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The Prophet's Ascension

The Ascension of Prophet Mohammad is also referred to as Lailat-ul-Miraj. Some Muslims remember the night when Prophet Mohammad ascended to heaven. It was a spiritual action which is significant to the Islamic faith. The Miraj tales describe how Prophet Mohammad started his holy journey to heaven, his encounter with various angels and prophets, as well as his visit to hell. This is among the most popular Islamic tales, which is known to believers and non-believers alike. It appears in the Holy Quran, Turkish, Persian and Arabic literature among others. The narrative promotes the worldview of Muslim groups and as a means of communication to spread the rules, ritual practices and normative behavior of the Islamic religion. It asserts the supremacy of Islam, as compared to other religions. The present essay discusses the appearance of this narrative, its formation, ascension as a mission and its various adaptations. It also touches upon the application of the Miraj to abstruse thought, as well as its use in ritual and performance (Sulami, 2006).

The night journey which Prophet Mohammad travelled to Jerusalem and then ascended to heaven is mentioned in the first chapter of Sura al-Isra. This heavenly ascension is referred to at the beginning of Sura seventeen of the Quran. The ascent was a spiritual and physical activity during which Prophet Mohammad travelled to heaven. During the ascent, the Prophet met Jesus, Moses, Abraham and Adam among other prophets. Angel Gabriel accompanied Prophet Mohammad during his journey. However, the angel did not finish the journey with the prophet, and Prophet Mohammad finished the wondrous ascent alone (Bayrak, 1999).

The Prophet moved on with the ascent until he arrived in heaven. This is the final destination of liberty and a state of delight, which represents the feeling of euphoria and satisfaction. He was the closest to God at this point than at any other time. The five binding daily prayers for a Muslim believer resulted in this area as God himself took the initiative of teaching Prophet Mohammad how to pray (Ahmaed ,1995). This enhanced spiritual knowledge and interest to humankind.

Lailat al Mi'raj honors the day Prophet Mohammad was transported from Mecca to the furthest Temple, which is in Jerusalem in one night. He rode a winged horse with a human face known as Baraq. Before the Prophet started his journey, he was visited by two archangels in his dream. The archangels cleansed his heart and provided him with the faith and knowledge, which were to enable him to enter heaven. From the Temple, Prophet Mohammad ascended to heaven and met with prophets and angles. He finally met with God himself in heaven. God revealed to him Muslim duties and commanded him to rehearse the Salat fifty times a day (Sulami, 2006). Moses advised Prophet Mohammad to plead with Allah for a reduction of recitation since fifty times was an impossible number. God accepted his plea and reduced the number to five times a day.

To honor the Ascent, some Muslims decorate their homes and mosques with colorful streamers and pennants during the day, while candles, lights and oil lamps are used for the night. Worshippers gather in the Temple in the evening and worship God with hymns. They glorify Prophet Mohammad for the well-competed work, which defined their character and norms. Some larger mosques hold Ascent readings and discussions after the Asha prayer. The commemoration is finalized with the act of sharing sweets, which every believer partakes. Some Muslims use this night to donate food and clothes to the poor, while others distribute the donations to the needy (Ahmaed 1995). Generally, a true Muslim respects the night and does something in remembrance of Prophet Mohammad. Unlike family-based Eids celebrations, the Ascent is celebrated by the entire Muslim community. The celebration is mainly directed to children and new converts who are taught the narrative and its importance in Islam religion.

The Ascension is also known as the Isra and Miraj. It is a great day when Allah took Mohammad from Mecca to a temple in Jerusalem and finally to heaven, as it is the foundation of the Islamic religion. This is the time when God revealed to his Prophet what he wanted Muslims to do in order to inherit his kingdom. The Prophet was shown how to pray and recite Islamic prayers several times a day, which symbolized commitment to God throughout the day. Additionally, the Prophet met with other prophets and angles, which showed God's presence in his journey. Muslims respect this day and hold communal celebrations to commemorate it.

There are two parts of Prophet Mohammad's ascension: Isra and Miraj. During the Isra, the Prophet started his journey on a fast-flying horse known as Baraq. Prophet Mohammad received this horse from angel Gabriel. When Mohammed arrived to the farthest Temple, he went to al-Baraq and joined other Abraham descendants' prophets in their prayer. When they finished praying, two glasses were brought before Prophet Mohammad for him to choose which one to take. One of the glasses had wine, while the other one had milk. Mohammad selected milk and drank it immediately. God was pleased with this act and sent his angel to declare that he would use Mohammad as a leader. After this incidence, Mohammad continued with the second phase of his journey (McAuliffe, 1998).

