Just one year before the Hijrat from Mecca to Medina, on the 27th night of Rajab, Prophet Muhammad PBUH had a unique experience in the history of all religions. The Prophet PBUH, accompanied by Angel Gabriel was taken for Night Journey-(ISRA) from Mecca to Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. There he led a congregation of the souls of all the earlier Prophets PBUT. Then accompanied by Angel Gabriel he had the Ascension-(Mairaj) to Heavens. In the heavens he met again with the Prophets PBUT individually. Then he was taken to see the Paradise and the Hell. He was shown what would be the fate of the humans after the Day of Judgment. How the Believers and the Righteous would be rewarded in the Paradise and also how the non-believers and the wicked would be chastised in the Hell. After seeing several important divine Signs (Ayaat) he was led by Gabriel to the Sid’rah (The Berry Tree). Gabriel stopped there. The Prophet PBUH proceeded from there to the Divine Proximity. The Prophet PBUH had the Vision of Allah, Lord of the Universe. Five obligatory prayers were ordained by the way of Thanksgiving. The Prophet PBUH was brought back to the earth and to his own place before the Dawn prayers in the same night. This Great event has been described above very briefly. The details can be read in the books about the Meraj of the Prophet PBUH.
The most important things we believe about the Meraj are noted below:
1) The night journey (ISRA) and the Ascension (MERAJ) both did not take place “spiritually” nor they were merely in a “dream”, as a few people argue. They took place with the “body and soul,” and the Prophet PBUH was fully awake.
”Glorified be He who carried His servant at night from Masjid al- Haram to Masjid al-Aqsa, the precincts of which We have blessed so that We may show him of Our signs. Verily He is the All- Hearing, the All-Seeing.”
(al-Qur’an – Chapter 17, Verse 01)
The word ‘Abad’ (servant) applies to a ‘person’ with his body and soul. Therefore, to say that the ascension was only spiritual is wrong. In fact it was with the body and soul and in full awareness.
2) The Prophet PBUH did not go for Meraj for seeing Angel Gabriel in his original form as some people try to explain. The Prophet PBUH had the Vision of his Lord and that is the essence of the Meraj as believed by a majority of the Companions of the Prophet PBUH, the Prophet PBUH had seen Angel Gabriel in his original for at least twice on the earth earlier. Hence, there was no need to see him again by ascension to heavens.
3) What will happen in the Paradise and the Hell after the Day of Judgment was shown to the Prophet PBUH as if it was happening before his eyes.