All praise and thanks are due to Allah swt the Exalted,the Lord of the universe. May the choicest blessings and peace be upon the last of the messengers and prophets, Muhammad saw, his family, Companions and all those who follow his footsteps till the end of this universe.
27 Rejab is the day of Israq Mikhraj. The Prophet’s Journey by Night and Ascension to the Heavens.It is sunnat for all Muslims to fast on this day the day Allah swt commanded the five daily prayers directly to Rasullulah saw.
Please read on to discover the magnificent journey Al Isra' Al Mikraj'
Glorified is He Who took His slave for a journey by night from Al-Masjid Al-Haram (in Mecca) to Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa (in Jerusalem), the neighborhood whereof We have blessed, in order that We might show him some of Our signs. Verily He is the All-Hearer the All-Seer. Al-Isra: 17.1
The Prophet’s wife Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, said: “The Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, would sometimes fast until we never thought he would break his fast, and sometimes he would refrain from fasting until we thought that he would never fast. Yet, every night he would recite Surah Al-Isra and Surah Az-Zumar.”
After the ‘Year of Sadness’, when his beloved wife Khadija, may Allah be pleased with her, and his dear uncle and protector Abu Talib died, the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, went to Taif to call the people there to Islam. They rejected his invitation to Islam and treated him cruelly. How much pain could the compassionate heart of our Prophet withstand? The people of Mecca had exiled his small band of believers and now the people of Taif had stoned him because he called them to leave their idols and worship Allah. As he sat, wounded and bleeding in the garden of the sons of Rabi’ah he raised his hands and prayed in despair to Allah: “O Allah, I complain to you that I am weak, and the people treat me with contempt. O Most Merciful of the Merciful! You are the Lord of the Oppressed, and You are my Lord. Would you leave my fate to those who insult and dominate me? I only seek to please You and pray that You are not angry with me. I take refuge with You and beg You for Your support. There is no power and no strength except in You.”
In spite of his suffering at the hands of the people of Taif, the Prophet’s heart was so compassionate that he would not permit the angel of the mountains to punish them. He returned to Mecca accompanied by his faithful slave and companion, Zaid, may Allah be pleased with him, who advised him to enter the city under the protection of one of the powerful idolaters because the Quraysh were plotting against him. In spite of his humiliation and rejection by the people, the Prophet had born every trial with patience and courage, only seeking the pleasure of his Lord.
Allah ta ‘ala had not forsaken His beloved Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, and answered his prayer by inviting him to the journey of Al-Isra and Al-Mi’raj, to reassure him that in contrast to his low esteem on the earth, he had a high status amongst the people of the Heavens.
On the night of Al-Isra, the Prophet Muhammad was staying in the house of his cousin Hind, also called Umm Hani, daughter of Abu Talib. Umm Hani related: “The night journey of the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, took place while he was staying at my house, after the Prophet had retired to sleep, after we had prayed the night prayer and before we prayed the morning prayer . After he had prayed the dawn prayer with us, he said to me: “During the night I went to Masjid Al-Aqsa and prayed in it.” I advised him not to say anything to the Quraysh about this experience, because people would call him a liar and harm him, but he said: “By Allah, I will tell them!”
He went out and soon met Abu Jahal who asked rudely: “What happened to you last night?”
The Holy Prophet replied: “I visited Bayt Al-Muqadis (Jerusalem).”
“And you are with us now?” Abu Jahal asked in disbelief.
“Yes,” replied the Holy Prophet.
Abu Jahal asked him: “Could you say that to the Quraysh?”
“Of course,” replied the Holy Prophet. Abu Jahal gathered the people of the Quraysh together to hear what the Prophet would tell them.
The Allah’s Messenger said to them: “Last night I went to Jerusalem.” They were surprised. How could he go to Jerusalem and return back in the same night; a journey which normally took forty days by camel to get there and another forty days to return? They were suspicious and one of them asked: “As you say you have been there, can you describe Jerusalem to us?” The Prophet tried to remember what it looked like but to his dismay, he couldn’t. Then he saw it in a vision. Allah displayed Jerusalem in front of the Holy Prophet and he described it to the Quraysh while he was looking at it.
