Al-mi'raj (Arabic: المعراج al-mi'raj) is a mythical beast from Islamic poetry said to live on a mysterious island called Jezîrat al-Tennyn within the confines of the Indian Ocean. Its name can be broken up several different ways, though is generally seen truncated as Mi'raj, Mir'aj or just Miraj. Its name is also synonymous with Muhammad's ascent into heaven.
Despite its docile appearance, Al-Mir'aj is actually a ferociously territorial predator known to be able to kill animals and people many times their own size with a few stabs of its horn. It also has an immense appetite and can devour other living things several times its size without effort. Al-Mir'aj frightens other animals and they will always flee from its presence due to this.
The people of the island were so terrified of Al-Mi'raj eating them and their livestock that they would turn to witches to ward them away as soon as the rumor of a Miraj met their ears. It was reported that only a true witch would charm the Miraj, rendering it harmless so the people could remove the Miraj from the area.
It is possible this myth originates from observations of the effects of any one of several diseases in rabbits that can create horn-like growths upon the bodies of animals, most commonly Fibromatosis and Papillomatosis.
Papillomatosis is the result of a virus infecting the skin, causing a large, red, swelling growth on the skin of the subject. These red marks may have appeared to be where horns had broken off or were shed. Fibromatosis is a similar virus which infects the skin and causes the flesh of the rabbit to mat with hair, hardening into long, hard horn-like protrusions. Both diseases could account for the appearance of wild, fierce (with pain) rabbits with "horns" as infected specimens have been found, catalogued and are well documented.
Pop culture references
Al-Mi'raj has been occasionally featured in video and role-playing games.
In Dragon Warrior III for the Game Boy Color, Al-Mi'Raj is a low-level monster with a sleep attack used to render players helpless while it attacks. Dragon Warrior 3 Monster List Unlike the normal legendary Miraj, this Mi'raj is purple with a white horn and white cheeks. Its standard treasure is eight gold and a Leather Hat. A similar in appearance version is called the Spiked Hare in Dragon Quest VIII and carries Medicinal Herbs and Bunny Tails.
In the original Nintendo Entertainment System version of Dragon Warrior III, however, it was marked as a "Horned Rabbit" and portrayed as a white rabbit with ruby eyes and a red horn. Its standard treasure was a medicinal herb, provided it did not run away before being defeated. This version of the Miraj is also used in Dragon Quest V for the SNES  while a slightly different version in Dragon Quest VIII called the Bunicorn also sometimes would drop a Bunny Tail.
According to lore, at the base of a unicorn's horn is a ruby red jewel that is the concentrated essence of its power. With this in mind, it is possible that Ryo-Ohki from Tenchi Muyo! could be a reference to Al-Mi'raj, albeit dehorned and thus non-dangerous to humanity.
Getting closer to the original mythology, the Devil Bunny game series by Cheapass Games is a game about horned, super-intelligent carnivorous evil rabbits that spend their time attempting world domination via an assortment of silly means and tormenting the Humans.
In Episode 10 of the anime Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? the first floor of the mid level contains multiple white rabbits that walk on two legs. Two of the main characters Lilly and Welf clam that they are the protagonist Bell Cranel due to the matching red eyes and white hair the rabbits are then identified as al-mi'raj by bell before being interrupted as the rabbits attack.
The behavior of General Woundwort, the antagonist of Watership Down, might have been inspired by Al-mi'raj.
- "Al-Mi'raj" (in German). Retrieved 2010-01-04.
- "Papiloma in Rabbits" (PDF).
- "Rabbit Fibroma" (PDF).
- "Popular accounts of "real" jackalopes". Retrieved 2010-01-04.
- Dragon Quest 3 Monster List
- Dragon Warrior 3 Monster List
- Dragon Quest 5 Monster List
- Dragon Quest 8 Monster List
- All About Unicorns - The Alicorn
- Cheepass Games-Devil Bunny Needs Ham
- Cheepass Games- Devil Bunny Hates the Earth