By Mufti Muhammad Aashiq Ilahi Bulandshahri (Rahimahullah)
Translated by Mufti Afzal Hoosen Elias
ABOUT THE BOOK
This book discusses in detail the incident of the Meraj Shareef as it has been described in the books of Hadith, Tafsir and Seerah. It also describes the conditions of the higher and lowers realms as witnessed by Rasulullah ﷺ. Included also, are the accounts of riding the Buraaq, leading the Ambiya (alayhimussalaam) in Salaah, ascending the heavens, meeting the Ambiya there, and receiving a warm welcome from them. Also explained, is the way in which Musa (alayhissalaam) had repeatedly advised Rasulullah ﷺ to request Allah Ta’ala to reduce the number of compulsory Salaah from fifty to five. The author has also depicted the scenes of the Sidratul Muntaha and Al-Bayt al-Ma’moor. The book also explains Rasulullah’s ﷺ entry into Jannah, his seeing of Jahannam, and other events in detail. It also discusses the secrets and the wisdom behind the various events in the journey of Meraj. Towards the end of the book, the author answers some of the objections raised by skeptics, and those who deny the Meraj of Rasulullah ﷺ.
Glory be to Him who took His servant on a journey by night from the Masjidul Haraam (Sacred Musjid) to the Masjidul Aqsa (Furthest Musjid) and elevated him to the loftiest position. So, whoever has believed in him has been rightly guided and attained salvation and whoever has not believed in him is doomed and has plunged headlong into the pits of deviation. May Allah Ta’ala, bestoe His peace and blessings on our beloved Nabi Muhammad ﷺ, his family and his companions as well as those who follow them and follow them in righteousness.
By the grace and bounty of Allah Ta’ala, this humble servant has prepared this booklet on the events of the Isra’ and Meraj. Most of the narrations I have included in this work are from Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim and other books of Hadith. For the explanation of the verses of the Qur’an, I have mostly referred to Tafseer Ibn Kathir and in some instances I have also taken from the books, Dalaa’il un-Nubuwwah of Imam Bayhaqi and Seerah Ibn Hisham.
All praise belongs to Allah Almighty that this work is both authentic and comprehensive. The events of this journey as witnessed by Rasulullah ﷺ have been collated in this booklet after a great deal of research and I have also recounted some of the secrets and wisdom underlying the events of Meraj which have been brought to light by the various commentators of Hadith.
The incident of Meraj has been narrated by approximately 25 Sahaaba (Radhiyallahu Anhum) among them are Hadhrat Anas bin Malik, Abu Dhar Ghiffari, Maalik bin Sa’saa, Buraidah Aslami, Jaabir bin ‘Abdullah, Abu Sa’id Khudri, Shaddaad bin Aus, Ibn ‘Abbas, ‘Abdullah bin Mas’ud, Abu Hurairah and Umme Haani (Radhiyallahu Anhum).
Concerning when this great event, which is a supreme miracle of Rasulullah ﷺ had actually occurred, there is some difference of opinion among the historians and compilers of Seerah.
According to some, it had occurred ten years after the Nubuwwah (Prophethood) of Rasulullah ﷺ. Hadhrat Ibn Shihaab Zuhri holds the view that it took place one year before the Hijrah of Rasulullah to Madinah. Another view is that it occurred 16 months before Hijrah. The well-known commentator of hadith, Ibn Kathir has recorded all these views on page 108 of his book Al-Bidayah Wan-Nihayah. The commentator of Bukhari Shareef, Allama Kirmani, and the commentator of Muslim Shareef, Allama Nawawi have also mentioned the view that it occurred in the 5th year of Nubuwwah. And Allah Ta’ala knows best.
At the outset, we shall examine the translation and commentary of the very first verse of Surah al-Israa. Thereafter, we shall discuss the Ahadith relating to it. I have named these treatise “Anwaarus Siraj Fi Zikril Israa wal Miraaj”.
My humble request to my respected readers is for them to kindly include in their Dua’s, the author, his parents and teachers, as well as those students who assisted at various stages in the preparation of this booklet.
A humble servant of Allah
(Mufti) Muhammad Aashiq Ilahi Bulandshahri
1st Rajab, 1414.
Allah Ta’ala briefly discusses the incident of Meraj Shareef in the Qur’an in the following verse “Glory be to Him who took His servant on a journey by night from the Masjidul Haraam to the Masjidul Aqsa whose prectincts we have blessed, so that we may show him some of our signs. Verily, He is All-Hearing, All-Seeing.”
This is the first verse of Surah al-Israa. Here, it is clearly mentioned that Allah Ta’ala took Rasulullah ﷺ one night on a journey from Masjidul Haraam to Masjidul Aqsa. And in Surah An-Najm in the verses, it is categorically stated that Rasulullah had witnessed the majestic signs of Allah in the realm of the heavens.
The “Masjidul Haraam” signifies that masjid which surrounds the Ka’bah Shareef from all sides and is sometimes used to denote the Haram of Makkah as in the verse, Trans. “Except those with whom you made a treaty near the Sacred Masjid.” [Qur’an 9:7]
Allah begins the verse in Surah al-Israa with the word “Subhaana” which means, “Glory be to Him”, in order to dispel the misgivings of those who doubt the possibility of this great incident. Yet, unfortunately, even today, we find some ignorant people thinking likewise. Such people doubt the sublime majesty of Allah Ta’ala. In answer to them, Allah declares that everything is within His sublime power and might, and that nothing is ever able to overpower Him. He can do whatever He wills and He is free of every fault and deficiency. Allah’s power is unlimited and nothing whatsoever could be beyond His power.
The expression “Took His servant on a journey by night” describes the status of servitude of Rasulullah ﷺ to Allah Ta’ala. Indeed, slavery is a very sublime status, and to be the slave of Allah Ta’ala is no ordinary matter. Whoever Allah Ta’ala makes His slave and declares Him to be so, has indeed attained the pinnacles of Glory and there can be no HONOUR greater than this. This is why Rasulullah ﷺ has stated, “The most beloved names by Allah are Abdullah (i.e. The Slave of Allah) and Abdur-Rahman “The slave of the Merciful One.” [Mishkat page 409]
Once, an angel appeared before Rasulullah ﷺ and said that Allah Ta’ala has sent His greetings (Salaams) and said that ‘If you wish we would make you into a Nabi (Prophet) and slave ot if you desire we would make you a king and a prophet. Rasulullah ﷺ looked towards Jibraeel (alayhissalaam) to take his advice. He advised him to adopt humbleness. Rasulullah ﷺ then replied, “I prefer to remain a Prophet and a slave” Hadhrat Ayesha (radhiyallahu anha) who narrates this hadith says, “After this, Rasulullah ﷺ never took his meals whilst reclining against anything. Rasulullah ﷺ used to say that I eat in the manner of a slave and sit in the manner of a slave. [Mishkat, page 521 from Sharhus Sunnah]
One wisdom in using the term “Abd” (slave) in the incident of Meraj is that after learning of the details of the Meraj, no person should be misled into thinking that the status of Rasulullah ﷺ has transcended beyond that of a “slave” and that nobody believing him to be above that of a slave falsely attributes to him the status of partnership with Allah Ta’ala and thereby go astray as the Christians had gone astray after exagerrating the status of Hadhrat ‘Eesa (alayhissalaam). Allah Ta’ala desired that such misguidance should not overtake the Ummah (followers) of his beloved Nabi Muhammad ﷺ. The Qur’an is clear that Rasulullah ﷺ was taken one night on a journey from Masjidul Haraam to Masjidul Aqsa. Masjidul Haraam is that Masjid which surrounds the Kaabah Shariff and at time refers to the haram of Makkah as in the Verse: Trans: “Except those with whom you made a treaty near the Sacred Masjid” Musjidul “Aqsa” is the name of the Baytul Maqdis which is in Shaam (Syria). The word “Aqsa” is used in the meaning of “Aba’d” which is used to denote something far away. Why is Masjidul Aqsa referred to as Al-Aqsa? There are many opinions of the Mufassireen regarding this. The compiler of Tafsir Rul al-Ma’ani writes: “Since it (this Masjid) is far away from the people of Hijaaz, the adjective “Aqsa” has been used. Another opinion is that from all the Masjids which are visited, this one is the furthest. If anyone sets off for Masjidul Haraam, then he will pass by Madinah Munawwarah and then after many days he will reach Masjidul Aqsa. Whenever a journey used to be undertaken on camel back, then the journey from Masjidul Haraam to Masjidul Aqsa would take over 40 days. Another view is that it is called Masjidul Aqsa since it is free and pure of all filth and indecency. [Tafsir Rul al-Ma’ani, Vol. 15, page 9]
Allah says: “The Masjid whose thereafter, perstincts we have blessed (Concerning Masjidul Aqsa)”. This blessing is also both religious as well as mundane. The Deeni blessing is that many Prophets of Allah Ta’ala used to worship Allah there and face in its direction. It is also one of the three Masjids to which it is permissible to specially undertake a journey. It is also surrounded by the graves of the Ambiya (alayhimussalaam) from all directions. One reason for its mundane blessings is that it is a lush and picturesque region of many rivers and trees.
Allah Ta’ala then says: “So that We may show him some of Our Signs (clear manifestation)”. To undertake such a long journey in only a part of one night and to meet all the Ambiya (alayhimus Salaam) and lead them in Salaah, and to witness all the strange things there, all forms part of the strange manifestations of Allah Ta’ala.
The author of “Ma’alimut Tanzeel” writes that Allah Ta’ala uses the term As-Samee to show that Allah listens to all Duas (supplications) and prayers and the term Al-Baseer shows that He Sees everything and protects even in the darkness of the nights.
In Surah Israa, only the journey upto Masjidul Aqsa has been mentioned and in the Ahadith of Rasulullah ﷺ, mention is also made of the journey to the skies and up to the Sidratul Muntaha and beyond. It is the belief of the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah that Allah took the Prophet ﷺ in one night from Masjidul Haraam to Masjidul Aqsa and then into the seven heavens. And thereafter back to Makkah Muazzamah the same night. This travelling to and fro was in a state of complete wakefulness and in both body and soul.
