The Prophet’s Night Journey and Ascension

Shaykh Gibril Fouad Haddad

17:1: “Praise be to God Who has enraptured His servant by night from the Sacred mosque (Mecca) to the Farthest Mosque (Jerusalem).”

33:56: “Lo! God and His angels shower blessings on the Prophet. O ye who believe; ask blessings on him and salute him with a worthy salutation.”

53: 1-18: “By the star when it setteth, Your companion erreth not, nor is deceived:
Nor doth he speak of his own desire.
It is naught save an inspiration that is inspired,
Which one of mighty powers hath taught him,
One vigorous; and he grew clear to view
When he was on the uppermost horizon.
Then he drew near and came down
Till he was distant two bows’ length or even nearer,
And He revealed unto His slave that which He revealed.
The heart lied not in seeing what it saw.
Will ye then dispute with him concerning what he seeth?
And verily he saw him yet another time
By the lote-tree of the utmost boundary,
Nigh unto which is the Garden of Abode.
When that which shroudeth did enshroud the lote-tree,
The eye turned not aside nor yet was overbold.
Verily he saw one of the greater revelations of his Lord.

God ordered Gabriel to go down with seventy thousand angels to the Prophet Muhammad, Peace be upon him, and stand by his door. “Accompany him to My presence. And you, Michael, take the hidden knowledge and go down with seventy thousand angels and stand by the door of his bedroom. You, Israfil, and you Azra’il, do as Gabriel and Michael have been ordered.” Then He said to Gabriel: “Increase the light of the moon with the light of the sun, and increase the light of the stars with the light of the moon.” Gabriel asked: “O God, has the Day of resurrection dawned?” God said: “No, but tonight We are calling to Our presence the Prophet, the last Messenger who came after Jesus to reveal to him a secret that pertains to Us.” Gabriel said: “O God, what is that secret?” God said: “O Gabriel, the secret of kings cannot be given to the servants. Go with My order and don’t ask.”

And Gabriel began his descent carrying with him the heavenly message. All the angels accompanied him as God had ordered, until they reached the door of the Prophet. When they arrived, they said: “Qum ya sayyidi: Arise, my Master, and prepare yourself! Ride on the back of the Buraq, the heavenly creature that will carry you on your journey to the Lord of Power through the land of the angels!”

The Buraq (Heavenly Beast)

When God ordered Gabriel to carry with him the Buraq for the Prophet to ride, he went to the Paradise of buraqs and there he found forty million buraqs. Every buraq had a crown on its forehead inscribed with the words: “There is no god except God, and Muhammad is His Messenger.” Under it was written: “Believe in Me, in My angels, in My holy books, and in My prophets.” Gabriel saw among them a buraq who secluded himself and who sat alone crying. Gabriel came to him and asked him why he was in such a state. The Buraq answered: “I heard the name of Muhammad forty thousand years ago, and my yearning for him has prevented me from eating and drinking.” Gabriel chose that buraq and he took him.

The Buraq had the body of a horse but the face of a human being, with big black eyes and soft ears. His color was that of a peacock whose plumage was set with red rubies and corals, on which sat a white head of musk on a neck of amber. His ears and shoulders were of pure white pearls attached with golden chains, each chain decorated with glittering jewels. His saddle was made of silk lined with silver and gold threads. His back was covered with green emerald and his halter was pure peridot.

The speed of the Buraq is according to his sight. His legs reach wherever his eyes can see. Gabriel said: “O Prophet, this night is your night, and your turn has come to shine in the sky of creation. You are the sun of ancient and recent knowledges, you are the moonlight of the beauties of the worlds, the happiness of creation and the adornment of the lands of human beings and angels. You are the cup of love from the river of milk and honey. The River of Kawthar in Paradise overflows in anticipation of seeing you. O Joy of all creation, O Pride of Paradise, the tables are ready and the Palaces of heaven are waiting for your coming!”

- “O Gabriel,” said the Prophet, “did you come with a message of mercy or wrath?”

- “O Muhammad, I came with a message from your Lord to give you a secret.”

- “What does the Lord of Generosity want to do with me?”

- “He wants to shower you with His mercy and all human beings that accept you.”

- “Give me a moment to prepare myself.”

- “I brought you water of paradise and a turban with a message enscribed: ‘Muhammad the servant of God; Muhammad the prophet of God; Muhammad the beloved of God; Muhammad the Friend of God.’”

