Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Night Journey (Isra' Wal Mi'raj) Part 1

In The Name Of Allah The Most Gracious and The Most Merciful

The most severely tested have always been the Prophets; vilified and attacked by proud disbelievers wallowing in sin. And the last one, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) suffered immensely but after every hardship comes ease, and so we begin. After 12 years of calling people to reject idols and worship only One God, Muhammad (pbuh) was sorely tested by the year of grief. Tragically his uncle Abu Talib died whose kinship provided protection from Makkans - now buoyed up as thugs in disbelief. In that year, Pagans imposed severe sanctions upon his tribe; Bani Hashim, aiming to starve Muslims and make them outcasts. In that same year before the migration to Madina, he was devastated by the loss of his loving wife, Khadijah (R.A). While disbelievers closed all doors upon him, Allah S.W.T didn't forsake him but He opened up the Doors of Heaven for him in honor. Allah glorified Himself on introducing Isra' wal Mi'raj - the Prophets miraculous Night Journey and Heavenly Ascent. Where he was physically taken from Makkah to Jerusalem and then up to the Highest Heaven. 

Allah S.W.T revealed a Surah (chapter) called Al Isra (The Night Journey). And in that Surah it says: With difficulty comes - ease. The messenger of Allah (pbuh) went through this most tragic time in his life, so it was followed with one of the best - Blessings - given to him by Allah S.W.T. Because of the size of the calamity, the bounty that followed it was great. Rasulullah (pbuh) narrates in Hadith is in Bukhari, similar narrations are in Muslim - in the most of the books. In the most of the books of Hadith, these narrations exist, The messenger of Allah (pbuh) says, "While i was in Al Hijr, (this is the semi-circle area close to Kaaba which is part of the original building of the Kaaba) i received a visitor - An Angel. Who came and opened my abdomen and pulled out my heart, and then my heart was placed in the basin - Golden Basin, filled with faith (Iman) and my heart was placed in it and washed and then stuffed and replaced. And then i was presented an animal, smaller than a horse - larger than a donkey". Anas Ibn Malik was narrating this Hadith and his student asked Anas Ibn Malik "Is this animal Al Buraq?". Anas Ibn Malik said "Yes". The messenger of Allah (pbuh) said "This animal would a stride as far as it can see". So the Prophet (pbuh) is trying to describe to us the speed of this animal and he describe it as - that this animal would place its hooves -  it would places its hooves at the extent of its sight - it would take a stride as far as it can see with one leap. It would wrap the distance equivalent to the distance you can see or look forward. So it was extremely fast beast. 

The Prophet (pbuh) said "Jibreel (Angel) told me to mount this animal and then he would guide me". The Prophet (pbuh) says in the another Hadith is in Muslim "I was taken to Jerusalem and i tied my mount at the gates of Al Masjid, and then i entered and prayed two Rakaah". It states that the messenger of Allah (pbuh) was an Imam and the people who were following him were - The Prophets. Then he (pbuh) said "I was led by Jibreel up in the Heavens. We made it all the way to the gates of the lowest Heaven - the nearset Heaven". Jibreel knocked on the gates and the gateskeeper said "Who is it?". Jibreel said "It is Jibreel". The gateskeeper asked again "Who with you?". Jibreel said "Muhammad". The gateskeeper asked "Was he given his mission?" Jibreel said "Yes". They responded by saying "He is welcome and his arrival is a pleasure" and they opened the gates.

They opened the gates - The messenger of Allah (pbuh) said "I went in, and i found there in my Father - Adam (A.S). Jibreel introduced me to Adam and said 'this is you father Adam, greet him'. So i said 'Assalamualaikum'. Adam salute me in return and said 'Waalaikumussalam'. And the Adam (A.S) said 'Welcome to my pure son, welcome to the pure Prophet'". When i think of this meeting, i try to imagine the pleasure and happiness that both the Prophets had. Imagine Adam (A.S) is meeting the Brightest and the Greatest of his children - Muhammad (pbuh). He is meeting him for the first time. After thousands of years! Now Adam (A.S) has a chance to meet his Greatest Son. And imagine the surprise of Muhammad (pbuh) to meet his father Adam. It must have been such a pleasurable moment and they might have wished to sit together and have conversation but remember that Muhammad (pbuh) in this journey, is on a tight schedule, he has a lot waiting in front of him. 

