Sharh as-Sunnah : Lesson 44: Point 68
Shaykh Fawzan | Dawud Burbank [Audio|English]
Imaam Barbahaaree rahimahullaah said:
And to have eemaan (true faith) that Allaah’s Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam was taken by night up through the heavens and he came to the Throne and he spoke to Allaah, the Exalted and Most High. And he entered Paradise and he saw the Fire and he saw the angels and he heard the speech of Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic and the Prophets were brought out for him. And he saw the drapery of the Throne and the Footstool and everything within the heavens and everything within the earths whilst awake. Jibreel took him upon al-Buraaq until he took him through the heavens and the five daily prayers were made obligatory upon him that night. And he returned to Makkah that same night and that was before the Hijrah (migration).
His saying, “And to have eemaan (true faith) that Allaah’s Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam was taken by night up through the heavens,” this is from the mu`jizaat (miracles) of the Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam. So a part of having eemaan in the Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam is to have eemaan in his miracles, which prove the truthfulness of his messengership sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam and the greatest of his miracles are the Qur’aan and the Sunnah. This is the greatest of the miracles of the Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam and is the miracle which will remain until the Hour is established.
And likewise from his miracles sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam is al-Israa· w’al Mi`raaj (the night journey and the ascent through the heavens). The word al-Israa· (the night journey) is to make a journey by night and the word al-Mi`raaj is to asu`ood (ascend). And he was taken on a journey by night from the sacred mosque in Makkah to the farthest mosque al-Masjid ul-Aqsa in Palestine in a single night in the company of Jibreel `alayhissalaam and he was taken up through the heavens from Jerusalem.
And how he was taken in a single night from Makkah to Jerusalem and then taken up through the heavens and then descended from the heavens and then returned to Makkah in a single night, how did this occur? This was through the ability of Allaah, the Majestic and Most High, which is such that nothing can render it incapable. It was not by his own ability `alayhissalaatu wassalaam, rather it came about through the ability of Allaah, which is such that nothing can render it incapable.
Al-Buraaq was brought to him and it is an animal, which moves very fast. Its step from one step to the next is as far as it can see. So, the Prophet sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam rode it and Jibreel accompanied him to Bayt ul-Maqdis; to Jerusalem. This is the Israa· (night journey) from Makkah to Jerusalem.
And as for al-Mi`raaj (the ascent) then he was taken up from Jerusalem to the heavens and he passed beyond the seven levels and reached Sidrat ul-Muntahaa (farthest lote tree) and he heard the speech of Allaah, the Perfect and Most High, and He commanded him with the Salah (prayer). And on this night he saw Paradise and the Fire and on this night he saw the Messengers and the Prophets in the heavens and Allaah gathered them together for him and he led them in prayer to make manifest his virtue over them. And Allaah made obligatory upon him the five daily prayers whilst he was in the heaven. Then he `alayhissalaatu wassalaam descended to Jerusalem then he went from Jerusalem to Makkah in a single night and he entered the morning in Makkah `alayhissalaatu wassalaam.
And the Israa· and the Mi`raaj (night journey and the ascent) occurred with his body and his soul. And it was not just with his soul alone as is said by some of those deniers or some of those who find this matter to be something strange and who say that he was taken on the night journey with his soul but not his body. And the Israa· (night journey) was not a dream, rather it occurred whilst he was awake and it is a miracle from he sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam miracles.
He, the Most High, said:
.. سُبْحَانَ الَّذِي أَسْرَىٰ بِعَبْدِهِ لَيْلًا مِّنَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ إِلَى الْمَسْجِدِ الْأَقْصَى الَّذِي بَارَكْنَا حَوْلَهُ
Glorified and Perfect is He Who took His servant by night from the sacred mosque to the farthest mosque, the area around which We have blessed …(Sooratul-Israa· (17), aayah 1)
For what purpose?
لِنُرِيَهُ مِنْ آيَاتِنَا ۚ إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْبَصِيرُ ..
… to show him Our signs. Indeed Allaah is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing.(Sooratul-Israa· (17), aayah 1)
And he saw on this night amazing things. Just as He, the Most High, said:
لَقَدْ رَأَىٰ مِنْ آيَاتِ رَبِّهِ الْكُبْرَىٰ
He (the Prophet sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam) certainly saw some of the greatest signs of his Lord. (Sooratul-Najm (53), aayah 18)
لِنُرِيَهُ مِنْ آيَاتِنَا ..
