Me’raaj (The Heavenly Ascension)
“Glory be to Him (Allah) who took His slave (Muḥammad) by night from the Sacred Masjid (in Makkah) to the Farthest Masjid (Al Aqsa in Jerusalem) whose surroundings We have blessed, so that We may show him of Our signs. Indeed, He alone is the All-Hearing, All-Seeing.” [Surah Al Israa; V:1]
Al-Israa and Me’raj are among the many signs of Allah Ta’ala and the miracles of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) which were very different when compared with any other natural occurrence in the Universe.
This miraculous journey is referred to in two distinct stages:
Al Israa – the journey which began in Masjidul Haram (Makkah) where Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) embarked upon the ‘Buraaq’ with Jibreel (Alayhis Salaam) and proceeded to Masjid ul Aqsa.
Me’raj – the journey from Masjidul Aqsa up to the heavens.
The object of this journey was not merely for Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) to be taken on a journey into the Heavens simply to witness the various dimensions of Allah’s creation therein; rather it was to affirm his superiority, leadership role and virtue above all the other Ambiyaa (Alayhimus Salaam).
Some of the lessons of this event:
The Virtue of Salaah: The importance of the great gift of Salaah is evident from the fact that Rasulullah (Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam) was personally called to the Heavens to receive this injunction, while other injunctions were revealed via Jibreel (Alayhis Salaam) on earth.
Zam Zam: Whilst in Masjid al Haraam in Makkah Mukarramah, before embarking on the actual journey, the blessed chest of Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) was opened, his heart was removed and washed with the water of Zam Zam, and thereafter it was returned to its original condition. Its excellence is evident in that no other water was used for this purpose.
The Harms of disobedience: During this journey, Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) was shown the different punishments meted out to those who transgress the orders of Allah Ta’ala. This included, among others, the punishment for those who do not practice what they preach, those who slander, those who consume interest, those who indulge in fornication and adultery, those who misappropriate trust, those who do not fulfill their Zakaah and also those who are negligent with their Salaah.
This journey also served as a means of encouragement and uplifting the morale of the Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), as it took place at a time in his life when he together with his companions, were faced with a severe onslaught against their lives and faith, while frustration and a sense of losing hope began to surface.
The historical significance of Masjid ul Aqsa and its precincts also was enlightened during this journey, as it was here and no other place, which had chosen for the assembly of the entire galaxy of Ambiyaa (Alayhimus Salaam).
Although Shariah has NOT specified any form of worship or commemoration of this event, historically Muslims recall the lessons learnt from it and encouragement is given towards inculcating the lessons learnt from this miraculous occurrence.