Al-Isra and Al-Mi’raj – Part 2
وَبَرَكَاتُهُ اللهِ وَرَحْمَةُ عَلَيْكُمْ السَّلاَمُ
After Muhammad ﷺ led the salah of the prophets in the Bayt Al-Maqdis, and Jibrael (AS) gave him the choice of two bowls – one of milk and one of wine – the prophet narrated that, ‘The doors of the samaa’ (heaven/sky) opened up to me.’ As of yet, the journey that the prophet had undertaken from Mecca to Jerusalem was that of the Isra, which was the Night Journey. However from this point forth the Mi’raj began, and this was the journey from the Bayt Al-Maqdis all the way up through the 7 heavens. And now the doors to those samawaat were open to the prophet.
Now, a clarification needs to be made here as to what the 7 samawaat actually are. Confusion is often made between the samawaat and the janaat, however these are not actually the same thing; the samawaat are the 7 levels or layers of creation that Allah has created above us. The janaat, meanwhile, are the many, many uncountable layers of paradise that Allah has prepared as a reward for the believers, and the belief is that these janaat actually reside in the seventh samaa’. As to what the different layers of creation of the samawaat actually are, we don’t know and we may never know. That is part of the ilm al-ghayb (knowledge of the unseen). However, we do know that we are currently in the Samaa’ Ad-Dunya, and that this is the lowest level.
So the first door opened, and the prophet passed into the second samaa’ where there was a man standing. And he was a huge, tall man, and Jibrael (AS) said, ‘This is your father, Adam, so say salaam to him.’ And so Muhammad ﷺ gave him salaam, to which Adam (AS) responded, ‘Welcome, o noble son and noble prophet.’ Now note, although all of the prophets were praying behind Muhammad ﷺ in the Bayt Al-Maqdis, they still manage to be in the heavens waiting for the prophet before he gets there, and this is because they are in spirit form and Allah raises them into the heavens in order to greet Muhammad ﷺ.
So in the second heaven, the two cousins Yahiya and Isa (AS) were waiting to welcome the prophet. Now the same conversation that happened with Adam (AS) took place here, where the prophet gave them salaam and they responded by welcoming him, however this time instead of ‘o noble son’ they greeted him as ‘o noble brother.’ Then, in the third heaven there was Yusuf (AS), and the same conversation took place and he also greeted the prophet as ‘o noble brother’. This was the only time that Muhammad ﷺ saw Yusuf (AS), and from here the famous narration comes, ‘I saw Yusuf, and it was as if he had been given half of all beauty.’ Then, in the fourth heaven Idris (AS) waited for the prophet, and in the fifth Haroon (AS). And their welcomes were the same as Yahiya and Isa as well.
And then in the sixth heaven there was Musa (AS). And him and Muhammad ﷺ had the same conversation as in all the other heavens, however as Muhammad ﷺ was about to move on Musa began to cry. And when he was asked why he was crying, he replied, ‘I am crying because this young man, who was sent after me, will have a larger following that will enter Jannah than my own ummah.’ Note: Musa (AS) died around 130 years old, and so for this reason he considered Muhammad ﷺ, who was around 51 at the time, young. Another thing this hadith shows us is that there is such a thing a positive jealousy; Musa (AS) was not jealous against the prophet, rather he was jealous for the rewards that he had earned, and this is something that we should all feel as we strive to be the best Muslims that we can.
In the seventh heaven Ibrahim (AS) was waiting for the prophet, and he was there sitting with his back on the Bayt Al-Ma’moor. Now the Bayt Al-Ma’moor literally translates to ‘The Frequented House’, and we have only one hadith about it. And it is that the location of the Bayt Al-Ma’moor is directly above the Kahbah, such that if it were to fall, it would fall directly onto it. And every single day, since Allah created the creation until the day of judgement, 70 000 angels enter the Bayt Al-Ma’moor to do tawaf, and then that same batch of 70 000 never return. And so this gives an indication to the sheer number of angels that Allah has created and will create.
Now Ibrahim (AS) gave the same response that Adam (AS) did, addressing Muhammad ﷺ as ‘noble son’ rather than ‘noble brother’. And this makes sense as the prophet was a direct descendent of Ibrahim (AS), but also note that this greeting was given only at the start and at the end of his ascension, once by Adam (AS) and once by Ibrahim (AS). And in fact, there are even more wisdoms to this order:
Adam (AS) is the father of all mankind, so it is befitting for him to be the first to greet the prophet. There is also the symbolism that Adam (AS) was forced to leave the holy place of Jannah where he was comfortable, which reflects of Muhammad ﷺ as he himself would later have to leave Mecca and make himself uncomfortable in order to spread Islam.
Isa and Yahiya (AS) are both chronologically the closest to Muhammad ﷺ and so it makes sense for them to greet him next. As well as this, the struggles faced by Isa and Yahiya (AS) are reminiscent of the struggles that the prophet would face as his own people would reject and even try to murder him. This is emphasised with Yusuf (AS), whose own brothers tried to kill him. However they later repented and accepted his religion, just like the Quraish would return and accept Islam after Mecca would be conquered by the Muslims.
Now the only thing we know about Idris (AS) is that Allah says he has raised him to a high place. And indeed, he greets the prophet all the way up in the fourth samaa’, and this shows the prophet Muhammad ﷺ that he will also be raised to a high place. Then came Haroon (AS), who was also rejected but then later accepted by his people. And Musa (AS) also had a similar reason, as he had the most similar experiences to Muhammad ﷺ and the second largest ummah after the prophet.
However, Ibrahim (AS) came even above Musa (AS), because while Musa (AS) was kaleemullah (the One Spoken to by Allah), Ibrahim (AS) was khaleelullah (the Close Confidant of Allah). And the prophet narrated that Allah has only ever taken two khaleel, one of which was Ibrahim and other was the prophet Muhammad ﷺ himself. As well as this, there is another logical reason for Ibrahim (AS) to be in the seventh heaven, as there he was sitting with the Bayt Al-Ma’moor. And since Ibrahim (AS) built the Kahbah, it makes sense for him to be associated with the ‘Kahbah of the heavens’, as Allah rewards those in accordance with the good deeds that they have done.
Dr.Yasir Qadhi’s Seerah of The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) 021