The Messenger of Allah, Muhammed


  • bookcover

  • The Messenger of Allah, Muhammed


  • بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

    وَاصْبِرْ لِحُكْمِ رَبِّكَ فَإِنَّكَ بِأَعْيُنِنَا ۖ وَسَبِّحْ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّكَ حِينَ تَقُومُ - 52:48

     

    “So wait patiently (O Muhammad, Õáì Çááå Úáíå æÓáã) for the Decision of your Lord, for verily, you are under Our Eyes and glorify the Praises of your Lord when you get up from sleep. And in the night-time, also glorify His Praises, and at the setting of the stars.” (At-Tûr, 52: 48)

    Ayat quoted by trans.


    Chapter Five

    And Came Support From Heaven

    “Glorified (and Exalted) be He (Allah) Who took His servant (Muhammad, Õáì Çááå Úáíå æÓáã) for a journey by night from Al-Masjid-al-Haram (at Mecca) to Al-Aqsa Masjid (in Jerusalem), the neighbourhood whereof We have blessed, in order that We might show him (Muhammad, Õáì Çááå Úáíå æÓáã) of Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, lessons, signs, etc.). Verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer.” (Al-Isra, 17: 1)

    After the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) raised his hands and invoked Allah, he returned once more to Mecca to resume his striving and calling to the Path of Allah under the hardest circumstances, which the first Muslims had gone through. But Heaven was preparing something different to the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace).

    Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, wanted to show His noble Messenger (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) what no human being has ever seen before. He wanted to reveal to the Messenger (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) the secrets of the Supreme Kingdom. For there is a worldly dominion and a Supreme Kingdom: as for the worldly dominion that we all share, it is the phenomenal, visible worldly life. Whereas, the invisible world of Supreme Kingdom is a gate that Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, opens before whomever He chooses from His creatures. And each would be allowed to see of it what is willed for him to see, according to his worth in the Sight Allah, and the worth of the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) is surely above all humans.

    That is why Allah showed him what no other creature has ever seen, intended for strengthening, honoring, and venerating the noble Messenger (may Allah bless him and grant him peace).

    The miracle of Al-Isra (the Night Journey) [The miraculous night journey during which the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was taken from Al-Masjid Al-Haram (at Mecca) to the Al-Aqsa Masjid (in Jerusalem)] and Al-Mi‘raj (the Ascension to Heaven) [The miraculous ascension of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, from Jerusalem to the Heavens to meet his Lord] was a supreme miracle that went beyond all the laws governing the entire universe. For Allah has created His Universe to work according to cause and effect, and He is The Originator of both. Allah could have granted victory to His Religion without human agency, as when He protected His House from the Army of Abrahah [the commander who led a huge army supported by elephants in an attempt to destroy the Ka’bah] without human agency.

    But the Message that shall last till the Day of Judgment needs true firm men; those men, without Divine Inspiration, must resort to human means. For if they were above such means, there would have been neither striving, nor affliction, nor trials, nor meriting the blessings of Paradise in the Hereafter. If religion would progress with the power of Heaven only, then what would be the role of mankind? And how we would be held accountable for our deeds and questioned on the Day of Judgment? Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, says (what means):

    “Did you think that you would enter Paradise without Allah testing those of you who fought hard (in His Cause) and those who remained steadfast??” (Âl-‘Imrân, 3: 142)

    The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) is the highest example to his nation. Had he triumphed without causes, the Muslims, who are ordered to follow the doctrine of their Messenger (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), would have said, “We have no power to follow such doctrine,” as everything in it happened without causes. That is why Allah willed that the Messenger (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) be a human to be taken as an example, and He also willed that His Religion be victorious through means and causes, so that Muslims would never abandon the adoption of worldly causes to others.

    Putting One’s Trust In Allah Versus Dependence

    We should have a pause here to discuss the meaning of putting one’s trust in Allah, and the difference between it and dependence. Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, wants us to put our trust in Him. But trust is the work of the heart not that of the body, that is why we should make use of means and causes, and then resort to Allah in things beyond human power. The student, for example, has to study in order to succeed. Islam does not teach that one should go to exam without studying and say that he has put his trust in Allah!! Man is demanded to work and spare no effort, and then comes the Help from Heaven.

