Al-Jazeerah
Al-Haram Mosque in Makkah The Prophet's Mosque in Madinah . Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound in Jerusalem

 

 

Islam: God's Message of Guidance to Humanity

 

By Hassan Ali El-Najjar

 

Table of Contents

 

I. Introduction: Basic Information

 

1. Islam: A Brief Introduction

 

2. Three Levels of Faith: Islam, Iman, and Ihsan 

 

3. The Scientific Evidence That God Exists and the Holy Qur'an Is His Message to Humanity 

 

4. Creation and Evolution in the Holy Qur'an

 

5. Humans, As God's Caliphs on Earth

 

6. Adam's Contest With the Angels, and Getting Out of Paradise


7.
Worshippers By Choice Or Forced Slaves?  

 

8. The Relationship Between the Spiritual and the Physical Aspects of Islamic Teachings  

 

9. Mind, Self, Soul, Spirit, and Happiness from an Islamic Perspective 

 

10. Heart-Mind Relationship in the Holy Qur'an  

 

II. Islam: The Five Pillars of the Faith Structure

 

1. Islamic Proclamation of Faith

 

2. Performing Islamic Prayers

 

3. Giving Zakat, Charity, The Third Islamic Duty

 

4. Fasting and Ramadhan, Great Gifts from Allah to Muslims

 

5. Haj, Pilgrimage, the Fifth Pillar of Islam

 

III. Iman: Allah, His Angels, Messengers, Messages, Latter Day, and Qadar

 

1. Allah, As He Described Himself in the Holy Quran 

 

2. Angels

 

3. Noo'h, Noah, in the Holy Quran  

 

4. Ibrahim, Abraham, in the Holy Quran

 

5. Moussa, Moses, in the Holy Quran

 

6. 'Eissa, Jesus Christ, in the Holy Quran  

 

7. Muhammed in the Holy Quran

 

8. Prophet Muhammed's Night Journey and Ascent to Heavens, Al-Issra Wal Mi'raj

 

9. Latter Day (Day of Resurrection)

 

10. Qada and Qadar: God's  Decree and Estimate of Provision

 

IV. I'hsan: Watching Allah in Speech and Deeds

 

1. Introduction to Islamic Law, Shari'a, Part I, Prohibition, Don't Do, and Do Commands in the Holy Quran

 

2. The No (La) Commands

 

3. The Imperative Commands 

 

***

 

Articles with Islamic Perspective:

 

Health Care Crisis in the US: An Islamic Perspective

 

"Terrorism" & "Islamo-Fascism" Propaganda Campaigns: An Interactive Lecture

 

Six Questions About Islam, Muslims and Jews

 

Five Islamic Issues: Predestination and choice, position toward other religions, angels, and the End of Days

Food Islamic Rules and Teachings
 

 

Are Muslim women second-class citizens  

 

The French Ban on Islamic Headscarf, an Interview with

 

Links to Islamic Topics 2007-2010

 

Links to Islamic Topics 2007

 

Links to Islamic topics 2006

 

Links to Islamic topics 2005

 

Links to Islamic topics 2004

 

Links to Islamic topics, 2003

 

2002 Links to Islamic topics

 

 

 

Islam:

God's Message of Guidance to Humanity

 

III. 8

 

Prophet Muhammed's Night Journey and Ascent to Heavens,

 

Al-Issra Wal Mi'raj

 

Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him

 

By Hassan Ali El-Najjar

 

24th of Ramadhan, 1434 - August 2nd, 2013 

 

Revised on 4th of Safar, 1435 - January 6th, 2014

 

***

 

:

 

 

 

 

1434 - 2013

 

1435 - 2014

 

***

 

ٰ

 

I seek refuge with Allah from the Stoned Shaytan (Satan)

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

 

 

Introduction

 

The journey of the Messenger of Allah, Muhammed, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him (pbbuh), from the 'Haram Mosque in Makkah to Al-Aqsa Mosque (Baytul Maqdis, in Al-Quds, Jerusalem), then to heavens occurred during the twelfth year of his mission. It was decreed to show him the great signs of God's creation and to show him support from the Lord of the Heavens and the Earth after the successive disappointments he had experienced from the nonbelievers.

 

It occurred a year before his hijra (immigration) to Medina, about two years after the death of his two major supporters, his wife and his uncle, and after he had been rejected by the people of Tayif. Early Muslims immigrated to Abyssinia while non-believers continued their persecution of the Muslims who remained in Makkah.

 

Allah, praise to Him, decided to lift the morale of His Messenger and to show him some aspects of His Dominium in the Heavens and the Earth after these calamities and disappointments. This was achieved by taking him into this miraculous Night Journey of Al-Issra Wal Mi'raj, which took him from the Al-'Haram Mosque in Makkah to Al-Aqsa Mosque (Baytul Maqdis) in Al-Quds (Jerusalem), then to heavens, and back the same way, all in a short time, in one night.

 

The non-believers ridiculed him for the story and used it in their arguments against him, calling him a liar and a crazy man. However, the Night Journey was a glad tiding for the believers, whose faith was reinforced by hearing about it.

 

Muslims scholars debated about the Journey, whether it was in soul only or in body and soul. The conclusion of the majority of them was that the Prophet's Night Journey from Makkah to Al-Quds, then his ascendance to the heavens, and back, was indeed in body and soul, while he was awake.

 

It was one of the greatest events in the Mission of the Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, and in the history of Islam. It was a prophecy about humans flying in aircraft on Earth and in other devices up to outer space.

 

 

Background to the Night Journey Event

 

Prophet Muhammed, pbbuh, was born on 12th of Rabi' Al-Awwal, fifty-three years before his hijra (immigration) from Makkah to Medina. That year was 570 AD, according to the Gregorian Calendar.

 

His father died before his birth and his mother died when he was six-years old. His paternal grandfather, Abdul Muttalib, took care of him for two years before his death. Then, his uncle, Abu Talib, took care of him, when he was eight years old.

 

When he became twenty-five years old, he worked in the trade caravan of a forty-years-old Makkan lady, called Khadija Bint Khuwaylid, may Allah be pleased with her (mAbpwh) who asked him to marry her. He accepted and he had all his children with her, except Ibrahim, who was born from his Coptic wife, Maria, mAbpwh. [1]

 

He rejected worshipping Makkan idols and started to contemplate in the Cave of 'Hera, outside Makkah, in search for the true God. When he became forty-years old, he received revelations about his mission through the Senior Angel, Jibril (Gabriel), peace to him. [2]

 

While the people of Makkah rejected his teachings, his wife Khadija, mAbpwh, believed in him and stood by his side.

 

During the first three years of his mission, he called people to Islam secretly. Then, he called people to Islam openly for the following ten years.

 

The non-believers persecuted early Muslims, which led the Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, to order them to immigrate to Abyssinia (Aksum, Ethiopia today). They immigrated in two waves, during the fifth and sixth years of his mission (about 615 AD), to that country, which was ruled by a Christian king who gave them a safe heaven there.

 

The non-believers still persecuted the Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, his uncle Abu Talib, and his relatives by besieging them in a valley outside of Makkah, known as Al-Shi'b, in the seventh year of his mission. For three years, they ostracized them and prevented others from dealing with them. However, some Muslims from outside Makkah managed to provide them secretly with some supplies.

 

During the tenth year of his mission, the Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, lost his two major sources of human support by the death of his his uncle, Abu Talib, and wife, Khadija, mAbpwh.

 

As the non-believers of Makkah continued their rejection of his mission and their persecution of early Muslims, he thought about going to the neighboring city of Al-Ta-if, to call people there to Islam. To his disappointment and sadness, not only they rejected his call but they also mistreated him and his companion, Zayd, by throwing rocks at them, injuring both of them. At this point, the Messenger of Allah complained his powerlessness to his Creator, in a very moving supplication.[3]

 

As the Makkan non-believers took notice of what happened, the Messenger of Allah was afraid of being killed by them. He sought protection of a strong clan but when he entered the city he was sad, disappointed, and afraid.

 

This was the background for the Night Journey of Al-Issra Wal Mi'raj. Allah, praise to Him, wanted to lift the morale of His Messenger, assure him of His support, and show him His great signs in the Heavens and the Earth, by taking him in a miraculous journey from Makkah to Baytul Maqdis (Al-Quds, Jerusalem), then to heavens, and bringing him back to his bed, in part of the same night. [4]

 

 

Al-Issra Wal Miraj:

 

The Prophet's Journey from Makkah to Baytul Maqdis (Al-Quds, Jerusalem), Then to Heavens and Back

 

The great event of Al-Issra Wal Miraj, the Night Journey of the Messenger of Allah, Muhammed (pbbuh), from Al'Haram Mosque in Makkah to Al-Aqsa Mosque in Baytul Maqdis, then to the Seven Heavens and beyond, happened at the night of 27th of Rajab of the twelfth year of his mission.

