The miracle of Al Isra and Al-Mi^raj (The night journey and the ascension of prophet Muhammad)
(The night journey and the ascension of prophet Muhammad)
Praise be to Allah, the Lord of t he Worlds, the One Who exists without a place. To Him belong the endowments and proper commendations. May Allah raise the rank of Prophet Muhammad and his kind Al and Companions and protect his nation from what he fears for them. May the Lord of Heavens and Earth grant us the sincere intentions and guide us to the acceptable deeds.
Thereafter, Allah sent the prophets as a mercy to the slaves and supported them with miracles to indicate the truthfulness of their message. Of all the prophets, our Prophet, Muhammad, was blessed with the most miracles. Al-Isra' and al-Mi^raj are among the many miracles of Prophet Muhammad.
The miracle of al-Isra' is confirmed in the Qur'an. In Surat al-Isra', Ayah 1, Allah said:
which means: [Praise be to Allah Who enabled His slave, Muhammad, to make the journey at night from Masjid al-Haram in Makkah to Masjid al-Aqsain Jerusalem, which is surrounded by a blessed land.] This journey is also confirmed in the sahihhadith. As such, there is scholarly consensus (ijma^) Prophet Muhammad journeyed in body and soul the night of al-Isra' from Masjid al-Haram in Makkah to Masjid al-Aqsain Jerusalem. Moreover, these scholars indicated the person who denies al-Isra' is a blasphemer for belying the explicit text of the Qur'an.
Before the Prophet took this night journey, the ceiling of the house in which he was staying was opened, and Jibril descended. He cut open the chest of Prophet Muhammad and washed that open area with Zamzam water. Then he emptied something from a container into the chest of the Prophet to increase his wisdom as well as the strength of his belief. This was done to prepare the Messenger of Allah for that which he had yet to see in the upper world from among the wonders of the creation of Allah.
After the Prophet performed the Evening Prayer (^Isha'), Jibril came to him with a white animal, slightly larger than a donkey yet smaller than a mule. This animal was the buraq,--one of the animals of Paradise. Jibril held the buraqby his ear and told the Prophet to mount it. When the buraq was mounted, the Prophet set forth.
The buraq is a very fast animal; the length of the buraq's stride is the farthest distance it's eye can see. The Prophet and Jibril arrived to a land with palm trees. Jibril told the Prophet to dismount and pray, so the Prophet dismounted the buraq and prayed two rak^as. Jibril asked him, "Do you know where you prayed?" and the Prophet answered, "Allah knows best." Jibril told him, "This is Yathrib; this is Taybah. "." (These are two names for the city of al-Madinah.) Before the Prophet emigrated to al-Madinah, it was called Taybah and Yathrib. It earned the name al-Madinah after the Prophet emigrated to it.
The buraq continued with the Prophet and Jibril until they reached another place. Again Jibril told the Prophet to get down and pray. The Prophet dismounted there and prayed two rak^as. Jibril informed the Prophet of the name of that place; it was Tur Sina'.
Once again the buraq took off with the Prophet and Jibril. Once again it stopped, and the Prophet dismounted and prayed two rak^as. This was in Bayt Lahm, where Prophet ^Isa (Jesus) was born. Then the buraq continued with the Messenger of Allah until they entered the city of Jerusalem. There the Prophet went to Masjid al-Aqsa. Outside was a ring used by the Messengers of Allah to tie their animals. The Prophet tied his buraq to this ring. Then the Prophet entered the masjid where Allah assembled for him all the Prophets--from Adam to ^Isa. Prophet Muhammad moved forward and led them all in prayer. This is an indication the Prophet is higher in status than all the rest of the prophets and messengers.
1- On Prophet Muhammad's journey from Masjid al-Haram to Masjid al-Aqsa, Allah enabled him to see some of His wondrous creations. Allah enabled the Prophet to see the world (dunya) like an old woman. However, this old woman was wearing a great deal of jewelry, and in this there is an indication signifying the reality of the world.
2- Allah enabled the Prophet to see Iblis. The Prophet saw something on the side of the road which did not dare to stand in his way or speak to him. What the Prophet saw was Iblis. Originally, Iblis was a believer and lived with the angels in Paradise. When Allah ordered the angels to prostrate (sujud) to Prophet Adam, Iblis was ordered to prostrate to him as well. The angels prostrated to Adam in obedience to Allah, because angels do not disobey Allah. However, Iblis did not obey, and he objected to the order of Allah. He said, "You created me out of fire, and You created him out of clay. How do You order me to prostrate to him?" So this objection by Iblis to the order of Allah was the first blasphemy he committed.
