Mi’raj-e-Rasul – The Night Journey of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.s.) by Jehangir A. Merchant

PLEASE CLICK: An Esoteric Interpretation of the Mi’raj and the Prophetic Tradition ‘I Have a Time with God’ (li ma’a Allah waqt) By Jehangir A. Merchant

This painted page from a manuscript shows the Archangel Gabriel with the Prophets Moses (left) and Muhammad (right). Surrounded by angels they discuss the question of daily prayers. This happened during Prophet Muhammad’s ascent to heaven. Because it was forbidden to show Muhammad, his face is veiled. Image: Copyright Museum With No Frontiers (MWNF). Please click on image for literary reading.

This painted page from a manuscript shows the Archangel Gabriel with the Prophets Moses (left) and Muhammad (right). Surrounded by angels they discuss the question of daily prayers. This happened during Prophet Muhammad’s ascent to heaven. Because it was forbidden to show Muhammad, his face is veiled. Image: Copyright Museum With No Frontiers (MWNF). Please click on image for literary reading.

DETAILS OF THE IMAGE

This single sheet probably came from a handwritten work completed for the Ottoman Sultan Murad III (r. AH 982–1003 / AD 1574–95), and is currently housed at the Museum of Islamic Art at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin, Germany. It features, between bands of script, the prophets Moses and Muhammad and the Archangel Gabriel conversing in heaven. Angels, perched on five clouds behind these three principal characters, appear to be listening. The scene portrayed is one from Muhammad’s visionary ascension to heaven. Muhammad stands on the right-hand side in a long green robe and turban, and Moses, wearing a long dark red robe, is on the left, in front of his heavenly throne, which is denoted by an inscription in Arabic lettering. Moses is gesturing his hands in speech. Muhammad, with whom he is conversing, stands on the opposite side. A white veil conceals his face, while his hands are hidden in the long sleeves of his gown. The heads of both prophets are crowned with halos, within which their names, written in a black script, can be deciphered. The Archangel Gabriel stands between Muhammad and Moses, turning towards Muhammad. He is characterised by a twin pair of multi-coloured wings and a crown. He is featured in the Old Testament as the gate-keeper of Paradise. As one of two angels standing in the presence of God (Luke 1:19), it was Gabriel who explained the story of the Messiah (Daniel 8:16ff.). In Muslim tradition, the angel brought the Divine Revelation of the Holy Qur’an to Prophet Muhammad. In Sura 2 verse 97 it is written that: Gabriel ‘has by God’s grace revealed it [the Qur’an] to you [Muhammad] to your heart’.

The text above the three personages, which describes the story, is written in Ottoman Turkish. It includes the account of Muhammad discussing with God the number of daily prayers. Both eventually agreed on five daily prayers. Moses is Muhammad’s heavenly adviser and Gabriel is his companion. The direct speech of all those involved is written in Arabic. The text is taken from a biography of the prophet which had appeared from the AH 1st century/AD 7th century on. The generic term for this type of biography is sira, which translates as ‘life facts’ or ‘way of life’.  (Text adapted from the website of MWNF – see link below).

Date posted: Sunday, June 2, 2013.

__________________

For further information about the image shown above, please click on Page of Ottoman Manuscript. Please also click on http://www.museumwnf.org/.

Links to a selection of Jehangir Merchant’s pieces at Simerg:

5 thoughts on “Mi’raj-e-Rasul – The Night Journey of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.s.) by Jehangir A. Merchant

  1. Thank you Mr. Merchant for sharing your knowledge with us. Very esoteric & thought provocating interpretation of Miraj.

    Rashida kanji

    Toronto,Ontario

  2. KALAM-E-MAWLA

    maeraaj khudaakaa rasul paayaa, jeene sab raat keetee hak ba(n)dagee; so maeraaj momeenku(n) hove, jo deelse neekaale sab duneeyaa ga(n)dakee; raatku(n) jaage ek dhee-aansu(n), payarvee rasulkee kare keerdaar; to us momanku(n) maeraaj hove, apane rabakaa deedaar…………170

    The Messenger(rasul) attained the ascension (maeraaj) of God, he performed the true servanthood every night. This ascension is possible for a momin, if from his heart he removes all the dirt of the world. At night he stays up with concentration and follows the path of the Messenger to the Creator. Then this momin experiences the Ascension by virtue of his Lord’s Vision (deedaar).

    raen maratabaa bahot baddaa hae, sab khalkat paave aaraam; peer payga(m)bar valee olee-aa, raat ba(n)dageese sab paae naam; maeraaj rasul bee raatme(n) paayaa, aashak varal paave maashuk; jo tu(n) saach-chaa aashak-kaa, to raen ba(n)dageese mat chuk…171

    The status of night is great, the entire creation attains rest therein. Peers, Prophets, Friends and Saints, have through servanthood attained the Name. The Messenger also attained maeraaj(ascension) at night and the lover attains union with the Beloved. If you are a true lover, then do not miss the night’s servanthood.

    ________________________________

  3. Excellent article and manuscript is so well explained that one almost pictures one to have been present on this auspicious occasion. Thank you Mr Jehangir Merchant.

    I look forward to more articles of this kind.

    Shirin Hirji
    London

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s