Testimony 9 - 12

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Testimony: The Bodily ascent of the Prophet Muhammad


Ibn Ishaque has attributed a report to the mother of the believers Aesha (radiallah anha) i.e. ‘the body didn’t depart which has been discussed thoroughly in Testimony 9 & 10 in another of his report which he traced to Moawiyah, it is said:

“The night journey of the Apostle of Allah (S.A.W) from God was true ‘Roya’ (=vision). (Ibn Hisham).

i) The Arabic word ‘roya’ (=vision) has a double meaning. The act of seeing with the real eye, and it also means a sight such as might be seen in a vision, dream etc. that is the reason when Moawiyah told the night journey a real vision, this utterance of his was contested among the scholars of Islam including the companions of the Apostle of Allah (S.A.W).

ii) I put forth the same reasoning against the version of Moawiyah, which I have written in Testimony 9 and 10 against the narration of Aesha (radiallah anha), and I have proved that her utterance was not about the night journey and ascent which the Prophet (S.A.W) had at Makkah before his migration to Madinah.

iii) It has been related in Testimony 1 that the night journeys and the ascent of the Prophet were quite few but only one among them was in body and soul, therefore, it is possible that Moawiyah might have laid his opinion about the one which the Prophet (S.A.W) saw in dream at Makkah.

iv) The ascent in body and soul, which occurred at Makkah, was at the time when Moawiyah had not entered in the fold of Islam, therefore, his opinion cannot overweight other companions of the Prophet.

v) The Quran said:

We appointed the vision which We showed thee as an ordeal for the people, and the Accursed Tree in the Quran. (17/60)

It might be that Moawiyah (radiallah anho) had given his personal view on the aforesaid verse telling on his own that the night journey was a vision (dream). His opinion is wrong because Abdullah bin Abbas (radiallah anho) explaining the aforesaid verse said: “It was the vision of the real eye which was shown to the Apostle of Allah in the night he was carried on a journey to Bait al Maqdis, and it was not the vision in a dream. The Accursed Tree in the Quran is the tree of Zaqqum (grown at the bottom of Hell, it will be the food of the sinners and will boil like molten brass in their bellies, The Quran). This contention of Ibn Abbas further testifies that the night journey was in body and soul, and proves it was not a dream but observation of the wakeful eyes.

vi) Explaining ‘We appointed the vision which We showed thee as an ordeal for mankind, ‘Imam Razi said: Most correct exegesis which most of the exegetes have contended is that it refers to what was shown by Allah at the night of the ascent. Few differ in the meaning of ‘Alroya’ (=vision), but most of them held there is no difference between ‘alroyah’ and ‘alroya’ in Arabic language. It is said I saw by my own eyes ‘royah’ and ‘roya’. Very few said this refers to the story of night journey which was a vision in sleep. This contention is unfounded and worthless, as we have explained in the beginning of this chapter (i.e. Night Journey). The words ‘an ordeal for the people’ mean that when the Prophet (S.A.W) told them the narrative of the ‘Night Journey’ they belied him and few who had believed in him apostatized, and it cost the believers to strengthen them in their faith, so far these reasons this (event) was an ordeal. (Tafsir AlKabir)

vii) ‘roya’ or ‘royah’ both are derivatives from the verb ‘raa’ and they both are infinitive nouns. The scholars also use it for the vision of the wakeful eye as was said by the famous Arab Scholar ‘Al Mutanabbi’ of the days of ignorance:

‘wa royak ahla fi al oyoun min al ghamas’

Meaning, your vision in the eyes is more beautiful than the closed eyes. The word ‘roya’ is also used for visioning things during the night, since the ascent was during the night, so it was called ‘roya’ and the explanation of Ibn Abbas in para five above further clarified it.

viii) Few commentators held that the verse under discussion refers to a dream, seen by the Prophet (S.A.W) before the battle of Badr referred to in:

“When Allah showed them unto thee (O Muhammad) in thy dream as few in number...” (8/43)

And few say it refers to the dream of the Prophet (S.A.W) in which he had seen that he entered the Holy Mosque (Makkah) just before, he decided the journey to Makkah which resulted in the treaty of Hudaibiya referred in the verse: “Allah hath fulfilled the vision of his Apostle in very truth...” (48/27)

Both these dreams had ordeal in them for the Muslims, therefore there remains a probability that the revelation in question i.e. “We appointed the vision which We showed thee as an ordeal,” too might point out to the night journey in a dream. It is, therefore, we can never call Moawiuya’s interpretation as genuine.

However, Ibn Abbas contention made it positive that this revelation too did not refers to the dream but to the night journey of the wakeful eyes.

(ix) Firstly Ibn Ishaque reported the contention of Aesha (radiallah anha) See. Testimony 9. Then he quoted the aforesaid contention of Moawiyah (radiallah anho) calling the night journey of the Apostle of Allah (S.A.W) a true vision, then he quoted the verse ‘We appointed the vision which We showed thee...’ then he referred to Abraham (alaihi alsalam) saying:

Oh my dear son, I have seen in a dream that I must sacrifice thee.