3- On his journey, the Prophet smelled a very nice odor. He asked Jibril about this pleasant scent and Jibril informed him this good smell was coming from the grave of the woman whose duty used to be to comb Pharaoh's daughter's hair. This woman was a good, pious believer. One day, as she was combing Pharaoh's daughter's hair, the comb fell from her hand. At this she said, ""Bismillah. "Pharaoh's daughter asked her, "Do you have a god other than my father?" The woman said, "Yes. My Lord and the Lord of your father is Allah." Pharaoh's daughter told her father what had happened. Pharaoh demanded this woman blaspheme and leave Islam, but she refused. At that, Pharaoh threatened to kill her children. He brought a great pot of water and built a great fire under it. When the water boiled, Pharaoh brought her children and started to drop them into that pot one after the other. Throughout all this, the woman remained steadfast to Islam, even when Pharaoh reached her youngest child--a little boy still breast feeding--but she felt pity for him. At that, Allah enabled this child to speak. He said to his mother, "O Mother, be patient. The torture of the Hereafter is far more severe than the torture of this life, and do not be reluctant, because you are right." At this the woman requested Pharaoh collect her bones and the bones of her children and bury them in the same grave. Pharaoh promised her that--then dropped her into that boiling water. She died as a martyr. The good odor the Prophet smelled coming from her grave is an indication of her high status.
4- During his trip, the Prophet saw people who were planting and reaping in two days. Jibril told the Prophet, "These were the people who fight for the sake of Allah (mujahidun). ")."
5- The Prophet also saw people whose lips and tongues were clipped with scissors made of fire. Jibril told the Prophet, "These are the speakers of sedition (fitna) who call people to misguidance."
6- He also saw a bull which exited a very small outlet, then was trying in vain to return through that small outlet. Jibril told the Prophet, "This is the example of the bad word--once spoken, it cannot be returned."
7- The Prophet saw people grazing like animals, with very little clothing on their private parts. Jibril told the Prophet, "These are the ones who refused to pay zakat. "."
8- The Prophet saw angels smashing some people's heads with rocks. These heads would return to the shape they had been, and then the angels would smash their heads again--and so on. Jibril told the Prophet, "These are the ones whose heads felt too heavy to perform prayer--the ones who used to sleep without praying."
9- On his journey the Prophet saw people who were competing to eat some rotten meat--ignoring meat that was sliced and unspoiled. Jibril told the Prophet, "These are people from your nation who leave out that which is permissible (halal), and consume that which is forbidden ((haram). "This reference was to the fornicators, that is, the ones who left out the permissible (marriage) and committed sins (fornication).
10- Also, the Prophet saw people who were drinking from the fluid coming from the bodies of the fornicators, (water mixed with blood). Jibril indicated to the Prophet these were the ones who were drinking the alcohol which is prohibited in this world.
11- The Prophet saw people scratching their faces and chests with brass finger nails. Jibril said, "These are the examples of those who commit gossip ((ghibah). ")."
1- After the Prophet took this night journey from Masjid al-Haram to Masjid al-Aqsa, he ascended to the upper heavens. The Prophet 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 ascended these stairs until he reached the first heaven. When the Prophet and Jibril arrived at the first heaven, Jibril requested the gate to be opened. The angel assigned to that gate asked Jibril, "Who is with you?" Jibril answered, "It is Muhammad." The angel asked Jibril, "Was he dispatched? Is it time for him to ascend to the heaven?" Jibril said, "Yes." So, the gate was opened for him, and Prophet Muhammad entered the first heaven.
There, Prophet Muhammad saw ProphetAdam. To Adam's right, the Prophet saw some bodies, and to Adam’s left, other bodies. If Adam would look to his right he would laugh, and if he would look to his left he would cry. Adam was seeing the souls of his descendants. Those on his right were his descendants who would die as believers and those on his left were his descendants who would die as non-believers.
Then the Prophet ascended to the second heaven. In this second heaven was where Prophet Muhammad saw Prophets ^Isa and Yahya. ^Isa and Yahya are cousins; their mothers were sisters. They welcomed the Prophet and made supplication (du^a') for him for good things. The Prophet ascended to the third heaven, where he found Prophet Yusuf. Prophet Yusuf was extremely handsome. Allah bestowed half the beauty on Yusuf. Yusuf received the Prophet with a warm welcome and made supplication (du^a') for him for good things.
