The Journey By Night, Muhammad ﷺ, Ahmad and Zaid

In this article, we will address three issues raised by anti Islamic missionaries as described in the title of the article.

1) The journey by night

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. [Qur’an 17:1]

Regarding this verse, anti Islamic missionaries find some problems. They find this verse ambiguous and ask as to how we can know the Servant mentioned is Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and the cities mentioned are Makkah and Jerusalem.

Although these may appear as childish questions, we shall still answer them for those having absolute zero knowledge of Islam. The name mentioned for sacred mosque is al-Masjid al-Haram which literally means ‘the sacred mosque’. Going into the translation of the word is meaningless for the questions asked. The Muslims used to call this mosque in Makkah as Masjid al-Haram, and still do, which is what is mentioned in the verse. Similarly, the Muslims used to, and still do, call the mosque in Jerusalem as al-Masjid al-Aqsa which literally translated to ‘the farthest mosque’. These are the names of the two mosques. It does not mean that we translate them to another language and then try to understand what they are. The original text is sufficient to answer their questions. Using this twisted logic of translating and then seeking explanation from the translated text, we would have to assume that the “furthest mosque” is somewhere in Australia or Japan as these places are the furthest from Makkah.

Let’s take an example here. In Pakistan’s extreme north there is a valley called “Kalash valley” the inhabitants of which (believed to be descendants of Alexander’s army) worship 12 gods. These people, however, have Islamic names like ‘Muhammad’, ‘Abdullah’ etc. Suppose a person relying on such logic as mentioned above, comes to their area and is told to meet Mr. Abdullah at a certain place. This person translates the name of Abdullah to ‘ worshiper of Allah’ and looks for a literal worshiper of Allah. However, when he reaches the meeting place, he finds the guy involved in pagan activities and returns disappointed for not finding the right man. Such a person would be called an idiot by all sane people. Similarly, if the name of the mosque in Makkah is Masjid al-Haram and that in Jerusalem is Masjid al-Aqsa, then anyone asking the questions asked above should be considered an idiot and nothing less.

The incident of mai’raaj (ascension of the Prophet to heaven) is mentioned elsewhere in the Qur’an as well:

And [remember, O Muhammad], when We told you, “Indeed, your Lord has encompassed the people.” And We did not make the sight which We showed you except as a trial for the people, as was the accursed tree [mentioned] in the Qur’an. And We threaten them, but it increases them not except in great transgression. [Qur’an 17:60]

Your companion [Muhammad] has not strayed, nor has he erred. Nor does he speak from [his own] inclination. It is not but a revelation revealed, taught to him by one intense in strength – One of soundness. And he rose to [his] true form 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. [Qur’an 53:2 – 18]

Please remember the rules of context while reading the above mentioned explanation.

2) Muhammad ﷺ and who is Ahmad?

Anti Islamic missionaries argue that the name of the Prophet of Islam, according to Qur’an, is Muhammad ﷺ, then who is Ahmad mentioned 61:6?

The answer to this question is the same as that given above for Masjid al-Haram and Masjid al-Aqsa. However, if the missionaries are simply bent on arguing and not attempting to reach at valid deductions, even then there is still hope for them. The hope is reading the Qur’an with sincerity and aim of gaining knowledge leaving behind their bias. Let us read 61:6 and find the answer there which was so conveniently missed by the anti Islamic missionaries.

And [mention] when Jesus, the son of Mary, said, “O children of Israel, indeed I am the messenger of Allah to you confirming what came before me of the Torah and bringing good tidings of a messenger to come after me, whose name is Ahmad.” But when he came to them with clear evidences, they said, “This is obvious magic.”

Which Prophet came after Eisa عليه السلام (Latinized to Jesus) who was labeled as a magician? Did any other human or even an Angel come as a messenger? Was any Angel ever labeled as a magician after Eisa عليه السلام (Latinized to Jesus)? If you don’t know the answer, then read the following verses from the Qur’an.

[037:015]  And respond, “This is evidently just magic!”

[038:004]  They consider it odd that a Warner has come to them from amongst themselves. The unbelievers said, “This is a magician, a liar!”

[043:030]  When (the knowledge of) the absolute reality came to them, they said, “This is magic, and surely we refuse to believe it.”

[046:007]  Our clear lucid verses were read to them. But, referring to the truth as it came to them, the unbelievers said, “This is obviously a magic!”

There are many more but even one is sufficient to prove the point. Only one Prophet came after Eisa عليه السلام (Latinized to Jesus) who’s name was also Ahmad and who was also called a magician by people rejecting the message preached by him and that is none other than Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.

3) Who is Zaid?

And [remember, O Muhammad], when you said to the one on whom Allah bestowed favor and you bestowed favor, “Keep your wife and fear Allah,” while you concealed within yourself that which Allah is to disclose. And you feared the people, while Allah has more right that you fear Him. So when Zayd had no longer any need for her, We married her to you in order that there not be upon the believers any discomfort concerning the wives of their adopted sons when they no longer have need of them. And ever is the command of Allah accomplished. [Qur’an 33:37]

Regarding the above quoted verse, the anti Islamic missionaries ask the following questions:

  1. Who is this Zaid?

Zaid was the adopted son of the Prophet ﷺ as highlighted above.

  1. Who was the person, the recipient of this rebuke?

The person being spoken to is Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. In the Qur’an, the Almighty speaks to the Prophet ﷺ directly and when He addresses someone else, He mentions them explicitly.

  1. Why was this recipient concealing something within himself, and why did he fear men?

The answer to this question is in the verse quoted above. He was concealing something because of fear of what would people think. Why did he fear men is a rather silly question put up in words that display the hate carried by the anti Islamic missionaries in their heart. The Prophet ﷺ simply had hesitation in his heart as to what the people would think because the ruling derived from this incident was something that was new to the Arabic culture of the time. It is human to think this way.

  1. What was his relationship to Zaid?

Zaid was the adopted son of the Prophet ﷺ as highlighted above.

  1. Who was the wife that the unnamed recipient insisted that Zaid should not divorce?

This question shows that the questioner is a follower of a book which contains stories that are irrelevant to the mankind. Nobody would miss out on anything if they never knew about Oholah and Obolibah (Ezekiel 23). Qur’an is not a story book. Important lessons are taught to mankind and not irrelevant stories as to who married whom, at what age a certain individual passed away etc.

Indeed Allah knows best.

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