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Lesson Transcript

Culture Class: Holidays in Indonesia, Lesson 9 - Commemoration of Is'ra and Mi'raj
Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Indonesia Series at IndonesianPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Indonesian holidays and observances. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 9, Commemoration of Is'ra and Mi'raj. In Indonesian, it’s called Is'ra Mi'raj.
Isra and Mi’raj Day is an Islamic holiday celebrated on the 27th of Rajaab. The Isra Mi’raj commemorates the journey of the Prophet Muhammad to heaven, or in Indonesian surga, on a buraq to receive the command of Allah that Muslims must pray five times a day.
In this lesson, we’ll talk about local customs for celebrating the Isra Mi’raj.
Now, before we go into more detail, do you know the answer to this question-
How many times did Allah initially command men to pray?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. So, keep listening.
In Gorontalo (North Sulawesi), the celebration of Isra Mi’raj is called Mi’raji, and dates back to the fourteenth century, when Islam first entered Gorontalo. During those times, this holiday was celebrated by listening to sermons about the journey of Muhammad. In the colonial era, this tradition was opposed by the Dutch, so sermons were then replaced by chanting religious songs about the journey of Muhammad in the Gorontalo language and writing the poems, or puisi, in Pegon Arabic letters. To this day, this tradition is still preserved and has become a custom in Gorontalo.
In Cirebon, the tradition of Rajaban, which consists of recitation of the chronicle of Isra Mi’raj, is held in the Langgar Alit, or The Small Mosque of Kanoman Palace. This event is attended by the royal family, the courtiers, and local people. The procession is started by carrying four oil lamps and a book of the Isra Mi’raj chronicle on a cushion. These items are carried by a courtier wearing the traditional costumes of Gegesik, an area in the Cirebon District. The recitation is led by the Sultan of Kanoman himself.
A similar tradition is also found in Lombok Island and is called Ngaji Kayat. Thousands of people gather at mosques in throngs to listen to the recitation of the chronicles of Muhammad’s journey. On this night, a ritual of cutting newborn to 1-year-old babies' hair, or in Indonesian rambut, is carried out in the hope of earning Allah’s blessing. Ngaji Kayat is still held because there are many common people who are unable to read the chronicle themselves.
The buraq who carried Muhammad from Mecca to Jerusalem, was described by Muhammad as a white animal, in Indonesian binatang, bigger than a donkey but smaller than a mule. Buraq is often depicted by the people as a white and winged horse with a woman's face.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
How many times did Allah initially command men to pray?
Initially, Allah commanded men to pray fifty times in a 24 hour period. But Muhammad went back and forth to heaven, pleading the obligation be reduced, and finally, this obligation was reduced to five times a day.
So listeners, how did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Can you imagine what a buraq looks like?
Leave us a comment telling us at IndonesianPod101.com!
And I’ll see you in the next lesson!

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Can you imagine what a buraq looks like?