 

The Journey is mentioned in the first verse of Surat Al-Issra (Chapter 17) of the Holy Quran. 

 

ٰ

 

ٰ ۚ ﴿ 17: 1).

 

 

I seek refuge with God from the Stoned Shaytan (Satan)

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

 

Exalted is He who took His Worshipper (Muhammed) in a Night Journey from Al-'Haram Mosque to Al-Aqsa Mosque, whose surroundings We have blessed, to show him of Our signs (wonders). Indeed, He is the Hearing, the Seeing  (Al-Issra, 17: 1).

 

The Journey of Al-Issra Wal Mi'raj is also mentioned in verses 1-18 of Surat Al-Najm (Chapter 53 of the Holy Quran), which document some details about the two times in which the Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, saw the Spirit, Jibril, peace be to him. The first was at the beginning of his mission and the second was near the Cedar (Lote Tree) of the Ultimate Destination (Cedratul Muntaha), in the Seventh Heaven. 

 

ٰ

 

ٰ ﴿١﴾ ٰ ﴿٢﴾ ٰ ﴿٣﴾ ٰ ﴿٤﴾ ٰ ﴿٥﴾ ٰ ﴿٦﴾ ٰ ﴿٧﴾ ٰ ﴿٨﴾ ٰ ﴿٩﴾ ٰ ٰ ٰ ﴿١٠﴾ ٰ ﴿١١﴾ ٰ ٰ ﴿١٢﴾ ٰ ﴿١٣﴾ ٰ ﴿١٤﴾ ٰ ﴿١٥﴾ ٰ ﴿١٦﴾ ٰ ﴿١٧﴾ ٰ ٰ ﴿١٨﴾  ( 53: 1-18).

 

I seek refuge with God from the Stoned Shaytan (Satan)

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

 

By the star when it falls, (1)

 

Your companion (Muhammad) has not strayed, nor has he erred, (2)

 

Nor does he speak from (his own) inclination. (3)

 

It is not but a revelation revealed (inspiration inspired), (4)

 

Taught to him by the one intense in strength (Jibril) - (5)

 

One of soundness. And he rose to (his) true form (6)

 

While he was in the higher (part of the) horizon. (7)

 

Then he approached and descended (8)

 

And was at a distance of two bow lengths or nearer. (9)

 

And he (Jibril) revealed (by inspiration) to His (God's) Worshipper (Muhammed) what he revealed. (10)

 

The heart did not lie (about) what it saw. (11)

 

So, are you disputing with him over what he saw? (12)

 

And he certainly saw him (Jibril) in another descent (13)

 

At the Cedar (tree) of the Ultimate Destination - (14)

 

Near it is the Garden of Refuge - (15)

 

Where there comes to the Cedar (Lote-Tree) that which comes (to it). (16)

 

The sight (of the Prophet) did not swerve, nor did it transgress (its limit). (17)

 

He certainly saw of the great signs of his Lord. (18) (Al-Najm, 53: 1-18).

 

 

Description of the Journey

 

The Night Journey of Al-Issra Wal Mi'raj is documented in the above-mentioned 19 verses of the Holy Quran, which was recorded during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, and has been preserved in its authentic version for more than 1435 years. Muslims everywhere, and throughout their history, acknowledge that it is the Word of God that has not changed and will not change.

 

The detailed description of the Journey was narrated in a famous 'Hadith (saying or verbal teaching - the apostrophe before H points to a glottal Arabic sound) of the Prophet, pbbuh, which was not recorded officially, like other 'Hadiths, until years after his death. As a result, there were many versions of the same 'Hadith, reported in the major 'Hadith sources, particularly those of Al-Bukhari, Muslim, and Al-Tirmidhi (the line under kh points to an Arabic sound), which differ from one another in additions and deletions of details.

 

Renowned Muslim scholars, such as Al-Tabari, Al-Qurtubi, and Bin Katheer, provided their own interpretations of the Holy Quran verses. They investigated how the verses were explained by the 'Hadith, as narrated by the Companions of the Messenger of Allah. That is why we find different versions of the Night Journey 'Hadith, the summary of the commonly agreed upon details, even collated in one version, combining various narrations, as done by Bin Katheer. The 'Hadith was also investigated and analyzed in many works by contemporary Muslim scholars, such as  'Assaf and Al-Sha'arawi.  [5]

 

Here is the most commonly cited version of the Night Journey 'Hadith (the Arabic text first, followed by the English translation), as reported by many scholars, such as Al-Tabari and Bin Katheer, in their interpretations of the first verse of Surat Al-Issra (Chapter 17) of the Holy Quran. [6]

 

 

:

 

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" : : - : .

 

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. . . . : . 

 

: . : : . : : . . . : .

 

. : . : : . : : . : . . : . : .

 

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. : : : . : : . : . : . : .

 

. : . : : . : : . : . : . : .

 

. : . : : . : : . : . : . : . : .

 

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***

 

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***

 

: . : : : .

. . . . . ( - ) .

: : . : . . : .

 : : ." . 

 

'Hadith of the Night Journey and Ascent (Al-Issra Wal Mi'raj)  

 

The following is the Hadith of the Night Journey and Ascent (Al-Issra Wal Mi'raj), which was narrated by Anas Bin Malik, included in Al-Bukhari and Muslim 'Hadith sources, and reported by Bin Katheer, may Allah be pleased with all of them and reward them for their great efforts. 

 

The renowned 'Hadith collector, Al-Bukhari, reported the Hadith of the "Night Journey and Ascent," in his great work, Sa'hee'h Al-Bukhari, as follows:

 

Hudba Bin Khalid narrated from Humam Bin Ya'hya, who narrated from Qutada, who narrated from Anas Bin Malik Bin Sa'asa'ah, may Allah be pleased with all of them, that the Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, told them the following about his Night Journey and Ascent:

 

"While I was laying down in Al-'Hateem (or Al-'Hijr), near Al-Ka'aba, an (angel) came and made a (vertical) cut in my body between the neck and the pubic hair area. Then, he brought a golden pot full of faith, with which he washed my heart and stuffed it. Then, he put my heart back in its place.

 

Then, an animal larger than a donkey and smaller than a mule was brought to me to ride. That was Al-Buraq (the Lightening-Speed Animal), whose hoof reaches what his eye can see. It took me to Baytul Maqdis (Al-Aqsa Mosque in Al-Quds, Jerusalem), where I tied its leach where previous Prophets tied it. Then, I entered (the Mosque), prayed, and got out.

 

Jibril (Gabriel) came to me with two pots of wine and milk. When I chose the milk, he said, "You chose the natural inclination (of goodness)."

 

Then, Jibril (Gabriel) took me in ascent to the Near (First) Heaven (using M'iraj, a ladder-like device that moves lamely).

 

He (Jibril) asked for the (First Heaven) gate to be opened.

He was replied to (by an angel) with: "Who is this?"

He said: "Jibril."

It was said: "And who is with you?"

He said: "Muhammed."

It was said: "Has he been sent to?"

He said: "Yes."

It was said: "He is welcome, in this good coming."

And the gate was opened.

 

When I entered, there was Adam.

(Jibril) said: "This is your father Adam, greet him."

I did and he returned the greeting, saying:

"Welcome, the good son and the good Prophet."

 

Then, while in the First Heaven, Jibril showed the Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, several illustrations of sins and sinners, as an educational experience. He also showed him parts of Paradise and Hell, which will be attached as a second part of the 'Hadith below.

 

Then, (Jibril) ascended me to the Second Heaven (where he asked the gate keepers to open the gate, with their replies as what happened before opening the gate of the First Heaven).

 

When I entered, there were the cousins Ya'hya and 'Eissa (John and Jesus).

Jibril said: "These are Ya'hya and Eissa, greet them."

I did and they returned the greeting, saying:

"Welcome, the good brother and the good Prophet."

 

Then, (Jibril) ascended me to the Third Heaven (where he asked the gate keepers to open the gate, with their replies as what happened before opening the gate of the First Heaven).

 

When I entered, there was Yousuf (Joseph).

Jibril said: "This is Yousuf, greet him."

I did and he returned the greeting, saying:

"Welcome, the good brother and the good Prophet."

 

Then, (Jibril) ascended me to the Fourth Heaven (where he asked the gate keepers to open the gate, with their replies as what happened before opening the gate of the First Heaven).

 

When I entered, there was Idris (Akh-Nokh, Enoch).

Jibril said: "This is Idris, greet him."

I did and he returned the greeting, saying:

"Welcome, the good brother and the good Prophet."

