Isra and the Miracle of Miraj (Ascension)

The Isra (1) and Miraj (2), one of our Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) greatest miracles, occurred on the 27th night of the month of Rajab, a year and a half before the migration (hijra.)

Jibril  came that night and took our Holy Prophet (PBUH) from the Masjid-al-Haram (3) to the Masjid-al-Aqsa (4) on Buraq. Then, he was ascended to the skies so that he would be shown the wonderful activities and the signs that indicate the power of God Almighty one by one. He was allowed to meet all of the prophets in the layers of the sky. Then, the Messenger of God was taken to the station of Sidra al-Muntaha (Lote Tree). Then, he went up to the station of Two Bows’ Length (Qab Qawsayn) in the middle of possibility and obligation. He was shown many weird and bizarre things. He heard the speech of God Almighty, who is free from time and place, in a form that we cannot know or understand; and he saw His face. On the same night, he returned home. 

God Almighty narrates this miracle, which is related to the personality of His beloved Messenger, as follows in the Quran:

“Glory to (God) Who did take His Servant for Journey by night from the Sacred Mosque to the Farthest Mosque whose precincts We did bless― in order that We might show him some of Our Signs: for He is the one Who heareth and seeth (all things)” (5)

This verse also declares the wisdom behind the miracle Isra and Miraj.

The section regarding the Miraj in Badiuzzaman Said Nursi’s work entitled “The Words” states: “The Ascension is a question that results from the essentials and pillars of belief, and follows on after them, a light that draws strength from the lights of the pillars of belief. For sure, the Ascension cannot be proved independently to irreligious atheists who do not accept the pillars of belief, because it cannot be discussed with those who neither know God, nor recognize the Prophet, nor accept the angels, and who deny the existence of the heavens. Firstly those pillars must be proved.” Then, he answers the question, “What is the wisdom behind Miraj?” as follows, explaining the wisdom behind that great event: 

“The wisdom of the Ascension is so exalted that human thought cannot comprehend it. It is so profound that human thought cannot reach it, and so subtle and fine that the intellect cannot see it by itself. But even if the reality of the instances of wisdom in the Ascension cannot be comprehended, their existence may be made known through certain indications. For example, as follows:

“In order to demonstrate the light of His Unity and the manifestation of His Oneness in these levels of multiplicity, the Creator of the universe took an eminent individual as representing all creatures from the furthest levels of multiplicity to the source of Unity by means of an Ascension that was like a link. And there, addressing him as representing all conscious beings, He explained to him the Divine purposes and made them known through him, and observed through his gaze the beauty of His art and perfection of His Dominicality in the mirrors of His creatures, and caused him to observe them.

Moreover, according to the testimony of His works, the Maker of the world possesses infinite beauty and perfection. The two of them, both beauty and perfection, are loved for themselves. Since this is so, the Possessor of that beauty and perfection has an infinite love for His beauty and perfection. That infinite love of His is manifest in many different ways in His works of art. He loves His works of art because He sees His beauty and perfection within them. The most lovable and elevated among the works of art are animate beings. And the most lovable and elevated among animate beings are conscious beings. And by reason of their comprehensiveness, the most lovable among conscious beings are to be found among human beings. The most lovable individual among human beings is the one who has most fully developed his potentiality and displayed the samples within it of the perfections manifested in all creatures, and spread among them. Thus, in order to see at one point and in one mirror all the varieties of His love spread through all creatures and to display, through the mystery of His Oneness, all the varieties of His beauty, the Maker of beings will take a person who is at the degree of being a luminous fruit of the tree of creation and whose heart is like a seed containing the essential truths of that tree, and will demonstrate the belovedness of that individual, who represents the universe, through an Ascension that is like a thread linking the seed, which is the origin, with the fruit, which is the end. He will draw him to His presence and honor him with the beauty of the vision of Himself. And, in order to cause him to spread that sacred state to others, He will favor him with His Word and entrust him with His Decree.

“In order to look at this exalted wisdom, we shall observe it through the telescope of two comparisons.

First Comparison:

As is explained in detail in the story-comparison in the Eleventh Word, there was an illustrious king who had vast treasuries and in those treasuries many varieties of jewels were to be found. He had much skill in strange crafts, comprehensive knowledge of innumerable curious arts, and erudition and learning in numberless wondrous sciences. And, in accordance with the mystery that every possessor of beauty and perfection wants both to see and display his beauty and perfection, of course, that skilful king, too, wished to open an exhibition and to set up displays within it in order to reveal to the people's gazes the majesty of his sovereignty, and to manifest both the glitter of his wealth and the wonders of his art and the marvels of his knowledge. He wished to do this so that he might observe his own transcendent beauty and perfection in two respects. The first was so that he himself might see with his own eyes, which were cognizant of reality, while the other was so that he might look through the gaze of others.

“As a consequence of this wisdom, he began to build a huge, splendid, extensive palace. It was magnificently divided into apartments and mansions. He adorned it with every sort of bejeweled treasure from his coffers, and decorated it with the finest and most gorgeous arts of his own handiwork. He ordered it with the greatest refinements of his knowledge and science, and decked it out and completed it with the miraculous works of his learning. Next, he spread tables with varieties of bounties and the most delicious of foods worthy for each group and prepared a general banquet. Then, in order to display his perfections to his subjects, he invited them to the banquet and to behold the perfections. Then he appointed one of them as the highest ranking general, invited him up from the lower levels and mansions to tour sphere after sphere in the levels rising one after the other. And, showing him the successive machinery and workshops of his wonderful art and the storehouses for the produce coming from below, he brought him to his own particular sphere and private apartment. There, he honored him through showing him the blessed person that was the source of all those perfections and taking him into his presence. He informed him of the true nature of the palace and of his own perfections. He appointed him as guide to the other spectators and sent him back to describe to the people the palace's Maker by means of its contents, inscriptions, and wonders, so that he should inform those who entered the palace of the allusive meanings of the inscriptions within it, what the works of art signified, and what the harmonious and well-proportioned inscriptions and works of art in its interior were, and how they pointed to the perfections and skills of the palace's owner. And so that he should teach them the correct behaviour and formalities in seeing the exhibition and describe the protocol and ceremonies which were in accordance with the pleasure and desires of the learned and skilful king, who did not appear.

