Isra and Mi’raj & the Fight for Al-Aqsa
This year the anniversary of Isra and Mi'raj comes as the Gaza Strip is facing a genocide, and brutal Israeli attacks are escalating in the West Bank. As many commemorate this miraculous night journey from Mecca to Al-Aqsa and mi’raj directly to the heavens, we are reminded why Palestine is sacred to Muslims and why the fight for Palestine implicates all Muslim people through our holiest sites and the anti-Muslim racism inherent to the Israeli regime’s violence.
On the 27th day of Rajab, the seventh month in the Islamic calendar, Muslims across the world observe Isra and Mi'raj, the Prophet Muhammad’s night journey from Mecca to Jerusalem and his ascent into heaven. This year’s Isra and Mi'raj is on Thursday, February 8th.
سُبْحَانَ الَّذِي أَسْرَى بِعَبْدِهِ لَيْلاً مِّنَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ إِلَى الْمَسْجِدِ الأَقْصَى الَّذِي بَارَكْنَا حَوْلَهُ لِنُرِيَهُ مِنْ آيَاتِنَا إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ البَصِيرُ (الإسراء:1)
“Glory to (Allah) Who took His servant for a Journey by night from the Sacred Mosque to the Farthest Mosque, whose surroundings We did bless.” (Al-Isra' : 1)
The event holds great weight in Islam and among Muslims. On that night, the leadership of all the prophets was conferred upon the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) when he led in prayer all the messengers and prophets before him in Al-Aqsa Mosque – inheriting a message of justice and truth which all of them upheld (Al-Ḣadīd : 25). Muslim scholars view this event as a realization of previous covenant prophets made with God (Āli ‘Imran : 81).
Today, not only are the people of that blessed land of the prophets suffering a brutal genocide but Al-Aqsa Mosque is also subjected to repeated attacks and attempts to Judaize it and the surrounding neighborhoods – and compromise its Islamic sanctity. Since October, more than 27,000 thousand Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli regime, more than 70% of them women and children; more than 65,000 Palestinians have been injured; and more than 1.9 million are displaced in the Gaza Strip–unfortunately, with the support and complicity of the U.S. government.
We call on imams and religious leaders to devote this Friday’s sermon to talk about the meanings of the Isra and Mi'raj; to link it to the genocide Israel is waging against the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza Strip; and to remind our community of the dangers that threaten Al-Aqsa Mosque, the first qibla of Muslims, the second mosque in terms of establishment, and the third of the three holy sanctuaries in Islam.
We also call on them to devote this Thursday evening to commemorating the Isra and Mi'raj and to make Dua El Qunoot [دعاء القنوت] for the Palestinian people who are subjected to the most horrific crimes of genocide in the modern era.