The Story of Al-Isra and Al-Mi’raj
This story is reported in well-known authenticated hadith literature, and so we will just study some of the main points. On that night the angel Jibril (Gabriel), peace be upon him, came to the Holy Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, and took him to the Masjid al-Haram where he prayed two rakats. Then Jibril brought the Buraq, a white animal smaller than a mule but bigger than a donkey, which was so swift that each step was as far as the eye could see. It would not let the Prophet mount it so Jibril said to it: “No one like Muhammad, peace be upon him, will ever ride you, for he is the Best of Creation.” At this the Buraq was ashamed and broke into a sweat. The Prophet mounted the Buraq and they began their journey accompanied by Jibril. On the way he saw an old woman. “Who is that?” asked the Prophet. “She is Al-Dunya,” replied Jibril. “The time remaining for the Dunya is equivalent to the time which remains before that old woman dies.”
The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him arrived at the Holy Mosque in Jerusalem and Allah gathered all the prophets and messengers together for the prayer and the Prophet Muhammad was their imam.
Then they ascended to the First Heaven. When he asked for the gate to be opened, Gabriel was asked: “Who is it?” “Jibril,” he replied. “And who is with you?” he was asked. “Muhammad,” replied Jibril. Then he was asked: “Has he been summoned?” “Yes,” replied Jibril. Muhammad, peace be upon him, entered and met Adam, peace be upon him. Adam welcomed him and prayed for him. Then he ascended to the Second Heaven. He entered in the same way and saw ‘Issa (Jesus) and Yahya (John), peace be upon them, and they greeted him and prayed for him. He ascended to the Third Heaven and the same questions were asked at the gate. Here he met Yusuf (Joseph), peace be upon him. In the Fourth Heaven he met Idris (Enoch), peace be upon him. In the Fifth Heaven he saw Haroon (Aaron), peace be upon him. In the Sixth Heaven he saw Musa (Moses), peace be upon him. In the Seventh Heaven he saw Ibrahim (Abraham), peace be upon him, sitting with his back to the Bayt Al-Mamur, Allah’s Sacred House where seventy-thousand angels enter and perform prayers daily and when they leave they never return it until Yaum al-Qiyamah (the Last Day). Jibril brought him three cups, one of wine, one of milk, and one of honey. He asked the Prophet to chose one and he chose the one of milk. Jibril said: “Allah has guided you to the fitra (the natural way).” Then he was shown the Sidrat ul-Muntaha (lote tree of the farthest boundary). Its leaves were as big as elephant’s ears and from its base flowed four rivers. He was taken to a place which Jibril could not pass beyond, and fifty prayers were enjoined on him. He descended until he met Musa, peace be upon him, who advised him to return and ask for less until Allah reduced the number to five.
It is significant that Jibril brought all of the teachings of Islam to the Holy Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, in revelation except for the five prayers, which the Holy Prophet received directly from Allah. We can understand from this the excellence and importance of performing the daily prayers. They are a pillar of Islam and the one who fails to perform them has broken this pillar.
During his ascension the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, saw many strange things, and asked Jibril about them. He saw men sitting at a table loaded with delicious fresh meat and stinking bad meat. They were leaving the good meat and eating the bad. “Who are they, O Jibril?” the Prophet asked. “They are men who left their pure wives and ran after other women illegitimately,” replied Jibril.
He saw some men who were continually eating red-hot balls of fire. Jibril explained that they were men who stole the inheritance of orphans. Verily, those who unjustly eat up the property of orphans, they eat up only fire in their bellies, and they will be burnt in the blazing fire. Surah An-Nissa, Women, 4:10.
He saw some men whose stomachs were as big as houses. When they got up they toppled over again. Jibril said that they were the ones who profited from interest. Those who eat usury will not stand (on the Day of Resurrection) except like the standing of a person beaten by Shaytan (Satan). That is because they say: “Trading is only like usury.” Whereas Allah has permitted trading and forbidden usury. Al-Baqarah, The Cow:2:275.
He saw some people cutting meat from their own sides and eating it, and the angels said to them, eat as you ate the flesh of your brothers in the Dunya. Jibril told him that these were the detractors and spreaders of slander.
Before Al-Mi’raj, the Muslims prayed twice a day, at dawn and at night.
