Celebrating al-Isra’ wal-Mi’raj

The following is Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi‘s opinion regarding celebrating Isra’ and Mi’raj on the 27th of Rajab

(The following is taken from islamonline.net )

Question: Dear Sheikh! Is there any specific reward or merit pertaining to 27 Rajab? What about fasting on that day? Is it true that Al-Israa’ and Al-Mi`raj (Night Journey and Ascension of the Prophet—peace and blessings be upon him) happened on that night?

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Dear questioner! Thank you for this question, which reflects a true desire to gain more knowledge about Islam and its guidance.

It should be noted, first of all, that the exact date of Al-Israa’ and Al-Mi`raj is not known. There is no evidence to support the saying that it happened on 27th of Rajab. Even if 27th of Rajab is the day of Al-Israa’ and Al-Mi`raj, there is no way to say that we have to fast that day, since we cannot innovate fasting on our own without having evidence from the sources of Shari`ah supporting it. However, if a person customarily fasts on Mondays and Thursdays and 27th of Rajab falls on one of those two days, then there is nothing wrong in fasting on that day.

Elaborating on this issue, the eminent Muslim scholar Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi states:

Among the prohibited types of fasting is any kind of fasting people initiate on their own without any Shari`ah text or evidence. An example of this is the fasting on the 27th of Rajab thinking that it is the day that followed the night of Al-Israa’ and Al-Mi`raj.

Some people would fast on that day as a token of gratitude and thankfulness to Allah for the blessing of Al-Israa’ and Al-Mi`raj. It is really important for a Muslim to prove thankful in the remembrance of every event that brought blessings to the Muslim Ummah. These events are many indeed.

However, this thankfulness does not mean that a Muslim has to fast. Almighty Allah reminds Muslims of so many blessings He has given to them. Allah says: (O ye who believe! Remember Allah’s favor unto you when there came against you hosts, and We sent against them a great wind and hosts ye could not see.) (Al-Ahzab 33: 9) However, Almighty Allah did not ask them to fast and they never did.

In his brilliant book Zad Al-Ma`ad, Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim wrote that Ibn Taymiyahsaid, “It is not recorded that any Muslim attributed any merit or privilege to the night of Al-Israa’ and Al-Mi`raj. None of the Companions ever did so. That is why we cannot tell when exactly Al-Israa’ and Al-Mi`raj happened.” Ibn Al-Qayyim wrote, “There is no clear evidence of the exact month when it happened, or the exact date of it. There are, in fact, so many reports in this regard and none of them is decisive. There is no specific ritual pertaining to it.”

It is thus clear that there is no clear evidence that the night of Al-Israa’ and Al-Mi`raj is on the 27th of Rajab, despite of the common belief that it happened that day.

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The following is Sheikh Abdul-Azeez ibn Baaz‘s opinion regarding celebrating Isra’ and Mi’raj on the 27th of Rajab

(The following is taken from islamqa.com )

Question: What is the ruling on Celebrating the night of the Isra’ and Mi’raaj, which is the twenty-seventh night of Rajab?.

Praise be to Allaah.  

There is no doubt that the Isra’ and Mi’raaj (the Prophet’s Night Journey and Ascent into heaven) are two great signs of Allaah which point to the truthfulness of the His Messenger Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and the greatness of his status before Allaah. They are also signs of the great power of Allaah, and of His exalted position above His creation. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“Glorified (and Exalted) be He (Allaah) [above all that (evil) they associate with Him] Who took His slave (Muhammad) for a journey by night from Al‑Masjid Al‑Haraam (at Makkah) to Al‑Masjid Al‑Aqsa (in Jerusalem), the neighbourhood whereof We have blessed, in order that We might show him (Muhammad) of Our Ayaat (proofs, evidences, lessons, signs, etc.). Verily, He is the All‑Hearer, the All‑Seer”  [al-Isra’ 17:1] 

There are mutawaatir reports from the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) that he was taken up into the heavens, and their gates were opened for him, until he passed beyond the seventh heaven, where his Lord spoke to him as He willed, and enjoined the five daily prayers upon him. At first Allaah, may He be exalted, enjoined fifty prayers, but our Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) kept going back and asking Him to reduce it, until He made them five, so they are five obligatory prayers but fifty in reward, because each good deed is rewarded tenfold. To Allaah be praise and thanks for all His blessings. 

