The Isra (Maeraaj)
Isra means to travel by night. It was that unique honour granted to Rasulullah (SM) which Allah gave him by taking him on an astonishing journey from the Masjid-ul-Haraam in Makkah to the Masjid-ul-Aqsa in Jerusalem and from there to the highest heavens in his natural body in order to show him some of His special signs. All this happened in one night and is called the 'Isra'
The word Maeraaj is derived from the word Urooj which means to ascend or to be high. Hence Maeraj is also called a 'stairs'. Because Rasulullah (SM) on this night traversed through the heavens, and through the seven heavens up to the Sidratul Muntahaa and went even to higher regions to observe the "Signs of Allah" and because he himself described the journey in his own words as "I was made to ascend i.e., Urija bee, therefore this journey there is called the Maeraaj The ascension." Some Ulatna have made a technical difference between the two sections of the journey by stating that the portion of it towards which reference is made in the Qur’an in Surah Bani Israeel is noted to be the Israa, whereas the section of it which is mentioned in Surah al-Najm and in the authentic Hadith which Rasulullah (SM) described as "I was. made to ascend" is called the Maeraaj.
The Oneness of the Event
It is therefore definitely not correct to maintain that these are two separate incidents happening on different occasions. Some people have said this with the view of reconciling the two incidents because of some minor differences of opinions regarding some aspects. The wellknown research scholar of Islam Hafiz Ima-duddeen bin Katheer states: "If we join all the various reports it becomes quite clear that the Mee'raaj took place once only. This is the truth of the matter."
The Year of the Maeraaj
When did this unique incident take place? Although there are various opinions, there seems general consensus on two points: that Maeraaj took place before the Hijrat and secondly it took place after the demise of Hazrat Khadija. And since the Hijrat took place in the 13th year after the Mission, and seeing that in Bukhari Hazrat A'isha (Ra) declares that Hazrat Khadija died three years before the Hijrat and in view of a Hadith which states that the time of the five daily Salaahs becoming obligatory, therefore the time of the Meeraj may easily be fixed to have I taken place in the period of three years before the Hijrat.
Therefore it seems that those who state that the Meeraj took place one and a half years before the Hijrat seems in accordance with the reality. Then also there are various opinions as to the month in which it took place. However the most preferred view is that it was during the month of Rajab probably the 27th night of the month. Hence Ibn Abdul Bar Imam Nawawi and Abdul Ghani al-Maqdisi (Rahmatullah alaih) Among the well-known scholars of Hadith are inclined to that date. And the latter of them state emphatically that it was the 27th night of Rajab, stating that the whole Ummat have always maintained this to be the correct date.