Isra Mi’raj: What Does This Night Journey Mean to Muslims?

What is Isra Mi’raj?

Isra and Miraj refer to two different parts of the miraculous journey the Prophet embarked on. Isra means night journey and is attributed to when the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) journeyed from the holy city of Mecca to what is currently believed to be Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. It is believed that he was visited by the Archangel Jibril in Mecca and gifted him with a buraq, the traditional heavenly mount of the prophets, that transported him during this journey.

Note: The distance between these two destinations is 1,239 km and would take an airplane approximately an hour and 52 minutes to travel that distance.

Mecca Saudi Arabia Muslim

Miraj means ascension and refers to his ascension to the heavens where the Prophet visited the seven levels of heaven. At each level, Prophet Muhammad PBUH met other prophets that came before him such as Prophet Adam and Prophet Isa.

He then proceeded to Baitul Ma’mur and the Sidrat al-Muntaha, a lote tree at the end of the seventh heaven and a boundary that no one has ever passed except the Prophet. This is where Prophet Muhammad was in the realm of God and He decreed that Muslims were to pray 50 times a day.

The Prophet accepted and returned to earth but on his way down, Prophet Musa recognized that Muslims wouldn’t be able to fulfil this and encouraged Prophet Muhammad PBUH to ask God to reduce it. In essence, the Prophet travelled back and forth the heavens until God decreed that Muslims had to pray only five times a day.

Saudi Arabia Muslim

What is the significance of Isra Mi’raj?

This journey is often described as being both a spiritual and physical one and is recounted in the Surah Al-Israa in the Quran and various hadiths. It illustrates this miraculous journey of God’s will that is beyond the laws of space and time. Also, it demonstrates the Prophet’s love and dedication for his ummah to reduce the daily prayer requirements to just five.

The holiday is usually observed on the 27th of Rejab according to the Islamic calendar. Muslims celebrate this night by offering optional prayers during this night, and in many Muslim countries, by illuminating cities with electric lights and candles.

Also read: What Does It Mean To Be A Modern Malay Muslim Woman?

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