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Buraq: The Winged Steed of Prophet Muhammad in Islamic Tradition


In the tapestry of Islamic tradition, the figure of Buraq, the winged steed of Prophet Muhammad, holds a unique and captivating place. This ethereal creature, often depicted with a beautiful, white form and wings that carried it across vast distances, is intricately woven into one of the most significant events in Islamic history: the Miraj, the Night Journey.

The story of the Miraj, a momentous journey where Prophet Muhammad ascended to the heavens, has sparked curiosity and fascination throughout the centuries. This blog post delves into the world of Buraq, exploring its role in the Miraj, its portrayal in Islamic literature and art, and its enduring significance in Islamic tradition. We will unravel the symbolism and interpretations associated with this enigmatic creature, shedding light on its multifaceted meaning within Islamic belief.

Table of Contents

The Story of the Miraj (Night Journey)

The Miraj, also known as the Night Journey, is a pivotal event in Islamic belief. It is narrated in the Quran, specifically in chapter 17 (Al-Isra) and chapter 53 (An-Najm). This extraordinary journey, described as a physical and spiritual ascent, is believed to have taken place during the Prophet’s time in Mecca.

According to Islamic tradition, Prophet Muhammad was guided by the angel Gabriel to the Kaaba, the holiest site in Islam. From there, he was miraculously transported to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, where he led the other prophets in prayer. This event highlights the universality of the Islamic message and the unity of all prophets.

The Role of Buraq

The central role in this miraculous journey belongs to Buraq. Described as a winged steed, its form is said to be whiter than snow, with a body that stretched from one horizon to the other. This unique creature possessed an extraordinary ability to travel vast distances in the blink of an eye.

Buraq’s speed and ability to ascend to the heavens allowed Prophet Muhammad to traverse the earthly realms and reach the highest spheres of the divine. It is believed that Buraq’s flight symbolized the Prophet’s spiritual ascent and the journey of the soul towards God.

Buraq in Islamic Literature and Art

The story of Buraq and the Miraj is recounted in various Islamic texts, including the Quran, Hadith (sayings of the Prophet Muhammad), and other scholarly works. These texts provide detailed descriptions of Buraq’s appearance and its role in the miraculous journey.

In Islamic art, Buraq is frequently depicted as a white steed with wings, often portrayed alongside the Prophet Muhammad during the Miraj. The artistic interpretations of Buraq vary greatly, reflecting different cultural contexts and artistic styles.

  • The Miniature Paintings of Persia: In Persian miniature paintings, Buraq is often depicted as a sleek and elegant creature, its wings outstretched in graceful flight. These paintings often showcase the Prophet Muhammad riding Buraq, with a majestic backdrop of celestial scenes and divine beings.
  • The Calligraphic Art of the Ottoman Empire: In Ottoman art, Buraq is often represented through intricate calligraphy. Calligraphers would use intricate lettering to depict the form of the creature, often incorporating verses from the Quran related to the Miraj.

The symbolism of Buraq in Islamic art and literature is multifaceted. It represents the power of God, the divine grace bestowed upon the Prophet Muhammad, and the spiritual ascent of the soul towards the divine.

Interpretations and Symbolic Meanings

The story of Buraq and the Miraj is rich in symbolism and invites a deeper exploration of its meaning. While the literal account of Buraq as a winged steed is prevalent in Islamic tradition, it also serves as a metaphor for spiritual and theological concepts.

Buraq as a Symbol of the Soul’s Journey: One interpretation sees Buraq as a representation of the soul’s journey towards God. The ascent into the heavens symbolizes the spiritual growth and purification of the soul, guided by divine grace. Buraq’s ability to traverse vast distances in an instant reflects the rapidity and transformative power of spiritual progress.

Buraq as a Metaphor for Faith and Knowledge: Another interpretation views Buraq as a metaphor for the power of faith and the pursuit of spiritual knowledge. The Miraj journey can be seen as a testament to the boundless possibilities that emerge when one surrenders to faith and embarks on a quest for understanding and wisdom.

Buraq as a Representation of Divine Power: The very existence of Buraq, a creature surpassing the limits of earthly understanding, underscores the vastness and power of the divine. Buraq serves as a reminder of God’s ability to create beyond human comprehension and to guide humanity towards spiritual enlightenment.

The Significance of Buraq in Islamic Tradition

The story of Buraq and the Miraj holds profound significance for Muslims. It serves as a source of inspiration, reminding believers of God’s infinite power and the possibility of spiritual ascension. The journey of the Prophet Muhammad, guided by Buraq, exemplifies the transformative power of faith and the pursuit of divine knowledge.

The Miraj, with Buraq as its central element, plays a key role in shaping Islamic beliefs and practices. It emphasizes the importance of prayer, the universality of God’s message, and the ongoing pursuit of spiritual growth. The story of Buraq also fosters a sense of hope and guidance, reminding Muslims that they are not alone in their spiritual journey and that God’s blessings are always present.


  • Is Buraq a real animal? While Buraq is described as a winged steed in Islamic tradition, it is important to note that its existence is not meant to be interpreted literally. It is more accurately understood as a symbolic representation of spiritual concepts and the divine power.
  • What is the purpose of the Miraj? The Miraj serves multiple purposes. It demonstrates God’s power and the Prophet’s divine calling. It reinforces the importance of prayer and the unity of all prophets. Most importantly, it symbolizes the soul’s journey towards God and the transformative power of faith.
  • What are some other interpretations of Buraq? Some interpretations see Buraq as a representation of the Prophet’s human nature, symbolizing his ability to transcend physical limitations and connect with the divine. Others see it as a symbol of the Holy Spirit, guiding the Prophet on his spiritual journey.
  • How is Buraq depicted in Islamic art? Buraq is often depicted in Islamic art as a white steed with wings, often alongside the Prophet Muhammad during the Miraj. The artistic interpretations of Buraq vary greatly, reflecting different cultural contexts and artistic styles.
  • Where can I learn more about Buraq and the Miraj? You can find detailed accounts of the Miraj and Buraq in the Quran (chapters 17 and 53) and in various Hadith collections. There are also numerous books and scholarly articles that explore the story’s significance and symbolism in Islamic tradition.


The story of Buraq, the winged steed of Prophet Muhammad, is a captivating tale interwoven with profound meaning and symbolism. It serves as a testament to God’s power, the transformative nature of faith, and the possibility of spiritual ascension. The story of Buraq reminds us of the journey of the soul towards God, the importance of seeking knowledge and wisdom, and the enduring hope that God’s blessings are always present.

May the story of Buraq continue to inspire and guide us on our own journeys towards spiritual enlightenment.