The incident of Meraj has been discussed in great detail in the Hadith. Meraj has also been referred to Al-Israa. In the Qur’an, Allah says (and in the hadith) has been used to describe the journey into the heavens. Hence, this blessed event has been described as both Israa and Meraj. We shall first take a look at the narrations of Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim. The first Hadith is from Sahih Muslim since it describes the journey from Masjidul Haraam to Masjidul Aqsa and sequentially to the heavens. I have not found any mention made of the journey from Masjidul Haraam to Masjidul Aqsa in Sahih Bukhari and have therefore mentioned it later.
THE JOURNEY ON THE BURAAQ TO BAITUL MAQDIS AND LEADING THE AMBIYAA (ALAYHIMUSSALAAM) IN SALAAH
In Sahih Muslim, Hadhrat Anas bin Malik (Radhiyallahu Anhu) has narrated that Rasulullah ﷺ said: “The buraaq was brought before me and it was a tall white animal, taller than a donkey and shorter than a mule and its every step was as far as the eye could see. I travelled on it until I reached the Baitul Maqdis. I tied the buraaq to the ring which the various Ambiyaa (alayhimussalaam) had used to tie their animals and then entered the Masjid and performed two rakaat Salaah. When I came outside, Jibraeel (Alayhissalaam) presented me with two vessels, one of which contained wine and the other, milk. When I took the milk, Jibraeel (Alayhissalaam) remarked, “You have chosen nature”. We were then taken towards the heavens. In the first heaven, I met Adam (Alayhissalaam). In the second, I met Eesa and Yahya (Alayhimussalaam), and in the 3rd heaven Hadhrat Yusuf (Alayhissalaam). In the 4th heaven I met Hadhrat Idris and in the 5th heaven, I met Hadhrat Haroon (Alayhissalaam) and in the 6th heaven, I met Hadhrat Moosa (Alayhissalaam) and each of them welcomed me very warmly. When I reached the 7th heaven, I met Hadhrat Ibraheem (Alayhissalaam). Jibraeel (Alayhissalaam) told me that Ibraheem (Alayhissalaam) would be resting against the Baitul Ma’moor and he also informed me that daily seven thousand angels enter the Baitul Ma’moor (and so great is there number) that none of them gets the opportunity to come a second time. I was then taken to the Sidratul Muntaha (i.e. the lote tree). All of a sudden, I see its leaves, so gigantic like the ears of an elephant. And its fruits, the size of huge earthen pots. When Allah ordered the Sidratul Muntaha to be draped, then its entire appearance was changed. None of the creation of Allah has the ability to describe its beauty. At that moment, Allah revealed to me (whatever was to be sent) and 50 times daily Salaah was made obligatory upon me. As I was returning, I passed by Musa (Alayhissalaam) who asked “what did your Lord make compulsory upon your Ummah”, I replied, “50 time Salaah”. Musa (Alayhissalaam) said, “Return to your Lord and ask him to reduce it since your Ummah does not have the ability to discharge it. This is my experience with the Bani Israeel. Rasulullah says: “I then returned to my Lord and submitted, “O my Allah, please reduce the Salaah on my Ummah” Hence it was reduced by five. I then returned to Musa (Alayhissalaam) and informed him that the number has been reduced by five. He replied that your Ummah is not able to fulfill even this. Return to your Lord and request Him to further reduce it. Rasulullah says, “I returned to my Lord several times. I was one moment before Musa (Alayhissalaam) and in the next I was in the court of Allah. Until finally only five times a daily Salaah remained. Allah said, “O Muhammad! These five Salaah are for the whole day and night and for each Salaah there will be a reward of Ten Salaah. Therefore, in reward (these five times Salaah) are equivalent to 50 times Salaah. Whoever will intend a good deed and not perform it will be credited with one good deed purely on account of his intention. And if after making any intention he performs the good deed he will be rewarded for ten good deeds. And whoever contemplates an evil deed but does not perform it, will have no record of it against him and if he acts upon his evil intention, only one sin will be recorded against him.” Rasulullah said, “I returned down to Musa (alayhissalaam) and informed him what had happened.” He replied, “Go back to your Lord and ask Him to reduce it even further.” I answered that I had been repeatedly in the presence of my Lord and I am now too ashamed to do so.” [Sahih Muslim, Page 97, Vol. 1]
On the authority of Abu Hurairah (Radhiyallahu anhu), Rasulullah ﷺ is also reported to have said, “I saw myself in the group of prophets (alayhimussalaam)”. The time for Salaah entered so I led them in prayer. When I had finished my Salaah, someone said, “O Muhammad!, this is the doorkeeper of Jahannam, greet him.” When I turned towards him, he greeted me by himself. (The instance of leading the Ambiya alayhimussalaam in Baitul Maqdis occurred before Rasulullah ﷺ went up into the heavens). Hafidh ibn Kathir on page 6, Vol. 3 of his tafsir, says that Ibn Abi Hatim has recorded the narration of Hadhrat Anas ibn Malik (Radhiyallahu Anhu) that Rasulullah ﷺ said, “I was in the Baitul Maqdis and many people had gathered together. Someone called out the Adhan and we straightened our rows for Salaah in anticipation of someone to be the Imam. The Jibraeel (Alayhissalaam) took my hand and led me to the front and I led all those that were present in Salaah. When I completed my Salaah, Jibraeel (Alayhissalaam) said, O Muhammad! Do you know the people who were behind you in Salaah?. I replied, “No” (Apart from the Prophet who Nabi met previously, there were many others who performed their Salaah behind Rasulullah and to whom he had never been introduced. Therefore, he replied that he did not know them). Jibraeel (Alayhissalaam) replied that all the Ambiya (alayhimussalaam) whom Allah had sent on earth, had performed Salaah behind him. (Thereafter, the hadith goes on to describe the journey into the heavens).
A DETAILED ACCOUNT OF THE INCIDENT OF MERAJ IN SAHIH BUKHARI
In Sahih Bukhari, the incident of Meraj has been narrated by Hadhrat Anas bin Malik (Radhiyallahu Anhu) in several places. In some places, Hadhrat Anas reported (indirectly), through Hadhrat Abu Dhar (Radhiyallahu Anhu), and at times through the medium of Hadhrat Malik bin Sa’sa Ansari (Radhiyallahu Anhu).
Hadhrat Anas (Radhiyallahu Anhu) reports from Hadhrat Malik bin Sa’sa (Radhiyallahu Anhu) that Rasulullah ﷺ said, “I was near the Ka’bah Shareef in a state of half wakefulness. There people came to me with a golden tray which was laden with wisdom and Imaan. They cut open my chest and washed it with the water of Zam-Zam abd filled it with wisdom and Imaan. Then, a white animal was brought before me which was shorter than a mule and taller than a donkey.
This animal was known as the Buraaq.
THE JOURNEY INTO THE HEAVENS AND THE OPENING OF THE DOOR OF THE HEAVENS FOR NABI AND HIS MEETING WITH THE AMBIYA (ALAYHIMUSSALAAM) AND THEIR WARM WELCOME TO HIM
I left with Jibraeel (alayhissalaam) until I reached the first heaven, Jibraeel (alayhissalaam) said to the doorkeeper of the heavens “open”, he asked “who is with you?”. Jibraeel (Alayhissalaam) replied, “Muhammad”, He asked, “has been invited?”, to which Jibraeel (alayhissalaam) replied that he had. At this, he welcomed him and opened the door and remarked, “your coming here is blessed.” When we ascended higher, we found Adam (alayhissalaam). I greeted him and he said, “Welcome to you, O son and Prophet”. We then reached the 2nd heaven, there too Jibraeel (alayhissalaam) had a similar discourse as at the time of entering the 1st heaven. The door was then opened and I found ‘Eesa and Yahya (alayhimussalaam) who both welcomed me saying: “Welcome to you, O brother and Prophet”. We then reached the 3rd heaven where Jibraeel (alayhissalaam) was involved in a similar discussion as when we had in the first heaven.
There, we found Yusuf (alayhissalaam), I greeted him and he welcomed me with, “Welcome to you, O brother and Prophet”. We then reached the 4th heaven where a similar discussion involving Jibraeel (alayhissalaam) occurred as before and the door was then opened and we climbed higher. There we found Idris (alayhissalaam). I greeted him and he too welcomed me with, “Welcome to you, O brother and Prophet”. We then reached the 5th heaven where a similar discourse took place as had occurred before the gates were opened and we ascended higher until we met Hadhrat Haroon (alayhissalaam). I greeted him and he greeted me with “Welcome to you, O Brother and Prophet”. As I moved on he began to cry, when I asked him the reason for crying, he replied that a young man has been sent after me and the people of his Ummah who will enter Jannah shall be better than those of my Ummah who will enter Jannah.” In another narration the following has been mentioned, “The number of people of his Ummah which will enter Jannah will be greater than Ummah”. We then reached the 7th heaven and there too a similar discussion occurred with Jibraeel (alayhissalaam) as had occurred before. Then, we entered higher up where we found Ibraheem (alayhissalaam) I greeted him and he too welcomed me with, “Welcome to you, O son and Prophet” (a point to note here is that Hadhrat Adam and Hadhrat Ibraheem (alayhimussalaam) welcomed Nabi ﷺ with “Welcome to you, O son and Prophet” since he was from there offspring while the other Ambiya (alayhimussalaam) had said “Brother and Prophet.”
OBSERVING THE BAITUL MA’MOOR AND SIDRATUL MUNTAHA
Thereafter, the Al-Baytul Ma’amoor was brought before me. I asked Jibraeel (Alayhissalaam) what it was, he replied, “It is the Al-Baytul Ma’amoor wherein seventy thousand angels perform Salaah everyday. When they came out, they are never to return inside again. Then, the Sidratul Muntaha was brought before me and I see that its fruits were like the earthen jars of Hajr and its leaves as huge as the ears of an elephant.
