When the Makkan persecution of the Prophet and his family seemed about to crush Islam, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had an extraordinary experience, known as al-Isra and al-Mirai, or the Night Journey and the Ascension.
One night, as he slept next to the Kabah, the Archangel Jibril woke him and took him on a strange, white winged animal, called Buraq, from Makkah to al-Aqsa mosque in faraway Jerusalem. From there Jibril took the Prophet (pbuh) through Heaven’s gates, where he saw countless angels. He was then taken through the Seven Heavens, one by one. Then, the Prophet (pbuh) passed through many veils, until at last he came into the divine Light of Allah’s Presence, which brought peace and banished all sense of time. Then, he was brought back to earth where he was amazed to find the spot where he had lain still warm, and the cup he had tipped over still emptying. This had all taken place in less than a moment! The next morning, the Prophet (pbuh) told the Quraysh of his experience. But many doubted his word. However, the Prophet’s description of Jerusalem, and the caravans he had seen on his return to Makkah, convinced them of his truthfulness.