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Is It Wrong to Name My Baby Miraj in Islam?

Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Question: Assalamu alaykum

Is it wrong to name my baby Miraj in Islam?

Answer: Wa ‘alaykum as-salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh

Thank you for your question.

There is nothing wrong with naming a child Miraj as it is not inherently impermissible, nor does it have a negative meaning. The Messenger of Allah said, ‘Indeed you will called by your names and the names of your fathers on the Day of Judgement, so [choose] good names’ (Abu Dawud).

And Allah knows best.

Wassalam,
[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 to study and sit at the feet of some of the most erudite scholars of our time.

Over the following eighteen months he studied a traditional curriculum, studying with scholars such as Shaykh Adnan Darwish, Shaykh Abdurrahman Arjan, Shaykh Hussain Darwish and Shaykh Muhammad Darwish.

In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years, in Fiqh, Usul al-Fiqh, Theology, Hadith Methodology and Commentary, Shama’il, and Logic with teachers such as Dr Ashraf Muneeb, Dr Salah Abu’l-Hajj, Dr Hamza al-Bakri, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, Dr Mansur Abu Zina amongst others. He was also given two licences of mastery in the science of Qur’anic recital by Shakh Samir Jabr and Shaykh Yahya Qandil.

His true passion, however, arose in the presence of Shaykh Ali Hani, considered by many to be one of the foremost tafsir scholars of our time who provided him with the keys to the vast knowledge of the Quran. With Shaykh Ali, he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Qur’anic Sciences, Tafsir, Arabic Grammar, and Rhetoric.

When he finally left Jordan for the UK in 2014, Shaykh Ali gave him his distinct blessing and still recommends students in the UK to seek out Shaykh Abdul-Rahim for Quranic studies. Since his return he has trained as a therapist and has helped a number of people overcome emotional and psychosomatic issues. He is a keen promoter of emotional and mental health.

Ask in the Presence of Allah – Dr Shadee Elmasry

Dr Shadee Elmasry recounts the narration on the reduction of prayers from fifty to five and lists nine things we can learn from this.

In the Isra and Miraj, the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, tells us:

Then the prayers were enjoined on me: they were fifty prayers a day. When I returned, I passed by Moses, who asked: “What have you been ordered to do?” I replied: “I have been ordered to offer fifty prayers a day.” Moses said: “Your followers cannot bear fifty prayers a day, and by Allah I have tested people before you, and I have tried my best with Bani Israel (in vain). Go back to your Lord and ask for reduction to lessen your followers’ burden.” So I went back, and Allah reduced ten prayers for me. Then again I came to Moses, but he repeated the same as he had said before. Then again I went back to Allah, and He reduced ten more prayers. When I came back to Moses he said the same. I went back to Allah, and He ordered me to observe ten prayers a day. When I came back to Moses, he repeated the same advice, so I went back to Allah and was ordered to observe five prayers a day. He told me to go for a further reduction, but I was ashamed to ask for more.

Why did Allah go through all of this when he knew what the final number would be? Why not just ordain five from the start? What is this supposed to teach us?

Nine Points of Learning

1. It is supposed to teach us the approachability of Allah. That he is approachable with our dua. That we should never stop returning to Him asking for ease and mercy even if over and over again.

2. It also demonstrates the importance of the prayer, for we were asked for fifty a day, a very large number.

3. It also puts on display the importance of asking those who have experience. In this case, the prophet who is about to lead a nation, asking the prophet who already led a nation.

4. It also shows the compassion the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, had for his umma, for he went back and forth quite a number of times, all for his concern with our well being.

5. It also shows the generosity of Allah with the umma of the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, for even though we are doing only five, we are getting the reward of fifty, since one good deed is rewarded ten times over.

6. It shows that things unfold slowly, for the decrease did not go from 50 to 5 right away, but rather through steps and stages, for which we need diligence and patience.

7. So that the believers can feel the blessing of the reduction. If a mu’min feels the burden of five prayers a day, he feels relief knowing that it was originally fifty.

8. It is a gift to Prophet Musa, peace be upon him, that he was given the opportunity to show his concern for us and decrease the burden from off of Allah’s most beloved umma. Every individual Muslim is now indebted to him for this great ease which we experience daily. Our payment of that debt is recognizing his favor and increasing in our love for him.

