Short Answer: This prayer signifies the continuity of their messages and their unity of rank and purpose, that Islam has completed all Divine messages and brought them to their final form, and that Jerusalem also belongs to the Muslims who follow Muhammad, the recognized leader of all Prophets.
Salam Dear Rahma,
Thank you very much for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.
Before tackling your specific question, let me sum up the story of the Prophet’s Night Journey.
What was Al-Isra?
Gabriel took him by the hand to the mosque, where he found an animal smaller than a mule but slightly bigger than a donkey.
The animal, which was a quadruped, also had two wings and floated easily as he moved with unimaginable speed.
The Prophet’s own description of his movement was that “he put his foot at the furthest point to his side”.
Together, the Prophet and Gabriel rode the animal, which was called Al-Buraq, a name derived from ‘Barq‘, meaning lightning.
In no time at all they reached Jerusalem in Palestine.
There the Prophet met Abraham, Moses, Jesus and other noble prophets and he led them all in prayer.
He was then brought three cups: one contained milk, another contained wine, and the third contained water. He drank the milk.
When he had finished, Gabriel said, “You and your nation are rightly guided.”
Al-Mi’raj: The Heavenly Ascent
When they had finished their business in Jerusalem, they flew up to heaven.
The Prophet tells us that as they entered each of the seven heavens Gabriel would confirm to its guardian angel that Muhammad had already received his mission.
In each heaven, he met one or other of the prophets who preached the message of God’s oneness to mankind.
Among those mentioned in the authentic accounts of this very special journey were Adam, Jesus, John, Joseph, Moses and Abraham.
He also saw examples of the suffering which would be endured by certain groups of people, as they would be condemned to hell in the hereafter.
The description of these groups and their suffering is so vivid that one can almost see them in their plight, yet the suffering was so horrible that one would do anything to escape it.
Islam: The Crown of the Former Revelations
With regard to the Prophet’s leading other prophets in prayer, the Night Journey was of great significance in more ways than one.
It is a well-established Islamic concept that the messages of all Prophets were basically the same: They all called on mankind to believe in God, the one and only deity.
With Islam, these messages were brought to their full and complete form. With Muhammad, the line of prophet-hood reached its end.
For the Prophets to pray together at Jerusalem signifies the continuity of their messages and their unity of rank and purpose.
That unique prayer of the Prophets, led by Muhammad, also signifies that Islam has completed all Divine messages and brought them to their final form.
As well, it signifies that Jerusalem also belongs to the Muslims who follow Muhammad, the recognized leader of all Prophets.
This beloved city thus occupies a unique position as a sacred place for all followers of the Divine religions.
Universality of the Islamic Message
The Night Journey also stresses the universality of the Islamic message.
Muhammad is taken to Jerusalem which, at the time, was inhabited by non-Arabs.
He is engaged there in the most religious of human activities before he is taken to heaven.
It would have been just as easy for God to raise Muhammad to heaven from his home in Makkah.
The fact that He chose to take him to Jerusalem first, to lead his fellow Prophets in prayer, endorses the fact that Islam is a message for mankind, not for the Arabs alone.
In those congregational prayers of the Prophets one also sees a reference to the fact that all the distortion which crept into earlier messages had been pushed aside.
A fuller and more complete version of these messages has been revealed and guaranteed by God to remain intact for the rest of time. That version is Islam.
I hope this answers your question. Please keep in touch.
(From Ask About Islam archives)