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Testimony: The Bodily ascent of the Prophet Muhammad


Splendour and Glory be to Allah who described the journey by night of the Prophet (SAW) in the chapter ‘Isra’(=Journey By Night) and recounted his bodily ascent in the chapter ‘Al Najam’ (The Star) cited in the beginning of the Chapter III. The verses of both these chapters coincide together. The very aims of the journey and its fulfillment have been narrated in the verses of the aforesaid two chapters respectively. The Quran mentioned the objects of the journey when it said:

That We show him of our signs. (17/1)

And it mentioned its achievement by telling:

Verily he saw the Greatest Signs of His Lord. (53/18)

The traditionist Sheikh Abdul Haq of Delhi said: “That We show him of Our Signs.” related to the ascension... as the miraculous signs were shown to him in the heavens and it did not rest with whatever occurred in Aqsa Mosque. Carrying him to the Aqsa Mosque was in commencement to his ascension...”

In the chapter "Al Isra" the Quran referred to his journey by night to Aqsa Mosque, as the proof of his journey could be established in relation to the challenge of the infidels of Makkah. (This we shall see later). But no such evidence could be drawn against them for his bodily ascent to the seven heavens. Therefore, the Quran mentioned the bodily ascent of the Prophet (SAW) to seven heavens in another chapter, it has also been held that when his journey to Aqsa Mosque in portion of night is confirmed, then no way is left to deny his ascension to seven heavens.

Imam Ibn Taimia said:

“The ascension of the Prophet is proved by the unbroken chain of traditions, and the Quran has also described it, it referred to his journey by night on one place and his ascension on another place. It informed that it was done to show him His Signs and no other place confirmed the Prophet (SAW) having seen His Great Signs which never any man had seen...” (Al Jawab Al Sahih Vol. I. p. 160)


Abdullah Ibn Abbas narrated, the Prophet (S.A.W) said: After I was carried on a night journey, by morning I was at Makkah feeling awfully that the people would belie me.” ‘He was, therefore, sitting in seclusion overtaken by sorrow, that the enemy of God Abu Jahal came to him and sat by him, he said mockingly:

“Is there anything new? The Prophet said: Yes. He said: What is it? The Prophet replied: I was carried on a night journey. He said: Where to? The Prophet said: To Jerusalem. He said: Then by morning, you are before us.

The Prophet replied: Yes. Then fearing that if he called his folk, the Prophet (S.A.W) might disown this story. He said: Would you say what you told me before the folk?

The Prophet said: Yes. Then he called O’ the clan of Bani Kaab son of Loee, the people came and sat around both of them. Abu Jahal said: Tell them what you told me.

The Apostle of Allah (S.A.W) said: I was taken on a night journey. They said: Where to? He replied: To Jerusalem. They said: Then by morning, you are before us. He replied: Yes. Hearing this few among them clapped their hands, and few amazed by the story put their hands over their heads. They said: Can you give the description of the Mosque (of Jerusalem)?

Among them few had traveled to that city and had seen that Mosque.

The Apostle of Allah (S.A.W) said: I continued to specify it till I ran into the obscurity of some of its description. He said: The mosque was made to appear before me as close as the house of Aqeel or Oqail. Looking at it I specified what I had not remembered. They said: By God he specified it quite correctly. This tradition has also been reported by Al Baihaqi and Al Nasai.

Ibn Kathir says, “Among its narrators Auf Ibn Abi Jamila Al Arabi is among the most reliable scholars.

Jabir Ibn Abullah narrated. The Apostle of Allah (S.A.W) said: When Quraish belied me, I was standing in Hatim = (semi circular open portion of Kaaba). Allah made Bait al Maqdis evident for me and looking at it, I started to narrate them its signs. (Muslim)

Abu Huraira narrated, the Apostle of Allah (S.A.W) said: I was in Hijr (Hateem) and when Quraish were asking me about my night journey, they asked me about the details pertaining to Bait al Maqdis, which I could not preserve (in my memory). This anguished me, and I had never been in such an anguish before. Then Allah made it apparent before me and looking at it I informed them of everything they asked me...” (Muslim)

In a narration from Abi Saeed Alkhudri, the Prophet (S.A.W) talking about his journey by night said.” ...By morning I was at Makkah and informed them of the wonders I saw last night about Bait al Maqdis and my ascent to sky and I saw such and such things. Abu Jahal said: Have you not been taken aback by what is said by Muhammad. He asserts that he went to last night to Bait al Maqdis (Jerusalem) and then by morning he is before us. Whereas one reaches to Bait al Maqdis beating, his camel in one month and returns in one month and that is two months journey in one night!