“And in exactly the same way, and God's is the highest similitude, the All-Glorious Maker, Who is the Monarch of Pre-Eternity and Post-Eternity, desired to behold and display His infinite perfections and boundless beauty.

“So He made this world in such a fashion that each being utters His perfections with numerous tongues and points to His beauty with many signs. The universe shows through all its beings how many hidden immaterial treasures there are in each of His Most Beautiful Names and how many veiled subtleties in each of His sacred titles. And it shows this in such a way that, since the time of Adam, all sciences together with all of their laws have studied this Book of the Universe. But of that book only a tiny proportion of the meanings and signs which state and point to the Divine Names and perfections have been read. Thus, the wisdom of the All-Glorious One of Beauty, the All-Beauteous One of Glory, the Maker Possessing Perfection, Who opens the palace of the world as though it was an exhibition in order to see and display His own transcendent beauty and perfections, requires that He should inform someone of the meaning of the palace's signs so that they do not remain vain and without benefit for conscious beings on the earth. His wisdom requires that He should cause one of them to travel in the higher worlds, which are the sources of the wonders in the palace and are the treasuries of their results; that He should elevate him above all others, honor him with His close presence and cause him to tour the worlds of the hereafter, and entrust him with numerous duties, such as teacher to all His servants, herald of the sovereignty of His Dominicality, announcer of those things pleasing to Himself, and expounder of the signs of creation in the palace of the world; that He should mark out his pre-eminence by conferring on him the decorations of miracles, and should make known through a decree like the Qur'an that that person is the truthful personal interpreter of the All-Glorious One.

“And so, by way of example, we have demonstrated through the telescope of this comparison one or two of the many instances of wisdom in the Ascension. Others may be thought of in the same way.

Second Comparison:

“If a knowledgeable and skilful person was to compose and write a miraculous book, and on each page of the book were as many truths as would fill a hundred books, and in each of its lines as many subtle meanings as would fill a hundred pages, and in each of its words as many truths as would fill a hundred lines, and in each of its letters as many meanings as would fill a hundred words, and if each of the meanings and truths of the book were to look to and point to the transcendent perfections of its miracle-displaying writer, he most certainly would not leave such an inexhaustible treasury closed and thus worthless. He would surely teach it to some others so that such a valuable book would not remain meaningless and vain; and so that his own hidden perfections become apparent and find their perfection, and his transcendent beauty be seen; and so that he too should be pleased, and that he should make himself loved. Moreover, he would cause someone to go through that wonderful book from the first page to the last and teach him all its meanings and truths so that the person would then teach them to others.

“And in exactly the same way, in order to display His perfections, His beauty, and the truths of His Names, the Pre-Eternal Inscriber has written the universe in such a way that all beings set forth and state His infinite perfections, Names, and attributes together with their innumerable facets and aspects. Of course, if a book's meaning remains unknown, its value is reduced to nothing. But a book such as the universe each word of which contains thousands of meanings cannot lose its value or be made to do so. Since this so, the book's Writer will certainly make it known and explain a part of it to each group according to their capacity. And He will instruct in all the contents of the book the individual who has the broadest and most comprehensive view, the most universal consciousness, and the greatest ability. Wisdom requires that He should take the individual on a most elevated journey in order to teach him all the contents of such a book and its universal truths. That is, He should cause him to travel from the furthest extreme of the levels of multiplicity, which is the first page, to the sphere of Divine Oneness, which is the final page. Thus, through this comparison, to a degree you can look at the exalted instances of wisdom in the Ascension.” (6)

Our Beloved Prophet’s (PBUH) Explanation of the Isra and Miraj:

The distinguished Sahaba recounted this miracle, which expanded beyond the bounds of time and space: One night when our Holy Prophet (PBUH) was sleeping at the Hatim section of the Kaaba, Hazrat Jibril came and slit his chest. After washing our Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) chest with zamzam water, Hazrat Jibril filled his chest with wisdom and restored it to its previous state. Afterwards he brought a white mount, Buraq, had our Holy Prophet (PBUH) climb upon it, and escorted the Master of the Universe (PBUH) on the journey. Buraq’s leaps went beyond what the eye could see. Along with Hazrat Jibriil by his side, our Holy Prophet (PBUH) went to the Bayt-al-Maqdis. He saw all the prophets gathered there. He led them in prayer as they all prayed in congregation.

By leading them in prayer, it showed that our Holy Prophet (PBUH) was the inheritor of the origin of their Sharia (divine law.) (7)

Three Cups That Were Offered

Three cups, one full of milk, the second full of sherbet, and the third full of water, were presented to our Holy Prophet (PBUH.) During this offering, our Holy Prophet (PBUH) heard a voice saying, “If he chooses the cup filled with water, then both he and his ummah will be free of any needs and will be content. If he takes the cup filled with sherbet, then he and his nation will fall into deprivation. If chooses the cup filled with milk then he and his nation will be given guidance.”

Our Holy Prophet (PBUH) took the cup containing milk and drank from it. Upon this Hazrat Jibril said, “O Muhammad, you have chosen the true and natural way. You have been given guidance, and so has your nation.” (8)

The Ascension to the Skies and the Meeting with the Prophets

During the Miraj, a staircase was built so that our Holy Prophet (PBUH) could ascend to the high stations in the Baytu’l-Maqdis. Both our Holy Prophet (PBUH) and Jibril (Gabriel PBUH) were placed upon it and they ascended together. They finally reached the Earth’s skies. Hazrat Jibril knocked on its door:

Someone asked, “Who is it?”