At the root of the Sidratul Muntaha, I saw 4 rivers “2” of which were Baatini (hidden) and other “2” Zaahir (visible and external). When I asked Jibraeel (Alayhissalaam) concerning it, he replied that the internal rivers from Jannah and the 2 external rivers are the Euphrates and the Nile. (the river Euphrates is in Iraq and the Nile in Egypt).
FIFTY TIMES SALAAH IS ORDAINED AND THEN REDUCED TO FIVE AFTER MOOSA (Alayhissalaam) ADVISES RASULULLAH ﷺ REPEATEDLY TO REQUEST ALLAH TO DO SO.
Thereafter, 50 times Salaah became compulsory upon me. When I returned to Hadhrat Moosa (Alayhissalaam), he asked me what I had done for my Ummah, I said 50 times Salaah have been made compulsory on me. Moosa (Alayhissalaam) replied, “I know people better then you. I tried very much with the Bani Israeel (they were unable to properly discharge their compulsory daily Salaah). certainly your Ummah too will not be able to perform it. If you so wish, you may request your Lord to reduce it”. I returned in the presence of Allah Ta’ala and requested him to reduce it. Allah Ta’ala reduced it to 40 times Salaah. Moosa (Alayhissalaam) again repeated what he had mentioned before. I then requested Allah to reduce the Salaah and it was reduced to thirty. Moosa (Alayhissalaam) again asked me to request Allah Ta’ala to again reduce it and it was brought down to twenty, then Moosa (Alayhissalaam) repeated what he had suggested to me earlier on and after requesting Allah, it was reduced to ten. I returned to Moosa (Alayhissalaam) and he repeated his advice, so I returned to Allah Ta’ala to request for more relief and Allah Ta’ala reduced it to 5 times Salaah daily. I returned to Moosa (Alayhissalaam) and he again repeated what he had said before. I informed him that I have accepted and decided to make no further request. Thereupon, a call was heard from Allah Ta’ala that “I have retained the ordinance of Salaah and made it easy on my servants and multiplied the reward of every good deed tenfold. (i.e. Even though there are only 5 times Salaah to be performed, the reward will be for fifty). [This narration appears in Sahih Bukhari on page 455].
In Sahih Bukhari on page 471 Hadhrat Anas Bin Maalik (Radhiyallahu Anhu) narrates the incident of Meraj on the medium of Hadhrat Abu Dhar (Radhiyallahu Anhu). After mentioning the welcoming words of Hadhrat Ibrahim (Alayhissalaam), Rasulullah ﷺ says: “Jibraeel (Alayhissalaam) ascended higher up with me until I reached a point from where the screech of pens could be heard.” Thereafter, a mention is made of 50 times Salaah being ordained and of Moosa (Alayhissalaam) urging Nabi ﷺ until eventually 5 times Salaah become compulsory. At the end of this Hadith, it is mentioned that Allah Ta’ala said: “That which is said by me does not change (i.e. Since I had initially made 50 times Salaah).” Concerning the Sidratul Muntaha Rasulullah ﷺ has said “that it was veiled in such resplendent colors of which I have no knowledge. I was then ushered into Jannah where I saw a dome of Pearls and its sand consisted of Musk.”
On page 548 Hadhrat Imam Bukhari (Rahimahullah) has also mentioned the Hadith of Meraj reported by Hadhrat Maalik Bin Sasa Ansari (Radhiyallahu Anhu) on the authority of Hadhrat Anas (Radhiyallahu Anhu). Here too, after mentioning the Baitul Ma’amoor, Rasulullah ﷺ said that “Three vessels one of wine, another of milk and a third one containing honey were brought before me. When I chose the one with the milk, Jibraeel (Alayhissalaam) remarked, “This is nature (i.e. The Deen of Islam which you are and your Ummah are practicing).” In the narration it is also mentioned that when only 5 times Salaah remained, then Moosa (Alayhissalaam) told Rasulullah ﷺ to again request Allah Ta’ala to reduce the number of Salaah. Rasulullah ﷺ said: “I have asked my Lord so much that I am now ashamed”. (of going again) However, I am satisfied and have accepted). [Bukhari].
TWO OTHER GIFTS BESIDES SALAAH
On the night of Meraj, apart from the gift of Salaah and the promised reward of 50 times Salaah in Leiu of five Salaah from Allah Ta’ala, other bounties of Allah included the revelation of the last few verses of Surah Al-Baqarah, at the same time, it was also announced that the major sins of those people in the Ummah of Rasulullah ﷺ who do not ascribe partners with Allah will be forgiven [Muslim page 97 Vol. 1].
What this means is that they will not suffer eternal punishment on account of their major sins. They will be returned either through Tawba, and seeking Allah’s forgiveness, or after first being punished for their sins. (An-Nawawi). A Kaafir (non-believer) and Mushrik (idolater) will, however, remain in punishment forever.
BEHOLDING ALLAH TA’ALA IN MERAJ
There exists a difference of opinion (amongst the Ulama) concerning, whether or not Rasulullah ﷺ had seen Allah Ta’ala on the night of Meraj and if so, whether such seeing was with his physical eyes or the eyes of the heart. The majority of the Sahaaba (Radhiyallahu Anhum) and the Ta’abi’een (Rahimahumullah) were of the view that Rasulullah ﷺ had seen Allah Ta’ala with the physical eyes of his head. According to the Muhaqqiqeen (Expert research scholars), the above view is the preferred and correct one. Hadhrat Ayesha (Radhiyallahu Anha) used to reject the view of Rasulullah ﷺ having beheld Allah Ta’ala while Hadhrat Ibn ‘Abbas (Radhiyallahu Anhu) used to prove and firmly believe that Rasulullah ﷺ did see Allah Ta’ala on that night. The majority of Ulama have supported this view. Allama Nawawi (Rahimahullah) writes the following in his commentary of Sahih Muslim:
In Surah An Najm (Ayaah 8 & 13) where Allah Ta’ala says: “And he approached and came closer” and “for indeed he saw him at a second descent” (by the Sidratul Muntaha). Concerning these Verses, Hadhrat Ayesha (Radhiyallahu Anha) says, that it refers to Rasulullah ﷺ beholding Jibraeel (Alayhissalaam) used to appear in human form before Rasulullah ﷺ. However, at the Sidratul Muntaha has appeared in his original form and Nabi ﷺ saw him in his full glory with all his six hundred wings spread out such that they covered the entire horizon. Hadhrat Abdullah Bin Masood (radhiyallahu anhu) used to say that the verses “And he ﷺ was at a distance of two bow-lengths or even nearer” “For truly he saw of the signs of his Lord, the greatest”
THE QURAISHI’S DENIAL OF THE MERAJ AND THE PROOF IN IT’S CONFIRMATION
The journey up to Baitul Maqdis and then into the heavens before returning to Makkah Muazzamah all took place in the span of one night. On the return journey, they met a trade caravan which was returning from Sham. In the morning, When Rasulullah ﷺ narrated the incident of Meraj to the Quraish, they were astonished and began to deny it. They went to Hadhrat Abu Bakr (Radhiyallahu Anhu) and informed him that Muhammad ﷺ is announcing that he undertook such and such a journey during the night and returned before dawn. Hadhrat Abu Bakr (Radhiyallahu Anhu) at first told them that they were lying (that Nabi ﷺ had not told them this). But when they swore an oath that Nabi ﷺ was announcing that the incident has occurred, Hadhrat Abu Bakr (Radhiyallahu Anhu) declared ? “If he (Muhammad ﷺ) said it, then he has indeed spoken the truth. The people asked him in amazement, if he also believed it. He replied, “I believe in something far more astonishing than this, I believe in whatever revelation comes to him from the heavens”. On account Sayyiduna Abu Bakr received the title of “Siddeeq” [Dalaailun Nubuwwah of Baihaqi page 360 Vol. 6 Al-Bidaaya wan Nihaaya].
ALLAH TA’ALA PRESENTS BAITUL MAQDIS BEFORE NABI ﷺ
The Quraishi used to go to Shaam for trade. Since they had seen Baitul Maqdis, they said to Nabi ﷺ that since he had visited it during the night and seen it and had also performed Salaah inside it, he should describe it to them (i.e. they asked him to describe it to them its pillars and doors amongst various other things). At that time Nabi ﷺ was sitting in the Hateem. He ﷺ says, “At that time I was so very worried since I had never been there before. I had seen Baitul Maqdis but could not properly recall the exact description of all its finer features and details. Allah Ta’ala then created before my very eyes such a lucid vision of Baitul Maqdis that whatever the question of the Quraish of Makkah, I was immediately able to answer them all, one after the other.” [Sahih Muslim Vol. 1 page 96].
Some narrations have mentioned:
“Allah Ta’ala depicted before me such a distinct vision of Baitul Maqdis that I kept looking towards it and whatever signs they questioned me about, I was able to easily answer them.” [Sahih Bukhari Vol. 1 page 548]
In Tafseer Ibn Katheer (page 15 Vol. 3) it is mentioned that after Nabi ﷺ had described to them all the signs of Baitul Maqdis, they began admitting on oath that his description of it was undeniably true.
Nabi ﷺ also mentioned about the Quraish of Makkah, that during the journey “I met a certain trade caravan of a particular tribe in a certain valley when one of their camels had broken loose and fled. So I showed them where their camels was. This was when I was on my way to Baitul Maqdis. Thereafter, when I was returning, I stopped at a place called “Pajnaan” and found the same people sleeping there. There was water in one lid of their containers which had been covered with lid, drank the water, and replaced the lid exactly as it was.” (It was a custom of the Arabs who were well-known for their hospitality that they would not mind anybody having their milk, water and other trivial belongings even without their permission).
