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The Night Journey and Ascension : Khutbah by Shaykh Nooruddeen Durkee


and Past Posts

Qubbat al-Sakhra (Dome of the Rock), Masjid al-Aqsa, Haram al-Sharif, J erusalem (photo
credit)

The Dome of the Rock houses the rock upon which Mohammad, the Messenger of God, Divine
peace and blessings to his noble soul, is said to have ascended to heaven, the same rock upon
which Abraham, Divine peace be upon him offered up his most beloved one, in the J ewish
tradition, the Foundation Stone, said to be the first part of the world that came into being at the
creation. Some tradition points that it is the very place from where J esus Christ, Divine peace be
upon him, also rose to Heaven. It is also on the site of the inner sanctum of the Second Temple of
J erusalem (the Holiest of Holies) on the platform known as the Temple Mount, which Muslims
refer to as the "Noble Sanctuary." The holiness of the site to the three Abrahamic faiths is
intense.



According to Sacred Knowledge, each and every one of the Divine Informers, the Great Message
Bearers of God has experienced ascension. Quoting from the book: Teachings of Perfect Masters
by Henry Bayman where he quotes the teaching of Sufi Master Ahmet Kayhan Dede, may Allah
bless him, as:

"There has been no prophet without ritual Prayer, nor without Ascension (miraj). Many of them
have ascended twice.

Adam had his first Ascension when his spirit was created by God. His second Ascent occurred at
the mountain of Arafat together with our mother Eve.

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Idris (Enoch), in accordance with the Quranic verse We raised him to a high place ascended
and did not come back. Noah, at the time of the Flood associated with his name, ascended while
on the ship he made by Gods command.

Abraham ascended to heaven twice: First, when he was thrown into the fire, and second, at the
moment when he was about to sacrifice his beloved son Ishmael.

J onah, at the time when he was swallowed by the whale, was inspired by God Almighty with the
verse: There is no god but You. Glory be to You, I have been of the wrongdoers [21:87]. By
repeating this verse, he made his Ascension in the belly of the whale.

King Solomon, the son of David, told his father he would accept prophethood on two conditions.
He said to him: If God Almighty grants the prophethood on both physical and spiritual grounds,
I will accept it. God was pleased with these words of Solomon, and his request was granted.
This became his Ascension, because he wanted it that way.

As for Moses, he also performed two Ascensions. In his first ascent, right after his birth his
mother placed him in a basket of bulrushes and set him adrift on the Nile. His second ascent
occurred on Mount Sinai [Horeb].

J esus also had two Ascensions. In the first one, the Virgin Mary was asked: How did you get
pregnant? J esus answered from his mothers womb: My mothers words are the truth, heed my
mother. His second ascent happened during the Crucifixion (his ascension was spiritual).

The Ascension of the Prophet Muhammad was superior to those of the other prophets. Crossing
the Seven Heavens, he performed his Ascension starting from the seventh, conversed with God,
and returned with the greatest good news to his community and all mankind. "

This current lunar Month called Rajab is the month in which the 27th is specially marked as the
date on which Muhammad Mustafa, the Messenger of God ascended to Heaven. This incident is
known as Isra and Mi'raj.
Laylatu-l-Mir'aj | Commemorating the Night of Ascension
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Vision of Miraj

A`udhu bi wajhillahi al-Karim
wa bi kalimatillahi al-tammat
al-lati la yujawizuhunna barrun wa la fajir
min sharri ma yanzilu min al-sama'
wa min sharri ma ya`ruju fiha
wa min sharri ma dhara'a fi al-ard
wa min sharri ma yakhruju minha
wa min fitani al-layli wa al-nahar
wa min tawariq al-layli wa al-nahar
illa tariqin yatruqu bi khayrin ya Rahman

I seek refuge in the Face of Allah the Munificent
and in Allah's perfect words
which neither the righteous nor the disobedient overstep
from the evil of what descends from the heaven
and the evil of what ascends to it
and the evil of what is created in the earth
and the trials of the night and the day
and the visitors of the night and the day
except the visitor that comes with goodness,
O Beneficent One!
- Prayer of the Prophet during the Journey of Ascent