“Jibril!”

“Who is next to you?”

“Muhammad.”

“Has he been sent for?”

“Yes.”

Upon this, the sky’s door opened and they ascended upon these skies.

Our Holy Prophet (PBUH) saw someone seated there who had sets of shadows to his right and left. He laughed when he looked to his right and cried when he looked to his left. He said to our Holy Prophet (PBUH,) “Welcome, O Noble Prophet, O Noble Son!”

Our Holy Prophet (PBUH) asked Hazrat Jibriil (PBUH), “Who is he?”

Hazrat Jibril answered, “He is your father, Adam. The shadows to his right and left are the souls of his children. The ones on his right are destined for Heaven and the ones on his left are destined for Hell. When he looks to his right, he laughs. When he looks to his left, he cries." (9)

They ascended to the second station from there. The door opened and our Holy Prophet (PBUH) encountered Hazrat Yahya and Hazrat Isa (Jesus PBUH).

Hazrat Jibril said, “The men you see here are Yahya (John the Baptist PBUH) and Isa.  Greet them.”

They exchanged greetings; Hazrat Isa and Hazrat Yahya said, “Welcome Noble Prophet, Noble Brother,” to our Holy Prophet (PBUH.)

Afterwards our Holy Prophet (PBUH) met Hazrat Yusuf (Joseph PBUH) on the third level, Hazrat Idris (Enoch PBUH) on the fourth, Hazrat Harun (Aaron PBUH) on the fifth, Hazrat Musa (Moses PBUH) on the sixth, and Hazrat Ibrahim (Abraham PBUH) on the seventh level. They all welcomed him and congratulated him on his miraj.

Sidra al-Muntaha

Jibril (PBUH) took our Holy Prophet (PBUH) and rose from the seventh level. Afterwards, the Sidra- al -Muntaha’s (the seventh heaven) court opened.

“Here, this is Sidra-al- Muntaha. I will burn if I move forward by the length of a finger tip,” said Hazrat Jibriil and did not take one step forward.”

Our Holy Prophet (PBUH) saw Sidra-al-Muntaha’s four rivers flowing.

Furthermore, our Holy Prophet (PBUH) again saw Jibriil (PBUH) in his true shape and form. Before, our Holy Prophet (PBUH) had seen Hazrat Jibril covering the skies with his majestic wings in the spot called Jiyad in Mecca where a revelation was revealed.

Afterwards, our Holy Prophet (PBUH) went to the “station that was marked ”Qab-al-Qawsayn,” the distance of two bow-lengths even though Hazrat Jibriil was not by his side. And after that, he witnessed God’s beauty and conversation first hand.

Hazrat Sulayman Chelebi, the author of the “Mawlid” describes this incident very clearly:

 

While talking with Jibriil

A Heavenly Mount came before him and saluted him.

 

It took the King of the World then

From Sidra and left quickly

At that moment, a space was seen

There was neither place, nor the Earth nor skies

 

That place was neither empty nor full

The mind cannot understand that situation

 

Seventy thousands curtains were opened

The light of oneness drew the curtain on his face

 

Whenever he passed a curtain,

He was summoned, “O Muhammad, come here”

 

He proceeded after seeing all of them

He reached that High Personality

 

That Lord of Majesty, who is free of six directions

Showed him His face in an indescribable manner

 

Anyway, the Sultan who saw everything truly (10)

Looked at God Almighty carefully

 

He saw the Lord of Majesty clearly

His ummah will see him like that in the hereafter

 

Without any letters or sentences, the Sultan

Said to following to him

 

The 5 Daily Prayers are Made Obligatory

Our Holy Prophet (PBUH) witnessed many Divine manifestations, received many compliments, and was addressed several times with many kinds of titles. He saw with his eyes the realities of the pillars of faith; he witnessed the angels, Heaven, Hell, and the manifestation of God’s Self.

Furthermore, the order to pray five times a day was given that night.

At first, God gave the order to pray 50 times a day.

However, as our Holy Prophet (PBUH) was leaving, he stopped by Hazrat Musa (Moses), who asked, “What did God enjoin upon your nation?”

Our Holy Prophet (PBUH) answered, “God decreed them to pray 50 times a day.”

Hazrat Musa responded: “Your followers cannot do that; Go back so that your Lord may reduce it for them.”

Our Holy Prophet (PBUH) returned and begged God and God reduced the daily prayers by ten.

When our Holy Prophet (PBUH) came back to Hazrat Moses he said, “God reduced 50 daily prayers by ten.”

Hazrat Moses responded, “Your followers cannot do that either; Go back and beg your Lord.”

Our Beloved Prophet (PBUH) returned to God and begged again in a very respectful manner. This time God reduced 10 more daily prayers.”

Upon the reduction, our Holy Prophet (PBUH) returned to Hazrat Musa. Hazrat Musa reiterated his words: “Your followers cannot do that either; Go back and petition to your Lord.”

God’s Apostle (PBUH) begged God again and God reduced 10 more prayers. Until the daily prayers were reduced to 10, our Holy Prophet (PBUH) continued petitioning.

When it was reduced to 10, our Holy Prophet (PBUH) went to Hazrat Musa and explained what had been said. Hazrat Musa repeated his words: “Go back and beg your Lord! Your nation will not be able to fulfill this.”

Our Holy Prophet (PBUH) went back and begged once more.

Our Holy Prophet (PBUH) went back to His Mighty Lord and pleaded. God then decreed: O Muhammad, the Laws that come from My station do not change! They are five daily prayers. There are ten rewards for each prayer, and this equals to 50 rakahs.

Upon this, our Holy Prophet (PBUH) returned to Hazrat Musa who asked,

“What were you appointed with?”

Our Holy Prophet (PBUH) replied, “I was appointed with five daily prayers”

Hazrat Musa (Moses) said, “Your ummah cannot perform five daily prayers. I tried people and Sons of Israel before you; I know it. Return and ask your Lord to decrease it.”

