How Could the Prophet Meet with Prophet Musa in Different Places?
Answered by Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan
I am confused about one aspect regarding the Isra and Miraj. How could the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) meet with Prophet Musa (peace be upon him) while praying in his grave and later lead him in prayer in Jerusalem and meet him yet again in the fifth heaven?
The Reality of The Soul
Your question concerns the nature and reality of the soul. The soul and its capacity are beyond our comprehension. In his masterpiece ‘The book of the soul’, Ibn Qayyim provides an explanation.
He quotes one of the early scholars, who says the soul is like the sun. The source of the sun is a burning ball of gas in the heavens, while its effects, in the form of its rays, are everywhere. This explains how the soul is able to be in more than one place at a time. Imam Suyuti questions this definition in his Sharh al-Sudur. He says it is inadequate, as the soul, in its origin and effect, may be in more than one place at the same time.
Scholars raise this point while explaining narrations of the Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) regarding the soul of the believer after death. In some narrations, he (Allah bless him and give him peace) stated that the believer’s soul remains in its grave, which becomes a garden of paradise. In other narrations, he said that the soul of the believer is a green bird flying around in paradise. In yet another narration, he said the soul remains standing at the door of paradise waiting to enter. Both Imams Ibn Qayyim and Suyuti provide these explanations, confirming that the soul may be in more than one place at a time.
The Soul of The Prophet
The soul of our Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) is even more amazing than the soul of Prophet Musa. Many different believers may simultaneously encounter his soul (Allah bless him and give him peace) in their dreams or in a wakeful state.
He also told us that no one sends greetings and salutations upon him save that Allah returns his soul to his grave and he responds to everyone who greets him, wherever they may be. Our actions are also presented to the Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) at the same time, as he informed us in an authentic hadith.
Thus his soul (Allah bless him and give him peace) finds itself in several places at the same time, greeting hundreds of thousands around the globe at the same time, while viewing the actions of the creation at the same time.
Allah said in Surat al-Isra, “And they ask you, [O Muhammad], about the soul. Say, “The soul is of the affair of my Lord. And mankind has not been given of knowledge except a little.” [Quran, 17:85]
And Allah knows best
[Shaykh] Abdurragmaan Khan
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan received ijazah ’ammah from various luminaries, including but not restricted to: Habib Umar ibn Hafiz—a personality who affected him greatly and who has changed his relationship with Allah, Maulana Yusuf Karaan—the former Mufti of Cape Town; Habib ‘Ali al-Mashhur—the current Mufti of Tarim; Habib ‘Umar al-Jaylani—the Shafi‘i Mufti of Makkah; Sayyid Ahmad bin Abi Bakr al-Hibshi; Habib Kadhim as-Saqqaf; Shaykh Mahmud Sa’id Mamduh; Maulana Abdul Hafiz al-Makki; Shaykh Ala ad-Din al-Afghani; Maulana Fazlur Rahman al-Azami and Shaykh Yahya al-Gawthani amongst others.