    All Messengers have exhausted the earthly causes in their Call. For they served as guiding light that the believers should follow. They had to act depending on their human power to found religious matters on a solid base. The miracles that Allah supported His messengers with came to help the Messengers and the believers stand firm under the severest worldly crisis. Being Messengers of Allah, they had to have miracles that would prove to people that they speak for Almighty Allah. The Messenger were deliverers of a true Law, therefore they were sent when corruption was rife on earth, and they had to face ferocious tides of resistance, aroused by those who possessed power, authority, and dominion.

    When anyone reads the following Saying of The Truth, all praise and glory be to Him, he will realize the wisdom of making use of the worldly causes, and that they form the way to Paradise or to Hell:

    “Or think you that you will enter Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They were afflicted with severe poverty and ailments and were so shaken that even the Messenger and those who believed along with him said, ‘When (will come) the Help of Allah?’ Yes! Certainly, the Help of Allah is near!” (Al-Baqarah, 2: 214)

    The Wisdom Behind The Night Journey And Ascension To Heaven

    If we want to talk about the miraculous Night Journey during which the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) was taken from the Sacred Masjid to Al-Aqsa Masjid, then his ascension from Jerusalem to the Heavens to meet his Lord, we should commence with the glorious Ayah that comes at the beginning of Surat Al-Isrâ’, where The Truth, all praise and glory be to Him, says (what means):

    “Glorified (and Exalted) be He (Allah) Who took His servant (Muhammad, Õáì Çááå Úáíå æÓáã) for a journey by night from Al-Masjid-al-Haram (at Mecca) to Al-Aqsa Masjid (in Jerusalem), the neighbourhood whereof We have blessed, in order that We might show him (Muhammad, Õáì Çááå Úáíå æÓáã) of Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, lessons, signs, etc.). Verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer.” (Al-Isrâ’, 17: 1)

    Allah, Blessed and Exalted be He, has started this glorious Ayah by the words “Glorified (and Exalted) be He,” which denotes that this event highly transcends and rises above any semblance of human ability and its exaltation far above any ascription to human power.

    Allah, praise and glory be to Him, is highly Transcendent and Exalted in His Divine Attributes and Actions above all worldly laws. That is why before any Divine Act that amazes the minds, we exclaim in admiration, “Glorified and Exalted be Allah,” an expression of exaltation and glorification far above any human power or law. Thus, the first that reaches our ears from Surat Al-Isrâ’ is the saying “Glorified and Exalted be He,” meaning that such act does not submit to human laws, but to the Power of Allah Alone, all praise and glory be to Him.

    Then The Truth, Blessed and Exalted be He, says (what means):

    “Glorified (and Exalted) be He (Allah) Who took His servant (Muhammad, Õáì Çááå Úáíå æÓáã) for a journey by night.” (Al-Isrâ’, 17: 1)

    Allah, be ever Glorified His Majesty and Might, is The One Who took His servant for a Journey by night, and Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) is the one who was taken in such a Journey. Then follows the outset of the Night Journey and its end in His Saying (what means): “From Al-Masjid-al-Haram (at Mecca) to Al-Aqsa Masjid (in Jerusalem). And the reason behind such Journey in His Saying (what means): “In order that We might show him (Muhammad, Õáì Çááå Úáíå æÓáã) of Our Ayat,” in other words, Allah wanted to show His Messenger (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) some of His endless Supreme Signs, which are infinitely greater than having a beginning or an end.

    Beyond Compare

    When we discuss the act of taking for the Night Journey, we should ascribe it to its Doer, Who is Allah, Blessed and Exalted be He. For the act of traveling was not mastered by the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), but by Almighty Allah. The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) did not say “I traveled,” for us to ascribe the act to the human power of the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), as those disbelievers who exclaimed when they heard about the miraculous Journey: “Claim you that you reached it in a night and we mount on camels back for a month to reach there.” At that time journeying from Mecca to Beitul-Maqdis (Jerusalem) consumed two months (back and forth).

    Thus, the comparison is inexistent, and when the disbelievers compared the miraculous Night Journey with their own human ability, it only showed stupidity, because Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) did not say, “I traveled,” but said, “I was taken in a Night Journey.” So, the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) was carried under the rule of another Power, a Power infinite, and indeed unfathomable.

    We can mention here an example that may help approximate the idea to minds: If I say that I ascended with my baby to the highest peak in the world, no one would wonder how can a baby ascend the highest peak, but rather one may ask how I ascended it, as the act of ascension is not ascribed to the power of the baby, but to me.

