Thursday, June 30, 2011

Shibli Nomani: On the Miraj of the Prophet (peace be upon him)

Maulana Nezami Ganjavi, Shah Waliullah, Mirza Ghalib, Shibli Nomani and Allama Iqbal are just a few of those great Muslim writers whose reflections on the Miraj of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) may be regarded as original and substantial contributions on the subject. Here I want to discuss just one of them, Shibli Nomani.

According to Shibli Nomani, the incident was much more than a facinating miracle. Shibli treats it as a precusor to the Migration of the Holy Prophet to Madina and the emergence of Islam as a state and a powerful nation.

The incident of Miraj is mentioned at least twice in the Quran, most notably in the opening verses of the surahs Isra (Bani Israel) and Najam. Usually, commentators treat only the first few verses of Surah Isra as related to the Miraj but Shibli observes a thematic unity in the surah. He suggests that the opening lines about the night journey of the Prophet from Makkah to Jerusalem blend seemlessly into themes that are unmistakably related to the next phase of the Prophet's career, i.e. his life at Madinah.

Throughout the Muslim history, the incident of Miraj has remained at the centre of the creative consciousness of the society. By observing a beautiful connection between the Prophet's visit to the heaven and the establishment of a state on earth, Shibli added a new chapter to the ongoing discourse on the subject, and we can see how particularly relevent and useful this new dimension could have been for those Muslim societies which were going to emerge as independent states within decades of Shibli's writing. Shibli made it possible for them to see the heavenly journey of the Prophet as an inspiration for building the new Muslim states!   

The incident of Miraj is discussed at great length in the Seeratun Nabi in the third volume, which was completed by Shibli's disciple Syed Sulaiman Nadvi and published in 1924.
Listen to beautiful recitation of Surah Isra by Mishary Rashid, with English translation, and see if you agree with the thesis of Shibli Nomani. 
If the video doesn't display properly on this blog,
use the following links for watching it at Youtube:

1 comment:

  1. it would be nice if you could copy some of the writing of Shibli on the Seerah and post an example on your site.