Then the Prophet ascended to the fourth heaven, where he found Prophet Idris. Idris welcomed the Prophet and made supplication (du^a') for him for good things. In the fifth heaven, the Prophet encountered Harun, the brother of Prophet Musa. In the sixth heaven, he encountered Prophet Musa. Each of these Prophets received Prophet Muhammad with a warm welcome and made supplication (du^a')') for him for good things.
Then the Prophet ascended to the seventh heaven, and that is where our Messenger saw Prophet Ibrahim. Prophet Ibrahim is the best of the prophets after our prophet, Muhammad. The Prophet saw Prophet Ibrahim with his back against al-Bayt al-Ma^mur. To the inhabitants of the skies, al-Bayt al-Ma^mur is like the Ka^bah is to us, the inhabitants of the earth. Every day 70,000 angels go there; then exit from it, and never return. The next day another 70,000 angels go, come out, and never return. This will continue until the Day of Judgment. In this, there is an indication as to the greatness of the numbers of the angels--their numbers are far more than the numbers of the humans and the jinns together.
In the seventh heaven, Prophet Muhammad saw Sidrat al-Muntaha--a very big tree of sidr. Each of the fruits of this tree is as large as a big jar. The leaves of this tree are similar to the ears of the elephants. Sidrat al-Muntahais an extremely beautiful tree. It is visited by butterflies made of gold. When these butterflies gather on this tree, its beauty is beyond description.
Then the Prophet ascended to what is beyond the seven skies; he entered Paradise. He saw examples of the inhabitants of Paradise and how their situation would be. He saw most of the inhabitants of Paradise are the poor people .
The Prophet saw other things on the night of his ascension. He saw Malik, the angel in charge of the Hellfire. Malik did not smile at the Prophet when he saw him, and the Prophet asked why. In answer to the Prophet's question, Jibril said, "Malik did not smile since the day Allah created him. Had he smiled for anyone, he would have smiled for you."
In Paradise, the Prophet saw some of the bounties Allah prepared for the inhabitants of Paradise. He saw the Hur ul-^In: females Allah created who are not humans or jinn. They are in Paradise and will be married to those men Allah willed them to marry.
The Prophet saw the wildan ul-mukhalladun: creations of Allah who are not human, jinn, or angels. They are a very beautiful creation of Allah whose appearance is like laid-out pearls. They are servants of the inhabitants of Paradise. The least in status of the People of Paradise will have 10,000 wildan ul-mukhalladun to serve him. Each one of them would carry a tray of gold in one hand and a tray of silver in the other hand.
The Prophet saw the Throne (^Arsh), which is the ceiling of Paradise. The Throne is the largest creation of Allah in size; Allah did not create anything bigger in size than it. The seven heavens and the earth in comparison to the Kursiyy, are like a ring thrown in a desert, and the Kursiyy in comparison to the Throne, is like a ring thrown in a desert. The seven heavens and the earth in comparison to the Throne are like a seed of mustard compared to the ocean. Allah created the Throne as a sign of His Power and He did not create the Throne to sit on it.
Allah created the Throne to show His Power. It is carried by four angels, and on the Day of Judgment, it will be carried by eight. The Prophet said he was permitted to speak about one of these angels who carry the Throne. In describing this angel, the Prophet told us the distance between his ear lobe and shoulder is the distance a fast-flying bird would cover in 700 years.
Then the Prophet ascended beyond Paradise. He reached a place where he heard the creaking of the pens used by the angels who are copying from the Preserved Tablet. It is at that location Prophet Muhammad heard the Kalam of Allah, which is an attribute of the Self of Allah. He heard the Kalam of Allah which does not resemble our speech--so it is not something that occurs bit after bit. It is not letter after letter or a word that comes after another word. Rather, it is an attribute of Allah which is eternal and everlasting. It does not resemble our attributes. The Kalam of Allah has neither silence nor interruptions. It is an attribute of Allah, and it does not resemble the attributes of the creation.