The use of such things even without permission was a custom among them because of there being a general consent there was no need for anyone to ask for explicit permission. Nabi ﷺ said to them that the caravan was at that moment about to emerge from the valley of “Tane’em”. At the head of the line of camels was a brown one laden with two bundles, one black and the other, white. When Quraish heard this, they immediately went towards the valley of Tane’em and (to their astonishment) discovered that there really was a caravan on its way and that, it was being led by the same Camel described by Rasulullah ﷺ. When they were satisfied it was the same Caravan, they asked the people of the Caravan to show them the container holding the water. They replied, “Yes, we had covered our water container and later found that it was still covered but all the water was finished. They then asked the people of the Caravan if any of their Camels had fled. They replied that one of their camels had broken loose and “the we heard someone call to us”, ‘here is your Camel’. Hearing this, we caught the camel”. In some narrations it is mentioned that Nabi ﷺ had even greeted the people of the Caravan with Salaam. Some of those who listened to the voice immediately responded: “This is the voice of Muhammad ﷺ”.
THE TESTIMONY OF A PRIEST BEFORE HERACLIUS, THE EMPEROR OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE
In the 7th year of Hijra, Rasulullah ﷺ wrote letters addressed to kings inviting them to Islam. One of these kings was Heraclius, the Emperor of Rome. Shaam was in those days under his control and he was now in Shaam (Syria). Hadhrat Dhiya Kalbi (Radhiyallahu Anhu), the messenger of Rasulullah ﷺ arrived in Shaam (Syria) with the letter addressed to him. Hadhrat Dihya Kalbi (Radhiyallahu Anhu) delivered the letter to the governor in Basra, who then sent it to Heraclius. He asked his people to see if there were any people from Arabia around who could be brought before him to tell him more about this person Muhammad ﷺ who had written this letter to him. Subsequently, the delegation from Makkah was brought before the court of Heraclius. He asked them, “Who amongst you is the closest relative to the person (Muhammad ﷺ) who claims himself to be the prophet of Allah”? Abu Sufyaan was also part of this delegation and replied that he was. Heraclius said to him that he was going to ask him some questions he would have to give correct answers. Abu Sufyaan was at that time not a Muslim and vehemently opposed to Nabi ﷺ. He desired to say such things concerning Rasulullah ﷺ and cause Haracalius to reject the proclamation of the Prophethood of Rasulullah ﷺ as false.
After much deliberation, Abu Sufyaan mentioned that Nabi ﷺ claims that in one night he travelled from Makkah to Baitul Maqdis and returned to Makkah before the break of dawn. Abu Sufyaan’s intention was to mention something regarding Nabi ﷺ which would immediately lead him to have reservations about Rasulullah ﷺ. But what happened instead, was that when one of the Christian priests standing nearby heard the words of Abu Sufyaan, he exclaimed, “yes, I know which night it was (When some people came there and performed their Salaah), looking at him Heraclius said: “What do you know of him?” he replied that every night before sleeping, he would close the door of Baitul Maqdis. That night, while closing all the doors, “I was unable to close one of them”. Some of the people around there helped me. But when we all tried to close it, it just wouldn’t move. It seemed as if we were trying to move a mountain from its place. In the end I left the doors open. But when I returned in the morning, I saw, in the corner of the Masjid, a hole carved in the stone and evident signs of an animal having been tied to it. Seeing all this, I said to my companions, ‘that it seemed as if this door had been deliberately kept open for the coming/arrival of a Prophet and that he had performed Salaah in this Masjid [Tafseer Ibn Katheer Vol. 3 page 24].
SOME OF THE THINGS WITNESSED DURING THE NIGHT OF MÉRAJ
On the journey of Meraj Rasulullah ﷺ saw many things which have been recorded at different places in the books of Hadith and its commentaries. These have been recorded by Imaam Bayhaqi. In his Dalaalun Nubuwwah (Vol. 2) and Hafiz Nuruddin Haythami in Majm’auz Zawaad (Vol. 1) and by Allama Muhammad Bin Muhammad Sulaiman Al-Maghrib Al Radani in Jamu’l Fawaaid (Vol. 3) (printed in Madinah Al-Munawwarah) and Hafiz Ibn Katheer in his Tafseer and by Allamah Ibn Hishaam in his Seerah. Much of what was witnessed in the realm of the heavens has already appeared in the previous pages. Now we shall mention some of what was witnessed in the Aalam-e-Sufla (lower realm).
1. SEEING HADHRAT MOOSA (Alayhissalaam) PERFORM SALAAH IN HIS GRAVE
It has been related by Hadhrat Anas (Radhiyallahu Anhu) that Rasulullah ﷺ has said, “On the night in which I was taken on the journey, I passed by Moosa (Alayhissalaam) while he was performing Salaah in his grave”.
2. NABI ﷺ PASSES BY PEOPLE WHOSE LIPS WERE BEING SLASHED WITH SHEARS
Hadhrat Anas (Radhiyallahu Anhu) narrates that Rasulullah ﷺ said, “On the night on which I was taken on Meraj I saw some people whose lips were being cut open with scissors of fire”, I asked Jibraeel (Alayhissalaam) who these people were. He replied that they are the Khateeb (orators) who command people to do good deeds while forgetting themselves. In another version it says “They are the sermonizers (of your Ummah) who used to say such things which they themselves would not do. They would read the words of Allah without themselves practicing upon them”.
3. PEOPLE SCRAPING THEIR CHESTS WITH THEIR FINGERNAILS
Hadhrat Anas (Radhiyallahu Anhu) narrates that Rasulullah ﷺ said, “On the night in which I was taken on the journey, we passed by people who had fingernails of brass and they were scrapping their own faces and chests with their nails. I asked Jibraeel (Alayhissalaam) who they were. He replied that they were those who used to eat the flesh of others (i.e. backbite about them) and always smear their reputation.” [Abu Dawood in Mishkat pg. 249].
4. THE EVIL PLIGHT OF THE CONSUMERS OF INTEREST
It has been narrated by Hadhrat Abu Huraira (Radhiyallahu Anhu) that Rasulullah ﷺ said, “On the night of Meraj I passed by people with bellies as huge as houses (of people) and within their bellies were snakes which were visible from the outside. I asked Jibraeel (Alayhissalaam) who they were. He replied that they were those who consume interest (usury).”
5. THE ANGELS EMPHASIZES THE IMPORTANCE OF CUPPING
Hadhrat Abu Huraira (Radhiyallahu Anhu) narrates that Rasulullah ﷺ said, “Among the things I was shown, was that every group of Angels we passed by, told me to command my Ummah to practice cupping.” [Mishkatul Masaabih pg. 1389 from Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah].
The custom of cupping was very much in vague among the Arabs. It is a way of letting out bad and excess blood from the body and an excellent cure for the disease of blood pressure which is so common today. People have totally abandoned this practice today. Rasulullah ﷺ used to have his head and shoulders cupped (Ibid).
6. THE REWARD OF THE MUJAHIDEEN (THOSE WHO STRIVE IN THE PATH OF ALLAH)
Hadhrat Abu Huraira (Radhiyallahu Anhu) reports that Nabi ﷺ was travelling with Jibraeel (Alayhissalaam) when they passed by a group of people who were sowing seeds into the ground and on the same day harvesting the crops. Immediately thereafter, the seeds would be again sown into the ground and the entire process would be repeated. When Nabi ﷺ asked Jibraeel (Alayhissalaam) who those people were, he replied that they were those who strived in the path of Allah. The reward for their every good deed was multiplied seven hundred fold and for whatever they would spend, Allah Ta’ala would certainly reward them.
7. PEOPLE’S HEADS CRUSHED WITH ROCKS
Nabi ﷺ passed by another group of people whose heads were being crushed by boulders. After being crushed, their heads would again resume their shape only to be crushed again. This process would continue unabated. Nabi ﷺ asked Jibraeel (Alayhissalaam) who they were. He replied that they were those who were neglectful of their Salaah. During the time of Salaah, they would remain asleep.
8. THE DESPICABLE STATE OF THOSE WHO REFUSE TO DISCHARGE ZAKAH
Then they passed by another group of people whose private parts from the front and behind were engulfed in flames of fire which were leaping like camels and cattle. They were eating daree and Zaqqum (i.e. A thorny and terrible tree mixed with stones). Rasulullah ﷺ asked who these people were. Jibraeel (Alayhissalaam) replied, “They were those who would not discharge the Zakah of their wealth.”
9. PEOPLE EATING DECAYED MEAT (CARRION)
Nabi ﷺ 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 ignoring the cooked meat. Rasulullah ﷺ asked Jibraeel (Alayhissalaam) 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.
10. A PERSON CARRYING A HUGE BUNDLE OF WOOD
Then Rasulullah ﷺ passed by a man in front of whom was a very large bundle of wood which he couldn’t lift and yet he wanted to carry even more. Nabi ﷺ asked who he was. Jibraeel (Alayhissalaam) replied that this was the person who, in spite of being appointed a trustee of people’s belongings, had failed to discharge it. And yet he was eager to accept more of the things of people as a trust.
11. AN OX ATTEMPTS TO ENTER INTO 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 ﷺ asked who he was. Jibraeel (Alayhissalaam) replied that he was the person who after having uttered some very serious and sinful words, he was now grateful and wished to retract them but was unable to do so.
12. THE FRAGRANCE OF JANNAH
Then Rasulullah ﷺ reached a valley from which a very beautiful fragrance emanated. It was like musk and it possessed a voice. Nabi ﷺ asked, “What is this”? Jibraeel (Alayhissalaam) replied that it was the voice of Jannah which was saying. “O’ My Lord! bring to me those people who have been destined to stay in me and fulfill your promise.”.
13. HEARING THE SHRIEK OF JAHANNAM
Then Rasulullah ﷺ passed by another valley from which a Unbearable voice could be heard. When Rasulullah ﷺ asked about it, Jibraeel (Alayhissalaam) replied that it was Jahannam imploring Allah, saying, “Hand over to me the people who have been destined to dwell in me and fulfill your pledge”.
