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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Al-Buraq (The Lightning) was a Horse?

The Qur'an has no such description, of course.

Where, then, did Buraq's human face come from?
Most often it is a female face.

Hadees does mention the Buraq
… but is the female face ever mentioned?
(In any case, some Muslims do not believe in Hadees)

Here's an image of the Buraq

Many more like this are seen everywhere
including on our delightfully made truck art.

Recently Richard Dawkins mentioned a 'winged horse' in his Twitter account, referring to Mehdi Hasan's belief … and Dawkins received a lot of flak from Liberal 'believing' Muslims. I found it strange why Muslims - who, I am sure, would strongly disagree with Dawkins' atheistic beliefs - found this statement something to be really angry about. Anyway, he has published a piece here that is well worth a read.

Why Mehdi Hasan thought it was a horse surprised me, too! I know it is the generally accepted form among Muslims, but a well-read journalist should understand that there is no way that he can prove something like this from the Qur'an, a book all Muslims support and accept. It can always be questioned by others, but many non-Muslims will understand his belief if the Qur'an says so and allow it … just as Muslims allow a Christian to believe that Christ came back from the dead in 3 days, though, according to many of them he was 'taken up by God' as they understood it from the Qur'an. Of course, some differ here, too.

Wikipedia says this: While the Buraq is almost always portrayed with a human face in far-eastern and Persian art, no Hadiths or early Islamic references allude to it having a humanoid face. This, which found its way into Indian and Persian Islamic art, may have been influenced by a misrepresentation or translation from Arabic to Persian of texts and stories describing the winged steed as a "... beautiful faced creature."

Here is one Hadees!

A translation of Sahih al-Bukhari (5:58:227) describes Al-Buraq this way (as the Prophet said)"Then a white animal which was smaller than a mule and bigger than a donkey was brought to me."


You might want it to be a horse, but the Hadees doesn't say anything about it except its size and colour. Yes, it does mention a donkey and a mule … but that's to talk about Buraq's size, not it's actual breed or genre.

Legends grow up and become articles of faith some day.
Here, for example, is the Naqshbandi's view:
When God ordered Gabriel to carry with him the Buraq for the Prophet to ride, he went to the Paradise of buraqs and there he found forty million buraqs. Every buraq had a crown on its forehead inscribed with the words: "There is no god except God, and Muhammad is His Messenger." Under it was written: "Believe in Me, in My angels, in My holy books, and in My prophets." Gabriel saw among them a buraq who secluded himself and who sat alone crying. Gabriel came to him and asked him why he was in such a state. The Buraq answered: "I heard the name of Muhammad forty thousand years ago, and my yearning for him has prevented me from eating and drinking." Gabriel chose that buraq and he took him.The Buraq had the body of a horse but the face of a human being, with big black eyes and soft ears. His color was that of a peacock whose plumage was set with red rubies and corals, on which sat a white head of musk on a neck of amber. His ears and shoulders were of pure white pearls attached with golden chains, each chain decorated with glittering jewels. His saddle was made of silk lined with silver and gold threads. His back was covered with green emerald and his halter was pure peridot.
How many of you actually believe this?

For more details of Isra (and Mi'raj) take a look here. But remember that many traditions that people have been following are much further from the truth. As an example, Masjid-Al-Aqsa (that Muslims take to be in Jerusalem) was not a mosque at the time of Isra! When Caliph Umar conquered Jerusalem after the Prophet's death, a mosque was built there.

Recently Mohammad Shaikh - a young scholar of Qur'an - has also challenged this belief of Masjid-al-Aqsa being in Jerusalem. He finds different answers from the Qur'an and lectures on it from his IIPC. Of course, many other ülemaas call his ideas nonsensical. But that's for the believers to decide. I just know him well from the time he was my Cadet on a Merchant Ship, though I knew his family well.

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