[ iz-ruh ]
/ ˈɪz rə /
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noun Islam.
Muhammad's Night Journey from the Kaʿba at Mecca to Jerusalem.
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Origin of Israʾ

From the Arabic word isrāʾ night journey
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What is Israʾ?

Israʾ is the Arabic name for the Night Journey—in Islam, the miraculous journey in which the Prophet Muhammad was carried from Mecca to Jerusalem and ascended into heaven.

The term for the ascension is Miʿraj, and the events are often referred to together as Israʾ and Miʿraj. The names are also used to refer to the annual commemoration of these events by Muslims.

The Night Journey is said to have begun at the site now known as the Kaaba, a cube-shaped building in Mecca that is considered Islam’s holiest site. The shrine built at what’s believed to be the site of the Prophet Muhammad’s ascension is known as the Dome of the Rock.

When is Israʾ?

Israʾ and Miʿraj are both observed on the 27th day of Rajab, the seventh month of the Islamic calendar. Because the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, the corresponding Gregorian calendar dates change each year. In 2022, Israʾ and Miʿraj will be observed on March 1 (starting at sundown on February 28). In 2023, Israʾ and Miʿraj will be observed on February 18 (starting at sundown on February 17).

More information and context on Israʾ

The name Israʾ comes from the Arabic word isrāʾ, meaning “night journey.” In Muslim belief, the miraculous journey—which would have taken months at the time—took place over a single night.

The journey came after a period of hardship and sorrow for the Prophet Muhammad, including the deaths of his wife and uncle. The journey is therefore considered a merciful gift from Allah.

The Prophet Muhammad is said to have traveled alongside the angel Jibril (Gabriel), who commanded him to stop and pray along the way at three sites now holy to Muslims, including Medina, Mount Sinai, and Bethlehem. According to Islamic tradition, Muhammad was transported by a winged creature known as Buraq.

Upon reaching the end of the journey at what is now the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, the Prophet Muhammad led other Prophets in prayer before ascending into heaven and receiving a decree from Allah to establish daily prayers. Upon his return, he instructed Muslims how to pray five times a day.

What are some terms that often get used in discussing Israʾ?

How is Israʾ discussed in real life?

The term Israʾ is commonly used in Israʾ and Miʿraj to refer to the Prophet Muhammad’s Night Journey and his ascension, which Muslims commemorate each year.


Try using Israʾ!

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Israʾ is observed during the Islamic calendar month of Rajab.

How to use Israʾ in a sentence