By Asma Siddiqui
Glorified (and Exalted) be He (Allah) [above all that (evil) they associate with Him] Who took His slave (Muhammad) for a journey by night from Al-Masjid-Al-Haram (at Makkah) to the farthest mosque (in Jerusalem), the neighbourhood whereof We have blessed, in order that We might show him (Muhammad) of Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, lessons, signs, etc.). Verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer. (Al-Isra 17:1)
The incident of the above Ayah is famous as the event of Isra. ‘Isra’ literally means ‘travelling in the night’. This Ayah mentions the journey of Prophet Muhammad (sa) from Masjid-Al-Haram to Masjid-Al-Aqsa.
During this journey, the Prophet (sa) saw great signs of Allah (swt). The main reason behind this journey was for him to witness the eventual abode of the good as well as the bad, in order that he might convey it to all fellow human beings. It was a little glimpse into Hell as well as Jannah, so that people learn to abstain from punishable acts and, instead, do activities that would bless them with Allah’s (swt) love.
There are many notable incidents, as reported in the Ahadeeth, which give one a glimpse of Jannah and the reward of those, for whom Jannah is the eternal abode.
One such Hadeeth mentions the following incident during the Isra journey. The Prophet (sa) passed though a village. As soon as the people there would harvest their land, it would grow back again immediately. The Prophet (sa) asked Jibrail (as), who these people were. He replied, they were fighters in the way of Allah (swt). Their good deeds grow 700 times in reward, and whatever they spend, they get rewarded for it. Indeed, Allah (swt) is the best Sustainer. (Bukhari)
Prophet Muhammad (sa) also said: in another Hadeeth: “Then, Jibrael brought me to Sidrat Al-Muntaha, which was veiled in colors indescribable. Then, I entered Paradise, and its lights were of pearls and its soil was musk.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
The Prophet (sa) also visited a valley, which was filled with a pleasant, cool, fragrant air. There, he heard a voice. He asked what this was. Jibrael (as) replied, this was the voice of Jannah. Jannah was saying: “Oh, Lord! Fulfill your promise to me. My wealth, silk, gold, honey, wine, everything is getting excessive. There should be someone to use it.”
Jannah then got the following reply from Allah (swt): “Every Momin, man or woman, who believes in Me and My Prophet (sa), does good deeds, who does not include anyone else with Me, does not consider anyone My equal, all those will enter you. Listen, whoever has fear for Me in their heart is free of fear from anyone else; who turns to Me for help, he is not deprived of Me; who gives loan to Me, I reward them; who has faith in Me, I become enough for him. I am the True Lord. There’s no God other than Me. My promises are not unfulfilled. The true Momin is forgiven already. Allah (swt) is the best Creator.”
Hearing this, Jannah said: “I am happy.”
It was narrated by Ibn-e-Abbas (rta) that the Prophet (sa) said that on the night of Isra, he smelled a very nice and precious fragrance. I asked: “What is this fragrance?” The reply that came was that that this is the pharaoh’s daughter’s hairdresser’s (female) and her children’s palace.
That is because once she was combing the pharaoh’s daughter’s hair, and the comb fell, and she immediately picked it up and uttered: “Bismillah.”
To this, the princess said: “My father is the only God.”
She said: “No, Allah is the only Creator, Who gives sustenance to me, to you and to your father.”
The princess said: “Really! Do you think anyone else is God other than my father?”
She replied: “Yes, mine and yours and your father’s Rab is Allah.”
The princess told this to her father, who got very angry. He called her immediately and asked: “Do you consider anyone else as God other than me?”
She said: “Yes, mine and your Rab is Allah, who is Great and Mighty.”
The Pharaoh immediately ordered that a bronze pot be heated. When it became hot, he ordered her children to be thrown into it. The hairdresser requested that her and her children’s bones be placed in the same place. The pharaoh agreed and one by one threw her children into the pot.
Finally, they turned to the youngest child, who was at its mother’s breast. The mother could not bear it. Allah (swt) bestowed the child with speech, and he spoke loudly: “Dear mother, don’t feel sorry. Do not falter. To die for truth is the best deed.” So the mother became calm. The infant was thrown into the pot, and so was the mother. The result was this fragrance that emerged from their palace. (Baihaqi)
During his journey, the Prophet (sa) also saw the Kauthar River. He said: “When I entered Jannah during Shab-e-Mairaj, I walked about and came to a stream, on either bank of which stand hollow domes made of pearls. They are hollow inside so that heavenly people may inhabit there. I asked Jibrail, what this was. ‘This is the same stream of Heaven (Kauthar), which is God’s blessing upon you.’ When I examined the soil of this stream, it had a sweet smell like the scent of musk.” (Bukhari)
Prophet Muhammad (sa) has vividly described Jannah in many Ahadeeth. Abu Hurairah (rta) asked Allah’s Messenger (sa), what the creation was made of, and he replied that it was made of water. He was asked, what Paradise was constructed of, and he (sa) replied: “A brick of gold and a brick of silver with mortar of strong-scented musk; its pebbles are pearls and rubies and its soil is saffron.” (At-Tirmidhi)
The Prophet (sa) has also mentioned that person, who is rewarded even with the lowest level in Jannah, will be blessed with a space equal to ten times the area of the world. The distance between the two arms of the frame of each door of Jannah will be so wide that if a person wants to cover this width, it would take him forty years to do so. (Muslim)
The Prophet’s (sa) visit to Jannah is of great significance. It has given the pious a picture of the lovely things that are awaiting them. This should serve as a motivation for us to live a life that will lead us to the eternal Paradise.