Thursday, 5 May 2016

Did the Prophet (s) see his Lord on the night of the Mi’raaj?






Did the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) see his Lord on the night of the Mi’raaj?
Quote: Wahhabi Fatwa 12423:
Most of the Sahaabah were of the view that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not see Allaah with his eyes on the night of the Miraaj. 

Ibn al-Qayyim said: “ ‘Uthmaan ibn Sa’eed al-Daarimi said in his book al-Ru’yah that there was consensus among the Sahaabah that he [the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)] did not see his Lord on the night of the Mi’raaj. Some of them excluded Ibn ‘Abbaas and said that he was not one of those who said that. Our Shaykh says that this does not go against the facts, for Ibn ‘Abbaas did not say that he saw Him with the eyes in his head, and Ahmad relied upon this in one of the two reports narrated from him, where he says that he saw Him but he did not say that that was with the eyes in his head. The wording used by Ahmad is the same as that used by Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with them both). What indicates that what our Shaykh said about the meaning of the hadeeth of Abu Dharr is correct is the fact that in another hadeeth he said that His veil is Light.  And Allaah knows best what the Light is that is mentioned in the hadeeth of Abu Dharr (may Allaah be pleased with him) where it says, ‘I saw Light.’”  [Ijtimaa’ al-Juyoosh al-Islamiyyah, vol. 1, p. 12 ]

Quote:
If he had seen Him with his own eyes, that He would have mentioned that…”
[Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, vol. 6, p. 509-510.]

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Miraj-e-Mustafa - Divine Vision of Almighty Allah

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Did Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) see Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) on the night of ascension?


Note: False Translation of hadith in Sahih Muslim

Book 1, Number 0341: (Sahih Muslim - online version)
It is narrated on the authority of Abu Dharr : I asked the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him): Did you see thy Lord? He said: He is a Light, how could I see Him?


Next Hadith:

Book 1, Number 0342: (Sahih Muslim - online version)
Abdullah b. Shaqiq reported: I said to Abu Dharr: Had I seen the Messenger of Allah, I would have asked him. He (Abu Dharr) said: What is that thing that you wanted to inquire of him ? He said: I wanted to ask him whether he had seen his Lord. Abu Dharr said: I, in fact, inquired of him, and he replied: I saw Light.

First one (#0341) is a severely false translation. If we accept it on face value then the very next hadith (#0342) will contradict the previous one. Remember that Imam Muslim (rah) was an expert in hadith sciences let alone he not knowing that he has narrated TWO totally contradicting hadiths adjacent to each other in his magnificent Sahih collection.

False translation of first hadith (#0341) states:  “He is a Light, how could I see Him?
Here the translation claims that Allah is a light so how could He be seen?!
Now the next hadith (#0342) says: "I, in fact, inquired of him, and he replied: “I SAW LIGHT”


Let us now move towards the Arabic of first hadith which actually proves without doubt that Prophet (Peace be upon him) actually said that "He saw Allah"

حدّثنا أَبُو بَكْرِ بْنُ أَبِي شَيْبَةَ : حَدَّثَنَا وَكِيعٌ عَنْ يَزِيدَ بْنِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ عَنْ قَتَادَةَ عَنْ عَبْدِ اللّهِ بْنِ شَقِيقٍ عَنْ أَبِي ذَرٍّ ، قَالَ: سَأَلْتُ رَسُولَ اللّهِ: هَلْ رَأَيْتَ رَبَّكَ؟ قَالَ: «نُورٌ انى أَرَاهُ»؟.

Translation of Matn: Narrated by Abu Dharr (RA): I asked the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him): Did you see your Lord? The Prophet (Peace be upon him) replied: He is Nur (نُورٌ) I Saw Him ( انى أَرَاهُ) [Sahih Muslim, Hadith # 351, Hadith number from Sharh Sahih Muslim by Allama Ghulam Rasool Sa’eedi – Damat Barkatahum Alia]

This is the perfect translation which actually proves that Prophet (Peace be upon him) did indeed see Allah.

We will show word by word translation over here:

نُورٌ =    He is light
انى =    I, me, myself
أَرَاهُ =    saw Him

However if we do not take this translation then Sahih Muslim will contradict itself as right in the next hadith it says:

رَأَيْتُ نُوراً = I saw Light (i.e. for Sure I saw Allah)

In Light of Qur'an

وَهُوَ بِالْأُفُقِ الْأَعْلَىٰ  ثُمَّ دَنَا فَتَدَلَّىٰ  فَكَانَ قَابَ قَوْسَيْنِ أَوْ أَدْنَىٰ  فَأَوْحَىٰ إِلَىٰ عَبْدِهِ مَا أَوْحَىٰ  مَا كَذَبَ الْفُؤَادُ مَا رَ‌أَىٰ  أَفَتُمَارُ‌ونَهُ عَلَىٰ مَا يَرَ‌ىٰ

Translation:

(7): While he was in the highest part of the horizon.
(8): Then he approached and came closer
(9): And was at a distance of but two bow-lengths or (even) nearer.
(10): So did (Allah) convey the inspiration to His Servant- (conveyed) what He (meant) to convey.
(11): The (Prophet's) (mind and) heart in no way falsified that which he saw.
(12): Will ye then dispute with him concerning what he saw? [Al Qur'an, Chapter 53, Verse 7-12]


