the sacred journey of al-isra’ and al-mi`raj was a reward for prophet muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) for tolerating and forgiving those who were unjust to him and those harmed him and his companions as well.
`amr ibn az-zubayr narrated that `a’isha (may allah be pleased with her) asked the prophet (peace and blessings be upon him): “have you encountered a day harder than the day (of the battle) of uhud?” the prophet replied:
mercy and tolerance
your tribes have troubled me a lot but the hardest day was on the day of al-`aqabah when i presented myself (as a prophet) to ibn `abd-yalail ibn `abd-kulal but he did not respond to me. so, i departed excessively grieved, and did not relax till i reached qarn ath-tha`alib, (a place near makkah). i lifted my head towards the sky and saw a cloud unexpectedly shading me. i looked up and saw gabriel therein. he called me saying, “allah has heard your people's saying to you, and what they have replied back to you. he has sent the angel of mountains to you so that you may order him to do whatever you wish to these people.” the angel of mountains called and greeted me, and then said: “o muhammad! order what you wish. if you like, i will let the two mountains, al-akhshabayn, fall on them.”
the prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
“no, but i hope that allah will let them beget children who worship him alone, and will none besides him.” (al- bukhari)
this is how our beloved prophet was like. with one word he could have had the
angel of mountains destroyed everything in makkah, so that no polytheist would remain alive.
he could have done that with only one word, but he would not do it because he was sent as a mercy for all mankind. he had a heart full of love for all people, wishing them to embrace the true religion or, at least, some of their offspring would pray to allah.
this is the way du`ah (islamic preachers) should be. they should preach with love for the benefit of people. they should not respond to the offense with the like, but treat people kindly. they replace evil with goodness, separation with strengthening relations, and maltreatment with love and guidance.
the divine reward
therefore, allah has rewarded the merciful prophet with the greatest journey that has never taken place in the whole universe, to jerusalem and then to the highest levels in the sky, where allah brought the prophet close to him.
allah assisted him to succeed in guiding many people to the truth. allah accepted his supplication, and therefore, among the offspring of those polytheists came the best reformers and du`ah. among those reformers were:
1- khalid ibn al-walid, the son of al-walid ibn al-mughirah, the one who was meant by the verses in surat al-muddaththir:
2- [leave me (to deal) with him whom i created lonely, to whom i granted resources in abundance, and sons abiding in his presence, and i adjusted affairs for him adjustably, yet he desireth that i should give more. nay! for lo! he hath been stubborn to our revelations. i will make a distressing punishment overtake him.] (al-muddaththir 74: 11-17)
3-`ikrimah ibn abi jahl, the son of `amr ibn hisham, the leader of the polytheists.
3- um habibah bint abi sufyan, the wife of the prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), and whose father was a polytheist at that time.
4- `abdullah ibn `abbas who accepted islam together with his mother
um al-fadl at a time when al-`abbas ibn `abdil-muttalib was still a disbeliever.
in this way we see how patience and kindness with people lead them smoothly to the right path. in this way, those who call to islam shall be close to allah, reach higher status and get the best reward from allah the almighty.