Burāq (Arabic: البراق) was the heavenly conveyance of Prophet Muhammad (s) in the night of Mi'raj. There is no evidence proving that this term has been used in Arabic literature before the emergence of Islam. Probably this word was first said by Prophet Muhammad (s) and it was later used in Arabic and Persian literature. Buraq is described as a fast heavenly mount that traversed by each step the purview of its own.
The majority of terminologists believe Buraq, which is used for male and female, derived from the term "Baraq" (Arabic: بَرَق) meaning something with extreme speed or something magnificently shining. There is no evidence proving that this term has been ever used before the emergence of Islam. Probably it was said by Prophet Muhammad (s) for the first time and then later it has been used in Arabic and Persian literature commonly. According to Edgard Blochet's theory it is assumed the term Buraq is derived from the ancient Persian term "Barag" (Persian: بارَگ) meaning horse, which is not accepted. Also there is no sign that this term was transmitted into Arabic language from another one.
Buraq in Persian Literature
Buraq is commonly used in Persian literature with its literal meaning and its figurative meaning (horse, a speedy mount and a mount for spiritual journeys). It has been used ironically as well: Buraq of Solomon (meaning wind), the fourth Buraq of the universe (meaning sunlight) and speedy Buraq (meaning swift horse).
Besides, there were tendencies to mystically interpret the term Buraq as a symbol of non-materialistic concepts in philosophical and mystical writings, which were refused by hadith narrators and commentators.
Buraq in Narrations
The narrations related to "Isra'" which are accepted by all the Muslims, are narrated by over thirty companions of Prophet Muhammad (s) and a number of Shi'ite narrators have narrated it from Twelver Imams (a) as well. Buraq is described as the conveyance of Prophet Muhammad (s) in most of these hadiths.
Based on the narrations related to the nightly journey of Prophet Muhammad (s), Buraq was the conveyance of Prophet (s) from Mecca to al-Aqsa mosque and from there to the skies by means of Mi'raj (ladder, "Sulm" is also stated in narrations) or on the wings of Gabriel. Most of these narrations which narrated from Prophet Muhammad (s) himself stated that he descended from Buraq in Bayt al-Maqdis and said prayers in the mosque, then he ascended to the skies alongside Gabriel. It is said Gabriel himself (or with other two angels) brought Buraq for Prophet Muhammad (s) in the night of Isra'. When Prophet (s) mounted on, it began disobedience but Gabriel hit it and said only Prophet Muhammad (s) is and ever will be the one to mount on you, then Buraq was calm and obeyed Prophet (s).
According to a number of narrations, Buraq will be the conveyance of Prophet Muhammad (s) in the Judgment Day. It is said Buraq was conveyance of other prophets as well including Prophet Ibrahim (a), when he wanted to carry Hajar and Isma'il from Palestine to Mecca (some narrations said it was his conveyance in all of his travels to Mecca). 'Ajjaj, the poet in Umayyad era, mentioned the Buraq of Prophet Ibrahim (a).
Because different description of Buraq were presented, it cannot be described clearly how it looked like. According to narrations, Buraq was a fast mount that traversed by each step the purview of its own. In the time of ascending its hands become smaller than its feet and it the time of descending the feet become smaller, which keeps the person on its back straight. In some narrations it is described as a huge mount with furry mane and with a white skin; it has a skin with the best color amongst all the animals. It is also called as horse. Some narrations said that its face was similar to humans' and it was able to hear and understand like human as well.
- The material for this article is mainly taken from براق in Farsi Wikishia.