Seek Truth, Know Truth.

The Incident of Mairaaj

Posted on: September 28, 2007

  BACKGROUND TO THE INCIDENT OF ISRAA AND MA’RAAJ

 Prophet Muhammad (SAW) had been preaching for a number of years before this wonderful incident of nocturnal (nightly) journey [Israa] and ascension [Ma’raaj] took place. The Israk refers to the journey from Makkah to Baitul Muqqadis or Masjidil Aqsa as alluded to in Surah Isra or Bani Israel ayat number 1 and the Ma’raaj refers to the journey from Baitul Muqqadis to Sidratul Muntaha– the Lote-Tree at the Farthest End and to the presence of Allah (SWT) as alluded to in Surah An-Najam ayat numbers 5 to 18. The purpose of this journey, as Allah (SWT) pointed out in the Isra passage was to show the Prophet (SAW) signs or miracles [aayaat] of Allah (SWT):

 Glorified be He (Allah) Who transported His servant for a Journey by night from the Sacred Mosque [Masjidil Haram] to the Farthest Mosque [Masjidil Aqsa] whose surroundings We have blessed in order that We might show him (the Messenger) some of Our Signs.

Indeed He (Allah) is the Hearer [Samee’un] and the Seer of all things) [Baseer].

 This incident of twin journeys has a great significance for Muslims and their religion, Islam, in the sense that it confirms and explains some of the basic tenants of Islam. The Isra part confirms the unity of origin, the unigenesis, of all the three monotheistic religions showing relationship of this religion with the previous prophets and the revelations they received. The Ma’raaj part, confirming the existence of heaven and hell [Jannat and Jahannum] and the Final Judgement, reward and punishment, recounts the genesis of the basic worship [Salat] five times a day, and a number of other aspects of blessings from Allah (SWT) showered on Muhammad (SAW) and his community of Muslims.

 During the first eleven years of the Prophet’s mission a number of people had come to believe in the Prophet (SAW) and his teachings, but there were many whose rejection and enmity had only worsened as the years went by. There were three things that the non-believers [kuffars] of the Quraish of Makkah found difficult to believe: the institution of Prophethood, the claim of Muhammad (SAW) to his Prophethood, and the life after death:

 First, the prophet’s claim that human beings have been sent to their own people as prophets seemed incredible to them. This means that the institution of Prophethood was not acceptable to most of them.

 The second problem the non-believers encountered concerned the claim of Muhammad (SAW) over his own Prophethood. Even if they could accept, what seemed incredible to them, the idea that human beings are sent down to people as prophets for guidance, the Quraish found it unacceptable that of all the people in Makkah and Taif, the orphaned nephew of Abu Talib should have been chosen as prophet. There were many among the Quraish who thought they had better claims to such assignments than Muhammad (SAW). “Could God find none but you to send as Prophet,” said one of the sons of ‘Amr bin Ummayah Thaqeef in Taa’if.

 The third claim of this prophet was beyond the non-believers’ wildest dream of plausibility. The Prophet (SAW) claimed that people will be raised after they are dead and that they will be judged and that they will be sent to either hell or heaven according to their beliefs and deeds. The Kuffaar of Makkah used to marvel at this claim. Allah (SWT) reports their reactions at a number of places in the Quran. They would say, “Is it true that after we have died and become mere dust and bones, shall we, in truth, be raised from the dead– and perhaps our ancestors as well?” Allah (SWT) advised the prophet to respond to such rejecters: “Say, Yes, indeed, and most abject will you be then?” (As-Saafaat 37: 16-18).

 Furthermore, the Kuffaar used to say, “After we will have become bones and dust, shall we in truth be raised to a new creation?” And the prophet (SAW) was asked to respond to their question, “Say, be you stones or iron or any other substance which to your hearts appears yet greater (distantly removed from life.)” (Al-Isra 17:49-51)

 THE INCIDENT OF ISRAA AND MA’RAAJ: A RESPONSE TO THE THREE OBJECTIONS OF THE QURAISH

 Allah (SWT) took His Servant [‘Abd] Muhammad (SAW) on the Isra (the nightly journey) and the Ma’raaj (Ascension to heavens) to counter these three objections of the Kuffaar and to instill faith in the hearts of the believers on these three counts:

 1. In response to the first objection, Allah (SWT) wanted to show the Prophet (SAW) and the believers through Isra-Ma’raaj incident that He was the One Who was responsible for sending Messengers like Noah, Ibraheem, Moosa, Isa (Alaihimissalam) to mankind and that it was not a new thing.

 2. In response to the second objection of the Kuffaar, Allah (SWT) wanted to show the Prophet (SAW) and the believers that He was the One Who chose whomsoever He wished and raised the Darajaat of Muhammad (SAW) as He (ALLAH SWT) wished.

 3. In response to the third objection, Allah SWT wanted to show His Messenger Muhammad (SAW) the reality of life after death and the reality of jannaht and Jahannum.

 LONGING FOR SIGNS PROVIDING LIFE AFTER DEATH

 Ibn Sa’d in Tabaqatul Kubra reports a Hadith that says the Messenger of Allah (SAW) used to pray to Allah to show him the paradise and the hell. Such a desire on the part of Muhammad (SAW) was not unusual or out of the ordinary in the tradition of Prophethood. Prophets before him had asked for manifest proofs. Such requests were made not because they had any doubts about the truth of life after death; they desired to be shown such miracles for the satisfaction of their hearts.

 Thus, for example, Ibraheem (Alaihisalat wasalam) said to Allah (SWT), “Show me how you will raise the dead.” Allah (SWT) asked him, “Don’t you believe?” Ibraheem (AS) said, Yes, but for the satisfaction of my heart.”Thus the desire of Ibraheem (AS) to be shown how Allah (SWT) would raise the dead to life was not because of lack of faith or belief but for the satisfaction of the patriarch’s heart. Thereupon Allah (SWT) showed him how He would do it. This incident is reported in Surah al-Baqarah ayat 260. Allah (SWT) also showed Abraham (AS) HIS Malakoot [dominion or kingdom, divine court where He keeps court with Angels and the Near Ones, al-muqarrabeen] of Heavens as well as earth so that he could grow in faith and certitude, as He (SWT) says in Surah Al-An’aam verse 74 (6.74).

 Allah (SWT) showed Ibrahim (AS) the Dominion [Malakoot] of the heavens and the earth as claimed in Surah al-An’aam ayat number 75. Similarly, Prophet Ezra or Uzair (AS) was shown how Allah (SWT) would raise the dead to be judged as described in Surah al-Baqarah ayat 259. Thus the wish of Muhammad (SAW) to be shown heavens and hell was in the best traditions of the earlier prophets; there was nothing unusual about it.

 COMPARING AND CONTRASTING THE ASCENSION OF MUHAMMAD (SAW) WITH THE ASCENSIONS OF EARLIER PROPHETS

 The phenomenon of ascension was also not unusual. Ascensions had also been experienced by many prophets before Muhammad (SAW). Only this time around the experience was different in nature with a difference in meaning and spirit. Prophet Idris or Enoch (AS) had experienced the phenomenon of ascension before; so did Elijah or Ilyas (AS) who had been raised in his chariot of fire (2 Kings 2:11 and 6:17). ‘Isa (AS) was also raised as described in the New Testament and Surah An-Nisa ayat 158 of the Quran. Although patriarch Jacob [Yaqoob] (AS) was not called upon to ascend in any capacity, he had witnessed angels ascending and descending between the earth and the heavens on a ladder as described in the Book of Genesis chapter 22. The purpose of this ‘Urooj, Ma’raaj or ascension was that Allah (SWT) wanted to show the ‘Abd the Servant Allah’s signs as Allah (SWT) makes it clear in Surah Israa Ayat number one. In the midst of the ever growing opposition of the non-believers in Makkah the ‘Abd needed these signs to keep him steadfast in his mission.

 THE ASCENSION OF IDRIS, ILYAS AND ISA (ALAIHIMUSSALAM DIFFERED FROM THE ASCENSION OF MUHAMMAD MUSTAFA (SAW) IN THREE WAYS

 1. The earlier Prophets had been raised at the completion of their this-worldly mission; Muhammad (SAW) was taken on the two journeys in the midst of his mission, to be shown the aayaat of Allah (SWT) for testification and then to be returned to the earth.

 2. The earlier prophets were raised up to be returned to this world at the end of the times and not to be returned immediately to this earth. Muhammad Mustafa (SAW) was returned to this world immediately, the same night.

 3. The immediate objective of the earlier ascensions was to protect those prophets from their earthly enemies. Muhammad (SAW) did not have to be raised up to heavens for protection as he had been promised protection from Allah (SWT) against any worldly enemies. where Allah says, “We are enough for you against the mockers,” (Surah Al-Hijr 15:95) or in Surah Az-Zumur 39:36 where Allah (SWT) says, “Is Allah not enough for His servant (to defend him)”, or in Surah Al-Maidah 5:65 where Allah (SWT) says:

 “Oh Messenger, make known that which has been revealed to you from your Lord, for if you do not do it, you will not have conveyed His message. Allah will protect you from mankind. Indeed Allah does not guide the disbelieving people.”

 COMPARING MA’RAAJ OF MUHAMMAD (SAW) WITH JACOB (AS)’S VISION OF THE LADDER

 The difference between Yaqoob (AS’s) ladder and Muhammad’s Ma’araaj was that the patriarch saw the angels going up and down. Neither did he express his desire to ascend it, nor was he invited to undertake the journey. The Messenger of Allah Muhammad (SAW) himself was taken up on the journey to meet the [Dzil Ma’aaraj], the Lord of the Ascension.

