Isra Al Mi’Raj (Ascent of the Prophet Muhammad)
Isra Al Mi’Raj 2011: Thursday, June 28th
In the Islamic faith, the holiday of Isra Al Mi’Raj is celebrated on the 27th day of the Muslim month of Rajab. The holiday marks the ascension of the Prophet Muhammad to Heaven, his meeting with earlier prophets, and his revelation from Allah (the Moslem name for G-d) that Muslims must pray five times a day.
Islamic tradition teaches that on Laylat al Mi’Raj (the night of the Ascension), the Archangel Gabriel visited Muhammad in Mecca, and purified the Prophet’s heart. Muhammed was then carried by a winged creature called Buraq from Mecca to Jerusalem, and on to the Seven Heavens, before he returned to Mecca on the same night.
During his sojourn in Jerusalem, Muhammed met with previous prophets from the Abrahamic faiths (Judaism and Christianity), an event which concretized the Islamic belief that all three religions share a belief in the same G-d.
Islamic tradition teaches that Abraham, Moses and Jesus prayed together with Muhammed in the area of what is today the Al-Aqsa mosque. The rock from which Muhammed is believed to have ascended to Heaven can be seen inside the Dome of the Rock, in the Old City of Jerusalem.
Laylat al Mi’Raj is celebrated by most, although not all, Muslims. Those who commemorate the ascension do so by attending mosque and reading legends of that miraculous night. The holiday is also marked as a national observance in many Moslem countries.