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In Surah Isra, Allah states “exalted is He who took His Servant by night from al-Masjid al-Haram to al-Masjid al- Aqsa, whose surroundings We have blessed, to show him of Our signs. Indeed, He is the Hearing, the Seeing”. Allah is clearly stating that the Prophet (S.A.W) went on Miraj and that this was a physical journey in which the Prophet (S.A.W) undertook in a state of wakefulness. In this essay, we will be able to establish the popular Ahl-e-Sunnah wal Jammat view that the Prophet (S.A.W) was physically taken on a journey to the highest levels of heaven, where he met and saw Almighty Allah with his own eyes. This is opposed to the view taken by other Islamic sects such as the wahabbis and salafis who refute that the Prophet (S.A.W) physically saw our Lord with his eyes, but maintain that he saw Allah in his heart and that Miraj was a spiritual journey – rather than a physical journey. This popular wahabbi view is in line with the idea that the Prophet (S.A.W) didn’t actually go to the heavens or to even Jerusalem – but instead dreamt this incidence. Furthermore, the idea that the Prophet (S.A.W) didn’t actually go on Miraj or see Allah Azwajal with his eyes also ties in with the popular view that wahabbis and salafis have regarding our Prophet (S.A.W), mainly the idea that the Prophet (S.A.W) does not have ilm-e-ghaib (knowledge of the unseen) and the idea that he was a common man, like you and me. In this essay, I will be looking at these debates to come to the conclusion that indeed the Prophet (S.A.W) did see Allah with his eyes. There are four sections of this essay that will in turn examine this question in depth. Firstly, we shall look at the debate whether the Sight (Ru’yah) of Allah is possible. We will then examine the Quranic verses to prove that Allah himself testifies that the Prophet (S.A.W), the Most Beloved of all creations was given the blessed opportunity to see Him in all His glory. And then, we will turn our attention to the hadiths that also testify that the Prophet (S.A.W) was granted the ‘Sight’ of Allah Azwajal. Finally, we will turn our attention to the debate which is an overarching main topic that the Salafis and Wahabbis use when examining this issue – the question whether the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) went on a physical journey during Miraj. The reason why they question this is because of the above ayah mentioned in Surah Isra which narrates the incidence of Miraj. In the Quran, it states that the Prophet (S.A.W) saw Allah during this miraculous journey. And this essay will prove this. Overall, this essay will go thrpugh the debates that have been put forward by leading Wahabbi and Salafi scholars and will come to the conclusion that the Prophet (S.A.W) was granted this blessing; just as Ibrahim (A.S) was given the opportunity of being the friend of Allah ‘Khaleelullah’ and Musa (A.S) was given the blessing of kalaam (the opportunity to speak with Allah).
Debate on the Vision (Ru’yah) of Allah
Before going into the debate that the Prophet (S.A.W) saw Allah Azwajal during the night of Miraj, it is important to validate whether or not Allah can be seen. It is the belief of the Ahl-e-Sunnah-wal-Jammah that Allah is all knowing and all powerful.
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Imam al Tahawi notes that the vision (ru’yah) of Allah Azwajal is itself a possible occurrence. However, it is important to point out that the vision of Allah is not the same as viewing physical objects in this world. Allah does not possess a physical body, therefore we cannot see Allah in the same way as we see other worldy objects. This sunni view is derived directly from the Quran itself. In Surah al Qiyama, Allah states “Faces on that Day will be radiant, looking at their Lord.” This clearly proves that Allah will be seen by the inhabitants of Jannah, following the day of Judgement.
There are further proofs from hadith which also proves that the vision of Allah is possible. In Sahih Bukhari, it is noted that Hazrat Jarir bin Abdullah: We were with the Prophet (ﷺ) on a full moon night. He looked at the moon and said, “You will certainly see your Lord as you see this moon, and there will be no trouble in seeing Him. So if you can avoid missing (through sleep, business, etc.) a prayer before the rising of the sun (Fajr) and before its setting (`Asr) you must do so. He (the Prophet (ﷺ) ) then recited the following verse: And celebrate the praises Of Your Lord before The rising of the sun And before (its) setting.