With regard to this night on which the Isra’ and Mi’raaj took place, there is nothing in the saheeh ahaadeeth to indicate that it is in Rajab or in any other month. Everything that has been narrated concerning a specific date for these events cannot be proven to have come from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) according to the scholars of hadeeth. Allaah has wise reasons for causing the people to forget it. Even if the date were proven, it would not be permissible for the Muslims to single it out for particular acts of worship, and it is not permissible for them to celebrate it, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and his companions (may Allaah be pleased with them) did not celebrate it and they did not single it out in any way. If celebrating it was something that is prescribed in Islam, the Messenger would have told his ummah about that, either in word or in deed. If any such thing had happened, it would have been well known, and his companions would have transmitted the information to us. They narrated from their Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) everything that his ummah needs to know, and they did not neglect any aspect of the religion, rather they were the first ones to do anything good. If celebrating this night had been prescribed in Islam, they would have been the first people to do so. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was the most sincere of people, and he conveyed the message to the people in full, and he fulfilled the trust. If venerating and celebrating this night were part of the religion of Allaah, then the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) would have done that and would not have concealed it. Since no such thing happened, it is known that celebrating it and venerating it is not part of Islam at all. Allaah has perfected this ummah’s religion for it and has completed His favour upon them, and He condemns those who introduce things into the religion which Allaah has not ordained. Allaah says in His holy Book, in Soorat al-Maa’idah (interpretation of the meaning): 

“This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion” [al-Maa’idah 5:3] 

And Allaah says in Soorat al-Shoora (interpretation of the meaning): 

“Or have they partners with Allaah (false gods) who have instituted for them a religion which Allaah has not ordained?” [al-Shoora 42:21] 

In the saheeh ahaadeeth it is proven that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) warned against bid’ah (innovation) and stated clearly that it is misguidance, so as to show the ummah how serious the matter is and put them off it. 

For example, it is narrated in al-Saheehayn from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever introduces anything into this matter of ours that is not part of it will have it rejected.” In a report narrated by Muslim it says: “Whoever does any action that is not part of this matter of ours will have it rejected.”  

In Saheeh Muslim it is narrated that Jaabir (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to say in his khutbah on Friday: “The best of speech is the Book of Allaah and the best of guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). The worst of matters are those which are newly-invented, and every innovation is a going astray.” Al-Nasaa’i added with a jayyid isnaad: “and every going astray will be in the Fire.”  

In al-Sunan it is narrated that al-‘Irbaad ibn Saariyah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) delivered an eloquent speech to us which melted our hearts and caused our eyes to flow with tears. We said: O Messenger of Allaah, it is as if it is a farewell address, so advise us. He said: “I advise you to fear Allaah, and to listen and obey, even if a slave is appointed over you. Whoever among you lives will see many differences, so I urge you to adhere to my Sunnah and the way of the rightly-guided caliphs who will come after me, and cling firmly to it. Beware of newly-invented matters, for every newly-invented matter is an innovation and every innovation is a going astray. And there are many ahaadeeth with a similar meaning. 

Warnings against bid’ah (innovation) have been narrated from the companions of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and from the righteous salaf after them, because this is no more than adding things to the religion and instituting a religion that Allaah has not ordained, and it is an imitation of the enemies of Allaah, the Jews and the Christians, in their additions to their religions and introducing into them things that Allaah had not ordained. It also implies that there is something lacking in Islam, and that it is not complete, and it is well known that this leads to great mischief and evil, and goes against the verse in which Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):  

“This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion” [al-Maa’idah 5:3] 

It also goes against the ahaadeeth of the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) which warn against innovation (bid’ah). 

I hope that the evidence we have quoted will be sufficient to convince the seeker of truth that this bid’ah is wrong, i.e., the innovation of celebrating the night of the Isra’ and Mi’raaj, and that it is not part of the religion of Islam at all. 

Because Allaah has enjoined being sincere towards the Muslims and explaining what Allaah has prescribed for them in their religion, and because it is haraam to conceal knowledge, I thought that I should point out this innovation, which is so widespread in many regions that people think it is part of the religion, to my Muslim brothers. Allaah is the One Whom we ask to set the affairs of all the Muslims straight, and to bless them with knowledge of Islam, and to help us and them to adhere steadfastly to the truth, and to forsake everything that goes against it, for He is able to do that. May Allaah send blessings and peace upon His slave and Messenger, our Prophet Muhammad, and his family and companions.