 

Then, (Jibril) ascended me to the Fifth Heaven (where he asked the gate keepers to open the gate, with their replies as what happened before opening the gate of the First Heaven).

 

When I entered, there was Haroon (Aaron).

Jibril said: "This is Haroon, greet him."

I did and he returned the greeting, saying:

"Welcome, the good brother and the good Prophet."

 

Then, (Jibril) ascended me to the Sixth Heaven (where he asked the gate keepers to open the gate, with their replies as what happened before opening the gate of the First Heaven).

 

When I entered, there was Moussa (Moses).

Jibril said: "This is Moussa, greet him."

I did, and he returned the greeting, saying:

"Welcome, the good brother and the good Prophet."

 

As I was leaving him, he cried.

When he was asked about what caused him to cry, he said:

"I am crying because a young man was sent after me, with more of his followers (Ummah) entering Paradise than of my followers."

 

Then, (Jibril) ascended me to the Seventh Heaven (where he asked the gate keepers to open the gate, with their replies as what happened before opening the gate of the First Heaven).

 

When I entered, there was Ibrahim (Abraham).

Jibril said: "This is Ibrahim, greet him."

I did, and he returned the greeting, saying:

"Welcome, the good son and the good Prophet."

 

***

 

Then, I was lifted to the "Cedar (tree) of the Ultimate Destination," the size of its fruits was like that of water pots, its leaves were like the size of elephants' ears.

(Jibril) said: This is the "Cedar of the Ultimate Destination." Near it were four rivers, two could be seen and two were unseen.

I said: "What are these, Jibril?"

He said, the unseen rivers are those of Paradise.

The seen two (rivers) are the Nile and the Euphrates.

 

Then, Al-Baytul Ma'amour (The House of Continuous Worship of God by seventy thousand new angels everyday) was lifted to me (to see).

 

Then, (Jibril) brought me three pots with wine, milk, and honey.

When I took the milk, Jibril said: "It's the natural inclination of goodness you chose for yourself and your followers (Ummah)."

 

At this point, Jibril could not proceed higher than the Cedar. But the Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, did, receiving the greatest honor (any creature could have) of being in an audience with Allah.

 

The Companion Abu Dhar, may Allah be pleased with him, asked the Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, if he saw his Lord there.

He replied: "How can I see Him in Light?"

He also said: "I saw Light."

 

(This Hadith was recorded by Muslim and reported by Bin Katheer).

 

***

 

Then (when I was in audience with Allah), prayer was ordained on me, fifty prayers every day. As I descended back, I passed by Moussa, who asked me about what I was ordained (to do).

I said, "I was commanded (to perform) fifty prayers every day."

He said, "your Ummah (followers, community, nation) cannot perform fifty prayers everyday. By Allah, I had an experience with people before you, dealing with the Children of Israel, with the hardest of ways. Go back to your Lord and ask him a lighter ordinance for your Ummah."

 

I went back (to my Lord) Who decreased the number of prayers by five. Then, as I descended back, I passed by Moussa, who said the same words. I went back (to my Lord) Who decreased the number of prayers by five. (The Prophet did that five times) I was (finally) commanded to perform five prayers everyday (which are equal to fifty in their weight, as rewards for good deeds will be multiplied ten times - Sahih Muslim).

 

(When the Prophet passed by Moussa the last time, and was advised to go back and ask his Lord for less number of prayers), he answered:

"I asked my Lord enough, I'm too shy now (to ask Him for more), I am content and I submit (to His will).

 

As I left (Moussa), I heard a call (from my Lord):

"I have decreed my command and made it light on my worshippers."

 

(This part of the Hadith was recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim, and reported in Bin Katheer's interpretation).  [7]

 

 

Educational Illustrations About Sins and Sinners in the First Heaven 

 

While traveling in the First Heaven, Jibril (Gabriel), peace be to him, showed to the Messenger of Allah, pbbhun, illustrations of why Allah, praise to Him, prohibited people from causing harm to themselves and to each other. He showed him illustrated examples of sins, how repugnant and disgusting each one of them is, and how sinners would be punished.  

 

 

:

 

  : : 

 

" . 

 

:  

 

: ."  

 

 

Ahmed narrated from Safwan, from Rashid Bin Sa'id and Abudullah Bin Jubair, from Anas, may Allah be pleased with them. He said that the Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, said: 

 

"When I was taken in ascent to my Lord, praise to Him, I passed by a group of people who have copper nails, by which they bite their own faces and chests.  

 

I asked: O Jibril, who are these?

He said: (This is the example of) those who back bite people and gossip about their intimate life with evil hints."  

 

 

.  

 

:  

 

: .  

 

 

Then, after I travelled a little while, I saw big plates of good meat but nobody was eating from them. Beside them, there were other plates of stinking and rotten meat, which are approached by a group of people, eating from them.  

 

I asked: O Jibril, who are these?

 

He said: (This is the example of) those among your Community (Ummah) who approach the prohibited behaviors ('haram) and leave the allowed ones ('halal)."  

 

: : .  

 

 

 

 

 

Then, after I travelled a little while, I saw a group of people from whose bodies pieces of flesh are cut, then they are given their own flesh in their mouths.

(Then, the angels) tell them: Eat (your own flesh), like you used to eat your brother's (or your sister's) flesh.  

 

I asked: O Jibril, who are these?  

 

He said: (This is the example of) the scorners and mockers of others from among your Community (Ummah).  

 

 

: . : .  

 

:  

 

: " "  

 

( 4: 10).  

 

 

Then, after I travelled a little while, I saw a group of people with big lips, like those of camels. They (are ordered to) open their mouths, then glowing pieces of firewood are thrown into their mouths (burning everything all the way), and getting out from their bottoms. I heard them pleading to Allah, praise to Him (to end their punishment).

 

I asked: O Jibril, who are these?

 

He said: (This is the example of) those among your Community (Ummah) who transgress on orphans (helpless people) by consuming their money (while they are entrusted to guard it).

"They eat fire in their bellies, and they will be punished in the Fire."

 

(This answer became a verse in the Holy Quran, in Surat Al-Nissa, 4:10). 

 

: .  

 

:  

 

: .  

 

 

Then, after I travelled a little while, I saw a group of women hanging from their breasts. They were pleading to Allah, praise to Him (to end their punishment). 

 

I asked: O Jibril, who are these women?

He said: (This is the example of) the adulterers and fornicators among your Community (Ummah).  

 

Note:

 

The Arabic word used here and in the Holy Quran is "Zina," which refers to sex outside marriage, applying to both those who are married and those who are not married. As a result, it refers to both English words of adultery and fornication.

 

 

. .  

: " "  

 

: . . 

 

 

Then, he came to a group of people, who had in front of them cooked meat in one pot and raw, stinking meat in another pot. Then, they started eating from the raw, stinking meat, leaving the good, cooked meat. 

 

(The Messenger of Allah, pbbuh) asked: O Jibril, who are these?   

 

He said: (This is the example of) the adulterer man among your Community (Ummah), who has a good woman, allowed for him (his wife) but he goes to a bad woman (not allowed for him), and spends a night with her until the morning. 

 

This is (also example of) the adulterer woman among your Community (Ummah), who has a good man, allowed for her (her husband) but she goes to a bad man (not allowed for her), and spends a night with him until the morning.  

 

 

: . : . : . : . : .  

 

: :  

 

: " " ."  

(  275 2: 275).  

 

 

Then, after I travelled a little while, I saw groups of people whose bellies look like homes. Whenever one of them tried to stand up, he would fall down. Then, he says: O Allah, please don't bring the Hour (of Reckoning). These are on the path of the Pharaoh and his people, then the path folds them. (The Messenger of Allah, pbbuh) heard them pleading with Allah (praise to Him, to end their punishment). 

 

(The Messenger of Allah, pbbuh) asked: O Jibril, who are these?  

 

He said: (This is the example of) those from among your Community (Ummah), who consume usury (riba: exploitative interests, leading to extracting more than doubling principals of loans). "Those who consume usurious interests cannot stand except as one who is being beaten by Satan into insanity"

 

(This answer became part of Verse 275 of Surat Al-Nissa, 4:10, in the Holy Quran).  

 

 

.  

: " "  

 

: ." 

 

 

Then, he came to a group of people, whose heads would be hit against rocks. Then, the act is repeated. 

 

(The Messenger of Allah, pbbuh) asked: O Jibril, who are these?  

 

He said: (This is the example of) those who are lazy to stand up for (to perform) the ordained prayers. 

 

 

."  

: "  

 

: ."  

 

( : 3: 182 8: 51 22: 10 41: 46 50: 29).  

 

 

Then, he came to a group of people, whose front and back private parts are covered with patches. They eat from pasture lands, like camels and domestic animals. They eat dry and repugnant plants, as well as stones and rocks of Hell.  

