Belief in the Meraj

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We have been given a mind with the ability to think and comprehend but it is impossible for us to escape from error or distinguish between good and evil unless we see things in light of the Holy Qur’an and obey Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). Without that divine help and guidance, our mind, thought and comprehension can apply only human standards of measurement, leading us to the pitiful condition of attributing our own incapability to Allah Ta’ala, supposing Him to be incapable of things which actually cause Him no difficulty at all.

On the morning after our Master, Muhammad Mustafa (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), returned from his Ascension (Me’raj), he went to the Ka’bah, where the people of the Quraish became astonished when he told them that he had spent part of the night visiting the Heavens, Baitul Muqaddas, Paradise, Hell, the Arsh, and that he had held conversations with the Lord of all the Worlds. Some of them looked at one another saying, “How could this be?” Another set of people found this very much to their liking, for they realized that these, to their minds impossible reports, would put off many of those who were hesitating on the brink of faith. In fact, these very people did turn away from Islam and faith and reverted to disbelief, saying, “Such things are impossible!” If our Master had told the people of the Quraish that the Me’raj had happened to him in a dream, they would hardly refuse to accept it as such. They could not have said, “You are incapable of having a dream like that.” Any of us can wander the Heavens in a dream. We can touch the stars and do many other incredible things while dreaming and no one would tell us that such visions are impossible.

Although no one could or would have objected if Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) had told them that his Me’raj was a dream, when they heard it reported as a fact, even some of those who had become believers and Muslims, rejected it. They abandoned their faith when Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) declared that, in a moment of time, he had travelled from Makkah to Jerusalem and from there up to the Heavens, returning to find his bed still warm, after he had been shown Paradise, Hell and the Akhirah, and everything that was to be until Qiyaamah. Quite clearly, what they refused to accept was the statement of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), that he had made his journey both in spirit and flesh.

Do not try to measure the Divine Power with your own inadequate scales, for this is what Abu Jahl did. When he heard of the Me’raj of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), he said, “O Muhammad, this can only be something you dreamt off.” When Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) replied, “No, I travelled bodily,” Abu Jahl asked him to stand up and said, “Now lift one foot off the ground.” When Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) did this, he asked him to lift the other foot as well. The disbeliever, who was impudently daring to measure the Power of Allah Ta’ala by the standard of his own feeble intellect, was happy to receive the answer he expected, “I shall fall, Abu Jahl.” He then said, “Well, since you cannot lift both feet off the ground and stand even a few inches above the earth, how could you travel from here to Jerusalem and ascend from there to the heavens?” Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) calmly replied, “O Abu Jahl, I did not go by myself but my Lord transported me.”

As soon as the Arab polytheists heard these words of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), they asked him to describe what Masjidul Aqsa was like and how many doors, arches etc. it had. Some of them had even been there and thought that Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) would not have been able to describe it accurately. When the polytheists made this request, Allah Ta’ala at once presented the form of the Baitul Muqaddas before the glorious eyes of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and he looked at it and then began to give a detailed description of it. The disbelievers could find no fault with the description that was given to them, but they continued in their obstinacy saying, “Yes, you have described the Baitul Muqaddas, now let us see if you can describe our caravan which is on the way here, that is more important to us. After all, you could just be repeating a description of the Baitul Muqaddas you had heard from others. Our caravan is travelling the way you claim to have gone and come back by. If you are a Prophet, tell us about this caravan of ours.”

Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said, “Yes, I did encounter such a caravan. It was at a place called Rawha. They had lost one of their camels and were looking for it.” The disbelievers were astonished. They said, “This is another proof, let us enquire about it.” Next, they wanted to know how many camels and how many people there were in the caravan. Again by the Qudrat of Allah Ta’ala, the caravan was incarnated before the very eyes of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). He counted the people and the camels and even added, “There is a white camel in the front, laiden with two sacks containing certain articles. I noticed that the other camels were carrying such and such in their loads. They will enter Makkah at sunrise on such and such a day.” “This is further proof, we must check it out,” said the disbelievers.

On the day when Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said that the caravan would arrive, they assembled at the place called Saniya and waited there, saying “As soon as the sun rises we will know him to be a liar.” But just as one of the disbelievers who had gone out to meet the caravan, yelled out, “The sun is rising,” another cried, “Here comes the caravan!” At the head of the caravan, as Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) had said, there appeared a white camel with two loaded sacks. All the people and the goods in the caravan corresponded exactly to the description given by Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), but even when they saw this, they still did not believe and declared, “This is plain sorcery. Muhammad is a sorcerer.”

After word of this incident had got around, Abu Jahl noticed that many people were renouncing their faith. He went running to the house of Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) and said, “O Son of Qahafa, have you heard the news? What is your friend Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) saying? He claims to have gone last night in a moment of time from Makkah to Jerusalem and then to the Heavens. He is giving incredibly strange and weird reports. Do you believe his words?” Without hesitation, Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) said, “Did you hear these things from the person himself? Did Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) clearly say them?” Abu Jahl replied arrogantly, “It would never cross my mind to invent such things. Of course Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), the Trustworthy, is saying them.” Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) said, “In that case I certainly do believe him. I believe every word he said, every sentence, every letter, so completely that I feel not one atom of doubt or hesitation in my heart, for he absolutely never tells a lie.” Thus did Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) prove his veracity and faith in Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). This is why Allah Ta’ala conferred upon him the title of “Truthful” and proclaimed his truthfulness in the Holy Qur’an until Qiyaamah.

May Allah Ta’ala grant us even an atom of the Love and Imaan that Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh had for Rasoolullah Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam, Ameen.

[Compiled from Irshad: Wisdom of a Sufi Master by Shaikh Muzaffer Al Jerrahi]