Celebrating Isra’ and Mi’raj is not Islamically permissible

isramirajIt is not permissible to celebrate Isra’ (Night Journey) and Mi’raj (Ascension to Heaven) on the 27th night of Rajab, based on evidence from the Book, the Sunnah, Istis-hab (presumption of continuity) and reason. The following article helps to explain why, and is an excerpt from a Fatwa by Shaykh Muhamad Ibrahim Aali Shaykh – www.alifta.com

Bismillah Ar-Rahman Ar-Raheem
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. Peace and blessing be upon our Prophet, his Family, his Companions and Brothers till the Day of Resurrection. Amma’ Ba’d.

In the Qur’an:
  • Allah (Glorified be He) says: This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islâm as your religion. (Surah Al-Ma’idah 5:3).
  • And: O you who believe! Obey Allâh and obey the Messenger (Muhammad peace be upon him), and those of you (Muslims) who are in authority. (And) if you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to Allâh and His Messenger (peace be upon him). (Surat An-Nisa 4:59).  Referring an issue to Allah, The Almighty, is to refer it to His Book, and similarly referring a matter to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) is to resort to (consult) him during his lifetime, and to his Sunnah after his death.
  • Allah (Exalted be He) says: Say (O Muhammad to mankind): “If you (really) love Allâh then follow me (i.e. accept Islâmic Monotheism, follow the Qur’ân and the Sunnah), Allâh will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allâh is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Surah Al Imran 3:31).
  • And: And let those who oppose the Messenger’s (Muhammad peace be upon him) commandment (i.e. his Sunnah – legal ways, orders, acts of worship, statements) (among the sects) beware, lest some Fitnah (disbelief, trials, afflictions, earthquakes, killing, overpowered by a tyrant) should befall them or a painful torment be inflicted on them. (Surat An-Noor 24:63).
As for the Sunnah:
  • First: The Hadith authentically reported in the Two Sahih (authentic) Books of Hadith (i.e. Al-Bukhari and Muslim) on the authority of ‘Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Anyone who introduces anything into this matter of ours (Islam) that is not part of it will have it rejected. According to the narration by Muslim: Anyone who does an action which is not in accordance with this matter of ours (Islam) will have it rejected.
  • Second: The Hadith reported by Al-Tirmidhi, who ranked it as Sahih (authentic), and by Ibn Majah and Ibn Hibban in his Sahih (compilation of authentic Hadiths) on the authority of Al-‘Irbad ibn Sariyah who reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Beware of newly-invented matters, for every invented matter is a Bid’ah and every Bid’ah is a Dalalah (deviation from the right).
  • Third: Imam Ahmad and Al-Bazzar reported on the authority of Ghudayf that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: No people introduce a Bid‘ah except that the like of it is lifted (forfeited) from the Sunnah. Reported by Al-Tabarani with the wording: No Ummah (nation based on one creed) introduces a Bid‘ah after (death of) its prophet except that they forfeit (lose) the like of it from the Sunnah.
  • Fourth: The Hadith reported by Ibn Majah and Ibn Abu ‘Asimon on the authority of Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Allah refuses to accept the deeds of the one who introduces a Bid’ah (innovation in religion) until they relinquish their Bid’ah. It was reported by Al-Tabarani with the wording: Allah has withheld (acceptance of) the repentance from every person who introduces a Bid’ah until they relinquish their Bid’ah.

As for Istis-hab:

  • here it is of the type defined as Istishab Al-Adam Al-Asli (presumption of original absence) [a fact or rule which had not existed in the past is presumed to be non-existent]. This is substantiated by the fact that acts of worship are Tawqifiy (bound by a religious text and not amenable to personal opinion). Thus, it cannot be said that a certain act of worship is ordained unless there is evidence from the Qur’an, Sunnah and Ijma’ (consensus of scholars). It cannot be said that something is permissible building on considerations of public benefit, approbation, Qiyas (analogy) or Ijtihad (juristic effort to infer expert legal rulings), because these have no saying in the domains of ‘Aqidah (creed), acts of worship, and prescribed matters like inheritance and Hudud (ordained punishments for violating Allah’s Law).

As for reason:

  • it is supported by the logic that had this been Mashru’ (Islamically acceptable), the first one to have done it would have been Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). If this glorification is meant for Isra’ (Night Journey) and Mi’raj (Ascension to Heaven), or for the Messenger (peace be upon him) and celebrating his memory as is done on his Mawlid (the Prophet’s birthday), then the first people to have done so would have been Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him), then ‘Umar, then ‘Uthman, then ‘Ali, (may Allah be pleased with them all), then the rest of the Sahabah (Companions of the Prophet) according to the degree of each of them in the Sight of Allah, The Almighty, then the Tabi’un (Followers, the generation after the Companions of the Prophet) and the Muslim Imams who came after them. Yet, none of them is known to have done so. Thus, let what they deemed as sufficient be sufficient for us as well.

Finally, we supplicate Allah, The Almighty, to grant us, you, and all Muslims success and guidance to the religion of Islam and to keep us firm on it. As-salamu ‘alaykum (May Allah’s Peace be upon you).

Excerpt from a Fatwa by Shaykh Muhamad Ibrahim Aali Shaykh – www.alifta.com
Abdul Wahid Stephenson, Imam of Croydon ICT
24 Rajab 1434 / 3rd June 2013