MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 6: Ramadan is coming down to its final days, and most American Muslims will honor today as Lailat al-Qadr. (Many Muslims in Islamic countries observed Lailat al-Qadr yesterday, but moon sightings and date determinations vary. Get more general information at the BBC.) During this holy night—when Muslims believe the Quran was revealed to Muhammad—Muslims often spend time in deep prayer and devote hours to traditional rituals. It is written in the Quran itself that its verses were first revealed on Lailat al-Qadr, although most believe that its individual verses were revealed in detail at a later date, by the angel Gabriel.
The revelation of the Quran to Muhammad was the most important event in history, according to Muslims, and therefore this night holds particular spiritual power. (Wikipedia has details.) According to Islamic tradition, angels descend to Earth on this night and any devotee who prays with sincerity will have his sins forgiven. Specifically, the Quran states that tonight’s prayers are equivalent in reward to the prayers of “1,000 months.” (PressTV has information and photos.) Muslims will often hold vigils through the night and recite the Quran straight through until sunrise.
More than 3 million Muslims attended prayers at the Grand Mosque in Mecca yesterday, according to Arab News, as attendees hoped to attain the blessings of this holy night. More than 4,000 police officers were sent to the city, and 20,000 stocked water coolers held contents to keep the all-night devotees hydrated through the night.
(By ReadTheSpirit columnist Stephanie Fenton)
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