What is Mi'raj (Ascension)?
Mir’aj means series of events which began with the night journey- it is called Isra- that the Prophet, with the command of Allah, had made spiritually and bodily by getting into a Divine carrier called Buraq (1) along with Gabriel from Al-Masjid Al-Haram in Makkah to al-Masjid al-Aqsa in Qudus, which also continued from that point with an elevation (a kind of Divine elevator) to the heavens and Sidra al-Muntaha, and there, by leaving Gabriel behind and mounting a Divine carrier called Rafraf to appear before Allah, which ended with our Prophet’s seeing Allah and talking to Him free from time and place.
That celestial journey, which consisted of two stages, happened in the twelfth year of the prophethood of the Prophet, in the twenty-seventh night (about twenty days after the Night of Raghaib) of the month Rajab which is the first of the Holy three months, and eighteen months before Hegira. Since the Lailat al-Qadr (Night of Power) is the twenty-seventh night of Ramadan, there is a mystical coincidence between them. Badiuzzaman said that it was the holiest night after the Laylat al-Qadr with the words: “the Night of Mir’aj is like a second Laylat al-Qadr.” (2)
It consoled and became a Divine grant for the Messenger of Allah (and Muslims) who were grieved by the deaths of Khadija and Abu Talib and disturbed by the attacks of the tribe Taif and three-year siege of Mushriks (idolaters). The first holy night of the three months is the Night of Raghaib and the second one is the Night of Mir'aj. The Night of Ragaib is the Prophet's degree at the starting phase in Divine progress. The Night of Mir'aj is also the Prophet's degree at the summit point in Divine progress. (3)
The Surah of Isra (17/1) in the Holy Qur’an tells about that Isra event and the Surah of an-Najm tells about the Mir’aj event, which is the continuation of the Isra. (4) Our Prophet explained that mystical journey, which is a little covertly expressed in the Ayahs, in detail in the Hadiths. (5)
One night, when he was asleep at the point Hatim of Kaaba, Gabriel cut his breast apart; after Gabriel washed his heart with the water of Zamzam and filled it with the faith and wisdom, he put it back again. Then, they flew by a white vehicle, Buraq, to al-Masjid al-Aqsa, which was normally one-month distance away by foot. He became imam to all prophets’ souls and they performed Salah together. It meant that the Prophet was the absolute successor of the origin of the other prophets’ Shariahs (6). He was offered water, wine and milk. He drank the milk that that was natural. It also meant that his ummah had been directed to the True Path. Then, he was guided to travel among the Seven Heavens in the sky with a spiritual elevator (Mir’aj).
He met Adam in the first heaven: Jesus and Yahya (Jonah) in the second heaven, Yusuf (Joseph) in the third heaven, Idris (Enoch) in the fourth heaven, Harun (Aaron) in the fifth heaven, Musa (Moses) in the sixth heaven, and Ibrahim (Abraham) in the seventh heaven. He saw the Hereafter with all details from angels to Hell and Heaven. He traveled through the spiritual world and this world. (7) Then Gabriel took the Prophet to the higher parts of the sky and they got so higher and higher that the scratches of pencils which wrote destinies were heard. Finally, they reached Sidrat ul Muntaha (Beyond this point nobody has access including Angel Gabriel). Gabriel said: “Here is Sidrat al Muntaha. If I pass this point forward, I will get burned.” Our Prophet was shown four holy rivers and Al-Bait-ul-Mamur, which is visited by seventy thousands of angels every day. Then, he was offered three vessels in which there was wine, milk, and honey. He preferred the milk again. The milk he drank meant that his ummah would be on the Right Way. Moreover, he traveled through Jannatul Ma’wa which was the paradise of martyrs and Muttaqis. Leaving Gabriel behind, the Prophet, went to Arsh al-A’la by the Rafraf and reached the furthest point, Qab Qawsayn, which was the endpoint of the accessible places and the beginning point of the other realm . He became as close as the distance two bows’ length, or even closer, to Allah. (8) He saw Allah with naked eyes and talked to Him free from time and place. Then he went back to Sidrah by the Rafraf. There he saw Gabriel as he first saw him at Hira. (9) Then they returned to the world as quickly as you wink. (10)
The Sultan of the Prophets who said “I have not seen anything more beautiful than Mir’aj” (11) brought many presents for his ummah from Mir’aj.
First: he brought five prayers. The prayers which are performed with ihsan (worshipping Allah as ifyou see Him) will be an elevator of Mir’aj for each Muslim.
Second: he brought the Verses called “Amanar Rasulu”. (al-Baqarah, 2/285-286)
Third: he brought twelve Islamic rules (12) which are mentioned in the verses 22-39 of the Surah Isra. (13)
Fourth: he brought the good news that the sins of those who died without attributing partners to Allah would be forgiven and that they would enter Paradise.
