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Shadia: Pursuing the 'night of power'

Unveiled: A Muslim Girl in O.C.

August 15, 2012|By Mona Shadia

Something's been keeping me up at night.

I haven't had much beauty sleep in the last eight nights, and I'm not due for much more until the end of Ramadan, which is — sadly — on Saturday.

I've been up in search of "Laylat ul-Qadr," the night of power.

It lasts only for a few hours, from sunset to sunrise, but its significance and possibilities are so great that I cannot risk missing it.

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It is a night tantamount to 1,000 months of contiguous worship.

It is the night when God first revealed the Koran to the Prophet Muhammad through the angel Gabriel more than 1,400 years ago.

It is the night when God continuously sends his angels, including Gabriel, to earth, so our planet is literally overflowing with the celestial beings.

The presence of angels is simultaneous with God's mercy, and so I cannot be asleep on such a night.

Many Islamic scholars believe the night of power falls on the 27th of Ramadan, but no one knows for sure.

What we know is that it falls on any one of the last 10 nights of Ramadan — likely rotating on those holiest days from one year to another — and there are signs in the atmosphere that indicate its presence.

Sounds grandiose, right?

It is.

The weather is even keel, not so hot and not so cold. The sky is also a bit brighter than usual, and when the sun rises, it's bright with no rays. There are also those — the most righteous among us — who tend to sense its presence.

Muslims believe that God offers this night as our chance to worship him beyond our capacity to live.

When the Prophet Muhammad became aware of the length of time people lived centuries ago, he wondered how Muslims could compete with that, Yasir Qadhi said in a recent sermon I watched online. Qadhi, who is working on his Ph.D in religious studies at Yale University, is the dean of academic affairs and instructor at AlMaghrib Institute, and a lecturer at Rhodes College's Department of Religious Studies.

Because we are not capable of living for hundreds of years, God provided this night for Muslims.

A thousand months of worship comes to about 83.3 years. And Muslims have the chance to do it every single year during the last 10 days of Ramadan in their lifetimes.

On that night, God also reveals to those angels their tasks on earth for the next year to come.

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