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MI`RAJ. Muhammad's ascent to God and return to the world is known as the mi`raj, literally, "ladder." This specialized term is sometimes used synonymously with isrd' or "night journey," when God "carried his servant [Muhammad] by night" (Qur'an, 17.1). Qur'anic commentators take this verse, along with surahs 53.1-21 and 81.19-25, to refer to the mz'rdj. From earliest times the ascent has been one of the grand themes of the Islamic popular and elite imaginations and the complement of that other g ...more

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