OUTLOOK — By Abdulaziz Al Jahdhami — Life is full of different experiments and challenges which we face and experience every day during our lifetime. Every human being gets annoyed and upset from the obstacles and hard times that come across in life; even Allah's prophets had undergone such problematic or inconvenient circumstances throughout their lifespan. It is very natural, however, what matters is how strong we are to put up with and overcome such times of distress.
A real example of a strong and noble man who suffered different kinds of hard experiences is the Prophet Muhammed (Peace Be Upon Him). Although he was a man who was a blessed messenger from Allah, he came across several challenges and tough experiences. Since he started spreading the message of Islam he faced different challenges such as the rejection of his message, from his people, relatives and even family members.
During the year 619 AD, which is known as the “Year of Sadness” in the Islamic history, the Prophet Muhammad lost his beloved wife Khadeeja and his uncle Abu Talib. It was a tough year for him because he lost the major support from his family. His wife, Khadeeja was the first who believed in him as a messenger of Allah and Abu Talib was the real protection for him from other people, especially those who denied his message of Islam.
On that particular year, the Prophet Muhammad visited a city nearby Mecca called Taif to preach the Oneness of God and seek peace from the people, but he was eventually run out of town. For that reason, he reached a high point of distress and disappointment; besides he was emotionally affected by the loss of his wife and uncle. After all that happened in the Prophet's life, he lived his days full of sorrow and loneliness.
In the middle of this hardship, the Prophet had a comforting experience which is now known as Al Isra and Al Miraj, the Night Visit and Ascension. This unique experience was a night trip made by the Prophet to the city of Jerusalem and when he visited the Al Aqsa Mosque; the first part of the trip called Al Isra. The second part was called Al Miraj in which the Prophet was raised up into Heaven. The trip occurred in the month of Rajab, particularly on the twenty-seventh day and today Muslims all over the world observe this day as the Prophet Muhammad's Ascension Day.
Referring to this experience in the Holy Quran, Allah said: 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 Isra 17: 1)
Although the Prophet Muhammad was facing many bitter rejections of his message of Islam, the journey was a real proof for Muslims and other believers of the Prophet's honesty and truth of his message. At that time, it was impossible to travel all the way from Mecca to Jerusalem within one night. However, the Prophet's was granted this miracle by Allah to support him and his belief.
During this miraculous trip, Prophet Muhammad learnt a number of lessons and received some instructions like the number of prayers Muslims should observe each day. It also taught him the real value of patience and faith; always after hardship comes relief. The Al Israa and Al Miraj event in the Prophet's life was a turning point as it opened up opportunities for Islam to spread at that time. Doors were opened up for Muslims in Madina as many of them emigrated from Mecca to Madina. This ended up with the Prophet settling down in Madina and establishing the first civilisation known to mankind.
The Prophet Muhammad's midnight trip came as a kind of relief for him and a reminder not to lose the hope of God's support and love after all what he came through. It also gave him strength and hope that Allah was with him despite all the obstacles and hard times.
Therefore, Muslims around the world observe the anniversary of this occasion to recall the history of this event. They also remember the major lessons of this significant occasion in the Islamic history and bring the Prophet's teachings to the new generations to enable them to learn the Islamic morals and ethics practiced by the Prophet Muhammad.
Martin Luther King said: "We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope".