In Islamic tradition, the Night Journey, Isra and Mi'raj (Arapça: الإسراء والمعراج, al-’Isrā’ wal-Mi‘rāğ), are the two parts of a journey that the Islamic prophet Muhammad took in one night on a winged horse, around the year 621. Many Muslims consider it a physical journey while others say it happened spiritually through a metaphorical vision. Some others say that when Muhammad ascended it was a physical journey until he reached the farthest lote tree, a tree in the Seventh Heaven beyond which no angel is allowed to cross, on the other side of which is the throne and footstool of God. Also in the Seventh Heaven there is a Ka'bah of sorts for the angels. It is said since the dawn of time 70,000 angels entered and were never seen again. The angel Ka'bah is in direct conjunction with the Ka'bah on earth. The comparison from each have to the next was said to be like a ring in the desert. But some scholars consider it a dream or vision. A brief sketch of the story is in verse 1 of one of the Qur'an chapters (#17: sura Al-Isra), and other details were filled in from the supplemental writings, the aḥādīth.
The event is celebrated each year via a festival for families, the Lailat al Miraj, one of the most important events in the Islamic calendar. Muslims bring their children to the mosques, where the children are told the story, pray with the adults, and then afterward food and treats are served.
The Isra begins with Muhammad resting in the Kaaba in Mecca, when the archangel Gabriel comes to him, and brings him the winged steed Buraq.The buraq was said to be longer than a donkey but smaller than a mule it was also said that each stride of the buraq would take you to the horizon. It was the traditional lightning steed of the prophets. The Buraq then carries Muhammad to the Masjid Al Aqsa the "Farthest Mosque", which many Muslims believe is "the Noble sanctuary" (Temple Mount) in Jerusalem. Muhammad alights, tethers Buraq to the al-Buraaq Wall, and leads the other prophets of Abrahamic descent in prayer. He then re-mounts Buraq, and in the second part of the journey, the Mi'raj (an Arabic word that literally means “ladder”), he is taken to the heavens, where he tours the circles of heaven, and speaks with the earlier prophets such as Ibrāhīm (Abraham), Musa (Moses), and `Īsā (Jesus), and then is taken by Gabriel to God. According to traditions, Allah instructs Muhammad that Muslims must pray fifty times a day; however, Moses tells Muhammad that it is very difficult for them and they could never do it, and urges Muhammad to go back several times and ask for a reduction, until finally it is reduced to five times a day.
After Muhammad returned to Earth and told his story in Mecca, the unbelieving townspeople regarded it as absurd. Some go to Muhammad's companion Abu Bakr and said to him, "Look at what your companion is saying. He says he went to Jerusalem and came back in one night." Abu Bakr in replies, "If he said that, then he is truthful. I believe him concerning the news of the heavens—that an angel descends to him from the heavens. How could I not believe he went to Jerusalem and came back in a short period of time—when these are on earth?" It was for this that Abu Bakr is said to have received his famous title "As-Siddiq", The Truthful.
A Buraq is a mythological winged horse described commonly as a creature which carried the Islamic prophet Muhammad from Mecca to al-Aqsa during the Isra and Mi'raj or "Night Journey" either physically or spiritually through a metaphorical vision. An excerpt from a translation of Sahih al-Bukhari describes a buraq:
|« I was brought by the Buraq, which is an animal white and long, larger than a donkey but smaller than a mule, who would place its hoof at a distance equal to the range of vision. »</div>|
Masjid al-Aqsa, the farthest mosqueEdit
| This section needs additional citations for verification.
Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (November 2009) </td>
</tr> </table> Though at the time of the Isra and Mi'raj, there was no mosque in that location, the term "the farthest mosque" (Arapça: المسجد الأقصى, al-Masğidu 'l-’Aqṣà), from sura Al-Isra, is traditionally interpreted by Muslims as referring to the site at the Noble Sanctuary (Temple Mount) in Jerusalem. This interpretation is agreed with by even the earliest biographer of Muhammad—Ibn Ishaq—and is supported by numerous aḥādīth. The term used for mosque, "masjid", literally means "place of prostration", and includes monotheistic places of worship such as Solomon's Temple, which in verse 17:7 (in the same sura) is described as a masjid. Some Muslim scholars argue that "the farthest mosque" referred to in the Qur'an actually points to the Temple.
Many Western historians, such as Heribert Busse and Neal Robinson, agree that Jerusalem is the originally intended interpretation. However, many disagree, arguing that at the time this verse of the Qur'an was recited (around the year 621, unless one follows Wansbrough) most Muslims understood the phrase "farthest mosque" as a poetic phrase for a mosque already known to them, the mosque in Heaven, or as a metaphor. For the following reasons, they find it unlikely that this verse referred to a location in Palestine: But it is also true that initially Muslims used to pray while facing towards bait-ul-moqaddas or the Temple Mount or the Holy Land. Later on this direction, the Qibla, was changed to Mecca.
Critics also point out that at the time of Muhammad's vision, there was no mosque on the Noble Sanctuary in Jerusalem. That structure was not built until after Muhammad's death, when Muslims finally did conquer and occupy Jerusalem. At that time the Umayyads built a new mosque on the Temple Mount; naming it the Al-Aqsa Mosque or "farthest mosque". Abdul Latif Tibawi, a Palestinian historian, argues that this action "gave reality to the figurative name used in the Koran." Although, some Muslim scholars counter that argument, stating that since Muslims believe in all the prior prophets including Solomon, they consider Solomon's Temple a sacred place. Thus they call it a mosque. A further understanding of the religion, which puts Islam as the final religion that supersedes all other Abrahamic religions (which Muslims believe in) shows why such a theory is feasible.
Critics also state that there were already two places that Muslim tradition of that time period called "the farthest mosque"; one was the mosque in Medina, and the other was the mosque in the town of Jirana, which Muhammed is said to have visited in 630.
Another point levied against the claim that the farthest mosque was in Jerusalem is the fact that the passage in the Qur'an states that the journey had but one leg, not two.
However, as is always the case with polemics and criticisms, counterpoints of interpretation have been offered in that the verse can also be read as merely stating that the journey was from the point of origin to the farthest mosque so that Muhammad "might be shown Our Signs". Thereby not purporting to present a travel itinerary, rather as a verse describing a part of the journey and then moving ahead to describe the signs in question. Further indications to support this view can be found in a continued reading of the entire verse, wherein the Isra is used merely as an introduction or sign while the rest of the verse goes on to describe commandments and God's expectations from man, as well as citing examples of Moses, Nūḥ (Noah) and Adem (Adam) as more Signs. The actual details as left for Isra and Miraj exist primarily in numerous aḥādīth that chronicle Muhammad's descriptions of his experiences that night- the actual descriptions of the Signs referenced in the first extract of the verse.
Further argumentation against Medina's mosque being the mosque in question here is that Medina's mosque was built and officially recognized after Muhammad's Hijra in 622 AD, whereas Isra is to have occurred 10 years prior in 612 AD, when the qibla of the Muslims was still Jerusalem. Consequently even when this verse was "revealed" in 621 AD, Medina or Jirat would not be viable candidates for the farthest mosque as described in the aḥādīth, while the verse of the Quran is not citing specifics rather citing the journey to the farthest mosque merely as an allusive reference to one example of the more central theme of "Our Signs".
This celebrated event in Islam is considered to have taken place before the Hijra and after Muhammad's visit to the people of Ta’if. It is considered by some to have happened just over a year before the Hijra, on the 27th of Rajab; but this date is not always recognized. In Shi'a Iran for example, Rajab 27 is the day of Muhammad's first calling or Mab'as.
The Lailat al Miraj (Arapça: لیلة المعراج, Lailätu 'l-Mi‘rāğ), also known as Shab-e-Miraj (Persian: شب معراج, Šab-e Mi'râj) in Iran, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, and Miraç Kandili in Turkish, is the Muslim festival celebrating the Isra and Mi'raj. Muslims celebrate this event by offering optional prayers during this night, and in many 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 usually focuses on how Muhammad's heart was purified by an archangel (Gabriel) and filled him with knowledge and faith in preparation to enter the seven levels of heaven. After prayer (Salat, where the children can pray with the adults if they wish) food and treats are served. Esoteric interpretations of Islam 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.
Qur'an and hadithEdit
There is very little in the Qur'an about the event, though the Isra and Mi'raj have been discussed in detail 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 say is related to the Isra and Mi'raj.
Of the supplemental writings, hadith, two of the best known are by Anas ibn Malik, who would have been a young boy at the time of Muhammad's journey.
The following hadith, which have all been authenticated by Muslims, also clarify that Masjid al-Aqsa (the farthest mosque) is indeed located in Jerusalem:
ar:إسراء ومعراج bs:Isra i miradž da:Isra og miraj es:Miraj fa:معراج fr:Isra et Miraj id:Isra dan Mi'raj it:Isra' e Mi'raj he:המסע הלילי של מוחמד ms:Isra dan Mi'raj nl:Nachtreis pl:Miradż ru:Мирадж simple:Isra and Mi'raj sv:Isra och Miraj te:ఇస్రా మరియు మేరాజ్ tr:Mirac ur:معراج zh:夜行登霄