4 Powerful Lessons from Isra’ Mi’raj

It is time we reflect again at the miraculous event of Isra' Mi'raj. What lessons can we highlight and find relevance in our daily affairs?
by Ustazah Nursyahiirah Ismail 2024-02-06 • 12 min read
Ustazah Nursyahiirah spent 12 years studying at various madrasahs. She later furthered her studies in the Faculty of Human Sciences at the International Islamic University Malaysia, majoring in Political Science and minoring in Islamic Revealed Knowledge (IRK).
2024-02-06 • 12 min read

During Isra' Miraj, Prophet Muhammad travelled to Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem

This journey of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w’s ascension to the Heavens was known as Isra’ Mi’raj. This miraculous event, which is very significant to Muslims, is believed to have taken place in the month of Rajab.

Isra’ is the night journey from Masjidil Haram in Makkah to Masjid Al-Aqsa in Baitul Maqdis. Mi’raj is the journey from Masjid Al-Aqsa to the Heavens.

This significant journey has a direct impact on our daily lives as Muslims, in which Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. received the commandment to establish the five daily prayers, one of the pillars of Islam. 

Beyond the commandment to establish the daily prayers, there are several other powerful lessons that we can learn from this momentous event in Islam: 

1. Believe The Possibility of Impossibility

Isra Miraj story is about the impossible being possible

The event itself was physically impossible beyond the imagination of the people of that time. Even today, the journey from Makkah to Baitul Maqdis takes more than 2 hours by plane! And it takes more than one day to journey to outer space. The story of Isra’ Mi’raj may sound fictional. However, we need to believe with our hearts that it is possible, as Allah s.w.t. mentioned in the Quran about the event to show as part of His signs:

سُبْحَانَ الَّذِي أَسْرَىٰ بِعَبْدِ هِ لَيْلًا مِّنَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ إِلَى الْمَسْجِدِ الْأَقْصَى الَّذِي بَارَكْنَا حَوْلَهُ لِنُرِيَهُ مِنْ آيَاتِنَا ۚ إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْبَصِيرُ

"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."

(Surah Al-Isra’, 17:1)

Isra’ and Mi’raj is a journey of spirituality reminding us to believe in Allah s.w.t and His promise. A glimpse of what Allah controls and what exists beyond where we live.

This also reflects the beauty of having a pure intention and striving hard. Our intention must be altruistic, aimed at being beneficial rather than solely focused on self-fulfillment. Allah s.w.t. mentioned in the Quran about striving hard in doing the best, and also having pure intention to strive for the best:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُغَيِّرُ مَا بِقَوْمٍ حَتَّىٰ يُغَيِّرُوا مَا بِأَنفُسِهِمْ ۗ وَإِذَا أَرَادَ اللَّهُ بِقَوْمٍ سُوءًا فَلَا مَرَدَّ لَهُ ۚ وَمَا لَهُم مِّن دُونِهِ مِن وَالٍ

"Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves. And when Allah intends for a people ill, there is no repelling it. And there is not for them besides Him any patron."

(Surah Ar-R'ad, 13:11)

2. With Every Hardship, There Will Be Ease

Isra Mi'raj teaches use that with every hardship there is ease.

The journey of Isra’ and Mi’raj occurred after the period of time that was called ‘The Year of Sadness’. It was the year when Prophet Muhammad s.a.w’s uncle Abu Talib and his beloved wife, Siti Khadijah r.a, passed on. This was also the year when Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. journeyed to Taif with the intention of winning the hearts of the community to accept his message. However, Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. was rejected while the people of Taif pestered and threw stones at him as a sign of not welcoming him.

Tired, forsaken and wounded, Prophet Muhammad s.a.w’s faith in Allah s.w.t. was never shaken, although the challenges were unbearable. Instead of seeking revenge, he prayed for not just the people of Taif but their descendants as well. Allah s.w.t. then rewarded him with this wonderful journey that is perfectly encapsulated in the Quran:

فَإِنَّ مَعَ ٱلْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا. إِنَّ مَعَ ٱلْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا

“For indeed, with hardship [will be] ease. Indeed, with hardship [will be] ease.“

(Surah Ash-Sharh, 94:5-6)

Allah s.w.t. took Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. up into His presence to strengthen and prepare him for the challenging phase of his prophethood. Allah s.w.t. showed Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. His power and command, after which Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. returned from the incredible journey calmer and even more reliant on Allah s.w.t.