    Time1 is always ascribed to the power of the doer. If you traveled on foot, the time would be according to the power of your legs, and if you were riding a car, the time consumed would be lesser, as the car is more powerful and faster than the legs. And if you were in a space shuttle, time would be much shorter for the power is much higher. And when the act is ascribed to Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, there would be no time, for it is His Majesty, Allah.

    A Journey By Soul and body

    But questions never end even in our contemporary era, where Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, has given to His servants more from human knowledge, and made them able to understand some laws governing the earth, thus they invented means of transportations that save time.

    The question is: how much time does the journey with a space shuttle take from Mecca to Beitul-Maqdis (Jerusalem)? It is minutes or even less. If such were what the human power has achieved, by the help of the knowledge that Allah has unveiled to mankind, then how would it be with the Power and Might of Allah?

    Hence, talking about time here is inadmissible. Nevertheless, some people may ask: Did Al-Isra (the Night Journey) take place with just the soul, or with both the soul and body? To them we say: had it been a dream, the disbelievers would not have said: “Claim you that you reached it in a night and we mount on camels back for a month to reach there.” As no one can discusses the plausibility of dreams, for if someone says that he saw in his dream that he went to London, to America and then to Austria, no one would discuss the possibility of what he saw in the dream.

    Therefore, if the Isra were a dream, no one would have argued with the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). But they knew that the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) was talking about a journey and a physical ascent that took place while he was awake, not dreaming, and it took place with both the soul and body. But dark minds searching the Qur’an to find false conflict between it and what the Messenger (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, claimed that the Qur’an itself said that it was a dream, namely in the following part of the Ayah saying:

    {æóãóÇ ÌóÚóáúäóÇ ÇáÑøõÄíóÇ ÇáøóÊöí ÃóÑóíúäóÇßó ÅöáÇøó ÝöÊúäóÉð áøöáäøóÇÓö } (ÇáÅÓÑÇÁ: 17¡ 60)

    Which means:

    “And We made the vision which we showed you (O Muhammad Õáì Çááå Úáíå æÓáã as an actual eye-witness and not as a dream on the night of Al-Isrâ’) only a trial for mankind.” (Al-Isrâ’, 17: 60)

     

    If it was a dream, how could it be a trial for people, for some to believe and others to deny! For none could argue the reasonability of dreams, no matter how illogical they sounded or how deep they delved into the realms of the incredible. The word “ÑÄíÇ” (Vision) in Arabic is used to denote perceiving with the eye, and in other contexts it can mean a dream. It means perceiving with the eye when the things seen are extraordinary, and arouses wonder, to denote that such things can only be seen in a dream.

    Since the vision of the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) was made a trial for people, it could not be just a dream. Thus, the Night Journey and the Ascension of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) were physical in which both his body and soul traveled in a state of wakefulness, alertness and complete consciousness. We also notice that Allah did not say, “His Messenger or Muhammad,” in the following glorious Ayah saying (what means):

    “Glorified (and Exalted) be He (Allah) Who took His servant (Muhammad, Õáì Çááå Úáíå æÓáã) for a journey by night.” (Al-Isrâ’, 17: 1)

    But He stressed the character of servility to Him, Blessed and Exalted be He, as all Messages and Prophets have come to set right our Worship of Allah, the Exalted and Ever-Majestic. Hence, the Messenger must be an ideal example in worshipping. The word ‘servant’ was also used in the context of the glorious Ayah to refute the false claim that the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) was taken in the Night Journey by the soul only or while dreaming. For the word ‘Abd’ (servant) is only used to denote the soul and body together.

    The beginning of Isra was from the Sacred Masjid (mosque) and its end was at Al-Aqsa Masjid, meaning that Isra began from the first House of worship that was built for mankind on earth and ended at Al-Aqsa Masjid, which is another sacred place belonging to Allah on earth.

    Another point they objected to is how can Allah, Blessed and Exalted be He, says (what means): “To Al-Aqsa Masjid (in Jerusalem),” though the word masjid is used for denoting Muslim place of worship, and at that time they had not yet entered Al-Aqsa Masjid?

    The answer is that the word “Masjid” means a place of prostration, thus any place on which man prostrate himself before Allah, The One and Only God, is called “Masjid.” Prostration is not an act of worship that only exits in Islam, but in all Messages and with all prophets, as any place where man prostrate himself before Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, is called masjid (place of prostration), also Beitul-Maqdis had earned sanctity with the Prophets Moses and Jesus (peace be upon them).

