17 - Bani Israil (The Israelites)

6 Tafsir(s) related to verse 17.1

Al-Jalalayn

Glory be to Him — an affirmation of [God’s] transcendence — Who carried His servant, Muhammad (s), by night (laylan is in the accusative as an adverbial qualification; isrā’ means ‘to travel by night’; what is instructive about this mention [of laylan, ‘by night’] is that, through its being indefinite, there is an indication of the brevity of its duration) from the Sacred Mosque, that is, Mecca, to the Farthest Mosque, the Holy House [of Jerusalem], so called because of its distance from the former; the environs of which We have blessed, with fruits and rivers, that We might show him some of Our signs, the marvels of Our power. Indeed He is the Hearing, the Seeing, that is to say, the Knower of the Prophet’s (s) sayings and deeds. Thus He [God] was gracious to him by way of [carrying him on] the night journey, which comprised his encountering the [other] prophets, his ascension to heaven and the sight of the marvels of the [Divine] Realm and His communion, exalted be He, with him. For he [the Prophet] (s) said: ‘I was brought al-Burāq, a white animal, larger than a donkey but smaller than a mule; it was able to place its hoof [back] towards its extremity and so I mounted it. It set off carrying me until I reached the Holy House [of Jerusalem]. [There] I fastened the animal to the ring where the prophets fasten [their animals]. I then went in and prayed two units inside it. As I came out, Gabriel came to me with a jug of wine and a jug of milk, and so I chose the milk. Gabriel said [to me], “You have made the right choice [by choosing] the primordial nature (fitra)”.’ He [the Prophet] continued [the narration], ‘We then ascended to the heaven of this world, whereat Gabriel asked to be let in. Someone asked, “Who are you?”. He replied, “Gabriel”, “And who is with you?”, “Muhammad (s)”, he said. “Has he been sent for?”. “Yes, he has been sent for”. Then it was opened for us, and lo! Adam stood before me; he greeted me and prayed for well-being for me. We then ascended to the second heaven and Gabriel asked to be let in. Someone asked, “Who are you?”. He replied, “Gabriel”, “And who is with you?”, “Muhammad (s)”, he said.

Ibn Al Kathir

The Isra' (Night Journey)

Allah glorifies Himself, for His ability to do that which none but He can do, for there is no God but He and no Lord besides Him.

الَّذِى أَسْرَى بِعَبْدِهِ

(Who took His servant for a Journey) refers to Muhammad

لَيْلاً

(by Night) means, in the depths of the night.

مِّنَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ

(from Al-Masjid Al-Haram) means the Masjid in Makkah.

إِلَى الْمَسْجِدِ الاٌّقْصَى

(to Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa,) means the Sacred House which is in Jerusalem, the origin of the Prophets from the time of Ibrahim Al-Khalil. The Prophets all gathered there, and he (Muhammad ) led them in prayer in their own homeland. This indicates that he is the greatest leader of all, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him and upon them.

الَّذِى بَارَكْنَا حَوْلَهُ

(the neighborhood whereof We have blessed) means, its agricultural produce and fruits are blessed

لِنُرِيَهُ

(in order that We might show him), i.e., Muhammad

مِنْ ءَايَـتِنَا

(of Our Ayat.) i.e., great signs. As Allah says:

لَقَدْ رَأَى مِنْ ءَايَـتِ رَبِّهِ الْكُبْرَى

(Indeed he did see of the greatest signs, of his Lord (Allah).) (53:18) We will mention below what was narrated in the Sunnah concerning this.

إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ البَصِيرُ

(Verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer.) means, He hears all the words of His servants, believers and disbelievers, faithful and infidel, and He sees them and gives each of them what he deserves in this world and the Hereafter. Hadiths about Al-Isra'

The Report of Anas bin Malik

Imam Ahmad reported from Anas bin Malik that the Messenger of Allah said:

«أُتِيتُ بالْبُرَاقِ وَهُوَ دَابَّةٌ أَبْيَضُ فَوْقَ الْحِمَارِ وَدُونَ الْبَغْلِ، يَضَعُ حَافِرَهُ عِنْدَ مُنْتَهَى طَرَفِهِ، فَرَكِبْتُهُ فَسَارَ بِي حَتَّى أَتَيْتُ بَيْتَ الْمَقْدِسِ، فَرَبَطْتُ الدَّابَّةَ بِالْحَلَقَةِ الَّتِي يَرْبِطُ فِيهَا الْأَنْبِيَاءُ، ثُمَّ دَخَلْتُ فَصَلَّيْتُ فِيهِ رَكْعَتَيْنِ ثُمَّ خَرَجْتُ فَأَتَانِي جِبْرِيلُ بِإِنَاءٍ مِنْ خَمْرٍ وَإِنَاءٍ مِنْ لَبَنٍ، فَاخْتَرْتُ اللَّبَنَ فَقَالَ جِبْرِيلُ: أَصَبْتَ الْفِطْرَةَ. قَالَ: ثُمَّ عُرِجَ بِي إِلَى السَّمَاءِ الدُّنْيَا فَاسْتَفْتَحَ جِبْرِيلُ فَقِيلَ لَهُ: مَنْ أَنْتَ؟ قَالَ: جِبْرِيلُ. قِيلَ: وَمَنْ مَعَكَ؟ قَالَ: مُحَمَّدٌ. قِيلَ: وَقَدْ أُرْسِلَ إِلَيْهِ؟ قَالَ: قَدْ أُرْسِلَ إِلَيْهِ. فَفُتِحَ لَنَا فَإِذَا أَنَا بِآدَمَ فَرَحَّبَ بِي وَدَعَا لِي بِخَيْرٍ، ثُمَّ عُرِجَ بِنَا إِلَى السَّمَاءِ الثَّانِيَةِ فَاسْتَفْتَحَ جِبْرِيلُ فَقِيلَ لَهُ: مَنْ أَنْتَ؟ قَالَ: جِبْرِيلُ. قِيلَ: وَمَنْ مَعَكَ؟ قَالَ: مُحَمَّدٌ. قِيلَ: وَقَدْ أُرْسِلَ إِلَيْهِ؟ قَالَ: قَدْ أُرْسِلَ إِلَيْهِ، فَفُتِحَ لَنَا فَإِذَا أَنَا بِابْنَيِ الْخَالَةِ يَحْيَى وَعِيسَى فَرَحَّبَا بِي وَدَعَوَا لِي بِخَيْرٍ ثُمَّ عُرِجَ بِنَا إِلَى السَّمَاءِ الثَّالِثَةِ فَاسْتَفْتَحَ جِبْرِيلُ فَقِيلَ لَهُ: مَنْ أَنْتَ؟ قَالَ: جِبْرِيلُ، قِيلَ: وَمَنْ مَعَكَ؟ قَالَ: مُحَمَّدٌ قِيلَ: وَقَدْ أُرْسِلَ إِلَيْهِ؟ قَالَ: قَدْ أُرْسِلَ إِلَيْهِ. فَفُتِحَ لَنَا، فَإِذَا أَنَا بِيُوسُفَ عَلَيْهِ السَّلَامُ، وَإِذَا هُوَ قَدْ أُعْطِيَ شَطْرَ الْحُسْنِ فَرَحَّبَ بِي وَدَعَا لِي بِخَيْرٍ. ثُمَّ عُرِجَ بِنَا إِلَى السَّمَاءِ الرَّابِعَةِ فَاسْتَفْتَحَ جِبْرِيلُ فَقِيلَ: مَنْ أَنْتَ؟ قَالَ: جِبْرِيلُ قِيلَ: وَمَنْ مَعَكَ؟ قَالَ: مُحَمَّدٌ قِيلَ: وَقَدْ أُرْسِلَ إِلَيْهِ؟ قَالَ: قَدْ بُعِثَ إِلَيْهِ. فَفُتِحَ لَنَا فَإِذَا أَنَا بِإِدْرِيسَ فَرَحَّبَ بِي وَدَعَا لِي بِخَيْرٍ، ثُمَّ قَالَ: يَقُولُ اللهُ تَعَالَى:

(Al-Buraq was brought to me, and it was a white animal bigger than a donkey and smaller than a mule. One stride of this creature covered a distance as far as it could see. I rode on it and it took me to Bayt Al-Maqdis (Jerusalem), where I tethered it at the hitching post of the Prophets. Then I entered and prayed two Rak`ahs there, and came out. Jibril brought me a vessel of wine and a vessel of milk, and I chose the milk. Jibril said: `You have chosen the Fitrah (natural instinct).' Then I was taken up to the first heaven and Jibril asked for it to be opened. It was said, `Who are you' He said, `Jibril.' It was said, `Who is with you' He said, `Muhammad.' It was asked, `Has his Mission started' He said, `His Mission has started.' So it was opened for us, and there I saw Adam, who welcomed me and prayed for good for me. Then I was taken up to the second heaven and Jibril asked for it to be opened. It was said, `Who are you' He said, `Jibril.' It was said, `Who is with you' He said, `Muhammad.' It was asked, `Has his Mission started' He said, `His Mission has started.' So it was opened for us, and there I saw the two maternal cousins, Yahya and `Isa, who welcomed me and prayed for good for me. Then I was taken up to the third heaven and Jibril asked for it to be opened. It was said, `Who are you' He said, `Jibril.' It was said, `Who is with you' He said, `Muhammad.' It was asked, `Has his Mission started' He said, `His Mission has started.' So it was opened for us, and there I saw Yusuf, who had been given the beautiful half. He welcomed me and prayed for good for me. Then I was taken up to the fourth heaven and Jibril asked for it to be opened. It was said, `Who are you' He said, `Jibril.' It was said, `Who is with you' He said, `Muhammad.' It was asked, `Has his Mission started' He said, `His Mission has started.' So it was opened for us, and there I saw Idris, who welcomed me and prayed for good for me. - then (the Prophet ) said: Allah says:

وَرَفَعْنَاهُ مَكَاناً عَلِيّاً

(And We raised him to a high station) (19:57).

