Sunday, July 19, 2009

Lessons from Al-Isra’ and Al-Mi’raj

The following is a transcript on the subject recently delivered by a brother.

سُبْحَانَ الَّذِي أَسْرَى بِعَبْدِهِ لَيْلاً مِنَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ إِلَى الْمَسْجِدِ الأَقْصَى الَّذِي بَارَكْنَا حَوْلَهُ
“Blessed is the One who took His Servant during part of the night on a journey from Masjid Al-Haram to Masjid Al-Aqsa, whose precincts we did bless” [TMQ 17:1]

We are in the later days of the month of Rajab, the anniversary of the Isra and Mi'raj will be in the coming days. Muslims around the world will think about the amazing incident that took place in the life of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saw).

Usually when people in the subcontinent talk about Shab-e-mi’raj, they see it as a day to make extra prayers or fast, even though there is no text from the Quran and sunnah to support this.

We as Muslims must realise that we must never allow this incident of al-Isra to remain as a mere fantastical story separated from our lives, like the Christians and Jews who took their scriptures as stories and detached them from life. We cannot leave Islam on the shelf and on the pages of books. Rather we must as with the rest of Islam connect this incident to our lives.

Isr'a literally means a journey by night and Mi'raj literally means an elevator or a ladder, i.e., an instrument which lifts something up. But, In Islam, Isra' refers to a miraculous night-journey made by the last Prophet (saw) from makkah to Jerusalem, and Mi'raj refers to the vehicle which took the Prophet (saw) from Jerusalem, up to and out of the universe, through the seven heavens.As for its exact date, there is difference of opinion amongst the scholars regarding it. However, the majority of jurists are in favor of a date between 16-12 months prior to migration to Madinah.

There are many details regarding Isra & Mi’raj, however will only focus on some important lessons that we can draw from this great event.

Lesson 1: After hardship there is ease

Shortly before the Hijrah, (the migration to Madinah) the Prophet's uncle Abu Talib died. Though the Prophet (saw) tried his best to get him to accept Islam, he chose to remain in the religion of his forefathers. This hurt the Prophet (saw) a lot because Abu Talib had raised him from his early childhood and had protected him from a lot of harm which the tribe of Quraysh had tried to do to him. So Abu Talib's death affected the Prophet (saw) in two ways: (1) He did not join Islam and (2) He could no longer shield the Prophet (saw) from the anger of Quraysh.

Three days after Abu Talib's death, the Prophet's wife, Khadijah bint Khuwaylid died. It was she who comforted him during his first difficult experiences with revelation and during the early attacks and rejection of his people.

Following that the prophet (saw) went to Taif with the aim of winning the leaders of it to Islam so they could support him and establish Islam, but his invitation was totally rejected. He was chased out of the city and stoned so badly that his sandal became clogged with blood. Allah (swt) says:

فَإِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا (5) إِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا
“After hardship there is ease. Verily with the hardship there is relief” [TMQ 94: 4-5]

From these events which occurred around the same time, we can see that the Prophet (saw) had suffered a series of disappointing set-backs and trials. Thus, Allah took him up into His presence in order to strengthen him and prepare him for the next, forthcoming difficult stage of Prophethood which would be the Hijra, the establishment of the Islamic state the carrying of Islam to the world by Da’wah and Jihad.

Lesson 2: Significance of Al-Aqsa

Imam Ahmad reported from Anas bin Malik that the Messenger of Allah said: “Al-Buraq was brought to me, and it was a white animal bigger than a donkey and smaller than a mule. One stride of this creature covered a distance as far as it could see. I rode on it and it took me to Bayt Al-Maqdis (Jerusalem), where I tethered it at the hitching post of the Prophets.” In the narration of Muslim, “I entered Masjid Al-Aqsa Sanctuary and prayed 2 rak'ah there..."

The narration is very lengthy and many of us will be aware of it, it explains how Muhammad (saw) ascended through the heavens meeting the different Prophet’s of Allah, then to Bayt al-Ma’mur and then to Allah.

Ibn Kathir says in his Tafseer: “Then he came back down to Bayt Al-Maqdis, and the Prophets came down with him and he led them in prayer there when the time for prayer came. It may have been the dawn prayer of that day.”