3. A True Friendship of Hardships And Unwavering Faith in Each Other

Isra Miraj showed us friendship between Prophet Muhammad and Abu Bakar

On the day following Isra’ and Mi’raj, Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. told the story to his cousin Umm Hani. She was shocked and told Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. not to tell anyone else as they would not believe in him. Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. left the house and went to Abu Jahl to tell the story of his journey. Abu Jahl, with an intent to ridicule, called the people of Makkah to listen to Prophet Muhammad s.a.w’s story. In response, they were shocked and did not believe his story. 

Some of them went to Abu Bakar r.a. and told him that Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. claimed he went to Masjid Al-Aqsa, performed his prayer there, and returned to Makkah in one night. The people assumed that Abu Bakar r.a. would give the same reaction and, thus, leave the Prophet s.a.w.

However, upon hearing that, Abu Bakar r.a. immediately said, “I believe”. He did not question nor doubt Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. 

Abu Bakar r.a. knew Prophet s.a.w’s true personality and character as Al-Amin – The Trustworthy. Prophet Muhammad s.a.w’s characteristics were nicely encapsulated in the Quran:

لَّقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِي رَسُولِ اللَّهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ لِّمَن كَانَ يَرْجُو اللَّهَ وَالْيَوْمَ الْآخِرَ وَذَكَرَ اللَّهَ كَثِيرًا

“There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day and [who] remembers Allah often.”

(Surah Ahzab,33:21)

How beautiful is their friendship? Abu Bakar r.a. showed us what it means to be a true friend and how to have Iman (belief) in Allah and His Prophet, even by words, without witnessing it with his eyes.

4. The Success That You Seek Calls You 5 Times A Day

Isra Miraj showed the importance of prayer and solat

The five daily prayers are one of the gifts from Allah s.w.t. to us. Commands to Muslims were usually communicated to Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. through the angel Jibril a.s. However, the daily prayers are so important that Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. was ascended to the heavens to speak directly with Allah. 

When he first met Allah s.w.t, He commanded that Muslims pray fifty times a day. However, Prophet Musa a.s. advised him to negotiate and reduce the number of prayers a day. Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. went back to Allah s.w.t to negotiate a few times before the number of prayers was eventually reduced to five times a day. Yet, the rewards remain to be of praying 50 times a day! The negotiation process reflects Allah’s mercy and Prophet Muhammad s.a.w’s love for us, which is also reflected in this hadith: 

فَرَجَعْتُ إِلَى مُوسَى، فَقَالَ بِمَا أُمِرْتَ قُلْتُ أُمِرْتُ بِخَمْسِ صَلَوَاتٍ كُلَّ يَوْمٍ‏.‏ قَالَ إِنَّ أُمَّتَكَ لاَ تَسْتَطِيعُ خَمْسَ صَلَوَاتٍ كُلَّ يَوْمٍ، وَإِنِّي قَدْ جَرَّبْتُ النَّاسَ قَبْلَكَ، وَعَالَجْتُ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ أَشَدَّ الْمُعَالَجَةِ، فَارْجِعْ إِلَى رَبِّكَ فَاسْأَلْهُ التَّخْفِيفَ لأُمَّتِكَ‏.‏ قَالَ سَأَلْتُ رَبِّي حَتَّى اسْتَحْيَيْتُ، وَلَكِنْ أَرْضَى وَأُسَلِّمُ ـ قَالَ ـ فَلَمَّا جَاوَزْتُ نَادَى مُنَادٍ "‏‏أَمْضَيْتُ فَرِيضَتِي وَخَفَّفْتُ عَنْ عِبَادِي

“When I came back to Musa a.s, he said, ‘What have you been ordered?’ I replied, ‘I have been ordered to observe five prayers a day.’ He said, ‘Your followers cannot bear five prayers a day, for I have got an experience with the people before you, and I have tried my level best with the Children of Israel, so go back to Allah and ask for a reduction to lessen your follower’s burden.’ I said, ‘I have requested so much of Allah that I feel ashamed, but I am satisfied now, and I surrender to Allah’s Order.’ When I left, I heard a voice saying, ‘I have passed My Order and have lessened the burden of My Worshippers.”

(Sahih Al-Bukhari)

The miraculous journey of Isra’ Mi’raj indeed has significant lessons that are relevant and timely for us to internalise and practise. The lessons also show Allah’s boundless generosity and mercy to all His creations. 

Allah intends for us ease and not difficulty. He does not seek to burden his servants. Our daily prayers are meant to benefit us and not Allah; they are our direct contact and communication with Him. Out of 24 hours daily, we are only asked to spare a few minutes throughout the day to focus solely on Allah s.w.t. Imagine having to pray 50 times a day. Would we be able to do it?

May Allah allow us to have Istiqamah and lead us from sin to forgiveness, from darkness to light, from fear to trust, and from hatred to love.

And Allah knows best.

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