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The Quran denies the Miraaj/Ascension to heaven

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Arnold Yasin Mol

PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2007 5:23 am    Post subject: The Quran denies the Miraaj/Ascension to heaven Reply with quote

Salaam Aleikum,

See how the Quran destroys another myth created centuries after the Prophet:

17:90 (Instead of reflecting on it, they keep demanding physical miracles) and they say, “We will not believe in you until you cause a spring to gush forth from the earth.”

17:91 "Or unless you bring a garden of date palms and grape vines and cause rivers to gush forth in their midst."
17:92 "Or make the sky fall on us, as you keep warning us about retribution, or bring God and the angels face to face before us." [26:187, 6:35]

17:93 "Or unless you have a dazzling house of gold, or unless you climb/ascend into the sky. But, nay, we will not believe your climbing unless you bring a written book that we can read." Tell them, "glory be to my Lord! Am I more than a human, a messenger?"

17:94 Yet whenever guidance came to people, nothing has ever kept them from believing as much as this objection, "Would God send a mortal man as His messenger?"

The Quran denies clearly here any beliefs that the Prophet was taken up to heaven. Indeed the Book is free from any nonsense!

Thanks to Brother Pazuzu for this excellent observation.
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Joined: 29 Jan 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2007 8:34 am    Post subject: Context Reply with quote

As has been pointed out in the introduction of Chapter 17 of the QXP, there is nothing that should lend to the interpretation that leads to the Meeraj myth. I quote the introduction to Chapter 17 below, and underline and bold typeface certain points that should be noted in particular:

"[Author's Note] This is the 17th Surah of the Qur'an. Some historians refer to it as Surah Bani Israel. It has 111 verses. Asra (Night Journey) is often confused with Me'raaj (Ascension). Since God is Omnipresent, the notion of anyone going to meet with Him over the skies does not stand up to reason. Asra signifies night journey and it refers to the beginning of the exalted Messenger's emigration from Makkah to Madinah by night. verses 20:77 and 26:52 use the same term for migration of Prophet Moses along with his followers across the sea. Also consider 17:2. Masjid Al-Aqsa means, the Remote Mosque and refers to the 'Remote Mosque' in Madinah, the place where Muslims used to establish congregational prayer before the Prophet's arrival to the city. Masjid may also be understood here as Madinah being the place of regular congregations. The famous Masjid Al-Aqsa, the so-called Qiblah Awwal, the supposed First Holy Sanctuary, is widely known as Haram Shareef) in Jerusalem. But, in fact, it was built in 72 AH (691 CE) by the Umayyad Ruler, Abdul Malik bin Marwan, about 60 years after the exalted Messenger passed on. The First Sanctuary was nothing but Ka'bah in Makkah 3:96. Jerusalem, until the Muslim conquest under the second Caliph of Islam in 637 CE, had been under the control of Byzantine Christians for centuries, and there was no person worshiping in a Masjid anywhere in the world but Madinah. Hence, the question of the presence of a Masjid in Jerusalem during the lifetime of the exalted Prophet should not arise. Again, Muslims conquered Jerusalem in 637 CE during the Rule of the second Caliph of Islam, Hazrat Umar. When he visited the place, he continued to pray in open grounds, although Pope Severinus gave him the key to the city and invited him to pray in the Church of Holy Sepulture. But Hazrat Umar feared that Muslims might start converting churches into Masjids, so he politely declined. If a Masjid were present, he would have prayed there. The word Me'raaj (physical Ascension) nowhere occurs in the Qur'an. Yet, under erroneous traditions, it is a popular, though non-Qur'anic, belief among many Muslims that the exalted Messenger was taken up physically to the heavens to meet with God! The Qur'an sets the records straight by asserting that the First ever Holy Sanctuary was the Ka'bah built by prophets Abraham and Ishmael in Makkah. And that the Divine Laws are unchangeable under all circumstances. Bodily Ascension is a Biblical and not a Qur'anic theme at all."

The purpose of my post is to contextualize 17.1 in the light of 17.2. As the point is made in the above quoted introduction, there is an exodus made by the Prophet from Mecca to Medina. Verse 17.2 then does not go into any detail regarding this journey, but immediately discusses the exodus of Moses from Egypt to the Promised Land:

Glorious is He Who initiated the migration of His servant by night, from the Sacred Masjid to the Remote Masjid whose environs We did bless that We might show him of Our signs. Surely, He is the Hearer, the Seer. [ 20:23. Signs that the Divine System will begin to prevail from there]

(Recall that Moses had to migrate from Pharaoh's Kingdom to the Sinai Peninsula.) We gave Moses the Scripture and We appointed it a Guide to the Children of Israel, saying, "Choose no guardian besides Me."

Please note that by following 17.1 (the Prophet's migration) with the example of Moses leaving Egypt (which was an oppressive) state (country) to establish and "Islamic State" (ie. a place where the Divine System is established and practiced), draws a parallel between the 2 missions - WHICH WAS TO LEAD PEOPLE OUT OF OPPRESSION, TO ESTABLISH A PLACE IN LINE WITH THE LAWS OF THE DIVINE SYSTEM.

Remember also that the mosque was not the place of prayer as we have it today: it was effectively the seat of government. Medina was the so this was the furthest "seat of government" ie. a satellite office, and not the main centre of power (political Power) of the infant Islamic state.

The migration of the Prophet from Mecca to Medina showed that the seat of Power had shifted. It was a transfer of the seat of Power as the Leader abandons the original seat of power to migrate to Medina, and this is why it is important for the people to take note.

I have often come across representations of the Prophet as a mere religious leader - one who taught you how to pray, and how to wash and how fold one's trousers (if he ever wore trousers!). What many traditional commentators fail to grasp or point out is that the Prophet was the leader of what was soon to be the new Islamic empire (built on the Divine Value System), to challenge the likes of the Persian, Greek and Roman empires.

Therefore, when the seat of power shifts, it is important that that event be noted. It is not for any mystical reasons, but rather to ensure that people knew where to contact the leader, where decisions are being made, where emmisaries could be sent, where diplomats could access the seat of power (represented by the Prophet) could be found.
absence of evidence is not evidence of absence - Carl Sagan
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