Allamah Sayyid Kashmiri talks about Isra and Mi'raj [The Night Journey]
· Allah (s.w.t.) gave the Seal of the Prophets Muhammad (s.a.w.w.) characteristics not given to a prophet before him.
· The Holy Qur’an states that man could reach the depths of this endless universe.
· Surahs of Al-Najm [The Star] and Al-Isra [The Night Journey] are clear proofs of the event of Isra and Mi'raj
· Since the beginning, Islam has paid attention to knowledge and men of knowledge.
· In the Holy Qur’an there are approximately 750 verses of facts about the universe and its secrets.
· Young people should revert to the history of the Imams of Alul Bayt (a.s.) and make use of its scientific treasures so they may be enlightened and enlighten others also.
· Reproached those who issue fatwas inciting antagonism, discord and the spread of sectarianism.
23 Rajab 1436

The Voice of the Iraqi Community asked Allamah Sayyid Murtadha Al-Kashmiri the following question:

Among the occasions mentioned in Islamic history is the event of Isra & Mi’raj. What is the reality of this event? Is there scientific proof substantiating such a journey into the depth of this endless universe where no man has ever been? Could you please give us a convincing explanation?

Answer:

“We are in the month of Rajab, one of the sacred months. A month where the rewards for good deeds is multiplied and bad one erased. The Prophet (s.a.w.w.), regarding this month, said: “No other month nears the sacredness of the month of Rajab.” The Prophet (s.a.w.w.) and his pure and chaste household emphasized on benefitting from the acts of worship during this month; especially fasting, repentance [istighfar] giving Sadaqa and other good deeds mentioned in supplication books. As stated, the event of Isra and Mi’raj occurred during this month. This event is considered to be one of the remarkable signs for the seal of the prophets Muhammad (s.a.w.w.). It was never as such for the other prophets before him. It was as though the Almighty desired certain distinctions for His Prophet (s.a.w.w.) not granted to any one before him - this event being one of them.

As for your question, an introduction to the answer is imperative. In brief first of all, Islam cares about knowledge and learning. Considering that knowledge is light and ignorance is darkness, we therefore see the first Surah that was revealed in the Holy Qur’an is about learning: Read in the name of your Lord who created (Holy Qur’an 96:1) And because of the importance of knowledge, the Holy Qur’an swore by its tools: Nun. By the pen and what they inscribe, (Holy Quran 68:1) as well as prioritizing the bounties of knowledge and learning and commending learned men and thinking and contemplating on the creation of the heavens and the earth and living beings: Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the night and the day are signs for those of understanding.(Holy Qur’an 3:190)

When we refer to the Holy Qur’an we find around 750 verses about the cosmos and its secrets. The sun, the moon and the stars and galaxies and heavenly bodies not yet discovered; despite advances in modern science . The Holy Qur’an also explains how the human being is created and the stages he goes through, plus other scientific facts that are not mentioned in other heavenly books before. From this scientific approach in the Holy Qur’an, one can say that it is possible to reach the depths of the universe if the scientific tools are made available: O company of jinn and mankind, if you are able to pass beyond the regions of the heavens and the earth, then pass. You will not pass except by authority [from Allah ].(Holy Quran 55:33) Therefore the journey of the Prophet (s.a.w.w.) to the depth of the universe isn’t surprising or strange because he (s.a.w.w.) enjoys an rather praised status from Allah (s.w.t.): ...it is expected that your Lord will resurrect you to a praised station.(Holy Qur’an 17:79) The event of Isra and Mi’raj is like a miracle, creative and amazing. In support of the Isra and Mi’raj we see the Holy Qur’an mentioning the Prophet Suleiman (peace be upon him) being transported with his entourage from one place to another, when no modern transport methods were available, by a gust of wind: So We subjected to him the wind blowing by his command, gently, wherever he directed (Holy Qur’an 38:36)

When we refer to the Holy Qur’an and its interpretations by Muslims from the two schools and the Hadith and history books, we see concurrence that the Prophet (s.a.w.w.) was transported at night from Masjid al-Haraam to Masjid Al-Aqsa and thereafter ascended to the heavens to see manifestations of Allah’s might and the wonders of his creations which is obscured from earthlings and transcends their perceptions. The Holy Qur’an stipulated the first part of this journey in the Sourah-tul- Isra: 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. (Holy Qur’an 17:1)

Sourah-tul-Najm explains the second part of the Mi’raj: While he was in the higher [part of the] horizon. Then he approached and descended. And was at a distance of two bow lengths or nearer. And he revealed to His Servant what he revealed. The heart did not lie [about] what it saw. So will you dispute with him over what he saw? And he certainly saw him in another descent. At the Lote Tree of the Utmost Boundary - Near it is the Garden of Refuge - When there covered the Lote Tree that which covered [it]. The sight [of the Prophet] did not swerve, nor did it transgress [its limit]. He certainly saw of the greatest signs of his Lord. (Holy Qur’an 53:7 to 18)

Philosophers and scientists have talked much about the Isra and Mi’raj and whether the ascension to the heavens was in body or in soul; all under the pretext that the human brain rejects this event which exceeds the limits of possibilities. However, the Holy Qur’an proves that wind carried the Prophet Suleiman (a.s.) to far-off places within a few hours and sometimes within several seconds. Or bringing home the commandment of the throne of Bilquis from a remote point in Yemen to Sham in less than a blink of an eye.

