Meeting the Prophets during the Meraaj

This post is about drawing parallels between the Prophet ﷺ meeting his fellow Prophets during the Meraj

Many of you will have read the full account of the Isra wal Meraj, if you have not then here is the full detailed account: Al-Isrāʼ wal-Miʼrāj

This post will specifically consider the relationship between our Prophet Muhammad ﷺ with all other Prophets he meets during the ascension. Have no doubt the Prophets he met were not there at random nor by coincidence.

Something to note is heavens are different to paradise. Paradise is the garden in Jannah and there are 7 levels of paradise. Whereas the Heavan are the skies, and there are 7 of these too. And these are different to the sky or atmosphere. What we see of the cosmos is the lower realm, all the galaxies and stars, beyond that begins first heaven and so on. And some say Paradise begins at the 7th heaven, or at least the roots of the Lote tree. Allah knows best.

The context of the Meraj is that the messenger was in a state of sorrow. He is being persecuted by the people of his community, no one wants to accept Islam anymore, people are dying from the Muslim boycott, his protector, his uncle Abu Talib dies and his beloved wife Khadija who supported him for decades also dies. He then goes to Taa’if as one last push to get people to recognise Allah alone as their Lord, but he is pelted till his sandals are covered in blood. The Prophet ﷺ is at a cross-roads. His Imaan is strong and he has full faith in Allah, but guidance is needed on where to next? In hindsight we know that he will go to Madina in a few years and be welcomed, but at the time the Prophet ﷺ doesn’t know what is to come. All he sees is his family abandon Allah and will be doomed in the fire of hell. He had a deep concern for his ummah, the believers and the non-believers. So Allah prepares him and we can see this guidance in Surah Kahf and Surah Isra and many others that were revealed 3 or 4 years before the Hijra.

One of the ways Allah consoles his beloved is by making him meet past Prophets. Each Prophet is a healing for him and a reminder of their struggle, and outcomes.

So whilst the Prophet ﷺ is in Al-Aqsa and has led all Prophets in Salah, his position as Sayyid al-Ambiyya and Imam al-Murasaleen is displayed, the next journey is the ascension. The ascension to the court of the Lord Most High. Allah is the most Wise, the journey to Allah is also full of wisdom. The Messenger of Allah said that, ‘a ladder was brought to me finer than any I have ever seen. It was that to which the dying man looks when death approaches’. [The Life of Muhammad (saw) Ibn Ishaq].

For each heaven the Prophet ﷺ reached, an Angel stood protecting it, when they realised it was the Prophet al Mustafa, the said, “Welcome to him, from his family! May Allah grant him long life, a brother (of ours) and a deputy (of Allah), and what excellent brother and deputy! What an excellent visit is this!” They rejoiced.

First Heaven

In the 1st heaven he meets Adam عليه السلام.

‘There we saw a man sitting with some people on his right and some on his left. When he looked towards his right, he laughed and when he looked toward his left he wept. Then he said, “Welcome O pious Prophet and pious son!”

I asked Jibril [as], “Who is he?” He replied, “He is Adam عليه السلام and the people on his right and left are the souls of his offspring. Those on his right are the people of Paradise and those on his left are the people of Hell and when he looks towards his right he laughs and when he looks towards his left, he weeps”’. [Bukhari]

The connection between the two is that Adam عليه السلام is the father of the human race so this our Prophet ﷺ meeting the father of all people and his father. It establishes a link between the first Prophet sent to address the affairs of man and the final Prophet ﷺ sent rectify the affairs.

Adam عليه السلام was also somebody who was banished from his home in Jannah and the Prophet ﷺ is at the edge of the city, pretty much banished also. Adam عليه السلام made a new place his home and continued to worship Allah and the same would happen to our Prophet ﷺ.

The Prophet ﷺ had a worry that his family and his people in Makkah are disbelievers and they’re going to go to the Hellfire forever but then he sees Adam عليه السلام and we are all the children of Adam عليه السلام. He sees Adam عليه السلام being upset that some of his children are disbelievers so then the Prophet ﷺ sees the Adam عليه السلام has a greater fitna. He has the whole of mankind on his shoulders. Just think about us are we connected to a random person in Canada who has died. No. but Adam عليه السلام he has a connection to all.

Just like Adam عليه السلام had to leave Jannah, the Prophet ﷺ will have to leave Jannah but just like Adam عليه السلام will be reunited with Jannah. The Prophet ﷺ will return the blessed city of Makkah.

