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Isra' and Al-Mi^raj (the night journey and the ascension of Prophet
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May Allah be with you every step of the way...
The miracle of Al-Isra' and Al-Mi^raj
(The night journey and the ascension of prophet Muhammad)
Praise be to Allah, the Lord of t he Worlds, the One Who exists
without a place. To Him belong the endowments and proper
commendations. May Allah raise the rank of Prophet Muhammad and his
kind Al and Companions and protect his nation from what he fears for
them. May the Lord of Heavens and Earth grant us the sincere
intentions and guide us to the acceptable deeds.
Thereafter, Allah sent the prophets as a mercy to the slaves and
supported them with miracles to indicate the truthfulness of their
message. Of all the prophets, our Prophet, Muhammad, was blessed with
the most miracles. Al-Isra' and al-Mi^raj are among the many miracles
of Prophet Muhammad.
The miracle of al-Isra' is confirmed in the Qur'an. In Surat al-
Isra', Ayah 1, Allah said:
which means: [Praise be to Allah Who enabled His slave, Muhammad, to
make the journey at night from Masjid al-Haram in Makkah to Masjid al-
Aqsa in Jerusalem, which is surrounded a blessed land.] This journey
is also confirmed in the sahih hadith. As such, there is scholarly
consensus (ijma^) Prophet Muhammad journeyed in body and soul the
night of al-Isra' from Masjid al-Haram in Makkah to Masjid al-Aqsain
Jerusalem. Moreover, these scholars indicated the person who denies
al-Isra' is a blasphemer for belying the explicit 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.
After the Prophet performed the Evening Prayer (^Isha'), Jibril came
to him with a white animal, slightly larger than a donkey yet smaller
than a mule. This animal was the buraq,--one of the animals of
Paradise. Jibril held the buraq by his ear and told the Prophet to
mount it. When the buraq was mounted, the Prophet set forth.
The buraqis a very fast animal; the length of the buraq's stride is
the farthest distance it's eye can see. The Prophet and Jibril
arrived to a land with palm trees. Jibril told the Prophet to
dismount and pray, so the Prophet dismounted the buraq and prayed two
rak^as. Jibril asked him, "Do you know where you prayed?" and the
Prophet answered, "Allah knows best." Jibril told him, "This is
Yathrib; this is Taybah. "." (These are two names for the city of al-
Madinah.) Before the Prophet emigrated to al-Madinah, it was called
Taybah and Yathrib. It earned the name al-Madinah after the Prophet
emigrated to it.
The buraq continued with the Prophet and Jibril until they reached
another place. Again Jibril told the Prophet to get down and pray.
The Prophet dismounted there and prayed two rak^as. Jibril informed
the Prophet of the name of that place; it was Tur Sina'.
Once again the buraq took off with the Prophet and Jibril. Once again
it stopped, and the Prophet dismounted and prayed two rak^as. This
was in Bayt Lahm, where Prophet ^Isa (Jesus) was born. Then the buraq
continued with the Messenger of Allah until they entered the city of
Jerusalem. There the Prophet went to Masjid al-Aqsa. Outside was a
ring used by the Messengers of Allah to tie their animals. The
Prophet tied his buraq to this ring. Then the Prophet entered the
masjid where Allah assembled for him all the Prophets--from Adam to
^Isa. Prophet Muhammad moved forward and led them all in prayer. This
is an indication the Prophet is higher in status than all the rest of
the prophets and messengers.
1- On Prophet Muhammad's journey from Masjid al-Haram to Masjid al-
Aqsa, Allah enabled him to see some of His wondrous creations. Allah
enabled the Prophet 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 to see Iblis. The Prophet 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 Iblis. Originally, Iblis was a
believer and lived with the angels in Paradise. When Allah ordered
the angels to prostrate (sujud) to Prophet Adam, Iblis 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 Iblis to the order of Allah
was the first blasphemy he committed.
3- On his journey, the Prophet smelled a very nice odor. He asked
Jibril about this pleasant scent and Jibril 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
little 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 odor the Prophet smelled coming from her grave
is an indication of her high status.
4- During his trip, the Prophet saw people who were planting and
reaping in two days. Jibril told the Prophet, "These were the people
who fight for the sake of Allah (mujahidun). ")."
5- The Prophet also saw people whose lips and tongues were clipped
with scissors made of fire. Jibril 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 told the
Prophet, "This is the example of the bad word--once spoken, it cannot
7- The Prophet saw people grazing like animals, with very little
clothing on their private parts. Jibril told the Prophet, "These are
the ones who refused to pay zakat. "."
8- The Prophet 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 told the
Prophet, "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 saw people who were competing to eat
some rotten meat--ignoring meat that was sliced and unspoiled. Jibril
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
10- Also, the Prophet saw people who were drinking from the fluid
coming from the bodies of the fornicators, (water mixed with blood).
Jibril indicated to the Prophet these were the ones who were drinking
the alcohol which is prohibited in this world.
11- The Prophet saw people scratching their faces and chests with
brass finger nails. Jibril said, "These are the examples of those who
commit gossip ((ghibah). ")."
1- After the Prophet took this night journey from Masjid al-Haram to
Masjid al-Aqsa, he ascended to the upper heavens. The Prophet
ascended to the heaven on stairs, called al-mirqat, in which one step
is made of gold and the next of silver, and so on. These stairs are
veiled from us. The Prophet ascended these stairs until he reached
the first heaven. When the Prophet and Jibril arrived at the first
heaven, Jibril requested the gate to be opened. The angel assigned to
that gate asked Jibril, "Who is with you?" Jibril answered, "It is
Muhammad." The angel asked Jibril, "Was he dispatched? Is it time for
him to ascend to the heaven?" Jibril said, "Yes." So, the gate was
opened for him, and Prophet Muhammad entered the first heaven.
There, Prophet Muhammad saw Prophet Adam. To Adam's right, the
Prophet saw some bodies, and to Adam's left, other bodies. If Adam
would look to his right he would laugh, and if he would look to his
left he would cry. Adam was seeing the souls of his descendants.
Those on his right were his descendants who would die as believers
and those on his left were his descendants who would die as non-
Then the Prophet ascended to the second heaven. In this second heaven
was where Prophet Muhammad saw Prophets ^Isa and Yahya. ^Isa and
Yahya are cousins; their mothers were sisters. They welcomed the
Prophet and made supplication (du^a') for him for good things. The
Prophet ascended to the third heaven, where he found Prophet Yusuf.
Prophet Yusuf was extremely handsome. Allah bestowed half the beauty
on Yusuf. Yusuf received the Prophet with a warm welcome and made
supplication (du^a') for him for good things.
Then the Prophet ascended to the fourth heaven, where he found
Prophet Idris. Idris welcomed the Prophet and made supplication
(du^a') for him for good things. In the fifth heaven, the Prophet
encountered Harun, the brother of Prophet Musa. In the sixth heaven,
he encountered Prophet Musa. Each of these Prophets received Prophet
Muhammad with a warm welcome and made supplication (du^a')') for him
for good things.
Then the Prophet ascended to the seventh heaven, and that is where
our Messenger saw Prophet Ibrahim. Prophet Ibrahim is the best of the
prophets after our prophet, Muhammad. The Prophet saw Prophet Ibrahim
with his back against al-Bayt al-Ma^mur. To the inhabitants of the
skies, al-Bayt al-Ma^mur is like the Ka^bah is to us, the inhabitants
of the earth. Every day 70,000 angels go there; then exit from it,
and never return. The next day another 70,000 angels go, come out,
and never return. This will continue until the Day of Judgment. In
this, there is an indication as to the greatness of the numbers of
the angels--their numbers are far more than the numbers of the humans
and the jinns together.
In the seventh heaven, Prophet Muhammad saw Sidrat al-Muntaha--a very
big tree of sidr. Each of the fruits of this tree is as large as a
big jar. The leaves of this tree are similar to the ears of the
elephants. Sidrat al-Muntahais an extremely beautiful tree. It is
visited by butterflies made of gold. When these butterflies gather on
this tree, its beauty is beyond description.
Then the Prophet ascended to what is beyond the seven skies; he
entered Paradise. He saw examples of the inhabitants of Paradise and
how their situation would be. He saw most of the inhabitants of
Paradise are the poor people .
The Prophet saw other things on the night of his ascension. He saw
Malik, the angel in charge of the Hellfire. Malik did not smile at
the Prophet when he saw him, and the Prophet asked why. In answer to
the Prophet's question, Jibril said, "Malik did not smile since the
day Allah created him. Had he smiled for anyone, he would have smiled
In Paradise, the Prophet saw some of the bounties Allah prepared for
the inhabitants of Paradise. He saw the Hur ul-^In: females Allah
created who are not humans or jinn. They are in Paradise and will be
married to those men Allah willed them to marry.
The Prophet saw the wildan ul-mukhalladun: creations of Allah who are
not human, jinn, or angels. They are a very beautiful creation of
Allah whose appearance is like laid-out pearls. They are servants of
the inhabitants of Paradise. The least in status of the People of
Paradise will have 10,000 wildan ul-mukhalladun to serve him. Each
one of them would carry a tray of gold in one hand and a tray of
silver in the other hand.
The Prophet saw the Throne (^Arsh), which is the ceiling of Paradise.
The Throne is the largest creation of Allah in size; Allah did not
create anything bigger in size than it. The seven heavens and the
earth in comparison to the Kursiyy, are like a ring thrown in a
desert, and the Kursiyy in comparison to the Throne, is like a ring
thrown in a desert. The seven heavens and the earth in comparison to
the Throne are like a seed of mustard compared to the ocean. Allah
created the Throne as a sign of His Power and He did not create the
Throne to sit on it.
Allah created the Throne to show His Power. It is carried by four
angels, and on the Day of Judgment, it will be carried by eight. The
Prophet said he was permitted to speak about one of these angels who
carry the Throne. In describing this angel, the Prophet told us the
distance between his ear lobe and shoulder is the distance a fast-
flying bird would cover in 700 years.
Then the Prophet ascended beyond Paradise. He reached a place where
he heard the creaking of the pens used by the angels who are copying
from the Preserved Tablet. It is at that location Prophet Muhammad
heard the Kalam of Allah, which is an attribute of the Self of Allah.
He heard the Kalam of Allah which does not resemble our speech--so it
is not something that occurs bit after bit. It is not letter after
letter or a word that comes after another word. Rather, it is an
attribute of Allah which is eternal and everlasting. It does not
resemble our attributes. The Kalam of Allah has neither silence nor
interruptions. It is an attribute of Allah, and it does not resemble
the attributes of the creation.
The Prophet understood several things from hearing this Kalam of
Allah. He understood the obligation of the five Obligatory Prayers.
At first, Allah obligated fifty prayers. When Prophet Muhammad
encountered Musa, Musa told him to make supplication (du^a') to his
Lord to ease the obligation of fifty (50) prayers, because his nation
could not handle that. Musa said, "I have experience with the people
of Israel, and I know your nation cannot bear that." So the Prophet
asked his Lord to lessen these prayers for his people. Five prayers
were eliminated. Once again, Musa told the Prophet to ask Allah to
lessen the number of prayers. Allah did. Nine times the Prophet made
supplication to Allah to lessen these prayers--until these prayers
were lessened to five Obligatory Prayers. So Prophet Musa was a great
benefit to us. Had we been obligated to pray fifty prayers a day,
this would have been a difficult matter for us.
From the Kalam of Allah, the Prophet also understood that a good deed
would be written for the person who intends to do a good deed, even
if he did not do it. Also, the good deed performed would be
registered for he who performs it as at least ten good deeds--up to
700 good deeds. For some people, Allah would multiply the reward of
their deeds more than that. Additionally, if one performs a bad deed,
it is registered for him as one bad deed; yet for he who inclines
towards committing a bad deed and then refrains from committing it, a
good deed would be registered for him. Here one should note the
difference between two matters. If a thought crossed a person's mind
about doing something sinful, and this person wavered in this
thinking, i.e., considered whether he should do it or not, then he
refrained from doing this for the sake of Allah, this is written as a
good deed. However, if a person has the firm intention in his heart
that he wants to commit a sin, it would be written for him as a sin,
even if he does not do it.
The Prophet Returns to Makkah
After all these matters took place with the Prophet, he returned to
the city of Makkah. Some scholars said the Prophet's journey took
about one-third of the night, i.e., his journey from Makkah to
Jerusalem, then to the heavens and what is above them, and then back
to Makkah The next day the Prophet told the people what happened to
him the previous night. The blasphemers belied the Prophet and mocked
him, saying, "We need a month to get there and back, and you are
claiming to have done all this in one night?" They said to Abu
Bakr, "Look at what your companion is saying. He says he went to
Jerusalem and came back in one night." Abu Bakr told them, "If he
said that, then he is truthful. I believe him concerning the news of
the heavens--that an angel descends to him from the heavens. How
could I not believe he went to Jerusalem and came back in a short
period of time--when these are on earth?" At that, the Companion, Abu
Bakr, was called "as-Siddiq"--because of how strongly he believed all
what the Prophet said.
The blasphemous people questioned the Prophet: "If you are truthful,
then describe to us Masjid al-Aqsa and its surroundings." They asked
this because they knew Prophet Muhammad had never been there before
the previous night. Allah enabled the Messenger to see Masjid al-
Aqsa, and he described the masjid and its surroundings in exact
detail. Moreover, the Prophet said, "On my way back, I saw some of
your shepherds grazing their animals in a particular location. They
were searching for a camel they had lost." The Prophet continued by
giving the description of the camel. When these shepherds came back,
they told their people what happened to them--precisely as the
Prophet had already told them.
These blasphemers admitted the Prophet's description was exact.
Despite that, they were still stubborn and rejected the faith. They
did not accept Islam. Only those whom Allah willed to be guided, will
be guided. The person whom Allah did not will to be guided, will not
believe--regardless of how much explanation or how many proofs he is
shown. The person whom Allah willed to be guided, surely he will be a
believer. Many people witnessed miracles and still did not believe.
Many people witnessed the miracle of the Prophet's splitting of the
moon. Those who refused to embrace Islam said, "This is magic.
Muhammad played a magic trick on our eyes." They even asked the
people of a faraway land who witnessed the moon split in two. Despite
this, they still did not believe. They said, "The magic of Muhammad
is powerful; it even reached the faraway lands!" This was their
response to witnessing a miracle--instead of believing and becoming
We ask Allah that we would all die as Muslims. We ask Allah to bestow
on us the bounty of entering Paradise without torture.
And Allah knows best.
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