 COMPARING MA’RAAJ OF MUHAMMAD (SAW) WITH ADAM (AS)’S DESCENT

 Rasheedudeen Al-Maibudawi in his Kashaful Israr contrasts this Ma’raaj or Ascension of the Prophet (SAW) with the descent of Adam (AS). He said Adam (AS) was told to go down, descend, [ihbit] whereas Muhammad (SAW) was asked to ascend [iS’ad]. The purpose of Adam’s descent, going down or fall was to allow the magnificence of the Lord’s creation from dust to flourish on the earth and the purpose of the ascension of Muhammad (SAW) was to show him the secrets of His dominion [malakut], particularly with reference to the heights of greatness and the depths of iniquity and immorality that man is capable of achieving as Allah SWT says in Surah At-Teen, “Indeed We created man in the best of moulds but then We returned him to the lowest of the low”. (At-Teen 95:4-5)

 MUHAMMAD RASOOL ALLAH’S JOURNEY

 17:1: “Praise be to Allah Who has taken His servant by night from the Sacred Mosque (Mecca) to the Farthest Mosque (Jerusalem).”

 33:56: “Allah and His angels shower blessings on the Nabee (Prophet). You who believe; send blessings on him and salute him with a worthy salutation.”

 53: 1-18: “By the star when it sets, Your companion does not err, nor is he deceived:Nor does he speak of his own desire. It is nothing except an inspiration that is inspired, which one of mighty powers has taught him, one vigorous; and he grew clear to view when he was on the uppermost horizon. Then he drew near and came down till he was at a distance of two bow lengths or even nearer, And He revealed to His slave that which He revealed. The heart did not lie in seeing what it saw. Will you then dispute with him concerning what he sees? And truely he saw him yet another time by the furthest-tree of the furthest boundary, near which is the Garden of Abode. When that which shrouds did enshroud the furthest-tree, The eye did not turn aside nor yet was it overbold. Truely he saw one of the greater revelations of his Rabb (Lord).

 Allah ordered Jibraeel to go down with seventy thousand angels to Muhammad (pbuh), and stand by his door. “Accompany him to My presence. And you, Mikaeel, take the hidden knowledge and go down with seventy thousand angels and stand by the door of his bedroom. You, Israfeel, and you Azraeel, do as Jibraeel and Mikaeel have been ordered.” Then He said to Jibraeel: “Increase the light of the moon with the light of the sun, and increase the light of the stars with the light of the moon.” Jibraeel asked: “Allah, has the Day of resurrection dawned?” Allah said: “No, but tonight We are calling to Our presence Muhammad (pbuh), the last Messenger who came after Isa (Jesus) to reveal to him a secret that pertains to Us.” Jibraeel said: “Allah, what is that secret?” Allah said: “Jibraeel! The secret of kings cannot be given to the servants. Go with My order and don’t ask.”

 And Jibraeel began his descent carrying with him the heavenly message. All the angels accompanied him as Allah had ordered, until they reached the door of Muhammad (pbuh). When they arrived, they said: “Qum ya sayyidi: Arise, my Master, and prepare yourself! Ride on the back of the buraq, the heavenly creature that will carry you on your journey to the Rabb (Lord) of power through the land of the angels!”

  THE BURAQ

 When Allah ordered Jibraeel to carry with him the buraq for Muhammad (pbuh) to ride, he went to the paradise of buraqs and there he found forty million buraqs. Every buraq had a crown on its forehead inscribed with the words: “There is no god only Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.” Under it was written: “Believe in Me, in My angels, in My books, and in My Rasools (prophets).” Jibraeel saw among them a buraq who secluded himself and who sat alone crying. Jibraeel came to him and asked him why he was in such a state. The buraq answered: “I heard the name of Muhammad (pbuh) forty thousand years ago, and my yearning for him has prevented me from eating and drinking.” Jibraeel chose that buraq and he took him.

 The buraq had the body of a horse but the face of a human being, with big black eyes and soft ears. His colour was that of a peacock whose plumage was set with red rubies and corals, on which sat a white head of musk on a neck of amber. His ears and shoulders were of pure white pearls attached with golden chains, each chain decorated with glittering jewels. His saddle was made of silk lined with silver and gold threads. His back was covered with green emerald and his halter was pure peridot.

 The speed of the buraq is according to his sight. His legs reach wherever his eyes can see. Jibraeel said: “Rasool Allah, this night is your night, and your turn has come to shine in the sky of creation. You are the sun of ancient and recent knowledge, you are the moonlight of the beauties of the worlds, the happiness of creation and the adornment of the lands of human beings and angels. You are the cup of love from the river of milk and honey. The river of Kawser in paradise overflows in anticipation of seeing you. You, the joy of all creation, the pride of paradise, the tables are ready and the palaces of heaven are waiting for your coming!”

 “Jibraeel,” said Muhammad (pbuh), “did you come with a message of mercy or wrath?”

“I came with a message from your Rabb (Lord) to give you a secret.”

 “What does the Rabb (Lord) of Generosity want to do with me?”

 “He wants to shower you with His mercy and all human beings that accept you.”

 “Give me a moment to prepare myself.”

 “I brought you water of paradise and a turban with a message inscribed: ‘Muhammad the servant of Allah; Muhammad the prophet of Allah; Muhammad the beloved of Allah; Muhammad the friend of Allah.'”

 “Jibraeel, tell me more about that turban.”

 “Allah created a turban from his light and he entrusted it to Ridhwan, the angel-custodian of paradise, and the praising of Ridhwan’s host of angels belonged to the owner of that turban before heaven and earth were created. Tonight, when the order came for your visit, Ridhwan took the turban from paradise, and all forty thousand angels said with him: ‘Our Rabb (Lord), you have ordered us from time immemorial to praise the owner of that turban. Honour us tonight with his sight and permit us to walk before him.’ And Allah granted them what they asked. Then Allah ordered me, Jibraeel, to hand Mikaeel the precious jar of the pure water of Salsabil, and Mikaeel to give to Azraeel, and Azraeel to give it to Israfeel, then Israfeel to Ridhwan, then Ridhwan sent that water another time to the highest paradise: Jannat al-Firdaws, where all the beautiful maiden-angels washed their faces with that water and shone even more brightly. Then they sent back that water to me, and I am giving it to you.”

 And Muhammad (pbuh) showered with the water from paradise. As soon as it touched his noble body he became covered with a garment of subtle angelic light, and Jibraeel gave him the buraq to ride. But the buraq stopped and asked Jibraeel: “Is that Muhammad (pbuh) who is invited to our Rabb (Lord)?” Jibraeel said: “Yes.” The buraq asked: “Is he the owner of the blessed pond in paradise?” Jibraeel said: “Yes.” The buraq said: “Is he the leader of the people of paradise?” Jibraeel said: “Yes.” The buraq said: “Is he the intercessor on Judgment-Day?” Jibraeel said: “Yes.” At that time the buraq began to melt like ice and snow melt in the light of the sun. He knelt down and said to Muhammad (pbuh): “Pride of creation, ride on me; but I have one request to ask of you: Do not forget me on the day of intercession.”

 HE JOURNEY TO THE FAR DISTANT MOSQUE

 When Muhammad (pbuh) began to ride he was crying. Jibraeel asked him: “Rasool Allah, why are you crying?” He said: “I remembered human beings. Are they going to ride on Judgement Day as I am riding now on the buraq, and go to their heavenly palaces in paradise?” Jibraeel said: “Yes, truely, we are going to resurrect the pious ones in delegations of riders: On the Day when We shall gather the righteous unto the Beneficent, a goodly company (19:85).”

 At that Muhammad (pbuh) felt happy, and he rode forward on the buraq. Jibraeel took hold of the reins while Mikaeel held the saddle, and Israfeel the saddle-cloth. The buraq moved in space until in the blink of an eye they reached the place appointed for their first stop in the middle of the desert. Jibraeel said: “Muhammad, go down and pray to Allah in this place.” Muhammad (pbuh) said: “What is this place?” Jibraeel said: “This is the place where you are going to emigrate, and it is going to be your second city.” That was the town of Yathrib not far from Mecca, and its name was going to be Madina.

 In the blink of an eye they again passed through space until they stopped a second time, and Jibraeel told Muhammad (pbuh) to come down and pray.

 “Which place is this, Jibraeel?” asked Muhammad (pbuh).

 “This is Sinai, where Musa (Moses) used to speak with Allah.”

 Then the buraq moved in space another time until he reached a third place where Jibraeel ordered him to pray.

“And now, where are we, Jibraeel?”

 “You are in Bethlehem, where Isa (Jesus) was born and from where he spread the message of the King of heavens and of the earth.”

 As Muhammad (pbuh) wlked with delight on the soil where Isa (Jesus) was born, he felt someone moving near his right shoulder who said: “Muhammad! Wait, I want to ask you a question.” But Muhammad (pbuh) did not respond. Then another call came from behind his left shoulder, but again he did not answer it. Finally, an unimaginably beautiful mountain covered with the wealth and beauty of this world appeared in front of him and spoke to him with a human voice, but for the third time Muhammad (pbuh) did not respond. Then he asked Jibraeel about the three voices. Jibraeel said: “If you had listened to the first voice all your nation would have been corrupted because it is the voice of evil; and had you listened to the second one, all your nation would have been tyrants because it is the voice of Satan. And if you had stopped to hear the decorated mountain all your nation would have preferred this world to the eternal world.”

