DUBAI — As Muslims across the globe gear up to observe the Islamic festival of Isra Wal Mi’raj on Monday night, Isra and Mi’raj, the physical and spiritual journey undertaken by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), that is part of the event, was commemorated by the Department of Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities in Dubai (DIACA) at the Shaikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum Mosque in the Zaabel 1 area on Friday night, after the Maghrib prayer.
Dr Mohammed Ahmed Al Qurashi, Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Scholars’ Council, said the commemoration was a good instance to learn lessons from the holy journey and renew commitment and dedication to the teachings of Islam.
“The Isra and Mi’raj holy journey is inspiring,” he said. “We need to think about every step of it and mull over ‘The Prayers’— the gift bestowed on the Holy Prophet and the Muslim nation.”
The programme started with a recitation of verses from the Holy Quran that referred to the holy journey.
Dr Qurashi, who is also head of the DIACA publications committee, said of the over 120,000 prophets and holy messengers, only 25 were mentioned by name in the Holy Quran.
Of them, those with the most firm will to deliver the message of Almighty Allah were only five. Of these five, the greatest was Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), who was granted the miraculous journey during which he talked directly to God “far above the seven heavens”.
Mohammed Yusuf, Imam of the Diyar Mosque, said that in 621 AD, the Holy Prophet embarked on a miraculous journey, travelling beyond the heavens with angel Jibreel in one night.
“In the first part of the nocturnal journey, the Isra, he (Prophet Muhammad) said he travelled from Makkah to the Aqsa Masjid in Jerusalem. Then he toured the seven heavens and hell during the Mi’raj, and talked to earlier prophets, such as Ibrahim, Musa, and Isa (peace be upon them).”
Shaikh Tariq M, Imam of Al Rahman Mosque, said the Isra and Mi’raj are a two-part night journey described as both physical and spiritual: “Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) travelled on the steed Buraq from the holy mosque in Makkah to the holy mosque in Jerusalem, where he led other prophets in prayer. He then ascended to heaven where he spoke to Almighty Allah, who gave him prayer instructions to take back to the faithful.
“The journey is one of the most significant events in the Islamic calendar.”
Through the sacred journey, the Holy Prophet was acquainted with events from the past, present and future. It was this night when Allah instructed that every Muslim should pray five times a day.
The Prophet returned the same night to Makkah from the journey, which is why it’s called a miracle.
On this occasion, scholars highlight the significance of the night, especially through congregations at mosques. Prayers are offered all through the night.
Specially prepared sweets and food are distributed among neighbours and relatives while mosques and houses are illuminated with oil lamps and candles.
Islamic researcher Dr Shaikh Mohammed Ashmawy said that very year, known as the ‘Year of Sadness’ in Islamic history, the Muslim community was constantly harassed and tortured.
“Also in that year, the Prophet’s beloved wife Khadija and uncle Abu Talib died. Later, the Prophet visited the nearby city of Taif… but was mocked and forced out of the city… Amidst this calamity, Allah Almighty granted the Prophet this miraculous journey.”
A circular issued in the name of Humaid Mohammed Obaid Al Qattami, Minister of Education and Board Chairman of the Federal Authority for Government Human Resources, said public and private-sector institutions will have a paid holiday on Sunday instead of Monday to mark the Isra and Mi’raj.
Though Isra Wal Mi’raj will be celebrated on Monday night, the public holiday has been given in advance so that people can enjoy a long weekend.
Many families said they were eagerly waiting for this scared night.
Ifra Warsi, a Pakistani housewife in Sharjah, said she keeps an optional fast on the day. In the evening, she cooks halwa, a sweet made from wheat flour, and other food for the feast.
“Later, I spend the evening offering prayers for Allah’s forgiveness, blessings and eternal peace of departed souls.”
In Abu Dhabi, the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments has scheduled several events to celebrate the sacred event. — WAM