Lailat al Miraj

I am not usually clued in to this holiday, or more literally holy day, in the Muslim calendar, but for some reason this year I noticed it when it popped up on my phone. Al Isra and al Miraj are the Night Journey and the Ascent, the occasion of Muhammad’s miraculous journey to Jerusalem, and then ascent to heaven.

It seems fortuitous to me that it comes so close to Transfiguration this year. We might think the Miraj, which means ascent, would be analogous to the holiday of Ascension in the Christian calendar. But from the perspective of what the event means in the life of the central religious figure, and what it signifies for the faithful, the Miraj really does seem to be much more closely related to the Transfiguration – a miraculous and beautiful event that confirms this person’s cosmic identity, for him as well as others.

Yaqeen Institute has a brief account of the Night Journey in the context of other miracles attributed to the Prophet, and the role of the performance of miracles in the Prophet’s career. AboutIslam has a folder of resources on the Night Journey. There is a full, pious, and illuminating account of the Isra and Miraj with helpful subtitles here.

red line embellished

Image: “Mir Haydar – Mira’j nameh,” Michel Bakni, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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