Muhammad
Prophethood
 

Journey of love

Formal prayer has an end, but the prayer of the soul is unlimited. It is the drowning of the soul in universal love.

This journey of love and devotion forms the foundation of the Sufi experience. It demonstrates that through God's grace, it is possible for those who are pure to journey to the Divine. All through history, Muslim scholars have discussed whether the Ascension was of a physical or spiritual nature; most agree that it was both.

The Miraj is considered the highest point in the prophetic career, for it provided direct knowledge of God. It affirms that the gulf between the finite and Infinite can be bridged. Details of the Prophet's night journey are found in countless Hadith — records of the Prophet's sayings.

Year of sadness

The event took place in 619 AD which is known as the 'Year of Sadness' in Islamic history. It was the year that Khadija, Prophet Muhammad's wife and Abu Talib, his uncle who protected him, died.

Without the protection of the clan leader, Muslims faced harassment in Mecca. The Prophet was mocked and driven out of the city of Taif, where he had gone to preach Oneness of God. Amidst this adversity, came the comforting experience of the Ascension.

The Prophet often visited the Kaaba enclosure at night. Tired, one evening, he went to sleep near it. The Archangel Gabriel gently woke him up and escorted him to Al Buraq, the wondrous winged steed, who carried Muhammad to the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem. Here, Muhammad led all the earlier prophets in prayer and was conferred the title of Imam-e-Ambiya or leader of the prophets.

The last lap

The Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, Islam's holiest site after Mecca and Madina, marks the place from where the Ascension started. Accompanied by Gabriel, the Prophet made the second part of the journey to the Heavens reaching Bait-ul-Mamur, Kaaba of the angels. From here, Muhammad travelled alone as Gabriel wasn't allowed to go beyond this point.

Sadia Dehlvi / The Times of India)

 

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