Part 1 -The Magnificent Journey towards the Heavens
The 178th name of the Prophet on whom be Peace: Sahib-ul-Mi’raj, he who was granted ascent to heaven. Oh Allah, Thy Benediction be upon the owner of this name. The word ‘Mihraj’ signifies an instrument facilitating ascent, such as a flight of stairs. Our Holy Prophet (Sal) ascended to the heavens on a stairway of precious gems beginning at al-Quds (Jerusalem) during his lifetime and in his pure physical form. Among all the prophets and messengers, it was a privilege reserved for the Holy Prophet (Sal) alone to be granted such an experience. Therefore the appellation ‘Sahib-ul-Mihraj’ was appended to his name.
Now we shall set forth in full the account of the Mihraj that the Holy Prophet (Sal) was honoured to experience.
When the Prophet Muhammed (Sal) had reached his fortieth year, he was sent with mercy for the whole world and the prophet and Messenger to all people. He began to preach his message and invite people to faith. It was in the twelfth year of his calling, on the twenty-sixth day of the month of Rajab that the Prophet (Sal) went to the Baytullah (the Kaaba) and sat by himself in front of one of the pillars. There he engaged in remembrance and meditation of the Lord Almighty. Just then, Abu Jahl came in to meet with his helpers and henchmen. He saw Muhammed (Sal) sitting there all on his own, engaged in the worship of his Lord. Seeing him thus, he thought to himself, “I will play a prank,” and going up close to him, he bent down and asked him, “Oh Muhammed (Sal), are you a Prophet?” Muhammed (Sal) answered him directly, saying, “Yes, I am a Prophet.” Abu Jahl went on to say, “How can you be a prophet whilst you sit here all alone? Where is your following, where are your helpers? Had there been any necessity for a new prophet, the call to prophethood certainly would have come to me. Look at my following, look at the number of my retainers!” And, striking an arrogant pose, he turned around and left. After Abu Jahl had gone, another one of his party came by with his group of followers.
He, too, approached the Holy Prophet (Sal) sitting there on his own, with the intention of doing something hurtful to Muhammed (Sal). He spoke as Abu Jahl had spoken, and then he turned and left. In this way, no less than seven of the notables of Quraysh came by with their accomplices and they all spoke the same words as Abu Jahl, as if they had previously devised a plan. As a result, the Holy Prophet (Sal) became very dejected and his spirits fell. He thought to himself, “It is now twelve years that I am calling them to Islam and to the belief in the Unity of Allah Almighty. However, far from accepting the Truth, they don’t even understand the concept of the Messenger. A Prophet has no need of a following of servants and retainers. All that is needful to a prophet is Divine Revelation and the order to make known His Divine Command.” Thus the Holy Prophet (Sal) grew sad.
That night was the twenty-seventh night of the month of Rajab, a Monday night. He proceeded to the house of Umm Hani who was the daughter of Abu Talib, the sister of Imam Ali. She lived in her father’s house, which was situated between Safa and Marwa. The Prophet (Sal) arrived at her house, and finding him downcast and dispirited, she asked him for the reason of this. The Prophet (Sal) explained to her what had happened and why he felt as he did. Now, Umm Hani was an intelligent and resourceful woman. She comforted the Holy Prophet (Sal) and said, “These men undoubtedly know that as a Prophet of Allah bringing the message of Truth you are not in need of servants and accomplices. But as they are a stubborn, envious and ill-tempered lot, they spoke these words with the sole purpose of insulting you and wounding your spirit.” These words served to comfort the Prophet (Sal) somewhat, but he still remained distraught. It is reported that soon after praying the night prayer (Salat-ul-Isha), he fell asleep in Umm Hani’s house in a saddened state of mind.
Then the Lord of all Created Beings who had created Rasulullah (Sal) before anything else, destining him to be a Messenger of many miracles and gifts of mercy to all the people in the world and endowing him with perfection and the ability to awaken love in the hearts of men; the Lord Almighty whose Glory reaches from end to boundless end, other than whom there is no God, in His aspect of Majesty and Might addressed Himself to the angel Jibreel, saying, “My Beloved whom I have chosen from amongst all My Creation, the Best of them all, lies sleeping in the house of Umm Hani, aggrieved by the hurtful words of the unbelievers. Let your piety and obedience be an invitation to My Beloved. Go, adorn your dazzling wings with the gems of paradise and enjoy the dignity of being at his service. Go and tell Mikhail to leave off the weighing out of provisions this night, tell Israfil to abandon his trumpet for one hour, and tell Israil for this one night to refrain from taking any souls.
Tell the angels of the lights and luminaries to festoon the heavens with lamps; tell Ridwan to embellish the gardens of Paradise, and admonish the angels to keep the gate to the pits of Hell firmly fastened and the demons of Hell not to move from their places. Tell the Huris to bedeck themselves and to set about scattering precious gems, preparing all the Paradise mansions. Say to the Throne-bearing angels: ‘Wrap the sphere of the skies in its blessed robes and equip yourselves each with seventy thousand angels.’ You, Jibreel , repair to Paradise and there select a Buraq steed, then descend to the face of the earth. All the punishment in the graves shall be lifted for the duration of this night. Go to My Beloved who fell asleep of sad and dejected mind in Umm Hani’s house, and be his companion. Awaken him gently and explain to him that this night he is to be shown his great destiny and the station of nearness (qurb) that excels all other stations of elevation and honour. Invite him to come along with you.”
Jibreel then went to the Paradise gardens where he beheld forty thousand Buraqs (celestial steeds) as they were grazing. Each one had the name of Muhammed (Sal) written across its forehead. Among them was one Buraq, which seemed sad and dejected; its head was bowed and tears were streaming from its eyes. Jibreel approached that Buraq without hesitation and asked him the reason for its distress. The Buraq then said, “As I was prancing about in Paradise Gardens, a voice suddenly came to my ear, which said, ‘Oh Muhammed (Sal)!’ No sooner had I heard this name spoken than I became enamored of the bearer of this name.
For forty thousand years now I have been burning with the fire of separation and the hope of attaining union. Ever since I am weeping, in the sway of intense longing.” Jibreel had pity on the state of this Buraq and said to him, “Your beloved Muhammed (Sal) has this very night been invited to ascend to the Heavens. He needs to be transported from the Masjid-ul-Haram (Mecca) to the Masjid-ul-Aqsa (Jerusalem) by a Buraq steed. It is you I will select, so come now and attain fulfillment.” Next he went to the chamber, where the spiritual king of this world and the world to come, the Messenger to both mankind and Jinn, lay sleeping.
The Journey from Makkah to Jerusalam
Now, the compilers of Hadith have narrated in six collections of Hadith the story of the Prophet’s (Sal) Mihraj as it was told to them by no less than twenty of the venerable companions who heard it as the King of Prophets (Sal) told it to them himself. This then was his narrative:
“I had fallen asleep in Umm Hani’s house, my eyes were closed, but my heart was wakeful. Suddenly, I heard the voice of Jibreel in my ear, and rising from my slumber, I sat up, finding myself face to face with the angel Jibreel. He spoke to me, saying, ‘The Lord Almighty sends you His greetings of peace and invites you to come with me. I will carry you along, for the Lord wishes to shower upon you the diversity of His munificence. Of those that have gone before you, none has ever attained to such munificence, nor will any who are to come after you ever attain to it.”
“I rose and wished to perform my ablutions” “I made my ablution with the waters of the Zamzam well. Then I circled the Holy House seven times and prayed two Rak’ats at the Maqam Ibrahim. I came to the place called the Khatm and there sat down for a bit to rest. While I was sitting there, Jibreel split my chest asunder and brought two large basins filled with knowledge and wisdom, respectively. Mikha’il brought three basins full of Zamzam water wherein they washed my entrails and my bosom.
Then he opened up my heart and took from it the small black clump of clotted blood, while saying, ‘This bit of clotted blood is the reason why men feel fear when they behold an awesome sight. I have taken it from you, for tonight you will behold the Heavens and the Lote Tree, the Divine Throne and Divine Court and the many strange and wonderful things they contain, and many great angelic creatures. Therefore I have cleansed you of this clot, so that you might gaze at whomever you will and speak what needs to be said without fear or constraint.’ He then took from the basin the knowledge and wisdom contained in it and placed it within my heart. He tucked it in and closed my chest again, so that there remained no trace or scar.”
Then Jibreel dressed our Prophet, alaihi s-salatu wa ssalam, with a heavenly dress and put a heavenly crown on his head. It is Narrated “…they clad me in a wrap of pure light and set upon my head a quilted turban of light.” “The story of this turban is this: eight thousand years before the creation of Adam, the angel Ridwan wound this turban in my name. Since that time up until now, forty thousand angels stand about this turban reciting praises and glorifying the Lord. After every single one of their glorifications, they recite blessings (Salat-wa-Salam) upon me. That turban has forty thousand folds, and in every one of these folds there are four lines of writing. In the first line is written: Muhammed (Sal) is the Messenger of Allah. In the second line is written: Muhammed (Sal) is the Prophet of Allah. In the third line is written: Muhammed (Sal) is the Beloved of Allah. In the fourth line is written: Muhammed (Sal) is the Friend of Allah.
“After this, Jibreel covered my back with a cape of light and fastened around my waist a belt of red rubies. He placed in my hand a whip made of green emeralds, which was embellished with four hundred pearls, each of which shone like the morning star. He clad my feet in a pair of slippers crafted from green emerald. Thereafter he took me by the hand and led me to the Haram.” “Jibreel then took me by the hand and led me to a place outside of Mecca. I saw there the other great archangels, Mikhail, Israfil and Israil, each surrounded by seventy thousand angels of their company. When they beheld me, they all stood to respectful attention and I gave them my greetings of peace. In answer to my greetings, they proclaimed the boundless graces of the Lord.”
Jibreel said to me, ‘Oh Prophet of Allah (Sal), I have brought you this Buraq from the Gardens of Paradise. Mount it now, for the Lord on High awaits your coming.’ I turned and saw the Buraq, which was as bright as the sun and as swift as a flash of lightning. As soon as he lifted his foot to take a step he had already reached as far as the eye could see. In addition, this Buraq had two wings by his side, which he used whenever he wished to fly through the air.”
To the Prophet’s (sal) question as to whether Mihraj (the ascension) was only for him, Jibril answered “It is for your Ummah also and there are Buraqs waiting for them also. Those who are following you may also join after you. If they do not follow you they shall always remain on earth and under the ground.” When all the Sahaba reached to their destinations through the heavens everyone else also reached to their heavenly stations. The Holy Prophet (Sal) then continued in his narrative, “I mounted upon the Buraq filled with joy. Jibreel and a following of seventy thousand angels were at my right stirrup, Mikha’il with seventy thousand angels was at my left stirrup, and every one of these angels held in his hand a candelabrum of light.
Behind me went Israfil with seventy thousand angels and on his shoulder he bore the saddle cloth of the Buraq. I begged his pardon for its great size and that he was made to carry it, since it nearly covered him entirely, but he answered me, ‘Oh Rasulullah (Sal), how many thousands of years have I been praying for the favour of being permitted to bear this weight of your Buraq’s covering! At last the All-Gracious Lord has heard my pleas and granted me this favour!’ ‘Why did you pray for this?’ I asked him. Israfil answered, ‘For how many thousands of years did I worship the Divine Throne! At last there came a voice addressing me, saying, ‘What is it that you long for? Your prayer has been accepted.’ I replied, ‘Oh my Lord, when his time on earth has come, I pray that I might be granted one hour in the service of the intercessor for his sinful nation, whose name the King of the Day of Judgement has deigned to write on the base of the Divine Throne beside His own Blessed Name.’
To this the Almighty Lord replied, ‘I grant you your prayer. There will come one night during his lifetime in which I will grant him the experience of My Nearness. I will bring him from his lowly station on earth up to the highest heaven. I will open for him the gates of My treasure houses with the Key of Witnessing. I will lead him from Mecca to the Bayt-ul-Maqdis (Jerusalem), and until he arrives there, you will have the honour of carrying the saddle cloth of his mount.” The Holy Prophet (Sal) then continued, “That night, the Buraq’s feet did not touch the ground. All the way from Mecca to Jerusalem were spread the fine, flowered silks from Paradise, on which the Buraq trod.