Fifth: he brought the good news that one who intended to do a single good deed
even if he did not do it would be rewarded with one thawab; if he did it, he would be given ten thawabs (rewards) but that one who intended to do a bad deed unless he did it no sins would be written for him but that if he did it, only one sin would be written for him.
Another present was some Holy words known as at-Tahiyyah, which contains the greetings and conversation between Allah and our Prophet, and by repeating those words in every prayer we remember that Holy conversation and we are honored to feel as if we are in the same position. (14)
Yes, the Prophet , as a result of his authority which comes out with totality and holiness higher than all authorities, opened the way going to Allah with Mir'aj (15) which is Sayr Suluk (spiritual travel) in the Divine promotion ranks. He also left the door ajar for his ummah who will go after him so that they will promote in that Divine Avenue with the soul and heart depending on their abilities. (16) Each of the five prayers which became fard as a result of Mir'aj is a Mir'aj for Muslims; (17) it is a small Mir'aj which comes out as a result of the Great Mir'aj (the Prophet's Mir'aj) (18) (19). The summit of that small Mir'aj is sajdah. It is the moment in which a man is closest to Allah. Each Muslim goes to Allah with a kind of Mir'aj (Salah) when he prays. (21
Badiuzzaman attracted attention to the fact that this night should be benefitted from by being seen as a spiritual opportunity as follows: "The Night of Mir'aj is like a second Laylat al-Qadr. By praying on that night, your earnings will increase thousandfold. In accordance with the mystery of spiritual partnership, inshaallah you will perform Salah and pray on that precious night with forty thousand tongues like some angels who praise Allah with forty thousand tongues and you will thank Allah by praying on that Holy Night." (22) (23) M. Fethullah Gülen said: "the main present of Mir'aj is Salah and at the same time, it is a heavenly lighted spiral which will take Muslims to Mir'aj as the Mir’aj of each Muslim. The Mir'aj is completely a pure prayer; it is the only reason for the event of Mir'aj, and a Divine gift which was presented to the Messenger of Allah in the furthest point of beyond-skies travel. Everybody will make the travel of Mir'aj depending on his Salah." (24) "For Muslims, each prayer is a means for Mir'aj and the duty of a Muslim is to complete his Mir'aj wherever he is." (25) "The Ascension (Mir'aj) is possible only by Salah. One can reach Allah by Salah and arrive at the prophets' presence by Salah." (26) In this context, a Salah for the Night of Mir'aj in the books of Fiqh is mentioned; it is good to perform it: it consists of twelve rakat. In each rakat, one reads a Surah along with the Surah of al-Fatiha and greets every other rakat. Then, one should say a hundred times "Subhanallah walhamdulillah va lailahaillallah wallahuakbar." Then, one should repent a hundred times of his sins and say salawat and salam 100 times to our Prophet (pbuh). During the day, one should perform fasting because it is hoped that Allah will accept every wish of you except those related to sins. (27) Moreover, we should not forget to pray for all Muslims.
Mawlids which tell us about our prophet’s holy birth are recited on the Day of Mawlid (Birth of the Prophet); similarly, Mirajiyah, which tells us about that Divine travel, is recited on the Night of Mir'aj. (28) The Mirajiyah of Sulaiman Chalabi, the poet of "the Mawlid Nabih, which begins with "when the Prophet talked to Gabriel / came Rafrah and saluted him, is a famous one. On that night, books and Hadiths which narrate the Mir'aj should be re-read, and meetings should be held to recite Mirajiyahs. The hearts should warm up with Hymns and conversations which make you remember that Divine Night. The Qur'an or its translations can be read especially the Surah of al-Isra 17/1 - 22.29, an-Najm 53/1 - 18; al-Baqarah 2/285-286. If someone obeys and listens with his heart all what the Qur'an says, he can promote in the Divine Arena. (29) It is necessary to read issues about Belief and among those, the issues about the Mir'aj- and to think deeply over it (belief) because the issues of belief are more easily understood. (30) "Thus, one can promote to a level as if he can talk to Allah through the ."ascension of belief”. (31
The spirits that will reach a proper mood with the Salah of evening and night prayers performed together in Mosques and the Verses to be read should later retreat to their homes, reach from their rooms like Masjid Haram by mounting the Buraq called sajjadah (prayer rug) along with the inspiration of Gabriel should reach the Masjid al-Aqsa of Ikhlas; after they drink a cup of imaginative milk mixed with tears, with the Mir'aj called Salah they should set sail to the heavens of their spirits over the wings of Verses; in each rakaat they should go a floor up; after a point they should change the vehicle, by mounting the Rafraf called Ihsan they should fly to their own Sidra al-Muntaha, and finally reaching the furthest point of the soul which is same distance as the furthest point of the heavens, they should appear in Allah's presence, and with the mystery of at-Tahiyyah, they should feel as if they see and talk to Allah beyond imagination.
