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Archive for September 2007

Muatta Imam Maalik the following narration appears: “Yahya Ibn Saeed narrates from Umrah Binti Abdur Rahman that Aishah (radhiallahu anha) said: ‘If Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) had observed that which women have now introduced (i.e. after the demise of Rasulullah), he would most certainly have prevented them from attending the Musjid just as the women of Bani Israeel were prevented.” Yahya enquired: ‘What, were the women of Bani Israeel prevented from the Musaajid?’ Umrah replied. ‘Yes.’

When Ameerul Mu’mineen Hadhrat Umar (radhiallahu anhu) finally enacted the prohibition to prevent women from g going to the Musjid, they complained to Aishah (radhiallahu anha). Answering their complaint, Hadhrat Aishah (radhiallahu anha) said: “If Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) had known what Umar now knows (of the condition of women), he would not have granted you permission to emerge (i.e. to leave your homes and come to the Musjid for Salaat).” (Jaamiur Rumooz)

It is, thus, abundantly clear that Hadhrat Aishah (radhiallahu anha) did not recognize women to have any undeniable right to attend the Musjid. A permissible act restricted by numerous conditions–a permissible act which is discouraged even by the one who grants the permission- cannot be interpreted as an undeniable right. If it was an undeniable right, the Sahaabah would have been the very first people who would have recognized the right. If women had enjoyed any such inviolable right as the modernist asserts, the Sahaabah would never have prohibited women from the Musjid. The very fact that such a prohibition was enacted by the Sahaabah—by the most senior Sahaa bah— in the very age described as the noblest of ages by Rasulullah {sallallahu alayhi wasallam)

 There is no denying fact that during the time of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) women were allowed to visit the Musjid for Salaat. However, this permission was accompanied by a number of very strict conditions which are all non-existent in our times. Again, although there was this initial permission, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasaIlam) discouraged women from availing themselves of this permission. His exhortation that women perform Salaat at home paved the way for the prohibition which came into effect later by the authority of the Sahaabah and the Fuqaha.

 THE CONDITIONS FOR THE INITIAL PERMISSION

 (1) Attractive garments were forbidden. Women who came to the Musjid were not permitted to do fine and attractive clothing. It was declared that they had to dress shabbily and unattractively Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (radhiallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: ” …………. but, they should emerge while they are shabbily dressed.”

 In Ibn Majah it is narrated that once while Rasulullah (sallallahu alay hi wasallam) was seated in the Musjid, a woman dressed and adorned in her finery entered and walked proudly in the Musjid. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) then proclaimed:

 “0 people! Prohibit your women from wearing beautiful garments and from showing off in the Musjid, for verily, Bani Israeel were not cursed until their women started to wear beautiful garments and show off inside the Musjid.”

Ibn Arabi in his Sharhut Tirmizi commenting on the type of dress which women should wear according to the Hadith which permits them to come to the Musjid, says:

 “When she emerges to go to the Musjid, she should come out dressed in dirty and shabby garb as it has been reported in the Ahadith.”

(2) Perfume was forbidden. Women who came to Musjid in the early days were not permitted to apply perfume. In this regard Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:

 “Any woman who applies perfume and passes by a gathering is like an adultress.” (Tirmizi)

 “The woman who applies perfume must not be present with us for Isha.” (Muatta Imaam Maalik)

 Since it is not permissible for women to emerge from the house with perfume applied, be it night or day, the reference to Isha in this Hadith should not be understood to be confined to only Ishaa Salaat. The word Ishaa appears in the Hadith in view of the greater danger of mischief and evil during the night time. The Ahadith of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) clearly brands a woman as immoral for applying perfume and passing by a gathering.

 (3) The Jilbaab or outer -covering. When women emerged in those days, they were thoroughly concealed in their jilbaabs which were very large outer garments or sheets of unattractive colour. The sheets were so big that normally two women could be wrapped up in a single jilbaab. The jilbaab was not merely flung over the shoulders. It covered the entire head and the face as well. The jilbaab which the ladies wo re during the time of Rasululllah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was not a stylish garment with a decorative niqaab (face-veil). It was not designed for beauty as are some of the burqahs of modern times. The jiIbaab covered every part of t he body, the head and face included. It had to be left slightly open to enable the women to see where they were walking. In other words they had to peep through an opening to see their way. Such garments will not be worn by women of today. About these outer-garments, Hadhrat Aishah (radhiallahu anha) narrates:

 “After Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) had made the morning Salaat, the women would return thoroughly wrapped in their sheets. So thoroughly were they wrapped that they could not be distin-guished from the dark ness (The cloth persumably being black as the darkness).” (Bukhaari)

 (4) The women would leave immediately after the Fardh Salaat. The following narration in Bukhaari explains the practice which was adopted to ensure absolutely no contact with any of the men in the Musjid:

 “Hind Bintul Haarith said that Umm-e-Salmah (radhi- allahu anha), the wife of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), informed her that during the lifetime of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) the women would get up after the Salaam of the Fardh Salaat while Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and the menfolk who made Salaat with him remained seated After Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam)stood up, the men would do likewise.”

Commenting on this procedure adopted in the early days, Imaam Zuhri (rahmatullah alayh) states:

 “The reason for Rasulullah’s delay in rising after the Fardh Salaat was to give the women the opportunity of leaving the Musjid before the men. (This prevented intermingling).”

 (5) Intermingling was prohibited even outside the Musjid, in a narration in Abu Dawood, the Sahaabi, Abu Usaid Ansaari (radhiallahu anhu) says that once outside the Musjid men and women had mixed. Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) then said:

 “(O Women!) Move back! Verily, it is not permissible for you to spread in the road. The edges of the road are compulsory on you.”

The Sahaabi narrating this Hadith says: “As a result the women would walk so close to the sides that their clothing would brush against the walls (of the houses).”

 The introduction of these conditions is not possible in this day. After the demise of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), even the Sahaabah discerned the difficulty in enforcing the strict or the exceptionally high degree of piety which had prevailed during the presence of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). They did not therefore concern themselves with remedial measures. On the con trary, they banned the practice of women coming to the Musjid. Their high degree of Deeni intelligence and insight convinced them that if women are not prevented from the Musaajid, the situation will deteriorate.

 Hujjatul Islam (i.e. Imaam Ghazaali) states in the Ihyaa: Rasul ullah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) did permit women to attend the Musjid. But, the correct view now is prohibition excepting old women. In fact, the prohibition has become established since the age of the Sahaabah (radhiallahu anhum). Thus, Aishah (radhi allahu anha) said …………… and he narrated what had transpired in this regard with her… “It is obligatory to prohibit women from attending the Musjid for Salaat and gatherings of Thikr when there is the danger of fitnah with them.”

 “When the fear of fitnah is attendant to their emergence from the home, then it (emergence) is undoubtedly haraam. . . .The meaning of fitnah is zina and its introductory acts such as looking at the opposite sex, privacy (with the opposite sex), touching, etc…”

 Dirmaani (rahmatullah alayh} says:

 “The Hadith: ‘Do not prevent the female servants of Allah from the Musjids.’, is applicable to night times (i.e. the permission was only for night times). Furthermore, the permission exists only in the absence of fitnah against women or by women. During the life time of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) absence of fitnah was dominant.”

Allahmah Aini (rahmatullah alayh) says; “During our age mischief and evil are rampant.”

Allamah Aini (rahmatullah alayh) was among the Fuqaha of the eighth century of the Islamic era. The author of Lamiud Duraari asks:

 “When this (rampant fitnah and mischief) was the situation during the time of Allamah Aini (rahmatullah alayh) who died in the year 855 Hijri, then what do you think of the present age saturated with vice and fitnah?”

 Ibn Hajar (rahmatullah alayh) says:

 “The summary of the discussion of Nawawi and Zarkashi is that when intermingling of the sexes prevails whether in the Musjid or on the roads or there is the danger of mischief because of women’s adornment and exhibition of beauty, then it is forbidden for them to come out. . . . It is incumbent on the Imaam or his representative to prevent women from emerging.” (Laamiud Duraari)

 Hadhrat Hasan Basri (rahmatullah alayh) was asked about a woman who took an oath to the effect that if her husband was released from prison she would, as a measure of thanks unto Allah, perform two raka’ts Salaat in every Mus|id of the city of Basra where Salaat is performed in Jamaa’. Hadhrat Hasan Basri (rahmatullah alayh) commented:

 “If Umar was here, he would have smashed her head.”

Imaam Taimi (rahmatullah alayh) says:

 “The Hadith of Aishah (radhiallahu anha) contains the substantiation for the view that it is not proper for women to emerge (from their homes) to attend the Musjids when mischief has come into existence.”

Allah Most High says:

 “And stay in your houses, and make not a dazzling display, like that of the former times of ignorance; and establish regular Prayer, and give regular Charity; and obey Allah and His Messenger. And Allah only wishes to remove all abomination from you, O members of the Family, and to make you pure and spotless.” (Surah al-Ahzab, V: 33)

 Similarly, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) in many Hadiths encouraged women to offer their prayers at home:

 Sayyida Umm Salama (Allah be pleased with her) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “The best Mosque for a woman is the inner part of her home.” (Musnad Ahmad & Tabrani)

 Sayyiduna Abd Allah ibn Umar (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “Do not prevent your womenfolk from attending the Mosque, even though their houses are better for them.” (Sunan Abu Dawud)

 Sayyida Umm Salama (Allah be pleased with her) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “A woman’s prayer in her inner room is better than her prayer in the outside room, and her prayer in the outside room is better than her prayer in the courtyard, and her prayer in the courtyard is better than her prayer in the Mosque.” (Mu’jam of Imam Tabrani)

 Indeed, women in the time of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) did attend congregational prayers in the Mosque, and they were not prevented from doing so. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) himself advised against preventing women from attending congregational prayers, for example:

 Sayyiduna Abd Allah ibn Umar (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “If your wives seek permission from you to go to the Mosque at night, let them.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, no: 827)

And:

 Salim narrates from his father that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “If the wife of any one of you seeks permission to go to the Mosque, he may not prevent her.” (Sahih Muslim, no: 442)

However, the understanding of the various classical and contemporary Hanafi Fuqaha is that women in the time of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) had the unique opportunity of praying behind the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) himself- an act that cannot be paralleled today. Secondly, they used to observe all the requirements of Shariah including those of proper covering (hijab), hence they were not prohibited from attending the congregational prayers. Despite this, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) still advised and encouraged them to pray in their homes.

 Sayyiduna Umar ibn al-Khattab (Allah be pleased with him) in his time felt that the concession given to women for attending the congregational prayers in the Mosque is sometimes being misused and could be misused even more in the future. He felt that women were no longer taking care of the Shariah requirements as they used to in the time of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace), and he was also aware of the fact that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) advised women to offer their prayers at home. Hence, keeping all of the above in mind, he issued a verdict that women should no longer attend congregational prayers in the Masjid, and this decision of his was collectively accepted by the other Companions.

 Similarly, Sayyiduna Abd Allah ibn Mas’ud (Allah be pleased with him) used to refuse women entry to the Mosque for Friday prayers and would say: “Go, your homes are better for you.”

 Sayyida A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) said:

 “If the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) was alive to see what women are doing now (in A’isha’s time), he would surely have prevented them from attending the prayers in the Mosque just as the women of Banu Isra’il were prevented.” (Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim)

The renowned Hadith scholar and Hanafi jurist, Imam Badr al-Din al-Ayni (Allah have mercy on him) states whilst commentating on the above statement of Sayyida A’isha:

 “Had A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) witnessed what women are involved in the various types of innovations and wrongdoings these days, she would have been even more extreme in her preventing women from entering the Mosques……Also the fact that there had not been a long time between her statement and the demise of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace), and also the fact that women in her time were not involved in even one portion of a thousand of what women are up to these days.” (Umdat al-Qari, 3/230)

Imam al-Kasani (Allah have mercy on him) states:

 “It will not be permitted for young women to go to the Mosque for congregational prayers due to the fact that Sayyiduna Umar (Allah be pleased with him) prevented women from doing so. Moreover, women’s going to the Masjid is a cause of mischief (between men and women) and mischief (fitna) is Haram, and that which leads to something Haram will also be unlawful.” (Bada’i al-Sana’i, 1/157)

Numerous similar statements and rulings of the authorities in the Books of the Shariah proclaim explicitly the prohibition on women attending the Musjid for Salaat or for listening to lectures. Each and every one of these Fuqahaa who spoke on this question was fully cognizant with the initial permission which applied during the age of Rasulullah (sallallahu alay hi wasallam). Nevertheless, they issued the verdict of prohibition on the basis of the Fatwa of Hadhrat Umar, Hadhrat Aisha and other Sahaabah (radhiallahu annum) as well as on the grounds of the prevalence of fitnah which undoubtedly did not predominate the scene as we find in our age.
(Abu Dawood)

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A hypocrite is a false pretender and dissembler to virtue or piety. In the Islamic terminology, the word Hypocrisy is a substitute for ‘Nifaq’. This word Nifaq has been mentioned in the Qur’an thirty-one (31) times in different forms such as: Nifaq; Munafiqoon; Munafiqat; Munafiqeen, and Nifaqan. Allah hates those people who acquire this fault, and He therefore warns them that their punishment is indeed hell.

 Hypocrisy in simple dictionary meanings is pretence of virtue or simulation of virtue or goodness. It is the act or practice of simulating or feigning feelings or beliefs, especially the false appearance of piety or virtue. Hypocrisy is, in fact, concealment of true character or belief, a feigning to be what one is not. Hypocrite is a person who practices hypocrisy. Synonyms of hypocrisy are deceitfulness, dissembling, duplicity, imposture, pretence, deception, two – facedness; whereas synonyms of hypocrite are charlatan, deceiver, dissembler, fraud, imposter, pretender, Holy Willie, phoney.

 Allah says in Sura At-Tauba:

 “God hath promised the hypocrites, men and women, and the rejecters of Faith, the fire of Hell; therein shall they dwell; sufficient is it for them: for them is the curse of God, and an enduring punishment.” (9:68)

 Allah has promised the hypocrites a heavy penalty by saying in Sura Nisa:

 “To the hypocrites give the glad tidings that there is for them but a grievous penalty. Yea, to those who take the unbelievers as their leaders rather than the believers” (4:138-139)

 One may ask why a person should act as a hypocrite? Or why he should be a hypocrite? The answer could be any of the following:

 1. A person who has no faith in Allah, His Messenger, and the Day of Judgment may act as a hypocrite.

 2. A person who has a weak faith may be trapped in his daily life to play the role of a hypocrite.

 3. A person who lacks confidence in himself/herself may become a hypocrite.

 4. A person who lacks security, morally, psychologically, or financially, may be led to be a hypocrite.

 5. A person who is conceited, selfish, and who likes himself above all others, may play the game of hypocrisy so as to achieve his personal gains and to satisfy his ego.

 6. A person who is not a man unto himself, and whatever he does is seeking assurance of success and gain. Hence, he plays the dirty game of hypocrite.

 7. A person who seeks to please everybody even if it demands his cheating, lying or stealing.

Allah says in this regard in Sura Al-Munafiqun: “When the hypocrites come to thee, they say, ‘We bear witness that thou art indeed the Apostle of God.’ Yea, God knoweth that thou art indeed His Apostle, and God beareth witness that the hypocrites are indeed liars.” (63:1)

 The signs of a hypocrite are many among which are the following three signs:

 1. He lies whenever he talks.
2. He does not fulfill his commitment.
3. He betrays the trust that he takes.

 In this regard Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: “The signs of a hypocrite are three: when he speaks, he lies; when he gives an agreement, he does not fulfill his commitment; and when he is entrusted, he betrays the trust.” (Reported by Abu Hurayrah – Agreed.)

 Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) says: “Don’t give the title of Sir or Mr. to a hypocrite if he becomes master, or you will displease your Lord the Almighty.” (From Abu Dawud and Al-Nisai.)

 According to the Qur’an, the revealed book of Islam, the hypocrites are those who say: We believe in Allah and the Last Day, when they believe not; they utter with their mouths a thing which is not in their hearts. When they stand up to worship they perform it languidly and to be seen of men, and remember Allah but little; swaying between this and that belonging neither to these nor to those. The likeness of a hypocrite in the view of Qur’an is that of one who worships Allah upon a narrow marge so that if good befalls him he is happy, but if a trial befalls him he falls away. Thus the tongue and the mind of a hypocrite or what he says and what he does is not one. A believer, on the other hand, is one in mind and tongue as he believes in Allah and His apostle in heart and utters the same from his tongue.

 During the early period of a revolutionary or reform or religious movement, there emerges a class who joins hands with the revolutionaries and reformers and apparently acts and speaks like them. But actually it is a class of hypocrites who are in their heart of hearts, deadly opposed to the movement being agents of the old order. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his followers also faced such a class when they migrated to Mdinah and were trying to establish themselves there. A group of Madinites apparently embraced Islam, professed allegiance to the Prophet, performed acts of Islamic faith like Muslims, but secretly connived with the enemies of Islam and missed no opportunity to harm the Muslims and their cause. This group of people was led by Abdullah bin Ubbey, the chief of the tribe of Banu Khazrij. They joined hands with the Jews of Madinah and pagan Quraish of Makkah and left no stone unturned to ruin Islam and the Muslims. Therefore they were called hypocrites. The Prophet and the believers were warned to be vigilant about their activities. They were condemned by Allah as disbelievers and were threatened with a painful doom.

 Islam condemns hypocrisy in the severest possible terms. According to the Qur’an, the hypocrites will be in the lowest deep of the Hell. The Holy Prophet was exhorted to fight against the hypocrites as against the disbelievers. The Prophet was forbidden to seek forgiveness for the hypocrites as Allah would not forgive them even if the forgiveness for them is sought seventy times. The Prophet and the believers were also forbidden to offer the funeral prayer on the death of hypocrite. Thus the sin of hypocrisy, according to Islam, is bigger than that of disbelief.