There are three glorious and significant Celestial Nights of Lights in the terrestrial calendar of
events for entire humanity. Such luminous points are placed in our human existence like guiding
stars as a source of blessing and opportunity to remember what is Real. If one to look around
their surrounding, regardless of which hemisphere of the planet they live in, they will find that
majority of people are immersed in perpetual forgetfulness (of the reality), in utter denial of their
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appointed meeting with their Lord and captured in the net of deception of the material world
which binds and binds more who enslave themselves after its mirages. For the entire humanity its
a great blessing to come across such luminous nights in which blessed servants were given
drinks from the cup of divine fountain and in such generous giving by the Most Generous, al
Karim, these nights are marked till the end of days as occasion to remember and as mediation for
grace, blessing and forgiveness and also as opportunity for those who yearn for the Face of the
Divine to raise themselves up more towards the Divine Intimacy.

Fa-itha faraghta fainsab,
Wa-ila rabbika fairghab.
So when you have finished [your duties], then arise,
And to your Lord direct [your] longing.
- The Quran 94:7-8

The three glorious and significant Celestial Nights as unveiled in the last cycle of Abrahamic
Revelations of Humanity, that is in Islam, are called: Laylatul Miraj, Laylatul Bar'aat (Nisfu
Shabaan) and Laylatul Qadr, which appear respectively in the month of Rajab, Sha'ban and
Ramadan. Some places on the planet it is tonight which will be observed as Laylatul Miraj, the
Holy Night of Ascension and in other places it will be tomorrow night, based on the lunar
calendar.

At present the month of Rajab is passing us and on the 27th Night of Rajab, a very significant
enlightening event occurred in the Kingdom which is known as Miraj or Ascension of the Holy
Prophet. The Holy Prophet was taken while alive in the heaven to travel the Heavens, to meet
earlier Divine Messengers, including Adam, Noah, Abraham, J ohn the Baptist and J esus and
finally he traveled further, beyond the last boundary and experienced the Ultimate Experience of
Meeting the Divine, Face to Face.

As the famous Sufi Qawwali Allah Hu sings and commemorate this event in the words of the
Sufi poets:

Pahunche Miraj me, Arsh Tak Mustafa
Jab Na Mabud O Bande me Parda Raha.

In the Night Ascension Mustafa arrives the Intimate Divine Presence
When there was no veil between the Master and Servant.

Tab Malaik Ne, Hazrat Se Chup Kar Kaha
Sari Makhluq me, Haq Numa Tu hi Tu.

Then angels said secretly to Prophet,
Cosmic totality holds this truth alone: Only You, Only You!

Allah Hu, Allah Hu, Allah Hu

Only That Existence alone Is.
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Allah who is the Most Merciful and Most Compassionate longs that Her Creation remembers
Her and it is Her good pleasure that each human being live a pure life (hayyatut-taiyyaba). The
act of sending the select and elect Divine Informers and Messengers Allah was also an act of
Mercy; similarly there were special events that occurred in the life of these enlightened guides of
humanity which were not only special wayfaring station for their own journey to the Lord of the
Glorious Throne, but made into holy occasion for the rest of us to walk along their guided path.

Ihdinas Siratul Mustaqim!
Through the secret of unity, all that happened in the life of a chosen and elect friend of God
(Awliya Allah), elect Divine Messenger or Informer of God (Rasul and Nabi) has the potential to
manifest and unfold in the life of any other individual who are connected to them, who has made
relation with them by the invisible golden thread of love (sohbet, bayah and nisbat). Each person
is a microcosm, each Man is Adam and hence what happens in each, has a cosmic relationship to
the rest, for indeed in truth, the Existence is without two or partner. The hint of this secret can be
traced here:

Creating and resurrecting all of you, o humanity, is just like creating and resurrecting a single
soul. Truly, God hears all and observes all. - The Quran 31:28

For this reason, the special occasion through which enlightenment were given to the elect friends
and divine informers, special event of experiencing divine nearness - opens up the field of
possibility that such experience or its traces could be given as a gift to those who love the ones
who are loved by God and it was only through love (hubb) they were given what they were given
which no eyes have seen, nor any being on earth has experienced other than their destined
recipients.The station of love (hubb) is through which the Chosen one became Divine Beloved
(Habib Allah) and was granted what no other were granted as the experience of Miraj.

