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Gift of Prayer (Isra' & Mi'raj ascension)

June 06, 2014

DISCLAIMER: This reminder was originally delivered in Arabic on Friday, 6 June 2014. Any meanings lost in translation are not to be attributed to the speaker as reminders are translated by volunteers. The mosque has no official translator and volunteers often have no formal qualifications to translate on the day. Please forgive any errors as they are from our human weakness and any right guidance is from God.

All praise is due to Allah, and Allah’s peace and blessings be upon His final Messenger, his pure family, his noble companions, and all those who follow them with righteousness until the Day of Judgement.

The Prophet (SAAW) and his companions suffered for the sake of the mission of Prophethood and the delivery of the message.For ten years, he kept presenting his message to his people, reciting Qur’an to them and conveying the call of Islam but they responded by causing him the most harm a prophet had ever received from his people. That harm increased after the death of his uncle Abu Talib who used to defend him. So he (SAAW) sought to find a new place that might have a better potential as an environment for the seeds of his message to take root and went to At-taeif. He went to the tribe of Thaqeef there, hoping that he might find amongst them what he did not find from amongst his own people, the Quraish! In fact, the treatment that he (SAAW) received the Thaqeef was a lot worse than even than that from Quraish. They insulted him with the worst words and sent their slaves, the insane and the young boys from the Thaqeef after him to throw stones at him until blood flowed from his heels so that he could take no other way but return to Mecca.

On returning to Mecca, he (SAAW) complained to his Lord seeking strength, steadfastness and victory from Him. It was narrated that he said:

O Allah! I complain to You of my weakness, my scarcity of resources and the humiliation I have been subjected to by the people. O Most Merciful of those who are merciful, O Lord of the weak and my Lord too, to whom have you left me to? To a distant person who receives me with hostility, or, to an enemy to whom you have granted authority over my affair? So long as You are not angry with me, I do not care. Your favour is a more expansive relief to me. I seek refuge in the light of Your Face by which all darkness is dispelled and every affair of this world and the next is set right, lest Your anger or Your displeasure descends upon me. I desire Your pleasure and satisfaction until You are pleased. There is no power and no might except by You. Prophet Muhammad (SAAW)

He (SAAW) did not care for being subjected to the anger of people so long as his Lord was satisfied with him. He asked His Lord for His favour because of the harm he had suffered and the humiliation he found from people. Having journeyed to convey His message, Allah (SWT) sent the angel of the mountains to ask the Prophet (SAAW) if he wished for him to crush the people of Mecca between the two mountains or cause the earth to swallow them but the Prophet declined and kept his thoughts upon his mission, “All I hope for is that Allah will bring forth from their loins people who will worship Allah alone and not associate any partner with Him”.

It was at the point when the earth closed in on him in spite of its vastness that the doors of heavens were opened for him, the angels welcomed him and his name was called in the highest assembly. Allah (SWT) then honoured his Prophet (SAAW) by sending Jibril (AS) who washed his chest with the water of Zamzam and took away the share of Shaytan from his heart, took him on Al-Buraq from the Haram mosque to the Aqsa mosque (may it be freed soon) where he (SWT) saw some of Allah’s major signs, he was welcomed by the Prophets who prayed behind him then he met the major Prophets in heavens as he (SAAW) was ascending in his mi’raj journey. This honour came after the suffering he endured from the people of earth so Allah (SWT) wanted to compensate him with this honorary ceremony in heavens and on earth. Allah says: 

Exalted is He who took His Servant by night from al-Masjid al-haram to al-Masjid al-Aqsa, whose surroundings We have blessed, to show him of Our signs. Indeed, He is the Hearing, the Seeing”,Quran - Al-Isra (17:1)

Al-Isra is the earthly journey between the two blessed and sacred mosques - Allah (SWT) combined between al-Masjid al-Haram in Mecca and al-Masjid al-Aqsa in Jerusalem in this blessed journey of the Prophet (SAAW). Al-Mi’raj is the journey that started from earth to the highest of heavens until it ended in a place that is known by Allah (SWT), where he (SAAW) reached a place no other human being has reached before.

In this great sign of Allah and the miracle He (SWT) honoured his Prophet (SAAW) with - the prayer was prescribed. This gives the prayer more status over other acts of worships and rituals. All other acts of worships were prescribed while the Prophet was on earth but prayer was prescribed when he (SAAW) was in heaven to indicate the high status of prayer in Islam and that it is the main pillar of the religion. So whoever establishes it properly then he would establish the religion and whoever loses it then he would definitely lose other acts of worships.

Your prayer is your mi’raj (ascending journey) to your Lord, with it you rise to Him every day. It detaches you from the people’s worldly life to stand before your Lord. It is your means to resort to the One who is Near, to ask The Most Generous, to seek refuge from The Almighty and to stand as if you are listening what He (SWT) says in the Hadith Qudsi:

I have divided prayer between Myself and My servant into two halves, and My servant shall have what he has asked for. When the servant says: “(All) praise is (due) to Allah, Lord of the worlds” - Allah (Mighty and Sublime is He) says: My servant has praised Me. And when he says: “The Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful” - Allah (Mighty and Sublime is He) says: My servant has extolled Me. And when he says: “Sovereign of the Day of Recompense” - Allah says: My servant has glorified Me (and on one occasion He said: My servant has submitted to My power.) And when he says: “It is You we worship and You we ask for help” - He says: This is between Me and My servant, and My servant shall have what he has asked for. And when he says: “Guide us to the straight path –The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favor, not of those who have evoked (Your) anger or of those who are astray” – He says: This is for My servant, and My servant shall have what he has asked for. Hadith Qudsi

We were granted a gift and a provision with the Prayer in the journey of Al-Irsa wa Al-Mi’raj, yet it is really very astonishing to see many Muslims neglecting this gift and provision out of ignorance of its status! Allah says: 

But there came after them successors who neglected prayer and pursued desires; so they are going to meet evil Quran - Mariam (19:59)

and the Prophet (SAAW) said: 

Five prayers are those that Allah has decreed for (His) slaves in day and night, whoever does them, and does not neglect any of them out of disregard toward them, will have a promise from Allah that He will admit him to Paradise. And whoever does not do them will have no such promise from Allah; if He wills he will punish him and if He wills He will forgive him. Prophet Muhammad (SAAW)

The journey of Al-Irsa wa Al-Mi’raj also reminds us of the connection Allah (SWT) made between al-Masjid al-haram and al-Masjid al-Aqsa so we must not separate between them or neglect one of them and we shall also fulfil their rights in defending their sacred sanctities.