ثُمَّ عُرِجَ بِنَا إِلَى السَّمَاءِ الْخَامِسَةِ فَاسْتَفْتَحَ جِبْرِيلُ فَقِيلَ: مَنْ أَنْتَ؟ قَالَ جِبْرِيلُ قِيلَ: وَمَنْ مَعَكَ؟ قَالَ: مُحَمَّدٌ قِيلَ: وَقَدْ أُرْسِلَ إِلَيْهِ؟ قَالَ: قَدْ بُعِثَ إِلَيْهِ. فَفُتِحَ لَنَا فَإِذَا أَنَا بِهَارُونَ فَرَحَّبَ بِي وَدَعَا لِي بِخَيْرٍ ثُمَّ عُرِجَ بِنَا إِلَى السَّمَاءِ السَّادِسَةِ فَاسْتَفْتَحَ جِبْرِيلُ فَقِيلَ مَنْ أَنْتَ؟ قَالَ: جِبْرِيلُ قِيلَ: وَمَنْ مَعَكَ؟ قَالَ: مُحَمَّدٌ قِيلَ: وَقَدْ بُعِثَ إِلَيْهِ؟ قَالَ: قَدْ بُعِثَ إِلَيْهِ. فَفُتِحَ لَنَا فَإِذَا أَنَا بِمُوسَى عَلَيْهِ السَّلَامُ فَرَحَّبَ بِي وَدَعَا لِي بِخَيْرٍ ثُمَّ عُرِجَ بِنَا إِلَى السَّمَاءِ السَّابِعَةِ فَاسْتَفْتَحَ جِبْرِيلُ فَقِيلَ مَنْ أَنْتَ؟ قَالَ: جِبْرِيلُ قِيلَ: وَمَنْ مَعَكَ؟ قَالَ: مُحَمَّدٌ قِيلَ: وَقَدْ بُعِثَ إِلَيْهِ؟ قَالَ: قَدْ بُعِثَ إِلَيْهِ. فَفُتِحَ لَنَا فَإِذَا أَنَا بِإِبْرَاهِيمَ عَلَيْهِ السَّلَامُ، وَإِذَا هُوَ مُسْتَنِدٌ إِلَى الْبَيْتِ الْمَعْمُورِ، وَإِذَا هُوَ يَدْخُلُهُ كُلَّ يَوْمٍ سَبْعُونَ أَلْفَ مَلَكٍ ثُمَّ لَا يَعُودُونَ إِلَيْهِ، ثُمَّ ذَهَبَ بِي إِلَى سِدْرَةِ الْمُنْتَهَى فَإِذَا وَرَقُهَا كَآذَانِ الْفِيَلَةِ، وَإِذَا ثَمَرُهَا كَالْقِلَالِ، فَلَمَّا غَشِيَهَا مِنْ أَمْرِ اللهِ مَا غَشِيَهَا تَغَيَّرَتْ فَمَا أَحَدٌ مِنْ خَلْقِ اللهِ تَعَالَى يَسْتَطِيعُ أَنْ يَصِفَهَا مِنْ حُسْنِهَا. قَالَ: فَأَوْحَى اللهُ إِلَيَّ مَا أَوْحَى، وَقَدْ فَرَضَ عَلَيَّ فِي كُلِّ يَوْمٍ وَلَيْلَةٍ خَمْسِينَ صَلَاةً فَنَزَلَتُ حَتَّى انْتَهَيْتُ إِلَى مُوسَى، قَالَ: مَا فَرَضَ رَبُّك عَلَى أُمَّتِكَ؟ قُلْتُ: خَمْسِينَ صَلَاةً فِي كُلِّ يَوْمٍ وَلَيْلَةٍ، قَالَ:ارْجِعْ إِلَى رَبِّكَ فَاسْأَلْهُ التَّخْفِيفَ لِأُمَّتِكَ، فَإِنَّ أُمَّتَكَ لَا تُطِيقُ ذَلِكَ وَإِنِّي قَدْ بَلَوْتُ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ وَخَبَرْتُهُمْ، قَالَ: فَرَجَعْتُ إِلَى رَبِّي فَقُلْتُ أَيْ رَبِّ خَفِّفْ عَنْ أُمَّتِي فَحَطَّ عَنِّي خَمْسًا، فَنَزَلَتُ حَتَّى انْتَهَيْتُ إِلَى مُوسَى فَقَالَ: مَا فَعَلْتَ؟ فَقُلْتُ: قَدْ حَطَّ عَنِّي خَمْسًا فَقَالَ: إِنَّ أُمَّتَكَ لَا تُطِيقُ ذَلِكَ فَارْجِعْ إِلَى رَبِّكَ فَاسْأَلْهُ التَّخْفِيفَ لِأُمَّتِكَ، قَالَ: فَلَمْ أَزَلْ أَرْجِعُ بَيْنَ رَبِّي وَبَيْنَ مُوسَى وَيَحُطُّ عَنِّي خَمْسًا خَمْسًا حَتَّى قَالَ: يَا مُحَمَّدُ هُنَّ خَمْسُ صَلَوَاتٍ فِي كُلِّ يَوْمٍ وَلَيْلَةٍ بِكُلِّ صَلَاةٍ عَشْرٌ، فَتِلْكَ خَمْسُونَ صَلَاةً وَمَنْ هَمَّ بِحَسَنَةٍ فَلَمْ يَعْمَلْهَا كُتِبَتْ لَهُ حَسَنَةً، فَإِنْ عَمِلَهَا كُتِبَتْ عَشْرًا، وَمَنْ هَمَّ بِسَيِّئَةٍ فَلَمْ يَعْمَلْهَا لَمْ تُكْتَبْ شَيْئًا، فَإِنْ عَمِلَهَا كُتِبَتْ سَيِّئَةً وَاحِدَةً، فَنَزَلَتُ حَتَّى انْتَهَيْتُ إِلَى مُوسَى فَأَخْبَرْتُهُ، فَقَالَ: ارْجِعْ إِلَى رَبِّكَ فَاسْأَلْهُ التَّخْفِيفَ لِأُمَّتِكَ فَإِنَّ أُمَّتَكَ لَا تُطِيقُ ذَلِكَ، فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِصلى الله عليه وسلّم:

«لَقَدْ رَجَعْتُ إِلى رَبِّي حَتَّى اسْتَحْيَيْت»

Then he resumed his narrative:(Then I was taken up to the fifth heaven and Jibril asked for it to be opened. It was said, `Who are you' He said, `Jibril.' It was said, `Who is with you' He said, `Muhammad.' It was asked, `Has his Mission started' He said, `His Mission has started.' So it was opened for us, and there I saw Harun, who welcomed me and prayed for good for me. Then I was taken up to the sixth heaven and Jibril asked for it to be opened. It was said, `Who are you' He said, `Jibril. It was said, `Who is with you' He said, `Muhammad.' It was asked, `Has his Mission started' He said, `His Mission has started.' So it was opened for us, and there I saw Musa, who welcomed me and prayed for good for me. Then I was taken up to the seventh heaven and Jibril asked for it to be opened. It was said, `Who are you' He said, `Jibril.' It was said, `Who is with you' He said, `Muhammad.' It was asked, `Has his Mission started' He said, `His Mission has started.' So it was opened for us, and there I saw Ibrahim, who was leaning back against the Much-Frequented House (Al-Bayt Al-Ma`mur). Every day seventy thousand angels enter it, then they never come back to it again. Then I was taken to Sidrat Al-Muntaha (the Lote tree beyond which none may pass), and its leaves were like the leaves earsof elephants and its fruits were like jugs, and when it was veiled with whatever it was veiled with by the command of Allah, it changed, and none of the creatures of Allah can describe it because it is so beautiful. Then Allah revealed that which He revealed to me. He enjoined on me fifty prayers every day and night. I came down until I reached Musa, and he said, `What did your Lord enjoin on your Ummah' I said, `Fifty prayers everyday and night.' He said, `Go back to your Lord and ask Him to reduce (the burden) for your Ummah, for your Ummah will not be able to do that. I tested the Children of Israel and found out how they were.' So I went back to my Lord and said, `O Lord, reduce (the burden) for my Ummah for they will never be able to do that.' So He reduced it by five. I came back down until I met Musa and he asked me, `What did you do' I said, `(My Lord) reduced (my burden) by five.' He said, `Go back to your Lord and ask Him to reduce (the burden) for your Ummah.' I kept going back between my Lord and Musa, and (my Lord) reduced it by five each time, until He said, `O Muhammad, these are five prayers every day and night, and for every prayer there is (the reward of) ten, so they are (like) fifty prayers. Whoever wants to do something good then does not do it, one good deed will be recorded for him, and if he does it, ten good deeds will be recorded for him. Whoever wants to do something evil and does not do it, no evil deed will be recorded for him, and if he does it, one evil deed will be recorded for him.' I came down until I reached Musa, and told him about this. He said: `Go back to your Lord and ask him to reduce (the burden) for your Ummah, for they will never be able to do that.' I had kept going back to my Lord until I felt too shy.) This version was also recorded by Muslim. Imam Ahmad recorded Anas saying that Al-Buraq was brought to the Prophet on the Night of the Isra' with his saddle and reins ready for riding. The animal shied, and Jibril said to him: "Why are you doing this By Allah, no one has ever ridden you who is more honored by Allah than him.'' At this, Al-Buraq started to sweat. This was also recorded by At-Tirmidhi, who said it is Gharib. Ahmad also recorded that Anas said: "The Messenger of Allah said:

«لَمَّا عَرَجَ بِي رَبِّي عَزَّ وَجَلَّ مَرَرْتُ بِقَوْمٍ لَهُمْ أَظْفَارٌ مِنْ نُحَاسٍ يَخْمِشُونَ بِهَا وُجُوهَهُمْ وَصُدُورَهُمْ، فَقُلْتُ: مَنْ هؤُلَاءِ يَا جِبْرِيلُ؟ قَالَ: هَؤُلَاءِ الَّذِينَ يَأْكُلُونَ لُحُومَ النَّاسِ وَيَقَعُونَ فِي أَعْرَاضِهِم»

(When I was taken up to my Lord (during Al-Mi'raj), I passed by people who had nails of copper with which they were scratching their faces and chests. I asked, `Who are these, O Jibril' He said, `These are those who ate the flesh of the people i.e., backbitingand slandered their honor.') This was also recorded by Abu Dawud. Anas also said that the Messenger of Allah said:

«مَرَرْتُ لَيْلَةَ أُسْرِيَ بِي عَلَى مُوسَى عَلَيْهِ السَّلَامُ قَائِمًا يُصَلِّي فِي قَبْرِه»

(On the night when I was taken on my Night Journey (Al-Isra'), I passed by Musa, who was standing, praying in his grave.) This was also recorded by Muslim.

The Report of Anas bin Malik from Malik bin Sa`sa`ah

Imam Ahmad recorded that Anas bin Malik said that Malik bin Sa`sa`ah told him that the Prophet of Allah told them about the night in which he was taken on the Night Journey (Al-Isra'). He said:

«بَيْنَمَا أَنَا فِي الْحَطِيمِ وَرُبَّمَا قَالَ قَتَادَةُ: فِي الْحِجْرِ مُضْطَجِعًا إِذْ أَتَانِي آتٍ، فَجَعَلَ يَقُولُ لِصَاحِبِهِ الْأَوْسَطِ بَيْنَ الثَّلَاثَةِ قَالَ فَأَتَانِي فَقَدَّ سَمِعْتُ قَتَادَةَ يَقُولُ: فَشَقَّ مَا بَيْنَ هَذِهِ إِلَى هَذِه»

(While I was lying down in Al-Hatim (or maybe, Qatadah said, in Al-Hijr) 'someone came to me and said to his companion, `The one who is in the middle of these three.' He came to me and opened me.) I one of the narratorsheard Qatadah say, `split me - from here to here.' Qatadah said: "I said to Al-Jarud, who was beside me, `What does that mean' He said, `From the top of his chest to below his navel', and I heard him say, `from his throat to below his navel'. The Prophet said:

«فَاسْتُخْرِجَ قَلْبِي قَالَ فَأُتِيتُ بِطَسْتٍ مِنْ ذَهَبٍ مَمْلُوءَةٍ إِيمَانًا وَحِكْمَةً فَغُسِلَ قَلْبِي ثُمَّ حُشِيَ ثُمَّ أُعِيدَ ثُمَّ أُتِيتُ بِدَابَّةٍ دُونَ الْبَغْلِ وَفَوْقَ الْحِمَارِ أَبْيَض»

(He took out my heart and brought a golden vessel filled with faith and wisdom. He washed my heart then filled it up and put it back, then a white animal was brought to me that was smaller than a mule and larger than a donkey.) Al-Jarud said, `Was this Al-Buraq, O Abu Hamzah' He said, `Yes, and its stride covered a distance as far as it could see.' The Prophet said:

«فَحُمِلْتُ عَلَيْهِ فَانْطَلَقَ بِي جِبْرِيلُ عَلَيْهِ السَّلَامُ حَتَّى أَتَى بِي إِلَى السَّمَاءِ الدُّنْيَا فَاسْتَفْتَحَ، فَقِيلَ: مَنْ هَذَا؟ قَالَ: جِبْرِيلُ، قِيلَ: وَمَنْ مَعَكَ؟ قَالَ: مُحَمَّدٌ، قِيلَ: أَوَ قَدْ أُرْسِلَ إِلَيْهِ؟ قَالَ: نَعَمْ فَقِيلَ: مَرْحَبًا بِهِ وَلَنِعْمَ الْمَجِيءُ جَاءَ قَالَ فَفُتِحَ لَنَا فَلَمَّا خَلَصْتُ فَإِذَا فِيهَا آدَمُ عَلَيهِ السَّلَامُ، قَالَ: هَذَا أَبُوكَ آدَمُ فَسَلِّمْ عَلَيْهِ، فَسَلَّمْتُ عَلَيْهِ فَرَدَّ السَّلَامَ ثُمَّ قَالَ: مَرْحَبًا بِالْابْنِ الصَّالِحِ وَالنَّبِيِّ الصَّالِحِ، قَالَ فَلَمَّا تَجَاوَزْتُهُ بَكَى قِيلَ لَهُ: مَا يُبْكِيكَ؟ قَالَ: أَبْكِي لأَنَّ غُلَامًا بُعِثَ بَعْدِي يَدْخُلُ الْجَنَّةَ مِنْ أُمَّتِهِ أَكْثَرُ مِمَّا يَدْخُلُهَا مِنْ أُمَّتِي. قَالَ: ثُمَّ صَعِدَ حَتَّى أَتَى السَّمَاءَ السَّابِعَةَ فَاسْتَفْتَحَ قِيلَ: مَنْ هَذَا؟ قَالَ: جبْرِيلُ، قِيلَ: وَمَنْ مَعَكَ؟ قَالَ: مُحَمَّدٌ، قِيلَ: أَوَ قَدْ بُعِثَ إِلَيْهِ؟ قَالَ: نَعَمْ، قِيلَ: مَرْحَبًا بِهِ وَلَنِعْمَ الْمَجِيءُ جَاءَ، قَالَ: فَفُتِحَ لَنَا فَلَمَّا خَلَصْتُ فَإِذَا إِبْرَاهِيمُ عَلَيْهِ السَّلَامُ فَقَالَ: هَذَا إبْرَاهِيمُ فَسَلِّمْ عَلَيْهِ قَالَ: فَسَلَّمْتُ عَلَيْهِ فَرَدَّ السَّلَامَ، ثُمَّ قَالَ: مَرْحَبًا بِالْابْنِ الصَّالِحِ وَالنَّبِيِّ الصَّالِحِ قَالَ ثُمَّ رُفِعَتْ إِلَيَّ سِدْرَةُ الْمُنْتَهَى فَإِذَا نَبْقُهَا مِثْلُ قِلَالِ هَجَرَ، وَإِذَا وَرَقُهَا مِثْلُ آذَانِ الْفِيَلةِ، فَقَالَ: هَذِهِ سِدْرَةُ الْمُنْتَهَى، قَالَ: وَإِذَا أَرْبَعَةُ أَنْهَارٍ: نَهْرَانِ بَاطِنَانِ وَنَهْرَانِ ظَاهِرَانِ، فَقُلْتُ: مَا هَذَا يَا جِبْرِيلُ؟ قَالَ: أَمَّا الْبَاطِنَانِ فَنَهْرَانِ فِي الْجَنَّةِ، وَأَمَّا الظَّاهِرَانِ فَالنِّيلُ وَالْفُرَاتُ قَالَ ثُمَّ رُفِعَ إِلَيَّ الْبَيْتُ الْمَعْمُور»

(I was mounted upon it and Jibril brought me to the first heaven, and asked for it to be opened. It was said, `Who is this' He said, `Jibril.' It was said, `Who is with you' He said, `Muhammad.' It was said, `Has his Mission started' He said, `Yes.' It was said, `Welcome to him, blessed is the one who comes.' So it was opened for us and when I entered, I saw Adam. (Jibril) said, `This is your father Adam, greet him.' So I greeted him, and he returned the greeting then said, `Welcome to the righteous son and righteous Prophet.' Then I was taken up to the fifth heaven, and (Jibril) asked for it to be opened. It was said, `Who is this' He said, `Jibril.' It was said, `Who is with you' He said, `Muhammad.' It was said, `Has his Mission started' He said, `Yes.' It was said, `Welcome to him, blessed is the one who comes.' So it was opened for us and when I entered, I saw Harun. (Jibril) said, `This is Harun, greet him.' So I greeted him, and he returned the greeting then said, `Welcome to the righteous brother and righteous Prophet.' Then I was taken up to the sixth heaven, and (Jibril) asked for it to be opened. It was said, `Who is this' He said, `Jibril.' It was said, `Who is with you' He said, `Muhammad.' It was said, `Has his Mission started' He said, `Yes.' It was said, `Welcome to him, blessed is the one who comes.' So it was opened for us and when I entered, I saw Musa. (Jibril) said, `This is Musa, greet him.' So I greeted him, and he returned the greeting then said, `Welcome to the righteous brother and righteous Prophet.' When I passed by him, he wept, and it was said to him, `Why are you weeping' He said, `I am weeping because a young man was sent after me and more people from his Ummah than from mine will enter Paradise.' Then I was taken up to the seventh heaven, and (Jibril) asked for it to be opened. It was said, `Who is this' He said, `Jibril.' It was said, `Who is with you' He said, `Muhammad'. It was said, `Has his Mission started' He said, `Yes.' It was said, `Welcome to him, blessed is the one who comes.' So it was opened for us and when I entered, I saw Ibrahim. (Jibril) said, `This is Ibrahim, greet him.' So I greeted him, and he returned the greeting then said, `Welcome to the righteous son and righteous Prophet.' Then I was taken up to Sidrat Al-Muntaha, whose fruits like the clay jugs of Hajar (a region in Arabia) and its leaves were like the ears of elephants. (Jibril) said: `This is Sidrat Al-Muntaha.' And there were four rivers, two hidden and two visible. I said, `What is this, O Jibril' He said, `The two hidden rivers are rivers in Paradise, and the two visible rivers are the Nile and the Euphrates.' Then I was shown Al-Bayt Al-Ma`mur.) Qatadah said: Al-Hasan told us narrating from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet saw Al-Bayt Al-Ma`mur. Each day seventy thousand angels enter it, then they never return from it. Then he continued to narrate the Hadith of Anas;

