Lailat-al-Miraj is a significant event in the Islamic calendar. Muslims celebrate Lailat-al-Miraj as the day when Muhammad ascended into heaven (27th day of Rajab). According to tradition, Muhammad was visited by two archangels who filled his heart with knowledge and faith. Muhammad travelled from Mecca to Jerusalem on a winged creature called Buraq. Muhammad then ascended into heaven where he was told the duty of Muslims to recite Salat (prayer) five times each day.1
Quranic basis for Lailat-al-Miraj
Part of the quranic basis for Lailat-al-Miraj is Quran 17:1,2
Lailat-al-Miraj in the hadith
The Encyclopaedia of Islam relates the following about Lailat-al-Miraj in the hadiths,
Muhammad’s heart was purified on Lailat-al-Miraj?
Striking to me is the above tradition that on Lailat-al-Miraj Muhammad’s heart was purified from doubt, idolatry, paganism, and error. This stands in sharp contrast to Jesus, who is described in the Scriptures as sinless (1 Peter 2:21-24).
Jesus’ ascension into heaven and Lailat-al-Miraj
Jesus’ ascended into heaven after He rose again from the dead glorified.
After he [Jesus] said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the sameway you have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts Chapter 1 verses 9-11)
The difference is striking: Muhammad is dead and now descended into the grave. Jesus is alive and in heaven. My Muslim friend, why follow the words of a dead prophet when you can follow the Word of the Living One?
- For the full tradition see Bukhari 5:58:227. [↩]
- According to the Encyclopaedia of the Quran,
this quranic text and others is tenuous ground for arguing that Muhammad ascended into heaven for two reasons, In the first place, the ascent is not described and the term miʿrāj is not used in the Qurʾān. Secondly, the Quran stresses that Muḥammad brings no miracle other than the divinely-wrought miracle of the Quran itself. Even so, key quranic passages are woven through the post-quranic narrative of Muḥammad’s ascent. (Michael Sells, “Ascension). [↩]
Tags: Islamic Calendar