The Angel Jibrael accompanied Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) throughout the journey. The prophet (pbuh) travelled on an animal called the Buraq which allowed the prophet (pbuh) to travel vast distances in a small period of time. It also allowed him to travel into the heavens, which no normal creature would be capable of. The Buraq is like a horse upon which the passenger would sit.
The prophet (pbuh) was whisked away to the mosque in Jerusalem – Bait ul Maqdis. Here all the prophets were assembled and they prayed salat together behind prophet Muhammad (pbuh). This was a unique event where the most noble of human beings were gathered together in one place. All the prophets from the past were assembled at the same point in time to offer salat behind the last and final messenger.
After the Salat, the prophet (pbuh) was taken away into the heavens. as the prophet (pbuh) ascended the different heavens, he met many prophets and saw many amazing things. This journey through heaven continued through each heaven until he reached the seventh heaven and was taken to a point where he spoke to Allah in person. It is understood that the prophet (pbuh) did not see Allah with his own eyes but instead was taken to the furthest point at the lote tree. Here the prophet (pbuh) was able to speak to Allah.
During his journey there he had met prophets at each heaven and also spoke to them. He met prophets such as Adam (as), Yahya (as), Isa (as), Yusuf (as), Harun (as), Ibrahim (as) and Musa (as). He had the opportunity to speak to these prophets and they acknowledged their faith in the final messenger.
When the prophet (pbuh) spoke with Allah, he was given the command for the believers to pray fifty times a day. as the prophet (pbuh) descended, he met Musa (as) who advised him that this would be difficult for the believers and that he should ask for a reduction in Salat.
The prophet (pbuh) returned to Allah and requested that he got a reduction in the number of prayers. Allah granted the Muslims a reduction to forty Salat and again the prophet (pbuh) returned. However, when he spoke to Musa (as) again, he was advised that forty was too much and the believers would not be able to pray so much. Musa had experience with his people for many years and from this experience he was advising the prophet (pbuh).
Muhammad (pbuh) again returned to Allah and again Allah reduced the number of Salat for the believers. This trip to and fro continued until the prayers were reduced to five Salat. Musa (as) still advised the prophet (pbuh) to request the number of Salat to be reduced further but the prophet (pbuh) was too embarrassed to go before Allah and ask for a further reduction.
The five daily prayers were thus made compulsory upon the believers by the command of Allah. It was the will of Allah that the Salat should be reduced to five Salat in a day but still the people who perform them will receive the full reward for the fifty Salat. The prophet (pbuh) then continued his journey through heaven.
Reference to the Night Journey in the Quran:
Quran, Surah 17, Al-Isra (Israel)
17:1 Glory to (God) Who did take His Servant for 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).
Reference to the Night Journey in the Hadith:
Sahih Bukhari (Book of Authentic Hadith)
345. Narrated Abu Dharr: Allah's Apostle (SAW) said, "While I was at Mecca the roof of my house was opened and descended, opened my chest, and washed it with Zam-zam water. Then he brought a golden tray full of wisdom and faith and having poured its contents into my chest, he closed it. Then he took my hand and ascended with me to the nearest heaven, when I reached the nearest heaven, Gabriel said to the gatekeeper of the heaven, 'Open (the gate).'
The gatekeeper asked, 'Who is it?' Gabriel answered: 'Gabriel.' He asked, 'Is there anyone with you?' Gabriel replied, 'Yes, Muhammad is with me.' He asked, 'Has he been called?' Gabriel said, 'Yes.' So the gate was opened and we went over the nearest heaven and there we saw a man sitting with some people on his right and some on his left. When he looked towards his right, he laughed and when he looked toward his left he wept. Then he said, 'Welcome! O pious Prophet and pious son.' I asked Gabriel, 'Who is he?' He replied, 'He is Adam and the people on his right and left are the souls of his offspring. Those on his right are the people of Paradise and those on his left are the people of Hell and when he looks towards his right he laughs and when he looks towards his left he weeps.' Then he ascended with me till he reached the second heaven and he (Gabriel) said to its gatekeeper, 'Open (the gate).' The gatekeeper said to him the same as the gatekeeper of the first heaven had said and he opened the gate. Anas said: "Abu Dharr added that the Prophet (SAW) met Adam, Idris, Moses, Jesus and Abraham. He (Abu Dharr) did not mention on which heaven they were but he mentioned that he (the Prophet (SAW)) met Adam on the nearest heaven and Abraham on the sixth heaven. Anas said, "When Gabriel along with the Prophet (SAW) passed by Idris, the latter said, 'Welcome! O pious Prophet and pious brother' The Prophet (SAW) asked, 'Who is he?' Gabriel replied, 'He is Idris.' The Prophet (SAW) added, "I passed by Moses and he said, 'Welcome! O pious Prophet and pious brother.' I asked Gabriel, 'Who is he?' Gabriel replied, 'He is Moses.' Then I passed by Jesus and he said, 'Welcome! O pious brother and pious Prophet.' I asked, 'Who is he?' Gabriel replied, 'He is Jesus.' Then I passed by Abraham and he said, 'Welcome! O pious Prophet and pious son.' I asked Gabriel, 'Who is he?' Gabriel replied, 'He is Abraham.' The Prophet (SAW) added, "Then Gabriel ascended with me to a place where I heard the creaking of the pens." Ibn Hazm and Anas bin Malik said: The Prophet (SAW) said, "Then Allah enjoined fifty prayers on my followers. When I returned with this order of Allah, I passed by Moses who asked me, 'What has Allah enjoined on your followers?' I replied, 'He has enjoined fifty prayers on them.' Moses said, 'Go back to your Lord (and appeal for reduction) for your followers will not be able to bear it.' (So I went back to Allah and requested for reduction) and He reduced it to half. When I passed by Moses again and informed him about it, he said, 'Go back to your Lord as your followers will not be able to bear it.' So I returned to Allah and requested for further reduction and half of it was reduced. I again passed by Moses and he said to me: 'Return to your Lord, for your followers will not be able to bear it. So I returned to Allah and He said, 'These are five prayers and they are all (equal to) fifty (in reward) for My Word does not change.' I returned to Moses and he told me to go back once again. I replied, 'Now I feel shy of asking my Lord again.' Then Gabriel took me till we reached Sidrat Muntaha (lote tree of the utmost boundary) which was shrouded in colors, indescribable. Then I was admitted into Paradise where I found small (tents or) walls (made) of pearls and its earth was of musk."
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