So Jibreel carried Muhammad (pbuh) and they went up to the gates of second Heaven. Muhammad (pbuh) said "I met Jesus (A.S) and John (A.S)". The two cousins. Isa and Yahya in the Arabic name. Rasulullah (pbuh) said "And i exchange greetings with them - and what are the greetings of Islam? and the Prophets? Assalamualaikum! Peace be upon you. The Prophet (pbuh) said "Then we move ahead to the third Heaven, and i met with Joseph - Yusuf (A.S). He has been given half of beauty". So if you had a big block of beauty - half of it was with Yusuf (A.S). Then they made it to the fourth Heaven, in there Muhammad (pbuh) met with Idris (A.S). And Allah S.W.T says "We have placed him to a very high status". Then Muhammad (pbuh) and Jibreel went to the fifth Heaven and there they met Aaron - Harun (A.S). And then they went to sixth Heaven, and Muhammad (pbuh) met Musa (A.S). And his meeting with Musa was an eventful meeting. Always Musa is surrounded with important events. One of the scholars said "Quran was almost going to be the story of Musa". He is mentioned so frequently there in and his personality is so outstanding. Whenever the name of Musa (A.S) is mentioned, there is something important that is going to happen.

The messenger of Allah (pbuh) passed by Musa, Musa started to weep. After they greeted each other, and Musa welcomed Muhammad (pbuh). When he was asked "How come you are weeping?". He said "A young man was given prophet-hood after me and he will have more of his followers entering Paradise than mine". Up until that moment, Musa had the largest following of any Prophet. The children of Israel were the largest believing nation up until that point. But now there was a new world record. By the ummah of Muhammad (pbuh). So Musa wept - he cried. And you can see that there is competition between the Prophets but you will notice that it is not the competition of jealousy. It is a compassionate competition. And you will see that in the upcoming conversation between Muhammad (pbuh) and Musa (A.S). 

The messenger of Allah (pbuh) said "Then i moved up to the seventh Heaven, and i went in and i met my father Ibrahim (A.S) and i exchanged Salam with him. Then i was presented with Baitul Ma'moor. And in one narration it states that Ibrahim actually had his back kneeling towards Baitul Ma'moor. What is Baitul Ma'moor? Allah S.W.T is making an oath in an established house - Baitul Ma'moor. To the creation of the Heavens is equivalent to Kaaba to us. Just as we make Tawaf around the Kaaba, and it is the first house on the earth established for the worship of Allah, the same thing is to be said about Baitul Ma'moor. So here as Muslims we would visit Kaaba, angels will visit Baitul Ma'moor. Rasulullah (pbuh) said "Baitul Ma'moor is visited by 70 000 angels everyday and they never come back to it again. Do you understand the implications of that? Everyday, a new group of 70 000 angels would visit the established house, how many angels are there? If on a daily basis you have 70 000 angels visiting it and they never come back again, how many angels are there? And for how long has this been going on? For how many thousands or millions or billions of years? So you multiply all of those days by 70 000. How many angels are there? 

It puts us human beings to shame. I mean we are saying that we have over population on Earth - 6 Billion of us. Who are we compared to the world of the angels? This massive creation. The Prophet (pbuh) said "The Heavens above you are mourning, and they are justified to mourn. Because in every space equivalent to the size of 4 fingers, there is an angel bowing down in Rukuk or prostrating in Sujood.- worshiping Allah S.W.T. All over the Heavens above us. Every position, every area or volume - equivalent to the size of 4 fingers, is occupied by an angel worshiping Allah. So this is a vast huge creation. That makes us the world of a human being seem insignificant. In the narration that states that Ibrahim (A.S) was kneeling towards Baitul Ma'moor. It is symbolic to have Ibrahim (A.S) in that position. After he dies, sitting next to Baitul Ma'moor. Because he was the one who built Kaaba on the Earth. So when Allah S.W.T took his soul away, Allah S.W.T had him rest next to Baitul Ma'moor - The House of The Angels. 

------- to be continue----------

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