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Lecture 14

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  1. Lecture 14 Israa wa Al Mi’raj (The Night Journey)

  2. We talked about the Prophet's [saw] journey to At-Ta'if and the hardships he encountered there.

  3. But after this journey he made another • that would be the greatest journey in the history of humanity; Al-Israa and Al-Mi’raj. • It came as a gift to the Prophet (saw) after his (saw) persistence and endurance when badly hurt, injured and rejected. • The Al-Israa and Al-Mi’raj journey is a miracle that took place after 10 whole years of persistent da'wa (missionary activity)

  4. When did it take place? • There are differences among scholars of the exact date of the journey --however, the majority of jurists is in favor of a date between 16-12 months prior to migration to Madinah.

  5. Why this journey? To honor him and show him his rank in heaven—and show him (saw) the vastness of the universe that Allah (SWT) had dominion over. If Quraysh and Al-Taif has rejected you on earth, come up and see how you are held in high esteem by the people of the heavens.

  6. Where was he that night? Three different stories : • He was either in his house, • in the house of Om-Hani' (Ali Ibn-Abu-Taleb's sister visiting them), • or sleeping beside Al-Ka'ba.

  7. Was it a journey in soul or body? Both the body and soul unlike what some people claim that it involved only the latter. What is the proof? • It caused quite a stir in Quraysh, some even left Islam because of the impossibility of it happening in real life.

  8. More proof . . . 2. Abu-Bakr got his title "As-Siddiq" (the most sincere) based on this incident. 3. No one caused a stir about the Prophet (saw) being visited by Jibril (as) regularly from the heavens to give him revelation. As long as it was all in his head—according to Quraysh—it was explainable but when it happened physically that is where they say they draw the line.

  9. Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 58, Number 228: Narrated Ibn 'Abbas: ”The sights which Allah's Apostle was shown on the Night Journey when he was taken to Bait-ul-Maqdis (ie.Jerusalem) were actual sights, (not dreams). And the Cursed Tree (mentioned) in the Quran is the tree of Zaqqum (itself).”

  10. On that night . . . • Jibril [as]came to Muhammad (saws) on that night and told him to circumambulate Al-Ka'ba seven times. • Malik bin Anas (raa) related that the Prophet (s) said, “I was lying in the hijr (of the Inviolable Mosque of Makka) when someone [the archangel Jibril (as)] came to me and cut open my chest from throat to belly. He removed my heart and cleaned it with the water of the well of Zamzam before putting it back in its place. Then he brought me a white creature called al-Buraq by whose means I was lifted.”

  11. Another narration Another narration relates that the two archangels “Jibril and Mika'il (as) came to the Prophet (s) when he was laying down in al-Hijr[of the Inviolable Mosque in Makka] and carried him to the well of Zamzam. They laid him down on his back and Jibril (as) opened his chest from top to bottom, despite which there was no bleeding. He said to Mika'il (as), ‘Get me water from Zamzam,' which he did. Jibril (as) took the Prophet's heart and washed it thrice before putting it back. He filled it with faith and wisdom. Then he closed his chest and they took him out from the door of the masjid to where the buraq was waiting.”

  12. Dream vacation. . . The ticket was from Makkah to the Aqsa mosque via Bethlehem [Jesus' birthplace] and the Mountain of Tur [where Musa (as) got the message] and then from Aqsa Masjed they would be ascending to the seventh heaven to meet Allah (SWT).

  13. What would be the vehicle? It was a Buraq. What is a Buraq? Prophet (saw) described it to us. • Al-Buraq (Arabic: al-Buraq "lightning") is a steed, described as a creature from the heavens which transported the prophets. The Buraq carried the prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Jerusalem and back during the Isra and Mi'raj or "Night Journey", which is the title of one of the chapter (sura), Al-Isra, of the Qur'an.

  14. Al-Buraq in Arabic is derived from the word "Barq" meaning lightning. It corresponds to the fast pace with which al-Buraq travels from one place to another.

