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The Time that Isra' took place, and the Fact that it included both Body and Soul, when the ... Print E-mail

Musa bin `Uqbah said, narrating from Az-Zuhri: "The Isra' happened one year before the Hijrah.'' This was also the opinion of `Urwah. As-Suddi said: "It happened sixteen months before the Hijrah.'' The truth is that the Prophet was taken on the Night Journey when he was awake, not in a dream, and he went from Makkah to Bayt Al-Maqdis riding on Al-Buraq. When he reached the door of the sanctuary, he tied up his animal by the door and entered, where he prayed two Rak`ahs to `greet the Masjid'. Then the Mi`raj was brought to him, which is a ladder with steps which one climbs up. So he went up on it to the first heaven, then he went up to the rest of the seven heavens. In each heaven he was welcomed by the most pious of its inhabitants, and he greeted the Prophets who were in the various heavens according to their positions and status. He passed by Musa, the one who spoke with Allah, in the sixth heaven, and Ibrahim, the close friend (Khalil) of Allah in the seventh heaven. Then he surpassed them and all the Prophets in status and reached a level where he could hear the creaking of the pens, i.e., the pens of destiny which write down what is decreed to happen. He saw Sidrat Al-Muntaha, covered by the command of Allah, and its greatness, its butterflies of gold and various colours, surrounded by the angels. There he saw Jibril in his real form, with six hundred wings. He saw green cushions blocking the horizon. He saw Al-Bayt Al-Ma`mur, and Ibrahim Al-Khalil, the builder of the earthly Ka`bah, leaning back against it, the heavenly Ka`bah; every day, seventy thousand angels enter and worship therein, then they do not return to it until the Day of Resurrection. He saw Paradise and Hell, and Allah enjoined upon him fifty prayers, then reduced it to five, as an act of mercy and kindness towards His servants. In this is a strong indication of the greatness and virtue of the prayers. Then he came back down to Bayt Al-Maqdis, and the Prophets came down with him and he led them in prayer there when the time for prayer came. It may have been the dawn prayer of that day. Some people claim that he led them in prayer in heaven, but the reports seem to say that it was in Bayt Al-Maqdis. In some reports it says that it happened when he first entered (i.e., before ascending into the heavens), but it is more likely that it was after he came back, because when he passed by them in the places in the heavens, he asked Jibril about them, one by one, and Jibril told him about them. This is more appropriate, because he was first required to come before the Divine Presence, so that what Allah willed could be enjoined upon him and his Ummah. When the matter for which he was required had been dealt with, he and his brother-Prophets gathered, and his virtue and high position in relation to them became apparent when he was asked to come forward to lead them, which was when Jibril indicated to him that he should do so. Then he came out of Bayt Al-Maqdis and rode on Al-Buraq back to Makkah in the darkness of the night. And Allah knows best. As for his being presented with the vessels containing milk and honey, or milk and wine, or milk and water, or all of these, some reports say that this happened in Bayt Al-Maqdis, and others say that it happened in the heavens. It is possible that it happened in both places, because it is like offering food or drink to a guest when he arrives, and Allah knows best. The Prophet was taken on the Night Journey with body and soul, he was awake, not asleep. The evidence for this is the Ayah:

﴿سُبْحَانَ الَّذِى أَسْرَى بِعَبْدِهِ لَيْلاً مِّنَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ إِلَى الْمَسْجِدِ الاٌّقْصَى الَّذِى بَارَكْنَا حَوْلَهُ﴾

(Glorified (and Exalted) be He (Allah) Who took His servant for a Journey by Night from Al-Masjid Al-Haram to Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa, the neighborhood whereof We have blessed,) The words "Subhan Allah'' (Glorified and exalted be Allah) are spoken in the case of serious matters. If it had been a dream, it would have been a significant matter and would not have been so astounding; the disbelievers of the Quraysh would not have hastened to label him a liar and the group of people who had become Muslims would not have deserted the faith. The word `Abd (servant) refers to both soul and body. Allah says:

﴿أَسْرَى بِعَبْدِهِ لَيْلاً﴾

(took His servant for a Journey by Night) and:

﴿وَمَا جَعَلْنَا الرُّءْيَا الَّتِى أَرَيْنَـكَ إِلاَّ فِتْنَةً لِّلنَّاسِ﴾

(And We made not the vision which we showed you but a trial for mankind) ﴿17:60﴾ Ibn `Abbas said: "This is the vision that the Messenger of Allah saw with his own eyes during the Journey by Night, and the cursed tree is the tree of Zaqqum.'' This was recorded by Al-Bukhari. Allah said:

﴿مَا زَاغَ الْبَصَرُ وَمَا طَغَى ﴾

(The sight (of Prophet Muhammad ) turned not aside (right or left), nor it transgressed beyond the limit (ordained for it))(53:17) Sight (Al-Basr) is a physical faculty, not a spiritual one, and he was carried on Al-Buraq, a shining white animal. This too indicates a physical journey, because the soul does not need a means of transportation of this nature. And Allah knows best.

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