The Yearly Celebration of the Night of Isra’ and Mi`raj
by Shaykh `Abdul `Aziz ibn Baz
All praise is for Allah; and salah and salaam upon the Messenger of Allah (saws), his followers and his companions.
There is no doubt that the incident of Isra’ and Mi`raj is (from) among the great signs of Allah, indicates the truthfulness of His Messenger, Muhammad (saws), and the greatness of his (saws) position with Allah. It is also among the evidences showing the ability of Allah (T) and it is proof that Allah is above all His creation. Allah has said:
Glorified (and exalted) be He (Allah) Who took His slave (Muhammad) for a Journey by night from al-Masjid al-Haram (at Makkah) to the Farthest Mosque (in Jerusalem), the neighborhood 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. [17:1]
It has been narrated from the Messenger (saws) of Allah (T) that Allah (T) ascended him to the heavens through the seventh heaven. Therein His Lord spoke to him what He intended and obligated upon him from the five prayers. Allah (T) initially obligated fifty prayers, however our Prophet (saws) did not cease to demand and ask ease from Him, until Allah (T) made it five (in number). Hence there are five prayers obligated, but fifty in (number) reward; for every good action is equivalent to ten of its like. For Allah (T) is all praise and thanks for all His blessings.
This date on ISRA’ and MI`RAJ occurred was not established in the authentic narrations [of the Prophet Muhammad (saws)], neither during the month of Rajab nor in any other month. All that has been mentioned concerning the date of occurrence of al-Isra wal-Mi’raj is deemed among the scholars of hadith to be unauthentic. Belonging to Allah is a great Wisdom in causing the people to forget the date of its occurrence. However, even if its date was confirmed, it would nonetheless be impermissible for the Muslims to distinguish that night from other nights by doing anything from among the acts of worship. Neither it would be permissible for them to celebrate it, as the Prophet (saws) and his companions neither celebrated it nor did they distinguish it with any special acts of worship.
Should such a celebration of that Night be lawful, the Messenger (saws) would have clarified it to the people either by word or deed. And had such a thing occurred, it would have become known and common, and the companions would have transmitted it to us. The companions passed on from their Prophet (saws) everything which Muslims are in need of. Never were they remiss or negligent with regard to religion. Indeed, they were the first to lead the way to every good. If the celebration of this night had been lawful, they would have been first to do it. The Prophet (saws) also is the most sincere in guiding people. He most truly fulfilled his mission, and performed his noble duty. If the glorification and celebration of that night had something to do with Islam, the Prophet (saws) would never have neglected it nor concealed it. Since nothing about this was narrated from the Messenger (saws) and his companions, therefore glorification and celebration of that night was absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Islam, as Allah has perfected for this nation its religion, completed His favor upon it and rebuked and refuted the innovators who introduce into the religion that which Allah has not allowed.
And Allah, said:
This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion. [5:3]
And Allah, has also said:
Or have they partners with Allah who have made laws for them in religion that which Allah allowed not? And had it not been for a decisive word (gone forth already), the matter would have been judged between them. And verily for wrongdoers is a painful torment. [al-Shura, 21]
The Prophet (saws) said: He who innovates something in this matter of ours that is not of it will have it rejected. [al-Bukhari, Muslim]
In another wording reported by Muslim: He who does an act which our matter is not (in agreement) with will have it rejected.
It is reported in the Sunan of Abu Dawud and al-Tirmidhi that al-`Irbad ibn Sariyah said, “The Messenger of Allah (saws) gave us a sermon by which our hearts were filled with fear and tears came to our eyes. We said, “O Messenger of Allah, it is as though this is a farewell sermon, so counsel us.” He (saws) said: “I counsel you to fear Allah and to give absolute obedience even if a slave becomes your leader. Verily, he among you who lives (long) will see great controversy, so you must keep to my Sunnah and that of the rightly guided (in beliefs and actions) Caliphs after me; cling to them stubbornly. Beware of newly invented matters, for every invented matter is an innovation and every innovation is going astray and every going astray is in the Hell-Fire.”
The narrations of such meaning are numerous. And indeed it has been confirmed that the Companions of the Messenger (saws) as well as the early generations of pious scholars who followed, cautioned and warned against heresies and innovations. These warnings were not mentioned by them except for the fact that innnovations are unnecessary additions to the religion. Innovations are something new to Islam which Allah has not given permission for. Also in performing these affairs, a resemblance of the enemies of Allah (from the Jews and Christians) occurs; in that, they added and innovated in their religions something that they had no permission from Allah. In addition, any innovation in the religion is implied by the person performing it that Islam is incomplete and has faults because by innovating and adding to Islam one accuses Islam of not being complete. This, of course, is well known to contain a great deal of gross corruption, vile actions, and a contradiction to the saying of Allah: This day, I have perfected your religion for you… as it is also an obvious contrast to the traditions of the Messenger (saws) that caution and warn against innovations.
I hope that what was mentioned from the evidences is sufficient and convincing enough for the seeker of the truth in rejecting this innovation (bid`ah) of celebrating the night of Isra’ wal Mi`raj and warning against it because it has nothing to do in anyway with the religion of Islam.
Since Allah has obligated to give Muslims sincere advice, to elucidate the Divine laws for them, and has forbidden concealing knowledge, I felt it necessary to call to attention my Muslim brothers against this innovation (bid`ah) which has spread throughout many cities so much so that the people thought it to be part of Islam.
Allah is responsible to correct the affairs of all the Muslims and grant them success in comprehending the religion and to give us, along with them, success in holding firm to the truth, ascertaining it, and leaving what opposes it; for Allah is Capable over all. May Allah bless and be merciful upon His Slave and Worshipper and Messenger (saws), his followers, and his companions.