 Following are the verses of the Holy Qur’an and Ahadith of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) which explain hypocrisy, highlight the traits of hypocrites and discuss the consequences of this evil of hypocrisy:

 VERSES OF THE HOLY QURAN

 1. And of mankind are some who say: We believe in Allah and the last Day when they believe not. They think to beguile Allah and those who believe, and they beguile none save themselves; but they perceive not. In their hearts is a disease, and Allah increaseth their disease. A painful doom is theirs because they lie. Al-Baqarah :8-10

 2. And that He might know the hypocrite unto whom it was said: Come, fight in the way of Allah, or defend yourselves. They answered: If we knew aught of fighting we would follow you. On that day they were nearer disbelief than faith. They utter with their mouths a thing which is not in their hearts. Allah is best aware of what they hide. Those who, while they sat at home, said of their brethren (who were fighting for the cause of Allah): If they had been guided by us they would not have been slain. Say (unto them, O Muhammad): Then avert death from yourselves if ye are truthful. Al-lmran:167-168

 3. Bear unto the hypocrites the tidings that for them there is a painful doom; Those who choose disbelievers for their friends instead of believers! Do they look for power at their hands? Lo! all power appertaineth to Allah. An-Nisa: 138-139

 4. Lo! the hypocrites seek to beguile Allah, but it is Allah Who beguileth them. When they stand up to worship they perform it languidly and to be seen of men, and are mindful of Allah but little; Swaying between this (and that), (belonging) neither to these nor to those. He whom Allah causeth to go astray thou (O Muhammad) will not find a way for him. An-Nisa: 142 – 143

 5. Lo! the hypocrites (will be) in the lowest deep of the fire, and thou wilt find no helper for them; An-Nisa: 145

 6. The hypocrites, both men and women proceed one from another. They enjoin the wrong and they forbid the right and they withhold their hands (from spending for the cause of Allah). They forget Allah, so He hath forgotten them. Lo! the hypocrites, they are the transgressors. Allah promiseth the hypocrites, both men and women, and the disbelievers fire of Hell for their abode. It will suffice them. Allah curseth them, and theirs is the lasting torment. At-Taubah:67-68

 7. O Prophet! Strive against the disbelievers and the hypocrites! Be harsh with them. Their ultimate abode is hell, a hapless journey’s end. At-Taubah: 73

 8. Ask forgiveness for them (O Muhammad), or ask not forgiveness for them; though thou ask forgiveness for them seventy times, Allah will not forgive them. That is because they disbelieved in Allah and His messenger, and Allah guideth not wrongdoing folk. At-Taubah: 80

 9. And never (O Muhammad) pray for one of them who dieth, not stand by his grave, Lo! they disbelieved in Allah and His messenger, and they died while they were evil-doers. Let not their wealth nor their children astonish thee! Allah purposeth only to punish them thereby in the world, and that their souls shall pass away while they are disbelievers. At-Taubah: 84 – 85

 10. And among mankind is he who worshippeth Allah upon a narrow marge so that if good befalleth him he is content therewith, but if a trial befalleth him, he falleth away utterly. He loseth both the world and the Hereafter. That is the sheer loss. Al-Hajj: 11

 11. Of mankind is he who saith: we believe in Allah, but, if he be made to suffer for the sake of Allah, he mistaketh the persecution of mankind for Allah’s punishment; and then, if victory cometh from Lord, will say: Lo! we were with you (all the while). Is not Allah best aware of what is in the bosoms of (His) creatures? Verily Allah knoweth those who believe, and verily He knoweth the hypocrites. Al-Ankabut: 10-11

 12. When the hypocrites come unto thee (O Muhammad), they say: we bear witness that thou art indeed Allah’s Messenger. And Allah knowth that thou art indeed His messenger and Allah beareth witness that the Hypocrites are speaking falsely. They make their faith a pretext so that they may turn (men) from the way of Allah. Verily evil is that which they are wont to do. That is because they believed, then disbelieved, therefore, their hearts are sealed so that they understand not. Al-Munafiqun: 1-3

 AHADITH OF HOLY PROPHET MOHAMMAD (PBUH)

 1. Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah said: The signs of a hypocrite are three. When he talks, he speaks falsehood; and when he promises, he breaks and when he is entrusted, commits treachery. (Bukhari and Muslim)

 (And Muslim add: Even though he keeps fasts, prays and thinks that he is a Muslim).

 2. Abdullah-b-Amr reported: That the Messenger of Allah said: Whoso has got four things in him is a true hypocrite, and whoso has got a habit therefrom in him has got in him a habit of hypocrisy till he gives it up; when he is trusted, he is unfaithful; and when he speaks, he speaks falsehood; and when he makes promise, he proves treacherous, and when he quarrels, he commits sin. (Bukhari and Muslim)

 3. Ibn Omar reported that the Messenger of Allah said: The parable of a hypocrite is as a goat roaming between two goats going once unto this and once unto that. (Muslim)

 4. Huzaifa reported: Hypocrisy existed at the time of the Messenger of Allah. As for now, it is either infidelity or faith. (Bukhari)

 5. Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah said: Two traits cannot unite in a hypocrite-good conduct and knowledge of religion. (Tirmizi) __________________

Aristotle writes that the function of tragedy is to arouse the emotions of pity and fear, and to affect the Catharsis of these emotions. Aristotle has used the term Catharsis only once, but no phrase has been handled so frequently by critics, and poets. Aristotle has not explained what exactly he meant by the word, nor do we get any help from the Poetics. For this reason, help and guidance has to be taken from his other works. Further, Catharsis has three meaning. It means ‘purgation’, ‘purification’, and ‘clarification’, and each critic has used the word in one or the other senses. All agree that Tragedy arouses fear and pity, but there are sharp differences as to the process, the way by which the rousing of these emotions gives pleasure.

 Catharsis has been taken as a medical metaphor, ‘purgation’, denoting a pathological effect on the soul similar to the effect of medicine on the body. This view is borne out by a passage in the Politics where Aristotle refers to religious frenzy being cured by certain tunes which excite religious frenzy. In Tragedy:

 “…pity and fear, artificially stirred the latent pity and fear which we bring with us from real life.”

 In the Neo-Classical era, Catharsis was taken to be an allopathic treatment with the unlike curing unlike. The arousing of pity and fear was supposed to bring about the purgation or ‘evacuation’ of other emotions, like anger, pride etc. As Thomas Taylor holds:

 “We learn from the terrible fates of evil men to avoid the vices they manifest.”

 F. L. Lucas rejects the idea that Catharsis is a medical metaphor, and says that:

 “The theatre is not a hospital.”

 Both Lucas and Herbert Reed regard it as a kind of safety valve. Pity and fear are aroused, we give free play to these emotions which is followed by emotional relief. I. A. Richards’ approach to the process is also psychological. Fear is the impulse to withdraw and pity is the impulse to approach. Both these impulses are harmonized and blended in tragedy and this balance brings relief and repose.

 The ethical interpretation is that the tragic process is a kind of lustration of the soul, an inner illumination resulting in a more balanced attitude to life and its suffering. Thus John Gassner says that a clear understanding of what was involved in the struggle, of cause and effect, a judgment on what we have witnessed, can result in a state of mental equilibrium and rest, and can ensure complete aesthetic pleasure. Tragedy makes us realize that divine law operates in the universe, shaping everything for the best.

 During the Renaissance, another set of critics suggested that Tragedy helped to harden or ‘temper’ the emotions. Spectators are hardened to the pitiable and fearful events of life by witnessing them in tragedies.

 Humphrey House rejects the idea of ‘purgation’ and forcefully advocates the ‘purification’ theory which involves moral instruction and learning. It is a kind of ‘moral conditioning’. He points out that, ‘purgation means cleansing’.

 According to ‘the purification’ theory, Catharsis implies that our emotions are purified of excess and defect, are reduced to intermediate state, trained and directed towards the right objects at the right time. The spectator learns the proper use of pity, fear and similar emotions by witnessing tragedy. Butcher writes:

 “The tragic Katharsis involves not only the idea of emotional relief, but the further idea of purifying the emotions so relieved.”

 The basic defect of ‘purgation’ theory and ‘purification’ theory is that they are too much occupied with the psychology of the audience. Aristotle was writing a treatise not on psychology but on the art of poetry. He relates ‘Catharsis’ not to the emotions of the spectators but to the incidents which form the plot of the tragedy. And the result is the “clarification” theory.

 The paradox of pleasure being aroused by the ugly and the repellent is also the paradox involved in tragedy. Tragic incidents are pitiable and fearful.

 They include horrible events as a man blinding himself, a wife murdering her husband or a mother slaying her children and instead of repelling us produce pleasure. Aristotle clearly tells us that we should not seek for every pleasure from tragedy, “but only the pleasure proper to it”. ‘Catharsis’ refers to the tragic variety of pleasure. The Catharsis clause is thus a definition of the function of tragedy, and not of its emotional effects on the audience.

 Imitation does not produce pleasure in general, but only the pleasure that comes from learning, and so also the peculiar pleasure of tragedy. Learning comes from discovering the relation between the action and the universal elements embodied in it. The poet might take his material from history or tradition, but he selects and orders it in terms of probability and necessity, and represents what, “might be”. He rises from the particular to the general and so is more universal and more philosophical. The events are presented free of chance and accidents which obscure their real meaning. Tragedy enhances understanding and leaves the spectator ‘face to face with the universal law’.

 Thus according to this interpretation, ‘Catharsis’ means clarification of the essential and universal significance of the incidents depicted, leading to an enhanced understanding of the universal law which governs human life and destiny, and such an understating leads to pleasure of tragedy. In this view, Catharsis is neither a medical, nor a religious or moral term, but an intellectual term. The term refers to the incidents depicted in the tragedy and the way in which the poet reveals their universal significance.

 The clarification theory has many merits. Firstly, it is a technique of the tragedy and not to the psychology of the audience. Secondly, the theory is based on what Aristotle says in the Poetics, and needs no help and support of what Aristotle has said in Politics and Ethics. Thirdly, it relates Catharsis both to the theory of imitation and to the discussion of probability and necessity. Fourthly, the theory is perfectly in accord with current aesthetic theories.

 According to Aristotle the basic tragic emotions are pity and fear and are painful. If tragedy is to give pleasure, the pity and fear must somehow be eliminated. Fear is aroused when we see someone suffering and think that similar fate might befall us. Pity is a feeling of pain caused by the sight of undeserved suffering of others. The spectator sees that it is the tragic error or Hamartia of the hero which results in suffering and so he learns something about the universal relation between character and destiny.

 To conclude, Aristotle’s conception of Catharsis is mainly intellectual. It is neither didactic nor theoretical, though it may have a residual theological element. Aristotle’s Catharsis is not a moral doctrine requiring the tragic poet to show that bad men come to bad ends, nor a kind of theological relief arising from discovery that God’s laws operate invisibly to make all things work out for the best.

  BACKGROUND TO THE INCIDENT OF ISRAA AND MA’RAAJ

 Prophet Muhammad (SAW) had been preaching for a number of years before this wonderful incident of nocturnal (nightly) journey [Israa] and ascension [Ma’raaj] took place. The Israk refers to the journey from Makkah to Baitul Muqqadis or Masjidil Aqsa as alluded to in Surah Isra or Bani Israel ayat number 1 and the Ma’raaj refers to the journey from Baitul Muqqadis to Sidratul Muntaha– the Lote-Tree at the Farthest End and to the presence of Allah (SWT) as alluded to in Surah An-Najam ayat numbers 5 to 18. The purpose of this journey, as Allah (SWT) pointed out in the Isra passage was to show the Prophet (SAW) signs or miracles [aayaat] of Allah (SWT):

 Glorified be He (Allah) Who transported His servant for a Journey by night from the Sacred Mosque [Masjidil Haram] to the Farthest Mosque [Masjidil Aqsa] whose surroundings We have blessed in order that We might show him (the Messenger) some of Our Signs.

Indeed He (Allah) is the Hearer [Samee’un] and the Seer of all things) [Baseer].

 This incident of twin journeys has a great significance for Muslims and their religion, Islam, in the sense that it confirms and explains some of the basic tenants of Islam. The Isra part confirms the unity of origin, the unigenesis, of all the three monotheistic religions showing relationship of this religion with the previous prophets and the revelations they received. The Ma’raaj part, confirming the existence of heaven and hell [Jannat and Jahannum] and the Final Judgement, reward and punishment, recounts the genesis of the basic worship [Salat] five times a day, and a number of other aspects of blessings from Allah (SWT) showered on Muhammad (SAW) and his community of Muslims.

 During the first eleven years of the Prophet’s mission a number of people had come to believe in the Prophet (SAW) and his teachings, but there were many whose rejection and enmity had only worsened as the years went by. There were three things that the non-believers [kuffars] of the Quraish of Makkah found difficult to believe: the institution of Prophethood, the claim of Muhammad (SAW) to his Prophethood, and the life after death:

 First, the prophet’s claim that human beings have been sent to their own people as prophets seemed incredible to them. This means that the institution of Prophethood was not acceptable to most of them.

 The second problem the non-believers encountered concerned the claim of Muhammad (SAW) over his own Prophethood. Even if they could accept, what seemed incredible to them, the idea that human beings are sent down to people as prophets for guidance, the Quraish found it unacceptable that of all the people in Makkah and Taif, the orphaned nephew of Abu Talib should have been chosen as prophet. There were many among the Quraish who thought they had better claims to such assignments than Muhammad (SAW). “Could God find none but you to send as Prophet,” said one of the sons of ‘Amr bin Ummayah Thaqeef in Taa’if.

 The third claim of this prophet was beyond the non-believers’ wildest dream of plausibility. The Prophet (SAW) claimed that people will be raised after they are dead and that they will be judged and that they will be sent to either hell or heaven according to their beliefs and deeds. The Kuffaar of Makkah used to marvel at this claim. Allah (SWT) reports their reactions at a number of places in the Quran. They would say, “Is it true that after we have died and become mere dust and bones, shall we, in truth, be raised from the dead– and perhaps our ancestors as well?” Allah (SWT) advised the prophet to respond to such rejecters: “Say, Yes, indeed, and most abject will you be then?” (As-Saafaat 37: 16-18).

 Furthermore, the Kuffaar used to say, “After we will have become bones and dust, shall we in truth be raised to a new creation?” And the prophet (SAW) was asked to respond to their question, “Say, be you stones or iron or any other substance which to your hearts appears yet greater (distantly removed from life.)” (Al-Isra 17:49-51)

 THE INCIDENT OF ISRAA AND MA’RAAJ: A RESPONSE TO THE THREE OBJECTIONS OF THE QURAISH

 Allah (SWT) took His Servant [‘Abd] Muhammad (SAW) on the Isra (the nightly journey) and the Ma’raaj (Ascension to heavens) to counter these three objections of the Kuffaar and to instill faith in the hearts of the believers on these three counts:

 1. In response to the first objection, Allah (SWT) wanted to show the Prophet (SAW) and the believers through Isra-Ma’raaj incident that He was the One Who was responsible for sending Messengers like Noah, Ibraheem, Moosa, Isa (Alaihimissalam) to mankind and that it was not a new thing.

 2. In response to the second objection of the Kuffaar, Allah (SWT) wanted to show the Prophet (SAW) and the believers that He was the One Who chose whomsoever He wished and raised the Darajaat of Muhammad (SAW) as He (ALLAH SWT) wished.

 3. In response to the third objection, Allah SWT wanted to show His Messenger Muhammad (SAW) the reality of life after death and the reality of jannaht and Jahannum.

 LONGING FOR SIGNS PROVIDING LIFE AFTER DEATH

 Ibn Sa’d in Tabaqatul Kubra reports a Hadith that says the Messenger of Allah (SAW) used to pray to Allah to show him the paradise and the hell. Such a desire on the part of Muhammad (SAW) was not unusual or out of the ordinary in the tradition of Prophethood. Prophets before him had asked for manifest proofs. Such requests were made not because they had any doubts about the truth of life after death; they desired to be shown such miracles for the satisfaction of their hearts.

 Thus, for example, Ibraheem (Alaihisalat wasalam) said to Allah (SWT), “Show me how you will raise the dead.” Allah (SWT) asked him, “Don’t you believe?” Ibraheem (AS) said, Yes, but for the satisfaction of my heart.”Thus the desire of Ibraheem (AS) to be shown how Allah (SWT) would raise the dead to life was not because of lack of faith or belief but for the satisfaction of the patriarch’s heart. Thereupon Allah (SWT) showed him how He would do it. This incident is reported in Surah al-Baqarah ayat 260. Allah (SWT) also showed Abraham (AS) HIS Malakoot [dominion or kingdom, divine court where He keeps court with Angels and the Near Ones, al-muqarrabeen] of Heavens as well as earth so that he could grow in faith and certitude, as He (SWT) says in Surah Al-An’aam verse 74 (6.74).

 Allah (SWT) showed Ibrahim (AS) the Dominion [Malakoot] of the heavens and the earth as claimed in Surah al-An’aam ayat number 75. Similarly, Prophet Ezra or Uzair (AS) was shown how Allah (SWT) would raise the dead to be judged as described in Surah al-Baqarah ayat 259. Thus the wish of Muhammad (SAW) to be shown heavens and hell was in the best traditions of the earlier prophets; there was nothing unusual about it.

 COMPARING AND CONTRASTING THE ASCENSION OF MUHAMMAD (SAW) WITH THE ASCENSIONS OF EARLIER PROPHETS

 The phenomenon of ascension was also not unusual. Ascensions had also been experienced by many prophets before Muhammad (SAW). Only this time around the experience was different in nature with a difference in meaning and spirit. Prophet Idris or Enoch (AS) had experienced the phenomenon of ascension before; so did Elijah or Ilyas (AS) who had been raised in his chariot of fire (2 Kings 2:11 and 6:17). ‘Isa (AS) was also raised as described in the New Testament and Surah An-Nisa ayat 158 of the Quran. Although patriarch Jacob [Yaqoob] (AS) was not called upon to ascend in any capacity, he had witnessed angels ascending and descending between the earth and the heavens on a ladder as described in the Book of Genesis chapter 22. The purpose of this ‘Urooj, Ma’raaj or ascension was that Allah (SWT) wanted to show the ‘Abd the Servant Allah’s signs as Allah (SWT) makes it clear in Surah Israa Ayat number one. In the midst of the ever growing opposition of the non-believers in Makkah the ‘Abd needed these signs to keep him steadfast in his mission.

 THE ASCENSION OF IDRIS, ILYAS AND ISA (ALAIHIMUSSALAM DIFFERED FROM THE ASCENSION OF MUHAMMAD MUSTAFA (SAW) IN THREE WAYS

 1. The earlier Prophets had been raised at the completion of their this-worldly mission; Muhammad (SAW) was taken on the two journeys in the midst of his mission, to be shown the aayaat of Allah (SWT) for testification and then to be returned to the earth.

 2. The earlier prophets were raised up to be returned to this world at the end of the times and not to be returned immediately to this earth. Muhammad Mustafa (SAW) was returned to this world immediately, the same night.

 3. The immediate objective of the earlier ascensions was to protect those prophets from their earthly enemies. Muhammad (SAW) did not have to be raised up to heavens for protection as he had been promised protection from Allah (SWT) against any worldly enemies. where Allah says, “We are enough for you against the mockers,” (Surah Al-Hijr 15:95) or in Surah Az-Zumur 39:36 where Allah (SWT) says, “Is Allah not enough for His servant (to defend him)”, or in Surah Al-Maidah 5:65 where Allah (SWT) says:

 “Oh Messenger, make known that which has been revealed to you from your Lord, for if you do not do it, you will not have conveyed His message. Allah will protect you from mankind. Indeed Allah does not guide the disbelieving people.”

 COMPARING MA’RAAJ OF MUHAMMAD (SAW) WITH JACOB (AS)’S VISION OF THE LADDER

 The difference between Yaqoob (AS’s) ladder and Muhammad’s Ma’araaj was that the patriarch saw the angels going up and down. Neither did he express his desire to ascend it, nor was he invited to undertake the journey. The Messenger of Allah Muhammad (SAW) himself was taken up on the journey to meet the [Dzil Ma’aaraj], the Lord of the Ascension.

 COMPARING MA’RAAJ OF MUHAMMAD (SAW) WITH ADAM (AS)’S DESCENT

 Rasheedudeen Al-Maibudawi in his Kashaful Israr contrasts this Ma’raaj or Ascension of the Prophet (SAW) with the descent of Adam (AS). He said Adam (AS) was told to go down, descend, [ihbit] whereas Muhammad (SAW) was asked to ascend [iS’ad]. The purpose of Adam’s descent, going down or fall was to allow the magnificence of the Lord’s creation from dust to flourish on the earth and the purpose of the ascension of Muhammad (SAW) was to show him the secrets of His dominion [malakut], particularly with reference to the heights of greatness and the depths of iniquity and immorality that man is capable of achieving as Allah SWT says in Surah At-Teen, “Indeed We created man in the best of moulds but then We returned him to the lowest of the low”. (At-Teen 95:4-5)

 MUHAMMAD RASOOL ALLAH’S JOURNEY

 17:1: “Praise be to Allah Who has taken His servant by night from the Sacred Mosque (Mecca) to the Farthest Mosque (Jerusalem).”

 33:56: “Allah and His angels shower blessings on the Nabee (Prophet). You who believe; send blessings on him and salute him with a worthy salutation.”

 53: 1-18: “By the star when it sets, Your companion does not err, nor is he deceived:Nor does he speak of his own desire. It is nothing except an inspiration that is inspired, which one of mighty powers has taught him, one vigorous; and he grew clear to view when he was on the uppermost horizon. Then he drew near and came down till he was at a distance of two bow lengths or even nearer, And He revealed to His slave that which He revealed. The heart did not lie in seeing what it saw. Will you then dispute with him concerning what he sees? And truely he saw him yet another time by the furthest-tree of the furthest boundary, near which is the Garden of Abode. When that which shrouds did enshroud the furthest-tree, The eye did not turn aside nor yet was it overbold. Truely he saw one of the greater revelations of his Rabb (Lord).

 Allah ordered Jibraeel to go down with seventy thousand angels to Muhammad (pbuh), and stand by his door. “Accompany him to My presence. And you, Mikaeel, take the hidden knowledge and go down with seventy thousand angels and stand by the door of his bedroom. You, Israfeel, and you Azraeel, do as Jibraeel and Mikaeel have been ordered.” Then He said to Jibraeel: “Increase the light of the moon with the light of the sun, and increase the light of the stars with the light of the moon.” Jibraeel asked: “Allah, has the Day of resurrection dawned?” Allah said: “No, but tonight We are calling to Our presence Muhammad (pbuh), the last Messenger who came after Isa (Jesus) to reveal to him a secret that pertains to Us.” Jibraeel said: “Allah, what is that secret?” Allah said: “Jibraeel! The secret of kings cannot be given to the servants. Go with My order and don’t ask.”

 And Jibraeel began his descent carrying with him the heavenly message. All the angels accompanied him as Allah had ordered, until they reached the door of Muhammad (pbuh). When they arrived, they said: “Qum ya sayyidi: Arise, my Master, and prepare yourself! Ride on the back of the buraq, the heavenly creature that will carry you on your journey to the Rabb (Lord) of power through the land of the angels!”

  THE BURAQ

 When Allah ordered Jibraeel to carry with him the buraq for Muhammad (pbuh) to ride, he went to the paradise of buraqs and there he found forty million buraqs. Every buraq had a crown on its forehead inscribed with the words: “There is no god only Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.” Under it was written: “Believe in Me, in My angels, in My books, and in My Rasools (prophets).” Jibraeel saw among them a buraq who secluded himself and who sat alone crying. Jibraeel came to him and asked him why he was in such a state. The buraq answered: “I heard the name of Muhammad (pbuh) forty thousand years ago, and my yearning for him has prevented me from eating and drinking.” Jibraeel chose that buraq and he took him.

 The buraq had the body of a horse but the face of a human being, with big black eyes and soft ears. His colour was that of a peacock whose plumage was set with red rubies and corals, on which sat a white head of musk on a neck of amber. His ears and shoulders were of pure white pearls attached with golden chains, each chain decorated with glittering jewels. His saddle was made of silk lined with silver and gold threads. His back was covered with green emerald and his halter was pure peridot.

 The speed of the buraq is according to his sight. His legs reach wherever his eyes can see. Jibraeel said: “Rasool Allah, this night is your night, and your turn has come to shine in the sky of creation. You are the sun of ancient and recent knowledge, you are the moonlight of the beauties of the worlds, the happiness of creation and the adornment of the lands of human beings and angels. You are the cup of love from the river of milk and honey. The river of Kawser in paradise overflows in anticipation of seeing you. You, the joy of all creation, the pride of paradise, the tables are ready and the palaces of heaven are waiting for your coming!”

 “Jibraeel,” said Muhammad (pbuh), “did you come with a message of mercy or wrath?”

“I came with a message from your Rabb (Lord) to give you a secret.”

 “What does the Rabb (Lord) of Generosity want to do with me?”

 “He wants to shower you with His mercy and all human beings that accept you.”

 “Give me a moment to prepare myself.”

 “I brought you water of paradise and a turban with a message inscribed: ‘Muhammad the servant of Allah; Muhammad the prophet of Allah; Muhammad the beloved of Allah; Muhammad the friend of Allah.'”

 “Jibraeel, tell me more about that turban.”

 “Allah created a turban from his light and he entrusted it to Ridhwan, the angel-custodian of paradise, and the praising of Ridhwan’s host of angels belonged to the owner of that turban before heaven and earth were created. Tonight, when the order came for your visit, Ridhwan took the turban from paradise, and all forty thousand angels said with him: ‘Our Rabb (Lord), you have ordered us from time immemorial to praise the owner of that turban. Honour us tonight with his sight and permit us to walk before him.’ And Allah granted them what they asked. Then Allah ordered me, Jibraeel, to hand Mikaeel the precious jar of the pure water of Salsabil, and Mikaeel to give to Azraeel, and Azraeel to give it to Israfeel, then Israfeel to Ridhwan, then Ridhwan sent that water another time to the highest paradise: Jannat al-Firdaws, where all the beautiful maiden-angels washed their faces with that water and shone even more brightly. Then they sent back that water to me, and I am giving it to you.”

 And Muhammad (pbuh) showered with the water from paradise. As soon as it touched his noble body he became covered with a garment of subtle angelic light, and Jibraeel gave him the buraq to ride. But the buraq stopped and asked Jibraeel: “Is that Muhammad (pbuh) who is invited to our Rabb (Lord)?” Jibraeel said: “Yes.” The buraq asked: “Is he the owner of the blessed pond in paradise?” Jibraeel said: “Yes.” The buraq said: “Is he the leader of the people of paradise?” Jibraeel said: “Yes.” The buraq said: “Is he the intercessor on Judgment-Day?” Jibraeel said: “Yes.” At that time the buraq began to melt like ice and snow melt in the light of the sun. He knelt down and said to Muhammad (pbuh): “Pride of creation, ride on me; but I have one request to ask of you: Do not forget me on the day of intercession.”

 HE JOURNEY TO THE FAR DISTANT MOSQUE

 When Muhammad (pbuh) began to ride he was crying. Jibraeel asked him: “Rasool Allah, why are you crying?” He said: “I remembered human beings. Are they going to ride on Judgement Day as I am riding now on the buraq, and go to their heavenly palaces in paradise?” Jibraeel said: “Yes, truely, we are going to resurrect the pious ones in delegations of riders: On the Day when We shall gather the righteous unto the Beneficent, a goodly company (19:85).”

 At that Muhammad (pbuh) felt happy, and he rode forward on the buraq. Jibraeel took hold of the reins while Mikaeel held the saddle, and Israfeel the saddle-cloth. The buraq moved in space until in the blink of an eye they reached the place appointed for their first stop in the middle of the desert. Jibraeel said: “Muhammad, go down and pray to Allah in this place.” Muhammad (pbuh) said: “What is this place?” Jibraeel said: “This is the place where you are going to emigrate, and it is going to be your second city.” That was the town of Yathrib not far from Mecca, and its name was going to be Madina.

 In the blink of an eye they again passed through space until they stopped a second time, and Jibraeel told Muhammad (pbuh) to come down and pray.

 “Which place is this, Jibraeel?” asked Muhammad (pbuh).

 “This is Sinai, where Musa (Moses) used to speak with Allah.”

 Then the buraq moved in space another time until he reached a third place where Jibraeel ordered him to pray.

“And now, where are we, Jibraeel?”

 “You are in Bethlehem, where Isa (Jesus) was born and from where he spread the message of the King of heavens and of the earth.”

 As Muhammad (pbuh) wlked with delight on the soil where Isa (Jesus) was born, he felt someone moving near his right shoulder who said: “Muhammad! Wait, I want to ask you a question.” But Muhammad (pbuh) did not respond. Then another call came from behind his left shoulder, but again he did not answer it. Finally, an unimaginably beautiful mountain covered with the wealth and beauty of this world appeared in front of him and spoke to him with a human voice, but for the third time Muhammad (pbuh) did not respond. Then he asked Jibraeel about the three voices. Jibraeel said: “If you had listened to the first voice all your nation would have been corrupted because it is the voice of evil; and had you listened to the second one, all your nation would have been tyrants because it is the voice of Satan. And if you had stopped to hear the decorated mountain all your nation would have preferred this world to the eternal world.”

 Muhammad (pbuh) continued on his way and saw two beautiful angelic beings, one masculine and one feminine. They wore a beautiful dress and the fragrance of heaven. They kissed him between his eyes and left. He asked Jibraeel who were these two. He said: “These are the believers of your nation. They are going to live in happiness and die in happiness and they are going to enter paradise.”

 Then another angel appeared to him and offered him three cups to drink: one of water, one of milk, and one of wine. He took the cup of milk and drank, and Jibraeel said: “You have chosen the cup of fitra: innocence.”“White is the colour of believers and green is the colour of paradise. All of your followers are going to be believers in this world and all are going to enter paradise in the next.” Then a maiden-angel appeared and offered Muhammad (pbuh) three suits of cloth, one green, one white, and one black. He took the first two. Jibraeel said:

 Then, as Muhammad (pbuh) was walking on the place where Isa (Jesus) taught, he entered the Temple of Sulaiman (Solomon) in Jerusalem. He found the temple full of angels waiting for him. Every angel in the temple represented a group of angels in paradise. Then he saw all the Prophets (alaihi salaam) standing in rows. He asked Jibraeel who all these were. Jibraeel said: “These are your brothers from among the prophets, and these angels are the leaders of all the angels of paradise.” Then Jibraeel made the call to prayer, after which he said: “Muhammad, most honorable of beings in the sight of Allah, proceed to prayer.” And Muhammad (pbuh) came forward and led the prescribed prayer, and all the prophets (alaihi salaam) and the angels followed him.

 Adam spoke saying: – “Praise be to Allah who created me with His hands and ordered the angels to prostrate for me and brought out all the prophets from among my descendants!”

 Then Nuh (Noah) said: – “Praise be to Allah who accepted my prayer and saved me and my people from drowning with my ship with the help of the angels, and honoured me!”

 Then Ibraheem (Abraham) said: – “Praise be to Allah who took me as His friend and gave me a huge kingdom, and gave me prophets for descendants, and saved me from the fire of Namrood, and made it cool and safe for me!”

 And Musa (Moses) said: – “Praise be to Allah who spoke to me without an intermediary and chose me for His message, and made me victorious over Pharaoh with the help of his angels, and gave me the Torah which Jibraeel taught me how to write, and adorned me with His love.”

 And Dawood (David) said:-“Praise be to Allah who revealed the Psalms to me, and softened the iron between my hands and all other elements, and chose me for His Message!”

 And Sulaiman (Solomon) said:- “Praise be to Allah who has made subject to me the winds, the jinn, and human beings; who taught me the language of birds; who gave me a kingdom which he never gave to anyone after me, and supported me with all his angels.”

 And Isa (Jesus) said:- “Praise be to Allah who sent me as a Word from Him to the world, taught me the Torah and the Gospel, made me cure the deaf, the dumb, and the leper, made me bring back to life the dead by His permission, and supported me with Jibraeel and all His angels.”

 And Muhammad (pbuh) said:- “All of you praised your Rabb (Lord) and I praise Him also, Who sent me as a M0ercy for human beings and revealed the Quran to me, expanded my breast, took out my sins, raised me up, made my Nation and all human beings the best that could be, and called me ‘Kind and Merciful'”!

 And Jibraeel said:- “That is why, Muhammad you are the last of Prophets and a Mercy for human beings. Prophets and angels, creations large and small, Allah and His angels send blessings and salutations on His Prophet! You also send much blessings upon him and utmost greetings! Increase your praise. Praise is an angel with two eyes and two wings that flies to Allah directly to ask forgiveness for its reciter until Judgment Day.”

 Then Muhammad (pbuh) continued on his way, riding on the buraq together with all the angels that came to greet and accompany him. Whenever he passed through a different universe he found the angels of that universe gathered to greet and dress him with all kinds of gifts and adornments. They dressed him with the cloaks of perfection and made him the possessor of every beauty.

 Then Muhammad (pbuh) heard a very powerful voice coming from Israfeel from behind the veils of Lordly Power and Angelic Perfection: – “Paradises and heavens! Angels! Mountains and trees and oceans and rivers! Moons and suns and stars and planets and constellations! Plunge in to the beauty and perfection of Muhammad (pbuh). Angels and houris of paradise, walk with pride! Creation, be happy tonight, for we are receiving in our presence the Master of human beings and the Seal of Prophets.”

 THE ASCENT – AL MIRAAJ

  Another voice came from an angel called Ismaeel, saying: “Heavenly stairs, show yourselves and descend!” upon which the ladder of heaven descended all the way from Firdaws, the loftiest paradise, until it reached the Temple of Sulaiman (Solomon). The arms of the ladder shone with two heavenly lights, red amethyst and green jasper of the greatest perfection. Every believer is going to see that ladder and climb on it. It has one hundred steps and it goes from the temple to the first heaven.

 Jibraeel called Muhammad (pbuh) and the buraq climbed the first step. There Muhammad (pbuh) saw all kinds of angels red in colour. On the second step, Muhammad (pbuh) saw angels in yellow cloth, on the third step the angels were green and all of them were greeting him and giving him heavenly gifts which he took and gave to Jibraeel to keep as a trust for the believers on earth. On the fourth step messenger-angels came and said: “Jibraeel, keep rising for the Rabb (Lord) is waiting!” And Muhammad (pbuh) saw their subtle bodies shining and their faces glittering like mirrors in the sun.

