This post is late because I slept in after taking suhoor (pre-dawn meal) this morning. I slept in because I’m staying up all night for Laylat al-Qadr, or “The Night of Power/Decree.” Laylat al-Qadr is one of the most anticipated dates on the Islamic calendar during Ramadan because tradition holds that on this night, the Qur’an was revealed to Muhammad (pbuh) for the first time. The Night of Power is referred to in the 97th Sura of the Qur’an:
“We have indeed revealed this (Message) in the Night of Power:
And what will explain to thee 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!…This until the rise of dawn!”
No one is quite sure when the night is, but according to hadith and sunnah, Laylat al-Qadr is on one of the odd numbered nights in the last 10 days of Ramadan. My host masjid is observing the 27th as the Laylet al-Qadr. As the sura explains, this night is special because the spirit of Allah and his angels come down to meet those who praise Him. We read further that this night is more powerful than “a thousand months.” One thousand months is about 83 years–a lifetime.
Can you imagine the potency here, the concentrated power of this promise? Inshallah, there’s no way any right-minded Muslim (or myself) would miss this opportunity.
Muslims (typically men) will usually spend the entire night in the masjid saying prayers, reading the Qur’an, listening to lectures, or reading other Islamic material. This retreat is called itikaf.
I was invited to my local masjid for this event but, alas my wife (a nurse) is on call and therefore I cannot be away from the house. My Mentor told me that while it’s preferable to stay in the masjid all night, that keeping vigil at home is also acceptable. This in mind, Inshallah, God will forgive my limits and accept my night devotion as I stay up alone in my living room with the Qur’an, prayer, and meditation on His name(s).
How many of you plan to observe the itikaf during the Night of Power? If you’ve had past experience, what was it like? I look forward to pulling an all-nighter with the divine. Maybe I should bring some snacks…