Isra Wa’al Mi’raj – Prophet’s Night Journey & Ascension
Neither Prophet Muhammad's Seerah (biography) from early Islamic period, not any hadith collections mention his travels to Jerusalem or as far as Jerusalem which informs us that he had never visited the city before the miraculous incident of Isra Wa'al Mi'raj. Even though he had never visited the city yet he was able to thoroughly describe its details to those who doubted and questioned him after his journey. The following are some of the earliest known historical sources on the Prophet's seerah that record all his travels outside of Arabia, from his childhood to adulthood that he undertook. Sheikh Gibril Haddad has written them in his writing "The Occupation of Prophet Muhammad [PBUH] Before He Got Risalat" published in As Sunnah Foundation of America. None of the biographical sources mention any of his travels to Jerusalem.
Prophet Muhammad’s travels outside Hijaz before prophethood
The earliest time on record seems to be age twelve went he went to Shaam (greater Syria) with Abu Talib, the Prophet's uncle, as narrated by Ibn Saad in his Tabaqat and Ibn Asakir in Tarikh Dimashq, also al-Tirmidhi who graded this report fair (hasan). He traveled with his uncle Abu Talib and they had reached a place in Syria called Bosra where they met a monk called Bahira who gave them the news of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ becoming a leader of humankind and one of the greatest Prophet as described in their books. Second trip to Yemen took place between 11-19 years of age. Ibn al-Jawzi relates in al-Wafa bi Akhbar al-Mustafa that at that time he went to Yemen with his uncle al-Zubayr ibn Abd al-Muttalib. His third trip took place at the age of twenty five, he went to Syria as a merchant for Khadijah (May Allah be pleased with her) Ibn Ishaq , Ibn Saad, Ibn al-Sakan, Abu Nuaym and others reported that Khadijah, daughter of Khwailid hired him due to his great honesty, character, trustworthiness, truthfulness and due to his overall nobility when conducting business or otherwise. Therefore according to all the authentic sources that we have mentioned, Prophet Muhammad’s travels outside of Hijaz was only 3 times and none of them mention his travels to Jerusalem.
Disbelievers of Makkah ask the Prophet ﷺ to describe details of Jerusalem
After Prophet Muhammad ﷺ declared that he made a trip to Jerusalem within a few hours of one night, went to the heavens and returned, the first thing the disbelievers did was to reject and challenged him was to describe the details of Jerusalem. The following is recorded through authentic narrations:
The people said: “O Muhammad, describe the Bayt Al Maqdis (The Holy House) for us. How is it built, what does it look like, how near is it to the mountain.” There were some among them who had traveled there. He began to describe it for them: “Its structure is like this, its appearance like this, its proximity to the mountain is such-and-such,” and he did not stop describing it to them until he began to have doubt about the description. He was seized with an anxiety he had not felt before, whereupon he was immediately brought to the mosque itself (in Jerusalem) and saw it in front of him (Allah revealed a vision of the masjid). He was placed outside the gate of Aqil or Iqal. The people said: “How many gates does the mosque have?” He had not counted them before. He looked at the gates and began to count them one by one and to inform them. All the while Abu Bakr (r.a) was saying: “You have spoken the truth. You have spoken the truth. I bear witness that you are the Messenger of Allah (sadaqta sadaqta ashhadu annaka rasulullah).” The people said: “As for the description, then, by Allah, he is correct.”
A very significant point to note here is that if disbelievers knew Prophet Muhammad ﷺ had traveled there they would not have asked him to describe Jerusalem and the Al Aqsa Masjid (the holy temple). Instead they would have alleged that he described this city because he has traveled there many times. Please note that their prior knowledge of him never traveling to Jerusalem was because the society knew Prophet Muhammad ﷺ very well from his child hood. They used to call him ‘As Sadiq (Truthful)’ and ‘Al Ameen (Trustworthy)’ and hardly called him by his real name Muhammad. Therefore their asking him to describe the details is a confirmation of him never traveling to Jerusalem before.
 Sira Facts - The occupation of Prophet Mohammad [PBUH] before he got Risalat - By Sheikh Gibril Haddad. http://www.sunnah.org/msaec/articles/Sira%20Facts.htm
 al-Hasani, Sayyid Muhammad `Alawi al-Maliki. n.d. COMMEMORATING THE PROPHET’S RAPTURE AND ASCENSION TO HIS LORD. As Sunnah Foundation of America. Accessed 03 02, 2019. http://sunnah.org/wp/2008/07/18/collated-hadith-isra-miraj/ - al-Hasani n.d.
 al-Hasani, Sayyid Muhammad, COMMEMORATING THE PROPHET’S RAPTURE
Leave a Reply.