This visit of Muhammad to Allah in heaven is called "Meraj-un-Nabi".
Thus Muhammad received the unique honour of not only being invited by Allah to visit Him in Heaven, but also seeing Him with human eyes. Such distinction had never been blessed upon any prophet from Adam to Hazrat Isa A.S. The Bible also confirms that no man since Adam to Hazrat Isa A.S had beheld Allah with his naked eyes as follows :-
"No man hath seen God at any time" (1. John 4 : 12).
In addition to this great honour Muhammad was invited to heaven to speak directly with the Creator just as a beloved speaks to his Loved One ! Allah spoke to Moses only on the earth and not in heaven ! Such honours were never bestowed upon anybody save and except Muhammad !
Muhammad pleaded with the Lord if it would be possible for Allah to bless all his followers with at least some of the joys of "Meraj" which he had the good fortune of enjoying this night. Allah out of love for His beloved said, "I hereby bless your true followers with "Meraj-ul-Momineen" (i.e. Meraj for those who do good deeds) fifty times a day. Let all your followers imitate compulsorily that which has just taken place fifty times every day imagining that they are in the presence of their Creator and that He is not only seeing them but He is also acknowledging their praises Personally by even speaking to them and that He will grant them their heart's desires". This is the primary stage and will apply to the entire Muslim community.
The advanced stage (i.e. for those who attain "Fana fil Rasul" or "One who loses himself in the Holy Prophet" - this is a stage in Sufiism and will be discussed in Ch. XXI), would be those who could lose themselves in the Holy Prophet and imitate these rituals, as the Holy Prophet had already done just now. Even though they could not see Allah with their eyes, yet their soul would get enlightened with the Divine Light and they would imagine that not only were they in His presence but could eventually see Allah in their souls (i.e. on attaining the stage known in Sufiism as "Fana fil Allah" or "One who loses himself into Allah").
The European Research Scholar J. Davenport has recorded this event on page 28 of "Mohammed and the Koran" as follows :-
"The words spoken by the Almighty to His servant (during Meraj) we are told is that God ordered that Mussalmans should pray fifty times a day, but that the Prophet, by the advice of Moses, begged that the number might be reduced to five, a request which was granted".
Hence anyone performing these rituals five times a day imagining that he is in the presence of the Lord and praising Him and that Allah personally acknowledges these praises with "Sami Allahu Liman Hamidah" (Allah listens to him who praises Him), and gives blessings upon the Holy Prophet and the Angel's evidence and praises must get inspired with the inexpressible joys of feeling the nearness of their Creator. This is called Meraj ul Momineen.
Those pious persons who establish these daily exercises of mental and/or spiritual contact with their Creator would have naturally a true love for Allah and treat Him as their Friend and Benefactor. This means that if one has a true love for somebody then one cannot do anything which would displease in the least manner the One Whom one dearly loves. Naturally no worldly temptation could induce them to do any wrong which would displease their Loved One - Allah. When the Lord becomes one's friend then all fear of anybody else would be gone, and replaced by a pure love for the Creator. Such people would of necessity spend their wealth, energies and lives in the way of Allah only to obtain His pleasure and not for the sake of getting any reward in Heaven. This indeed would be the greatest success in the purest form - a pure love without any desire or thought for a reward in Heaven. For what is meant by Heaven please refer to Ch. XXI : D-5.
Such a remarkable system of adoration of the Almighty, where the Creator and the created are involved in conversation, does not exist in any religion ! In fact it is like a living Drama between the Lord and His creatures ! Praises recited in His honour are acknowledged directly by Him ! Blessings are given by Allah and the evidence of the angels and their praises are all well knit into a homogeneous unit. Another remarkable feature is that in these supplications, each and every part of the body is brought into play by the bowings and the prostrations. So even the body is brought into the worship along with the mind and the soul i.e. the entire self of man ! This amount of exercise is quite sufficient to circulate the blood around one's body. Yet it is in such a manner that it does not cause any strain for a child who may be as young as only four years, or an old man who is over eighty in age. It is such that all can perform without any inconvenience. Is it not something unique and unthinkable that Islam should have such an ideal system of prayers as a blessing and a reward to remind one five times daily about the Meraj un Nabi i.e. when the Holy Prophet was the guest of Allah ! When Allah not only spoke directly with His beloved but also showed Himself to the human eyes of Muhammad. An honour which no other prophet or man has ever had !