Nevertheless, our Holy Prophet (PBUH) answered, “I pleaded too much. I feel ashamed now of repeatedly asking my Lord for reduction.” (11)

In this manner, the five daily prayers were made obligatory and our Holy Prophet (PBUH) presented them as a gift from his miraj to the jinn and humanity.

The Prophet Explains Isra and the Miracle of Miraj to Polytheists

Our Holy Prophet (PBUH), who entered the station in the middle of possibility and obligation, which was marked with  Qab- al-Qawsayn” and who witnessed God’s vision and heard His words, returned to his home that same night.

The following morning, he wanted to inform the Quraysh of what he had seen during his holy journey. However, Ummuhani, the daughter of our Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) uncle Abu Talib, clung to our Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) clothing while pleading, “O God’s Apostle! Do not explain this to the community. They will deny your words and will upset you.”

However, our Holy Prophet (PBUH) said, “By God I am going to explain it” and went amid the people to inform them of the Miraj.

The Qurayshis were shocked; thus, they asked, “O Muhammad! What is your proof of this having happened? We have not heard anything similar to this until now.”

Our Holy Prophet (PBUH) explained the following: “My proof is that I encountered the camels of so-and-so’s sons’ in the valley of this-and this place. Their camels had escaped and they were looking for them. I directly guided their camels and went towards Damascus.

“After my return, I was in Dabhanan, I came across the caravan of so-and-so’s sons and his community was sleeping. I opened the covered water-cup belonging to them and drank from it. I covered it as it had been before.

“My other proof is that:

“I encountered a caravan belonging to you all on Tanim hill. There was a blackish camel at the front. It was carrying two sacks, one was black and the other was multicolored.” (12)

The community was curious; with great speed, they went to Thaniyya.

Sometime later a caravan came. Like our Holy Prophet (PBUH) had said, a blackish camel at front. They asked the other incoming caravan about its cup filled with water. The members of the caravan said they had filled the cup with water and then covered it. The polytheists looked at the water cup; it was covered like theirs was, however it did not hold any water.

The polytheists were puzzled and said, “It is just as he said it was.” (13)

The polytheists investigated the other information that our Holy Prophet (PBUH) had provided and everything was just as he said. Despite all this, they did not testify to our Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) cause.

Polytheists Ask him to Describe Bayt al-Maqdis

The polytheists did not refrain from asking proof after proof in regards to this matter. Many of them said, “It takes a month to go to Damascus from Mecca with a camel and it takes a month to return. How could Muhammad go there and return to Mecca in one night?”

Those who had journeyed to Damascus and who had seen Masjid-al--Aqsa came to our Holy Prophet (PBUH) and asked, “Could you describe Masjid-al- Aqsa to us?”

Our Holy Prophet (PBUH) said, “I went there and I can describe it.”

Our Holy Prophet (PBUH) reported it as follows: I was very tired of their denial and questions. In fact, I had not experienced such difficulty until that moment. Just then, God showed me the Baytu’l Maqdis. While looking at it, I described every detail one by one. They even asked me, “How many doors does the Baytu’l Maqdis have?” however, I had not counted its number of doors. When I saw the Baytu’l Maqdis across from me, I began to look at it, count each of its doors and told them the number.” (14)

Thereupon, the polytheists said, “By God, you perfectly and correctly described it.” Nevertheless, they still did not become Muslims.

Hazrat Abu Bakr Unfalteringly Affirms our Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) account

Among the Meccan community, there were those whose hearts had warmed up to Islam; however, they were puzzled when they heard about the Miraj. Upon hearing this news, they immediately ran to Hazrat Abu Bakr and said, “O Abu Bakr! Are you aware of the news regarding your friend? He says that last night he went to the Baytu’l Maqdis, prayed there and returned to Mecca.”

Hazrat Abu Bakr asked, “Did you hear this from him?”

They replied, “Yes, we directly heard it from him.”

Hazrat Abu Bakr responded, “By God, if he said this then it is undoubtedly true. Do not be at all surprised by this!”  Afterwards, he got up and went straight to our Holy Prophet (PBUH) and asked him, “O God’s Apostle! Did you tell the community that you went to the Baytu’l Maqdis last night?”

When our Holy Prophet (PBUH) replied “yes,” Hazrat Abu Bakr said “You speak the truth, I testify to you being God’s Apostle.”

Upon this, our Holy Prophet (PBUH) responded, “O Abu Bakr, you are Siddiq (The Truthful) in any case.” (15)

From that day forward, Hazrat Abu Bakr was referred to as “Siddiq.” Siddiq means being undoubtedly and completely truthful…

Answers to a few Questions about Mir'aj (Ascension)

Question:

Why was this mighty Ascension special to Muhammad the Arabian (Peace and blessings be upon him)?

The Answer:

Firstly:  Despite numerous corruptions in the texts of Holy Scriptures like the Torah, Gospels, and Psalms, in recent times even, an exacting scholar like Husayn Jisri extracted one hundred and fourteen good tidings of Muhammad’s prophethood (PBUH), which he set forth in his Risale-i Hamidiye. 1.(Husayn al-Jisri, Risale-i Hamidiye 4 vols. Turk.tr. Manastırlı İsmail Hakkı (Istanbul: 1308); Suyuti, al-Khasa’is al-Kubra, i, 26, 73.)

Secondly:  It has been proved historically that there were many predictions accurately forecasting the prophethood of Muhammad (PBUH), like those of the two soothsayers Shiqq and Satih, which, a while previously to his prophethood, gave news of it and the fact that he was to be the final prophet. 2.(Ibn Sayyid al-Nas, ‘Uyun al-Athar, I, 29; Qadi Iyad, al-Shifa’, i, 364-6.)

