Aug 23, 2000

When God Takes His Servant On A Night Journey!

  • From friday speech of Master Ali Rafea (Ragab 20, 1420/October 29, 1999)
  • Translated and Prepared for publishing by: Aisha Rafea
We have been learning unceasingly that all events and Signs that took place during the Revelation of Prophet Muhammad are living wisdom. When we treasure each in our hearts, contemplate and discuss together, we are prepared to read God's implicit messages and be guided by them.
The Night Journey of the Prophet to the Aqsa Mosque Israa, is rich with guidance from which we can learn a lot. We are guided to prepare ourselves fully, so that we are ready for receiving God's graces. By being responsive to divine graces unceasingly, a time will come when we are qualified for attaining the "maximum" that is spiritually attainable while on Earth. (Aqsa in Arabic means maximum).

Glory to (Allah) Who did take His servant on a Journey by night from the Sacred Mosque to the Aqsa Mosque, whose precincts We did bless, in order that We might show him some of Our Signs (HQ:17:1)
In these verses, we read that God " took His servant on a journey". We can see that the first precondition is that a person is a Servant of God. Being a servant of God, is being keen to prepare oneself (spiritually) to be chosen for God's blessings, and to be welcomed in the "Sacred Mosque" which is a symbol of God's Mercy on earth. The Sacred Mosque represents Quibla, the chosen Center toward which Muslims direct their prayers for Allah. It is symbolically the Divine Home Baytu'llah where each believer aspires to be part of. We can see that a person is not apt to be a Servant of God unless he is embraced by God's Mercy. God's Mercy is manifested in the Messenger of Allah r . So, to be embraced by God's Mercy is in itself, so to speak, taking refuge in His Prophet, the symbol of His Mercy.
My Family among you is like Noah's ark, those who took refuge in it are saved, and those who do not join are losers (Prophetic Hadith)
Holy Sayings highlight for us that our relationship with God implies attachment to His Prophet:
"If ye do love Allah, follow me: Allah will love you and forgive you your sins; "(HQ:3: 31)
But no, by thy Lord, they can have no (real) Faith, until they make thee judge in all disputes between them, and find in their souls no resistance against thy decisions, but accept them with the fullest conviction. (HQ:4: 65)
Verily those who plight their fealty to thee do no less than plight their fealty to Allah: the Hand of Allah is over their hands: (HQ:48: 10 or 18)
Sufis expressed their understanding of this reality by addressing God saying, " he (Prophet Muhammad) is Unseen of Your Unseen, a token for the secret of Your Divineness; and, thus, a Manifestation that guides us to You." (Part of Abu al Hassan Al Shadhly's daily zikr)
Man is guided to prepare himself continuously to be qualified for receiving Allah's blessings, and that is what "serving God" means. And he is directed to be under the shelter of the Messenger of God; this is what "being in the Sacred Mosque" symbolizes. This way his (spiritual) training is whole; he is qualified for the night journey Israa.
Israa is a symbol for a truth that is revealed when God brings man out from darkness into light.
Allah is the protector of those who have faith: from the depths of darkness He will lead them forth into light. (HQ:2: 257).
However exalted a Servant of God becomes, he never forgets that the Sacred Mosque is his Direction Quibla. So even when he attains the maximum accessible spiritual status Aqsa, he directs his face while praying, day or night, towards the Sacred Mosque. He knows very well that it was his closeness to Masjid Haram (the Holy Mosque) that made him available for God to transform him that lofty. He never forgets that the Sacred Mosque will always be his Qibla, the manifestation of the Grace he seeks for protection and the Shelter wherein he finds refuge, forever. It is because he well realizes that the Prophet of God r is his guide always and his Imam everlastingly. Sufis say about the Prophet, "he is the leader of the troops of Your worlds travelling to You". (Part of Abu al Hassan Al Shadhly's same daily zikr)
To sum up, we have to learn from all events and holy occasions that we commemorate, so that we treasure their meanings and significance in our hearts. We thus become among those who read truly, willingly are transformed, and hence realize that the objective of humans is to put what they grasp into practice. Such persons always seek divine support, pray for forgiveness and return to Allah all the time. They are never arrogant or stubborn. They rather humble themselves, listen carefully to what is said, live by guidance, hold to remembering Allah, contemplate His Signs, endeavor steadily for being good Servants of God and being qualified for closeness to His Prophet. In other words they seek to become prepared for God to take their hands and bring them out from darkness to light; to carry them for a journey where they are to attain the maximum spiritual gain while on earth. Thus their earthly journey would be a winning one for they have attained real life.