Saturday, September 12, 2009

Lailatul Qadr

The Most Precious Days
By Raya Shokatfard

Praying in a group, either in a mosque or a private residence encourages the participants to be more vigilant.
Praying in a group, either in a mosque or a private residence encourages the participants to be more vigilant.

Muslims consider the last ten days of Ramadan the most blessed days of this month or even the year. On one of these days, the Quran, which Muslims believe is the word of God, was revealed. Muslims exert more in worship in these last ten days, following the footsteps of Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him).

The chapter in the Quran referring to this blessed night is called Al-Qadr (the Night of Power) and is translated as follows:

{Surely We sent it down on the Night of Power. And what makes you realize what the Night of Power is? The Night of Power is more charitable (i.e., better) than a thousand months. The Angels and the Spirit keep coming down therein, by the permission of their Lord, with (Literally: from) every Command. Peace it is, till the rising of the dawn.} (Al-Qadr 97: 1-5)

Muslims believe that if the night of power falls on one of the nights while they were vigilant in Prayer, worship and supplications, their sins are forgiven and their supplications answered. Also, Prayer in this particular night is equal to one thousand months of Prayer.

This is also the time to be more focused on perfecting one's fast, acts of worship, charity, one's own conduct as well as special focus to spiritual purification.

So, how should a new Muslim deal with these long hours of Prayer and supplications? What may be some of the obstacles?

The famous saying: "when there is a will, there is a way" may be very relevant here. Obviously, a new Muslim has embraced Islam due to his/her own interest, knowing that they have come to the true religion. They also know that to fully embrace the religion, one would embark on various aspects of gaining knowledge as well as performing actions which would strengthen their soul and feed the spirit.

Sometimes, it may take a few steps at a time to reach a moderate level of practice in worship, which is according to the person's level of interest and availability. Prayers and supplications in these last 10 nights of Ramadan require interest, endurance and anxiousness to communicate with one's Creator.

Many mosques offer Prayers during these nights. Many men attend and women are also free to attend but are few in numbers. Praying in a group, either in a mosque or a private residence encourages the participants to be more vigilant and likely to stay awake till dawn with each other.

For those who live far from mosques, they should seek other Muslims to invite or join them for these Prayers. However, some may prefer to have their private time with their Lord alone and in the privacy of their homes – especially the females.

Realizing that this great chance comes our way only once a year, one should make prior arrangement with schedules, work attendance, family obligations, and social responsibilities in order to allow adequate time for the night Prayers and enough extra day time sleep.

The Prophet's wife Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said, "With the start of the last ten days of Ramadan, the Prophet used to tighten his waist belt (i.e., work hard) and used to pray all the night, and used to keep his family awake for the Prayers." (Al-Bukhari)

Muslims are especially aware of their shortcomings, mistakes and sins they may have committed in the past and use this great opportunity to ask for forgiveness and hope that by grace of Allah, their past sins will be washed clean and they would start with a clean record after Ramadan.

The supplications are made during most part of the night, especially the last 3rd of the night. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "Any Muslim who stands in Prayer during Laylat Al-Qadr (Night of Power) out of faith and sincerity, his previous sins will be forgiven." (Muslim)

Raya Shokatfard is the Editor in Chief of Reading Islam website. She has been an activist in promoting a better understanding of Islam and Muslims in the US for more than 20 years, and in Egypt for several years.

She holds an M.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication as well as an M.A.D . in TV Journalism from the American University in Cairo. She can be reached at:

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