If we reflect on the fact that the fastest means of transportation during the Prophet’s time were camels and horses, we can realize the extent of the unswerving faith and belief in the Prophet’s truthfulness that his Companions enjoyed and developed. On hearing the news of the Prophet’s Israa’ and Mi`raj (Night Journey and Ascension), Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) readily said, “Yes, I do verify it.” It was on this occasion that he earned the title of As-Siddiq (the Verifier of the Truth). This unshakeable position is not strange, since Abu Bakr and all the Prophet’s Companions believed the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) in what is greater—receiving revelation from Heaven.
The disbelievers found Al-Israa’ and Al-Mi`raj a suitable opportunity to jeer at the Muslims and their creed. They pestered the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) with questions about the description of the mosque at Jerusalem—where he had never gone before—and, to the astonishment of many, his replies furnished the most accurate information about that city. He supplied them with all the news about their caravans and the routes of their camels. However, all this increased in them nothing but flight from the Truth, and they accepted nothing but disbelief.
For the true Muslims, there was nothing unusual about Al-Israa’ and Al-Mi`raj. The Almighty Allah Who is powerful enough to have created the heavens and the earth by an act of His will, is surely powerful enough to take His Messenger beyond the heavens and show him some of His signs firsthand that are inaccessible to man otherwise.
The pressing question now is, how can we maintain an unswerving belief in the Prophet’s truthfulness? The following tips will be beneficial:
1. Deepen our faith in Allah, the Creator, the Provider, the Knower, etc., by reflecting on His creation, attentively reading the Qur’an, and steering clear of the prohibitions.
2. Become well acquainted with the Prophet, his morals, his teachings, and his seerah (biography) from reliable and authentic sources.
3. Maintain unparalleled love for the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). We should know that loving the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is a measure of our faith and inner conviction, and our faith is completed and perfected only when our love for the Prophet exceeds our love for everything else in this world, including our own lives. The Qur’an says (The Prophet has a greater claim on the faithful than they have on themselves) (Al-Ahzab 33:6). Anas reported: The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “None of you (truly) believes until I be more beloved to him than his father, his child, and all the people” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).
4. Firmly believe that obeying the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is part of obeying Allah. The Qur’an says (He who obeys the Messenger has indeed obeyed Allah) (An-Nisaa’ 4:80).
5. Keep in mind that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) did not preach a message from his mind. Rather, his message was based on divine guidance and revelation. The Qur’an emphatically declares (Nor does he speak out of desire. It is naught but revelation that is revealed (to him by Allah)) (An-Najm 53:3–4).
6. Know how much the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) suffered to deliver the message that Allah Almighty entrusted him with.
7. Reflect on the fact that before the Prophet’s mission, the Quraish called him the Truthful and the Trustworthy because of his persistence in saying the truth and preserving trusts.
8. Translate the Prophet’s teachings into practice. Following the way of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) leads to success, happiness, and welfare both in this world and the world to come.
The occasion of Al-Israa’ and Al-Mi`raj is really a golden opportunity to promote our love for the Prophet and our belief in his truthfulness. The Qur’an records the incident and a whole surah is entitled Al-Israa’. The surah starts by glorifying Allah Almighty, and this is an indication of the miraculous nature and importance of Al-Israa’ and Al-Mi`raj. Let’s seize this opportunity to enhance our love for the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and follow his guidance in all aspects of life.
By Wa’il `Abdel-Mut`aal Shihab