Muhammad’s Alleged Night Journey

to the Temple in Yeruwshalom

This is an excellent dissertation on one more of the many lies of islam. I wish that I could take credit for it, but I cannot. All I have done is update it slightly and present it.

May the names of Yahuwah and His Son Yahushua be praised.

C.F. Castleberry


According to the qu’ran, allah allegedly took muhammad on a journey from the Ka’abah in Makkah (Mecca) to the Temple at Yeruwshalom (Jerusalem):

    Glory to (Allah) Who did take His Servant for a Journey by night from the Sacred Mosque to the Farthest Mosque (Masjid al-Aqsa), whose precincts We did bless, in order that We might show him some of Our Signs: for He is the One Who heareth and seeth (all things). Surah 17:1

The hadiths confirm that not only did Muhammad travel to the Temple at Yeruwshalom, but that Muhammad was also able to describe some of its features:

Bukhari Volume 6, Book 60, Number 233:

    Narrated Jabir bin ‘Abdullah:
      The Prophet said, "When the Quraish disbelieved me (concerning my night journey), I stood up in Al-Hijr (the unroofed portion of the Ka’abah) and Allah displayed Bait-ul-Maqdis before me, and I started to inform them (Quraish) about its signs while looking at it."

Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 58, Number 228:

    Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas:
      Regarding the Statement of Allah: "And We granted the vision (Ascension to the heavens) which We made you see (as an actual eye witness) was only made as a trial for the people." (17.60)

    Ibn Abbas added:

      The sights which Allah’s Delegate was shown on the Night Journey when he was taken to Bait-ul Maqdis (i.e. Yeruwshalaim) were actual sights, (not dreams). And the Cursed Tree (mentioned) in the Qu’ran is the tree of Zaqqum (itself) .

Muslim Book 001, Number 0309:

    It is narrated on the authority of Anas b. Malik that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: I was brought al-Buraq Who is an animal white and long, larger than a donkey but smaller than a mule, who would place his hoof a distance equal to the range of version. I mounted it and came to the Temple (Bait Maqdis in Yeruwshalaim), then tethered it to the ring used by the prophets. I entered the mosque and prayed two rak’ahs in it, and then came out and Gabriel brought me a vessel of wine and a vessel of milk. I chose the milk, and Gabriel said: You have chosen the natural thing. Then he took me to heaven…

The following commentary on S. 17:1 is taken from Tafsir Ibn Kathir-Abridged Volume 5, Surah Hud to Surat Al-Isra’, Verse 38, abridged by a group of scholars under the supervision of Shaykh Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri, (Darussalam Publishers & Distributors; Riyadh, Houston, New York, Lahore, July 2000):

    <from Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa> means the Sacred House which is in Yeruwshalaim, the origin of the Prophets from the time of Ibraham Al-Khalil. The Prophets all gathered there, and he (Muhammad) led them in prayer in their own homeland. This indicates that he is the greatest leader of all, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him and upon them. (Ibid., p. 551)

Ibn Kathir includes the following hadith:

    I remember being in Al-Hijr, and the Quraish were asking me about my Night Journey. They asked me things about Bayt Al-Maqdis that I was not sure of, and I felt more anxious and stressed then than I have ever felt. Then Allah raised up Bayt Al-Maqdis for me to see, and there was nothing they asked me about but I told them about it. And I remember being in a gathering of the Prophets. Musa was standing there praying, and he was a man with curly hair, as if he were one of the men of Shanu’ah. I saw ‘Isa ibn Maryam standing there praying, and the one who most resembles him is ‘Urwah bin Mas’ud Ath-Thaqafi. And I saw Ibrahim standing there praying, and for the one who most resembles him is your companion (meaning himself). Then the time for prayer came, and I led them in prayer. When I finished, a voice said, ‘O Muhammad, this is Malik, the keeper of Hell,’ so I turned to him, and he greeted me first. (Ibid., p. 571)