The Prophet understood several things from hearing this Kalam of Allah. He understood the obligation of the five Obligatory Prayers. At first, Allah obligated fifty prayers. When Prophet Muhammad encountered Musa, Musa told him to make supplication (du^a') to his Lord to ease the obligation of fifty (50) prayers, because his nation could not handle that. Musa said, "I have experience with the people of Israel, and I know your nation cannot bear that." So the Prophet asked his Lord to lessen these prayers for his people. Five prayers were eliminated. Once again, Musa told the Prophet to ask Allah to lessen the number of prayers. Allah did. Nine times the Prophet made supplication to Allah to lessen these prayers--until these prayers were lessened to five Obligatory Prayers. So Prophet Musa was a great benefit to us. Had we been obligated to pray fifty prayers a day, this would have been a difficult matter for us.
From the Kalam of Allah, the Prophet also understood that a good deed would be written for the person who intends to do a good deed, even if he did not do it. Also, the good deed performed would be registered for he who performs it as at least ten good deeds--up to 700 good deeds. For some people, Allah would multiply the reward of their deeds more than that. Additionally, if one performs a bad deed, it is registered for him as one bad deed; yet for he who inclines towards committing a bad deed and then refrains from committing it, a good deed would be registered for him. Here one should note the difference between two matters. If a thought crossed a person's mind about doing something sinful, and this person wavered in this thinking, i.e., considered whether he should do it or not, then he refrained from doing this for the sake of Allah, this is written as a good deed. However, if a person has the firm intention in his heart that he wants to commit a sin, it would be written for him as a sin, even if he does not do it.
The Prophet Returns to Makkah
After all these matters took place with the Prophet, he returned to the city of Makkah. Some scholars said the Prophet's journey took about one-third of the night, i.e., his journey from Makkah to Jerusalem, then to the heavens and what is above them, and then back to Makkah The next day the Prophet told the people what happened to him the previous night. The blasphemers belied the Prophet 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, "Look at what your companion is saying. He says he went to Jerusalem and came back in one night." Abu Bakr 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?" At that, the Companion, Abu Bakr, was called "as-Siddiq"--because of how strongly he believed all what the Prophet said.
The blasphemous people questioned the Prophet: "If you are truthful, then describe to us Masjid al-Aqsa and its surroundings." They asked this because they knew Prophet Muhammad had never been there before the previous night. Allah enabled the Messenger to see Masjid al-Aqsa, and he described the masjid and its surroundings in exact detail. Moreover, the Prophet 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 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 had already told them.
These blasphemers admitted the Prophet's description was exact. Despite that, they were still stubborn and rejected the faith. They did not accept Islam. Only those whom Allah willed to be guided, will be guided. The person whom Allah did not will to be guided, will not believe--regardless of how much explanation or how many proofs he is shown. The person whom Allah willed to be guided, surely he will be a believer. Many people witnessed miracles and still did not believe. Many people witnessed the miracle of the Prophet's splitting of the moon. Those who refused to embrace Islam said, "This is magic. Muhammad played a magic trick on our eyes." They even asked the people of a faraway land who witnessed the moon split in two. Despite this, they still did not believe. They said, "The magic of Muhammad is powerful; it even reached the faraway lands!" This was their response to witnessing a miracle--instead of believing and becoming Muslims.
We ask Allah that we would all die as Muslims. We ask Allah to bestow on us the bounty of entering Paradise without torture.
And Allah knows best.
In the name of Allah, the beneficent the merciful.
On 27th Rajab, all the Muslim believers celebrate this as a grand day of Mi'raj as "Grand Eid" and all the Muslims should be proud to have such a prophet like Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon him and his progeny (Ahlul Bayt), to whom Almighty Allah (swt) was also proud and had invited him to visit and talked with very nearer distance as mentioned in the Glorious Qur'an 53:9.
Also note that, the Mi'raj of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon him and his progeny has taken place more than once. However, it should be mentioned that Mi'raj in which the daily Salat was made incumbent, without doubt, occurred before the death of Hazrat Abu Talib, who passed away in the 10th year of Besat. Unmistakably, from the Ahadith and books of history, it is mentioned that on the night of Mi'raj, Allah (swt) gave the order of the five daily Salat as being mandatory upon the Islamic Nation.
