In the blessed month of Rajab, a truly miraculous event took place, known as Al-Isra’ Wal-Mi’raj or the Glorious Night Journey and Miracle of Ascension.
A Physical Journey?
The entire journey of Al-Isra’ and Al-Mi’raj was not just spiritual, but it was a physical journey as has been proved from the text of Holy Quran and from many hadiths.
Glory be to Him Who made His servant (Prophet Muhammad) to go on a night from the Sacred Mosque (Masjid al-Haram) to the Farthest Mosque (Masjid al-Aqsa) of which We have blessed the precincts, so that We may show to him some of Our signs; surely He is the Hearing, the Seeing. (Quran 17:1)
From this verse, we come to the conclusion that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) traveled with his physical body through the worlds of Ascension. Further, by the greatness of the Hidden Power was able to complete this journey in a very short span of time.
Isra’ or Night Journey, a horizontal journey, which is the journey of the Prophet from the Masjid al Haraam to Masjid al Aqsa. This is the journey clearly referenced to in the Quran, in the verses just quoted above.
Mi’raj (Ascension) was the Prophet’s vertical journey into the Heaven in which he ascended through Allah’s majesty from the Bait al Maqdis, the Dome of the Rock, through the various heavens until he reached what is known as Sidrat-ul-Muntaha, or the furthermost Lote tree.
When the Prophet ascended to the seventh heaven, he met Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him). The Prophet saw Ibrahim with his back against al-Bayt al-Ma’mur. Every day 70,000 angels go there; then exit from it, and never return. The next day another 70,000 angels go, come out, and never return. This will continue until the Day of Judgment.
The Sidra, or Lote tree, in classical Arabic was also a metaphor for the intellect, so as we see on this journey much of what he experienced in the physical had metaphorical dimensions as the Prophet literally passed beyond the point which human intellect can comprehend; a point exclusively reserved for him in the intimate presence or meeting with his Lord.
He visited Jannah (heaven) and hell, met the Prophets, the angels (Hoor ul ‘ain), and met Allah Almighty, Sidrat al-Muntaha a very big tree of sidr. Then the Prophet ascended to what is beyond the seven skies; he entered Jannah (Paradise).
In a reference to the Mi’raj, the Quran says:
And indeed he (Muhammad) saw him [Jibreel (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 Paradise of Abode. When that which covered the lote-tree did cover it! The sight (of Prophet Muhammad) turned not aside (right or left), nor it transgressed beyond (the) limit (ordained for it). Indeed he (Muhammad) did see, of the Greatest Signs, of his Lord (Allah). (53:13-18)
The Prescription of Prayer
Prophet Muhammad had been granted five times prayer for His Ummah from Allah during this conversation and this has been proved by a number of Hadiths.
The Five times prayer is the most significant worship that every Muslims are extremely responsible for, the first and foremost that Allah will ask about it in the Hereafter, a vital point that determines the difference between a true Muslim and others (according to a Hadith) and an extremely imperative worship that even the most unhealthy, ill-fallen and handicapped are not excused of, but are responsible to offer it five times by any means.
One of the main fundamental and salient features of this worship is that it is a direct conversation between a person and Allah. Therefore, it can be logically concluded that, it is awarded to the Prophet for his followers in a very direct conversation.
Prophet Muhammad had met with Allah and it makes him unique and greatest man ever lived. He had been glorified being taken to heavens, galaxies and all those super spaces that even our most advanced technology will surely fail to find a path on it.
Imam Ali ibn abi Talib said:
“Allah created the Throne to show His Power and not to take it as place for Himself.”
Hopefully we can learn the lessons and wisdom of the Isra and Mi’raj