Isra and Miraj


The Isra and Miraj are among the most remarkable miracles of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Actually, Isra and Miraj are the two events of a Night Journey that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) took during a part of the night.

It signifies Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) extraordinary journey from Mecca to Jerusalem and/or from the earth to the heavens, both of body and soul together. 

In the Israʾ part of the journey, Muhammad (PBUH) traveled from the Sacred Mosque (Mecca) to the Al-Aqsa Mosque (Jerusalem). Then, he leads other Prophets in prayer at al-Aqsa Mosque. 

In the M‘iraj part of the journey, he ascends to heaven where he individually greets the Prophets. And later, Allah speaks to him, and He gives instructions to take back to the Muslims regarding the details of prayer. 

Isra and Miraj

The Isra and Miraj was the Physical and Spiritual Journey of Prophet Muhammad(PBUH)

Isra and Miraj in the Holy Quran

The Holy Quran describes the Night Journey in such a way,

"Exalted is He who took His Servant by night from al-Masjid al-Haram to al-Masjid al-Aqsa, whose surroundings We have blessed, to show him Our signs. Indeed, He is the Hearing, the Seeing”.
Al-Quran, 17:1.

In another place, it is mentioned in Surah Al- Najm,

“Then he approached and came closer. And was at a distance of but two bow-lengths or [even] nearer. And He revealed to His Servant what he revealed. The heart did not lie (about) what it saw. Will you dispute with him over what he saw? And he certainly saw Him in another descent. At the Lote-Tree of the Utmost Boundary- Near it is the Garden of Refuge- When there covered the Lote Tree that which covered (it). The sight (of the Prophet) did not swerve, nor did it transgress (its limit). He certainly saw of the greatest signs of his Lord”.
Al-Quran, 53:8-18.
These verses (آيات) of the holy Quran describe that the Night Journey occurred physically as well as spiritually.

Hadith related to Isra’ and M‘iraj

The narrative of the Night journey (Isra’) and ascension (M‘iraj) developed its own unique form in the Hadith reports of the eighth and ninth centuries. There are various narrations related to this journey that it occurred with his (PBUH) body in sleeplessness. Such as, there is a narration in al-Bukhari in relation to the Ayah: “وما جَعَلْنا الرُّؤْيا التي أَرَيْنكَ إلا فتنة للنّاسِ” “And We made not the vision which We showed you, but a trial for mankind...”

 Imam Bukhari explained this narration with reference to Ibn Abbas (R.A) that “It was an actual eyewitness, and not as a dream at the Night of Al-Isrā, which was shown to Allah’s Messenger during the night he was taken on a journey. And the cursed tree is the tree of Al-Zaqqum (a bitter pungent tree which grows at the bottom of Hell).

Views of some Prominent Islamic Scholars regarding Isra’ and M‘iraj

Qādī ‘Iyāḍ

Qadi Iyad states in his distinguished work “Al-Shifa’” that, the majority of predecessors and Muslim scholars recognized that the Night Journey of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) occurred with body and in the state of wakefulness, and this is the truth.

This statement is mentioned by Ibn Abbas, Jabir, Anas, Hudhaifa, Umar, Abu Huraira, Malik bin SaSaa, Abu Haiyah al-Badri, Ibn Masud, Al-Dahhak, Said bin Jubair, Qatada, Ibn al-Musayyib, Ibn Shihab, Ibn Zaid, al-Hasan al-Basri, Ibrahim bin Yazid, Masruq bin Ajda, Mujahid bin Jubair, Ikrama bin Abdullah, Ibn Juraij, and it was the proof evidenced by Ayesha and the statement of Al-Tabari, Ibn Hanbal and a large group of the Muslims.

It is also the statement given by the majority of the later jurists, narrators, relators, commentators, and interpreters.

Ibn Kathīr

Ibn Kathir also preferred that the Night Journey of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) occurred in reality with his body and soul and not in a dream. He made a detailed explanation of this subject and also included the opinions of several prominent Islamic Scholars.

Thereafter, he says, a majority of early and later scholars believe that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) experienced the night journey both physically as well as spiritually. As Allah clearly says, “Glory to (Allah) Who did take His servant for a 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)” (Surah al-Isra’, 17:1). Here, the word “Servant” (عبد) proves that it was occurred by both body and spirit.

Then, he states, if the Night Journey of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) took place in his dream, then, the Quraish would not immediately show their disbelief and fury. Because it would not have been so important a matter and a great issue to see something in a dream. It indicates that he informed them that he had been taken on his Night Journey while awake, not asleep.

Moreover, Ibn Hisham, Safiur Rahman Mubarakpuri, and many other scholars also explained this event in their works and acknowledged that this incident occurred while the Messenger of Allah was awake.


The above mentioned discussion concluded that the Night Journey of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) occurred with body and soul. The psychology of religion teaches us that his experience during the incident of the Night Journey is not untrustworthy. In religious experience, it is a universal phenomenon.

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