History Of The Muslim Holiday
- The story of Lailat al Miraj consists of two major parts. The first part of the story begins with the Prophet Muhammad at the Kabaa in Mecca. He is visited by two archangels who provide him with a mythical winged steed called Buraq. Buraq carries the Prophet to the Farthest Mosque, believed by Muslims to be the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, where Muhammad joins past prophets in prayer.
- The Prophet then ascends to heaven where he is told by God of the duty for Muslims to pray five times daily (Salat). This second part of the journey is commonly referred to as the Miraj, an Arabic word meaning ladder.
- The events of Lailat al Miraj are described briefly in chapter 17 of the Quran, which is named Sura Al-Isra after the Prophet's ascension to heaven. Many of the details of the story are filled in by hadith, supplemental writings about the life of the Prophet Muhammad.
- Today Lailat al Miraj is observed by Muslims as one of the most important events in the history of Islam. Muslims may attend special prayer services at a mosque, or they may commemorate the holiday privately at home by telling the story to children or reciting special nighttime prayers.
THE STORY OF THE NIGHT JOURNEY
- As the traditional story is told, the Prophet Muhammad's journey begins in Mecca, at a time when he was in a state midway between sleep and wakefulness Muhammad was granted wisdom and belief, and was washed clean. After a greeting by the archangel Gabriel, Muhammad mounted Al-Buraq a mythical animal often depicted as a great flying horse with a human face and traveled to the farthest mosque (believed to be at the present site of the Masjid al-Aqsa mosque, in Jerusalem), where he was tested by Gabriel at Gods command. Passing the test, Muhammad then ascended to the nearest heaven. (Learn more from the Madina Institute.) As both Gabriel and Muhammad ascended the seven circles of heaven, they were greeted by numerous significant figures: Adam, John the Baptist, Moses and Abraham, just to name a few.
- As the story goes in Muslim communities around the world: Upon reaching the presence of Allah (God), Muhammad was told to instruct Muslims to pray 50 times per day; afterward, upon Moses suggestion, Muhammad begged for reductions, until Allah reduced the number to five.
- Finally, the Prophet Muhammad returned to Mecca.
Lailat al Miraj Facts Quotes
- Muslims believe that there are several levels in heaven. Muhammad was taken to each one by Angel Gabriel. At each heaven, a gate-keeper asked both the angel and Muhammad to identify themselves before proceeding.
- Muslims believe that Muhammad saw "Al-Bait-al-Mamur" (God's house). Gabriel told Muhammad that every day since the beginning of creation, 70,000 different angels pray there daily.
- Muhammad is also believed to have seen "Sidrat al-Muntaha" (a tree) in the seventh heaven. Its leaves resembled elephant ears, its fruits resembled clay jugs, and from it originated four rivers. Two of them were hidden in heaven, while the other two were made apparent to man in the forms of the Nile and the Euphrates.
- Muslims believe that God had originally assigned fifty daily prayers. Moses, upon hearing about this from Muhammad, is reported to have encouraged Muhammad to negotiate and reduce the number of prayers God assigned, which He graciously reduced to five daily prayers. (Sahih al-Bukhari, volume 4, Book 54, Hadith number 429)
- On the night Prophet Muhammad was taken on a night journey two cups, one containing wine and the other milk, were presented to him at Jerusalem. He looked at it and took the cup of milk. Gabriel said, 'Praise be to Allah Who guided you to the right path; if you had taken the cup of wine, your nation would have gone astray.' - Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 69, Number 482 This incidence is used to explain the fact that wine is forbidden to Muslims.
Proof of Isra and Miraj Shab-e-Meraj Lailat-ul-Miraj in the Glorious Quran
- The Heavenly Journey of Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon him and his progeny has been straight forwardly explained in two Surahs of the Glorious Qur'an.
- In the Surah al-Isra (Surah 17 - also known as Bani Isra'il), it is mentioned: Glory be to Him Who made His servant (Prophet Muhammad) to go on a night from the Sacred Mosque (Masjid al-Haram) to the Farthest Mosque (Masjid al-Aqsa) of which We have blessed the precincts, so that We may show to him some of Our signs; surely He is the Hearing, the Seeing. (Glorious Qur'an, 17:1)
- From this verse, we come to the conclusion that Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon him and his progeny traveled with his physical body (servant) through the worlds of Ascension. Further, by the greatness of the Hidden Power, Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) was able to complete this journey in a very short span of time.
- Allah (swt) starts His speech with the phrase (Subhan) which denotes the fact that Allah (swt) is free from all deficiencies - but He does not stop here. Rather, He makes the ascension the reason for His greatness by saying 'made to travel' (Isra) so that others do not imagine that the means of this journey was through causes of the natural world and with normal, ordinary means of transportation. This would have made his journey something that could have been denied. Rather, this journey was accomplished by relying upon the power of Allah (swt) and His specific and special blessings.
Although this verse states
- Although this verse states that the start of the journey was from Masjid al-Haram and ended at Masjid al-Aqsa, this does not contradict the fact that Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon him and his progeny in addition to this trip, also had other trips towards the higher world, since another part of the journey of Ascension of Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) is explained in verses of Surah an-Najm.
- From the time Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon him and his progeny told the Quraysh, 'I saw the angel of revelation (when he received the first revelation) in his original and pure state,' all the Quraysh raised up to mock him. Glorious Qur'an, in response to the thoughts of the ignorant people replies: "Will you then argue with him about what he saw? He certainly saw him (Jibreel) during his other ascent to the Lote-tree (in the seven heavens) near which is Paradise. When the tree was covered with a covering, (Muhammad's) eyes did not deceive him, nor did they lead him to falsehood. He certainly saw the greatest (signs) of the existence of his Lord." (Glorious Qur'an, 53:12-18)
- The object of this grand journey was to make known to Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon him and his progeny the various aspects of the existence of the great universe.
- A person asked our 4th Imam, Imam Ali bin Hussain (as): "Is there a particular place for Allah (swt)?"
- Imam Ali bin Hussain (as) replied: "no."
- The man said: "Then why did He make his Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon him and his progeny, journey through the skies?"
- Imam Ali bin Hussain (as), replied: "He made him ascend so that he might become aware of the expanse of the universe and see and hear wonderful things, the like of which had not been seen and heard by the eyes and ears before."