By Shaykh Abdul-Aziz ibn Baz
Adapted and Summarized from a detailed Fatwa on islam-qa.com
There is no doubt that the Isra and Miraj (the Prophet’s night journey and ascent into heaven) are two great signs of Allah which point to the truthfulness of the His Messenger, Muhammad (sa), and the greatness of his status before Allah. They are also signs of the great power of Allah, and of His exalted position above His creation. Allah says:
“Exalted is He who took His Servant by night from al-Masjid al-Haram to al-Masjid al-Aqsa, whose surroundings We have blessed, to show him of Our signs. Indeed, He is the Hearing, the Seeing.” (al-Isra 17:1)
There are Mutawatir reports from the Messenger of Allah (sa) that he was taken up into the heavens, and their gates were opened for him, until he passed beyond the seventh heaven, where his Lord spoke to him as He willed, and enjoined the five daily prayers upon him.
With regard to this night on which the Isra and Miraj took place, there is nothing in sound Ahadeeth to indicate that it occurred in Rajab or in any other month. Everything that has been narrated concerning a specific date for these events cannot be proven to have come from the Prophet (sa) according to the scholars of Hadeeth.
Allah has wise reasons for causing the people to forget it. Even if the date was proven, it would not be permissible for the Muslims to single it out for particular acts of worship, and it is not permissible for them to celebrate it, because the Prophet (sa) and his companions (may Allah be pleased with them) did not celebrate it and they did not single it out in any way. If celebrating it was something that is prescribed in Islam, the Messenger (sa) would have told his Ummah about that, either in word or in deed.
Since no such thing happened, it is known that celebrating it and venerating it is not part of Islam at all. Allah has perfected this Ummah’s religion for it and has completed His favour upon them, and He condemns those who introduce things into the religion which Allah has not ordained.
In sound Ahadeeth, it is proven that the Messenger of Allah (sa) warned against Bidah (innovation) and stated clearly that it is misguidance, so as to show the Ummah how serious the matter is.
For example, the Prophet (sa) said: “Whoever introduces anything into this matter of ours that is not part of it will have it rejected.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
Narrated Jabir (ra): The Messenger of Allah (sa) used to say in his sermon on Friday: “The best of speech is the Book of Allah and the best of guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (sa). The worst of matters are those which are newly-invented, and every innovation is a going astray.” (Muslim)
Warnings against Bidah (innovation) have been narrated from the companions of the Messenger of Allah (sa) and from the righteous Salaf after them, because this is no more than adding things to the religion and instituting a religion that Allah has not ordained. It also implies that there is something lacking in Islam, and that it is not complete, and it is well known that this leads to great mischief and evil, and goes against the following verse:
“This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” (al-Maidah 5:3)
It also goes against the Ahadeeth of the Messenger (sa) which warn against innovation (Bidah).
I hope that the evidence we have quoted will be sufficient to convince the seeker of truth that this Bidah is wrong, i.e., the innovation of celebrating the night of the Isra and Miraj, and that it is not part of the religion of Islam at all.
Because Allah has enjoined being sincere towards the Muslims and explaining what Allah has prescribed for them in their religion, and because it is Haram to conceal knowledge, I thought that I should point out this innovation. It is so widespread in many regions that people think it is part of the religion.
Allah is the One Whom we ask to set the affairs of all the Muslims straight, and to bless them with knowledge of Islam, and to help us and them to adhere steadfastly to the truth, and to forsake everything that goes against it, for He is able to do that. May Allah send blessings and peace upon His slave and Messenger, our Prophet Muhammad (sa), and his family and companions.