 Then he climbed the fifth step of the ladder and saw a huge world of angels that had no beginning and no end. All of them were praising Allah and their only words were: “There is no god only Allah.” He asked Jibraeel: “How many are these angels?” for he was awed by their numbers. Jibraeel said: “If the skies and the earth and the moon and the sun and the stars and galaxies were crushed into dust and were all piled up, their dust particles would not be one tenth of the angels of this step of the ladder of paradise.” Then the buraq climbed up to the sixth step and there a great surprise awaited Muhammad (pbuh), and a great event took place which passed all description. An immense, white-upon-white angel sat on a chair of burnished white gold, accompanied by a great host of angels with wide, awe-struck gazes looking at the divine majesty. The white angel stood up and said: “Muhammad, welcome! I beg you to bless my seat by sitting on it.” When Muhammad (pbuh) sat on the chair, it melted with love for him and became a cloud of multicolored light chanting the praise of Allah. Out of every drop of that cloud Allah created another throne and another great angel sitting upon that throne.
Then the buraq climbed to the seventh heaven and Muhammad (pbuh) saw angels whose light replaced the light of his vision, as in the case when someone looks at the sun and his sight is stolen away. At that time, he became able to see whatever these angels were seeing. Then he climbed the eighth step of the ladder and saw nothing but angels in prostration. He quickly climbed to the ninth so as not to disturb them. On the ninth step of the ladder he saw angels which passed description and he stood in awe, unable to comprehend their creation. At that time their leader appeared and said: “Rasool Allah! We are dressing you with the secret of our creation and enabling you to understand all things by Allah’s permission.”

 Then Muhammad (pbuh) went up to the tenth step of the ladder and saw the angels that praised Allah in all the languages that had been created since the beginning of creation. Muhammad (pbuh) wondered at the limitless creations of Allah. At the eleventh step, the angels numbered even more than the angels of the fifth step, and out of them an infinite number of colours glowed, different for each single one of them. At the twelfth step, Muhammad (pbuh) found angels with faces like moons and eyes like stars. The light of their faces were covering their words. On the thirteenth step, the most beautiful angels appeared and these were the angels of Allah, praising Allah with soft voices and reveling in other-worldly beauty. Their music did not resemble any other kind of music and if one tone of that music were heard on the earth everyone on it would faint.

 On the fourteenth step Muhammad (pbuh) saw the angel Ismaeel with seventy thousand angels riding on horses. Behind everyone of them was a battalion of one hundred thousand angels created from the attribute of Beauty. It is the duty of each and everyone of these angels to appear on earth at least one time to bring it the touch of his beauty. The fifteenth to the twenty-fourth steps were under the command of the angel Ruqyaeel, great and small, thin and wide. The twenty-fifth step to the ninety-ninth were presided by the angel Qalaeel. His right hand was under the first heaven. Between each two of his fingers there are seven hundred thousand angels continuously praising Allah. For each of the praises that they utter strings of pearls come out of their mouth. The diameter of every pearl is eighty-one miles. For each pearl Allah creates an angel that guards it and keeps it as a trust for human beings until they enter paradise.

 Then Muhammad (pbuh) saw a huge throne from a precious element other than gold standing on five posts. Each post has two wings and each wing encompasses the constellation of our world five times. On each wing rest fifty thousand angels, each of whom ask forgiveness for human beings in a different dialect and yet in complete harmony and with an angelic sound that melts the rocks of the seven earths. Out of each one of their tears Allah creates fifty thousand angels more whose task is to ask forgiveness in the same way as these angels do and in many times more dialects than they. Then the throne spoke to Muhammad (pbuh) and said: “I and the angels who guard me were created to carry human beings to their stations in paradise.” Then, the throne invited Muhammad (pbuh) to sit on it, and when he sat he felt a pleasure he had never experienced before.

  THE FIRST PARADISE: THE ABODE OF PEACE

 uhammad (pbuh) arrived at the hundredth step where he heard the angels praising and glorifying their Rabb (Lord) in the first heaven. It is called Dar as Salaam, the Abode of Peace, and has one hundred and twenty-four thousand doors. Each door represents a prophet. Jibraeel knocked at the door reserved for Muhammad (pbuh). A voice said from inside: “Who is it?”“It is Jibraeel and Muhammad (pbuh).” Jibraeel replied: The voice said: “Has he been sent for?” Jibraeel said: “Yes, he has been called to the Divine Presence.” The door was opened. The angel Ismaeel came on a horse of light, covered in a cloth of light, holding a staff of light. In his right hand, Ismaeel carried all the deeds of human beings performed during the day, and in the other, all that they had done during the night. One thousand processions of angels accompanied him.

 Ismaeel said: “Jibraeel, who is with you?” He replied: “The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).” Ismaeel said: “Has he been sent for?” Jibraeel replied yes. Then the buraq was invited to land on the first paradise, the nearest paradise to the world. It is also called As Samaa ad-Dunya: the nearest heaven. This paradise can be compared to a rolling wave held in mid-air; Allah spoke to it and said: “Be a red emerald,” and it was. The praising of its inhabitants is: Subhana zil Mulki wal Malakut: “Praise be to the Possessor of the earthly and the heavenly dominions.”

 Then Muhammad (pbuh) looked at the first heaven and found an angel formed like a man. All the actions that belong to human beings are displayed to him. If the spirit of a believer comes to him he sends it to paradise; if the spirit of an unbeliever comes to him he asks forgiveness for it. When forgiveness is granted he sends it to paradise. He has a tablet made of light which hangs from the throne to the first heaven. He writes on it the names of those who are sent to paradise. Then Muhammad (pbuh) saw a man with an angelic power towards whom he felt a great attraction. When he asked who that man was, Jibraeel said: “This is your father, Adam.” Adam greeted him and said to Muhammad (pbuh): “Welcome to the good son and the righteous Prophet.”

 There are two doors to the right and the left of Adam. When he looks at the right side he is happy and when he looks at the left he weeps. Muhammad (pbuh) asked what these two doors were. Jibraeel said: “The door to the right is the door to paradise and rewards. When Adam sees his children entering it he smiles and is happy. The door to the left leads to punishment and the fire. When Adam sees his children entering it he weeps and is sad for them. Out of each of his tears Allah creates an angel who asks forgiveness until the day when forgiveness is granted and they are allowed to enter into paradise.”

 They moved for five hundred thousand light-years within the radius of the first paradise. The buraq moved faster than the speed of light, for each of its steps could reach wherever his sight did. The entire distances they travelled were filled with angels whose number is known only to the Creator, praising Him and glorifying Him with all kinds of praises. There was not one handful of space but it was occupied by an angel in prostration. They were all sizes, big and small. A voice came saying: “My beloved Muhammad! all these angels are glorifying Me, and I am sending all this praise as waves upon waves of angelic blessings to support human beings through their daily life. These blessings will guide them towards everything that concerns them, and open for them all kinds of physical and spiritual knowledge that will help them progress in their ways of life, materially and spiritually. I will raise them through this angelic power and enable them to enter My paradise when they come to My Divine Presence.”

 THE SECONDPARADISE: THE ABODE OF CONSTANCY

 Then Jibraeel ordered the buraq to take Muhammad (pbuh) to the second paradise, whose name is Dar al Qarar, the Abode of Constancy. He then knocked at one of the doors of the second paradise. It was made of a heavenly element that has no name in our language. The angel Jarjaeel came with one thousand processions of angels who made an even greater and happier music than the angels of the first paradise. A voice said: “Who is it?”

 “Jibraeel.”

 “Who is accompanying you?”

 “Muhammad, the Prophet of Mercy.”

 Then the door was opened. Muhammad (pbuh) saw angels whose faces were like the disk of the sun, riding horses and girded with spiritual swords and lances. Muhammad (pbuh) asked: “Jibraeel! who are these?” Jibraeel answered: “These are angels whom Allah created to support humans against devils. Their praising is: Subhana zil `Izzati wal Jabarut: ‘Glory to the Rabb (Lord) of Force and Might,’ and they are wearing yellow turbans on their heads. When they praise Allah their turbans move and radiate a yellow light that supports the light of the sun. They radiate another light also, which makes the devils run away and chases out gossip from the heart of believers.” Then Muhammad (pbuh) saw two very handsome men sitting on a throne made of red rubies. He asked: “Who are these?” Jibraeel said: “They are your relatives, Yahya (John) and Isa (Jesus).” Isa (Jesus) was of a reddish complexion as if he came out of the bath. Then angels came to Muhammad (pbuh) in battalions, greeting him one by one. Allah extended time in such a way that one second was enough to greet all of the angels and pray with them, for the time of prayer had come. Isa (Jesus) and Yahya (John) greeted Muhammad (pbuh) farewell, and Jibraeel ordered the buraq to go to the third paradise.

 THE THIRD PARADISE: THE ABODE OF ETERNITY

 Muhammad (pbuh) moved in space for another five hundred thousand light-years until they reached the third paradise. It is called Dar ul Khuld: the Abode of Eternity. As they approached their destination they heard great voices that thundered all around them. “That is the sound of angels praising their Rabb (Lord),” said Jibraeel. As they approached they heard the music of the angels by which everything moves in the orbits of the heavenly worlds. Jibraeel stopped at a door made of a pure, burnished heavenly copper, and he knocked. “Who is there?” said a voice behind the door. “Jibraeel, bringing Muhammad.” “Has he been sent for?” “Yes.” And the door was opened.

 Muhammad (pbuh) entered and he saw an angel who changed from one shape to another in every moment. As he changed, his colour changed also. He seemed as one moving in a flash and yet immobile like a moving series of pictures and yet each picture is fixed in its place. Behind the angel Muhammad (pbuh) saw seven hundred thousand angels, all of them moving like the first angel, from one colourful image into another, like countless kaleidoscopes. Their feet reached the seven earths. Their musical praise was: Subhan al Hayy ul Qayyum al lazi la yamut: “Glory to the Living One, the Self-Subsistent who never dies!” The melody of their praise moved the entire heavens to unutterable joy which showered mercy on the earth and its inhabitants. Muhammad (pbuh) asked Jibraeel to ask the angel whether human beings could hear that music and if it were possible for them. The angel said: “Anyone who opens his angelic power and connects himself to us will hear that melody and he will receive the reward that we receive for uttering this praise.” Then the angel recited:

 As they moved forward they saw a handsome man before whose beauty everything paled. “This is Yusuf (Joseph), the Prophet,” said Jibraeel. Muhammad (pbuh) approached him and greeted him, and Yusuf (Joseph) greeted him back with the best greeting of heaven. Jibraeel said: “Out of the beauty of Yusuf (Joseph) came the beauty of all human beings. His is the beauty of the full moon, the sun and the stars.” Yearning for angelic beauty will melt the hearts of the stone hearted. The faint hearted cannot hope to approach its secret, for they will immediately fall under its power and extinguish themselves in it. That is the meaning of the sweetness of painful yearning in love: the approach of beauty in its absence is sweeter still than its embrace and possession. For possession of the beloved entails the satisfaction of the lower self, while to remain in pain because of the beloved is better than comfort and contentment.

 Behind Yusuf, Muhammad (pbuh) saw a great human crowd, all of them wearing radiant angelic dresses. Muhammad (pbuh) asked, “Who are these people, Jibraeel?” He answered: Behind Yusuf (Joseph), Allah created seven hundred thousand posts in paradise; on each post there are seven hundred thousand red jewels; each jewel contains seven hundred thousand palaces; in every palace there are seven hundred thousand rooms, and in every room there are seven hundred thousand windows. These rooms are inhabited by human beings who carry angelic powers and spend their lives in love of each other and nature. Their hearts are filled with love of Me and devoid of low desires. They pine for Me and I pine for them. Every day these human beings appear at their windows and look at the people of paradise. From their beauty a great light shines forth, in the same way that the sun appears in the windows of the sky and sheds its light over the people on earth. Then the people of paradise say: ‘Let us run towards the Lovers of Allah.’ As soon as they reach them these Lovers adorn them with all kinds of rainbows and showers of light. They give them a dress made of green silk which symbolizes the qualities of those made perfect and agreeable to Allah.”

 THE FOURTH PARADISE: THE SHELTERING GARDEN

 Then Jibraeel called for prayer and Muhammad (pbuh) led the prayer among all the inhabitants of paradise. Then the buraq moved for another five hundred thousand light-years during which they travelled towards the fourth heaven which is called Jannat al-Maawa: the Sheltering Garden. There they heard a voice mixing angels and spirits. The door was made of silver upon a floor of gold. Again, the voice behind the door asked: “Who is there?” and Jibraeel answered, “Muhammad.” “Has he been sent for?” “Yes.” And the door opened.

 Muhammad (pbuh) saw angels standing and sitting, lying and bowing, praising and saying: “Subhan al Malik al Quddus Rabb al Malaaikati war Ruh,” : “Glory to the holiest King, Rabb (Lord) of the angels and the Spirit!” Muhammad (pbuh) asked Jibraeel, “Jibraeel, is that not the prayer of my grandfather Abraham?” and Jibraeel said, “Yes, this is how your grandfather Abraham used to pray, and Allah was so happy with that prayer that he created an entire host of angels and filled the fourth heaven with them. He ordered them to repeat the same prayer. If anyone recites that praising among human beings, Allah will give them rewards according to the number of these angels.”

 Then Muhammad (pbuh) saw two angels, one of transparent crystal like spring water, and one denser like salt water. Jibraeel said: “One is the angel of sweet waters. He carries all the oceans of this universe with his right thumb. The other is the angel of salty waters. He carries all the oceans of this universe in his left thumb. These are the angels responsible for supporting every creature in creation through water, sweet or salty. They meet without mixing, as Allah has said: “He has loosened the two seas. They meet. There is a barrier between them. They encroach not one upon the other.” (40:19-20)

 Behind them Muhammad (pbuh) saw angels shaped like birds, standing on the bank of a great river of paradise. When a human being on earth says: “There is no god only Allah,” one of these angel-birds opens his wings. If the person says: “Glory to Allah,” the angel-bird enters the river to swim in it. When the person says: “Praise be to Allah,” the angel-bird dives into the water. When the person says: “Allah is greatest,” the angel-bird comes out of the river. When the person says: “There is no power nor might except in Allah,” the angel-bird will shake off the water from him, and seventy thousand drops of water will come from him, out of each of which Allah creates an angel that asks forgiveness for that person until Judgment Day. In addition to this, Allah orders forty thousand rewards written in the book of that one and keeps them for him until his resurrection.

 Then Muhammad (pbuh) saw a man who leaned against the books of human beings, in which were inscribed all their deeds. Muhammad (pbuh) asked: “Who is this?” Jibraeel said: “This is the Prophet Idris, peace be upon him.” Muhammad (pbuh) approached Idris and greeted him. Idris greeted him back and said: “Welcome to the pious brother and perfect prophet.” Above him Muhammad (pbuh) saw a dome of light on which was written: “There is no god only Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.” Muhammad (pbuh) looked inside it and saw a venerable old man with a white beard filled with light and crowned with a white turban. He asked: “Who is that, Jibraeel?” He answered: “That is an angel representing the Prophet Idris.” Muhammad (pbuh) greeted him and said: “My brother! Allah has elevated you and honoured you, and you have entered paradise before me and saw its pleasures.” Idris said: “Beloved one! At first I did not enter paradise nor see its pleasure. But when I left this world I entered a garden with a door on which I saw: ‘Beyond this door none may enter before Muhammad (pbuh) and his nation.’ And I asked Allah, ‘For the sake of my grandson Muhammad (pbuh), let me in.’ Allah let me in, so now because of you I am in this place.”

THE FIFTH PARADISE: THE GARDEN OF BEAUTY AND FELICITY

 Muhammad (pbuh) travelled for five hundred thousand light-years, after which he arrived at the fifth paradise which is called Jannat al Naeem: “the Garden of Beauty and Felicity.” Its door is made of mixed gold and silver from heaven. Jibraeel knocked at the door and a voice said: “Who is it?” “Jibraeel, bringing Muhammad (pbuh).” “Has he been sent for?” “Yes.” “Welcome, Beloved one, to the fifth paradise!”The door opened and Muhammad (pbuh) saw five beautiful ladies whose radiant light among their servants made them appear like diamonds surrounded by pearls. His heart was moved towards them. He asked Jibraeel: “Who are these ladies?” He answered: “This is Hawwa (Eve), the mother of human beings, this is the Virgin Maryam (Mary), the mother of Isa (Jesus), this is Musa’s (Moses’) mother Yukabid, and this is Assia, the wife of Pharaoh.” The fifth lady looked like a sun among stars. Her light shone over the rest of the inhabitants of that paradise like a gentle breeze passing through the tree-leaves. Jibraeel said: “This is an angel representing your daughter Fatima”

 Muhammad (pbuh) asked: “Jibraeel, what is the secret of this paradise?”Jibraeel said: “Allah created this paradise to reflect the beauty and perfection of women. The light of this paradise is the source of the angelic lights of all women on earth. Women have been created to carry the secret of creation in themselves. Allah has honoured them greatly by making their wombs the repository of His word which represents the Spirit. He looks at the most sacred place and there descends His mercy and blessings. He perfected that place and covered it with three protective layers to shelter it from any damage. The first is a layer of light, the second a layer of love, and the third a layer of beauty. There he fashions and creates human beings after His likeness, as Muhammad (pbuh) said: ‘Allah created Adam after His likeness.’ He orders the angels of the womb to perfect His creation by giving the baby life, beauty, health, intelligence, and all kinds of perfect attributes that will make each one distinguished among human beings.”

 “Women are not created weaker but more generous than men. They are created more beautiful and less fierce, as beauty hates to hurt and harm others. That is why they seem weak to people, but in reality they are not. Angels are the strongest of created beings, and women are closer to the angelic nature than men, as they are readier than men to carry angelic light. It is the good manners and ethics of spirituality which they carry which makes them less forceful than men. Even physically, however, they are extremely strong. They undergo great upheavals in their body without flinching for the sake of childbirth, and face the direst physical conditions more successfully than men because Allah has enabled them to insure the survival of generations.”

