The Israa and Miraj refer to, two parts of an miraculous journey that Prophet Muhammad took in one night from Makka to Jerusalem and then an ascension to the heavens.
Israa is an Arabic word referring to Prophet Muhammad's miraculous night journey from Makka to Jerusalem - specifically, to the site of al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem - as referred to in Surah Al-Israa in the Quran.
It is believed to have been followed by the Mi'raj, his ascension to heaven. According to some of the Hadith scholars this journey is believed to have taken place just over a year before Prophet Muhammad migrated to from Makka to Madina, on the 27th of Rajab.
Muslims celebrate this night by offering optional prayers during this night..
Bra ah night
The Night of bara’ah:
Another peculiar feature of the month of Sha’ban is that it contains of a night, which is termed in Shari’ah as “Laylatul-bara’ah” (The night of freedom from Fire). This is the night occurring between 14th and 15th day of Sha’ban. There are certain Traditions of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) to prove that it is a meritorious night in which the people of the earth are attended by special divine mercy. Some of these Traditions are quoted as follows:
1. Ummul-Mu’mineen ‘Aishah (R.) is reported to have said,“Once the Holy Prophet (PBUH) performed the salah of the night (Tahajjud) and made a very long Sajdah until I feared that he has passed away. When I saw this, I rose (from my bed) and moved his thumb (to ascertain whether he is alive). The thumb moved, and I returned (to my place). Then I heard him saying in Sajdah.”
‘I seek refuge of Your forgiveness from Your punishment, and I seek refuge of Your pleasure from Your annoyance, and I seek Your refuge from Yourself. I cannot praise You as fully as You deserve. You are exactly as You have defined Yourself.’
Thereafter, when he raised his head from Sajdah and finished his salah, he said to me: “Aishah, did you think that the Prophet has betrayed you?” I said, “No, O Prophet of Allah, but I apprehended that your soul has been taken away because your Sajdah was very long.” He asked me. “Do you know which night is this?” I said, “Allah and His Messenger know best.” He said, “This is the night of the half of Sha’ban. Allah Almighty looks upon His slaves in this night and forgives those who seek forgiveness and bestows His mercy upon those who pray for mercy but keeps those who have malice (against a Muslim) as they were before, (and does not forgive them unless they relieve themselves from malice.)”
2. In another Tradition Sayyidah ‘Aishah (R.) has reported that the Holy Prophet (PBUH) has said,“Allah Almighty descends (in a manner He best know it) in the night occurring in the middle of Sha’ban and forgives a large number of people more than the number of the fibers on the sheep of the tribe, Kalb.”Kalb was a big tribe the members of which had a very large number of sheep. Therefore, the last sentence of the hadith indicates the big number of the people who are forgiven in this night by Allah Almighty.
3. In yet another Tradition, she has reported the Holy Prophet (PBUH) to have said, “This is the middle Night of Sha’ban. Allah frees in it a large number of the people from Fire, more than the number of the hair growing on the sheep of the tribe, Klab. But He does not even look at a person who associates partners with Allah, or at a person who nourishes malice in his heart (against someone), or at a person who cuts off the ties of womb-relations, or at a man who leaves his clothes extending beyond his ankles (as a sign of pride), or at a person who disobeys his parents, or at a person who has a habit of drinking wine.”
4. Sayyidna Mu’adh ibn Jabal(R.) reports that the Holy Prophet (PBUH) has said:
“Allah Almighty looks upon all those created by him in the middle Night of Sha’ban and forgives all those created by Him, except the one who associates partners with Him or the one who has malice in his heart (against a Muslim).”
Although the chain of narrators of some of these Traditions suffers with some minor technical defects, yet when all these traditions are combined together, it becomes clear that this night has some merits peculiar to it, and observing this night as a sacred night is not a baseless concoction as envisaged by some modern scholars who, on the basis of these minor defects, have totally rejected to give any special importance to this night. In fact, some scholars of hadith as authentic have held some of these Traditions and they have treated the defects in the chain of some others as minor technical defects that, according to the science of hadith, are curable by the variety of their ways of narration.
That is why the elders to the ummah have constantly been observing this night as a night of special merits and have been spending it is worship and prayers.
What should be done in this Night?
In order to observe the Night of Bara’ah, one should remain awakened in this night as much as he can. If someone has better opportunities, he should spend the whole night in worship and prayer. However, if one cannot do so for one reason or another, he can select a considerable half of it for this purpose, and should perform the following acts of worship:
(a) Salah: Salah is the most preferable act to be performed in this night. There is no particular number of Rak’at but preferably it should not be less than eight. It is also advisable that each part of the salah like qiyam, rukoo and sajdah should be longer than normal. The longest surah of the Holy Qur’an one remembers by heart should be recited in the salah of this night. If someone does not remember the long surrahs, he can also recite several short surahs in one rak’ah.
(b) The recitation of the Holy Qur’an is another form of worship, very beneficent in this night. After performing Salah, or at any other time, one should recite as much of the Holy Qur’an as he can.
(c) One should also perform dhikr (recitation of the name of Allah) in this night. Particularly the following dhikr is very useful:
One should recite Salah (durood) on the Holy Prophet (PBUH) as many times as he can.
(d) The best benefit one can draw from the blessings of this night is prayers and supplications. It is hoped that all the prayers in this night will be accepted by our Lord, inshallah. Prayer itself is an ‘ibadah, and Allah Almighty gives reward on each prayer along with the fulfillment of the supplicator’s need. Even if the purpose prayed for is not achieved, one cannot be deprived of the reward of the prayer, which is sometimes more, precious than the mundane benefits he strives for. The prayers and supplications also strengthen one’s relation with Allah Almighty, which is the main purpose of all kinds and, forms of worship.
One can pray for whatever purpose he wishes. But the best supplications are the ones prayed by the Holy Prophet (PBUH). These are so comprehensive and all encompassing prayers that the entire human need, both of this world and of the Hereafter, are fully covered in the eloquent expressions used in them. Rather, most of the prophetic prayers are of such miraculous nature that human imagination can hardly reach the magnitude of their perception.
Several books in various languages are available which provide these prophetic prayers, and one should pray Allah Almighty in accordance with them, whether by reciting their original Arabic text or by rendering their sense in one’s own language.
(e) There are some people who cannot perform any additional Salah or recitations for any reason, like illness or weakness or being engaged in some other necessary activities. Such people also should not leave themselves devoid of the blessing so this night. They should observe the following acts:
(i) To perform the Salah of maghrib, ‘isha’ and fajir with jama’ah in the mosque, or in their homes in case of their being sick.
(ii) They should keep reciting the dhikr, particularly the one mentioned in para
(c) above, in whatever condition they are until they sleep.
(iii) They should pray Allah for their forgiveness and for their other objectives. One can do so even when he is in his bed.
(f) The women during their periods cannot perform salah, nor can they recite the Holy Qur’an, but they can recite any dhikr, tasbeeh durood sharif and can pray Allah for whatever purpose they like in whatever language they wish. They can also recite the Arabic prayers mentioned in the Holy Qur’an or in the hadith with the intention of supplication (and not with the intention of recitation).