Allah gifted Muhammad (SAW) with the Israa and Miraaj. Al-Israa is when he went from Makah to Baitil-Maqdis and back in one night, and Al-Miraaj is when he climbed to the seventh firmament and back.
Al-Israa is mentioned in Chapter 17 verse 1, where Allah says:
Glory to (Allah) who did take His servant for a 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 One Who hears and sees (all things).
The sacred mosque refers to the Kaaba at Makah; it had not yet been cleared of its idols and rededicated exclusively to the One True God. It was symbolical of the new Message, which was been given to mankind. The Farthest Mosque (Al-Aqsaa Mosque) refers to the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem on the hill of Moriah, at or near where the Dome of the Rock stands.
The Miraaj is mentioned in Surat Nnajm (liii), verses 1-18. For this miraculous trip, he was sent a Buraaq, an animal that resembles a horse, on which he rode and (flew) to Baitil-Maqdis. There he went inside the temple and prayed. After that, the Angel Jibril came and took him on a trip to the seventh firmament. When he reached the first firmament he met Adam (AS), at the second, he met Issa and Yahya (AS). When he reached the third he met Yusuf (AS), at the fourth, he met Idris (AS), the fifth he met Harun (AS), the sixth he met Musa (AS) and the seventh he met Ibrahim (AS).
When he reached the seventh firmament, he was taken to the tree of Sidratil-Muntahaa (Lote tree) where Allah gave him some of the Divine Inspirations and ordained for his people
prayers fifty times per day and night. When he reached the sixth firmament on his way back down to earth, Musa (AS) asked him: “What has the Lord ordained to you for your people?”
He said: “Prayers fifty times a day and night.”
Musa (AS) said: “Your people will not be able to cope with this. I myself could not get my people perform simple prayers, so go back to your Lord and ask Him to ease on you.”
Muhammad (SAW) went back and asked his Lord to ease on him the burden; they were then made five times in a day and night. When he went back to Musa (AS), he asked him if the prayers had been reduced, and Muhammad (SAW) said: “They have been reduced to five times in a day and night.”
Musa (AS) told him: “That is still too much, go back and appeal to your Lord to reduce further.”
Therefore, he was shuttling back and forth, until in the end Allah said to him: “O Muhammad! Those five prayers in a day and night adorned to you for your people, each one of them is equivalent to ten that is a total of fifty prayers.”
The next morning after his return to Makah that night, he went to the chiefs of the Quraishy and told them what had happened. Some of them jeered at him and some were stunned to hear this strange story. The only person who believed in him was Abu Bakr (RAA) who was later nicknamed As-Siddiq (he who believed), from then on he was known as Abu Bakr As-Siddiq.
The pagans wanted to test Muhammad (SAW) to see if he was really telling the truth, thus they told him to explain to them what he saw in Baitil-Maqdis. There were some of them who knew what the temple looked like. He therefore gave them a detailed overview of the temple. They said to him: “Tell us about our caravan that is on the way coming.” He told them in details, how many camels were there, how the people in it were and when they were due to arrive in Makah. After all this, they were still stubborn and refused to believe in him.
That morning after his return, the Angel Jibril came to teach him how to pray and gave him the timings of these five prayers. He was told to bow (kneel) two times at dawn just at the first twilight; kneel four times at noon immediately after the sun had gone over to the West, four times after the shadow became double the size of the object, three times immediately after sunset, and four times after the evening twilight had disappeared. Before this, Muhammad (SAW) used to kneel two times in the morning and two times in the evening.
In the month of Shaaban (the eighth month), of the second year of the Islamic calendar Allah ordained to the Muslims the fasting of the month of Ramadhan (the ninth month). Before that Muhammad (SAW) used to fast three days in each month. This is the fourth pillar out of the five pillars of Islam. It was also ordained in the same year the giving of Zakaat, the giving of alms to the poor or the cleansing of one’s wealth; and is the third pillar. Islam is based on five pillars viz.:
1 Testify that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad (SAW) is His Apostle.
2 Performing of prayers.
3 Giving of Zakaat.
4 Fasting the month of Ramadhan.
5 Going for pilgrimage to Makka for those who can.
When the annoyance of the unbelievers became intolerable and got beyond control, Muhammad (SAW) ordered his follower to emigrate to Madina. Groups of them thus left and went to
Madina, leaving behind Muhammad (SAW) with only a few people, among them were Abu Bakr Ssiddiq, Ali bin Abi Taalib, Suhaib and Zeyd bin Haaritha (RAA).
The Quraishy got together to discuss what to do with Muhammad (SAW). One of them said: “Banish him from Makka and you will be in peace.” This suggestion was refused because if Muhammad (SAW) went out of Makah his followers would join him and would become stronger. Another suggestion was to throw him into the gallows; this was also refused, as his followers would try to free him and that they might start a war.
Abu Jahal (the Ignorant) his people called him Abu Lhakam (the Wise), said: “Let us kill him. We should get a strong youth from each of our clans, and let them wait for him outside his home at night and when he comes out they all attack him together. In this way his blood would be in the hands of all the Quraishy, and the Abd Manaaf would not be able to fight all of us.” They therefore agreed on this plan, but by Allah’s miracles Muhammad (SAW) came to know of the plan and his Lord commanded him to leave and go where he would get respect and be able to spread the religion freely and well.
In Surat Nnajm (The Star) (liii) Allah defends Muhammad (SAW) against three kinds of charges that the unbelievers brought against him:
1. That he was going astray, either through defect of intelligence or through carelessness.
2. That he was being misled or deceived by evil spirits.
3. That he spoke of a whim or impulse, or from a selfish desire to impress his own personality.
None of these charges was true; on the contrary, he had direct inspiration from Allah.
Reference: The Twenty Five Prophets
By: Sheikh Nasser bin Issa bin Saeed Al Kindi
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