Al-Isra wal-Mi’raj : The Night Journey and The Ascension of Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be upon him)

Al-Isra  wal-Mi'raj - Journey of Miraj

There are five days to the 27th of Rajab, i.e. five days to Laylatul Mi’raaj. This is a good time to remember the miracles of the Blessed Night.

Al-Isra’ wal-Mi’raj are among the many miracles of Prophet Muhammad (P. B. B. U. H.). The miracle of al-Isra’ is confirmed in the Qur’an.

In Surah al-Isra’ : 1, Allah has said:

“Glorified (and Exalted) be He (Allah) [above all that (evil) they associate with Him]* Who took His slave (Muhammad ) for a journey by night from Al-Masjid-al-Haram (at Makkah) to the farthest mosque (in Jerusalem), the neighborhood whereof We have blessed, in order that We might show him (Muhammad ) of Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, lessons, signs, etc.). Verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer.”

This journey has also been confirmed in the Sahih Hadith.

**It is narrated on the authority of Anas ibn Malik (r.a.) that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

“Al-Buraq was brought to me, and it was a white animal bigger than a donkey and smaller than a mule. One stride of this creature covered a distance as far as it could see. I rode on it and it took me to Bayt Al-Maqdis (Jerusalem), where I tethered it at the hitching post of the Prophets. Then I entered and prayed two Rak’ahs there, and came out. Jibril brought me a vessel of wine and a vessel of milk, and I chose the milk.

“Jibril said: ‘You have chosen the Fitrah (natural instinct).’ Then I was taken up to the first heaven and Jibril asked for it to be opened. It was said, ‘Who are you?’ He said, ‘Jibril.’ It was said, ‘Who is with you?’ He said, ‘Muhammad.’ It was asked, ‘Has his Mission started?’ He said, ‘His Mission has started.’ So it was opened for us, and there I saw Adam, who welcomed me and prayed for good for me. Then I was taken up to the second heaven and Jibril asked for it to be opened. It was said, ‘Who are you?’ He said, ‘Jibril.’ It was said, ‘Who is with you?’ He said, ‘Muhammad.’ It was asked, ‘Has his Mission started?’ He said, ‘His Mission has started.’ So it was opened for us, and there I saw the two maternal cousins, Yahya and ‘Isa, who welcomed me and prayed for good for me. Then I was taken up to the third heaven and Jibril asked for it to be opened. It was said, ‘Who are you?’ He said, ‘Jibril.’ It was said, ‘Who is with you?’ He said, ‘Muhammad.’ It was asked, ‘Has his Mission started?’ He said, ‘His Mission has started.’ So it was opened for us, and there I saw Yusuf, who had been given the beautiful half (half beauty of the world). He welcomed me and prayed for good for me. Then I was taken up to the fourth heaven and Jibril asked for it to be opened. It was said, ‘Who are you?’ He said, ‘Jibril.’ It was said, ‘Who is with you?’ He said, ‘Muhammad.’ It was asked, ‘Has his Mission started?’ He said, ‘His Mission has started.’ So it was opened for us, and there I saw Idris, who welcomed me and prayed for good for me. – then (the Prophet ) said:

Allah says: “And We raised him to a high station.”

[Then he resumed his narrative]: “Then I was taken up to the fifth heaven and Jibril asked for it to be opened. It was said, ‘Who are you?’ He said, ‘Jibril.’ It was said, ‘Who is with you?’ He said, ‘Muhammad.’ It was asked, ‘Has his Mission started’ He said, ‘His Mission has started.’ So it was opened for us, and there I saw Harun, who welcomed me and prayed for good for me. Then I was taken up to the sixth heaven and Jibril asked for it to be opened. It was said, ‘Who are you?’ He said, ‘Jibril’. It was said, ‘Who is with you?’ He said, ‘Muhammad.’ It was asked, ‘Has his Mission started?’ He said, ‘His Mission has started.’ So it was opened for us, and there I saw Musa, who welcomed me and prayed for good for me. Then I was taken up to the seventh heaven and Jibril asked for it to be opened. It was said, ‘Who are you?’ He said, ‘Jibril.’ It was said, ‘Who is with you?’ He said, ‘Muhammad.’ It was asked, ‘Has his Mission started?’ He said, ‘His Mission has started.’ So it was opened for us, and there I saw Ibrahim, who was leaning back against the Much-Frequented House (Al-Bayt Al-Ma`mur).

