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Night of Miraj ?

Question:

Is'nt it our belief that Muhammad sallallahu alaihi wa sallam saw Allah on the night of miraj, and also that he has been granted the knowledge of the unseen by Allah. However i have been made aware that a hadith in either bukhari or muslim shareef narrated by masruq:Aisha said, "if anyone tells you that Muhammad has seen his lord, he is a liar, for Allah says:"No vision can grasp him"(6.103) 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."
Please give me detailed explanation as well as evidences with full reference to help and me understand.

Answer:

First of all, ‘Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) was not married to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) at the time of Miraj. In fact, she may not have been born at the time of the Night Journey, (as there are minor disputes as to which year the Isra and Mir’aj took place). Hence, she did not witness this night and must have heard the event from someone else. For this reason, preference is given to the other Companions, of which most assert he did see his Lord. Also, ‘Aisha never slept with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) until Madina, and the Isra and Mi’raj happened when the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was in Makka Sharif.

Allah says in the Qur’an,

‘So Allah revealed to His beloved servant what He revealed. The heart lied not in what the Prophet’s eye saw. Do you then dispute with him about what he saw?

This issue has been disputed since the time of the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them). ‘Aisha, for example, was of the opinion that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did not see his Lord. Ibn Abbas, on the other hand, was adamant that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was bestowed with this honour on the night of Isra and Mi’raj.

There are two sides to the argument.


Opinion One;
‘The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did not see his Lord.’

• In the commentary of the verses ‘Till there was a distance of two-bow lengths or even less’, ‘The heart lied not in what the Prophet’s eye saw’ and ‘Certainly he saw the great signs of his Lord’ Ibn Mas’ud (may Allah be pleased with him) said that all refer to when the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) saw Jibrael (peace be upon him) in his original, created form with six-hundred wings. In other words, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did not see Allah on this night, but Jibrael in his original form for the first time. (pp. 527-8. Zia al-Nabi. Pir Muhammad Karam Shah al-Azhari. (vol. II; 4th ed.) Zia al-Quran Publications, Lahore,1420 A.H.)

• Imam Muslim narrates from Masruq, who said,

‘Once I was in the presence of ‘Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) when I asked her if the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) saw Allah.
She replied, ‘there are three comments which –if are spoken- constitute a great lie against Allah.’ I asked, ‘what are they?’ She replied, ‘Whoever assumes that Muhammad saw his Lord, then he has invented a lie against Allah.’
I was lying down, and sat up [due to astonishment] and said to her, ‘O Mother of the Faithful! Look at me and do not be haste! Did not Allah say in the Qur’an ‘And verily he saw him at the clear horizon’ and ‘And indeed he saw that splendid vision for the second time’? She replied, ‘I was the first from this Ummah to ask the Prophet about this. He said, ‘It is merely [referring to] Jibrael (peace be upon him). I did not see him in his original form except twice…’ ‘Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) then said to Masruq, ‘did not Allah say in the Qur’an, ‘No vision can grasp Him; But His grasp is over all vision; And He is Subtle, Well-Aware’…’ (p. 8. Sahih Muslim bi Sharh al-Imam al-Nawawi. (Book of Iman; Chapter, the proving of the vision of Allah). Vol II; Part I. Dar al-Fikr; Beirut. n.d. on publication. See also p. 531, Zia al-Nabi. Pir Muhammad Karam Shah al-Azhari. (vol. II; 4th ed.) Zia al-Quran Publications, Lahore,1420 A.H.)


Opinion Two;
‘The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did see his Lord.’

• Imam Ahmad narrates from Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him), that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, ‘I saw my Lord, most Powerful and Grand.’ (Cited in al-Isra wa al-Miraj, Dr. ‘Abd al-Halim Mahmud. (p. 49) Dar al-Ma’arif, Cairo, Egypt. 9th edition, n.d. on publication.)
This Hadith is in essence sufficient on the issue; the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) himself clearly stated here that he did see his Lord.

• Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) is considered the most authoritative Companion on the commentary of the Qur’an. Regarding the verse The Prophet’s eye did not wander, nor it trespassed the limit of respect. Certainly he saw the great signs of his Lord from Surah Najam, Ibn ‘Abbas said, ‘The Prophet saw Allah with his heart twice.’ (Cited in Zia al-Nabi. Pir Muhammad Karam Shah al-Azhari. (p. 532) (vol. II; 4th ed.) Zia al-Quran Publications, Lahore,1420 A.H.)
Al-Tabrani writes in al-Awsat with an authentic chain from Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) that ‘verily Muhammad saw his Lord twice; once with his eyes and once with his heart.’  (Cited in al-Isra wa al-Miraj, Dr. ‘Abd al-Halim Mahmud. (p. 48) Dar al-Ma’arif, Cairo, Egypt. 9th edition, n.d. on publication. See also, p. 362, al-Sharh al-Qawim fi Hill Alfaz al-Sirat al-Mustaqim. ‘Abd Allah al-Harawi. Dar al-Masami’; Beirut, Lebanon, 2004.)

• Imam al-Nisa’i records a Hadith with a sound chain from Ikrama that Ibn ‘Abbas said,

‘Are you surprised that friendship was granted to Ibrahim, direct dialogue to Musa and vision to the Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)?’ (Cited in Zia al-Nabi. Pir Muhammad Karam Shah al-Azhari. (p. 533) (vol. II; 4th ed.) Zia al-Quran Publications, Lahore,1420 A.H.)

• Imam ‘Abd al-Razzaq narrated from Ma’mar that Hasan Basri would take an oath upon insisting that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) saw his Lord. (p. 534. Ibid.)

• Ata’ believes that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) saw him with his heart. (p. 118.  al-Shifa bi Ta’rif Huquq al-Mustafa. Allama Qadi Abu al-Fadhal ‘Ayadh ibn Musa (d. 544 A.H. /1149 C.E.). Dar Ibn Hazm Publications, Beirut, 2002)

• Ibn Khuzaima narrates with a strong chain ‘that Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) saw his Lord.’ (Cited in al-Sharh al-Qawim fi Hill Alfaz al-Sirat al-Mustaqim. (p. 362) ‘Abd Allah al-Harawi. Dar al-Masami’; Beirut, Lebanon, 2004)

In response to the saying of ‘Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her), the scholars have offered numerous answers.

-Firstly, al-Maruzi once asked Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal ‘the people say that ‘Aisha said that whoever assumes Muhammad saw his Lord has invented a lie against Allah. How do you respond to this?’ He replied, ‘I respond with the saying of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) that ‘I saw my Lord’. And the saying of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is stronger than her opinion.’ (p. 534-5. Zia al-Nabi. Pir Muhammad Karam Shah al-Azhari. (p. 532) (vol. II; 4th ed.) Zia al-Quran Publications, Lahore,1420 A.H.)

On another occasion, Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal was asked if the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) saw his Lord. He said, ‘he saw him, he saw him’ until he became breathless. (p. 537 Ibid.)

The verse ‘No vision can grasp Him; But His grasp is over all vision; And He is Subtle, Well-Aware’…’ seemingly suggests that no one can see Allah. However, Qadi ‘Ayadh writes that it in theory, it must be possible to see Allah. This is because Musa asked Allah to honour him with His vision (Araf: 143). And prophets do not ask Allah for matters that are impossible. (p. 119. al-Shifa bi Ta’rif Huquq al-Mustafa. Allama Qadi Abu al-Fadhal ‘Ayadh ibn Musa (d. 544 A.H. /1149 C.E.). Dar Ibn Hazm Publications, Beirut, 2002. See also, p. 4. Sahih Muslim bi Sharh al-Imam al-Nawawi. Vol II; Part I. Dar al-Fikr; Beirut. n.d. on publication).
 

-Secondly, Ibn Hajr answers the claim that ‘Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) asked the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) about the meaning of the verse, upon which he asserted that he saw Jibrael. He writes that ‘Aisha asked about the verse ‘And surely he saw him on the bright horizon’. This verse is undoubtedly referring to the Prophet’s (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) vision of Jibrael. This is because this actual verse is from Surah Takvir, which does refer to Jibrael. Allah says in the Qur’an,
 
‘This [Qur’an] is the word (brought) by an honoured Messenger- who is powerful and dignified with the Lord of the Mighty Throne- There he is the obeyed one (of the angels) and trustworthy. And this companion of yours is not mad. And surely he saw the messenger on the bright horizon.’ (Takvir 19-23) 

This refers to when the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) saw Jibrael in his original form, with six-hundred wings on the bright horizon. But the verse in Surah Najam refers to the highest horizon, which is beyond the Sidra al-Muntaha. ‘Aisha asked the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) about Surah Takvir, but that does not refer to the Isra. It is Surah Najam that refers to the Isra.


Secondly, no one disputes the fact that only Allah has Knowledge of the Unseen. What the Aqidah of the Ahl Sunna wa Jamaa is that Allah Himself has bestowed the Knowledge of the Unseen to His Beloved Messenger. Pir Muhammad Karam Shah Sahib explains our doctrine when he writes,
Our belief is that Allah Almighty inundated the Prophet’s (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) heart with knowledge of the Unseen. However, the Prophet’s knowledge –in comparison to Allah’s- is not his own, nor is it infinite. Rather, it is merely given from Allah. In comparison to Allah’s knowledge, the Prophet’s knowledge is not even a particle of sand to the whole desert, or a drop in the ocean. In comparison to the knowledge of the rest of humanity, the Prophet’s knowledge is a huge ocean whose depth have not been explored, and whose shores have not yet been reached.’ (Zia-ul-Quran, vol I, p, 301).
Allah states that Knowledge of the Unseen is His alone. But even the Qur’an asserts that this does not negate the fact He can bestow it to others. Allah states, “It is not befitting for Allah to initiate you all into the Unseen, but rather Allah chooses (for the knowledge of the unseen) from his Messengers whomever He wishes”. (3:179)
Finally, if the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) himself stated the extent of his knowledge, we have no right to argue over his exact detail and worth.
Al-Saddi reports that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) once said, ‘My Ummah was presented to me in its form, just like it was presented to Adam, and I know who will believe in me and who will disbelieve in me’. The hypocrites heard this and made a mockery of the statement. They remarked that the Prophet thinks he knows who will believe in him and will not, whereas we are living with him, and he doesn’t know about us (i.e. that we are hypocrites). Hence, when the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) heard of this, he stood on the pulpit, praised Allah and then said, ‘What is the state of those people who insult my knowledge? I can inform you of anything you ask that will occur between you now and the Day of Judgement. Abdullah ibn Huzafa al-Sahmi stood and asked ‘who is my father, O prophet of Allah!’ The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) replied ‘It is Huzafa’. Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) stood and said ‘O prophet of Allah! We are content with Allah as our Lord, with Islam as our religion, with the Qur’ān as our Imam, and with you as our Prophet…the Prophet said ‘will you then abhor, will you then abhor? (Cited in Muhammad Abdul Hakim Sharf in Min Aqaaid Ahl al-Sunnah. P. 213-4. Munazzama al-Dawa al-Islami Publications, Lahore, Pakistan 1995)

Ibn ‘Abbas (May Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said.
I saw my Lord in the most beautiful form [in a dream]. He asked me, ‘O Muhammad! Do you know what the exalted angels argue over?’ I replied ‘I do not know’. Hence He placed his hand between my shoulders and I felt coolness in my chest. Hence [as a result] everything became apparent to me and I knew everything…” (Imam Tirmidhi in Sunan al-Tirmidhi. Hadīth no. 3158. Chapter; the Tafseer of the Qur’ān. Book; from Surah Swadh).

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