In the 12th verse our Lord Almighty is challenging the whole world that “WILL YE THEN DISPUTE WITH HIM CONCERNING WHAT HE SAW”, had it been seeing Gabriel only then that would not have been a great challenge because previous Prophets like Musa Kaleem-Ullah (Peace be upon him) had the privilege to talk “DIRECTLY WITH ALLAH” and Ibrahim (alaih salam) was shown the kingdoms of Heaven which was a far superior thing than seeing Gabriel, hence from Nass of Qur'an it now becomes established that vision of Allah was finally reserved for Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) as hadith of Ibn Abbas (RA) and many others prove it (Which shall come in the hadith section of this article)

Let us see the detailed Tafsir of these verses by Imam Ibn-ul-Jawzi (rah),  he explains the 8th and 9th verses in light of Sahih ahadith and Aqwaal

وفي المشار إليه بقوله: «ثُمَّ دنا» ثلاثة أقوال.
أحدها: أنه الله عز وجل. روى البخاري ومسلم في «الصحيحين» من حديث شريك بن أبي نَمِر عن أنس بن مالك قال: دنا الجبّار ربُّ العِزَّة فتدلَّى حتى كان منه قابَ قوسين أو أدنى. وروى أبو سلمة عن ابن عباس: «ثم دنا» قال: دنا ربُّه فتدلَّى، وهذا اختيار مقاتل. قال: دنا الرَّبُّ من محمد ليلةَ أُسْرِي به،، فكان منه قابَ قوسين أو أدنى. وقد كشفتُ هذا الوجه في كتاب «المُغْني» وبيَّنتُ أنه ليس كما يخطُر بالبال من قُرب الأجسام وقطع المسافة، لأن ذلك يختص بالأجسام، والله منزَّه عن ذلك.
والثاني: أنه محمد دنا من ربِّه، قاله ابن عباس، والقرظي.
والثالث: أنه جبريل. ثم في الكلام قولان.

Translation: There are three famous sayings regarding the saying of Allah i.e. Then he approached and came closer

First: That is Allah Azza wajjal as it is narrated by Bukhari and Muslim in “Sahihayn” the hadith from Sharik bin Abi Numayr who heard from Anas bin Malik (ra) who said: The Irresistible, the Lord of Honor and Majesty approached and came closer till He was about two bow lengths or (even) nearer [Sahih Bukhari Hadith # 7518, Sahih Muslim Hadith # 162]

...and It is narrated by Abu Salama from Ibn Abbas (ra) that {He approached} refers to Allah coming near, this is adopted by Maqatil (rah) who said: Allah came near to Muhammad (Peace be upon him) on the night of Isra And was at a distance of but two bow-lengths or (even) nearer, however It is written in the book Al Mughni that this coming nearer does not refer to coming closer in sense of bodies nor distance as that is the case with bodily creations and Allah is High of such thing being attributed to him.

The Second: That It was Muhammad (Peace be upon him) who went near Allah, this is said by Ibn Abbas (ra) and Qurzi(ra) 

The Third: It was Gibril and there is Kalaam in this Qawl.. (Then Ibn Jawzi shows the opinion of Sahaba like Sayyidah Aisha - RA who were of the opinion that Prophet - Peace be upon him did not see Allah, why Sayyidah Aisha - RA believed such and how other Sahaba differed with her shall be explained in detail Insha'Allah)

Reference: Imam Ibn Jawzi in Zad al Maseer fi Ilm at Tafsir, Volume No. 8, Page No. 65-66

Hence From Qur'an and Sahih hadiths of Bukhari and Muslim which give best sharh of 8th and 9th verses It is proven that Prophet (Peace be upon him) saw Allah (Anas bin Malik R.A who is claimed to have rejected sight of Allah is proving in these ahadith that Prophet - Peace be upon him did see Allah, It is fundamental 

Usool of Hadith that If same sahabi says 2 contrary things then “Masbat (proof)” takes over “Nafi (i.e. rejection)”, so according to this Usool itself it is soundly established that the Prophet Peace be upon him did indeed see Allah and the Nafi of this has to be rejected)

Qur'an states at another place:
وَلَمَّا جَآءَ مُوسَىٰ لِمِيقَاتِنَا وَكَلَّمَهُ رَبُّهُ قَالَ رَبِّ أَرِنِيۤ أَنظُرْ إِلَيْكَ قَالَ لَن تَرَانِي وَلَـٰكِنِ انْظُرْ إِلَى الْجَبَلِ فَإِنِ اسْتَقَرَّ
مَكَانَهُ فَسَوْفَ تَرَانِي فَلَمَّا
تَجَلَّىٰ رَبُّهُ لِلْجَبَلِ جَعَلَهُ دَكّاً وَخَرَّ موسَىٰ صَعِقاً فَلَمَّآ أَفَاقَ قَالَ سُبْحَانَكَ تُبْتُ إِلَيْكَ وَأَنَاْ أَوَّلُ ٱلْمُؤْمِنِي

Translation: And when Musa (Moses) came at the time and place appointed by Us, and his Lord (Allah) spoke to him; he said: "O my Lord! Show me (Yourself), that I may look upon You." Allah said: "You cannot see Me (Qur'an states: LAN TARANI NOT LAN URA), but look upon the mountain; if it stands still in its place then you shall see Me." So when his Lord appeared to the mountain , He made it collapse to dust, and Musa (Moses) fell down unconscious. Then when he recovered his senses he said: "Glory be to You, I turn to You in repentance and I am the first of the believers."[Al Qur'an, Surah 7, Verse no 143]


In the world renowned Tafsir al Jalalyn (written by 2 great scholars Imam Jalal ud-din Suyuti and Imam al-Muhalli) it states:

