The Isra and Miraj refer to, two parts of a miraculous journey that Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam – ﷺ) took in one night from Makkah to Jerusalem and then an ascension to the heavens.
The Al Isra’ wal Miraj which is celebrated by the Muslims every year on 27th day Rajab month (Rajab is the 7th month of the Islamic calendar). His first part of journey called as Isra (from Makkah to Al-Aqsa masjid) second part of journey called Mi’raj (from Al-Aqsa masjid to heavens).
Israa is an Arabic word referring to Prophet Muhammad’s (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam – ﷺ) miraculous night journey from Makkah to Jerusalem – specifically, to the site of al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem – as referred to in Surah Al-Israa in the Quran.
It is believed to have been followed by the Mi’raj, his ascension to heaven. According to some of the Hadith scholars this journey is believed to have taken place just over a year before Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam – ﷺ) migrated to from Makkah to Medina, on the 27th of Rajab.
Muslims celebrate this night by offering optional prayers during this night, and in many Muslim countries, by illuminating cities with electric lights and candles.
Allah Ta’ala has sent approximately 124,000 Prophets in this world. Every Prophet was given miracles as per the age and era in which they came, but the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) is Himself a miracle. Other Prophets were also granted their Meraj, but the Meraj of the stature and greatness of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam – ﷺ) was not granted to anybody else.
Few months before migration from Makkah to Medina, God took Holy Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam – ﷺ), in His blessed physical body, in a state of awakening (not sleep) in one night from Grand Masjid in Makka to Al-Aqsa Masjid in Jerusalem, a month’s journey of 1230 Km for caravan. From Jerusalem, he ascended to heavens passing the boundries of physical universe to be in divine presence, meet the God & witness Great signs (al-Ayat ul-Kubra).
Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam – ﷺ) toured the Barzakh (the netherworld), the cosmic worlds and the seven heavens. He (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam – ﷺ) saw Jannah (paradise) and Jahanum (hell), saw the wonders of the angelic world (Aalam-e-Malakut) and went beyond the Sidratul Muntaha and beyond the ‘Arsh (Throne of God). Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam – ﷺ) also conversed with the Lord without any veil.
His truth became apparent in two ways.
First, the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa’Sallam – ﷺ) described the caravans he had overtaken on the way home and said where they were and about when they might be expected to arrive in Makkah and each arrived as told by Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa’Sallam – ﷺ) and the details were as he described.
(Related content: ‘Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources’ by Martin Lings)
Second, Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaho Alaihi Wa Sallam – ﷺ) was never been to Jerusalem, yet he described al-Aqsa Masjid to doubters like an eye witness.
>He went beyond places where even angel Jibrael/Gabriel (Alaihi Salaam) was not allowed to go:
This is an established fact that angels are created from Noor. Hadhrat Jibraeel/Gabriel (Alaihi Salaam) is the chief of all angels. Thus, it is plain that he is distinct from all angels in his radiance. But in the night of Meraj, Jibraeel / Gabriel (Alaihi Salaam) also stopped at Sidratul Muntaha. He said: O Prophet of Allah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam)! If I budge from this point even to the extent of a segment of a finger, I will be burnt by the manifestations of Noor of Almighty Allah Ta’ala.
(As given in Tafseer Ruh Al Bayan, Vol. 5, Pg. No. 121)
So He (Allah) revealed to His (Beloved) servant whatever He revealed.
(Glorious Quran, Surah Najm/Chapter 53 : Verse 10)
Holy (free of any imperfection, weakness and insufficiency) is He Who took His (most beloved and intimate) Servant in a small portion of a night from the Sacred Mosque to the al-Aqsa Mosque, whose surroundings We have blessed, in order that We might show him (the Perfect Servant) Our Signs. Surely He is the One Who is All-Hearing, All-Seeing. Surah
(Glorious Quran, Bani Israil/Chapter 17 : Verse 1)
“So 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 (Paradise) – 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.”
(Holy Quran, Surah Najm/Chapter 53 : Verse 12-18 )
The event is also through a good number of eye witness testimony transmitted through the ages with an unbroken chain of reliable scholars (hadith mutawatir).
[Forty five (45) companions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa’Sallam – ﷺ) transmitted the reports on his Night Journey and the Heavenly Ascent. See the works of hadith masters: ‘Azhar al-Mutanathira fi al-Ahadith al-Mutawatira’ by al-Suyuti p. 263 and ‘Nadhm al-Mutanathira min al-Hadith al-Mutawatir,’ by al-Kattani p. 207].