- “O Gabriel, tell me more about that turban.”

- “God created a turban from his light and he entrusted it to Ridwan, the angel-custodian of Paradise, and the praising of Ridwan’s host of angels belonged to the owner of that turban before heaven and earth were created. Tonight, when the order came for your visit, Ridwan took the turban from Paradise, and all forty thousand angels said with him: ‘O our Lord, you have ordered us from time immemorial to praise the owner of that turban. Honor us tonight with his sight and permit us to walk before him.’ And God granted them what they asked. Then God ordered me, Gabriel, to hand Michael the precious jar of the pure water of Salsabil, and Michael to give to Azra’il, and Azra’il to give it to Israfil, then Israfil to Ridwan, then Ridwan sent that water another time to the Highest Paradise: Jannat al-Firdaws, where all the beautiful maiden-angels washed their faces with that water and shone even more brightly. Then they sent back that water to me, and I am giving it to you.”

And the Prophet showered with the water from Paradise. As soon as it touched his noble body he became covered with a garment of subtle angelic light, and Gabriel gave him the Buraq to ride. But the Buraq stopped and asked Gabriel: “Is that the Prophet Muhammad who is invited to our Lord?” Gabriel said: “yes.” The Buraq asked: “Is he the owner of the blessed pond in Paradise?” Gabriel said: “yes.” The Buraq said: “Is he the leader of the People of Paradise?” Gabriel said: “yes.” The Buraq said: “Is he the intercessor on Judgment-Day?” Gabriel said yes. At that time the Buraq began to melt like ice and snow melt in the light of the sun. He knelt down and said to the Prophet: “O Pride of creation, ride on me; but I have one request to ask of you: Do not forget me on the day of intercession.”

The Journey to the Far-Distant Mosque

When the Prophet began to ride he was crying. Gabriel asked him: “O Prophet, why are you crying? ” He said: “I remembered human beings. Are they going to ride on Judgement Day as I am riding now on the Buraq, and go to their heavenly palaces in Paradise?” Gabriel said: “Yes, verily, we are going to resurrect the pious ones in delegations of riders: On the Day when We shall gather the righteous unto the Beneficent, a goodly company (19:85).”

At that the Prophet felt happy, and he rode forward on the Buraq. Gabriel took hold of the reins while Michael held the saddle, and Israfil the saddle-cloth. The Buraq moved in space until in the blink of an eye they reached the place appointed for their first stop in the middle of the desert. Gabriel said: “O Muhammad, go down and pray to God in this place.” The Prophet said: “What is this place?” Gabriel said: “This is the place where you are going to emigrate, and it is going to be your second city.” That was the town of Yathrib not far from Mecca, and its name was going to be al-Madina.

In the blink of an eye they again passed through space until they stopped a second time, and Gabriel told the Prophet to come down and pray.

- “Which place is this, O Gabriel?” asked the Prophet.

- “This is Sinai, where Moses used to speak with God.”

Then the Buraq moved in space another time until he reached a third place where Gabriel ordered him to pray.

- “And now, where are we, O Gabriel?”

- “You are in Bethlehem, where Jesus was born and from where he spread the message of the King of heavens and of the earth.”

As the Prophet walked with delight on the soil where Jesus was born, he felt someone moving near his right shoulder who said: “Muhammad! wait, I want to ask you a question.” But the Prophet did not respond. Then another call came from behind his left shoulder, but again he did not answer it. Finally, an unimaginably beautiful mountain covered with the wealth and beauty of this world appeared in front of him and spoke to him with a human voice, but for the third time the Prophet did not respond. Then he asked Gabriel about the three voices. Gabriel said: “If you had listened to the first voice all your nation would have been corrupted because it is the voice of evil; and had you listened to the second one, all your nation would have been tyrants because it is the voice of Satan. And if you had stopped to hear the decorated mountain all your nation would have preferred this world to the eternal world.”

The Prophet continued his way and saw two beautiful angelic beings, one masculine and one feminine. They wore a beautiful dress and the fragrance of heaven. They kissed him between his eyes and left. He asked Gabriel who these were and he said: “These are the believers of your nation. They are going to live in happiness and die in happiness and they are going to enter Paradise.”