14. A SHAITAAN FOLLOWS THEM
In the Muwatta of Imam Maalik (Rahimahullah) there is a mursal Hadith narrated by Yahya Bin Saeed, that on the night in which Nabi ﷺ was taken on the Meraj, he saw one of the rebellious Jinns pursuing him with a flame of fire. Whenever Nabi ﷺ would turn to the right or left, he would catch sight of the Jinn. Jibraeel (Alayhissalaam) said to Nabi ﷺ, “Should I not show you some words which, if recited, will extinguish this fire and cause him (The evil Jinn) to fall down on his face. Upon Rasulullah’s ﷺ request, Jibraeel (Alayhissalaam) recited a Dua.
SOME BENEFITS AND SECRETS OF THE INCIDENT OF MERAJ WHAT IS THE BURAAQ AND WHAT WERE ITS FEATURES
The word Buraaq is derived from the word Bareeq which means white. Another view is that its origin lies in the word Barq which means light, the speed of which is well-known. Hence, the name Buraaq. From the narrations of Hadith, it is clear that before Nabi ﷺ, other prophets (Alayhimussalaam) too, had travelled by it. Imam Bayhaqi writes in his book Dalaail Nubuwwah on pg. 390 Vol. 2 that Nabi ﷺ said And other prophets (Alayhimussalaam) had travelled by it before me.
THE PRANCING OF THE BURAAQ AND THE REASON FOR IT
In the Sunnah of Tirmidhi, on the commentary of Surah Israa, it is narrated that Rasulullah ﷺ said, “On the night of my journey, when the Buraaq was brought before me in a bridled and saddled state, it began to prance. Jibraeel (Alayhissalaam) said to it, “How dare you prance before Muhammad ﷺ, nobody more honoured and beloved to Allah than Muhammad ﷺ has never ridden on your back before him”. When it heard this, the Buraaq immediately began to perspire heavily (and did away with its attitude of disobedience).”
It is mentioned in Dalaail-un-Nubuwwah that “No sooner did the Buraaq begin to prance, Jibraeel (Alayhissalaam) twisted its ears and helped me mount it.”
In some narrations, it is mentioned that When Nabi ﷺ reached Baitul Maqdis, Jibraeel (Alayhissalaam) carved a hole in the wall with his fingers and tied the Buraaq around it. [Ibn Kathir].
The reason behind the coquetry of the Buraaq: Some scholars have explained the reason being that since a long time had elapsed and that during the period of Fatra (i.e. the period between the advent of Nabi Eesa (Alayhissalaam) and Rasulullah ﷺ) nobody had ridden on it, it was now beaming upon this newly found privilege. Other scholars believe the Buraaq’s prancing and beaming to be on account of a sense of pride and ecstasy at the prospect of being honoured with the last and noblest of all the prophets. This was similar to the occasion when Nabi ﷺ, accompanied by Hadhrat Abu Bakr, Hadhrat Umar and Hadhrat Uthman (Radhiyallahu anhum) was on mount Thubair and it began to shudder. Nabi ﷺ ordered the mountain thus: “Be still! for standing upon you is a prophet (Nabi), a siddeeq, and two martyrs”.
Undoubtedly Allah Ta’ala had the power to take Nabi ﷺ on the journey without the agency of the Buraaq. But he did so purely out of honour for him. For, had there been no vehicle, it would have meant that the journey would have had to be on foot and it is commonly understood that travelling in a vehicle is far more respectable and honorable than going on foot. This is why Nabi ﷺ was taken by means of a conveyance.
HADHRAT JIBRAEEL (Alayhissalaam) ACCOMPANIES NABI ﷺ UP TO THE BAITUL MAQDIS ON THE BURAAQ AND FROM THERE ONWARDS BY MEANS OF A LADDER UP TO THE HEAVENS
When Nabi ﷺ departed from Makkah for Baitul Maqdis, Jibraeel (Alayhissalaam) accompanied him on the back of the Buraaq. He sat in the front as a guide and seated Nabi ﷺ behind him. Both of them travelled on the Buraaq up to Baitul Maqdis and performed 2 rakaats Salaah each. Thereafter Nabi ﷺ lead the Ambiyaa (Alayhisalaam) in Salaah. When Nabi ﷺ set out for the heavens, a ladder of extraordinary beauty was lowered before him.
According to some narrations, one ladder was of gold, and another of Silver. While another narration further describe that these were studded with pearls. As they were journeying towards the heavens, Nabi ﷺ was escorted on his right and left by the angels. In this way both Nabi ﷺ and Jibraeel (Alayhissalaam) travelled towards the heavens by ladder and had the doors of heaven opened.
BABUL HAZAFAH (THE DOOR OF PROTECTION)
It has been recorded that the door to the first heaven is called Baabul Hazafah and that an angel named Ismaeel has been appointed as its guardian. This angel has 12000 angels under his charge and every one of these angels has another 12000 angels under his control. When Nabi ﷺ mentioned this, he recited this verse of the Qur’an: (Trans: And none except he, knows the armies of your Lord).
NABI ﷺ MEETS THE KEEPER OF JAHANNAM IN THE FIRST HEAVEN AND SEES JAHANNAM
When Nabi ﷺ entered the closest sky, all the angels he met there, greeted him with smiles and the greatest amount of cheerfulness and joy and prayed (Dua) for the well-being of Nabi ﷺ, among them, however, was one angel who even though he met Nabi ﷺ and gave him Dua, he did not smile. When Nabi ﷺ asked Jibraeel (Alayhissalaam) who this angel was, he informed him that he was Maalik, the door-keeper of Jahannam. If he had ever smiled at anyone before or after you, he would certainly have smiled when meeting you. But (The truth is that) he does not smile. Nabi ﷺ asked Jibraeel (Alayhissalaam) to tell him to show him Jahannam. Jibraeel (Alayhissalaam) said “O Maalik! show Muhammad ﷺ the fire of Jahannam”. He lifted the lid of Jahannam and immediately the flames of the fire leaped from the top. Nabi ﷺ said, “O’ Jibraeel! tell him to order Jahannam back to its place”. At the instruction of Jibraeel (Alayhissalaam), the angel at once ordered the fire back to its place and replaced the lid over it.
WHY DID THE KEEPERS OF THE HEAVENS ASK JIBRAEEL (Alayhissalaam) ABOUT HIS COMPANION AND WHETHER HE WAS INVITED?
When Jibraeel (Alayhissalaam) ordered the doors open and the angels incharge of the skies asked him who the person in his company was, he replied “Muhammad ﷺ”. Thereupon, they asked if he was invited and he replied in the affirmative. In this way, the doors went on opening, one after the other, and they continued ascending. Now, the question arises: “Why did the Malaula’la (lofty angels) have to ask these questions?” Could they have expected Jibraeel (Alayhissalaam) to bring along any uninvited person there? The answer is that they knew fully well that Nabi ﷺ was due to arrive on that day but their asking was merely in order to enhance the honour of Rasulullah ﷺ and express their boundless joy at his arrival. Another wisdom of this is that they had wanted Nabi ﷺ to know that they are well aware of his honorable name. When asked who was with him, Jibraeel (Alayhissalaam) replied, “Muhammad ﷺ”. Now, had the angels not known who “Muhammad ﷺ” was, they would certainly have asked him who he was. From here, we also understand that the wisdom behind the gate of the sky not opening before hand was to intimate to our Nabi ﷺ that these doors were never opened in this fashion for anyone else living on the earth before him and that nobody else had been accompanied by a messenger into the presence of Allah during his very lifetime, before the actual honour of his death.
In this world, any place which is fragmented by visitors is normally kept before hand. And since the door to such place is left open for any guest to enter, it does not distinguish one guest from the other. But this is unlike the guest of honour during Meraj, who has no equal. Never before and never again will anybody be honoured with receiving someone from America, in Asia or Africa, which in other words only means that, a person created from clay has merely roamed about on clay. Here, was such an occasion of hospitality where a person living on the earth had to traverse the seven heavens on his journey to the Sidratul Muntaha, where none besides this beloved guest had travelled.
Since no other human ever goes there and the road towards it is not a commonly used one, wisdom demands that the gate to every heaven open only upon the guest’s arrival in order to apprise the votaries and the dwellers there of, Firstly, the sublime status of the esteemed guest and secondly, that this is such a personality who has come not of his own request, but in response to an invitation and for whom today such doors are being opened which were never opened for anyone else before. In fact such an expression of honour is far greater than the esteem shown to someone who enters through a door which had had remained open for others before his arrival.
As they knocked on the doors, they immediately aroused the attention of the dwellers of the heavens who realized that someone very important had arrived. Thereafter, their discussion with Jibraeel (Alayhissalaam) took place and in this way, the angels present were introduced to the guest and then they had the honour to meet him. Usually, whenever a guest arrives he is expected to introduce himself to the people present, yet this was achieved here, merely Jibraeel (Alayhissalaam) knocking and being questioned about Nabi ﷺ. Although it is clear that such a brief notice of the arrival of a guest can hardly serve the purpose of an introduction, it should be understood that this was a journey to the court of Allah Ta’ala and visiting the angels or allowing them the opportunity to visit Rasulullah ﷺ was not the chief object of such a journey and there was therefore no reason to stop ar prolong his stay at every point.
The attention of all the angels in the Mala’la’la was directed upon on Rasulullah ﷺ and as they continued visiting him, one after the other, he continued on his heavenly ascent. In this world, in order to receive some prominent person, the members of a welcoming committee have to be gathered before he arrives, and in view of the Mundane means at our disposal, it is difficult for every one to be able to present himself instantaneously. Certainly, they will make every effort to arrive beforehand so that time does not run out. However, the dwellers of the realm above have been endowed with such enormous power that in a flash, they are able to transverse thousands of miles to assemble at any place. Hence, after the very first knock, immediately, all the angels presented themselves so that by the time the doors were opened, everyone of them was there to welcome him.