… to show him from Our signs. (Sooratul-Israa· (17), aayah 1)
So he (sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam) saw from the signs of Allaah on this blessed journey that which he saw. So, it is obligatory upon the Muslim to have eemaan (true faith) in that and to believe in it and that he should not have the slightest doubt about it. And whoever denies it he is a disbeliever (kaafir) since he is denying the truth of what has been said about Allaah and denying the truth about what has been said about the Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam and denying the consensus (Ijmaa`) of the Muslims.
His saying, “And he entered Paradise and he saw the Fire,” he entered Paradise (Jannah) and he saw the bliss that was within it and he saw the Fire and he saw the torment that there is within it because Allaah wished to show him from His signs.
His saying, “and he saw the angels,” he saw Jibreel in his angelic form having 360 wings, each wing filling the whole horizon. So an angel, his creation is tremendous, his size is tremendous and Jibreel is the greatest one of the angels and the noblest one of the angels, `alayhissalaatu wassalaam. So he saw the angels and he saw the Messengers (Rusul) and they are deceased. Allaah gathered them for him and Allaah has full ability over everything.
His saying, “And he saw the drapery of the Throne (Arsh) and the Kursee (Footstool),” and he saw what was around the `Arsh (Throne) and what was around the Kursee (Footstool) and they are two tremendous created things; the greatest, most tremendous of the created things and what was around them.
His saying, “and everything within the heavens whilst he was awake.” This is a refutation of those who say that it was a dream. And if it had been a dream, the disbelievers would not have denied it because dreams are not denied. Rather, they denied it happened whilst he was awake.
And Allaah, the Majestic and Most High, says:
.. أَسْرَىٰ بِعَبْدِهِ ..
… He took His servant on a journey … (Sooratul-Israa· (17), aayah 1)
And this word al-`abd (the servant) is a term for the soul and body together. So, the soul alone is not called `abd (servant). The body alone without a soul is not called `abd (servant). So it is not called servant unless it is a body and a soul together.
His saying, “Jibreel carried him upon al-Buraaq,” al-Buraaq was an animal.
His saying, “and the five daily prayers were made obligatory upon him that night.” This is a proof of the tremendousness of these five daily prayers that they were made obligatory upon the Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam in heaven between him and Allaah without any intermediary as opposed to the rest of the revealed laws for they came down to the Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam whilst he was upon the earth by means of Jibreel `alayhissalaam. So, this shows the tremendous importance of these five daily prayers with Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic. And the time of the night journey was before the Hijrah (migration) to al-Madeenah and he prayed the five daily prayers in Makkah `alayhissalaatu wassalaam.
His saying, “And he returned to Makkah on that night and that was before the Hijrah (migration).” And he returned to Makkah on that same night and therefore the disbelievers found it something very unlikely and they became overjoyed at this event so that they could belittle the Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam and ridicule him and mock him. So, Allaah, the Majestic and Most High, rebutted their plot and attested to the truthfulness of His Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam and sent down some Qur’aan with regard to that.
 Translator’s side point: The night journey and the ascent (Israa· and Mi`raaj) occurred bodily; the Prophet sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam with his body and his soul together. You can refer to the Tafseer of Ibn Katheer and Fath ul-Baaree of Al-Haafidh ibn Hajar and Sharh ul-`Aqeedah at–Tahaawiyyah of Ibn Abee al-`Izz.
 Translator’s side point: There’s a hadeeth that Shaykh al-Albaaniyy authenticates in As–Saheehah as no. 306 that describes what happens the next morning after the night journey; how the disbelievers of Makkah reacted. Hadeeth that Al-Haakim reported in his Mustadrak volume 3, page 62 from `Aisha radiyAllaahu `anhaa that she said:
“When Allaah’s Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam was taken on the night journey to Al-Aqsa mosque, he entered the morning telling the people about that. So some people who had believed in him and affirmed his truthfulness turned apostate and they hastened with that news to Aboo Bakr radiyAllaahu `anhu and said, “What do you think of your companion, he claims he was taken on a night journey this night to Jerusalem?” So he said, “Did he say that?” They said, “Yes.” He said, “If he said that then he has spoken the truth.” They said, “Will you believe him when he said he went to Jerusalem last night and came back before he entered the morning?” He said, “Yes, I believe him in something which is even harder than that. I believe him with regard to reports which come all the way from heaven, which come down in a single morning or a single evening.” So, therefore, he became known as As–Siddeeq (the truthful one) who attested to the truth, radiyAllaahu `anhu.”
