سُبْحَانَ الَّذِي أَسْرَىٰ بِعَبْدِهِ لَيْلًا مِنَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ إِلَى الْمَسْجِدِ الْأَقْصَى
GLORY BE TO HIM WHO TOOK HIS SERVANT BY NIGHT FROM THE HOLY MOSQUE TO THE FARTHEST MOSQUE (17:1)
“From the Holy Mosque to the Farthest Mosque. He was taken from the Holy Mosque to the Farthest Mosque and from the Farthest Mosque to the Lote Tree of the Final End and the highest way station so that he would see the states and terrors of the Resurrection face-to-face”
Firstly, He praised Himself, then He disclosed the nobility of Muṣṭafā and uncovered his eminence over the creatures. First, He testified to His own faultlessness and mentioned His own purity. He Himself praised Himself and showed the creatures His perfect power. He turned over the Messenger’s miʿrāj to His own act, not the Messenger’s act so that the faithful will not fall into uncertainty and there would be an argument against the deniers. Thus, the faithful will know that the marvels of power have no limit and that this state is not strange given the perfect power of the Most Powerful.
Another meaning is to display the nobility of Muṣṭafā and his eminence over the creatures of the world. Then the world’s folk will know that his station is that of those snatched away on the carpet of companionship, not that of the travelers in the way stations of service. He who is snatched away is being pulled by the Real, but the traveler is traveling by himself.
When someone is being pulled by the Real, he is in the way station of whispered secrets and joy and is fitting for generous bestowal and exaltation. But when someone is traveling, he keeps on wanting to gain access to the threshold of service and seek a rank to appear for himself. The former is the station of Muhammad, the Real’s beloved, and the latter is the station of Moses, the Real’s speaking companion.
Do you not see that He said about Moses, “Moses came to Our appointed time” [7:143], but He said about Muṣṭafā, “who took His servant by night”? Moses was a comer, traveling by himself, Muḥammad was taken. He who walks with His feet is not like him who walks toward Him, and he to whose secret core revelation comes is not like him who is called to Him. The one who was traveling was absent through distance, so after separation he found union. The one who was taken was in the elevation of the union at the outset, and he received the robe of bounty at the end.
“O Muḥammad [saws]! Everyone who puts up with suffering will afterward find a treasure. I commanded you, ‘And of the night, keep vigil therein as a supererogatory act for thee! [17:79]. Get up at night and pray.’
Another subtle point has also been made: The Lord of the Worlds affirmed for Muṣṭafā an act appropriate to his servanthood, and He spoke of His own act as fitting for His Lordhood. The act of Muṣṭafā was ascending: who took His servant by night from the Holy Mosque to the Farthest Mosque. The act of God was descending: “He descends every night to the lowest heaven.” The ascent of Muḥammad was fitting for his mortal nature, and God’s descent was fitting for His divinity and appropriate for His Essence and attributes.
Then He made the time of His descent by night, and He willed that Muḥammad’s ascent also is at night, for He called Muḥammad His “beloved,” and the meaning of love is nothing other than conformity.