Lailat al-Qadr: Muslims observe holiest of Ramadan, Night of Power

Mosque lit at night from exterior

For Laylat al-Qadr, Muslims spend the night in prayer and Quran study. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

STARTING SUNSET TUESDAY, JULY 7 (OR an odd-numbered night in the last 10 days of Ramadan): The holiest night of the Islamic year has arrives for Muslims worldwide with the Night of Power (Laylat al-Qadr). Known by many names—Night of Value, Night of Destiny, Night of Measure—Muslims note the anniversary of the night the Quran was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad via the angel Gabriel.

It is believed that on this sacred night, verses of the Quran were relayed to Muhammad in the year 610 CE, and angels descended to earth for the event. (Learn more from On Islam.) If a devoted Muslim prays in earnest for forgiveness of sins on Laylat al-Qadr and reads the Quran, it’s believed that the night is “better than 1,000 months.” Sins are forgiven and blessings are manifold.

I’TIKAF & FINAL DAYS OF RAMADAN

Muslims who can afford to spend the final 10 days of Ramadan in the mosque may choose to observe a form of worship known as I’tikaf. A fast observed during the day is supplemented with intense prayer and Quran study both day and night. (Wikipedia has details.) Nighttime meals are provided by most mosques to I’tikaf participants. Ten days of observance are ideal, but some participants follow the practice for shorter periods. Both men and women are encouraged to observe I’tikaf.

Muhammad did not reveal precisely when the Night of Power occurred. The 27th day of Ramadan is a traditionally held date, but as many of the odd-numbered nights in the last 10 days of Ramadan are still observed.

IN THE NEWS:

A YOUTUBE LECTURE AND RAMADAN IN NIGERIA & MOROCCO

Muslims and non-Muslims can gain additional insight into Ramadan’s holiest night with this YouTube lecture by Dr. Zakir Naik, who explains Laylat al-Qadr. For an international perspective of Islam around the world, check out articles from AllAfrica and Morocco World News, explaining Nigerian Muslim views on Ramadan and Moroccans’ five most cherished Ramadan traditions.

Laylat al-Qadr: Muslims revere Night of Destiny, Night of Power

Open book of the Quran in dim lighting

Many Muslims stay awake the entire night of Laylat al-Qadr, reading the Quran and reciting prayers. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

WEDNESDAY, JULY 23 (or one of the last 10, odd-numbered nights of Ramadan): The holiest night of Ramadan is met by Muslims across the globe with great reverence and joy. It’s Laylat al-Qadr, the Night of Destiny, the Night of Power or the Night of Decree.

Most Muslims regard Laylat al-Qadr as the anniversary of the night the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad, and the Quran declares that observing this night is “better than one thousand months.” Though the Prophet Muhammad never specified the exact date of Laylat al-Qadr, Muslims are required to “search for it” among the last 10, odd-numbered nights of Ramadan.

Millions of adherents believe, generally, that Laylat al-Qadr occurs on the 27th day of Ramadan; however, many attempt to stay awake in prayer as much as possible during each of the odd-numbered nights during the final 10 of Ramadan, in case of error on the correct date. Those fortunate Muslims who can afford to do so spend the entirety of the final 10 days of Ramadan in the mosque, in the worship known as I’tikaf.

The traditional sayings of the Prophet assure the faithful that whoever prays in sincerity on Laylat al Qadr will be forgiven of sins.

Highly regarded is the belief that angels descend upon the earth on Laylat al-Qadr, due to the many blessings of the sacred night. (Read more from On Islam.) During the final 10 days of Ramadan, acts of charity and donations are increased—along with prayer and readings of the Quran. (Wikipedia has details.) Muslims teach that the complete revelation of the Quran to Muhammad took place over a total of 23 years; this transmission began in 610 CE at a cave near Mecca with this initial revelation of the holy text that is remembered on Laylat al-Qadr.

IN THE NEWS:
DATE CONSUMPTION INCREASING

Cover of Najah Bazzy Beauty of RamadanShopkeepers in Maharashtra, India, have been reporting increased sales in dates during Ramadan 2014, according to an article from Business Standard; the dates range in price from $.67 per pound to $33.32 per pound. Though dates have been popular for breaking fast during Ramadan for centuries, they now are available in flavors and from nations across the globe. The fasting of Ramadan will end on the first day of the next month—and with the grand festival of Eid ul-Fitr.

CHECK OUT ‘THE BEAUTY OF RAMADAN’! ReadTheSpirit Books publishes a complete guide to Ramadan, including the Night of Power, written by Najah Bazzy.