Question: When and how did Miraj happen?
Answer: The miracle of Miraj happened on the 27th night of month of Rajab, half and a year before migration when RasulAllah (the Apostle of Allah) was in Mecca. That night Gabriel (pbuh) took the Apostle of Allah with a Heavenly mount named Buraq and brought him first to Jerusalem (Al-Quds), to Masjid al-Aqsa. This part of the journey is called Isra meaning nocturnal walking. After he performed prayer as an imam to the souls of all the Prophets (peace be upon them all) here, he was ascended to the heaven, passed through the seven layers of heavens, saw the Hell and the Paradise and the Sidrat al-Muntaha, and then left behind all the universe passing through the Arsh A’la (the Sublime Throne) and met with Allah without any barriers in a place called Qa’b Qawsayn (the distance of two arches) and saw his infinite beauty (Jamal) and heard his word and was honoured to have a conversation with him. He returned back from this long journey all of a sudden.
Question: Is the miracle of Miraj told explicitly in Qur’an?
Answer: The Surah al-Isra begins with a verse telling the first part of the Miraj journey that is the one which is till the Jerusalem in this way: “Glory be to Him Who made His servant to go on a night from the Sacred Mosque to the remote mosque of which We have blessed the precincts, so that We may show to him some of Our signs” 2 Because of this quite obvious expression in the verse, Muslim scholars have said that if someone denies the Isra, that is the Prophet went to Masjid al-Aqsa overnight, becomes an infidel (qafir). This is because this denial means rejection of the Qur’an.
When it comes to ascent to Miraj, it is told in the Qur’an, Surah al-Najm with those verses: “that [which he conveys to you] is but [a divine] inspiration with which he is being inspired. something that a very mighty one has imparted to him: [an angel] endowed with surpassing power, who in time manifested himself in his true shape and nature, appearing in the horizon’s loftiest part, and then drew near, and came close, until he was but two bow-lengths away, or even nearer. And thus did [God] reveal unto His servant whatever He deemed right to reveal. The [servant’s] heart did not give the lie to what he saw:”
Since the name of our Prophet (pbuh) is not clearly uttered and the matter is obscure to an extent in those verses, Muslim scholars have said the ones who deny the miracle of Miraj are not infidel (kafir) but they become ahl al-bid’a (Muslims who follow other than the doctrines and practices of Ahl al-Sunnah).
Question: How can we prove the miracle of Miraj in the face of a non-believer?
Answer: The miracle of Miraj can’t be proven on its own to non-believers, who do not recognize the basic tenets of faith. This is because the miracle of Miraj can’t be told to ones who do not know Allah and the Prophets and do not recognize the angels or deny the existence of the heavens. First the pillars of faith should be proven and then the miracle of Miraj should be built on these pillars. Ustad Bediuzzaman, following this method in Miraj treatise, has proven the miracle of Miraj which is difficult to conceive in such a decisive manner that even a non-believer can accept.4
Question: What is the reality of Miraj? What should we understand mentioning the Miraj concept?
Answer: Miraj is a spiritual journey in which our beloved Prophet (pbuh) ascended through spiritual modes and maturity (kamalat) manners. That is, it is not an ordinary journey but a spiritual progression and ascension. Almighty Allah (SWT) has shown to his messenger whom he sent as a mercy to the all realms, the centres of His sovereignty in the seven heavens and Asma al-Husna (His Most Beautiful Names) which were manifested there. All those manifestations that he witnessed boosted all the potential in his blessed soul and he was exposed to all those Names reflected on the universe to a degree. So, to be the recipient of manifestations of Most Beautiful Names of Allah at utmost level is the mystery of Miraj al-Ahmad (Miraj journey of Prophet Ahmad (pbuh))
He progressed spiritually and gained an ability to meet and speak to Allah without any barrier and he became the recipient of the limitless beauty and the address of Allah, who is the Lord of Realms, in Qa’b Qawsayn (two bows far) leaving the entire universe behind.
Our beloved Prophet (pbuh) got to know Allah, who is the sultan of the universe, in the highest level and understood the divine purposes for which He created that universe. Thus, he returned back having been equipped perfectly with all information and knowledge needed for the prophethood task which pertains to the entire universe.
Question: According to the Ahl al-Sunnah school of Islamic belief, Allah is free from being in a place and direction. Regarding Miraj journey, does it not sound as if Allah had stayed in a specific place and direction?
Answer: No, it does not. Allah Almighty is free from place, directions and being similar to His creatures. As stated in the Qur’an, Allah is closer to man than his neck-vein.7 Yet, as it is stated in hadith there are seventy thousands curtains between Allah and his worshippers. That is, although Allah is closer, the worshippers are barred with curtains. So Miraj is a journey that was held not because Allah was there but because the Prophet ought to transcend those seventy curtains and gain the ability to meet with Allah. People of the paradise will see Allah’s limitless beauty and become the interlocutors to His address when the curtains are lifted. However, pointed out by the hadith: “the roof of the paradise is the Arsh”, the paradise is under the Arsh (the throne).8 The Muslim scholars have declared that this meeting in the Paradise will happen without place and direction. In short, Allah Almighty is neither in a place beyond the Arsh nor in the Paradise. He is closer to everything than everything is close to itself and free from the place in a way that we cannot conceive and comprehend.
Question: Did the beloved messenger (pbuh) see Allah in the night of Miraj?
Answer: It is an absolute and doubtless truth that the beloved Messenger (pbuh) saw Allah Almighty that night. Even if some of the earlier Muslim scholars have said the contrary, the scholars of later eras such as Imam Ash’ari, Abd al-Qadir Jilani, Imam Rabbani, Taftazaani, Mawlana Khalid Baghdadi, Imam Nawawi, who are the seniors of the Ahl al-Sunnah, are unanimous that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) saw Allah (SWT). Nawawi said the following: “According to most of the scholars, the Prophet (pbuh) saw his Lord.
Ustad Bediuzzaman has explained the reality that the beloved Messenger (pbuh) saw Allah the Almighty that night of Miraj with those words in the Miraj Treatise: “He was honoured with Divine converse and favoured with the vision of Divine beauty, received his decree, and returned to his duty. It was possible it could happen, and it did happen.”
Question: Even though Allah the Almighty is closer than everything, why did Prophet Muhammad take such a long distant journey?
Answer: Ustad Bediuzzaman responds this question in this way:
“Allah the Almighty is closer to everything than any other thing. But everything is infinitely distant from Him. For example, if the sun possessed consciousness and the power of speech, it would be able to converse with you by means of a mirror held in your hand. It would have power of disposal over you as it wished. Rather, although it would be closer to you than the pupil of your eye, which is like a mirror, you would be approximately four thousand years’ remote from it and could in no way draw closer to it. If you progressed and rose to the position of the moon and came to the point of being face to face with it, you would still only be able to be a sort of mirror to it.
In the same way, although the All-Glorious One, Who is the Sun of Pre-Eternity and Post-Eternity, is closer to everything than anything else, everything is infinitely distant from Him. (…) For example, a private is far beneath the rank of the commander-in-chief. He looks to his commander through the small sample of his commander’s rank he sees in his corporal at a great distance and beyond many veils, as it were. To attain the true proximity to his rank through his corporate personality the private has to pass through many universal degrees or ranks, like that of lieutenant, captain, and major. Whereas the commander-in-chief can be present with the private, and seeing, in person as well as in meaning, through his commands, regulations, view, decree, and knowledge.
Besides, this following verse points that the earth and the ones in it do not have the capability to bear to the manifestation of Allah without curtains: “And when Musa came at Our appointed time and his Lord spoke to him, he said: My Lord! Show me (Thyself), so that I may look upon Thee. He said: You cannot (bear to) see Me but look at the mountain, if it remains firm in its place, then will you see Me; but when his Lord manifested His glory to the mountain He made it crumble and Musa fell down in a swoon”. Commenting on this verse, Elmalılı Hamdi Yazır (an interpreter of the Qur’an) says: “It can be concluded that Prophet Musa could not bear and fainted because of being exposed to an direct manifestation of Allah which happened through a mountain. If there had been a complete and absolute manifestation (if Allah’s personality could be seen) the entire world and perhaps all the universe would have been annihilated.”
In short, we can say that the beloved Prophet (pbuh) was ascended to the Miraj to attain a post which would enable him to meet Allah (SWT) without barrier and to be shown the realms which were related to his prophethood task.
Question: How can a man travel such a long distance with his body?
Answer: Allah makes the world travel more than a hundred thousand kilometres distance and governs the universe from atom to the stars with his limitless power. So, if He wishes he can elevate one of His beloved worshippers to His magnificent throne with his body and with a lightning speed. Allah lands Gabriel (pbuh) and angels to the earth from the Arsh in Laylat al-Qadr (the holy night of Qadr) and turns them back, so He is not incapable of fulfilling that Miraj journey. Regarding the speed in Miraj, the beloved Prophet (pbuh) said that the mount named Buraq took a step to the farthest distance one’s eyes can see.
Question: Why did the beloved Prophet (pbuh) ascend with his body instead of doing it spiritually as awliya (saints) do?
Answer: The human body is a vehicle for the human spirit to fulfil its many tasks. If the Prophet (pbuh) would ascend to Miraj in order to see, hear and witness the perfect signs and works of Allah’s sovereignty in the heavens, the best and impeccable way of reaching this goal is to bring the body, eyes and ears as well as the spirit. The divine wisdom makes the body accompany the spirit in the paradise because the spirit works best and fulfils its meaning when it is together with the body. Based on the same reason, Prophet’s ascending to the Miraj with his body is the perfect way of Miraj.
Question: What is the true reason for Miraj? Why did Allah (SWT) demand it to happen?
Answer: There are countless benefits and outcomes of Miraj. The five most important of them are mentioned below:
1-The most sublime of human beings, on behalf of them, has seen the pillars of the faith such as faith in Allah, angels, the paradise and the hell which we believe them to be true without ever seeing them.
2-He has brought the tenets Islam, especially five times prayer, as a gift to human beings and jinns.
3-He has witnessed in person the promised eternal bliss of the Hereafter and has told the glad tidings to human beings and jinns that the eternal bliss does really exist.
4-As he was granted to see the beauty of Allah, he heralded man and jinn that it is also possible for the each and every believer to see His beauty.
5-It has been understood with Miraj that the man is the invaluable fruit of the universe tree and the beloved worshipper of Allah (SWT).
May our sublime Lord grant us spiritual Mirajs which will make us reach Him for the sake of his Prophet who has experienced the Miraj. Amin.