  15. More on the Buraq . . . 2. “I was brought by the Buraq, which is an animal white and long, larger than a donkey but smaller than a mule, who would place its hoof at a distance equal to the range of vision.” [Bukhari] 3. “Then he [Gabriel] brought the Buraq, handsome-faced and bridled, a tall, white beast, bigger than the donkey but smaller than the mule. He could place his hooves at the farthest boundary of his gaze. He had long ears. Whenever he faced a mountain his hind legs would extend, and whenever he went downhill his front legs would extend. He had two wings on his thighs which lent strength to his legs.” [Bukhari]

  16. “He bucked when Muhammad came to mount him. The angel Jibril (Gabriel) put his hand on his mane and said: "Are you not ashamed, O Buraq? By Allah, no-one has ridden you in all creation more dear to Allah than he is." Hearing this he was so ashamed that he sweated until he became soaked, and he stood still so that the Prophet mounted him.”

  17. I wonder how the Prophet (saw) felt. . . • Was he prepared meet Him (SWT)? Was he worried? Was he happy? • We are going to meet Allah (SWT) no doubt ! Are we prepared? Worried? Happy? We have to have some feeling about it, because it will determine how we will live the rest of our lives on earth before we NO DOUBT meet him.

  18. Allah (SWT) tells us of the journey . . . In the Qur’an: "All Extolment be (to Him), Who made His bondman to set forth by night from the Inviolable Mosque to the Further (Literally: Remotest) Mosque, around which We have blessed, that We might show him (some) of Our signs. Surely He, Ever He, is The Ever-Hearing, The Ever-Beholding" (17:1)

  19. How great the companions were . . . • Today we have witnessed how with science man is able to go out into space—to places that are very different from our planet earth. • We see how Allah (SWT) has given humans the capability to study the laws of the universe so that they are able to create suits and spaceships that will be able to break through the earth’s atmosphere and visit other planets [companions did not see this!]

  20. Funny how! Many believe [even worship] scientists and in science—new religions such as Scientology—more than they believe the Creator of laws of science and the brains of the scientists that discover them. Science only explains what is there, but they can never tell you HOW? Where did it come from?

  21. Notice also in the Ayah—”Abdihi” • choice of the word “servant" in the ayah (verse)--whenever Allah (SWT) honors a human being, he either reminds him that he is a human being, or bestows upon him the blessing of remembering that he is His slave. • No matter how successful, famous, wealthy, or religious you get, always maintain your humility before Allah (SWT) and He shall elevate you and raise your status. 

  22. Who was his companion on the journey? Prophet Muhammad (saw) says, “I got on the back of Al-Buraq and he got on it with me. Neither did I let go of him nor did he let go of me.” [we see Jibril accompany the prophet on this journey, we see him come every year in Ramadan and study the Qur’an with the Prophet (saw)]

  23. Reached the Aqsa mosque . . . They landed next to the wall of the mosque and Muhammad (saws) did a strange thing. He tethered the creature to a ring. Why do you think he instinctively did so though the creature had came just for this purpose and was not expected to run away? This is to teach us an extremely important lesson. Entrusting one's soul to Allah (SWT) does not mean that you dispense with the causes or the means. We must do our best to achieve our goals.

  24. He (saw) entered the mosque . . . Expecting it to be deserted, but the mosque was amazingly full of the prophets of Allah (SWT) from the time of Adam (AS) until Isa (AS) "Jesus". They all came to welcome Muhammad (saw).

  25. Significance of this gathering . . . 1) The unity of humanity regardless of the difference in time. Islam calls for unity, for the coexistence of civilizations and not for the clash of civilizations. Allah is the Creator of the Universe and HIS message if ONE !

  26. Another significance 2) Why did they come down, when Muhammad (saw) would see some of them later on his journey to the heavens? All the prophets lined up to pray. They were waiting for what Jibril had to say.

  27. What did Jibril (as) say? Jibril told Muhammad (saw), “Step forward and lead the prayer and they all prayed two Raka'a(s) lead by our Prophet (saw).” This was an honor, no doubt, but also a commandment. The prophets came to handover to him the torch of humankind. Accordingly, prophet Muhammad (saws) was now responsible for Jerusalem and for the earth.

  28. No man is led in prayer in his home Unless by permission. So, who is now the owner of the Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem? And who is giving it to them? Choice is by merit, and not by birth!

  29. Anas ibn Malik continues . . . “Prophet Muhammad (saws) said, ‘I prayed two Raka'a(s) in it, and then came out and Jibril brought me a vessel of wine and a vessel of milk. I chose the milk, and Jibril said: You have chosen the natural thing."‘

  30. Significance of milk and wine! The milk here represents Allah (SWT)'s creation that is intact. The wine, on the other hand, stands for the interference of man in the creation of Allah (SWT) that sometimes leads to its ruin; in this case, wine is originally made from grapes. Accordingly, the natural instinct and not the fake one is the foundation for Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) and for his nation, and we must search for this pure instinct within ourselves.

  31. From the Aqsa Masjed began the Prophet’s (saw) ascension to the seven heavens started, and where the descent ended before returning to Makkah.

  32. Muhammad (SAWS) started his ascension journey of Al-Mi’raj from Al-Mi’raj rock. They reached the seven heavens within seconds taking into consideration that nowadays, a spaceship traveling 7000 km/h takes three whole years to cover a distance from earth to the nearest planet in the sky.

  33. Ascended from this rock . . .

  34. Masjed Al Aqsa

  35. Video on AL AQSA http://youtu.be/_mQ6kYEfiXA

  36. In an authentic Al-Bukhari Hadith, the Prophet (SAWS) says, “Then he took my hand and ascended with me to the nearest heaven, when I reached the nearest heaven, Gabriel said to the gatekeeper of the heaven, 'Open (the gate).' The gatekeeper asked, 'Who is it?' Gabriel answered: 'Gabriel.' He asked, 'Is there anyone with you?' Gabriel replied, 'Yes, Muhammad I is with me.' He asked, 'Has he been called?' Gabriel said, 'Yes.' So the gate was opened and we went over the nearest heaven. . .

  37. What did he see there? . . . and there we saw a man sitting with some people on his right and some on his left. When he looked towards his right, he laughed and when he looked toward his left he wept. Then he said, 'Welcome! O pious Prophet and pious son.' I asked Gabriel, 'Who is he?' He replied, 'He is Adam and the people on his right and left are the souls of his offspring. Those on his right are the people of Jannah (Paradise) and those on his left are the people of Hell and when he looks towards his right he laughs and when he looks towards his left he weeps”.

  38. Why is he laughing and crying? • He is happy with those who learned from his experience, • and at the same time, sad that there are those who have not learned. Adam’s (as) experience with Iblis (Satan) is our experience—the very same one but it comes in different forms but the idea is the same. The enemy is still the same.

  39. He meets his father Adam (as) • Adam (AS) is the father of the whole of humanity, which confirms the unity of humanity. • . . . . The gate was opened, and when I went over the first heaven, I saw Adam there. Gabriel said (to me). 'This is your father, Adam; pay him your greetings.' So I greeted him and he returned the greeting to me and said, 'You are welcomed, O pious son and pious Prophet.'

  40. Then second heaven . . . Then Gabriel ascended with me till we reached the second heaven. Gabriel asked for the gate to be opened. It was asked, 'Who is it?' Gabriel answered, 'Gabriel.' It was asked, 'Who is accompanying you?' Gabriel replied, 'Muhammad.' It was asked, 'Has he been called?' Gabriel answered in the affirmative. Then it was said, 'He is welcomed. What an excellent visit his is!' The gate was opened. When I went over the second heaven, there I saw Yahya (i.e. John) and 'Isa (i.e. Jesus) who were cousins of each other. Gabriel said (to me), 'These are John and Jesus; pay them your greetings.' So I greeted them and both of them returned my greetings to me and said, 'You are welcomed, O pious brother and pious Prophet.'

  41. The third heaven . . . Then Gabriel ascended with me to the third heaven and asked for its gate to be opened. It was asked, 'Who is it?' Gabriel replied, 'Gabriel.' It was asked, 'Who is accompanying you?' Gabriel replied, 'Muhammad.' It was asked, 'Has he been called?' Gabriel replied in the affirmative. Then it was said, 'He is welcomed, what an excellent visit his is!' The gate was opened, and when I went over the third heaven there I saw Joseph. Gabriel said (to me), 'This is Joseph; pay him your greetings.' So I greeted him and he returned the greeting to me and said, 'You are welcomed, O pious brother and pious Prophet.‘ [he was given half of beauty]

  42. The Fourth Heaven . . . Then Gabriel ascended with me to the fourth heaven and asked for its gate to be opened. It was asked, 'Who is it?' Gabriel replied, 'Gabriel.' It was asked, 'Who is accompanying you?' Gabriel replied, 'Muhammad.' It was asked, 'Has he been called?' Gabriel replied in the affirmative. Then it was said, 'He is welcomed, what an excellent visit his is!' The gate was opened, and when I went over the fourth heaven, there I saw Idris. Gabriel said (to me), 'This is Idris; pay him your greetings.' So I greeted him and he returned the greeting to me and said, 'You are welcomed, O pious brother and pious Prophet.'

  43. The fifth heaven . . . Then Gabriel ascended with me to the fifth heaven and asked for its gate to be opened. It was asked, 'Who is it?' Gabriel replied, 'Gabriel.' It was asked. 'Who is accompanying you?' Gabriel replied, 'Muhammad.' It was asked, 'Has he been called?' Gabriel replied in the affirmative. Then it was said, 'He is welcomed, what an excellent visit his is!' So when I went over the fifth heaven, there I saw Harun (i.e. Aaron), Gabriel said, (to me). This is Aaron; pay him your greetings.' I greeted him and he returned the greeting to me and said, 'You are welcomed, O pious brother and pious Prophet.'

  44. The sixth heaven . . . . Then Gabriel ascended with me to the sixth heaven and asked for its gate to be opened. It was asked, 'Who is it?' Gabriel replied, 'Gabriel.' It was asked, 'Who is accompanying you?' Gabriel replied, 'Muhammad.' It was asked, 'Has he been called?' Gabriel replied in the affirmative. It was said, 'He is welcomed. What an excellent visit his is!‘When I went (over the sixth heaven), there I saw Moses. Gabriel said (to me),' This is Moses; pay him your greeting. So I greeted him and he returned the greetings to me and said, 'You are welcomed, O pious brother and pious Prophet.' When I left him (i.e. Moses) he wept.

  45. Why was he weeping? What makes you weep?' Moses said, 'I weep because after me there has been sent (as Prophet) a young man whose followers will enter Paradise in greater numbers than my followers.' 

  46. The seventh heaven . . . Then Gabriel ascended with me to the seventh heaven and asked for its gate to be opened. It was asked, 'Who is it?' Gabriel replied, 'Gabriel.' It was asked,' Who is accompanying you?' Gabriel replied, 'Muhammad.' It was asked, 'Has he been called?' Gabriel replied in the affirmative. Then it was said, 'He is welcomed. What an excellent visit his is!'

  47. So when I went (over the seventh heaven), there I saw Abraham. Gabriel said (to me), 'This is your father; pay your greetings to him.' So I greeted him and he returned the greetings to me and said, 'You are welcomed, O pious son and pious Prophet.‘

  48. Prophet Ibrahim (as) . . . Was found reclining against Al-Baitul-Ma'mur—the Ka’abah of those in the heavens, and it is right on top of the Ka’abah on earth. and there enter into it seventy thousand angels every day, never to visit (this place) again”. Why is Ibrahim (as) reclining there?

  49. He sends us a message! Ibrahim (AS) gave him a message for us, "Oh, Muhammad convey to your nation (followers) on my behalf, peace. Further inform your nation that the Jannah is of pleasant scented earth (said to be scented of musk and saffron); its waters are fresh and pleasant. It (Jannah) is of plane earth, free of trees. Its trees are Subhan Allah (Glorify Ye Allah), alhamdu lillah (Praise Ye Allah), la ilaha illa Allah (Allah is but the One and Single God), and Allahu akbar (Allah is the Great and the Exalted)" Did you get the message?