Masjid Al Aqsa in Jerusalam
The Holy Prophet (Sal) continues his narrative: “After this, we came to the Bayt-ul-Maqdis (Masjid al Aqsa). There I saw the angels descending down to earth. They came to meet me and give me the glad tidings of abundant blessings and boons that the Lord of Holiness and Grace was to send to me. “I then passed by them and came to the gates of the Masjid-al-Aqsa. I dismounted from the Buraq and Jibreel tied him to a ring there. This was the ring to which the prophets and messengers always tied their mounts. The prophets and messengers came to greet me there and gave me much honour.”
When the Prophet (sal) and Jibreel arrived at Masjidu l- Aqsa in Jerusalem he was welcomed by the 124,000 Prophets, who came since Adam (as). They addressed the Holy Prophet (Sal) and said, “Oh Habibullah (Sal), it is for you to enter the Masjid ahead of us,” and the Prophet Muhammed (Sal) answered, “You were sent before me as Prophets, you therefore have the right of precedence over me. Therefore, proceed into the sanctuary ahead of me.” Then the Almighty Lord Himself addressed the assembly, “Oh My Beloved, you have attained a special station in this world by appearing with your message of Truth after all those present had gone before; but you are the one who has precedence over everything else that was in the hidden world before the Creation, for all was created from your light. Therefore, it is your right to proceed ahead of them all; enter now!”
At this command, the Holy Prophet (Sal) together with the angel Jibreel entered and all the Prophets and Messengers followed them. Then Jibreel called the Iqama, and the Prophet Muhammed (Sal) Imamu l-Anbiya, Imamu l-Mursalin, our Master, as the Imam of all the Prophets, led the entire assembly of Prophets, Messengers and angels of the Muqarrabin in a prayer of two Rak’ats.
To continue in the words of the Holy Prophet (Sal): “After completing the prayer, I turned my back to the Mihrab and my face to the assembly of prophets, on all of whom be peace, and I spoke to them. Every single prophet engaged in praise of the special gifts the Highest Lord had graced him with, and I also joined in the praise of Allah who equipped me with such outstanding gifts.”
“Ibrahim praised the Lord and said, ‘Praise and glory to the Highest of the High who made me His intimate friend and gave me great possessions.”
“Musa praised Him Almighty and said, ‘Praise and glory be to Allah Almighty, the Highest of the High who spoke to me without intermediary, who caused Pharaoh and his henchmen to drown in the waters at my hand and who saved the Children of Israil. He made my nation a people guided to the Truth, judging by the Truth and striving for the good pleasure of Allah Almighty.”
“Next the Prophet Da’ud came forth and praised the Lord, saying, ‘Praise and Glory to the Divine Lord who made me king over such a great realm and who revealed to me the scripture of the Zabur. Who made iron to be as soft as beeswax in my hand, and who placed the birds and the mountains under my command, so that they all joined me in the praises of the Lord, who gave me knowledge of the law and the gift of sweet speech.”
“After him, his son Sulayman stepped forth and glorified the Lord thus: ‘Praise and Glory be to the Lord, the Mighty, the Enduring, who gave me power over the winds, and made the Jinn and the demons subservient to me, so that they did whatever I wished. He taught me the languages of the birds and the beasts and gave me greater excellence than many of His servants. He gave me such an incomparably vast kingdom, which no other mortal can ever hope to attain.”
“Then Isa stepped forth and glorified his Lord, saying, ‘Praise and Glory be to the Almighty Creator who, as He created Adam from clay, brought me into existence without the contribution of an earthly father. He created me solely through His Creative Word, ‘Be!’ He taught me the wisdom of the Torah and the Injil and the knowledge of the law. He granted healing to the sick, seeing to the blind through my supplication, and by means of me, He brought the dead back to life. He made me and my mother safe from the wiles of the accursed devil and he lifted me up into the heavens in my living, physical body.”
“After they had spoken, I said to them, ‘You have now all voiced your glorification of the Lord; it is now my turn to glorify Him,’ and I began by saying, ‘Praise and Glory be to the Lord, the Forgiving, he Merciful, the Abundant, Munificent, the Lord of Might and Honour who has sent me as a Mercy for the Worlds and as a Messenger of Joy to all humankind and as a Warner. He has sent a book to me that makes clear all things, and He has given my nation excellence over every previous nation. He has made my nation to be a people of the middle way. He split open my bosom and removed from it all sin. He has made my reputation to be blameless and He has given me victory over all created beings and made me the last and final of all prophets.”
“After I had completed my glorification, Ibrahim got up and said, ‘You have been made more meritorious than all the other Prophets with regard to your being victorious and being the last and final of the Prophets.”
The Holy Prophet (Sal) continues further in his narrative “I received an inspiration in my heart of hearts that it was now time to make supplication for my nation. I therefore raised my hands towards the heavens and began to plead for my weak and inadequate nation. I prayed for their salvation and safety, for grace and forgiveness, and for their release from hell. All the assembled Prophets and Messenger and angels concluded my supplication by saying, ‘Amin!” “At that very moment, I heard within me a voice which called to me, saying, ‘Oh My Beloved, you are seated in the Masjid-ul-Aqsa, it is the night of your Mihraj. You who are praying here are the Beloved of Allah and a much-honoured Prophet; those answering to your supplication are all Prophets and Messengers and angels of the Muqarrabin, and He to whom you direct you supplication, He is the Most Merciful of the Merciful, the Most Bounteous of the Bountiful. He is Allah who leads all to the Light of His Guidance, the Sublime Lord of all Might and Glory. Beyond doubt, He will grant acceptance to your prayer, He will forgive the sins of your nation and grant them freedom from punishment. By My Might and Glory, I proclaim that I shall grant them of My Mercy. I shall clothe them with the honour of beholding the Sight of My Divine Beauty.”