Then he performed the sacrifice. So I knew the revelation comes to the prophet in their awakening and sleep. Then Ibn Ishaqu concluded saying: I have been told that the Prophet (S.A.W) used to say: “My eyes sleep but my heart keeps awaking. “God knows what the truth is. When the command (of night journey) came to him, he was wakeful or asleep in which of the two condition he was, sleeping or awaking, all this is right and true. (Ibn Hisham)

Ibn Kathir reporting the above narrative of Ibn Ishaqu in his commentary wrote:

“The above contentions of Ibn Ishaqu have severely been criticized by Ibn Jarir in his commentary. He refuted him and repudiated his contentions and said that it is repugnant to the text of the Quran. (Ibn Kathir)

In my humble opinion, Ibn Ishaqu himself is dubious and uncertain on whatever he ascribed to the mother of the believers Aesha and Moawiyah (radiallah anhum). His vacillation is the proof of it because he said in which of the two conditions the Prophet was, sleeping or awaking. Had Ibn Ishaqu been sure of his narrative, he would have hold positively that the night journey was in sleep, His dubious statement makes it that he himself did not believe the reports that he attributed to Aesha and Moawiyah (radiallah anhuma). This makes it evident that the Miraj was in body and soul.

x) Imam, Ibn Kathir in his explanatory notes of the ‘The Night Journey’ cited the verse, “We appointed the vision which We showed thee,” then referred to Ibn Abbas saying: What was shown to the Apostle of Allah (S.A.W) was the vision of wakeful eye. (Al-Bukhari) Then the Imam quoting: “His sight never swerved nor did it go astray,” said: The instrument of the eyesight for human body are eyes, and they are not for soul, further, he was taken on a white glistening animal (Buraq), this is also for body as the soul does not require a mount for its motion.

Thus, Imam Ibn Kathir proved the Ascent in body and soul referring to the other verses of the Quran and Sunnah.


It is proved by unbroken chain of traditions that the Apostle of Allah (S.A.W) himself stated his bodily journey to Jerusalem and his return in the same night before Qureysh. Qureysh clapped their hands and made fun of him. They disbelieved him and said: That they go and come back in two months and you went and returned the same night. The matter got so serious that few new Muslim apostatized. The testifying of Abu Bakar (radiallah anho) to his bodily ascent, Qureysh’s insistence in demanding proof of the journey, their persistence in asking the signs of Bait al Maqdis, their queries about the caravans, the Apostle’s telling of signs of Bait al Maqdis in defense of his august event, Allah’s making of Bait al Maqdis apparent before His Apostle, all these facts tell at the beat of the drum that the night journey of the Prophet (S.A.W) was in body and soul. Therefore, all the views repugnant to the Prophet’s traditions are void, whether they might be from Ibn Ishaqu or any one else. As for Aesha (radiallah anha) she herself testified the bodily journey telling the apostatizing of new Muslims. (See. Testimony 8) However, her narrative from Ibn Ishaqu and that of Moawiyah are definitely for the night visions in sleep, which occurred at Medinah and not at Makkah.


‘We appointed the vision which We showed thee as an ordeal."

Very renowned scholars have said whatever the Apostle of Allah (S.A.W) perceived at the night of ascent was the vision of the wakeful eyes. I have already referred Ibn Abbas (radiallah anho) in para (v) above. Now I refer few other traditions in this regard describing the significance in the aforesaid revelation.

(a) Umme Hani (radiallah anha) narrated when the Apostle of Allah (S.A.W) was taken on the night journey, by morning the people of Qureysh were making fun of him. They demanded from him the signs, so he gave them a description of Bait al Maqdis and told them the story of the caravan. (Listening to him) Al Waleed bin AlMughira said: He is a sorcerer. Then God revealed: We appointed the vision which We showed thee as an ordeal... (Abu Saad, Abu Yala, Asakir)

(b) Al Hasan (radiallah anho) narrated: Allah’s Apostle (S.A.W) told them (Qureysh) about his night journey. They disbelieved him and few new Muslims apostatized. Allah revealed: We showed thee the vision... as an ordeal...” (Ibn al Jarir, Ibn al Munzir)

(c) Qatada referring the verse: ‘We appointed the vision which we showed thee as an ordeal...’ said: Allah showed him the signs and the caravan in his way to Bait al Maqdis. The people who had embraced Islam apostatized after the Apostle of Allah (S.A.W) told them about his journey. They said: You crossed the two-month’s journey in a night. (Ibn Jarir)

The above narratives do not require any explanation as to the fact that Apostle of Allah (Sallallaho Alaihi Wasallam) was taken on a night journey in body and soul. The rebuttal of Qureysh and turning into apostasy of the new Muslims is the glittering proof of it. Had it been a dream neither Qureysh had refused nor the new Muslims got apostatized.


When Abu Jahal heard the revelation: ‘We appointed the vision which We showed thee, and (likewise) the Accursed Tree in the Quran’, he said: Muhammad frightens us from the fire of the Hell and also tells us that the trees will be grown into it.

We know cynachum viminale, though a green tree burns in itself. (See. The Quran and the Genetics). Similarly, Allah can produce the creatures in fire, particularly when the Jinn are made of fire. General tendency is that the people refuse to accept what seem to them incredible. Thus, many Quranic facts were denied and later science proved them. (See the index of this volume). Mostly the people who denied the miracle make interpretation, which suits to them. When Abu Jahal was told of the Accured Tree (Zaqqum), he also interpreted and said you take dates and butter and (zaqomaho) swallow it. Even today, the Liars interpret the Quran like this.

31 b. Abu Huraira narrated. The Apostle of Allah (S.A.W) said: The night I was made to ascent the sky, whenever I passed through a sky I found written ‘Muhammad the Apostle of Allah and Abu Bakar the Righteous my successor.

32. 'Lo! Allah! With Him is the knowledge of the hour. He sendeth down the rain, and knoweth that which is in the wombs. No soul knoweth what it will earn tomorrow and no soul knoweth in what land it will die. Lo! Allah is the Knower and the Aware. (31/34)

33. The Prophet (S.A.W) was sleeping with two other persons. They were his uncle Hamza bin Abdul Muttalib, and his cousin Jafar bin Abi Talib.