«ثُمَّ أُتِيتُ بِإِنَاءٍ مِنْ خَمْرٍ وَإِنَاءٍ مِنْ لَبَنٍ وَإِنَاءٍ مِنْنَعسَلٍ. قَالَ فَأَخَذْتُ اللَّبَنَ قَالَ: هَذِهِ الْفِطْرَةُ أَنْتَ عَلَيْهَا وَأُمَّتُكَ قَالَ ثُمَّ فُرِضَتْ عَلَيَّ الصَّلَاةُ خَمْسِينَ صَلَاةً كُلَّ يَوْمٍ قَالَ فَنَزَلْتُ حَتَّى أَتَيْتُ مُوسَى، فَقَالَ: مَا فَرَضَ رَبُّكَ عَلَى أُمَّتِكَ؟ قَالَ: فَقُلْتُ: خَمْسِينَ صَلَاةً كُلَّ يَوْمٍ، قَالَ: إِنَّ أُمَّتَكَ لَا تَسْتَطِيعُ خَمْسِينَ صَلَاةً وَإِنِّي قَدْ خَبَرْتُ النَّاسَ قَبْلَكَ، وَعَالَجْتُ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ أَشَدَّ الْمُعَالَجَةِ، فَارْجِعْ إِلَى رَبِّكَ فَاسْأَلْهُ التَّخْفِيفَ لِأُمَّتِكَ قَالَ فَرَجَعْتُ فَوَضَعَ عَنِّي عَشْرًا قَالَ فَرَجَعْتُ إِلَى مُوسَى فَقَالَ: بِمَ أُمِرْتَ؟ قُلْتُ: بِأَرْبَعِينَ صَلَاةً كُلَّ يَوْمٍ، قَالَ: إِنَّ أُمَّتَكَ لَا تَسْتَطِيعُ أَرْبَعِينَ صَلَاةً كُلَّ يَوْمٍ، وَإِنِّي قَدْ خَبَرْتُ النَّاسَ قَبْلَكَ وَعَالَجْتُ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ أَشَدَّ الْمُعَالَجَةِ،فَارْجِعْ إِلَى رَبِّكَ فَاسْأَلْهُ التَّخْفِيفَ لِأُمَّتِكَ قَالَ فَرَجَعْتُ فَوَضَعَ عَنِّي عَشْرًا أُخَرَ، فَرَجَعْتُ إِلَى مُوسَى فَقَالَ: بِمَ أُمِرْتَ؟ قُلْتُ: بِثَلَاثِينَ صَلَاةً، قَالَ: إِنَّ أُمَّتَكَ لَا تَسْتَطِيعُ ثَلَاثِينَ صَلَاةً كُلَّ يَوْمٍ، وَإِنِّي قَدْ خَبَرْتُ النَّاسَ قَبْلَكَ وَعَالَجْتُ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ أَشَدَّ الْمُعَالَجَةِ، فَارْجِعْ إِلَى رَبِّكَ فَاسْأَلْهُ التَّخْفِيفَ لِأُمَّتِكَ قَالَ فَرَجَعْتُ فَوَضَعَ عَنِّي عَشْرًا أُخَرَ، فَرَجَعْتُ إِلَى مُوسَى فَقَالَ: بِمَ أُمِرْتَ؟ قُلْتُ: أُمِرْتُ بِعِشْرِينَ صَلَاةً كُلَّ يَوْمٍ، قَالَ: إِنَّ أُمَّتَكَ لَا تَسْتَطِيعُ عِشْرِينَ صَلَاةً كُلَّ يَوْمٍ، وَإِنِّي قَدْ خَبَرْتُ النَّاسَ قَبْلَكَ وَعَالَجْتُ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ أَشَدَّ الْمُعَالَجَةِ، فَارْجِعْ إِلَى رَبِّكَ فَاسْأَلْهُ التَّخْفِيفَ لِأُمَّتِكَ قَالَ فَرَجَعْتُ فَوَضَعَ عَنِّي عَشْرًا أُخَرَ، فَرَجَعْتُ إِلَى مُوسَى فَقَالَ: بِمَ أُمِرْتَ؟ فَقُلْتُ: أُمِرْتُ بِعَشْرِ صَلَواتٍ كُلَّ يَوْمٍ، فَقَالَ: إِنَّ أُمَّتَكَ لَا تَسْتَطِيعُ لِعَشْرِ صَلَواتٍ كُلَّ يَوْمٍ، وَإِنِّي قَدْ خَبَرْتُ النَّاسَ قَبْلَكَ وَعَالَجْتُ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ أَشَدَّ الْمُعَالَجَةِ، فَارْجِعْ إِلَى رَبِّكَ فَاسْأَلْهُ التَّخْفِيفَ لِأُمَّتِكَ قَالَ فَرَجَعْتُ فَأُمِرْتُ بِخَمْسِ صَلَواتٍ كُلَّ يَوْمٍ، فَرَجَعْتُ إِلَى مُوسَى فَقَالَ: بِمَ أُمِرْتَ؟ فَقُلْتُ: أُمِرْتُ بِخَمْسِ صَلَواتٍ كُلَّ يَوْمٍ، فَقَالَ: إِنَّ أُمَّتَكَ لَا تَسْتَطِيعُ لِخَمْسِ صَلَواتٍ كُلَّ يَوْمٍ، وَإِنِّي قَدْ خَبَرْتُ النَّاسَ قَبْلَكَ وَعَالَجْتُ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ أَشَدَّ الْمُعَالَجَةِ، فَارْجِعْ إِلَى رَبِّكَ فَاسْأَلْهُ التَّخْفِيفَ لِأُمَّتِكَ قَالَ قُلْتُ: قَدْ سَأَلْتُ رَبِّي حَتَّى اسْتَحْيَيْتُ، وَلَكِنْ أَرْضَى وَأُسَلِّمُ، فَنَفَذْتُ فَنَادَى مُنَادٍ: قَدْ أَمْضَيْتُ فَرِيضَتِي وَخَفَّفْتُ عَنْ عِبَادِي»

(Then I was brought a vessel of wine, a vessel of milk and a vessel of honey. I chose the milk, and he Jibrilsaid, `This is the Fitrah (natural instinct) on which you and your Ummah will be. ' Then the prayer was enjoined upon me, fifty prayers each day. I came down until I reached Musa, who said, `What did your Lord enjoin upon your Ummah' I said, `Fifty prayers each day.' He said, `Your Ummah will not be able to do fifty prayers each day. I tried the people before you, I had to deal with the Children of Israel and it was very difficult for me. Go back to your Lord and ask Him to reduce the burden on your Ummah.' So I went back, and the number was reduced by ten. I came back to Musa and he asked, `What were you commanded to do' I said, `Forty prayers each day.' He said, `Your Ummah will not be able to do forty prayers each day. I tried the people before you, I had to deal with the Children of Israel and it was very difficult for me. Go back to your Lord and ask Him to reduce the burden on your Ummah.' So I went back, and the number was reduced by ten. I came back to Musa and he asked, `What were you commanded to do' I said, `I was commanded to do thirty prayers each day.' He said, `Your Ummah will not be able to do thirty prayers each day. I tried the people before you, I had to deal with the Children of Israel and it was very difficult for me. Go back to your Lord and ask Him to reduce the burden on your Ummah.' So I went back, and the number was reduced by ten. I came back to Musa and he asked, `What were you commanded to do' I said, `Twenty prayers each day.' He said, `Your Ummah will not be able to do twenty prayers each day. I tried the people before you, I had to deal with the Children of Israel and it was very difficult for me. Go back to your Lord and ask Him to reduce the burden on your Ummah.' So I went back, and the number was reduced by ten more. I came back to Musa and he asked, `What were you commanded to do' I said, `Ten prayers each day.' He said, `Your Ummah will not be able to do ten prayers each day. I tried the people before you, I had to deal with the Children of Israel and it was very difficult for me. Go back to your Lord and ask Him to reduce the burden on your Ummah.' So I went back, and I was commanded to do five prayers every day. I came back to Musa and he asked, `What were you commanded to do' I said, `Five prayers each day.' He said, `Your Ummah will not be able to do five prayers each day. I tried the people before you, I had to deal with the Children of Israel and it was very difficult for me. Go back to your Lord and ask Him to reduce the burden on your Ummah.' I said, `I have asked my Lord until I feel too shy. I accept this and submit to Him.' Then a voice called out: `My order has been decreed and I have reduced the burden on My servants.') Similar narrations were recorded in the Two Sahihs.

