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Was the Miraj (Ascension) bodily or spiritual? The legal ruling on the denier of the Miraj being bodily.

Darulifta Ahlesunnat

(Dawateislami)

Question

   What do the noble scholars and muftis of the mighty Sharīah say concerning the following matters: 1) Was the Mirāj of the beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم bodily or spiritual? 2) What is the legal ruling on someone who denies the Mirāj being bodily?

بِسْمِ اللہِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِیْمِ

اَلْجَوَابُ بِعَوْنِ الْمَلِکِ الْوَھَّابِ اَللّٰھُمَّ ھِدَایَۃَ الْحَقِّ وَالصَّوَابِ

   The beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم was granted a bodily Mirāj, in a wakeful state. The Quranic verses and Sahih Aādīth indicate upon this. This is the opinion of the majority of the honourable Companions, Tābiīn (successors), tbā Tabiīn (successors to the successors), fuqahā (jurists), muaddithīn (hadith masters) and mutakallimīn (scholastic theologians) and this is the belief of the Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jamāah.

   Allah mentions in the noble Quran:

سُبۡحٰنَ الَّذِیۡۤ  اَسۡرٰی بِعَبۡدِہٖ لَیۡلًا مِّنَ الۡمَسۡجِدِ الۡحَرَامِ  اِلَی الۡمَسۡجِدِ الۡاَقۡصَا الَّذِیۡ بٰرَکۡنَا حَوۡلَہٗ  لِنُرِیَہٗ مِنۡ اٰیٰتِنَا ؕ اِنَّہٗ  ہُوَ  السَّمِیۡعُ  الۡبَصِیۡرُ ﴿۱

   Translation from Kanz al-Īmān: Glory be to Him Who took His bondsman by the night from the Sacred Mosque (the Ka'bah) to Al-Aqsa Mosque around which We have placed blessing, in order that We may show him Our great signs. Indeed, He is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing.

It is mentioned in the commentary of this verse in Tafsīr al-Khāzin, Tafsīr Jalālayn and āshiyah al-āwi:

والحق الذی علیہ اکثر الناس ومعظم السلف وعامۃ الخلف من المتاخرین من الفقھاء والمحدثین والمتکلمین انہ اسری بروحہ وجسدہ صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم، ویدل علیہ قولہ سبحانہ وتعالی: ﴿ سُبْحٰنَ الَّذِیۡۤ اَسْرٰی بِعَبْدِہٖ لَیۡلًا ﴾، ولفظ العبد عبارۃ عن مجموع الروح والجسد، والحدیث الصحیحۃ التی تقدمت تدل علی صحۃ ھذا القول

    “The truth which which is affirmed by most of the people, the majority of the salaf (pious predecessors), the generality of the jurists, hadith masters and scholastic theologians from  Mutakhhireen (the later scholars), is that the beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم went on the night journey with his body and soul. The following statement of Allah Almighty indicates upon this:

سُبۡحٰنَ الَّذِیۡۤ  اَسۡرٰی بِعَبۡدِہٖ لَیۡلًا

   Translation from Kanz al-Īmān: Glory be to Him Who took His bondsman by the night

   The word عبد is an expression of the combination of body and soul. The preceding Sahih hadith also indicates upon the correctness of this opinion.”

   It is stated in Nasīm al-Riyā:

(انہ اسراء بالجسد والروح فی القصۃ کلھا) ای فی قصۃ الاسراء الی المسجد الاقصی والسموات، (وعلیہ تدل الآیۃ) الدالۃ علی شطرھا صریحاً (وصحیح الاخبار) المشھور المستفیضۃ الدالۃ علی عروجہ صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم الی السماء، والاحادیث الاحاد الدالۃ علی دخولہ الجنۃ ووصولہ الی العرش او طرف العالم کما سیاتی کل ذلک بجسدہ یقظۃ

    (The Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم undertook the journey to Masjid al-Aqā and the heavens with both body and soul. The verse mentioned clearly indicates upon one part of this journey, whilst a Mashhoor Mustafeed hadith proves the journey towards the heavens. Whereas, a khabar-e-wahid indicates upon his entry into Paradise and his arrival at the Arsh or the edge of the created realm, all of which shall be discussed further on. All of this occurred with his body in a wakeful state. 

