Miracles do occur, and those who deny the existence of God are obviously ignorant of the life of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Islamic history bears the greatest testimony to these miracles. One of the greatest miracles of his time was Lailat al Miraj, the night when Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) ascended to the heavens. It was a journey that was both spiritual and physical. The journey of Lailat al Miraj (Isra & Miraj) is a symbol of the Prophet’s (PBUH) significance and magnificence in Allah’s (SWT) sight.
Isra & Miraj: The Night Journey of Prophet Muhammad (SAW)
The name “Isra and Miraj” also refers to this night of miracle, signifying two phases of the journey. The term Isra, which translates to “walking in the night,” refers to the first phase of the Prophet’s (PBUH) journey from Mecca to Jerusalem.
Angel Jibrael paid a visit to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and took him to Masjid-al-Aqsa in Jerusalem on “Buraq,” the prophets’ steed. Allah (SWT) confirms the truth of that journey in the Quran as well:
“Glory be to Him Who took His devotee (Muhammad) one night from Masjid-al-Haram (in Makkah) to Masjid-al-Aqsa (in Jerusalem), whose vicinity We have blessed, so that We may show him some of Our signs: surely He is the One Who is the Hearer, the Observer. (Quran 17:1)
The second phase of the journey is referred to as Miraj, which translates to “ladder” and refers to the ascension of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to Heaven. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was carried from Jerusalem to Paradise on his steed, “Buraq.” There, he encountered many of the prophets who had come before him, such as Adam (AS), Isa (AS), Yusuf (AS), Yahya (AS), Musa (AS), Ibrahim (AS) and Idris (AS), sent them salutation (Salaam) and received from them. He also explored all seven levels of paradise.
Meeting with the Prophets on different levels of Jannah
He first met Adam A.S., who Ibn Ishaq describes as a tall, attractive man with long hair at the first level of Jannah. He encountered Isa A.S. (Jesus) and Yahya A.S. (John the Baptist) in the second level of Jannah; in the third level of Jannah, he met Yusuf A.S. (Joseph), who is characterized as charming as the moon. Next, in the fourth level of Jannah, the Prophet (PBUH) met Idris A.S. (Adris), and in the fifth level of Jannah, he saw Harun A.S. (Aaron), who was regarded as the most handsome man the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) seen. He encountered Musa A.S., also known as Moses, at the sixth level of Jannah. Musa A.S. is said to be unique among prophets.
Arriving at Sidra-tul-Muntaha and Meeting Allah SWT
When Jibrael A.S. arrived at Sidra-tul-Muntaha within the seventh heaven, a tree that represents the start of Allah’s (SWT) abode and the absolute end of heaven, he stopped since it was forbidden for him to enter and allowed Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to pass. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had the chance to interact and converse with the Almighty Allah in this place. The Prophet (PBUH) attained an unfathomable level of connection with Allah (SWT) on this particular night.
Allah’s commandment of Daily Prayers
Furthermore, Allah (SWT) commanded the five daily prayers on all Muslims at this very moment. Originally, there were to be fifty prayers a day; however, our Prophet (PBUH) requested that his ummah be made easier to pray for, and Allah (SWT) provided the prayers to be reduced to five times a day.
Initially, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) received revelation from Allah (SWT) instructing all Muslims to offer fifty prayers a day. While the Prophet (PBUH) was on his way back, Musa (AS) informed him that fifty prayers were too many, so the Prophet (PBUH) requested Allah (SWT) in order to lower the number of prayers. After Allah (SWT) reduced the required number of prayers to 45, Musa (AS) continued to believe that they were excessive for the Ummah. As a result, at the Prophet’s (PBUH) request, Allah (SWT) ultimately lowered the number of prayers to five.