9. It shows that the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, could enter the Divine presence at will.

And Allah knows best.


Dr Shadee Elmasry was born and raised in New Jersey. He began studying at the age of eighteen, traveling to a number of countries including Egypt, KSA, Yemen and Morocco.

In addition to traditional learning, Dr Elmasry has received has an MA from The George Washington University and a PhD from the University of London SOAS.

Dr Elmasry went on to teach at several universities including Yale University, University of London SOAS, Trinity College, Hartford Seminary, and Manhattanville College.

Currently, he serves as Scholar in Residence at the New Brunswick Islamic Center in New Jersey. He is also the founder and head of Safina Society — an institution dedicated to the cause of traditional Islamic education in the West.


Nafl Acts on the Nights of Mi`raj and Bara’a

Answered by Sidi Wasim Shiliwala

Question: I have always prayed nawafils on the nights of Mi`raj and Bara’a and kept the fasts following days. Recently I came across an article that such ibadah is biddah. Kindly clear this confusion..

 

Answer: May Allah reward you for your concern regarding these special nights.

Introductory Note

Before offering some resources related to your question, I first want to mention that voluntary acts of worship are always good. On no night during the year is it ever discouraged to pray more, supplicate more, and remember Allah more. Similarly, aside from the two Eids, there are no days when fasting is discouraged either.

The question, rather, is about whether certain nights in question are holier than others, and whether specific acts of worship on such nights (and the days that follow them) have a basis in the sunnah of the Prophet (peace upon him) or not. So the question is not whether extra prayers and fasting are worthy of merit on these dates, but rather if they are worthy of extra merit.

It is truly sad that the byproduct of these types of debates is that people fast less, pray less, and remember Allah less. Discussions about the legal details related to worship are indeed very important, but such discussions should result in our acts of worship becoming more frequent, more meaningful, and more faithful to the sunnah of the Prophet (peace upon him), who would spend every night in deep prayer and contemplation.

Resources on the Merits of Rajab, Sha’ban, and their Holy Nights

The Virtues of Rajab

The Merits of Sha’ban

Recommendations Related to the 15th of Sha’ban

Fasting on the Day of Mi`raj

It is also important to think about the broader aims of these months as preparation for Ramadan, as beautifully outlined in this article by Shaykh Jihad Brown: CERTAINTY VS. UNCERTAINTY IN PREPARATORY PROGRAM OF
RAJAB AND SHAABAN

Summary

According to the above, it is indeed meritorious to fast more and pray more during the sacred months of Rajab and Sha’ban. It is also recommended to perform extra acts of worship on the 15th of Sha’ban, including fasting on its day.

As for Laylat al-Mi`raj, there is a general recommendation to increase one’s good acts out of commemoration for this sacred event, although no specific acts are authenticated. Furthermore, there is some discussion as to whether the date actually falls in Rajab or not. Still, as mentioned before, increasing in one’s fasting and worship at any time during the month of Rajab is meritorious given the month’s sanctity.

Again, keep in mind that these discussions focus on the question of whether there is any additional or specific significance to these dates, which are already holy because they fall in the sacred months of Rajab and Sha’ban. I hope that the above resources will motivate us to increase in our devotional acts during these sacred months, and indeed throughout the rest of the year.

In general, voluntary acts of worship are always meritorious and praiseworthy. As mentioned in the famous hadith qudsi, these extra acts of worship are the means by which we get close to Allah.

And Allah knows best, and to Him is our return.

Baarak Allahu Fikum,
-Wasim

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

The First Prayer After the Night Journey: Why Was it Dhuhr and not Fajr?

Answered by Sidi Abdullah Anik Misra

Question: I was asked this question by a friend and don’t really know the answer. Why was the first prayer prayed after the Prophet’s ascent (mi`raj) Zuhr and not Fajr?

Answer: As salamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

We pray this reaches you in the best of health and imaan.

There is no clearly-stated reason in the primary sources of Islam as to why Dhuhr was the first official congregational prayer after the Night Journey, and not Fajr. However, scholars over the centuries have proposed various explanations as to the wisdom behind this.