أَنظُرْ إِلَيْكَ قَالَ لَن تَرَٰنِى } أي لا تقدر على رؤيتي، والتعبير به دون «لن أُرَى» يفيد إمكان رؤيته تعالى { وَلَٰكِنِ انْظُرْ إِلَى الْجَبَلِ } الذي هو أقوى منك { فَإِنِ اسْتَقَرَّ } ثبت { مَكَانَهُ فَسَوْفَ تَرَٰنِى } أي تثبت لرؤيتي، وإلا فلا طاقة لك { فَلَمَّا تَجَلَّىٰ رَبُّهُ } أي ظهر من نوره قدر نصف أنملة الخنصر كما في حديث صححه الحاكم

Translation: {You shall not see Me},which means you do not have the capability to see me THE USE OF THE WORDING (LAN TARANI) RATHER THAN LAN URA (I.E. I SHALL NOT BE SEEN) IMPLIES THAT IT IS POSSIBLE TO SEE ALLAH {But gaze at the mountain} which is stronger than you are, {And if it stands still in its place} then you shall see Me’, that is, [then] you shall remain fixed [able] to see Me, otherwise, you will not have the capacity [for it]. {And when his Lord revealed (His) glory to the mountain} i.e. When he manifested his light, equivalent to half a nail of little finger as this is mentioned in the sahih hadith of Hakim

Reference: Tafsir al Jalalyn, Page No. 167, Published by Dar Ibn Kathir, Damascus

In the Ayah Musa (a.s) said in the end: And Moses fell down in a swoon. When he recovered his senses he said: "Glory be to Thee! to Thee I turn in repentance, and I am the first to believe."(7:143)

Tafsir ul Qurtubi

Imam al-Qurtubi (rah) explains it as:
وأجمعت الأمة على أن هذه التوبة ما كانت عن معصية؛ فإن الأنبياء معصومون. وأيضاً عند أهل السنة والجماعة الرؤيةُ جائزةٌ.
Translation: The Imams are unanimous that (Musa a.s) asking for Tawba does not refer to sins because the Anbiya are infallible/Masoom, and in the opinion of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jammah the Sight of (Allah) is possible

Reference: Tafsir-ul-Qurtubi, Under 7:143

Hence it is decisively proven from Qur'an itself that Anbiya never ask for something Impossible, had sight of Allah not been possible then Musa (a.s) would not have asked for it and nor would have Allah linked it to the condition of mountain staying at its place. So the Vision was reserved only for Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be upon him) and not for Musa (alaih salam)

In Light of Hadith

We have Qawl of Ummul Momineen (Mother of All Believers) Hadrat Ayesha Saddiqa R.A and Verdict of leading authority over Tafsir of Qur'an amongst Sahaba i.e. Ibn Abbas R.A  who differed with Sayyidah Ayesha r.a in this regard. This difference has been wrongly understood by Salafis whereas in reality the rejection of Sayyidah Aisha (ra) is of "IDRAAK (COMPLETE COMPREHENSION OF ALLAH)" which we Ahlus Sunnah also reject, but rejection of Idraak does not mean Prophet did not see Allah at all.

Secondly Sayyidah Aisha (ra) was a child when al-Isra Wal Mi'raaj took place, remember it took place in the Meccan period before Hijrah and Sayyidah Aisha (ra) was married to Prophet (Peace be upon him) 1 year "AFTER HIJRAH" and the Marriage took place when she was only 6 (consummated when she was 9). 

Hence Sayyidah Aisha (RA) was less than 4 years of age when incident of Mi'raaj took place, hence the opinion of senior Sahaba shall be taken into account as they understood the incident more properly. 
We would like to clarify that we accept the valid difference of opinion over this issue but the Istadlal of Wahabiyyah is null and void because they are people of Hawa (desires) and they do not follow a school of Jurisprudence nor do they follow the schools of Ahlus Sunnah called Ash'ari/Maturidi, hence even if they reach a valid opinion It will for sure stand rejected in sight Allah and his Apostle (Peace be upon him)

Below is the Sharh of the hadith from Aisha (RA) in words of the great Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal (rah) whom the so called "Muqalid Salafis claim to follow. This is cited by the leading commentator of Bukhari i.e. Imam Ibn Hajr al Asqalani (rah)

Imam Ibn Hajr al Asqalani (Rahimuhullah) says in his magnificent Fath ul Bari Sharh Sahih ul Bukhari:
عن المروزي قلت لأحمد إنهم يقولون إن عائشة قالت من زعم أن محمدا رأى ربه فقد أعظم على الله الفرية فبأي شيء يدفع قولها قال بقول النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم رأيت ربي قول النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم أكبر من قولها

Translation: Maruzi (rah) asked Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal (rah): People say that Aisha (ra) used to exclaim that whosoever says the Prophet (Peace be upon him) saw his Lord has attributed a lie to Allah, so how shall this be answered? (Imam Ahmed) replied: From the saying of Prophet (Peace be upon him) [himself] when he said:  “رأيت ربي” i.e. I saw my Lord, this will be an answer to Aisha (ra)’s Qawl because the saying of Prophet (Peace be upon him) is far superior than saying of her (i.e. Aisha ra)

Reference: Best commentary over Sahih Bukhari called Fath ul Bari, Sharh Sahih ul Bukhari, Volume No. 8, Page No. 494

