Wednesday, June 29, 2011

"Isra & Mikraj is not a mukjizah but a special privilege of Prophet Muhammad" - Shaykh Muhammad Ibrahim Al Kattani


Shaykh Muhammad bin Ibrahim Al Kattani spoke on the topic of Isra & Mikraj in Kuala Lumpur recently. His speech was interpreted into Malay by Habib Ali Zainal Abidin Al Hamid. Also present at the majlis was Shaykh Fahmi Zamzam Al Maliki.

Below is the English version of my sketchy notes of Habib Ali's interpretations. Wallahu a'lam, may I be forgiven for any errors.

Shaykh Muhammad bin Ibrahim Al Kattani began his speech with hamdalah and salawat saying:
"The entire ummah who is honored by Allah with the blessings of Islam and being chosen as the ummah of Muhammad s.a.w ought to reflect upon the events which he had experienced. They should have in their hearts vivid memories of the episodes which he had gone through.

In the Quran, in the verse referring to Isra wal Mikraj Allah used the term wazakkir instead of tazkir. The hikmah behind that is because Allah wants to remind the mukmin to remember the event which happened to Prophet Muhammad as it would be beneficial to us. There is nothing new to remembering this event but it is a duty for us so that by doing so we will remain close to Prophet Muhammad.

We find it weird that some people think it's not necessary to reminisce something that occured a very long time ago when the fact is that when we remember anything about Prophet Muhammad, it would make us become closer to him. Allah wants us to remember the Isra & Mikraj for us to learn the lessons from it. Allah said in the Quran that He narrates to Prophet Muhammad the stories of the Rasul for the sake of strengthening his heart.

We should reflect on the current political scenario in various Arab countries. We should draw lessons from the past and specifically to those involving Prophet Muhammad. If we don't learn from him, what else should we learn then? Allah narrates to the Prophet stories of other Rasul to strengthen his heart, likewise, we must learn about Prophet Muhammad's stories to make our hearts strong. Prophet Muhammad is maksum but still he needs to be reminded of the stories of the Rasul before him. What about us? We are in need of reminders too, as we face so many challenges these days.

Some people thought it's strange that we are doing something which the Prophet or the sahabah themselves did not do. The Prophet need not remember or celebrate something that he himself experienced. The sahabah need not celebrate the events either because they were close with the Prophet, they were there with Rasulullah then. But we are so distant from him, so we need to make an effort to remember him and his experiences and learn from it. Those people who truly love Rasulullah are not affected by such allegations. Lovers are occupied with the object of their love. They busy themselves thinking and talking about their beloved Rasulullah.

Those who are against the Isra & Mikraj celebration are in fact trying to disengage the Muslims from their Prophet. If we don't celebrate such an event, how will people know about him? People nowadays do not have the time to study lengthy kitab on his sirah (history). Therefore, when we celebrate the event of Isra & Mikraj, people will get to learn something about the Prophet and begin to love him. Allah considers us 'the best of ummah' because we are the ummah of Muhammad. We are given the title because of the special privileges which Allah has granted to Prophet Muhammad. Therefore, we must remember him to honor him.

I share with you my views on this matter because you are my brother in Islam. We are related through Islam and we love one another for the sake of Islam although we come from different countries. I wish to highlight a common misunderstanding among many ulama mutaakhirin (recent scholars) that Isra & Mikraj is not a mukjizah. Renowned ulama of hadith and sirah have never referred to Isra & Mikraj as a mukjizah. We must differentiate the meaning of mukjizah and khususiyah (special privilege). As a matter of fact, Isra & Mikraj is mentioned in the chapter called kitabul fadhail explaining the honors and uniqueness of Prophet Muhammad. It was never mentioned in chapters concerning the proof of his prophethood (dalail nubuwah).

Mukjizah is something extraordinary that he would perform to prove to the person who challenged his prophethood. As an example the Prophet made the moon split to show to a disbeliever that he is in fact a prophet. There is an eye witness to the event so that the person who doubted him could see for himself. Whereas, in Isra & Mikraj, there is no eye witness. In the Quranic verse on Isra Mikraj, Allah said "it was to show him (Prophet Muhammad)". Otherwise, Allah would have said: "it was to convince them (the mushrikin) about him."  

We understand from Isra Mikraj that it was an event to honor the Prophet in front of other anbiya. At Baitul Maqdis, Prophet Muhammad was asked to be imam. Allah need not plan such a special occasion only to convince the kafir. They do not deserve such a unique occurence. It all happened because Allah wanted to show the special position of Prophet Muhammad.

We should realize why it was called Isra wal mikraj and not al isra wal uruj. Al mikraj is a tool like an elevator to bring someone up. When we say something as going up, it should also come down. But know that Prophet Muhammad upon going up to Sidratul Muntaha he did not come down though physically he did. His maqam remained up there before, during and after mikraj.

In the Isra episode, Allah made him travel - asra. Allah is the doer in this case. Whereas in the mikraj episode, the doer is Prophet Muhammad himself.  Furthermore, Allah said, his heart did not lie of what he saw in the Heavens. Nor did his eyes. And Ibnu Abbas reiterated that Prophet Muhammad had seen Allah with his own eyes.  In truth, the Prophet's homeland is up there though his physical being is down on earth.
Wallahu 'alam. May I be forgiven for any errors in my notes.
The majlis was hosted by:

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