 Muhammad (pbuh) continued on his way and saw two beautiful angelic beings, one masculine and one feminine. They wore a beautiful dress and the fragrance of heaven. They kissed him between his eyes and left. He asked Jibraeel who were these two. He said: “These are the believers of your nation. They are going to live in happiness and die in happiness and they are going to enter paradise.”

 Then another angel appeared to him and offered him three cups to drink: one of water, one of milk, and one of wine. He took the cup of milk and drank, and Jibraeel said: “You have chosen the cup of fitra: innocence.”“White is the colour of believers and green is the colour of paradise. All of your followers are going to be believers in this world and all are going to enter paradise in the next.” Then a maiden-angel appeared and offered Muhammad (pbuh) three suits of cloth, one green, one white, and one black. He took the first two. Jibraeel said:

 Then, as Muhammad (pbuh) was walking on the place where Isa (Jesus) taught, he entered the Temple of Sulaiman (Solomon) in Jerusalem. He found the temple full of angels waiting for him. Every angel in the temple represented a group of angels in paradise. Then he saw all the Prophets (alaihi salaam) standing in rows. He asked Jibraeel who all these were. Jibraeel said: “These are your brothers from among the prophets, and these angels are the leaders of all the angels of paradise.” Then Jibraeel made the call to prayer, after which he said: “Muhammad, most honorable of beings in the sight of Allah, proceed to prayer.” And Muhammad (pbuh) came forward and led the prescribed prayer, and all the prophets (alaihi salaam) and the angels followed him.

 Adam spoke saying: – “Praise be to Allah who created me with His hands and ordered the angels to prostrate for me and brought out all the prophets from among my descendants!”

 Then Nuh (Noah) said: – “Praise be to Allah who accepted my prayer and saved me and my people from drowning with my ship with the help of the angels, and honoured me!”

 Then Ibraheem (Abraham) said: – “Praise be to Allah who took me as His friend and gave me a huge kingdom, and gave me prophets for descendants, and saved me from the fire of Namrood, and made it cool and safe for me!”

 And Musa (Moses) said: – “Praise be to Allah who spoke to me without an intermediary and chose me for His message, and made me victorious over Pharaoh with the help of his angels, and gave me the Torah which Jibraeel taught me how to write, and adorned me with His love.”

 And Dawood (David) said:-“Praise be to Allah who revealed the Psalms to me, and softened the iron between my hands and all other elements, and chose me for His Message!”

 And Sulaiman (Solomon) said:- “Praise be to Allah who has made subject to me the winds, the jinn, and human beings; who taught me the language of birds; who gave me a kingdom which he never gave to anyone after me, and supported me with all his angels.”

 And Isa (Jesus) said:- “Praise be to Allah who sent me as a Word from Him to the world, taught me the Torah and the Gospel, made me cure the deaf, the dumb, and the leper, made me bring back to life the dead by His permission, and supported me with Jibraeel and all His angels.”

 And Muhammad (pbuh) said:- “All of you praised your Rabb (Lord) and I praise Him also, Who sent me as a M0ercy for human beings and revealed the Quran to me, expanded my breast, took out my sins, raised me up, made my Nation and all human beings the best that could be, and called me ‘Kind and Merciful'”!

 And Jibraeel said:- “That is why, Muhammad you are the last of Prophets and a Mercy for human beings. Prophets and angels, creations large and small, Allah and His angels send blessings and salutations on His Prophet! You also send much blessings upon him and utmost greetings! Increase your praise. Praise is an angel with two eyes and two wings that flies to Allah directly to ask forgiveness for its reciter until Judgment Day.”

 Then Muhammad (pbuh) continued on his way, riding on the buraq together with all the angels that came to greet and accompany him. Whenever he passed through a different universe he found the angels of that universe gathered to greet and dress him with all kinds of gifts and adornments. They dressed him with the cloaks of perfection and made him the possessor of every beauty.

 Then Muhammad (pbuh) heard a very powerful voice coming from Israfeel from behind the veils of Lordly Power and Angelic Perfection: – “Paradises and heavens! Angels! Mountains and trees and oceans and rivers! Moons and suns and stars and planets and constellations! Plunge in to the beauty and perfection of Muhammad (pbuh). Angels and houris of paradise, walk with pride! Creation, be happy tonight, for we are receiving in our presence the Master of human beings and the Seal of Prophets.”

 THE ASCENT – AL MIRAAJ

  Another voice came from an angel called Ismaeel, saying: “Heavenly stairs, show yourselves and descend!” upon which the ladder of heaven descended all the way from Firdaws, the loftiest paradise, until it reached the Temple of Sulaiman (Solomon). The arms of the ladder shone with two heavenly lights, red amethyst and green jasper of the greatest perfection. Every believer is going to see that ladder and climb on it. It has one hundred steps and it goes from the temple to the first heaven.

 Jibraeel called Muhammad (pbuh) and the buraq climbed the first step. There Muhammad (pbuh) saw all kinds of angels red in colour. On the second step, Muhammad (pbuh) saw angels in yellow cloth, on the third step the angels were green and all of them were greeting him and giving him heavenly gifts which he took and gave to Jibraeel to keep as a trust for the believers on earth. On the fourth step messenger-angels came and said: “Jibraeel, keep rising for the Rabb (Lord) is waiting!” And Muhammad (pbuh) saw their subtle bodies shining and their faces glittering like mirrors in the sun.

 Then he climbed the fifth step of the ladder and saw a huge world of angels that had no beginning and no end. All of them were praising Allah and their only words were: “There is no god only Allah.” He asked Jibraeel: “How many are these angels?” for he was awed by their numbers. Jibraeel said: “If the skies and the earth and the moon and the sun and the stars and galaxies were crushed into dust and were all piled up, their dust particles would not be one tenth of the angels of this step of the ladder of paradise.” Then the buraq climbed up to the sixth step and there a great surprise awaited Muhammad (pbuh), and a great event took place which passed all description. An immense, white-upon-white angel sat on a chair of burnished white gold, accompanied by a great host of angels with wide, awe-struck gazes looking at the divine majesty. The white angel stood up and said: “Muhammad, welcome! I beg you to bless my seat by sitting on it.” When Muhammad (pbuh) sat on the chair, it melted with love for him and became a cloud of multicolored light chanting the praise of Allah. Out of every drop of that cloud Allah created another throne and another great angel sitting upon that throne.
Then the buraq climbed to the seventh heaven and Muhammad (pbuh) saw angels whose light replaced the light of his vision, as in the case when someone looks at the sun and his sight is stolen away. At that time, he became able to see whatever these angels were seeing. Then he climbed the eighth step of the ladder and saw nothing but angels in prostration. He quickly climbed to the ninth so as not to disturb them. On the ninth step of the ladder he saw angels which passed description and he stood in awe, unable to comprehend their creation. At that time their leader appeared and said: “Rasool Allah! We are dressing you with the secret of our creation and enabling you to understand all things by Allah’s permission.”

 Then Muhammad (pbuh) went up to the tenth step of the ladder and saw the angels that praised Allah in all the languages that had been created since the beginning of creation. Muhammad (pbuh) wondered at the limitless creations of Allah. At the eleventh step, the angels numbered even more than the angels of the fifth step, and out of them an infinite number of colours glowed, different for each single one of them. At the twelfth step, Muhammad (pbuh) found angels with faces like moons and eyes like stars. The light of their faces were covering their words. On the thirteenth step, the most beautiful angels appeared and these were the angels of Allah, praising Allah with soft voices and reveling in other-worldly beauty. Their music did not resemble any other kind of music and if one tone of that music were heard on the earth everyone on it would faint.

 On the fourteenth step Muhammad (pbuh) saw the angel Ismaeel with seventy thousand angels riding on horses. Behind everyone of them was a battalion of one hundred thousand angels created from the attribute of Beauty. It is the duty of each and everyone of these angels to appear on earth at least one time to bring it the touch of his beauty. The fifteenth to the twenty-fourth steps were under the command of the angel Ruqyaeel, great and small, thin and wide. The twenty-fifth step to the ninety-ninth were presided by the angel Qalaeel. His right hand was under the first heaven. Between each two of his fingers there are seven hundred thousand angels continuously praising Allah. For each of the praises that they utter strings of pearls come out of their mouth. The diameter of every pearl is eighty-one miles. For each pearl Allah creates an angel that guards it and keeps it as a trust for human beings until they enter paradise.

 Then Muhammad (pbuh) saw a huge throne from a precious element other than gold standing on five posts. Each post has two wings and each wing encompasses the constellation of our world five times. On each wing rest fifty thousand angels, each of whom ask forgiveness for human beings in a different dialect and yet in complete harmony and with an angelic sound that melts the rocks of the seven earths. Out of each one of their tears Allah creates fifty thousand angels more whose task is to ask forgiveness in the same way as these angels do and in many times more dialects than they. Then the throne spoke to Muhammad (pbuh) and said: “I and the angels who guard me were created to carry human beings to their stations in paradise.” Then, the throne invited Muhammad (pbuh) to sit on it, and when he sat he felt a pleasure he had never experienced before.

  THE FIRST PARADISE: THE ABODE OF PEACE

 uhammad (pbuh) arrived at the hundredth step where he heard the angels praising and glorifying their Rabb (Lord) in the first heaven. It is called Dar as Salaam, the Abode of Peace, and has one hundred and twenty-four thousand doors. Each door represents a prophet. Jibraeel knocked at the door reserved for Muhammad (pbuh). A voice said from inside: “Who is it?”“It is Jibraeel and Muhammad (pbuh).” Jibraeel replied: The voice said: “Has he been sent for?” Jibraeel said: “Yes, he has been called to the Divine Presence.” The door was opened. The angel Ismaeel came on a horse of light, covered in a cloth of light, holding a staff of light. In his right hand, Ismaeel carried all the deeds of human beings performed during the day, and in the other, all that they had done during the night. One thousand processions of angels accompanied him.

