Significance of Al-Isra and al-Miraj (Night Journey)

Praise be to Allah,


The literal meaning of Al-Isra and al-Miraj are respectively the “Nocturnal journey and the Ascension.” They refer to the most miraculous events in the prophet’s life that of Allah’s making him on one night travel along with Angel Jibril at a lightning speed from Kaaba to Bayt-al Maqdis (Jerusalem) and then to send to the highest limit of the seven skies and there to see some Allah signs and to receive some very important instructions and regulations.[i]


The three important significance of the journey are:


1-Source of comfort after years of grief: 

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), his followers and even his fellow tribesmen were besieged in a mountain pass that belongs to Abu Talib. The injustice and boycott lasted for continuous three years. After the boycott was lifted, the prophet (PBUH) lost in few months his uncle Abu Talib, his greatest protector from humankind, and his wife Khadija his human source of comfort. Moreover, the Quraish took advantage of Abu Talib’s death taking it as a sign that they could persecute and harm the prophet more severely than before. In addition, the people of Taif to whom the prophet (PBUH), went seeking their support and help, rejected the prophet’s message and treated him in a despicable manner[ii]. Yet despite all these hardships, he PBUH) continued course, patiently inviting people to Islam. Allah honored him with a journey, He spoke directly with the prophet (PBUH). Having gone through so much grief and suffering, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was given a truly beautiful and comforting gift. This is Allah says,

‘with every hardship [there will be] ease’ (The Noble Qur’an, 94: 5). 


2- Transfer of Spiritual Leadership –

For a long, prophets came specifically to children of Israel and Jerusalem being the center of revelation. When the Jews ignored the sanctity and broke the divine laws, Allah decided them to deprive forever of prophethood. Allah chose Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) for the final message and honored him with the ascension to heaven[iii]. The transfer of leadership from the children of Israel to the descendants of Ishmael (PBUH) enraged the Jews. The story of ‘the Night Journey’ as we see in the Noble Qur’ân is epitomized in the first verse of the

Sûrah Isra’ (Chapter 17 — The Journey Night)


“Immaculate is He who carried His servant on a journey by night from the Sacred Mosque to the Farthest Mosque whose environs We have blessed, that We might show him some of Our signs. Indeed He is the All-hearing, the All-seeing’.


Then there is a quick shift to uncover the shameful deeds and crimes of the Jews, followed by an admonition saying that the Qur’ân guides to that which is most just and right. This arrangement is not a mere coincidence[iv].


‘We gave Moses the Book, and made it a guide for the Children of Israel —[saying,] ‘Do not take any trustee besides Me’—descendants of those whom We carried [in the ark] with Noah. Indeed he was a grateful servant. We revealed to the Children of Israel in the Book: ‘Twice you will cause corruption on the earth, and you will perpetuate great tyranny.’

Surah Al-Isra, verse 1-4


3-Test of faith for the believers-

The miraculous journey was also a test of faith for the believers who were about to enter a phase requiring supreme sacrifices on the part of their followers. It was a Devine wisdom that the prophet (PBUH) would have only those followers with unquestioned faith, devotion and obedience. The person who shined and passed the test instantly was Abu Bakr. He immediately said about this event, ‘ if he (PBUH) said that, then he (PBUH) has spoken the truth. I indeed believe him concerning that which is more amazing than that’. After this incident, the prophet gave him the title- As-Siddique[v].


Allah Knows Best.



[i] Sirat Al-Nabi, and the orientalists, with special reference to writings of William Muir, D.S Margoliouth and W. Watt, Vol-1B by Mohar Ali, page 823

[ii] The Noble Life of the Prophet (PBUH), Dr Ali Muhammad As-Sallaabee. Translated by faisal Shafeeq, page- 553

[iii] Fiqh-Us-Seerah, understanding the life of prophet Myhammad, Muhammad Al-Ghazali, Page-153

[iv]  Ar-Raheeq al-Makhtoom, safi-ur-Rahman mubarakpuri, Page-72

[v] Sirat Al-Nabi, and the orientalists, with special reference to writings of William Muir, D.S Margoliouth and W. Watt, Vol-1B by Mohar Ali, page 829

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