“Prophet of Allah,” she pleaded, grabbing him by his cloak, “Tell not the people about the Night Journey, for they will give you the lie and insult you!”
But he wanted to tell them – the Prophet of Allah (peace be upon him) – who wore that cloak. He wanted to leave her home and let them know. He did.
So he ventured out into the dimly lit sky. He then announced that he had traveled to Jerusalem. That he had made a miraculous journey, leaving the Ka’bah the night before, and returning before the break of dawn. He conveyed his story loud and clear, with confidence of faith that had never been shaken.
Madman, they squealed in delight, rushing over to Prophet Muhammad’s most trusted companion, Abu Bakr.
“He’s a madman,” they must have told Abu Bakr; he is insisting that he traveled from Makkah to Jerusalem and back, in one night.
Abu Bakr was hesitant, believing that the Quraysh were concocting a story to make his comrade look bad, but he then realized that they were relaying a true narration, in hope that Abu Bakr would have his faith shaken.
“If he said so, then it must be true,” declared Abu Bakr, forever solidifying his faith in Islam and the Prophet. His true test of loyalty also won him the title of As-Siddiq, the one who always speaks the truth, a trait that is important for believers to emulate.
It was later when the Prophet Muhammad brought his comrade away with a handful of other believers to narrate the full story of his journey. He had left out an important portion of his story. If the Quraysh had thought he was a madman with his travels to Jerusalem, it would have been death for the – Prophet -had they known about his ascension to the Heavens.
This was his full story, the story of Al-Israa’ and Al-Mi`raj.
To Jerusalem with Angel Jibreel
At Jerusalem, Buraq descended at Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa where the Prophet (peace be upon him) met a congregation of Prophets.
The Prophet had fulfilled his prayers at Umm Hani’s home the night before, and had settled down to sleep. Umm Hani, his dear cousin, sister to `Ali ibn Abi Talib, a strong Muslim woman a true companion to the Prophet, had opened her home to the Prophet after the year of sadness.
The Prophet had lost his wife Khadijah, and Umm Hani had lost her father, Abi Talib. The Prophet had also experienced bitter rejection from various tribes, including a sordid turn of events in a town called At-Ta’if. It looked like the things were going downhill for the Muslims, but only God knew better.
Prophet Muhammad rose from his sleep only to find himself settling down in front of the Ka’bah for a night’s rest. He was awakened by Arch Angel Jibreel. He stirred momentarily. Jibreel woke him again, with a gentle nudge of his foot. The Prophet stirred. Jibreel woke him again, until he rose up fully.
Standing before the Prophet was a beast not larger than a donkey but no smaller than a mule which also had wings. He was asked to mount it. The Prophet mounted Buraq – as the creature was called – and with a single leap, disappeared into the nearest horizon.
The first part of the journey is known as Al-Isra’ – The Night Journey – and this night journey was the journey to Jerusalem. Over the sands, the Prophet (peace be upon him) traveled, with Jibreel by his side. In their plight for Jerusalem, Buraq moved swiftly through the night sky.
At Jerusalem, Buraq descended at Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa where the Prophet met a congregation of Prophets – all Prophets before his time: Adam, Nuh, Hud, Idris, Salih, Joseph, Shuayab, Zachariah, Yahya, and the other Prophets mentioned in the Quran (peace be upon them all). He was asked to lead them in prayer in front of their Lord.
After their prayer ended, the Prophet was offered two vessels to drink: a vessel with wine and one vessel of milk. The Prophet chose and drank the milk, in which Jibreel responded: “You chose milk in accordance to the purity of your nature. You have received guidance and your followers too. Had you chosen wine, your followers would have been astray.”