In ‘Protham Alo’ of 24th June 2014 an article entitled “Miraj Maha Nabir Shretha Mujija” written by Dr Muhammad Abdul Munim Khan (a university Assistant Professor, researcher and columnist) was published. There was nothing new in the article. It was the as-usual-things describing the nocturnal celestial journey of Prophet. The article ended with the standard reminder that daily prayer is the Miraj gift of Allah to Muslims and hence it is obligatory for all Muslims.
A university Assistant Professor, researcher and columnist’s belief in Mijar and its supernatural entity was no different than that of my old Muslim office Clerk. The said Clerk was a very good, hard working, honest and religious person. He had a very strong positive conviction in everything of Islam. He was close to me for my tit bit of knowledge in Islam and used to discuss with me about the education and future of his sons.
One day my said Muslim Clerk brought a fellow Hindu Clerk to my office room and declared me an arbiter to settle his argument with the Hindu Clerk on Miraj. The Hindu Clerk did not believe in Miraj. My Muslim clerk asked me to give the final decision testifying the truth of Miraj to the Hindu Clerk. It was a very difficult situation for me. Being an agnostic I could not believe in any supernatural and Godly incident. But to diffuse the situation I asked the Hindu Clerk as to how Lord Rama came back from Lanka with wife Sita after defeating Ravana. He quickly answered that Rama with Sita came to Ayodhya by air in Pushpak Rath. Then I said that Miraj was as true as Rama’s air journey. My Muslim Clerk was very happy and Hindu Clerk confused. But I could diffuse the tension between the two Clerks of my office on an absurd issue.
Miraj, to my mind, is the weakest aspect of Islam. Around AD 610 the first verse of Qur’an was revealed and Muhammad founded Islam and claimed prophet-hood. But from the beginning he faced scornful rejection, mockery and active opposition from Mecca’s idolaters. They even called him mad and discredited him accusing with sorcery and with stealing ideas from Jews and Christians. The persecution of early converts to Islam by Mecca’s idolaters compelled some of them to migrate to Abyssinia. Then to strike a balance with idolaters of Mecca, Qur’anic verses praising three idols viz, Al lat, Al uzza and Al manat were revealed in around AD 617. These verses were fundamentally opposite to the core of Islamic philosophy and were later abrogated from Qur’an as ‘Satanic Verses’ by Allah. At the height of hostility and antagonism from Meccans, Muhammad lost his Uncle Abu Talib and first wife Khadiza in AD 619. Their death suddenly made Muhammad very vulnerable. But he was holding the fort anyway. As an answer to the continued ridicule and opposition to him and his new religion, Miraj occured in AD 621 as a desperate attempt to defend and rejuvenate the infant Islam in Mecca.
When even Miraj also could not help Muhammad much to counter the idolaters of Mecca, he migrated to Yathrib (Madina) the following year i.e., during AD 622. Frustration of Allah about poor progress and spread of Islam during the Meccan period is vividly reflected in the Qur’anic verses viz: 27:82, 68:51, 41:36, 38:82 83 and 41:45. Historically ADs 617 (Satanic verses), 619 (Death of Uncle & wife), 621 (Miraj) and 622 (Hijra) were thus very important in the life of Muhammad.
Miraj unknowingly made the Prophet someone with supernatural power like ‘son of God’ with accessibility to heaven and hell and ability to meet with other past Prophets (who died long back), as well as, Allah also. Devout Muslims believe that Miraj was bodily ascension of Prophet and not simply any spiritual experience or vision. I never understood as to how the contradiction between the formlessness of Allah and Prophet’s meeting and talking with HIM could be reconciled.
Barring Miraj, Islam always projects Muhammad to be a human being and not any ‘son-of-God’ type. I wonder if Miraj is Islam’s answer to the Christians’ ‘resurrection’. Some argue that Prophet used Miraj as an escape route from his embarrassing nocturnal encounter (Umm-e-Hanni) in Mecca on that night.
Hinduism also has unlimited supply of similar cock and bull stories where rationality does not exist and belief is the mainstay. Devout Hindus even argue “Biswas-e milay Krishna; tork-e bhahu dur”. The above mentioned article in ‘Protham Alo’ has definitely refrashed the belief of Miraj among the Muslim readers. And the bogus religion based belief thrives on.