As for the explanation of Shaykh Ahmad an-Najmee rahimahullaah, then he said on this point:
“To have eemaan that the Messenger of Allaah; his chest was split open and the portion of Satan was taken out and it was filled with eemaan (true faith) and wisdom. And he was taken on a night journey by Jibreel upon Al-Buraaq whose step is as far as it could see and he reached Jerusalem and the Prophets were gathered for him and he led them in prayer as their Imaam. Then Jibreel took him up to the lowest heaven and requested that it be opened and each heaven was opened for him and in the first heaven that he found; Aadam and in the second heaven; Yahya and `Eesaa and in the 3rd heaven; Yoosuf and in the 4th heaven; Haaroon and in the 5th heaven; Idrees and in the 6th heaven; Ibraaheem and in the 7th; Moosaa and in one narration the other way around (with regard to Ibraaheem and Moosa) and that Jibreel took him up to Sidrat ul-Muntahaa (farthest lote tree). Then he took him up to a place where he could hear the scratching of pens and he heard the speech of his Lord, the Mighty and Majestic when the five daily prayers were made obligatory upon him. So then he went back to Moosaa and informed him so he said, “Go back to your Lord and ask him for a reduction.” And finally his Lord said to him, “They are five and they are 50 (in reward), the saying will not be altered with Me.”
You can find this narration mentions details reported by Al-Bukhaariyy (3,342) and Muslim (163) from a narration of Abu Tharr radiyAllaahu `anhu.
Then the Shaykh says mentioning that hadeeth, “Meaning 5 with regard to their performance and 50 with regard to the reward and each good deed has the reward of 10 times over and that he entered Paradise and he saw in it domes or mounds made of pearl and other than that from the events, which occur in the Israa· and the Mi`raaj. And this was a matter of extra virtue bestowed upon him granted specifically by Allaah to His Prophet and to the last of His Messengers Muhammad sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam, no-one else shared with him in it. And he entered the next morning in Makkah and when he informed Quraish of what had happened, they rejected what he had said. Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, said:
وَمَا جَعَلْنَا الرُّؤْيَا الَّتِي أَرَيْنَاكَ إِلَّا فِتْنَةً لِّلنَّاسِ وَالشَّجَرَةَ الْمَلْعُونَةَ فِي الْقُرْآنِ ۚ وَنُخَوِّفُهُمْ فَمَا يَزِيدُهُمْ إِلَّا طُغْيَانًا كَبِيرًا
And We did not make that which We showed to you except as a trial for the people and the accursed tree mentioned in the Qur’aan and We caused them to fear but it does not increase them except in great transgression. (Sooratul-Israa (17), aayah 60)
As for the saying of the author, “Jibreel took him upon al-Buraaq until he took him through the heavens,” this is a matter requiring inspection (meaning something doubtful) since he did not carry him upon al-Buraaq except when he took him to Jerusalem. What’s correct is that he travelled upon al-Buraaq from Makkah to Jerusalem only, then al-Buraaq was left in Jerusalem then he was taken by Jibreel up through the heavens. As for him ascending from Jerusalem to the heavens then what is apparent that it was upon the Mi`raaj (the heavenly stairway) and not upon al-Buraaq as was said by the author, may Allaah have mercy upon him and success is granted by Allaah.
Ithaaful-Qaaree bit-Ta`leeqaat `alaa Sharhis-Sunnah
(A Gift To The Reader In Annotation Of Sharh As-Sunnah)
by Shaykh Saalih ibn Fowzaan al-Fowzaan hafizahullaah
Translated by Aboo Talhah Daawood Burbank, rahimahullaah
Transcribed by Saima Zaher.
Posted with kind permission from Dawud Burbank rahimahullaah
Listen to the full Audio Series of Sharhus Sunnah
Sharh-us-Sunnah – Shaykh Saalih Fawzaan – Dawood Burbank [Audio|En]