Then another angel appeared to him and offered him three cups to drink: one of water, one of milk, and one of wine. He took the cup of milk and drank, and Gabriel said: “You have chosen the cup of fitra: innocence.” Then a maiden-angel appeared and offered the Prophet three suits of cloth, one green, one white, and one black. He took the first two. Gabriel said: “White is the color of believers and green is the color of Paradise. All of your followers are going to be believers in this world and all are going to enter Paradise in the next.”

Then, as the Prophet was walking on the place where Jesus taught, he entered the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem. He found the Temple full of angels waiting for him. Every angel in the Temple represented a group of angels in paradise. Then he saw all the Prophets standing in rows. He asked Gabriel who all these were. Gabriel said: “These are your brothers from among the prophets, and these angels are the leaders of all the angels of Paradise.” Then Gabriel made the call to prayer, after which he said: “O Muhammad, Most honorable of beings in the sight of God, proceed to prayer.” And the Prophet came forward and led the prescribed prayer, and all the prophets and the angels followed him.

The Rock from which the Prophet (s) Ascended
© 1992 Said Nuseibeh Photography

Adam spoke saying:

    - “Praise be to God Who created me with His hands and ordered the angels to prostrate for me and brought out all the prophets from among my descendants!”

Then Noah said:

    - “Praise be to God Who accepted my prayer and saved me and my people from drowning with my ship and the help of the angels, and honored me!”

Then Abraham said:

    - “Praise be to God Who took me as His friend and gave me a huge kingdom, and gave me prophets for descendants, and saved me from the fire of Nimrod, and made it cool and safe for me!”

And Moses said:

    - “Praise be to God Who spoke to me without an intermediary and chose me for His message, and made me victorious over Pharaoh with the help of his angels, and gave me the Torah which Gabriel taught me how to write, and adorned me with His love.”

And David said:

    - “Praise be to God Who revealed the Psalms to me, and softened the iron between my hands and all other elements, and chose me for His Message!”

And Solomon said:

    - “Praise be to God Who has made subject to me the winds, the jinn, and human beings; who taught me the language of birds; who gave me a kingdom which he never gave anyone after me, and supported me with all his angels.”

And Jesus said:

    - “Praise be to God Who sent me as a Word from Him to the world, taught me the Torah and the Gospel, made me cure the deaf, the dumb, and the leper, made me bring back the dead by His permission, and supported me with Gabriel and all His angels.”

And Muhammad said:

    - “All of you praised your Lord and I praise Him also, Who sent me as a mercy for human beings and revealed the Koran to me, expanded my breast, took out my sins, raised me up, made my Nation and all human beings the best that could be, and called me ‘Kind and Merciful’”!

And Gabriel said:

    - “That is why, O Muhammad you are the last of Prophets and a Mercy for human beings. O prophets and angels, O creations large and small, God and His angels send blessings and salutations on His Prophet! You also send much blessings upon him and utmost greetings! Increase your praise. Praise is an angel with two eyes and two wings that flies to God directly to ask forgiveness for its reciter until Judgment Day.”

Then the Prophet continued his way, riding on the Buraq together with all the angels that came to greet and accompany him. Whenever he passed through a different universe he found the angels of that universe gathered to greet and dress him with all kinds of gifts and adornments. They dressed him with the cloaks of perfection and made him the possessor of every beauty.

Then the Prophet heard a very powerful voice coming from the Archangel Israfil from behind the veils of Lordly Power and Angelic Perfection:

    - “O Paradises and heavens! O angels! O mountains and trees and oceans and rivers! O moons and suns and stars and planets and constellations! Plunge in to the beauty and perfection of the Prophet. O angels and houris of Paradise, walk with pride! O creation, be happy tonight, for we are receiving in our presence the Master of human beings and the Seal of Prophets.”

The Ascent - al-Mi’raj

Another voice came from an angel called Ishmael, saying:

    “O heavenly stairs, show yourselves and descend!” upon which the ladder of heaven descended all the way from Firdaws, the loftiest Paradise, until it reached the Temple of Solomon. The arms of the ladder shone with two heavenly lights, red amethyst and green jasper of the greatest perfection. Every believer is going to see that ladder and climb on it. It has one hundred steps and it goes from the Temple to the First Heaven.

