My Logo - Isra and Mi`raj
I first started blogging on Blogger on 16 Jan 2006. Within 5 days I wrote my first article on the Danish Cartoon Affair, Cartoons Heating up Europe. Shortly thereafter I noticed that many anti-Muslim bloggers were forced to have a splash screen that notified the reader that they are coming upon a site that may have objectionable content. My last blog post on blogger explains why I moved to my present hosted site.
When I started Planck's Constant at the current URL I decided I needed a distinctive logo and since then I have received a number of emails and comments asking about my logo, seen here in full, which graces my website. "Just what the hell is up with a Muslim riding a flying horse," and "who's the angel and what's he pointing at?"
This is a 1928 German ad for bouillon extract showing the Angel Gabriel guiding Mohammed (mounted on his flying steed Buraq) to Allah. The Leibig Company used hundreds of images of the ancient world to promote their beef bullion powder. To see the Liebig 6 Card Mohammed Set click here.
I picked this image for my blog logo because at the time the Muslim world was all up in arms offended that some bunch of Danish cartoonists had the audacity to display the face and image of Mohammed in a series of cartoons.
At the time, in February of 2006, some Muslim apologists tried to explain that the violent reaction by Muslims was because displaying the face of Mohammed was considered to be blasphemous. This is of course a blatant Muslim lie. Mohammed has been depicted throughout the ages by Muslims even unto the present day. See my gallery of Mohammed images.
The real reason for the Muslim outrage to what is now called the Danish Cartoon Affair, was the salting of 3 highly insulting, though fabricated, images of Mohammed thrown in by a Danish Imam who purposely wanted to foment Muslim outrage. I reported on the story here.
My logo, for those Muslims who easily get offended, represents Mohammed as a mere advertising gimmick for bullion cubes: No more a prophet than a charlatan hawking some commonplace kitchen condiment. I took what I thought was the most insulting image of Mohammed I could find, ignoring those showing him defecating on the Qur'an, fornicating with a 6 year old girl, etc., after all, I do have some scruples.
As for the night journey this ad represents: At about the time that Mohammed was 52 years old (621 A.D.) and resting in the Kaaba in Mecca, the archangel Gabriel came to him with the winged horse Buraq (1) and instructed Mohammed to mount the fabled steed of the prophets. Thus began the Isra, the night journey to the Masjid al-Aqsa, the Farthest Mosque (2).
Once he arrived, he tethered his mount, and led other prophets in prayer. He then remounted the Buraq, and in the second half of the night journey, the Mi'raj, is guided to the heavens, where he tours the circles of heaven, and speaks with the ancient prophets such as Abraham, Moses, and Jesus, and then is taken by Gabriel to see Allah. In this image:
we see Mohammed in Paradise looking down at the Houris, the "virgins" promised to heroes and martyrs of Islam (From a 15th century Persian manuscipt entitled Miraj Nama).
While he's there, Mo is told by Allah that Muslims must pray fifty times a day; however, Moses intercedes and says, "Hey, from one Mo to another, are you meshuga (nuts)? Go back and ask Allah to reduce that number, no one is going to pray 50 times a day, there's not enough time." (I'm paraphrasing here) Finally Allah relents and drops the number to 5 times a day. So we see that Jews save the Muslims from unbearable repetition and boredom. But do we get any thanks? No.
Here are some more representations of Mohammed on that night ride (click on images for larger view):
The Mi'raj, the 'Night Ride', of Mohammed on Buraq. Miniature illustration on vellum from the book The Universal History by Rashid al-Din, published in Tabriz, Persia, 1307 A.D.
Mohammed and the Angel Gabriel talk with Abraham (left) in Paradise. Persian, 15th century.
The Night Journey of Muhammad on His Steed, Buraq; leaf from a copy of the Bustan of Sacdi, dated 1514. From Bukhara, Uzbekistan.
Encyclopedia Brittanica, Buraq
in Islāmic tradition, a creature said to have transported the Prophet Muḥammad to heaven. Described as "a white animal, half-mule, half-donkey, with wings on its sides... ," Buraq was originally introduced into the story of Muḥammad’s night journey (isra) from Mecca to Jerusalem and back, thus explaining how the journey between the cities could have been completed in a single night. In some traditions he became a steed with the head of a woman and the tail of a peacock. As the tale of the night journey (isrāʾ) became connected with that of Muḥammad's ascension to heaven (miʿrāj), Burāq replaced the ladder as Muḥammad's means of access into heaven.
Wikipedia, The Masjid al-Aqsa, the Farthest Mosque
Though at the time of the Isra and Mi'raj, there was no mosque in that location, the term "the farthest Mosque" (Arabic: المسجد الأقصى, al-Masğidu 'l-’Aqṣà) in verse (17:1) of the Qur'an is traditionally interpreted by Muslims as referring to the site at the Noble Sanctuary (Temple Mount) in Jerusalem. This interpretation is agreed with by even the earliest biographer of Muhammad — Ibn Ishaq — and is supported by numerous Hadith. The term used for mosque,"masjid", literally means "place of prostration", and includes monotheistic places of worship such as Solomon's Temple, which in verse 17:7 (in the same sura) is described as a masjid. Some Muslim scholars argue that "the farthest mosque" referred to in the Qur'an actually points to the Temple of Solomon.
Many Western historians, such as Heribert Busse and Neal Robinson, agree that Jerusalem is the originally intended interpretation. However, many disagree, arguing that at the time this verse of the Qur'an was recited (around the year 621, unless one follows Wansbrough) most Muslims understood the phrase "farthest mosque" as a poetic phrase for a mosque already known to them, the mosque in Heaven, or as a metaphor. For the following reasons, they find it unlikely that this verse referred to a location in Israel: But it is also true that initially Muslims used to pray while facing towards "bait-ul-muqadas" or the Temple Mount or the holy land. Later on this direction, the Qibla, was changed to Mecca.