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The Reaction of Abu Jahal and his Followers
After the Prophet (peace be upon him) returned from his miraculous night journey, we was sure that people would not believe when he will tell them about the special blessing of Allah.
Abu Jahl passed by him and asked him mockingly: Was there anything from heaven? The Messenger of Allah said: Yes.
Abu Jahl asked: What is it?
The Messenger of Allah said: I was given a miraculous night journey.
Abu Jahl asked: To where?
The Messenger of Allah said: To Bayt al-Maqdis.
Abu Jahl said: Then you came back to be among us?
The Messenger of Allah said: Yes.
Abu Jahl deciding not to belie him in order to encourage him to tell it to the people, he cunningly said: If I invite people over here, will you tell them what you have told me about?
The Messenger of Allah said: Yes.
The Messenger of Allah said: I was given a night journey.
They said: To where?
The Messenger of Allah said: To Baytul Maqdis.
Abu Jahl said: then you came back to be among us?
The Messenger of Allah said: Yes.
Then some of them clapped their hands while others put their hands on their heads, as a gesture of disbelief.
They asked: “Can you describe the Mosque of Bayt al-Maqdis in Jerusalem as some of us have travelled to Jerusalem before and saw the Mosque?”
The Messenger of Allah said:
“I started describing it to them until I could no longer do that. Then, Jibril brought a view of the mosque close to the neighboring house of `Uqail, then I resumed describing it while I was looking at it.”
The Messenger of Allah added that the description included details that I no longer remember.
The people, then, commented saying: “Concerning the description of Bayt al- Maqdis, by Allah, he told the truth.” (Musnad Ahmad)
This narration clearly shows that the people of Makkah investigated the story of the Prophet by asking him questions about the mosque in Jerusalem and his answer and description were verified by those who had visited it before, though the Prophet never visited the mosque of Bayt Al-Maqdis before.
Abu Bakr As-Siddiq and the Prophet’s Night Journey
When the Prophet Muhammad reported to the people about his journey, most of the unbelievers of Makkah found it strange and unusual and some of them said: By God! This is really a strange happening, our convoys take one month from Makkah to Bayt Al-Maqdis; one month in going and one month in returning, and how is it possible for Muhammad to go in one night and to return to Makkah in the same night?
Therefore, people came to Abu Bakr and said: “O Abu Bakr! What do you think about your friend who says that he went tonight to Jerusalem and prayed there then returned to Makkah in the same night? Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) said: do you tell false on his behalf? They said: no, here is your friend in the mosque who announces it to the people. Then Abu Bakr said: by God, if he says that, he is surely true, why are you in surprise? By God! he tells me about the revelation that comes to him from sky to the earth in moments, any time in the day or night and I believe in his talk. In fact, what you have been told about his night journey is easier than the issue of revelation has been believed by me.
Then Abu Bakr came to the Messenger of Allah and said: O Prophet of Allah! have you really told them that you visited Jerusalem tonight? He said: yes, then he asked the Prophet of Allah to describe Bayt Al-Maqdis as he had traveled to it. The Messenger of Allah began describing it, Abu Bakr said on each description “You are true, and I wetness that you are a true Messenger of Allah” until the Messenger of Allah has finished his description then he said to Abu Bakr: O Abu Bakr! You are Siddiq (a man of truth) since then Abu Bakr became known with this title. (Al-Qurtubi, Al-Jami`li-Ahkam Al-Qur’an, vol. 10, p.257)
Logical Evidence of the Israa’ and the Mi`raj
It is known that miracles are a common denominator among most religions of the world; even Hinduism has many stories and legends based on the miracles. However, we are not sure of their authenticity and accurate transmission through the ancient ages. While the miracles of the Prophet Muhammad in general and the miracle of the Israa’ and the Mi`raj particularly were mentioned in more than one narrations of the Hadith.
In addition, the story of Israa’ was mentioned in the Glorious Qur’an while the story of Mi`raj was mentioned in the blessed Sunnah, which was transmitted to us by countless people who belonged to different countries and centuries, also the numbers of the narrators are so big that is impossible to agree on a false or fabricated narration. The number of those companions who heard the story from the Prophet directly was very big then the next generation of the narrators who heard from those companions was also big in numbers and the number was same in the next coming generations until the period of the compilation of the narrations. Thus, the miracles of the Prophet Muhammad were transmitted by countless narrators in every age that could not be a mere lie. For example, many of us have not seen the North Pole of the planet or the Himalaya Mountains but we believe in their presence because a large number of people told us about their presence who saw them by their eyes.