 

(The Messenger of Allah, pbbuh) asked: O Jibril, who are these?  

 

He said: (This is the example of) those who do not give the ordained charity (Zakat) from their wealth. Allah, praise to Him, has not done injustice to them, in anything they did. Allah is not unjust to the slaves (slaves to the wealth they collect). 

 

This meaning about Allah, praise to him, as not being unjust to those who enslave themselves to their desires and wrongdoing, is expressed in five verses of the Holy Quran, in which they are described as 'abeed (slaves). These are 3: 82, 8: 51, 22: 10, 41: 46, and 50: 29. However, righteous believers are referred to as 'ibad (worshippers). For more information about this topic, see the author's article, "Worshippers by choice or forced slaves?"

 

 

: .  

 

:

 

: : " ."  

 

( 86 (7) :

 

"  ۚ  ۖ ).  

 

 

Then, he came to a piece of wood on the road, which cuts any piece of clothes (passing people wear) or penetrates anything passes by it. 

 

(The Messenger of Allah, pbbuh) asked: O Jibril, who is this?  

 

He said: (This is the example of) groups of people from your Community (Ummah), who sit on the road, blocking it. Then, he recited Verse 86 of Surat Al-A'araf (Chapter 7) of the Holy Quran. 

 

(The text of the full verse is: "And do not sit on every path, threatening and averting from the way of Allah those who believe in Him, seeking to make it (seem) deviant. And remember when you were few and He increased you. And see how was the end of the corrupters" - 7: 86). 

 

 

: .  

 

: " "  

 

: ."  

 

 

Then, he came to a man who gathered a great bundle, which he cannot carry. However, he keeps adding more (weight) on it. 

 

(The Messenger of Allah, pbbuh) asked: O Jibril, who is this?  

 

He said: (This is the example of) the man from your Community (Ummah), who has obligations (trusts, duties, or debts) towards people. He cannot handle or fulfill these obligations, yet he adds more on himself.  

 

 

.  

 

: " "  

 

: ."  

 

 

Then, he came to a group of people, whose tongues and lips are cut with iron cutters, then they have their tongues and lips back, to be cut again.

 

(The Messenger of Allah, pbbuh) asked: O Jibril, who are these?

 

He said: (This is the example of) the speakers of Fitna (agitators and instigators).  

 

 

.  

 

: " "  

 

: ."  

 

 

Then, he came to a small hole in the ground, from which a great bull comes out. Then, the bull tries to get back to its hole but it can't.  

 

(The Messenger of Allah, pbbuh) asked: O Jibril, what is this?  

 

He said: (This is the example of) a man, who says something tremendously wrong. Then, he regrets it but he cannot take it back.  

 

 

: . : . : " " : " ."  

 

 

Then, the Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, travelled with Jibril, peace be to him, until he came to a group of people who plant (by throwing the seeds) in one day, then they harvest their crop in the following day (getting very fast, good results). Then, the crop gives fruits again (without them planting seeds again). 

 

(The Messenger of Allah, pbbuh) said: O Jibril, who are these?

 

He said: (This is the example of) the fighters for the sake of Allah, whose good deed ('hasana) is multiplied seven hundred times, and whatever they spend (for good), Allah compensates them for it, as He is the Best of Givers (the Best of Providers).  

 

 

: " "

 

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."

 

( ):

 

" ."

 

: " ."

 

Then, he came to a valley, in which there was a cool, good smelling, musky breeze, and where he heard a voice.

 

(The Messenger of Allah, pbbuh) asked: O Jibril, what is this cool, good smelling and musky breeze? And what's this voice? 

 

He (Jibril) said: This is (the smelling of) Paradise and its voice, saying:

 

"My Lord, give me what you promised me with, I have increased the number of my rooms, my green, silk, and brocade garments, my beautiful and fine carpet, my pearls, corals, silver, and gold jewels, my cups, plates, jars, glasses, and my water, milk, and wine. (I'm ready to receive the believers whom) You promised to bring to me."

 

(Allah, praise to Him) said:

 

"To you (I'm bringing), all male and female Muslims, all male and female believers, who believed in Me and in my Messengers, who did good deeds, who did not take partners with Me, and who did not take equals to Me. Whoever feared me (in his/her life) will be safe (here in Paradise), whoever asked Me I'll give him/her, whoever lent me (by spending on the poor and good causes) I'll compensate him/her, whoever trusted and depended on Me I'll be his/her Patron. I'm Allah, there is no other god than Me, I don't break My promise. The believers have won. Allah is the Source of Blessings, He is the Best of Creators."

 

(Paradise then) said: "I'm content."

 

: " . : "

 

: " :

 

. . ."

 

( ):

 

" ."

 

: " ."

 

Then, he came to a valley, where he heard a repugnant voice, and there was a bad smelling.

 

(The Messenger of Allah, pbbuh) asked: O Jibril, what is this (place)? And what's this voice? 

 

He (Jibril) said: This is the voice of Hell, saying:

 

"O, my Lord, give me what You promised me with. I have increased my chains and my shackles, my blaze and my scalding (hot) water, my thorny dry plants and my (foul) purulence, and my torment. My bottom has deepened and my heat has intensified. Bring me what You promised me with."

 

(Allah, praise to Him) said:

 

"(I'm bringing) to you: Every male and female who took partners with Me, every male and female who rejected Me, every male and female who committed grave sins, and every tyrant who does not believe in the Day of Reckoning."

 

(Hell then) said: "I'm content."

 

Then, the Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, descended back by the Mi'raj from the Heavens to Baytul Maqdes (Al-Quds, Jerusalem) on Earth, and from there he returned to Makkah, by the Buraq. [6]

 

 

Telling People About the Night Journey

 

The Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, told the story of his Night Journey to the people of Makkah. People with strong faith believed him. However, some Muslims did not believe him and even left their new religion after hearing the story. Some nonbelievers used the story for more attacks on him. Others were skeptical but discussed it and asked him for evidence about its actual incidence.

 

Here are some reports from several narrators about people's reactions after hearing the story, all of which are documented in the books of Seerah (biographies of the Prophet, pbbuh) and reported by the Holy Quran interpreters, with the Arabic texts and the English translations. 

 

 

:

 

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 : " ." : . : . .

 

Muhammed Bin (son of) Iss'haq said, I was told by Muhammed Bin Muhammed Bin Al-Saeb Al-Kalbi, narrating from Abi Salih Badhan, from Um Hani' Bint Abi Talib (female cousin of the Prophet, pbbuh), about the Messenger's Night Journey, she said:

 

"The Messenger's Night Journey started from my house, where he slept that night after performing the late night prayer. We all slept until before dawn when the Messenger of Allah awoke us. He prayed the morning prayer and we prayed with him. Then, he said:

 

O, Um Hani'! I prayed with you the late night prayer, as you saw (me) in this Valley (Makkah). After that, I went to Baytul Maqdis (Al-Quds, Jerusalem), and I prayed therein. Then, I have prayed the morning prayer with you, as you see."

 

:

 

" ( : ) ." 

 

 

The Companion Jabir Bin (son of) Abdullah, may Allah be pleased with both of them, said that he heard the Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, saying:

 

"When Quraysh (non-believers of Makkah) accused me of lying following my Night Journey to Baytul Maqdis (the House of Holy in Al-Quds, Jerusalem), I went near Al-'Hijr area (of Al-Ka'aba), where Allah showed me a view of Baytul Maqdis, allowing me to describe its features to them, while I am looking at it."

 

 

: . : .

 

: : . : . : :   ( ).

 

 

The Mother of Believers (Wife of the Prophet) 'Ayshah, may Allah be pleased with her, said that when the Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, was enabled to travel the Night Journey to Al-Aqsa Mosque, he came out in the morning talking to people about it. Some people who used to believe in him turned back, becoming apostates.

 

They went to his Companion Abu Bakr, saying to him: What do you think of your Companion? He claims to have gone in a night journey to Baytul Maqdis!

 

Abu Bakr said (replying to them): Did he say that?

 

They said: Yes.

 

He said: If he said that, then he told the truth.

 

They said: Do you believe him in saying that he went last night to Baytul Maqdis and returned (to Makkah) before the morning?

 

He said: Yes, I believe him in what is farther than that. I believe him in what he said about heavens, in going (to them) and coming back.

 

That's why Abu Bakr became known as Al-Siddiq (the one who believed in the Prophet's report about his Night Journey).

 

(Narrated from Um Hani' Bint Abi Talib, mAbpwh). 

 

 

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One of the Quraysh skeptics, Jubayr Bin Mut'im, said: O Muhammed! You shouldn't have said what you said.

 

Another man said: O Muhammed! Have you passed by some camels of ours in such and such area?

