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August 19th, 2009


Bashir has submitted the following new topic.

I just researched the mi`raj and the Isra.

Ibn Ishaq claimed that this was a vision. All other scholars that I have found so far claim that this was physical ascent and descent.

This is why muslims believe that Jesus did the same. the fact is Muhammad did the same. These events are from before hijra. Jesus’ story of survival are after hijra. Muslims must have believed both stories equally. Remember Muhammad did it first, then they heard the story of jesus.

Many Muslims believe that the Isra and Mi’raj describe a physical journey of Muhammad, but some Islamic scholars consider it as a dream. Ibn Ishaq, author of the first biography of Muhammad, says it was the latter. Ibn Isḥaq has been accused of being a Qadari, as some have questioned his dependability. Because of this, highly notable scholars including Imam Bukhari hardly ever used his narratives. He has a tradition from Aisha, one of Muhammad’s wives, that only Muhammad’s spirit had journeyed to “the distant place of prayer”, although later material written by Al-Tabari and Ibn Kathir differ in this opinion.[1] Some argue that the journey was a type of metaphor – a mode of revelation for Muhammad in symbolic form, for the guidance of the Muslim nation. The event could be interpreted as foretelling Muslims that God would now raise Muslims up as a superpower, and Jerusalem would soon fall into their hands. This did happen within less than three decades of this event.[8] Other hadith material suggests that it was a physical journey and it is argued that this event wouldn’t be a “trial” for believers if it were a dream.[3][9]

3 Responses to “Mi`raj”

  1. The Qur’an As It Explains Itself – Shabbir Ahmed
    Surah 17. Al-Asra – The Night Journey
    [Author’s Note] This is the 17th Surah of the Qur’an. Some historians refer to it as Surah Bani Israel. It has 111 verses. Asra (Night Journey) is often confused with Me’raaj (Ascension). Since God is Omnipresent, the notion of anyone going to meet with Him over the skies does not stand up to reason. Asra signifies night journey and it refers to the beginning of the exalted messenger’s emigration from Makkah to Madinah by night. Verses 20:77 and 26:52 use the same term for migration of prophet Moses along with his followers across the sea. Also consider 17:2. Masjid Al-Aqsa means, the Remote Mosque and refers to the ‘Remote Mosque’ in Madinah, the place where Muslims used to  establish congregational prayer before the prophet’s arrival to the city. Masjid may also be understood here as Madinah being the place of regular congregations. The famous Masjid Al-Aqsa, the so-called Qiblah Awwal, the supposed First Holy Sanctuary, is widely known as Haram Shareef) in Jerusalem. But, in fact, it was built in 72 AH (691 CE) by the Umayyad Ruler, Abdul Malik bin Marwan, about 60 years after the exalted messenger passed on. The First Sanctuary was nothing but Ka’bah in Makkah 3:96. Jerusalem, until the Muslim conquest under the second Caliph of Islam in 637 CE, had been under the control of Byzantine Christians for centuries, and there was no person worshiping in a Masjid anywhere in the world but Madinah. So, the question of the presence of a Masjid in Jerusalem during the lifetime of the exalted prophet should not arise. Again, Muslims conquered Jerusalem in 637 CE during the Rule of the second Caliph of Islam, Hazrat Umar. When he visited the place, he continued to pray in open grounds, although Pope Severinus gave him the key to the city and invited him to pray in the Church of Holy Sepulture. But Hazrat Umar feared that Muslims might start converting churches into Masjids, so he politely declined. If a Masjid were present, he would have prayed there. The word Me’raaj (physical Ascension) nowhere occurs in the Qur’an. Yet, under erroneous traditions, it is a popular, though non-Qur’anic, belief among many Muslims that the exalted messenger was taken up physically to the Heights/Skies to meet with God! The Qur’an sets the records straight by asserting that the First ever Holy Sanctuary was the Ka’bah built by prophets Abraham and Ishmael in Makkah. And that the Divine laws are unchangeable under all circumstances. Bodily Ascension is a Biblical and not a Qur’anic theme at all.

  2. Ikram: Shabbir Ahmad was born in 1947. Can you find any scholar born during Islam’s golden age who wrote that? What did Sir Syed write? What about Noorudin? What other muslims thought that this was just a vision? I am very curious to learn this.

    I found that HMGA wrote in Braheen-e-ahmadiyya VOL.4 in 1884 that this was just a vision. That was the first utterance by HMGA in terms of if this was a vision or not.

  3. Whether it is Hawa (biblical Eve etc.) or Miraj (Ascension), none of them are mentioned in Quran. Hence, these are merely fun topics unto themselves. Their moral bearing is only if these topics are spiritual in nature, else these are personal experiences which no one else witnessed or can replicate.

    Visions of Muhammad have variable applications. Vision of Miraj similar to Surah Yusuf, seems to provide him with a moral tonic and insight while he was in the midst of every kind of hostility in Makkah. Whereas, his visions of Dajjal have moral utility for the future Muslims rather than for himself – a separate topic for a future post.

    If Miraj was physical then, take a moment to read this link and enjoy the questions therein:

    Translations of Surah Isra from AAIIL school of thought categorize Miraj as purely spiritual:

    17:1. Glory be to Him Who carried His servant by night from the Holy Mosque (at Makkah) to the Distant Mosque (at Jerusalem), the precincts of which (too) We have blessed, that We might show him some of Our signs. Infact, He alone is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing.
    17:60. And (Prophet! recall the time) when We said to you, `Surely, your Lord has encompassed all people (for destruction) and has power over them (still they remained indifferent).’ We made the vision which We showed you (being carried to Jerusalem from Makkah by night) and also the tree (- evil word; see 14:26) disapproved of in the Qur’ân, a means of distinction between the good and the bad for the people. (Despite the fact that) We have been warning them (by sending Our signs), this (warning from Us) only leads them to unrestrained inordinacy.

    17:1. Glory to Him Who carried His servant by night from the Sacred Mosque to the Remote Mosque, whose precincts We blessed, that We might show him of Our signs! Surely He is the Hearing, the Seeing.
    17:60. And when We said to thee: Surely thy Lord encompasses men. And We made not the vision which We showed thee but a trial for men, as also the tree cursed in the Qur’an. And We warn them, but it only adds to their great inordinacy.
    [Muhammad Ali]

    Irrespective of who said what, the intellectual burden is on us the “consumers” of any information to prevent transformation of Islam into a mythology (like Christianity) or a mere soulless ritual (like Judaism – read Surah Baqarah) or relic worship (like other South Asian religions).