Known as The Prophet's Ascension, here's a guide to this Islamic holiday
21 March 2019| Last updated on 1 April 2019
Isra'a Wal Miraj is an Islamic holiday that occurs annually in the UAE...
Formally known as Al Isra'a Wal Mi'raj, this major holiday celebrates the Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH) nighttime journey from the holy city of Mecca to the 'Farthest Mosque' in Jerusalem.
The UAE holiday is observed annually on the 27th day of the Islamic month of Rajab, and its name literally translates to 'Night Journey and Ascension'. In fact, Prophet Muhammad's journey occurred in a single night, hence the name's translation.
Here are some facts about the UAE public holiday that you should know:
1. The date changes each year on the Gregorian calendar
On the Islamic calendar, Isra'a Wal Mi'raj - also known as Lailat and Mi'raj, Al Isra'wal Miraj or Laylat al Miraj) falls on the 27th day of the month of Rajab. As the holiday is observed on the Hijiri calendar, the date changes every year for those following the Gregorian calendar.
Isra'a Wal Mi'raj in 2019 is expected to fall on Wednesday, 3rd April 2019.
2. The day is important for two reasons
Isra'a Wal Mi'raj in the UAE is significant for two reasons; it begins with the Prophet Muhammad at the Kabba in Mecca. Here, he was visited by two archangels who provided him with a winged steed called Buraq, who then carries him to the 'Farthest Mosque'. This location is believed to be the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem by Muslims - here, the Prophet joins past prophets in prayer.
He then ascends to heaven where he is told by Allah of the duty for Muslims to pray five times daily known as Salat. This practice is still widely followed some 1,400 years later. This second part of his journey is known as the Miraj, which means 'ladder' in Arabic.
3. Special prayers are offered
To mark the occasion, Muslims offer special prayers all night in specially decorated mosques, and in their homes, for seeking the blessings of Allah.
4. It's a public holiday in UAE
Previously, the UAE announced a one-day holiday for both public and private sectors workers in the country to observe this holy Islamic holiday. However, since a change approved by the UAE Cabinet, both private and public sector holidays have been consolidated - and the new list of UAE public holidays excludes a day off for Isra'a Wal Mi'raj and Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH) birthday later in the year.
During this religious UAE public holiday, hotels and restaurants refrain from serving alcohol for 24 hours.
- israa wal miraj