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ISRA' AND MIKHRAJ, THE NIGHT JOURNEY

By Ustaz Syed Hasan Alatas

English translation by Radzi Sapiee


“Most glorified is Allah who moved his servant (Prophet Muhammad saw ) in one night from Masjidil Haram to Masjidil Aqsa, whose surroundings we have blessed in order to show our signs. Verily He is Most Hearing and Most Observing” (verse 1, surah al-Isra’)

Allah swt. has moved (isra’) Prophet  Muhammad saw from Masjidil Haram in Mecca far away to Masjid Al-Aqsa in Palestine in a very short time. At the time it is common for people to walk from place to place or ride horses, camels and such. Normally it would take 40 days to get from Mecca to Palestine. But with the power of  Allah swt. the long journey was shortened to just under an hour.

For the people then, it is impossible to cover such distance in such a short time and thus their minds could not accept it. Used to riding horses, donkeys and camels, for them there is no way this could be done.   Thus unbelievers such as Abu Jahal and his followers used the incident to accuse the prophet as being a liar. However the notion of travelling from Mecca and Palestine in just an hour is not impossible today with the advances of such vehicles like fast trains, jets and airplane.

The people during the time of the prophet could not imagine such a possibilty. Only the faithfuls don’t question the validity of Prophet Muhammad saw.’s experience despite their lack of understanding. For they accept it as an example of Allah swt’s power considering it as miracles like that bestowed on earlier prophets and messengers. For example Prophet Jesus a.s. was born without a father. No, he has no father not because he was born out of wedlock as is the common case today especially in Western countries. In fact his mother was never sexually touched by a man and this is an impossibiltiy in medical science.

Prophet Jesus a.s. was able to talk when he was still a baby. When he was an adult, he could heal the sick. In fact he is known for bringing the dead back to life! Although there is no way we could explain this scientifically, believers are thought to have faith in the matter accepting its occurence without the need for any explanation.

Such is the case with Prophet Moses a.s. who was given a special wooden staff by  Allah swt. The staff could transfrom into a large serpent who then swallows all the snakes conjured by the magicians of the Pharaoh. Prophet Moses a.s. also opened up the Red Sea to let his followers ran through to escape the pursuit of the Pharaoh’s army. There are more examples of the powers Allah swt given to the prophets and messengers and these are called mukjizat. If similar things happen to other pious servants of His then it is called karamah, the plain Arabic word for miracles.

In the night journey which became known as the Isra’ and Mikhraj. Prophet  Muhammad saw. was shown examples and parables which is beneficial to mankind The night journey actually comprised of two parts. In the Isra’, Allah moved the prophet from Mecca to Palestine. This is followed by the Mikhraj where the prophet was taken to ascend the seven heavens and beyond to meet God!

The prophet was shown an old man who never stops to add burden on his back although he is not capable of carrying it. This is actually a parable of the man who wants to do all sorts of jobs despite the fact that he could not even do one to perfection. By right, he should have just taken one job at a time and complete it to satisfaction, not become greedy or simply want to show off to become popular.

Rasulullah saw. was also shown a man who likes to eat smelly contaminated food although there is clean and good food besides him. This is a parable for the man who likes to fornicate leaving his wife unattended. In fact he likes to pick up prostitutes and eventually would suffer from diseases like  AIDS, syphlis and other venereal diseases until the family institution is destroyed.  

The biggest fruit from the event of Isra’ and Mikhraj is receiving Allah swt.’s command to conduct the obligatory five-times a day Solat or prayer. Other obligatory rituals of worship such as fasting during the holy month of Ramadhan, paying the zakat (yearly tithe or alms), doing the pilgrimage to Mecca or the hajj and such are commanded through Allah swt’s revelations on earth. On the other hand, Solat is directly commanded by Allah swt from a station high above the seven heavens.

This shows the special status of Solat. Thus there is no reason for us to leave it behind. If we are sick and thus unable to stand up then we could do it by sitting down. If we could not sit, we are still given the relaxation of doing it while lying down. If even this we can’t do, then we are allowed to do the Solat through body signals.

Now, we must do the Wudhuk or abolution, a ritual of washing certain body parts first before we could do the Solat. If there is no water, or we have a sickness where we can’t touch water or unable to reach it, we could resort to the alternative ritual of Tayammum, using bits of dust from any clean surface to be wiped against certain body parts as a replacement for Wudhuk.  In short Solat must be conducted regardless of our condition, regardless of where we are at any given moment. It is a serious obligation that could not be dispensed with unless we don’t have a sound mind, lost consciousness or have fainted, gone mad or such.

It should be added that we must clean ourselves from all forms of filth before doing the Wudhuk (or Tayammum in its place). Then we should clean the place where we put our heads in prostration and once that is done we could start the Solat, giving full concentration physically, mentally and spiritually only to Allah swt. God willing, with regular Solats, we can educate ourselves to become clean and disciplined. We will also get good health body and mind making us useful human beings

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