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Isra wal Mi’raj: The Prophet’s Journey and Ascension July 30, 2008

A year before hijrah, 27 Rejab saw the two part journey that took Prophet Muhammad s.a.w from Kaaba in Mecca to Masjidil Aqsa in Jerusalem, the Isra’ and then the Mi’raj to the heavens. It is recorded in Verses 1 to 60 of Surah al-Isra.The Prophet made the journey riding the buraq. This journey followed the year of sorrow for the Prophet who lost his wife Saiyidatina Khadijah and his uncle Abu Mutalib.

The Isra – The Journey from Mecca to Jerusalem

Prophet Muhammad s.a.w was taken from Kaaba in Mecca to Masjidil Aqsa in Jerusalem accompanied by the archangel Jibrail. Along the way, Jibrail asked the Prophet s.a.w to perform ablution and 2 rakaat solat at significant and historical spots such as:

– Madinah, where Prophet s.a.w would perform the hijrah to.
– Mount Sinai, where Prophet Moses received his commandments
– Baitul Laham, where Prophet Jesus was born.

The Prophet s.a.w dismount the buraq upon reaching Masjidil Aqsa. In the mosque, he lead the prayers to a congregation of previous prophets.

Jibrail then brought to 2 containers, one filled with wine and the other filled with milk. Prophet Muhammad s.a.w chose the milk and was told by Jibrail that if he were to choose the wine, a lot of his followers would be

The Mi’raj – The Ascension to the Heavens

The Prophet s.a.w and Jibrail ascended up to the heavens on a stairs.

On the first level of heaven, they met with Prophet Adam a.s. and saw the punishments on people who takes interests, people who misuse the money of orphans and adulterers.

On the second level of heaven, they met with Prophet Jesus a.s. and Prophet Yahya a.s.

On the third level of heaven, they met with Prophet Yusuf a.s.

On the fourth level of heaven, they met with Prophet Idris a.s.

On the fifth level of heaven, they met with Prophet Harun a.s. and Israelites.

On the sixth level of heaven, they met with Prophet Moses a.s. and the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w witnessed his many followers including those who will enter heaven without being judged.

On the seventh level of heaven, they met with Prophet Abraham a.s. who was resting at Baitul Ma’mur. Prophet Abraham said to Muhammad s.a.w that he would be meeting with Allah s.w.t that night. Prophet Abraham then said that with every LA HAULA WALA QUWWATA ILLA BILLAH recited by Muhammad’s follower, a plant would be grown for them in heaven

On the eighth level of heaven, Prophet Muhammad witness the al-kursi and the many miracles of heaven.

On the tenth level of heaven, Prophet Muhammad s.a.w met with his Creator. He prostrated and was given the commandment to perform the daily prayers. Initially, it was commanded to perform the daily prayers for 50 times a day but after consulting Prophet Abraham and Moses, Muhammad asked for leniency and the daily prayers were reduced to 5 times a day.

The Prophet then descended from heaven to Jerusalem and rode the buraq to Mecca.

Significance of Isra Mi’raj

“Glory to (Allah) Who did take His servant for a Journey by night from the Sacred Mosque to the farthest Mosque, whose precincts We did bless – in order that We might show him some of Our Signs: for He is the One Who hears and sees (all things).” (Surah Al-Isra, 17:1)

The journey was to entertain the prophet after his year of sorrow and to show the miracles as signs from Allah the Creator. On the night journey, Allah s.w.t have made it clear the transfer of leadership from the Children of Israel to the Children of Ismail, and the Centrality of Jerusalem in the history of Islam.

Prophet Muhammad s.a.w received the command to perform the 5 daily prayers on the night journey. The daily prayers which signify the ultimate unquestionable submission of oneself to Allah s.w.t.


The Elegance of the Modest Women July 7, 2008

Filed under: The celebrated of the species — sugary @ 8:04 am
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By R. Stevenson
Toronto Star, Jan 23 2002

While out for dinner last week with colleagues, we sat beside three 20-something women. There was the usual posing and glances exchange, and as they paid their bill two Muslim women entered and sat nearby. Whispers were quickly exchanged and we could hear, “Why do they wear those things anyway?” … “I feel sorry for them” … and so on.

