Ascension of the Prophet Date: June 5
Ascension of the Prophet is observed by Muslims throughout the world.
Lailat-ul-Miraj, means the night of the Ascent, the night when the Prophet Mohammad was spiritually transported to heaven. This falls on the 27th day of Rabaj in the Muslim lunar calendar.
Ascension of the Prophet History
The Ascent was not of the physical body but of a high spiritual level where the Prophet made the journey through spiritual vision. During this Ascent he was met by Adam, Abraham, Moses and Jesus and other prophets. Its is also stated that the Angel Gabriel accompanied him part of the way but said he couldn’t continue the journey with him but as the messenger of peace the Prophet must do so and continue this wonderous Ascent.
So the Prophet Mohammad continued the Ascent until he reached Moksh. Moksh is the final liberation, a state of bliss which defines the highest feeling of elation, and where he was closest to God. The five obligatory daily prayers are a result of the Ascent where god came down to give spiritual knowledge to mankind.
Lailat al Mi’raj commemorates the day of the transportation of Prophet Muhammad from Mecca to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem in a single night, riding a winged horse called Buraq. Apparently, before he undertook this nocturnal journey, he was visited in his dreams by two archangels who purified his heart and filled him with knowledge and faith required to enter heaven. From the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, the Prophet was taken up to Heaven, where he met earlier Prophets like Moses and Jesus and finally Allah Himself, who revealed to him the duty of Muslims to recite the Salat (prayer) five times every day. The story goes that Allah had originally said it was the duty of Muslims to recite the Salat fifty times every day, but since this was impossible, Moses advised Muhammad to appeal to Allah, and ultimately, the number of times the Salat must be recited was reduced to five.
Ascension of the Prophet Traditions and Activities
To commemorate the Ascent, mosques and homes are decorated with colourful pennants and streamers during the day and oil lamps, lights and candles for the night.In the evening worshippers gather in mosques and through hymns glorify the Lord (Allah) and the Prophet Mohammad. In teh larger mosques spiritual meetings are held after the Isha prayer where the Ascent is discussed. The final act is the giving of sweets where everyone partakes. Some devotees use this night to give donations, distribute food to the poor and many choose to devote the whole night in remembrance.
Unlike Eids, which are basically family celebrations, Lailat al Mi’raj is a community celebration. Muslims decorate their houses and mosques, especially with lighting during the night. In large mosques, ‘satsangs’ (meetings) are held where the story of the Prophet’s adventures is told. This is followed by prayer and the distribution of ‘prasad’ among devotees. The celebration of this day is focused on children, who are told the story of the Prophet Muhammad’s journey to heaven in mosques and can join adults in prayer afterwards if they want to. Food and treats are distributed later.
Ascension of the Prophet is also known as: