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The Prophet's (saw) Miraaj


‘We appointed the vision which We showed as an ordeal for mankind.' (17.60):

The Prophets (asalat –o –asalaam) of Allah (swt) were all sent with Miracles and Wonders to convince mankind of the Power and truth of Allah’s (swt) message. Every Prophet (as) came with these gifts from our Lord and Creator and displayed them to the people. Some were convinced and submitted to the will of Allah (swt) and others accused the Messengers of being magicians and tricksters. This is related to us in the Quran, through the revelations of the Prophets’ stories and accounts. However the miracles granted to the Ambiya (as) – Prophets have been surpassed by the miracles of the Khatam-ul-ambiya – Seal of the Prophets Sayyedina Muhammad (saw). The greatest sign of this is that when the blessed Prophets (as) departed from the world their miracles and wonders were also withdrawn by Allah (swt). Whether it is Musa (as) and the stick he had, or Eesa (as) with his power to cure, they were only witnessed by the people of their time and departed along with the Messengers.

The great miracle given to Prophet Muhammad (saw) is the Qur’an, and remains in this world till the end of time. The revelation of Al-Quran is the greatest miracle the world has ever seen and inshallah we will discuss this in a later discussion. The glory and knowledge of the Qur’an is for the whole of Mankind and can never be changed. Inshallah

‘Though mankind and Jinn should assemble to produce the like of this Qur’an, they could not produce the like thereof, though they were helpers one of another’ (17,88)

The other great miracle bestowed on Prophet Muhammad (saw) is the ‘Isra and Miraaj’. This was the blessed night when our beloved Prophet (saw) at a time of suffering and disappointment, at the lack of success in bringing people to Islam, was taken on a miraculous journey. This journey is the like of which has never been seen in the history of all Mankind and the like which can never be seen again, by the will of Allah (swt). The Prophet (saw) embarked on the Isra and then the Miraaj. Some people know very little about this blessed night and the two journeys that took place in them. How the night started has been related in the hadith by the great scholar and companion Anas ibn Malik (ra).

‘The night Allah's Apostle was taken for a journey from the sacred mosque (of Mecca) Al-Kaa'ba: Three persons came to him (in a dreamy while he was sleeping in the Sacred Mosque before the Divine Inspiration was revealed to Him. One of them said, "Which of them is he?" The middle (second) angel said, "He is the best of them." The last (third) angle said, "Take the best of them." Only that much happened on that night and he did not see them till they came on another night, i.e. after The Divine Inspiration was revealed to him. (Fateh-Al-Bari Page 258, Vol. 17) and he saw them, his eyes were asleep but his heart was not----and so is the case with the Prophets (as): their eyes sleep while their hearts do not sleep. So those angels did not talk to him till they carried him and placed him beside the well of Zam-Zam. From among them Gabriel took charge of him. Gabriel cut open (the part of his body) between his throat and the middle of his chest (heart) and took all the material out of his chest and abdomen and then washed it with Zam-Zam water with his own hands till he cleansed the inside of his body, and then a gold tray containing a gold bowl full of belief and wisdom was brought and then Gabriel stuffed his chest and throat blood vessels with it and then closed it (the chest).’ (Bukhari)

The Isra is the first journey that took place on that night when Angel Gabriel (as) called the ‘Buraq’. This was a special beast that could travel through the skies at the speed of light. The Buraq took Rasulallah (saw) from Masjid - e -Haram in Makkah to Masjid Al Aqsa in Jerusalem. This is so the Prophet (saw) could lead in prayer the most blessed gathering ever assembled on this earth. The Souls of all the Prophets (as) were summoned to Masjid Al Aqsa to pray behind the Prophet of all Prophets, the one who has also been named Imam ul Ambiya Leader of the Prophets; Sayyedina Muhammad (saw). Just imagine this prayer, this gathering and this miraculous night. I have often imagined how sacred Masjid Al Aqsa - Bait ul Maqaddas is and the place it has in Islam. The great companion Abu Hurairah (ra) also narrated that Angel Gabriel offered two cups to the Prophet (saw), one containing wine and the other milk in Jerusalem. He looked at it and took the cup of milk. Gabriel said,

 "Praise be to Allah Who guided you to Al-Fitra (the right path); if you had taken (the cup of) wine, your nation would have gone astray."