In another section of the Quran, Allah (SWT) also mentions a few verses on the journey:
“While on the highest point above the horizon, then he approached ˹the Prophet˺, coming so close, that he was only two arms-lengths away or even less. Then Allah revealed to His servant what He revealed ˹through Gabriel˺. The ˹Prophet’s˺ heart did not doubt what he saw. How can you ˹O pagans˺ then dispute with him regarding what he saw? And he certainly saw that ˹angel descend˺ a second time, at the Lotte Tree of the most extreme limit ˹in the seventh heaven near which is the Garden of ˹Eternal˺ Residence. while the Lotte Tree was overwhelmed with ˹heavenly˺ splendors! The ˹Prophet’s˺ sight never wandered, nor did it overreach. He certainly saw some of his Lord’s greatest signs. (Quran 53:7-18)
The Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) exceptional journey to the heavens served only to demonstrate the elevated status of the Prophet (PBUH) in the Islamic world and to attest to the essential place that he held in the sight of Allah (SWT) and His creation.
When did Lailat al Miraj happen?
Since there isn’t a clear indication of this journey’s specific date in any Sahih hadith, it remains unknown. It is believed to have happened around the 27th of Rajab, the 7th Islamic month, which is near to the Prophet’s visit to Taif and the Hijra season. However, Islamic scholars do not officially recognize this date.
What is Lailat al Miraj?
Lailat-Al-Miraj is an Islamic holiday commemorating the events of Isra and Miraj, and it is observed on the 27th of Rajab. It is also referred to as Shab-e-Miraj and Mehraj-Ul-Alam. The significance of Lailat-Al-Miraj lies in its historical recognition as the day when Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) passed through all seven heavenly levels. It is thought that on this day, an angel appeared to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), causing his chest to be opened and cleansed with Zamzam water. Later, wisdom and belief flooded his heart. The many Muslim countries observe the day in different ways. Since it’s unknown exactly when this day falls, most Muslims don’t fast on it. Following Salah (the Muslim prayer period), food and sweets are provided.
Should we Celebrate Lailat al Miraj/ Isra & Miraj?
Even if the date were confirmed of Lailat al Miraj, Muslims would not be allowed to celebrate it or set aside this night for specific acts of worship because the Prophet Muhammad (may the mercy and blessings of Allah be upon him) and the companions of him (may Allah be pleased with them) did not observe it or give it any special attention.
Had it been mandatory for Muslims to celebrate this night, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) would have communicated this to his Ummah in words or deeds. Had anything like that occurred, it would have been widely reported, and his companions would have passed along the details to us.
The companions told everything that their Ummah needed to know about the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), and they did not ignore any part of the religion—on the contrary, they were the first to act morally. They would have been the first in Islam to celebrate this night if it had been required.
The most sincere person ever, Prophet Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), delivered the message to the people in its entirety, and he kept his word. If the religion of Allah included venerating and celebrating this night, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) would have done so and would not have kept it a secret.
It is well known that celebrating Lailat al Miraj/ Isra and Miraj has nothing to do with Islam because there was no such celebration of Lailat al Miraj/ Isra and Miraj at the time of Prophet (SAW), nor did the companions and caliphs celebrated it. Celebrating Lailat al Miraj or Day of Isra and Miraj or 27th of Rajab is Bidah, an innovation in religion. Allah has fulfilled His favor upon the Ummah and perfected their religion for it; He also punishes those who add elements to the religion that He has not ordained. Allah states (interpretation of the meaning) in Surah Al-Ma’idah of His holy book:
“This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” [Quran 5:3]
Spiritual Experience of Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH)
The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had a deep spiritual experience through Isra and Mi’raj. The night journey (Isra) and the ascent (Mi’raj) are its two main components.
The Prophet’s (SAW) actual journey from Mecca to Jerusalem was marked by the Isra, underscoring his special status as Allah’s chosen messenger.
The Mi’raj represents the Prophet’s ascent through the heavens, where he encountered other prophets (PBUT) before finally standing in Allah’s presence.
The Prophet’s (SAW) mission was reaffirmed by this spiritual journey, which highlighted the importance of his function as a mediator between the divine and humanity.
Teachings & Lessons
Muslims can learn some valuable lessons from Isra and Mi’raj:
Faith and Belief: Because the journey includes supernatural components, these occurrences highlight the significance of having unshakeable faith and belief in the unseen.
Spiritual Progress: Through dedication and worship, they represent the possibility of personal development and a closer relationship with Allah.
Prophetic Mission: Isra and Mi’raj emphasize the prophet Muhammad’s (SAW) role as the last messenger and his special relationship with Allah.
Prayer and Worship: For Muslims, the night serves as a reminder of the importance of prayer and worship.
Isra wal Miraj Hadiths
Malik ibn Sa’sa’ah reported: Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, told them about his Night Journey, saying, “We ascended until we reached the second heaven where Gabriel asked for the gate to be opened, but it was said: Who is it? Gabriel said: I am Gabriel. It was said: Who is with you? Gabriel said: It is Muhammad. It was said: Has he been called? Gabriel said yes. When we reached beyond the second heaven, I saw John and Jesus who are cousins. Gabriel said: These are John and Jesus, so greet them with peace. I greeted them with peace and they returned my greeting, saying: Welcome, O righteous brother and prophet.”
Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 3247, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 164
Anas ibn Malik reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said, “I passed by Moses during my night journey near the red mound; he was praying in his grave.”
Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2375
Abu Huraira reported: On the night of the Ascension, Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, was presented with two vessels, one full of wine and the other full of milk. The Prophet looked at them both and he chose the vessel full of milk. The Angel Gabriel, upon him be peace, said, “All praise is due to Allah who has guided you to that which is natural, for had you selected the wine your nation would have been led astray.”
Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 4432, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 168
Ibn Mas’ud reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said, “I met Abraham on the night of my Ascension and he said: O Muhammad, greet your nation with peace from me. Tell them Paradise has pure soil and delicious water, that it is a level plain and its plants grow with declarations of the glory of Allah, the praise of Allah, the oneness of Allah, and the greatness of Allah.”
Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 3462
Anas ibn Malik reported: Fifty prayers were obligated upon the Prophet, peace be upon him, when he was taken on his night journey. Then, it was reduced until it was set at five and an announcement was made, “O Muhammad, My word is never changed, so these five prayers will be counted as fifty.”
Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 213
Layla-tul-Miraj provides proof to the boundless splendor and might of Allah (SWT) as well as His relationship with His creation. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was sent by Allah (SWT) as a gift to His creation, a role model, and a beacon of hope for all people. Miraj Night shows itself to be a test of human faith and exhorts people to have trust in the veracity of all that Allah (SWT) has to offer and all that He is able to accomplish.
Every Muslim in the world recognizes Lailat al Miraj as a time of immense significance when the ascension of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is commemorated and its ultimate goal is remembered. It is thought to be one of the most notable of the Almighty’s greatest miracles, bestowed upon Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
FAQs on Isra wal Miraj
What does "Isra" mean?
The word Isra, which means “Night Journey,” is an oblique Quranic name for girls. It alludes to the Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) fast journey from the Great Mosque in Mecca to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem in Islamic history.
What does "Miraj" mean?
The word Miraj, which means “ladder,” is Arabic in origin. Its theological significance stems from the Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) and the angel Jibreel’s holy pilgrimage to the seven levels of heaven.
What is Shab-e-Miraj?
Similar to Mehraj-Ul-Alam, Lailat-Al-Miraj is also known by the name Shab-e-Miraj. Every year on the 27th of Rajab in the Islamic calendar, Muslims celebrate this festival. The day that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) passed through each of the seven heavenly levels and arrived at Sidrat Al Muntaha is significant. however, the celebration of Lailat al Miraj is bidah.
Where did the Night Journey of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) start from?
The holiest city in Islam, Mecca, is where the Night Journey of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) of Isra began.
When did Isra and Miraj happen?
While the precise date of Isra Miraj remains uncertain, many Islamic scholars agree that it falls on the 27th day of Rajab. however it is not clear.
How are Isra and Miraj different from one other?
The journey that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) made from the Al Haram Mosque in Mecca to the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem is known as Isra. On the other hand, Miraj is the Prophet’s ascent from Jerusalem to the heavens.
How long was the journey of Isra and Miraj?
Since the journey’s miraculous character is more highlighted than its duration, the actual time period it lasted is unknown. It all happened in a night, before the break of the dawn.
Does the story of Isra and Miraj include any teachings or lessons for Muslims?
Yes, the story teaches and emphasizes the value of faith and belief, the prophet’s mission, and the spiritual growth that everyone of us is capable of. It also emphasizes the significance of prayers.