The Mihraj (Ascension) to the Heavens
The Prophet (sal)’s Narration continues: “After this, Jibreel took me by the hand and led me outside. No sooner had we stepped out than I beheld a flight of steps one end of which was placed upon the flat ground while the other end reached up and up and disappeared from view into the skies. One of its poles was made of red ruby while the other was of green emerald. The treads were of gold, silver and pearls, and each tread was made of a different precious stone. There were five hundred steps in all and each was embellished and embossed in a different and marvelous way. Never had I seen a thing of greater beauty.” “This stepladder was the angels’ stairway, which they used to descend from heaven down to the earth and to ascend up to the heavens again.
When, the Holy Prophet (Sal) stepped on a rock in the ground as he was attempting to affect his ascent. Under the pressure of the Holy Prophet’s (Sal) blessed foot, this rock softened and became as soft as wax. Up to this very day, the imprint of the Prophet’s (Sal) foot can be seen upon this stone. And when our Master (sas) made his ascend, the rock also rose under his feet. (Because of the Love it had for the Prophet (sal)). If he did not tell it to stop, it would have risen with him. Allah Almighty with His might was raising our Prophet - There was no need for something under his feet!
“At the foot of the steps, I beheld a great angel. Had this angel spread out both its hands, all the seven layers of the earths and the seven layers of the heavens would have disappeared in them. This angel greeted me and showed me courtesy. Then he spoke to me and said, ‘Oh Rasulullah , I was created twenty-five thousand years before Adam. Since that time I have been waiting to receive you here, all the while reciting Salawat and blessings upon you in loving expectation of your advent. The Almighty be praised, for tonight I have attained my goal.’
“After I left that angel behind, I came to a sea, which had a depth of two hundred years’ wayfaring. This sea remained suspended through the power of Allah Almighty and not one drop of its waters fell out from it. Whatever creatures there exist on land and in the waters, they all were present in that sea. It was also exceedingly stormy and full of waves.”
“After this we reached the home of the winds. The wind is bound tightly with seventy thousand strong chains and seventy thousand angels hold on to it firmly and keep it under control. “After this, we reached the earthly skies, which Allah Almighty has created from green emerald.”“It is created from water and steam.”
“Rasulullah rose up to the heavens using the rock in the Masjid-al- Aqsa as a stepping-stone. The distance from the earth to the Heaven is five hundred years’ wayfaring. Each Heaven has a depth of five hundred years’ traveling, and between two heavens there is a space of another five hundred years’ travel.
The Prophet (sal)’s Narration continues:
The First Heaven
“When I entered this heavenly realm, I encountered Isma’il in his impressive aspect, seated upon a throne of light. I then saluted him and he returned my greetings and honoured me. I beheld a number of angels created from wind and water. The angel appointed as their head and overseer was called Ra’ad (which means thunder). He is responsible for the clouds and the rains. “From this angel’s voice issued the sounds of thunder and lightning. In the heavenly sphere there remained not one empty space, angels were cramped even into the smallest corner, prostrating themselves and praising the Lord with manifold praises.” Then the Prophet (sal) saw a Person draped in wraps of light and seated upon a throne of light. “I then asked Jibreel who was this person and he told me,’This is your first forefather Adam, go towards him and extend to him your greetings.’ So I went to him and saluted him, and he replied to my salute, honouring me by saying, ‘Welcome to you, oh my righteous son. Oh righteous Prophet! Praise be to the Lord who has given me such a son as you.’ In this way he received me well, and I replied to his complimentary speech with these words: ‘Praise be to the Lord who has given to me such a father as thou art one.’ Then again, Adam spoke, glorified the Lord and said, ‘Glory to the Almighty who has blessed you with such great wonders; who has brought you forth from my loins; may Allah always increase the blessings He showers upon you and make you steadfast and permanently grounded in them.’ In reply to this supplication and well wishing, I said, ‘Praise be to Allah, the Lord of Might and Bounty! He who created you from clay through His Divine Powers and who had you carried up to the heavens on the shoulders of angels. Who has made you the Qibla and commanded all the angels to bow down before you and who has made Paradise accessible for your sake.’ To that Adam answered me as follows, ‘For all the bounteous gifts granted to me that you have mentioned, you are still more blessed than I. For all the miracles and gifts that I was granted were only given to me for the sake of your light upon my forehead, I was favoured with all these honours only for the sake of that radiant light.” The Prophets Narration continues: “Next I saw an angel who had the form of a cockerel. He was very large and his head touched up to the Divine Throne, while his feet were below the seven layers of the earth. “I then asked Jibreel, ‘What is this?’ and Jibreel answered me, ‘This is the reason he is called, ‘the Rooster of the Divine Throne’, for when it is night on earth, he descends to the worldly skies. After one third of the night has passed, he flaps his wings and says, ‘Oh you who would be worshippers, arise and pray!’ All of creation hears this call, all except mankind and Jinn. This same sequence is repeated every night, uptil the Day of Judgement.” “I then came to a sea, which was whiter than milk and as viscous as the semen of men. Within it, I beheld things so exceedingly strange and unknown so as to defy all description. Their numbers were unaccountably great and beyond reckoning. I asked Jibreel, ‘What sort of sea is this?’ and he answered me, ‘This is the Sea of Life. On the Day of Resurrection, after every created thing has died its death, the Almighty will want to raise them all from their graves in order to mete out reward or punishment.
