The Night Journey and Ascension, Al-Isra' wal Mi’raj, occurred on the 27th of Rajab , which is the seventh month in the Islamic calendar , and one of four sacred months. The other three sacred months are Muharram, Dhul Qa’da, and Dhul Hijjah.
Al-Isra' wal Mi’raj is the most important event that occurred during the month of Rajab. It occurred on the 27th of Rajab, and on this journey, the Prophet (PBUH) travelled from Makkah to Jerusalem on the Buraq, and from there ascended into heaven. There, he met Allah (SWT), who instructed the Prophet (PBUH) and the Muslims to pray fifty prayers a day.
As Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) descended from the heavens, he met Musa (AS), who told the Prophet (PBUH) that the Muslims would not be able to pray fifty times a day and that he should ask Allah (SWT) for a reduction. Given Musa (AS) was a prophet and had experience in what his followers could and could not manage, the Prophet (PBUH) accepted this and went to ask for a reduction. It was reduced, but Musa (AS) said again to get it reduced further. This exchange kept happening until the prayers were reduced to five a day. Musa (AS) told the Prophet (PBUH) to ask for another reduction, but he was ashamed to go to Allah (SWT) again to do so. At this point, a voice said, “The prayers have been reduced to five, but they will be rewarded as though they were fifty.” This demonstrates to Muslims that those who pray the five Fard (obligatory) prayers will be rewarded as if they had prayed fifty.
The Month of Rajab
Rajab is the seventh month in the Islamic calendar, and when translated, it means ‘to respect’. During this month, fighting is not allowed. This is because Rajab is considered ‘Allah’s month’, whereby Allah designated this month to be sacred to ensure Muslims could go to Umrah without being harmed or attacked.
The month of Rajab begins on 23rd January 2023.
Aside from Al-Isra' wal Mi’raj, there were other significant events that occurred during the month of Rajab: In this month, Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) parents were married, the Prophet (PBUH) was conceived, Ali (RA) was born, who was a close companion of the Prophet (PBUH) and became his son-in-law, and a peace treaty for the Battle of Tabuk was signed to avoid fighting.
The Battle of Tabuk
In the month of Rajab 9AH, the Prophet (PBUH) received news that the emperor of Rome was preparing an attack on the Muslims, and so he gathered 30,000 men to fight the Romans. However, the Roman army retreated, and a peace treaty was signed, which ensured an end to the conflict between them, and reinforces the sacredness of this month and that there should be no fighting.
When is Al Isra’ wal Mi’raj?
Al Isra’ wal Mi’raj falls on the 27th Day of Rajab, meaning that this year, Al-Isra' wal Mi’raj is expected to be on 18th February 2023.
Fasting in Rajab
Since Rajab is an important and sacred month, fasting is highly recommended. While fasting is obligatory in Ramadan, it is recommended in Rajab and Shaban, as a means of preparing to fast in Ramadan.
Giving Charity in Rajab
Any acts of worship, including giving charity in the month of Rajab are highly recommended. This month is a sacred month, whereby good deeds hold more value, and so to make the most of this month, Muslims should strive to increase their Ibadah (worship). This can be done in many forms, including helping the poor, reading more Qur’an, making dua, or spending more time praying in the Mosque.
During the month of Rajab, you can gain rewards by donating to Orphans in Need here. You can also sponsor an orphan, which will benefit an orphan greatly, as well as gain reward for yourself, Insha'Allah. ‘The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “the one who cares for an orphan and myself will be together in paradise like this” and he held his two fingers together to illustrate’. (Bukhari)