Isra and Miraj: Things We Can Learn from the Prophet’s ﷺ Night Journeyby Ustaz Abdul Rahman Rahuni
Praise be to Allah, who appointed Prophet Muhammad ﷺ as His Messenger and bestowed upon him the revelations sent down from the heavens to the earth. In fact, as a bonus, Allah took him (his soul and body) from earth to heaven in one single night journey.
The exact date when this event occurred is disputed among scholars because no clear evidence (dalil) indicates when it occurred. However, it is more critical to understand the content of this significant event than the date. From these events, several lessons can be learned:
Proof of Allah’s Might
This is one of the many manifestations of Allah’s might and majesty that every human being should witness. A journey beyond the logical expectation of common sense, over a long distance, accompanied by a buraq with unique characteristics such as steps that extend as far as the eye can see. He was shown heaven and hell, demonstrating that Allah is All-Powerful and that His kingdom is unbeatable.
Allah demonstrates only a portion of the creatures He created. There is far too much that humans do not understand. Allah has sent a revelation from the heavens to the earth, and lifting His servant from the earth to the heavens is easy for Him.
Faith Must Be Tested
When the Prophet ﷺ told of this event in Mecca, some Muslims became skeptical and some remained faithful to him. From a logical perspective, humans cannot move from Mecca to Baitul Maqdis, ascend to the sky, and return to Mecca in one night. Then he tests the believers whether they will believe in what he says or not.
Thus is the faith of men; all of us will be tested whether we are believers or not. The greater the test, the greater the reward for the believers. Allah says:
أَحَسِبَ ٱلنَّاسُ أَن يُتْرَكُوٓا۟ أَن يَقُولُوٓا۟ ءَامَنَّا وَهُمْ لَا يُفْتَنُونَ
“Do people think they will be left alone after saying ‘We believe’ without being put to the test?”
Heaven Opens for His Slaves
While preaching in Mecca, the Prophet ﷺ faced threats from the Quraysh kuffar, but his closest companions defended him. His wife, Khadijah, and his uncle, Abu Thalib, are two individuals who have always defended the Prophet ﷺ.
Khadijah donated everything she owned to defend the Prophet’s ﷺ preaching, and Abu Thalib was respected in Mecca as a man of honor, and no one dared to harm the Prophet ﷺ. However, after they both died, the Prophet ﷺ became vulnerable to the even more devastating threat posed by the Quraysh kuffar.
Allah then elevated His Prophet ﷺ to heaven through this historic event, demonstrating to us all that Allah is always present for His servants. While the human being who defends us will eventually go, Allah remains alive and will continue to open His door to heaven for us to pray and ask for help.
Prayer is the Great Ibadah
In this historic event, Allah presents the obligation of prayer to the Prophet ﷺ and his people. After the Prophet ﷺ pleaded with Allah several times, the prayer obligation was reduced from fifty times to five times only. But with those five times, the reward is still doubled.
As Muslims, we should view this prayer as a tremendous gift from Allah, not a burden to our daily activities. It is also symbolic of a strong human relationship with his Creator, where prayer is worship endowed with the invitation of the Prophet to ascend to the sky to receive it. See how the Prophet ﷺ views prayer as a rest rather than a burden by saying:
“O Bilal, call the iqamah for prayer, let us rest with it.”
[Narrated by Abu Daud]
The Nobleness of Abu Bakar
According to this story, some Muslims have become apostates due to their refusal to believe the Prophet’s story, while others have grown in faith. Abu Bakar as-Siddiq, one of the earliest converts to Islam, was one of them. He always believed what the Prophet ﷺ said. This event strengthened his faith in God.
For him, it is no different from believing in a revelation that comes down from heaven or the Prophet ﷺ ascent to heaven. If he believes the Prophet ﷺ received revelation from heaven, why should he be surprised when the Prophet ﷺ ascends to the heavens? When asked about the events of Isra’ and Mi’raj, he said: “I believe him more than that; I believe the news brought from heaven.”
This demonstrates his nobleness as a person who consistently believed in the Prophet ﷺ and rejected the teachings of those who despised Abu Bakar and hurled slander at him, including slandering him for desiring the post of caliph after the Prophet ﷺ died. In fact, he is the one who believed in the Prophet ﷺ when others doubted him.
May we learn valuable lessons from the journey of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and become better Muslims.
Contributed by Abdul Rahman Rahuni
Ustaz Abdul Rahman Rahuni is a graduate of the Islamic University of Madinah studying in the field of Islamic Sharia. He is currently an instructor at Sekolah Menengah Agama Islamiah, Tawau, Sabah.