However, the mu’tazila and Jahmiyya argue that Allah cannot be seen at all – even on the Day of Judgement. They have rejected the multiple hadiths which report this and also the above verse of the Quran. The main evidence that they give for this belief is by literally taking the meaning of ayah 6 of Surah An’am, where Allah states: “ Vision perceives Him not, but He perceives [all] vision; and He is the Subtle, the Acquainted”. However, the commentary in Tasfir al Jalalyn provides an excellent answer to this misguided argument. Imam Jalal ud-din Suyuti and Imam al-Muhalli state: Vision cannot attain Him, that is, they [the eyes] cannot see Him — this is [a denial that applies] in particular [circumstances], since [it is accepted] that the believer will see Him in the Hereafter, as indicated by God’s words, On that Day faces shall be radiant, gazing upon their Lord, and by the hadīth of the two Shaykhs [Bukhārī and Muslim]: ‘Verily you shall see your Lord, as clearly as you see the full moon at night’.
In conclusion, the above Quranic verses and sahih hadiths proves that the view of the scholars of Ahl-e- Sunnah wal-Jama’ah that ru’yah is right and permissible, but that its essence cannot be understood is absolutely correct. Now, that this is established, we will further look into the evidence that the Prophet (S.A.W) saw Allah. If it is possible for us (mere sinners) to see Allah Azwajal on the Day of Judgement, then why isn’t it is possible for the best of creations, the leader of the Prophets and the reason why Allah created the world, in other words the most Beloved Prophet Muhammed (S.A.W) to see Allah? When Allah made Ibrahim (A.S) ‘Khalilullah’ and made Musa (A.S) ‘Kalamullah’, then why cannot the Prophet (S.A.W) be given the blessing of Sight of Allah. Why is that so hard for many Islamic sects such as the Wahabbis and Salafis to perceive? One can conclude that those who fervently refute this belief that the Prophet (S.A.W) saw Allah do not love the Prophet (S.A.W) as they believe that he was just merely a mortal man, like you and me. Furthermore, they do not believe that Almighty Allah has the power to bless his Most Beloved with his vision – which itself questions their authority to call themselves Muslims as they do not believe in the sifaats and attributes of Allah.
Proofs from the Quran
Allah states in Surah an-Najm, “while he was in the highest part of the horizon. Then he approached and came closer. And was at a distance of but two bow lengths or nearer. And he revealed to His Servant what he revealed. The heart did not lie [about] what it saw. So will you dispute with him concerning what he saw?” This quranic verse proves that the Prophet (S.A.W) physically went to the heavens to meet with Allah himself. There is a scholastic disagreement between different Islamic sects regarding the meaning of this ayah. Salafis and Wahabbis argue that here Allah is referring to the Prophet (S.A.W) seeing Hazrat Jibrael (A.S) in his actual angelic form. However, Sunni scholars argue that this ayah proves that the Prophet (S.A.W) saw Allah Azwajal and that the words ‘will you then dispute with him’ means don’t you agree that Allah can show Himself to His beloved Prophet due to him being the most honored in the entire creation.
The reason for the first view is due to the numerous Prophetic traditions in which the companions such as His beloved wife Hazrat Aisha (R.A) asked the Prophet if he had seen Allah on the night of Miraj to which he replied in the negative. In Sahih Bukhari, this hadith is narrated by Masruq (A.S) who noted that Hazrat Aisha (R.A) said, “If anyone tells you that Muhammad has seen his Lord (on the night of Mi’raj), he is a liar, for Allah says: ‘No vision can grasp Him.’ And if anyone tells you that Muhammad has seen the Unseen, he is a liar, for Allah says: “None has the knowledge of the Unseen but Allah”. However, the Prophet (S.A.W) told Sahabas such as Hazrat Ibn Abbas (R.A) and Hazrat Abu Darr (R.A) that he did indeed see Allah. To explain this contradiction, Imam Ibn Hajr al Asqalani says in his commentary of Sahih Bukhari ‘Fath ul Bari’ that Maruzi said to Imam Ahmed, ‘People say that Aisha (R.A) used to say that whosoever says that the Prophet (S.A.W) saw his Lord has attributed a lie to Allah, so how shall this be answered? Imam Ahmed replied, ‘From the saying of Prophet (S.A.W) himself “رأيت ربي” in other words ‘I saw my Lord’, this will be an answer to Aisha (R.A)’s Qawl because the saying of Prophet (S.A.W) is far superior than [the] saying of her.
