us put this claim to test. There is a hadith that reports that one
night, Muhammad rode on a winged horse that drove him from Masjidu’l
Haram to Masjidu’l Aqsa (in Jerusalem) and from there to the seventh
heaven where he was shown the Hell and the Paradise
and then taken to the presence of Allah. This story that is commonly
accepted by all Muslims and is known as Mi’raj is also confirmed in the
Glory to (Allah) Who did take His Servant for a journey by night, From the Sacred Mosque to the Farthest Mosque. — Quran 17:1
Here we are not going to question the absurdity of such trip.
Considering that it would take light (the fastest thing in the universe)
8 years to make a round trip to the closest solar system, and 30
billion years [now at least 46 billion years] to the outskirts of the
known universe, and considering that wings don’t serve beyond the
atmosphere of the Earth, such a trip performed on the back of a horse
with wings in one night is just stuff of the fables. If Muhammad could
travel from Medina to the presence of Allah, riding on a winged pony,
and come back in one night, then Allah’s palace must be not much far
from Medina. I wonder how come no one has found it yet?
inside the universe or outside of it? If inside it, then he is contained
by it and therefore cannot be infinite. If outside it, then he must be
billions of light years away from us and no winged horsy can reach his
throne in one night and come back. And if He is omnipresent, like air in
the atmosphere, then one does not need to go anywhere to meet Him. God
must be where you are right now. This story is simply fairytale.
are not also going to ask whether the gate of the heaven is in
Jerusalem? Why did Muhammad have to go to Masjidul’ Aqsa in order to go
The biggest problem with this story is that the
Masjid’ul Aqsa “Farthest Mosque” was built after the death of Muhammad.
The problem we want to discuss is that Masjid’ul Aqsa “the Farthest
Mosque” did not exist at the time of Muhammad.
First Temple on
that site was built in 960 BC, allegedly by Solomon to house the Ark of
the Covenant which his father, David, had brought to Jerusalem. The first temple was burned to the ground by the Babylonians in 586 BC. The Second Temple was consecrated in 515 BC, rebuilt by Herod in 20 BC and destroyed by Titus in 70 AD.
Romans in 70 AD destroyed that temple. Since then no temple, church or
mosque stood on that spot. When Caliph Omar Ibn al-Khattab conquered
Jerusalem in 638 AD, he performed a prayer in the site where Temple of
Solomon used to stand. It was Calif ‘Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan who built
the Dome of the Rock around 691 A.D. i.e 72 years after Hijrah. And
Masjidu’l Aqsa was built on the Temple Mount by the end of the 7th
century. Muhammad’s alleged Mi’raj took place around the year 621. There
is 70 years gap between Mi’raj and the construction of Masjid ul Aqsa.
This is reported in The Concise Encyclopedia of Islam, Harper & Row,
1989, p. 46 and 102.
Muhammad’s alleged Mi’raj took place around the year 622. At that
time Jerusalem was in the hands of the Christians. There were no Muslims
living there and certainly there was no Mosque in Jerusalem. 53 years
after the death of Muhammad, Muslims built the Dome of the Rock and the
Al Aqsa on the site where Solomon had his temple.
been the author of the verse 17:1 of the Quran, he was not aware that
Masjid ul Aqsa did not exist during the time of Muhammad and he could
not have made his trip to heaven from a place that did not exist.
One comparison makes this point most clearly: Jerusalem appears in the Jewish Bible 669 times and Zion (which usually means Jerusalem, sometimes the Land of Israel) 154 times, or 823 times in all. The Christian Bible mentions Jerusalem 154 times and Zion 7 times.
In contrast, the columnist Moshe Kohn notes, Jerusalem and Zion appear as frequently in the Qur'an "as they do in the Hindu Bhagavad-Gita, the Taoist Tao-Te Ching, the Buddhist Dhamapada and the Zoroastrian Zend Avesta"—which is to say, not once.