“Every day seventy thousand angels enter it, then they never come back to it again. Then I was taken to Sidrat Al-Muntaha (the Lote tree beyond which none may pass), and its leaves were like the leaves [ears] of elephants and its fruits were like jugs, and when it was veiled with whatever it was veiled with by the command of Allah, it changed, and none of the creatures of Allah can describe it because it is so beautiful. Then Allah revealed that which He revealed to me. He enjoined on me fifty prayers every day and night. I came down until I reached Musa, and he said, ‘What did your Lord enjoin on your Ummah’ I said, ‘Fifty prayers everyday and night.’ He said, ‘Go back to your Lord and ask Him to reduce (the burden) for your Ummah, for your Ummah will not be able to do that. I tested the Children of Israel and found out how they were.’ So I went back to my Lord and said, ‘O Lord, reduce (the burden) for my Ummah for they will never be able to do that.’ So He reduced it by five. I came back down until I met Musa and he asked me, ‘What did you do?’ I said, ‘(My Lord) reduced (my burden) by five.’ He said, ‘Go back to your Lord and ask Him to reduce (the burden) for your Ummah.’ I kept going back between my Lord and Musa, and (my Lord) reduced it by five each time, until He said, ‘O Muhammad, these are five prayers every day and night, and for every prayer there is (the reward of) ten, so they are (like) fifty prayers. Whoever wants to do something good then does not do it, one good deed will be recorded for him, and if he does it, ten good deeds will be recorded for him. Whoever wants to do something evil and does not do it, no evil deed will be recorded for him, and if he does it, one evil deed will be recorded for him.’

“I came down until I reached Musa, and told him about this. He said: ‘Go back to your Lord and ask him to reduce (the burden) for your Ummah, for they will never be able to do that.’ I had kept going back to my Lord until I felt too shy.”

This version was also recorded by Muslim. Imam Ahmad recorded Anas saying that Al-Buraq was brought to the Prophet on the Night of the Isra’ with his saddle and reins ready for riding. The animal shied, and Jibril said to him: “Why are you doing this By Allah, no one has ever ridden you who is more honored by Allah than him.” At this, Al-Buraq started to sweat.

This was also recorded by At-Tirmidhi, who said it is Gharib.

Ahmad also recorded that Anas said: “The Messenger of Allah said: ‘When I was taken up to my Lord (during Al-Mi’raj), I passed by people who had nails of copper with which they were scratching their faces and chests. I asked, ‘Who are these, O Jibril’ He said, ‘These are those who ate the flesh of the people [i.e., backbiting] and slandered their honor’.” This was also recorded by Abu Dawud.

Anas also said that the Messenger of Allah said: “On the night when I was taken on my Night Journey (Al-Isra’), I passed by Musa, who was standing, praying in his grave.” This was also recorded by Muslim.

As such, there is scholarly consensus (ijma’) Prophet Muhammad (P. B. B. U. H.) journeyed in BODY and SOUL on the night of al-Isra’ from Masjid al-Haram in Makkah to Masjid al-Aqsain Jerusalem . Moreover, the person who denies al-Isra’ is a blasphemer for belying the manifest text of the Qur’an.

Before the Prophet took this night journey, the ceiling of the house in which he was staying was opened, and Jibril descended. He cut open the chest of Prophet Muhammad and washed that open area with Zamzam water. Then he emptied something from a container into the chest of the Prophet to increase his wisdom as well as the strength of his belief. This was done to prepare the Messenger of Allah for that which he had yet to see in the upper world from among the wonders of the creation of Allah.

Imam Ahmad recorded that Anas bin Malik said that Malik bin Sa`sa`ah told him that the Prophet of Allah told them about the night in which he was taken on the Night Journey (Al-Isra’). He said:

“While I was lying down in Al-Hatim (or maybe, Qatadah said, in Al-Hijr) ‘someone came to me and said to his companion, ‘The one who is in the middle of these three.’ He came to me and opened me.” I [one of the narrators] heard Qatadah say, ‘split me – from here to here.’ Qatadah said: “I said to Al-Jarud, who was beside me, ‘What does that mean’ He said, ‘From the top of his chest to below his navel’, and I heard him say, ‘from his throat to below his navel.’

The Prophet said:

“He took out my heart and brought a golden vessel filled with faith and wisdom. He washed my heart then filled it up and put it back, then a white animal was brought to me that was smaller than a mule and larger than a donkey.”

Some of the things that the Muhammad (P. B. B. U. H.) saw on this Blessed Night are as follows:

1. Allah enabled the Prophet (P. B. B. U. H.) to see the world (dunya) like an old woman. However, this old woman was wearing a great deal of jewelry, and in this there is an indication signifying the reality of the world.

