Lessons from the Miraj

Date: 22nd May 2015; 3rd Shaban 1436

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Islam has ruled down a lot of amals for us to follow. The Farz amals are those which we must follow all the time, otherwise we will be end up as sinners. The best amal of all compulsory amal is the Salah. During the Miraj, the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) asked Allah regarding how will his Ummahs meet Allah. Thus Allah (Subḥānahu Wa Ta’Ala) appointed us five waqts of Salah. Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) referred Salah as the “Miraj of the Mumins”.

For revelation of every Ayah of the Quran Allah appointed Jibril (Alayhi As-Salām) to send them upon the humankind. The other Angels also came down to the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) to inform him about the amals of Islam. But Salah was prescribed on us by a different manner. Allah made the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) travel the seven heavens to reveal to him about the importance of Salah. Allah usually sent messages to His Prophets through dreams but the Miraj was no dream. It was an actual physical journey of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) through the different levels of Heaven where the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) met other Prophets and Angels; saw Paradise and Hell with his own eyes. That too was done in few seconds. Disbelieving all the events of the Miraj will make us no better than the Kafirs.

Upon returning from his journey,  The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) narrated his experience in front of the Sahabahs. However, Abu Bakr (Radi Allahu Anhu) was not present in that discussion. Abu Bakr (Radi Allahu Anhu), being the closest companion of the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), believed the night’s journey straight away. Abu Bakr got his title “As-Siddiq” (the most sincere) based on this incident.  Moreover, there were several cases of people embracing Islam following this event. The next day the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) told the people what happened to him the previous night. The blasphemers belied the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) and mocked him, saying, “We need a month to get there and back, and you are claiming to have done all this in one night?” They said to Abu Bakr (Radi Allahu Anhu), “Look at what your companion is saying. He says he went to Jerusalem and came back in one night.” Abu Bakr (Radi Allahu Anhu) told them, “If he said that, then he is truthful. I believe him concerning the news of the heavens–that an angel descends to him from the heavens. How could I not believe he went to Jerusalem and came back in a short period of time–when these are on earth?”

The Kafirs questioned the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam): “If you are truthful, then describe to us Masjid al-Aqsa and its surroundings.” They asked this because they knew Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) had never been there before the previous night. Allah enabled the Messenger (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) to see Masjid al-Aqsa, and he described the masjid and its surroundings in exact detail. Moreover, the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, “On my way back, I saw some of your shepherds grazing their animals in a particular location. They were searching for a camel they had lost.” The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) continued by giving the description of the camel. When these shepherds came back, they told their people what happened to them–precisely as the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) had already told them.

These blasphemers admitted the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam)’s description was exact. Despite that, they were still stubborn and rejected the faith. They did not accept Islam. If we deny the Night’s Journey of the the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) then our Imaan will not cease to increase. There is an account regarding how the Emperor of Byzantine got an notification regarding the Miraj of Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam).

In the 7th year of Hijra, Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) wrote letters addressed to kings inviting them to Islam. One of these kings was Heraclius, the Emperor of Rome. Shaami was in those days under his control and he was now in Shaami (Syria). Dhiya Kalbi (Radi Allahu Anhu), the messenger of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) arrived in Shaami (Syria) with the letter addressed to him. Dihya Kalbi (Radi Allahu Anhu) delivered the letter to the  governor in Basra who then sent it to Heraclius asked his people to see if there were any people from Arabia around who could be brought before him to tell him more about this person Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) who had written this letter to him.

Subsequently, the delegation from Makkah was brought before the court of Heraclius. He asked them, “Who amongst you is the closest relative to the person (Muhammad) who claims himself to be the prophet of Allah?”

Abu Sufyan was  also part of this delegation and replied that he was. Heraclius said to him that he was going to ask him some questions he would have to give correct answers. Abu Sufyan was at that time not a Muslim and vehemently opposed to Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam).

He desired to say such things concerning Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) and cause Heraclius to take the proclamation of the Prophethood of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) as false.

After much deliberation, Abu Sufyan mentioned that Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) claims that in one night he travelled from Makkah to Baitul Maqdis and returned to Makkah before the break of dawn. Abu Sufyan’ s intention was to mention something regarding Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) which would immediately lead him to have reservations
about Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). But what happened instead, was that when one of the Christian priests standing nearby heard the words of Abu Sufyan, he exclaimed, “Yes, I know which night it was (When some people came there and performed their Salah), looking at him Hercules said: “What do you know of him?”