Allah Tests the Muslims’ Belief
Allah tested the faith of His slaves by requiring them to believe in His Messenger’s account of Al-Isra and Al-Mi’raj. And remember when We told you: “Verily, your Lord has encompassed mankind.” And We made not the vision that We showed you but a trial for mankind, and the accursed tree in the Quran. We warn them and make them afraid but it only increases their disbelief, oppression and disobedience to Allah. Surah Al-Isra, The Journey By Night, 17:60.
The Iman (Belief) of some of the Muslims was weak. They returned to disbelief because they could not accept that it was possible for Allah to cause the Prophet to travel to Al-Aqsa and return to Mecca in one night. But we are Muslims and we believe in the Power of Allah. Verily, His command when He intends a thing is only that He says: “Be!” – and it is. Surah 36, Ya Sin,36:82.
So we must not compare our ability with the Ability of Allah or our power with the Power of Allah. Allah is the Lord and Sustainer of the Universe and He is the Lord of His Messenger’s journey by night and his ascension to the Heavens. Everything is possible for Allah. He controls time and so He stopped time in order that the Holy Prophet could return to his bed while it was still warm.
Imam ibn Kathir mentions in his commentary from a work called Dhalail an-Nubaway that Abu Sufiyan went to As-Sham on business and the Roman Emperor, Heraclius asked him about the Prophet. Abu Sufiyan wanted to denounce the Holy Prophet, blessings and peace be upomn him, but he was unable to lie about him. Then he remembered the story of Al-Isra and Al-Mi’raj, and he said to the Emperor: “I will tell you something which will prove that this man is a liar. He pretended that he had traveled to Masjid Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem and returned to Mecca in the same night.”
The Bishop of Jerusalem happened to be with them and when he heard this he said: “I remember that night!”
Caesar looked at him with surprise and said: “What do you know. Please tell us!” The Bishop continued: “Every night before I sleep I go around and make sure all the doors of the mosque are locked, but on this night I locked all the doors except for one. I could not shut it. I called one of my workers and he tried without success. Then I called some carpenters, but they could not make the door close. Eventually, I left it open and I went to sleep. In the morning I was so certain about it that I told my congregation that the door could not be closed because during the night a prophet had come and prayed in our mosque.”
Abu Dhar, may Allah be pleased with him, related , “I asked the Holy Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him: “Did you see your Lord Allah?” The Holy Prophet answered: “My sight was blinded by an overpowering light.” In another hadith from the same sources, Abu Dhar related that the Holy Prophet told him: “Allah showed me Paradise. I saw that its mountains were made of pearls and its dust was musk.
Later, when Urwa ibn Zubair asked his aunt Aisha: “Did the Holy Prophet see Allah in the Mi’raj?” She replied: “You have made my hair stand on end!” (How could you ask such a question?)
The idol worshippers went to Abu Bakr and told him about the Holy Prophet’s night journey. “Your friend pretended that he traveled to Masjid Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem and returned to Mecca in one night.” They scoffed. They did not mention the Holy Prophet’s ascension to the Heavens. Abu Bakr said: “Did he really say that?” “Yes, he did.” They replied. Then Abu Bakr said: “By Allah, if Muhammad himself has said so, then it is true. He tells us that the revelation comes to him directly from the Heaven in the night or the day and we believe him. Isn’t that a greater miracle? I swear by Allah that if he told me he had ascended into the Heavens I would still believe him.” Abu Bakr went directly to the Holy Prophet and said: “You spoke the Truth, O Prophet of Allah!” From that day on the Prophet called Abu Bakr “As-Siddiq”.
Ahl As-Sunnah (The people of the Sunnah), believe that the Holy Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, made Al-Isra and Al-Mi’raj with his body and soul. If the journey had only been by soul the unbelievers would not have accused him of lying because, in a dream, the ordinary man can see anything that he wishes and no one will argue with him. If Al-Mi’raj were only by soul, a lot of Muslims would not have reverted to disbelief. However, Allah says: “The eye (of the Prophet) did not turn aside, nor see beyond what was permitted.” An-Najm 53:17. And the eye is a part of the body. And He also said: Glorified is He Who carried His slave by night from Al-Masjid Al-Haram to Masjid Al-Aqsa. Al-Isra: 17:1.
Here the Holy Quran clearly states that Allah carried His slave, not the soul of His slave. This makes it clear that the Prophet, peace be upon him, traveled to Jerusalem and returned to Mecca in his body.
Sahih Bukhari and Muslim.