A narration in the Musannaf of `Abdur Razzaq explicitly tells us that Gabriel (peace be upon him) visited the Prophet (peace be upon him) on the morning after the Night Journey in which the five daily prayers had been made an obligation. The Companions were gathered at Dhuhr, and Gabriel showed the Prophet (peace be upon him) the exact timings, postures, order and number of cycles of each prayer by praying with him, while the Prophet (peace be upon him) immediately taught the same to the Believers by leading them in prayer. This continued for each prayer over two days till the obligatory prayers were learned and established.

Does this mean that Fajr that morning was not prayed at all, and because of that, Dhuhr was the first prayer?

Allamah Binnori says in his commentary on Sunan al-Tirmidhi:

“Some claimed in regards to the descending of Gabriel (peace be upon him) during Dhuhr rather than for the Fajr prayer… that the Prophet (peace be upon him) slept through Fajr, and so Gabriel did not descend… this claim is a great mistake and the one who opined this got mixed up…

Our Shaykh said, ‘The reason for starting with Dhuhr, in my view, is that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) already used to pray Fajr and `Asr before the obligation to pray the five daily prayers, so it wasn’t as critical to start by teaching the Fajr prayer. Some scholars even opined that Fajr and ‘Asr had been obligatory even before the Night Journey, and many Qur’anic verses have indicated towards [the early emphasis on] these two prayers…” [Binnori, Ma’`rif al-Sunan]

Hence, this opinion tells us that the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not miss Fajr that morning, but that he prayed it in the way he was usually would, namely by himself, but since Dhuhr was being introduced for the first time to the Ummah, Gabriel was sent to demonstrate and enjoin it first out of the five obligatory prayers to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the Muslims.

Others who did not necessarily hold that Fajr and ‘Asr were obligatory before the Night Journey have opined that although the five prayers had been announced as an obligation the night before, the Fajr of that day was not obligatory on the Muslims since the timing and the way of praying it had not been revealed to them, nor were most Muslims even aware of the obligation at that early hour in the morning right after the Night Journey, and so if the instruction had not been conveyed, there was no moral responsibility on them if they didn’t pray it. [al-Mubarakpuri, Sharh Mishkat]

Ibn Hajar in his commentary on al-Bukhari cites Qadi `Iyad’s view that the obligation of prayer on the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the Muslims was indeed announced on the Night Journey, but since it was dependant on the news being publicized, the obligation on the entire Ummah only came into effect after the first group prayer was performed and everyone was made aware if it.  [Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari]

Mulla ‘Ali al-Qari tells us a fourth viewpoint, perhaps the most beautiful:

“Because there is a sense of secrecy or hiddeness at the time of Fajr [since most people were asleep], if the announcement had occurred at that time, there would be no sense of bold manifestation like there was in Dhuhr; with its symbolizing that the Prophet’s religion (peace be upon him) would likewise boldly manifest itself over all other religions, the time of Dhuhr is manifest and apparent [in broad daylight] over all the other prayer timings. But the obligation of performance is dependant on the knowledge of how to perform an act, and that couldn’t have happened except at Dhuhr [when everyone could be informed]…” [al-Qari, Sharh Mishkat]

Practically speaking, it would have been difficult to gather the Muslims at such an early hour and explain the significance of the previous night’s events, since Muslims could not worship very freely in those times and many were slaves or Muslims in secret. Also, in an age without lights and lamps, to teach the prayer by example in the dark would have been unduly challenging. This way also left Fajr to be taught last, as it is usually the most challenging to attend since one must sacrifice one’s sleep to stand before Allah.

Hence, as Imam Alusi said in his tasfir, the entire incident was commanded in the chapter on the Night Journey [al-Isra] in the Qur’an:

“And establish the prayer [O Prophet, peace be upon him] after the sun has fallen from its zenith [Dhuhr then ‘Asr], until the dusk of the night [Maghrib then ‘Isha], and [establish] the recitation at Fajr – indeed the Qur’an recited during Fajr is witnessed!” [17:78]

May Allah Ta’ala keep us firm on our daily prayers and accept them, Ameen!

-Abdullah Anik Misra

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani