Al Asra Wal Me'raj

By

Syed B. Soharwardy

http://www.islamicsupremecouncil.com

During the 1960's when American astronauts landed on the moon, it was very difficult for some people to accept that reality. People with such difficulties still exist and will continue to exist for unknown period. There could be several reasons for their denial but the most obvious reasons were three. First, these people might not have the required knowledge and the understanding of science and technology. Secondly, they did not trust NASA and had doubts about the people who run NASA. Thirdly, they would not accept extraordinary claim from anyone because of jealousy, ignorance, vanity or their own incapability. On the other side, people who understand the capabilities of science and technology had no difficulty in accepting the reality of the landing of man on the moon.

Similarly, on one morning in 621 AD, the last Messenger of Allah, Muhammad (Peace be upon him) informed the people of Makkah that last night he traveled from Makkah towards Heavens and made a stopover in Jerusalem, and then he returned back to Makkah during the same night. It was extremely difficult for the people of Makkah to accept that reality except very few Muslims. People challenged his claim. How is it possible that he (Peace be upon him) could have traveled from Makkah to Jerusalem and from Jerusalem towards the Heavens and returned to earth within a portion of a night?

Had it been a dream or a spiritual journey, it would have made easy for the people to accept it. However, Muhammad (peace be upon him) went on to this journey with his physical body and soul. This is what made difficult for the people to accept his journey. Not only the opponents denied this miraculous journey of Muhammad (Peace be upon him) but few Muslims too followed the footsteps of non-Muslim "intellects" and refused to accept that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) could have traveled on this journey with his physical body and soul. There could be several reasons of their denial but the most important are three. Firstly, these people might not have the required knowledge and the understanding of the powers of Almighty Allah. Secondly, these people may have doubts about the capabilities of Almighty Allah who runs the operations of this entire universe by Himself. Thirdly, these people would not accept the extraordinary claim from anyone (including Allah's Messenger) because they themselves are incapable, jealous or suffered from vanity. They see Allah and His Messenger (Peace be upon him) through their own shortcomings and incapability.

Al-Asra wal Me'raj

The miraculous journey of Muhammad (Peace be upon him) had two segments. The first segment of journey is called "AL-ASRA" (the horizontal travel). In this segment Muhammad (Peace be upon him) traveled on Earth from the Grand Mosque of Makkah (Masjid Al Haraam) to the Distant Mosque of Jerusalem (Masjid Al-Aqsa). The second segment of the journey is called " AL-ME'RAJ" (the vertical travel). In this segment Muhammad (Peace be upon him) traveled vertically from Jerusalem towards the Heavens and returned back to Earth.

Al-Asra (The Horizontal Journey)

To avoid any confusion and doubts among human beings, regarding this miraculous journey, Allah pointed towards Himself in the holy Qur'an that Allah made this journey possible for Muhammad (Peace be upon him). This Miraculous journey was not the work of a creation. This was the work of Almighty Creator, the most pure and the absolute perfect.

There is nothing impossible for Him. Allah could create Adam without both parents, Allah could create Jesus without a father, Allah could create life from the dead and Allah did create the Sun, the moon, the Galaxies, the Heavens, the Earth, etc.… Allah can also create the miraculous journey of Al-Asra Wal Me'raj for Muhammad (Peace be upon him). Why is it so difficult to accept?

" Glory to (Allah) Who did take His Servant (Muhammad) for Journey by night from the Sacred Mosque to the Farthest Mosque whose precincts We did Bless in order that We might show him some of Our Signs: for He is the one Who heareth and seeth (all things). (Al-Qur'an, 17:1)

The miraculous journey of Al-Asra wal Me'raj took place a year or two before Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) migrated to Madinah. Earlier, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) faced very sad and disturbing situations. His beloved Uncle Hadhrat Abu Talib who protected him day and night from the cruelty of his opponents passed away. Same year, his beloved wife, Hadhrat Khadijah (May Allah be pleased with her) passed away.  Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) loved her very much. He was very sad and disturbed by these two deaths. On one side, his beloved uncle and wife were no more around him and on the other side, the non-believers of Makkah increased persecution of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his followers. Therefore, he decided to go outside Makkah and give message of Allah to the other tribes and cities. He traveled to Taif, a town about 55 KM south of Makkah. When he (peace be upon him) presented Islam to the chiefs of Taif, they showed the worse behaviour. They not only rejected his message but they sent young kids after him to throw rocks at him. These rocks wounded Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and he bled so much that his feet were stuck in his own shoes with his own blood. He fainted, his companion Hadhrat Zaid (May Allah be pleased with him) helped him. Allah's Messenger (Peace be upon him) was going through very painful period? Allah sent angel Gabriel (May Allah's peace upon him) to Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and ordered him to escort Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) on this miraculous journey in order to show him the wonders of Allah.

Allah knew that it would be very difficult for human beings to accept the true story of this miraculous journey. If Muhammad (Peace be upon him) would have gone directly towards Heavens from Makkah, it would have been impossible for people to verify his claim. Therefore, Allah took Muhammad (Peace be upon him) to Jerusalem first. This earthly journey provided a perfect opportunity for the people to challenge Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and verify his claim. Therefore, when Muhammad (Peace be upon him) stood in front of the people of Makkah and told them about his miraculous journey, the pagan traders who used to travel to Jerusalem for their business and they had seen the Al-Aqsa mosque (Temple Mount) asked him several questions. They asked whatever they could ask about the temple mount (Masjid-Al-Aqsa). They even asked him how many windows, how many doors and the colour of Masjid-al-Aqsa. Muhammad (Peace be upon him) replied all their questions correctly. No one could have answered those questions without really seeing Jerusalem.

Several authentic Ahadith (sayings of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him)) from Muslim, Bukhari and other books of Hadith provide the details of Al-Asra Wal Me'raj. Among the narrators of various Ahadith about Al-Asra Wal Me'raj are Hadhrat Omar ibn Al-Khattab, Hadhrat Ali ibn Abi Talib, Hadhrat Ibn Masood, Hadhrat Abu Dhar Ghaffari, Hadhrat Abu Saeed Khudri, Hadhrat Ibn Abbas and several other prominent companions of Allah's Messenger (May peace and blessings of Allah be upon them).

Allah created several proofs of this journey for the people of Makkah and the world. Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) told the people that when he was traveling towards Jerusalem he passed near a trade caravan. This caravan was bringing grain for the people of Makkah. Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said, when his ride (an animal from the Heaven called "BURRAQ") passed near one of the camels, carrying one black and one white sacks of grain, the camel lost its balance and fell down and broke its leg.  After few weeks, when the caravan arrived at Makkah the people of Makkah asked the people of caravan, "did some thing unusual happened with the caravan?" They said yes, “we were very surprised one night when one of our camel carrying two sacks of grain suddenly tried to runaway and lost its balance and fell down and broke its leg". The people in the caravan had not heard the story of Al-Asra Wal Me'raj yet.

Ibn Abi Kabshah, one of the pagan traders of Makkah constantly argued and said how it is possible that someone can travel to Jerusalem from Makkah and return in one night? At that time, the distance between Makkah and Jerusalem was almost a month long journey (one way). Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) told him, "Let me tell you another proof of my travel. Your trade caravan is coming back to Makkah and I saw your caravan too. One of your camels was lost and such and such person found it. Your caravan was at a certain distance. They should be arriving in Makkah on such date. Ahead of your caravan an off-white camel is walking with a black covering on its back and two black sacks of various things are hanging on both sides of the camel ".

When people heard that the trade caravan of Ibn Abi Kabshah was reaching Makkah, they realized that the caravan was arriving on the date that was told by the Prophet (Peace be upon him). People ran out side the city in curiosity and witnessed with their own eyes that the off-white camel was walking with a black covering on its back and two black sacks were hanging on both sides of the camel.

The Journey

Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) described his journey and said, " I was sleeping and someone woke me up. I saw that was angel Gabriel along with another angel. Angel Gabriel informed me that Allah has invited you to show you His wonders. He opened my chest and washed my heart with ZAM ZAM water and he put some light (NOOR) in my heart. Then he put back my heart and closed my chest. Angel Gabriel and I sat on BURRAQ (BURRAQ was a very high-speed animal from the Heaven. The steps of Burraq used to land at the limit of its eyesight).

At a place, Gabriel stopped the BURRAQ and asked me to offer Salat (prayer). When I finished my Salat (prayer), Gabriel told me that O' Messenger of Allah this is the city of Madinah Al-Tayyib. This will be the place where you will be migrating. (Note: Within two years Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) had to leave Makkah and migrated to Madinah).

At another place angel, Gabriel asked me to offer salat (prayer). When I finished my prayer, Gabriel told me that this is the Mount Sinai (TOOR), where Allah spoke with Prophet Moses (Peace be upon him). After this, Gabriel asked me to offer prayer (salat) at another place. When I finished my prayer, Gabriel told me that this is Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus Christ (Peace be upon him). Finally when we reached Bait Al-Muqdas i.e. Masjid Al-Aqsa (Jerusalem), all the Prophets and the Messengers of Allah were already gathered there. The call for prayer (ADHAN) was made, and later the IQAMAH (The start of prayer) was called. All the Prophets and the Messengers of Allah stood in lines for prayer. Gabriel held my hand and asked me to lead the prayer. I lead the prayer (Imam) of all the Prophets and the Messengers of Allah.

Before the prayer, Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was offered three different drinks, water, wine and milk. Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) chose milk. Angel Gabriel said, O' Messenger of Allah you chose the best natural drink. Had you chosen water, your followers (Ummah) would have drowned. Had you chosen wine your followers (Ummah) would have gone astray. You chose nature (FITRAH), the complete diet.

After the prayer, all the Prophets and the Messengers of Allah met with Muhammad (Peace be upon him). During this meeting, turn by turn, some of the Messengers and Prophets of Allah expressed their thanks to Allah and mentioned the blessings of Allah, which Allah had bestowed upon them. Prophet Abraham (Peace be upon him) said, " Thanks to Allah Who made me His friend. He made me very obedient to Him and He made me the Imam (leader). He protected me from the fire (of Namrood) and made it very comfortable cool place for me".

Prophet Moses (Peace be upon him) thanked Allah. He said, " Thanks to Allah who talked to me. He destroyed my enemies - the army of Pharaoh of Egypt. He Saved Israelites through me and He created in my Ummah (Israelites) some of the people who would preach the truth and stand-up for justice.

Prophet David (Dawood) said, " Thanks to Allah who gave me the wonderful and vast country. He softened Iron for me. He brought birds and mountains in my control. He gave me the book of ZABOOR. He made my speech very powerful.

Prophet Solomon said, " Thanks to Allah who made wind, animals, birds and Gins obedient to me. He made me superior than many of His pious people. He gave me such STATE (authority) that no one after me will ever have.

Prophet Jesus (Peace be upon him) said, " Thanks to Allah who made me His word. My example is like Adam. Allah asked him to be and Adam came into existence. Allah gave me the knowledge of Gospel and Torah. Allah gave me the power to make dead alive, to cure completely blind, and to cure people with leprosy. If I would blow my breath into birds made of clay they would get life and fly away like normal birds. He raised me alive towards Heavens and saved my mother and myself from the evil of Satan.

Finally, Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said, " Thanks to Allah who is worthy of All praises. He made me the Mercy for the entire universe. He made me the giver of the good news and the warner for entire humanity. He gave me the Qur'an that has the knowledge of all things. He preferred my Ummah to all other nations because my Ummah helps and guides in good. My Ummah is the last and the first Ummah (last because Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is the last Messenger and his Ummah is the last Ummah. First, because on the judgment day Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) will be the first person to enter in to the Paradise and his Ummah will be the first Ummah to enter into the Paradise.). After this meeting Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) left for the next segment of Al Asra Wal Me'raj.

On the way towards Jerusalem, Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) saw a very old woman. He asked who is she? Gabriel (May Allah's Peace and Blessings upon him) said that this old woman is a symbolic representation of the life of this world. The life of this world is very short, just like the remaining life of a very old woman.

At three different places Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) heard the greetings. Someone was calling, " ASSALAMO ALAIKA YA AWWAL, ASSALAMO ALAIKA YA AKHIR, ASSALAMO ALAIKA YA HASHIR " (Peace on you the first, peace on you the last, peace on you the Awakener). Prophet (Peace be upon him) replied to their greetings. Gabriel told Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) that they were Prophet Abraham (Ibrahim), Prophet Moses (Musa) and Prophet Jesus (Eisa) (May Allah's peace and blessings upon them) greeting you.

When Jerusalem was conquered by Muslims during the period of second Caliph of Islam, Hadhrat Omar Farooq (May Allah be pleased with him), he traveled to Jerusalem. He was advised by a Muslim to pray at a certain place. He refused and said, " I will pray where my beloved, Muhammad (Peace be upon him) prayed during the night of Al-Asra Wal Me'raj. This was the belief of the companions of Muhammad (Peace be upon him). They knew where Muhammad (Peace be upon him) prayed and he prayed in Masjid Al-Aqsa with his physical body.

Al-Me'raj (The Vertical Journey)

Some of the details of the vertical journey (Al-Me'raj) have been mentioned in the holy Qur'an in chapter 53, Surah Al-Najm. Allah says;  

    1. By the Star when it goes down

2 Your Companion is neither astray nor being misled

3 Nor does he say (anything) of (his own) Desire.

4 It is no less than inspiration sent down to him:

5 He was taught by one mighty in Power

6 Endued with Wisdom: For he appeared (in stately form)

7 While he was in the highest part of the horizon

8 Then he approached and came closer

9 And was at a distance of but two bow-lengths or (even) nearer;

10 So did (Allah) convey the inspiration to His Servant (conveyed) what He (meant) to convey.

11 The (Prophet's) (mind and) heart in no way falsified that which he saw.

12 Will ye then dispute with him concerning what he saw?

13 For indeed he saw him at a second descent.

14 Near the Lote-tree beyond which none may pass

15 Near it is the Garden of Abode.

16 Behold the Lote-tree was shrouded (in mystery unspeakable!)

17 (His) sight never swerved nor did it go wrong!

18 For truly did he see of the Signs of his Lord, the Greatest!

 "Your Companion" is the holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), who had lived among the Quraish. Allah is defending him from three kinds of charges that the non-believers brought against him that; (1) He was going astray, either through defect of intelligence or through carelessness. (2) He was being misled or deceived by evil spirits. (3) He spoke out of a whim or impulse, or from a selfish desire to impress his own personality. None of these charges was true. On the contrary, he had direct inspiration from Allah.

"Heart" in Arabic includes the faculty of intelligence as well as the faculty of feeling. The impression conveyed was pure truth; there was no illusion in it.

The "Garden of Abode" (Jannat al-Mawa) lies close to the Lote-Tree and, in the opinion of some authorities, is so called because the souls of believers will find their abode therein.

Anas ibn Malik narrates on the authority of Malik ibn Sa'sa' (May Allah be pleased with them) that the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) described the journey of Al-Me'raj. He (Peace be upon him) said, when we finished the prayer in Masjid Al-Aqsa, a very high-speed elevator (ladder) called RAF RAF came down and Gabriel and I climbed over it. When we reached at the first Heaven, Gabriel knocked at the door. The guard from the other side asked, “who is it?" Gabriel Said, "Gabriel". The guard asked, "Are you alone or someone with you"? Gabriel said, " I have with me the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad (Peace be upon him)". The guard asked, “Has he been invited? Gabriel said, "Yes". The door was opened. The guard angel and other angels smiled and said, " welcome the guest of honour and bless his presence". Gabriel accompanied Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) on the tour of all seven Heavens and at each Heaven similar conversation took place between the guards and Gabriel, and Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was greeted by the angels at the each Heaven.

At the first Heaven Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) met with Prophet Adam (Peace be upon him). Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) greeted him with Islamic greeting of Salaam (Assalamo Alaikum). Prophet Adam greeted back Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and said,  Wa Alaikum Assalam, "welcome my son, welcome the prophet of Allah".

At the second Heaven Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) met with Prophet Jesus Christ and Prophet John the Baptist (Yahya) (Peace be upon them). Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) greeted both of them with the Islamic greeting of Salaam. Prophet Jesus Christ and Prophet John the Baptist (Yahya) greeted back Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and said, “welcome dear brother, welcome the prophet of Allah".

At the third Heaven Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) met with Prophet Joseph (Yousuf) (Peace be upon him). Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) greeted him with the Islamic greeting of Salaam. Prophet Joseph (Yousuf) greeted back Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and said, “welcome dear brother, welcome the prophet of Allah".

At the fourth Heaven Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) met with Prophet Enoch (Idris) (Peace be upon him). Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) greeted him with the Islamic greeting of Salaam. Prophet Enoch (Idris) greeted back Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and said, " welcome dear brother, welcome the prophet of Allah".

At the fifth Heaven Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) met with Prophet Aaron (Haroon) (Peace be upon him). Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) greeted him with the Islamic greeting of Salaam. Prophet Aaron (Haroon) greeted back Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and said, " welcome dear brother, welcome the prophet of Allah".

At the sixth Heaven Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) met with Prophet Moses (Musa) (Peace be upon him). Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) greeted him with the Islamic greeting of Salaam. Prophet Moses greeted back Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and said, " welcome dear brother, welcome the prophet of Allah".

At the seventh Heaven Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) met with Prophet Abraham (Ibrahim) (Peace be upon him). Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) greeted him with the Islamic greeting of Salaam. Prophet Abraham (Ibrahim) greeted back Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and said, " welcome my son, welcome the prophet of Allah".

At the seventh Heaven Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) saw that Prophet Ibrahim (Peace be upon him) was sitting against one of the walls of "BAITUL MA'MOOR". Baitul Ma'moor is the QIBLAH of angels. It is exactly above the QIBLAH in Makkah (Ka'bah in Masjid Al-Haraam) and has exactly same dimensions as Ka'bah in Makkah. Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said that if a thing is dropped from Baitul Ma'moor, it will fall on the roof of Ka'bah. That is why the entire space above Ka'bah is a part of Ka'bah (Qiblah).

During this heavenly journey Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) saw several signs of Allah. He saw the future, the past and the present. He saw the Heavens and he also observed the scenes of Hell. Some of the scenes he saw are as follows.

Scenes from the Hell

  1. He (Peace be upon him) saw that some people had fresh roasted meat near them but they were eating rotten meat. Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) asked Gabriel, " why these people are not eating fresh meat? Why are they eating rotten meat?" Gabriel answered, they are the people of your Ummah (followers) who left (ignored) Halal (legitimate food) and consumed Haraam (illegitimate food).
  2. Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) saw the lips of some people were like camel's lips and the angels were feeding them with force. As soon as angels put food in their mouth, it came out from the other side of their body. These people were in serious pain with this constant forceful feeding. Gabriel told Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) that these are the people of your Ummah (followers) who robbed the orphans and took away their belongings illegally.
  3. He (Peace be upon him) saw some people with very big tummies were trying to walk but as soon as they stand, they fall down. Dangerous animals were walking over them. They were crying very hard and begging Allah not to bring judgment day upon them. Gabriel told Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) that these are the people from your Ummah who took usury (interest) from people and consumed it.
  4. Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said I saw some people were cutting their own bodies and eating their own flesh. Gabriel told Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) that these are the people of your Ummah who used to gossip, backbite and called names to other Muslims.
  5. Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) saw another group. Heavy rocks were constantly thrown at their heads. The heads would crash and then restored back immediately. This continued and repeated punishment was very painful. Gabriel told Muhammad (Peace be upon him) that these are the people of your Ummah who would not properly perform SAJDAH in their prayers.
  6. Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) saw a group of men and women. They were eating rotten meat instead of fresh meat. Gabriel told Muhammad (Peace be upon him) that these were the men and women who were married to their spouse but they had relationships with other men / women. They committed adultery.
  7. Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) saw a group of people, their tongues and lips were getting constantly cut by scissors. Gabriel told Muhammad (Peace be upon him) that these were the scholars (Imams, preachers, etc.…) of your Ummah who created FITNAH (division) among the people. They preached what they did not practice.
  8. Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) saw Prophet Adam (Peace be upon him) sitting between the two doors. From the door on his right side, beautiful perfume was blowing and from the door on the left side, very bad smells were blowing. When he used to see towards the right side, he used to smile and when used to see towards the left side he used to cry. Angel Gabriel told Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) that on the right side of Adam (Peace be upon him) is Heaven and on the left is Hell. When he sees his children in Heaven, he feels good and become happy. However, when he sees his children in Hell, on the left side, he feels very bad and cries. 

Scenes from the Heaven

  • According to an authentic Hadith in Muslim Sharif, on the night of Al-Me'raj Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) while touring the Heaven, he smelled very amazing perfume. He asked what is that smell? Angel Gabriel told him that the perfume is coming from the palaces of a slave mother. She was one of the slave of Pharaoh . Her name was Mashata. She used to live in Pharaoh's palace with her children. Once she was combing the hairs of Pharaoh's daughter and the comb fell off from her hand. She said " BISMILLAH (in the name of Allah) ". The princes said Allah (God) is my father. This slave mother said no, Allah is the one who provides you, your father and me all the livelihoods. The princes became very angry and informed her father. Pharaoh called this slave mother and asked "do you believe in any god other than myself?" She said, yes. Yours and mine God is almighty, the very high and away from all imperfections. At that time, Pharaoh asked his guards to heat up the metal cow and throw this slave and all her children in that burning metallic cow. When metal cow became extremely hot, the guards threw her children one by one and they all burnt to death immediately. The last child was infant baby. The guards snatched this infant baby from mother. Mother cried but this infant baby miraculously spoke and comforted her mother. This baby said, O' mother don't worry the best deed is to die for the sake of Allah". This baby was thrown and at last, the slave mother was thrown in that burning metal cow as well. They all died. Allah has rewarded them with these palaces in the Heaven.

When Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was telling Mashata's story he mentioned that only four children have spoken during their infancy. The first is this child (Mashata's baby), the second infant baby was the one who testified the innocence of Prophet Joseph (Yousuf), the third was the baby who testified the innocence of Hadhrat Jareej Wali-Allah and the fourth baby who spoke during infancy was Prophet Jesus Christ (Peace be upon him).

  • Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) saw another group of people. As soon as they cut their crops, it would grow back again. Gabriel informed these are the people who sacrificed their lives for Allah's sake. They get seven-hundred times reward of their good deeds.

There were several other spectacular scenes, which Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) observed during the journey of these seven Heavens.

Journey Beyond The Seventh Heaven

After the seventh Heaven Gabriel and Muhammad (Peace be upon him) ascended further towards next destination. They reached a station called SIDRATUL MUNTAHA (The final station). Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) described SIDRATUL MUNTAHA as a huge tree that had leaves like the ears of elephant and its fruit was like huge buckets. The SIDRATUL MUNTAHA was decorated and beautiful lights were glowing on this tree. A wonderful reception for Allah's beloved (Peace be upon him).

At Sidratul Muntaha (the Final Point) angel Gabriel said to Muhammad (Peace be upon him) that I cannot go beyond this point. If I move beyond this point, my wings will be burnt. Since Almighty Allah has invited you, you are the only one who could go beyond this point. No one from Allah's creation has ever gone beyond this point. Therefore, Muhammad (Peace be upon him) left Gabriel at SIDRATUL MUNTAHA and ascended alone towards the destination that cannot be defined or explained in words.

The Throne of Allah (Al-ARSH)

Finally, Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) reached to the peak of his journey. Muhammad (Peace be upon him) reached at the ARSH (throne) of Almighty Allah. At Allah's ARSH Allah spoke to him directly and Allah spoke whatever he wanted to speak with His beloved Muhammad (Peace be upon him). No one knows that confidential conversation between The Creator and His beloved creation - Muhammad (Peace be upon him). However, Allah and Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) has told us some of the talks.

The "ATTAHIYYAT", Muslims recite in every prayer, is the first dialogue between Allah and Muhammad (Peace be upon him) on the night of Al Asra Wal Me'raj. When a beloved visits his beloved, they supposed to exchange gifts. This is the recommended tradition of Islam. That is why, when Muhammad (Peace be upon him) arrived at the ARSH of Allah, he brought the best gift. He presented, “All praises, greetings, honours and purity are for Almighty Allah ". In exchange Allah said, " O' my Prophet my peace be on you ". At this highest point Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) showed how much love he has for his Ummah. He wanted to include his Ummah as well in the peace of Allah. Therefore, he said, “O’ Allah your peace is on us (Ummah) and on your pious people". Although in "us” everybody was included but he separately mentioned the pious people and included the sinners with him for the blessings of Allah. What a merciful Prophet (May Allah shower the best of peace and blessings upon him)!

That is why when Muslims read this dialogue in their prayers they declare immediately, " I witness that there is no God but Allah and I witness that Muhammad is His Messenger" (peace be upon him).

Allah gave Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) the opening chapter of the holy Qur'an (Surah Al Fatiha) and the last verses of the second chapter (Surah Al Baqrah) on the night of Al Asra Wal Me’raj without Gabriel (May Allah be pleased with him). Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said that these verses were not given to any other prophet before me.

