Next Saturday, the night between the 21st and the 22nd of March will be:
Isra’ and Miraj (Rajab 27th)
The Prophet (saw) said, “If someone keeps the fast on the 27th day of Rajab, he will be credited with the same reward as that which is earned by fasting for 60 months.” In another hadith, Prophet (saw) said, “Rajab contains a very special day and a very special night. If someone fasts during that day, and keeps vigil throughout that night, he will be entitled to a reward like the one that would be earned by a person who fasted for 100 years, and who kept vigil throughout all nights of that period (the whole hundred years).”
According to Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani (r.a.), this is the way one of the Companions, Sayyidina Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas (r.a.), used to worship on that day:
He would do iktikaf in the mosque from subuh and spend all morning in ibadah (adab, awrad, wazifa, Qur’an, Dalailul khairat etc).
After zuhur, he would pray a 4 ra’kaat Sunnat prayer. In each raka’at, he would recite Surah Fatihah once, Surah Al Falaq and An-Nas once each, Surah Al-Qadr 3 times, and Surah Ikhlas 50 times. He would then make du’a until Asr.
“This,” said the Sahabah, “is exactly what Rasulullah (s.a.w.s.) always did on this particular day.”
The Isra is the part of the journey of the Prophet Muhammad (saws) from Mecca to Jerusalem. It began when Muhammad was in the Masjid al Haram and an archangel, Gabriel, came to him, and brought Buraq, the traditional heavenly steed of the prophets. Buraq carried him to the Masjid al Aqsa, the “Farthest Mosque”, in Jerusalem. The Prophet alighted, tethered Buraq to the Temple Mount and performed prayer, where on God’s command he was tested by Jibril. It was told by Anad Ibd Malikthat Muhammad said: “Jibril brought me a vessel of wine, a vessel of water and a vessel of milk, and I chose the milk. Jibril said: ‘You have chosen the Fitrah (natural instinct).'” In the second part of the journey, the Mi’raj (an Arabic word that literally means “ladder”), Buraq took him to the heavens, where he toured the seven stages of Heavens, and spoke with the earlier prophets such as Abraham (Ibrahim), Moses (Musa), John the Baptist (Yaḥyā ibn Zakarīyā), and Jesus (Isa). Muhammad (saws) was then taken to Sidrat al Muntaha, a holy tree in the seventh heaven that Gabriel was not allowed to pass. According to Islamic tradition, God instructed Muhammad that Muslimsmust pray fifty times per day; however, Moses told Muhammad that it was very difficult for the people and urged Muhammad to ask for a reduction, until finally it was reduced to five times per day.
The Isra and Miraj ( Arab: الإسراء والمعراج, al-’Isrā’ wal-Mi‘rāj), are the two parts of a Night Journey (Arab: Lailat al-Mi‘rāj, Persian: Shab-e-Me`raj) that, according to Islamic tradition, the Prophet Muhammad (saws) took during a single night around the year 621. It has been described as both a physical and spiritual journey. A brief sketch of the story is in surah al Isra of the Qur’an, and other details come from the hadith, supplemental writings about the life of Muhammad. In the journey, Muhammad travels on the steed Buraq to “the farthest mosque” where he leads other prophets in prayer. He then ascends to Heavens where he speaks to God, who gives Muhammad instructions to take back to the faithful regarding the details of prayer.
According to traditions, the journey is associated with the Lailat al Mi’raj, as one of the most significant events in the Islamic calendar.
The whole incident of Isra is mentioned in great detail in the following hadith narrated by Malik Ibd Sa’sa’a:
The Prophet said, “While I was at the House in a state midway between sleep and wakefulness, (an angel recognized me) as the man lying between two men. A golden tray full of wisdom and belief was brought to me and my body was cut open from the throat to the lower part of the abdomen and then my abdomen was washed with Zam-zam water and (my heart was) filled with wisdom and belief.
Al Buraq a white animal, smaller than a mule and bigger than a donkey was brought to me and I set out with Jibril. When I reached the nearest heaven. Jibreel said to the heaven gatekeeper, ‘Open the gate.’ The gatekeeper asked, ‘Who is it?’ He said, ‘Jibreel.’ The gatekeeper asked,’ Who is accompanying you?’ Gabriel said, ‘Muhammad.’ The gatekeeper said, ‘Has he been called?’ Jibreel said, ‘Yes.’ Then it was said, ‘He is welcomed. What a wonderful visit his is!’ Then I met Adam and greeted him and he said, ‘You are welcomed O son and Prophet.’
Then we ascended to the second heaven. It was asked, ‘Who is it?’ Jibreel said, ‘Jibreel.’ It was said, ‘Who is with you?’ He said, ‘Muhammad’ It was asked, ‘Has he been sent for?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ It was said, ‘He is welcomed. What a wonderful visit his is!” Then I met Isa (Jesus) and Yahya (John the Baptist) who said, ‘You are welcomed, O brother and a Prophet.’
