Dear scholars, As-Salamu `alaykum. It is reported that during the journey of Al-Israa’ and Al-Mi`raj, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) saw some people being punished. I would like to know how he could have seen them when the Day of Judgment has not come yet. Jazakum Allah khayran.
Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
Dear questioner, we would like to thank you for the great confidence you place in us, and we implore Allah Almighty to help us serve His cause and render our work for His Sake.
The Prophet’s miraculous night journey toJerusalem and the heavens establishes several facts. Among them is the status of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), as he was chosen to lead all the prophets in Prayer, and to go where no one else, not even Jibreel, was allowed.
Responding to your question, Sheikh Faysal Mawlawi, Deputy Chairman of the European Council for Fatwa and Research, states:
This is among the Unseen matters that each Muslim has to accept, as it is reported in the authentic sources of Shari`ah. It is not correct to occupy one’s mind with the way such matters occurred. However, in order for our minds to understand this, we say that there are two explanations for it:
First: Almighty Allah collected time—past, present, and future—for the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) on the day of Al-Israa’ and Al-Mi`raj. He collected for him the past time when He brought all the prophets and made Muhammad lead them in Prayer (peace and blessings be upon them all). He also collected the future time until the Day of Judgment and briefed the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) on some examples of what will happen on that Day. Both matters are miraculous and transcend people’s minds and universal phenomena, but Almighty Allah, the Creator of the universe, did this in support of one of His prophets.
Second: The kinds of punishment that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) saw were for the previous nations who disbelieved in their prophets, fought against Allah’s commands, and did several kinds of grave sins while all prophets forbade such sins.
Having stated the above, I am of the opinion that the first explanation is the most correct one. However, the true nature of its occurrence is known only to Allah, and we Muslims believe in it as reported in the authentic hadiths.
Adding to the above, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:
The explanation for this is that the time and space were wrapped up for him in an instant, because the journey of Al-Israa’ and Al-Mi`raj is an experience that transcends the barrier of space and time.