 

The Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, replied: Yes, by Allah. I found them looking for a camel they lost.

 

The man continued questioning: Have you passed by camels belonging to such and such people?

 

The Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, replied: Yes, and they had a red female camel which broke. I also saw a water pot, which I drank from.

 

They said: Then, tell us about how many camels and herders were there?

 

The Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, replied: I was too busy to count (the camels and herders).

 

(But the Senior Angel Jibril, peace be to him, brought (a view of the camels and herders) to him, so he counted the camels and knew more about the herders. Then, he came back to the Quraysh people and said to them:

 

. !

 

: .   .

 

I came to Baytul Maqdis yesterday, then I was taken in ascendance to the Heavens, and I saw such and such.

 

Then, Abu Jahl (Ibn Hisham) said (to the people): Aren't you surprised of what Muhammed has said? He claims that he went to Baytul Maqdis yesterday then he came back before the morning!

 

(How can this be possible) when everyone of us spends a month going and a month coming back riding his animal! (Do you believe him) in doing that in one night, when it takes us two months to do it?

 

(In reply, the Prophet, pbbuh) said:

 

I told them about the moving Quraysh (trade caravan of) camels, which I saw when I was going (to Baytul Maqdis), near such and such place. In my way back (from Baytul Maqdis), I saw them near Al-'Aqaba (south Jordan today). I told them (with description) about every man, his camel, and his belongings.

 

 

: . .

 

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: . : . : . : .

 

 

A man (from those who were skeptical) said: I'm the most knowledgeable among people (here) of Baytul Maqdis (the House of Holy in Al-Quds, Jerusalem), how it is built, its features, and its closeness from the mountain. I'll let you know if Muhammed is telling the truth or he is lying.

 

That pagan man came and said: O Muhammed! I'm the most knowledgeable among people (here) of Baytul Maqdis. Tell me about how it is built, its features, and its closeness from the mountain.

 

 (A view of) Baytul Maqdis was lifted up (by Jibril, peace be to him) to the Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, while he was (sitting in) his place. He looked at it as everyone of us looks at his home. He described its building, its features, and its closeness from the mountain.

 

The (pagan) man said: You told the truth. He returned to them (to the crowd of skeptics) and said: Muhammed told the truth in what he said. 

 

 

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Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him and his father, said: The Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, said:

 

"After I had the Night Journey, I was in Makkah in the morning, and I knew that people would not believe me (when I tell them about it).

 

So, as the Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, sat isolated and sad, the enemy of Allah (Abu Jahl) passed by him, came and sat beside him, and said sarcastically to him: "Was there anything (from heaven)?

 

The Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, said: Yes.

(Abu Jahl) said: What is it?

The Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, said: I was given a night journey.

(Abu Jahl) said: To where? 

The Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, said: To Baytul Maqdis.

(Abu Jahl) said: Then you came back to be among us? 

The Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, said: Yes.

 

(Abu Jahl) deciding not to belie him in order to encourage him to tell it to the people, he (cunningly) said: If I invite people over here, will you tell them what you have told me about? 

The Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, said: Yes.

 

 

: " ."

 

: : " ." : : "."

 

: .

 

The Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, said: I was given a night journey.

They said: To where? 

The Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, said: To Baytul Maqdis.

(Abu Jahl) said: Then you came back to be among us? 

The Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, said: Yes.

 

He said some of them clapped their hands, others put their hands on their heads, as gestures of disbelief.

 

 

: ( )

 

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They said: Can you describe the Mosque (as some of them travelled to Jerusalem before and saw its Mosque, Baytul Maqdis)?

 

The Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, said:

 

I started describing it to them until I could no longer do that. Then, (Jibril, peace be to him) brought (a view of) the Mosque close to the (neighboring) house of 'Uqayl. So, I resumed describing it while I was looking at it.

 

The Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, added: The description included details that I no longer remember.

 

The people, then, said: Concerning the description (of Baytul Maqdis), by Allah, he told the truth about it. [6]

 

 

Reactions of Muslim Scholars

 

Majority of early and contemporary Muslim scholars have agreed that the Night Journey of the Messenger of Allah, Muhammed, pbbuh, was in body and soul and while he was awake, not only from Makkah to Baytul Maqdis (Al-Quds, Jerusalem) but also to Heavens, as a miracle from Allah to support him.

 

The three earlier prominent Holy Quran interpreters of 4th, 7th, and 8th Hijri Centuries (Al-Tabari, Al-Qurtubi, and Ibn Katheer respectively) held this view that the Night Journey was in body and soul, while the Prophet, pbbuh, was awake, not while asleep.  

 

Ibn Khaldoon discussed the special transformational nature  of the Prophets and Messengers of God, which allows them to communicate with the heavenly world.

 

Al-Sha'rawi attempted to explain how the human body of the Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, was prepared for the Journey through three surgeries. He also argued that the Journey was possible for him because he was enabled to go from one natural level to another, as he was on the human level on Earth (from Makkah to Baytul Maqdis), then on the angelic level in the seven heavens, then on above the angelic level when he proceeded above the heavens to have his audience with Allah, praise to Him.

 

Al-Tabari

 

Al-Tabari argued that the Prophet's Night Journey was in body and soul, while he was awake. Like the majority of Muslim scholars, he based his opinion directly on verses from the Holy Quran and from the Hadith of the Prophet, pbbuh, which stated that he rode Al-Buraq (the Lightening-Speed Animal) from Makkah to Baytul Maqdis (Al-Quds, Jerusalem), then was enabled to ascend to heavens through Al-Mi'raj (the Heavenly Ladder).  

 

Al-Tabari also reported various opinions, including the minority opinion, in which some Muslim scholars argued that the Journey was only in soul. They depended on the opinions of Mu'awiya Bin Abi Sufyan, the Mother of the Believers, Aysha and Ibn Iss'haq.

 

Mu'awiya Bin Abi Sufian, may Allah be pleased with him, mAbpwh, said that the Journey was ( ) "a true dream (given) by Allah (to the Prophet when he was asleep)."

 

The Mother of the Believers, 'Aysha, mAbpwh, also was of this opinion, saying that ( ) "the body of the Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, was never missed but he was given the Night Journey by his soul."

 

Ibn Iss'haq, mAbpwh, mentioned two verses and a Hadith to support his opinion that the Journey was only in soul. Verse 60 of Surat Al-Issra (Chapter 17) of the Holy Quran states that it was a "ru'ya," which maybe translated as a "sight" or a "sleep sight."

 

 

  ( 17: 60).

 

 

And We did not make the sight which We enabled you to see except as a trial for the people (Al-Issra, 17: 60).

 

Verse 102 of Surat Al-Saffat (Chapter 37) of the Holy Quran mentions that Ibrahim (Abraham), pbbuh, said to his son that he "saw in his sleep" that he was killing him as a sacrifice. This means that revelations came to Prophets when they were asleep as well as when they were awake.

 

 

( 37: 102).

 

 

"O my son, I have seen in a (my) sleep that I am killing you (as a sacrifice)" (Al-Saffat, 37: 102).

 

 

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.

 

 

The Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, said:

 

"My eye sleeps but my heart is awake."

 

Ibn Iss'haq, then, concluded by saying that Allah knows in which state this matter (the Night Journey) happened, whether the Prophet, pbbuh, was asleep or awake. Either way, it was right and true.

 

***

 

After providing the minority opinion about the Journey (in soul only), Al-Tabari provided his own opinion, which is also the majority opinion, using the following arguments:

 

First, he said that Allah, praise to Him, took His worshipper, Muhammed, pbbuh, from Al-'Haram Mosque to Al-Aqsa Mosque, as stated in 17: 1, and as told by the Messenger of Allah in his famous 'Hadith about the Night Journey, particularly that he was carried on Al-Buraq.

 

Second, Al-Tabari argued that there is no sense in saying that the Journey was in soul only. If that was the case, there would be no evidence for his Prophethood, or for his mission, or a reason for the non-believers to deny its occurrence. Nobody with normal mind would contest someone who claims to have experienced such a journey in their sleep.

 

Third, Al-Tabari argud that Allah, praise to Him, told us in His Book that the Journey happened to His 'abd (worshipper). He did not tell us that it was to the soul of His 'abd (worshipper). This means that it happened to the Prophet, pbbuh, in his body and soul, while he was awake.

 

 

ٰ   ( 17: 1).  

 

 

"Exalted is He, Who took His worshipper (Muhammed) in a Night Journey from Al-'Haram Mosque to Al-Aqsa Mosque" (Al-Issra, 17: 1) . 