The Prophet (S.A.W) said: I informed them about the caravan of Quresh while going I saw it on such and such place and while coming back I saw it near ‘Aqaba’, and informed them of every person, his camel and his luggage in it... A man among the polytheist came and said O Muhammad! Among the people, I have the best knowledge about Bait al Maqdis, you tell about its structure, shape and its closeness from the mountain. The Bait al Maqdis was raised before the Apostle of Allah () He was looking towards it as if one amongst us looks towards his house, and so he described its structure, shape and closeness from the mountain. He said: O Muhammad! you said the truth. (Al Baihaqui)

The above traditions proved that the ascent was made bodily. The Apostle of Allah (S.A.W) himself said that he went and had come back in a span of night. That was the reason for Quresh to belie him and to mock at him clapping their hands.

They inquired about Bait al Maqdis and caravan. Abu Jahal said that it was two months journey and the prophet asserts that it was done in a night.

Had the ascent not been bodily, the Apostle of Allah (S.A.W) would have never desisted them with the details of caravan or Bait al Maqdis. He would have simply told it be dream. Quraish would have never disputed with him.

God replying to this opposition of Quraish said:

Will ye then dispute with him concerning what he saw?

Further the Prophet (S.A.W) was greatly anguished for not preserving the details of Jerusalem and he was perturbed while replying to the queries of the infidels. Allah made Jerusalem to appear before him for replying to their queries.

The orientalists have also denied the traditions telling the appearance of Bait al Maqdis before him at Makkah but the TV’s’ invention has proved the possibility. (See. The Quran and the Modern Inventions)

Explaining the verse, ‘Glory be to Him Who carried His slave by night...’ Ibn Kathir said: Glory of God is celebrated in a hymn on the great supernatural signs. This (verse) shows that he was taken on a night journey with soul and body, as they both constitute a slave. Moreover has it been in a dream, the infidels Quraish did not hasten in belying him and had not turned it down saying it to be impossible. This proves that he told them that he was taken awake in a journey by night and not in sleep.


In a report of Abi Hatim Anas bin Malik, the Prophet (S.A.W) narrated few details of his journey by night and his ascent to the heavens. On his way, back Prophet (S.A.W) passed over the caravan of Quraish carrying foodstuff. There was a camel loaded with a black and white sack when he passed by it, it got startled, turned round, fell and broke its leg. By the morning, the Prophet (S.A.W) informed what ever had occurred (In Miraj). When the polytheists heard his narration, they came to Abu Bakar and said: Your friend claims that he covered one month’s distance and came back in the same night.

Abu Bakar said: If he said, he told the truth. We testify him for much beyond it, we testify him for his news of the heavens. The polytheists asked the Apostle of Allah (S.A.W) to tell them the signs. (He told them the aforesaid event of the camel). When the caravan came back, they asked them about it. They confirmed what the Apostle of Allah (S.A.W) narrated. This is the reason that Abu Bakar was named Abu Bakar the righteous (, as he testified without any hesitation the night journey of the Prophet (S.A.W) (Ibn Kathir)

There is a chain of traditions where in the Prophet (S.A.W) whatever narrated about the caravans was confirmed by them on their return and those traditions also bear witness to the testifying of Abu Bakar and his being entitled as ‘Righteous’ = (A-Siddiqu). Had the ascent been spiritual dream, Qureysh had never known it to be impossible, and since they were certain that Abu Bakar after hearing to two month’s journey having been performed in a night would refuse to accept it, so they went to him. But quite against their expectations, he confirmed this bodily travel. He established such an amazing example of faith in unseen that he was called righteous (31 b) even among the once in the sky. He will be called righteous till the Hour.


Abdullah bin Abbas narrated: “The Prophet (S.A.W) was taken on a night journey to Jerusalem and he returned the same night. He talked about this (bodily) travel and described about ‘Bait al Maqdis’ and the caravans. The people who heard him said: We do not believe Muhammad whatever he says. They apostatized to infidelity. God beheaded them with Abu Jahal (in the battle of Badar)...” (Al Dur ‘Al Manthur. Vol .IV.p.151)


Aesha (radiallah anha) narrated when the Prophet (S.A.W) was carried by night to Aqsa Mosque... and by morning, he talked to the people. For that reason, the people who had believed in him apostatized. Few of them hastily came to Abu Bakar (radiallah anho) and said: your friend claimed that he was taken to Jerusalem during the night.

Abu Bakar said: Did he say it?

They said: Yes.

Abu Bakar said: If he said it, he spoke the truth.

They said: Do you testify him that he went to Bait al Maqdis (=Jerusalem) in a night and came back before morning?

Abu Bakar said: Yes, I testify him for far more than this. I testify him for the news, which comes to him from the sky in a morning or the evening.

For this reason he was named Abu Bakar the righteous. The above narration confirms that his journey was with body and soul. The mother of the believers related this narration. Has it been a spiritual dream, none had it known it to be impossible and the new Muslims weak in faith had not converted to apostasy. (Al Dalail for Al Baihaqui)

This narration also been mentioned by Al Hakim and Ibn Mardoya Seouti mentioned it in his ‘Al Dur Al Manthur’ Vol. IV.p.155.