Thirdly:  There were hundreds of extraordinary happenings, famous in history, called irhasat, that is, signs forewarning men of a coming prophet, like, for example, on the night of Muhammad’s (PBUH) birth, the idols in the Ka’ba fell from their places and the famous palace of Khosroes the Persian was rent asunder. 3. (Qadi Iyad, al-Shifa’, i, 366-8; Bayhaqi, Dala’il al-Nubuwwa, i, 126.)

Fourthly:  History and the Prophet’s biographies show that he satisfied the thirst of an army with water flowing from his fingers, that in the presence of a large congregation in the mosque, the dry wooden support against which Muhammad (PBUH) was leaning moaned like a camel and wept on being separated from him when he ascended the pulpit, and that he was distinguished by close on a thousand miracles attested to by the verses of the Qur’an, such as, And the moon split, 4 (Qur’an, 54:1.) referring to the splitting of the moon, and verified by those who investigated them.

Fifthly:  Anyone who considers the facts and is fair and just cannot hesitate to agree that, as is unanimously agreed by friend and foe alike, good moral qualities were to be found at the highest degree in his personality, and that, in accordance with the testimony of all his dealings and actions, attributes and character of the greatest excellence were apparent in the way he performed his duties and proclaimed Islam, and, in accordance with the fine qualities and conduct enjoined by the religion of Islam, laudable virtues of the highest order were to be found in the law he brought.

Sixthly:  As is alluded to in the Second Indication of the Tenth Word, it is a requirement of wisdom that Divinity be manifested. And this desire of Divinity to be manifested is met at the highest level and most brilliantly by the comprehensive worship performed by Muhammad (PBUH) in the practice of his religion. Also, wisdom and truth require that the Creator of the world displays His beauty in its utter perfection through some means. And the one who met that wish, and displayed and described His beauty most perfectly was self-evidently the person of Muhammad (PBUH).

It was also clearly Muhammad (PBUH) who, in response to the desire of the world’s Maker to exhibit and attract attentive gazes towards His perfect art within infinite beauty, heralded that art with the loudest voice.

Again it was necessarily Muhammad (PBUH) who, in response to the desire of the Sustainer of All the Worlds to proclaim His unity in the levels of multiplicity, announced all the degrees of unity, each at the greatest level of unity.

And, as is indicated by the utter beauty in beings and as is required by truth and wisdom, the world’s Owner desires to see and display in mirrors, His infinite essential beauty and the subtleties and qualities of His exquisiteness. And again it was self-evidently Muhammad (PBUH) who, in response to that desire, acted as a mirror and displayed His beauty in the most radiant fashion, and loved it and made others love it.

Also, in response to the desire of the Maker of the palace of this world to exhibit His hidden treasuries, which are filled with the most wonderful miracles and priceless jewels, and through them to describe and make known His perfections, it was again self-evidently Muhammad (PBUH) who exhibited, described, and displayed them in the most comprehensive fashion.

Also, since the Maker of the universe has made it in such a way that He adorns it with different varieties of wonders and embellishments and has included conscious creatures in it so that they might make tours and excursions and ponder over it and take lessons, wisdom requires that He should desire to make known the meanings and value of the works of art to those who observe and ponder over them. And it was again self-evidently Muhammad (PBUH) who, in response to this desire of the universe’s Maker, by means of the All-Wise Qur’an, acted as guide in the most comprehensive fashion to jinn and man, indeed, to spirit beings and angels.

Also, the All-Wise Ruler of the universe wishes, by means of an envoy, to cause all conscious beings to unravel the obscure talisman containing the aims and purposes of the change and transformations in the universe and to solve the riddle of the three perplexing questions: “Where do beings come form?”, “What is their destination?”, and, “What are they?” And again it was self-evidently Muhammad (PBUH) who, in response to this wish of the All-Wise Ruler, by means of the truths of the Qur’an, unravelled the talisman and solved the riddle in the clearest and most comprehensive fashion.

Also, the All-Glorious Maker of the universe desires to make Himself known to conscious beings by means of all His fine artefacts and to make them love Him through all His precious bounties, and, most certainly, to make known to them by means of an envoy His wishes and what will please Him in return for those bounties. And again it was self-evidently Muhammad (PBUH) who, in response to this desire of the All-Glorious Maker, by means of the Qur’an, expounded those wishes and things that please Him in the most exalted and perfect fashion.

Also, since the Sustainer of All the Worlds has given to man, who is the fruit of the universe, a comprehensive disposition which encompasses the universe and has prepared him for universal worship, and since, because of his faculties and senses, multiplicity and the world afflict man, the Sustainer desires to turn man’s face from multiplicity to unity, from transience to permanence. And again it was self-evidently Muhammad (PBUH) who, in response to this desire, by means of the Qur’an, acted as guide in the most comprehensive and complete fashion, and in the best way, and carried out the duty of prophethood in the most perfect manner.

Among beings the most superior are animate beings, and among animate beings the most superior are conscious beings, and among conscious beings the most superior are true human beings. So the one among true human beings who carried out the above-mentioned duties at the most comprehensive level and in the most perfect manner would rise through an all-embracing Ascension to the distance of two bow-lengths, knock at the door of eternal happiness, open the treasury of Mercy, and see the hidden truths of belief. Again it would be him.

Seventhly:  As is plain to see, beings are made beautiful with the utmost degree of fine embellishment and adornment. Such an embellishment and adornment clearly demonstrate that their Maker possesses an extremely strong will to make beautiful and intention to adorn. The will to make beautiful and adorn demonstrates that the Maker necessarily possesses a strong desire for and holy love towards His art. And among beings the one who displayed altogether in himself the most comprehensive and subtle wonders of art, and knew them and made them known and himself loved, and who appreciated the beauties to be found in other beings, declaring: “What wonders God has willed!”, and was most beloved in the sight of his Maker, Who nurtures and loves His art, would most certainly be him.

