A.T.M.Nurun Nabi :
Literally word 'Miraj' means visionn. But in the case of the Prophet Muhammad (SM), Miraj means ascension to the utmost boundary in the seventh heaven beyond which neither men nor Angels can pass.
Five verses (14-18) of Surah An-Najam are generally accepted as a reference to the Prophet's journey through seven heavens for vision of some of the greatest signs of Allah such as the Lote- Tree, the unspeakable mysterious light shrouding that tree, the Paradise Mawa and Archangel Jibreel in his original form.
The first occasion when Jibreel appeared in a visible form was near the Mt.
Hera after revelation of first five verses of Surah Iqra. The 2nd time the Prophet saw him during Miraj or Ascension. These are the two occasions when Jibreel appeared in visible form. The Miraj appearance was near the Lote-tree in the 7th heaven above which is the Throne of God (Arash).
The symbolism of the Lote-tree is that it marks the boundary of heavenly knowledge as revealed to the Prophet.
However, the Verse No. 16 is the most significant. The text is: When that which shrouds did enshroud the Lote-tree. The Sufis interpret the Lote- Tree at the utmost boundary to be what the Burning Bush in the valley of Tuwa was to Hazrat Moses (AS). In the case of Moses, it was the symbolic divine effulgence in this earth, while in the case of Hazrat Muhammad (SM), it was the Divine Glory in the 7th heaven itself witnessed by the Prophet in person and it was shrouded in mystery 'unspeakable. It was indeed the greatest of the Signs of Allah (Reference Abdullah Yusuf Ali, the Glorious Quran).
What did the Prophet see by the Lot-tree, denotes his magnificence. Allah carried him to the utmost boundary to show him some of His Greatest Signs in the heavens. It was a vision and the Prophet Muhammad was standing by the Lote-Tree covered by a mysterious Light.
Few commentators say that Hazrat Moses (AS) saw Allah in the Valley of Tuwa. In fact this is not true. Verse No. 143 of Surah Araf, a late Meccan Surah, clearly says that, when Allah manifested His Glory, Moses fell in a swoon. Before the manifestation, Allah said to Moses, you couldn't see Me. Look, if the mountain remains firm, you can see Me. But the fact is that the mountain crumbled and Moses became unconscious.
Allah Himself said in Verse No. 103 of Surah An'am, "Vision comprehends Him not, but He comprehends all vision."
But the Prophet Muhammad (Sm) remained firm when he approached to the Lot-Tree covered by mystery unspeakable. The Prophet said: The Arch-angel Jibreel guided me to the Tree and then disappeared. I saw a Mysterious Light covering the tree and when I looked up, I saw Jibreel near it in his own structure. I saw him first time on the Mount Hera.
Six verses (9-14) of Surah Taha, five verses (7-11) of Surah An-Naml, and five verses (29-33) of Surah Al Qasas deal with Hazrat Moses' (AS) vision of a greatest sign of Allah in the valley of Tuwa in the Sinai Desert of Egypt. All these verses are almost identical. The story is that after fulfilling the terms set by the father-in-law, Moses was travelling with his wife for Egypt. When he stepped into the Tuwa valley, he saw a fire on a tree and said to his wife: I shall bring you a tidings or a firebrand that you may warm yourselves.
But when he came to it, he was called, "Blessed is whosoever is in the fire and whosoever is about it. And Glorified be Allah, the Lord of the worlds,"-Surah An Naml, Verse No. 8,9.
Abdullah Yusuf Ali explains that the fire, which Hazrat Moses saw was not an ordinary fire. It was the glory of Angels, a reflection of the Glory of Allah. Moses was transported into an entirely new world. What he had taken to be an ordinary fire was the gleam of the Spiritual world and rays from the Angels' light. His own stick or staff was no longer a dead piece of wood that had hitherto supported him. It became instinct with life--a life that moved with power of offence and defence.
About who was in the fire and who was about it, many commentators say the Archangel Jibreel was in the fire and Moses was outside it. The Voice, which the prophet heard, came from Jibreel on behalf of Allah; because neither the heaven nor the world can bear His Voice.
However, the Prophet saw the LoteTree shrouded (in mystery unspeakable). It was the Divine Glory in heaven itself and it was indeed "the Greatest of the Signs of Allah." What Moses saw in the earth, Muhammad saw by the Lote-Tree in the seventh heaven at the utmost boundary. There nothing is dead.
As per verse No. 17/1, Allah first carried His servant to Jerusalem by night to show him some of His Signs, which no other had this opportunity.
About seeing Allah, the Prophet said: One night Allah came to me in His best form and said: 0 Muhammad! Do you know about what are the matters the Angels of the exalted assembly debating? I said, no. Then my Lord touched my two shoulders and repeated the question. I said, they are debating about the sins remitting and the grade increasing Ebadat. (Hadith-e-Qudsi, Hadith No. 149).
Surely Namaj is the Miraj to the believers. As such it should be respected as should be respected. Allah has tagged it with some social obligations. Allah says: I do not grant every man's Namaj. I accept Namaj of him who shows his humbleness to My Greatness, controls own evil instinct and guards against sins and crimes, feeds the hungry, clothe the unclothed, shows kindness to the poor and shelters the strangers. This Hadith commands mankind to stand by the have-nots.
Namaj is compulsory, five times a day, the Prophet said, one day Jibreel came to me with a new ordinance from Allah. He said that He has decreed Namaj five times a day # Hadith No. 148, Hadith-e-Qudsi. The supporting verses in the Holy Quran by Verse No. 11 1 of Surah Hud and Verses No.78 of Bani-Israil.
Miraj gives us an opportunity to study about the relation between Allah and Jibreel, Allah and Angels, Allah and Hazrat Muhammad (SM), Jibreel and Angels, Jibreel and Hazrat Muhammad, Angels and Hazrat Muhammad, Jannatul Mawa, Lote-tree and the mysterious light covering the Lote-Tree.
There are millions of heavenly bodies like stars, comet, nebula and shooting stars above our heads. Each of them is under the command of an Angel. There are seven heavens. Each of the heavens is under the command of an Angel, and again one heaven is under the command of another.