Additional events during first heaven

Then the Prophet ﷺ continued for a little while. He saw a table spread on which there were pieces of (good) meat which no one approached, and another table spread on which were pieces of rotten meat which stank, surrounded by people who were eating it. The Prophet ﷺ asked: “O Jibril, who are these?” He replied: “These are those of your Community who abandon what is lawful and go to what is unlawful.”

(One version says:) “The adulterers (alzunat): they make lawful what Allah has made unlawful, and they abandon what Allah has made lawful for them.”

Then the Prophet ﷺ went on for a little while. He saw groups of people who had bellies as large as houses, and there were snakes in them which could be seen through their skins. Every time one of those people stood up, he would fall again and he would say: “O Allah, don’t make the Hour of Judgment rise yet!” Then they meet the people of Fir`awn on the road and the latter trample them underfoot. (The Prophet ﷺ said:) “I heard them clamouring to Allah.” He asked: “O Jibril, who are these?” He replied: “They are those of your Community who eat up usury. They cannot stand up except in the manner of those whom the Shaytan touches with possession.”

Then the Prophet ﷺ went on for a little while. He saw groups of people whose lips resembled the lips of camels. Their mouths were being pried open and they would be stoned. One version says: A rock from Jahannam was placed in their mouths and then it would come out again from their posteriors. (The Prophet ﷺ said:) “I heard them clamouring to Allah.” He asked: “O Jibril, who are these?” He replied: “They are those of your Community who eat up the property of orphans and commit injustice. They are eating nothing but a fire for their bellies, and they shall be roasted in it.”

Then the Prophet ﷺ went on for a little while. He saw women suspended by their chests and others hanging upside down, (and the Prophet ﷺ said:) “I heard them clamouring to Allah.” He asked: “Who are these, O Jibril?” He replied: “These are the women who commit fornication and then kill their children.” In other words abortion.

Then the Prophet ﷺ went on for a little while. He saw groups of people whose sides were being cut off for meat and they were being devoured. They were being told: “Eat, just as you used to eat the flesh of your brother.” The Prophet ﷺ said: “O Jibril, who are these?” He replied: “They are the slanderers of your Community who would bring shame to others.”

Then the Prophet ﷺ continued for a little while, and he found the consumers of usury and of the property of orphans, and the fornicators and adulterers, and others, in various loathsome states as those that have been described, and worse.

Second Heaven

Then they meet the bless cousins, the two sons of the two sisters, ‘Isa ibn Maryam عليه السلام and Yahya ibn Zakariyya عليه السلام. They resembled each other in clothing and hair. Each had with him a large company of their people. `Isa عليه السلام was curly-haired, of medium build, leaning towards fair complexion, with hair let down as if he were coming out of the bath. He resembles `Urwa ibn Mas`ud al-Thaqafi.

The Prophet ﷺ greeted them, and they returned his greeting. Then they said: “Welcome to the righteous brother and the righteous Prophet!” Then they invoked for goodness on his behalf. These two were the most recent prophets before Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. They were like his peers. It wasn’t like Nuh was 1000s before, but Prophets only 600 years before.

They were both rejected by their people. They came with the message of Allah. Allah raised Isa عليه السلام from his enemies whereas Yahya عليه السلام had a vicious death by beheading. The Prophet ﷺ and his companions will face the same, some will be rescued some will die, both extremes. Just cos you die doesn’t mean Islam is not the Haq.

Isa عليه السلام had physical living miracles like making a bird of clay, breathing and it coming alive. The people still didn’t believe. So this was a reminder, you can do what you want, but the blind and deaf will always be blind and deaf. There’s nothing you can do.

Another comparison given is that relation of the Prophet ﷺ and his uncle Hamza. Hamza was only a couple years older, so he was more like a brother. And they loved each other to bits- best of friends. The mothers of each of them were sisters. Sayyiduna Abdullah was supposed to be sacrificed but they found a way out, so him and his father Sayyiduna Abdul Muttalib thought let’s celebrate. They went up north and got married to two sisters, Sayyiduna Abdullah the father the Prophet ﷺ was married to Amina and Sayyiduna Abdul Muttalib was married to Halah bint Wuhayb. Amina gave birth to Muhammad and Halah gave birth to Hamza. So these were the two sons of the two sisters like Isa عليه السلام and Yahya عليه السلام were. What happened to Yahya and Isa? One is protected by Allah and one is murdered. Likewise, we know the fate of Hamza in Uhud.