 “Allah gave women five angelic qualities which men rarely have. They are the source of peace, as Allah said that He created them “so that you might find rest in them” (30:21). This is the attribute of the first paradise which is named “the Abode of Peace.” They are oasis of constancy in the midst of chaos and change. That is why they give birth as the mother nurtures and shelters the baby more reliably than the father. This is the attribute of the second paradise, which is named ‘the Abode of Constancy.’ They perpetuate generations. Through their offspring Allah creates angelic prophets and saints who establish His perpetual remembrance on earth as the angels establish it in heaven. This is the attribute of the third paradise which is named ‘the Abode of Eternity.’ They are generous and bountiful. They are described as ‘a fertile land’ in all Scriptures because they give without counting, including life. They sacrifice themselves for the sake of another creation, and this is the attribute of the fourth paradise which is named ‘the Sheltering Garden.’ Finally, they are the source of Beauty. Through their softness and subtlety, Allah has crowned the earth with the diadem of angelic grace. This is the attribute of the fifth paradise which is named “the Garden of Beauty.”

 THE SIXTH PARADISE: THE GARDEN OF EDEN

 Muhammad (pbuh) travelled again on the buraq for five hundred thousand years. On his way to the sixth paradise which is called Jannat al Aden: “the Garden of Eden,” he saw nations and nations of saffron-coloured angels standing on pedestals of pink marble. They had one thousand wings and on each wing there were one thousand faces. Each face had one thousand mouths saying: Praise be to the Rabb (Lord) of Majesty and Splendour!”Jibraeel knocked at the door of the sixth paradise which was made of aquamarine and gold. As usual, a voice asked from behind the door who was there and the answer was given: “Jibraeel, bringing Muhammad (pbuh).” “Has he been sent for?” said the voice. “Yes,” replied Jibraeel. The door was opened. Muhammad (pbuh) entered and what he saw passed all imagination and all recorded books, all fabled accounts, all legends, all histories.

 Silent gold sat on stars of pearl. Under every pearl fifty thousand angels whirled in a lake of galaxies producing a heavenly sound like a million birds humming on top of the buzzing of a million bees. Everything is moving at the speed of light but at the same time everything is silent and still. Each angel spoke words of greetings to Muhammad (pbuh) at the same time in a different language but distinctly and without any clash one with the other. Their words were phrased in diadems and garlands of light which he wore one after the other on his head and around his neck. A huge angel named Semlaeel appeared at the head of ten thousand processions of similar angels wearing a crown of multi-coloured garnets and reciting praise of Allah in an angelic language which made each angel swoon and rise up in turn. These were the karubiyyun: ‘Those brought near.’ No one on earth can see them and live because of the intensity of their light which they borrow from the One they behold.

 Muhammad (pbuh) asked: “Jibraeel! What is this untarnished heavenly sound?” “Rasool Allah!” Jibraeel answered, “This is the music of the angelic souls in the presence of their Rabb (Lord) trembling like a leaf, not daring to move or speak, awed and annihilated by perfection, yet vivified and moved by divine Light, rushing to the divine meeting and announcing your coming.”

 Muhammad (pbuh) saw a honey-coloured angel of astounding beauty and of yet even greater majesty so that his majesty overpowered his beauty. He had a long mane of hair and a long beard out of which light flashed like thunderbolts. He had a stern face and yet a child’s eyes. His enormous chest seemed to heave like a dormant volcano under his shirt of heavenly brocade. When Muhammad (pbuh) enquired about him, Jibraeel said: “This is your brother Musa (Moses). He is the one who prayed six times on the Mount of Sinai in order to be a simple servant in your Nation. He is the vanquisher of tyrants and the secret of his father Yaqoob (Jacob). Allah wrote for him the character of a fiery servant. That is why he approached the burning bush and was not afraid when His Rabb (Lord) wanted to speak to him.”

 Musa (Moses) was crying and he said to Muhammad (pbuh): “Prophet of the Last Nation! Intercede for me and my people.” Muhammad (pbuh) said: “Why are you crying, my brother Musa (Moses)?” He replied: “I cry for love of you and for the great honour where Allah has raised you and made your nation countless people and other nations very few, even mine. Muhammad! you are the seal of prophets and the light of creation. Allah is raising you today to His presence, to a station where no-one can reach. Remember me there as Allah made you the intercessor for all human beings including prophets, from Adam to Isa (Jesus).

  THE SEVENTH PARADISE: JANNAT AL FIRDAWS

 Muhammad (pbuh) arrived at the seventh paradise whose roof touches the Heavenly Throne and whose name is Jannat al Firdaws, after a travel of five hundred thousand light-years. He knocked at the door which was made of pure emerald, topaz, beryl, and gold. After he entered he saw another gate of light. From it came the praise of nations of hidden angels at whose sight one would die of awe because of their intense beauty. Their laud was simply: “Praise be to the Creator of Light!” Beyond this it is not permitted to speak about them. Muhammad (pbuh) greeted them with the greeting of peace and proceeded past the gate of gold to a dome of light which encompassed all the previous heavens, although the distance he had travelled between the sixth and the seventh heaven was the same as that between each two of the other layers of paradise.

 Inside the dome Muhammad (pbuh) saw an angelic being which resembled him in every fashion and who was leaning against a wall of white silk which seemed to move like a waterfall and yet stand firm. Muhammad (pbuh) asked who that was and Jibraeel said: “This is your grandfather Ibraheem (Abraham), the leader of the pure of heart and a great one among prophets.” Ibraheem (Abraham) said: “Welcome to the pious son and the perfected Prophet!” Around Ibraheem (Abraham) stood crowned angels. Each of their crowns contained four hundred diamonds, each worth more than what the entire earth contains. At their service stood throngs of angels crowned with the light of the previous angels and all were reading the Ayat ul Kursi. Jibraeel said: “This is the verse that keeps the universe firm in the balance. This is the secret of the order of Creation.” And the angels recited:

 Allah! There is no god save Him, the Living, the Eternal, Neither slumber nor sleep overtakes him. Unto him belongs whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in earth. Who is he that intercedes with him save by His leave? He knows that which is in front of them and that which is behind them, While they encompass nothing of His knowledge except what He will. His Kursi includes the heavens and the earth, And He is never weary of preserving them. He is the Sublime, the Tremendous. (2:255)

 Circumambulating the building against which Ibraheem (Abraham) leaned, the entire universes, the throngs of angels of the seven heavens, the angels of mercy and the angels of wrath, the angels of beauty, the angels brought near, the great and the small angels, the visible and the invisible angels, and all the human beings whose angelic souls had been purified and elevated to the divine presence, the prophets, the truthful saints, the martyrs, the righteous, all of creation whirled and turned in the same direction as every heavenly body, counterclockwise, around the Kaaba of the heavens. Muhammad (pbuh) said: “Jibraeel, How wondrous are the incredible marvels of my Rabb (Lord)!” And Jibraeel replied: “Muhammad! You have seen only a glimpse of the wonders of Allah.”

 HE FURTHEST-TREE OF THE FURTHEST BOUNDARY

 Muhammad (pbuh) and Jibraeel travelled once more until they reached the absolute limit of the created intellect, named Sidrat al Muntaha: “The Furthest-Tree of the Furthest Boundary.” There they saw nothing which the tongue could describe. The effect of the sight they beheld on Muhammad (pbuh) is a secret which took place in his heart. A sound came to them from above which dissipated some of Muhammad’s (pbuh) astonishment. At that time he saw a large tree which does not resemble any of the trees of paradise, a tree without description, covering all the paradises, heavens, and universes. The trunk of the tree was a huge angel named Samrafeel. Muhammad (pbuh) could see nothing else besides it. It grew from an infinite, unimaginable, indescribable ocean of musk. The tree had an infinite number of branches, created from a heavenly element that has no name in a created language. The distance between one branch and another was five hundred thousand light-years. On every branch there was an infinite number of leaves. If all the created universes were placed on a single one of these leaves they would disappear, like an atom disappears inside an ocean of water. On every leaf sat a huge angel in a multi-coloured light. On his head was a crown of light and in his hand a staff of light. Written on their forehead was the inscription: “We are the inhabitants of the Furthest-Tree.” Their praise was: “Praise be to Allah Who has no end.” Their names are the Sarufiyyun, “The secret ones,” because they are created from the absolute secret of their Rabb (Lord).

 From the trunk of the tree four absolute springs issued. The first was a pure, transparent, crystal water; the second was a river of white milk; the third was a river of pleasurable, untarnished wine that elevates without abasing; the fourth was a river of pure honey mixed with gold. Inside the trunk was the prayer-niche of Jibraeel, and his constant words of praise are: Allahu Akbar: Allah is Great! to which the reply always comes from above: Ana Akbar: I am Greater! Ana Akbar: I am Greater!

 Jibraeel entered his prayer-niche and he called for the prayer. All the Sarufiyyun stood in rows and Muhammad (pbuh) led them in prayer. The prayer finished and all the Sarufiyyun were ordered to give their greetings to Muhammad (pbuh) one after the other. After this, a great angel came out from behind Jibraeel’s prayer-niche and asked Muhammad (pbuh) to approach.

 Muhammad (pbuh) and Jibraeel entered the trunk of the tree and reached in a glance the entire sight of creation. On the top of the tree they saw Adam and Hawwa and Nuh, Ibraheem, Musa, Isa, and all the other prophets whom they had just visited. With them they saw all their respective nations, sitting with them in spirit together with those of Muhammad’s nation who had already left this world. All were sitting there together, happy, basking in the love and beauty of their Rabb’s (Lord’s) mercy and praising Him.

 That Furthest-Tree carries the knowledge of all of Allah’s creation from the beginning of its sequence in time. Whatever is created is part of it and contained in it. It was called the tree “of the furthermost boundary” because everything ends in it and after it begins a new life. Allah decorated it with the light of His own essence. It has three characteristics: a continuous shade of light extending over every creation, a continuous pleasure reaching everyone from the fruit of its branches, and a continuous fragrance from its flowers scenting with beauty the life of creation.

 Then Muhammad (pbuh) and Jibraeel moved forward. A stern and severe angel appeared and covered the horizon before them. Jibraeel said: “Muhammad! This is the angel of death, Azraeel.” The angel of death said: “Welcome, Muhammad! You who bear goodness, and welcome to all the prophets and their nations. This is the place from which I gaze at the destinies of every person and seize the spirits of those whom I am commanded to bring to eternal life.”

 Muhammad (pbuh) asked: “Tell me how you take the souls of the dying.” The angel of death revealed to Muhammad (pbuh): “When Allah orders me to take the spirit of a human being at the last hour of his life and the first hour of his afterlife, I send to him my deputies who carry with them the smell of paradise and a branch from the tree of paradise which they put between his eyes. When that sweet smell reaches him and he catches a glimpse of that heavenly branch, his spirit is attracted and his soul begins to ascend to paradise, until it reaches his throat. At that time, I descend from my place and I take his spirit with the greatest care, because Allah wants this moment to be easy on His servant. I then carry his soul to paradise. On the way, whenever I pass by angels, then angels will greet this soul and salute it until it reaches the presence of its Rabb (Lord). Allah the Exalted says to that soul at that time: “Welcome to the good spirit which I created and placed in a good body! My angels! Write the upper layer of paradise as a reward for that person.” Then angels take him up to paradise, where he will see what Allah has prepared for him and he will be happy to stay there. However, Allah orders the spirit to go back to his body on earth, where he can see the people washing him, crying for him, and all those who love him standing around him until they take the body to the grave. There the soil says to him: “Welcome, my beloved one! I was always yearning for you when you were above me. Now you are in me and I will show you what I am going to give you.” Immediately, his grave will be enlarged beyond sight, until the two angels of the grave come and ask him about his Rabb (Lord) and about his belief. He will give them the correct answers by Allah’s permission. At that time they will open for him a door leading to paradise and his spirit will go back upward to the same place where Allah first called him to His presence.”

 Then Jibraeel moved forward another five hundred thousand light-years, mounted on the buraq, until they reached a place where Jibraeel began to slow down. Muhammad (pbuh) said: “Jibraeel! Why are you slowing down? Are you leaving me?” Jibraeel replied: “I cannot go further.” Muhammad (pbuh) said: “Jibraeel, don’t leave me alone.”Muhammad!”Jibraeel said, “You now have to step down from the buraq and move to a place which no-one has entered before you.” At that moment the buraq stopped and was unable to move further. Muhammad (pbuh) stepped down and moved hesitantly. Jibraeel said: “Muhammad, move forward without fear. If I were to continue with you I would be annihilated for the greatness of the Light.”

 Muhammad (pbuh) moved, and moved, and moved. He saw Mikaeel standing ahead of him, afraid and trembling. The light of his face was changing quickly from one colour to another. Muhammad (pbuh) asked: “Mikaeel, is this your station?” “Yes,” Mikaeel answered, “and if I were to trespass it I would be annihilated. But you go on and don’t stop.” Muhammad (pbuh) moved, and moved, and moved. Then he found Israfeel with his four huge wings, one of which covered his face to veil him from the light which came from the horizon of everything. Muhammad (pbuh) asked him: “Is this your station, Israfeel?” Israfeel said, “Yes. If I trespass it, that light would burn me. But you move on and do not fear.” And Muhammad (pbuh) moved, and moved, and moved. He saw the Spirit to whom Allah gave the power of earth and the heavens. From the top of his head to the bottom of his feet and from every cell of his there were faces with traits of subtle light, the number of which no-one knows but Allah, and from the each of which Allah creates an angel-spirit which looks like the Spirit, whom He then takes to himself as the spirit-angels of the Divine Presence.

 Every day the Spirit looks into hell three times, and because of the cool light of his angelic gaze the fire of hell melts until it becomes as a rainbow. The Spirit also looks into paradise three times every day and extends to it the divine light which Allah gives him. If Allah gathered the tears of the eyes of the Spirit it would flood all the created universes and make Nuh’s (Noah’s) flood seem like the drop gathered by a needle dipped into the ocean. This is the Spirit whom Allah mentioned in the Quran:

 “The day when the Spirit and the angels rise, no-one shall speak except with permission from His Rabb (Lord).”

 Muhammad (pbuh) said: “Spirit! Is this your station?” The spirit replied: “Yes, and if I trespass it I will be annihilated by the light which I am receiving. Muhammad! Move forward and do not be afraid. You are invited and you have permission.” Muhammad (pbuh) moved forward. Allah inspired his heart with the following discourse: “I the Rabb (Lord), have veiled myself from the inhabitants of paradise, as I have veiled myself from the inhabitants of the earth. As I veiled Myself from their minds, I veiled myself from their vision. I am never in anything, and I am never away from anything.”

 Muhammad (pbuh) then moved through one veil after another until he passed through one thousand veils. Finally he opened the Veil of Oneness. He found himself like a lamp suspended in the middle of a divine air. He saw a magnificent, great and unutterable matter. He asked his Rabb (Lord) to give him firmness and strength. He felt that a drop of that presence was put on his tongue and he found it cooler than ice and sweeter than honey. Nothing on earth and the seven paradises tasted like it. With this drop, Allah put into Muhammad’s heart the knowledge of the First and the Last, the heavenly and the earthly. All this was revealed to him in one instant shorter than the fastest second. He was ordered to move forward. As he moved he found himself elevated on a throne that can never be described, now or later. Three additional drops were given to him: one on his shoulder consisting in majesty, one in his heart consisting in mercy, and an additional one on his tongue which consisted in eloquence. Then a voice came from that presence, which no created being had heard before: “Muhammad! I have made you the intercessor for everyone.” At that moment Muhammad (pbuh) felt his mind enraptured and taken away to be replaced with an astonishing secret. He was placed in the fields of Allah’s Eternity and Endlessness. In the first he found no beginning and in the second he found no end. Then Allah revealed to Him: “My end is in My beginning and My beginning is in My end.”Then Muhammad (pbuh) knew that all doors were absolutely closed except those that led to Allah, that Allah cannot be described within the confine of a place in speech, and that Allah encompasses the everywhere of all places. This is a secret that no tongue can be stirred to express, no door opened to reveal, and no answer can define. He is the Guide to Himself and the Rabb (Lord) of His own description. He is the Beauty of all beauty and the speech by which to describe Himself belongs to Him alone.

 Muhammad (pbuh) then looked on his right and saw nothing except His Rabb (Lord), then on his left and saw nothing except his Rabb (Lord), then to the front, to the back, and above him, and he saw nothing except his Rabb (Lord). He hated to leave that honoured and blessed place. But Allah said: “Muhammad, you are a Messenger to My servants as all Messengers, if you stay here you would never be able to communicate My Message. Therefore descend back to earth, and communicate My message to My servants. Whenever you want to be in the same state as you are now, make your prayers, and I shall open this state for you.” This is why Muhammad (pbuh) stated: “Prayer is the apple of my eyes,” and he called it also: “Our rest.”

 Then Muhammad (pbuh) was ordered to go back to earth, but he left the self in heaven and his spirit at the Furthest-tree, and his heart in the unutterable divine presence while his secret was left suspended without place. His self wondered: “Where is the heart?” And the Heart wondered: “Where is the spirit?” And the spirit wondered: “Where is the secret?” And the secret wondered where it was. And Allah revealed:Self of Muhammad (pbuh)! I granted you the blessing and the forgiveness, and spirit! I granted you the mercy and the honour, and heart! I granted you the love and the beauty, and secret, you have Me.” Allah then revealed to Muhammad (pbuh) the order to recite: “He is the one who sends blessings on you, together with His angels, in order to bring you out from darkness into light” (33:43). “Muhammad! I have ordered the angels of all My heavens, those created and those yet uncreated, to send blessings on you and My creation unceasingly, with My own praise. I am your Rabb (Lord) Who said: My Mercy has taken over My anger. And all My angels I have created for you human beings.” And Allah ordered Muhammad (pbuh) to descend with this angelic message back to earth.

 There the Lord revealed unto His servant that which He revealed, and ordained fifty daily prayers for him. On his return, he spoke to Moses (Peace be upon him) that his followers had been enjoined to pray fifty times a day. Moses (Peace be upon him) addressing the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: Your followers cannot perform so many prayers. Go back to your Lord and ask for a remission in number.” The Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) turned to Gabriel (Jibraeel-alaiyhis salaam) as if holding counsel with him. Gabriel (Jibraeel-alaiyhis salaam) nodded, “Yes, if you desire,” and ascended with him to the Presence of Allâh. The All-Mighty Allâh, Glory is to Him, made a reduction of ten prayers. He then descended and reported that to Moses(Peace be upon him), who again urged him to request for a further reduction. Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) once more begged his Lord to reduce the number still further. He went again and again in the Presence of Allâh at the suggestion of Moses-Musa (Peace be upon him) for reduction in the number of prayers till these were reduced to five only. Moses-Musa (Peace be upon him) again asked him to implore for more reduction, but he said: I feel ashamed now of repeatedly asking my Lord for reduction. I accept and resign to His Will.” When Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) went farther, a Caller was heard saying: “I have imposed My Ordinance and alleviated the burden of My servants.”

 SOME OF THE THINGS WITNESSED DURING MIRAAJ

 Moosa (Alaihis salaam) performs Salaah in his Grave

 It is related by Hadrat Anas (Radiallahu anhu) that Rasulullah(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) said, On the night in which I was taken on the journey, I passed by Moosa (Alaihis salaam) and he was performing salaah in his grave.(Sahih Muslim Pg.268 Vol.1)

 People’s Lips Slashed with Shears

 Anas (Radiallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) said, On the night of Mi’raaj, I saw some people whose lips were being slit with scissors of fire. I asked Jibraeel who these people were and he replied that they are the khateebs who command people to do good deeds while forgetting their own selves. In another version of this Hadith it says, They are the sermonizers (of your ummah) who say such things which they themselves do not do. They read the Book of Allah, without themselves practising upon it. (Mishkaatul Masaabih Pg.438)

 People Scraping their Chests with their Fingernails

 Anas (Radiallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) said, When I was taken up during the Me’raaj, I passed by people who had fingernails of copper and they were raking their own faces and chests with them. I asked Jibraeel (Alaihis salaam) who they were and he replied that they were those who used to eat the flesh of others (i.e. slandered them) and attacked their reputations. (Abu Dawood, in Mishkaat p.249)

 The Miserable Plight of those who Consume Interest

 It has been narrated by Abu Hurairah (Radiallahu anhu) that Rasulullah(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) said, On the night of Mi’raaj, I passed by people with bellies as huge as houses (in which people stay) and inside their bellies were snakes which were visible from the outside. I asked Jibraeel (Alaihis salaam) who they were. He replied that they were those who consume interest (usury).(Mishkaatul Masaabih Pg.246)

 Angels Emphasize the Importance of Cupping

 Abdullah bin Mas’ood (Radiallahu anhu) narrates: Among the things described by Rasulullah(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) about the journey of Mi’raaj was that every group of Angels he passed by, urged him to instruct his ummah to practise cupping.”(Mishkaatul Masaabih p.389 from Tirmizi and Ibn Maajah)

 In the past, the custom of cupping was very much in vogue among the Arabs. It is a way of letting out bad and excess blood from the body and a sovereign remedy for many diseases. People have abandoned having faith in this practice today. Rasulullah(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) used to have his head and the area between his shoulders cupped. (lbid)

 The Reward of the Mujaahidoon (i.e. those who strive in the path of Allah)

 Abu Hurairah (Radiallahu anhu) reports that Nabi (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) was travelling with Jibraeel (Alaihis salaam) when they passed by a group of people who were sowing seeds in the ground and harvesting the crops on the same day. Immediately thereafter, the seeds would again be sown into the ground and the entire process would be repeated. When Nabi (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) asked Jibraeel(Alaihis salaam) who these people were, he informed him that they were those who strive in the path of Allah. The reward for their every good deed would be multiplied seven hundred times and whatever they spent, Allah Ta’ala would certainly reward them for it.

 People’s Heads Crushed with Rocks

 Nabi (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) passed by another group of people whose heads were being crushed with boulders. After becoming smashed, their heads would again resume their original shape, only to be crushed again. This process would continue ceaselessly. When he asked jibraeel (Alaihis salaam) who they were, he replied that they were those people who were neglectful of their salaah. During the time of salaah, they would remain asleep.

 The Despicable State of those who withhold their Zakaah

 Then he passed by another group of people whose private parts, from the front and behind, were wrapped in rags and they were grazing like camels and cattle. They were eating Daree’(a thorny plant of the fire of Jahannam) and Zaqqoom( a most bitter and foul smelling tree growing at the bottom of Jahannam) and the smouldering stones of Jahannam. Rasulullah(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) asked who these people were and Jibraeel (Alaihis salaam) replied, They are those who do not discharge the zakaah of their wealth.

 People Eating Spoilt Meat

 Thereafter Nabi (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) passed by a group of people in front of whom was some cooked meat in a pot. In another pot nearby, was some raw and decayed meat. These people were eating the decayed meat and leaving the cooked meat untouched. Rasulullah(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) asked Jibraeel (Alaihis salaam) who they were, and he replied that they were those men of the ummah, who, despite having their own lawful and pure wives, would spend the night in the company of adulteresses and despicable women, and remained with them till the morning. And they were those women of the ummah who had left their lawful and pure husbands to spend the night with adulterous and evil men.

 A Person Carrying a huge bundle of wood

 Then, Rasulullah(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) passed by a man who was struggling to carry a very large bundle of wood which he was unable to bear, yet he wanted to carry even more. When Nabi(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) asked who he was, Jibraeel (Alaihis salaam) replied that this was the person who had been a trustee of people’s possessions, but he had failed to discharge the trust. And yet, he was eager and willing to take on more of the things of people in trust.

 An Ox Attempts to Enter a Tiny Opening

 Thereafter, they came upon a tiny opening from which a huge ox emerged. After making its appearance, the ox wanted to return into this small hole. Nabi(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) asked who this was and Jibraeel (Alaihis salaam) replied that this was the person who, after having uttered some very serious and sinful words, was full of remorse and wished to retract them but was unable to do so.

 The Fragrance of Jannah

 Then Rasulullah(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) reached a valley from which a very beautiful fragrance emanated. The smell was of musk and it possessed a voice. Nabi(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) asked, What is this? Jibraeel (Alaihis salaam) replied that it is the voice of Jannah saying, O My Lord! Bring to me those people who have been destined to stay in me, and fulfill your promise.”

 Hearing the Shriek of Jahannam

 Then, Rasulullah(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) passed by another valley from which an unbearable voice could be heard. When he asked about it, Jibraeel (Alaihis salaam) replied that it was Jahannam imploring Allah saying, Make over to me the people who have been destined to dwell in me, and fulfill your pledge.”

 A shaitaan Trails Them

 In the Muatta of Imaam Maalik (Rahmatullahi alaih), there is a Hadith narrated by Yahya bin Sa’eed, that on the night of Mi’raaj, Nabi(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) saw a rebellious jinn pursuing him with a flame of fire. Whenever he would turn(to the right or left), he would catch sight of this Jinn. Jibraeel (Alaihis salaam) said, ” Should I not teach you some words which, if recited, will extinguish this fire and cause him(the Jinn) to fall down on his face. Upon request of Rasulullah(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) , Jibraeel(Alaihis salaam) recited the following words:

 ” Aoozu biwajhil laahil kareem wabi kaleematil laahit-taam-maati-lati la-yu-jaa-wizu-hunna barrun wala-fa-jir. Wa-min sharri ma-yanzilu minas-samaa. Wa-sharri maa-ya’ruju fie-haa, Wa-sharri maa-dha-ra-a fil-ardi, Wa-sharri maa-yakh-ruju min-haa. Wa-min fita-nil-layli wan-nahaar. Wa-min tawaa-ri-qil-layli wan-nahaar, illa taa-ri-qann yat-ruq bi-khair. Ya-Rahmaan.”

 Salaams from Ibrahim(alaiyhis salaam) to the Ummah of Rasulullah(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam)

 Abdullah bin Mas’ud(Radiallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) said, “On the night of Mi’raj, I met Hazrat Ibraheem(alaiyhis salaam) and he said to me, O Muhammad ! Convey my salaam to your Ummah and inform them that undoubtedly the soil of Jannah is pure, its water is sweet, its ground is barren and its plants are: “Subhanallahi walhamdulillahi wala ilaha illallaahu wallaahu akbar.”

 TWO OTHER GIFTS BESIDES SALAAH

On the night of Mi’raaj, apart from the gift of salaah and the promised reward of fifty salaah in lieu of five, among other bounties of Allah is the:

  •   Revelation of the last few verses of Surah Al Baqarah (i.e. from ” Aa-manar-rasoolu bimaa un-zila ilayhi mir-rab-bihee wal-mu’-minoon….till the end).
    • Sins forgiven of the ummah of Rasulullah(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam): At the same time, it was also announced that the major sins of those in the ummah of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) who do not ascribe partners with Allah will be forgiven. (Sahih Muslim p. 97 Vol. 1). This means that they will not suffer eternal punishment on account of their major sins, but will instead be pardoned either through tawba (sincere repentance) and Astighfaar (seeking the forgiveness of Allah), or after first being punished for their sins.(An Nawawi).

    SOME LESSONS FROM MIRAAJ – SYNOPSIS

     1. Sublime Position of Salaah: The greatest gift given on this miraculous journey on Mi’raj was the gift of salaah. The importance of this great gift is evident by the fact that the Prophet(sallallahu alaiyh wassallam) was called personally to the heavens and beyond to receive this injunction, whereas most other injunctions were given on earth via Jibraeel(alaiyhis salaam). Moreover, the fact that Jibraeel(alaiyhis salaam) descended the very next day after Mi’raj to teach Nabi(sallallahu alaiyh wassallam) the finer points of the method of salaah, highlights it’s importance.

    2. Neglect of Salaah: During Mi’raj, Nabi (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) passed by a group of people whose heads were being crushed with boulders. After becoming smashed, their heads would again resume their original shape, only to be crushed again. This process would continue ceaselessly. When he asked Jibraeel (Alaihis salaam) who they were, he replied that they were those people who were neglectful of their salaah. During the time of salaah, they would remain asleep.

    3. Salaah with congregation: We notice that Nabi (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) performed salaah in congregation with all the Ambiya in Masjidul-Aqsa. This also illustrates the importance of salaah in congregation. Besides the warnings on discarding salaah with the congregation, many virtues have also been mentioned for observing salaat with congregation. Abdullah bin Umar(radhiallaha anhu) reports that Nabi (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) said, ” Salaah performed in congregation exceeds the salaah performed individually(in reward) by twenty five times.” (Sahih Bukhari Vol.1)

    4. Zamzam Water: In the incident of Mi’raaj, it has also been recorded that the blessed chest of Nabi (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) was opened, and his heart removed and washed in the water of Zam Zam, and then replaced and restored to its original condition. In today’s modern, scientific age, when the practice of surgery has become an ordinary everyday occurrence, this is not at all difficult to believe. And since no other water was used, but the Blessed water of Zam Zam was used to wash the noble heart of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam), we can clearly understand the merit and excellence of this water.

    5. Importance of Masjidul Aqsa in Islam: The fact that Rasulullah(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) was taken to this Glorified Masjid and not to any other Masjid to perform salaah and lead the Ambiyaa, illustrates the pivotal role it plays in the life of a Muslim. In a hadith narrated by Hazrat Anas(R.A.): Rasullullah(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) has said that “the reward for salaah in his Masjid(Masjidun Nabawi) and in that of Masjidul Aqsa is of 50 000 prayers, but the reward of salaah in the kaaba is equal to a 100 000 prayers.” (Ibn Majah)

    6. Some Meritorious recitations given during Mi’raj:

    • Revelation of the last few verses of Surah Al Baqarah (i.e. from ” Aa-manar-rasoolu bimaa un-zila ilayhi mir-rab-bihee wal-mu’-minoon….till the end).
    • Increase recitation of 3 rd Kalimah: Rasullullah(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) said, “On the night of Mi’raj, I met Hazrat Ibraheem (alaiyhis salaam) and he said to me, O Muhammad ! Convey my salaam to your Ummah and inform them that undoubtedly the soil of Jannah is pure, its water is sweet, its ground is barren and its plants are: “Subhanallahi walhamdulillahi wala ilaha illallaahu wallaahu akbar.”

    7. Admonitions and Punishments witnessed during Mi’raj: During this journey Rasulullah(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) was shown the different punishments meted out to those who transgressed and were dis-obedient. These experiences serve as a warning to the Ummah to refrain from dis-obedience and those actions that displease Allah Subhana Wata’ala.

    1. Refrain from Teaching without practicing:Punishment for this is “lips were being slit with scissors of fire- they are the khateebs who command people to do good deeds while forgetting their own selves.”

    2. Refrain from Slandering: Punishment for this is “people who had fingernails of copper and they were raking their own faces and chests with them.”

    3. Refrain from Consuming Interest: Punishment for this is “people with bellies as huge as houses (in which people stay) and inside their bellies were snakes which were visible from the outside.”
    4. Refrain from fornication and adultery: Punishment for this is: ” These people were eating the decayed meat and leaving the cooked meat untouched.”

    5. Refrain from Abusing peoples trust: Punishment for this is: “A man who was struggling to carry a very large bundle of wood which he was unable to bear, yet he wanted to carry even more.”

    6. Refrain from witholding Zakaat: Punishment for this is: “They were eating Daree'(a thorny plant of the fire of Jahannam) and Zaqqoom( a most bitter and foul smelling tree growing at the bottom of Jahannam) and the smouldering stones of Jahannam.”

    In short all these punishments were shown to Rasulullah(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) so that he may warn mankind to abandon sin and transgression and encourage mankind to obedience and goodness. It is through His Divine Mercy that Allah Ta’ala has shown these incidents to mankind, so that one has the opportunity, now in this world to mend one’s ways before it is too late.

    7. To believe and practice un-conditionally as Hazrat Abu Bakr(R.A.) did: It was belief that distinguished Abu Bakr as-Siddiq and placed him in a rank never to be equalled or surpassed by any of the companions or those who would come after them. Abu Bakr(R.A.) was known by the nickname ‘as-Siddiq (the believer)’ more than his real name. He gained that nickname because he immediately and unconditionally believed in what the prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said about his journey to the heavens. Abu Bakr(R.A.) had based his Imaan on his belief and practiced accordingly; Abu Bakr(R.A.)’s belief is that the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) is the Informer. His practice of that was based upon the fact that Allah is the Legislator. Allah Ta’ala says, ‘The Messenger believes in what has been revealed to him from His Lord, and (so do) the believers. Each one believes in Allah, His Angels, His Books and His Messengers. (They say), ‘We make no distinction between one another of His Messengers’ and they say, ‘We hear, and we obey. (We seek) Your forgiveness, our Lord, and to You is the return (of all).’ (2:285) The lesson for us, the Muslims, is that if it is in the Qur’an or reported authentically as a Sunnah, then we should believe in it, and act upon it.

    ALLAH TESTS THE MUSLIM’S BELIEF

     Allah tested the faith of His slaves by requiring them to believe in His Messenger’s account of Al-Isra and Al-Mi’raj. And remember when We told you: “Verily, your Lord has encompassed mankind. And We made not the vision that We showed you but a trial for mankind, and the accursed tree in the Quran. We warn them and make them afraid but it only increases their disbelief, oppression and disobedience to Allah.” Surah Al-Isra, The Journey By Night, 17:60.

     The Iman (Belief) of some of the Muslims was weak. They returned to disbelief because they could not accept that it was possible for Allah to cause the Prophet to travel to Al-Aqsa and return to Mecca in one night. But we are Muslims and we believe in the Power of Allah. Verily, His command when He intends a thing is only that He says: “Be! – and it is.” Surah 36, Ya Sin,36:82.

     So we must not compare our ability with the Ability of Allah or our power with the Power of Allah. Allah is the Lord and Sustainer of the Universe and He is the Lord of His Messenger’s journey by night and his ascension to the Heavens. Everything is possible for Allah. He controls time and so He stopped time in order that the Holy Prophet could return to his bed while it was still warm.

     Imam ibn Kathir mentions in his commentary from a work called Dhalail an-Nubaway that Abu Sufiyan went to As-Sham on business and the Roman Emperor, Heraclius asked him about the Prophet. Abu Sufiyan wanted to denounce the Holy Prophet, blessings and peace be upomn him, but he was unable to lie about him. Then he remembered the story of Al-Isra and Al-Mi’raj, and he said to the Emperor: “I will tell you something which will prove that this man is a liar. He pretended that he had traveled to Masjid Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem and returned to Mecca in the same night.”

     The Bishop of Jerusalem happened to be with them and when he heard this he said: “I remember that night!”

     Caesar looked at him with surprise and said: “What do you know. Please tell us!” The Bishop continued: “Every night before I sleep I go around and make sure all the doors of the mosque are locked, but on this night I locked all the doors except for one. I could not shut it. I called one of my workers and he tried without success. Then I called some carpenters, but they could not make the door close. Eventually, I left it open and I went to sleep. In the morning I was so certain about it that I told my congregation that the door could not be closed because during the night a prophet had come and prayed in our mosque.”

     Abu Dhar, may Allah be pleased with him, related, “I asked the Holy Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him: “Did you see your Lord Allah?” The Holy Prophet answered: “My sight was blinded by an overpowering light.” In another hadith from the same sources, Abu Dhar related that the Holy Prophet told him: “Allah showed me Paradise. I saw that its mountains were made of pearls and its dust was musk.”

    Later, when Urwa ibn Zubair asked his aunt Aisha: “Did the Holy Prophet see Allah in the Mi’raj?” She replied: “You have made my hair stand on end!” (How could you ask such a question?)

