Sunday, May 17, 2015

ISRA' AND MI'RAJ (PROPHET MUHAMMAD'S NIGHT JOURNEY AND ASCENSION TO HEAVEN)

                                             
بســـــــــــــم اللــــــــــه الرحمــــــــــن الرحيـــــــــــــــــــــم

            Isra and Mi’raj is observed on the 27th day of the month of Rajab, the 7th month of Islamic calendar. This incident marks the night that Allah (s.w.t) took Prophet Muhammed on a journey from Makkah to Jerusalem and then to the Seven Heavens. The night journey of the prophet to Jerusalem and his subsequent ascension to heaven are two stages of an incident. The first stage of journey at to Jerusalem is called the Night Journey (isra) and second journey to heavens is called the Ascension (mi'raj).
On the night of al Isra and Mi’raj, Prophet Mohammad was shown heaven and hell . He talked with many prophets in heaven. He also received instructions on the five prayers. Muhammed (saws) returned to Makkah before the end of the night. . His journey is remembered and commemorated on 27th Rajab.
                                               ISRA (Night Journey)
Before the prophet took his night journey, while he was lying on the ground in the Hijr (of the sacred mosque of Makkah), Jibril (A.S) descended. He cut open the chest of Prophet Muhammed and removed his heart and washed it in the water of well of zam- zam before placing it back. He filled it with faith and wisdom to strengthen his belief. Then He took Prophet (s.a.w.s) out of the mosque to where the Buraq (a heavenly steed) was standing. Buraq is a heavenly steed bigger than a donkey and smaller than a mule. According to scholars the name of the steed seems to be derived from ‘Barq’ which means “Lightning”, which refers to the beast’s speed. Buraq could place its hooves at the farthest place it can see. The Prophet, mounted on Al-Buraq, with Jibril at his side sped and northwards beyond Yathrib and Khaybar until they reached Jerusalem. Then they met many prophets including Ibrahim Isa and Musa.When Muhammed (s.aw.s) prayed on the grounds of Al Aqsa mosque, the prophets gathered behind him in the prayer. Then two vessels were brought before him and offered him, of one was milk, and the other of wine. The prophet took the vessel of milk and drank it, and left the vessel of wine, and Jibril (A.S) said; You Muhammed, have been rightly guided to the nature of man, and so will your people be. Wine is forbidden to you”. The prophet was then taken to up to the Heavens.
                                          MI’RAJ (Ascension)
From the site of Al Aqsa, Muhammed (s.aw.s) mounted on Al Buraq again. Led by Jibril (A.S), they ascended to the heavens. At the entry of each of the seven heavens through which he passed, Jibril (A.S) was asked for his own name and that of his companion; Prophet Muhammed (s.aw.s).they met Adam in the 1st heaven, Yahya and Isa in the 2nd, Yusuf in the third, Idris in the fourth, Harun in the fifth, Musa in the sixth and Ibrahim in the seventh heaven. They prayed for Muhammed (s.aw.s)’s well being.
During the night journey, the prophet passed by people who were sowing and harvesting and every time they completed their harvest the crop grew up again. Jibril (A.S):”These are the fighters in the way of Allah.” Then he passed by people whose head were broken into pieces by rocks, and once their head is broken, it becomes whole again. Jibril said:”These are they whose heads were neglectful for prayers”. Then he passed by the people who were naked except for their private parts which were covered in rags. Jibril said:”These are they who did not pay Zakah. Then they passed by people who were eating raw, rotten meat, and were throwing cooked wholesome meat. Jibril said:”These are the adulterators”. Then the Prophet saw men with lips like camels and in their hands were fire-like balls, which when they eat would come out of their posteriors. The Prophet encountered various forms of suffering, which the wrong-doers have to endure as a result of their evil they have done in this world.
After the Prophet’s ascension to the 7th heaven, he was shown the Bait Al Ma’moor where 70,000 angels perform prayers daily. It is the heavenly house for worship which is the spiritual prototype of al-Ka’bah. They never return when they leave. A new batch comes the next time. And this goes on till the last day. Then he was shown the Sidrat ul Muntaha, The Lote tree of the uppermost end. Prophet (s.aw.s) said:”Then I was taken to Sidrat ul Muntaha whose leaves were like elephant ears and its fruit like big earthenware vessels. And when it was covered by command of Allah (S.W.T), it underwent such a change that none amongst the creation has the power to praise its beauty”.
Thereafter Allah made fifty prayers day and night obligatory. When Prophet went down to Musa(A.S),he asked prophet to return to Allah and ask for reduction of number of prayers as he had been put to test the children of Israel and found them too weak. On Musa’s advice Prophet (s.aw.s) went 9 times to Allah for reduction and each time Allah granted it. But When Musa says five prayers still a lot, prophet refused to go again for reduction. He felt ashamed for asking for further reduction.
This shows us that the burden of Muslims is much lighter than that imposed on our ancestors, and it is within the ability of an individual.
                               Four Things Granted To the Prophet In Al-Mi’raj
1.      Five Obligatory prayers
2.      The concluding ayat of surah al Baqarah
3.      Remission of serious sins for the faithful who associate nothing with Allah
4.      The one who intends to do a good deed and does not do it will have a good deed recorded for him, and if he does it, it will be recorded for him as ten whereas he who intends to do an evil deed and does not do it, will not be recorded for him, and if he does it, only one evil deed will be recorded for him.
The Prophet Returns to Makkah
When he returned to Makkah it was still night. Some scholars say, it took one-third of the night for the whole journey; from Makkah to Jerusalem and from there to the seven heavens and back to Makkah. In the next morning after the night journey Prophet (s.aw.s) told the people of Makkah of his experiences. The Pagan Quraysh Mocked at the prophet claiming that it takes months to get there and back. But when they said this to Abu Bakr, he said:”If the prophet has said like that, it is true”. Abu Bakr was then called As-siddique because he strongly believed in what the prophet said.
The pagan Quraysh asked the prophet to describe Jerusalem as they knew he had never visited there. But the prophet had forgotten what he had seen on his night journey. So Allah enabled him to see Masjid ul Aqsa. And he described Masjid ul Aqsa and its surroundings in exact details. The pagans accepted the description was exact. But they were stubborn that they rejected Islam. ‘Only those whom Allah willed to be guided, will be guided. The person whom Allah did not will to be guided, will not believe’

                                                            By Anas Faziluddeen

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