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The Night Journey And Ascension

April 13, 2018

DISCLAIMER: This reminder was originally delivered in Arabic on this Friday. Any meanings lost in translation are not to be attributed to the speaker as reminders are translated by volunteers. The mosque has no official translator and volunteers often have no formal qualifications to translate on the day. Please forgive any errors as they are from our human weakness and any right guidance is from God.

Dear brothers and sisters

The life of our beloved messenger (saw) is full of different events and occurrences, some of which were miracles that Allah (swt) had honoured him with (saw) . These were given to him to strengthen sign of his truthfulness and the message that he was calling to. One of these miracles that the messenger (saw) was honoured with was , Al-Isra wal-miraj – The night journey and ascension.

The night journey , was a journey on this earth between the two sacred mosques. The masjid al haram in Makkah, and masjid al-aqsa in Jerusalem, which Allah (swt) connected with this blessed journey of our messenger (saw). As for the ascension, this was a journey that began on earth and continued on into the heavens, to a point that only Allah (swt) knows. The Messenger (saw) went to a level that no human being had been before.

Allah (swt) sad in Surah Al-Isra:

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 Al-Isra, 17:1]

The word that this verse begins with in Arabic, Subhaana ,  is a word indicating perfection and wisdom. When mentioned in the Quran it is always followed by mention of a miracle where the mind is amazed at Allah’s ability to act and create. This word ‘Subhaana’ is only mentioned in the Quran when something amazing is being mentioned.

The Quran is telling us news about an event that occurred, that no true believer can deny or question or doubt. That Allah (swt) took his slave, the messenger (saw) on a journey that breaks all laws of this universe, that everything since Allah has created this world has abided by.

This journey was an invitation from the heavens for our messenger (saw) to come, as an honoured guest, so that he could see and witness the signs of Allah in the heavens. So he could see and witness that which no human being before him had seen or witnessed.

Allah (swt) says in Surah An-Najm:

“ The heart did not lie [about] what it saw. So will you dispute with him over what he saw? And he certainly saw him in another descent. At the Lote Tree of the Utmost Boundary - Near it is the Garden of Refuge - When there covered the Lote Tree that which covered [it]. The sight [of the Prophet] did not swerve, nor did it transgress [its limit]. He certainly saw of the greatest signs of his Lord.” [ An-Najm, 53:11-18]

This night journey and ascension was a form of support given to our messenger (saw) by Allah (swt) , in order to support and strengthen him , and so that he would hold him to that which had been revealed to him, and to that which he was calling people towards. So that he would be certain that he was upon the truth and have full conviction that Allah would support him and grant him victory in spreading the message of Islam. As Allah (swt) says :

Indeed, We will support Our messengers and those who believe during the life of this world and on the Day when the witnesses will stand - The Day their excuse will not benefit the wrongdoers, and they will have the curse, and they will have the worst home.” [ Ghafir, 51:40]

Dear brothers and sisters

In our creed, the night journey and ascension was a real event that took place and not a dream. The Messenger (saw) went from Masjid Al-Haraam in Makkah to Masjid Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem in Palestine, and from there to the heavens. He made this journey with his soul and his physical body, and it was not in a dream while he was sleeping. This was a true miracle and sign from Allah (swt). If the messenger (saw) made this journey with his soul only while his body remained in its place, then this is not a miracle, and this is not something anyone can deny or object to, as a person can travel the whole world in his own mind simply by imagining it and body can object or deny that. And if it was simply a dream that he (saw)saw while sleeping, then this is no miracle. So this night journey and ascension into the heavens by the messenger (saw) was with his body and soul , while he was fully awake and aware.

This event was a test on belief for those who had believed in the messenger (saw) , to see who would believe and have certainty in what the messenger (saw) claimed. And these were those who passed this test with their strong belief and conviction in the truthfulness of the messenger (saw), like Abu Bakr, when it was said to him:

“ You companion is claiming that the journeyed last night to Jerusalem. Abu Bakr asked : “ Did he really say that ? “ They replied “ Yes”, so Abu Bakr said “ If he said that , then he is telling the truth.” They asked “ Do you believe him that he went in one night to Jerusalem and returned before the morning?” Abu Bakr replied , “ Yes I believe him in about things which are greater than that. I believe that he receives revelation from the heavens in the mornings and afternoons. “   For this reason Abu Bakr was named As-Siddiq – The one who believes.

We also believe him (saw) about things which are greater than this event. Believing in the messengers is a branch of believing in Allah. Once we have believed in Allah (swt) and his power and wisdom and how he created the heavens and the earth and everything within them, then it is not difficult or strange to believe in his messengers.

We have believed in the messenger (saw) and believe in the existence of a powerful mighty creator that created everything. We have believed in angels and the books and the day of judgement and in heaven and hellfire and resurrection and questioning. Then should we not believe that Allah is able to take his slave in one night from Masjid Al-Haraam to Masjid Al-aqsa and then into the heavens?

It is narrated in a hadith that the messenger (saw) asked his companions:

Which creation has the most impressive belief? “ They replied, “ The angels”. The Messenger (saw) “ How can the angels not believe ( and they are with their Lord ). “ So they said , “ The prophets. “ He (saw) said , “ The prophets receive revelation, so how could they not believe? “ So they said , “ The companions.” He (saw) said , “ The companions are with the prophets, so how could they not believe? However the most impressive belief is those people who will come after you that will find a book of revelation and they will believe it and follow it. They are the most impressive people/ or creation in belief. “ [ Al-Albani in Silsilah As-saheeh]

So believing in Isra wal-miraaj, the night journey and ascension is believing in the power of Allah and that he is able to do all things. He (swt) can create what he wants and does as he wants. That is the belief and creed of a Muslim with regards to Allah and what the messenger (saw) brought from Allah.

We ask Allah (swt) to make us strong in belief. Ameen.