 Ismaeel said: “Jibraeel, who is with you?” He replied: “The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).” Ismaeel said: “Has he been sent for?” Jibraeel replied yes. Then the buraq was invited to land on the first paradise, the nearest paradise to the world. It is also called As Samaa ad-Dunya: the nearest heaven. This paradise can be compared to a rolling wave held in mid-air; Allah spoke to it and said: “Be a red emerald,” and it was. The praising of its inhabitants is: Subhana zil Mulki wal Malakut: “Praise be to the Possessor of the earthly and the heavenly dominions.”

 Then Muhammad (pbuh) looked at the first heaven and found an angel formed like a man. All the actions that belong to human beings are displayed to him. If the spirit of a believer comes to him he sends it to paradise; if the spirit of an unbeliever comes to him he asks forgiveness for it. When forgiveness is granted he sends it to paradise. He has a tablet made of light which hangs from the throne to the first heaven. He writes on it the names of those who are sent to paradise. Then Muhammad (pbuh) saw a man with an angelic power towards whom he felt a great attraction. When he asked who that man was, Jibraeel said: “This is your father, Adam.” Adam greeted him and said to Muhammad (pbuh): “Welcome to the good son and the righteous Prophet.”

 There are two doors to the right and the left of Adam. When he looks at the right side he is happy and when he looks at the left he weeps. Muhammad (pbuh) asked what these two doors were. Jibraeel said: “The door to the right is the door to paradise and rewards. When Adam sees his children entering it he smiles and is happy. The door to the left leads to punishment and the fire. When Adam sees his children entering it he weeps and is sad for them. Out of each of his tears Allah creates an angel who asks forgiveness until the day when forgiveness is granted and they are allowed to enter into paradise.”

 They moved for five hundred thousand light-years within the radius of the first paradise. The buraq moved faster than the speed of light, for each of its steps could reach wherever his sight did. The entire distances they travelled were filled with angels whose number is known only to the Creator, praising Him and glorifying Him with all kinds of praises. There was not one handful of space but it was occupied by an angel in prostration. They were all sizes, big and small. A voice came saying: “My beloved Muhammad! all these angels are glorifying Me, and I am sending all this praise as waves upon waves of angelic blessings to support human beings through their daily life. These blessings will guide them towards everything that concerns them, and open for them all kinds of physical and spiritual knowledge that will help them progress in their ways of life, materially and spiritually. I will raise them through this angelic power and enable them to enter My paradise when they come to My Divine Presence.”

 THE SECONDPARADISE: THE ABODE OF CONSTANCY

 Then Jibraeel ordered the buraq to take Muhammad (pbuh) to the second paradise, whose name is Dar al Qarar, the Abode of Constancy. He then knocked at one of the doors of the second paradise. It was made of a heavenly element that has no name in our language. The angel Jarjaeel came with one thousand processions of angels who made an even greater and happier music than the angels of the first paradise. A voice said: “Who is it?”

 “Jibraeel.”

 “Who is accompanying you?”

 “Muhammad, the Prophet of Mercy.”

 Then the door was opened. Muhammad (pbuh) saw angels whose faces were like the disk of the sun, riding horses and girded with spiritual swords and lances. Muhammad (pbuh) asked: “Jibraeel! who are these?” Jibraeel answered: “These are angels whom Allah created to support humans against devils. Their praising is: Subhana zil `Izzati wal Jabarut: ‘Glory to the Rabb (Lord) of Force and Might,’ and they are wearing yellow turbans on their heads. When they praise Allah their turbans move and radiate a yellow light that supports the light of the sun. They radiate another light also, which makes the devils run away and chases out gossip from the heart of believers.” Then Muhammad (pbuh) saw two very handsome men sitting on a throne made of red rubies. He asked: “Who are these?” Jibraeel said: “They are your relatives, Yahya (John) and Isa (Jesus).” Isa (Jesus) was of a reddish complexion as if he came out of the bath. Then angels came to Muhammad (pbuh) in battalions, greeting him one by one. Allah extended time in such a way that one second was enough to greet all of the angels and pray with them, for the time of prayer had come. Isa (Jesus) and Yahya (John) greeted Muhammad (pbuh) farewell, and Jibraeel ordered the buraq to go to the third paradise.

 THE THIRD PARADISE: THE ABODE OF ETERNITY

 Muhammad (pbuh) moved in space for another five hundred thousand light-years until they reached the third paradise. It is called Dar ul Khuld: the Abode of Eternity. As they approached their destination they heard great voices that thundered all around them. “That is the sound of angels praising their Rabb (Lord),” said Jibraeel. As they approached they heard the music of the angels by which everything moves in the orbits of the heavenly worlds. Jibraeel stopped at a door made of a pure, burnished heavenly copper, and he knocked. “Who is there?” said a voice behind the door. “Jibraeel, bringing Muhammad.” “Has he been sent for?” “Yes.” And the door was opened.

 Muhammad (pbuh) entered and he saw an angel who changed from one shape to another in every moment. As he changed, his colour changed also. He seemed as one moving in a flash and yet immobile like a moving series of pictures and yet each picture is fixed in its place. Behind the angel Muhammad (pbuh) saw seven hundred thousand angels, all of them moving like the first angel, from one colourful image into another, like countless kaleidoscopes. Their feet reached the seven earths. Their musical praise was: Subhan al Hayy ul Qayyum al lazi la yamut: “Glory to the Living One, the Self-Subsistent who never dies!” The melody of their praise moved the entire heavens to unutterable joy which showered mercy on the earth and its inhabitants. Muhammad (pbuh) asked Jibraeel to ask the angel whether human beings could hear that music and if it were possible for them. The angel said: “Anyone who opens his angelic power and connects himself to us will hear that melody and he will receive the reward that we receive for uttering this praise.” Then the angel recited:

 As they moved forward they saw a handsome man before whose beauty everything paled. “This is Yusuf (Joseph), the Prophet,” said Jibraeel. Muhammad (pbuh) approached him and greeted him, and Yusuf (Joseph) greeted him back with the best greeting of heaven. Jibraeel said: “Out of the beauty of Yusuf (Joseph) came the beauty of all human beings. His is the beauty of the full moon, the sun and the stars.” Yearning for angelic beauty will melt the hearts of the stone hearted. The faint hearted cannot hope to approach its secret, for they will immediately fall under its power and extinguish themselves in it. That is the meaning of the sweetness of painful yearning in love: the approach of beauty in its absence is sweeter still than its embrace and possession. For possession of the beloved entails the satisfaction of the lower self, while to remain in pain because of the beloved is better than comfort and contentment.

 Behind Yusuf, Muhammad (pbuh) saw a great human crowd, all of them wearing radiant angelic dresses. Muhammad (pbuh) asked, “Who are these people, Jibraeel?” He answered: Behind Yusuf (Joseph), Allah created seven hundred thousand posts in paradise; on each post there are seven hundred thousand red jewels; each jewel contains seven hundred thousand palaces; in every palace there are seven hundred thousand rooms, and in every room there are seven hundred thousand windows. These rooms are inhabited by human beings who carry angelic powers and spend their lives in love of each other and nature. Their hearts are filled with love of Me and devoid of low desires. They pine for Me and I pine for them. Every day these human beings appear at their windows and look at the people of paradise. From their beauty a great light shines forth, in the same way that the sun appears in the windows of the sky and sheds its light over the people on earth. Then the people of paradise say: ‘Let us run towards the Lovers of Allah.’ As soon as they reach them these Lovers adorn them with all kinds of rainbows and showers of light. They give them a dress made of green silk which symbolizes the qualities of those made perfect and agreeable to Allah.”

 THE FOURTH PARADISE: THE SHELTERING GARDEN

 Then Jibraeel called for prayer and Muhammad (pbuh) led the prayer among all the inhabitants of paradise. Then the buraq moved for another five hundred thousand light-years during which they travelled towards the fourth heaven which is called Jannat al-Maawa: the Sheltering Garden. There they heard a voice mixing angels and spirits. The door was made of silver upon a floor of gold. Again, the voice behind the door asked: “Who is there?” and Jibraeel answered, “Muhammad.” “Has he been sent for?” “Yes.” And the door opened.

 Muhammad (pbuh) saw angels standing and sitting, lying and bowing, praising and saying: “Subhan al Malik al Quddus Rabb al Malaaikati war Ruh,” : “Glory to the holiest King, Rabb (Lord) of the angels and the Spirit!” Muhammad (pbuh) asked Jibraeel, “Jibraeel, is that not the prayer of my grandfather Abraham?” and Jibraeel said, “Yes, this is how your grandfather Abraham used to pray, and Allah was so happy with that prayer that he created an entire host of angels and filled the fourth heaven with them. He ordered them to repeat the same prayer. If anyone recites that praising among human beings, Allah will give them rewards according to the number of these angels.”

