The Journey of Meraj

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Lailatul Me’raj is the night in which Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) ascended to the heavens and beyond to meet his Rabb. It is a miracle that was not granted to anyone else before nor will it be granted to anyone in the future. Below is a brief description of the events surrounding and including the Me’raj Shareef.

Allah Ta’ala states in the Holy Qur’an: “Holy is He Who carried His bondsman by night from the Sacred Mosque to the Aqsa Mosque around which We have put blessings that We may show him Our grand signs. No doubt, He is the All-Hearing and the All-Seeing.” [Surah 17, Verse 1]

In this verse the Physical Me’raj of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) is discussed, which took place in the 11th year of Prophethood, during the latter part of the 27th night of Rajab in a total state of wakefulness. Many Me’raj in the form of dreams had taken place before and after this great event. If this verse referred to a dream it would not have commenced with, “Holy is He Who carried His bondsman” because this is an expression used to describe an incredibly unique incident. Allah Ta’ala invited His Beloved Messenger (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) to the heavens and the Throne of Almighty Allah to show him those symbols and signs about which all the previous Prophets had just heard e.g. seeing Almighty Allah with the physical eyes, the Throne of Allah Ta’ala, the Divine Chair, the Divine Tablet and Pen, Paradise, Hell etc. so that the testimony of the other Prophets regarding these would be based on what is heard and that of our Beloved Rasool (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) on what is seen. [Tafseer Noorul Irfaan]

Prior to the Me’raj, the inhabitants of Makkah would not have Imaan. They had been persecuting the Muslims very much. They had gone too far and had already begun torturing the Muslims. It was one year before the migration to Madina Shareef and Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) was 52 years old. Taking Hazrat Zayd bin Haarisa (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) he went to Ta’if. He preached the inhabitants of Ta’if for one month, but none would have Imaan. They mocked him and tortured him, and the children pelted stones at him, eventually making his blessed body bleed. The few months that he spent in Makkah were very troublesome. He eventually went to the district of Abu Talib where the house of Ummi Haani, his uncle’s daughter, was. At the time Ummi Haani had not yet become Muslim but she accepted Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) as her guest, saying that she would sacrifice her life for such a true, trustworthy, honourable and noble guest as him.

That day, Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) was hurt very much during the day. Performing ablution, he began to entreat his Allah, and pray so that the people would have Imaan and attain happiness. Being very tired, hungry and sorry, he lay down on his mat and soon fell asleep. At that moment Allah Ta’ala commanded to Hazrat Jibra’eel (Alaihis Salaam), “I have bothered my beloved Prophet so much. I have hurt his blessed body, his tender heart so much. But he still entreats Me. He does not think of anything besides Me. Go! Bring Me My beloved! Show him My paradise and hell. Let him see the blessings I have prepared for those who love him. Let him see the torments I have prepared for those who disbelieve him, who hurt him with their words, writings and actions. I will console him. I will cure the wounds of his tender heart.”

Within a moment Hazrat Jibra’eel (Alaihis Salaam) was near Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and he found him sleeping soundly. He did not have the heart to prod him to wake him up so he kissed under the blessed foot of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) woke up, at once recognized Hazrat Jibra’eel (Alaihis Salaam), and fearing that Almighty Allah might have gotten offended with him, he said, “O Jibra’eel, Why have you come here at such an unusual time? Have I done something wrong, have I offended my Allah?” Subhaanallah! What humility and fear of Allah Ta’ala Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) possessed.

Hazrat Jibra’eel (Alaihis Salaam) said, “O you the highest of all creatures! O you the beloved of the Creator! O you the master of the Prophets! O you the honourable Prophet, the source of goodness and superiorities! Your Allah sends His Salaam to you. He bestows upon you the blessing which He has given to no other Prophet, to no other creature. He invites you to Himself. Please get up. Let us go.”

He performed ablution and they went to the Ka’bah Shareef where Shaqqe-Sadr (Opening of the chest) occurred. Angels came and cleaved open his chest, took out his heart, washed it with the water of Zam-Zam, filled it with Noor and wisdom, and placed it back to its prior form. (The opening of the chest had occurred on three other occasions prior to this)

He then mounted a white heavenly animal called the Buraaq and they went to Masjid-ul-Aqsa in a moment, where he led all the Ambiya present in two rakaats of Nafl Salaah. [Tafseer Roohul Bayaan]

After the Salaah Hazrat Jibra’eel (Alaihis Salaam) took Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) towards the heavens to see paradise, hell etc. When they reached Sidratul Muntaha Hazrat Jibra’eel (Alaihis Salaam) remained behind and said, “If I go further as much as a hair’s breadth I will burn and perish.” Allah Ta’ala states in the Holy Qur’an: “The Lord of Mighty Strength, Who manifested this Ascendance (of Muhammad). And he was on the highest horizon.” [Surah 53, Verse 6-7]

In these verses there is a discussion of the Me’raj, when Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) went through the high regions of the seven heavens to come to the Throne of Almighty Allah. At Sidratul Muntaha (the Heavenly Tree) even Hazrat Jibra’eel (Alaihis Salaam) could not go beyond. [Tafseer Noorul Irfaan]

Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) then mounted Raf-Raf, a heavenly carpet, and travelled from Sidratul Muntaha to Qaaba-Qausain (Place of Proximity to Allah Ta’ala). He reached a realm where there is no place, time, direction and attribute, and saw Allah Ta’ala in an unknown, incomprehensible and unexampled manner.

Allah Ta’ala says, “Then the Splendid Vision drew nearer, and then he came closer. So there was a distance of two hands, but rather less than that. And He revealed to His servant whatever He revealed.” [Surah 53, Verses 8-10]

In these verses Allah Ta’ala tells us about the proximity that was experienced by Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) during the Beauteous Vision of Almighty Allah. This is further stated in the Hadith and is narrated by Hazrat Anas bin Malik (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh):

“Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) approached Sidratul Muntaha and came so close to the Glorious Rabb that there was a distance of two bows or even less between them. [Bukhari Shareef]

Allah Ta’ala further says in the Qur’an, “The heart lied not in what he saw.” [Surah 53, Verse 11]

This means that the blessed eye of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) totally absorbed the Beauteous Vision of Almighty Allah and his heart verified that this observation was indeed accurate without any error. Furthermore, unlike Hazrat Moosa (Alaihis Salaam) our Beloved Aaqa (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) did not become unconscious, but instead looked directly at the Beauteous Vision of Allah Ta’ala, in full control of his senses. The heart was able to understand the words of Allah Ta’ala fully and verify what the eye was seeing. [Tafseer Noorul Irfaan]

Allah Ta’ala then says, “And indeed he saw that Splendid Sight twice.” [Surah 53, Verse 13] Here ‘two times’ denotes seeing again and again. On the request of Hazrat Moosa (Alaihis Salaam) Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) went again and again before Almighty Allah to have the fifty Salaah reduced, and each time he saw the Beauteous Vision of Almighty Allah. [Tafseer Noorul Irfaan]

Regarding the Vision of Almighty Allah, Allah Ta’ala says, “The eye (of Muhammad) did not deviate, nor exceeded the limit.” [Surah 53, Verse 17]

From this verse we learn that the eye of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) neither winked nor did his blessed heart show any sign of fear during the Vision of Almighty Allah. [Tafseer Noorul Irfaan]

Subhaanallah! Besides Allah Ta’ala, who will know the true status of our Beloved Rasool (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), who saw his Rabb with his physical eyes? It is for this reason that A’la Hazrat Imam Ahle Sunnat Imam Ahmad Raza Khan (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) says in a Naath Shareef:

Aur Koyi Ghayb Kya Thum se Niha ho Bhala

Jab Na Khuda Hi Chupa Thum pe Karoro Durood

What can be hidden from you O Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)?

