I would like to know about the “WAQIA-I-MAIRAJ“1 which describes the journey of our prophet to God.
Please I want to know it on scientific grounds if possible.
When someone says: “I would like to understand such and such action of God, on scientific grounds”, it really implies that the scientific laws which are prevalent in the universe are of an eternal nature and even God, with all His omnipotence, is restricted in His actions by these scientific laws. I really do not ascribe to this point of view. I believe that even the scientific laws are a creation of God, and God is not bound by these laws while planning or taking His actions. If He plans to do something, He has all the power to do it. Nothing of His own creation can hinder Him in carrying out His plans. The real question is only whether we believe in a God that is truly omnipotent – in the absolute sense of the word – or is He too, like us, restricted to plan and take actions within the framework of the prevalent laws of nature. My opinion, in this regard is that God has absolute powers of doing what He plans to do and nothing can hinder Him from taking these actions. Thus, when I am asked whether God can really do what we are told that He did on the particular night of the ascension of the Prophet (pbuh) or not, I have absolutely no hesitation in submitting that “He can”. I do not need any scientific explanations for His actions.
From the above explanation, it should be quite clear that as I see it, the ascension or Mairaj, whether it can be explained on scientific grounds or not, is a reality. Doubting this fact, is really doubting the omnipotence of God.
With this in mind, let us have a look at what the Qur’an has to say about this incident.
According to the Qur’an, this incident was a ‘Ro’ya’‘ of the Prophet (pbuh). The Arabic word ‘Ro’ya’‘ is used in the same meaning as we use the word ‘Dream’ in the English language. The Qur’an implies that the Prophet (pbuh) was taken on a spiritual journey by God, for his education and experience. Yes, it was real, but not physical.
I must emphasize here once again that if the Qur’an had presented it as a physical journey, I would have had absolutely no objection in believing that it was a physical journey of the Prophet (pbuh). I believe that for God anything and everything is possible. My only problem in not believing it to be a physical ascension is that the Qur’an has called it ‘Ro’ya’‘ (a vision in a dream) rather than ‘Ro’yat‘ (seeing with open eyes).
In my opinion, therefore, the Mairaj or the ascension of the Prophet (pbuh) was a spiritual experience, not a physical one.
8th March 1998
- The incident of the ‘Mairaj’ – i.e. the ascension of the Prophet (pbuh). [↩]