     The idol worshippers went to Abu Bakr and told him about the Holy Prophet’s night journey. “Your friend pretended that he traveled to Masjid Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem and returned to Mecca in one night.” They scoffed. They did not mention the Holy Prophet’s ascension to the Heavens. Abu Bakr said:“Did he really say that?” “Yes, he did.” They replied. Then Abu Bakr said: “By Allah, if Muhammad himself has said so, then it is true. He tells us that the revelation comes to him directly from the Heaven in the night or the day and we believe him. Isn’t that a greater miracle? I swear by Allah that if he told me he had ascended into the Heavens I would still believe him.” Abu Bakr went directly to the Holy Prophet and said: “You spoke the Truth, O Prophet of Allah!” From that day on the Prophet called Abu Bakr “As-Siddiq”.

     Ahl As-Sunnah (The people of the Sunnah), believe that the Holy Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, made Al-Isra and Al-Mi’raj with his body and soul. If the journey had only been by soul the unbelievers would not have accused him of lying because, in a dream, the ordinary man can see anything that he wishes and no one will argue with him. If Al-Mi’raj were only by soul, a lot of Muslims would not have reverted to disbelief. However, Allah says: “The eye (of the Prophet) did not turn aside, nor see beyond what was permitted.” An-Najm 53:17.

     “And the eye is a part of the body. And He also said: Glorified is He Who carried His slave by night from Al-Masjid Al-Haram to Masjid Al-Aqsa.” Al-Isra: 17:1.

     Here the Holy Quran clearly states that Allah carried His slave, not the soul of His slave. This makes it clear that the Prophet, peace be upon him, traveled to Jerusalem and returned to Mecca in his body.

    1.Associating partners with Allaah (Shirk)

    • Great Shirk: worshipping beings other than Allaah (proof all over Qur’ân)
    • Small Shirk: Riya

    The Prophet (saw), “Should I not inform you of that which I fear for you even more than the dangers of dajjaal? It is the hidden shirk: A person stands to pray and he beautifies his prayer because he sees the people looking at him”. (Sahih; Sunan ibn Majah)

    2. Committing murder: (Furqan; 68)

    3. Performing Sorcery (2: 102)

     4. Not performing the Prayers (Maryam: 59)

     5. With holding the Zakah (Charity) (3: 180)

     6. Breaking the fast of Ramadhan or not fasting in that month without a valid excuse. Prophet (saw) said, “Islaam is built upon five pillars: testifying that there is no true god except Allah and that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah, performing the prayers, paying the Zakah, making the pilgrimage to the house, and fasting the month of Ramadhan(Sahih al-Jami # 2837)

     7. Not performing the pilgrimage when one has the ability to do so (above hadith)

     8. Disobeying one’s parents (al-Isra: 23)

     9. Cutting off the ties of relationships (Muhammad: 22)

     10. Committing adultery or fornication (al-Isra: 30)

     11. Committing sodomy
    The Prophet (saw) said, “Allaah will not look at a person (with pleasure) who commits sodomy with a man or a woman” (Sahih al-Jami # 7678)

     12. Taking or paying interest (2: 275)

     13. Devouring the wealth of orphans (4:10)

     14. Forging statements concerning Allaah or forging Hadith (al-Zumar: 60)

     15. Fleeing from the battle (al-Anfal: 16)

     16. Wrongdoing, deception or oppression on the part of the ruler (al-Shura: 42)

     17. Being arrogant, boastful, vain (al-Nahl: 23)

     18. Giving false testimony (al-Furqan: 72)

     19. Drinking alcoholic beverages (5: 90)

     20. Gambling (5: 90)

     21. Slandering innocent women (al-Nur: 23)

     22. Misappropriating something from the booty (3:161)

     23. Stealing (5:38)

     24. Committing highway robbery (5: 33)

     25. Making false oath
    Prophet (saw) said, “If someone is ordered to take an oath and he takes a false oath in order to take possession of property of a Muslim, then he will incur Allah’s wreath when he meets Him” (Sahih al-Jami # 6083)

     26. Committing oppression (al-Shuara: 277)

     27. Levying illegal taxes
    Prophet (saw) said, “Do you know who the bankrupt is? The bankrupt form my nation is the one who appears on the Day of Resurrection having performed the prayers, fasted and paid the zakah, but had also abused that person, slandered that person, wrongfully taken the wealth of that person and spilled the blood of that person. These people will take from his good deeds. If his good deeds are thereby exhausted, he will be given their sins and then he will be thrown into the hell-fire” (Sahih al-Jami #87)

     28. Consuming forbidden wealth or taking it by any means (2: 188)

     29. Committing suicide (4: 29)

     30. Being a perpetual liar (3: 61)

     31. Ruling by laws other than the laws of Islam (5: 44)

     32. Engaging in bribery (2: 188)

     33. Women appearing like men and vice-versa
    Prophet (saw) said, “Allah’s curse is upon women who appear like men and upon men who appear like women” (Sahih al-Jami # 4976)

     34. Being a dayyouth
    Dayyouth: is the one who approves the indecency of his womenfolk and who is void of jealousy or the pimp who facilitates indecency between two people
    Prophet (saw) said, “Allah has forbidden the Paradise to three people: the alcoholic, the runaway slave, and the one who is complacent in the face of the evil deeds that his family is performing” (Sahih al-Jami # 3047)

     35. Marrying for the purpose of making a woman allowable for another (Baqarah)

     36. Not keeping clean from the remains of urine
    Ibn Abbas reported that Prophet (saw) passed by a grave and said, “These two are being punished and they are not being punished for something hard. But it is a great sin. One of them did not keep himself clean form his urine and the other went around spreading tales” (Sahih al-Jami # 2436)

     37. Acting for show (al-Maoon: 4-6)

     38. Acquiring knowledge only for worldly gain or concealing knowledge (2: 160)

     39. Breaching trusts (al-Anfal: 27)

     40. Reminding people of one’s kindness (2: 27)

     41. Denying predestination (al-Qamar: 49)
    “If Allah were to punish the inhabitants of the heavens and earths, then He would punish and He would not be doing injustice to them. If He were to have mercy on them, His mercy would be greater than from their actions. If a person had amount of gold equivalent to Mount Uhud or similar to Mount Uhud and spent it in the Path of Allah, (that spending) would not be accepted form him by Allah until he believes in the preordainment of good and evil. And until he knows that what afflicted him was not going to miss him and what missed him was not going to afflict him. If you were to die with any belief other than that, you would enter the Hellfire” (Kitab al-Sunnah by Ibn Abu Asi # 245. Albani says that its chain is sahih)

     42. Eavesdropping on other’s private conversation (Hujarat: 12)

     43. Spreading harmful tales (al-Qamar: 10)

     44. Cursing others
    Prophet (saw) said, “Abusing a Muslim is evil and fighting him is disbelief” (Sahih al-Jami # 3598)

     45. Not fulfilling one’s promises
    Prophet (saw) said, “Whoever has a four characteristic is a complete hypocrite. Whoever posses any of these characteristics has the characteristics of hypocrisy until he gives it up; whenever he makes a promise, he breaks it up…” (Bukhari)

     46. Believing in what soothsayers & astrologers say
    Prophet (saw) said, Whoever goes to fortuneteller and asks him about something will not have his prayer accepted for forty nights” (Sahih al-Jami # 5816)

     47. A wife being rebellious to her husband (4: 34)

     48. Putting pictures of beings with souls on clothing, curtains, rocks and any other items
    Prophet (saw) said, “…the people who will receive the greatest punishment on the day of judgment are those who compete with Allah in creation [those who make pictures or statues]” (sahih al-Jami # 1691)

     49. Striking one’s self, wailing, tearing one’s clothing, pulling one’s hair & similar deeds as a form of mourning
    Prophet (saw) said, “One who strikes his cheeks or tears his clothing and shouts in the manner of pre-Islamic culture is not one of us” (Sahih al-Jami # 5713)

     50. Committing injustice (al-Shura: 42)

     51. Being overbearing or taking advantage of the weak, slaves, wives or animals
    Prophet (saw) said, “Allah will torture those who torture people in this world” (Muslim)

     52. Harming neighbors
    Prophet (saw) said, “A person whose neighbor is not safe from his mischief will not enter paradise” (sahih al-Jami # 7002)

     53. Harming and abusing Muslims (al-Ahzab: 58)

     54. Wearing one’s clothes too long, i.e. below the ankles
    Prophet (saw) said, “What is below the ankles will be in the hellfire “ (Bukhari)

     55. Harming the slaves of Allah
    Prophet (saw) said that Allah said, “Whoever shows enmity to a slave of Mine (Allah’s) I shall be at war with him” (Sahih al-Jami # 1778)

     56. Men wearing silk & gold
    Prophet (saw) said, “Gold and silk have been permitted for the females of my nation and forbidden for its males” (Sahih al-Jami # 209)
    Prophet (saw) said, “Men who wears silk in this world will have no portion [of heavens] in the hereafter” (Muslim)

     57. Running away of a slave

     58. Sacrificing animals for other than Allah
    Prophet (Saw) said, “The one who sacrifices for other than Allah is cursed by Allah”(Sahih al-Jami # 4988)

     59. Claiming that somebody is one’s father while the claimant knows it is not true
    Prophet (saw) said, “One who claims that someone is his father and knows that it is not true will be forbidden of paradise” (Sahih al-Jami # 5865)

     60. Arguing or quarreling for show & not seeking the truth
    Prophet (saw) said, “Whoever argues in support of something that is wrong and he knows it Allah will be angry with him until he stops” (Sahih al-Jami # 6073)

     61. Not allowing excess water to flow to others
    Prophet (saw) said, “Whoever doesn’t allow the access water or pasture for others will not share in the blessings of Allah on the day of judgment” (Sahih al-Jami # 6436)

     62. Not measuring the weights properly (al-Mutafafifeen: 1-3)

     63. Thinking that one is safe from Allah’s planning (al-Araf: 99)

     64. Eating carrion, blood or pork meat (al-Anam: 145)

     65. Not praying in the congregation & praying by one’s self without a valid excuse
    Prophet (saw) said, “Whoever hears the call to prayer and doesn’t come to prayer, there is no prayer for him say for the one who has valid excuse” (Sahih al-Jami # 6176)

     66. Continually not performing the Friday prayers and congregational prayers without any valid excuse
    Prophet (saw) said, “If people don’t stop abandoning the Friday Prayers Allah may seal their hearts and they will become headless” (Muslim)

     67. Harming others by manipulation one’s bequests (4: 12)

     68. Being deceitful or deceptive (Fatir: 43)

     69. Spying on the Muslims & pointing out their secrets (al-Kalam: 11)

     70. Abusing or reviling anyone of the Companions of the Prophet (saw)
    Prophet (saw) said, “Do not revile my companions for, by the one in whose hands is my soul, if you were to spend in charity a mountain of gold similar to mount Uhud it would not be equal to a handful or a half a handful (or what they have done)” (Sahih al-Jami # 7187)

     Please make sincere repentance to Allah before as Ali (ra) said, “Today is deed without reckoning and tomorrow is reckoning without deeds”. Sincere repentance has four conditions :

    • Feeling bad for the sin
    • Firm commitment in intention not to repeat sin (whether it happens again is not a condition if one tried his best)
    • Make repentance to Allah by Du’a and asking or better crying for forgiveness
    • If some person has been wronged because of this sin then one needs to make up to this person.

    Music. The shaitan, indeed, makes what is good look evil and what is evil look good.

     References within the context of the Holy Qur`aan along with the Hadith of the Prophet (PBUH) confirm that music is haraam.

     Interpreters of the Qur`aan have defined the term `lahwal hadith` which is mentioned in the Qur`aan as:

     1) Singing and listening to songs.
    2) Purchasing of male and female singers.
    3) Purchase of instruments of fun and amusement.

     When Sayyidana Abdullah Ibne Mas`ood , a very close companion of our Prophet (PBUH) was asked about the meaning of the term `lahwal hadith`, he replied :

     “I swear by Him besides whom there is no other God,that it refers to ghinaa (singing ).”

     his statement, he repeated three times. This view is unanimously supported by the four Khalifas, the eminent Sahabaah, Tabi`een, the four Imaams and other reliable Islaamic scholars and authorities.

     PROOF FROM THE QURAN

     

     1st Proof from the Qur’an

     “But there are, among men, those who purchase idle tales, without knowledge (or meaning), to mislead (men) from the Path of Allah and throw ridicule (on the Path): for such there will be a humiliating Penalty.” [31:6]

    Ibn Abbas (radhi Allahu anh) said idle tales in this verse “lahu al hadith” is evil and music.

     Mujahid (rahimahu Allah ) said idle tales in this verse “lahu al hadith” was the drum.

     Hassan AlBasri said this verse was revealed about music and musical instruments. Alsady included in this evil talk and musical instruments.

     Ibn al Qayyim (rahimahu Allah ) said, “The interpretation of the sahabah (companions) and Tabi’een (their followers) of idle tales in this verse “lahu al hadith” is sufficient in that it means music.”

     Abu Alsahbaa’ said I asked Ibn Masoood about Allah’s verse. He said, “Wallahi the one and only one its music – repeating it three times.” (This is authentic in being attributed to Ibn Masood and Ibn Abbas)

     Ibn Umar (radhi Allahu anh) also said it means Music.

     Therefore, if you take time to observe around you will see that music is a path to adultery and fornication. It plants the seed of hypocrisy , the seed of polytheism. When people turn to music, like it and get addicted to it, it becomes the alcohol of the mind. One turns away from the Qur’an more than anything else once their hearts become addicted to music.

     Allah says, “..for such there will be a humiliating Penalty .” for those who replaces the Qur’an with idle tales.

     2nd Proof from the Qur’an

    “Lead to destruction those whom thou canst among them, with thy (seductive) voice, make assaults on them with thy cavalry and thy infantry; mutually share with them wealth and children; and make promises to them. “But Satan promises them nothing but deceit.” 17:64

    Mujahid (rahimahu Allah ) said, “..and his voice is music and evil.”

    Ibn al Qayyim (rahimahu Allah ) said, “everyone who speaks in disobedience to Allah and or user of musical instruments, flute, haram duff, drums is the voice of the shytan.”

    3rd Proof from the Qur’an :

    “Do ye then wonder at this recital? And will ye laugh and not weep. Wasting your time in vanities?” 53: 59-61

     Ikrimah (rahimahu Allah) said Ibn abbas said Sumood in the verse mean music; when you say usmud lana it means sing to us.

     He said they used to when they heard the Qur’an sing, so Allah revealed the verse.

     Ibn Katheer (rahimahu Allah) said in his tafseer under this verse, Sufian Althawry narrated that his father heard Ibn abbas say usmud for us means sing for us.

     PROOF FROM THE SUNNAH

     

     1st Proof from the Sunnah

     Narrated Abu ‘Amir or Abu Malik Al-Ash’ari that he heard the Prophet saying, “From among my followers there will be some people who will consider illegal sexual intercourse, the wearing of silk, the drinking of alcoholic drinks and the use of musical instruments, (ma`aazif) as lawful.

     Detailed analysis of the arabic word `ma`aazif ` shows that it refers to musical instruments, the sounds of those musical instruments and singing with the accompaniment of instruments.

     This hadith shows that music is haram through two avenues:

     a. The prophet (sallah allahu alieh wasalam) mentioned that they will make permissible, meaning its haram/prohibited and they will make it permissible. Note all the examples in the hadith are issues that are haram.

     b. The prophet (sallah allahu alieh wasalam) combined the musical instruments with that which is decisively haram like adultery/fornication and alcohol. Had music not been prohibited then it would not have been combined to that which is prohibited.

     Had there not been other than this hadith to show music was haram it would have been enough.

     Sheikh Al Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahu Allah) said this hadith proves musical instruments to be haram and “ma’azif” (the term in the hadith is a term used for all musical instruments.)

     Then, he went on to say of those who play music or listen to it in the name of Islam, “And know that in the first three centuries whether in Arabian Peninsula, Sham, Yemen, Egypt, Morocco, Iraq, or Khurasan there were none of those who were religious and righteous of worshippers who gather to listen to music whether with a duff, clappings or flute. And, it was done after the first three centuries, when the imams saw this, they refuted it.”

     2nd Proof from the Sunnah

     Naafey (rahimahu Allah) said Ibn Umar heard a musical instrument so he (sallah allahu alieh wasalam) placed his fingers in his ears and walked away from the area and said, “Naafey can u hear anything?” I said, “No!” He took his fingers out of his ears and said, “I was with the prophet (sallah allahu alieh wasalam) and he heard like this and did as I did.”

     Some claim this hadith is not proof on the prohibition of musical instruments because had it been haram the prophet (sallah allahu alieh wasalam) would have plugged his ears and ordered Ibn Umar to do so, and Ibn Umar would have ordered Nafe to do that as well.

     The reply to that is there is a difference between “sama-e” and “istima-e” “Sama-e” is to unintentionally hear music and “Istima” is to purposely listen to music or go in a setting where there is music. Here, Ibn Umar and the prophet (sallah allahu alieh wasalam) did not purposely listen and neither did did Naafey.

    Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahu Allah ) said, “What one does not intend of listening to is not haram as all scholars agree. Therefore, the prohibition or reward is based on whether it’s istima-e or sama-e. Someone who purposely listen to Qur’an “istima-e” will get reward; yet another who listens accidentally (or not wanting or seeking) does not get reward. Likewise, with musical instruments. Listening to it unintentionally and without seeking it will not hurt him.

     Ibn Qudamah AlMaqdise (rahimahu Allah) said that Ibn Umar (radhi Allahu anhuma) did not intend to listen since he was just a passer-by and the prophet (sallah allahu alieh wasalam) walked away from that street. He (sallah allahu alieh wasalam) would not have came back had he not known the music ended and neither would he have taken his fingers out of his ears. Therefore, it was necessary for Ibn Umar (radhi Allahu anhuma) not to place his fingers in his ears to let the prophet (sallah allahu alieh wasalam) know when the music ended.