On the night of Al-Asra Wal Me'raj Allah gave KAOTHER to Muhammad (Peace be upon him) - The best body of water in the Heavens. Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said, I saw a canal with beautiful jewels in it and surrounded by beautiful green birds. Gabriel told me that this is KAOTHER and Allah has given you this canal. When I drank water from it, it was sweater than honey and perfume better than musk.

Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said, "I was asked whether I want to be a Prophet and the King (like Hadhrat Solomon) OR I want to be a Prophet and "ABD" (Allah's absolute obedient in all conditions of life). I chose to be a Prophet and ABD".

 Before his return journey back to planet earth, Allah gave Muhammad (Peace be upon him) fifty mandatory prayers for his Ummah. While, he was returning back, he met on the sixth Heaven Prophet Moses (Peace b upon him). Prophet Moses asked him what did you get from Allah? He said fifty prayers. Prophet Moses said, this is too much. My experience with my Ummah tells me that the people will not be able to pray fifty prayers in 24 hours. You should go back and ask for some reductions. Muhammad (Peace be upon him) went back to Allah and asked for reduction. Allah reduced them to forty. Again, on the way back Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) met Prophet Moses (Peace be upon him). Prophet Moses asked him to go back and ask further reduction. Therefore, Muhammad (Peace be upon him) went back and forth between Allah and Prophet Moses (Peace be upon him) several times. In each trip the prayers were reduced by 10 and in the final visit those were reduced by 5. Prophet Moses still suggested to Muhammad (Peace be upon him) to ask further reduction but this time Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said that now I am very shy to ask for further reduction and he moved on towards the Earth. While he was returning, Allah called Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and told him that the prayers are now five but the reward for these prayers will remain for fifty. It means that the reward for each prayer will always be multiplied by 10.

The night was gone. It was morning of 27 Rajab (the (7th month of Islamic calendar) , Muhammad (Peace be upon him) came to the Masjid Al Haraam in Makkah. He was sitting and thinking how to tell the events of last night to his nation. Suddenly, his worse enemy, Abu Jahl, passed by. He joked and said, “Are you planning some thing new today?" He said, I am not planning some thing new but I have some thing new to tell. He said, "what's that?” Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) told him the whole story what he saw last night. After hearing the story, Abu Jahl was sure that this story, when told, would turn away many people from Islam. He asked Muhammad (Peace be upon him) to stay where he was. He would go around the city and gather people and Muhammad (Peace be upon him) would tell this story to everyone.

When Abu Jahl gathered everyone in Masjid Al Haraam he asked Muhammad (Peace be upon him) to tell the events of last night. Muhammad (Peace be upon him) told them every thing. When they heard the events of this journey, some newly converted Muslims turned back (MURTAD) to their previous religion. Some laughed at him. However, there were very few who wholeheartedly accepted his story. Among those faithful followers was Sayyidna Abu Bakr us-Siddiq (May Allah be pleased with him). He said, " when I accept everyday what Muhammad (Peace be upon him) tells me that it came from Allah (the holy Qur'an), why it should be difficult to accept that last night he himself went to that place".

We, Muslims need to follow our heroes like Sayyidna Abu Bakr and Sayyidna Imam Ali (May Allah be pleased with them) in order to understand the high ranks and the honours of Allah's last Messenger, Muhammad (Peace be upon him).

Conclusion

The journey of Al-Asra wal Me'raj tells that among all the creatures of Allah, humans are the best and the superior creation of Allah provided that they follow the guidance of Allah. As the famous poet of Islam from South Asia, Allama Iqbal wrote;

SABAQ MILA HAY YEH MERAJ-E-MUTUFA SAY MUJHAY

KE AALAM-E-BASHARIYAT KI ZAD MAY HAY GARDOON

(The lessons I learnt from the story of Me'raj of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is that the entire universe is within the reach of mankind)

Allama Syed Muhammad Riyazuddin Soharwardy wrote in his Naat (Poetry);

SHAB-E-ME'RAJ UNHAY HAQ NAY DIKHAYA JALWAH

YEH TO BUTLA EYAY THA DAIKHNAY WALA KAISA

(On the night of Me'raj Allah showed His wonders to him (Muhammad, peace be upon him) but can someone describe how wonderful was the one who saw those wonders?) (Indeed, He (Peace be upon him) was the most wonderful creation of Almighty Allah.

May Allah's peace and blessings upon Muhammad, his family, his companions and all those who follow him. Ameen.