NABI ﷺ IS OFFERED MILK, HONEY WINE AND ACCEPTS THE MILK
In the Hadith of Sahih Muslim (pg. 91) it has been narrated that Nabi ﷺ was offered a vessel of wine and a vessel of milk in Baitul Maqdis. The narrator of this Hadith is Imam Hadhrat Anas Bin Maalik (Radhiyallahu Anhu). In another narration of Sahih Muslim (pg. 95 Vol. 2), Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (Radhiyallahu Anhu) relates that Nabi ﷺ was offered the various drinks in the realm of the heavens, near the Sidratul Muntaha and that he chose the drink of Milk. In the narration of Imam Bukhari, it is mentioned that Nabi ﷺ was in front of the Baitul Ma’amoor when he was offered wine in another container, milk in another and honey in the third one. It is not unlikely that Rasulullah ﷺ may have been first offered something to drink in the Baitul Maqdis and then again in the realm of the heavens. There is definitely no contradiction here and absolutely no textual or logical proof to discount the possibility of it having been offered in both the worlds. While in Sahih Bukhari, there is more mention made of honey, this too is by no means a contradiction. Sometimes it occurs that some narrators may omit a few points or details which other narrators manage to mention. In Sahih Muslim (pg. 97), there is a narration that when Nabi ﷺ took the milk, Jibraeel (Alayhissalaam) remarked, “Had you taken the wine, your Ummah would have certainly gone astray”. From this, we learn that the character and actions of a leader have a direct impact on his followers.
WHAT IS THE SIDRATUL MUNTAHA
In the narrations of Hadith, the names Sidratul Muntaha and As-Sidratul Muntaha in both the forms have appeared while in the
Quran Majeed, it is described as Sidratul Muntaha. In this expression “Furthest” or the word “Sidrah” in Arabic means a lote tree, while “Al-Muntaha” denotes “A place of ending”. Why was this name given to the tree? In Sahih Muslim it is recorded that Rasulullah ﷺ said: “Every order of Allah that descends from above, comes to an end there and every deed of man which rises to heavens, comes to a halt at this point”. What this means is that, the order of Allah first stop there before descending upon the earth, and the deeds from below first stop here and are then lifted above. It has already been mentioned that Rasulullah ﷺ said that it was adorned with objects of such respondent beauty that none of the creation of Allah Ta’ala is able to describe its absolute elegance and splendor. In another Hadith, Rasulullah ﷺ is reported to have also said that it was bedecked with golden moths. Concerning this tree, it has also been mentioned in the Hadith that it is so huge that a rider can ride for up to hundred years under the shade of its branches or that one hundred riders are able to roam under its shade.
ENTERING JANNAH AND BEHOLDING THE RIVER OF KAUSAR
Hadhrat Anas Bin Maalik (Radhiyallahu Anhu) reports that Rasulullah ﷺ said, “While walking in Jannah, I suddenly found myself along such a river on whose banks were such domes of pearls which were empty in the center (i.e. the whole dome consisted of just one pearl). I asked Jibraeel (Alayhissalaam) what this was and he replied that it was the river of Kausar which Allah has bestowed upon me. When I took a closer look at it, I noticed that its soil, (above which was the water), was an immensely fragrant musk.” [Sahih Bukhari].
WAS THE MEETING WITH THE AMBIYAA SPIRITUAL OR BODILY
The prophets of Allah are alive in their graves. When Nabi ﷺ had seen the Ambiyaa (Alayhimussalaam) in the Baitul Ma’amoor and in the heavens, it could either mean that he saw only their blessed souls or their actual physical bodies. As a mark of respect to Nabi ﷺ, the Ambiyaa (Alayhissalaam) were invited to present themselves with their physical bodies before him since the Ambiyaa (Alayhissalaam) are alive in the graves as Nabi ﷺ has mentioned, (Verily Allah has made Haraam the bodies of the prophets upon the earth in that it cannot consume their bodies). And the condition of the realm of Barzakh cannot be compared with that of the earth. This is why Nabi ﷺ saw Hadhrat Moosa (Alayhissalaam) performing Salaah in his grave. Hence it is not unlikely that Nabi ﷺ first met the Ambiyaa (Alayhimussalaam) in the Masjidul Maqdis in their physical forms, led them in Salaah and thereafter when he ascended into the heavens, he again met the Ambyaa (Alayhissalaam) in their physical forms.
Some Ulama are of the view that while the bodies of the Ambiyaa (Alayhissalaam) had remained in their graves, Allah Ta’ala had endowed their souls with similitudinous bodies resembling those of the world to enable them to perform Salaah behind Rasulullah ﷺ before meeting him in the heavens again.
However, since Hadhrat Eesa (Alayhissalaam) was lifted into the heavens and will again return to this world before passing away from it, when he met Nabi ﷺ, it was with the same physical body which he had in the world and since this meeting was before his demise, he is also counted among the Sahaba (Radhiyallahu Anhum) of the Rasulullah ﷺ.
THE WISDOM BEHIND THE SEQUENCE IN WHICH NABI ﷺ HAD MET THE DIFFERENT AMBIYAA (alayhimussalaam) IN THE HEAVENS
Nabi ﷺ led the Ambiyaa (Alayhimussalaam) in Salaah in the Baitul Maqdis. Then, those who were destined to meet him again in the heavens above, returned there before him. In the first heavens Rasulullah ﷺ met Nabi Adam (Alayhissalaam). Thereafter, as he began ascending the heavens above, he met the various prophets (Alayhimussalaam) in their respective stations there. Some scholars have mentioned the wisdom behind the sequence in which Nabi ﷺ met the various prophets as the following: His meeting with Adam (Alayhissalaam) was to serve as a precursor to him that Adam (Alayhissalaam) had been removed from Jannah, which was his beloved land, Nabi ﷺ too would one day have to leave Makkah Muazzamah and emigrated to Madinah Munawwarah. (According to a well-known view, since the incident of Meraj had occurred not long before Nabi ﷺ migrated to Madinah, he met Adam (Alayhissalaam) in the first heaven).
In the second heaven, he met Eesa (Alayhissalaam) and Nabi Yahya (Alayhissalaam). This was to show to him that early after Hijrah (Migration), the Jews were to antagonize him, and that they were going to accelerate their mischief and persist in their desire to cause him the greatest amount of hardship (As they had given to Nabi Eesa (Alayhissalaam)).
In the third heaven, he met Hadhrat Yusuf (Alayhissalaam). The wisdom here is that since Yusuf (Alayhissalaam) had been traumatized and oppressed by his own brothers, Nabi ﷺ too was going to be a victim of persecution at the hands of his brothers, the Quraish (and that a time will come when they will declare war and march up to Darul Hijra (Madinah)). Then, the exact words which Yussuf (Alayhissalaam) had said to his brothers, were uttered by Nabi ﷺ: “There will be no retribution upon you, today”.
In the fourth heaven, he met with Hadhrat Idris (Alayhissalaam) regarding whom the Holy Quran testifies: “And we raised him to a lofty position.” The meeting with him indicated that Allah Ta’ala had blessed our Nabi ﷺ also with a very high rank.
In the fifth heaven, he met Hadhrat Haroon (Alayhissalaam). This was an indication to Nabi ﷺ that Haroon (Alayhissalaam) had his people harassed him in the early days but began to love him later, his people too would harass and oppose him in the beginning before a time will come when he too will become beloved in their sight.
In the Sixth heaven, Nabi ﷺ met Moosa (Alayhissalaam). This was a sign to show that Nabi’s ﷺ own people would torment him just as Moosa (alayhissalaam) had been tormented by his own people. This is why, on one occasion Nabi ﷺ remarked: “Verily Moosa had been persecuted more than this, but he remained patient”.
In the seventh heaven, Nabi ﷺ met Hadhrat Ibraheem (Alayhissalaam) while he was resting against the Baitul Ma’amoor. This was to inform Nabi ﷺ that he would be given an opportunity to perform Hajj towards the end of his lifetime and that Allah would use him as a means to establish the respect and dignity of the Baitullah (Ka’abah). In the hearts of people, Nabi ﷺ had met Ibraheem (Alayhissalaam) at the last turn. Ibraheem (alayhissalaam) had built the Ka’abah Shareef. Here, on the earth, Banu Adam (Human beings) are engaged in Tawwaaf around the Ka’abah Shareef while the angels above are continuously entering the Baitul Ma’amoor. (This is a very subtle link between the two).
THE WORDS OF SHAIKH IBN JAMRAH
Shaikh Ibn Abi Jamrah, a well-known scholar has also described some of the wisdom underlying the sequence following which Nabi ﷺ had met with the various Ambiyaa (Alayhimussalaam). He says that Nabi ﷺ met Adam (Alayhissalaam) in the heaven closest to the earth. Since he was the fountain head of the prophets (Alayhimussalaam) and also the earliest of the ancestors. He is a prophet as well as regarded the father of Rasulullah ﷺ. In the second heaven he met with Eesa (Alayhissalaam) in view of the fact that the period of prophethood of Eesa (Alayhissalaam) was the closest to that of Nabi ﷺ and since no other prophet had been sent in the intervening period. In the third heaven, he met with Yusuf (Alayhissalaam) since his Ummah will have the honour of entering Jannah with the looks of Yusuf (Alayhissalaam). In the fourth heaven, he met Idris (Alayhissalaam) concerning whom Allah has declared “And we have elevated him to a lofty station” (19:57). This meeting occured here since the fourth heaven is the halfway point between the seven heavens.
In the 5th heaven, he met Haroon (Alayhissalaam), since in the world he was close to his brother Moosa (Alayhissalaam) and he was just stationed above him in the 6th heaven due to the honour Allah Ta’ala had bestowed on him by making him “Kaleemullah” (i.e. The one who converses with Allah). and finally when he reached the last heaven, he met Ibraheem (Alayhissalaam) since he was the last of his forefathers from all the other prophets (Alayhimussalaam). Apart from this, Ibraheem (Alayhissalaam) was also the Khaleel (friend) of Allah and since the status of a friend has to be the highest, Ibraheem (Alayhissalaam) was in the seventh heaven. But since the positioon of one who is beloved surpasses and is superior to that of a friend, Our Nabi ﷺ was taken higher than the station of Ibraheem (Alayhissalaam).
