Origins of the Mythical Creature Buraq
The mythological creature called the Buraq or Al-Buraq is mostly found in the mythology of the Islamic tradition and is mentioned in the Qur’an. There are many variations of the name, Al-Buraq based on the dialect and the pronunciation and region in which the story is being told (buraq; Rose 62). In general the form of Al-Buraq is considered the generic version and will be used.
The Al-Buraq is a mythical creature of transportation. It is described as white in color and the size between a donkey and a mule. It is to have the face of a woman and the wings of an eagle, as well as the tail of a peacock (Rosen 104). The symbolism of the horse-like body and the eagle wings implies rapid movement and the ability to carry a passenger. The movement of one step is said to be equivalent to the distance of the vision of the creature. So not only can it carry a passenger on its equine body, but can move quickly due to the large wings on the sides of its body. This intensely rapid movement could also be attributed to the name. In the Arabic language the word of Al-Buraq, is al-buraaq, which in English means lightening (buraq).
The myth of the Al-Buraq actually starts with the prophet Abraham. It is said the Al-Buraq carried Abraham every morning to his wife, Hagar, in Mecca. In the evenings, the Al-Buraq would carry Abraham back to Syria and his wife Sarah (buraq).
However, the real myth of the Al-Buraq is a tale that is told in the chapter of the Qur’an called “Night Journey.” The story says that in the 7th Century, the prophet Muhammed told the story of the Night that he traveled with the Archangel Gabriel. He had been in Mecca visiting a cousin and had gone to the local mosque to pray and rest. While at the most, the angel Gabriel came to him, and was followed by the Al-Buraq. He was told to climb onto the Al-Buraq and then both Muhammed and Gabriel traveled to the mosque that was said to be most distance mosque from Mecca. In many stories this location is assumed to be the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. This is was the first part of the journey or the Isra. After Muhammed had worshiped in the mosque, Gabriel and Muhammed, riding the Al-Buraq travelled to the various Heavens and Hells, or the second part of the journey mi’raj. In the Heavens, Muhammed was able to talk to other prophets, such as, Abraham, Jesus, and Moses. He was then introduced to Allah, and told to instruct the people to give five prayers to Him daily. Muhammed promised to tell the people and he was returned to Mecca from where he started (buraq; Rosen 104).
There is some controversy of this myth as to whether the journey lasted a night, or a second in the human timeframe, or if it was just a dream. There is no way to verify it so the believers will continue to believe that it was a time warped journey, while those that disbelieve will continue to say it is only a dream.
“buraq.” AbsoluteAstronomy.com. 2010. Web.
Rose, Carol. “Burak, Burk, Burq.” Giants, Monsters, and Dragons: An Encyclopedia of Folklore, Legend and Myth. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. 2000. 62. Print.
Rosen, Brenda. “Buraq.” The Mythical Creatures Bible: The Definitive Guide to Legendary Beings. New York: Sterling Publishing Co. 2009. 104. Print.
First let me quote:
84314: Refutation of those who claim that the story of the Isra’ and Mi‘raaj is a myth
One of the pretenders here in Libya has cast aspersions upon the story of the Isra’ and Mi‘raaj. He said in an article that was published by one of the newspapers that the story of the Mi‘raaj is pure myth, and it is not possible that this could have happened to any human being, and he quoted as evidence for that the verse in Soorat al-Isra’ in which Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):
“ ‘…or you ascend up into the sky, and even then we will put no faith in your ascension until you bring down for us a Book that we would read.’ Say (O Muhammad (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him)): ‘Glorified (and Exalted) be my Lord (Allah) above all that evil they (polytheists) associate with Him! Am I anything but a man, sent as a Messenger?’”
He said that the Qur’an rules out the possibility of the Messenger (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) ascending to heaven, and stated that this is contrary to the text of the Qur’anic verse, and that the Mi‘raaj was merely a dream that he saw in his sleep, based on the verse (interpretation of the meaning):
“And We made not the vision which we showed you but a trial for mankind”
Finally, I would like to tell you that this topic has caused me some confusion, but
I believe that it was a miracle.
I hope that you will respond and explain the matter in such a manner that there will be no contradiction between the verse which says that no human could ascend to heaven and the miracle of the Messenger (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him). Please note that I do believe that there is no contradiction in the Qur’an.
Please advise us, may Allah reward you with good.Published Date: 2015-01-22