· The first Qiblah of the Muslims
· The station of Al-Isra and Al-Miraj (the miraculous journey of Mohammed saw)
· The second house of Allah built on earth - it has been destroyed and rebuilt many times
· The place where hundreds of Messengers of Allah are buried
· The place where many companions are buried
· A place where miracles were shown by Allah's will
· A place which Allah Himself calls a 'blessed place'
· Referred to directly and indirectly, 70 times in the Holy Quran
· The place where Angels have descended with Allah's message
· The only place on earth where all the Messengers of Allah prayed at the same time led by the Mohammed (saw)
· The only Masjid mentioned by name in the Holy Quran a part from the Ka'bah

Al-Aqsa was the first Qibla of the Muslims, it is the third most sacred mosque. The mosque itself forms part of the al-Haram ash-Sharif or "Sacred Noble Sanctuary" (along with the Dome of the Rock), The mosque is known to be the second house of prayer constructed after the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca. Imam Muslim quotes Abu Dharr as saying: "I asked the beloved Prophet Muhammad which was the first "mosque" [i.e. house of prayer] on Earth?" "The Sacred House of Prayer (Masjid al-Haram), i.e. Kaaba)," he said. "'And then which', I asked?" "The Furthest House of Prayer (Masjid al Aqsa)", he said. "I further asked, 'what was the time span between the two'?" "Forty years," Prophet Muhammad replied.

Maymunah Bint Sa'd (ra) relates that she asked the Prophet (saw), "O Messenger of Allah, inform us about Bayt Al-Maqdis (Jerusalem)". He said, "Visit it for prayer ". She further asked, "If one of us cannot visit it, what should we do"? He said, "If you cannot go for prayer then send some oil to be used for its lamps, will be as if he has prayed in it". (Ahmad, Ibn Majah, Abu Dawud, Tabarani)

Zaid Ibn Thabit (ra) reports that the Prophet (saw) said, "How blessed is Al-Sham"! The Companions (ra) asked, "Why is that"? The Messenger (saw) replied, "I see the Angels of Allah spreading their wings over Al-Sham". Ibn Abbas (ra) added, "And the Prophets lived therein. There is not a single inch in Al-Quds (Jerusalem) where a Prophet has not prayed or an Angel not stood". (Tirmidhi, Ahmad)

Lesson 3: Leadership of all other prophets and for all humanity

The Prophet Muhammad is the leader of all the Prophet’s who brought the final revelation and complete Deen

Jabir narrated that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: “I have been given five things which none before me was given: each Prophet was sent specifically to his people while I have been sent to every red and black.” (Muslim)

Abu Hurairah narrated that Allah’s Messenger (saw) said: “I have been preferred over other Prophets with six things,” one of which was that: “I am sent to all of creation.” (Muslim)

We follow the law that the Muhammad (saw) brought:

Jabir ibn Abdullah narrated that Umar Ibn al-Khattab brought a copy of the Torah to the Prophet (saw) and said: “O Messenger of Allah, this is a copy of the Torah.” But [the Prophet] kept silent. Then Umar started reading and the face of the Prophet kept changing. So, Abu Bakr interrupted him violently: “Don't you see the face of the Messenger (saw)?” Umar looked at the Prophet's face and said, “May Allah preserve me from His anger and from the anger of his Messenger (saw), we accepted Allah as Lord and Islam as religion and Muhammad as Prophet.” Then the Prophet (saw) said:“By the One Who owns Muhammad's soul, if Musa (as) appeared to you and you followed him and left me, you would go astray from the right path and if he were alive and reached [the time of] my prophethood he would have followed me.” [Tirmizi 194; Darimi 1/435 and Mishkat, 1/20]

Lesson 4: Salah – the ascension for a believer

We know the obligatory Salah was revealed during this journey. It is one of the pillars of Islam. Many of us are aware of the hadith where initially 50 salah a day was prescribed by Allah, then Musa (as) advised the Prophet to ask for a reduction. Allah (swt) in his mercy reduced the number to 10 times a day and then finally to 5 times a day.

“When I came back to Moses, he said, 'What have you been ordered?' I replied, 'I have been ordered to observe five prayers a day.' He said, 'Your followers cannot bear five prayers a day, and no doubt, I have got an experience of the people before you, and I have tried my level best with Bani Israel, so go back to your Lord and ask for reduction to lessen your follower's burden.' I said, 'I have requested so much of my Lord that I feel ashamed, but I am satisfied now and surrender to Allah's Order.' When I left, I heard a voice saying, 'I have passed My Order and have lessened the burden of My Worshipers." [Sahih Al-Bukhari 5.227]

The Prophet (saw) said: “The Salah is the mi’raj of the believer”.

The Salah is a time when we are in direct communication with Allah and we are in front of Allah (swt).

Also the Hadith of the Prophet (saw) as narrated authentically in the Musnad of Imam Ahmed ibn Hanbal:

“The covenant between myself and yourself is the Salah whoever abandons prayer commits an action of disbelief” ”

This hadith highlights the importance of Salah and how the one who leaves it is on the border line of disbelief. So it is a great sin hence the prophet (saw) has used the word ‘kufr’ to describe the gravity of the situation where one leaves salah.

Lesson 5: Punishments for disobedience to Allah

The ahadith mention that the Prophet was shown people being punished for various types of sins. We should remember these narrations and be careful to stay away from such sins. He saw those who committed adultery and their punishment, those who slandered, those who engaged in Riba and various other sins. For examples:

Then the Prophet went on for a little while. He saw groups of people who had bellies as large as houses, and there were snakes in them which could be seen through their skins. Every time one of those people stood up he would fall again and he would say: "O Allah, don't make the Hour of Judgment rise yet!" Then they meet the people of Fir`awn on the road and the latter trample them underfoot. (The Prophet said) "I heard them clamoring to Allah." He asked: "O Jibril, who are these?" He replied: "They are those of your Community who eat up usury. They cannot stand up except in the manner of those whom the Shaytan touches with possession."

Then the Prophet went on for a little while. He saw groups of people whose lips resembled the lips of camels. Their mouths were being pried open and they would be stoned. One version says: A rock from Gehenna was placed in their mouths and then it would come out again from their posteriors. (The Prophet said:) "I heard them clamoring to Allah." He asked: "O Jibril, who are these?" He replied: "They are those of your Community who eat up the property of orphans and commit injustice. They are eating nothing but a fire for their bellies, and they shall be roasted in it."

Lesson 6: Iman – the example of Abu Bakr

The following morning, the Prophet (saw) went to the Quraysh's Tribal meeting place, and when Abu Jahl came up to him, he informed him of his journey. Abu Jahl then called all the people to hear the Prophet's story, and when he related it to them, they stared at him in amazement and disbelief. Some Muslim converts whose Iman was weak left Islam and returned to Kufr, because of the incredible tale which the Prophet (saw) told.

Some of the people ran to Abu Bakr and told him and his companions that Muhammad (saw) claimed that he went to Jerusalem, made Salah there, and returned to Makkah in one night. They told him that the Prophet (saw) was at the Ka'bah telling people. When they told him that they were sure that he would also leave Islam, because it was obvious to them that Muhammad (saw) must be lying. But Abu bakr told them, "By Allah, if he actually said that, he has told the truth. There really is nothing to be amazed about, for he has told me that information comes to him from Allah, from the sky to the earth, in an instant during the night or day and I believe him. And that is even more strange." Because of that statement of Abu Bakr, the Prophet (saw) gave him the title of "as-Siddiq (the truthful)."

The people then demanded from the Prophet (saw) proof of what he said. They knew that he had never travelled to Jerusalem, so some of them demanded that he describe it. The Prophet (saw) worried, as he had forgotten most of it's details. He had only been there at night and had not paid much attention to it's details. But, Allah blessed him with a vision in which he saw Jerusalem as if he were there. So he was able to describe even it's smallest details for them. For the others, he told them that on his way to Jerusalem he passed by a stray camel belonging to one of the clans which had camped in a valley. It had escaped from a group of them and he led them to it. He also told them that on his return he passed by the same clan's caravan and found them all sleeping. They had a drinking vessel with some water in it which they had covered, so he uncovered it, drank its contents and put the cover back on the same way it was. He then informed them that the caravan was on its way to Makkah and he further described its lead camel. So the people rushed out to meet the caravan and found it as he had described. They then asked the clan about the stray camel and the drinking vessel, and they replied, "By Allah! He told the truth, we had camped in a valley which he mentioned and one of our camels had run off. We heard a man's voice calling us to it until we caught it." They also mentioned that they had left water in their jug and were surprised to find that it was all gone the next morning.

And Allah revealed the verse:

وَمَا جَعَلْنَا الرُّؤْيَا الَّتِي أَرَيْنَاكَ إِلَّا فِتْنَةً لِلنَّاسِ
“We appointed not the vision which we showed you but as a test for mankind.” [TMQ 17:60]

Liberation of Al-Aqsa and Palestine

There are many narrations about the blessings of the people of Palestine, especially in the time of Fitna.