 

Fourth, Al-Tabari ended his argument saying that if the Journey was only in the soul of the Prophet, pbbuh, there would be no need for Al-Buraq (the Lightening-Speed Animal) to carry it, as animals only carry bodies (not souls) and souls do not need to be carried on animals. [8]

 

 

Al-Qurtubi

 

Following Al-Tabari, Al-Qurtubi also reported that the majority of Muslim scholars before him agreed that the Prophet's Night Journey happened in body and soul, while he was awake. He supported this majority opinion, mentioning the same arguments of Al-Tabari, and adding the following arguments:

 

First, he refuted the minority opinion that it was in soul only. He said that the proponents of this opinion were not qualified at the time to have an opinion about it. The Mother of the Believers, 'Aysha, mAbpwh, was too young and Mu'awiya was not a Muslim. In both cases they were not close to the life of the Prophet, pbbuh, to be able to give an opinion about his Night Journey. Al-Qurtubi referred to "Kitab Al-Shifa" by Judge Ayadh, for more details about this topic.

 

Second, Al-Qurtubi mentioned Verse 17 of Surat Al-Najm (Chapter 53) of the Holy Quran, which confirms that "The sight (of the Prophet) did not swerve, nor did it transgress (its limit)." The Verse confirms that the Prophet, pbbuh, "saw" (by his eyes), not by the imagination of his mind (as what happens in dreams).

 

 

ٰ  ( 53: 17).  

 

"The sight (of the Prophet) did not swerve, nor did it transgress (its limit)" (Al-Najm, 53: 17) .

 

 

Third, if the Night Journey was just a dream, then it is neither a miracle nor one of God's signs. People can claim that they see in their dreams whatever they want to claim without anybody disbelieving them. However, the reactions of people in Makkah showed that they were not reacting to a claim of a dream. Rather, they reacted to a claim of a real journey, in body and soul.

 

The Prophet's female cousin, Um Hani', mAbpwh, urged him not to talk about it to people, who would not believe it. Abu Bakr, mAbpwh, gained his title of "Al-Siddiq" for believing in what the Prophet told. The Quraysh non-believers smeared the Prophet of lying. Even some Muslims left their new religion, as they could not believe what the Prophet, pbbuh, told them. If it was just a dream, it would not have triggered any of these reactions.

 

Fourth, the Prophet's mention of the camel caravans approaching Makkah, with specific information about their distance from the city and what camel was at the front, were pieces of evidence that he saw these details with his eyes, not as an imagination of the mind while a person is asleep.

 

Fifth, when the Quraysh non-believers challenged the Prophet, pbbuh, to describe specific features of Baytul Maqdes (Al-Quds, Jerusalem), Allah, praise to Him, enabled him to see a view of the city, from which he described the features they asked him about accurately. This part in itself was a miracle, which happened while the Prophet and other people were all awake. [9]

 

 

Bin (Ibn) Katheer

 

Bin (Ibn) Katheer reported the same view of Muslim scholars before him. He refuted the minority opinion and supported the majority opinion with the same arguments used by Al-Tabari and Al-Qurtubi before him. He also reported the various versions of the Night Journey 'Hadith, with a summary of his own, including the major components of various versions.

 

He mentioned that the refutation of the minority opinion started as early as the time of the Companion Ibn 'Abbas, mAbpwh, who based his view on the first Verse of Surat Al-Issra (Chapter 17) of the Holy Quran.

 

Ibn 'Abbas argued that the word 'abd (worshipper) refers to a human being, body and soul, who worships his Creator. If it was a dream, it wouldn't be a miracle for which Allah, praise to Him, exalted Himself about. Ibn Abbas also confirmed that the Prophet, pbbuh, saw what he saw with his eyes, not with his soul (in his sleep).

 

Ibn Katheer elaborated on this argument of Ibn 'Abbas, mentioning the word bassaru (sight) in Verse 17 of Surat Al-Najm (Chapter 53) of the Holy Quran, saying that the sight is part of the body, not the soul, as it includes the actual eyes and what they are connected to in the brain.

 

 

ٰ  ( 53: 17).  

 

 

"The sight (of the Prophet) did not swerve, nor did it transgress (its limit)" (Al-Najm, 53: 17) [10]

 

 

Bin (Ibn) Khaldoon

 

Bin (Ibn) Khaldoon did not address the issue of the Night Journey directly. However, he addressed the idea that all things and living beings are close to each other in a chain of connected worlds. This idea can be used to explain how the human body and soul of the Messenger of Allah, Muhammed, pbbuh, could have been enabled to withstand his Night Journey to the heavens and beyond (Pages 132-141, 570-573).

 

Though he was contemporary to Bin Katheer, they were different in how they addressed the issue. While Bin Katheer was the third major interpreter of the Holy Quran, in temporal sequence (after Al-Tabari and Al-Qurtubi), Bin Khaldoon was the father of Sociology. Thus, he addressed the issue as an entry in his encyclopedic-style famous treatise, "The Introduction (to Sociology)."

 

Five centuries before Charles Darwin, Bin Khaldoon observed that all existing things and living beings are connected in an evolutionary chain. He argued that the non-living world is composed of natural elements, which are also part of what constitutes plants and animals. The simplest forms of plants (contemporary biologists may refer to algae) are connected in a hierarchal classification with the most complex ones (such as the Venus fly trap). The most complex of plants are close to the simplest forms of animals (such as sponge and coral) in that they don't move from their location. The most complex of animals (he actually mentioned monkeys, contemporary biologists are more specific in their reference to chimpanzees) are close to humans, particularly in reasoning and physiology.

 

Bin Khaldoon further argued that some humans (such as Prophets and Messengers of God) are close to angels in their ability to communicate and know without using their physical senses, such as their ability to receive revelations and see which is unseen to other humans. The implication is that the Prophets and the Messengers of God represent the highest levels of human intellect, or spiritual nature. However, Bin Khaldoun did not mention the medical surgeries the angels conducted on the Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, as early interpreters of the Holy Quran did first and as Al-Sha'arawi did later. Instead, he mentioned that the Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, was readied for receiving revelation from his Lord. He was enabled to possess the best human  qualities of truthfulness, honesty, and chastity before the start of his Mission. In a word, he was given 'essma, the Arabic word for protection against worldly vices.

 

Bin Khaldoon proceeded in his argument saying that there are three worlds for the living beings. The first is the physical world, which is shared by animals and humans (plants also share it), and it is realized through the senses. This second and higher world is that of the human self, which enjoys the mental processing and production of knowledge, away from the physical world. The third is the spiritual world of angels, who are pure spirits, without actual physical bodies (though they have the ability to take physical shapes when they appear to humans). They constitute a pure reasoning state, in which the reason, reasoning, and reasoned are united. So, their knowledge is infallible.  

 

Humans share some of the qualities of the spiritual (angelic) world in the form of the in-born tendency to realize (naturally know) what is good and what is evil, as well as favoring goodness over evil if not influenced by others. Another spiritual quality some humans may have is their "ru'ya," the Arabic word for their ability to see reality in their dreams while asleep, which they cannot realize in their awakening. He differentiated it from the "adhghath", the mundane dreams, which are nothing but subconscious mental exercises during sleep.

 

Thus, he added, humans share the physical world with animals and plants and share the spiritual world with angels. The happy ones among believers will be able to enjoy this spiritual state after death, during the intermediate period (Barzakh) between death and Resurrection. However, the highest levels of spirituality is experienced by the Prophets and Messengers of God, who are capable, during their lifetime, to see what is unseen by other humans. This is made possible by their ability to leave their physical world and connect with the higher spiritual world of angels in heavens, seeing it, hearing what is said there, receiving revelation, and communicating with the angels.

 

During the moments of receiving revelation, the Prophets and Messengers of God had to leave their physical state and transition to the spiritual, angelic state, which would be difficult and heavy moments on them, particularly at the beginning of their missions. However, it would become easier on them by time, later in their mission, as they would get used to it.

 

This was the case with the Messenger of Allah, Muhammed, pbbuh, who experienced this transition from his physical state to his spiritual state every time he received revelation. Thus, at the moments he received verses of the Holy Quran, he was experiencing the transition between the two states, which was hard on him.

 

He, pbbuh, said: "Sometimes, the revelation (from the Angel Jibril) comes to me as a ringing of a bell and it does not leave me until I comprehend (a'ay) what he has said. In other times, the Angel comes to me in the form of a man, he speaks to me, and I comprehend (understand) what he says."

 

The Mother of the Believers, 'Aysha, (wife of the Messenger of Allah, pbbuh), mAbpwh, said that "the (wa'hi) inspiration (or revelation) would descend on him in a very cold day, and by the time it left him, his forehead would be covered with sweat (as evidence of how hard it was on him)."

 

Allah, praise to him, described revelation as heavy on His Messenger, as we read in Verse 5 of Surat Al-Muzzammil (Chapter 73 of the Holy Quran):

 

 

( 73: 5).

