Islamic Garden

Islamic Garden
Islamic Garden in Lausanne, Switzerland

Monday, August 2, 2010

Al-Fatiha in the context of al-mi'raj

I have been researching the various Mi'raj narratives to understand the relationship between al-Fatiha and the "favors" bestowed upon Rasulillah. In addition to the gift of revelation, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) had a profound celestial transpersonal experience which was perhaps the greatest of the favors bestowed upon him by Allah, as described here by Seyyed Hossein Nasr, the eminent scholar of Islam, in his book, "The Heart of Islam." Not only is there a specific ayat related to this event but the Divine Guidance received by the Prophet resulted in one of the pillars of the faith: Salat.

"Shortly, before the migration, an event of supreme spiritual and religious significance took place in the Prophet's life, an event that is also mentioned in the Quran. According to Islamic tradition, he was taken on what is called the Nocturnal Journey, or al-mi'raj, on a supernatural horse called al-Buraq, by Gabriel from mecca to Jerusalem. Then, from the place where the mosque of the Dome of the Rock is now located, he was taken through all of the heavens, that is, all the higher states of being, to the Divine Presence Itself, meeting on the journey earlier prophets such as Moses and Jesus. The mi'raj is the prototype of all spiritual wayfaring and realization in Islam, and its architecture even served as a model for Dante's Divine Comedy. The experiences of this celestial journey, moreover, constitute the inner reality of the Islamic daily prayers and also the bringing to completion the performance of their outward form.

It was during this journey that the Prophet reached the Divine Presence, beyond even the paradisal states at the station that marks the boundary of universal experience; beyond this station, which the Quran calls the Lote Tree of the Uttermost End, there is only the hidden mystery of God known to Himself alone. It was in this most exalted state that the Prophet received the revelation that contains what many consider to be the heart of the credo of Islam: "The Messenger believeth, and the faithful believe, in what has been revealed unto him from his Lord. Each one believeth in God and His angels and His books and His messengers: we make no distinction between any of His messengers. And they say: we hear and we obey: grant us, Thou our Lord, Thy forgiveness; unto Thee is the ultimate becoming." (2:285)" (2002, pp.31-32).

~ Excerpted from "The Heart of Islam -Enduring Values for Humanity" by Seyyed Hossein Nasr, professor of Islamic studies at George Washington University and President of the Foundation for Traditional Studies.

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