THE RATIONALE AGAINST NABI ﷺ REQUESTING ALLAH TA’ALA TO FURTHER REDUCE THE NUMBER SALAAH AFTER FIVE TIMES
When Nabi ﷺ, acting on the advice of Hdhrat Moosa (Alayhissalaam), repeatedly requested Allah Ta’ala to reduce the number of Daily Salaah on behalf of the Ummah, Allah Ta’ala out of his mercy continuously reduced it untill it was brought down to 5. Thereafter, Nabi ﷺ did not have the courage to ask Allah Ta’ala to reduce it further he submitted: “Now I am shy to appear again before my Rabb”
Regarding this, Hafiz Ibn Hajr (Rahimahullah) relates from Ibn Muneer, “It appears that since the number of Salaah was each time reduced by 5, and now when only 5 Salaah had remained, to ask Allah to reduce the number further would mean that no Salaah at all should be made compulsory. This is why Nabi ﷺ was too shy to request Allah to decrease it further. And since it had been decreed from before that 5 times Salaah would be compulsory, Nabi ﷺ could not have had the courage to make any further request”.
Hafiz Ibn Hajr (Rahimahullah) also writes in his Fathul Bari that Nabi ﷺ asked Allah to reduce the number each time since he had strongly felt that all the Salaah could not have been compulsory.
However, when only five times Salaah remained, Nabi ﷺ was convinced that this number was now compulsory upon the Ummah. This is why he did not request any further reduction in the number of Salaah after this. The words Allah said in the Qur’an (The decree does not change before me) are a clear indication of this.
THE WEEPING AND COVETOUSNESS OF HADHRAT MOOSA (Alayhissalaam)
It has also appeared in the narrations on the subject of Meraj that when Nabi The decree does not change before me went past Moosa (Alayhissalaam), Nabi Moosa (Alayhissalaam) began to cry. When asked the reason for this, he replied, “A young man has been sent as a messenger (Into the world) and the number of people of his Ummah who will enter Jannah will be of more than those of my Ummah”. Hafiz Ibn Hajr writes, “Allah forbid! Moosa (Alayhissalaam)’s crying and his admitting that people of the Ummah of Nabi ﷺ who will enter Jannah will outnumber those of his Ummah was not inspired by jealousy but it it was an expression of extreme regret over the fact that since his Ummah had opposed and disobeyed him more, is as well as their reward would be far less. For, as much as an Ummah will perform virtuous deeds, its prophet too will be rewarded accordingly, for his part in being the one to guide them towards it (without the reward of the Ummah diminishing in anyway whatsoever).
The reward of Rasulullah ﷺ will be very great since the quality of obedience is found to a far greater extent in his Ummah. This Ummah also overshadows all others in acts of worship, obedience, Zikr (Rememberance of Allah), Recitation (of Qur’an), Haj, Writting of literature, Taleem (Teaching) and Tableegh (Conveying the message of Deen).
When Moosa (Alayhissalaam) stated that “A young boy has been sent before me”, It was not intended to belittle Rasulullah ﷺ but rather to express the sublime power of Allah Ta’ala in that, although Nabi ﷺ was the last of the prophets to come into this world and very much younger than all of them, yet he received the greatest bounties and blessings from Allah Ta’ala saying that, “I have had enough experience with the Bani Israeel who could not remain regular with an even lesser number of Salaah until Nabi ﷺ submitted, “Now I am ashamed (of making any furthwer request). It is therefore, inconceivable that Moosa (Alayhissalaam) could have ever been jealous or even remotely contemplated disparaging Rasulullah ﷺ when he had infact expressed so much of love and warmth to him. Hafiz Ibn Hajr writes in Fathul Bari:
The word ‘Ghulam’ (i.e. Young boy) used by Moosa (Alayhissalaam) to describe Nabi ﷺ, was not by way of belitteling him, but in order to draw attention to the greatness of Allah Ta’ala and his absolute munifence over the fact that he had blessed someone at that young age, with such favours which had not been bestowed to others order than him. In the matter of Salaah, the blessing of Moosa (Alayhissalaam) on this Ummah cannot be equalled by anyone else. And the clearest indication of this can be found in the Hadith of Abu Huraira (Radhiyallahu Anhu), recorded by Tabari and Bazzaar, that Nabi ﷺ said, “Moosa was the hardest of prophets on me at the time of passing him, but he was the best of them when I was returning”. In the Hadith of Abu Saeed (Radhiyallahu Anhu), Nabi ﷺ is reported to have said, “When I began to return, I passed by Moosa (Alayhissalaam) and he was the most excellent person (out of consideration) for you”.
WHY DID IBRAHEEM (alayhissalaam) NOT URGE AND ADVISE NABI ﷺ TO ASK ALLAH TA’ALA TO REDUCE THE NUMBER OF SALAAH
The answer to this question which could possibly arise has been given by our learned elders and scholars in the following way:
They have explained that Ibraheem (Alayhissalaam) is the Khaleel (i.e. close friend) and the requisite and demand of such closeness is acquiscence and satisfaction to the extent that every order that is issued is accepted without any deliberation. Moosa (Alayhissalaam) on the other hand, is the Kaleemullah (one who speaks to Allah) and the position of Takallum (speech) is characterised by candidness and informality and requires a degree of delight and cheerfulness. And, furthermore, the courage of a “Kaleem” is above all comparison.
Another point is that Ibraheem (Alayhissalaam) had for a long time been in contact with those who committed Shirk (ascribing partners with Allah) and Kufr, and had spent most of his blessed lifetime challenging and in dialogue with them. Although the people who accepted his message were very few in number, they were sincere and totally obedient to him and had no trace of the manners and ways of disobedient people, and those who transgress the orders of Allah. Moosa (Alayhissalaam) on the other hand, had put his people to test and as a result, his main concern was to make lighter the track of the Ummah of Rasulullah ﷺ .This is why, while relying on his past experience, he advised Rasulullah ﷺ: “Verily, I have tested the Bani Israeel and on the basis of my experience with them, I say that so many Salaah would be difficult on your Ummah” [Muslim]
Hadhrat Ibraheem (Alayhissalaam) too, was no less a well-wisher of the Ummah of Nabi ﷺ. But his concept of goodwill for the Ummah was that they be given the opportunity to do more good deeds. Therefore, when he heard of 50 times Salaah becoming compulsory, he was overcome with boundless joy. When he now realised that the same Ummah for which he had prayed “Our Lord, send among them a messanger”. was being favoured with 50 Salaah and an opportunity to usher itself day and night before the presence of Allah Ta’ala, why should he advise seeking a reduction thereof? So great was this love and concern that he had also sent a message to the Ummah of Nabi ﷺ. It has been recorded by Hadhrat Abdullah Bin Masood (Radhiyallahu Anhu) that Rasulullah ﷺ said, “On the night in which I was taken on the journey, I met Hadhrat Ibraheem (Alayhissalaam) who said to me, ‘O` Muhammad! please 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.” (The meaning of Jannah being a barren land is that also it has everything a person would desire). It is neverthelessly only for people who perform such deeds which will entitle them entry into it. Jannah can be attained through ones efforts and could be understood from the following simile: If there is a very fine piece of land where the soil is excellent, and the water very sweet, and if someone were to plant a tree on it and water it with this delightfully sweet water, he will certainly reap the fruits of his efforts. In a similar way, we should perform good deeds continuously, remember Allah constantly and keep reciting subhanallah. If we will recite this we will find a tree in Jannah in return for it. Therefore, it appears in a Hadith that, “Whoever will say subhanallah a tree will be planted for him in Jannah.”
THE PURE AND BLESSED HEART OF NABI ﷺ IS WASHED WITH ZAM-ZAM IN A GOLDEN TRAY
In the Hadith, on the incident of Meraj, it has also been mentioned that the blessed chest of Nabi ﷺ was opened and his heart was removed and washed in the water of Zam-Zam. Thereafter, it was returned to its place and restored to its original condition. In today’s modern age when the practice of surgery is so very common, there cannot be any doubt whatsoever regarding the possibility of such occurance. And since Zam-Zam was used to wash the noble heart of Rasulullah ﷺ, we can clearly understand the merit and excellence of this water. It has also been narrated that the blessed heart of Nabi ﷺ was washed in a tray of Gold which had been brought from Jannah and the being to use it was an angel, and at that time no regulations had been revealed (to the Muslims), it would not be permissible for the Ummah of today to justify the use of utensils made of Gold. (The laws prohibiting the use of utensils of Gold was revealed only in Madinah Munawwarah). The Hadith also mentions that the heart of Nabi ﷺ was filled with (Imaan) faith and (Hikmah) Wisdom. What this means is that the overwhelming power of Imaan in Rasulullah ﷺ and the wisdom in his heart was reinforced and enhanced in order to equip him with the strength and power required for his magnificient journey into the heavens.
THE NOBLE AND SUBLIME POSITION OF SALAAH
Salaah is an exceptionally great gift from Allah Ta’ala. Other acts of worship were made compulsory while Nabi ﷺ was on the earth but Salaah was ordained while Rasulullah ﷺ was in the heavens. There Nabi ﷺ received the gift of fifty times Salaah. Then, acting on the advice of Moosa (Alayhissalaam), he betook himself time and again in the presence of Allah Ta’ala requesting Allah to reduce the number. At every appearance, Allah conceded and it was reduced by five until eventually though only 5 Salaah remained, Allah promised the reward of 50 Salaah.
Nabi ﷺ made Dua to Allah Ta’ala and thereafter. In this world the Sahaba (Radhiyallahu Anhum) also made Dua to Allah Ta’ala, InshaAllah. Since Salaah is an occasion where one presents himself in the court of Allah Ta’ala, certain adaab have to be observed which are not required for other acts of Ibadah. To be with Wudhu, for the clothes to clean and paak, for the place of Salaah to be clean and pure, to face the direction of Qibla, to respectfully fold the arms while standing, to recite the Kalam (words) of Allah, to bow down, to prostrate, etc. are all such acts which are not collectively performed requisites for any other Ibadah besides Salaah, though some of them may be individual essentials in other acts of worship. Then, the person in Salaah recites the Tashahhud which begins with the words of “At-tahiyyaatu” in every two Rakaats.