The darkness of the night had spread across the horizon and silence reigned over the face of nature. The time had arrived when the living creatures take rest and sleep so that they might recuperate from their activities of the previous day. Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw), was also not an exception to this law of nature and he wished to take rest after offering his prayers (Salat) in the house of "Umm-e-Hani", the daughter of his uncle and sister of Amir al-Mominin Ali (pbuh) in the blessed city of Makkah. However, suddenly he heard a voice; it was the voice of the Archangel Jibreel/Gabriel (pbuh) who said to him:
"This night you have to perform a very unique journey and I have been ordered to remain with you. You will have to traverse different parts of the world mounted on an animal named al-Buraq (a name derived from ‘Barq’, meaning lightning). Where he found an animal smaller than a mule but slightly bigger than a donkey. The animal, which was a quadruped, also had two wings and floated easily as he moved with unimaginable speed.
Journey of Al-Isra
Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon him and his progeny began his historical night journey, along with the trusted protector of the revelation, the Angel Jibreel (pbuh) from the house of "Umm-e-Hani", with the aide of his steed al-Buraq.
"After some time, Angel Jibreel (pbuh) stopped Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) and said to perform the Salat. Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) dismounted from al-Buraq and performed Salat. Jibreel (pbuh) said, 'Do you know where you just prayed?' Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) replied to him in negative. Jibreel (pbuh) said, 'In Taibah (Madinah), that place where your travelers will go.' After this, Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) got back onto al-Buraq and continued the journey."
"Once again, Angel Jibreel (pbuh) stopped Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) and said, 'Perform the Salat.' Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon him and his progeny once again dismounted al-Buraq, and performed Salat there. Jibreel (pbuh) asked Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw), 'Do you know where you just prayed?' It is the Mountain of Sinai - the place where Prophet Musa / Moses (pbuh) spoke to Allah (swt)."
"Once again, Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon him and his progeny ascended al-Buraq and continued. Shortly afterwards, Angel Jibreel (pbuh) said, 'Get down and perform the Salat.' Then again Jibreel (pbuh) questioned, 'Do you know where you just prayed?' Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) replied in negative, to which he answered, In Bait al-Laham (Bethlehem) - the place which is near to Baitul Maqdis and this is the place where Prophet Isa (Jesus) al-Masih (pbuh) was born."
Then they reached Baitul Maqdis, which is located in today's Zionist occupied Jerusalem and is also known as Masjid al-Aqsa (the Furthest Mosque) and Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw), proceeded to tie the reins of al-Buraq to the same ring that the great Prophets (before him) used to tie their animal to. After this Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon him and his progeny entered the Masjid and it was here that he met Ibrahim/Abraham, Musa/Moses, Isa/Jesus and the rest of the Prophets (pbut). They all gathered around him and they all proceeded to get ready for Salat. Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon him and his progeny had no doubt that the Salat would be lead by Angel Jibreel (pbuh), however when the lines for the Salat were being formed, Angel Jibreel (pbuh) placed his hand on the shoulder of Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) and pushed forward. Angel Jibreel (pbuh) also took part in the Salat behind him along with the various Prophets (pbut).
Journey of Al-Mi'raj
On the second part of his journey, he proceeded from this spot to the skies (heavens). Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw), then observed the stars and the systems of the world and conversed with the souls of the previous prophets, and also with the angels of the heavens, peace and blessing be upon them all. Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) saw the centre of the tortures and the blessings (hell and heaven) and became fully aware of the secrets of creation, the extent of the universe and the signs of the Omnipotent Allah (swt).
Then Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon him and his progeny, continued his journey and reached Sidrat ul Muntaha (Beyond this point nobody has access including Angel Jibreel (pbuh)). There he found it fully covered with splendor, magnificence and grandeur, and then he returned back by the way he had traveled. Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw), first came to Baitul Maqdis and then to Makkah. It was daybreak when he dismounted at the house of Umm-e-Hani from al-Buraq which had taken him into space. Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon him and his progeny related this matter to Umm-e-Hani and the following night, he made it known to the assemblies of Quraysh as well. The word of his travels spread from mouth to mouth amongst all the groups, and now more than ever, the Quraysh were upset (with him).
According to an old tradition, the Quraysh asked the account of its structure, and Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon him and his progeny, not only described the physical particularities of Baitul Maqdis, rather, he even informed them of the event that took place between Baitul Maqdis and Makkah. Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) said to them that he met the caravan of such and such tribe who lost their camel and he asked them to give him water and Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) drank water from their container. So they asked about the Quraysh caravan and he replied to them that he saw them at Taim. So Quraysh became very excited and it was not long after that the travelers (of that caravan) reported the exact events (as had occurred).
Proof of Isra and Miraj (Shab-e-Mi'raj, Lailat-ul-Miraj) in the Glorious Qur'an:
The Heavenly Journey of Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon him and his progeny has been straight forwardly explained in two Surahs of the Glorious Qur'an.
