1. Al Isra’a Wal Mi’raj is a major Muslim holiday that celebrates the Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) nighttime journey from Makkah to the ‘Farthest Mosque’ in Jerusalem.
2. On the Islamic calendar, Isra’a Wal Mi’raj (also known as Lailat and Mi’raj, Al Isra’wal Miraj or Laylat al Miraj) is generally observed on the 27th day of the month of Rajab, according to the Hijiri calendar. This year, on the Gregorian calendar, the holiday falls on Thursday, May 5.
3. This day is of significance for two major reasons. Al Isra’a Wal Mi’raj begins with the Prophet Muhammad at the Kabaa in Makkah. Prophet Muhammad is visited by two archangels who provide him with a winged steed called Buraq who then carries the Prophet to the ‘Farthest Mosque,’ believed by Muslims to be the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, where the Prophet joins past prophets in prayer. The Prophet then ascends to heaven where he is told by God of the duty for Muslims to pray five times daily also known as Salat. This practice is still widely followed some 1,400 years later. This second part of the journey is commonly referred to as the Miraj, an Arabic word meaning ladder.
4. Muslims usually offer special prayers all night in specially decorated mosques and in their homes for seeking the blessings of Allah.
5. The UAE Ministry of Labour has decreed that both government and private sector companies will get Thursday as a holiday. For those not working on Thursday, the holiday will not be compensated.