It is stated in Maktūbāt Imam al-Rabbāni and Fatāwā Rizawiyyah:

The noble Mirāj, absolutely, definitely, occurred with the blessed body and not only spiritually, which also occurs for his devotees through his granting. Allah Almighty stated:

سُبۡحٰنَ الَّذِیۡۤ  اَسۡرٰی بِعَبۡدِہٖ لَیۡلًا

   Translation from Kanz al-Īmān: Glory be to Him Who took His bondsman by the night

He did not state ‘Who took His bondsman’s soul’.

It is stated in Maqālāt al-imī:

The view of majority of the scholars, the honourable Companions, Tābiīn, atbā al-Tabiīn, as well as muaddithīn, fuqahā and mutakallimīn after them, is that the Isrā and Mirāj both occurred physically, in a wakeful state. And, this is the truth.

2. Absolute denial of the noble Mirāj is disbelief. This is because the Mirāj from Masjid al-arām to Masjid al-Aqā is definitive and established from the noble Quran. However, if a person accepts the Mirāj but believes it to be only spiritual, he is upon error. In this age, only the deviated deny this.

   Outright denial of the Mirāj, is an act of disbelief. It is mentioned in Shar al-Aqāid al-Nasafiyyah and Nibrās:

والمعراج لرسول اللہ صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم فی الیقظۃ بشخصہ الی السماء، ثم الی ما شاء اللہ تعالی من العلی حق ای ثابت بالخبر المشھور حتی ان منکرہ یکون مبتدعاً،۔۔ فالاسراء ھو من المسجد الحرام الی البیت المقدس قطعی ای یقینی ثبت بالکتاب ای القرآن ویکفر منکرہ۔۔ الخ

   The Mirāj, in a physical and wakeful state for the beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم to the sky and then to wherever Allah willed is proven by Mashhoor narrations, such that its denier is an innovator. The Isrā from Masjid al-arām to Bayt al-Muqaddas is definitive, i.e. established by the Book, meaning the noble Quran. Its denier is declared a disbeliever.” 

It is stated in Nasīm al-Riyāḍ:

(ذھب معظم السلف والمسلمین) عطف للعام علی الخاص، وفیہ اشارۃ الی ان خلافہ لا ینبغی لمسلم اعتقادہ ( الی انہ اسراء بالجسد (مع الروح) وفی الیقظۃ

   The majority of the pious predecessors and the Muslims took the opinion (this is a conjunction of the general upon the specific, and the words ‘‘majority of the pious predecessors and the Muslims’’ indicate that it does not befit a Muslim to believe contrary to this) that the Isrā was with the body and soul, and in a wakeful state. [1]

It is mentioned in Fatāwā Rizawiyyah:

   These profound happenings have also made the fact that the Mirāj was bodily, more apparent than the Sun. If it was a mere spiritual journey or in a dream, why would amazement be expressed upon this? Zayd and Amr travel to Makkah and Madinah in their dreams and are found in their beds in the morning. Taking the word رؤیا as evidence and not looking at اِلَّا فِتْنَۃً لِّلنَّاسِ is a manifest error. رؤیا comes in the meaning of beholding and فتنہ و آزمائش occurs in a wakeful state, rather than in a dream. For this reason, Allah stated:

سُبۡحٰنَ الَّذِیۡۤ  اَسۡرٰی بِعَبۡدِہٖ لَیۡلًا

   Translation from Kanz al-Īmān: Glory be to Him Who took His bondsman by the night[2] , [3]

وَاللہُ اَعْلَمُ عَزَّوَجَلَّ وَرَسُوْلُہ اَعْلَم صَلَّی اللّٰہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّم

Answered By: Mufti Muhammad Qasim Attari

Date: 3rd Jumādā al-Ūlā 1439 AH/21st January 2018

[1] Nasīm al-Riyā sharh al-shifa, vol. 2, p. 267

[2] al-Quran, 17:1

[3] Al-Fatāwā al-Razawiyyah, vol. 29, p. 635

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