In the Surah al-Isra (Surah 17 - also known as Bani Isra'il), it is mentioned:
"Glory be to Him Who made His servant (Prophet Muhammad) to go on a night from the Sacred Mosque (Masjid al-Haram) to the Farthest Mosque (Masjid al-Aqsa) of which We have blessed the precincts, so that We may show to him some of Our signs; surely He is the Hearing, the Seeing." (Qur'an, 17:1)
From this verse, we come to the conclusion that Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon him and his progeny traveled with his physical body (servant) through the worlds of Ascension. Further, by the greatness of the Hidden Power, Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) was able to complete this journey in a very short span of time.
Allah (swt) starts His speech with the phrase (Subhan) which denotes the fact that Allah (swt) is free from all deficiencies - but He does not stop here. Rather, He makes the ascension the reason for His greatness by saying 'made to travel' (Isra) so that others do not imagine that the means of this journey was through causes of the natural world and with normal, ordinary means of transportation. This would have made his journey something that could have been denied. Rather, this journey was accomplished by relying upon the power of Allah (swt) and His specific and special blessings.
Although this verse states that the start of the journey was from Masjid al-Haram and ended at Masjid al-Aqsa, this does not contradict the fact that Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon him and his progeny in addition to this trip, also had other trips towards the higher world, since another part of the journey of Ascension of Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) is explained in verses of Surah an-Najm.
From the time Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon him and his progeny told the Quraysh, 'I saw the angel of revelation (when he received the first revelation) in his original and pure state,' all the Quraysh raised up to mock him. Glorious Qur'an, in response to the thoughts of the ignorant people replies:
"Will you then argue with him about what he saw? He certainly saw him (Jibreel) during his other ascent to the Lote-tree (in the seven heavens) near which is Paradise. When the tree was covered with a covering, (Muhammad's) eyes did not deceive him, nor did they lead him to falsehood. He certainly saw the greatest (signs) of the existence of his Lord." (Glorious Qur'an, 53:12-18)
The object of this grand journey was to make known to Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon him and his progeny the various aspects of the existence of the great universe.
A person asked our 4th Imam, Imam Ali bin Hussain (as): "Is there a particular place for Allah (swt)?"
Imam Ali bin Hussain (as) replied: "no."
The man said: "Then why did He make his Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon him and his progeny, journey through the skies?"
Imam Ali bin Hussain (as), replied: "He made him ascend so that he might become aware of the expanse of the universe and see and hear wonderful things, the like of which had not been seen and heard by the eyes and ears before."
Mi'raj (Night Ascension) or Miraj-un-Nabi and Modern Science:
It has been an on going discussion and debate for hundreds of years concerning the method of travel of Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon him and his progeny during the Mi'raj. Many things have been said regarding this journey and its being physical or only spiritual even though from the Glorious Qur'an and the Ahadith there is no doubt that it was a physical ascension.
However, one problem from the point of view of science prevented some people in believing the reality and thus, the Mi'raj of Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) was recorded as being simply spiritual. Another group went a step further and believed that this complete event was simply a dream and that Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) experienced the Mi'raj during his sleep!
The heavenly journey went against the scientific and natural laws of today such as: the law of gravity of the earth; its speed of travel of 25,000 miles per hour; the weightlessness of an object that is outside of the airspace of earth; the fact that it is not possible to breathe the air that is outside our atmosphere; the various cosmic rays; meteorites and air pressure; and the speed of light that goes at the speed of approximately 300,000 kilometers a second; and other such examples.
Fortunately however, it must be known that through scientific research and investigation, the space scientists of the Soviet Union successfully launched Sputnik I. The world's first artificial satellite was about the size of a basketball, weighed only 183 pounds, and took about 98 minutes to orbit the Earth on its elliptical path, on October 4, 1957. They were able to demonstrate to mankind with ease, that they could overcome such problems as the gravitational pull, cosmic rays, problems with breathing in space, and others, through various technologically designed and built equipment and instruments.
Even today, the space science research is ever increasing and the scientists and researchers are confident that in a matter of time, they will be able to place life on one of the planets in our solar system; just as today, they have opened up the exploration to the moon and the planet Mars.
These scientific progresses and advancements in technology and industry are a clear proof that such a celestial travel (that of Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon him and his progeny on the night of Mi'raj) is possible and can not be classified as something that was impossible.