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Did The Night Journey Really Happen? He Asks

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Mar 31, 2019

Question

Salamu alaykum,

I'm a Muslim living in the US. I'm an engineer and I volunteer on weekends to teach kids about Islam at the mosque. Last week, I was talking to a group of kids/teens about Al Israa' and al Mi'raj (The night journey) and a 13-year-old boy asked me if there were proof that this miraculous journey really happened.

He heard some mates saying it could be something non-physical like a revelation for example that happens within the mind and soul of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) but not physical (with his body) as it's very hard to imagine this has really happened.

Please advise, how can I respond to such questions in a way that appeals to youth and teens.

Thank you

Counselor

Answer


In this counseling answer:

•The first place to begin is to nurture the belief in Allah, after all we don’t see Him, yet we believe in Him and his creation.

•Highlight the fact that as human beings we have a limited capacity for understanding. As a result, it is natural for us to question things that we can’t fully comprehend.

•Highlight the fact that does it really matter how the night journey happened? Whether it was physical or not? What is important is that we know and trust that it happened, but how it happened is not necessarily relevant.

•Another useful tactic to use for this age group is an open discussion. Get them to discuss it amongst themselves. You will likely find that they even arrive at the answer between themselves.


Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh,

Masha Allah, great work working with the youth to teach about Islam. Like with most people, as they come to learn more, there are also things they might question, especially the unseen. It is particularly difficult to explain this to children and to teens who may challenge such notions.

The first place to begin is to nurture the belief in Allah, after all we don’t see Him, yet we believe in Him and his creation. Once the belief in Him is strong it becomes easier and more realistic to believe in other aspects of the unseen. This can be done at first by looking at the things that can be seen that were created by Allah. Simply looking at nature, the night sky, the ocean – things that we can physically see and ponder over how they were created. Surely only Allah could have created these things and keep them going day after day.

Also, highlight the fact that as human beings we have a limited capacity for understanding. As a result, it is natural for us to question things that we can’t fully comprehend.

Raise a few examples to get them thinking. For example, do they believe that the planets exist? But did they see them in person? Sure, they might have seen pictures, but do they believe they exist solely based on the fact that scientists have said so? How do they know that the pictures they see are actually from these planets? They don’t,  but we believe the scientists that tell us that they are from the planets. If we can believe the man, then why can’t we believe that Allah created other things that we can’t see?

When we want help, we call on Allah, right? When our loved ones pass away, we pray that they will enter Jannah, right? Matter of which are unseen, yet we turn to Allah and our belief in unseen things to guide the same.

Also, to highlight the fact that does it really matter how the night journey happened? Whether it was physical or not? What is important is that we know and trust that it happened, but how it happened is not necessarily relevant. We cannot just chose to believe one story reported in the hadith, but not another and to question something too much can only lead to further confusion.

As such, you can bring in more everyday examples to highlight such points. For example, perhaps they entered a car to reach the mosque to attend class. The car brought them there but wasn’t concerned about how the car was made, for example.

Does it matter what car they came in or the ins and outs or how it was made? No, the most important thing and the fact we can observe is that it got them to the mosque regardless. Such examples can help to highlight the irrelevance of certain matters.

Another useful tactic to use for this age group is an open discussion. Get them to discuss it amongst themselves. You will likely find that they even arrive at the answer between themselves. You make it a general discussion on the unseen to begin with and then focus the topic on the matter of the night journey. Such exercises can be useful team-building exercises too as it opens the opportunity for forging friendships within the group.

May Allah reward your efforts and guide you in educating the kids and teens in the mosque effectively.

Salam

***

Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

Read more:

The Prophet’s Night Journey: Spiritual or Physical?

The Full Story of the Night Journey – What Really Happened?




About Hannah Morris

Hannah Morris is a mum of 4 and she currently works as Counsellor and Instructor of BSc. Psychology at the Islamic Online University (IOU). She obtained her MA degree in Psychology and has over 10 years of experience working in health and social care settings in the UK, USA, and Ireland. Check out her personal Facebook page, ActiveMindCare, that promotes psychological well-being in the Ummah. (www.facebook.com/activemindcare)

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