Al-Isra' and al-Mi^raj
Praise be to Allah, the Owner of the universe. May Allah raise the rank of Prophet Muhammad, the noblest of the Messengers. Allah, the Glorified and Exalted, is the One Who Created the skies and the earths and Who Exists without being confined by place or time. Allah granted that our Messenger Muhammad journey in body and soul from al-Masjid al-Haram in Makkah to al-Masjid al-Aqsa’ in Jerusalem during the Night Journey (al-Isra’) and ascend through the skies during the Mi^raj.
In al-Masjid al-Aqsa’, all the Prophets from Adam to ^Isa were gathered and Prophet Muhammad led them in prayer as an indication of his superiority in status. During the Night Journey, Allah granted that the Prophet sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam see many extraordinary sights. Among other things, the Prophet sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam saw this world represented as an old woman wearing a great deal of jewellery; this expressed that the luxuries of this life are appealing to one’s desires but they will be left behind by death.
At the end of the Night Journey, the Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam, ascended through the skies on gold and silver stairs. At the first sky, the Prophet met Adam, ^alayhis-salam, who was looking to his left and right at the souls of his descendants. Adam would laugh as he looked at the descendants who would die as believers and cry as he looked at those who would die as non-believers.
The Prophet, sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam, ascended to each of the skies in turn, meeting other Prophets as he went and each greeted him and made supplication for him. In the seventh heaven our Messenger met Prophet Ibrahim, best of the Prophets after Muhammad, and also saw the Sidrat-ul-Muntaha, an exceptionally beautiful tree on which gold butterflies would gather.
Ascending beyond the seven skies, the Prophet entered Paradise and saw that most of its inhabitants were poor Muslims. He also saw Malik, the Angel in charge of Hellfire. When the Prophet asked the Angel Jibril why Malik had not smiled at him, Jibril said, "Malik has not smiled since Allah Created him; if he had smiled for anyone, he would have smiled for you."
The Prophet saw the Throne (al-^Arsh), which is the ceiling of Paradise and the largest of the creations in size. If Allah, the Exalted, were to allow the Throne to fall on the creation below all would be destroyed. It is carried by four Angels, but will be carried by eight on the Day of Judgement. These Angels are so large that the distance between the earlobe and shoulder of each is what a fast-flying bird would travel in seven-hundred years.
Allah Created the Throne as an indication of His Power and did not take it as a place for Himself. Subhanahu wa ta^ala, Allah does not resemble His creation in any way; He is not a body and is free of the attributes of bodies. The Creator is absolutely incomparable to any part of the creation or anything that can be imagined in the mind. Allah Existed eternally when there was nothing else in existence and He is free of any of the attributes of the creation.
Glory be to Allah, the Exalted, the One Who Honoured His Messenger with great miracles which supported his call to Islam. Praise and thanks are due to Allah, the Lord of the world, the One Who is Exalted and free from resemblance to the creation, from all unbefitting attributes and from all that is falsely said about Him. And Allah, the Glorified, Knows best.