Moving on to other proofs of the Quran, it is common knowledge that Hazrat Musa (A.S) was given the privilege to directly talk with Allah Azwajal. In the Quran, Allah states that the vision of Allah was especially reserved for the Prophet (S.A.W). This time, we will turn our attention to Surah al A’raf when Allah states: “And when Moses arrived at Our appointed time and his Lord spoke to him, he said, ‘My Lord, show me [Yourself] that I may look at You.’ [ Allah ] said, “You will not see Me, but look at the mountain; if it should remain in place, then you will see Me’. But when his Lord appeared to the mountain, He rendered it level, and Moses fell unconscious. And when he awoke, he said, ‘exalted are You! I have repented to You, and I am the first of the believers”. In Tasfeer al Jalalyn, Imam Jalal ud-din Suyuti and Imam al-Muhalli note that it is imperative to recognise that Allah says ‘you will not see Me’ not that ‘I shall not been seen’ this proves that it is possible to see Allah but this was not a privilege given to Hazrat Musa (A.S) but reserved for the final Messenger of Allah. Furthermore, Imam al-Qurtubi states in his tasfeer of the Quran, that the Anbiya never ask for something that is impossible. Therefore, if the sight of Allah Azwajal was not possible then Hazrat Musa (A.S) would not have asked for it. Hence it is decisively proven from Quran itself that the Prophets do not seek what is not possible. Nor would Allah have linked it to the condition of mountain staying at its place. Furthermore, the following hadith recorded in Sahih Bukhari proves that Allah can be seen: Allah’s Messenger came out to us on the night of the full moon and said, “You will see your Lord on the Day of Resurrection as you see this (full moon) and you will have no difficulty in seeing Him.” Last but not least, the only reason why our Beloved Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) was given this honour of Allah’s vision that no other Prophet was given was because Allah has raised his status above all others.
Proofs from Hadith
In this section of the essay, we will be examining the hadiths narrated by prominent Sahabas which prove that the Prophet (S.A.W) himself affirmed that he had been blessed with the Sight of Allah.
Hazrat Imam Hasan Basri (R.A) said “I take an oath that Muhammed (S.A.W) saw his Lord”. Taking an oath is not a minor thing for prominent sahabas, they were pious individuals that constantly lived in fear of Allah and the day of Judgement – not people like us, who give false oaths all the time by saying ‘kasme’ or ‘wallahi’.
Wahabbi Scholars often turn to a hadith in Sahih Muslim to come to the conclusion that the Prophet (S.A.W) was not given the ability to see Allah Almighty. In Sahih Muslim, Hadith No. 0341 is recorded as:
حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو بَكْرِ بْنُ أَبِي شَيْبَةَ، حَدَّثَنَا وَكِيعٌ، عَنْ يَزِيدَ بْنِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ، عَنْ قَتَادَةَ، عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ شَقِيقٍ، عَنْ أَبِي ذَرٍّ، قَالَ سَأَلْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم هَلْ رَأَيْتَ رَبَّكَ قَالَ” نُورٌ أَنَّى أَرَاهُ .
The translation of this hadith goes as: “It is narrated on the authority of Abu Dharr: I asked the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him): Did you see thy Lord? He said: He is a Light, how could I see Him?”
However, in his book on Sahih Muslim, Allama Ghulam Rasool Saeedi, states that when the matn (the textual literature) is examined it becomes evident that the Prophet (S.A.W) indeed testifies to seeing Allah, in this very same hadith and that the above English translation of the hadith is incorrect. Therefore, Allama Ghulam Rasool Saeedi states that the correct translation of the hadith is: “Narrated by Abu Dharr (RA): I asked the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him): Did you see your Lord? The Prophet (Peace be upon him) replied: He is Nur (نُورٌ) I Saw Him ( انى أَرَاهُ)”. This examination of the Arabic text of the hadith proves that the Prophet (S.A.W) saw His Lord. Imam Muslim was a prominent Muhaddith whose collection of hadiths is given the status of ‘sahih’ (authentic). Therefore, it comes as no surprise that Hadith 0342 in Sahih Muslim again testifies that the Prophet (S.A.W) saw Allah with his own eyes. Hazrat Abdullah Shaqiq (R.A) reported: I said to Abu Dharr: Had I seen the Messenger of Allah, I would have asked him. He (Abu Dharr) said: What is that thing that you wanted to inquire of him? He said: I wanted to ask him whether he had seen his Lord. Abu Dharr said: I, in fact, inquired of him, and he replied: I saw Light. This hadith clearly proves that the Prophet (S.A.W) saw Allah Azwajal. This also proves that Hadith 0341 had been mistranslated as Imam Muslim would not have put 2 contradictory hadiths next to each other.
In Mishkaat, there is a hadith recorded where the Prophet (S.A.W) once again testifies to seeing Allah Azwajal. Hazrat Abdur-Rehman Idn Aaish (R.A) narrates that the Prophet (S.A.W) said “I saw my Lord in the finest form. He placed His hand upon my chest and I felt coolness in my heart. I then came to know all the things in the heavens and the earth.” This hadith proves that Allah had reserved the privilege of seeing Him for his most beloved, as part of the ilm-e-ghaib (knowledge of the unseen) that the Prophet (S.A.W) was granted with.
Debate on Isra and Miraj – did the Prophet Muhammed (S.A.W) go on a physical journey to the heavens during the night of Miraj?
The Prophet (S.A.W) went on Miraj on the 27th of Rajab and also saw Allah Azwajal during this night.
The event of Miraj of the Prophet (S.A.W) in the heavens has been mentioned clearly in Surah al Isra. “Exalted is He who took His Servant by night from al-Masjid al-Haram to al-Masjid al- Aqsa, whose surroundings We have blessed, to show him of Our signs. Indeed, He is the Hearing, the Seeing”.
From analysing this ayah, it is evident that:
1. In order to tell us that the Prophet travelled through these worlds in a short time, not with human strength but through Divine strength, the Almighty commences His statement with “Exhalted is He who took His Servant!” which points to the fact that Allah is free from all defects and needs. He has also not contented Himself with this and has introduced Himself as the Agent of the journey by saying ‘Isra’ (Allah made him perform the journey).
This favour was bestowed upon him so that the people might not think that the journey was performed according to natural laws and with usual means, and might, therefore deny its possibility. It has therefore, been clarified that it was undertaken through Divine Will and special favour of the Almighty.
2. The Prophet (S.A.W) performed the journey with his body and soul together and not with his soul only. The words ‘to His servant bear testimony to this, because the word ‘servant’ applies to ‘body with soul’. If the case of Miraj had been only spiritual the proper words to be used would have been ‘to His servant’s soul’.
3. The Miraj took place when the Prophet (S.A.W) was in a wakeful state. He went to the heavens and to whatever heights that Allah Azwajal had willed for him.
This is the view of the Sunnis. However, other Islamic sects such as the wahabbis, salafis and ahmaddis argue that the Miraj was a spiritual journey. A prominent Ahmaddi scholar by the name of Abu Abdus-Samad argues that because the journey took such a short period of time, it is only possible for this to be a spiritual journey. It is absolutely shocking that such a prominent scholar would refute to this argument proving that they do not believe in the power of Allah Azwajal. The fact that they cannot believe that Allah has the poer and absility to perform this miracle of shopwing our Beolved Prophet (S.A.W) Jerusalem and the heavens in a shory amount of time shows that they do not believe in the Tawhid of Allah. The essence of Iman is acceptance by he heart of the existence of Allah and his sifats – this is clearly not the case for the Ahmaddis who reguite that Allah ha the power to conduct miracles.
