Our ascension or Mi’raj , our journey to God, begins with the first takbir, when we raise our hands above our shoulders in a movement that many scholars have likened to that of the throwing off of a garb. As if you are saying, Allahu Akbar, God is Greater than this world, which I throw behind me; God is greater than all worries and distractions, which I throw behind me; God is greater than the ego that does not like to obey commands or to prostrate itself, and so I throw it behind me; God is greater than myself, so I leave it behind me. And thus begins your journey, your mi’raj, in which you get as near as possible to Allah, and act out parts of the Messenger’s own mi’raj. Then, you return to the world, and you say to those around you, whether human or angel, what every traveler says upon his arrival, you greet them with Assalamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu, the Islamic greeting formula: Peace be upon you, and Allah’s mercy and blessings.
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