The Report of Anas from Abu Dharr

Al-Bukhari recorded that Anas bin Malik said: Abu Dharr used to tell us that the Messenger of Allah said:

«فُرِجَ عَنْ سَقْفِ بَيْتِي وَأَنَا بِمَكَّةَ، فَنَزَلَ جِبْرِيلُ فَفَرَجَ صَدْرِي ثُمَّ غَسَلَهُ بِمَاءِ زَمْزَمَ، ثُمَّ جَاءَ بِطَسْتٍ مِنْ ذَهَبٍ مُمْتَلِىءٍ حِكْمَةً وَإِيمَانًا، فَأَفْرَغَهُ فِي صَدْرِي، ثُمَّ أَطْبَقَهُ ثُمَّ أَخَذَ بِيَدِي فَعَرَجَ بِي إِلَى السَّمَاءِ الدُّنْيَا، فَلَمَّا جِئْتُ إِلَى السَّمَاءِ قَالَ جِبْرِيلُ لِخَازِنِ السَّمَاءِ: افْتَحْ قَالَ: مَنْ هَذَا؟ قَالَ: جِبْرِيلُ، قَالَ: هَلْ مَعَكَ أَحَدٌ؟ قَالَ: نَعَمْ مَعِيَ مُحَمَّدٌصلى الله عليه وسلّم، فَقَالَ: أُرْسِلَ إِلَيْهِ؟ قَالَ: نَعَمْ فَلَمَّا فَتَحَ عَلَوْنَا السَّمَاءَ الدُّنْيَا فَإِذَا رَجُلٌ قَاعِدٌ عَلَى يَمِينِهِ أَسْوِدَةٌ وَعَلَى يَسَارِهِ أَسْوِدَةٌ، إِذَا نَظَرَ قِبَلَ يَمِينِهِ ضَحِكَ وَإِذَا نَظَرَ قِبَلَ شِمَالِهِ بَكَى، فَقَالَ: مَرْحَبًا بِالنَّبِيِّ الصَّالِحِ وَالْابْنِ الصَّالِحِ قَالَ قُلْتُ لِجِبْرِيلَ: مَنْ هَذَا؟ قَالَ: هَذَا آدَمُ وَهَذِهِ الْأَسْوِدَةُ عَنْ يَمِينِهِ وَعَنْ شِمَالِهِ نَسَمُ بَنِيهِ، فَأَهْلُ الْيَمِينِ مِنْهُمْ أَهْلُ الْجَنَّةِ، وَالْأَسْوِدَةُ الَّتِي عَنْ شِمَالِهِ أَهْلُ النَّارِ، فَإِذَا نَظَرَ عَنْ يَمِينِهِ ضَحِكَ، وَإِذَا نَظَرَ عَنْ شِمَالِهِ بَكَى، ثُمَّ عَرَجَ بِي إِلَى السَّمَاءِ الثَّانِيَة»

فذكر الحديث قال:

«ثُمَّ مَرَرْتُ بِإِبْرَاهِيمَ فَقَالَ: مَرْحبًا بِالنَّبِيِّ الصَّالِحِ وَالْابْنِ الصَّالِحِ، قُلْتُ: مَنْ هَذَا؟ قَالَ: هَذَا إِبْرَاهِيم»

(The roof of my house was opened while I was in Makkah, and Jibril came down and opened my chest, then he washed it with Zamzam water. Then he brought a vessel of gold filled with wisdom and faith, and poured it into my chest, then he closed it up. Then he took me by the hand and took me up to the lowest heaven. When we came to the lowest heaven, Jibril said to its keeper, `Open up!' He said, `Who is this' He said, `Jibril. ' He said, `Is there anyone with you' He said, `Yes, Muhammad is with me.' He said, `Has his Mission started' He said, `Yes.' When it was opened, we went up into the first heaven, where I saw a man sitting with a multitude to his right and another to his left. When he looked to his right he smiled, and when he looked to his left, he wept. He said, `Welcome to the righteous Prophet and the righteous son.' I said to Jibril, `Who is this' He said, `This is Adam, and these multitudes to his right and left are the souls of his descendants. The people on his right include the people of Paradise, and the people on his left include the people of Hell, so when he looks to his right he smiles, and when he looks to his left he weeps.' Then he took me up to the second heaven...Then we passed by Ibrahim, who said, `Welcome to the righteous Prophet and the righteous son.' I said, `Who is this' He said, `This is Ibrahim.') Az-Zuhri said: Ibn Hazm told me that Ibn `Abbas and Abu Habbah Al-Ansari used to say: the Prophet narrated here -

«ثُمَّ عُرِجَ بِي حَتَّى ظَهَرْتُ لِمُسْتَوًى أَسْمَعُ فِيهِ صَرِيفَ الْأَقْلَام»

(Then I was taken up until I reached a level where I could hear the sound of the pens.) Ibn Hazm and Anas bin Malik said: the Messenger of Allah said:

«فَفَرَضَ اللهُ عَلَى أُمَّتِي خَمْسِينَ صَلَاةً، فَرَجَعْتُ بِذَلِكَ حَتَّى مَرَرْتُ عَلَى مُوسَى عَلَيْهِ السَّلَامُ، فَقَالَ: مَا فَرَضَ اللهُ عَلَى أُمَّتِكَ؟ قُلْتُ: فَرَضَ خَمْسِينَ صَلَاةً، قَالَ مُوسَى: فَارْجِعْ إِلَى رَبِّكَ فَإِنَّ أُمَّتَكَ لَا تُطِيقُ ذَلِكَ، فَرَجَعْتُ فَوَضَعَ شَطْرَهَا، فَرَجَعْتُ إِلَى مُوسَى، قُلْتُ: وَضَعَ شَطْرَهَا، فَقَالَ: ارْجِعْ إِلَى رَبِّكَ، فَإِنَّ أُمَّتَكَ لَا تُطِيقُ ذَلِكَ، فَرَجَعْتُ فَوَضَعَ شَطْرَهَا، فَرَجَعْتُ إِلَىْهِ فَقَالَ:ارْجِعْ إِلَى رَبِّكَ فَإِنَّ أُمَّتَكَ لَا تُطِيقُ ذَلِكَ، فَرَاجَعْتُهُ فَقَالَ: هِيَ خَمْسٌ وَهِيَ خَمْسُونَ لَا يُبَدَّلُ الْقَوْلُ لَدَيَّ، فَرَجَعْتُ إِلَى مُوسَى فَقَالَ: ارْجِعْ إِلَى رَبِّكَ، قُلْتُ: قَدِ اسْتَحْيَيْتُ مِنْ رَبِّي، ثُمَّ انْطَلَقَ بِي حَتَّى انْتَهَى إِلَى سِدْرَةِ الْمُنْتَهَى فَغَشِيَهَا أَلْوَانٌ لَا أَدْرِي مَااِهيَ، ثُمَّ أُدْخِلْتُ الْجَنَّةَ، فَإِذَا فِيهَا حَبَائِلُ اللُّؤْلُؤِ، وَإِذَا تُرَابُهَا الْمِسْك»

(Allah enjoined upon my Ummah fifty prayers. I came back with this (message) until I passed by Musa, who said, `What did your Lord enjoin upon your Ummah' I said, `He enjoined fifty prayers.' Musa said, `Go back to your Lord, for your Ummah will not be able to do that.' So I went back, and He reduced it by half. Then I came back to Musa and said, `It has been reduced by half.' He said, `Go back to your Lord, for your Ummah will not be able to do that.' So I went back, and it was reduced by half. I came back to him, and he said, `Go back to your Lord, for your Ummah will not be able to do that.' So I went back, and He said: `They are five but equal in reward to fifty, for My word does not change.' I came back to Musa and he said, `Go back to your Lord.' I said, `I feel too shy before my Lord.' Then I was taken up until I reached Sidrat Al-Muntaha, which was veiled in indescribable colors. Then I entered Paradise, in which I saw nets of pearls and its soil of musk.) This version was recorded by Al-Bukhari in the Book of Prayer. He also reported in the Book of Tafsir, under the discussion of Bani Isra'il (i.e., Surat Al-Isra'), the Book of Hajj and the Stories of the Prophets, via different chains of narration from Yunus. Muslim recorded similar Hadiths in his Sahih in the Book of Faith. Imam Ahmad recorded that `Abdullah bin Shaqiq said: I said to Abu Dharr, "If I had seen the Messenger of Allah, I would have asked him.'' He said, "What would you have asked him'' He said, "I would have asked him, if he saw his Lord'' He said, "I did ask him that, and he said,

«قَدْ رَأَيْتُهُ نُورًا، أَنَّى أَرَاه»

(I saw it as light, how could I see Him)'' This is how it was narrated in the report of Imam Ahmad. Muslim recorded that `Abdullah bin Shaqiq said that Abu Dharr said: "I asked the Messenger of Allah, `Did you see your Lord' He said,

«نُورٌ أَنَّى أَرَاه»

((I saw) a light, how could I see Him)'' `Abdullah bin Shaqiq said: I said to Abu Dharr, "If I had seen the Messenger of Allah, I would have asked him.'' He said, "What would you have asked him'' He said, "I would have asked him, `Did you see your Lord'' Abu Dharr said, "I asked him that, and he said,

«رَأَيْتُ نُورًا»

(I saw light.)

The Report of Jabir bin `Abdullah

Imam Ahmad recorded that Jabir bin `Abdullah said that he heard the Messenger of Allah say:

«لَمَّا كَذَّبَتْنِي قُرَيْشٌ حِينَ أُسْرِيَ بِي إِلَى بَيْتِ الْمَقْدِسِ، قُمْتُ فِي الْحِجْرِ فَجَلَى اللهُ لِي بَيْتَ الْمَقْدِسِ، فَطَفِقْتُ أُخْبِرُهُمْ عَنْ آيَاتِهِ وَأَنَا أَنْظُرُ إِلَيْه»

(When Quraysh did not believe that I had been taken on the Night Journey to Bayt Al-Maqdis, I stood up in Al-Hijr and Allah displayed Bayt Al-Maqdis before me, so I told them about its features while I was looking at it.) This was also reported in the Two Sahihs with different chains of narration. According to Al-Bayhaqi, Ibn Shihab said: Abu Salamah bin `Abdur-Rahman said: Some people from Quraish went to Abu Bakr and said, "Have you heard what your companion is saying He is claiming that he went to Bayt Al-Maqdis and came back to Makkah in one night!'' Abu Bakr said, "Did he say that'' They said, "Yes.'' Abu Bakr said, "Then I bear witness that if he said that, he is speaking the truth.'' They said, "You believe that he went to Ash-Sham Greater Syriain one night and came back to Makkah before morning'' He said, "Yes, I believe him with regard to something even more than that. I believe him with regard to the revelation that comes to him from heaven.'' Abu Salamah said, from then on Abu Bakr was known as As-Siddiq (the true believer).