Now since Salãh is an act of presenting oneself in the devine court of Allah, we have been instructed to perform it with the utmost attention and devotion. For the purpose of maintaining proper concentration we have been directed to make use of a SUTRAH and prohibited from looking around in our Salãh. We have also been prohibited from TASHBEEK (i.e. entering the fingers of one hand into those of the other). While in Salãh, Similarly, it is prohibited to perform Salãh while in a state of overwhelming hunger or thirst or urgently in need of relieving oneself. As all these serve to distract us from our Salãh and stand in the way of maintaining proper concentration and devotion in out Salãh. This is totally against the ettiquitte of presenting oneself in the court of Allah Ta’ala.
Hadhrat Abu Dhar (Radhiyallahu Anhu) narrates that Nabi ﷺ said, “When a servant is in Salãh, the attention of Allah is directed towards him as long as he does not divert his own attention away (from Salãh). When he ceases to concentrate, then the attention of Allah Ta’ala is also withdrawn from him.”
Hadhrat Abu Dhar (Radhiyallahu Anhu) has also reported Rasulullah ﷺ as saying, “when anyone of you is in his Salaah, he should not displace the pebbles (on the ground) for the mercy (of Allah) is directed towards him.”
It is clear from the narrations of Hadith that Nabi ﷺ was taken in Meraj with, body and soul by Allah Ta’ala in a state of complete wakefulness. This is the belief of the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaá. In only one night, Nabi ﷺ left from Makkah Muazzamah and reached Baitul Maqdis where he led the various Ambiyaa (Alayhimussalaam) in Salãh. From there, he ascended the heavens where he again met the Ambiyaa (Alayhimussalaam). Then, he saw the Sidratul Muntaha and the Baitul Ma’amoor and reached the place where the screech of the pens could be heard. In the realm of the heavens, 50 times Salãh was made compulsory. On the advice of Moosa (Alayhissalaam) Nabi ﷺ presented himself several times requesting Allah to lighten the responsibility of the Ummah until it was reduced to 5 times Salãh daily with Allah’s promise that these five Salãh will carry the reward of 50 Salaah. Then, on the same night, Rasulullah ﷺ descended from the heavens and returned to Makkah Muazzamah. On his way, he met a trade caravan of the Quraish. When he mentioned the episode of the night before the Quraish, they rejected what he had told them. But after describing to them and answering all their questions about the Baitul Maqdis to their full satisfaction and since the caravan he had met had now returned and their utter amazement everything Nabi ﷺ had told them about it turned out to be true, the Quraish had no answer and were left completely speechless.
Yet, sadly today we find some of our present-day skeptics reluctant to believe in the incident of Meraj. While some ignormusses totally deny it, others brush it aside as only a vision or a dream of Rasulullah ﷺ. Little do they realise that if it was nothing more than a dream, why did the Mushrikeen (Idolators) of Makkah deny it? and what had prompted them to ask how the joourney of one month to Baitul Maqdis was covered in such a short span of time? And what was the need for them to ask for a meticulous description of some of the features of Baitul Maqdis?
In the beginning of Surah Israá, Allah Ta’ala uses the expression, “Glory be to him who took his servant in a night journey” to highlight the fact that Nabi ﷺ went on this journey with both body and soul. The word “Israá” a verb perfect of the fourth form which is derived from the root words “Saraa, Yaseer” denotes a journey undertaken by night. When someone wanders anywhere in a dream, this is never described by the verbs “Saraa” Asraa”. However, those who have not the faintest intention to believe and accept the truth will have no qualms over even rejecting the Verses of the Qur’an or the Sahih Ahadith of Rasulullah ﷺ. May Allah Ta’ala guide them.
Another baseless contention of the detractors and those who deny the (physical) Meraj is that after a certain point in the atmosphere, there is no oxygen and therefore anyone who undertakes such a distant journey must bypass such planets, where because of the lack of Oxygen, he cannot survive nor pass by these planets alive. All this is the hallucinationa of ignorant people. In the first place, how credible are all these claims? Moreover, even if what they say is true, doesn’t Allah Ta’ala have the sublime and complete power to transport any of His servants whom he wishes past whichever planet he wishes in an atmosphare of total safety. Does our Allah not have the power to sustain us without the need for air and Oxygen when He has himself created air and Oxygen as a means of keeping us alive. If He so willed, he could have kept every human being alive from the very inception of human existence. without the need of air and Oxygen. Some ignoramuses actually deny the existence of the heavens and base their rejection of this purely on an ignorance of something is not a proof of its non-existence. They reject the Book of Allah purely on the basis of naive assumptions. “The curse of Allah be on them! how are they deluded (away from the truth)”. Reasoning of those who espouse the philosophy of the past or the modern age is inconsequential and of no consideration in the Shariah. Allah the sovereign creator of the universe has expilicitly mentioned the creation of seven heavens in the Qur’an. Yet, we find that while the protagonists of the old philosophy used to aver that there are nine skies, the devotees of modern philosophy, reject outright the existence of any of the skies. Now let us decide whose words we should believe as true and correct? The hypothetical findings of those who speculate, or the words of Allah Ta’ala, the sovereign creator of the universe. Allah says in Surah Al-Mulk Ayah 14 (i.e. does he not know the one who created. And he is the one the understands the finest mysteries and well aware (of all that takes place). The protagonists of the old philosophy used to also concede the existence of skies but refused to believe that it could be penetrated at any point and sealed again. In other words, they held that the sky could not be split open. This was their own foolish and speculative reasoning. Without actually going up physically into the skies to see for themselves they have anchored themselves firmly on the earth and are engaged in brazenly forming their own presumptions and conclusions.
The being who created the earth and the skies has himself informed us that the skies have doors in them. In other verses also, ALLAH discusses the splitting of the skies. Therefore, those who claimed that the skies cannot be parted and mended could not have been further away from the truth.
Some people in the past used to object how such a great distance could be covered in merely one night. In the past, such an objection would have been understandable in view of the absence of the modern vehicles and inventions at our disposal today. Nowadays, an Aeroplane from Jeddah can reach Damascus within an hour or an hour and a half. By this calculation, a journey to Baitul Maqdis and back would take only three hours and for anyone on such a journey to spend the rest of the night travelling in up to the heavens and witnessing all that was to be seen there before returnign to the earth again is by no means anything hard to believe. Nowadays, there can be no doubt that such a long journey could be covered in one night and moreover, we also know fully well that the power of Allah still exists. If Allah wills, he has the power to make even the most superfast vessel travel even faster or even create new vehicles which could travel at speeds unprecedented by present day ones.
Is Surah An Nahl, after mentioning a few means of travel, Allah Ta’ala declares: “And He created (other) things of which you have no knowledge”. As an indication of all those vehicles and modes of transport which will appear until before the day of Qiyaamah. Today we have already entered the time at inventing even faster modes of transport. Let those people who deny the Méraj or even doubt it, themselves, tell us (according to their own theory) the total distance covered by the earth in its 24 hour rotation around its own axis, during the alternating of the day and night. And let them explain to us how many seconds it takes for the light from the rays of the sun — after it appears — to reach the planet earth, despite being so many millions of miles away. And let them tell us the distance of the moon from the earth, and then remind us about the time taken to cover this distance and land on the moon. When all this is as clear as daylight before their very eyes, why then do they have reservations about the Méraj?
It has been narrated about the Buraaq on which Rasulullah ﷺ had travelled during the Méraj that its every step forward is as far as its eye can see, although the exact extent of this has not been mentioned, it is assumed that its sight reaches as far as a hundred miles, then the journey from Makkah Mukarramah to Baitul Maqdis would take only seven or eight minutes. Calculated in this way, the journey to Baitul Maqdis and back would last only fifteen minutes which would leave us with the remaining part of the night to travel to the heavenly world. Today, the flying time of an aeroplane from Jeddah to Baitul Maqdis (Jerusalem) would be only about an hour to an hour and a half. If we were to reason in this way, then nothing would prevent us from accepting that a person can travel to Baitul Maqdis and back in only three hours and then send the remainder of the night in the heavens above. i.e. only those who will take heed who turn (in repentance) to Allah. The way of a Mu’min is to hear and to accept with conviction the words of Allah and his Rasool ﷺ. “While those who choose to stay in doubt will be ruined”.
Now I shall conclude with the verses of Qasidah Burdah Shareef (The poem of the scarf) which relate to the event of Méraj. The author (Rahimahullah) says,:
You travelled at night from the Haram (Holy place) of Makkah to the Haram of Baitul Maqdis.
As the full moon travels through intense darkness
And you continued ascending into the heavens until you attained the position of Qaaba Qawsayn (two cubits length
Such as has neither been attained (by any other) nor sought (By anyone else)
And on account of this rank, all the prophets and messengers gave you precedence
In the manner a servent honours his own master
And you went passing by them through the seven heavens
And in a grand heavenly army of which you were the standard bearer
Untill you left no goal of approach for any advicer
To such hieghts did you advance that you rendered every position inferior in comparison to yours
You were addressed by Allah in exalted terms as the unequalled leader of mankind
So the you may be blessed with a closeness with him, deeply concealed from the eyes of others
And with such profound secrets which can never be revealed
So you attained every voveted rank unshared by others
And rose beyond all exalted positions, not occupied by others
And certainly very lofty are the ranks conferred upon you
Glad tidings, O, people of Islam! verily we have been honoured by Allah with strong, unyielding (pillar of) support
When Allah himself has nominated our prophet, who called us to His worship, the noblest of messengers, we have become, consequently, the best of nations.
O My Lord your Salutations and peace forever
On Your beloved, the best of all creations
And with these words we come to the end of this treatise.
“Glory be to (Allah) your Lord, the Lord of honour from whatever they ascribe to him. And peace be upon the messengers, And all praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds.”