How is it possible to travel to the heavens in one night?
It can be said that how is it possible to travel around the heavens in one night, rather, in a small part of the night? In our modern age, we know that spacecrafts that go to Mars, moon or other planets with astonishing speed, even though they take months and years to arrive at them, so the ascension of the Prophet Muhammad to the heavens seems impossible.
It is easy for those who believe in the existence of God, who can do everything and whose power is limitless, “His command is only when He intends a thing that He says to it “Be” and it is!” I think that most Hindus believe in the existence of God the Almighty. The Israa’ and the Mi`raj were carried out by the will and command of Allah the Almighty who created the world and organizes, directs and runs the system of the universe. Nothing of this world is beyond His command and power. So Al-Israa’ Wal-Mi`raj are miraculous journey that took place by the power of Allah the Almighty whose supremacy is not limited to our limited thoughts, views or opinions.
Moreover, we say to those who do not believe in God or who want to interpret the universe and life in the light of laboratory experiments, we ask them; have you interpreted everything in the universe? The answer is no, as we see many scientists say in many studies; “We do not know”, but there is a big difference between “We do not know” and “It is impossible”.
For example: Humans before three centuries used to reject the reality of transmission of sound to thousands of kilometers, rather, it was believed as an impossible idea, but now most people talk on phones and Mobiles from one country to another even they hear the transmitted sound by their own ears. Now, most people believed in the transmission of the sound in a single moment from one country to another.
In fact, the modern scientific discoveries in various fields help us a lot in giving satisfaction with the miracles of the Prophet Muhammad including the miracle of the Israa’ and the Mi`raj, because mankind before these scientific discoveries was unaware of many secrets in the cosmic system, planets, space, atom and many other items of the universe. According to Islam, Hinduism and other religions of the world, the system of the world was created by God the Almighty. Indeed, the miracle of the Israa’ and the Mi`raj is strange and unbelievable only when it was claimed to be a result of human power or strength, but when it is done or carried out by the power and will of Allah the Almighty then there is no room for denial or refusal, because, Allah is the Creator of all things and He is Only One who sets the system of the world and it is not difficult for the Creator to stop the system of His created universe for a specified time.
Why the Israa’ and the Mi`raj?
There are many secrets in the miracle of the Israa’ and the Mi`raj; some of them were explained by our honored scholars in the light of the Glorious Qur’an and the blessed Sunnah. Sheikh Jalal Addin As-Suyuti (may Allah have mercy on him) mentioned in his booklet “Al-Israa’ wal-Mi`raj” twenty secrets behind this miraculous journey. Some of them are mentioned below.
- The kings and princes honor exalted personalities of their courts when they finish their assigned duties in a unique style or when they achieve some important missions they are honored with awards, medals, and valuable prizes. There is no comparison between the standard of honoring by Allah the Almighty and human being.
After the Prophet Muhammad had suffered a lot of violence, cruelty and damage from his people in order to convey the message of Allah the Almighty to the people, Allah (Glory be to Him) wanted to honor His excellent servant, the Prophet Muhammad by inviting him to His blessed court and to make him see His major signs in the universe and the heavens.
- The Prophet led in the prayer all Messengers and Prophets since Adam until the Prophet `Isa (peace be upon them) that shows the honor, prestige and merit of the Prophet Muhammad amongst the entire humanity.
- The importance of the five prayers for the Muslim community is evident from the Israa’ and the Mi`raj. As the prayer was a special gift from Allah the Almighty for him and his followers that was given in an extraordinary and honored way. Therefore, the prayer has been regarded as a Mi`raj for Muslims as was the ascension to the blessed court of Allah the Almighty a Mi`raj for the Prophet .
- Mi`raj is a hope for those Muslims who are in sorrow and sadness. Any grief or damage in the way of Allah is always followed by some wonderful divine blessings and gifts that are beyond our expectations and imaginations.
- The Israa` and the Mi`raj were dividing lines between a strong believer and between a weak believer, rather, they were a distinction between belief and disbelief. Some became Siddiq (the man of truth) due to his strong belief in Mi`raj and in the Prophet Muhammad while some become infidel and disbeliever due to the rejection of the Israa’ and the Mi`raj.