1) That heavenly vehicle which is bigger than a donkey and smaller than a horse is white and it was brought from Heaven. (Nursi, the Letters, p. 303, Envar Publication, 1992).
2) Nursi, Rays, p 499; Badiuzzaman Said Nursi, p 598.
3) Nursi, Sikke-i Tasdik-i Gaybî (The Ratifying Stamp of the Unseen), p. 207.
4) The Surah of an-Najm, 53/1-8.
5) ) Buhari, Bad’u’l–Khalq, 6; Anbiya, 22, 43; Muslim, Iman, 263, 264; Tirmidhi, Tafsir'u–Inshirah, 33–34; Ahmed b. Hanbal, 1/309; Musannaf, 14/306; Ibn Hisham, Siratü’n–Nabi, 2/44, Ihyau’t–Turasi’l–Arabi, Beirut, Beirut.
6) Nursi, the Words, p. 525.
7) Nursi, the Words, p 560.
8) An-Najm, 53/9.
9) An-Najm, 53/1314.
10) Nursi, Sözler, s. 136, 562. Mi’rac olayının “bast–ı zaman gibi” çok kısa bir sürede olduğuna dair See Nursi, Mesnevi–yi Nuriye, p.197; Nursi, Lem’alar, p.17; Gülen, Kur'ân’dan İdrâke Yansıyanlar, 2/276, Feza Gazetecilik, İstanbul, 2000 for the information that the incidence of Miraj took place in a very short time like travel in time.
11) Bukhari, Salat, 1; Hajj, 76, Anbiya, 5, Tawhid, 37, Manaqib, 24; Muslim, Eeman, 259; Ahmed b. Hanbal, 3/148, 149, 5/143. Mi’raj is a divine elevator through which the spirits of the dead bodies are taken to the skies. That is the reason why the eyes of the dead bodies look up to the sky.
12) “Take not with Allah another object of worship. Be kind to parents. And render to the kindred their due rights, as (also) to those in want and to the wayfarer: but squander not (your wealth) in the manner of a spendthrift.. Kill not your children for fear of want. Nor take life which Allah has made sacred― except for just cause. Come not nigh to the orphan's property except to improve it until he attains the age of full strength and fulfil (every) engagement. Give full measure when ye measure, and weigh with a balance that is straight. And pursue not that of which thou hast no knowledge. Nor walk on the earth with insolence.” (al-Isra, 17/22–39).
13) Muslim, Eeman, 264.
14) Nursi, the Rays, p.77–79.
15) Nursi, the Words, p.561, 563.
16) Nursi, the Words, p. 580; Nursi, the Letters, p.306.
17) There are some hadiths indicating the same meaning: "when one of you prays, he talks to Allah". "Allah goes towards a man who prays and makes him comfortable, till he finishes the Salah. Bukhari, prayers, 39; Muslim, Masjids, 54; Salat, 108, 121; Musnad Ahmad, 2/26, 34, 36, 129.
18) Nursi, the Rays, p. 92, 643.
19) Nursi, the Rays, p.645.
20) Nursi, Mesnevi–yi Nuriye, p.63; Nursi, Sözler, p.47.
21) What Muslims do while praying is a kind of Mir'aj in a mood called Insilah kulli. Insilahi Kulli means that "the spirit moves free from the body and elevates to the skies." See Yazır, Muhammed Hamdi, 5/315152, Eser Neş.İstanbul.
22) Nursi, Şualar, p.499; Tarihçe–i Hayat, p.598, Envar Neşriyat, İstanbul, 1989.
23) Badiuzzaman sometimes evaluated the Day of Mawlid as two days. For example, he stated that he celebrated the Night of Mir'aj twice. . [Nursi, Emirdağ Lahikası, 2/65>.
24) Gülen, Prizma, 2/152, Nil Yayınları, İzmir, 1998.
25) Gülen, Fasıldan Fasıla, 3/56, Nil Yayınları, İzmir, 1997.
26) Gülen, Fasıldan Fasıla, 1/92, 154.
27) Bilmen, ibid, p.188.
28) Nursi, Mektubat, p.307.
29) Nursi, Sözler, p.364.
30) as an example you can read the related subjects from Risalai Nur, because "Risalai Nur is the facts from the Qur'an and a Mir'aj (promotion) for Iman (Belief)." [Nursi, Sikke–i Tasdik–i Gaybî, p266>.
31) 31) For Ascension of Belief, see: Nursi, Tarihçe–i Hayat, p.373; Asa–yı Musa, p.138).
32) Ihsan is to pray and live as if you are before Allah and He sees you