2. Allah enabled the Prophet (P. B. B. U. H.) to see Iblees. The Prophet (P. B. B. U. H.) saw something on the side of the road which did not dare to stand in his way or speak to him. What the Prophet saw was Iblees-e-La’een***.

3. On his journey, the Prophet P. B. B. U. H.) smelled a very nice odour. He asked Jibril (a.s.) about this pleasant scent and Jibril (a.s.) informed him this good smell was coming from the grave of the woman whose duty used to be to comb Pharaoh’s daughter’s hair. This woman was a good, pious believer. One day, as she was combing Pharaoh’s daughter’s hair, the comb fell from her hand. At this she said, “Bismillah“. Pharaoh’s daughter asked her, “Do you have a god other than my father?” The woman said, “Yes. My Lord and the Lord of your father is Allah.” Pharaoh’s daughter told her father what had happened. Pharaoh demanded this woman blaspheme and leave Islam, but she refused. At that, Pharaoh threatened to kill her children. He brought a great pot of water and built a great fire under it. When the water boiled, Pharaoh brought her children and started to drop them into that pot one after the other. Throughout all this, the woman remained steadfast to Islam, even when Pharaoh reached her youngest child, a baby boy still breast feeding, but she felt pity for him. At that, Allah enabled this child to speak. He said to his mother, “O Mother, be patient. The torture of the Hereafter is far more severe than the torture of this life, and do not be reluctant, because you are right.” At this the woman requested Pharaoh collect her bones and the bones of her children and bury them in the same grave. Pharaoh promised her that, then dropped her into that boiling water. She died as a martyr. The good odour the Prophet smelled coming from her grave is an indication of her high status.

4. During his trip, the Prophet (P. B. B. U. H.) saw people who were planting and reaping in two days. Jibril (a.s.) told the Prophet, “These were the people who fight for the sake of Allah (mujahidun).”

5. The Prophet (P. B. B. U. H.) also saw people whose lips and tongues were clipped with scissors made of fire. Jibril (a.s.) told the Prophet, “These are the speakers of sedition (fitna) who call people to misguidance. ”

6. He also saw a bull which exited a very small outlet, then was trying in vain to return through that small outlet. Jibril (a.s.) told the Prophet (P. B. B. U. H.), “This is the example of the bad word-once spoken, it cannot be returned.”

7. The Prophet (P. B. B. U. H.) saw people grazing like animals, with very little clothing on their private parts. Jibril (a.s.) told the Prophet (P. B. B. U. H.), “These are the ones who refused to pay zakat.”

8. The Prophet (P. B. B. U. H.) saw angels smashing some people’s heads with rocks. These heads would return to the shape they had been, and then the angels would smash their heads again-and so on. Jibril (a.s.) told the Prophet (P. B. B. U. H.), “These are the ones whose heads felt too heavy to perform prayer–the ones who used to sleep without praying.”

9. On his journey the Prophet (P. B. B. U. H.) saw people who were competing to eat some rotten meat-ignoring meat that was sliced and unspoiled. Jibril (a.s.) told the Prophet, “These are people from your nation who leave out that which is permissible (halal), and consume that which is forbidden (haram). “This reference was to the fornicators, that is, the ones who left out the permissible (marriage) and committed sins (fornication) .

10. Also, the Prophet (P. B. B. U. H.) saw people who were drinking from the fluid coming from the bodies of the fornicators, (water mixed with blood). Jibril (a.s.) indicated to the Prophet these were the ones who were drinking the alcohol which is prohibited in this world.

11. The Prophet (P. B. B. U. H.) saw people scratching their faces and chests with brass finger nails. Jibril (a.s.) said, “These are the examples of those who commit gossip (gheebah).”

*[Tafsir Qurtubi]

**[Tafsir Ibn Kathir]

***Originally, Iblees was a believer and lived with the angels in Paradise . When Allah ordered the angels to prostrate (sujud) to Prophet Adam (a.s.), Iblees was ordered to prostrate to him as well. The angels prostrated to Adam in obedience to Allah, because angels do not disobey Allah. However, Iblis did not obey, and he objected to the order of Allah. He said, “You created me out of fire, and You created him out of clay. How do You order me to prostrate to him?” So this objection by Iblees to the order of Allah was the first blasphemy he committed.

11 Responses to Al-Isra wal-Mi’raj : The Night Journey and The Ascension of Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be upon him)

  1. Javed Ali Khan June 18, 2012 at 2:04 pm #

    Assalamualaikum.. Very informative sms on the Holy Prophet (PBUH) night journey. Now i will disseminate all these useful information via Cell Text SMSs to the fellow Muslims Brothers Insha Allah. Regards.

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