The night of Miraaj approaches us, which according to the traditions (not Quran), is the night in which the prophet supposedly went on a journey to the heavens to communicate with God. While some say it was a physical journey, others maintain it was spiritual. But that’s not my main concern here.
Let’s just ignore that this story portrays God to be a heavenly entity, portrays Mohammad (salutes and respect) to be the most superior prophet of God, expects us to believe that the heart of the prophet was literally washed by Zam Zam water, and that the narrative features an animal not very different to a Pegasus. Let’s just ignore all that to avoid going into too much detail, and get to the more absurd part of it:
“Fifty prayers were enjoined on me. I descended till I met Moses who asked me, ‘What have you done?’ I said, ‘Fifty prayers have been enjoined on me.’ He said, ‘I know the people better than you, because I had the hardest experience to bring Bani Israel to obedience. Your followers cannot put up with such obligation. So, return to your Lord and request Him (to reduce the number of prayers).’
I returned and requested Allah (for reduction) and He made it forty. I returned and (met Moses) and had a similar discussion, and then returned again to Allah for reduction and He made it thirty, then twenty, then ten, and then I came to Moses who repeated the same advice. Ultimately Allah reduced it to five. When I came to Moses again, he said, ‘What have you done?’ I said, ‘Allah has made it five only.’” – Sahih al-Bukhari, volume 4, Book 54, Hadith number 429
In what seems to be an all-knowing God in Islam, somehow God was absolutely oblivious how 50 prayers were impossible for Muslims to perform, but Musa (salutes and respect), with his superior knowledge, realizes that this is wishful thinking at best, and sends Mohammad back to negotiate a 90% decrease in His legislation. That Musa was more aware about God’s creation than God himself, is what comes out as a conclusion out of this!
Don’t like what I say? But that’s precisely what the narration portrays, albeit in more sugar coated words. How is it that you find nothing wrong with it at all? Seriously, I just can’t wrap my head around this. What is more appalling is that I find myself to be the odd one out here, when clearly you should be in the odd for believing such a story, that is so clearly contrary to Islamic tenets!
Do you really think God’s decree is negotiable? That Mohammad could even imagine challenging His decree? Well, you may, and are free to believe so. But what Mohammad says in the Quran is very different:
“It is not for me to change it on my own accord. I only follow what is revealed to me. Indeed I fear, if I should disobey my Lord, the punishment of a tremendous Day.” (Quran, 10:15)
“I only follow what is revealed to me.” (Quran, 6:50, 7:203, 10:15, 46:9)
“All ruling belongs to GOD” (Quran, 12:40)
“They have no guardian apart from Him and He allots no one a share in His legislation!” (Quran, 18:26)
Just for a moment, set aside all the cultural traditions that have been imposed on you in the name of Islam, and think objectively: Does this narrative do justice to God? And let that sink in. Now, what is there to celebrate about such a distorted narrative?
The purpose is not to hurt your religious sentiments, as you are free to believe whatever you may want to; but to demonstrate the naivety of unquestioningly accepting secondary sources and how this has made us an utterly perplexed “Ummah”. While some are quick to rally and protest against the “evils of the West”, there seems to be an overwhelming silence on the Islamic traditions that disrespect God and the Prophet in so many more ways than a cartoon could. Maybe it’s about time we realized the need for a much needed internal reform.
For the love of God, when will we stop propagating stories that obviously defame His Majesty?
Update: After some readers provided their comments on how it might have been a trial of Mohammad, this is the response to that:
Allah does not burden a soul more than he can bear. (2:286)
That God never changes his sunnah 35:43); nor His words (10:64; 30:30; 17:77; and 18:27).
That Salat was not a practice initiated by the prophet, but he merely followed Ibrahim. (3:95)
That the same religion was revealed to Mohammad as was revealed before. (42:13)