Month of Rajab Blessed by the Nocturnal Journey of Ascension

Verily, We have truly sent you as A Witness, as a Bringer of Glad Tidings, and as a Warner. (1) إِنَّا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ شَاهِدًا وَمُبَشِّرًا وَنَذِيرًا (8)
Glorified (and Exalted) is He who did took His servant (Muhammad PPBUH) for a nocturnal/ night journey from the Sacred Mosque (at Mecca) to the Farthest Mosque (in Jerusalem), whose precincts We did bless,- in order that We might show him some of Our Signs. Verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer. (1) سُبْحَانَ الَّذِي أَسْرَى بِعَبْدِهِ لَيْلًا مِنَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ إِلَى الْمَسْجِدِ الْأَقْصَى الَّذِي بَارَكْنَا حَوْلَهُ لِنُرِيَهُ مِنْ آَيَاتِنَا إِنَّه هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْبَصِيرُ (1)

Wahba Mahmoud Diyab

Hadith Sharif: Narrated Talha bin ‘Ubaidallah: I asked the Prophet [PPBUH] about the meaning of (Subhan Allah). He said: ‘It means: Glorified (and Exalted) is He (Allah-God) – above all that (evil) they associate with Him’. Narrated Jabir bin ‘Abudllah that he heard God’s Messenger [PPBUH] saying: ‘When the people of Quraish did not believe me, i.e. the story of my Isra’ (Night Journey), I stood up in Al-Hijr and God displayed Jerusalem in from of me, and I began describing it to them while I was looking at it’. (Sahih Al-Bukhari).
Let us –firstly- consider the revelation of Surat Al-Isra’ – (Bani-Israel) 17 by itself. It opens with the mystic Vision of the Ascension of the Holy Prophet (PPBUH): he was transported from the Sacred Mosque (of Mecca), to the Farthest Mosque (Of Jerusalem) in a night and shown some of the Signs of God. The majorities of the Commentators take this Night Journey literally, but allow that there were other occasions on which a spiritual Journey, or Vision occurred. Even on the supposition of a miraculous bodily Journey, it is conceded that the body was almost transformed into a spiritual fineness. The Hadith literature gives details of this Journey and its study helps to elucidate its mystic meaning. The Holy Prophet [PPBUH] was first transported to the seat of the earlier revelations in Jerusalem, and then taken through the seven heavens –even to the Sublime Throne- and initiated into the spiritual mysteries of the human soul struggling in Space and Time. The Spaniard Scholar (Miguel Asin) Arabic Professor in the University of Madrid has shown that this Mi’raj- Ascension literature had a great influence on the Mediaeval Literature of Europe, and especially on the great Italian poem (The Dive Comedy), or the (Drama of Dante), which towers like a landmark in the Mediaeval European Literature.
The reference to this great mystic story of the Mi’raj is a fitting prelude to the journey of the human soul in its spiritual growth in life. The first step in such growth must be through moral conduct, – the reciprocal rights of parents and children, kindness to our fellow-men, courage and firmness in the hour of danger, a sense of personal responsibility, and a sense of God’s Pressure the prayer and praise.
The Mi’raj is usually dated to the 27th night of the month of Rajab (though other dates it to 17th of Rabi’1- are also given), in the year before the Hijra. This fixes the date of the opening verse of Surat Al-Isra’, though portions of the Surat may have been a little earlier.
The spiritual experiences of the men of God are given in order that God’s Signs may be made clear to men; man is misled into evil, and must be guided to a sense of personal responsibility (as covered in verses 1-22).
Our service to God is shown also in our human relations, goodness to parents and kinsmen and strangers in want, as well as kindness to children, purity in sex relations, justice and respect for human life, protection of orphans, probity in all dealings, and avoidance of arrogance.
God’s glory is above all comparison, and the reception of His revelation marks off the man of faith from those who do not believe. But the Believers should speak fair and avoid dissensions, for God do encompass all men.
Pride caused the fall of Iblis=Lucifer, but the children of Adam have been raised in excellence above other Creations. They will be judged by their deeds. Prayer is good at stated times and at night, and the Qur’an is offered as healing and mercy. Inspiration (the Qur’an) is a Sign of God’s Grace, and men should accept it without making carping excuses.
It is the privilege of the men of God to see the sublimest mysteries of the spiritual world and instruct men in Righteousness; they warn and shield men against Evil. But nothing can lessen each soul’s personal responsibility for its own deeds. It carries its fate round its own neck. God’s gifts are for all, but not all receive the same gifts, nor are all gifts of equal dignity or excellence.
The Masjid is a place of Prayer; here it refers to the Ka’aba at Mecca. It had not yet been cleared of its idols and rededicated exclusively to the One True God. It was symbolical of the new Message which was being given to mankind.
The Farthest Mosque must refer to the site of the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem on the hill of Mariah –at or near where stands the Dome of the Rock- called also the Mosque of Hadhrat/ Sayyuduna ‘Umar. This and the Mosque known as the Farthest Mosque (Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa) were completed by the Amir ‘Abd-ul-Malik in A.H. 68. Farthest, because it was the place of worship farthest west and which was known to the Arabs in the time of the Holy Prophet [PPBUH]; it was a sacred place to both Jews and Christians, but the Christians then had the upper hand, as it was included in the Byzantine (Roman) Empire, which maintained a Patriarch at Jerusalem. The chief dates in connection with the Temple are: it was finished by Solomon about 1004 B.C.: destroyed by the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar about 586 B.C.: rebuilt under Ezra and Nehemiah about 515 B.C.: turned into a heathen idol-temple by one of Alexander’s successors –Antiochus Epiphanies- in 167 B.C.: restored by Herod, 17 B.C to A.D. 29: and completely razed to the ground by the Emperor Titus in A.D. 70. These ups and downs are among the greater Signs in religious history.
No doubt that God’s Knowledge comprehends all things, without any curtain of Time or any separation of Space. In this verse and the subsequent verses, the reference to God is generally in the first person and plural. But in the first and the last clause of this verse it is in the third person singular: “Glory to God, Who did take His Servant.”: “He is the One…..”. in each of these two instances, the clause expresses the point of view of God’s creatures, who glorify Him, and whose hearing and seeing are ordinarily so limited that they can do nothing but glorify Him when one of His creatures is raised up to hear and see the Mysteries. It is they who glorify Him.
We may close this small article with verse 8 from Surat Al-Fat-h=Victory:

The Apostle [PPBUH] came in order to establish Faith in God and true worship. We can view him in three capacities: (1) as a witness to help the weak if they were oppressed, and check the strong if they did wrong: (2) as a giver of the Glad Tidings of God’s Grace and Mercy to those who repented and lived good lives: and (3) as one who warned the sinners of the consequences of their sins.
Istafa : chose, chose because of purity: chose and purified. It is the same root from which (Mustafa-Al-Mustapha 🙂 is derived, one of the titles of Muhammad PPBUH.

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