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Editorial: A message of Mairaj


14th October 2001
With the compliments of

Last night muslims all over the world celeberated (Al- Isra Wal- Mairaj) with today,the 14th of October 2001, being declared a public holiday on the occasion of the Prophet's (PBUH) Ascension . It WAS the 10th year since Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) began his mission of preaching Islam.

He had already faced several difficult times, including the boycott of the Muslims, the deaths of Abu Talib and Khadija (RA) and the inhuman treatment at Taif. Al Asra, the night journey and Al Mairaj, the ascension came at the exact time when the holy Prophet needed it the most. It was a time when he felt that all his efforts were going in vain, and nothing was going in favour of his objective to spread Almighty Allah's message to people.

It was on the night of 26th-27th of Rajab that, "Glory, be to Him (Allah) who carried His servant by night from the Sacred Mosque (Masjid Al Haram) to the Farthest Mosque (Masjid Al Aqsa), the one whose precincts have been blessed so that We (Allah) might show him some of Our signs - for He (Allah) is the one who hears and sees (all things)" (17:1). 'Isra', the Quranic word used as the title of the quoted verse, means to escort or take someone on a journey by night. Angel Jibreel came to the holy Prophet on that night and took him on the back of a horselike animal, called Burraq, from Masjid Al Haram in Makkah to Masjid Al Aqsa in Jerusalem, where he prayed with the souls of all the Prophets of Allah. This part of the journey is called Al Isra.

From there Angel Jibreel took him up to the heavens. Mairaj is a derivative of the Arabic word Urooj, which means ascension. Since he ascended to the heavens, his celestial journey is called Mairaj. He travelled to the seven heavens, and then beyond that to the nearest place possible close to Almighty Allah, as is mentioned in the following verse of the Holy Quran: "When covered the Sidara that which covers; (it) swerved not the eye nor was overhold. In deed (besides that) he beheld; of the Signs of his Lord, the Greatest" (53:16-18). The holy Prophet took just one night to complete this journey of the heavens, during which time, he was fully conscious and awake.

There are some, among disbelievers, who are of the opinion that Mairaj of the holy Prophet was a dream and not a live experience in which his senses were alert. If it were to be taken for a dream, then such dreams of necessity would be required to be followed by interpretation, as in the case of other prophetic dreams mentioned in the Holy Quran in Chapter 37:102 and Chapter 12:4-36, 41, 47-49. These verses make it clear that wherever dreams have been mentioned in the Holy Quran, their interpretations are also provided in it. Therefore it follows that the first verse of Sura Bani Israel, referring to Mairaj of the holy Prophet, is intended to be understood as having been a physical trip, a journey that the holy Prophet undertook in all consciousness.

The word Abd (servant) in that verse is also significant because it clearly means Allah's servant. A soul without the body does not constitute as a servant of Allah, because a living being must have both a body and soul. The purpose of the journey has also been revealed in the Holy Quran. It was to show him the mighty signs of Almighty Allah, as is clear from verses 16,17 and 18 of Chapter 53 of the Holy Book. The greatest accomplishment of this holy journey was the commandment given to all followers to establish prayers five times in a day. Almighty Allah, out of His generosity, declared that whoever would offer the prayers in true spirit and faith, seeking Allah's pleasure, would be rewarded as if he/she had offered fifty prayers in that one day.

Also the last verses of Surah Al Baqra, which are a beautiful prayer, were bestowed upon the holy Prophet during his trip. Thirdly, remission of serious sins for the faithful who associate nothing with Allah was also granted by Almighty Allah to the holy Prophet and his Ummah. The holy Prophet was shown how the whole universe is subject to one law, the will of Allah and how every thing in it praises Allah and declares His glory. The journey gave the holy Prophet a great deal of psychological comfort and renewed his strength and determination to work for the cause of Islam.

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