When Mohammad returned to earth, he narrated his story for the first time in Mecca. His narration appeared crazy to all those who were listening to him. Therefore, they went to Abu Bakr, his companion, to report Mohammad. They narrated to Abu Bakr what his companion was claiming to have gone through. With confidence, Abu Bakr told them that if the prophet said he had been to heaven, then he really was there. Abu trusted his companion and convinced the non-believers that Mohammed had really gone through all he was saying (Subhani, 2008).

Traditions concerning Isra and Miraj vary from one Islamic community to the other. Some believers spend the night or the evening at their homes meditating on the story, while others go to the mosque to spend it with fellow believers. There is a group of Muslims who spend the night decorating their homes and the mosque. The community values sharing food and sweets as a sign of gratitude on this night. Some prepare meals, which are shared among all believers. The less privileged ones are treated with donations and gifts. Adults ensure that they teach children on how important the Ascension is to their faith.

Allah is Mighty and Holy. Every living creature communicates with him through their hearts. However, God decided to invite Prophet Mohammad for a long journey, so that He could converse with him directly. There is great importance to this ascension. God invited Mohammad for a reason. Firstly, God is the creator of the universe and is the Lord of eternity. He communicates with his creations privately or in the general and universal way. Prophet Mohammad's ascension shows the universal manner in which Allah honored him more than all other prophets. Secondly, God manifests Himself to human beings in the spiritual nature in two forms that encompass innumerable degrees. Firstly, the manifestation appears in their hearts through their personal relationship with Allah. Every human being can receive this personal manifestation in his heart and converse with God internally. The second manifestation is received by saints through a long journey with a particular attribute or name (Heck, 2009).

The prophet's ascension indicates sainthood, as well as its divined journey from the creation to the creator. It signifies communication and message from God to his creation. In its apparent fact, this is the sainthood journey which manifests nearness to Allah. The prophet started the journey and completed it in an instant. This represents Allah's choosing his messenger and making him close to him within a particular time. It does not take God ages to accomplish his divine goals. Prophet Mohammad displayed a great relationship with God to its maximum degree. He achieved the will of God and his actions speak for themselves. He enlightened the world and gave it a spiritual form. Therefore, he furnished it with a transcendent meaning. The journey signifies a journey or progress towards the creator and then conveying the message to his creation. This shows the work of saints as messengers of Allah (Sulami, 2006).

The Ascension signifies the importance of Jerusalem to Islam. Jerusalem is a town, which is referred to as holy by all religions. The angel took Mohammad from Mecca to Jerusalem within a few hours. It links Jerusalem and Mecca as holy cities. Therefore, all Muslims are called upon to respect the two cities. During the ascension, Mohammad was given three important things which are significant in Muslims' lives. First, he was taught how to pray and offer five daily prayers, which are equal to fifty daily prayers. Secondly, he was given the last verses of al-Baqara chapter in the holy Quran. Thirdly, the major sins of Muslims were forgiven. Only those sins associated with Allah partners were not forgiven. Prophet Mohammad ascended to Allah on behalf of all Muslims. He presented mentoring, glorification, prayers and worshiping of Muslim and other things in the universe. Therefore, the Ascension was a journey of people to Allah. God had a direct chance to offer to his people special gifts and ordinances. Allah is close to everything. However, this closeness is not direct, since everything is far away from him. By the grace of Allah, Mohammad travelled and reached Allah within a few hours. This was done on purpose, as God wanted a direct messenger to send to the universe (Robert, 2000).

It was necessary for Allah to invite Prophet Mohammad to heaven and show him the origin of the universe, as well as the beauty of the invisible and visible realms. He also showed him the consequences of human actions. It was necessary for the Prophet to travel so that he could reveal what was unknown to humanity concerning Allah. He went up with both the body and soul so that he could convey the message spiritually and physically after the return. His eyes acted as the key to the visible world, his ears for the audible world and his body as a tool which undertakes tasks for the sake of the soul. The prophet saw realities of belief. He saw other prophets, paradise, hell, angles and Allah Himself. This is important to all believers as they now have confidence in their faith. Ever a believer who keeps the promise and obeys Allah will see the beauty with his eyes (Akkach, 2005).