The Second Heaven
“The Lord Almighty, praised be His Name, has created this heaven from red coral and called it Qaydum. This heaven appeared to me to be especially full of light and splendour, so much so that I was blinded and had to squint. The name of its gatekeeper is Mikha’il.“I entered and beheld the guardian angel of this heaven, Mikha’il. “After we passed on, I perceived two young men and I asked Jibreel who they were. Jibreel explained to me, ‘These young men are the Prophets Yahya and Isa. They are related to each other, being cousins.’ I saluted them and they received my Salams with reverence and greeted me, saying, ‘Welcome to you, oh righteous Prophet, our righteous brother!’ Then they gave me tidings of the many Gifts of Grace the Highest and Holiest Lord had in store for me.” “After we had passed them, I saw a very great angel who had seventy thousand heads, and on every head there were seventy thousand faces. Every face had seventy thousand mouths and in every mouth there were seventy thousand tongues. Each tongue spoke a different language, which bore no resemblance to the next. ‘Who is this?’ I asked Jibreel. Jibreel told me, ‘This is the angel who is charged with the distribution of provisions, and his name is Qasim. He distributes to every single one his daily provision; no one receives more or less than his apportioned lot.” “After passing by this angel, I beheld an even greater, even more wondrous angel who was seated upon a throne of light. He was silent and of morose aspect. “The angel seated upon the throne was covered with eyes from head to foot, which sparkled as Mars and Venus in the sky. before him there was a tablet. He gazed incessantly at that tablet and not once lifted his gaze from it. There was also before him a tree, and only Allah can know the number of its leaves. Upon each leaf was written the name of a certain person. Then there stood before him a type of vessel. At times he reached in it with his right hand and drew something out of it, handing it to the luminous and gentle angels to his right. At times he reached for something with his left hand and gave it to the pitch-black angels standing by his left side. I asked Jibreel, ‘Who is this?’ Jibreel replied, ‘This is the Angel of Death, his name is Israil. There is no one who can bear to look at him. It is he who ends all delights, and cuts off from all community.’ He then went up to him and said, ‘Oh Israil, this visitor here is the Prophet of the Last Times (Sal), he is the Beloved of Allah, the Lord of Mercy. Speak thou to him!’ Upon these words, Izrail lifted his head and he smiled. I also went up to him and proferred my Salams. He received my greetings and showed me great honour. I asked him, ‘What is this tablet you are looking at?’ and he said to me, ‘This is the Lauh-ul-Mahfuzh, the Preserved Tablet, on which is inscribed the doom of those who are to die within the year. The angels write them down and hand the list to me. That is the Tablet.’ ‘And what is this page?’ I asked. ‘On this page is written the exact hour of time when these souls are to be taken away.’ ‘And what is this tree?’ I asked. He said, ‘It is the tree of the lives of those living in the world. When a man is born, a leaf unfurls upon that tree upon which his name is written. When his time to die approaches, his leaf begins to yellow and wither and his name appears on the Tablet. I give this leaf to the angels, and they take it and mix it in his food so that he eats it. When he has eaten it, by the leave of Allah he falls ill, and when his time is up, his name is erased from the Tablet. I stretch out my hand and seize his soul, whether he be in the east or in the west of this world. If he is among the blessed, I hand him to the angels on my right, for they are the angels of Mercy. But if he is one of the sinners, I hand him to the angels to my left, for they are the angels of Wrath.” The Angel continued to say: Whenever I have to seize a person’s soul, I give my order to them and they go out and bring the person’s soul up into his throat. After that, I just stretch out my hand and grasp it from there.’ I said to him, ‘What I would wish for is that my nation, which is a weak nation, experience death in a mild and gentle manner.’ He replied, ‘By Allah, the Lord of Might and Majesty who has made you the Seal of the Prophets, He Almighty addresses me seventy times during one day and night, saying to me, ‘Take the souls of those belonging to Muhammed’s nation with lightness and ease, and judge their deeds kindly.’ Therefore, I am given to more compassion towards your nation than to any of those who went before them.” “After this, Jibreel called the Adhan and Iqama and I led the angels and all inhabitants of the second heaven in a prayer of two Rak’ats. Then I continued my ascent to the Third heaven
The Third Heaven
“The Lord Almighty created this heaven from copper and has named it Zaytun. The name of its guardian angel is Arina’il. Arina’il opened the gates, saying, ‘Welcome to you, how pleasing a guest!’ “I then passed on, and I saw Yusuf in all his great beauty. Of all existing beauty, Yusuf was given one half. I gave him my Salams and he returned them with dignity and bade me welcome. He informed me of many miracles to come and he prayed for me. “After we had passed him, I saw Da’ud and his son Sulayman. I greeted them both and they returned my Salams with respect. They gave me great good tidings and said, ‘Pray in this night that you might be given intercession for your nation and that the Lord grant them security.’ In this way they counselled me.” Afterwards, the Prophets narration continues: I beheld a door, which was made all of camphor wood. The name of this door is ‘Bab-ul-Aman’, the Door of Safety. Jibreel said, ‘Behind this door you will find Hell, is that really what you want to see?’ ‘Yes, indeed, I wish to see it,’ I said. Thereupon a Divine Command was heard, saying, ‘Oh My Beloved, upon a sign of your finger, this door will open.” “I then signalled with my hand and the door opened. I looked beyond it and this is what I saw: a great Minbar of iron, Upon it sat a great and terrible angel created from fire. Jibreel told me, ‘Be unafraid, for there is nothing there for you to fear. This is the Guardian of Jahannam, Hell, and his name is Malik. Allah Almighty has created him from His Wrath and since the day of his creation, he has never smiled yet. His fury increases with every passing moment. “Jibreel thus introduced me, and when he heard my name, this terrible angel rose to his feet and honoured me with many compliments and respectful greetings, after which he spoke, saying to me, ‘Oh Muhammed (Sal), good tidings to you! For the Lord has vouchsafed to you many miraculous doings; and He is pleased with you: He has forbidden your body to the fires of Hell. From love and respect for you, He has also forbidden the fires to touch those who follow you. He has ordered me to treat the disobedient from among your nation with mildness and restraint. I shall wreak my revenge on those who refuse to believe in you.” “I then said to Jibreel, ‘Ask him to show me Hell.’ When Jibreel told him of my request, he opened a hole the size of a needlepoint through which I could look into Hell. “I looked through the hole and I saw the seven layers of Hell stacked one upon another. “Then I said to the Guardian Angel of Hell, ‘Oh Malik, shut the Gates of Hell, for I have not the strength to regard any more of its sights.’ Malik then said, ‘Oh Rasulullah (Sal), you have witnessed the terrors of Hell with your own blessed eyes so that you might pass on what you have seen to your nation as a warning. And may it serve to increase their fear of Allah and keep them from rebellion and disobedience, and make them steadfast in their worship and submission to Allah. Jahannam has seven levels. What you have seen, is only its very first layer, and the punishments therein are light; they are as nothing compared to the deeper levels of hell.” The Holy Prophet (Sal) then began to weep from pity for his nation and for the terrors that lay in store for it, and as he wept, the great angels Jibreel and Mikha’il and all the Muqarrabin wept with him and joined in his appeal for mercy. At last there came a call from the Lord Almighty, saying, “Oh my Beloved, for the esteem you hold in the Divine Presence, your prayer is answered and your intercession is granted; so be easy, for on the Day of Judgement, I will give you a special station of intercession and I will spare as many sinners as you ask for, until you say: it is enough! For We have chosen your nation above all other nations, and I have made you their intercessor, so intercede for whomever you wish, I will accept your supplication.” “Then,” continued the Holy Prophet (Sal), “the Guardian of Hell closed the hole to Hell and Jibreel called the Adhan for prayer. I led the prayer as Imam and all the angels and inhabitants of the third heaven prayed two Rak’ats behind me. After this we proceeded to the Fourth Heaven
This heaven is created of raw silver, or, according to a different narration, from white pearl. The name of this Heaven is Zahir. The angel guarding the gate to this Heaven was the angel Salsa’il. After we had knocked on the gate, we were admitted and the gates were opened to us. I beheld the angel in charge, Salsa’il.
