In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, Most Merciful; blessing and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.
**************** “Glory to (Allah) Who did take His servant for a Journey by night from the Sacred Mosque to the farthest Mosque, whose precincts We did bless,- in order that We might show him some of Our Signs: for He is the One Who heareth and seeth (all things).” - Al-Israa': 1
I managed to attend several Isra' (Israk) and Mi'raj (Mikraj) talks recently, a point raised by one ‘ustaz’ (religious teacher) struck deep inside my heart; it was regarding the concept of power and time.
Since the ustaz was from Kuala Lumpur and gave the talk at a masjid near my house in Melaka, he focused on his journey from the two cities via the North-South Highway to explain the concept of power and time.
He said he was 'an ordinary man' with 'an ordinary income' thus he only managed to own 'an ordinary car' and with that car, it took him two hours to cover the distance between the two cities.
"If I had more money, I could buy a Mercedes and with this car I could go faster and arrive earlier in Melaka. If I have the purchasing power to own a Ferrari, then by using that car I could reach Melaka in only an hour," said the ustaz.
He said having a lot of money is often associated with power. So with power you could buy 'those powerful cars' and with those machines you could shorten the time taken to cover your journey.
Regarding 'those powerful machines' who knows in the near future, man could invent 'flying cars or motorcycles' thus could cut down the time taken to cover distances between two points which are not too far away. Nowadays to travel between two faraway places, we use planes which are of course not suitable for short journeys.
If human beings 'with power' could shorten the time taken to cover such and such a distance, then what could be said about 'the power' of Allah SWT, The Almighty, The Most Powerful on everything and matters in the universe, including regarding time?
Allah SWT can do anything to time for He is The Creator of time; He is The Controller of time. If human beings could shorten and further shorten the time taken to cover two distances by each day with the invention of more and more sophisticated and powerful machines, then Allah SWT with 'His Power', in a short span of time (not even a night) could take Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. for a journey from Makkah to al-Quds and then to the upper heavens.
This is Isra' and Mi'raj, the miraculous night journey of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. (peace be upon him) from the Haram Masjid in Makkah to the al-Aqsa Masjid in al-Quds and from there he ascended to the upper heavens and Sidratul-Muntaha.
The lesson from Isra' and Mi'raj is that Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.'s Lord is our Lord; time, space and distance are all His creations; similarly Paradise and Hellfire are not abstract concepts but real places which physically exist—and one of them is our final destination.
We have been given sufficient descriptions of each to decide for ourselves which path we should take, and Allah has shown his infinite mercy and compassion to help us choose the right path.
For the journey from Makkah to al Quds, Arab caravans travelling by camels at that time needed one month and another one month for the journey back but the Prophet could made it in not more than a night.
Nowadays travelling by plane for the same journey takes a few hours.
And for the journey from Jerusalem to the upper heavens and Sidratul-Muntaha, only Prophet Muhammad s.a.w as the chosen one by Allah SWT could make it and he took a short period of time; nowadays man boasts that he has reached the moon (Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on 20th July 1969), yet their journey in the Apollo 11 spacecraft needed a time span of eight days travelling in space. The average distance between the Earth and the Moon is about 239,000 miles or about 384,000 kilometers.
If man could go to the sun, then the journey of 93,000,000 miles (about 150,000,000 kilometers) by taking the fastest spacecraft would take them generation after generation; the fact is that man could not reach the sun because of various factors including its heat that would melt the craft.
Keep in mind that all these ‘sky creatures’ – the moon and sun - are all under the Earth's sky (first layer of the sky); Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. had ascended all seven layers of skies to Sidratul-Muntaha.
So how could the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. make the Isra' and Mi'raj journey in a short period of time – not even one night? The answer is in Ayah 1 of Surah 17 (Al-Israa’) which means: “Glory to (Allah) Who did take His servant for a Journey by night from the Sacred Mosque to the farthest Mosque, whose precincts We did bless,- in order that We might show him some of Our Signs: for He is the One Who heareth and seeth (all things).”
It was Allah SWT that made the journey possible. Allah is The Creator of time and space. It is His wish to do anything including time. In Ayahs 80-81 Surah Yasin, Allah SWT says: “Is not He Who created the heavens and the earth Able to create the like of them? Aye, that He is! for He is the All-Wise Creator. But His command, when He intendeth a thing, is only that he saith unto it: Be! And it is.”
Another ustaz in his talk on Isra' and Mi'raj, cautioned congregators, that time seemed and was being felt 'to be shorter by each day'. "I am sure that many of us realize that time flies fast. After waking up in the morning, then its midday, and then its evening and then we are back in the morning..."
Regarding 'this feeling', Anas reported that the messenger of Allah said: "The hour (Doomsday) shall not come until time will be considered short, and a year will appear like a month, a month like a week, a week like a day, a day like an hour and an hour like a flash of fire." (Tirmidhi)
Thus, the ustaz reminded Muslims not to waste their time; there is a hadith which states: "Grasp five things before five others: your youth before your decrepitude, your health before you fall sick, your wealth before going into poverty, your free time before you get busy and lastly your life before your death. (Tirmidhi)
He said one aspect of importance regarding Isra' and Mi'raj was regarding 'solat' (prayers) which was ordered by Allah SWT directly to Prophet Muhammad s.a.w at Sidratul-Muntaha.
"Thus," said the ustaz. "Muslims must remember that their 'solat' are their 'mi'raj' to Allah SWT. By doing 'solat' they have a direct link to Allah SWT. If you remember Allah SWT, He will remember you, if you do not, then you are lost in this world and what more in the Hereafter."
Allah created time; hence He can do whatever He wants to with it. If the Prophet could travel, witness and experience many miracles during the short span of time (according to human being calculation) during Isra' and Mi'raj, Allah SWT out of His Mercy has also awarded Muslims bountiful rewards in the Hereafter if they perform their good deeds including performing 'solat' during special times and places.
For example when one performs his obligations and good deeds during ‘Lailatul Qadr’ (the Night of Destiny) during Ramadan, then he/she would be rewarded for his/her deeds for that night better than a thousand months (1 night = 83 years 4 months!).
Then if one performs his obligations for example saying his prayers in the Haram Masjid, then he would be rewarded 100,000 times more than the rewards at ordinary masjids. At the Prophet’s Masjid in Madinah it is 1,000 times and at the Al-Aqsa Masjid it is 500 times!
In conclusion, Allah SWT Is The Most Powerful; (remember Ayah 1 of Surah 17 (Al-Israa’) begins with 'Subhanallah' with the meaning Glory to Allah), thus He can do whatever He wishes including those which contradict the law of nature such as Isra' and Mi'raj and turn the huge fire which was to burn Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) a.s. cold and the Prophet was saved from it and how He made seven youth sleep in a cave for more than 300 years as mentioned in Surah Al-Kahfi.