He replied that every night before sleeping, he would close the door of Baitul Maqdis. That night, while closing all the doors, “I was unable to close one of them. Some of the people around there helped me. But when we all tried to close it, it just wouldn’t move. It seemed as if we were trying to move a mountain from its place.

In the end I left the doors open. But when I returned in the morning, I saw, in the corner of the Masjid, a hole carved in the stone and evident signs of an animal having been tied to it. Seeing all this, I said to my companions, ‘that it seemed as if this door had been deliberately kept open for the coming/arrival of a prophet and that he had performed Salaah in this Masjid.”

Reference: Tafsir Ibn Kathir Volume 3 page 24

After the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) took this night journey from Masjid al-Haram to Masjid al-Aqsa, he ascended to the upper heavens. The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) ascended to the heaven on stairs, called al-mirqat, in which one step is made of gold and the next of silver, and so on. These stairs are veiled from us. The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) ascended these stairs until he reached the first heaven. When the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) and Jibril (Alayhi As-Salām) arrived at the first heaven, Jibril (Alayhi As-Salām) requested the gate to be opened. The Angel assigned to that gate asked Jibril (Alayhi As-Salām), “Who is with you?” Jibril (Alayhi As-Salām) answered, “It is Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam).” The Angel asked Jibril (Alayhi As-Salām), “Was he dispatched? Is it time for him to ascend to the heaven?” Jibril (Alayhi As-Salām) said, “Yes.” So, the gate was opened for him, and Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) entered the first heaven. There, Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) saw Prophet Adam (Alayhi As-Salām).

Then the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) ascended to the second heaven. In this second heaven was where Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) saw Prophets Isa (Alayhi As-Salām) and Yahya (Alayhi As-Salām). Isa (Alayhi As-Salām) and Yahya (Alayhi As-Salām) are cousins as their mothers were sisters.

The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) ascended to the third heaven, where he found Prophet Yusuf (Alayhi As-Salām). Prophet Yusuf (Alayhi As-Salām) was extremely handsome. Allah bestowed half of the beauty of this world on Yusuf (Alayhi As-Salām).

Then the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) ascended to the fourth heaven, where he found Prophet Idris (Alayhi As-Salām).

In the fifth heaven, the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) encountered Harun (Alayhi As-Salām), the brother of Prophet Musa (Alayhi As-Salām).

In the sixth heaven, he encountered Prophet Musa (Alayhi As-Salām).

Then the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) ascended to the seventh heaven, and that is where our Messenger (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) saw Prophet Ibrahim (Alayhi As-Salām).

The various forms of punishment witnessed by the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) during his Miraj has been listed below:

PEOPLE WHOSE LIPS WERE BEING SLASHED WITH SHEARS

Anas (Radi Allahu Anhu) narrated that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, “On the night on which I was taken on Miraj I saw some people whose lips were being cut open with scissors of fire”, I asked Jibril (Alayhi As-Salām) who these people were. He replied that they are the Khatib (orators) who command people to do good deeds while forgetting themselves. In another version it says “They are the sermonizers (of your Ummah) who used to say such things which they themselves would not do. They would read the words of Allah without themselves practicing upon them.”

Reference: Musnad of Imam Ahmad (Rahmatullah Allaih). Classed as saheeh by Imam al-Albani (Rahmatullah Allaih) in al-Saheehah (291).

One thing to realize that some may mix this concept with the dawah system. All of us to give dawah and advise things we ours may not follow. However, the niyah needs to be that we ourselves want that advice of ours to be entrusted on us by the mercy of Allah. Those who give advice and do it for the sake of showing off to people will be losers in the Hereafter.

PEOPLE SCRAPING THEIR CHESTS WITH THEIR FINGERNAILS

Anas (Radi Allahu Anhu) narrated that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, “On the night in which I was taken on the journey, we passed by people who had fingernails of brass and they were scrapping their own faces and chests with their nails. I asked Jibraeel (Alayhi As-Salām) who they were. He replied that they were those who used to eat the flesh of others (i.e. backbite about them) and always smear their reputation.

Reference: Sunan Abu Dawood

THE EVIL PLIGHT OF THE CONSUMERS OF INTEREST

It has been narrated by Abu Huraira (Radi Allahu Anhu) that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, “On the night of Miraj I passed by people with bellies as big as houses (of people) and within their bellies were snakes which were visible from the outside. I asked Jibril (Alayhi As-Salām) who they were. He replied that they were those who consume interest (usury).

Reference: Mishkaat Ul Masabih Page 246

Sumurah bin Jundub (Radi Allahu Anhu) narrated, describing the dream of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam): And so we proceeded and came across a river.” I (the narrator) think he said, “– red like blood.” The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) added, “And behold, in the river there was a man swimming, and on the bank there was a man who had collected many stones. Behold, while the other man was swimming, he went near him. The former opened his mouth and the latter (on the bank) threw a stone into his mouth whereupon he went swimming again. Then again he (the former) returned to him (the latter), and every time the former returned, he opened his mouth, and the latter threw a stone into his mouth, (and so on) the performance was repeated.

Reference: Sahih al-Bukhari

PEOPLE’S HEADS CRUSHED WITH ROCKS

Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) passed by another group of people whose heads were being crushed by boulders. After being crushed, their heads would again resume their shape only to be crushed again. This process would continue unabated. Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) asked Jibril (Alayhi As-Salām) who they were. He replied that they were those who were neglectful of their Salah. During the time of Salah, they would remain asleep.

Reference: Sahih al-Bukhari

THE DESPICABLE STATE OF THOSE WHO REFUSE TO DISCHARGE ZAKAH

Then they passed by another group of people whose private parts from the front and behind were engulfed in flames of fire which were leaping like camels and cattle. They were eating daree and Zaqqum (i.e. A thorny and terrible tree mixed with stones). Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) asked who these people were. Jibril (Alayhi As-Salām) replied, “They were those who would not discharge the Zakah of their wealth.

STATE OF THOSE WHO COMMIT ADULTERY

Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) passed by a group of people in front of whom was some cooked meat in a pot. In another pot nearby, was some raw and decayed meat. These people were eating the decayed meat and ignoring the cooked meat. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) asked Jibril (Alayhi As-Salām) who they were and he replied that they were those men of the Ummah who, despite having their own lawful and pure wives, would spend the night in the company of adulteresses and despicable women and remained with them till the morning and they were those women of the Ummah who had left their lawful and pure husbands to spend the night with adulterous and evil men.

When commenting on Allah’s statement,

It has seven gates; for every gate is of them a portion designated.”

Surah Al-Hijr, Ayah 44 (15: 44) Translation: Sahih International

Ata’ (Rahmatullah Allaih) said, “The most grievous and hated gate of Hell is that which is assigned for adulterers who committed such crime after they had been informed of its consequences.

Makhul Ad-Dimashqi (Rahmatullah Allaih) said, “When the people of the Hell-Fire smell a stinking odor they say, ‘We have never smelt an odor more stinking than that, Then, they will be told that this is the odor of the adulterers’ genitals. Ibn Zayd, one of great exegesis said, “This odor hurts all the people of the Hell-Fire.

In Psalms, it is narrated that Adulterers will be hanged from their genitals in the hell-Fire, on which they will be scourged with slashes of iron. If they cry out of pain, the angels of punishment will address them, “Where was this cry inaudible before? You just used to laugh, play and did not keep the thought of Allah, nor were you shy from Him.”

Reference: Major Sins by Imam Shamsu ed-Deen Dhahab

A PERSON CARRYING A HUGE BUNDLE OF WOOD

Then Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) passed by a man in front of whom was a very large bundle of wood which he couldn’t lift and yet he wanted to carry even more. Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) asked who he was. Jibril (Alayhi As-Salām) replied that this was the person who, in spite of being appointed a trustee of people’s belongings, had failed to discharge it. And yet he was eager to accept more of the things of people as a trust.

AN OX ATTEMPTS TO ENTER INTO A TINY OPENING

Thereafter, they came upon a tiny opening from which a huge ox emerged. After making its appearance, the Ox wanted to return into this small hole. Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) asked who he was. Jibril (Alayhi As-Salām) replied that he was the person who after having uttered some very serious and sinful words, he was now grateful and wished to retract them but was unable to do so.

