Most of us will know the basic story of the Prophet (saw) being transported from al-Masjid al-Haram to al-Masjid al-Aqsa before Allah (swt) ascended Him to the heavens on Al-Isra’ wal-Mi’raj. What you might not know is that the Prophet (saw) stopped in many places on this incredible journey.
It’s a miracle, second only to the revelation of the Qur’an and so it is important that we don’t let this momentous night slip by without reflecting on its lessons and its significance.
When did Al-Isra’ wal-Mi’raj take place?
Al-Isra’ wal-Mi’raj took place during a time when the Prophet (saw) was facing intense hardship and pain. He and His followers were constantly ridiculed, humiliated, and oppressed by the Quraysh, who were made up of the Prophet’s (saw) tribe and family.
When the Prophet (saw) travelled to Ta’if to search for allies, but the locals cruelly rejected him and even sent their children into the streets to stone him until he left the city.
Aside from this, The Prophet (saw) had also just faced the Year of Sorrow, during which he (saw) lost his beloved wife Khadijah (ra), and his uncle Abu Talib, who was his protector and ally.
Having gone through so much grief and suffering, the Prophet Muhammad (saw) was given a truly beautiful and comforting gift of being transported not only to the Sacred Sanctuary and through the skies, but ultimately into the Divine Presence, the source of all comfort and hope.
One of the most important lessons of Al-Isra’ wal-Mi’raj, therefore, is that ‘with every hardship [there will be] ease’ (Surah 94).
The start of the journey: From the Ka’bah to Al-Aqsa
Angel Jibra’eel (as), or Gabriel woke the Prophet (saw) from his sleep in the Hijr, and then led him to a white beast named Buraq (from the Arabic word barq, meaning lightning). The Prophet (saw) mounted this exceptional creature, and they began to fly towards Al-Quds (Jerusalem). At several points along the journey, Jibra’eel (as) stopped Buraq and instructed the Prophet (saw) to ‘dismount and pray’.
- They first stopped in Madinah, or ‘the place of emigration’. Soon after this night the Prophet (saw) would meet the Ansar and migrate to Madinah.
- They then stopped at Mount Sinai, where Allah (swt) revealed the Torah to Musa (as).
- The third third stop was in Bethlehem, where ’Isa (as) was born.
- The fourth stop was the grave of Musa (as), ‘a stone’s throw’ from the Sacred Land, ‘below the red sand hill’ (Bukhari).
- Finally, the Prophet (saw) reached al-Masjid al-Aqsa.
All 124,000 Prophets (as) were waiting for the Prophet (saw) inside al-Masjid al-Aqsa. Jibra’eel (as) led the Prophet (saw) to the front, and He (saw) led them all in prayer.
Al-Mi’raj: From Al-Aqsa through the Skies
Soon after, Allah (swt) ascended the Prophet (saw) from the Dome of the Rock, through the skies. Along the way, He (saw) met lots of past Prophets (as) and numerous angels, who all greeted with excitement and delight, as his arrival had been much anticipated.
It is hard to imagine how the Prophet (saw) must have felt upon meeting his brothers (as), who had all experienced their own trials and difficulties. After being resented by his own tribe and family, the Prophet (saw) was met with warmth and love.
‘Welcome,’ they all said to him, ‘O pious Prophet and pious brother!’ (Bukhari). (Adam (as) and Ibrahim (as), however, welcomed him as a ‘pious son’).
He was also witnessing the countless beauties of Paradise, which he would later narrate to his Companions.
In the presence of Allah (swt)
At the end of this journey, the Prophet (saw) was brought into the Divine Presence, the ultimate source of strength and relief. It is impossible to imagine the beauty of this scene, or how honoured and humbled the Prophet (saw) must have felt.
It was here that Allah (swt) gave this Ummah the gift of compulsory Salah, a daily source of strength to Muslims and an opportunity to communicate directly with Allah (swt) and draw closer to Him. As we approach the anniversary of Al-Isra’ wal-Mi’raj, let us time to reflect on and appreciate the gift of Salah and increase our voluntary prayers, especially during the night.
After this astounding experience, the Prophet (saw) was taken back down to Al-Aqsa and returned to Makkah. As he was transported home, he saw various caravans heading towards Makkah, which he would later describe to the Quraysh as proof that he really had made this miraculous journey. The entire journey had taken place in less than a night and many mocked Him (saw) for making such a claim.
For Muslims however, the story was and still is, a source of wonder and hope. On this blessed night of Al-Isra’ wal-Mi’raj, Allah (swt) gave His most favoured creation the honour of traveling to Paradise. It is truly an incredible story.
Before you go…
Allah (swt) chose to ascend the Prophet (saw) into the heavens on the miraculous Night Journey during the sacred month of Rajab. In honour of this amazing story, we have an incredible Sadaqah Jariyah opportunity for you this Rajab!
We are illuminating the Dome of the Rock Masjid which is believed to be the exact site where the Prophet (saw) was ascended into the heavens on Al-Isra wal-Mi’raj!
The Dome of the Rocks sits majestically at the centre of the Blessed Masjid Al-Aqsa complex. Gifting light to Masjid Al-Aqsa carries the reward of praying there – which is worth 1,000 prayers!
The Prophet (saw) said, ‘It is the land of Resurrection and Congregation. Visit it and pray in it. For indeed, prayer in it is like a thousand prayers in other than it’.
He was asked, ‘If one cannot visit it, what should we do?’
This hadith shows the wisdom of the Prophet (saw) and also the generosity of Allah! This year, the chance to physically pray in in Masjid Al-Aqsa is almost impossible due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Yet Allah (saw) and His Prophet (saw) have accounted for any hardships we might face, including the cost of travel, by granting us a beautiful way to gain the same reward as praying there - sending some oil to light its lamps!
The modern equivalent of sending oil is, of course, to contribute to the cost of electrical lighting. How lucky are we that Allah (saw) has granted us the opportunity to illuminate the Dome of the Rock Masjid, Alhamdulillah!
You can give this beautiful Sadaqah Jariyah on behalf of yourself or a loved one. We urge you not to miss out on this chance to serve the site of Al-Isra wal-Mi’raj!