Isra & Mi’raj

On this day in 621, the prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven, stopping in Jerusalem at the al-Asqa mosque along the way.

According to Hadith reports, Gabriel took the Prophet  at night from the Ka’bah to the mosque in Jerusalem on a buraq (magic horse). On reaching Jerusalem the Prophet along with other Prophets offered Prayers. Gabriel then took him to the heavens and the Prophet  met several great Prophets in different heavenly spheres. (Adam, John the Baptist, Jesus, Joseph, Idris, Aaron, Moses & Abraham.)

Finally, he reached the highest point in the heavens and was graced with an experience of the Divine Presence. On that occasion the Prophet  received a number of directives including that Prayers were obligatory five times a day. (Al-Bukhari, K. Manaqib al -Ansar, ‘Bab al-Mi’raj ; K. al-Tawhid, ‘Bab Kallama Musa Taklima‘ – Ed.) 

Thereafter, the Prophet  returned from the heavens to Jerusalem, and from there to the Holy Mosque in Makka. The following day, the unbelievers in Makka found the whole narration utterly amusing.  In fact, even the faith of some Muslims was shaken because of the highly extraordinary nature of the account. 

Allah tells Muhammad that his people must pray 50 times a day, but as Muhammad descends back to Earth, he meets Moses who tells Muhammad to go back to God and ask for fewer prayers because 50 is too many. Muhammad goes between Moses and God nine times, until the prayers are reduced to the five daily prayers, which God will reward tenfold. Again, Moses told Muhammad to ask for even fewer but Muhammad felt ashamed and said that even with fewer prayer times, his followers might not even perform diligently and said he is thankful for the five. —Wikipedia

Forbidden Knowledge

For years my heart inquired of me
                   Where Jamshid’s sacred cup might be,
And what was in its own possession
                   It asked from strangers, constantly;
Begging the pearl that’s slipped its shell
                   From lost souls wandering by the sea.
Last night I took my troubles to
                   The Magian sage whose keen eyes see
A hundred answers in the wine
                   Whose cup he, laughing, showed to me.
I questioned him, “When was this cup
                   That shows the world’s reality
Handed to you?” He said, “The day
                   Heaven’s vault of lapis lazuli
Was raised, and marvelous things took place
                   By Intellect’s divine decree,
And Moses’s miracles were made
                   And Sameri’s apostasy.”
He added then, “That friend they hanged
                   High on the looming gallows tree—
His sin was that he spoke of things
                   Which should be pondered secretly,
The page of truth his heart enclosed
                   Was annotated publicly.
But if the Holy Ghost once more
                   Should lend his aid to us we’d see
Others perform what Jesus did—
                   Since in his heartsick anguish he
Was unaware that God was there
                   And called His name out ceaselessly.”
I asked him next, “And beauties’ curls
                   That tumble down so sinuously,
What is their meaning? Whence do they come?”
                  “Hafiz,” the sage replied to me,
“It’s your distracted, lovelorn heart
                   That asks these questions constantly.”

 

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