Thus, the one who, declaring: “Glory be to God! What wonders God has willed! God is most Great!” in the face of the exquisiteness that gilds beings and the subtle perfections that illuminate them, causes the heavens to ring out, and who, through the strains of the Qur’an, causes the universe to reverberate, and through his admiration and appreciation, his contemplation and display, and his mentioning of the Divine Names and affirmation of Divine unity, brings land and sea to ecstasy, is again self-evidently that one (PBUH).

And so, according to the meaning of ‘the cause is like the doer,’ it is pure truth and sheer wisdom that the one in whose scales shall be found the equivalent of all the good deeds performed by his community, and whose spiritual perfections draw strength from the benedictions of all his community, and who, as a result of the duties he discharged in his messengership, received immaterial recompense and boundless emanations of Divine mercy and love, should advance by the stairway of the Ascension as far as Paradise, the Lote-tree of the farthest limit, the Divine Throne, and the distance of two bow-lengths. (Badiuzzaman Said NURSİ, The Words)

Question:

“Man is only able to ascend to a height of one or two kilometres with a thousand difficulties by means of the aeroplane. How then could someone come and go bodily within a few minutes covering a distance that would normally take thousands of years?”

The Answer:

According to your science, in its annual rotation a heavy body like the earth cuts a distance of approximately one hundred and eighty-eight hours in one minute. In one year it covers a distance of approximately twenty-five thousand years. Should an All-Powerful and Glorious One, then, Who causes its regular motion and revolves it like a stone in a sling be unable to convey a human being to His Throne? Should a wisdom that causes the body of the earth, which is extremely heavy, to travel around the sun through a dominical law known the sun’s gravity like a Mevlevi dervish be unable to raise a human body to the Throne of the All-Merciful One like lightning through the gravity of that All-Merciful One’s mercy and the attraction of the Pre-Eternal Sun’s love?

***

Question:

“All right, so he could ascend there, but why did he and why should he? Would it not have been enough if he had gone just in heart and spirit like the saints?”

The Answer:

Since the All-Glorious Maker wished to display His wondrous signs which lie in both the outer aspects of things and in their aspects that look directly to Himself, and to make the workshops and sources of the universe spectacles to be gazed upon, and to point out the results of man’s actions in the hereafter, it was necessary to take together with his heart and spirit as far as His Throne Muhammad’s (PBUH) eyes, which were like the key to the world of visible objects, and his ears, which perceived the signs in the world of sound. Furthermore, it is required by wisdom and reason that the All-Glorious Maker should have taken as far as His Throne his blessed body, which was like the machine of his spirit comprising different members and components, by means of which be performed his duties. Just as in Paradise Divine wisdom makes the body accompany the spirit, because it is the body that is the means by which the duties of worship are performed and the means of innumerable pleasures and pains, so did his blessed body accompany his spirit. Since the body goes to Paradise together with the spirit, it is pure wisdom that He should have made the blessed body of Muhammad (PBUH) accompany his self, which ascended to the Lote-tree of the farthest limit, which is the trunk of the home of Paradise.

Question:

“Is it not impossible to traverse a distance of thousands of years in several minutes?”

The Answer:

The motion in the different works of the All-Glorious Maker’s art varies to the utmost degree. For example, it is well-known how different are the speeds of light, electricity, spirit, and imagination, and that of sound. And, as has been established by science, the speeds of the motion of different planets are so different that it astounds the mind. How then should the motion at the speed of spirit of his subtle body, which followed his exalted spirit during the Ascension, seem contrary to reason? Furthermore, it sometimes happens that on sleeping for ten minutes you are subject to a year’s-worth of different states. And even, if the words spoken and heard during a dream lasting one minute were collected together, for them to be spoken and heard in the waking world, a day or even longer, would be necessary. That means a single period of time is relative; it may seem like one day to one person and like a year to another.

Consider the meaning of this by means of a comparison. Let us imagine a clock which measures the speed of the movement displayed by man, cannon-balls, sound, light, electricity, spirit, and imagination. The clock has ten hands. One shows the hours while another counts the minutes in a sphere sixty times greater. Another hand counts the seconds in a sphere sixty times greater than the previous one, and yet others each count regularly decreasing fractions to a tenth of a second in vast spheres that regularly increase sixty times. Let us suppose the circles described by the hand counting hours was the size of our clock, so that of the hand counting tenths of a second would have to be the size of the annual orbit of the earth, or even larger. Now, let us suppose there are two people. One of them is as though mounted on the hour-hand and observes according to its motion while the other is on the hand counting tenths of a second. There will be an enormous difference, as great as the relation between our clock and the annual orbit of the earth, as regards the things observed by these two individuals in the same period of time. Thus, since time is like a hue, shade, or ribbon of motion, a rule that is in force in motion is also in force in time. And so, although the things we observe in the period of one hour would be equalled in amount by the conscious individual mounted on the hour-hand of the clock, like the one mounted on the hand counting tenths of a second, God’s Noble Messenger(Peace and blessings be upon him) mounted Buraq of Divine Assistance and in the same space of time, in that specified hour, like lightning traversed the entire sphere of contingency, saw the wonders of the outer aspects of things and the aspects which look to their Creator, ascended to the point of the sphere of necessity, was honoured with Divine conversation and favoured with the vision of Divine beauty, received his decree, and returned to his duty. It was possible for this to happen, and it did happen.

***

And again it comes to mind that you would say: “Yes, so it could happen, it is possible. But everything possible does not occur, does it? Is there anything else similar to this so that it can be accepted? How can the occurrence of something to which there are no similar cases be posited through only probability?”