When Allah the Most Hidden was not hidden from you, millions of Durood be upon you.

After the Me’raj when Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) went back to Ummi Haani’s house, the mat on which he had been sleeping was still warm and the water of his Wudhu was still flowing. The next morning when he went to the Ka’bah and related his Me’raj, the disbelievers ridiculed him, saying that he was gone crazy. Astaghfirullah! The following incident is a lesson for those people who do not believe in the physical Me’raj of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam):

The disbelievers, after ridiculing our Beloved Aaqa (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), went to Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) and asked him the duration of travelling from Makkah to Jerusalem. When he said that it would take more than a month, in a laughing and mocking manner they said that Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) claims that he went to Jerusalem and came back within one night. As soon as Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) heard the name of his master, he immediately said, “If Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) says so then I believe him. He for sure went and came back in one night.” He then dressed up immediately and went to Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and said, “Ya Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), I congratulate you on your blessed Me’raj. Infinite thanks to Allah Ta’ala because He has honoured us with being the servants of such an exalted Prophet as you are. He has blessed us with seeing your shining face and with hearing your sweet words that please hearts and attract souls. O Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) every word you say is true. I believe in you. I am ready to sacrifice my life for you.”

These words bewildered the kuffaar (disbelievers) and being at a loss for words, they dispersed. These words also strengthened the hearts of a few people with weak Imaan who had doubted the Me’raj. It was on this day that Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) called Hazrat Abu Bakr (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) as ‘Siddiq’ and gave him this title which was a testament of his truthfulness. Subhaanallah! This is true Imaan!

Some ignorant people justify their claims of the Me’raj being a dream by quoting Hazrat Aisha Siddiqa (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anha) when she said, “The Sacred body of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) never left my side.” This statement is true because Hazrat Aisha Siddiqa (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anha) is referring to Me’raj-e-Manaami which took place in Madina Shareef, and is the other Me’rajs, besides the physical Me’raj, which Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) experienced in dreams. The physical Me’raj took place in Makkah Shareef and at the time Hazrat Aisha Siddiqa (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anha) was not even present at the side of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). In fact, when the physical Me’raj took place she was not even in the Nikah of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). Therefore such claims that the Me’raj was just a dream are baseless.

In fact Allah Ta’ala states in the Glorious Qur’an, “Will you then dispute with him concerning what he saw?” [Surah 53, Verse 12]

In this verse Allah Ta’ala asks the mushrikeen (polytheists) why they reject the physical Me’raj and Vision of Almighty Allah experienced by Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). In this day and age many corrupt and ignorant so-called Muslims refuse to accept the physical Me’raj of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and say that it was just a dream. Astaghfirullah! They should take heed of these verses of the Holy Qur’an and keep in mind that if they reject the physical Me’raj of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), then they are rejecting verses of the Holy Qur’an.

It is now befitting to present a few couplets from Qaseeda-e-Me’raj which was written by A’la Hazrat Imam Ahmad Raza Khan (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) in praise of the blessed Me’raj Shareef:

He advanced hesitantly with respect and humility

Allah led him on this endless journey with an exceptional agility

O Moon! You should have picked up the dust from the Prophet’s feet

You would have removed your blemishes by rubbing it on them for a day

Here Allah gave His beloved Messenger a gift of formal and ritual prayers

He also honoured him with garlands of Durood and Salaam’s regal flowers

The tongue was anxious to speak and the ear was eager to go very near

Mysteriously and silently he said what he wanted to say and heard what he wanted to hear

Take pity on Raza, O our intercessor, and Allah’s Messenger of Mercy!

Grant him a small share from the gifts distributed during the Me’raj Journey

May Allah Ta’ala grant us true love for Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), the Taufeeq to follow and serve him as Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) served him, and the Hidayat to act upon the teachings of A’la Hazrat Imam Ahmad Raza Khan (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh), Ameen.