Isra and Mi'raj

Isra and Mi'raj

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Isra and Mi'raj'
Start a new discussion about 'Isra and Mi'raj'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
The Isra and Mi'raj are the two parts of a Night Journey that, according to Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

ic tradition, the Islamic prophet
Prophets of Islam
Muslims identify the Prophets of Islam as those humans chosen by God and given revelation to deliver to mankind. Muslims believe that every prophet was given a belief to worship God and their respective followers believed it as well...

 Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

 took during a single night around the year 621. It has been described as both a physical and spiritual journey. A brief sketch of the story is in sura
Sura
A sura is a division of the Qur'an, often referred to as a chapter. The term chapter is sometimes avoided, as the suras are of unequal length; the shortest sura has only three ayat while the longest contains 286 ayat...

(chapter) 17 Al-Isra
Al-Isra
Sura Al-Isra , also called Sura Bani Isra'il , is the 17th chapter of the Qur'an, with 111 verses.-Content:...

of the Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

, and other details come from the Hadith
Hadith
The term Hadīth is used to denote a saying or an act or tacit approval or criticism ascribed either validly or invalidly to the Islamic prophet Muhammad....

, supplemental writings about the life of Muhammad. In the journey, Muhammad travels on the steed Buraq
Buraq
Al-Burāq is a mythological steed, described as a creature from the heavens which transported the prophets. The most commonly told story is how in the 7th century, Al-Buraq carried the Islamic prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Jerusalem and back during the Isra and Mi'raj or "Night Journey", which is...

 to "the farthest mosque
Mosque
A mosque is a place of worship for followers of Islam. The word is likely to have entered the English language through French , from Portuguese , from Spanish , and from Berber , ultimately originating in — . The Arabic word masjid literally means a place of prostration...

" where he leads other prophets in prayer. He then ascends to heaven
Heaven
Heaven, the Heavens or Seven Heavens, is a common religious cosmological or metaphysical term for the physical or transcendent place from which heavenly beings originate, are enthroned or inhabit...

 where he speaks to God
God in Islam
In Islamic theology, God is the all-powerful and all-knowing creator, sustainer, ordainer, and judge of the universe. Islam puts a heavy emphasis on the conceptualization of God as strictly singular . God is unique and inherently One , all-merciful and omnipotent. According to the Islamic...

, who gives Muhammad instructions to take back to the faithful on Earth about the number of times to offer prayers each day.

According to traditions, the Journey is associated with the Lailat al Miraj, as one of the most significant events in the Islamic calendar
Islamic calendar
The Hijri calendar , also known as the Muslim calendar or Islamic calendar , is a lunar calendar consisting of 12 lunar months in a year of 354 or 355 days. It is used to date events in many Muslim countries , and used by Muslims everywhere to determine the proper day on which to celebrate Islamic...

.

Religious belief



The Isra begins with Muhammad praying in the Kaaba
Kaaba
The Kaaba is a cuboid-shaped building in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, and is the most sacred site in Islam. The Qur'an states that the Kaaba was constructed by Abraham, or Ibraheem, in Arabic, and his son Ishmael, or Ismaeel, as said in Arabic, after he had settled in Arabia. The building has a mosque...

 in Mecca
Mecca
Mecca is a city in the Hijaz and the capital of Makkah province in Saudi Arabia. The city is located inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of above sea level...

, when the archangel
Archangel
An archangel is an angel of high rank. Archangels are found in a number of religious traditions, including Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Michael and Gabriel are recognized as archangels in Judaism and by most Christians. Michael is the only archangel specifically named in the Protestant Bible...

 Jibral
Holy Spirit (Islam)
The Holy Spirit in Islam is mentioned several times in the Quran, and is interpreted by many muslims as referring to the angel Gabriel.-The Holy Spirit, al-Ruh al-Quds, in the Quran:...

 (Gabriel
Gabriel
In Abrahamic religions, Gabriel is an Archangel who typically serves as a messenger to humans from God.He first appears in the Book of Daniel, delivering explanations of Daniel's visions. In the Gospel of Luke Gabriel foretells the births of both John the Baptist and of Jesus...

) comes to him, and brings him the steed Buraq, the traditional heavenly steed of the prophets. Buraq carries Muhammad to the Masjid Al Aqsa
Al-Aqsa Mosque
Al-Aqsa Mosque also known as al-Aqsa, is the third holiest site in Sunni Islam and is located in the Old City of Jerusalem...

the "Farthest Mosque", which some Muslims believe is the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. Muhammad alights, tethers Buraq to the Western Wall
Western Wall
The Western Wall, Wailing Wall or Kotel is located in the Old City of Jerusalem at the foot of the western side of the Temple Mount...

 and leads other prophet
Prophet
In religion, a prophet, from the Greek word προφήτης profitis meaning "foreteller", is an individual who is claimed to have been contacted by the supernatural or the divine, and serves as an intermediary with humanity, delivering this newfound knowledge from the supernatural entity to other people...

s including Adem
Islamic view of Adam
Adam is one of the most important figures in the history of the Islamic faith, as he is believed by most Muslims to have been the first human being and the first prophet. Adam's role as the father of the human race is looked upon by Muslims with reverence, who also venerate his wife, Eve, as the...

 (Adam
Adam
Adam is a figure in the Book of Genesis. According to the creation myth of Abrahamic religions, he is the first human. In the Genesis creation narratives, he was created by Yahweh-Elohim , and the first woman, Eve was formed from his rib...

), Musa
Islamic view of Moses
Musa , known as Moses in the Old Testament, is considered an Islamic prophet, messenger, lawgiver and leader in Islam. Moses is mentioned more in the Quran than any other individual, and his life is narrated and recounted more than that any other prophet...

 (Moses
Moses
Moses was, according to the Hebrew Bible and Qur'an, a religious leader, lawgiver and prophet, to whom the authorship of the Torah is traditionally attributed...

), and `Īsā (Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

) in prayer. In the second part of the journey, the Mi'raj (an Arabic word that literally means “ladder”), Buraq takes him to the heavens, where he tours the circles of heaven
Jannah
Jannah , is the Islamic conception of paradise. The Arabic word Jannah is a shortened version meaning simply "Garden". According to Islamic eschatology, after death, one will reside in the grave until the appointed resurrection on . Muslims believe that the treatment of the individual in the life...

, and speaks with the earlier prophets such as Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. He is then taken to Sidrat AlMuntaha- a holy tree in the seventh heaven angel Gabriel is not allowed to pass.God then corresponds to the Prophet by means of Angel Gabriel . According to Islamic tradition, God instructs Muhammad that Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

s must pray fifty times per day; however, Moses tells Muhammad that it is very difficult for the people and urges Muhammad to ask for a reduction, until finally it is reduced to five times per day.

Masjid al-Aqsa, the farthest mosque


The place referred to in the Qu'ran as "the farthest mosque" , from Al-Isra, has been historically considered as referring to the site of the modern-day Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. This interpretation was advanced even by the earliest biographer of Muhammad—Ibn Ishaq
Ibn Ishaq
Muḥammad ibn Isḥaq ibn Yasār ibn Khiyār was an Arab Muslim historian and hagiographer...

—and is supported by numerous aḥādīth. The term used for mosque, "masjid", literally means "place of prostration", and includes monotheistic
Monotheism
Monotheism is the belief in the existence of one and only one god. Monotheism is characteristic of the Baha'i Faith, Christianity, Druzism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Samaritanism, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism.While they profess the existence of only one deity, monotheistic religions may still...

 places of worship but does not exclusively lend itself to physical structures but a location, as the prophet Muhammad stated 'the earth has been made a masjid for me and my followers...' (bukhari volume 1, Book 7, Number 331). When Caliph
Caliph
The Caliph is the head of state in a Caliphate, and the title for the ruler of the Islamic Ummah, an Islamic community ruled by the Shari'ah. It is a transcribed version of the Arabic word   which means "successor" or "representative"...

 Umar
Umar
`Umar ibn al-Khattāb c. 2 November , was a leading companion and adviser to the Islamic prophet Muhammad who later became the second Muslim Caliph after Muhammad's death....

 conquered Jerusalem after Muhammad's death, a prayer house was built on the site. The structure was expanded by the Ummayad caliph Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan and finished by his son al-Walid in 705 CE. The building was repeatedly destroyed by earthquakes and rebuilt, until the reconstruction in 1033 by the Fatimid caliph Ali az-Zahir
Ali az-Zahir
ʻAlī az-Zāhir was the Seventh Caliph of the Fātimids . Az-Zāhir assumed the Caliphate after the disappearance of his father Tāriqu l-Ḥakīm bi Amr al-Lāh...

, and that version of the structure is what can be seen in the present day.

Many Western historians, such as Heribert Busse and Neal Robinson, agree that Jerusalem is the originally intended interpretation of the Qu'ran. Muslims used to pray towards Jerusalem, but Muhammad changed this direction, the Qibla
Qibla
The Qiblah , also transliterated as Qibla, Kiblah or Kibla, is the direction that should be faced when a Muslim prays during salah...

, to instead direct Muslims to face towards the Kaaba in Mecca on the basis of having received divine intervention.


Modern observance


The Lailat al Miraj , also known as Shab-e-Miraj in Iran, Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 and Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

, and Miraç Kandili in Turkish
Turkish language
Turkish is a language spoken as a native language by over 83 million people worldwide, making it the most commonly spoken of the Turkic languages. Its speakers are located predominantly in Turkey and Northern Cyprus with smaller groups in Iraq, Greece, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo,...

, is the Muslim festival
Muslim holidays
There are two main holidays in Islam, Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha. The way that holidays are recognized can vary across cultures, as well as across sects of Islam, Sunni and Shia. Muslim holidays generally follow the lunar calendar, and thus move each year relative to the solar calendar. The...

 celebrating the Isra and Mi'raj. Some Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

s celebrate this event by offering optional prayers during this night, and in some Muslim countries, by illuminating cities with electric lights and candles. The celebrations around this day tend to focus on children and the young. Children are gathered into a mosque and are told the story of the Isra and Mi'raj. The story focuses on how Muhammad's heart was purified by an archangel (Gabriel) who filled him with knowledge and faith in preparation to enter the seven levels of heaven. After prayer (Salah, where the children can pray with the adults if they wish) food and treats are served. Esoteric interpretations of Islam
Esoteric interpretation of the Qur'an
An esoteric interpretation of the Qur'an is an interpretation of the Qur’an which includes attribution of esoteric or mystic meanings to the text by the interpreter. In this respect, its method is different from the conventional exegesis of the Qur’an, called tafsir...

 emphasise the spiritual significance of Mi'raj, seeing it as a symbol of the soul's journey and the potential of humans to rise above the comforts of material life through prayer, piety and discipline.

The exact date of the Journey is not clear, but is celebrated as though it took place before the Hijra
Hijra (Islam)
The Hijra is the migration or journey of the Islamic prophet Muhammad and his followers from Mecca to Medina in 622 CE. Alternate spellings of this Arabic word are Hijrah, Hijrat or Hegira, the latter following the spelling rules of Latin.- Hijra of Muhammad :In September 622, warned of a plot to...

and after Muhammad's visit to the people of Ta’if
Ta’if
Ta’if is a city in the Mecca Province of Saudi Arabia at an elevation of on the slopes of the Sarawat Mountains . It has a population of 521,273 . Each summer the Saudi Government moves from the heat of Riyadh to Ta'if...

. It is considered by some to have happened just over a year before the Hijra, on the 27th of Rajab
Rajab
Rajab is the seventh month of the Islamic calendar. The lexical definition of Rajaba is "to respect", of which Rajab is a derivative.This month is regarded as one of the four sacred months in Islam in which battles are prohibited...

; but this date is not always recognized. This date would correspond to the Julian date
Julian calendar
The Julian calendar began in 45 BC as a reform of the Roman calendar by Julius Caesar. It was chosen after consultation with the astronomer Sosigenes of Alexandria and was probably designed to approximate the tropical year .The Julian calendar has a regular year of 365 days divided into 12 months...

 of February 26, 621, or, if from the previous year, March 8, 620. In Shi'a Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 for example, Rajab 27 is the day of Muhammad's first calling or Mab'as.

Qur'an and hadith


The event of Isra and Mi'raj are referred to briefly in the Qur'an. For greater detail, they have been discussed in supplemental traditions to the Qur'an, known as hadith literature. Within the Qur'an itself, there are two verses in chapter 17, which has been named after the Isra, and is called "Chapter Isra" or "Sura Al-Isra". There is also some information in Sura An-Najm, which some scholars say is related to the Isra and Mi'raj.

Of the supplemental writings, hadith, two of the best known are by Anas ibn Malik
Anas ibn Malik
Anas bin Malik ibn Nadar al-Khazraji Al-Ansari was a well-known sahabi of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.He was an Ansar of the Banu Khazraj . He is not to be confused with Malik ibn Anas. Anas ibn Malik, the last of the Companions of the Prophet died at al-Basrah in 93 AH aged 103.-Muhammad's...

, who would have been a young boy at the time of Muhammad's journey.

Qur'an



Hadith



External links