Isra Me'raj

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The Islamic Calendar
Muslim Holidays
• Islam

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Isra Mer'aj is a very special night in the Muslim faith. The official name of the holiday is Laylat Al-Isra wa Al-Miraj, which means "the night journey and ascension." It is celebrated on the 27th day of Rajab, the seventh month of the Islamic Calendar. (In 2021, this holiday falls on March 11 on Western calendars.)

On this night, Muhammad went from Mecca to Jerusalem, ascended into the Seven Heavens, and returned, all in the same night. During his time in the Seven Heavens, Muhammad was instructed to establish the five daily prayers that Muslims use now. He also met other religious figures, including Abraham, Moses, Aaron, Adam, the archangel Gabriel, and Jesus.

Muhammad is believed to have ascended into the Seven Heavens from a rock, which is now the focal point of the Dome of the Rock, a sacred building in Jerusalem.

Unlike other holidays, Isra Mer-aj is not celebrated by all Muslims. No special prayers are associated with this holiday. But the ones who do celebrate get together in mosques or at one another's homes and listen to the story of Muhammad's journey. Food, especially sweets, is shared in honor of the night.

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David White