To which we would reply: There are so many similar cases to it that they cannot be enumerated. For example, anyone who possesses sight can ascend with his eyes from the ground to the planet Neptune in a second. Anyone who has knowledge can mount the laws of astronomy with his intellect and travel beyond the stars in a minute. Anyone who has belief can, by mounting his thought on the action and pillars of the obligatory prayers, through a sort of Ascension, leave the universe behind and go as far as the Divine presence. Anyone who sees with his heart and any saint of perfection can, through his spiritual journeying, traverse in forty days the Divine Throne and the sphere of the Divine Names and attributes. And certain persons, even, like Shaykh Geylani and Imam-i Rabbani, truthfully recorded their spiritual ascensions as far as the Throne, which lasted a minute. Furthermore, there is the coming and going of the angels, which are luminous bodies, from the Divine Throne to the earth and from the earth to the Throne in a short period of time. And the people of Paradise ascend to the gardens of Paradise from the plain of resurrection in a short space of time. Of course, this many examples demonstrate that it is pure wisdom, completely rational, and an occurrence about which there can be no doubt that the person of Muhammad (PBUH), who is the Lord of all the saints, the leader of all the believers, the head of the people of Paradise, and is accepted by all the angels, should have had an ascension which was the means of spiritual journeying, and that it should have been in a form appropriate to his rank. (Badiuzzaman Said Nursi)

Question:

What are the fruits and benefits of the Ascension?

The Answer:

We shall mention only five, by way of example, of the more than five hundred fruits of the Ascension, which has the meaning of the Tree of Tuba.

FIRST FRUIT

This fruit has brought to the universe and mankind a treasury, a gift of pre-eternal and post-eternal Light, which is to see with the eyes the truths of the pillars of belief and to behold the angels, Paradise, the hereafter, and even the All-Glorious One. It raises the universe from an imaginary state of wretchedness, transitoriness, and disorder and, through that Light and fruit, shows its reality, which is its consisting of sacred missives of the Eternally Besought One and being a beautiful mirror to the beauty of Divine oneness. It has made happy and pleased the universe and all conscious beings. Furthermore, through this Light and sacred fruit, it shows that man is not merely bewildered, wretched, impotent, impoverished, with endless needs and innumerable enemies, ephemeral and impermanent, which is like the state of misguidance; it shows man in his true form of being a miracle of the Eternally Besought One’s power on ‘the most excellent of patterns,’ a comprehensive copy of the Eternally Besought One’s missives, an addressee of the Pre-Eternal and Post-Eternal Monarch, the special bondsman, the admirer and friend of His perfections, the lover bewildered at His beauty, and a beloved guest appointed to eternal Paradise. It has filled all human beings who are true human beings with infinite joy and infinite longing.

SECOND FRUIT

This fruit has brought to jinn and man as a gift the fundamentals of Islam, and first and foremost the prescribed prayers, (Bayhaqi, Dala’il al-Nubuwwa, iii, 406; al-Sunna al-Kubra, iv, 362.) which constitute those things pleasing to the Sustainer, the Ruler of Pre-Eternity and Post-Eternity, Who is the Maker of beings, Owner of the universe, and Sustainer of all the worlds. To discover the things that please Him brings such happiness it cannot be described. For how eager is everyone to find out, from a distance, the desires of a powerful benefactor or generous king, and if they find out, how delighted they are. They say longingly: “If only there was some means by which I could communicate with that personage directly. If only I could learn what he wants of me. If only I knew what would please him that I could do.” Man, then, should understand just how necessary it is to be desirous and eager to discover the wishes and pleasure of the Ruler of Pre-Eternity and Post-Eternity. For all beings are in the grasp of His power, and the beauty and perfections to be found in all beings are but pale shadows in relation to His beauty and perfection, and being needy for Him in innumerable ways, man constantly receives countless numbers of His bounties.

Thus, as a direct fruit of the Ascension, Muhammad (PBUH) heard with utter certainty what it is that pleases the Monarch of Pre-Eternity and Post-Eternity, behind seventy thousand veils, and returning, brought it as a gift to mankind.

Indeed, how curious is man to learn the conditions on the moon. If someone was to go there and return bringing news of it, both what self-sacrifice he would display, and, if he was to understand the conditions there, how he would be overcome by wonder and curiosity. But the moon is merely touring in the domain of a Lord of such dominion that it encircles the globe of the earth like a fly, and the globe flies round the sun like a moth, while the sun is one lamp among thousands and is just a candle in a guest-house of that Glorious Lord of All Dominion. Thus, Muhammad (PBUH) saw the works and wonders of art and treasuries of mercy in the everlasting realm of this All-Glorious One, and he returned and informed mankind. And so, if mankind does not listen to him with complete wonder, curiosity, and love, you can understand how contrary to reason and wisdom is their attitude.

THIRD FRUIT

Muhammad (PBUH) saw the treasury of eternal happiness, obtained the key, and brought it as a gift to jinn and men. Yes, through the Ascension, he saw Paradise with his own eyes and witnessed the eternal manifestations of the All-Glorious and Merciful One’s mercy; he understood eternal happiness with absolute and utter certainty and brought as a gift to jinn and men the good news of its existence. If wretched jinn and men imagine themselves and all beings to be in the soul-searing situation of an unstable world amid the upheavals of decease and separation, being poured with the flood of time and motion of particles into the oceans of non-existence and eternal separation, it cannot be described how precious and enheartening such good news is in the ears of ephemeral jinn and men, who thus supposed themselves to be condemned to eternal annihilation. If, at the moment he is to be executed and sent to non-existence, a man is pardoned and given a palace in proximity to the king, what great joy this would cause him. So, gather up all such joy and happiness to the number of jinn and men and then evaluate this good news.

FOURTH FRUIT

Just as he himself sampled the fruit of the vision of Divine beauty, so did he bring to jinn and men the gift of this fruit being attainable by all believers. You may understand from the following how delightful, pleasing, and exquisite a fruit this is. Everyone of fine perception loves one who possesses beauty and perfection and is benevolent, and his love increases proportionately to their degrees; it reaches the degree of worship and a pitch whereat he would sacrifice his very life. On seeing that person only once, his love becomes such he would sacrifice the world. However, in relation to the beauty, perfection, and benevolence of God Almighty, the beauty, perfection and benevolence of all beings are not the equivalent of even a few tiny sparks in relation to the sun. That is to say, if you are a true human being, you may understand how delightful and fine a fruit it is and what happiness and joy it brings to receive in eternal happiness the vision of the All-Glorious One of Perfection, Who is worthy of boundless love, infinite longing, and being gazed upon eternally.

