Lailat al Meraj or Shab-e-Meraj – A Muslim Prayer night

Dr. Mike Ghouse   April 7, 2017   Comments Off on Lailat al Meraj or Shab-e-Meraj – A Muslim Prayer night

Note: Compiled from different sources

Lailat al Miraj in 2017 is on Sunday, the 23rd of April, it is also called Shab-e-Meraj.  Lailat is Arabic and Shab is Persian, Urdu and Hindi version of the phrase.

Isra and Mi’raj  (Isra Me’raj, Israa and Mi’raaj, Laylat Al-Isra wa Al-Miraj, Lailat al Miraj, Night Journey and Ascension to Heaven)  marks the night that Prophet Mohammad traveled from Mecca to Jerusalem, ascended to heaven and returned.

It is important to mention that this journey is interpreted in two different ways.  It is a spiritual journey to some, and a physical journey to the others, it is a matter of faith and how you came to believe.  Fortunately, Pluralistic practices have existed in Islam, even though one believed one way or the other, he or she rarely denigrated the other.   Most Muslims have a pluralistic attitude towards each belief, i.e, accepting the other without calling it wrong.

Personally, I believe it was a spiritual journey and have no problem if others believe it was a physical journey – the bottom line is what did prophet do with the journey? Among the guidance to live, he brought in 5 prayers a day, fasting, Zakath and other pillars of Islam.

Please note that in a Muslim calendar, a holiday begins on the sunset of the previous day, so observing Muslims will celebrate Lailat al Miraj on the sunset of Saturday, the 22nd of April.

Although Meraj is always on the same day of the Islamic calendar, the date on the Gregorian calendar varies from year to year, since the Gregorian calendar is a solar calendar and the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar. This difference means Lailat al Miraj moves in the Gregorian calendar approximately 11 days every year. The date of Lailat al Miraj may also vary from country to country depending on whether the moon has been sighted or not.

Many Muslims in the United States observe Isra and Mi’raj (Al Isra’ wal Miraj, Lailat al Mi’raj, or Laylat al Miraj). This event commemorates the Prophet Muhammad’s journey from Mecca to Jerusalem and his ascent into heaven. It is observed on the 27th day of Rajab, the seventh month in the Islamic calendar.

Jerusalem
The Prophet Mohammad (also written as Muhammad) traveled from Mecca to Jerusalem, pictured above.
©iStockphoto.com/Claudia Dewald

Customs and traditions that center on Isra and Mi’raj vary in the United States. Many Muslims make special prayers in the evening. Some people attend prayer services and sermons at Islamic centers or mosques while others observe Isra and Mi’raj quietly at home. Some Muslims celebrate the event over two days.

This event gives people the chance to reflect on the importance of prayer. It is a time for people, particularly students, to learn more about Isra and Mi’raj, what it means in Islamic faith, and how it is applied in practice.

Isra and Mi’raj is a two-fold event that commemorates the Prophet Muhammad’s journey from Mecca to Jerusalem and his ascent into heaven, according to Islamic belief. One night during the 10th year of Muhammad’s prophecy, the angel Gabriel woke him and traveled with him to Jerusalem. Muhammad prayed at the site of the Temple of Solomon with the prophets Abraham, Moses, Jesus and others.

The Prophet Muhammad then rose to heaven (carried by Gabriel) from the rock of the temple mount, where many people believe that the Dome of the Rock sanctuary now stands. Allah instructed Muhammad about the five daily prayers that all Muslims must observe. This day is also known as the Night Journey.

The Imam from Germany, Netherlands and I meeting with the Mufti of Jerusalem.

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