Gabriel called the Prophet and the Buraq climbed the first step. There the Prophet saw all kinds of angels red in color. On the second step, the Prophet saw angels in yellow cloth, on the third step the angels were green and all of them were greeting him and giving him heavenly gifts which he took and gave to Gabriel to keep as a trust for the believers on earth. On the fourth step messenger-angels came and said: “O Gabriel, keep rising for the Lord is waiting!” And the Prophet saw their subtle bodies shining and their faces glittering like mirrors in the sun.

Then he climbed the fifth step of the ladder and saw a huge world of angels that had no beginning and no end. All of them were praising God and their only words were: “There is no god but God.” He asked Gabriel: “How many are these angels?” for he was awed by their numbers. Gabriel said: “If the skies and the earth and the moon and the sun and the stars and galaxies were crushed in to dust and were all piled up, their dust particles would not be one tenth of the angels of this step of the ladder of Paradise.” Then the Buraq climbed up to the sixth step and there a great surprise awaited the Prophet, and a great event took place which passed all description. An immense, white-upon-white angel sat on a chair of burnished white gold, accompanied by a great host of angels with wide, awe-struck gazes looking at the divine majesty. The white angel stood up and said: “O Muhammad, welcome! I beg you to bless my seat by sitting on it.” When the Prophet sat on the chair, it melted with love for him and became a cloud of multicolored light chanting the praise of God. Out of every drop of that cloud God created another throne and another great angel sitting upon that throne.

Then the Buraq climbed to the seventh heaven and the Prophet saw angels whose light replaced the light of his vision, as in the case when someone looks at the sun and his sight is stolen away. At that time, he became able to see whatever these angels were seeing. Then he climbed the eighth step of the ladder and saw nothing but angels in prostration. He quickly climbed to the ninth so as not to disturb them. On the ninth step of the ladder he saw angels which passed description and he stood in awe, unable to comprehend their creation. At that time their leader appeared and said: “O Prophet! we are dressing you with the secret of our creation and enabling you to understand all things by God’s permission.”

Then the Prophet went up to the tenth step of the ladder and saw the angels that praised God in all the languages that had been created since the beginning of creation. The Prophet wondered at the limitless creations of God. At the eleventh step, the angels numbered even more than the angels of the fifth step, and out of them an infinite number of colors glowed, different for each single one of them. At the twelfth step, the Prophet found angels with faces like moons and eyes like stars. The light of their faces were covering their words. On the thirteenth step, the most beautiful angels appeared and these were the angels of God, praising God with soft voices and revelling in other-worldly beauty. Their music did not resemble any other kind of music and if one tone of that music were heard on the earth everyone on it would faint.

On the fourteenth step the Prophet saw the angel Ishmael with seventy thousand angels riding on horses. Behind everyone of them was a battalion of one hundred thousand angels created from the attribute of Beauty. It is the duty of each and everyone of these angels to appear on earth at least one time to bring it the touch of his beauty. The fifteenth to the twenty-fourth steps were under the command of the angel Ruqya’il, great and small, thin and wide. The twenty-fifth step to the ninety-ninth were presided by the angel Qala’il. His right hand was under the first heaven. Between each two of his fingers there are seven hundred thousand angels continuously praising God. For each of the praises that they utter strings of pearls come out of their mouth. The diameter of every pearl is eighty-one miles. For each pearl God creates an angel that guards it and keeps it as a trust for human beings until they enter Paradise.

Then the Prophet saw a huge throne from a precious element other than gold standing on five posts. Each post has two wings and each wing encompasses the constellation of our world five times. On each wing rest fifty thousand angels, each of whom ask forgiveness for human beings in a different dialect and yet in complete harmony and with an angelic sound that melts the rocks of the seven earths. Out of each one of their tears God creates fifty thousand angels more whose task is to ask forgiveness in the same way as these angels do and in many times more dialects than they. Then the throne spoke to the Prophet and said: “I and the angels who guard me were created to carry human beings to their stations in Paradise.” Then, the throne invited the Prophet to sit on it, and when he sat he felt a pleasure he had never experienced before.

The Seven Gardens of Paradise and The Ultimate Ascent

The First Paradise

The Second Paradise

The Third Paradise

The Fourth Paradise

The Fifth Paradise

The Sixth Paradise

The Seventh Paradise

The Furthermost Lote-Tree

 

Source: Angels Unveiled.

Peace and Blessings upon the Prophet, his Family, and his Companions


© 2012 As-Sunnah Foundation of America

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