By Nasif Kayed
April 12, 2018
he Night Journey is a time for praise and reflection for Muslims. It affirms their belief that there is only one God and He is Allah.
What is the significance of the Night Journey for Muslims? Al Israa' literally means trip or journey, and the word Al Miraj means ascension. The event is called Al Israa' Wal Miraj, an amazing night journey when Allah took Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) from the holy city of Makkah to Jerusalem and then into heavens on one night.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was born in 570 CE, received the final message in the year 610 CE and began to teach what had been revealed to him - the concept of submission to one God. The people of Makkah were idol worshippers, a small minority of them being Jews and Christians. His preaching in Makkah continued for 10 years although there was huge resistance and harsh confrontations with the people who lived there. His wife was his biggest supporter who, along with a small group of people believed in his message. Believers were few then and a message had to be told.
But in the year 620 the holy Prophet lost this beloved wife of 25 years, Khadijah, and his uncle Abu Talib, who although had not believed his message, raised him and remained his protector and supporter. To Muslims, this year is known as the Year of Sorrow, as the Prophet was alone, he had very little support in the community and was in deep sadness for the loss of his loved ones.
In the same year, the Lord in His infinite wisdom revealed to Prophet Muhammad what is now commemorated as the Night Journey, when on the 27th of Rajab, in the seventh month of the lunar calendar; the Archangel Jibrael visited him at night and took him on Al Burraq (the name of an angel). They travelled from Makkah to Jerusalem, to the furthest mosque today called Al Aqsa. There, he met with all previous Prophets who had struggled with their peoples to deliver the same message of submission. He led them in prayer: one message, one Lord, one race and he is the final destination, the one who would open the Seal of Prophets and Revelations.
He was then taken by Angel Jibrael to the rock referred to today as the Dome of the Rock. There he ascended into the heavens on a journey where he was introduced to the afterlife and got a glimpse of heaven and hell. He continued to be elevated from heaven to heaven seeing different Prophets along the way. Many details have been narrated about the journey and in the end he, reaches the seventh heaven where he proceeded alone without the Angel Jibrael as this is the closest heaven to the presence of the Lord.
Here, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) received the instructions for prayer five times a day which Muslims adhere to and practice as the foundation of worship. He then returned to Makkah and began to tell people about his journey. He was spiritually uplifted and was confident that he would be delivering his message to all humanity. The message of submission to one God (Allah) has since spread. Allah is worshiped by people from all backgrounds who commemorate this journey. The Night Journey is a time for praise and reflection for Muslims. It affirms their belief that there is only one God and He is Allah.