The Night of Ascension
Isra wal Mi’raj
Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’Aala) has tested every individual in the past and will continue to do so to all those whom He loves. In one way, this is to show the Angels that human beings are steadfast in trials, and they are authorized by His command to go to Jannah. Of all mankind, Allah has also tested the best creations, the Prophets of which consisted of our beloved Prophet (ﷺ ). At times, our Prophet (ﷺ) experienced neglect and hatred from the people around him and would confide in Allah of his trials. As Rasulullah (ﷺ) progressed in his goal in saving people and spreading the truth, many of those who didn’t believe him attacked him mentally, physically, and verbally. Despite this, our Prophet (ﷺ) stayed steadfast in his quest to save mankind.
One year before his journey from Makkah to Medina, on the 27th night of Rajab, our Prophet (ﷺ ) experienced a journey that brought light into the foundation of Islam. As it began, our Prophet (ﷺ ) was resting at the house of Allah (or the House of Umme Haani) until the archangel Jibraeel (alaihi salam) arrived and brought the glorious horse, Buraq (lightning mount), before him. When the Prophet (ﷺ ) tried mounting Buraq, it adopted a disobedient pleasure. In reply, Jibrael (alaihi salam) warned Buraq: “be cautious you are behaving so with Muhammed (ﷺ ) no one so honorable would have ridden you” These words brought Buraq to humbleness and took the Prophet (ﷺ ) to Masjid-al-Aqsa. The distance from the city of Makkah to Jerusalem, where Masjid-al-Aqsa is located, is approximately 755 miles. The question that comes up is how did the Prophet (ﷺ ) arrive there so fast? The answer is that the glorious horse, Buraq meaning lightning mount, travels at the speed of light and can reach destinations in less than a second.
According to authentic tradition, as the Prophet (ﷺ) arrived at Masjid-al-Aqsa, he was honored by all the Prophets and was chosen by Allah to lead them in a 2 rakat prayer. Long after the Prophet (ﷺ ) gave the supplication, he was brought into the first heaven. After greeting Adam (alaih-is-salam) the Prophet continued his journey to the second, third, fourth, and fifth heavens. Along the he met Isa Alaih-is-Salaam and Yahya (alaih-is-salam) in the second heaven, Yousuf (alaih-is-salam) in the third, Idrees (a) in the fourth, and Haroon (a) in the fifth. After he ascended to the sixth heaven, he met Musa (a). The Prophet (ﷺ) then ascended to the seventh heaven where he was greeted by Ibrahim (a) and saw that he was sitting with his back towards the Bait e Mamoor in which seventy thousand angels enter it every day and don’t get a second opportunity to see it again.
Upon his departure from the seventh heaven, Jibrael (Alaih-is-Salaam) took the Prophet (ﷺ) to Sidratul Muntaha. The Prophet (ﷺ) described the main feature of the holy tree: “the leaves of this holy tree are like an elephant’s ear and the fruits are like the size of a pitcher”.
The archangel Jibrael (a) guided the Prophet (ﷺ) throughout the whole journey, but now, Jibrael (a) couldn’t accompany him any further because of his next destination: Allah. If Jibraeel (AS) went beyond the highest heaven then his wings and body would fall apart and disintegrate from the intensity of the Noor of Allah. So now the Prophet (ﷺ) would have to meet Allah Subhana wa taala in his next destination alone.
The Prophet (ﷺ) presented himself before Allah Subhana wa taala. Allah then called the Prophet (ﷺ): “O crown of creation! Come near me.” The Prophet (ﷺ) was blessed with this nearness, in fact, the Holy Prophet was so close that there was a distance of two bow lengths. With this unique nearness, The Prophet (ﷺ) was blessed with fifty prayers for his ummah to follow and obey.
On his way back to Bait-ul-Maqdis, The Prophet (ﷺ) was stopped by Hazrath Musa in the sixth heaven telling him that your ummah will not have the capacity to perform these prayers and to please go back and lessen them. So the Prophet (ﷺ) went back to Allah and got 5 prayers lessened. In this way, the Prophet was again stopped by Hazrath Musa to lessen the prayers in which the Holy Prophet kept going back and forth until the prayers were reduced to 5. Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’Aala) then told the Prophet (ﷺ), “O Muhammed (ﷺ), these are 5 prayers in a day and night but the reward for each prayer will be equal to ten. In this way they are equal to fifty.” When the Prophet (ﷺ) was stopped by Musa (a) once again, this time the holy prophet couldn’t go back to Allah since he had gone there and back nine times. From there on Islam had the principle of the five daily prayers established for every Muslim to follow and obey.
The journey of Shab-e-meraj marks a turning point in the life of the Prophet (ﷺ) because not only did he see the unseen but he was blessed with the five prayers of Islam and met the creator of all creation: Allah (y). While there were many that turned towards kufr after hearing the journey of the Prophet (ﷺ), the true Muslims will always believe this and follow and adapt to the teaching assigned by the Prophet (ﷺ). May Allah guide us in the right path and make us the true muslims of the Prophet Sayyidina Mohammad’s (ﷺ) ummah. Ameen.
– By: Br. Mehdi Pasha