Imams Ahmad and At-Tabarani reported on the authority of Abu Imama Al-Bahilai (may Allâh be pleased with him) that the Prophet (saw) said, “A group of my nation will keep being in the side of right and victorious over its enemy; no party of their enemy can cause them harm; the only harm that may afflict them is (physical) exhaustion. They would be like so until the Day of Judgment.” The Prophet’s Companions (may Allâh be pleased with them) asked, “Where would they be, Allâh’s Messenger?” He (saw) said, “In Jerusalem and the surrounding vicinity.”
Alhamdullilah the pioneers of the work for Khilafah in the world today are from that land of Palestine, they recently held a huge gathering after the Friday prayers outside Masjid al-Aqsa remembering the anniversary of the destruction of KhilafahIsrael will be destroyed and Al-Quds will become the capital of the Khilafah

Allah (swt) States in the same Surah, Al Isra:

وَقَضَيْنَا إِلَى بَنِي إسْرائِيلَ فِي الْكِتَابِ لَتُفْسِدُنَّ فِي الْأَرْضِ مَرَّتَيْنِ وَلَتَعْلُنَّ عُلُوًّا كَبِيرًا (4) فَإِذَا جَاءَ وَعْدُ أُولَاهُمَا بَعَثْنَا عَلَيْكُمْ عِبَادًا لَنَا أُولِي بَأْسٍ شَدِيدٍ فَجَاسُوا خِلَالَ الدِّيَارِ وَكَانَ وَعْدًا مَفْعُولًا (5) ثُمَّ رَدَدْنَا لَكُمُ الْكَرَّةَ عَلَيْهِمْ وَأَمْدَدْنَاكُمْ بِأَمْوَالٍ وَبَنِينَ وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ أَكْثَرَ نَفِيرًا (6) إِنْ أَحْسَنْتُمْ أَحْسَنْتُمْ لِأَنْفُسِكُمْ وَإِنْ أَسَأْتُمْ فَلَهَا فَإِذَا جَاءَ وَعْدُ الْآَخِرَةِ لِيَسُوءُوا وُجُوهَكُمْ وَلِيَدْخُلُوا الْمَسْجِدَ كَمَا دَخَلُوهُ أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ وَلِيُتَبِّرُوا مَا عَلَوْا تَتْبِيرًا (7) عَسَى رَبُّكُمْ أَنْ يَرْحَمَكُمْ وَإِنْ عُدْتُمْ عُدْنَا وَجَعَلْنَا جَهَنَّمَ لِلْكَافِرِينَ حَصِيرًا
"And we decreed for the Children of Israel in the Scripture, that indeed you would do mischief on the earth twice and you will become tyrants and extremely arrogant! So, when the promise came for the first of the two, We sent against you slaves of Ours given to terrible warfare. They entered the very innermost parts of your homes. And it was a promise (completely) fulfilled. Then We gave you once again, a return of victory over them. And We helped you with wealth and children and made you more numerous in manpower. (And We said): 'If you do well, you do good for your ownselves, and if you do evil (you do it) against yourselves'. Then, when the second promise came to pass, (We permitted your enemies) to make your faces sorrowful and to enter the mosque (of Jerusalem) as they had entered it before, and to destroy with utter destruction all that fell in their hands. [And We Said in the Taurat (Torah)]: 'It may be that your Lord may show mercy unto you, but if you return (to sins), We shall return (to Our Punishment). And We have made Hell a prison for the disbelievers" [TMQ Al-Isra, 17:4-8]

The indication in this verse that the second promise of Allah (swt) which will come to pass refers to the destruction of Israel is where it says, "to make your faces sorrowful and to enter the mosque (of Jerusalem) as they had entered it before". The Muslims opened Jerusalem to Islam under the rule of the second Khalifah Umar ibn al-Khattab (ra), the Islamic state ruled it with justice for hundreds of years. Even though it was captured by the Crusader Christians for a number of years it was never captured by the Jews previous to the formation of the state of Israel. So Allah (swt) promises that we will enter the mosque of Masjid al-Aqsa in Jerusalem as we entered it before when we conquered it.

Narrated by Ibn ‘Asaakir, from Maseerah b. Jaleese, where he heard the Prophet (saw): “This matter (the Khilafah) will continue after me in Al-Madina, then (move to) Al-Shaam, then to the peninsula, then to Iraq, then to the city, then to Bait-ul-Maqdis. So if it reaches Bait-ul-Maqdis, then it would have reached its (natural resting place); and no people who remove it (i.e. the capital of the Khilafah) from their land will ever get it back again (for them to be the capital again).” The scholars said they believe that what he (saw) meant by ‘the city’ is the city of Heraclius (Constantinople). This hadith is talking about which cities would become the capital of the Khilafah, all the cities mentioned have been the capitals of the Khilafah in the past except Bait ul-Maqdis (Jerusalem). This will be our capital sometime in the future inshallah.
The indication in this verse that the second promise of Allah (swt) which will come to pass refers to the destruction of Israel is where it says, "to make your faces sorrowful and to enter the mosque (of Jerusalem) as they had entered it before". The Muslims opened Jerusalem to Islam under the rule of the second Khalifah Umar ibn al-Khattab (ra), the Islamic state ruled it with justice for hundreds of years. Even though it was captured by the Crusader Christians for a number of years it was never captured by the Jews previous to the formation of the state of Israel. So Allah (swt) promises that we will enter the mosque of Masjid al-Aqsa in Jerusalem as we entered it before when we conquered it.