    "The truth is that the Prophet was taken on the Night Journey when he was awake, not in a dream, and he went from Makkah to Bayt Al-Maqdis riding on Al-Buraq. When he reached THE DOOR OF THE SANCTUARY, he tied up his animal by THE DOOR AND ENTERED, where he prayed two Rakahs to ‘greet the Masjid’… "Then he came back down to Bayt Al-Maqdis, and the Prophets came down with him and he led them in prayer there when the time for prayer came. Some claim that he led them in prayer in heaven, but the reports seem to say that it was in Bayt Al-Maqdis. In some reports it says that it happened when he first ENTERED… "Then he came OUT OF BAYT AL-MAQDIS and rode on Al-Buraq back to Makkah in the darkness of the night. As for his being presented with the vessels containing milk and honey, or milk and wine, or milk and water, or all of these, some reports say that this happened in Bayt Al-Maqdis, and others say that it happened in the heavens. It is possible that it happened in BOTH places, because it is like offering food or drink to a guest when he arrives, and Allah knows best." (Ibid. pp. 572-573 bold and capital emphasis ours)

The following citations are taken from ‘Abd-Allah Hajjaj’s The Isra’ and Mi’raj-The Prophet’s Night-Journey And Ascent Into Heaven, Dar Al-Taqwa Ltd., London, second edition 1993.

    Jabir Ibn ‘Abd Allah heard the Prophet (S) say: "When Quraish disbelieved me (about the Isra’), I stood up in al-Hijr (the unroofed part of the Ka’abah) and Allah displayed Bayt al-Maqdis to me. So I began to describe its features to them whilst I was looking at it." (Ibid., p. 5)

    Al-Hafiz said, Ka’b ibn Ahbar narrated that the gate of heaven called Mas’ad al-Mala’ikah ("The angels’ point of ascent") faces Bayt al-Maqdis. The ‘Ulama’ understood from this that the reason why the Prophet (S) was taken to Bayt al-Maqdis before ascent was so that he could be taken straight up…

Other, weaker, suggestions have also been put forward. For example:

    so that the Prophet (S) would see both of the Qiblahs on that night; or because Bayt al-Maqdis had been the place to which most of the previous Prophets had migrated, so the Prophet Muhammad (S) had to go there to have the same virtues as they had… (Ibid., p. 15) It is said that the ‘Isra happened twice, and on both occasions the Prophet (S) was awake. On the first occasion, he returned from Bayt al-Maqdis, and in the morning he told the Quraish what had happened. On the first morning he told the Quraish what had happened. On the second occasion he was taken to Bayt al-Maqdis, then on the same night he was taken up to heaven… But when he told them that he had traveled to Bayt al-Maqdis and returned in one night, they disbelieved him and asked to describe it, because some of them knew it, and they also knew that he had not seen it before… (Ibid., p. 18)

    I reached Bayt al-Maqdis, where I tied my beast (al-Buraq) to the hitching-post which all the Prophets before me used… Gabriel and I entered Bat al-Maqdis where we both prayed two Rak’ahas"… "Then I entered the Mosque where I saw all the Prophets praying - some standing, some bowing and some prostrating… When the Prophet (S) reached al-Masjid al-Aqsa, he began to pray…"

Another Hadith narrated by Ahmad tells us that when ‘Umar entered Bayt al-Maqdis, he said: "I shall pray where the Prophet (S) prayed"- then he went forward to the Qiblah and prayed. (Ibid., p. 28) ‘Ayat said: "It is possible that he prayed with all the Prophets IN Bayt al-Maqdis… Those who prayed with him IN Bayt al-Maqdis may have been there as souls only, or in body and soul. It is more likely that he prayed with them IN Bayt al-Maqdis before ascent; but Allah knows best." (Ibid., pp. 28-29)

The Book’s glossary notes:

  • Bayt al-Maqdis: The name used for Yeruwshalaim and in particular for the Mosque from which the prophet Muhammad (S) ascended to Heaven. (Ibid., p. 54)
  • M.A. Qazi’s, A Concise Dictionary of Islamic Terms, Kazi Publications, Chicago IL, 1979, p. 39 states:
    • Al-Masjid-al-Aqsa "The most distant Mosque." The temple at Yeruwshalaim erected by Prophet Solomon (A.A.), also known as "Baitul-Maqdis" or Umar’s Mosque.