    The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) was not sent only to his people, but to whole mankind. His Isra to Beitul-Maqdis [Jerusalem] and his admission into Al-Aqsa Masjid shows how Islam reigns over all the holy places on earth. The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said:

    “Do not set out on a journey expect for three Masjids: this Masjid of mine [in Medina], Al­-Masjid-Al-­Haram [the Sacred Masjid in Mecca] and Al-Aqsa Masjid [in Jerusalem].”  

    The Description Of Beitul-Maqdis

    After the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) related the story of Isra (the Night Journey), the disbelievers, who knew that the Messenger (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) had never been to that place before, wanted to embarrass him by asking him to describe to them Al-Aqsa Masjid [in Jerusalem]. Nevertheless, the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) described it to them minutely. Moreover, certain incidents had occurred on the road from Mecca to Al-Aqsa Masjid, which the Messenger (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) related to them, like the caravan which the Messenger (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) indicated, mentioning to them that one of its camels was lost, and he named the exact time of the arrival of that caravan.

    When the Noble Qur’an dealt with the Isra (the Night Journey), it introduced it through material earthly preludes, like the events that the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) had witnessed on the way, and his description of Al-Aqsa Masjid in Jerusalem and other signs. Such material signs served as an introduction to Al-Mi’raj [The Ascension to Heaven], so that when people are certain that Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, has broken for His Messenger (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) the law of distance that we know, then He is surely Able of making him step beyond the law of ascension that we know not, to make the His Messenger (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) ascend to Sidrat-ul-Muntaha [Lote-Tree of the utmost boundary (beyond which none can pass)].

    When the Noble Qur’an related the story of the ‘Isra, it dealt with it explicitly, whereas when talking about Al-Mi’raj [The Ascension to Heaven] it dealt with it implicitly. Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, did not say “Glorified be He who raised his servant from Beitul-Maqdis to Sidrat-ul-Muntaha”, but He said (what means):

    “By the star when it goes down, (or vanishes). Your companion (Muhammad, Õáì Çááå Úáíå æÓáã) has neither gone astray nor has erred. Nor does he speak of (his own) desire. It is only an Inspiration that is inspired. He has been taught (this Qur’an) by one mighty in power [Jibril (Gabriel)]. One free from any defect in body and mind. Then he [Jibril (Gabriel) rose and became stable, while he [Jibril (Gabriel)] was in the highest part of the horizon. Then he [Jibril (Gabriel)] approached and came closer, and was at a distance of two bows’ length or (even) closer. So, He (Allah) revealed to his servant (Muhammad, Õáì Çááå Úáíå æÓáã) whatever he revealed. The (Prophet’s, Õáì Çááå Úáíå æÓáã) heart lied not (in seeing) what he saw. Will you then dispute with him (Muhammad, Õáì Çááå Úáíå æÓáã) about what he saw [during the Mi'raj: Ascent of the Prophet, Õáì Çááå Úáíå æÓáã, over the seven heavens]. And indeed he (Muhammad, Õáì Çááå Úáíå æÓáã) saw him [Jibrîl (Gabriel)] at a second descent (i.e. another time). Near Sidrat-ul-Muntaha [Lote-Tree of the utmost boundary (beyond which none can pass)], near it is the Garden of Abode. When that which shrouds did enshroud the Lote-tree. The sight (of Prophet Muhammad, Õáì Çááå Úáíå æÓáã) turned not aside (right or left), nor it transgressed beyond (the) limit (ordained for it). For truly did he see, of the Signs of his Lord, the Greatest.” (An-Najm, 53: 1-18)

    By stating Sidrat-ul-Muntaha [Lote-Tree of the utmost boundary (beyond which none can pass)], standing at it and seeing the Greatest Sign of His Lord, we learn that the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) did ascend to the seventh heaven. But why did not Allah, Blessed and Exalted be He, state the ascension literally? To make it serve as a trial of the strength of faith in the human soul. For as long as you believe that the law of distance had been broken for the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), you would surely believe that the laws of ascension to heaven were also broken.

    But why measure a miracle that happened to the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) with our limited mental capacities. All the miracles of the prophets are surely beyond the grasp of human intellect. Throwing the Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham, peace be upon him) into fire, then it’s becoming cool and safe for him is a miracle that no mind can ever grasp, as the nature of fire is burning. Also the splitting of the sea for the sake of Musa (Moses, peace be upon him) is another miracle that is beyond the grasp of the intellect, because the nature of water is fluidity. And bringing back the dead to life, and curing people once touched is a miracle only given to ‘Issa (Jesus, peace be upon him). All of them do not submit to the laws of the mind.