It was not only al-Quds (Jerusalem) that was the source of great Islamic scholars like Ibn Qudama alMaqdisi. From Nablus another city was also the origin of great Muslim Scholars like Abdul Ghani alNabulsi, and Asqalan with her son the great scholar Ibn Hajar al-Asqalany, and there many others from other cities in this blessed land.

Today the sons and children of these cities are facing the guns of the Jews with stones, whilst the armies in the Muslim lands remain idle under orders from their treacherous rulers. Even though the soldiers within the Islamic armies wish to fight, there blood boils but the rulers under orders from their Kuffar masters quell their feeling and suppress them, attempting to cage them.

It is not the first time that Muslims have faced the problem of Palestine or similar problems. The Christian Crusaders occupied Jerusalem in the year 1099 and they created a Christian Kingdom with Godfrey of Bologne as Prince. However the Muslims did not just give up, they did not have a peace deal with the Crusaders, rather the Muslims had a mechanism which decided how to solve their problems, they had the rules of Allah (swt) implemented by the Khilafah state. They did not become defeated and think that they would never be able to do it, rather they trusted in Allah and acted according to his command. In the year 1187 in the famous battle of Hitten, Salahuddin Ayyubi defeated the Crusaders and retook the land of Palestine and al-quds.

Salahudeen choose the night believed to be the night of Isra wa Miraj, the 27th of Rajab 583 After Hijra to take possession of al-Quds and to conclude a crushing defeat upon the Christians. He remembered the significance of Isra and Miraj, he did not detach it from life, he did not see it as an irrelevant story.

The Kuffar to this day remember Salahuddin Ayyubi, they have made films about him like the hollywood hit 'The Kingdom of Heaven', they call him ‘Saladin’, the French even named one type of their challenger tank after him.

In addition there are other texts indicating the future capital of the Khilafah state from Ibn ‘Asaakir, from Abdul Rahman b. Abi ‘Umayrah Al-Muzni, who said that he heard the Messenger of Allah (saw): “There will be, in Bait-ul-Maqdis, a (rightly guided) Bay’a.”

These include narrations by Al-Haakim, which have been classified as Sahih. Of these is the narration from Abi Shareeh: “…I have heard those who say that they will be twelve banners, and under each banner twelve thousand (men), and the Muslims will gather to their comrade (or Imam) in Bait-ul-Maqdis (Al-Quds).”

It was narrated by Ibn Habban in his book of Sahih Ahadith, that Al-Shaam (the region which covers Jordan, Syria, Palestine, Lebanon and part of Iraq) will be the base of the land of the believers at the end of time. On the authority of Al-Nawas b. Sam’aan, who said that he heard the Messenger of Allah (saw) say, “…and the ‘Uqr (natural origin) of the land of the believers is Al-Shaam.” It was also narrated by Ahmad from the hadith by Salamah b. Nufayl, “…verily, the ‘Uqr of the land of the believers is Al-Shaam…”

Furthermore, it was narrated by Al-Tabarani, in ‘Al-Kabeer,’ on the authority of Salamah b. Nufayl: “The ‘Uqr of Dar Al-Islam is in Al-Shaam.” According to Al-Haythami, this was narrated by Al-Tabarani, and his men (chain of narration) are trustworthy.

This hadith was narrated by 5 Tabi’ Tabi’een, from two Tabi’een, from 2 of the Sahaba. Due to the nature of the definite truthfulness of the speaker (the Messenger of Allah (saw)), this hadith is with regards to the second ‘Uqr of Dar Al-Islam, and not the ‘Uqr of the first, for the meaning of the ‘Uqr of the land is its centre and origin, and the ‘Uqr of the first Islamic State was in Al-Madina Al-Munawwarah; therefore, this means that what is meant here is the ‘Uqr of the second Islamic State.

It was narrated by Abu Dawud in ‘Al-Sunan’, on the authority of Abdullah b. ‘Amr (ra): “There will be a Hijrah after a Hijrah, so the best people on earth are those who keep to the (land of the) Hijrah of Ibrahim (i.e. Al-Shaam).”

Therefore we need to work to establish the Dar al-Islam, the Khilafah – then Muslims from all over the globe will make Hijra to it as the Prophet has mentioned.

Abu Ismael

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