Understanding Isra' Mi'raj as a layman

LanH, [email protected] | .

“GLORY to (Allah) Who did take His servant for a Journey by night from the Sacred Mosque to the farthest Mosque, whose precincts We did bless,- in order that We might show him some of Our Signs: for He is the One Who heareth and seeth (all things).” - Al-Israa': 1
 
Subhanallah, how time flies...we are now observing Isra' (Israk) and Mi'raj (Mikraj) at the end of the month of Rajab; in a month time (after the month of Shaaban) it would be Ramadan (the fasting month) then it would be 'Hari Raya Aidilfitri'.
 
Isra' and Mi'raj was the miraculous night journey of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. (peace be upon him) from Makkah to al-Quds (Jerusalem) and from there he ascended to the upper heavens and Sidratul-Muntaha. This journey is believed to have taken place just over a year before Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. migrated from Makkah to Madinah, on the 27th of Rajab. 
 
In welcoming the month of Rajab, Shaaban and Ramadan, it is advisable for Muslims to increase their good deeds to get closer to Allah SWT. Ramadan is the month when good deeds will be rewarded multi-fold by Allah SWT. It it is ‘Lailatul Qadr’ (the Night of Destiny) where one would be rewarded for his/her deeds for that night better than a 1,000 months. 
 
However it is norm for some Muslim Malays in Malaysia to focus on 'Hari Raya' compared to Ramadan - nowadays stores, shops and other business identities are going all out to promote their wares. Perhaps 'Hari Raya' sales is synonym to some housewives (women) who would like not only themselves 'to be brand new' such as in dressing' but also their homes - they would change carpets, curtains and cushion covers.
 
Back to 'our Isra' and Mi'raj story' - in one of the 'tazkirah' (lessons) on the subject by an 'ustaz' (religious teacher), he made a comparison between the event and 'Hijra' that was Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. journey from Makkah to Madinah after 13 years propagating Islam in the city.
 
To his audience, the 'ustaz' stressed that Isra' and Mi'raj was a test to the human race regarding their faith (iman) where else 'Hijra' was clearly an example for Muslims to put into practice regarding their journey in life.
 
To the human mind, it was impossible for the Prophet s.a.w. to make the Isra' and Mi'raj journey in not more than a night because for the journey from Makkah to al Quds, Arab caravans travelling by camels at that time needed one month and another one month for the journey back. Nowadays travelling by plane for the same journey of some 1,000 kilometers takes a few hours.
 
And for the journey from Jerusalem to the upper heavens and Sidratul-Muntaha, only Prophet Muhammad s.a.w as the chosen one by Allah SWT could make it and he took a short period of time.
 
If Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. could went to Jerusalem, to Sidratul-Muntaha and back to Makkah 'just like lightning', then why his 'Hijra' journey of Makkah-Madinah which was only about 400 kilometers, he and his best companion, Abu Bakar took a long time? Why didn't he traveled 'like lightning' to the city?
 
The 'ustaz' said Isra' and Mi'raj was a 'mukjizat' (miracle) blessed by Allah SWT to Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.. Allah SWT acknowledged so in the Qur'an in Surah Al-Israa': 1 with the meaning: “Glory to (Allah) Who did take His servant for a Journey by night from the Sacred Mosque to the farthest Mosque, whose precincts We did bless,- in order that We might show him some of Our Signs: for He is the One Who heareth and seeth (all things).” - Al-Israa': 1
 
The  'ustaz'  said Allah SWT, The Almighty, The Most Powerful on everything and matters in the universe could do anything as He wish including taking Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. for a journey from Makkah to al-Quds and then to the upper heavens in a short span of time, that is not even a night.
 
It was Allah SWT that made the journey possible. Allah is The Creator of time and space. It is His wish to do anything including time. In Ayahs 80-81 Surah Yasin, Allah SWT says: “Is not He Who created the heavens and the earth Able to create the like of them? Aye, that He is! for He is the All-Wise Creator. But His command, when He intendeth a thing, is only that he saith unto it: Be! And it is.”
 
For the understanding of a layman (ordinary people); the 'ustaz' gave an example. You are bound for a journey to London from Kuala Lumpur. You wanted to spend a few days only. When you packed your suitcase, an ant accidently was trapped inside it. It went to London with you. 
 
When you were back, the ant went out of the bag and to some of his friends he told them he had gone to London, some 10,000 kilometers from Kuala Lumpur. Would the another ants believed that he had gone and back from London only for a few days? They would laughed at the ant and accused it as being mad but the fact was that the ant was telling the truth!
 
Isra' and Mi'raj was a miracle and all was needed from us was to believe it. It was a test of faith (imam) that is to surrender ourselves to Allah SWT, The Most Powerful Who could do anything He wishes. 
 
But what about 'Hijra'?, asked the 'ustaz' who continued: "The Prophet s.a.w. was setting an example for us lead our own life. We must strive, work hard, be patience, honest and most important be always be modest and humble among human beings and to Allah SWT surrender ourselves wholeheartedly. There is no short cut to success either in worldly matters or in the 'akhirah' (Hereafter).
 
Another ustaz in his talk on Isra' and Mi'raj, cautioned congregators, that time seemed and was being felt 'to be  shorter by each day'. "I am sure that many of us realize that time flies fast. After waking up in the morning, then its midday, and then its evening and then we are back in the morning..."
 
Regarding 'this feeling', Anas reported that the messenger of Allah said: "The hour (Doomsday) shall not come until time will be considered short, and a year will appear like a month, a month like a week, a week like a day, a day like an hour and an hour like a flash of fire." (Tirmidhi)
 
Thus, the ustaz reminded Muslims not to waste their time; there is a hadith which states: "Grasp five things before five others: your youth before your decrepitude, your health before you fall sick, your wealth before going into poverty, your free time before you get busy and lastly your life before your death. (Tirmidhi)
 
He said one aspect of importance regarding Isra' and Mi'raj was regarding 'solat' (prayers) which was ordered by Allah SWT directly to Prophet Muhammad s.a.w at Sidratul-Muntaha.
 
"Thus," said the ustaz. "Muslims must remember that their 'solat' are their 'mi'raj' to Allah SWT. By doing 'solat' they have a direct link to Allah SWT. If you remember Allah SWT, He will remember you, if you do not, then you are lost in this world and what more in the Hereafter."
 
Allah created time; hence He can do whatever He wants to with it. If the Prophet could travel, witness and experience many miracles during the short span of time (according to human being calculation) during Isra' and Mi'raj, Allah SWT out of His Mercy has also awarded Muslims bountiful rewards in the Hereafter if they perform their good deeds including performing 'solat' during special times and places.
 
For example when one performs his obligations and good deeds during ‘Lailatul Qadr’ (the Night of Destiny) during Ramadan, then he/she would be rewarded for his/her deeds for that night better than a thousand months (1 night = 83 years 4 months!).
 
Then if one performs his obligations for example saying his prayers in the Haram Masjid, then he would be rewarded 100,000 times more than the rewards at ordinary masjids. At the Prophet’s Masjid in Madinah it is 1,000 times and at the Al-Aqsa Masjid it is 500 times!
 
In conclusion, Allah SWT Is The Most Powerful; (remember Ayah 1 of Surah 17 (Al-Israa’) begins with 'Subhanallah' with the meaning Glory to Allah), thus He can  do whatever He wishes including those which contradict the law of nature such as Isra' and Mi'raj and turn the huge fire which was to burn Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) a.s. cold and the Prophet was saved from it and how He made seven youth sleep in a cave for more than 300 years as mentioned in Surah Al-Kahfi. - ES
 
This article was originally published earlier in Harakah
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