“Then I met the Prophets Idris and Nuh. I gave them Salams and they replied reverentially, saying, ‘Greetings to you, oh righteous brother, oh righteous Prophet of Allah (Sal)!’ and they gave me glad tidings of many good things to come. “Thereafter, I saw Maryam, the mother of ‘Isa, and the mother of Musa, Buhayyid, and the wife of Fir’ awn, Asiya – may Allah be well pleased with them. They all came to greet me. Maryam, the mother of ‘Isa, had seventy thousand mansions, all made of white pearls. The mother of Musa had seventy thousand mansions all made of green emeralds. Finally, Asiya had seventy thousand mansions made of red corals.”
“Thereafter, Jibreel intoned the Adhan and Iqama, and I led all the angels and inhabitants of the fourth heaven in a prayer of two Rak’ats. Then we proceeded to ascend to the Fifth Heaven
“Allah Almighty created this heaven from red gold and its name is Safiya. The keeper of the gate is called Kalqa’il. Upon entering, I beheld the guardian of this heaven seated upon a throne of light. I greeted him, and he returned my Salams with much respectfulness.
“We passed on and met the Prophets Isma’il, Ishaq, Ya’qub, Lut and Harun. I gave them my greetings and they replied, ‘Welcome to you, oh righteous son, our upright brother and truthful Prophet!’ They greeted me with full honours and and gave good tidings of great good things to be.”
“We passed on and Jibreel called the Adhan and the Iqama, and I led all the inhabitants and angels of the fifth heaven in a prayer of two Rak’ats. After this we ascended to the Sixth Heaven
“Allah Almighty has created this heaven from a yellow gem and has called it Khalisa. Its guardian is Samkha’il. As we entered, I beheld the angel Samkha’il.
“Then we passed on until we came upon a group of angels who are called the Cherubim (Karubiyun). Only Allah knows their number. Their chief is a great angel who is given seventy thousand angels in attendance. Each of these helpers had another seventy thousand angels to serve him. With loud voices, they are continuously chanting Tasbih and Tahlil. Passing by them, I met my brother, the Prophet Musa. I greeted him and he rose in response and kissed me between the eyes. Then he spoke and said, ‘Praise be to Allah who has sent you and shown you to me. The Lord has given me tidings of the great miracles about to be performed. Tonight, you are to be honoured by meeting and conversing with the Lord of the Universe. However, do not forget your weak nation. Whatever bliss you are granted, ask also of it for your nation. Should anything be made obligatory on them, ask for it to be reduced to a minimum.” “As we took leave of Musa, he began to weep. I asked him why he wept, and he said, ‘I weep because a Prophet has appeared after me who will lead many more people of his nation into paradise than I will lead of mine.”
“Passing on, we reached the angel Mikha’il who was seated upon a tremendous throne. In front of him was a great set of scales. Each scale of the balance was so great that it might have contained all the heavens and earths. A great many scrolls of paper were stacked in front of him. I went up to him and gave him my Salams. He received my greetings and rose to greet me in return. Then he made this supplication on my behalf: ‘May Allah increase your powers of sanctity and your bliss,’ to which I replied, ‘Amin!’ He then gave me these joyous tidings, ‘No nation has ever before received such goodness and munificence as the blessings with which your nation will be favoured. Therefore their scales weigh heavier than those of all other nations. Happy is the man who follows you with love, and woe upon the man who turns against you and rebels.”
The Seventh Heaven
This Heaven Allah Almighty has created from Light. Its name is Ghariba and the name of its guardian angel is Afra’il. “I greeted Afra’il and he received my greetings with pleasure. He gave me glad tidings of many spiritual gifts of grace and much reward for accepted good works.”
There I beheld an angel whose head was at a level with the Throne, while his feet were placed firmly on the earth. He was so great that he might have swallowed up all the seven layers of heaven with one gulp, had Allah Almighty permitted him to do so. The Tasbih (Glorification) of this tremendous angel was this: Glory be to Him who is veiled by His Majesty, Glory be to Him who forms in the womb Whatever He wills.
“Then I saw an angel with seven hundred thousand heads, and each of these heads bore seven hundred thousand faces. On every single face there were seven hundred thousand mouths, and in every single mouth there were seven hundred thousand tongues and with each tongue he speaks seven hundred thousand different languages. This angel also has seven hundred thousand wings. Every day, this angel plunges seven hundred times into the Ocean of Light, which is in Paradise, and each time he comes up out of the water, he shakes himself. From every drop of light that flies off him, the Almighty creates an angel, which glorifies the Lord
“After passing by this one, I beheld another angel, seated upon a throne. His head was beneath the Divine Throne, and his feet reached to the bottom of the earth. He was so great, that he could have swallowed up the world and what is within it in a single gulp. I went up to him and gave him Salams and he received them well and gave me great good tidings.