Then we ascended to the third heaven. It was asked, ‘Who is it?’ Jibreel said, ‘Jibreel.’ It was asked, ‘Who is with you? Jibreel said, ‘Muhammad.’ It was asked, ‘Has he been sent for?’ ‘Yes,’ said Jibreel. ‘He is welcomed. What a wonderful visit his is!’ (The Prophet added:). There I met Joseph and greeted him, and he replied, ‘You are welcomed, O brother and a Prophet!’
Then we ascended to the 4th heaven and again the same questions and answers were exchanged as in the previous heavens. There I met Idris and greeted him. He said, ‘You are welcomed O brother and Prophet.’
Then we ascended to the 5th heaven and again the same questions and answers were exchanged as in previous heavens. There I met and greeted Aaron who said, ‘You are welcomed O brother and a Prophet”.
Then we ascended to the 6th heaven and again the same questions and answers were exchanged as in the previous heavens. There I met and greeted Moses who said, ‘You are welcomed O brother and a Prophet.’ When I proceeded on, he started weeping and on being asked why he was weeping, he said, ‘O Lord! Followers of this youth who was sent after me will enter Paradise in greater number than my followers.’
Then we ascended to the seventh heaven and again the same questions and answers were exchanged as in the previous heavens. There I met and greeted Ibrahim who said, ‘You are welcomed O son and a Prophet.’
Then I was shown Al-Bait-al-Ma’mur (i.e. Allah’s House). I asked Jibreel about it and he said, This is Al Bait-ul-Ma’mur where 70,000 angels perform prayers daily and when they leave they never return to it (but always a fresh batch comes into it daily).’
Then I was shown Sidrat al Muntaha (i.e. a tree in the seventh heaven) and I saw its Nabk fruits which resembled the clay jugs of Hajr (i.e. a town in Arabia), and its leaves were like the ears of elephants, and four rivers originated at its root, two of them were apparent and two were hidden. I asked Jibreel about those rivers and he said, ‘The two hidden rivers are in Paradise, and the apparent ones are the Nile and the Euphrates.’
Then fifty prayers were enjoined on me. I descended till I met Moses who asked me, ‘What have you done?’ I said, ‘Fifty prayers have been enjoined on me.’ He said, ‘I know the people better than you, because I had the hardest experience to bring Bani Israel to obedience. Your followers cannot put up with such obligation. So, return to your Lord and request Him (to reduce the number of prayers).’ I returned and requested Allah (for reduction) and He made it forty. I returned and (met Moses) and had a similar discussion, and then returned again to Allah for reduction and He made it thirty, then twenty, then ten, and then I came to Moses who repeated the same advice. Ultimately Allah reduced it to five. When I came to Moses again, he said, ‘What have you done?’ I said, ‘Allah has made it five only.’ He repeated the same advice but I said that I surrendered (to Allah’s Final Order)'” Allah’s Apostle was addressed by Allah, “I have decreed My Obligation and have reduced the burden on My servants, and I shall reward a single good deed as if it were ten good deeds.—Sahih al Bukari, volume 4, Book 54, Hadith number 429
Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas: Regarding the Statement of Allah – “And We granted the vision (Ascension to the heavens) which We made you see (as an actual eye witness) was only made as a trial for the people.” (17.60) – The sights which Allah’s Apostle was shown on the Night Journey when he was taken to Bait-ulMaqdis (i.e. Jerusalem) were actual sights, (not dreams). And the Cursed Tree (mentioned) in the Quran is the tree of Zaqqum (itself).
— Sahih al Bukari, Volume 5, Book 58, Number 228
Narrated Abu Huraira: On the night Allah’s Apostle was taken on a night journey (Mi’raj) two cups, one containing wine and the other milk, were presented to him at Jerusalem. He looked at it and took the cup of milk. Jibreel said, “Praise be to Allah Who guided you to Al-Fitra (the right path); if you had taken (the cup of) wine, your nation would have gone astray.”—Sahih al Bukari, Volume 7, Book 69, Number 482
Narrated Anas bin Malik: The Prophet said: “While I was walking in Paradise (on the night of Mi’raj), I saw a river, on the two banks of which there were tents made of hollow pearls. I asked, “What is this, O Jibreel?’ He said, ‘That is the Kauthar which Your Lord has given to you.’ Behold! Its scent or its mud was sharp smelling musk!” (The sub-narrator, Hudba is in doubt as to the correct expression.)—Sahih al Bukari, Volume 8, Book 76, Number 583
It is narrated on the authority of Abdullah (b. Umar) that when the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) was taken for the Night journey, he was taken to Sidrat-ul-Muntaha, which is situated on the sixth heaven, where terminates everything that ascends from the earth and is held there, and where terminates everything that descends from above it and is held there. (It is with reference to this that) Allah said:” When that which covers covered the lote-tree” (al-Qur’an, Iiii. 16). He (the narrator) said: (It was) gold moths. He (the narrator further) said: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) was given three (things): he was given five prayers, the concluding verses of Sura al-Baqara, and remission of serious Sins for those among his Ummah who associate not anything with Allah.—Sahih Muslim, Book 1, Number 329