    Then why do we ascribe all these miracles to the Power of Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, but when it comes to the miracle of Al-Isra (the Night Journey) and Al-Mi’raj (the Ascension to Heaven) we subject it to human reasoning, though all the Miracles of Allah stand highly above any mental power. Hence, the one who denies Al-Isra, is considered a disbeliever, because he contradicts the Qur’anic passage, and the one who denies Al-Mi’raj is considered a rebellious disbeliever, as Al-Mi’raj is intrinsically stated.

    The Disbelievers’ Certainty Of The truthfulness Of The Messenger

    So long as the Messenger (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) was carried by the Law of The Truth, all praise and glory be to Him, then all that occurred is believable, because it is done by the Supreme Power of Allah. Al-Isra came as an earthly miracle, because people already knew Beitul-Maqdis and Al-Aqsa Masjid, and some of them had been there, and others knew the course. The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) had informed them about a caravan that was on the way. They awaited that caravan, and they verified for certain the truthfulness of his saying.

    This established the earthly proof on the verity of Al-Isra, and all who needed a proof, were ascertained. It also served as a preliminary step to the belief that Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, who has broken the law of distance and time in Al-Isra for His Messenger (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) did also break for him the law of the seven heavens in Al-Mi’raj, as we can not establish an earthly proof on the miracle of Al-Mi’raj, because no human has ever ascended to the seven heavens.

    We also should notice that the Noble Qur’an says (what means):

    “Glorified (and Exalted) be He (Allah) Who took His servant (Muhammad, Õáì Çááå Úáíå æÓáã) for a journey by night from Al-Masjid-al-Harâm (at Mecca) to Al-Aqsa Masjid (in Jerusalem), the neighbourhood whereof We have blessed, in order that We might show him (Muhammad, Õáì Çááå Úáíå æÓáã) of Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, lessons, signs, etc.). Verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer.” (Al-Isrâ’, 17: 1)

    “Showing” is to make the one who does not see something capable of seeing it. The simplest example for this is the one suffering from short sight, and accordingly does not see things situated far away, when he goes to the ophthalmologist, he makes for him a pair of glasses that make him see what he could not see. His inability to see in such case does not constitute a proof on the inexistence of the far things, but a proof on his lack of perception of that far thing.

    For example, microbes are found in the universe performing their function since Allah has created the earth, but only recently we perceived their presence. Thus, “To show or make someone see” is either through changing the law of the seer, or through giving him something that makes him see by himself. Al-Isra on the earth was according to the laws of humanity governing Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace).

    The law of vision is governed by light; if there are unseen Miracles of Allah on earth, then certain changes should have occurred to the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) in order for him to see them, as his human nature does not allow him to see such things.

    But when the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) was raised to heaven, and he met the prophets who died before his coming into being, then he met the angels and conversed with them, The Truth, all praise and glory be to him, must have changed the human nature of the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) into angelic.

    Therefore, about the ascension of the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) to heaven Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, says (what means):

    “For truly did he see, of the Signs of his Lord, the Greatest.” (An-Najm, 53: 18)

    Allah did not say, “For truly did we show him,” as if the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) had assumed a different nature at heaven, thus he became capable of seeing by himself. Therefore, the angelic nature has become the one dominant in the noble messenger (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). We thus can say that the miracle was realized in three stages:

    The first stage:  A human nature, when Jibril (Gabriel, peace be upon him) used to bring forth revelations and teachings to him, and he used to inquire: “O Jibril, what is this?” And Jibril would explain.

    The second stage:  When he was raised to heaven, he acquired a different perceiving nature, whereby he became capable of seeing by himself, see the angels and talk to them.

    The third stage: The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) has transcended until he became higher than the closest angels to Allah, Jibril (peace be upon him). For when he asked Jibril to lead him to Sidrat-ul-Muntaha [the Lote-Tree to the right of the Throne past which no angel can pass], Jibril said: “Here is my place, if I proceed, I will burn, and if you proceed, you will pass through.”

    Hence, the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) reached a degree that even the angelic nature of Jibril (Gabriel, peace be upon him) could not bear, thus becoming the only one, who could advance and pass through. But as for Jibril (peace be upon him) his angelic power would not have tolerated stepping forward, and he would have burned.

