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prayers of the mi'raaj (ascension)

a book of poetry by
nashid fareed-ma'at

 

This book explores prayers of various prophets Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) encountered on the Night Journey of the Mi'raaj (the Ascension through the seven heavens).  For more information, read the book's introduction below.

Click here to download the book (in pdf format).


INTRODUCTION


The moon traverses the constellations of the zodiac in a single night,
so why do you deny the Mi`raj (Ascension)?
That wondrous, unique Pearl (the Prophet) is like a hundred moons
--for when he made one gesture, the moon was split in two.
And the marvel that he displayed in splitting the moon
was in keeping with the weakness of the creatures' perception.
The work and business of the prophets and messengers
is beyond the spheres and the stars.
Transcend the spheres and their revolution!
Then you will see that work and business.

Mawlana Jalaaludin Muhammand al-Balkhi
(also known as Rumi)
from Mathnavi


This book speaks to one of the most amazing experiences a human can have: The Night of the Mi’raaj, the Night of Ascension. That wondrous night in which the Beloved brought Muhammad, peace be upon him, through the seven heavens and then beyond to the Throne of the Beloved. The fullness of this night journey cannot be explained in words, a feat the wise don’t even attempt. Instead, this book focuses on the space of prayer within this journey: the prayers of various prophets Muhammad encountered on this journey, which culminated in the directive to institute among the Muslim community the practice of five daily prayers.

Prayer is one of the pillars of Islam. In fact, some have suggested it is nearly impossible to understand what Islam is unless one embraces a consistent practice of prayer. Not prayer in the modern context some ascribe to, as superficial displays of worship or petitionary requests to the Beloved. Prayer, in a traditional sense, moves beyond exhibition and desires into a place of surrender: the purest prayer being one in which a person surrenders all one holds one’s self to be so that the prayer prays itself through that one. In Islam, the words and postures of the traditional prayer are not something one derives one’s self: these were revealed to the community as a practice to embrace. Words and postures honoring the Beloved in ways the Beloved wills to be honored. Although there are words and movements in the prayer, when the essence of the prayer is realized there is a silence and stillness pervading the prayer. In this way, when such essence is realized, does the prayer bring one to the depths of surrender. And for some, to paraphrase a hadiith (saying) of Muhammad: prayer becomes the Mi’raaj of the faithful.

There is so much more I can include in this introduction, but brevity is speaking to me. I’ll only acknowledge that some of the text may seem tedious, given the attention to detail in some sections. I encourage patience with treading through these sections: because for some what may seem like unnecessary details may speak with necessary precision to others regarding certain material. I also acknowledge that, by some modern standards of writing, certain sections may see long-winded (and for some perhaps overwritten). Again, I encourage patience with these sections for some elements may speak deeper to some than to others -- and rest assured, I did much editing to make the present version sufficiently succinct.

On a technical note, I have written some terms and names in transliterated Arabic. In the text, these are italicized. I have included a glossary at the end for these terms.

Lastly, I encourage readers to take their time with this collection. A measured read of the material is more likely to allow the readers to get a sense of the depth within the writing. As much as the words are useful, I encourage readers to be open to the “words” beyond the words, the language of the heart realizing the love and truth (already) within the heart. If these words don’t point to that, despite how wonderful they may or may not be, they have failed their intention. Yet, if people come to realize this language of the heart without reading a single word of this book, all of creation will still be benefitted. Such realization is more important than the words...

Forgive me for any mistakes present in this version. All mistakes are my own, reflections of my shortcomings. All that is correct is true is the Beloved, so let any and all praise be to the Beloved...

the lover before the beloved
the one surrendering prostrated before
that which it surrenders to
what greater prayer can be fulfilled
all of creation will never be the same again

nashid fareed-ma’at
(July 2013 - Ramadan 1434)


Click
here to download the book (in pdf format).

 

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