 

 

We will cast upon you a heavy saying (message) (Al-Muzzammil, 73: 5).

 

Thus, Bin Khaldoon gave us insights about how the Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, could understand what he saw and heard during his Night Journey to the Heavens and beyond. [11] 

 

 

Al-Sha'arawi 

 

Among the contemporary Muslim scholars, Al-Sha'arawi provided various interpretations and explanations of how the Night Journey was conducted. He argued for the majority opinion, saying that it was in body and soul, while the Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, was awake, mentioning and discussing Verse 60 of Surat Al-Issra (Chapter 17) of the Holy Quran:

 

 

  ( 17: 60).

 

 

And We did not make the sight which We enabled you to see except as a trial for the people (Al-Issra, 17: 60).

 

He based his argument on the content of the verse, asking rhetorically about how the sight can be a trial for people! His answer was if the sight was during his sleep, there would be no trial for the people, to believe him or not.

 

Who would dispute a person saying that he had a dream flying from Makkah to Baytul Maqdis, then to the heavens and coming back? Nobody would dispute that and there would be no trial for the people. However, because the Night Journey was in body and soul, while the Prophet, pbbuh, was awake, it was a trial for the people, some of whom believed him while others did not (Al-Sha'arawi, pages 82, 102).

 

Al-Sha'arawi also argued that the Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, was physically prepared for the Night Journey before it happened. The angels made changes in his body through three chest-belly surgeries. The first of these surgeries was when he was about ten years old. The second surgery was when he started receiving revelations. The third was just before embarking into the Night Journey (pages 133-134).

 

Though various versions of the Night Journey 'Hadith included at least the chest-belly surgery which happened just before the Journey, the other two surgeries were also mentioned in the Seera (biography) accounts of the Prophet, pbbuh. Al-Sha'arawi distinguished himself by making use of the three surgeries as means to prepare the Messenger of Allah,  Muhammed, pbbuh, to be able to receive revelations and to embark on this Journey.

 

Al-Sha'arawi was close to Bin Khaldoon in his argument that the Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, passed through three stages in his Night Journey. During the first stage, he was still Earthly in nature. He would ask the Angel Jibril, peace be to him, about what he saw, and Jibril would answer him. During the second Heavenly stage, he acquired an angelic nature, as he stopped asking Jibril about what he saw or heard because he understood without help from him. During the third stage, he was elevated to above the angelic nature, which allowed him to proceed to what is beyond the Seven Heavens and beyond

the Cedar (Lote Tree) of the Ultimate Destination (Sidratul Muntaha). Jibril himself could not proceed to that Light-dominated level, where the Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, could reach, which enabled him to be in audience with the Lord of the Heavens and the Earth (Pages 135-143).

 

Al-Sha'arawi gives the example of human space exploration to support his argument, saying that pilots and passengers flying over the Earth are provided with proper oxygen and pressure levels to keep them alive. Astronauts who are sent to outer space and the Moon (or other planets in the future) are provided with special suits, medications, and equipment necessary for their survival. These special arrangements enable them to withstand outer space conditions which are different from their Earthly habitat.

 

Al-Sha'arawi then concluded that if we, humans, could manage to do that (in the 15th Hijri Century, 20th Gregorian), then the Lord of the Heavens and the Earth was more capable to do that and more to His Messenger, pbbuh, during the Night Journey (Pages 148-149). [12]

 

 

Conclusion

 

Majority of early and contemporary Muslim scholars have agreed that the Night Journey of the Messenger of Allah, Muhammed, pbbuh, was in body and soul, while he was awake.

 

The Night Journey was a great blessing and a miracle from Allah, praise to Him, to His Messenger and the believers, in that it showed the unity of the community of the believers who followed the Messengers of Allah in various times, the unity of God's Message to humanity, and it was a reaffirmation of the everlasting rewards awaiting the righteous.

 

It was also a prophecy about the future capability of humans to fly over various Earthen regions and away from Earth to outer space, which has materialized in our time. Moreover, the Night Journey has opened a discussion about time, speed, and power in penetrating layers of heavens in the vast universe, and whether such a journey can be in soul only or in body and soul together.

 

The educational images shown to the Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, in heavens were meant as audio-visual illustrations of abstract concepts, which maybe taken as examples of how we can explain other abstract religious concepts by audio-visual technological means of our times, such as video-taped enactment of scenes, virtual reality shows, and simulations.

 

===================================

 

Notes:

 

 

[1] 'Assaf reports that Ibn Hisham, the prominent biographer of the Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, mentioned that he had two sons with the Mother of the Believers, Khadija, may Allah be pleased with her (mAbpwh). These were, in age order, Al-Qassim and Abdullah (nicknamed Al-Tayib and Al-Tahir). They also had four daughters. These were, in age order, Zaynab, Ruqaya, Um Kulthoom, and Fatima.  

 

The Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, also had a third son, Ibrahim, with his Coptic wife, the Mother of the Believers, Maria, mAbpwh.

 

'Assaf, Ahmed Muhammed. "Khulasatul Athar fi Seerati Sayidil Bashar," (in Arabic). Dar I'hya-ul 'Uloom: Beirut, Lebanon. (1421/2000, Page 26).

 

" " . : (1421\ 2000 15-58).

 

[2] Ibid ('Assaf).

 

As he was secluding himself in the Cave of 'Hira, contemplating about the Creator, the Senior Angel, Jibril, peace to him, came to him, commanding him to "Read," three times. Muhammed, pbbuh, replied every time that he doesn't read, as he was illiterate. That was the first Command of Allah to humanity, to read, to be educated, which started the mission of the final Messenger of God, as documented in Verses 1-5 of Surat Al-Qalam (Chapter 96) of the Holy Quran.

 

 

ٰ

 

﴿١

 

﴿٢

 

﴿٣

 

﴿٤

 

﴿٥﴾  ( 96: 1-5).

 

I seek refuge with Allah from the Stoned Shaytan (Satan)

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful 

 

Read in the name of your Lord who created - (1)

 

Created the human (being) from a leech-like (clinging) substance. (2)

 

Read, and your Lord is the most Generous - (3)

 

Who taught by the pen - (4)

 

Taught the human (being) that which he did not know. (5) (Al-'Alaq, 96: 1-5).

 

 

[3] Here's the Arabic text of his supplication, asking for God's support, following the Ta-if people's rejection and mistreatment of him:

 

 

" . .

 

.

 

  .

 

. ."

 

:

 

http://forum.stop55.com/351960.html

 

13655 ѡ ڡ ȡ 1451.

 

Translation of the Prophet's supplication after his trip to Al-Ta-if:

 

"Oh, Allah, I complain to you from the weakness in my strength, and my little power, and the mistreatment from people.

 

O You, the Most Merciful, You are the Lord of the weakened (oppressed), and You are my Lord. To whom are You leaving me? To a stranger frowning on me?  Or to an enemy You have given control of my affair?

 

If there is no anger from You towards me, I do not mind.  However, your power (blessing) is vastly important for me.

 

I seek refuge with the Light of Your Face, which has lit the darknesses,  and has enabled the functioning of this life and the hereafter, not to allow Your anger to descend on me, nor Your displeasure to befall on me.

 

To You is the supplication until you are pleased, and there is no control or power except by You."

 

Status of this 'Hadith:

 

Ascription, or attribution of this 'Hadith to the Prophet, pbbuh, is weak, as it was not reported in the two main 'Hadith books of Bukhari and Muslim. It was reported by Al-Tabarani in his book, "Al-Kabeer," under number 13655.

 

See Al-Albani's investigation about this weak 'Hadith at:

 

http://forum.stop55.com/351960.html

 

 

[4] The background information to the Journey of Al-Issra Wal Mi'raj are mentioned in detail in "Khulasatul Athar fi Seerati Sayidil Bashar" By Ahmed Muhammed 'Assaf (in Arabic). Dar I'hya-ul 'Uloom: Beirut, Lebanon. (1421/2000, Pages 15-58).  

 

" " . : (1421\ 2000 15-58).

 

 

[5] Al-Sha'arawi, Muhammed Mutawalli. "Shar'hu 'Hadeeth Al-Issra Wal Mi'rage" (Explaining the 'Hadith of the Night Journey and Ascent - in Arabic). Cairo, Egypt: Maktabat Al-Turath Al-Islami. 1420 / 1999.

 

" " . : (1420 \  1999).

 

The three early prominent Islamic scholars, known for their interpretations of the Holy Quran, are Al-Tabari (Died in 310 Hijria about 922 Gregorian), Al-Qurtubi (Died in 671 Hijria, about 1272 Gregorian), and Bin (Ibn) Katheer (Died in 774 Hijria, about 1372 Gregorian).

