Monday March 15, 2021
For those who do not believe in the reality of miracles, are clearly unaware of our Holy Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) life and its incidences. Islamic history is a prime witness to these miracles. And one of the greatest miracles of his time was that of Layla-tul-Miraaj, the night of the Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) ascent to the Heavens. It is known to have been not only a spiritual journey but a physical one as well. This journey signifies the greatness and importance of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in Allah’s (SWT) eyes. The night this year in 2019, falls on between 3rd and 4th April 2019.
This night is also known as the event of “Isra and Miraj” which essentially denotes two parts of the journey. Isra, which means ‘walking in the night’, refers to the first part of the Prophet’s (PBUH) journey from Makkah to Masjid Al-Aqsa. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) was visited by the angel Jibrael and was carried to Masjid-al-Aqsa (in Jerusalem) on “buraq”, the steed of the prophets. Allah (SWT) verifies the truth of this journey in the Quran as well:
“Exalted is He who took His Servant by night from al-Masjid al-Haram to al-Masjid al-Aqsa, whose surroundings We have blessed, to show him of Our signs. Indeed, He is the Hearing, the Seeing.” (Surah Isra:1)
The second part of the journey is known as Miraaj, which in the literal sense means “ladder”, and it alludes to the Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) ascension to Heaven itself. From Jerusalem, the Prophet Mohamad (PBUH) was then transported to Paradise on his steed, where he roamed all seven levels of paradise and met a number of the prophets who had come before him, which included Hazrat Adam (AS), Musa (AS), Isa (AS), Yahya (AS), Yusuf (AS), Ibrahim (AS) and many others. Upon reaching Sidra-tul-Muntaha in the seventh heaven, a tree marking the very end of paradise and the beginning of the abode of Allah (SWT), Jibrael halted as his entry was forbidden and let the Prophet (PBUH) pass. Here, our beloved Prophet (PBUH) got a chance to meet the Almighty and converse with Him. It is on this night, that the Prophet (PBUH) achieved a state of closeness with Allah (SWT) that is beyond human measure.
Moreover, it was on this occasion that Allah (SWT) on all Muslims enjoined the five daily prayers. It was originally supposed to be fifty daily prayers, but our Prophet (PBUH) beseeched on behalf of his Ummah to make it easier for them and alas, Allah (SWT) brought the number down to five.
Allah (SWT) mentions a few details about the journey in another part of the Quran as well:
“While he was in the highest part of the horizon: Then he approached and came closer, And was at a distance of but two bow-lengths or (even) nearer; So did (Allah) convey the inspiration to His Servant (conveyed) what He (meant) to convey. The (Prophet’s) (mind and) heart in no way falsified that which he saw. Will ye then dispute with him concerning what he saw? 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” (Surah Najm:7-18)
See also: Al Quran Online
The sole purpose of the Holy Prophet Muhammad's (SAW) miraculous journey to the Heavens was an act of declaration about the exalted status of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) in the realm of Islam and testified to the irreplaceable position he held in the eyes of Allah (SWT) and His creation.
However, the date of this journey is still unclear as there is no concrete indication in any Sahih hadith for its exact occurrence. It is thought to have taken place somewhere between the Prophet’s visit to Taif and the time of the Hijra, around the 27th of the Islamic month of Rajab, but this date is not officially recognized by Islamic scholars.
Layla-tul-Miraj serves as a witness to Allah’s (SWT) infinite grandeur and power and His bond with His creation. Allah (SWT) sent the Holy Prophet (PBUH) as a gift to His creation, an exemplary figure and role model for every human to look up to. This night marks itself as a test of faith in mankind and enjoins them to believe in the truth of all that Allah (SWT) is and all that only He is capable of.
Layla-tul-Miraj holds great significance in the lives of Muslims across the globe, where the Prophet Muhamad's (SAW) ascension is remembered and the ultimate purpose of it is recollected. It is considered one of the most sacred of miracles of the Almighty Allah, which He chose to bestow upon Prophet Mohammad (SAW) and only him.
For more information, see Shab e Meraj 2021.