One of the miracles of Rasulullah (sall-Allahu ta'ala 'alaihi wa sallam) was his ascent to the Mi'raj; while he was in bed in al-Mekkat al-Mukarrama, he was awakened and his blessed body was taken to the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem (Quds), thence to the heavens, and after the seventh heaven, to the places which Allahu ta'ala determined.

   We have to believe in the Mi'raj in this manner. How the Mi'raj happened is written in detail in many valuable books, particularly in Shifa'-i sharif. He went with Jabra'il ('alaihi's-salam) from Mekka to Sidrat al-muntaha, a tree in the sixth and seventh heavens. No knowledge, no ascent could go further than there. In Sidra, Rasulullah ('alaihi 's-salam) saw Jabra'il ('alaihi 's-salam) in his own shape with his six hundred wings. Jabra'il ('alaihi 's-salam) remained in Sidra. From Mekka to Jerusalem, or to the seventh heaven, Rasulullah ('alaihi 's-salam) was taken on Buraq, which was a white, very fast, sexless and unworldly animal of Paradise and which is smaller than a mule and bigger than an ass. Each of its steps reached beyond eyeshot.

   At the Aqsa Mosque, Rasulullah ('alaihi 's-salam) became the imam [1] for prophets in the night or morning prayer. Prophets' souls were present there in their own human figures. From Jerusalem up to the seventh heaven, he was made to ascend in a moment with an unknown ladder named Mi'raj. On the way, angels lined up on the right and on the left, praised and lauded him. At each heaven, Jabra'il ('alaihi 's-salam) announced the good news of Rasulullah's ('alaihi 's-salam) arrival. In each heaven he saw a prophet and greeted him.

   In Sidra, he saw many astonishing things, the blessings of Paradise and the tortures of Hell. He looked at none of the blessings of Paradies out of the desire for and the pleasure of seeing Allahu ta'ala's Jamal. Beyond Sidra, he went ahead alone, among nurs (radiances). He heard the sounds of the angels' pens. He went through seventy thousand curtains. The distance between two curtains was like a way of five hundred years. After this, on a bed named Rafraf, which was brighter than the sun, he went through the Kursi and reached the 'Arsh. He went out of the 'Arsh, out of the worlds of time, space and matter. He reached the stage to hear Allahu ta'ala's Speech.

   He saw Allahu ta'ala in a manner that cannot be understood or explained, like Allahu ta'ala will be seen in the next world without time and space. He spoke with Allahu ta'ala without letters and sounds. He glorified, praised and lauded Him. He was given innumerable gifts and honours. Fifty times of performance of salat in a day were made fard (obligatory) for him and for his umma [2], but this was gradually reduced to five times a day with the mediation of Musa ('alaihi 's-salam). Before this, salat had been performed only in the mornings and in the afternoons or at nights.

   After such a long journey, having attained gifts and blessings and having seen and heard so many bewildering things, he came back to his bed, which had not become cold yet. What we have written above was understood partly from ayats [3] and partly from hadiths [4]. It is not wajib [5] to believe all. Yet, since the scholars of Ahl as-Sunna [6] communicated them, those who deny these facts will be separated from Ahl as-sunna. And he who does not believe an ayat or a hadith becomes a disbeliever.

[1] imam: i) profound 'alim; founder of a madhhab; ii) leader in congregational salat; iii) caliph.
[2] umma(t) followers of Muhammad ('alaihi 's-salam); the community, body of believers, of a prophet.
[3] ayat: A verse of al-Qur'an al-karim; al-ayat al-karima.
[4] hadith (sharif): i) a saying of the Prophet ('alaihi 's-salam).; al-Hadith ash-sharif: all the hadiths as a whole; ii) 'ilm al-hadith; iii) Books of the hadith ash-sharif. iv) Al-hadith al-qudsi, as-sahih, al-hasan: kinds of hadiths (for which, see Endless Bliss, II).
[5] wajib: (act, thing) never omitted by the Prophet, so almost as compulsory as fard and not to be omitted. Wajib al-wujud: Being whose existence is indispensable and nonexistence is impossible.
[6] Ahl as-Sunna (wa'l-Jama'a): the true pious Muslims who follow as-Sahabat al-kiram. These are called Sunni Muslims. A Sunni Muslim adapts himself to one of the four Madhhabs. These madhhabs are Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi'i and Hanbali.