Imam an-Nawawi (rah) the leading commentator of Sahih Muslim sheds more light on this, as he explains:
‏وإذا صحت الروايات عن ابن عباس في إثبات الرؤية وجب المصير إلى إثباتها فإنها ليست مما يدرك بالعقل , ويؤخذ بالظن , وإنما يتلقى بالسماع ولا يستجيز أحد أن يظن بابن عباس أنه تكلم في هذه المسألة بالظن والاجتهاد . وقد قال معمر بن راشد حين ذكر اختلاف عائشة وابن عباس : ما عائشة عندنا بأعلم من ابن عباس , ثم إن ابن عباس أثبت شيئا نفاه والمثبت مقدم على النافي

Translation: When it is proven from Sahih hadiths of Ibn Abbas (ra) then we cannot assume that he said it according to his own assumption, definitely he said this after hearing it from Prophet (Peace be upon him), Ma’mar bin Rashid (rah) said regarding the difference between Aisha (ra) and Ibn Abbas (ra) that Aisha (ra) was not aware about this (completely) whereas Ibn Abbas (ra) was, So when Ibn Abbas (ra) is proving it while some others are doing Nafi of it then It is a (Principle) that Masbat (Proof) takes over Nafi (rejection)

Reference: Sharh Sahih Muslim, Kitab al Iman, Chapter in meaning of :He saw him at the second descent

Ibn Shihab said: Ibn Hazm told me that Ibn 'Abbas and Abd Habba al-Ansari used to say that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: Thereafter he ascended with me till I was taken to such a height where I heard the scraping of the pens (of Taqdir) Ibn Hazm and Anas told that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: Allah then made fifty prayers obligatory for my Ummah and I returned with that and passed by Moses. Moses, (peace be upon him) said: What has thy Lord enjoined on thy people? I said: Fifty prayers have been made obligatory on them. Moses (peace be upon him) said: Return to thy Lord(‏فراجع ربك), for thy Ummah would not be able to bear this burden. Then I came back to my Lord(فراجعت ربي) and He remitted a portion out of that. I then again went to Moses (peace be upon him) and informed him about it He said: Return to thy Lord(‏راجع ربك),, for thy Ummah shall not be able to bear this burden. I then went back to my Lord(فراجعت ربي) and He said: They are five and at the same time fifty, and what has been said will not be changed. I then returned to Moses and he said: Go back to thy Lord. whereupon I said: I feel ashamed of my Lord(قد استحييت من ربي) [Sahih Muslim, Hadith No. 313 – Agreed upon]

This hadith decisively proves that Prophet (Peace be upon him) saw Allah because every time Musa (a.s) told him to “RETURN TO HIS LORD” and finally the Prophet said: “I FEEL ASHAMED OF MY LORD”

‏ عن ‏ ‏ابن عباس ‏ ‏قال ‏
رأى ‏ ‏محمد ‏ ‏ربه قلت أليس الله يقول ‏
لا تدركه الأبصار وهو يدرك الأبصار ‏
قال ويحك ذاك إذا تجلى بنوره الذي هو نوره وقال أريه مرتين ‏
قال ‏ ‏أبو عيسى ‏ ‏هذا ‏ ‏حديث حسن

Translation: Ibn Abbas (ra) said that Muhammad (salallaho alaihi wasalam) saw his Lord, (Ikrama) asked: Hasn’t Allah said that Eyes cannot “COMPREHEND” him, at this (Ibn Abbas) replied: Strange (Arabic wording is more strict but we have translated it to Strange) that you have not understood, this is when Allah shows glimpse of his own Nur (which cannot be comprehended), so Prophet (Peace be upon him) indeed saw Allah twice

Reference: Sunnan Tirimdh, Tafsir of Surah al-Najm, Hadith No. 3201] – Imam Tirimdhi declared this hadith as “Hassan”

Sheikh Muhadith Haq Dhelvi (rahimuhullah) writes: Ibn Umar(ra) turned to Ibn Abbas (ra) regarding this matter and asked whether the Prophet (Peace be upon him) has seen his Lord, Ibn Abbas replied in affirmative, Ibn Umar (ra) accepted this and did not reject it [Ashaat ul Lamaat, Volume No. 4, Page No. 431]

Now It is proven from yet another Mujtahid Sahabi i.e. Ibn Umar (ra) that Prophet (Peace be upon him) saw Allah!

Imam Badr ud din Ayni (Rahimuhullah) the commentator of Bukhari said:
روى ابن خزيمة بإسناد قوي عن أنس قال رأى محمد ربه وبه قال سائر أصحاب ابن عباس وكعب الأحبار والزهري وصاحب معمر وآخرون وحكى عبد الرزاق عن معمر عن الحسن أنه حلف أن محمدا رأى ربه وأخرج ابن خزيمة عن عروة بن الزبير إثباتها

Translation: Ibn Khuazaima (rah) narrated with “strong chain” from Anas bin Malik (ra) that he said: Muhammad (salallaho alaihi wasalam) saw his Lord, same is narrated from Ibn Abbas (ra) and his disciples like K’ab al Ahbar (ra), Zuhiri (rah) and Ma’mar (rah), Imam Abdur Razzaq (rah) narrates from Ma’mar who quotes Imam Hassan Basri (rah) who used to say: I take an oath that Muhammad (salallaho alaihi wassalam) saw his Lord, Ibn Khuzaima (rah) has also proven it (sight of Allah) from Urwa bin Zubayr (ra) [Umdat al Qari, Sharah Sahih al Bukhari, Volume No. 19, Page No. 198]

Taking an oath by Imam Hasan al-Basri (rah) is not a minor thing. Those who do not know the standing of Imam Hasan al-Basri (rah) in narrating hadiths does not understand even the basics.


Imam Badr ud din Ayni (rah) also explains:
وروى الطبراني في (الأوسط) بإسناد قوي عن ابن عباس قال رأى محمد ربه مرتين ومن وجه آخر قال نظر محمد إلى ربه جعل الكلام لموسى والخلة لإبراهيم والنظر لمحمد فظهر من ذلك أن مراد ابن عباس ههنا رؤيا العين

Translation: Imam at-Tabarani (rah) narrates in his (Al Awsat) with “Strong chain” from Ibn Abbas (ra) who said that Prophet (Peace be upon him) saw his Lord twice, the reason for this saying is that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) saw his Lord with his eyesight, because Musa (a.s) talked to Allah directly, Ibrahim (a.s) was taken as His friend and Muhammad (salallaho alaihi wasalam) was chosen for sight (no other Prophet was), apparently what Ibn Abbas (ra) means to say is that Prophet (Peace be upon him) saw Allah with his eyes [Umdat al Qari, Sharh Sahih ul Bukhari, Volume No. 17, Page No. 30]

Imam an-Nasai’i (Rahimuhullah) and al-Hakim (Rahimuhullah) narrate with Sahih Isnad:
أخبرنا إسحاق بن إبراهيم قال أخبرنا معاذ بن هشام قال حدثني أبي عن قتادة عن عكرمة عن بن عباس قال أتعجبون أن تكون الخلة لإبراهيم والكلام لموسى والرؤية لمحمد صلى الله عليه وسلم

Translation: Ibn Abbas (ra) narrates: Are you surprised at friendship of Ibrahim (a.s) [with Allah], The Speech of Musa (directly with Allah) and Sight of Muhammad (Salallaho alaihi wasalam)? [Sunnan Nasai’i al Kubra in Amal al Yawm wal Laylah , Volume No.6, Hadith No.11539, Mustadrak ala Sahihayn, Volume No. 1, Hadith No. 216]

Imam al-Hakim (rah) after narrating it said:
هذا حديث صحيح على شرط البخاري
Translation: This Hadith is Sahih on the criteria of Bukhari [ibid, Hadith No. 216]

Imam Ibn Hajr al Asqalani (Rahimuhullah) said:
ما أخرجه النسائي بإسناد صحيح وصححه الحاكم أيضا من طريق عكرمة عن بن عباس قال أتعجبون أن تكون الخلة لإبراهيم والكلام لموسى والرؤية لمحمد
Translation: It is narrated by Nasai’i with “Sahih Isnad” and Hakim also declared it “Sahih” the narration with the chain from Ikrama (rah) who heard Ibn Abbas (ra) say (and he quoted the above hadith) [Fath ul Bari, Sharah Sahih al Bukhari, Volume No. 8, Page No 493]
So O Muslims do not be surprised after knowing this reality because the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) indeed saw his Lord and this is one of the major differences between us Ahlus Sunnah and misguided Mutazayli sect who used to reject it (today representation of Mutazayli sect is done by Shi'ites)

Imam an-Nawawi (Rahimuhullah) writes under the hadith of Ibn Masud (ra) that (Prophet Peace be upon him)’s heart did not lie of what it saw means that he saw Jibril (a.s)
هذا الذي قاله عبد الله رضي الله عنه هو مذهبه في الآية , وذهب الجمهور من المفسرين إلى أن المراد أنه رأى ربه سبحانه وتعالى
Translation: This is the saying of Abdullah Ibn Masud (ra) and his Madhab, but the Madhab of vast majority of Mufasireen (including Ibn Abbas) is that Prophet (Peace be upon him) saw Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’la

Reference:Sharah Sahih Muslim by Imam Nawawi, under Kitab al Iman, The mention of Sidra til Muntaha, Hadith No. 254]

Imam an-Nawawi further states:
فالحاصل أن الراجح عند أكثر العلماء : أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم رأى ربه بعيني رأسه ليلة الإسراء لحديث ابن عباس وغيره مما تقدم . وإثبات هذا لا يأخذونه إلا بالسماع من رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم هذا مما لا ينبغي أن يتشكك فيه
Translation: The result of all (proofs which have been shown) is that it is pre dominantly established amongst many ulama that Prophet (Peace be upon him) saw Allah with his eyes on the night of Ascension as the hadith from Ibn Abbas (ra) and others have been mentioned before, the proof of which comes from Prophet (Peace be upon him) hence there should be no doubt about it [Sharah Sahih Muslim, Kitab al Iman, Chapter in meaning of :He saw him at the second descent]
 
Imam an-Nawawi
(rah) also said about Aisha (ra) hadith:
‏فأما احتجاج عائشة بقول الله تعالى : { لا تدركه الأبصار } فجوابه ظاهر , فإن الإدراك هو الإحاطة والله تعالى لا يحاط به , وإذا ورد النص بنفي الإحاطة لا يلزم منه نفي الرؤية بغير إحاطة

Translation: The Proof which Aisha (ra) took (to reject sight of Allah) i.e. {Eyes cannot comprehend him} the apparent answer to this will be that there cannot be Idraak (i.e. complete comprehension, to gather all around, to see all aspects) of Allah, so the Nass (of Quran) does Nafi of Al-Ihaat but this does not do Nafi of sight without Ihaata (i.e. complete comprehension) [Ibid]

 Imam Ibn Jarir (rah) writes under: The (Prophet's) (mind and) heart in no way falsified that which he saw. (53:11)
عيسى بن عبيد، قال: سمعت عكرِمة، وسُئل هل رأى محمد ربه، قال نعم، قد رأى ربه.

Translation: Isa bin Ubaid (rah) said: Ikrama (rah) was questioned about Muhammad (salallaho alaihi wasalam) seeing the Lord? He said: YES! HE SAW HIS LORD [Tafsir at Tabri under 53:11]

 --
 Marfu Hadith
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Imam Tabri proves from Prophet (Peace be upon him) himself as:
عن عطاء، عن ابن عباس، قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: " رأَيْتُ رَبِي فِي أحْسَنَ صُورَةٍ

Translation: From Ata (rah) who narrated from Ibn Abbas (ra) who said that Prophet (Salallaho alaihi wasalam) said: I saw Allah in his  best of form (which Allah and Apostle know best) [Tafsir at Tabri under 53:11]

We Would like to conclude with the detailed extract from the best book of Seerah ever written i.e. Ash-Shifa ash-Shareef of Imam al-Qadhi Iyaadh (rah)

فصل
رؤيته لربه عز و جل و اختلاف السلف فيها
و أما رؤيته ـ صلى الله عليه و سلم لربه جل و عز ـ فاختلف السلف فيها ، فأنكرته عائشة .
حدثنا أبو الحسن سراج بن عبد الملك الحافظ بقراءتي عليه ، قال حدثني أبي و أبو عبد الله بن عتاب الفقيه ، قالا : حدثنا القاضي يونس بن مغيث ، حدثنا أبو الفضل الصلقي ، حدثنا ثابت بن قاسم بن ثابت ، عن أبيه وجده ، قالا : حدثنا عبد الله بن علي ،
قال : حدثنا محمود بن آدم ، حدثنا وكيع ، عن ابن أبي خالد ، عن عامر عن مسروق ـ أنه قال لعائشة رضي الله عنها ـ يا أم المؤمنين ، هل رأى محمد ربه ؟ فقالت : لقد قف شعري مما قلت . ثلاث من حدثك بهن فقد كذب : من حدثك أن محمد اً رأى ربه فقد كذب ، ثم قرأت : لا تدركه الأبصار وهو يدرك الأبصار وهو اللطيف الخبير ، و ذكر الحديث .
و قال جماعة بقول عائشة رضي الله عنها ، و هو المشهور عن ابن مسعود .
و مثله عن أبي هريرة أنه [ ا ] : إنما رأى جبريل . و اختلف عنه . و قال بإنكار هذا و امتناع رؤيته في الدنيا جماعة من المحدثين ، و الفقهاء و المتكلمين .
و عن ابن عباس رضي الله عنهما أنه رآه بعينه . وروى عطاء عنه ـ أنه رآه بقلبه .
و عن أبي العالية ، عنه : رآه بفؤاده مرتين .
و ذكر ابن إسحاق أن عمر أرسل إلى ابن عباس رضي الله عنهما يسأله : هل رأى محمد ربه ؟ فقال : نعم .
و الأشهر عنه انه رأى ربه بعينه ، روي ذلك عنه من طرق ، و قال : إن الله تعالى اختص موس بالكلام ، و إبراهيم بالخلة ،و محمداً بالرؤية و حجته قوله تعالى : ما كذب الفؤاد ما رأى * أفتمارونه على ما يرى * ولقد رآه نزلة أخرى [ سورة النجم /53 ، الآية : 11 ، 13 ] .
قال الماوردي : قيل : إن الله تعالى قسم كلامه و رؤيته بين موس ، و محمد صلى الله عليه و سلم ، فر آه محمد مرتين ، و كلمه موس مرتين .
و حكى أبو الفتح الرازي ، و أبو الليث السمرقدي الحكاية عن كعب .
و روى عبد الله بن الحارث ، قال : اجتمع ابن عباس و كعب ، فقال ابن عباس : أما نحن بنو هاشم فنقول : إن محمد اً قد رأى ربه مرتين ، فكبر كعب حتى جاوبته الجبال ،
و قال : إن الله قسم رؤيته و كلامه بين محمد و موس ، فكلمه موسى ، و رآه محمد بقلبه .
و روى شريك عن أبي ذر رضي الله عنه في تفسير الآية ، قال : رأى النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم ربه .
و ح كى السمرقندي ، عن محمد بن كعب القرظي ، و ربيع بن أنس ـ أن النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم سئل : هل رأيت ربك ؟ قال : رأيته بقؤادي ، و لم أره بعيني .
و روى مالك بن يخامر ، عن معاذ ، عن النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم ، قال : رأيت ربي ... و ذكر كلمة ، فقال : يا محمد ، فيم يختصم الملأ الأعلى الحديث .
و حكى عبد الرزاق أن الحسن كان يحلف با الله لقد رأى محمد ربه

Translation: Chapter about Sight of Allah and the difference of opinion on it from Salaf-as-Saliheen:

In regards to Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) seeing his Lord, the early Muslims differed on this. Sayyidah Aisha(ra) rejected it and when Masruq (ra) asked her: O Umm ul Momineen (Mother of believers) did Muhammad (Peace be upon him) see his Lord? She replied: “My hair is standing on end at what you have asked” and she reported it three times “Whosoever told you that has lied. Whoever told you that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) saw his Lord has lied. Then she recited: “The eyes do not comprehend Him but He comprehends (all) vision. He is the Subtle, the Aware (6:103), some people agree with what Aisha (ra) said and it is well known that Ibn Masud (ra) and Abu Hurraira (ra) said similar things, stating that it was Jibril (a.s) he saw. However this is disputed.

Jamaah (great group) of the hadith scholars, fuqaha and theologians reject this statement and the prohibition on the Prophet of seeing Allah in this world. Ibn Abbas (ra) said: He saw Him with his eyes, while Ata related from him that he saw him with his heart. Abu’l Aliyya said that he saw him with his heart (and mind) twice. Ibn Ishaq mentioned that Ibn Umar (ra) sent to Ibn Abbas (ra) to ask him whether Muhammad (Peace be upon him) had seen his Lord? He replied: “Yes” The best known opinion is that he saw his Lord with his eyes. This is related from him by various paths of transmission. He said that Allah singled out Musa (a.s) for direct speech, Ibrahim (a.s) for close friendship and Muhammad (peace be upon him) for the (direct) vision.

The Proof of it lies in the words of Allah: “The heart (and mind) did not lie about what it saw, What will you dispute with him about what he sees? He saw him another time (53:12-13)

Al-Mawaradi
said: It is said that Allah divided his vision and His speech between Musa and Muhammad (Peace be upon them both). Muhammad (Peace be upon him) saw Him twice and He spoke to Musa (a.s) twice.
Abul Fath ar-Razi and Abul Layth as-Samarqandi relate this from Ka’b al-Ahbar (rah) and Abdullah ibn al Harith (rah) said that Ibn Abbas and Ka’b agreed on this point. Ibn Abbas (ra) said: As for us, the Banu Hashim, we say that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) saw his Lord twice., Ka’b said: Allah hu Akbar until the mountains echoed him. He further said: Allah divided his vision and speech between Muhammad and Musa (Peace be upon them both)
Sharik relates that when Abu Dharr (ra) commented on this ayat, he said: “The Prophet (salallaho alaihi wasalam) saw his Lord. Imam Samarqandi [of the Islaaf] relates from Muhammad bin Ka’b al-Qurdhi and Rabi’ Ibn Anas that the Prophet was asked: Have you seen your Lord? He said: I saw Him with my heart, but I did not see him with my eye (Footnote by A: This chain is not authentic and does not reach the Prophet plus it has been established above that Prophet saw Allah with his eyesight, we the Ahlus Sunnah do not fabricate classical literature like Salafis do so our honesty asks us to relate things as they are without altering them). Malik ibn Yukhamir related from Mua’dh bin Jabal that the Prophet said: I saw my Lord and he asked me, Muhammad about what did the higher Assembly disagree [Absolutly sahih hadith on criteria of Bukhari]

Abdur Razzaq ibn Hammam
[The sheikh of Imam Bukhari, the best ever Muhadith as said by Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal] related that Hassan al Basri [He requires no introduction] used to take an oath (By Allah) that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) saw his Lord.

[End Quote , Ash Shifa by Qadhi Iyaadh, Chapter on "Sight of Allah"]

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Question: Did the Prophet (Peace be upon him) see his Lord? (On the incident of Layla tul-Mi'raaj). I have heard some scholars that Prophet (Peace be upon him) has seen his Lord.
Answer: On the Night of ascension the Prophet (Peace be upon him) was blessed with the Sight of Allah and "THIS IS THE AQIDA OF AHLUS-SUNNAH WAL JAMM'AH" [Dar ul Ifta Jamia Nizamia, 
Dated: 14-05-2008]
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By Aamir Ibrahim

(Edited by ADHM)

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Was Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) favored with the sighting of Allah (سبحانه و تعالى)?

In this context, the biggest argument presented is the observation of Ummul Momineen Aisha (رضي الله تعالى عنها).

It is in Hadith - Narrated by Masruq (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) - I said to Ummul Momineen Aisha (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہا),
"O'Mother! Did Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) see his Lord?"
Aisha (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہا)said, "What you have said makes my hair stand on end! Know that if somebody tells you one of the following three things, HE IS A LIAR -
"Whoever tells you that Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) saw his Lord, IS A LIAR." 
Then Aisha (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہا) recited the following verses:
(i) " لَّا تُدۡرِڪُهُ ٱلۡأَبۡصَـٰرُ وَهُوَ يُدۡرِكُ ٱلۡأَبۡصَـٰرَ‌ۖ [Peoples' eyes (be it physical eyes or heart eyes)  cannot see Him. 
He sees their eyes (them).] (Al-An'aam - 103) and (ii) "وَمَا كَانَ لِبَشَرٍ أَن يُكَلِّمَهُ ٱللَّهُ إِلَّا وَحۡيًا أَوۡ مِن وَرَآىِٕ حِجَابٍ ["It is not fitting for a human being that Allah (سبحانہ و تعا لی) should speak to him except by inspiration, or from behind a veil.] (Ash-Shura - 51). 

Bukhari - Vol 6, Book 60, Hadith # 378 - part of the Hadith). This Hadith is also mentioned in Muslim (Book No. 1 -Hadith # 337

Read carefully the above Hadith.  

Ummul Momineen Aisha (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہاis not narrating a Hadith, rather she is clarifying the meanings of the verses of Quran and the reasons for her observations on a narration (Hadith). Her observations are correct. 

The only issue is, it has been misunderstood by some people. 

We have explained this issue below to clarify the doubts of some people.  

(a) This verse is not exclusive for the Accession, rather it is regarding the Absolute perception (مطلقًا ادراك) of Allah (سبحانه و تعالى). 
(b) What is negated from the verse is the perception of Allah's (سبحانه و تعالى) eternal antiquated Unity (ادراک کہنہ ذات) and the purgative refulgence (تجلّئ تنزیہی).  This verse does not negate the sighting of refulgence (رویت تجلیات). 
(c) The perception (ادراک) requires enclosure (احاطہ), but sighting does not require enclosure or circuity (احاطہ).
(d) The meaning of al-Absar (ٱلأَبصَـٰرُ) is related to the people who are living in this world.  And when Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) moved to the sublime worlds (عالم بالا), then the requirement of this world also did not remain with him. 
When Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) was in this world, all the dependencies of this world, like eating, sleeping and other chores were necessary for him.  Once he(s) shifted during Me'raj to the sublime world, these necessities were left behind by him. 
Like Hadhrat Jibril (عليه السلام) who is invisible (غیر مرئ) and light (لطیف),  whenever visited this 'World of Density (عالم کثیف), the necessities of this world, like taking a shape of Bedouin or Wahya Kalbi,  wearing of cloths, etc., were also associated with him.  That is why it is said the when Jinnie takes the shape of a snake in the World of Manifestation, poison also comes in him, and the Jinnie could be killed with a hit of a stick. 

Therefore, when the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) moved to the Sublime world, then for his faculty of 'seeing', the requisites of the world of Manifestation, like direction, bounds and the need for light of the sun also did not remain.

It is in Quran - وُجُوهٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ نَّاضِرَةٌ . إِلَىٰ رَبِّهَا نَاظِرَةٌ  [ Some faces that Day (the Day of Judgment)  shall beam  (in brightness and beauty).  Looking at their Lord (Allah - سبحانہ و تعا لی)] (Al-Qiyamah - 22-23).

It is in Quran -  كَلَّا إِنَّهُمْ عَن رَّبِّهِمْ يَوْمَئِذٍ لَّمَحْجُوبُونَ  [Nay, surely, they (evil doers / non believers / Hypocrites) will be veiled from seeing their Lord that Day (the Day of Judgment).] (Al-Mutaffifeen - 15).

From the above verses, the vision of Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) is proved. 

The only way to reconcile these two verses is that the Unity and the State of Infinity (ذات و مرتبہ احدیت) and Allah's Unitary refulgence (تجلّئ ذاتی) is beyond perception.  Yes, there can be an 'Attribute Refulgence (تجلّئ صفاتی), Similitude or Manifestative reflgence (تجلّئ مثالی یا تشبیھی).

Our above understanding is based on the following narration.

It is in Hadith -  Narrated by Ibn Abbas (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ): Ibn Abbas(رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) said that Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) said - I saw my Lord, the Exalted and Glorious in the most beautiful form.

Akrama (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) said, on this  I submitted,  does not Allah (سبحانہ و تعا لی) say  thatPeoples’ eyes cannot perceive HimHe perceives their eyes.”, then  Ibn Abbas (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہsaid, Hey ’ this is true when Allah’s (سبحانہ و تعا لی) refulgence (Tajalli) is from the divine light which is the “Light of His Unity”.  

Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) has seen his Sustainer (Rab) twice”. (Tirmidhi).  

All the verses and Ahadith that negate the sighting of Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), relate to the Divinity Splendor (شانِ احديت), Unitary Refulgence (تجلّئ ذاتي) and Eternally Antiquated Divine Fact (کہنہ حقیقت حقہ). 
And all the verses and Ahadith that affirm the vision of Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) relate to similitude, refulgence and reflect their respective connection. 
 If this is not done, we will have to express denial of many Sahih Ahadith. 

Since on the day of Judgement, the knowledge about belief (علم ایمان) only will get manifested, and if you did not have the certainty of the vision of Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) in this world, then it will be very difficult.

It is in Hadith -  It is narrated by Jareer Bin Abdullah al-Bajali (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہthat he said:
"We were with the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) and he said, 'You will certainly see your Lord as you see this moon, and there will be no trouble in seeing Him'. (Bukhari, Muslim, Mishkaat). 
It is in Hadith - Narrated by Jareer (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہthat he said, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) said,  soon you will see your Sustainer (رب) openly. (Bukhari - Muslim - Mishkaath)
It is in Hadith - It is narrated by Jaber (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) who narrates it from the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) that the People of Heaven (Paradise) will be busy in their delights and suddenly a divine light will glitter over them. 

They will raise their heads to find that their Lord  is manifested on them saying ‘Peace be  upon you O’ People of Heaven’.

The Prophet  (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) said, this is the exegesis of the verse  "سَلَامٌ قَوْلًا مِّن رَّبٍّ رَّحِيمٍ " ( Yasin - 58 ).  
The Prophet  (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) said ‘ The Sustainer looks at them, they see  their Sustainer; and they do not look at any of the graceful things provided to them  as long as they are seeing  their Sustainer, until their Sustainer gets back into the veil.  And the traces of His Light will remain on them. (Tirmidhi, Mishkaath).

It is in Hadith -  Narrated by Ibn Abbas (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) - Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) said that ‘My Sustainer came to me in a very good face and  said,  O’ Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم), I submitted, ‘Yes my Sustainer,  present; I am present’.  He said, ‘Do you know the sublime Angels argue with each other in what’?  ‘ I submitted , I do not know’.  Then He placed His hand (of omnipotence)  in between my shoulders and I found the coolness of  the hand into my chest and then I knew whatever there is, in the skies and the earth.  (Tirmidhi - Mishkaath).

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Imam-e-Azam Abu Hanifa (رضي الله تعالى عنه) saw Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) in his dreams more than 100 times. 
Imam Ahmed (رضي الله تعالى عنه) also saw Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) in his dreams several times.
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 (Edited by ADHM)