On his way back to Makkah, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) saw many details from the unseen realm that God mentions in the Quran.
Among them, he saw Paradise (Jannah) and Hell. He saw people punished in Hell for sins they had committed in this world. These scenes are detailed in several hadiths.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) then returned to Jerusalem and rode the Buraq back to Makkah. His main concern was how people would react when he told them what had happened that night.
Would the people of Makkah believe him when he told them what he had seen on the Night Journey?
Would his tribe, his supporters, and his enemies believe him when he told them what he had witnessed?
Or would his enemies reject and ridicule him even more?
Evidence in the Desert & Reactions in Makkah
To his relief, on the last leg of the journey before reaching Makkah, he passed three familiar caravans.
In the first caravan, he saw people from Makkah whom he knew personally. While passing by the second caravan, he felt thirsty and drank water from a big container they had. In the third caravan, he saw a person he knew by name who was looking for a camel they had lost.
When Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) arrived in Makkah, he went to sleep and later woke up in the Haram. Sitting in front of the Ka’bah, he was anxious, nervous, and worried. How would he tell people what had happened?
Abu Jahl, an enemy of Allah, passed by him and saw him in that state. In a sarcastic manner, he asked, “What is the matter with you? Has anything new happened?”
The Prophet (peace be upon him) responded:
Last night I was taken from here to Jerusalem.
Abu Jahl was shocked to hear this. He asked:
“And you are now back here amongst us?”
When the Prophet (peace be upon him) answered in the affirmative, Abu Jahl saw this as a golden opportunity. He gathered the people to listen to what Muhammad had to say, and the Prophet repeated what had happened. He had gone to Jerusalem and prayed in Bayt Al-Maqdis.
People reacted in different ways. Some started laughing and mocking the Prophet (peace be upon him). Others put their hands on their heads, not knowing what to do. The Prophet was speaking seriously. It was not a joke. They knew that he was a truthful man who did not lie.
Can You Describe Bayt Al-Maqdis?
One of the people there, who had traveled to Jerusalem, put the Prophet (peace be upon him) to the test. Knowing that the Prophet had never been there before, he asked him to describe Bayt Al-Maqdis.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) started describing what he remembered seeing the previous night. But then the man started asking more questions about specific details of the city which he could not recall.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) became extremely worried and anxious. While in that uncomfortable state, he saw Bayt Al-Maqdis in front of him. With Divine help, he was able to answer every question they asked by looking at the image in front of him.
At the end of this interrogation session, one of the people said:
“He is accurate in his description of Jerusalem.”
The Prophet (peace be upon him) followed up by saying:
I will give you some extra signs.
He then mentioned the three caravans he had passed by. One of them was actually very close to Makkah, and it arrived during the interrogation.
Abu Jahl went to see the caravan, and found it was exactly as Muhammad (peace be upon him) had described.
Did he believe after seeing that clear sign?
The answer was no.
The disbelief of Abu Jahl and his followers increased. Instead, they accused Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) of sorcery.
Don’t Be Sad When People Choose Disbelief
Many converts to Islam face a similar situation when inviting their families to Islam. They make a tremendous effort to convince their non-Muslim parents, relatives, and close friends that Islam is the truth. But in many cases, their loved ones refuse to believe, despite all the evidence and proof offered to them. And sometimes they are made fun of.
If one day you face a similar situation, don’t be sad. God created human beings with the free will to believe or disbelieve. He says in the Quran:
And say, “The truth is from your Lord, so whoever wills – let him believe; and whoever wills – let him disbelieve…” (18:29)
Also, remember that some people need time to accept the truth when they find it. Some of the leading figures in Makkah, like Abu Sufyan, Amr ibn Al-‘As and Khaled ibn Al-Waleed spent more than fifteen years fighting the Prophet. They only finally accepted Islam a few years before the Prophet (peace be upon him) passed away. The search for truth is a process, a journey that takes time, so don’t be impatient.
Pray for your family and friends to see the light and the beauty of Islam. Treat them with the best manners, even when they are not treating you well. One day, with Allah’s permission, they may find their path to the Truth like you. So be patient and never give up. Your role is only to convey the message.
Wisdom of the Journey
There is much wisdom to be found in the journey of Al-Isra’ and Al-Mi’raj. The most important was to show the Prophet (peace be upon him) his status and console him after the hardships he had been through. The journey was a personal gift from God that no other prophet or human being has been given. It confirms the rule that with every hardship comes ease.
During this journey, Allah (SWT) showed His prophet that everything he was preaching was true. It was meant to strengthen his faith and prepare him for the second phase of his mission in Madinah.
The Night Journey links the two branches of the descendants of Prophet Abraham by linking Makkah and Jerusalem. Its events confirm the brotherhood of all of God’s prophets, as they greeted each other and prayed together.
Finally, we realize from this journey the importance of Salah, the only command God gave believers in Heaven. All Divine commands were revealed on earth, except Salah. Will we then remember that and give our daily prayers their correct due?
What happened next?
More events from the Seerah will be detailed in the next part of this series, in sha’ Allah.
So please stay tuned…
Activities for New Converts Following this Series
1- Ease After Hardship
In this part of the Seerah, after many years of hardship, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) received this beautiful gift from Allah. This is an important reminder that we are all tested in life, but that after hardship comes ease.
Please check the following resources for more details on this topic:
2- Belief in the Last Day (The Hereafter)
During the Night Journey, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) witnessed several scenes of people in the Hell Fire for specific sins they had committed in this world. He also saw the beauty of Paradise (Jannah).
Belief in the Hereafter or the Last Day is one of the six articles of faith in Islam. For more details, please check these resources:
3- Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq
When Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) told the people of Makkah about the Night Journey, most did not believe him. They went to Abu Bakr and told him what they had heard, hoping that he would not believe Muhammad. But his response to them was: “If he said that happened, then I believe him”. From that day, Prophet Muhammad gave him the title ‘Al-Siddiq’, meaning the foremost believer.
For more background on Abu Bakr, the first Muslim ruler after the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his best friend, please check these resources:
4- Send us your question on this series to [email protected]
This is a special series for new converts to learn about Islam in a comprehensive way through learning the Seerah (Biography of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him) in a gradual, chronological way. We add a few more resources of other related areas of Islamic knowledge in each part of the Seerah at the end of each article as extra learning resources.
We will also add new videos to this series as we progress from Year 1 to Year 23 in sha’ Allah.
The references we use in each article are given below for further details. Please feel free to send us any questions you may have to this e-mail: [email protected]
You may also wish to join our Facebook Group, Islam 101, for further learning and also to interact with fellow new converts and those who are new to Islam here.
The Sealed Nectar – Sheikh Safi-ur-Rahman al-Mubarkpuri
Night Journey & Ascension to Heaven – 3 – (Part 23 of Dr. Yasir Qadhi Video Series)