With the advent of Rajab, the seventh month of the Islamic calendar, Muslims remember the great miracle of the Beloved Nabī of Allāh ta‘ālā, the Mi‘rāj, which is commonly believed to have taken place in this month. During this miracle, Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam travelled with his body and soul from Makkah Mukarramah to Baytul-Maqdis, and from there to the seven heavens and beyond and returned all in a split second.
The first part of the journey, from Makkah Mukarramah to Al-Masjidul-Aqsā, is called the Isrā and is mentioned in the Glorious Qur’ān. The second part of the journey, from Al-Masjidul-Aqsā to the heavens and beyond, is known as the Mi‘rāj. The great Mufassir ‘Allāmah Ibn Kathīr rahimahullāh has enumerated twenty-five Sahābah radhiyallāhu ‘anhum who have narrated this second part of the journey from Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam.
With regards to Mi‘rāj and the month of Rajab, let us keep the following points in mind:
- Auspicious nights such as Laylatul-Qadr, Laylatul-Barā’ah and Laylatul-Jumu‘ah are full of virtue and blessing, but the difference between them and the night of Mi‘rāj is that this night was prominent in blessings only on the particular night when Nabī sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam made this blessed journey. The blessedness and prominence does not return every year. Therefore, to make special arrangements of any sort or to engage in ‘ibādah during this night, assuming it to be blessed, is baseless. There is no record of Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam or the Sahābah radhiyallāhu ‘anhum celebrating the night of Mi‘rāj.
- This great miracle is commonly believed to have taken place on the 27th night of the Islamic month of Rajab. However, the ‘Ulamā hold differing opinions about the exact date.
Hāfiz Ibn Hajar Al-‘Asqalānī rahimahullāh, the commentator of Sahīhul-Bukhārī, has quoted more than ten different opinions for the possible date of Mi‘rāj. If this night was meant to be observed and spent in ‘ibādah, there would have been no difference amongst the Sahābah radhiyallāhu ‘anhum, for their ‘ibādah would have clearly defined the time of occurrence.
- The incident of Mi‘rāj is truly an extraordinary event and a blessing not bestowed upon any other prophet, angel or other creation of Allāh ta‘ālā, neither before nor after. The correct way of truly celebrating and appreciating this great event is to remember the very precious gift that Allāh ta‘ālā sent for us on that night i.e. salāh. The performance of the five daily salāh is the Mi‘rāj for the believers, as through ṣalāh they receive the honour of conversing with Allāh ta‘ālā. Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam said:
A faithful believer, while in salāh, converses privately with his Rabb… (Al-Bukhārī)
Allāh ta‘ālā says in a Al-Hadīthul-Qudsī:
‘I have divided the salāh (Sūratul-Fātihah) into two halves between Me and My slave; half is for Me and half is for My slave, and My slave will receive whatever he asks for.’ Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam said: Read (Sūratul-Fātihah)! (Because when) the slave says: ‘All Praise is for Allāh, the Rabb of all the worlds,’ Allāh ta‘ālā says: ‘My slave has praised Me.’ He (the slave) says: ‘The Most-Beneficent, the Most-Merciful,’ Allāh ta‘ālā says: ‘My slave has lauded Me.’ The slave says: ‘Owner of the Day of Recompense,’ Allāh ta‘ālā says: ‘My slave has glorified Me, and this coming verse is between Me and My slave.’ The slave says: ‘You (Alone) do we worship and from You (Alone) do we seek help,’ Allāh says: ‘This is between Me and My slave, and My slave will receive whatever he asks for.’ The slave says: ‘Guide us to the Straight Path, the path of those whom You have favoured, not of those who have incurred Your Displeasure nor of those who have gone astray,’ Allāh ta‘ālā says: ‘These are for My slave, and My slave will receive whatever he asks for.’ (Abū Dāwūd)
By understanding the position of salāh in Islām, one can conclude that only that person who values the gift of Mi‘rāj can truly claim to have understood Mi‘rāj.
When the month of Rajab would arrive, Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam used to make the following du‘ā:
Allāhumma bārik lanā fī rajabin wa sha’bān, wa ballighnā Ramadhān.
O Allāh! Grant us barakah in the months of Rajab and Sha‘bān and make us reach the month of Ramadān. (Al-Mu‘jamul-Awsat)
Therefore, it is desirable to recite this du‘ā on the advent of Rajab. Upon the commencement of Rajab, everyone should focus their attention on making preparations for the blessed month of Ramadān. This preparation is a spiritual one and entails fulfilling one’s duties to Allāh ta‘ālā, especially in areas where one is lacking.
Preparing for Ramadhān from the month of Rajab is just like getting into a car and putting it in first gear. Begin to observe the compulsory and obligatory acts from now so that by the time Ramadān sets in, you are in fifth gear practising many optional acts of worship as well.
May Allāh ta‘ālā give us the tawfīq to practise upon His entire Dīn according to the teachings of our Beloved Nabī sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam, and may He enable us to start making preparations for the month of Ramadhān from now. Āmīn.
Extracted from ‘Inspirations’ (Part 1)