By Dr. Farooq Ahmad Peer
22 June 201
The Prophet (SAW) was lifted on Al Buraq (A Horse) in the company of Gabriel from Kaaba to Aqsa and then to heavens and skies. The extraordinary spiritual experience of Mohammad (SAW) assured the Prophet (SAW) that situation for Islam is going to change and all the difficulties are to vanish. One can easily say that the Holy incident of the Meraj or the Night Journey occurred before the migration of Prophet (SAW) to Madina where fortunes favoured the noble mission of Islam and where Prophet (SAW) found a suitable and cordial atmosphere than that of Mecca. A lot of debate has taken place on whether Prophet (SAW) travelled to the Heavens spiritually or physically. And in this context the great Islamic Scholar, Maulana Maududi (RA) in his Tafheem-ul-Quran explains in simple terms that the journey was not spiritual (or a dream) but a physical one. He explains on the basis of the reference of the following verses of the Holy Quran that the journey was not spiritual but of physical nature. Allah says in the Holy Quran,
“Glorified be He Who Carried His servant by night from the Inviolable Place of Worship to the Far Distant Place of Worship the neighbourhood whereof We have blessed, that We might show him of Our tokens! Only He is the Hearer, the Seer.” (Bani Israel, V, 1)
All the scholars on Islam agree that the Messenger of Allah was carried in body from the Sacred Mosque in Mecca to the distant Mosque in Jerusalem on a horse called Al-Buraq in the company of Gabriel (AS), the archangel. The Archangel (AS) introduced him (SAW) to many Prophets and showed him the condition of different human souls at different places during the travel to the Heavens.
Hazrat Abu Hurrairah (RA) reports that on the Night of Meraj Prophet (SAW) was lifted on a horse (Buraq) to heavens in the company of Gabriel (AS) and during the travel on the skies, Prophet (SAW) witnessed a group of people who sowed their seeds and on the same day harvested their crops also. Prophet (SAW) asked Gabriel “Who these people are?” He replied that “These are the people who fight in the way of Allah and do Jihad. Their one good deed is multiplied by seven times of compensation and paid accordingly. They are being paid what they had spent in the world.” Prophet (SAW) also witnessed a group of people whose heads were being knocked down with the stones and then were brought to their shape again and this would be repeated. Prophet (SAW) asked Gabriel (AS) “Who these people are?” He replied that “These are the people who avoided or showed lackadaisical attitude towards Prayer”. On seeing a group of people who were not in proper dress and almost unclothed and were given thorns and hot stones of the Hell to eat. Prophet (SAW) asked who these people are.” Gabriel replied that “These people would not offer Zakat accrued on their wealth.” Prophet (SAW) saw a group of people whose lips and tongues were being slashed and the act would be repeated again and again. On this Gabriel said that “These people are those sermonizers who spread mischief and transgression by their speeches.”
A true Muslim with strong faith and belief in the Power of Allah cannot doubt the Night journey of Prophet (SAW). The Almighty Allah Who is Powerful enough to have created the heavens and the earth by an act of His Will, is surely powerful to take His Messenger beyond the heavens and show him those signs which are inaccessible to man otherwise. When Prophet (SAW) revealed his Night journey before the disbelievers, they doubted but when the same was revealed to Hazrat Abu Bakr (RA) by the disbelievers, He readily said: “Yes, I do believe and confirm it.” It was on this occasion that he earned the title of al-Siddiq (the verifier of truth).
After the visit of the heavens, he (SAW) was taken to Sidrat-al-Muntaha (the remotest lote tree) and was shown Al-Bait- al-Ma‘mur (the much frequented house) which is like the Kaaba (Sacred House) encompassed daily by 70 thousand angels who once encompass it, would not get a chance again till the Day of Judgment. Gabriel (AS) stopped his journey at this point and told Prophet (SAW), that he cannot accompany him as he cannot withstand the Divine Presence of Allah. According to the Prophet (SAW), from this point, he went ahead alone. He then experienced the joy of The Divine Manifestation at the closest distance. In the Holy Quran, Allah says,
The significance of the Miraculous Journey was that Allah Willed to show the Prophet (SAW) all the signs which He had revealed to him through the Holy Quran so that His beloved Prophet (SAW) would have faith with certainty.
The Miraculous Journey was a test for all those people who had accepted Islam as their way of life and it is also a test for us that we should believe in what our Prophet (SAW) saw and revealed to us from the experiences of this Great Journey during the Night. We need to learn a lesson from the signs revealed to us by the Messenger of Allah (SAW) during the Night Journey and remain warned that violation of Allah’s Commands is sure to place us into the Hell. If we study our Quran, we can fully understand that Allah had already Willed to establish the empire and system of Islam and it has been impressed upon us that the constitution or principles on which it has been based should not be defied so that we do not become like those dwellers of Hell whom our Prophet (SAW) saw suffering during his Meraj.
The present predicament and misery of the Muslims in the world is the result of our deeds and practices. Allah emphasizes upon us to make Islam as our way of life and strive to replace barbarity, tyranny, inequality and injustice with honesty, equality, justice, and good in this world. The Meraj teaches us that there is no power except the Power of Allah in this world and before Him we should prostrate.