Friday Focus | The Message of Meraj

Rajab, the month of Meraj is about to depart. Special functions were held on the occasion across the length and breadth of Kashmir and in many other parts of the world of Islam. Print and electronic media arranged special programmes and features to commemorate the occasion. In spite of this, the fact remains that the message of Meraj remains largely unheeded. Meraj has many dimensions, some deeply mysterious, others relatively easier to human understanding, but all significant in their own ways. The main message of Meraj relevant to us as well as to all other times and places, is the supreme requirement of establishing the bond between the earth and the heaven, between man as a special creation and the Creator who has chosen to grant him the status of His vicegerent on the earth and, for this purpose, vouchsafe to him the sense of discrimination between right and wrong and the freedom of choosing whichever way he likes. He may choose to live like an animal and cling to the dust or he may rekindle and develop the heavenly spark within him, in the light of Divine guidance, and rise to glory. The Prophet’s heavenly journey symbolises the establishment and strengthening of the bond between man and God, between earth and heaven. The three gifts that the Prophet (SAW) received on this occasion awaken this bonding and ensure its life and continuity. The first of these, salat, is a renewal of man’s contact with God at least five times a day and has therefore been described by the Prophet (SAW) as meraj-ul-mumineen (the meraj of the believers).

The second gift – the last two verses of surah al-Baqarah – underline the importance of faith in God, His guidance of man through Revelation, and man’s endeavour within his limits to fulfil the demands of this faith. And the third gift – pardon to all believers except those who commit shirk (associating partners with Allah) – is actually the Divine declaration that any believer whose bond with God remains unbroken and unadulterated is a candidate for salvation notwithstanding minor aberrations and mistakes.

Today’s man has broken the heaven-earth bond. Not only have most of the men, as individuals, severed their connection with the Creator, but also the materialistic civilisation which dominates the world today is at the farthest remove from heaven; the Transcendent stands banished. The result is that our values arise from our animal existence; they have ceased to be heavenly; they have ceased to be human and humane.