be He Who carried His servant by night from the Inviolable Place of
Worship to the Far Distant Place of Worship the neighborhood whereof We
have blessed, that We might show him of Our tokens! Lo! He, only He, is
the Nearer, the Seer.) (Al-Israa’ 17:1)
wall to which the Prophet Muhammad tied Al-Buraq in Jerusalem
27 Rajab (in 2003 coinciding with 24 September) Muslims remember Israa’
and Mi‘raj, the miraculous Night Journey and Ascension of the Prophet
Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). The exact date of the event is
uncertain, but the majority of scholars place it at 12 to 16 months before
the Prophet’s migration to Madinah.
Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was sleeping near the
Ka`bah in Makkah, when the Angel Jibreel (Gabriel) came to him, woke him
up and, taking him by the arm, led him to Al-Buraq, a beast resembling a
horse with two huge wings springing from its back. From Makkah, Al-Buraq
took off toward Jerusalem. There, the Prophet was met by all the other
prophets. He (peace and blessings be upon him) dismounted, tethered Al-Buraq
to a ring in the gate of Jerusalem, and led them in Prayers.
vessels were then brought to him, one containing milk, the other wine.
Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) drank the milk. Jibreel said,
“O Muhammad, you enjoy what is pure. Surely you will guide your people
to the right path.” This journey demonstrates God’s might and ability
to make possible the impossible. The concepts of time and space as we
understand them do not apply, and what applies cannot be perceived by our
miracle was the first serious trial for the Companions’ faith
by the Angel Jibreel, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) began
his ascent through the seven heavens, where he saw the other prophets till
he reached Sadrat Al-Muntaha, the remotest lote tree, symbolizing the end
of worldly knowledge. He was then taken before the Divine Presence. Allah
enjoined the Muslims to perform salah
(ritual Prayers) 50 times a day. After his audience with Allah and on
his way down, Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) met Musa
(Moses—peace and blessings be upon him), who asked him how many Prayers
were laid upon his followers. When the Prophet (peace and blessings be
upon him) replied 50, Musa (peace and blessings be upon him) told him that
the congregational Prayer is heavy and your people are weak. He advised
him to go back and ask Allah to reduce them. Muhammad (peace and blessings
be upon him) made several trips back and forth, and each time The Merciful
reduced the number, till finally He reduced it to 5 Prayers a day and if
they are performed properly the worshipper will be given credit for 50.
Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) continued his descent till he
arrived back in Makkah. When he told the people what had happened to him,
Muslims who were weak in faith doubted the Prophet’s report. Yet when
his friend and long supporter Abu Bakr was asked to take a stand on the
issue, he replied, “If Muhammad said it happened, then it must have
happened. I believed him when he first talked about his divine revelation,
why should I doubt him now?” Thus on this occasion he earned the title
of As-Siddiq (the Veracious).
We appointed the vision which We showed thee as an ordeal for mankind…)
miracle was the first serious trial for the Companions’ faith when they
were confronted with an issue that cannot be measured empirically. For the
Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), after seeing Allah’s signs,
his faith was established on certainty.
trip from Makkah to Jerusalem was not chosen haphazardly. This area is
known as the cradle of all religions and Muhammad’s message encompasses
all the preceding ones.
of Jerusalem, and not just the mosque, is considered sacred
miraculous journey establishes several facts. First, the status of the
Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), as he was chosen to
lead all the prophets in prayer, and to go where no one else, not even
Jibreel, was allowed.
journey also establishes the sanctity of Jerusalem, because it is the
point where the earth and sky meet and from there the Prophet (peace and
blessings be upon him) ascended to heaven. Therefore, the whole of
Jerusalem and not only the mosque is considered in the eyes of Muslims a
sacred place to behold and cherish after Makkah and Madinah.
in the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), Muslims now
are facing all sorts of trials and their faith is being constantly tested.
Brothers and sisters, on this blessed occasion let us recall that our
faith is the only real thing; it is our life-saver in this sea of turmoil
surrounding us. I am convinced that we are invincible as long as our
belief in Allah and in the Message of His Prophet (peace and blessings be
upon him) is intact.