The Prophet (saw) accompanied by Angel Gabriel (as) on the Buraq, ascended to the heavens.

The Prophet (saw) visited Jannah - the heavens and also saw the punishments being given in Jahannum – Hell. The hadith continues as the dwellers of the first heaven asked, 'Who is it?' He said, "Gabriel." They said, "Who is accompanying you?" He said, "Muhammad." They said, "Has he been called?" He said, "Yes" They said, "He is welcomed." So the dwellers of the Heaven became pleased with his arrival, and they did not know what Allah (swt) would do to the Prophet on earth unless Allah informed them. The Prophet met Hasrat Adam (as) over the nearest Heaven.

‘Gabriel said to the Prophet, "He is your father; greet him." The Prophet greeted him and Adam returned his greeting and said, "Welcome, O my Son! O what a good son you are!" Behold, he saw two flowing rivers, while he was in the nearest sky. He asked, "What are these two rivers, O Gabriel?" Gabriel said, "These are the sources of the Nile and the Euphrates."

Then Gabriel took him around that Heaven and behold, he saw another river at the bank of which there was a palace built of pearls and emerald. He put his hand into the river and found its mud like musk Adhfar. He asked, "What is this, O Gabriel?" Gabriel said, "This is the Kauthar which your Lord has kept for you." Then Gabriel ascended (with him) to the second Heaven and the angels asked the same questions as those on the first Heaven, i.e., "Who is it?" Gabriel replied, "Gabriel". They asked, "Who is accompanying you?" He said, "Muhammad." They asked, "Has he been sent for?" He said, "Yes." Then they said, "He is welcomed.'' Then he (Gabriel) ascended with the Prophet to the third Heaven, and the angels said the same as the angels of the first and the second Heavens had said.

Then he ascended with him to the fourth Heaven and they said the same; and then he ascended with him to the fifth Heaven and they said the same; and then he ascended with him to the sixth Heaven and they said the same; then he ascended with him to the seventh Heaven and they said the same. On each Heaven there were prophets whose names he had mentioned and of whom I remember Idris on the second Heaven, Aaron (as) on the fourth Heavens another prophet whose name I don't remember, on the fifth Heaven, Abraham (as) on the sixth Heaven, and Moses (as) on the seventh Heaven because of his privilege of talking to Allah directly. Moses (as) said (to Allah), "O Lord! I thought that none would be raised up above me."

But Gabriel ascended with him (the Prophet (saw)) for a distance above that, the distance of which only Allah knows, till he reached the Lote Tree (beyond which none may pass) and then the Irresistible, the Lord of Honor and Majesty approached and came closer till he (Gabriel) was about two bow lengths or (even) nearer. (It is said that it was Gabriel who approached and came closer to the Prophet (saw). (Fate Al-Bari Page 263, 264, Vol. 17). Among the things, which Allah revealed to him then, was: "Fifty prayers were enjoined on his followers in a day and a night."

Then the Prophet descended till he met Moses (as), and then Moses stopped him and asked, "O Muhammad! What did your Lord en join upon you?" The Prophet replied," He enjoined upon me to perform fifty prayers in a day and a night." Moses (as) said, "Your followers cannot do that; Go back so that your Lord may reduce it for you and for them." So the Prophet turned to Gabriel as if he wanted to consult him about that issue. Gabriel told him of his opinion, saying, "Yes, if you wish." So Gabriel ascended with him to the Irresistible and said while he was in his place, "O Lord, please lighten our burden as my followers cannot do that." So Allah deducted for him ten prayers where upon he returned to Moses (as) who stopped him again and kept on sending him back to his Lord till the enjoined prayers were reduced to only five prayers.

Then Moses stopped him when the prayers had been reduced to five and said, "O Muhammad! By Allah, I tried to persuade my nation, Bani Israil to do less than this, but they could not do it and gave it up. However, your followers are weaker in body, heart, sight and hearing, so return to your Lord so that He may lighten your burden." The Prophet (saw) said that he would not go back as he felt he had already requested too much.