The Report of `Abdullah bin `Abbas

Imam Ahmad recorded that Ibn `Abbas said: "On the night when the Messenger of Allah was taken on his Night Journey, he entered Paradise, in some part of which he heard a sound. He said, `O Jibril, what is this' He said, `This is Bilal, the Mu'adhdhin.' When the Prophet came back to the people, he said,

«قَدْ أَفْلَحَ بِلَالٌ، رَأَيْتُ لَهُ كَذَا وَكَذَا»

(Bilal has succeeded, I saw that he will have such and such.) He the Prophet was met by Musa, who welcomed him and said, `Welcome to the Unlettered Prophet.' He was a tall, dark man with lank hair coming down to his ears or above his ears. He said, `Who is this, O Jibril' He said, `This is Musa.' Then he went on and met a venerable, distinguished old man, who welcomed him and greeted him with Salam, and all of them were greeting him. He said, `Who is this, O Jibril' He said, `This is your father Ibrahim.' Then he looked into Hell and saw some people eating rotten meat. He said, `Who are these people, O Jibril' He said, `They are those who used to eat the flesh of the people i.e., backbiting.' He saw a man who was very red and dark blue, and said, `Who is this, O Jibril' He said, `This is the one who slaughtered the she-camel (of Salih).' When the Messenger of Allah came to Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa, he stood up to pray, and all the Prophets gathered and prayed with him. When he finished, he was brought two cups, one on his right and one on his left, one containing milk and one containing honey. He took the milk and drank it, and the one who was carrying the cup said, `You have chosen the Fitrah (natural instinct).''' The chain of narrators is Sahih, although they (Al-Bukhari and Muslim) did not record it. Imam Ahmad reported that Ibn `Abbas said: "The Messenger of Allah was taken on the Night Journey to Bayt Al-Maqdis, then he came back and told them about his journey and the features of Bayt Al-Maqdis and the caravan (of Quraysh). Some people said, `We do not believe what Muhammad is saying,' and they left Islam and became disbelievers. Allah destroyed them when He destroyed Abu Jahl. Abu Jahl said: `Muhammad is trying to scare us with the tree of Zaqqum; bring some dates and butter and let us have some Zaqqum!' The Prophet also saw the Dajjal in his true form, in real life, not in a dream, and he saw `Isa, Musa and Ibrahim. The Prophet was asked about the Dajjal, and he said:

«رَأَيْتُهُ فَيلَمَانِيًا أَقْمَرَ هِجَانًا، إِحْدَى عَيْنَيْهِ قَائِمَةٌ كَأَنَّهَا كَوْكَبٌ دُرِّيٌّ، كَأَنَّ شَعْرَ رَأْسِهِ أَغْصَانُ شَجَرَةٍ، وَرَأَيْتُ عِيسَى عَلَيْهِ السَّلَامُ (شابًّا) أَبْيَضَ، جَعْدَ الرَّأْسِ حَدِيدَ الْبَصَرِ، وَمُبَطَّنَ الْخَلْقِ، وَرَأَيْتُ مُوسَى عَلَيْهِ السَّلَامُ أَسْحَمَ آدَمَ، كَثِيرَ الشَّعْرِ، شَدِيدَ الْخَلْقِ، وَنَظَرْتُ إِلَى إِبْرَاهِيمَ عَلَيْهِ السَّلَامُ فَلَمْ أَنْظُرْ إِلَى إِرْبٍ مِنْهُ إِلَّا نَظَرْتُ إِلَيْهِ مِنِّي حَتَّى كَأَنَّهُ صَاحِبُكُمْ، قَالَ جِبْرِيلُ: سَلِّمْ عَلَى أَبِيكَ، فَسَلَّمْتُ عَلَيْه»

(I saw him as a tall and huge man, with a whitish complexion. One of his eyes stood out like a shining star. The hair on his head looked like the branches of a tree. And I saw `Isa, white with curly hair and an intense gaze, of average build. I saw Musa, dark-skinned, with a lot of hair and a strong build. I looked at Ibrahim and did not see anything in him that I do not see in myself; it is as if he were your companion meaning himself. Jibril said: `Greet your father with Salam,' so I greeted him with Salam.) This was also recorded by An-Nasa'i from the Hadith of Abu Zayd Thabit bin Yazid from Hilal, who is Ibn Khabbab, and it is a Sahih chain of narrators. Al-Bayhaqi recorded that Abu Al-`Aliyah said: "The cousin of your Prophet, Ibn `Abbas narrated to us from the Messenger of Allah, he said: Allah's Messenger said,

«رَأَيْتُ لَيْلَةَ أُسْرِيَ بِي مُوسَى بْنَ عِمْرَانَ رَجُلًا طُوَالًا جَعْدًا، كَأَنَّهُ مِنْ رِجَالِ شَنُوءَةَ، وَرَأَيْتُ عِيسَى ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ عَلَيْهِ السَّلَامُ مَرْبُوعَ الْخَلْقِ إِلَى الْحُمْرَةِ وَالْبَيَاضِ سَبْطَ الرَّأس»

(On the night when I was taken on the Night Journey, I saw Musa bin `Imran, a tall, curly-haired man, as if he was from the tribe of Shanu'ah. And I saw `Isa bin Maryam, of medium stature, white with a reddish complexion, with straight hair.) And he was shown Malik, the keeper of Hell, and the Dajjal, with the signs that Allah revealed to him.' He said,

فَلاَ تَكُن فِى مِرْيَةٍ مِّن لِّقَآئِهِ

(So be not you in doubt of meeting him.) 32:33Qatadah used to interpret this to mean that the Prophet of Allah met Musa.

وَجَعَلْنَاهُ هُدًى لِّبَنِى إِسْرَءِيلَ

(And We made it or hima guide to the Children of Israel) 32:33Qatadah said: "(This means) Allah made Musa a guide for the Children of Israel. '' Muslim reported this in his Sahih, and Al-Bukhari and Muslim recorded a shorter version from Qatadah. Imam Ahmad also recorded that Ibn `Abbas said: "The Messenger of Allah said:

«لَمَّا كَانَ لَيْلَةَ أُسْرِيَ بِي، فَأَصْبَحْتُ بِمَكَّةَ فَظِعْتُ وَعَرَفْتُ أَنَّ النَّاسَ مُكَذِّبِي»

(On the night when I was taken on the Night Journey, I woke up in Makkah the next morning having anxiety that, I knew that the people would not believe me.) He kept away from people, feeling anxious and sad, then the enemy of Allah Abu Jahl passed by him and came to sit with him, saying mockingly, `Is there anything new' The Messenger of Allah said,

«نَعَم»

(Yes). He said, `What is it' He said,

«إِنِّي أُسْرِيَ بِي اللَّيْلَة»

(I was taken on a Journey last night.) He said, `Where to' He said,

«إِلَى بَيْتِ الْمَقْدِس»

(To Bayt Al-Maqdis.) He said, `Then this morning you were among us' He said,

«نَعَم»

(Yes). Abu Jahl did not want to say to his face that he was lying, lest he deny saying it when he called other people to hear him, so he said: `Do you think that if I call your people, you will tell them about what happened' The Messenger of Allah said,

«نَعَم»

(Yes.) Abu Jahl said, `O people of Bani Ka`b bin Lu'ay!' People got up from where they were sitting and came to join them. Abu Jahl said, `Tell your people what you told me.' The Messenger of Allah said:

«إِنِّي أُسْرِيَ بِي اللَّيْلَة»

(I was taken on a Journey last night.) They said, `Where to' He said,

«إِلَى بَيْتِ الْمَقْدِس»

(To Bayt Al-Maqdis.) They said, `Then this morning you were among us' He said,

«نَعَم»

(Yes). They began to clap their hands together and put their hands on their heads in astonishment at this "lie'' - as they claimed it to be. They said, `Can you describe the sanctuary to us' Among them were some who had travelled to that land and seen the sanctuary, so the Messenger of Allah said,

«فَمَا زِلْتُ أَنْعَتُ حَتَّى الْتَبَسَ عَلَيَّ بَعْضُ النَّعْتِ قَالَ فَجِيءَ بِالْمَسْجِدِ وَأَنَا أَنْظُرُ إِلَيْهِ حَتَّى وُضِعَ دُونَ دَارِ عُقَيلٍ أَوْ عِقَالٍ فَنَعَتُّهُ وَأَنَا أَنْظُرُ إِلَيْهِ قَالَ وَكَانَ مَعَ هَذَا نَعْتٌ لَمْ أَحْفَظْهُ قَالَ فَقَالَ الْقَوْمُ: أَمَّا النَّعْتُ فَوَاللهِ لَقَدْ أَصَابَ فِيه»

(I started to describe it, until I reached a point where I was not sure about some of the details, but then the sanctuary was brought close and placed near the house of `Uqayl - or `Iqal - so I could look at it and describe the details.) I could not remember those description. The people said, `As for the description, by Allah he has got it right.'' This was recorded by An-Nasa'i and Al-Bayhaqi.