The great Mujaddid Ahmad Sirhindi, may Allah hallow his secret, wrote in his Maktubat (as
translated by Irshad Alam) touching upon the experience of Miraj and how such state is also
bestowed upon others (in this case him):
You should know that among those contingent beings who have realized the station of nearness
(qurb) of divinity (ilahi), those who have stepped their feet out side the circle of contingentness
find the beginningless beginning and the endless end unified together.
While on the station of ascent (maqamtul uruj) on the night of Heavenly Ascension (miraj),
Hazrat the Seal of Messenger (salaam) found Hazrat J onah in the belly of the fish. And he found
the storm of Hazrat Noah taking place and he saw the people of paradise in paradise and people
of hell in hell. He found five hundred years (of earthly time) equal to half of a day after entering
the paradise. The Prophet saw a rich companion named Abdur Rahman ibn Auf entering paradise
late, so Hazrat asked him the reason for coming late and he gave news of his own trials and
tribulations (that he suffered on the way). He saw all that in one moment - there was neither past
nor future.

Through the grace of (Prophet Muhammad) the Friend of Allah, I have experienced such "states"
(i.e. unveiling and mystic visions), I (the Mujaddid) saw the angels prostrating before Adam and
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at that time their heads were not raised from the prostration. I saw the angels of the Highest
Paradise (illiyin) not performing these prostrations, they were not ordered to prostrate. In my
vision, they were absorbed (in seeing that. All these past events as well as) that will happen in
the last world, they were all seen in that same (one single all inclusive) moment.

According to individuals station and their striving (mujahada) different mystical experiences
with similar traces of cosmic experience of miraj is bestowed. As one dervish experienced during
a zikr session in which the servant of God reached an absorbed state while beholding,
remembering and uttering the Name of God and in one instant he was transported from the
gathering of remembrance in a mosque to the far horizon where with every turn of his external
face while saying "la ilaha illa Allah" he was shown the expansive horizon of the cosmos and the
experience lasted for only few seconds in worldly time's measure but its intensity and experience
was surreal.

Ya Qaribu, Ya Qaribu, Ya Qarib
Ya Latifu, Ya Lafitu, Ya Latif
Ya Mujibu, Ya Mujibu, Ya Mujib

O Thou Who is the Near Most! Make us near to Thou.
O Thou Who is the Most Subtle, be Gracious to us.
O Thou Who Responds! Please respond to our calling.

Laylatul Miraj is one of the most special night in which the Divine Messenger, Muhammad
Mustafa, upon him be abundant peace and blessings, were given an unparalleled spiritual
experience of supreme Divine Nearness. About which the Final Testament reveals:

Glory be to Him Who took His slave on a journey by night
from the Masjid al-Haram to the Masjid al-Aqsa,
whose surroundings We have blessed,
in order to show him some of Our Signs.
He is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing.
- The Quran, 17:1


In mystical words of the Quran, the event is further described in chapter 53:

The Lord of Mighty Power has taught him, The Lord of Strength; so he attained completion,
While he was in the highest part of the horizon: Then he drew near, and came closer till he was
at a distance of but two bow-lengths or (even) nearer; And God revealed unto His slave that
which He revealed.

The heart was not untrue in seeing what he saw. What! do you then dispute with him as to what
he saw? And certainly he saw him in another descent, By the lote-tree of the utmost boundary,
Near it is the Garden of Abode. Behold, the Lote-tree was shrouded (in mystery unspeakable!)

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The eye turned not aside nor yet was overbold. Certainly he saw of the greatest signs of his Lord.
- The Quran 53:5-18


For the mystics this journey signifies the journey that is made possible, from the world of limited
horizon to the world of unlimited horizon and the two mosques in the above verses of the Quran
in the beginning of Suratul Isra, in a level of meaning stands for symbol of those two horizons.
To the people of haqq, this even of Miraj is of extreme important because by verification of the
Prophet, this experience of Miraj of nearness to the Supreme Soul is bestowed and made possible
to approach to the seekers through deep prayer of the heart, the salaat. "Salaat" as the blessed
master has transmitted, "hold the secret of miraaj and for the believers it is the miraaj." This
again is a verification that what come to pass in the heart of the elect, opens up the possibility of
entering into the same domain by those who come to love the elects. This is because "the
movement which is the existence of the universe is the movement of love", as affirmed by the
Sufis.