In the Holy Qur’an most chapters (Surahs) deal with very diverse concepts sometimes unrelated to their titles. One major exception is Chapter 12 Yusuf that describes the inspiring story of Prophet Yusuf A.S. (Joseph, son of Jacob). But even that continues to give us very diverse concepts and guiding principles to reflect upon. Also, in the last several short Surah’s (Chapters) of the Qur’an the title usually becomes the main center of discussion. Surah Al-Baqarah (The Cow): 2nd Chapter enables the reader to become familiar with the basic concepts and the true meanings of the Qur’anic terminology according to the Quraish dialect of Arabic. The semantics and nuances of the language of revelation are not only interesting but mandatory for accurate understanding.
Verse 2:2 reads “(Here is the guidance you asked for) This is a Book where of there is absolutely no doubt concerning its authority and authenticity. And it leaves no doubts lingering in a seeking mind. It is a Guide for those who wish to journey through life in honour and security. [Rayib includes the meanings given in the first three lines. This Divine Writ, Al-Qur’an, is a Monograph that, when studied with an open mind, humility and sincerity, finds its own way from the mind to the heart.]”
Chapter (Surah) 17-Al-Asra- The Night Journey relates to the subject matter. Some exponents refer to it as Surah Bani Israel. It has III verses. Asra (Night Journey) is often confused with Meraaj (Ascension). Since God Al-Mighty is omnipresent, the notion of anyone going to meet Him over the skies does not stand up to reason. Asra signifies night journey and it refers to the beginning of the exalted Messenger, our Holy Prophet Muhammad(PBUH) emigration from Makkah to Madinah by night. Verses 20:77 and 26:52 use the same term for migration of Prophet Moses(A.S.) , Al-Aqsa means the Remote Mosque and refers to the ‘Remote Mosque’ in Madinah, the place where Muslims used to congregate before the exalted Prophet Muhammad(PBUH) arrival to the city. Masjid may also be understood here as Madinah, since it was a place of regular congregations.
The famous Masjid Al-Aqsa, the so-called Qiblah Awwal, the supposed First Holy sanctuary, is widely known as Haram shareef in Jerusalem. But in fact, it was built in 72 AH (691 CE) by the Umayyad Ruler, Abdul Malik bin Marwan, about 60 years after the exalted Messenger our Holy Prophet(PBUH) passed on. The first sanctuary was nothing but Ka’bah in Makkah (3:96).
Jerusalem, until the Muslim conquest under the second Caliph of Islam in 637 CE, had been under the control of Byzantine Christians for centuries, and there was no person worshiping in a Masjid anywhere in the world but Madinah. So, the question of the presence of a Masjid in Jerusalem during the lifetime of the exalted Prophet(PBUH) should not arise. Again, Muslims conquered Jerusalem in 637 CE during the Rule of the Second Caliph of Islam, Hazrat Umar(A.S.). When he visited the place, he along with his companions continued to pray in open ground, although Pope Severin’s gave him the key to the city and invited him to pray in the church of Holy Sepulchre. But Hazrat Umar(A.S.) feared that Muslims might start converting churches into Masjids, so he politely declined. If Masjid were present, he would have prayed there.
The word Me’raaj (Physical Ascension) nowhere occurs in the Qur’an. Yet, under erroneous irradiations, it is popular, though non-Qur’anic, belief among many Muslims that the exalted Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was taken physically to the Heights/skies to meet with God! The Qur’an sets the record straights by asserting that the first ever blessed sanctuary was the Ka’bah built by Prophets Abraham(A.S.) and Ismail(A.S.) in Makkah. And that the Divine laws remain unchanged under all circumstances. Bodily ascension is Biblical and not a Qur’anic theme at all.
Qubba-tas-Sakhra (Dome of the Rock) is an Islamic Shrine and a major landmark located on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, near Al-Aqsa. It was completed in 691 CE. Temple Mount is holy site for Judaism as well. There is a very questionable history that the Dome of the Rock was constructed over the site of the Second Jewish Temple which was completely destroyed during the Roman invasion by General Titus in 70 CE.
The exalted Messenger our Holy Prophet Muhammad(PBUH) never ascended to the heavens. Allah Al Mighty we believe is everywhere. Our brilliant Muhaddithin (exponents) and historians bring a lot of irrational and contradictory material on this subject;
- Meraaj happened in Mad
- No sorry! It happened in Makkah.
- It happened just before Hijrah.
- Oh sorry! It happened 9 years before Hijrah.
- The Prophet(PBUH) was sleeping at Umm-e-Hani’s(R.A.) house-What? Gabriel(A.S.) held his hand and took him to Allah up there in the heavens.
- Oh no! (that would be a slander). He was sleeping in the Ka’bah.
- Gabriel(A.S.) opened his chest and poured faith and wisdom from a platter of gold before taking him up there.
- Sorry! That surgery was performed when he was 3 years old.
- Gabriel(A.S.) took him straight to the heavens. Sorry again! The angel first took him to Jerusalem.
- No it was not Gabriel(A.S.), it was Buraaq (The Centaures with the head and face of a beautiful woman and body of a horse) carried him to the heavens at lightning speed.
These are not even 10% of the insults. However, the real ascension of the exalted Messenger(PBUH) was his character, and not some kind of Greek Mythology.
17:1 states, “Glorious is He who initiated the migration of His servant by night, from the sacred Masjid to the Remote Masjid whose environment we did bless that we may show him some of our signs. He is the hearer, the Seer. [20:23] Signs that the Divine system will begin to prevail from there.]
Hopefully, the explanation above will enable any seeking mind today to know of how erroneous beliefs keep Muslims bewildered all over the world and keeps them wondering, what went wrong? What has happened to us? How can we stand up? Which way should we go? What brought us to the present, in fact, the last many centuries of global humiliation? Is a renaissance possible? How is possible or going to happen? The answer is one word – Al Qur’an, in its true meanings as the companions of the Holy Prophet(PBUH) understood and strove to apply it and, there upon, success embraced their feet at every step and in every walk of life. Its time to break free of those ‘time honored’ shackles of ignorance and following erroneous beliefs of mental slavery and to see things as they are and not as someone wants us all to believe. We must read the Holy Qur’an with an open mind and as it contains all the guidance humanity needs to get out of the horrible situation we all find ourselves to be in.
Just as there is one creator, likewise mankind is but one community. [2:27] = Those who break this ratified Bond of God and cut as under the unity of mankind that God has commanded them to uphold, and thus lay the foundation of chaos on earth, those will be the losers in the long run.
[9:33] = He is the One Who has sent His Messenger with guidance and the True Religion (The Divinely Prescribed System of life), that He may cause it to prevail over all religions and systems of life, even though the idolaters may detest it.
[The Qur’anic Deen will prevail over all religions. This refers to Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism and all other form of ‘Isms and religion, including the sects that are now present in the name of Islam. Please remember that no sect can be considered Islamic. Deen in the sight of God is nothing but Al-Islam (5:3). But next to religions, the Qur’anic system of life will also dominate and prevail over all manmade political and social systems such as Communism, Atheism, Secularism, Secular Democracy, Despotism, Theocracy, Monarchy, all ‘isms’ such as ‘Humanism’ Socialism, Idol worship in any form, Sufism and Capitalism. This will happen as humanity, after the centuries old, protracted toil of trial and error will come to intellectually realize, and accept the Supremacy of the Final Testament, Al-Qur’an]
I request all readers to with an open mind read the Qur’an with an open mind and figure that its best to stop dividing and labeling humanity and further and all join hands as one community to serve humanity and live up to our true potential. BPakistani.
Categories: Culture & Tradition