In the midst of this adversity, the Prophet Muhammad had a comforting experience, which is now known as Isra’ and Mi’raj (the Night Visit and Ascension). During the month of Rajab, the Prophet Muhammad made a night -time trip to the city of Jerusalem (isra’), visited the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and from there was raised up into heaven (mi’raj). While there, he came face-to-face with previous prophets and received instructions about the number of prayers the Muslim community should observe each day. Muhammad and his followers perceived this as a miraculous journey, and it gave them strength and hope that God was with them despite recent setbacks.
Non-Muslims, and even some Muslims, debate over whether this event was an actual physical journey, or merely a vision. The majority view among Muslim scholars is that Muhammad truly traveled in body and soul, as a miracle from God.
The Isra’ and Mi’raj is not universally observed by Muslims. Some individuals or communities conduct special lectures or reading about the story and the lessons to be learned from it. Muslims use the time to remember:
- the importance of Jerusalem in Islam;
- the schedule and value of daily prayer;
- the relationship among all of God’s prophets;
- and how to be patient in the midst of adversity.