Third Heaven

Then he meets Prophet Yusuf عليه السلام. They both experience so many ups and downs. They are similar in that both have the whole word, but then go through a low, likewise the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ goes through many ups and downs in life, but in the end become people of authority.

At the point on Meraj, the Prophet ﷺ is on the low, and this is the reminder to remain as patient as Yusuf عليه السلام was patient that his own brothers caused him harm, he was in the well, sold into slavery, during the fitnah of Pharoah’s wife, in the jail, without his family and keep Imaan like Yusuf عليه السلام had Imaan. This is a reminder for Prophet ﷺ. When Yusuf عليه السلام is reunited with his brothers, he says No harm shall fall upon you today’, likewise when Makkah is conquered our Prophet ﷺ says this to his brothers who persecuted him in the early days.

Yusuf عليه السلام responded to all with grace and goodness, so be like Yusuf عليه السلام whether things are going your way or not. When we are in ease, we say thank you Allah, when we are in tribulation, we remain patient with Allah.

 Fourth Heavan

Then he meets Prophet Idrees عليه السلام. Allah says we elevated Idrees عليه السلام to a high level. We know that Idrees عليه السلام wanted to live a long life so he can worship Allah and call people to Allah. Then he is told by the angel, go see Dawud in the fourth heaven, and when he does so, all the Dunya is forgotten by him. Idrees’s enemy was Qaabil, and he was a warrior. Now he is in a realm of serenity and purity.

This Meraj is erasing all the scars and abuse the Prophet ﷺ has faced. He is being elevated to the divine. He is beginning to feel even closer to the reality of matters. No longer is he worried about the arrogant speck like Abu Jahl or Abu Lahab.

Just like Allah raised Idrees عليه السلام, Allah has raised the rank of our Prophet ﷺ.

Fifth heaven

Then he meets Haroon عليه السلام. Half of his beard was white, and the other half was black. It almost reached his navel due to its length. Surrounding him were a company of the children of Israel listening to him as he was telling them a story.

Sayyiduna Haroon عليه السلام was beloved by the people, he was soft and easy going, but that didn’t stop them from disobeying him. Allah tells the Prophet ﷺ, it is not you they hate, they hate tawhid and Allah. They reject him and are ungrateful. The isealites worshipped the calf over Allah, likewise the Arabs worshipped these idols knowing Allah is the Lord.

The Prophet ﷺ was al Amin, he was noble and trustworthy, and everyone loved him. When Haroon عليه السلام tried to correct them, they turned on him. Likewise the Prophet ﷺ is correct his ummah yet they turn on him.

Haroon عليه السلام was an assistant to Moosa عليه السلام. He helped him carry out the command

Sixth Heaven

He then meets Prophet Moosa عليه السلام. The Prophet ﷺ passed by Prophets who had with them less than ten followers in all, while others had a large company, and others had not even one follower.

Then he saw a huge dark mass that was covering the skies. He said: “What is this throng of people?” He was told: “This is Musa and his people. Now raise your head and look.” He raised his head and saw another huge dark mass that was covering the skies from every direction he looked. He was told: “These are your Community, and besides these there are seventy thousand of them that will enter Paradise without giving account.”

As they went in the Prophet ﷺ saw Moosa عليه السلام, a tall man with brown complexion, similar to one of the shanu’a — the (Yemeni) men of pure lineage and manly virtue — with abundant hair. If he had two shirts on him, still his hair would exceed them. The Prophet ﷺ greeted him and he returned his greeting and said: “Welcome to the righteous brother and the righteous Prophet!” Then he invoked for goodness on his behalf and said: “The people claim that among the sons of Adam I am more honoured by Allah than this one, but it is he who is more honoured by Allah than me!”

Musa عليه السلام wept. He was asked: “What is it that makes you weep?” He replied: “I weep because a child that was sent after me will enter more people in Paradise from his Community than will enter from mine. The children of Israel claim that among the children of Adam عليه السلام I am the one most honoured by Allah, but here is one man among the children of Adam عليه السلام who has come after me in the world while I am in the next world (and is more honored). If he were only by himself I would not mind, but he has his Community with him!”

In terms of his mission, he was most similar to Moosa. Moosa عليه السلام stood up against Pharoah and the Prophet ﷺ stood up against the Makkans and Abu Jahl.

Moosa عليه السلام was the leader of his people and we can see some of the commands he gave to his people and how they disobeyed, or made excuses, or transgressed, or went astray, or broke the limits, or changed scriptures, or made halal haram and haram halal. So he was an advisor to the Prophet ﷺ to say I have led the believers, and you will soon lead the believers in Madina.