The Report of `Abdullah bin Mas`ud

Al-Hafiz Abu Bakr Al-Bayhaqi reported that `Abdullah bin Mas`ud said: "When the Messenger of Allah was taken on the Night Journey, he went as far as Sidrat Al-Muntaha, which is in the sixth heaven. Everything that ascends stops there, until it is taken from that point, and everything that comes down stops there, until it is taken from there.

إِذْ يَغْشَى السِّدْرَةَ مَا يَغْشَى

(When that covered As-Sidrat Al-Muntaha which did cover it!) 53:16Ibn Mas`ud said: "It is covered with gold butterflies. The Messenger of Allah was given the five prayers and the final Ayat of Surat Al-Baqarah, and forgiveness was granted for major sins to those who do not associate anything in worship with Allah.'' This was recorded by Muslim in his Sahih.

The Report of Abu Hurayrah

Al-Bukhari and Muslim reported in their Sahihs that Abu Hurayrah said: the Messenger of Allah said:

«حِينَ أُسْرِيَ بِي، لَقِيتُ مُوسَى عَلَيهِ السَّلَامُ فَنَعَتَهُ، فَإِذَا رَجُلٌ حَسِبْتُهُ قَالَ مُضْطَرِبٌ رَجِلُ الرَّأْسِ كَأَنَّهُ مِنْ رِجَالِ شَنُوءَةَ، قَالَ: وَلَقِيتُ عِيسَى فَنَعَتَهُ النَّبِيُّصلى الله عليه وسلّم قَالَ رَبْعَةٌ أَحْمَرُ كَأَنَّمَا خَرَجَ مِنْ دِيمَاسٍ يَعْنِي حَمَّامًا، قَالَ وَلَقِيتُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَأَنَا أَشْبَهُ وَلَدِهِ بِهِ، قَالَ: وَأُتِيتُ بِإِنَاءَيْنِ فِي أَحَدِهِمَا لَبَنٌ وَفِي الْآخَرِ خَمْرٌ، قِيلَ لِي: خُذْ أَيَّهُمَا شِئْتَ، فَأَخَذْتُ اللَّبَنَ فَشَرِبْتُ، فَقِيلَ لِي: هُدِيتَ الْفِطْرَةَ أَوْ أَصَبْتَ الْفِطْرَةَ أَمَا إِنَّكَ لَوْ أَخَذْتَ الْخَمْرَ غَوَتْ أُمَّتُك»

(When I was taken on the Night Journey, I met Musa.) He described him as a man - I think he said - a curly-haired man, as if he were from the tribe of Shanu'ah. (And I met `Isa.) And the Prophet described him as being of average height, with a reddish complexion, as if he had just come out of the bath. (And I met Ibrahim, and I am the one who resembles him most among his children. I was brought two vessels, one containing milk and the other containing wine. It was said to me, `Take whichever one you want.' So I took the milk and drank it, and it was said to me, `You have been guided to the Fitrah - or - You have chosen the Fitrah. If you had chosen the wine, your Ummah would have gone astray.')'' They also recorded it with another chain of narrators. Muslim recorded that Abu Hurayrah said: "The Messenger of Allah said:

«لَقَدْ رَأَيْتُنِي فِي الْحِجْرِ وَقُرَيْشٌ تَسْأَلُنِي عَنْ مَسْرَايَ،فَسَأَلُونِي عَنْ أَشْيَاءَ مِنْ بَيْتِ الْمَقْدِسِ لَمْ أُثْبِتْهَا، فَكُرِبْتُ (كُرْبَةً) مَا كُرِبْتُ مِثْلَهُ قَطُّ، فَرَفَعَهُ اللهُ إِليَّ أَنْظُرُ إِلَيْهِ مَا سَأَلُونِي عَنْ شَيْءٍ إِلَّا أَنْبَأْتُهُمْ بِهِ، وَقَدْ رَأَيْتُنِي فِي جَمَاعَةٍ مِنَ الْأَنْبِيَاءِ، وَإِذَا مُوسَى قَائِمٌ يُصَلِّي، وَإِذَا هُوَ رَجُلٌ جَعْدٌ كَأَنَّهُ مِنْ رِجَالِ شَنُوءَةَ، وَإِذَا عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ قَائِمٌ يُصَلِّي أَقْرَبُ النَّاسِ شَبَهًا بِهِ عَرْوَةُ بْنُ مَسْعُودٍ الثَّقَفِيُّ، وَإِذَا إِبْرَاهِيمُ قَائِمٌ يُصَلِّي أَقْرَبُ النَّاسِ شَبَهًا بِهِ صَاحِبُكُمْ يَعْنِي نَفْسَهُ فَحَانَتِ الصَّلَاةُ فَأَمَمْتُهُمْ، فَلَمَّا فَرَغْتُ قَالَ قَائِلٌ: يَا مُحَمَّدُ هَذَا مَالِكُ خَازِنُ جَهَنَّمَ، (فَسَلِّمْ عَلَيْهِ) فَالْتَفَتُّ إِلَيْهِ فَبَدَأَنِي بِالسَّلَام»

(I remember being in Al-Hijr, and the Quraysh were asking me about my Night Journey. They asked me things about Bayt Al-Maqdis that I was not sure of, and I felt more anxious and stressed then than I have ever felt. Then Allah raised up Bayt Al-Maqdis for me to see, and there was nothing they asked me about but I told them about it. And I remember being in a gathering of the Prophets. Musa was standing there praying, and he was a man with curly hair, as if he were one of the men of Shanu'ah. I saw `Isa bin Maryam standing there praying, and the one who most resembles him is `Urwah bin Mas`ud Ath-Thaqafi. And I saw Ibrahim standing there praying, and the one who most resembles him is your companion (meaning himself). Then the time for prayer came, and I led them in prayer. When I finished, a voice said, `O Muhammad, this is Malik, the keeper of Hell,' so I turned to him, and he greeted me first.)''

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

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) 17:60Ibn `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.

An Interesting Story

In his book Dala'il An-Nubuwwah, Al-Hafiz Abu Nu`aym Al-Isbahani recorded via Muhammad bin `Umar Al-Waqidi who said: Malik bin Abi Ar-Rijjal told me from `Amr bin `Abdullah that Muhammad bin Ka`b Al-Qurazi said: "The Messenger of Allah sent Dihyah bin Khalifah to Caesar.'' He mentioned how he came to him, and described an incident that showed how wise Caesar was. He sent for the Arab merchants who were in Syria and Abu Sufyan Sakhr bin Harb and his companions were brought to him. He asked them the well-known questions that were recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim, as we shall discuss below, and Abu Sufyan tried hard to give the impression that this was an insignificant issue. The narratorsaid that Abu Sufyan latersaid: "By Allah, nothing stopped me from saying something to Heraclius to make him despise Muhammadbut the fact that I did not want to tell a lie that would later be found out, and he would never believe me again after that. Then I told him about the night on which he was taken on the Night Journey. I said: `O King, shall I not tell you of something from which you will know that he is lying' He said, `What is it' I said: `He claims that he went out of our land, the land of Al-Haram, in one night, and came to your sanctuary in Jerusalem, then came back to us the same night, before morning came.' The Patriarch of Jerusalem was there, standing next to Caesar. The Patriarch of Jerusalem said: `I know that night.' Caesar looked at him and said, `How do you know about this' He said, `I never used to sleep at night until I closed the doors of the sanctuary. On that night I closed all the doors except for one, which I could not manage to close. I asked my workers and others who were with me to help me deal with it, but we could not move it. It was like trying to move a mountain. So I called the carpenters, and they looked at it and said: The lintel and some part of the structure has fallen onto it. We cannot move it until morning, when we will be able to see what the problem is. So I went back and left those two doors open. The next morning I went back, and saw that the stone at the corner of the sanctuary had a hole in it, and there were traces of an animal having been tethered there. I said to my companions: This door has not been closed last night except for a Prophet, who prayed last night in our sanctuary.''' And he mentioned the rest of the Hadith. In his book At-Tanwir fi Mawlid As-Siraj Al-Munir, Al-Hafiz Abu Al-Khattab `Umar bin Dihyah mentioned the Hadith of the Isra' narrated from Anas, and spoke well about it, then he said: "The reports of the Hadith of the Isra' reach the level of Mutawatir. They were narrated from `Umar bin Al-Khattab, `Ali, Ibn Mas`ud, Abu Dharr, Malik bin Sa`sa`ah, Abu Hurayrah, Abu Sa`id, Ibn `Abbas, Shaddad bin Aws, Ubayy bin Ka`b, `Abdur-Rahman bin Qarat, Abu Habbah Al-Ansari, Abu Layla Al-Ansari, `Abdullah bin `Amr, Jabir, Hudhayfah, Buraydah, Abu Ayyub, Abu Umamah, Samurah bin Jundub, Abu Al-Hamra', Suhayb Ar-Rumi, Umm Hani', and `A'ishah and `Asma', the daughters of Abu Bakr As-Siddiq, may Allah be pleased with them all. Some of them narrated the incident at length, and others narrated it more briefly, as was reported in the Musnad collections. Even though some reports do not fulfill the conditions of Sahih, nevertheless the Muslims agreed unanimously on the fact that the Isra' happened, and it was rejected only by the heretics and apostates.

يُرِيدُونَ لِيُطْفِئُواْ نُورَ اللَّهِ بِأَفْوَهِهِمْ وَاللَّهُ مُتِمُّ نُورِهِ وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْكَـفِرُونَ

(They intend to put out the Light of Allah with their mouths. But Allah will bring His Light to perfection even though the disbelievers hate (it).) (61:8).

