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Wednesday 21 March 2018

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Home > Events > Lailat Al-Miraj - 'The Prophet's Ascension'

Lailat Al-Miraj - 'The Prophet's Ascension'

Whilst the exact date of Prophet Muhammad’s (Peace Be Upon Him) ascension to the seven heavens is not clear, many scholars suggest that the night journey must have taken place before the Hijra and more than likely, after the Prophets (Peace Be Upon Him) visit to the people of Tai’if. The 27th day of Rajab is among the most celebrated across the world, with many fasting or reciting special prayers in thanks. But was the spiritual journey about? Is there a deeper meaning to the events? Here is a brief summary of events to help you explore the subject area:

The Night Journey began with the appearance of the Angel Jibraeel (Gabriel) who led the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) to a white mule with wings attached to its thighs. This mule had carried other Prophets, including Abraham, and was labelled the “Buraq” or spirit horse. The Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) got on and went high into the sky. He arrived at Jerusalem where he met many Prophets including the Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham), the Prophet Musa (Moses) and the Prophet Isa (Jesus). Narrations suggest that the Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) looked like no one else, yet no one looked unlike him. The Prophet Musa (Moses) was tall, tanned, slim and with a hooked nose and curly hair. The Prophet Isa (Jesus) was red skinned of medium height with straight hair and many moles on his face. He looked like he had come out of a bath- with his hair looking wet, although not being wet. The Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) was asked to lead them all in prayer and so did.

“Glory to Allah! Exalted is He who did take His Servant by night from the Sacred Mosque (Al-Masjid al-Haram) to the farthest Mosque ( Al-Masjid Al- Aqsa), whose precincts We did bless, that We might show him of Our signs. Indeed, He is the Hearing, the Seeing” [Qur’an 17:1]

Three dishes were placed in front of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) containing water, wine and milk. The Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) said he knew of the prophecy that if he chose water the Muslim community would drown, if he chose wine they would leave the true path, and if he chose milk they would follow the true religion of the one God. He chose and milk and drank from it- the Angel Jibraeel confirmed the prophecy.

It is then narrated that the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) lifted up to the first gate of heaven guarded by the Angel Ishmael who was in charge of 12000 more and each of those had 12000 of their own. All these 144,000,000 angels guarded the one gate. Ishmael asked Jibraeel if the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) was the one sent to deliver God's message to humankind and Jibraeel confirmed this, so the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) was let through with some prayers.

The Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) passed through seven heavenly realms. In the First Sky he saw Adam being shown the souls of his descendents both good and bad. In the Second Sky he saw the Prophet Isa and Yahya, son of Zachariah. In the Third Sky he saw the handsome Yusuf, son of Yaqoob. In the Fourth Sky he saw Idris, the prophet from before the flood. In the Fifth Sky he saw the Prophet Musa's older brother, Harun, with his long white beard. In the Sixth Sky the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) met a tall man with a hooked nose and Jibraeel said it was the Prophet Musa. In the Seventh Sky the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) saw an old man in a seat by the gate to Paradise where 70,000 angels pass through each day but do not return until Judgment Day- Jibraeel identified him as the Prophet Ibrahim. The angel then took the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) into Paradise where he spoke to Allah (Glorified & Exalted).

Allah (Glorified & Exalted) told the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) of the importance of regular prayers. On the way back the Prophet Musa asked how many prayers had been commanded and the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) said fifty a day. The Prophet Musa told him to go back to Allah (Glorified & Exalted) and get the number cut. Allah (Glorified & Exalted) reduced the number to ten a day but the Prophet Musa again said this was too many. The Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) returned and they were reduced to five times a day. The Prophet Musa said this was still too many, but the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) told Musa he would be too embarrassed to return to Allah (Glorified & Exalted) again. The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) returned to Makkah.

When the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) described his journey to followers, many did not believe he had gone to Jerusalem in one night, seen the Seven Heavens and had spoken with Allah (Glorified & Exalted). Some who stopped believing went to Abu Bakr and Abu Bakr asked the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) to describe Jerusalem. He did so, and Abu Bakr declared all the details were accurate and so the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) must have been there.

“For indeed he saw him at a second descent, Near the Lote-tree beyond which none may pass: Near it is the Garden of Abode. Behold, the Lote-tree was shrouded (in mystery unspeakable!)(His) sight never swerved, nor did it go wrong! For truly did he see of the Signs of his Lord, the Greatest” 
[Qur’an, 53: 13-18]