Of all the events in the Islamic Calendar, is there any more captivating to a young audience than that of our beloved Prophet’s miraculous night journey?
Al-’Isra’ wal-Mi‘raj – quite literally, the ‘journey’ (isra) and the ‘ascension’ (mi’raj) – is an event that has everything you could possibly want in a story for children. And we do mean everything. A prophet, angels, time travel of sorts, a historical congregation, a flying horse, a glorious ascent through the heavens, a place no one else can go, the bestowal of a great gift and then… back the way we came, right to where we started, it could be science fiction, but of course the best part of this utterly thrilling tale is that there is no fiction about it, it is all true.
As we approach the 27th of Rajab, the date of Al-’Isra’ wal-Mi‘raj, we’ve collected some inspiring resources and tips which have helped us learn more about this amazing journey, it’s significance and ways to best share it with our families. The honouring of this event has become a firm favourite in our homes and a small fulfillment of our intentions to better celebrate the lunar Islamic Calendar with our children.
Once you share this incredible story with your children, be prepared for some interesting questions and much conversation. The hope is that with each year, as they grow and mature, they will come to encounter deeper meanings and experience greater connections with this miraculous event.
For Adults and Teens
The Prophet’s Night Journey & Heavenly Ascent
By: Sayyid Muhammad ibn ‘Alawi al-Maliki
Translation and Notes by: Gibril Fouad Haddad
A few years ago, when we first started sharing the details of Al-’Isra’ wal-Mi‘raj with our children, we realised we needed to refresh our own knowledge of it and then decide how best to frame it for our very young audience. So, with that purpose in mind, we came across this truly extraordinary book which collates all confirmed hadiths of Al-Isra wal Mi’raj into a single narrative structure. Even though it is a deeply scholarly book, the fact that Al-’Isra’ wal-Mi‘raj is presented in chronological order, almost as a story itself, makes it an easy, accessible and enjoyable read, with significant notes at the back for further commentary and explanation. Short and succinct, this is a great place to start for yourself or with your older (teenage) children. You could even read it aloud with them, which we imagine would be lovely.
Available to purchase here.
For Younger Children & Tweens (9-13 Years Old)
Marvellous Stories From The Life of Muhammad
By: Mardijah Aldrich Tarantino
We both read this book when we were children, and not just the Al-’Isra’ wal-Mi‘raj chapter but the whole book made such an impression that over the years it’s one we have come back to over and over again.. Written in the loveliest narrative style, it makes you feel like you are right there in olden day Arabia where oratory storytelling was the norm. The illustrations are sparse but beautiful and the Al-’Isra’ wal-Mi‘raj story is told with much exciting detail.
Available to purchase here.
For Very Young Children (6 Years and Younger)
Sharing the story of Al-’Isra’ wal-Mi‘raj with this age group is a true joy, as they give themselves over completely to the telling of it. However, given their attention spans and understanding, we struggled a bit with which aspects of the events to focus on.
Enter the lovely Elizabeth Bootman of Sirajunmunira, who inspired us first with her gift giving ritual and then with her spiritual and thoughtful play of Al-’Isra’ wal-Mi‘raj. She wisely chose to emphasise the magnificent Buraq and then the form and gift of the five daily prayers (salat), in her telling for the very young. We followed her lead and did the same with our own children and it has been marvellous. They love connecting the actions of the prayer with the angelic realm.
For All Ages
This year we discovered Kitabkids on Instagram. The mom behind this account is a wealth of exciting ideas as she shares various Islamic themed crafts she has done with her own children. Her ideas are always adorable and clever and most importantly doable!
For Al-’Isra’ wal-Mi‘raj we love her ‘Prophet’s Ladder’ of 7 rungs. Each rung corresponds to one of the seven heavens and shows the corresponding name of the prophet who greeted Prophet Muhammad at each level.
And isn’t this cute flying horse she made such a great visual aid for this story? Find the instructions she used for making one here and have a go at creating your own.
Al-’Isra’ wal-Mi‘raj Audio Story
By: Mamanushka Storytime (that’s us!)
Narrated by: Sumaya Teli
Yes, you read right. Using all the above resources as inspiration, we put together our first audio story and we are so excited to share it with you! Experience the story of the Prophet’s miraculous night journey with your little ones by simply hitting the play button on this accessible and captivating narration. Suitable for children aged four and above, it has the perfect amount of description for the youngest audience without losing any of the detail for the older ones.
Find out more and listen here.
Do you do something special for Al-’Isra’ wal-Mi‘raj? Or do you have any other resources which we can all benefit from? Let us know in the comments, we’d love to hear how you celebrate this date in the Islamic calendar.