 Then Muhammad (pbuh) saw two angels, one of transparent crystal like spring water, and one denser like salt water. Jibraeel said: “One is the angel of sweet waters. He carries all the oceans of this universe with his right thumb. The other is the angel of salty waters. He carries all the oceans of this universe in his left thumb. These are the angels responsible for supporting every creature in creation through water, sweet or salty. They meet without mixing, as Allah has said: “He has loosened the two seas. They meet. There is a barrier between them. They encroach not one upon the other.” (40:19-20)

 Behind them Muhammad (pbuh) saw angels shaped like birds, standing on the bank of a great river of paradise. When a human being on earth says: “There is no god only Allah,” one of these angel-birds opens his wings. If the person says: “Glory to Allah,” the angel-bird enters the river to swim in it. When the person says: “Praise be to Allah,” the angel-bird dives into the water. When the person says: “Allah is greatest,” the angel-bird comes out of the river. When the person says: “There is no power nor might except in Allah,” the angel-bird will shake off the water from him, and seventy thousand drops of water will come from him, out of each of which Allah creates an angel that asks forgiveness for that person until Judgment Day. In addition to this, Allah orders forty thousand rewards written in the book of that one and keeps them for him until his resurrection.

 Then Muhammad (pbuh) saw a man who leaned against the books of human beings, in which were inscribed all their deeds. Muhammad (pbuh) asked: “Who is this?” Jibraeel said: “This is the Prophet Idris, peace be upon him.” Muhammad (pbuh) approached Idris and greeted him. Idris greeted him back and said: “Welcome to the pious brother and perfect prophet.” Above him Muhammad (pbuh) saw a dome of light on which was written: “There is no god only Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.” Muhammad (pbuh) looked inside it and saw a venerable old man with a white beard filled with light and crowned with a white turban. He asked: “Who is that, Jibraeel?” He answered: “That is an angel representing the Prophet Idris.” Muhammad (pbuh) greeted him and said: “My brother! Allah has elevated you and honoured you, and you have entered paradise before me and saw its pleasures.” Idris said: “Beloved one! At first I did not enter paradise nor see its pleasure. But when I left this world I entered a garden with a door on which I saw: ‘Beyond this door none may enter before Muhammad (pbuh) and his nation.’ And I asked Allah, ‘For the sake of my grandson Muhammad (pbuh), let me in.’ Allah let me in, so now because of you I am in this place.”

THE FIFTH PARADISE: THE GARDEN OF BEAUTY AND FELICITY

 Muhammad (pbuh) travelled for five hundred thousand light-years, after which he arrived at the fifth paradise which is called Jannat al Naeem: “the Garden of Beauty and Felicity.” Its door is made of mixed gold and silver from heaven. Jibraeel knocked at the door and a voice said: “Who is it?” “Jibraeel, bringing Muhammad (pbuh).” “Has he been sent for?” “Yes.” “Welcome, Beloved one, to the fifth paradise!”The door opened and Muhammad (pbuh) saw five beautiful ladies whose radiant light among their servants made them appear like diamonds surrounded by pearls. His heart was moved towards them. He asked Jibraeel: “Who are these ladies?” He answered: “This is Hawwa (Eve), the mother of human beings, this is the Virgin Maryam (Mary), the mother of Isa (Jesus), this is Musa’s (Moses’) mother Yukabid, and this is Assia, the wife of Pharaoh.” The fifth lady looked like a sun among stars. Her light shone over the rest of the inhabitants of that paradise like a gentle breeze passing through the tree-leaves. Jibraeel said: “This is an angel representing your daughter Fatima”

 Muhammad (pbuh) asked: “Jibraeel, what is the secret of this paradise?”Jibraeel said: “Allah created this paradise to reflect the beauty and perfection of women. The light of this paradise is the source of the angelic lights of all women on earth. Women have been created to carry the secret of creation in themselves. Allah has honoured them greatly by making their wombs the repository of His word which represents the Spirit. He looks at the most sacred place and there descends His mercy and blessings. He perfected that place and covered it with three protective layers to shelter it from any damage. The first is a layer of light, the second a layer of love, and the third a layer of beauty. There he fashions and creates human beings after His likeness, as Muhammad (pbuh) said: ‘Allah created Adam after His likeness.’ He orders the angels of the womb to perfect His creation by giving the baby life, beauty, health, intelligence, and all kinds of perfect attributes that will make each one distinguished among human beings.”

 “Women are not created weaker but more generous than men. They are created more beautiful and less fierce, as beauty hates to hurt and harm others. That is why they seem weak to people, but in reality they are not. Angels are the strongest of created beings, and women are closer to the angelic nature than men, as they are readier than men to carry angelic light. It is the good manners and ethics of spirituality which they carry which makes them less forceful than men. Even physically, however, they are extremely strong. They undergo great upheavals in their body without flinching for the sake of childbirth, and face the direst physical conditions more successfully than men because Allah has enabled them to insure the survival of generations.”

 “Allah gave women five angelic qualities which men rarely have. They are the source of peace, as Allah said that He created them “so that you might find rest in them” (30:21). This is the attribute of the first paradise which is named “the Abode of Peace.” They are oasis of constancy in the midst of chaos and change. That is why they give birth as the mother nurtures and shelters the baby more reliably than the father. This is the attribute of the second paradise, which is named ‘the Abode of Constancy.’ They perpetuate generations. Through their offspring Allah creates angelic prophets and saints who establish His perpetual remembrance on earth as the angels establish it in heaven. This is the attribute of the third paradise which is named ‘the Abode of Eternity.’ They are generous and bountiful. They are described as ‘a fertile land’ in all Scriptures because they give without counting, including life. They sacrifice themselves for the sake of another creation, and this is the attribute of the fourth paradise which is named ‘the Sheltering Garden.’ Finally, they are the source of Beauty. Through their softness and subtlety, Allah has crowned the earth with the diadem of angelic grace. This is the attribute of the fifth paradise which is named “the Garden of Beauty.”

 THE SIXTH PARADISE: THE GARDEN OF EDEN

 Muhammad (pbuh) travelled again on the buraq for five hundred thousand years. On his way to the sixth paradise which is called Jannat al Aden: “the Garden of Eden,” he saw nations and nations of saffron-coloured angels standing on pedestals of pink marble. They had one thousand wings and on each wing there were one thousand faces. Each face had one thousand mouths saying: Praise be to the Rabb (Lord) of Majesty and Splendour!”Jibraeel knocked at the door of the sixth paradise which was made of aquamarine and gold. As usual, a voice asked from behind the door who was there and the answer was given: “Jibraeel, bringing Muhammad (pbuh).” “Has he been sent for?” said the voice. “Yes,” replied Jibraeel. The door was opened. Muhammad (pbuh) entered and what he saw passed all imagination and all recorded books, all fabled accounts, all legends, all histories.

 Silent gold sat on stars of pearl. Under every pearl fifty thousand angels whirled in a lake of galaxies producing a heavenly sound like a million birds humming on top of the buzzing of a million bees. Everything is moving at the speed of light but at the same time everything is silent and still. Each angel spoke words of greetings to Muhammad (pbuh) at the same time in a different language but distinctly and without any clash one with the other. Their words were phrased in diadems and garlands of light which he wore one after the other on his head and around his neck. A huge angel named Semlaeel appeared at the head of ten thousand processions of similar angels wearing a crown of multi-coloured garnets and reciting praise of Allah in an angelic language which made each angel swoon and rise up in turn. These were the karubiyyun: ‘Those brought near.’ No one on earth can see them and live because of the intensity of their light which they borrow from the One they behold.

 Muhammad (pbuh) asked: “Jibraeel! What is this untarnished heavenly sound?” “Rasool Allah!” Jibraeel answered, “This is the music of the angelic souls in the presence of their Rabb (Lord) trembling like a leaf, not daring to move or speak, awed and annihilated by perfection, yet vivified and moved by divine Light, rushing to the divine meeting and announcing your coming.”

 Muhammad (pbuh) saw a honey-coloured angel of astounding beauty and of yet even greater majesty so that his majesty overpowered his beauty. He had a long mane of hair and a long beard out of which light flashed like thunderbolts. He had a stern face and yet a child’s eyes. His enormous chest seemed to heave like a dormant volcano under his shirt of heavenly brocade. When Muhammad (pbuh) enquired about him, Jibraeel said: “This is your brother Musa (Moses). He is the one who prayed six times on the Mount of Sinai in order to be a simple servant in your Nation. He is the vanquisher of tyrants and the secret of his father Yaqoob (Jacob). Allah wrote for him the character of a fiery servant. That is why he approached the burning bush and was not afraid when His Rabb (Lord) wanted to speak to him.”

 Musa (Moses) was crying and he said to Muhammad (pbuh): “Prophet of the Last Nation! Intercede for me and my people.” Muhammad (pbuh) said: “Why are you crying, my brother Musa (Moses)?” He replied: “I cry for love of you and for the great honour where Allah has raised you and made your nation countless people and other nations very few, even mine. Muhammad! you are the seal of prophets and the light of creation. Allah is raising you today to His presence, to a station where no-one can reach. Remember me there as Allah made you the intercessor for all human beings including prophets, from Adam to Isa (Jesus).

  THE SEVENTH PARADISE: JANNAT AL FIRDAWS

 Muhammad (pbuh) arrived at the seventh paradise whose roof touches the Heavenly Throne and whose name is Jannat al Firdaws, after a travel of five hundred thousand light-years. He knocked at the door which was made of pure emerald, topaz, beryl, and gold. After he entered he saw another gate of light. From it came the praise of nations of hidden angels at whose sight one would die of awe because of their intense beauty. Their laud was simply: “Praise be to the Creator of Light!” Beyond this it is not permitted to speak about them. Muhammad (pbuh) greeted them with the greeting of peace and proceeded past the gate of gold to a dome of light which encompassed all the previous heavens, although the distance he had travelled between the sixth and the seventh heaven was the same as that between each two of the other layers of paradise.

