The location of Sarīf al-Aqlām

The location of Sarīf al-Aqlām
Questions & Answers

The location of Sarīf al-Aqlām

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  • masjidmuhammad
  • Feb 13, 2021

Question:

If the Sidratul Muntahā is said to be the last point of the Mi‛rāj, what reply will be given to the narration of Bukhārī Sharīf wherein these words appear: “I then reached a level place where I could hear the movement of the pens”? In other words, is the place Sarīf al-Aqlām before Sidratul Muntahā or after it?

Answer;

There is no contradiction between the two narrations. Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‛alayhi wa sallam hearing the movement of pens is related in several Hadīth collections on the authority of Ibn ‛Abbās radiyallāhu ‛anhu and Abū Habbah Ansārī radiyallāhu ‛anhu. At the same time, despite searching for it, we could not find any clear indication that Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‛alayhi wa sallam went to Sarīf al-Aqlām after going to Sidratul Muntahā. Yes, we do find the opposite [i.e. he went to Sarīf al-Aqlām and then to Sidratul Muntahā].

قال ابن شهاب فأخبرنى ابن حزم أن ابن عباس وأبا حبة الأنصارى كانا يقولان قال النبى
صلى الله عليه وسلم ثم عرج بى حتى ظهرت لمستوى أسمع فيه صريف الأقلام…ثم – –
انطلق بى حتى انتهى بى إلَ سدرة المنتهى.

 

Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‛alayhi wa sallam said: I was then taken up until I appeared on a level place where I could hear the movement of pens…I was finally taken to Sidratul Muntahā.
Al-Bidāyah wa an-Nihāyah states:

ثم جاوز مراتبهم كلهم حتى ظهر لمستوى يسمع فيه صريف الأقلام، ورفعت لرسول الله
صلى الله عليه وسلم سدرة المنتهى

He then traversed all the levels until he reached a level place where he could hear the movement of pens. The Sidratul Muntahā was then raised for Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‛alayhi wa sallam.
However, it is learnt from certain narrations that Sarīf al-Aqlām is after Sidratul Muntahā. As-Sīrah al-Halabīyyah states:

فقال: ورأى صلى الله عليه وسلم جبريل عند تلك السدرة…فتأخر جبرئيل ثم عرج به
صلى الله عليه وسلم أي في تلك السحابة حتى ظهر لمستوى سمع فيه صرير الأقلام وفي
رواية صريف…

He saw Jibrā’īl ‛alayhis salām at that lote tree (Sidrah)…Jibra’īl ‛alayhis salām stepped back and Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‛alayhi wa sallam was taken up in that cloud until he reached a level place where he heard the movement of pens.
In his Sīratul Mustafā, Hadrat Maulānā Idrīs Sāhib Kāndhlawī rahimahullāh affirms that Sarīf al-Aqlām is after Sidratul Muntahā.
However, from the above-quoted narration of Bukhārī Sharīf it was clearly learnt that Sarīf al-Aqlām is below and before Sidratul Muntahā, and that Sidratul Muntahā is after it. It was learnt from the answer to the previous question that Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‛alayhi wa sallam did not go beyond Sidratul Muntahā.
Allāh ta‛ālā knows best.

References:

Sarīf al-Aqlām (movement of pens) is not the name of a specific place but the place where Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‛alayhi wa sallam heard the movement of pens. We are referring to it as Sarīf al-Aqlām to facilitate easy reading.

بخاري شريف: 1 \ 51 ، كتاب الصلاة، ط: فيصل، ومسلم: 1 \ 93 ، باب الإسراء.

 البداية والنهاية: 3 \ 122 فصل الإسراء برسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم من مكة إلَ بيت المقدس

 

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