There are different traditions concerning whether the Prophet (saw) actually saw the Majesty of Allah (swt) that night. However Hasrat Aisha (ra) has narrated that the Prophet (saw) only saw Allah (swt) behind the Parda of Nur – The Veil of Light. The great Islamic scholar Yusuf Ali has commented that there are seventy thousand veils of light in front of Allah (swt). Prophet Muhammad (saw) has come the closest than anyone ever has. Therefore the conclusion I have reached is that such matters should not be pondered on too much. The Miraaj of Rasulallah (saw) is an example of his exalted status and proof to the non-believers of his Prophethood. When the Prophet (saw) returned to Makkah there are different narrations to how much time had passed. For example according to one narration the place where the Prophet (saw) had been sitting was still warm.

In the morning the non-believing Pagans of Makkah dismissed the claims of such a journey even when the Prophet (saw) told them how Masjid Al Aqsa looks like and also informed them about a convoy he had seen on the way. These things someone who had been in Makkah all night could not have known. The faithful believers stood by the side of the Prophet (saw) like Abu Bakr Siddique (ra).

Even today there are Muslims who have doubts about the physical aspects of this journey. Some scholars claim that it was actually a dream, just a vision that was shown to the Prophet (saw). These people question how someone can travel at the speed of light and travel through to the heavens in one night. This is Kufr – non-belief in my eyes to doubt the will and ability of Allah (swt). Allah's (swt) will is beyond all limitations and can perform anything at anytime. We fall into the trap of trying to apply our very little knowledge and sense to the Majesty of the All Creator. Anything that man knows are only by the guidance and permission of Allah (swt) and our knowledge and imagination can never contain the attributes of Allah (swt).

The scholars testify to the truth of Miraaj by stating that Buraq was only needed because the Prophet (saw) had to physically reach Jerusalem and the heavens, if this was only a dream then why was Buraq mentioned as the ride. Surely in dreams there are no physical requirements to actually travel anywhere so why was the Buraq ever mentioned in hadith. As believers we have to decide whether we want to be Abu Jahl (the strong opposer of the Prophet (saw) who was given the title of ‘ignorant’), or do we want to be the ‘Saddique’ - Hasrat Abu Bakr (ra).

The great scholar of the Qur’an and blessed companion Ibn Abbas (ra) narrated the below hadith;

Allah's Apostle actually saw with his own eyes the vision (all the things which were shown to him) on the night of his Night Journey to Jerusalem (and then to the heavens). The cursed tree which is mentioned in the Qur'an is the tree of Az-Zaqqum’.

The Miracles of Prophet Muhammad (saw)

The Authentic Ahadith narrates many miracles attributed to the beloved Prophet (saw). Some are listed below;

1) The Holy Qur’an revealed to the Unlettered Prophet (saw). His message remained consistent throughout his life and now over 1400 years later, not a single letter has and can be changed of this Miraculous book.

2) The Prophet (saw) split the moon as evidence of his Prophethood and the divine power of Allah (swt).

3) The Prophet (saw) used to deliver his khutbah - sermon on the stem of a date palm tree. Once a proper Minbar - pulpit was made for his sermon and he used it instead of the date palm tree. On this happening the date palm tree began weeping until the Prophet (saw) went and put his hand on the tree for comfort.

4) The Prophet (saw) used to pass the pathways and the stones would send Salawat - blessings on him, and plants would become to blossom.

5) One incident at the time of Asr prayer, there was only a little bit of water in a vessel. The Prophet (saw) put his hands in the container and spread his fingers until water started gushing out of his fingers. All the people present performed ablution with this water and the narrator estimated there were over one thousand men.

6) The Companions of the Prophet (saw) heard the meals glorify the Prophet (saw) when he ate.

7) The Shading of the trees when the Prophet (saw) answered the call of nature.

8) The Miraculous night of the Isra and Miraaj.

9) The Prophet’s(saw) morals, manners, habits, compassion, knowledge and all characteristics showed complete perfection.

10) The Predictions given by the Prophet (saw) have all proven correct, by the will of Allah (swt).

The above are just some examples of the heavenly miracles bestowed upon Prophet Muhammad (saw). However as a Spanish scholar once wrote that even if we were to take out all the miracles from the life of Muhammad (saw), his life and trials are in themselves the evidence of Prophethood.