The Muslim prayers have started from this incident and date. Its rituals can be found in any Islamic prayer book. If one is interested one may refer to "The Path of Islam" by Atawoollah Ali Sarfaraz Khan Joomal Al-Quadiree, published by The World Federation of Islamic Missions, 100, Brickfield road, Durban.
In addition Allah promised His Beloved Mahboob - The Holy Prophet Muhammad - The Blessing and Comforter for the entire universe as follows :-
1. Those who will obey these commandments I shall bless upto the maximum limit.
2. That I will accept supplication for forgiveness of sins of your followers.
3. If there be a group of seven persons and if only one be good in that group, then for his sake I would bless all seven.
4. If anyone feels sorry in one's heart after committing a sin i.e. repents and determines never to commit the same again, such will I forgive.
5. Allah has said I will give sickness, troubles and difficulties to Muslims so that it may act as a "Kuffara" (a tax or a levy or a penance) fo the waiving of the wrongs of one's sins.
6. Those who do good amongst them I shall bless many folds.
7. Those who persistently do wrongs and pay no heed towards repentance and your teachings, such Muslims, I will condemn into the hands of "Zalims" (i.e. Rulers or nations who will torture them - an example being the recent total defeat of the so-called modern progressive socialist Arabs at the hands of a tiny country like Israel and the defeat of Pakistan by India in Bangladesh etc.), until they repent and mend their ways in accordance with Islamic principles.
8. On the Day of Judgment I will be lenient in My judgment and will forgive and bless the sins of Muslims and send them to Heaven, provided they have done some good deeds in accordance with My Quranic Orders.
There were many other things which were said between Allah and His Mahboob. Further details are to be found in pages 64-99, Vol. II, "Tafrihul Askia Fil Ahwal Ul Ambia".
Muhammad returned to the Kaabah at Mecca after Meraj at the dead of that very night. As he was setting off for home he saw a tearful old woman almost doubled up under the weight of a bag of grain, which she was carrying on her back. As per his habit he ran to help the old lady and took the bag upon his back and started carrying it for her. She protested that her master was a cruel Jew, who would beat her if he found out that she had not carried her quota of weight of bagged grain and that somebody had helped her. Muhammad assured her that if necessary he would take the beating for her. As luck would have it, the Jew was watching out from his window. When he saw the radiant shining face of Muhammad, it reminded him of the foretelling of God to Moses in Deuteronomy 18 : 18 & 19 and the explanations given by Moses which were fortunately in his possession and which were to this effect :-
"I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren tribe of Ishmael, like unto thee Moses who will not only speak directly with Allah as if face to face as one friend speaks to another but he will exceed thee in as much as I, Allah, shall invite him to Heaven as My guest and will disclose Myself to the naked human eyes of this Prophet which honour no other person shall have. In the dead of night on his return from heaven en route to his home, he would see an old woman weeping doubled up with the weight of a bag of grain. He would immediately go to her assistance in spite of her protest. His face would be aglow with radiance. That would be the sign by which atleast one Jewish family shall recognise him. That I the Lord will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.
"And it shall come to pass after a passage of some time at the Battle of Armageddon, that whosoever will not hearken unto My words (i.e. the Quran), which he shall speak in My name, I will punish them and destroy them from the face of this earth".
The Jew immediately roused from their sleep all the members of his family, took out the "Torah" and its notes and came out respectfully to greet Muhammad. In the presence of his family members and slaves, this Jew made Muhammad swear that he would answer truthfully the questions he was going to ask. After getting this assurance, he posed the following questions holding the Torah in his hands :-
1. Are you from the descendants of Ishmael, the first born of Abraham?
2. Have you been to heaven tonight?
3. Did you speak this night directly to Allah in heaven as if face to face as one friend speaks to another?
4. Did you see Allah this night with your naked human eyes?
The Holy Prophet answered "Yes" to all the four questions and very much puzzled he enquired from this Jew as to how he could have possibly found out these facts so soon after their occurrence? It was even before Muhammad had even had a chance to speak to anybody. The Jew showed him promptly the above texts of the message of Moses and immediately became a Muslim with all the members of his family and slaves.