FIFTH FRUIT

Man’s being the precious fruit of the universe and the petted beloved of the Maker of the universe was understood through the Ascension, and he brought this fruit to jinn and men. This fruit raises man, an insignificant creature, a weak animal, an impotent conscious being, to an elevated rank of pride above all the beings in the universe. It gives man indescribable pleasure and joyful happiness. For if it is said to an ordinary private: “You have been promoted to the rank of field marshal,” how delighted he will be. But wretched man is an ephemeral, impotent ‘rational animal’ who constantly suffers the blows of decease and separation. If then he is told that not only will he make excursions and tours with the speed of imagination and breadth of the spirit in an eternal never-ending Paradise within the mercy of an All-Compassionate and Generous Merciful One, and journey in the mind in accordance with all the desires of his heart in both the outer dimensions of things and those dimensions that look directly to their Creator, but that he will also behold the vision of Divine beauty in eternal happiness, you can imagine what a profound joy and true happiness a human being who has not fallen from the level of humanity would feel in his heart. We shall show you through two short comparisons the great value in one or two further fruits.

For example, you and I are together in a certain country. We see that everything is hostile to us and to each other, and is strange to us. Everywhere is full of ghastly corpses. The sounds to be heard are the weeping of orphans and the lamentations of the oppressed. So if someone appears when we are in that situation bringing good news from the king of the country by which those of his subjects who were strange to us assume the form of friends and the enemies turn into brothers, and the ghastly corpses are seen to be worshipping and praising and glorifying in deep humility and submission; and if the piteous weeping becomes praise and exaltation and cries of “Long live the king!”, and the deaths and plunder and pillage are transformed into demobilizations and release from duty; and if we join the general joy to our own joy, you will certainly understand how joyful and happy that news is. Thus, when the beings in the universe are considered with the eye of misguidance, as they were before the light of belief, which is one fruit of the Ascension of Muhammad (PBUH), they are seen to be strange, menacing, troublesome, dreadful, terrifying corpses the size of mountains, while the appointed hour is severing people’s heads and casting them into the pit of eternal, never-ending nothingness. Although misguidance interprets all the voices as being lamentations occasioned by separation and decease, the truths of the pillars of belief, which are fruits of the Ascension, show you that just as beings are brothers and friends to you and praisers and glorifiers of the All-Glorious One, so are death and decease a demobilization and discharge from duties; in reality those voices are all glorifications of God.

The Second Comparison: You and I are in a place resembling a vast desert. There is a sand-storm in the sea of sand and the night is so black we cannot see even our hands. If suddenly, without without friend or protector, hungry and thirsty, we were despairing and giving up hope, a person was to pass through the curtain of blackness and approach us bringing a car as a gift; and if he was to seat us in it, and then instantly install us in a place like Paradise where our future was secure, food and drink ready prepared, and where we had a most kindly and sympathetic protector, you can understand how pleased we would be.

Thus, that great desert is the face of this world. The sea of sand consists of beings and wretched man, who are tossed around by the force of the flood of time and the motion of particles within events. All human beings see the future with the eye of misguidance, enveloped in terrifying darkness, and their hearts are harrowed with anxiety. They know no one they can make hear their cries for help. They are infinitely hungry, infinitely thirsty. However, when this world is seen in terms of things pleasing to God, which is a fruit of the Ascension; that is, it is seen to be the guest-house of Someone exceedingly generous, and human beings are seen to His guests and officials, and the future to be as delightful as Paradise, as sweet as mercy, as shining as eternal happiness, you will understand what a delightful, exquisitely sweet fruit it is. (Badiuzzaman Said Nursi, The Words).

[1] “Isra” means night walk or travel.
[2] Miraj: Is a name derived from the word “ascension.” Miraj also means “ladder”. With this in consideration, the Miraj signifies the means through which our Holy Prophet (PBUH) ascended to the high stations of the skies. A hadith describing the Miraj states that our Holy Prophet (PBUH) had ascended; therefore this miracle is called the Miraj.
[3] Masjid-al- Haram: The masjid of Mecca encompassing the Kaaba, the spot where the tawaf (circumambulation) takes place today. This holy area is called the Haram-ash-Sharif. It is called the “Haram” to demonstrate that it is “wajib” to honor this zone.
[4] Masjid-al- Aqsa: The Masjid of Quds, its other name is Bayt-al-Maqdis. The Kaaba was the first building to be built on Earth and the Masjid-al-Aqsa was the second. It takes a month to get to the Masjid-al-Aqsa from Mecca by foot.
[5] al-Isra, 1
[6] Badiuzzaman Said Nursi, Sözler, p. 536-539.
[7] Badiuzzaman Said Nursi, Sözler, p. 525.
[8] Ibn Hisham, Sirah: 2/38
[9] Muslim, Sahih, V. 1, p. 102.
[10] "Sultan-ı mâ zağa'l-basar" means the Sultan whose sight does not swerve. Our prohet is meant by it because the Quran states the same truth: "(His) sight never swerved nor did it go wrong!." (an-Najm: 53/17)
[11] Ibn Hisham, Sirah, V. 2, p. 50; Bukhari, Sahih, V. 2, p. 328; Muslim, Sahih, V. 1, p. 101.
[12] Ibn Hisham, Sirah, V. 2, p. 43-44.
[13] Ibn Hisham, ibid, V. 2, p. 44.
[14] Ibn Sa’d, Tabaqat, V. 1, p. 215; Muslim, Sahih, V. 1, p. 108.
[15] Ibn Hisham, Sirah, V. 2, p. 40; Ibn Sa’d, Tabaqat, V. 3, p. 170.

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