“After this, I came upon a person all drowned in Light. He was seated upon a throne in an attitude of awesome dignity. I asked Jibreel who was this person of such light, majesty and awe, and who were all the children with him. The angel answered me, ‘This is your great grandfather Ibrahim. He loves you and the entire nation that believes in you. He once prayed to the Lord of the Worlds that he might be of service to your nation, and the Lord heard his supplication. He gave him all these little children who are the little boys and girls from your nation who die before reaching adulthood. Allah Almighty has entrusted Ibrahim with their upbringing and education. Until the Day of Judgement, he will be instructing them in proper behavior and training their minds in the useful sciences.
“Thereafter, Jibreel turned to me and said, ‘Go ahead and give Salams to Ibrahim.’ I stepped forth and greeted him, whereupon he honoured me and received me well. Then he spoke to me, saying, ‘Welcome to you, oh virtuous son and righteous Prophet! Tonight you are to be honoured in that you will witness the splendor of the Lord of the Universe, and you will be admitted to behold all manner of sacred displays. As for your nation, it is the last of all nations and it will be a very weak nation, so do not neglect to intercede with your Lord on their behalf.” “And he continued, ‘Oh Muhammed (Sal)! Give Salams to your nation from me and convey to them my advice: the World (dunya) is of a passing nature and rapid in its decline. In the eyes of the Eternal Lord it is but base and contemptible matter. He attributes to it not even the value of a fly’s wing. Tell them not to waste their lives in the pursuit of its vain beauties, its pomp and palaces; not to be deceived by its many and varied tastes, by promises of grandeur and large followings. For it is the world to come, which is lasting, and eternal.
“Then Jibreel called the Adhan to prayer and made Iqama; I then led the angels and the inhabitants of the seventh heaven in a prayer of two Rak’ats, then we ascended to The Bayt-ul-Ma’mur (The Heavenly House).
About the Bayt-ul-Ma’mur the Prophet (sal) said “This is a highly revered building in the seventh heaven. It is of the same size as the revered Ka’aba, which stands upon the earth and it is situated right above it. Were it to be let down from the Heavens, it would land right on top of the Ka’aba. Allah has created it from red ruby stone and given it two doors made from green emerald. Ten thousand lamps of pure gold illuminate it and it has a minaret of pure silver, which has a height of five hundred years’ travelling. At the door of this building there is a Minbar (a pulpit), and every day since their creation up until the Last Day, seventy thousand angels come here to visit this house. In front of it there is a sea of light in which they first bathe, then take thereof a veil of light each and wrap it around themselves. This is their Ihram (ceremonial clothing of the pilgrimage). Then they begin to circumambulate the Heavenly House in Ihram, calling out ‘Labbayk’ (‘At Your service!’), as the pilgrims do on earth. Having once completed their Tawaf (circumambulation), these angels do not return a second time until the Day of Judgement, and it is only the angels of the seventh heaven who go there at all. Jibreel then took me by the hand and we went inside. He said to me, ‘Oh Rasulullah (Sal), do lead us here in prayer too!’ Then he called the Adhan, and all the inhabitants of the seven heavens now followed as I led them in a prayer of two Rak’ats. When I beheld the immense multitude, it came to my mind, ‘Oh if only my nation were granted such a communal prayer.’ Thereupon, the Lord who knows all hidden thoughts realized my secret wish in that He commanded, ‘Oh Muhammed (Sal)! Your nation will be granted such a communal prayer: it will be on a Friday, and it will be obligatory.
Ibn ‘Abbas relates: “It is called ‘Sidrat-ul-Muntaha’ a large lote tree which marks the utmost boundary beyond which no created thing can pass. Ibn ‘Abbas tells us: “It is a tree which is made all of gold. Some of its boughs are made of emerald, some are of ruby. The tree measures a distance of one hundred and fifty years from its foot to its top. Its leaves resemble the ears of the elephant, and they are very great: a single one of them would cover the entire world. Its fruits are shaped like water jugs. The whole tree is engulfed by light.”
The Holy Prophet (Sal) continues: “Upon this tree I saw such a number of angels that only Allah Almighty can know. They enfolded all the leaves of that tree and glittered like locusts, flashing like stars.” It is related that there were as many angels upon the leaves of that tree as there are stars in the sky and grains of sand in the earth. Some angels took the form of golden butterflies. All of them came to greet the Prophet of Allah (Sal), and when they beheld his saintly beauty, they all gave thanks to the Lord and gave to him the assurance of Allah’s Mercy. They also made over all the merit of their devotional actions to the nation of Muhammed (Sal).
The Angel Jibreel’s Appearance “Here, too, I beheld the angel Jibreel in his very own shape and form. He had six hundred wings, which were made of various kinds of jewels and pearls. Whenever he would open up a pair of these wings. They filled all the space between east and west. The wings were embellished by all sorts of precious stones. It would have taken a swift-flying bird five hundred, or according to other sources, seven hundred years to measure the distance from one shoulder to the other.”
Jibreel, too, had his place upon the branches of this tree, and his was a branch made of green emerald. It was at a height of one hundred thousand years of journeying. There is a leaf there, the breadth of which is that of the seven layers of the heavens and the seven beds of the earth. Upon it there is a carpet spread of light, and on it there is a Mihrab made of red ruby. This Mihrab is the place of the Angel Jibreel. Before it was placed a seat of honour reserved for the Holy Prophet (Sal) upon which no one had sat since the day it was set in place. “Jibreel then led me along and sat me upon that seat of honour. and said to me, ‘Oh Rasulullah (Sal), I have a request to make of you: that you would deign to pray two Rak’ats here, so that my Maqam might gain blessings from it.” “I therefore prayed a prayer of two Rak’ats there and all the angels of the Holy House and the Sidrat-ul-Muntaha followed suit.”
“Below this tree there flowed four streams, two of which were evident and two of which were hidden. Jibreel told me, ‘The two hidden streams flow into the gardens of paradise, while the two visible ones flow down to the Earth. One of them is the Euphrates, the other is the Nile.’ Then I beheld another stream, by the banks of which tents had been set up that were of ruby, pearls and chrysolite. By their banks flew birds of emerald green whose necks resembled the necks of camels. Jibreel then said to me, ‘What you see here is the spring of Kawthar. Allah Almighty has made you a gift of it.” “This stream flowed along over pebbles of rubies and emerald and its waters were whiter than milk. I took up a cup and drank from it. Its taste was sweeter than honey, and its scent more pleasing than musk.