As they filed out of the restaurant, we noticed they sported a mixed collection of the following: skin tight pants, short skirts, exposed midriffs, push-up bras, high heels, jewelry, see-through or plunging tops, piercings, lipstick and makeup, and one had breast implants for certain. We observed the two Muslim women as they were engaged in close conversation over coffee.

Their graceful features complimented their dark headscarves and warm eyes. Their natural gestures were flirty without even trying – revealing natural beauty. And their clothes, while conservative, brought forth the hidden potential of something wonderful and truly feminine.

The idea of dressing modestly terrifies some western women – but why? Perhaps it would trample their “right” to show off. Would their self-esteem fall along with their hemlines?

After some debates, we identified the cost of the western “right” to flaunt. The Muslim women were free from the fashion trap -free to “just be” without posing, comparing, dieting and spending for the approval of men and each other. And they looked more desirable to us than the exhibitionists who were in the restaurant and parading on the sidewalk.

The sexual displays in our culture are so mainstream and competitive that modesty is seen as regressive. Yet, long term, when a man looks past the right pants and heels, he will ultimately detect not confidence, but a certain unattractive desperation.

Modest women don’t have that desperation – they don’t compete in the arena of vanity. They have themselves – and that’s the kind of attraction with legs to last the long run. Remember that the next time you feel sorry for a Muslim woman.


The muslim and his environment July 3, 2008

When it comes to the issues of environment, the patrons are usually the environmentally-conscious. Rarely we hear religious leaders being advocates for environmental protection. As a muslim though, we have to lead by example as we have a role by fitra in protecting and sustaining the environment. After all, we are the khalifah on earth as stated in Surah Al-An’aam verse 165:

“It is He Who has made you (His) vicegerents, inheritors of the earth: He has raised you in ranks, some above others: that He may try you in the gifts He has given you: for your Lord is quick in punishment: yet He is indeed Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.”

Being vicegerent, we are entrusted to protect and sustain the resources on earth which includes living and non-living things.

There are a number of traditions that forbid the unjustified killings of animals. Ibn `Umar reported that the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “A woman who tied a cat will go to Hellfire; she neither fed it, nor allowed it to find food on its own.” And in another tradition, a prostitute’s sins are washed away because she gave drinking water to a thirsty dog.

It is clear that animals are to be treated well and can only be killed for food and that with a very sharp blade so as not to torture the animal further. A tradition states “For charity shown to each creature, there is a reward.”

In terms of saving water, the Prophet himself provided the model which should prove to be useful if followed by Muslims and non-Muslims alike; The Messenger of God, peace and blessings be upon him, performed ablution using one mudd [i.e. a measure equal to a handful of water].

The Quran itself have countless number of verses on the creations on earth which are all signs of the Greatness of Allah. If we khalifahs are not playing our part in protecting the environment then we must prepare to face the consequences.

The climate change report in an international global warming conference in Belgium 2007 reports:

The world’s average temperature have risen from 1990 levels. A further increase in the average temperature in the future would result in dire consequences.

+ 1 degree Celcius

Between 400 million and 1.7 billion extra people can’t get enough water, some infectious diseases and allergenic pollens rise, and some amphibians go extinct. But the world’s food supply, especially in northern areas, could increase. This would happen around 2020.

+ 2 degree Celcius

2 billion people could be without water and about 20 percent to 30 percent of the world’s species near extinction. Also, more people start dying because of malnutrition, disease, heat waves, floods and droughts—all caused by global warming. That would happen around 2050, depending on the level of greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels.

All in all, the rising of temperature of earth would lead to
– rising sea levels
– water shortages
– loss of biodiversity
– receding glaciers
and all this would lead to the human population at risk.

More on Islamic jurisprudence of the the environment:

Interactives on Global Warming: