There are coincidences so fraught with significances and so rich in benefits of all kinds for humanity that we should see as signs of mercy from God. It is thus the coincidence of "Al Isra wal mihraj" (The night Journey and ascension of prophet Muhammad PBUH) and the birth date of Serigne Mouhamadou Falilou MBACKE (second Caliph of Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba from 1945 to 1968).
Undertaken since four decades ago, the celebration of Serigne Mouhamadou Falilou Mbacke's birthday, which has been given the name "Kazu Rajab," has ended up becoming extensively widespread today throughout the Murid world. It overflows largely beyond Touba as well as national borders. For a little that we know about it, we could specify immediately the significance of the term "Kazu Rajab." It is formed starting from the equivalence of the numerical value of the Arabic characters which are used for writing it: (kaf = 20; za = 7, and 20+7= 27) which brings us to the 27th night of the 7th lunar month of the Muslim calendar (Rajab).
THE CELEBRATION OF THE DAY BY SERIGNE FALLOU
The tradition of the celebration of Kazu Rajab in Touba, started in the Sixties, precisely back in the year of 1963. In that year, when it was his birthday, Serigne Fallou left Touba a few hours before sunset to go to his birthplace, Darou Salam "Home of peace,"a nearby village next to Daroul Alim "Home of Knowledge" also known as Ndam where the Al Azhar Touba University is today, in order to spend the night in prayers there. The following day, when he l eft, he went to one of his greatest Talibe's family residence, Serigne Affia Niang, for the celebration of the day where he was warmly and cordially
received as the venerable Sheikh and the only guest of honor. It is reported, for the sake of history, that the first meal that was prepared for the first celebration of the Kazu Rajab, was cooked by Sokhna Asta Walo NIANG, Serigne Abdurrahman BOUSSO's mother. To give the event a festive character, with the dimension of the immense honor that Serigne Fallou had just made to Serigne Affia NIANG by visiting him and his family, they served tea,
biscuits and other delicacies. However, for this first edition, all the festivities occurred in the strictest family intimacy.
Only Serigne Affia NIANG, Serigne Abdou Rahmane BOUSSO, and Serigne Abdou Shakor took part in the festival. Indeed, this was a great day for Serigne Affia Niang especially when he received a sacred gift known as "barkelu" (an object used to attract the blessings of Allah) from Serigne Fallou. The barkelu was, to Serigne Affia Niang's surprise, the clothes of the Sheikh that he used to pray with in Darou Salam. That, in a few words, unfolds the story of the very first edition of the celebration of Kazu Rajab done by Serigne Fallou himself. For the three following years , the same method was used to celebrate it. It was then
called "Ngan Gui" i.e. reception of the host of mark. And each time, it was the same kind of festive environment that was held strictly within the family.
Obviously, such "discretion" of the celebration could not last because the event started to have a certain repercussion among the Murids. When Serigne
Affia passed away, after having lived the first three editions of Kazu Rajab, Serigne Fallou maintained the tradition of going to S. Affia 's house to meet his family whenever he leaves Darou Salam. That year, Talibes were motivated to draw up a tent, richly pavoized of flags, in front of Serigne Affia's family
residence. As a result, the event then became larger and a solemnity, that Talibes even rolled, under the steps of Serigne Fallou, a carpet of honor made of traditional loincloths, from Road 28 to the late Serigne Affia's family residence. Consequently, that year made such an impact on rupturing the ceremonial of the celebration. Other Murid authorities then started to take part in the festivities. During that occasion, Serigne Fallou was accompanied by a delegation of religious dignitaries with at least some 28 cars. There were, among others,
Serigne Modou Khary NIANG, Serigne Modou Faty Khary, and some members of his own family such as Serigne Modou Bousso Dieng and Serigne Mouhamadou Lamine MBACKE who is also known by many as "El Hadji Bara", the current Caliph of Serigne Fallou. Simultaneously, there were a lot more other Talibes as well. Thus, from 1965 to 1968, a lot of good things that helped take the event to another level and as widespread as it is now occurred.
Besides, the only national radio then, "Radio Senegal ," took the practice of devoting very elaborate reports about the celebration. Serigne Fallou lived his last celebration of Kazu Rajab in 1968. It was a Friday.
IMPORTANCE OF THE CELEBRATION
In reality, besides Sheikh Muhammed Fallilou Mbacke's birthday, this day has two major importance in the history of our beloved religion of peace: Al isra wal Mi^raj Thereafter, Allah sent the prophets as a mercy to the slaves and supported them with miracles to indicate the truthfulness of their message. Of all the prophets, our Prophet, Muhammad, was blessed with the most miracles. Al-Isra' and al-Mi^raj are among the many miracles of Prophet Muhammad. The miracle of al-Isra' is confirmed in the Qur'an. In Surat al-Isra', Ayah 1, Allah said: which means: [Praise be to Allah Who enabled His slave, Muhammad, to make the journey at night from Masjid al-Haram in Makkah to Masjid al-Aqsa in Jerusalem, which is surrounded a blessed land..] This journey is also confirmed in the sahih hadith. As such, there is scholarly consensus (ijma^) Prophet Muhammad journeyed in body and soul the night of al-Isra' from Masjid al-Haram in Makkah to Masjid al-Aqsain Jerusalem .
Moreover, these scholars indicated the person who denies al-Isra' is a blasphemer for belying the explicit text of the Qur'an. Before the Prophet took this night journey, the ceiling of the house in which he was staying was opened, and Jibril descended. He cut open the chest of Prophet Muhammad and washed that open area with Zamzam water. Then he emptied something from a container into the chest of the Prophet to increase his wisdom as well as the strength of his belief. This was done to prepare the Messenger of Allah for that which he had yet to see in the upper world from among the wonders of the creation of Allah. Al-Isra' After the Prophet performed the Evening Prayer (^Isha'), Jibril came to him with a white animal, slightly larger than a donkey yet smaller than a mule. This animal was the buraq,--one of the animals of Paradise . Jibril held the buraq by his ear and told the Prophet to mount it. When the buraq
was mounted, the Prophet set forth. The buraqis a very fast animal; the length of the buraq's stride is the farthest distance it's eye can see. The Prophet and Jibril arrived to a land with palm trees. Jibril told the Prophet to dismount and pray, so the Prophet dismounted the buraq and prayed two rak^as. Jibril asked him, "Do you know where you prayed?" and the Prophet answered, "Allah knows best." Jibril told him, "This is Yathrib; this is Taybah. "." (These are two names for the city of al-Madinah.) Before the Prophet emigrated to al-Madinah, it was called Taybah and Yathrib. It earned the name al-Madinah after the Prophet emigrated to it.
The buraq continued with the Prophet and Jibril until they reached another place. Again Jibril told the Prophet to get down and pray. The Prophet dismounted there and prayed two rak^as. Jibril informed the Prophet of the name of that place; it was Tur Sina'. Once again the buraq took off with the Prophet and Jibril. Once again it stopped, and the Prophet dismounted and prayed two rak^as. This was in Bayt Lahm, where Prophet ^Isa (Jesus) was born. Then the buraq continued with the Messenger of Allah until they entered the city of Jerusalem . There the Prophet went to Masjid al-Aqsa. Outside was a ring used by the Messengers of Allah to tie their animals. The Prophet tied his buraq to this ring. Then the Prophet entered the masjid where Allah assembled for him all the Prophets--from Adam to ^Isa.
Prophet Muhammad moved forward and led them all in prayer. This is an indication the Prophet is higher in status than all the rest of the prophets and messengers.
On Prophet Muhammad's journey from Masjid al-Haram to Masjid al-Aqsa, Allah enabled him to see some of His
wondrous creations. Allah enabled the Prophet to see the world (dunya) like an old woman. However, this old woman
was wearing a great deal of jewelry, and in this there is an indication signifying the reality of the world.
2- Allah enabled the Prophet to see Iblis. The Prophet saw something on the side of the road which did not dare to
stand in his way or speak to him. What the Prophet saw was Iblis. Originally, Iblis was a believer and lived with the angels in Paradise . When Allah ordered the angels to prostrate (sujud) to Prophet Adam, Iblis was ordered to prostrate to him as well.. The angels prostrated to Adam in obedience to Allah, because angels do not disobey Allah. However, Iblis did not obey, and he objected to the order of Allah. He said, "You created me out of fire, and You created him out of clay. How do You order me to prostrate to him?" So this objection by Iblis to the order of Allah was the first blasphemy hecommitted.
3- On his journey, the Prophet smelled a very nice odor. He asked Jibril about this pleasant scent and Jibril informed him this good smell was coming from the grave of the woman whose duty used to be to comb Pharaoh's daughter's hair. This woman was a good, pious believer. One day, as she was combing Pharaoh's daughter's hair, the comb fell from her hand. At this she said, ""Bismillah. "Pharaoh's daughter asked her, "Do you have a god other than my father?" The woman said, "Yes. My Lord and the Lord of your father is Allah." Pharaoh's daughter told her father what had happened. Pharaoh demanded this woman blaspheme and leave Islam, but she refused. At that, Pharaoh
threatened to kill her children. He brought a great pot of water and built a great fire under it. When the water boiled, Pharaoh brought her children and started to drop them into that pot one after the other. Throughout all this, the woman remained steadfast to Islam, even when Pharaoh reached her youngest child--a little boy still breast feeding--but she felt pity for him. At that, Allah enabled this child to speak. He said to his mother, "O Mother, be patient. The torture of the Hereafter is far more severe than the torture of this life, and do not be reluctant, because you are right."
