Muhammed's Night Journey

The Israʾ and Miʿraj are the two parts of a Night Journey that, according to Islam, the Islamic prophet Muhammad took during a single night around the year 621. Within Islam it signifies both a physical and spiritual journey. In the accounts of the Israʾ, Muhammad is said to have traveled on the back of a winged baby-horse-like white animal, called Buraq, to “the farthest mosque.” By tradition this mosque, which came to represent the physical world, was identified as the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. At Masjid-e-Aqsa, Muhammad is said to have led the other prophets in prayer. His subsequent ascent into the heavens came to be known as the Miʿraj. Muhammad’s journey and ascent are marked as one of the most celebrated dates in the Islamic calendar.

I made this painting after visiting the Three Faiths exhibit at the NY Public Library, where I saw several renditions in illuminated manuscripts. I saw this and immediately fell in love with the image of the Buraq and wanted to paint it!

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