When Salah was initially prescribed on us it was in fact 50 waqts of Salah per day and then upon the urging of Musa (Alayhi As-Salām), Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) requested Allah to make it up to only 5 waqts per day. Hadith states:

Narrated / Authority of: Anas bin Malik and Ibn Hazm (Radi Allahu Anhum): “The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: ‘Allah, the Mighty and Sublime, enjoined fifty prayers upon my Ummah, and I came back with that until I passed by Musa (Alayhi As-Salām) who said: ‘What has your Lord enjoined upon your Ummah?’ I said: ‘He has enjoined fifty prayers on them.’ Musa (Alayhi As-Salām) said to me: ‘Go back to your Lord, the Mighty and Sublime, for your Ummah will not be able to do that.’ So I went back to my Lord, the Mighty and Sublime, and He reduced a portion of it. Then I came back to Musa and told him, and he said: ‘Go back to your Lord, for your Ummah will not be able to do that.’ So I went back to my Lord, the Mighty and Sublime, and He said: ‘They are five (prayers) but they are fifty (in reward), and the Word that comes from Me cannot be changed.’ [50:29] I came back to Musa (Alayhi As-Salām) and he said: ‘Go back to your Lord.’ I said: ‘I feel too shy before my Lord, the Mighty and Sublime.’”

References: Sunan An-Nasa’i, Book of Salah, Hadith 450

It is a shame when we as the Ummah of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) are unable to reap all the benefits given to us by the mercy of Allah. We always slack in doing amals while our haste reveals when we run after this Dunya. We tend to forget about the boundless rewards that wait for us in Jannah.

Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) upon commenting on the Miraj said: On the night of Mi’raj, I met Hazrat Ibrahim (Alayhi As-Salām) and he said to me, O Muhammad! Convey my salam to your Ummah and inform them that undoubtedly the soil of Jannah is pure, its water is sweet, its ground is barren and its plants are: “Subhanallahi walhamdulillahi wala ilaha illallaahu wallaahu akbar.”

Just by doing a little zikr, we are planting trees and building our houses in Jannah. Amazingly, none of us actually take the time to realize that even a singular tree can be a great blessing in Jannah. Few Quranic verses illustrate the enormity of the blessing given by a single tree.

Ibn Kathir (Rahmatullah Allaih) spoke very cleverly about the greatness of the fruits of Paradise, and concluded that by means of understatement, Allah (swt) conveyed the abundance and greatness of those fruits. He said, “how do you think the trees that are grown for their fruit on earth will be in Paradise, like apple trees, date palms, grape vines and so on? How do you think the flowers will be? In short, there will be what no eye has seen, no ear has heard and no human heart can comprehend and we ask Allah (swt) to grant us some of this, by His Grace”

The trees of Paradise bear fruit constantly, unlike the trees of this world, which bear fruit only at certain times or seasons. The trees of Paradise always bear fruit and offer shade: “And fruit in plenty, (32) whose season is not limited, and their supply will not be cut off” [Al-Waqiah 56:32-33]

The supply is continuous and the people of Paradise are never denied. one of the delights that the people of Paradise will enjoy is finding that its fruits are similar in appearance, but different in taste:

“….Everytime they will be provided with a fruit therefrom, they will say, “This is what we were provided with before”, and they will be given things in resemblance [i.e. in the same form but different in taste]….” [Al-Baqarah 2:25]

The trees of Paradise are of rich and lush foliage – “With spreading branches” [Ar-Rahman 55:48], and they are intensely green – “dark and green [in colour]” [Ar-Rahman 55:64]. The intensity of the colour is because of the density of the trees in Paradise.

The fruits of the trees will be low-hanging, in easy reach of the people of Paradise: “Reclining upon the couches lined with silk brocade, and the fruits of the two Gardens will be near at hand” [Ar-Rahman 55:54]

The shade of these trees will be as Allah (Subḥānahu Wa Ta’Ala) says: “..and We shall admit them to shades wide and ever deepening”. [An-Nisa 4:57]

The Miraj has been a complete lesson for the Mumins regarding the reality of our afterlife. It is time for us to realize that our true and original life rests in the Hereafter where we will be assigned to either Jannah or Jahannam. The choice is completely ours.

Bibliography: The Miracle of Mi’raj by Mufti Muhammad Aashiq Ilahi Buland Shahri

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