At this the woman requested Pharaoh collect her bones and the bones of her children and bury them in the same
grave. Pharaoh promised her that--then dropped her into that boiling water. She died as a martyr. The good odor
the Prophet smelled coming from her grave is an indication of her high status.
4- During his trip, the Prophet saw people who were planting and reaping in two days. Jibril told the Prophet, "These were the people who fight for the sake of Allah (mujahidun). ").."
5- The Prophet also saw people whose lips and tongues were clipped with scissors made of fire. Jibril told the
Prophet, "These are the speakers of sedition (fitna) who call people to misguidance. "
6- He also saw a bull which exited a very small outlet, then was trying in vain to return through that small outlet. Jibril told the Prophet, "This is the example of the bad word--once spoken, it cannot be returned."
7- The Prophet saw people grazing like animals, with very little clothing on their private parts. Jibril told the Prophet, "These are the ones who refused to pay zakat. "."
8- The Prophet saw angels smashing some people's heads with rocks. These heads would return to the shape they had been, and then the angels would smash their heads again--and so on. Jibril told the Prophet, "These are
the ones whose heads felt too heavy to perform prayer--the ones who used to sleep without praying."
9- On his journey the Prophet saw people who were competing to eat some rotten meat--ignoring meat that was sliced and unspoiled. Jibril told the Prophet, "These are people from your nation who leave out that which is
permissible (halal), and consume that which is forbidden (haram). "This reference was to the fornicators, that is, the ones who left out the permissible (marriage) and committed sins (fornication) .
10- Also, the Prophet saw people who were drinking from the fluid coming from the bodies of the fornicators, (water mixed with blood). Jibril indicated to the Prophet these were the ones who were drinking the alcohol which is prohibited in this world.
11- The Prophet saw people scratching their faces and chests with brass finger nails. Jibril said, "These are the examples of those who commit gossip ((ghibah).")." Al-Mi^raj 1- After the Prophet took this night journey from Masjid al-Haram to Masjid al-Aqsa, he ascended to the upper heavens. The Prophet ascended to the heaven on stairs, called al-mirqat, in which one step is made of gold and the next of silver, and so on. These stairs are veiled from us. The Prophet ascended these stairs until he reached the first heaven. When the Prophet and Jibril arrived at the first heaven, Jibril requested the gate to be opened. The angel assigned to that gate asked Jibril, "Who is with you?" Jibril
answered, "It is Muhammad." The angel asked Jibril, "Was he dispatched? Is it time for him to ascend to the heaven?" Jibril said, "Yes." So, the gate was opened for him, and Prophet Muhammad entered the first heaven. There, Prophet Muhammad saw Prophet Adam. To Adam's right, the Prophet saw some bodies, and to Adam's left, other bodies. If Adam would look to his right he would laugh, and if he would look to his left he would cry. Adam was seeing the souls of his descendants. Those on his right were his descendants who would die as believers and those on his left were his descendants who would die as non-believers. Then the Prophet ascended to the second heaven. In this second heaven was where Prophet Muhammad saw Prophets ^Isa and Yahya. ^Isa and Yahya are cousins; their mothers were sisters. They welcomed the Prophet and made supplication (du^a') for him for good things. The Prophet ascended to the third heaven, where he found Prophet Yusuf. Prophet Yusuf was extremely handsome. Allah bestowed half the beauty on Yusuf. Yusuf received the Prophet with a warm welcome and made supplication (du^a') for him for good things.
Then the Prophet ascended to the fourth heaven, where he found Prophet Idris. Idris welcomed the Prophet and made supplication (du^a') for him for good things. In the fifth heaven, the Prophet encountered Harun, the brother of Prophet Musa. In the sixth heaven, he encountered Prophet Musa. Each of these Prophets received Prophet Muhammad with a warm welcome and made supplication (du^a')') for him for good things. Then the Prophet ascended to the seventh heaven, and that is where our Messenger saw Prophet Ibrahim. Prophet Ibrahim is the best of the prophets after our prophet, Muhammad. The Prophet saw Prophet Ibrahim with his back against al-Bayt al-Ma^mur. To the inhabitants of the skies, al-Bayt al-Ma^mur is like the Ka^bah is to us, the
inhabitants of the earth. Every day 70,000 angels go there; then exit from it, and never return. The next day another 70,000 angels go, come out, and never return. This will continue until the Day of Judgment. In this,
there is an indication as to the greatness of the numbers of the angels--their numbers are far more than the numbers of the humans and the jinns together. In the seventh heaven, Prophet Muhammad saw Sidrat al-Muntaha--a very big tree of sidr.