On the thirteenth year of the Islamic Mission, and before the Prophet’s emigration to Al-Median, Isra’ and Mi’raj miraculous night journey occurred.
Historic texts narrate that while Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) was sleeping in his aunt’s house, Om Hani, daughter of Abu Talib (as), Gabriel the Angel came accompanied with a white animal called Al-Buraq.
“While I was at the House in a state midway between sleep and wakefulness, (an angel recognized me) as the man lying between two men. A golden tray full of wisdom and belief was brought to me and my body was cut open from the throat to the lower part of the abdomen and then my abdomen was washed with Zam-zam water and (my heart was) filled with wisdom and belief,” Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) said.
Gabriel took the Prophet in a journey to the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem where he (pbuh) met with the previous prophets, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and others, and led a prayer with them.
After the prayers, Gabriel and the Prophet Mohammad ascended to the heavens where he (pbuh) witnessed the might of Allah and the secrets of His Greatness, as well the hidden wonders of the universe.
Stories stated that the journey took only one night, and Prophet Mohammad returned to his place before dawn. On the second morning, historians said, the news had been spread among Meccans, and infidels of Quraish started to discredit the Messenger of Allah and to deny the miraculous event, because they couldn’t realize the potential capability of Prophet (pbuh) to pass all that distance in one single night, even though he (pbuh) told them that he passed on his way by a trade convoy and described it to them.
Prophet Mohammad: Isra’ and Mi’rajMoreover, a group of Muslims left Islam when they heard about the ‘Isra’ and Mi’raj’ because they couldn’t contain it.
In this context, it is important to shed light upon several points:
First: ‘Isra’ and Mi’raj’ is referred to briefly in the Qur’an in the two surats of Al-Isra’ and An-Najm.
“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.” Surat Al-Isra (1)
“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.” Surat Al-Isra’ (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.” Surat An-Najm (13-18)
We also believe in Isra’ and Mi’raj on the basis of the many reliable texts by the Prophet (pbuh) himself, hadith, two of the best known were narrated by Anas ibn Malik.
Second: It is well known among Muslims that Isra’ and Mi’raj was not a dream or spiritual showdown, but a real journey event that happened during wakefulness. This is evidenced by the Quran verses referring to the “servant”, i.e. the whole person of the Prophet (pbuh): his soul and his body. Had Isra’ and MI’raj was just a dream, infidels wouldn’t discredit it.
Prophet Mohammad: Isra’ and Mi’rajThird: Since crossing long distances within short periods is not impossible for humans, who have been thinking for years about combining capabilities to create fast transport means, would it be impossible for Allah Almighty, the Creator of man and the universe, to provide a way to His Prophet to go from the Al-Aqsa Mosque and to the kingdom of heaven, and bring him back to the first place in Mecca?! ..
We are confident that Allah had sent a special vehicle to Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) named “Al-Buraq”.
Fourth: The goal of Isra’ and Mi’raj was not to make the Prophet walk around in heavens to meet Allah Almighty, as simple people think, or as some western orientalists believed. The real goal is explicitly indicated in the first verse of Surat Al-Isra’: “to show him of Our Signs”, and in the eighteen verse of Surat An-Najm: “He certainly saw of the greatest signs of his Lord.” Thus the aim of this miraculous journey was to make known to Prophet Mohammad some aspects of Allah’s might and to share some secrets of His glorified greatness throughout the universe, so that his soul would become rich of more indications of Allah’s signs in the heavens and the universe, which in turn would motivate him to guide the people to Allah.
Historians narrated a dialogue between Imam Ali bin Hussain (as) – the 4th Imam of Prophet’s household – and another person asking him about the goal of Isra’ and Mi’raj, when he asked the Imam: “Is there a particular place for Allah (swt)?”
Imam replied: “No.”
The man went on to say: “Then why did He make his Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon him and his progeny, journey through the skies?”
Imam Ali bin Hussain (as), replied: “He made him ascend so that he might become aware of the expanse of the universe and see and hear wonderful things, the like of which had not been seen and heard by the eyes and ears before.”
In the same context, Imam Jafar Sadiq (as) and Imam Ali Rida (as) – the 7th and 8th Imams of Prophet’s household said once: “One who denies (any of these) three things is not among our Shia (followers): the Meraj (Night Ascension), the questioning in the grave and ash Shafa’ah (intercession)”.