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Lailat al Miraj

Lailat al Miraj is an auspicious festival for followers of Islam. This occasion is also called Shab-e-Miraj or Mira� Kandili in Turkish. On this day Prophet Mohammad made his journey from Mecca to Al-Haram As-Sharif (Temple Mount), where he saw heaven (Jannah), met with the prophets and eventually with God. The believers of Islam celebrate this occasion as the day of enlightenment of their Prophet. The events on this day tend to bring the Islamic community together.

The festival

You would certainly be interested to know about the festival. This occasion is celebrated by telling the beautiful stories of Prophet Mohammad. How he was visited by two archangels while sleeping, the way they purified his heart and enlightened him with knowledge and devotion. Narrating his journey from Mecca to Jerusalem in a strange winged creature called Buraq in a single night, which raised him to heaven.

Lailat al Miraj literally means the �night of Ascent�. It marks the night on which Prophet Mohammad attained a very high spiritual level. His ascent occurred on the 27th day of Rajab (seventh month of the Hijra or Muslim lunar calendar).

His ascent was not related to physical body, but a vision of that great level. Here, Prophet Mohammad met Adam, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and some other Prophets. The reason behind this Ascent was to substantiate the status that Prophet of Islam had achieved. It is also said that even Angel Gabriel, accompanied Holy Prophet, in his maiden endeavor and asked him to continue his ascent. Soon, he reached very close to the Throne of God and achieved highest closeness to him.

How Followers of Islam celebrate this carnival

This day is marked by the decoration of Ascent (Miraj), mosques and houses, with colorful pennants and buntings. As evening approaches, devotees amass in mosques and offer prayers to the almighty, praising The Lord (Allah) and the Prophet (Peace be upon Him) and sing devotional hymns. In the night, people light up oil-lamps, candles, electric lights, etc. This gives a magnificent look to the houses, mosque and Ascent. Contrastingly unlike eids - revolving around the family - Lailat al Miraj is a community festival where all the members of the community participate as a whole. This brings unity and integrity in the community.

Celebrations on this day tend to focus on children and the young. Children gather in mosque where they are told the stories of the Miraj.

Public spiritual meetings are held at night after which Isha prayer (a prayer offered before sleeping at night) is held in larger mosques and the details about the Ascent are discussed. The satsangs is brought to a close with distribution of the sweets (holy sacrament/prasad), at the end.

This is a holy night when the devotees take the opportunity to perform admirable deeds, such as donating money, distributing food among the poor and so on. Devotees spent the entire night of Lailat al Miraj in the remembrance of Prophet Mohammad.

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