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Religion | ORANGE COUNTY FILE

Islamic Holiday on Sunday

November 14, 1998|REGINA HONG

Muslims will mark the holiday some know as the Miraj al Nabi on Sunday. The day commemorates the prophet Muhammad's ascension into paradise.

Some Muslims believe Muhammad was swept from Mecca, the holy shrine for Muslims, to Jerusalem, where he ascended to heaven with the help of angels, said Mahmoud Abdel-Baset, religious coordinator for the Islamic Center of Southern California. Others believe Muhammad climbed a ladder into heaven.

"What he did see and who he did see are mystical" issues that the faithful debate, said Abdel-Baset. "He might have reached to a level of audience with God that no man had ever reached."

Not all Muslims agree on the exact date of the commemoration, Abdel-Baset said. Some Muslims plan on celebrating the holiday Tuesday.

No specific rituals are prescribed for the holiday, but some Muslims gather to pray and memorialize the prophet.

"It's more of an evening of reflection and deep thought," Abdel-Baset said.

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