Israk & Mikraj is known by many names such as the ‘The Prophet's Ascension’, ‘Ascension to Heaven’ or the ‘Night Journey’. It is a public holiday for the states of Kedah, Negeri Sembilan and Perlis that falls on 3rd of April 2019.
|3 Apr||Wednesday||Israk & Mikraj||Kedah, Negeri Sembilan & Perlis|
Based on Islamic beliefs, Israk & Mikraj marks the night of Prophet Muhammad’s journey from Mecca to Jerusalem and ascent to heaven by God. The Israk & Mikraj date is observed on the 27th day of Rajab whereby it is the seventh month according to the Islamic calendar.
Prophet Muhammad is believed by all Muslims to be the last prophet to mankind, making him an extremely important figure in Islam. Muslims believe that Prophet Muhammad was sent by God to continue with the same revelations proclaimed by earlier Jewish and Christian prophets, where he eventually disseminated the words of God first to the Arabs before spreading to all humankind.
Israk & Mikraj is a two-part journey. The first is Israk, where Prophet Muhammad was taken by the angel Gabriel, from Mecca to the "farthest" mosque that is believed to be the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on a winged-horse known as the Buraq. At the mosque, he performed a prayer before continuing the second part of the journey.
The second is Mikraj, where he ascends through the seven heavenly realms until paradise where he spoke to God. It is believed that Prophet Muhammad was shown heaven and hell in the Mikraj as well as meeting many prophets in heaven, including Jesus and Moses. He also received instructions from God regarding Islamic prayers where the original number of prayers being fifty but after Prophet Muhammad went back and forth several times to God to reduce it, the number was eventually settled at five. He returned to Mecca before the end of the night.
Until today, all Muslims are dutiful towards performing the obligatory five prayers daily. Some scholars view Prophet Muhammad’s journey as a spiritual experience while others see it as a physical occurrence.
The celebration of Israk & Mikraj varies between different Muslim communities in the world. Some spend the night listening to the story of Israk & Mikraj in a mosque or studying it at home. The commemoration of Israk & Mikraj include prayers during the night and many Muslim communities will decorate their homes with lights as well as sharing food, particularly sweets, or prepare a communal meal. In Malaysia, Israk & Mikraj is celebrated with various programmes being held such as religious lectures, prayers as well as Quran readings and recitals.