One of the aspects of Islam that intrigues me greatly is the time during Ramadan known as the “Night of Power” – Laylat al-Qadr.
For my non-Muslim readers, Islamic tradition holds that the Night of Power is the night that the first revelation of the Qur’an was sent down to Muhammad. Muslims are instructed to “seek” the Night of Power during the last ten days of the thirty days of Ramadan, particularly on the odd numbered nights (the 21st night, the 23rd night, etc.).
It is reported that Muhammad said:
“Whoever stays up (in prayer and remembrance of Allah) on the Night of Qadr, fully believing (in Allah’s promise of reward) and hoping to seek reward, he shall be forgiven for his past sins” (hadith from Sahih Bukhari).
The Qur’an, Sura (chapter) 97, says of the Night of Power:
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
We have indeed revealed this message in the Night of Power.
And what will explain what the Night of Power is?
The Night of Power is better than a thousand months.
Therein come down the angels and the spirit, by Allah’s permission, on every errand.
Peace! Until the rising of the morn!
“Muslims worldwide spend the last ten nights of Ramadan in solid devotion, retreating to the mosque to read Qur’an, reciting special supplications, and reflecting on the meaning of Allah’s message to us. It is believed to be a time of intense spirituality, when the believers are surrounded by angels, the gates of heaven are open, and God’s blessings and mercy are abundant. (http://islam.about.com/od/ramadan/a/leyla_qadr.htm)
I read a list of recommendations for Muslims to try to find the Night of Power during the last 10 days of Ramadan (http://islamgreatreligion.wordpress.com/2011/08/21/16-things-you-can-do-on-the-night-of-power/). Here are a few from the list:
1. Take A Vacation From Work – to focus on prayer and worship; to stay awake at night for prayer.
2. Stay In The Mosque As Much As Possible – stay there to pray, recite and study the Qur’an; sleep there for one night or many nights; leave only for emergencies.
3. Pray For Forgiveness – “O Allah, You are pardoning and You love to pardon, so pardon me.”
4. Recite The Qur’an & Reflect On It’s Meaning – attend a class; put your knowledge into practice on a personal level.
5. Get Your Sins Wiped Out – make your prayers longer, deeper, more meaningful.
6. Make A Personal Prayer List – for what you really want from Allah, no matter how big or small (of course it must be halal as well). “Allah loves to hear from us.”
7. Evaluate Yourself – “Let this evaluation lead you to feel happiness for the good you have done and remorse for the bad you have done.”
As I close this post, may I ask questions of my Muslim readers:
*** Do you believe you have ever found/experienced the Night of Power?
*** How would you know if you did?
*** If you found the Night of Power, do you believe all your sins were forgiven?
*** If your sins were all forgiven, how would you know?
*** If your sins were all forgiven, could that forgiveness be lost or forfeited by later sins?
Thanks for reading and as always, I love you, my Muslim friends!
Postscript: the greatest – the most powerful – night of my life was May 28, 1966. That amazing night found me, even though I wasn’t looking for it (what compassion and mercy!).
On that night, I experienced an unbelievable power – the power of God in forgiving my sins. A kind man simply read one verse of the Bible to me. It was John 3:16. I will never forget the change and the new life that came to me on that night. Whether you call yourself a Muslim or Christian, I pray for each one of us to experience that kind of power.