    Seeing The Greatest Sign

    The Truth, all praise and glory be to Him, says (what means):

    “For truly did he see, of the Signs of his Lord, the Greatest.” (An-Najm, 53: 18)

    A Proclamation made by Allah and not Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), which signifies that Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) saw the Greatest Sign of His Lord, and since he saw the Greatest then he must have seen before it signs and signs.

    The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) saw the Greatest Sign. Jibril (peace be upon him) was with him on earth and in heaven, but as for the Greatest Sign neither Jibril nor any of the angels has the power to see, but only the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) saw.

    The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) saw during Al-Isra and Al-Mi’raj many scenes. The first theme that the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) presented to us was that of pure monotheistic nature, where the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) was offered a glass of milk, and another of wine, but he chose the glass containing milk, thereupon Jibril said to him: “Thanks to Allah Who guided you to Al-Fitrah (pure monotheistic nature), had you taken the wine, your followers would have gone astray.”

    But what is the meaning of being guided to Al-Fitrah (pure, innate, monotheistic nature)? Innate nature is naturally pure, as mother’s milk, and the milk of cows, goats and other animals, we drink it as Allah has created it. In other words, man did not adulterate it.

    Man to this day, and till the Day of Judgment will never be able to produce natural milk, for it is considered one of the Miracles of Allah. As for artificial milk, it is only natural milk that was dehydrated, to remain as powder the longest time possible, maintaining all the ingredients of natural milk and added to it are vitamins and other components. Thus, it is impossible to produce milk, but as for wine, it has been adulterated and has been processed by man. Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, says (what means):

    “And from the fruits of date-palms and grapes, you derive strong drink and (also) goodly provision. Verily, therein is indeed a sign for people who have wisdom.” (An-Nahl, 16: 67)

    “Goodly provision” means that whoever eats such fruits as naturally yielded, such nourishment is indeed wholesome and good, but whoever violates its nature by making wine from it, it becomes an unwholesome, foul provision.

    We receive the Blessings of Allah, which He gives us, naturally good and wholesome, but we spoil them by placing them in barrels till they decay and ferment. Thus, they deviate from their pure nature and become bad provision. So, by deforming their nature we expel goodness from them.

    Wine shrouds the mind, which must be present to fulfill the duties and obligations that Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, has assigned to man, and that is why Allah exempts the insane from his share of duties. Thus, wine disables the tool that helps man choose between alternatives. In optional matters, the mind should be present and sober, so that man can distinguish between good and evil. By drinking wine man spoils the center entrusted with receiving duties and commands, and by doing so, man suspends the greatest Blessing that is responsible for fulfilling the obligations and duties assigned to him by Allah. As if Jibril wanted to inform us that our nature is innately pure and monotheistic, so do not distort it by your deeds.

     

    Scenes Of Reward And Punishment

    Afterwards, the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) narrated another scene, where he saw people who sowed in a day and reaped in a day. Every time they reaped, their harvest would be replenished as before. The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) asked: “O Jibril, what is this?” Jibril replied: “These are Al-Mujahidun -- those who strive -- in the Cause of Allah (the Exalted). Every good deed of theirs is multiplied for them seven hundred times, and whatever they spend returns multiplied. And indeed He (Allah) is the Best of providers.” For striving in the Cause of Allah is the way by which His Guidance, all praise and glory be to Him, is conveyed to His creatures. Thus, those Mujahidun (strivers), who strive with their wealth and souls, are to have a reward that is many times as much as they offer.

    In other words, Allah grants them a reward that matches His Godly Power in giving, Blessed and Exalted be He. So, they will reap manifolds the fruits of their deeds. The grain of corn when planted gives many ears, and each ear has a hundred grains. If such is the bestowal of the earth created by Allah, then how would be the direct Bestowal of Allah, all praise and glory be to Him!

    Then the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) relates to us that he saw an old woman fully bedecked with every ornament, thereupon the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) asked: “Who is this, O Jibril?” Jibril replied: “It is worldly life surrounded by desires to hide its ugliness.” And if worldly life is old, it means that only little remains for her to live.

    That is why the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said: “I have been sent and the Last Hour (is at hand) as these two (fingers),” while pointing with his forefinger and middle finger. Man’s life is short, that is why we should pay heed to this truth, which says that our connection to worldly life is only our few days in it.

    The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) also saw people, whose lips are cut by scissors of fire. Thereupon he asked: “Who are those people, O Jibril?” Jibril answered: “They are preachers from your nation, who enjoin Al-Birr (piety and righteousness and each and every act of obedience to Allah) on the people and they forget to practice it themselves, while they recite the Book! Have they then no sense?” They are preachers of division who say what they do not do. They say words that people hear, but their actions contradict what they say. Consequently, people turn against the Law of Allah, because religion is an example that should be followed, and if the words of the Callers to Allah are not translated into actions, then the religious cause will be destroyed. Therefore, The Truth, all praise and glory be to Him, says (what means):

    “O you who believe! Why do you say that which you do not do? Most hateful it is with Allah that you say that which you do not do.” (As-Saff, 61: 2-3)

    Then the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) continues to relate how he saw a man swimming in a river of blood, and was fed stones. When asking Jibril about him, he replied: “This is the Riba-eater (eater of usury).” Blood when inside the body is useful, but when it flows out of the body it becomes foul. Hence, they embody those who remove money from its useful channels in life, and spoil it by Riba (Usury: taking interest). Consequently, they exchange food wholesome to man for devouring stones.

    And that is the meaning of Riba: an abuse of money to make the poor poorer and the rich richer, thus corrupting the function of money. For Allah has created money in worldly life to be employed in the construction of the land and making it a prosperous, fruitful place. It should be invested in opening doors of work before people. Also a part of this money should be dedicated to the support of the poor and the needy. But Riba (usurious interest) instead of allowing blood to flow in veins, thus supplying it with the power and vigor to work, produce, and construct the land, divests it of such power. The Riba-eaters devour stones, because there is fire in their stomachs, and stones are the fuel of fire.

    (Another narration by Ibn Majah says), that the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) saw people whose bellies were like houses containing snakes, which could be seen from outside their bellies, so he asked: “Who are those people, O Jibril?” And Jibril replied: “Those are the Riba-eaters (eaters of usury).”

    Absorption In Two Worldly Affairs

    People are engrossed in two worldly affairs: money to collect, and honor of people to assault. For money and honor are the main reasons behind corruption on the land. The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) saw as regards money the scenery of Riba-eaters. Then he saw as regards honor several scenes, where he passed by people having copper nails and were scratching their own faces and chests, thereupon he asked: “Who are those people, O Jibril?” Jibril replied: “They are those who eat people’s flesh (by backbiting) and who asperse people’s honour.” The Noble Quran says (what means):

    “And spy not, neither backbite one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it (so hate backbiting). And fear Allah. Verily, Allah is the One Who accepts repentance, Most Merciful.” (Al-Hujurât, 49: 12)

    And in another scene, the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) saw people who had in front of them excellent, cooked meat disposed in pots and also had uncooked, rotten, foul meat, but they would eat from the foul uncooked meat and leave the good, cooked meat. So, he asked: “Who are those people, O Jibril?” Jibril replied: “This is the man from your nation who had an excellent, lawful wife at home but he would go and see a foul woman and spend the night with her; and the woman who would leave her excellent, lawful husband to go and see a foul man and spend the night with him.” They are the adulterers. A man would have a lawful wife, but leaves her to seek a woman unlawfully, and a woman would have a lawful husband, but leaves him to seek a man unlawfully.

    The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) saw another scene; in it he saw a small hole with a huge bull emerging from it. The bull then began to try reentering the hole and was unable. The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) asked: “What is this, O Jibril?” Jibril replied: “This is the one who tells an enormity, then he feels remorse to have spoken it but is unable to take it back.”

     

    The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) also saw a man who had gathered a bulky stack of wood, which he could not carry, yet he was adding more wood to it. The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) asked: “What is this, O Jibril?” Jibril replied: “This is a man from your nation who holds people’s trusts which he cannot fulfill, yet he insists on adding more (burdens) and wants to carry them, but he cannot.” 

    The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) also narrated that he saw people whose heads were being shattered. Every time their heads were shattered they would return to their original state to be shattered again without respite. Thus, the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) asked: “Who are those people, O Jibril?” Jibril replied: “Those are the people whose heads were too heavy (on their pillows to get up) for performing the prescribed Prayers.” They strike the heads, because they are the part responsible for inducing laziness in performing the Prayers.

    Concerning the last scene some people may say that As-Salah (offering Prayers) was not enjoined yet, as all these scenes occurred while the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) was on his way to Sidrat-ul-Muntaha [Lote-Tree of the utmost boundary (beyond which none can pass)]? The answer to such claim is that As-Salah was enjoined on every messenger and his followers.

    Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, said to Ibrahim (Abraham, peace be upon him) while he was raising the foundations of the House  (the Ka‘bah at Mecca) what means:

    “And sanctify My House for those who circumambulate it, and those who stand up for prayer, and those who bow (submit themselves with humility and obedience to Allah), and make prostration (in prayer, etc.).” (Al-Hajj, 22: 26)

     

    Thus, there were people who bowed, and others who prostrated themselves. Furthermore, after taking his wife Hajar (peace be upon her) and their son Isma‘il (Ishmael, peace be upon him) to the place of the Sacred House, Ibrahim (peace be upon him) called on His Lord saying (what means):

    ‘“O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring to dwell in an uncultivable valley by Your Sacred House (the Ka‘bah at Mecca); in order, O our Lord, that they may perform As-Salât (Iqâmat-as-Salât)….” (Ibrâhîm, 14: 37)

    We can clearly understand that prayers were performed. Moreover, Allah said to Maryam (Mary, peace be upon her), what means:

    “O Mary! Submit yourself with obedience to your Lord (Allah, by worshipping none but Him Alone) and prostrate yourself, and bow down along with those who bow down.’” (Âl-‘Imrân, 3: 43)

    So, there was bowing down, prostration, and praying, but unlike the Muslim Prayers. For praying in Islam has gathered the attributes of all the prayers performed by other messengers. During some eras, the prayers of messengers were two rak‘ahs [Rak‘ah represents a unit of Salah, i.e., offering Prayers] at the beginning of the day, and two at its end. None of the followers of previous messengers were ordered to pray the number of Prayers [Five Obligatory Prayers] enjoined on the nation of Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace).

    How Did The Prophet Lead The Past Messengers In Praying?

    There remains only one question for us to examine before ending our discussion about Al-Isra (Night Journey) and Al-Mi’raj (Ascension to heaven). Before proceeding to Al-Mi’raj, the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) lead the previous messengers in prayers, but how could that be, while he was living and they dead?

    There is nothing to wonder about, for Allah, Blessed and Exalted be He, is Mightily Able to do anything. Allah Who made ‘Issa (Jesus, peace be upon him) - son of Maryam - bring the dead to life by His Leave, would easily bring to life His Messengers, so that His Messenger Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) would lead them in Prayers. For how could it be that The Almighty, Whose Majesty reigns Supreme, grant one of His servants the ability to resurrect the dead by His Permission, and does not Himself mightily dominate and master such a power, whenever and however He Wills.

    The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) narrated to people what he saw during Al-Isra and Al-Mi’raj and some believed him while others belied him. As for Abu Bakr As-Siddiq (surnamed the Trustful, may Allah be pleased with him) when some people went to him and related to him what the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) had said, Abu Bakr only asked: “Did he say so?” They answered: “Yes,” Thus, Abu Bakr said: “Then he is saying the truth.” When some of the attendants disagreed with him, he commented saying: “How come we believe him about the Revelations of Heaven, and disbelieve him (now) in what he says!”

    For Divine Revelation used to descend upon the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) seen and heard him by none, except the Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him. The Messenger (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) conveyed to the believers the Law of Heaven, and the Qur’anic Revelations. If they believed him in what he conveyed to them from Allah, how come they belie him in what he related about what he had seen!

    Indeed, the miracle of Al-Isra (Night Journey) and Al-Mi’raj (Ascension to Heaven) was truly the supreme. Then the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) returned to Mecca to continue his Call, after Allah, Blessed and Exalted be He, honored him in His Supreme Kingdom and in His Heavens, in a way unprecedented with any other messenger.

    The Call to Islam began to prevail, the number of Muslims witnessed continuous increase, and they began to grow stronger. The Call of the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) was not confined to the people of Mecca, but he used to meet the delegates in behalf of the tribes during the Hajj season, and invite them to Islam and talk to them. Hence, the Quraish felt the danger that the Islamic Call posed, not only in Mecca, but also in the entire Arabian Peninsula.

     


     

    1 A definite scientific fact is that power is inversely proportional to time; the more is the power the less is the time. Now think how would it be when the Power is that of Almighty Allah, Eternally glorified is His Majesty and Might! Therefore, some narrations say that the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) was taken in the Night Journey, raised to Heaven and then brought back while his bed was still warm (peace and blessings be upon him).  [Trans. n.] 

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