Wednesday, July 4, 2018

The Miraculous Journey of Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) to Jerusalem (Israa) and Heavens (Mairaj)

Just a year before migration (Hijrah) of Prophet Muhammad (peace by upon him - ﷺ) from Makkah to Medina, a miracle took place when Allah had the prophet toured Masjid Al Aqsa in Jerusalem and from their his accession to the seven skies and Heavens when Allah spoke to Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ)  with a hijab in between. His flight at night from Makkah to Jerusalem is called as "Israa (In Arabic Israa means walking or traveling at night)" and his accession to Heavens is known as Mairaj (in Arabic Mairaj means ladder, rising or accession). This miraculous journey happened on the night of 27 Rajab, 621 CE.

The event is described in the Holy Qur'an as under:
Exalted is He who took His Servant by night from al-Masjid al-Haram to al-Masjid al- Aqsa, whose surroundings We have blessed, to show him of Our signs. Indeed, He is the Hearing, the Seeing." (Al Qur'an Surah Al Israa 17:1)
As later revealed by Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) himself to his companions, he was taken on a heavenly steed called "Buraq" brought by Angel Jibraeel (Gabriel) from Makkah to the farthest mosque in Jerusalem. The mosque is quoted to be the Masjid Al Aqsa, the first Qibla or the direction in which Muslims were asked to offer their prayers. From here Angel Jibraeel and Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) ascended to the Heavens and had the honour of speaking directly to Allah Almighty.

The event of Mairaj is mentioned in Qur'an not directly but those who can correlate the events can best understand the Heavenly language:
"And [remember, O Muhammad], when We told you, "Indeed, your Lord has encompassed the people." And We did not make the sight which We showed you except as a trial for the people, as was the accursed tree [mentioned] in the Qur'an. And We threaten them, but it increases them not except in great transgression." (Al Quran Surah Al Israa 17:60)
And he certainly saw him in another descent,
At the Lote Tree of the Utmost Boundary -
Near it is the Garden of Refuge -
When there covered the Lote Tree that which covered [it].
The sight [of the Prophet] did not swerve, nor did it transgress [its limit].
He certainly saw of the greatest signs of his Lord.
(Al Qur'an Surah Al Najm 53:13–18)
Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) offed prayers at a place of Prophet Musa (Moses) and then Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) lead a prayer at Masjid al Aqsa which was attended by a number of exalted prophets like Prophets Ibraheem (Abraham), Musa (Moses) and Eesa (Jesus), peace be upon them all.  

From the same place, Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) was taken up to the Heavens by Angel Jibraeel and shown the seven levels of the sky and Heavens. At each level Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) met the most revered prophets:  At the first level he met the father of all prophets Adam, followed by Prophet Zackariah (John the Baptist and Prophet Eesa (Jesus), Prophet Yousaf (Joseph), Prophet Idris, Prophet Haroun (Aaron), Prophet Musa (Moses) and last Prophet Ibraheem (Abraham).

After the prayer, Angel Jibraeel (Gabriel) brought two bowls; one of had wine and the other had milk, and asked to “Have either of them!" Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) chose the milk. Angel Jibraeel said to the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), "You chose the natural one; if you had chosen the wine, your ummah would have gone astray after you. You were led to the natural state by choosing the milk; your ummah was led to the natural state, too. Wine was rendered haram (forbidden) for you!” 

Thereafter, Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) visited Bayt al Mamoor (the much frequented house), which seventy thousand angels visited every day. This was followed by visit to to Sidra al-Muntaha (Lote Tree of the Extremity). Sidra al-Muntaha is a tree the roots of which are on the sixth level with branches all over the seventh level, thus providing a shadow that covers the whole sky and Paradise; its leaves are like elephant ears and its fruits are like large jars.

Form thereafter, Angel Jibraeel told the prophet that from then on he was to travel alone to the seventh level as his wings would burn from the Noor (Light) of the Allah Almighty. There on the seventh level, Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ)  met his Creator Allah the Almighty with a hijab in between, though at some places it is mentioned that Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ)  met Allah face to face. This seems a little exaggeration as Allah is not a human form but a source of immense light as was witnessed by Prophet Musa (Moses) at Jabl e Toor when he received the famous Ten Commandments.

Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ)  is also said to have toured the Heaven and Hell and was shown how the blessed and the cursed will live their lives in hereafter. Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ)  was also asked by Allah that all Muslims should pray for 50 times a day. When he descended and Prophet Mus asked him what he brought for his followers, Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ)  replied: 50 prayers. To this Prophet Musa asked Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ)  to go back as his followers will not able to pray 50 times a day. Prophet Muhammad (?) went and had the prayers reduced to 45 times. Once again Prophet Musa showed his reservation and asked to Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ)  to have the number reduced. This continued till the number was finally reduced to five. Although Prophet Musa still insisted for a further reduction, Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ)  replied that he would fell embarrassed for any more request. Thus Muslims since then offer prayers five times a day, though some still not completing the total count as appreciated by Prophet Musa.

Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) then descended to place of Masjid Al Aqsa where he had tied the heavenly steed Buraq at the gate of the masjid, mounted on Buraq and returned to Makkah. The entire journey took place between the the night prayer and the morning prayer. This is just a shortened description of Israa and Mairaj. For complete details you may consult the sites given in reference.

Photo | References >> 1 | 2 |
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