In the unique event known as the Night Journey, which is commemorated as Laylatul Isra wal-Mi’raj on the 27th night of the blessed month of Rajab, the Holy Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was carried upon the back of a winged spiritual steed possessing a human face known as Buraq in a profound mystical journey first to Jerusalem and then into the heavens and the Divine Presence of God.
There is a deep divine wisdom in the fact that Buraq possessed a human face, and points to the ultimate goal of al-Islam, which is the awakening of true human potential as honored and noble servants of God through selflessness, surrender and humility.
Why Did the Buraq Have a Human Face?
The great goal of al-Islam is to elevate a human being from lower level consciousness and into the awakening of human potential as a transcendent soul connected to the Divine Presence of God.
It is by transcending the lower level consciousness states of the mind and body, and thereby awakening the consciousness of the heart, that a human being truly begins to realize his or her potential as a deputy of the Divine.
This is attained through the spiritual path of the prophets and messengers of God, in particular by following the path of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ in progressively cultivating the capacity for presence and peace through selflessness, surrender and humility.
It is this transcendent state of actual consciousness (Level 3 State Consciousness) that truly makes us human and separates the children of Adam (as) from other creatures, animals that are primarily dominated by the drives of the gut (Level 1 State Consciousness) and the mind (Level 2 State Consciousness).
While lower level consciousness creatures primarily look towards the earth, dunya, for sustenance, survival and the satiation of desires, the the human being is singularly capable of looking upwards towards the heavens in contemplation and awe of the Creator.
The Buraq represents the perfected human being, the self surrendered and awake in the Divine Presence of God, and so rather than possessing the face of an animal, it possessed the honored and noble face of a human being.
Through following in the footsteps of the blessed and noble Messenger ﷺ, the believer is able through sincerity and humility to overcome the drives of the mind and the body, and become subsistent upon the Light of the Divine Presence.
The Buraq had a human face because it represented the perfected self of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ as a fully realized spiritual being subsistent upon the Eternal Light of God rather than the temporary and vain pleasures of the world.