    Finally, Muhammad is purported to have said that a Muslim should visit the following three Mosques:

      Bukhari Volume 2, Book 21, Number 281:
      Narrated Quza’a:
        I heard Abu Said saying four words. He said, "I heard the Prophet (saying the following narrative)." He had participated in twelve holy battles with the Prophet.

    Narrated Abu Huraira:

      The Prophet said, "Do not set out on a journey except for THREE Mosques i.e. Al-Masjid-AI-Haram, the Mosque of Allah’s Delegate, and the Mosque of Al-Aqsa, (Mosque of Yeruwshalaim)." That the phrase Bayt Al-Maqdis undoubtedly refers to the Temple structure located in Yeruwshalaim as the preceding traditions affirm is further clarified in the following hadith:

    Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 55, Number 585:

      Narrated Abu Dhar:
        I said, "O Allah’s Delegate! Which mosque was first built on the surface of the earth?" He said, "Al-Masjid-ul-Haram (in Mecca)." I said, "Which was built next?" He replied "The mosque of Al-Aqsa (in Yeruwshalaim)." I said, "What was the period of construction between the two?" He said, "Forty years." He added, "Wherever (you may be, and) the prayer time becomes due, perform the prayer there, for the best thing is to do so (i.e. to offer the prayers in time)."

    This would place the erection of the Ka’abah at approximately 998 BCE, since the construction of the first Temple was not completed by Solomon until 951 BCE. (C.f. 1 Kings 6:1-7:51)

    The problem with all of this is that the first Yeruwshalom Temple was destroyed by Nebuwkadne'tstsar’s (Nebuchadnezzar) Babylonian armies in 587 BCE. Furthermore, General Titos and his Roman soldiers leveled the Second Temple in 70 CE, nearly six centuries before this alleged night journey to Yeruwshalom took place. In fact, the Temple that eventually became Masjid al-Aqsa did not come into existence until 691 CE when Amir Abd-ul-Malik built it. These preceding factors make it highly improbable to date Sura 17:1 to the time of muhammad. This passage could have only been written sometime after the erection of Masjid al-Aqsa. This is further substantiated by the fact that Masjid al-Aqsa contains no early references to the supposed night journey. This is a strange omission since muslims claim that Masjid al-Aqsa was erected in commemoration of this alleged event. The inscriptions that do mention the night journey are later additions made by Abdul Hamid II in 1876 CE, nearly eleven centuries later.

    In light of all this, Muslims should ask themselves the following questions:

    1. What temple did muhammad visit, enter, and pray at before ascending to "heaven?"

    2. Seeing that the qu’ran mentions a journey to a mosque that did not exist during the lifetime of muhammad, how can you consider the qu’ran to be 100% the word of the Creator?

    3. In light of the fact that both the Qu’ran and the Islamic traditions contain this historical error, how can you trust either source to provide you with reliable information on the life of muhammad and the first muslims?

    4. Does not the fact that the qu’ran mentions a mosque which was only erected in 691 CE prove that there were muslims who unashamedly and deceitfully added stories to the Qu’ranic text and passed them off as revelation from the True Creator Yahuwah?

    5. If you cannot find an answer to this historical problem within the qu’ran, why do you still remain a muslim?

    May Yahuwah use this article to bring open-minded muslims, if any such exist, to the truth of his word, the REAL Sacred Scriptures.

    C.F. Castleberry