 Inside the dome Muhammad (pbuh) saw an angelic being which resembled him in every fashion and who was leaning against a wall of white silk which seemed to move like a waterfall and yet stand firm. Muhammad (pbuh) asked who that was and Jibraeel said: “This is your grandfather Ibraheem (Abraham), the leader of the pure of heart and a great one among prophets.” Ibraheem (Abraham) said: “Welcome to the pious son and the perfected Prophet!” Around Ibraheem (Abraham) stood crowned angels. Each of their crowns contained four hundred diamonds, each worth more than what the entire earth contains. At their service stood throngs of angels crowned with the light of the previous angels and all were reading the Ayat ul Kursi. Jibraeel said: “This is the verse that keeps the universe firm in the balance. This is the secret of the order of Creation.” And the angels recited:

 Allah! There is no god save Him, the Living, the Eternal, Neither slumber nor sleep overtakes him. Unto him belongs whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in earth. Who is he that intercedes with him save by His leave? He knows that which is in front of them and that which is behind them, While they encompass nothing of His knowledge except what He will. His Kursi includes the heavens and the earth, And He is never weary of preserving them. He is the Sublime, the Tremendous. (2:255)

 Circumambulating the building against which Ibraheem (Abraham) leaned, the entire universes, the throngs of angels of the seven heavens, the angels of mercy and the angels of wrath, the angels of beauty, the angels brought near, the great and the small angels, the visible and the invisible angels, and all the human beings whose angelic souls had been purified and elevated to the divine presence, the prophets, the truthful saints, the martyrs, the righteous, all of creation whirled and turned in the same direction as every heavenly body, counterclockwise, around the Kaaba of the heavens. Muhammad (pbuh) said: “Jibraeel, How wondrous are the incredible marvels of my Rabb (Lord)!” And Jibraeel replied: “Muhammad! You have seen only a glimpse of the wonders of Allah.”

 HE FURTHEST-TREE OF THE FURTHEST BOUNDARY

 Muhammad (pbuh) and Jibraeel travelled once more until they reached the absolute limit of the created intellect, named Sidrat al Muntaha: “The Furthest-Tree of the Furthest Boundary.” There they saw nothing which the tongue could describe. The effect of the sight they beheld on Muhammad (pbuh) is a secret which took place in his heart. A sound came to them from above which dissipated some of Muhammad’s (pbuh) astonishment. At that time he saw a large tree which does not resemble any of the trees of paradise, a tree without description, covering all the paradises, heavens, and universes. The trunk of the tree was a huge angel named Samrafeel. Muhammad (pbuh) could see nothing else besides it. It grew from an infinite, unimaginable, indescribable ocean of musk. The tree had an infinite number of branches, created from a heavenly element that has no name in a created language. The distance between one branch and another was five hundred thousand light-years. On every branch there was an infinite number of leaves. If all the created universes were placed on a single one of these leaves they would disappear, like an atom disappears inside an ocean of water. On every leaf sat a huge angel in a multi-coloured light. On his head was a crown of light and in his hand a staff of light. Written on their forehead was the inscription: “We are the inhabitants of the Furthest-Tree.” Their praise was: “Praise be to Allah Who has no end.” Their names are the Sarufiyyun, “The secret ones,” because they are created from the absolute secret of their Rabb (Lord).

 From the trunk of the tree four absolute springs issued. The first was a pure, transparent, crystal water; the second was a river of white milk; the third was a river of pleasurable, untarnished wine that elevates without abasing; the fourth was a river of pure honey mixed with gold. Inside the trunk was the prayer-niche of Jibraeel, and his constant words of praise are: Allahu Akbar: Allah is Great! to which the reply always comes from above: Ana Akbar: I am Greater! Ana Akbar: I am Greater!

 Jibraeel entered his prayer-niche and he called for the prayer. All the Sarufiyyun stood in rows and Muhammad (pbuh) led them in prayer. The prayer finished and all the Sarufiyyun were ordered to give their greetings to Muhammad (pbuh) one after the other. After this, a great angel came out from behind Jibraeel’s prayer-niche and asked Muhammad (pbuh) to approach.

 Muhammad (pbuh) and Jibraeel entered the trunk of the tree and reached in a glance the entire sight of creation. On the top of the tree they saw Adam and Hawwa and Nuh, Ibraheem, Musa, Isa, and all the other prophets whom they had just visited. With them they saw all their respective nations, sitting with them in spirit together with those of Muhammad’s nation who had already left this world. All were sitting there together, happy, basking in the love and beauty of their Rabb’s (Lord’s) mercy and praising Him.

 That Furthest-Tree carries the knowledge of all of Allah’s creation from the beginning of its sequence in time. Whatever is created is part of it and contained in it. It was called the tree “of the furthermost boundary” because everything ends in it and after it begins a new life. Allah decorated it with the light of His own essence. It has three characteristics: a continuous shade of light extending over every creation, a continuous pleasure reaching everyone from the fruit of its branches, and a continuous fragrance from its flowers scenting with beauty the life of creation.

 Then Muhammad (pbuh) and Jibraeel moved forward. A stern and severe angel appeared and covered the horizon before them. Jibraeel said: “Muhammad! This is the angel of death, Azraeel.” The angel of death said: “Welcome, Muhammad! You who bear goodness, and welcome to all the prophets and their nations. This is the place from which I gaze at the destinies of every person and seize the spirits of those whom I am commanded to bring to eternal life.”

 Muhammad (pbuh) asked: “Tell me how you take the souls of the dying.” The angel of death revealed to Muhammad (pbuh): “When Allah orders me to take the spirit of a human being at the last hour of his life and the first hour of his afterlife, I send to him my deputies who carry with them the smell of paradise and a branch from the tree of paradise which they put between his eyes. When that sweet smell reaches him and he catches a glimpse of that heavenly branch, his spirit is attracted and his soul begins to ascend to paradise, until it reaches his throat. At that time, I descend from my place and I take his spirit with the greatest care, because Allah wants this moment to be easy on His servant. I then carry his soul to paradise. On the way, whenever I pass by angels, then angels will greet this soul and salute it until it reaches the presence of its Rabb (Lord). Allah the Exalted says to that soul at that time: “Welcome to the good spirit which I created and placed in a good body! My angels! Write the upper layer of paradise as a reward for that person.” Then angels take him up to paradise, where he will see what Allah has prepared for him and he will be happy to stay there. However, Allah orders the spirit to go back to his body on earth, where he can see the people washing him, crying for him, and all those who love him standing around him until they take the body to the grave. There the soil says to him: “Welcome, my beloved one! I was always yearning for you when you were above me. Now you are in me and I will show you what I am going to give you.” Immediately, his grave will be enlarged beyond sight, until the two angels of the grave come and ask him about his Rabb (Lord) and about his belief. He will give them the correct answers by Allah’s permission. At that time they will open for him a door leading to paradise and his spirit will go back upward to the same place where Allah first called him to His presence.”

 Then Jibraeel moved forward another five hundred thousand light-years, mounted on the buraq, until they reached a place where Jibraeel began to slow down. Muhammad (pbuh) said: “Jibraeel! Why are you slowing down? Are you leaving me?” Jibraeel replied: “I cannot go further.” Muhammad (pbuh) said: “Jibraeel, don’t leave me alone.”Muhammad!”Jibraeel said, “You now have to step down from the buraq and move to a place which no-one has entered before you.” At that moment the buraq stopped and was unable to move further. Muhammad (pbuh) stepped down and moved hesitantly. Jibraeel said: “Muhammad, move forward without fear. If I were to continue with you I would be annihilated for the greatness of the Light.”

 Muhammad (pbuh) moved, and moved, and moved. He saw Mikaeel standing ahead of him, afraid and trembling. The light of his face was changing quickly from one colour to another. Muhammad (pbuh) asked: “Mikaeel, is this your station?” “Yes,” Mikaeel answered, “and if I were to trespass it I would be annihilated. But you go on and don’t stop.” Muhammad (pbuh) moved, and moved, and moved. Then he found Israfeel with his four huge wings, one of which covered his face to veil him from the light which came from the horizon of everything. Muhammad (pbuh) asked him: “Is this your station, Israfeel?” Israfeel said, “Yes. If I trespass it, that light would burn me. But you move on and do not fear.” And Muhammad (pbuh) moved, and moved, and moved. He saw the Spirit to whom Allah gave the power of earth and the heavens. From the top of his head to the bottom of his feet and from every cell of his there were faces with traits of subtle light, the number of which no-one knows but Allah, and from the each of which Allah creates an angel-spirit which looks like the Spirit, whom He then takes to himself as the spirit-angels of the Divine Presence.

 Every day the Spirit looks into hell three times, and because of the cool light of his angelic gaze the fire of hell melts until it becomes as a rainbow. The Spirit also looks into paradise three times every day and extends to it the divine light which Allah gives him. If Allah gathered the tears of the eyes of the Spirit it would flood all the created universes and make Nuh’s (Noah’s) flood seem like the drop gathered by a needle dipped into the ocean. This is the Spirit whom Allah mentioned in the Quran:

 “The day when the Spirit and the angels rise, no-one shall speak except with permission from His Rabb (Lord).”

 Muhammad (pbuh) said: “Spirit! Is this your station?” The spirit replied: “Yes, and if I trespass it I will be annihilated by the light which I am receiving. Muhammad! Move forward and do not be afraid. You are invited and you have permission.” Muhammad (pbuh) moved forward. Allah inspired his heart with the following discourse: “I the Rabb (Lord), have veiled myself from the inhabitants of paradise, as I have veiled myself from the inhabitants of the earth. As I veiled Myself from their minds, I veiled myself from their vision. I am never in anything, and I am never away from anything.”

 Muhammad (pbuh) then moved through one veil after another until he passed through one thousand veils. Finally he opened the Veil of Oneness. He found himself like a lamp suspended in the middle of a divine air. He saw a magnificent, great and unutterable matter. He asked his Rabb (Lord) to give him firmness and strength. He felt that a drop of that presence was put on his tongue and he found it cooler than ice and sweeter than honey. Nothing on earth and the seven paradises tasted like it. With this drop, Allah put into Muhammad’s heart the knowledge of the First and the Last, the heavenly and the earthly. All this was revealed to him in one instant shorter than the fastest second. He was ordered to move forward. As he moved he found himself elevated on a throne that can never be described, now or later. Three additional drops were given to him: one on his shoulder consisting in majesty, one in his heart consisting in mercy, and an additional one on his tongue which consisted in eloquence. Then a voice came from that presence, which no created being had heard before: “Muhammad! I have made you the intercessor for everyone.” At that moment Muhammad (pbuh) felt his mind enraptured and taken away to be replaced with an astonishing secret. He was placed in the fields of Allah’s Eternity and Endlessness. In the first he found no beginning and in the second he found no end. Then Allah revealed to Him: “My end is in My beginning and My beginning is in My end.”Then Muhammad (pbuh) knew that all doors were absolutely closed except those that led to Allah, that Allah cannot be described within the confine of a place in speech, and that Allah encompasses the everywhere of all places. This is a secret that no tongue can be stirred to express, no door opened to reveal, and no answer can define. He is the Guide to Himself and the Rabb (Lord) of His own description. He is the Beauty of all beauty and the speech by which to describe Himself belongs to Him alone.

 Muhammad (pbuh) then looked on his right and saw nothing except His Rabb (Lord), then on his left and saw nothing except his Rabb (Lord), then to the front, to the back, and above him, and he saw nothing except his Rabb (Lord). He hated to leave that honoured and blessed place. But Allah said: “Muhammad, you are a Messenger to My servants as all Messengers, if you stay here you would never be able to communicate My Message. Therefore descend back to earth, and communicate My message to My servants. Whenever you want to be in the same state as you are now, make your prayers, and I shall open this state for you.” This is why Muhammad (pbuh) stated: “Prayer is the apple of my eyes,” and he called it also: “Our rest.”

 Then Muhammad (pbuh) was ordered to go back to earth, but he left the self in heaven and his spirit at the Furthest-tree, and his heart in the unutterable divine presence while his secret was left suspended without place. His self wondered: “Where is the heart?” And the Heart wondered: “Where is the spirit?” And the spirit wondered: “Where is the secret?” And the secret wondered where it was. And Allah revealed:Self of Muhammad (pbuh)! I granted you the blessing and the forgiveness, and spirit! I granted you the mercy and the honour, and heart! I granted you the love and the beauty, and secret, you have Me.” Allah then revealed to Muhammad (pbuh) the order to recite: “He is the one who sends blessings on you, together with His angels, in order to bring you out from darkness into light” (33:43). “Muhammad! I have ordered the angels of all My heavens, those created and those yet uncreated, to send blessings on you and My creation unceasingly, with My own praise. I am your Rabb (Lord) Who said: My Mercy has taken over My anger. And all My angels I have created for you human beings.” And Allah ordered Muhammad (pbuh) to descend with this angelic message back to earth.

 There the Lord revealed unto His servant that which He revealed, and ordained fifty daily prayers for him. On his return, he spoke to Moses (Peace be upon him) that his followers had been enjoined to pray fifty times a day. Moses (Peace be upon him) addressing the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: Your followers cannot perform so many prayers. Go back to your Lord and ask for a remission in number.” The Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) turned to Gabriel (Jibraeel-alaiyhis salaam) as if holding counsel with him. Gabriel (Jibraeel-alaiyhis salaam) nodded, “Yes, if you desire,” and ascended with him to the Presence of Allâh. The All-Mighty Allâh, Glory is to Him, made a reduction of ten prayers. He then descended and reported that to Moses(Peace be upon him), who again urged him to request for a further reduction. Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) once more begged his Lord to reduce the number still further. He went again and again in the Presence of Allâh at the suggestion of Moses-Musa (Peace be upon him) for reduction in the number of prayers till these were reduced to five only. Moses-Musa (Peace be upon him) again asked him to implore for more reduction, but he said: I feel ashamed now of repeatedly asking my Lord for reduction. I accept and resign to His Will.” When Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) went farther, a Caller was heard saying: “I have imposed My Ordinance and alleviated the burden of My servants.”

 SOME OF THE THINGS WITNESSED DURING MIRAAJ

 Moosa (Alaihis salaam) performs Salaah in his Grave

 It is related by Hadrat Anas (Radiallahu anhu) that Rasulullah(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) said, On the night in which I was taken on the journey, I passed by Moosa (Alaihis salaam) and he was performing salaah in his grave.(Sahih Muslim Pg.268 Vol.1)

 People’s Lips Slashed with Shears

 Anas (Radiallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) said, On the night of Mi’raaj, I saw some people whose lips were being slit with scissors of fire. I asked Jibraeel who these people were and he replied that they are the khateebs who command people to do good deeds while forgetting their own selves. In another version of this Hadith it says, They are the sermonizers (of your ummah) who say such things which they themselves do not do. They read the Book of Allah, without themselves practising upon it. (Mishkaatul Masaabih Pg.438)

 People Scraping their Chests with their Fingernails

 Anas (Radiallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) said, When I was taken up during the Me’raaj, I passed by people who had fingernails of copper and they were raking their own faces and chests with them. I asked Jibraeel (Alaihis salaam) who they were and he replied that they were those who used to eat the flesh of others (i.e. slandered them) and attacked their reputations. (Abu Dawood, in Mishkaat p.249)

 The Miserable Plight of those who Consume Interest

 It has been narrated by Abu Hurairah (Radiallahu anhu) that Rasulullah(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) said, On the night of Mi’raaj, I passed by people with bellies as huge as houses (in which people stay) and inside their bellies were snakes which were visible from the outside. I asked Jibraeel (Alaihis salaam) who they were. He replied that they were those who consume interest (usury).(Mishkaatul Masaabih Pg.246)

 Angels Emphasize the Importance of Cupping

 Abdullah bin Mas’ood (Radiallahu anhu) narrates: Among the things described by Rasulullah(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) about the journey of Mi’raaj was that every group of Angels he passed by, urged him to instruct his ummah to practise cupping.”(Mishkaatul Masaabih p.389 from Tirmizi and Ibn Maajah)

 In the past, the custom of cupping was very much in vogue among the Arabs. It is a way of letting out bad and excess blood from the body and a sovereign remedy for many diseases. People have abandoned having faith in this practice today. Rasulullah(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) used to have his head and the area between his shoulders cupped. (lbid)

 The Reward of the Mujaahidoon (i.e. those who strive in the path of Allah)

 Abu Hurairah (Radiallahu anhu) reports that Nabi (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) was travelling with Jibraeel (Alaihis salaam) when they passed by a group of people who were sowing seeds in the ground and harvesting the crops on the same day. Immediately thereafter, the seeds would again be sown into the ground and the entire process would be repeated. When Nabi (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) asked Jibraeel(Alaihis salaam) who these people were, he informed him that they were those who strive in the path of Allah. The reward for their every good deed would be multiplied seven hundred times and whatever they spent, Allah Ta’ala would certainly reward them for it.

 People’s Heads Crushed with Rocks

 Nabi (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) passed by another group of people whose heads were being crushed with boulders. After becoming smashed, their heads would again resume their original shape, only to be crushed again. This process would continue ceaselessly. When he asked jibraeel (Alaihis salaam) who they were, he replied that they were those people who were neglectful of their salaah. During the time of salaah, they would remain asleep.

 The Despicable State of those who withhold their Zakaah

 Then he passed by another group of people whose private parts, from the front and behind, were wrapped in rags and they were grazing like camels and cattle. They were eating Daree’(a thorny plant of the fire of Jahannam) and Zaqqoom( a most bitter and foul smelling tree growing at the bottom of Jahannam) and the smouldering stones of Jahannam. Rasulullah(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) asked who these people were and Jibraeel (Alaihis salaam) replied, They are those who do not discharge the zakaah of their wealth.

 People Eating Spoilt Meat

 Thereafter Nabi (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) passed by a group of people in front of whom was some cooked meat in a pot. In another pot nearby, was some raw and decayed meat. These people were eating the decayed meat and leaving the cooked meat untouched. Rasulullah(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) asked Jibraeel (Alaihis salaam) who they were, and he replied that they were those men of the ummah, who, despite having their own lawful and pure wives, would spend the night in the company of adulteresses and despicable women, and remained with them till the morning. And they were those women of the ummah who had left their lawful and pure husbands to spend the night with adulterous and evil men.

 A Person Carrying a huge bundle of wood

 Then, Rasulullah(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) passed by a man who was struggling to carry a very large bundle of wood which he was unable to bear, yet he wanted to carry even more. When Nabi(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) asked who he was, Jibraeel (Alaihis salaam) replied that this was the person who had been a trustee of people’s possessions, but he had failed to discharge the trust. And yet, he was eager and willing to take on more of the things of people in trust.

 An Ox Attempts to Enter a Tiny Opening

 Thereafter, they came upon a tiny opening from which a huge ox emerged. After making its appearance, the ox wanted to return into this small hole. Nabi(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) asked who this was and Jibraeel (Alaihis salaam) replied that this was the person who, after having uttered some very serious and sinful words, was full of remorse and wished to retract them but was unable to do so.

 The Fragrance of Jannah

 Then Rasulullah(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) reached a valley from which a very beautiful fragrance emanated. The smell was of musk and it possessed a voice. Nabi(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) asked, What is this? Jibraeel (Alaihis salaam) replied that it is the voice of Jannah saying, O My Lord! Bring to me those people who have been destined to stay in me, and fulfill your promise.”

 Hearing the Shriek of Jahannam

 Then, Rasulullah(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) passed by another valley from which an unbearable voice could be heard. When he asked about it, Jibraeel (Alaihis salaam) replied that it was Jahannam imploring Allah saying, Make over to me the people who have been destined to dwell in me, and fulfill your pledge.”

 A shaitaan Trails Them

 In the Muatta of Imaam Maalik (Rahmatullahi alaih), there is a Hadith narrated by Yahya bin Sa’eed, that on the night of Mi’raaj, Nabi(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) saw a rebellious jinn pursuing him with a flame of fire. Whenever he would turn(to the right or left), he would catch sight of this Jinn. Jibraeel (Alaihis salaam) said, ” Should I not teach you some words which, if recited, will extinguish this fire and cause him(the Jinn) to fall down on his face. Upon request of Rasulullah(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) , Jibraeel(Alaihis salaam) recited the following words:

 ” Aoozu biwajhil laahil kareem wabi kaleematil laahit-taam-maati-lati la-yu-jaa-wizu-hunna barrun wala-fa-jir. Wa-min sharri ma-yanzilu minas-samaa. Wa-sharri maa-ya’ruju fie-haa, Wa-sharri maa-dha-ra-a fil-ardi, Wa-sharri maa-yakh-ruju min-haa. Wa-min fita-nil-layli wan-nahaar. Wa-min tawaa-ri-qil-layli wan-nahaar, illa taa-ri-qann yat-ruq bi-khair. Ya-Rahmaan.”

 Salaams from Ibrahim(alaiyhis salaam) to the Ummah of Rasulullah(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam)

 Abdullah bin Mas’ud(Radiallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) said, “On the night of Mi’raj, I met Hazrat Ibraheem(alaiyhis salaam) and he said to me, O Muhammad ! Convey my salaam to your Ummah and inform them that undoubtedly the soil of Jannah is pure, its water is sweet, its ground is barren and its plants are: “Subhanallahi walhamdulillahi wala ilaha illallaahu wallaahu akbar.”

 TWO OTHER GIFTS BESIDES SALAAH

On the night of Mi’raaj, apart from the gift of salaah and the promised reward of fifty salaah in lieu of five, among other bounties of Allah is the:

  •   Revelation of the last few verses of Surah Al Baqarah (i.e. from ” Aa-manar-rasoolu bimaa un-zila ilayhi mir-rab-bihee wal-mu’-minoon….till the end).
    • Sins forgiven of the ummah of Rasulullah(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam): At the same time, it was also announced that the major sins of those in the ummah of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) who do not ascribe partners with Allah will be forgiven. (Sahih Muslim p. 97 Vol. 1). This means that they will not suffer eternal punishment on account of their major sins, but will instead be pardoned either through tawba (sincere repentance) and Astighfaar (seeking the forgiveness of Allah), or after first being punished for their sins.(An Nawawi).

    SOME LESSONS FROM MIRAAJ – SYNOPSIS

     1. Sublime Position of Salaah: The greatest gift given on this miraculous journey on Mi’raj was the gift of salaah. The importance of this great gift is evident by the fact that the Prophet(sallallahu alaiyh wassallam) was called personally to the heavens and beyond to receive this injunction, whereas most other injunctions were given on earth via Jibraeel(alaiyhis salaam). Moreover, the fact that Jibraeel(alaiyhis salaam) descended the very next day after Mi’raj to teach Nabi(sallallahu alaiyh wassallam) the finer points of the method of salaah, highlights it’s importance.

    2. Neglect of Salaah: During Mi’raj, Nabi (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) passed by a group of people whose heads were being crushed with boulders. After becoming smashed, their heads would again resume their original shape, only to be crushed again. This process would continue ceaselessly. When he asked Jibraeel (Alaihis salaam) who they were, he replied that they were those people who were neglectful of their salaah. During the time of salaah, they would remain asleep.

    3. Salaah with congregation: We notice that Nabi (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) performed salaah in congregation with all the Ambiya in Masjidul-Aqsa. This also illustrates the importance of salaah in congregation. Besides the warnings on discarding salaah with the congregation, many virtues have also been mentioned for observing salaat with congregation. Abdullah bin Umar(radhiallaha anhu) reports that Nabi (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) said, ” Salaah performed in congregation exceeds the salaah performed individually(in reward) by twenty five times.” (Sahih Bukhari Vol.1)

    4. Zamzam Water: In the incident of Mi’raaj, it has also been recorded that the blessed chest of Nabi (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) was opened, and his heart removed and washed in the water of Zam Zam, and then replaced and restored to its original condition. In today’s modern, scientific age, when the practice of surgery has become an ordinary everyday occurrence, this is not at all difficult to believe. And since no other water was used, but the Blessed water of Zam Zam was used to wash the noble heart of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam), we can clearly understand the merit and excellence of this water.

    5. Importance of Masjidul Aqsa in Islam: The fact that Rasulullah(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) was taken to this Glorified Masjid and not to any other Masjid to perform salaah and lead the Ambiyaa, illustrates the pivotal role it plays in the life of a Muslim. In a hadith narrated by Hazrat Anas(R.A.): Rasullullah(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) has said that “the reward for salaah in his Masjid(Masjidun Nabawi) and in that of Masjidul Aqsa is of 50 000 prayers, but the reward of salaah in the kaaba is equal to a 100 000 prayers.” (Ibn Majah)

    6. Some Meritorious recitations given during Mi’raj:

    • Revelation of the last few verses of Surah Al Baqarah (i.e. from ” Aa-manar-rasoolu bimaa un-zila ilayhi mir-rab-bihee wal-mu’-minoon….till the end).
    • Increase recitation of 3 rd Kalimah: Rasullullah(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) said, “On the night of Mi’raj, I met Hazrat Ibraheem (alaiyhis salaam) and he said to me, O Muhammad ! Convey my salaam to your Ummah and inform them that undoubtedly the soil of Jannah is pure, its water is sweet, its ground is barren and its plants are: “Subhanallahi walhamdulillahi wala ilaha illallaahu wallaahu akbar.”

    7. Admonitions and Punishments witnessed during Mi’raj: During this journey Rasulullah(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) was shown the different punishments meted out to those who transgressed and were dis-obedient. These experiences serve as a warning to the Ummah to refrain from dis-obedience and those actions that displease Allah Subhana Wata’ala.

    1. Refrain from Teaching without practicing:Punishment for this is “lips were being slit with scissors of fire- they are the khateebs who command people to do good deeds while forgetting their own selves.”

    2. Refrain from Slandering: Punishment for this is “people who had fingernails of copper and they were raking their own faces and chests with them.”

    3. Refrain from Consuming Interest: Punishment for this is “people with bellies as huge as houses (in which people stay) and inside their bellies were snakes which were visible from the outside.”
    4. Refrain from fornication and adultery: Punishment for this is: ” These people were eating the decayed meat and leaving the cooked meat untouched.”

    5. Refrain from Abusing peoples trust: Punishment for this is: “A man who was struggling to carry a very large bundle of wood which he was unable to bear, yet he wanted to carry even more.”

    6. Refrain from witholding Zakaat: Punishment for this is: “They were eating Daree'(a thorny plant of the fire of Jahannam) and Zaqqoom( a most bitter and foul smelling tree growing at the bottom of Jahannam) and the smouldering stones of Jahannam.”

    In short all these punishments were shown to Rasulullah(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) so that he may warn mankind to abandon sin and transgression and encourage mankind to obedience and goodness. It is through His Divine Mercy that Allah Ta’ala has shown these incidents to mankind, so that one has the opportunity, now in this world to mend one’s ways before it is too late.

    7. To believe and practice un-conditionally as Hazrat Abu Bakr(R.A.) did: It was belief that distinguished Abu Bakr as-Siddiq and placed him in a rank never to be equalled or surpassed by any of the companions or those who would come after them. Abu Bakr(R.A.) was known by the nickname ‘as-Siddiq (the believer)’ more than his real name. He gained that nickname because he immediately and unconditionally believed in what the prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said about his journey to the heavens. Abu Bakr(R.A.) had based his Imaan on his belief and practiced accordingly; Abu Bakr(R.A.)’s belief is that the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) is the Informer. His practice of that was based upon the fact that Allah is the Legislator. Allah Ta’ala says, ‘The Messenger believes in what has been revealed to him from His Lord, and (so do) the believers. Each one believes in Allah, His Angels, His Books and His Messengers. (They say), ‘We make no distinction between one another of His Messengers’ and they say, ‘We hear, and we obey. (We seek) Your forgiveness, our Lord, and to You is the return (of all).’ (2:285) The lesson for us, the Muslims, is that if it is in the Qur’an or reported authentically as a Sunnah, then we should believe in it, and act upon it.

    ALLAH TESTS THE MUSLIM’S 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.

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