23. The Holy Night of Me`raaj

Surah No. 17, Al Isra (Bani Israil), Ayat No. 1

سُبْحَانَ الَّذِي أَسْرَى بِعَبْدِهِ لَيْلاً مِّنَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ إِلَى الْمَسْجِدِ الأَقْصَى الَّذِي

o بَارَكْنَا حَوْلَهُ لِنُرِيَهُ مِنْ آيَاتِنَا إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ البَصِيرُ

Translation :



Glory to (Allah) Who took His servant (Mohammad saws) for a journey by night from Masjide -Haraam (at Makkah) to Masjid-al-Aqsa (in Jerusalem), in the neighbourhood of Which We have blessed, in order that We might show him some of our Signs : Verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer.



Surah No. 53, An Najm, Ayat No. 13 -18



o عِندَهَا جَنَّةُ الْمَأْوَى o عِندَ سِدْرَةِ الْمُنْتَهَى o وَلَقَدْ رَآهُ نَزْلَةً أُخْرَى

o مَا زَاغَ الْبَصَرُ وَمَا طَغَى o إِذْ يَغْشَى السِّدْرَةَ مَا يَغْشَى

o لَقَدْ رَأَى مِنْ آيَاتِ رَبِّهِ الْكُبْرَى

Translation :



And indeed he (Mohammad saws) saw him [Jibraeel (Gabriel)] another time near Sidratil-Muntaha (a lote-tree ). Near it is the Paradise of Abode.When the lote-tree was covered with a shadow! The sight (of Prophet Mohammad saws) did not turn aside (right or left), nor it transgressed beyond the limit. Indeed he (Mohammad saws) saw the Greatest Signs of his Lord (Allah)

 
 
Comments :
 
The event referred to in this verse is known " Me`raj " and " Isra". According to authentic Ahadis, this took place a year before Hijrat. Its details have been related by a large number of the Companions like, Anas bin Malik, Malik bin Sa`asaa, Abuzar Ghaffari, Abu Hurairah `Umar, `Ali, and Abdullah bin Mas`ud (Allah be pleased with them). The Qur'an does not give any details other than this but further details are found in the Ahadis :

The 27th of Rajab (tonight) is recognized by the majority of Muslims to be the day when Al-Israa and Al-Me'raaj took place. This is when our Prophet Mohammed (saws) was taken by night from Masjid-e-Haraam in Makkah to Masjid Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem. This is called Al-Israa in the Qur'an. Then, the Prophet (saws) was taken from Al-Aqsa on a journey into the 7 heavens. This is called Al-Me'raaj.

 

Here is one account of what happened on the Night Journey and the Ascension (climbing).That is Me`raaj.


Hadis : Book No 58 Sahih Al Bukhari,Hadis No. 227

Narrated Abbas bin Malik (ra):

Malik bin Sa`asaa(ra) said that Allah's Apostle described to them his Night Journey saying, "While I was lying in Al-Hatim or Al-Hijr, suddenly someone came to me and cut my body open from here to here." I asked Al-Jarud who was by my side, "What does he mean?" He said, "It means from his throat to his pubic area," or said, "From the top of the chest." The Prophet further said, "He then took out my heart. Then a gold tray of Belief was brought to me and my heart was washed and was filled (with Belief) and then returned to its original place. Then a white animal which was smaller than a mule (hybrid donkey) and bigger than a donkey was brought to me. The Prophet said, "The animal's step (was so wide that it) reached the farthest point within the reach of the animal's sight. I was carried on it, and Jibraeel (Gabriel) set out with me till we reached the nearest heaven.

When he asked for the gate to be opened, it was asked, 'Who is it?' Jibraeel answered, 'Jibraeel.' It was asked, 'Who is accompanying you?' Jibraeel replied, 'Mohammad.' It was asked, 'Has Mohammad been called?' Jibraeel replied in the affirmative. Then it was said, 'He is welcomed. What an excellent visit his is!' The gate was opened, and when I went over the first heaven, I saw Adam there. Jibraeel said (to me). 'This is your father, Adam; pay him your greetings.' So I greeted him and he returned the greeting to me and said, 'You are welcomed, O pious son and pious Prophet.' Then Jibraeel ascended with me till we reached the second heaven. Jibraeel asked for the gate to be opened. It was asked, 'Who is it?' Jibraeel answered, 'Jibraeel.' It was asked, 'Who is accompanying you?' Jibraeel replied, 'Mohammad.' It was asked, 'Has he been called?' Jibraeel answered in the affirmative. Then it was said, 'He is welcomed. What an excellent visit his is!' The gate was opened.

When I went over the second heaven, there I saw Yahya (John) and 'Isa (Jesus) who were cousins of each other. Jibraeel said (to me), 'These are Yahya and Isa; pay them your greetings.' So I greeted them and both of them returned my greetings to me and said, 'You are welcomed, O pious brother and pious Prophet.' Then Jibraeel ascended with me to the third heaven and asked for its gate to be opened. It was asked, 'Who is it?' Jibraeel replied, 'Jibraeel.' It was asked, 'Who is accompanying you?' Jibraeel replied, 'Mohammad.' It was asked, 'Has he been called?' Jibraeel replied in the affirmative. Then it was said, 'He is welcomed, what an excellent visit his is!' The gate was opened, and when I went over the third heaven there I saw Yousuf (Joseph). Jibraeel said (to me), 'This is Yousuf ; pay him your greetings.' So I greeted him and he returned the greeting to me and said, 'You are welcomed, O pious brother and pious Prophet.' Then Jibraeel ascended with me to the fourth heaven and asked for its gate to be opened. It was asked, 'Who is it?' Jibraeel replied, 'Jibraeel ' It was asked, 'Who is accompanying you?' Jibraeel replied, 'Mohammad.' It was asked, 'Has he been called?' Jibraeel replied in the affirmative. Then it was said, 'He is welcomed, what an excellent visit his is!'

