The Night Journey of Muhammad (AKA al isra, al miraj)

Muhammad’s famous Night Journey (Isra and Miraj) is the basis of the Islamic claim to Jerusalem as an Islamic holy city. The only thing the Qur’an has to say about it is this the first verse of sura 17, which says that Allah took Muhammad from “the Sacred Mosque” in Mecca “to the farthest [al-aqsa] Mosque.” There was no mosque in Jerusalem at this time, so the “farthest” mosque probably wasn’t really the one that now bears that name in Jerusalem, but Islamic tradition is firm that this mosque is in Jerusalem.

Muhammad’s vision of this journey was as dramatic as his initial encounter with Gabriel. According to Ibn Ishaq, Muhammad described the vision to one of the Muslims as beginning “while I was lying in Al-Hatim or Al-Hijr,” that is, an area in Mecca opposite the Ka’bah, identified by Islamic tradition as the burial place of Hagar and Ishmael, when “Gabriel came and stirred me with his foot.” Soon after that “someone came to me and cut my body open from here to here” – and he gestured from his throat to his pubic area. The one who had come to him, Muhammad continued, “then took out my heart. Then a golden tray full of Belief was brought to me and my heart was washed and was filled (with Belief) and then returned to its original place. Then a white animal which was smaller than a mule and bigger than a donkey was brought to me.” This was the Buraq, which Muhammad further described as “an animal white and long, larger than a donkey but smaller than a mule, who would place his hoof a distance equal to the range of vision.” It was, he said, “half mule, half donkey, with wings on its sides with which it propelled its feet.”

“When I came up to mount him,” Muhammad reported according to Ibn Ishaq, “he shied. Gabriel placed his hand on its mane and said, ‘Are you not ashamed, a Buraq, to behave in this way? By God, none more honorable before God than Muhammad has ever ridden you before.’ The animal was so ashamed that he broke out into a sweat and stood still so that I could mount him.”

They went to the Temple Mount, and from there to heaven itself. According to a hadith, Muhammad explained: “I was carried on it, and Gabriel set out with me till we reached the nearest heaven. When he 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 Muhammad been called?’ Gabriel replied in the affirmative. Then it was said, ‘He is welcomed. What an excellent visit his is!’”

Muhammad entered the first heaven, where he encountered Adam. Gabriel prods Muhammad: “This is your father, Adam; pay him your greetings.” The Prophet of Islam duly greets the first man, who responds, “You are welcome, O pious son and pious Prophet.” Gabriel then carries Muhammad to the second heaven, where the scene at the gate is reenacted, and once inside, John the Baptist and Jesus greet him: “You are welcome, O pious brother and pious Prophet.” In the third heaven, Joseph greets him in the same words, and Muhammad and Gabriel go on, greeted by other prophets at other levels of heaven. [...]


Surely you want to know how the story ends! Read it all HERE.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Pakistan population may touch 292m mark by 2050

Missionary Secrets 4: our churches don't know what to do with us...