Night Journey

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noun Islam.
the journey in which Muhammad was carried from Mecca to Jerusalem and ascended into heaven.
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Compare Israʾ, Miʿraj.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What is the Night Journey?

In Islam, the Night Journey is the miraculous journey in which the Prophet Muhammad was carried from Mecca to Jerusalem and ascended into heaven. The journey is also known by its Arabic name, Israʾ.

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.

Where does the Night Journey come from?

The name Night Journey is a translation of the Arabic word isrāʾ. 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 the Night Journey?

How is the Night Journey discussed in real life?

The Prophet Muhammad’s Night Journey and his ascension are referred to as Israʾ and Miʿraj. Muslims commemorate these events each year.


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True or False?

The term Night Journey is a translation of the Arabic word isrāʾ.

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