It became known in the morning that Muhammad had been to heaven during the night via the temple of Jerusalem (i.e. Masjid-e-Aksa as it is now called). At once the disbelievers came and asked : "You must have seen on your way from Kaabah to Jerusalem some Meccan trading caravan returning?" He answered : "Yes he had seen one of them". Then they asked when the said caravan would return to Mecca? If he gave the correct answer, they would accept his "Meraj" to heaven as absolutely correct. Muhammad replied it would arrive on Wednesday. In Arabia the new day commences from sunset. When the time of sunset came on that Wednesday, the Meccan Trading Caravan had not returned. Therefore the disbelievers came to taunt Muhammad. He prayed and the "Sun" stopped from sinking in the Western Horizon for several hours until the caravan actually arrived. (See Miracle No. 5, page 425, Tafrihul Askia Fil Ahwal ul Ambia).
Therefore all the disbelievers of Mecca were forced against their will to admit publicly by this wonderful miracle that Muhammad had not only influence over the sun, but that he had also in fact been taken bodily to heaven via "AL AKSA" at Jerusalem on the night of Meraj and that he had also seen Allah with his naked eyes while awake and that whilst on his journey from Mecca to Jerusalem he had also seen correctly the Meccan Trading Caravan on its return journey from Syria.
Hence Muhammad had two separate occasions during which he not only spoke directly as if face to face with Allah but he also saw him. The first was in a spiritual state when Nur-e-Muhammadi was created out of the Lord and the second during the night of Meraj. Both these incidents are confirmed by the only Divine Book of all truths, which has not ben polluted by forgeries, as follows :-
"And He (Allah) revealed (Himself on the Meraj) unto (the human eyes of) His slave (the Holy Prophet Muhammad) that which He revealed.
"The heart (of Muhammad) lied not (about the seeing of Allah) in what it saw.
"Will ye then dispute with Him concerning what he seeth?
"And verily he (Muhammad) saw Him (Allah) yet another time (before i.e. when he was created by Allah as Nur-e-Muhammadi)".
"The eye turned not aside (upon seeing the Glory and the Majsesty of Allah), nor yet was over-bold.
"Verily he (Muhammad) saw the greatest revelation of his Lord (i.e. the Glory and Majesty of Allah Himself)" (Quran LIII : 10-13, 17 & 18).
This was the most wondrous reward of Allah to Muhammad when things looked their blackest and his mission appeared to be unsuccessful at Mecca. No one has ever been so privileged as Muhammad was with these two sights of Allah while awake. Nobody else has ever seen Allah with his naked eyes since creation as confirmed in The Bible :
"No man hath seen God at any time" (1. John 4 : 12).
Besides the above two incidents, especially during the later part of his life Muhammad used to see Allah almost daily and speak to Him, quite often even more than once daily. These encounters took place when he was in a state of trance or semi-awake condition. These seeings were through the enlightenment of his soul and not through his eyes. Hence these thousands of occasions cannot be compared with the above mentioned two incidents which naturally remain unique.
On page 129 of "Muhammadanism - An Historical Survey" by H. A. R. Gibbs one finds the following statements which confirm the opinion of even European research scholars that the Holy Prophet Muhammad not only used to experience the Presence of Allah but that he also lived and acted under continuous Divine Guidance and Light :-
"What seems certain, at least, is that the mystical sense of the Presence of God, was implicit in Muhammad's activities as a prophet.
"But by contrast their religious devotion was, at its best, the outcome of a profound spiritual experience stimulated by Muhammad's preaching of the judgment".
Accordingly it is obvious that not only Muhammad but even his followers were at their divine best or the highest stage of religious devotion as a result of the outcome of profound spiritual experience of Allah as stimulated by the preachings of the Holy Prophet. It is but natural that those who live in the Creator's Presence, spending their lives for His Pleasures and living according to His Laws and Orders will not only be successful but will be able to guide and save all those who carry out their instructions.