In Arabic it means 'ladder' but is actually derived from the Ethiopic Ma'areg, which can be found in their Book of Jubilees 21:37.
This is the mythological story of the alleged 'physical' ascent of Muhammad to the seventh heaven.
The Quranic concept of a seventh heaven was derived from the Hebrew Scriptures(Midrash and Zohar)as well as from the New Testament(Revelations).
The idea of a 'ladder' connecting earth to the Almighty has its root in the story of Jacob's Ladder (Gen 28:12).
In Hebrew, the term used for ladder is Sullam.
In S32:5 (Y'aruju = to mount up) and in S43:33 (Ma'arij = stairways)
The number seven was holy - in the Bible and other religions - since it represented the planets and luminaries in the sky:Sun, Mercury, Venus, Moon, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn.
Its holiness in the Bible is reflected in: seven days of the week; the seventh Hebrewmonth was the month beginning the New Year, etc.
In the New Testament also, this number is mentioned repeatedly. More over, and more to the point, before Islam, the pagan Arabs had no concept of Heaven or Hell or of any pantheon of planetary gods.
It was during the Mi'raj that Muhammad - according to Muhammadan tradition - and at the repeated advice of Moses was able to reduce the number of daily prayers from the IMPOSSIBLE FIFTY to the more MANAGEABLE FIVE.
Fifty prahers a day would have meant that his followers could not be able to do anything constructive to survive since they would have been praying once every
It was entirely due to the negotiating acumen of Moses and his advice - to repeatedly ask Allah for the reduction- that eventually reduced the FIFTY prayers to the more reasonable FIVE a day, thus saving Muhammadan Islam from OBLIVION.
Sahih Al-Bukhari HadithHadith 1.345Narrated byAbu Dhar & also 4.429; 5.227; 9.608
Allah's Apostle said, "While I was at Mecca the roof of my house was opened and Gabriel descended, opened my chest, and washed it with Zam-zam water. Then he brought a golden tray full of wisdom and faith and having poured its contents into my chest, he closed it. Then he took my hand and ascended with me to the nearest heaven, when I reached the nearest heaven, ..........."
Then Gabriel ascended with me to a place where I heard the creaking of the pens." Ibn Hazm and Anas bin Malik said: The Prophet said, "Then Allah enjoined fiftyprayers on my followers.When I returned with this order of Allah, I passed by Moses who asked me, 'What has Allah enjoined on your followers?' I replied, 'He has enjoined fifty prayers on them.' Moses said, 'Go back to your Lord (and appeal for reduction) for your followers will not be able to bear it.'
(So I went back to Allah and requested for reduction) and He reduced it to half. When I passed by Moses again and informed him about it, he said, 'Go back to your Lord as your followers will not be able to bear it.'
So I returned to Allah and requested for further reduction and half of it was reduced. I again passed by Moses and he said to me: 'Return to your Lord, for your followers will not be able to bear it. So I returned to Allah and He said, 'These are five prayers and they are all (equal to) fifty (in reward) for My Word does not change.'
I returned to Moses and he told me to go back once again. I replied, 'Now I feel shy of asking my Lord again.' Then Gabriel took me till we reached Sidrat-il-Muntaha (Lote tree of the utmost boundary) which was shrouded in colors, indescribable. Then I was admitted into Paradise where I found small (tents or) walls (made) of pearls and its earth was of musk."
***It was Moses who - UNFORTUNATELY - single handily saved Muhammad and his Cult Belief System from being totally impractical and irrelevant which would have consigned both to the dustbin of history.
Muhmmad and his followers owe an immense measure of gratitude to Moses.
For this act alone,Muhammadcan never be considered superior to Moses***