It was important to specify the proofs that the Prophet (S.A.W) went on a physical journey so that is can justify the fact that the Prophet (S.A.W) did see Allah in the state of wakefulness.
In conclusion, it is an absolute and doubtless truth that the beloved Messenger (S.A.W) saw Allah during Miraj. Even if some of the earlier Muslim scholars have said the contrary, the scholars of later eras such as Imam Ash’ari, Abd al-Qadir Jilani, Imam Rabbani, Taftazaani, Mawlana Khalid Baghdadi, Imam Nawawi, who are the senior scholars of the Ahl al-Sunnah, are unanimous that the Prophet (S.A.W) saw Allah. However, they say that it is not possible to fully comprehend the exact essence and concept of seeing Allah. So, we cannot exactly know how, in which way it happened. We are just sure that it did happen.
This essay has not shied away from the complex debates and the webs of lies spread by the Wahabbi and Salafi scholars. We have provided authentic proofs from the Quran and Hadith – both which we accept fully.
- The Holy Quran, https://quran.com/
- Sahih Bukhari, Imam Bukhari, https://www.sahih-bukhari.com/
- Sahih Muslim, Imam Muslim, https://muflihun.com/muslim/1/1
- Tafsir al Jalalayn, Imam Jalal al-Din al-Mahalli and Imam Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti, https://www.altafsir.com/Books/Al_Jalalain_Eng.pdf
- Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Imam Kathir, http://www.qtafsir.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1695
- ‘Al Aqida Al Tahawiyya’, Imam al Tahawi
- Fath ul Bari, Sharah Sahih ul Bukhari, Imam Ibn Hajr al Asqalani
- Sharah Sahih Muslim, Allama Ghulam Rasool Saeedi
- The Obliteration of Falshehood, Mufti Ahmed Yaar Khan Naeemi
- ‘Miraj: A Spiritual and Physical Journey?’, Abu Abdus-Samad, https://www.irfi.org/articles/articles_251_300/miraj.htm
 The Holy Quran, Surah al Isra, (17:1).
 ‘Al Aqida Al Tahawiyya’, Imam al Tahawi, pg. 50-52.
 The Holy Quran, Surah al Qiyama (75: 22-23).
 Sahih Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 10, Hadith 0547. See Appendix 1.
 Al Aqida Al Tahawiyya’, Imam al Tahawi, pg. 51.
 The Holy Quran, Surah al An’am (6:103).
 Tafsir al Jalalayn, Imam Jalal al-Din al-Mahalli and Imam Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti, pg. 147-148. See Appendix 2.
 The Holy Quran, Surah an Najm, (53:7-12).
 Tafsir Ibn Kathir, http://www.qtafsir.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1695
 Sahih Bukhari, Volumne 9, Book 93, Hadith 447. See Appendix 3.
 Fath ul Bari, Sharah Sahih ul Bukhari, Imam Ibn Hajr al Asqalani, Volume 8, pg. 494.
 The Holy Quran, Surah al A’raf, (7:143).
 Tafsir al Jalalayn, Imam Jalal al-Din al-Mahalli and Imam Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti, pg. 174. See Appendix 4.
 Sahih Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 93, Hadith 531. See Appendix 5.
 Sahih Muslim, Book 1, Hadith 341. See Appendix 6.
 Sahih Muslim, Book 1, Hadith 341. See Appendix 7.
 Sharah Sahih Muslim, Allama Ghulam Rasool Saeedi, pg. 101
 Sahih Muslim, Book 1, Hadith 342. See Appendix 8.
 The Obliteration of Falshehood, Mufti Ahmed Yaar Khan Naeemi, pg. 92.
 The Holy Quran (17:1)
 Al Aqida Al Tahawiyya, Imam Abu Ja’far al-Tahawi, pg. 58.
 ‘Miraj: A Spiritual and Physical Journey?’, Abu Abdus-Samad, https://www.irfi.org/articles/articles_251_300/miraj.htm
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