Was the Mi`raj (Ascension to Heaven) of the Prophet (peace be upon him) merely a vision or a truth? In other words, was the Prophet (peace be upon him) taken for a journey by night spiritually or physically?
(Part No. 3; Page No. 374)
The Prophet (peace be upon him) was taken for a journey by night while awake, meaning, both spiritually and physically, from
Al-Masjid Al-Haram to
Al-Aqsa Mosque. Moreover, he was made to ascend on the same night from
Al-Aqsa Mosque to the seventh Heaven while he was awake, meaning, both spiritually and physically. Such is the belief of
Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal-Jama`ah (adherents to the Sunnah and the Muslim mainstream). Allah (Exalted be He) said:
Glorified (and Exalted) be He (Allâh) [above all that (evil) they associate with Him] Who took His slave (Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم) for a journey by night from Al-Masjid-al-Harâm (at Makkah) to Al-Masjid-al-Aqsâ (in Jerusalem), the neighbourhood whereof We have blessed, in order that We might show him (Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم) of Our Ayât (proofs, evidence, lessons, signs, etc.) Verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer.
The Arabic word ""Abdihi" (English: His slave) must denote both soul and body. Therefore, no alternative meaning should be adopted unless it can be substantiated with evidence. Allah (Exalted be He) also said:
And We made not the vision which we showed you (O Muhammad as an actual eye-witness and not as a dream on the night of Al-Isrâ’) but a trial for mankind
Undoubtedly, a vision in the sense of a dream is not likely to be a trial. In fact, an ordinary man might dream of traveling around the world, flying in the air or ascending to the heavens and if he tells others about this, they will not think of denying it. Hence, it is an eye-vision. Allah (Exalted be He) said:
And indeed he (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) saw him [Jibrîl (Gabriel)] at a second descent (i.e. another time).
Near Sidrat-ul-Muntaha (a lote-tree of the utmost boundary over the seventh heaven beyond which none can pass).
Near it is the Paradise of Abode.
When that covered the lote-tree which did cover it!
The sight (of Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) turned not aside (right or left), nor it transgressed beyond the limit (ordained for it).
Indeed he (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) did see of the Greatest Signs, of his Lord (Allâh).
May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.