ID ... • Sw – • BP ... • APD ... • Aut SG
Alborak, name of the creature on which Mohammed made his ascension to the seven heavens (→miʕrāǧ ) – WehrCowan1979.
Perhaps called so on account of the exceptional fleetness—‘like a lightning’, →barq—of the fantastic beast, but it may also be of pre-Isl origin.
▪ »Islamic legend has it that »Muḥammad made the [famous night-] journey [→ʔisrāʔ , →miʕrāǧ ] from Mecca to Jerusalem and back, not merely in a dream, but—accompanied by Gabriel—in the living flesh and within the space of a single night. The miraculous speed of such a feat was held to be explicable on the ground that Muḥammad rode a beast of exceptional fleetness. It was in this connexion that the legend of al-Burāḳ arose. [...] The etymology of the name Burāḳ is not yet fully elucidated. E. Blochet believed it to come from the mPers bārag ‘steed’. J. Horovitz has rightly questioned this interpretation and has declared himself in favour of a derivation from the Ar root baraqa ‘to lighten, to flash’. According to this view, Burāq could be explained as a (rare) diminutive form. The miraculous beast would thus have received its name ‘the little lightning-flash’ on account of its fleetness or of its brilliant colour. Yet even this explanation is not wholly convincing. The possibility must also be envisaged that the name Burāq goes back to a pre-Islamic tradition now unknown to us. In general, much that is reported about the steed of the miraculous ‘night-journey’ will derive from pre-Islamic tradition. It is, however, difficult to uncover the various links in all their detail« – Paret, art. “al-Burāḳ”, in EI² .
▪ Lane mentions that, according to lexicographical tradition, the animal may not only be called Burāq »because of the quickiness of his motion« but also »because of the intense whiteness of his hue, and his great brightness«. However, the latter option too would be based on a likening with the lightining. In both cases, Burāq is believed to be akin to barq .