1 Preface سُبحانَ الَّذي أَسرىٰ بِعَبدِهِ لَيلًا مِنَ المَسجِدِ الحَرامِ إِلَى المَسجِدِ الأَقصَى الَّذي بارَكنا حَولَهُ لِنُرِيَهُ مِن آياتِنا ۚ إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّميعُ البَصيرُYusuf AliGlory to (God) Who did take His servant for a Journey by night1 from the Sacred Mosque2 to the Farthest Mosque,3 whose precincts We did bless,- in order that We might show him some of Our Signs: for He is the One Who heareth and seeth (all things).4The reference is to the Mi'raj for which see the Introduction to this Sūra.Masjid is a place of prayer: here it refers to the Ka‘ba at Mecca. It had not yet been cleared of its idols and rededicated exclusively to the One True God. It was symbolical of the new Message which was being given to mankind.The Farthest Mosque must refer to the site of the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem on the hill of Moriah, at or near which stands the Dome of the Rock. This and the Mosque known as the Farthest Mosque (al Masjid al Aqsa) were completed by the Amir 'Abd al Malik in A.H. 68. Farthest, because it was the place of worship farthest west which was known to the Arabs in the time of the Prophet: it was a sacred place to both Jews and Christians, but the Christians then had the upper hand, as it was included in the Byzantine (Roman) Empire, which maintained a Patriarch at Jerusalem. The chief dates in connection with the Temple are: it was finished by Solomon about B.C. 1004; destroyed by the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar about 586 B.C.; rebuilt under Ezra and Nehemiah about 515 B.C.; turned into a heathen idol-temple by one of Alexander’s successors, Antiochus Epiphanes, 167 B.C.; restored by Herod, B.C. 17 to A.C. 29; and completely razed to the ground by the Emperor Titus in A.C. 70. These ups and downs are among the greater Signs in religious history.God’s knowledge comprehends all things, without any curtain of Time or any separation of Space. He can therefore see and hear all things, and the Mi'raj; was a reflection of this knowledge without Time or Space. In this and the subsequent verses, the reference to God is generally in the first person and plural. But in the first and the last clause of this verse it is in the third person singular: “Glory to God, Who did take His Servant. . .”, “He is the One. . .”. In each of these two instances, the clause expresses the point of view of God’s creatures, who glorify Him, and whose hearing and seeing are ordinarily so limited that they can do nothing but glorify Him when one of His creatures is raised up to hear and see the Mysteries. It is they who glorify Him. (R).