The gate was opened, and when I went over the fourth heaven, there I saw Idris. Jibraeel said (to me), 'This is Idris; pay him your greetings.' So I greeted him and he returned the greeting to me and said, 'You are welcomed, O pious brother and pious Prophet.' Then Jibraeel ascended with me to the fifth heaven and asked for its gate to be opened. It was asked, 'Who is it?' Jibraeel replied, 'Jibraeel.' It was asked. 'Who is accompanying you?' Jibraeel replied, 'Mohammad.' It was asked, 'Has he been called?' Jibraeel replied in the affirmative. Then it was said He is welcomed, what an excellent visit his is! So when I went over the fifth heaven, there I saw Harun (Aaron), Jibraeel said, (to me). This is Harun; pay him your greetings.' I greeted him and he returned the greeting to me and said, 'You are welcomed, O pious brother and pious Prophet.' Then Jibraeel ascended with me to the sixth heaven and asked for its gate to be opened. It was asked. 'Who is it?' Jibraeel replied, 'Jibraeel.' It was asked, 'Who is accompanying you?' Jibraeel replied, 'Mohammad.' It was asked, 'Has he been called?' Jibraeel replied in the affirmative. It was said, 'He is welcomed. What an excellent visit his is!'

When I went (over the sixth heaven), there I saw Musa (Moses). Jibraeel said (to me),' This is Musa; pay him your greeting. So I greeted him and he returned the greetings to me and said, 'You are welcomed, O pious brother and pious Prophet.' When I left him (Musa) he wept. Someone asked him, 'What makes you weep?' Musa said, 'I weep because after me there has been sent (as Prophet) a young man whose followers will enter Paradise in greater numbers than my followers.' Then Jibraeel ascended with me to the seventh heaven and asked for its gate to be opened. It was asked, 'Who is it?' Jibraeel replied, 'Jibraeel .' It was asked,' Who is accompanying you?' Jibraeel replied, 'Mohammad.' It was asked, 'Has he been called?' Jibraeel replied in the affirmative. Then it was said, 'He is welcomed. What an excellent visit his is!'

So when I went (over the seventh heaven), there I saw Ibrahim (Abraham). Jibraeel said (to me), 'This is your father; pay your greetings to him.' So I greeted him and he returned the greetings to me and said, 'You are welcomed, O pious son and pious Prophet.' Then I was made to ascend to Sidrat-ul-Muntaha (i.e. the Lote Tree of the utmost boundary) Behold! Its fruits were like the jars of Hajr (i.e. a place near Medina) and its leaves were as big as the ears of elephants. Jibraeel said, 'This is the Lote Tree of the utmost boundary) . Behold ! There ran four rivers, two were hidden and two were visible, I asked, 'What are these two kinds of rivers, O Jibraeel ?' He replied,' As for the hidden rivers, they are two rivers in Paradise and the visible rivers are the Nile and the Euphrates.'

Then Al-Bait-ul-Ma'mur (i.e. the Sacred House) was shown to me and a container full of wine and another full of milk and a third full of honey were brought to me. I took the milk. Jibraeel remarked, 'This is the Islamic religion which you and your followers are following.' Then the prayers were enjoined on me: They were fifty salats a day. When I returned, I passed by Musa who asked (me), 'What have you been ordered to do?' I replied, 'I have been ordered to offer fifty prayers a day.' Musa said, 'Your followers cannot bear fifty prayers a day, and by Allah, I have tested people before you, and I have tried my level best with Bani Israel (in vain). Go back to your Lord and ask for reduction to lessen your followers' burden.' So I went back, and Allah reduced ten prayers for me. Then again I came to Musa, but he repeated the same as he had said before. Then again I went back to Allah and He reduced ten more prayers. When I came back to Musa he said the same, I went back to Allah and He ordered me to observe ten prayers a day. When I came back to Musa, he repeated the same advice, so I went back to Allah and was ordered to observe five prayers a day.

When I came back to Musa, he said, 'What have you been ordered?' I replied, 'I have been ordered to observe five prayers a day.' He said, 'Your followers cannot bear five prayers a day, and no doubt, I have got an experience of the people before you, and I have tried my level best with Bani Israel, so go back to your Lord and ask for reduction to lessen your follower's burden.' I said, 'I have requested so much of my Lord that I feel ashamed, but I am satisfied now and surrender to Allah's Order.' When I left, I heard a voice saying, 'I have passed My Order and have lessened the burden of My Worshipers."

After this journey, the Prophet (saws) was returned to Makkah. All of this occurred within one night. The Holy Prophet (saws) saw the wonders of Paradise with his own eyes and met with the greatest prophets.

The people of Makkah learned of the Prophet's visit and questioned him about it. They could not believe that he had actually made such a journey in one night from Makkah to Jerusalem. As proof, they asked him to describe Masjid Al-Aqsa knowing that he had never been there before. He described the Masjid and its surroundings with precise detail. Moreover, the Prophet said, "On my way back, I saw some of your shepherds grazing their animals in a particular location. They were searching for a camel they had lost." The Prophet continued by giving the description of the camel. When these shepherds came back, they told their people what happened to them--precisely as the Prophet had already told them.

 

 
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