A spring gushed forth beneath that tree. Jibreel told me its name: Salsabil. It was the source of two waters, one is Kawthar (Abundance), the other is Rahma (Mercy). Both streams flow before the gates of the Garden. Those entering into Paradise drink from the waters of Kawthar, and when they do so, all the calamities of the heart, base character and bad habits disappear and they become cleansed. Then they bathe in the spring of Rahma (Mercy). The men assume the dimensions of Adam, who measured sixty yards in height and seven yards in breadth. They will all be thirty-three years of age and will have green moustaches. As for the ladies, they will emerge as virgin girls of eighteen and their virginity will not be rent. Thus they will enter into Paradise, and never again will they age and become old. The spring of Salsabil is the source of these waters.”
“Then I saw groups of angels passing in rows before the Sidra, and their rows were joined together. They formed such long formations, that were a bird of swiftest flight to fly along it for a hundred years, he would not reach its other end. They moved faster than the wind, as swiftly as the arrow flies. I then asked Jibreel, ‘Whence comes this great multitude of angels, and whither are they going? And when did they begin their passage?’ Jibreel explained to me, saying, ‘They have been passing by since the time they were created, ceaselessly in passage. I know not whence they come nor whither they are going.’ I marveled at their great number, remarking on it under my breath. Instantly this verse was revealed to me through Jibreel:....and none knows the hosts of thy Lord but He. (Shrouded, 34)”
The Prophets Narration continues: “I saw an angel at the Sidra greater than all the other angels I had seen. He measured a thousand times thousand years wayfaring distance. This angel had seventy thousand heads. Every head had seventy thousand faces. On every face there were seventy thousand mouths. And each head was covered with seventy thousand cloths. Each one of these coverings was embellished with one thousand times thousand pearls. “This angel engaged in exaltation of the Lord, placing one hand upon his head and one hand behind his back. The beauty of his voice was such that it caused a commotion at the Divine Throne itself. I asked Jibreel to tell me who that angel was and he said, ‘The Lord Almighty created this angel two thousand years before He created Adam.’ I then asked where he had been all this time and where was his place of dwelling. Jibreel replied, ‘In Paradise there is a place to the right of the Divine Throne, that is the abode of this angel. From there he was brought here.”
“I then beheld another angel who had the shape and form of a rooster and was created from white pearls. This angel had seventy thousand wings to his left and seventy thousand wings to his right. On each wing there were seventy thousand feathers made of pearls, and seventy thousand feathers made of rubies, and seventy thousand feathers of red gold, and seventy thousand feathers of silver, and seventy thousand feathers of pure musk, and seventy thousand feathers made of camphor, and seventy thousand feathers of ambergris, and seventy thousand feathers made of saffron. He would flap his wings together, and as he did this, wondrous sounds issue forth from this flapping. When these tones reach the Paradise Gardens, the boughs of the trees of Paradise would bend and sway against each other, and it would carry on to the ruby and garnet domes of Paradise which resound with melodious echo. These tones rouse the Huris and Ghilman of Paradise.
Thereafter, the Holy Prophet (sal) continued to ascend to the Divine Throne (Arsh)
The Divine Throne (Arsh)
The Holy Prophet (Sal) continues his account: “After passing through all the veils, I reached to the Divine Throne. Allah has created it of green emeralds and it has four legs of red ruby. On that day, there will be two angels holding each foot of the Throne, eight angels in all. The size of these angels is such that the distance between the heel and the ankles of each is that of five hundred years’ wayfaring, and from their earlobe to their neck is another five hundred years’ traveling distance. The Throne-bearing angels never once raise their heads to gaze upwards, for the dazzling gleam of the light of the Throne. “Compared to the greatness of the Divine Throne, the entire Divine Court (Kursi), the seven heavens and the seven layers of the earth are as a single lamp suspended beneath the sky. All around it are seventy thousand rows of angels circumambulating it at all times, reciting Takbir (‘Allahu Akkbar’) and Tahlil (‘La ilaha illallah’). Behind them are again seventy thousand rows of angels standing upright and reciting Takbir and Tahlil. Behind them are one hundred thousand rows of angels who hold their right hands clasped over their left hands and each one of them recites a different Tasbih. Seventy thousand veils separate these angels from the Divine Throne.” “The Declaration of Unity (Kalimat-ut Tawhid) is written on the base that supports the Divine Throne, and upon the legs of the Throne itself.
The reason for the Holy Prophet’s (Sal) proceeding to the Divine Throne was not to see the Lord Almighty, for the Almighty God isexempt from any particular place. The Holy Prophet (Sal) was taken to these stations in order to witness the entirety of creation, and to see the manifestation of the Divine Lord’s Supreme Majesty and Power, as He says in these verses of the Holy Qur’an: Indeed, he saw one of the greatest signs of his Lord. (The Star,15)
The Holy Prophet (Sal) continues his account: “When I reached to the Divine Throne, I wished to remove my sandals, but the Throne spoke to me and said, ‘Oh Beloved of Allah (Sal), step upon me with your blessed sandal, so that I might rub the dust from it on my face, and take pride in the fact that the dust from the sandal of the Beloved of Allah (Sal) has fallen upon me.” “Again I tried to remove my sandals, but this time a call came to me from the Divine Person, saying, ‘Oh My Beloved, do not remove your sandals so that My Throne might be honoured and blessed with the dust from the soles of your sandals.’
In the Journey towards his Divine Presence, the Prophet (sal) was shown countless number of self-disclosures of God throughout his creation. Narrations describe that He saw what no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor human mind ever imagined. Muhammad (sal) was shown every beauty on the Night Journey, but his eyes never looked at anything but His Lord. This showed his real personality. Rivers run to the oceans. When they reach the ocean they stop running. It is their target to reach the ocean. When a drop of rain reaches the ocean, can you find it? It will be the ocean!