Said one who had knowledge from the Scripture, "I will bring it to you before your glance returns to you." And when [Suleiman] saw it placed before him, he said, "This is from the favour of my Lord (Holy Qur’an 27:40)

Therefore what prevents a miracle like event that defies the laws of physics occurring to the prophet (s.a.w.w.), when it happened to someone of a less stature and virtue: And those who have disbelieved say, "You are not a messenger." Say, [O Muhammad], "Sufficient is Allah as Witness between me and you, and [the witness of] whoever has knowledge of the Scripture." (Holy Qur’an 13:43)

In brief, the Isra and Mi’raj are possible and the mind does not repudiate them just as the mind does not repudiate the means, called Al-Bouraq, by which the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.w.) reached great speeds. Shaykh Mohammad Jawad Moghniyeh, when mentioning Isra and Mi’raj in Tafsir Al-Kashif, refers to Mohammad Fath’i Ahmed who wrote an article in the Jumhoriyah newspaper entitled ‘The scientific content of Isra and Mi’raj’ as in this extract:

“Perhaps in referring to the means the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.w.) used, called Al-Bouraq, which according to Hadith, is a four-legged animal larger than a donkey and smaller than a mule, there is an instruction for us by Allah to cling to the means. It would not have been difficult for Allah to transport His Messenger from Makka to Quds without any transportation means – such that the Prophet would suddenly find himself on the doorstep of Masjid Al-Aqsa. But Allah Almighty the Exalted desired that everything happens according to constant and unchangeable laws. Thus the use of the four-legged animal to travel great distances in a short time was to motivate the minds to find new methods of transport to travel long distances in a short period.”

And he went on to say: “through these scientific attempts to study space, man was able to learn many secrets and science was able to go from various parts of the earth and reach the wonders of creation. However, physical science forgets the creator of the universe. The event of Isra and Mi’raj teaches us a lesson that the physical and the spiritual go hand in hand. The Prophet (s.a.w.w.) ascended to the heavens in the physical form as well as in a form of energy spirited by the Almighty creator and the angel Gibra’il guided him through this journey.”

If we can fathom the truth about the Isra and Mi’raj and science can discover its secrets man would gain much knowledge from this. In brief, as the event of Isra and Mi’raj is written in the Holy Qur’an and mentioned in Hadith, there is no point in talking about how and if it occurred.

Muslims, scientists, intellectuals, researchers and inventors can learn an important lesson from the event of Isra and Mi’raj and that is, Islam, right from its inception, pushed for enlightenment with the light of knowledge and comprehension; not only on earth but in space as well. Addressing the people of Kufa, Amirul-Momineen (a.s.) says: “Ask me before you lose me for I am more knowledgeable about the ways of the heavens on earth.” He (a.s.) was the one who established the science of dynamics when he said: “With each movement there must be knowledge.” Regarding the science of ‘light’, Amirlul-Momineen (a.s.) discovered a secret when he said: “Praise be to Allah who gave light a weight.” Imam Al-Sajjad (a.s.) complemented this when he talked about the weight of the heavens, the earth, the sun, the moon, darkness & light and air by saying: “Glory be to You [Allah] who knows the weight of the heavens. Glory be to You [Allah] who knows the weight of the earths [planets]. Glory be to You [Allah] who knows the weight the sun and the moon. Glory be to You [Allah] who knows the weight of the darkness and light. Glory be to You [Allah] who knows the weight the shadow and the air. Glory be to You [Allah] who knows how many atoms the wind weighs.

Back in the times of the Imams (a.s.), especially during the era of Imam Al-Sadiq (a.s.) who opened the door of his extensive scientific school and systems which modern scientific experiments and inventions were built upon; benefitting some of his students like Jabir Bin Hayyan and others who documented these systems and sciences. He (a.s.) laid the foundations of chemistry and discovered the science of the atom as Jabir said: “Ancient Greek scientists claimed that the minutest particle of matter is one that cannot be fragmented (the atom) and contains dense energy. However, this is not true that it cannot be fragmented as claimed by ancient Greek scientists. The atom can be split emanating such energy that could turn the town of Baghdad upside down and this is one of the signs of the power of Allah Almighty.” In this and other scientific discoveries there is conclusive evidence of the interest of the school of Ahlul-Bayt (a.s.) in modern science and their encouragement of its use. The book by Sayyid Hassan Al-Sadr is ‘The Shi’a and Islamic Arts’ is a compelling document of the interest of the Imams (a.s.) and their companions with innovations and scientific discoveries.

We therefore call upon our youth and Muslim thinkers and others to revert to the history of the Imams of Ahlul-Bayt (a.s.) and extract the treasures and valuables they contain in various fields of science and knowledge so as to enlighten this world, to benefit themselves and benefit others –especially those who only associate the Imams’ (a.s.) lives with worship and asceticism; when from their history we see they contributed to humanity in various stages and times and by different sciences and mystical knowledge.

Unfortunately, instead of taking advantage of this huge gift, we see today those who are spiritually and mentally deranged and who know nothing about religion except the appearance and on this basis, i.e. appearance, they legitimize shedding the blood of others who do not share their views. Some have deliberately falsified the facts and narrations of the Prophet (s.a.w.w.) and used them to sow discord and hatred and spread sectarianism among young people. From this and other factors the ‘takfir’ and ‘terrorism’ were born. Muslims began to shed each others’ blood only to serve the goals of the enemies.” Allah (s.w.t.) says:

So for their breaking of the covenant We cursed them and made their hearts hard. They distort words from their [proper] usages and have forgotten a portion of that of which they were reminded. And you will still observe deceit among them, except a few of them. But pardon them and overlook [their misdeeds]. Indeed, Allah loves the doers of good. (Holy Qur’an 5:13)