Reflections on Isra and Miraj

Isra and Miraj are mysteries that no human being will ever be able to fathom, but there are important lessons in them that every Muslim can learn.

In the first place, it is a reminder of the limitless majesty, power and glory of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. All physical laws of nature are laws only because He has wished them to be so. If He wishes something else, they melt and vanish.

Second, it establishes the exalted position that Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wa sallam occupies in the sight of the sole Lord of the all the worlds. No other human being has ever been accorded this height of favour and dignity, nor ever will be.

Third, Isra and Miraj invites us to renew our faith in the majesty, power and glory of Allah (swt) and in the trustworthiness of His Blessed Messenger Muhammad (saws). Ever since Muhammad (saws) opened his mouth to narrate his experience in that auspicious night it has remained as the most severe test on one’s faith. Even some of the early Muslims failed in this test of faith.

Fourth, in this unique and unparallalled moment when Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala bestowed the highest honour on His dear Messenger Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wa sallam Allah (swt) calls Muhammad (saws) an abd, meaning a servant. (Surah Bani Israil, 17: 1) Here is a supreme paradox. Man is always an abd; this is his true and permanent identity. However, there is no indignity for him in this. On the other hand, his true success lies in his joyfully accepting and cultivating this identity. To become a faithful and devoted servant is what man should aspire and strive for. Only thus can he can climb the summit of his glory and be at his best. Only thus can he exalt his position with his Lord, receive honour from Him and fulfill his true destiny. In the sight of Allah (swt) Muhammad was the supreme example of the servant that Allah (swt) was pleased with and wished to place before the rest of mankind.

Fifth, to harbour any grudge about or to be indifferent of this identity of being an abd is rebellion which will bring man only degradation and perdition.

Sixth, one very striking feature of Isra and Miraj to note is the account given of them in the Qur’an and Hadith. The whole journey from beginning to end is presented only in broad outlines. Nowhere is there any eagerness to tell a story to entertain us or to satisfy idle human curiosity that craves for useless details. What matters is what is to be learnt and followed.

Seventh, no less striking is the fact that the companions (radiAllahu ta’ala anhu) of the Prophet (saws) never succumbed to the temptation of satisfying their curiosity by asking for details that had been withheld from them. Whatever they came to know they did only as the Qur’an mentioned them briefly and the Prophet (saws) told them bit by bit at different times.

Eighth, the divine command for the five daily canonical prayers was received on no less an occasion than the Miraj. This is enough to signify the overwhelming importance of salah for a Muslim. Thus every Muslim needs to be extremely careful about salah. Salah is not only an obligation, but also a supreme gift to a Muslim while he is alive in this world. It has been called the Miraj of a Muslim. Just as Muhammad (saws) was honoured in the presence of Allah (swt), every Muslim enjoys the honour form his Lord while he offers salah.

The supreme honour that Allah (swt) bestowed on Muhammad (saws) through Isra and Miraj is not his alone, it is also ours. As followers of Muhammad (saws) we are also legitimate partakers in this blessing. Let us cherish the blessing as it should be cherished and strive to retain it by treading his path. Let us not lose the blessing through carelessness and negligence. May Allah (swt) grant us the tawfiq to be worthy followers of His most honoured abd Muhammad (saws).