Human beings were curious about what Allah wanted from them. Similarly, man is curious to discover everything, including whether there is life on the Moon or the Sun. The same way man wanted to know what Allah wanted them to do. They continuously wondered what pleased God and what annoyed him most. Prophet Mohammad bridged the gap between human beings and Allah. He faced Allah and was told what Allah wanted from humankind. This is how believers learnt that Allah is pleased with faithful prayers and worship (Chittick, 2001).

Prophet Mohammad obtained the keys of the eternal happiness and treasury thereafter. He brought this as a gift to humankind. He saw paradise and hell with his eyes. He witnessed happiness in paradise and agony in hell. He returned to the world and narrated this to the creation. This gave believers a golden chance to repent and obey Allah so that they will not suffer in hell. During the ascension, the Prophet saw Allah with his eyes. He attained blessings, which he brought to all believers. He came with the good news that believers would see Allah with their eyes (Nasr & Katherine, 2006).

Man is the most precious fruit of the creation. This fact was understood through the Ascension. God as the creator and sustainer of life values humankind and treats them as special creatures. He raises a human being, who is a tiny being into a high rank above all other creatures. God promised human beings that he would be merciful to them forever. They would enter everlasting paradise and enjoy living with him forever. The ultimate goal of the Ascension was to give humankind eternal life and joy. The object of the Ascension was to reveal the various existence of nature which was hidden to human beings. Prophet Mohammad travelled the long journey within a short time with divine power from Allah. Allah made the Prophet undertake the journey so that he can fulfill His desire for humankind. He favored this journey to ensure that human beings remain precious forever (Abu-Rabi, 2003). The journey was unique in that human beings would never think it had happened by the power of nature, but by the power of Allah. It is clear that only Allah, who is the creator and sustainer of the universe could make a journey, which usually takes a whole month, within a single night.

The Ascension bore several fruits to all Muslim believers. The vision of truth originated from this journey, as believers are sure of their religion. The Prophet saw paradise, hell, angels, prophets and God. This assured believers that they believe in the living God, who would judge them by their deeds. God revealed to Muhammad that he would have mercy on all believers and that they would not suffer in hell forever. Allah made it clear that He is the ruler of the universe and would take care of his creation forever (Bihar, 1999). This assured believers of their success in this life and thereafter in paradise. It was significant, as believers have faith that as God's servants they would be treasured and valued by God. The journey filled all human beings with infinite enthusiasm and joy. They are Allah's special creatures who were appointed to enter paradise and live there happily.

Islamic essentials to jinn and humanity were acquired through the Ascension. This includes the daily prayer and rules to be fulfilled. The Ascension fulfilled human desire to understand God. It was impossible for human beings to believe in Allah without a true witness, who had seen Him and communicated with him directly. Mohammad saw Allah's greatness and proclaimed what he had seen. He passed through seventy thousands veils and understood what pleases Allah. He communicated this information as Allah's messenger to the people. The curiosity and thirst, which existed in humankind regarding God was quenched through the Ascension. Those who listened to him with love and perfect amazement benefited from this gift (Marmura, 1984).

Eternal happiness was given to humanity and jinn during the Ascension. After observing everlasting manifestation in paradise, Mohammad came and narrated to humanity and jinn what existed in the everlasting world. This gift eliminated the vicious circle of decay and suffering of humanity. The Ascension brought about happiness and satisfaction to human life. The prophet had a vision of God's beauty, which is to be fulfilled to every human being. It made human beings understand how important they were to the Creator. They are the most valuable creatures which have been ranked in the highest level of creation (Ahmaed, 1995).

In conclusion, the Ascension is one of the greatest miracles and activities of Prophet Mohammad. The night journey is referred to as Isra and the ascension as Miraj. Some Muslims celebrate Isra and Miraj in remembrance of the activities, which took place during that night. The Prophet was called by God and guided by angel Gabriel who is also referred to as angle Jibril. The prophet traveled from Mecca to Jerusalem and then ascended to the sky. He met various prophets and angles. He then met Allah, who gave him Islamic prayers and rules. Mohammad returned to the universe and proclaimed Allah's good news. Prior to the ascension, all creatures seemed frightening, strange, troublesome and harmful objects. The truth appeared after the Ascension when the Prophet revealed what Allah wanted him to reveal.