     3rd Proof from the Sunnah

     The prophet (sallah allahu alieh wasalam) walked with Abdur-Rahman bin ‘Awf in between pine trees. The prophet (sallah allahu alieh wasalam) then placed his son Ibrahim on his lap and began to cry. Abdur-Rahman bin ‘Awf said, “Oh prophet of Allah do you cry when you stop us from crying?”“I did not deter you from crying. I deterred you from two evil sinful voices – a voice with musical devilish instruments and a voice at a misery with scraping of the face and shredding of the clothe.” He said,

     SAYING OF IMAMS REGARDING MUSIC

     

     1. The Madhab of Imam Abu Hanifa:

     The Madhab of Imam Abu Hanifa is among the most critical and harshest quotes on music. Imam Abu Hanifa’s students clearly declared musical instruments haram and anyone who listens to it is considered a fasiq whose testimony is not accepted.

     Some went on to say that listening to music is fisq (astray) and enjoying it is kufr. They used weak hadith to support that statement.

     They also said one must strive not to listen to it if he passes by it or if its near him.

     Abu Yusuf, one of Abu Hanifa’s most famous teachers, said, “A house that music is heard from can be raided without permission because ordaining the good and forbidding the evil is fard, and if we require permission for entry in such situation then people would not be able to perform the fard of forbidding the evil.”

     2. The Madhab of Imam Malik:

     Imam Malik (rahimahu Allah ) was asked about those who play the drums and flute and those who enjoy listening to it as one passes by.

     He said one must get up and leave unless he is sitting for something extremely urgent or cannot get up. If he hears it in his pathway then he should go back or speed forward.

     He said music is something the fusooq (astray) do.

     Ibn Abdal Bar (rahimahu Allah) said scholars agree by ijma on the issue of riba, that the dowry of the prostitution is taking payment for weeping over the dead, forturne tellers those who claim to know unforeseen and news of the skies, musical instruments, and all wrongful play.

     3. The Madhab of Imam Shafi’i:

     His students and those truly knowledgeable of his madhab clearly declared music and musical instruments haram and denied that he ever said it was halal.

     The author of “Kifayat al Akbar”, who is a Shafi’i scholar, considered musical instruments an evil that needed to be forbidden upon those who hear or see it. He said that a person is not excused if scholars who go with the flow are present (make a fatwa for it) or if they are poor (meaning the Sufis as that was one of their names back then). Because they are ignorant followers of everyone who barks. They never follow the brightness of knowledge but bend to every wind.

     4. The Madhab of Imam Ahmad:

     Imam Ahmad’s son, Abdullah, asked his father about music. His father said, “It grows hypocrisy within one’s heart and I dislike it.” And, then he said Imam Maliks quote that only fusooq (astray) do it.

     Ibn Qudamah, who is considered among the biggest Imam of the Hanbali Madhabs, said, “Musical instruments are haram like guitar, trumpets, flutes, drums and so on. Whoever continues to listen to it, his testimony is rejected.

     And then he goes on to say, “If one goes to a wedding with prohibition like alcohol musical instrument and can forbid evil then he must otherwise he should not attend.”

     5. Ibn Taymiyyah:

     He said, as evident with the four imam’s Madhab, that all musical instruments are haram. As the prophet (sallah allahu alieh wasalam) said in AlBukhari that there will be those who make halal musical instruments and that they will be transformed into apes and pigs. He notes that none of the followers of the four imams mentioned a dispute amongst them on this matter.

     Ibn Taymiyyah also said musical instruments are alcohol to one’s soul, and it does to one soul more than what alcholol does.

     6. More Scholars:

     At-Tabary (rahimahu Allah) said the scholars of all countries have made ijama3 that music is hated and must be avoided. He mentioned quotes by Abul Faraj saying that “Alkafal, from our madhab, said ‘that one who listens to music or dances, his testimony cannot be accepted, as we have shown it is not permissible. Therefore, taking salary for it is haram as well.’” AlQasem said, “Music is of evil.”

     Alhassan (rahimahu Allah ) said if people invite u to a marriage that contains music then their invitation should not be accepted.

     SCHOLARS ON DESTROYING MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS

     a. Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahu Allah) said “It is permissible to destroy musical instruments according to most scholars, and it is the mathab of Imam Malik and the selected chosen two among the Hanbalis.”

     He also said it was not permissible to manufacture musical instruments.

     b. Ibn Shaibah narrated that a man broke a musical instrument for another. They disputed the matter to a judge, and the judge found that the owner of the instrument receives nothing in compensation since it is a haram instrument with no value.

     c. AlBahawy (rahimahu Allah) issued a fatwa in declaring all musical instruments haram and that they cannot be sold unless they are destroyed , They cannot be used for musical purpose but would be sold for its value of wood or metal.

     EXCEPTION

     Once we know from the solid proof mentioned that musical instruments are haram, then anyone who mentions a musical instrument to be halal must present proof.

     Among the exception, and the only one in fact, is the use of a duff (a small hand drum) with no metallic tones on them.

     The prophet (sallah allahu alieh wasalam) made an exception to that instrument for ‘Eid and weddings.

     It is not correct to claim that since he (sallah allahu alieh wasalam) permitted that, then drums must be halal, or other similar instruments are halal. They had drums then, and scholars named drums specifically among the haram. The scholars even specified the duff (small drum) with metal on its sides to make noise as being haram as well.

     In one hadith narrated by Aisha (radhi Allahu anh) two young girls were chanting with the duff on ‘Eid while the prophet (sallah allahu alieh wasalam) had his back turned to them because he was preoccupied. Abu Bakr (radhi Allahu anh) walked in and scolded them for using instruments in the prophet’s house which the prophet (sallah allahu alieh wasalam) forbade. The prophet (sallah allahu alieh wasalam) told Abu Bakr to let them be for it was the day of ‘Eid.

     We learn from that hadith that the prophet (sallah allahu alieh wasalam) heard the duff play, meaning its not haram. Therefore, it is not haram upon men to hear it even though it was known that men never played it.

     MISCONCEPTIONS FROM THOSE WHO THINK MUSIC IS HALAL

    1. They claim all the hadith on music are weak.

     The reply is that they are all strong ahadeeth. Some ahadeeth are in the 2nd most authentic book after the Qur’an such as Sahih Bukhari. Although some ahadeeth are weak, there are more solid authentic hadith that prohibits music. We mentioned a few in this paper.

     The scholars of the past have all united on the fact that the hadeeth on musical instruments are authentic, with the exception of Abu Hamed Alghazaly, who was not known to be a scholar of hadith, and Ibn Hazm.

     Ibn Hazm said, “Had he known the hadith to be authentic he would consider music haram, we have no solid proof that it is authentic.”

     2. Some say music is not haram for itself but only haram if combined to setting where there is alcohol or other issues that are haram.

     The rule that it must be combined to an additional matter is wrong. With this argument, we could also say fornication is not haram unless you drink alcohol and listen to music because that is all included in the hadith.

     According to their rule we say, “Why would fornication be haram in itself when it is combined in prohibition of musical instruments and alcohol?”

     There are verses in the Qur’an where Allah says, “He never believed in Allah and never encouraged to pay to the poor.”

     According to their rule we can also argue that “Not believing in Allah is not haram unless you do not pay the poor.”

     That is a ridiculous rationale.

     3. Some say music and musical instruments are not idle tales (lahu alhadith) as mentioned in the verse, or the verse is not clear on it being music.

     Music was the interpretation of the sahabah. On it, Ibn Masood gave an oath three times. Scholars followed and agreed in what he said.

     The Qur’an is not for me and you to guess its meaning, the Qur’an interprets each other or the prophet Muhammad (sallah allahu alieh wasalam) interpreted it or the sahabah interpreted it.

     The rule in Usool is that that when the sahabah say “this is meant by this in the Qur’an or this is the ruling on this”, it has hukm alrafa3. Meaning, the ruling on what they said is as though the prophet (sallah allahu alieh wasalam) said it, simply because they would not give commands or prohibitions without knowing or hearing it from the prophet (sallah allahu alieh wasalam). Allah commanded us in the Qur’an “and a praise to those who follow them righteously” 9:100. Hence, if we do not follow them righteously, we are not worthy of the praise. We can only follow them righteously by following their interpretation of Islam, the Qur’an in particular.

     4. Some use the authentic hadith we mentioned where two girls were chanting warrior lyrics with a duff on the ‘Eid while the prophet (sallah allahu alieh wasalam) listened as proof music is halal.

     The reply is that they were two young girls who had not reach puberty and even Aisha herself was very young. Ibn Al Qayyim (rahimahu Allah ) stated that we do not know of Aisha’s sayings except that she hated music and degraded it. In fact she taught her nephew AlQasim bin Muhammad the hatred of music as he was her student and who had express quotes against it.

     This situation was on ‘Eid and using the duff only (small drum), therefore, it is tolerable if one uses only the duff and on the ‘Eid or wedding. Because this was an exception. To add more exceptions proof must always be present.

     5. Some of those addicted to music go on to say the sahabah and tabe3een listened to music

     The reply is what Imam Muslim in his introduction said quoting Ibn Abdal Bar, “The chain of a narration is part of Islam, without it, people would have said what they want, when they want.”

     This is a call to bring solid authentic proof for every claim. If the proof is not available on the issue, then it must not be valid.

     People who were with the prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) in his days and nights are the most knowledgeable people in Islam. Around them the Qur’an was revealed, and unto them it was recited first. They are the purest of the pure in the Arabic language. We do not leave their to that of people who come seven centuries later, or even 14 centuries later, who most likely are not well versed in the Arabic language.

     “The Prophet compared musical instruments to things that are definitely known to be haraam, namely zina and alcohol. If instruments were not haraam, he would not have made this comparison. The evidence of this hadeeth that singing is haram is definitive. Even if no other hadeeth or aayah spoke about musical instruments, this hadeeth would be sufficient to prove that they are haraam, especially the kind of singing and music that is known among people nowadays, the essence of which is obscenity and foul talk, based on all kinds of musical instruments such as guitars, drums, flutes, ouds, zithers, organs, pianos, violins and other things that make it more enticing, such as the voices of these effeminate singers and whores.”

     Muslims are aware that nothing has been prohibited by Allah except that which is harmful to the welfare of a Muslim individual and the society as a whole. The divine attribute behind the prohibition of music can be comprehended by looking into the diverse influence music can have.

    Experiments carried out by doctors and professors have confirmed that the music of today is such that it does not only affect the brain, but each and every organ of one`s body. There is a close relationship between music and bodily movements. We find that people listening to music automatically start tapping their fingers and feet, as if the music is permeating in their blood.

     It is also proved that music affect`s one`s emotions, increases arousal in terms of alertness and excitement and also leads to various physiological changes in the person. In a psychology experiment, it was found that listening to moderate type of music increased one`s normal heart beat, whilst listening to rock music the heart beat increased even further, yet people claim that music has no effect.

     It is a very ignorant and misguided attitude to percieve music as a form of pleasure and passing of time, since the messages of today`s music follow a general theme of love, fornication, drugs and freedom.

     We find that the whole world is obsessed with the kufr idea of freedom, i.e. freedom of speech, freedom of movement, etc. In modern schools and universities, we observe independence, free expression and secular thinking being encouraged. This idea of freedom, “ It`s my life, I`ll do what I want” is a predominant, underlying theme of today`s music. It is being used as a means for drilling those modern ideologies that are totally contrary to Islamic Shariah and values, into the minds of Muslims.

    One should abstain from evil audacities such as listening to music and encourage others to do the same too.

     May Allah increase us in our strength to obey Him. Ameen

     The Qur’an, in Surah Nisa, chapter 4 verse 3, states that a Muslim is allowed to marry a maximum of only four wives. Another verse in the Qur’an makes Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) an exception to this rule.

     In Surah Ahzab chapter 33 verse 52:

    “It is not lawful for thee (to marry more) women after this, nor to change them for (other) wives, even though their beauty attract thee, except any thy right hand should possess (as hand maidens) and Allah doth watch over all things “. [Al-Qur’an 33:52]

     This verse clearly gives Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) the permission to keep all his previous wives but prohibits him to marry any more women except those which his right hand possessed i.e. slave girls.

     The Prophet (pbuh) was allowed to keep all his previous wives because no one was allowed to marry the Prophet’s wives (ra) after they were divorced or widowed as they were ummul-momineen (mother of the believers).

     People falsely accuse the Prophet (pbuh) of being hypersexual (Maaz-Allah), because he had eleven wives. If you read the life history of the Prophet (pbuh), only two of his marriages one with Khadija (ra), and the other, with Ayesha (ra) were marriages in the normal course. All his other marriages were contracted as a necessity and were based on various considerations.

     The first marriage of the Prophet (pbuh) took place when he was 25 years of age and he married Khadija (ra) who was twice widowed, and was 40 years old. If the Prophet (pbuh) was hypersexual, why would he marry a woman who was 15 years older than him and already twice widowed?

     Until his first wife, Khadija (ra) was alive, he never took a second wife. Khadija (ra) expired when the Prophet (pbuh) was 50 years age and only after this, did he marry the others. If he married eleven wives for sexual reasons, he should have had multiple wives during his youth. Contrary to this, history tells us that all his marriages with his remaining ten wives took place when he was between the age of 53 and 59 years.

     All his wives (ra) were between the age of 36 to 50 years, except for two wives (ra). His reputation had spread far and wide, not only in Arabia, but also in the neighboring countries. Could he not have easily got younger and lovelier girls to marry? Most of his marriages were for political gain and for the spread of Islaam.

     In Arabia, no one could carry on the work of reform and upliftment unless he belonged to, or was related to some specific and respectable tribe. Thus, in the interest of his mission, the Prophet (pbuh) needed inter-tribal relationships. He wanted to weld the quarreling tribal and clannish factions into one Muslim ummah, as brethren in faith (Ikhwan fi’d-din).

     For instance, his wife Juwayreeyah (ra) belonged to the Banu Mustaliq clan, which was very powerful. The entire clan was a bitter enemy of Islam from the start, and they were finally suppressed by military action. When the Prophet (pbuh) married Juwayreeyah (ra), the Muslims released all their prisoners, saying that they could not keep the prophet’s relatives in bondage. It was due to this marriage that the whole clan of Banu Mustaliq accepted Islam and became peaceful and obedient to the laws of the new Islaamic state.

     Maymunah (ra) also came from a very powerful and recalcitrant clan from Najd and was the sister of the wife of the chief of the clan in those days. It was this clan which had brutally murdered seventy members of an Islaamic missionary deputation. The Prophet’s (pbuh) marriage with Maymunah (ra) changed the whole atmosphere and Najd accepted Madinah’s authority under the leadership of the Prophet (pbuh).

     Umm Habibah (ra) was the daughter of the Quraysh chief, Abu Sufyan. It was after the Prophet’s (pbuh) marriage to Umm Habibah, that Abu Sufyan never fought against the Prophet (pbuh). This marriage was largely responsible for the conquest of Makkah. Furthermore, Umm Habibah was first married to a certain Ubaydullah and emigrated with him to Abyssinia, where Ubaydullah became a Christian and a drunkard. Excessive consumption of wine killed him since it was a double shock to her that her husband had become a Christian and later died, she was badly in need of solace.

     Safiyyah (ra) was the daughter of a very prominent Jewish chief, Huyyah ibn Aktab. In consideration of her family status, she could not be merged into an ordinary household. So the Prophet (pbuh) himself married her. After this marriage, the Jews did not dare to revive their opposition to the Prophet (pbuh) and his mission.

     In the case of Hafsah (ra), it was the Prophet’s (pbuh) desire to bind in relationship with those of his great companions (sahabah) who were his advisers and who were trained for future leadership. He had married Abu Bakr’s (ra) daughter, married two of his own daughters to Uthman (ra) and one to ‘Ali (ra). ‘Umar (ra) could not be kept outside this wide circle of relationship. By marrying Umar’s daughter Hafsah (ra), the Prophet (pbuh) forged a strong bond of relationship within the Islamic movement thus strengthening the pillars of the ummah.

     The Prophet (pbuh) had married his first cousin, Zaynab (ra), to his freed slave, Zayd ibn Haritha (ra), whom he had adopted as his son. This marriage of Zaynab (ra) with Zayd (ra) was intended to break the family and social barriers, but the marriage did not prove to be successful and ended in divorce. When the Prophet (pbuh) saw that Zaynab (ra) was left alone, he felt his responsibility in the matter. He also had to break another convention, according to which an adopted son became a real son. This difficult problem was solved by the Prophet’s (pbuh) marriage to Zaynab (ra) (as mentioned in the Qur’an, in Surah Ahzab, chapter no 33 verse 37) to annul that pre-Islamic conception and promulgate an Islamic law instead.

     Another lady Zaynab (ra), Umm al Masakin (mother of the poor and helpless), daughter of Khuzayma ibn Al-Haith, belonged to the Hawazin clan. Her husband was killed in the battle of Uhud. To rescue her from widowhood, the Prophet (pbuh) took her as his wife.

     After the revelation of the verse in Surah Ahzab, chapter 33 verse 52, the Prophet (pbuh) only married Mary the Copt who was a slave girl sent as a present by the Christian Muqauqas of Egypt. Since the Christian Chieftain of Egypt sent Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) a slave girl as a present, he could not refuse this gift as a refusal would have disturbed the political alliance. He could not keep her as a slave girl, since Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) preached that slaves should be freed. The only option left with him was to marry her, since the Qur’an gave him the permission to do so. Later on she became the mother of Ibrahim (ra) who died in his infancy.


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