Kashani

Glory be to Him Who carried, that is, [Who] raised him above [the blemishes of] material appendages and the deficiencies of similarity by the tongue of the state of disengagement and perfection at the station of servanthood wherein lies no power of disposal whatsoever, by night, that is, in the darkness of corporeal coverings and attachments of physical nature, since ascension and elevation can only be by means of the body, from the Sacred Mosque, that is, from the station of the sacred heart lest the idolater that are the corporeal faculties should circumambulate it and commit therein their acts of indecency and sins, and lest the misguided one of the animal faculties, the bestial and the predatorial - whose exposed shameful aspects, their excess and immoderation, by virtue of their being denuded from the garb of virtue - should perform the pilgrimage [there], to the Farthest Mosque, which is the station of the spirit, that is the furthest from the world of physical bodies, by means of the presential vision of the self-disclosures of the Essence and the august glories of the Face. Remember what we mentioned [before] about [the fact] that the rectification of each station can only be after rising to the one above it, so that you might understand His words 'that We might show him some of Our signs' as [denoting] the witnessing of the attributes. For even if the contemplation of the self-disclosures of the attributes should take place at the station of the heart, the Essence that is qualified by these attributes can only be witnessed in its perfection through the attributes of the Majesty and the Beauty upon rising to the station of the spirit. In other words, that We might show him some the signs of Our attributes from the point of view that these [attributes] are ascribed to Us and that We are witnessed by them and exteriorised in their forms. Indeed He is the Hearing, of his [the Prophet's] communions at the station of mystery seeking annihilation, the Seeing, of the potency of his preparedness and of his orientation to the locus of presential vision and his attraction thereto by the intensity of his love and the perfectedness of his yearning [for God].

Kashf Al-Asrar

Glory be to Him who took His servant by night from the Holy Mosque to the Farthest Mosque.

At the beginning of this surah He praised Himself, then He disclosed the nobility of MuṣṬafā and uncovered his eminence over the creatures. First He testified to His own faultlessness and men- tioned His own purity. He Himself praised Himself and showed the creatures His perfect power. He turned over the Messenger's miʿrāj to His own act, not the Messenger's act, so that the faithful will not fall into uncertainty and there would be an argument against the deniers. Thus the faithful will know that the marvels of power have no limit and that this state is not strange given the perfect power of the Powerful.

Another meaning is to display the nobility of MuṣṬafā and his eminence over the creatures of the world. Then the world's folk will know that his station is that of those snatched away on the carpet of companionship, not that of the travelers in the way stations of service. He who is snatched away is being pulled by the Real, but the traveler is traveling by himself. When someone is being pulled by the Real, he is in the way station of whispered secrets and joy and is fitting for generous bestowal and exaltation. But when someone is himself traveling, he keeps on wanting to gain access to the thresh- old of service and seeking for a rank to appear for himself. The former is the station of MuḤammad, the Real's beloved, and the latter is the station of Moses, the Real's speaking-companion.

Do you not see that He said about Moses, "Moses came to Our appointed time" [7:143], but He said about MuṣṬafā, "who took His servant by night." Moses was a comer, traveling by himself. MuḤammad was taken, snatched away from himself. He who walks with His feet is not like him who walks toward Him, and he to whose secret core revelation comes is not like him who is called to Him. The one who was traveling was absent through distance, so after separation he found union. The one who was taken was in the elevation of union at the outset, and he received the robe of bounty at the end.

Then He says, "His servant by night.

Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an

The event referred to in this verse is known "Mi`raj" and "Isra"'. According to authentic traditions, this took place a year before Hijrah. In the traditional and biographical literature, its details have been related by a large number (25) of the Companions. Anas bin Malik, Malik bin Sa`asa`ah, Abuzar Ghifari, and Abu Hurairah (Allah be pleased with them all) have related details of the event. Besides them, `Umar, `Ali, `Abdullah bin Mas`ud...........(Allah be pleased with them) have also related some parts of this event.

In this verse, the Qur'an mentions only a part of the Journey, i.e., from Masjid-i-Haram to the Temple at Jerusalem. The object of this journey as stated here was that Allah willed to show His servant some of His signs. The Qur'an does not give any details other than this but we find further details in the traditions, which are to this effect:

One night the Angel Jibril transported the Holy Prophet on al-Buraq from Masjid-i-Haram to Masjid-i-Aqsa (the Temple). There the Holy Prophet offered his prayers along with the other Prophets. Then he took him towards the higher spheres, where he met some of the great Prophets in different spheres. At last he reached the Highest Place in the Heavens, and was received in audience by Allah. It was there that besides other important instructions five daily Prayers were prescribed. Then he returned to the Temple and from there came back to Masjid-i-Haram. During this Journey, according to many traditions, Paradise and Hell were shown to him. We also learn from authentic traditions that on the following day when he mentioned this event, the disbelievers of Makkah scoffed at him, and some of the Muslims also were skeptical about this.

The above additional details based on the traditions cannot be said to be against the Qur'an, for these are additions to the details given in the Qur'an; therefore, the details related in the traditions cannot be. rejected on the plea that they are against the Qur'an. Nevertheless, if one rejects any part of those details which are given in the traditions, one cannot be declared a renegade. On the other hand, if one rejects the details given in the Qur'an, one does become a renegade.

There are different versions of this Journey. Some say that this happened in a dream, while others are of the opinion that the Holy Prophet was fully awake and went on the Journey with his own physical body; some others say that it was merely a mystic vision which was shown to him. The opening words of this verse: "Glory be to Him, who transported His Servant..." however, clearly show that it was a super-natural event which was brought about by the unlimited power of Allah. It is quite obvious that if the event had been merely a mystic vision, it would not have been introduced by the words which imply that the Being Who brought about this event is free from each and every kind of weakness and defect. Again the words "transported His servant one night" also show that this was not a dream or a vision but a physical journey in which Allah arranged that the Holy Prophet should make observation of His Signs with his physical eyes. Therefore, one is bound to admit that this was not a mere spiritual experience but a physical journey and visual observation which Allah arranged for His Prophet.

It is strange that some people are of the opinion that this extraordinary journey could not be possible, but now when man with his limited-very limited power has been able to reach the moon, it is absurd to deny that Allah with His limitless powers could enable His Messenger to make this journey in the extraordinary short time it took.

Above all, the question whether a thing is possible or not, can arise only in the `case of human beings whose powers are after all limited, but such questions cannot be raised where the All-Powerful Allah is concerned. Only such a person who does not believe that Allah is able to do everything can raise objections against this wonderful Journey about which Allah Himself says that He transported His Servant one night from Masjid-i-Haram to Masjid-i-Aqsa. Likewise all the objections raised against the various details which are given in the traditions are frivolous, except two, which are plausible:

First, if we accept these details, then we shall have to admit drat Allah is confined to a certain place: otherwise there was no need that His Servant should be transported for this purpose to a certain place. Secondly, according to traditions, the Holy Prophet was enabled to observe Paradise and Hell where he saw some people suffering from torment. The objection is: why should sane people be awarded punishments or rewards before the Final Judgment after Resurrection?

As regards the first objection, it is true that Allah is Infinite by Himself, but in dealing with His creation, He employs those means which suit His imperfect creation not because of any limitation of His, but because of the limitations of His creation. For instance, when He speaks to any of His creature, He adopts the same limited mode of conversation as the addressee can understand, though He has limitless modes of speech. Likewise, when He desires to show some of the wonderful Signs of His Kingdom to a servant. He transports him to the place where the' Signs are to be shown. It is obvious that the servant cannot see at one and the same time the whole of the universe as Allah does, for Allah has no need to go to any place at all for this purpose but the servant has. The same applies to the appearance of the servant before the Creator. Though Allah is not confined to any locality, it is necessary for the servant to go to the place where His manifestations have been concentrated for his observation because it is not possible for the servant with his limited powers to go in His Presence in His Infinite Capacity.

As regards the second objection, it is based on the lack of understanding the thing: many of the Signs which were shown to the Holy Prophet were symbolical. For instance, a small hole from which a fat ox came out but could not go back into it, represented mischief personified. In the same way the adulterers were shown as if they had fresh meat before them but instead of that they were eating rotten flesh. Similarly punishments for evil deeds shown to him were only symbolic observations of the punishments in the Hereafter so that he might see in advance the things which would take place in the Hereafter.

In regard to the Mi `raj it should be kept in view that all the Prophets were enabled by Allah to see His Signs in the heavens and the earth according to their ranks. And for this purpose all the material curtains were lifted so that they could see with their naked eyes the unseen realities, to which they were required to invite the people.

This was done so that the Prophets could say with full conviction what they had seen with their own eyes. For this experience would distinguish there from a philosopher who bases all his theories on guess-work and cannot say that he bears witness to what he claims. In contrast to philosophers, Prophets could say that they bore witness to the things which they presented because they had seen them with their own eyes.

Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs

And from his own narration on the authority of Ibn 'Abbas that he said regarding the interpretation of Allah's saying (Glorified be): '(Glorified be) He says: He is far exalted above and exonerated from having a son or partner (He Who carried His servant) He Who took His servant Muhammad, peace be on him, (by night) at the beginning of the night (from the Inviolable Place of Worship) from the Sacred Precinct, from the house of Umm Hani' the daughter of Abu Talib (to the Far Distant Place of Worship) far in distance, but close to heaven, i.e. the Mosque of Jerusalem (the neighbourhood whereof We have blessed) with water, trees and fruits, (that We might show him) that We might show Muhammad (pbuh) (of Our tokens!) of Our marvels, for all the things He saw that night were marvels of Allah. (Lo! He, only He, is the Nearer) of what the Quraysh say, (the Seer) He sees them just as He sees His servant Muhammad (pbuh).