 

They employed their knowledge of Arabic as well as their comprehensive knowledge of the Holy Quran, using verses in one context to explain other verses in other contexts. Their most important contribution, though, was including explanations from the 'Hadith of the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and from his companions, may Allah be pleased with all of them and reward them for their great works.

 

The Hadiths of Al-Issra wal Mi'raj were even collated in one version combining various narrations, such as the following one posted on:

 

http://www.sunnah.org/ibadaat/fasting/ascen3.htm 

 

[6] Various versions of the Night Journey 'Hadith can be found in many sources, such as those of the main 'Hadith collectors: Al-Bukhari (3886, 4710), Muslim (169/276), Al-Tirmidhi (3133), Al-Nissa-i (11282), and Ahmed in his Musnad (3/377).

Various versions of the Night Journey 'Hadith can also be found in the interpretation books of the Holy Quran, such as those of Al-Tabari, Al-Qurtubi, and Bin (Ibn) Katheer, which can be accessed at:

http://quran.al-islam.com/Loader.aspx?pageid=215 ).

 

Various versions of the Night Journey 'Hadith can further be found in the Seerah (Prophet's biography) books, such as that of Ibn Hisham; books of contemporary scholars, such as Al-Sha'arawi (who provided detailed citations of sources for the various versions of the Night Journey 'Hadith).

 

Finally, various versions of the Night Journey 'Hadith can be found at many online websites, such as:

 

http://www.freewebs.com/siraa/33.htm  

 

The main reason for the various versions of the Hadith, instead of just one version, is that the Companions of the Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, wrote down revelations, represented by the verses of the Holy Quran, the Word of God. Sayings ('Hadith) of the Messengers of Allah, pbbuh, were mainly memorized and narrated orally, in order not to be confused as part of the Holy Quran.

 

Some of the Companions and Muslim scholars wrote down the 'Hadith during the life of the Messenger of Allah and after that. However, the official writing down of the 'Hadith started at the end of the first Hijri century, when the Umayyad Khalifa (Caliph) 'Omar Bin 'Abdul 'Aziz (61-101 Hijriya, 681-720 Gregorian) ordered governors of various provinces to make efforts towards that end. These efforts continued after that to the end of the Umayyad period and through the Abbasid period.

 

One of these Companions was Abdullah Bin 'Omar, mAbpw them, who was mentioned by Bin Katheer, in his interpretation of Verse 4 of Surat Al-Najm (Chapter 53) of the Holy Quran:

 

 

:

 

" - - " " ."

 

:

 

" " .

 

.

 

:

 

" ."

 

:

 

" " " .

 

 (   53).  

 

[7] Prayer before the Night Journey was in the form of Du'a, spplication, praising Allah, and calling on Him for his mercy, forgiveness, and blessings. The Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, and early Muslims prayed this way at night and recited verses from the Holy Quran, before going to bed and when they awoke at dawn, as early Muslim scholars concluded from the Makkan verses of the Holy Quran and some narrations by the Prophet's Companions, may Allah be pleased with them. 

 

After the Night Journey, Jibril, peace be to him, taught the Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, how and when to pray the five daily ordained prayers.

 

 

: ( ) ( 103) : ( ) ( : 56). ϡ .

 

  : ( ) ( : 110). " : ..." .

 

. . : ( ) ( : 55).

 

http://ejabat.google.com/ejabat/thread?tid=2273136713e30952

 

 

(526) : : . : . : . : . ... : - : ( ) . " " .

 

"" ( 1773) (2 / 285 ) . : " . : " " . " " (4 / 148) -

 

. (3935) (685) : ( ) .   -

 

: " " (27 / 52-53) : " . " .   -

 

. : " , .

 

( ) , ."  : " , : , ( ) .

 

http://www.islam-qa.com/ar/145725

 

 

[8] Al-Tabari (Abu Ja'far Muhammad Bin Jarir) was born in Amol, Tabaristan, of today's Iran, in 224 Hijriyah, 840 Gregorian, and died in Baghdad, in Iraq today, in 310 Hijriyah, 923 Gregorian.

 

He is most known for his famous interpretation of the verses of the Holy Quran, titled as "Jāmi` al-bayān fi ta'wīl āy al-Qur'ān," popularly known as "Tafsīr Al-Ṭabarī" (Al-Tabari's Interpretation), which took him seven years to finish, from the year 283 until 290 Hijriya.

 

He addressed the issue of Al-Issra Wal Mi'raj, arguing that it happened in body and soul, while the Prophet, pbbuh, was awake, part of his interpretation of the first verse of Surat Al-Issra (Chapter 17) of the Holy Quran. 

 

Here's the Arabic text of his interpretation of the Verse: 

 

 

" ." ( 17: 1).

 

:

 

, : , , , , , , , .

 

: , . : 16628 - , : , , : , : . 16629 - , : , , : , : , . 16630

 

, : , : { } 17 60 , : { } 37 102 , , : " " .

 

( ) :

 

, , , , , ; : , , , , , , ,

 

, , , .

 

, .  

 

[9] Al-Qurtubi (Muhammed Bin Ahmed Bin Abi Bakr Bin Qaz'h) was born in in the first decade of 7th Hijri Century, in  Qurtuba, Andalusia, and died in Minyat Bani Khaseeb, South Egypt, in 671 Hijriya.

 

His famous work containing an interpretation of the Holy Quran is titled, "Tafseer Al-Qurtubi."

 

Al-Qurtubi addressed the issue of Al-Issra Wal Mi'raj, arguing that it happened in body and soul, while the Prophet, pbbuh, was awake, part of his interpretation of the first verse of Surat Al-Issra (Chapter 17) of the Holy Quran.

 

Here's the Arabic text of his interpretation of the Verse:

 

 

. , ; , , , .

 

:

 

  , , , , . , .

 

; : " " . : , .

 

, , . .

 

, , . " " [ : 17 ] . , : , , , , , : : ( ) : , : ! . : : ( ) . : : ( , ) . : . : , .

 

: ( - - ) .

 

( ( , . , . ( ) . : " " [ : 60 ] . : " " . : , . , , , ; , : ( . .. ) . . .

 

[10]  Bin (Ibn) Katheer (Abu Al-Fida, Issma'il Bin 'Omar) was born in Majdal, Bussra, South of Syria, in 700 Hijriya but he lived, was educated, and died in Damascus, in 774).  

 

He is most famous for his work of interpreting the Holy Quran titled, "Tafseer al-Quran Al-'Adheem," more known as "Tafseer Bin Katheer."

 

The following is the Arabic text of his summary and interpretation of the Night Journey, in which he summarized the opinions of the majority and minority of Muslim scholars about it.

 

:

 

  . . . .

 

. . . . " " " " " " .

 

" " .

 

: . : . " " " " " " .

 

" " . .

 

: . .

 

. : " " " " : " " .

 

[11]  Bin Khaldoon (Abū Zayd 'Abdul Raḥman Bin Muḥammad Bin Khaldoun Al-Ḥaḍhrami) was born in Tunis, North Africa in 732 Hijriya (1332 AD) but lived also in Andalusia, Muslim Spain, and died in Cairo, Egypt, in 808 Hijriya (1406 Gregorian).

 

He had written his famous Introduction" (to 'ilmul Ijtima' or "Sociology" in English), about five centuries before Auguste Compte started modern sociology in France in the 19th century, which made him the "Father of Sociology."  

 

Bin Khaldoon's book is titled, "Al-Muqadima: Kitab Al-'Iber ... (The Introduction: The Book of Lessons, the Volume of the Premises and Results About the Days of Arabs, Persians, Barbars, and their Contemporaries with Great Power). Maktabat Al-Madina Al-Monawara for Publication and Distribution - Al-Dar Al-Tunisiya for Publication. Tunis, 1984.

 

He explained the Prophet's ability to be in heavens, interact with the angels and souls of dead Messengers of God by his changed spiritual level, and comprehend what he saw there (Pages 132-141, 570-573).

 

[12] Al-Sha'arawi provided various interpretations and explanations of how the Night Journey was conducted, pages 76-161, 220-223.  He was born and died in Egypt (April 5, 1911 June 17, 1998).

 

Al-Sha'arawi, Muhammed Mutawalli. "Shar'hu 'Hadeeth Al-Issra Wal Mi'rage" (Explaining Hadith of the Night Journey and Ascent - in Arabic). Cairo, Egypt: Maktabat Al-Turath Al-Islami. 1420 / 1999.

 

" " . : (1420 \  1999).

 

-------------------------------------

 

* Dr. Hassan Ali El-Najjar has a Ph.D. in Sociology and a Masters degree in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Georgia, USA. He is also a native speaker of Arabic.

 

 

Opinions expressed in various sections are the sole responsibility of their authors and they may not represent Al-Jazeerah's.

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