This is why when the Prophet ﷺ came back with the prayers, Moosa عليه السلام stops him and tells him what did you receive? When he tells him about 50 prayers, he tells him to go back. Because he has experienced his own people rejecting the message and making excuses.

Moosa عليه السلام was someone who spoke to Allah on the mountain, multiple times, whereas, the Prophet ﷺ went up to the heavens to speak to Allah. He was a degree higher. So far we have shown how the Prophet ﷺ has similarities to all the prophets, and part of this is to show our Prophet ﷺ had a share of everything. There was a particular virtue or miracle that one Prophet ﷺ experienced, that our Prophet ﷺ didn’t also get to do. Moosa عليه السلام was the only one to speak to Allah directly. Our Prophet ﷺ got this blessing too.

Moosa عليه السلام also presented a Sharia to his people as did our Prophet ﷺ.

Seventh heaven

Then he met Prophet Ibraheem عليه السلام.

The Prophet ﷺ saw Ibrahim عليه السلام sitting at the gate of Paradise on a throne of gold the back of which was leaning against the Inhabited House (al-Bayt al-ma`mur). With him were a company of his people. The Prophet ﷺ greeted him and he returned his greeting and said: “Welcome to the righteous son and the righteous Prophet!”

Then Ibrahim عليه السلام said: “Order your Community to increase their seedlings of Paradise for its soil is excellent and its land is plentiful.” The Prophet ﷺ said: “What are the seedlings of Paradise?” He replied: la hawla wa la quwwata illa billah al-`ali al-`azhim “There is no change nor might except with Allah the High, the Almighty.”

Another version says: Convey my greetings to your Community and tell them that Paradise has excellent soil and sweet water, and that its seedlings are: subhan allah: Glory to Allah wa al-hamdu lillah: and Praise to Allah wa la ilaha illallah: and there is no god but Allah wallahu akbar: and Allah is greatest.

With Ibrahim عليه السلام were sitting a company of people with pristine faces similar to the whiteness of a blank page, and next to them were people with something in their faces. The latter stood and entered a river in which they bathed. Then they came out having purified some of their hue. Then they entered another river and bathed and came out having purified some more. Then they entered a third river and bathed and purified themselves and their hue became like that of their companions. They came back and sat next to them.

The Prophet ﷺ said: “O Jibril, who are those with white faces and those who had something in their hues, and what are these rivers in which they entered and bathed?” He replied: “The ones with white faces are a people who never tarnished their belief with injustice or disobedience; those with something in their hues are a people who would mix good deeds with bad ones, then they repented and Allah relented towards them.

As for these rivers, then the first is Allah’s mercy (rahmatullah), the second his favour (ni`matullah), and the third and their Lord gave them a pure beverage to drink (wa saqahum rabbuhum sharaban tahuran) (76:21).”

In another narration Ibrahim says, “Welcome O’ first of us who were sent!” Why would he say this if this wasn’t the case because the Prophet ﷺ wasn’t the first, he said this in terms of the first creation. We know the soul of our Prophet ﷺ was created first. The Prophet ﷺ said, “I was a Prophet whilst Adam عليه السلام was still between water and mud.”

Ibraheem is known as the father of the Prophets, those from the sons of Ishaaq and Ismaail. This was for him to meet the father of the religions of the Christians and Jews.

Many of our rituals like hajj return to Ibrahim, even the building of the Kaabah was erected by him and his son. And he built the mosque in Jerusalem, Bayt al-Maqdis. And now in the heavens he is resting on the Bayt al Mamur. Again a natural affinity for him. Ibrahim was the Khalil Allah, the friend of Allah, so him resting on the house, is like him resting in Allah’s house, and will do till the day of judgement.

Overall the Prophet ﷺ had the personal reminder that all Prophets have gone through tribulation and it’s not about how many people accept them and follow them. That is for Allah alone, we are but Messengers who call to Allah. Some Prophets lived long lives; others were brutally murdered. Some Prophets had 1 follower, others have over 100,000. In the end, they remained patient, did their duty and were reunited with Allah.

From this we see how our Prophet ﷺ remained steadfast and was a leader of mankind. Alhamdulillah, 1500 years since the Prophet of Allah. There are over two billion Muslims today and millions have been. What Allah in his wisdom had planned for the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was a religion that would flourish.

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