Isra and Miraj: The long journey of one night
“Glory to Allah who did take His Servant for a Journey by night from the Sacred Mosque to the Furthest Mosque whose precincts We did bless, in order that We might show him some of Our Signs. For Allah hears and sees all things” (17: 1)
‘Isra’ means to travel at night. And ‘Miraj’ means ascension. In the verse, the journey from Masjid al-Haram to Masjid al-Aqsa is called Isra. And the journey from there to heaven is called Miraj. In this verse, the subject of ‘Isra’ has been mentioned. And the subject of ‘Miraj’ is proved by Surah Najm and Sahih Hadith.
Isra and Miraj was not spiritual, it was physical
The journey of Isra and Miraj was not spiritual; Rather, it was like a visit of a common man. This is proved by the Quran and Sunnah. The word ‘Subhana’ at the beginning of the above-mentioned verse indicates this. Because this word is used for amazing and huge things. If Miraj happened only in the spiritual, that is, in the dream world, then what is there to wonder? In dreams, every human being can see incredible things.
This is also indicated by the word ‘Abd’. Because it is not just the soul that is called ‘Abd’; Rather, the sum of both soul and body is called ‘Abd’ (servant). Besides, when the Prophet (SAW) narrated the incident of Miraj to Umm Hani (R), she advised him not to reveal it to everyone. Because the disbelievers will deny him. If the matter was just a dream, then what was the reason for the disbelievers to deny it?
Then, when the Messenger of Allah, (SAW), revealed the incident, the disbelievers lied and mocked. Many neo-Muslims even apostatized on hearing this news. If the matter was just a dream, then why there were such incidents? However, it is not the opposite if there is a spiritual Miraj in the form of a dream before or after this event.
All Muslims agree on Isra and Miraj. Only the apostate did not accept it.
A brief account of the Miraj
That is, the Prophet (SAW) traveled to Isra and Miraj while awake, not in a dream. He made this journey from Makkah to Baitul Muqaddas in Borak. Arriving at the door of Baitul Muqaddas, he tied the Borak a little away and entered the mosque of Baitul Muqaddas and prayed two rakats of Salah.
Then go up the stairs first to the sky, then to the other heavens. Allah knows best the nature of that staircase. However, the angels in each heaven greeted him, and Moses in the sixth heaven and Ibrahim in the seventh heaven met him. He then passed the places of the Prophets and reached a plain where the sound of writing the destiny was heard.
Then he saw ‘Sidratul Muntaha’. There, at the command of Allah, golden butterflies of various colors were flying. Angels surrounded the place. There he saw ‘Rafraf’ and Baitul Mamur like a green palanquin on a horizon. Ibrahim, the founder of the Kaaba, was reclining against the wall near Baitul Mamur. 70,000 angels enter inside the Baitul Mamur daily. They will not have the opportunity to enter it again till the Day of Resurrection.
Then the Prophet (SAW) saw Paradise and Hell with his own eyes. At that time, the first 50 prayers were made obligatory for his Ummah. Then it was reduced to five times. This proves the special importance and superiority of prayer (Salah) in all acts of worship. He then returned to Baitul Muqaddas and the prophets he met in different heavens also descended with him in Baitul Muqaddas. They departed from here, and the Messenger of Allah (SAW) rode to Makkah in the dark.
The reaction of the people of Makkah
This journey to Miraj caused excitement among the common people and the skeptics threw various questions at the Prophet (SAW). The infidels of Makkah took this as an opportunity to provoke the Muslims.
They began to ask the Prophet (SAW) about the Masjid Al-Aqsa or the Baitul Muqaddas Mosque in Jerusalem, where he had never been before. But surprising everyone, the Prophet (SAW) answered all their questions correctly. But even this did not change their hatred of Islam and they could accept nothing but disbelief.
The believing Muslims never thought of this journey of Miraj as unbelievable. All Muslims believe that Allah, the Almighty, Who created the heavens and the earth, has the capacity to show His Messenger various signs in the heavens.
The strongest point in this matter of faith is seen in the commentary of Abu Bakr (R). He said in response to the disbelievers’ disbelief,
“Yeah, I undoubtedly believe in all that things the Prophet (SAW) told to us.”
After this incident, The Prophet (SAW) gave Abu Bakr the title of ‘As-Siddiq’ or ‘Witness of Truth’