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Posts Tagged ‘Laylat al-Qadr

Laylat al-Qadr (Arabic: لیلة القدر) (also known as Shab-e-Qadr), basically the Night of Decree or Night of Measures, is the anniversary of two[citation needed] very important dates in Islam that occurred in the month of Ramadan. Shia Muslims believe that this night is when their fate in the following year is decided and hence pray for God all night long and pray for mercy and salvation. This practice is called Ehyaa (basically meaning “revival”).

Qur’an

(Qur’an 97, 1-5)

In the name of God, the Benevolent, the Merciful.
1 Lo! We revealed it on the Night of Predestination.
2 Ah, what will convey unto thee what the Night of Power is!
3 The Night of Power is better than a thousand months.
4 The angels and the Spirit descend therein, by the permission of their Lord, with all decrees.
5 (The night is) Peace until the rising of the dawn.

The verses above regard the Night as better than one thousand months. The whole month of Ramadan is a period of spiritual training wherein believers devote much of their time to fasting, praying, recitating the Qur’an, remembering God, and giving charity. However because of the revealed importance of this night, Muslims strive harder in the last ten days of Ramadan since the Laylat al-Qadr could be one of the odd-numbered days in these last ten (the first, third, fifth, or seventh). Normally, Muslims would perform an i’tikaf in the mosque (i.e they remain in the mosque for the last ten days at a strech) for prayers and recitation.

Sunnah

Muslims often pray extra prayers on this day, particularly the night prayer. They wake, pray, and hope Allah will give them anything they may desire for on this night. Mostly, they perform tilawat (reading the Qur’an).

Those who can afford to devote their time in the remembrance of God stay in the mosque for the final ten days of Ramadan. This worship is called itikaf (retreat). They observe fast during the day and occupy themselves with the remembrance of God, performing voluntary prayers and studying the Qur’an, day and night, apart from the obligatory prayers which they perform with the congregation. Food and other necessities of life are provided for them during their stay in the mosque, thus they may not leave the precincts of the mosque except for a genuine religious purpose. Devoting time to remember God, Muslims hope to receive divine favors and blessings connected with the blessed night.

Prophet Muhammad was very particular in these regards. It is related that when the last ten days of Ramadan began, he used to keep awake the whole night and was most diligent in worship.[citation needed]

Date

All Muslims believe that the incident occurred during the last third of the month of Ramadan but they differ as to the exact date. Sunnis generally consider it to be either the 21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th, or 29th of the month; while Shi’as consider it to be either the 19th, 21st or 23rd of the month. Shi’as believe the 23rd to be the most important and 19th the least of the three.[citation needed] Conventionally, most Sunnis celebrate it throughout the night of the 27th (i.e. the night between the 26th and 27th). However, due to the uncertainty of the exact date, Muslims are recommended to observe all the nights as a matter of precaution.

Differences in lexicography

Although the literal translation of the word “Qadr” is “measure”, the day has been popularly referred to as Night of Power. The proper way to translate “Laylat al-Qadr” has led to some controversy, some Muslims claiming that “Night of Power” is a mistranslation in Abdullah Yusuf Ali translation that got popular.

The term “Night of Power” comes from The Holy Qur’an: Text, Translation and Commentary by Abdullah Yusuf Ali (died 1953) who translated surat Al-Qadr verse one as:

We have indeed revealed this (Message) in the Night of Power:

Marmaduke Pickthall translates it as:

Lo! We revealed it on the Night of Predestination.

And Muhammad Asad writes:

Behold, from on high have We bestowed this [divine writ] on the Night of Destiny.

In the corresponding note he adds, “Laylatil-Qadr” can also be translated as “the Night of Almightiness” or “the Night of Majesty”

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laylat_al-Qadr

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Ramadan

Posted on: August 12, 2008

Ramadan (Arabic: رمضان, Ramaḍan) is a Muslim religious observance that takes place during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, believed to be the month in which the Qur’an began to be revealed.

Name origin

The name “Ramadan” is taken from the name of this month; the word itself derived from an Arabic word for intense heat, scorched ground, and shortness of rations. It is considered the most venerated and blessed month of the Islamic year. Prayers, sawm (fasting), charity, and self-accountability are especially stressed at this time; religious observances associated with Ramadan are kept throughout the month.

Laylat al-Qadr, which falls during the last third, commemorates the revelation of the first verses of the Qur’an and is considered the most holy night of the year. Ramadan ends with the holiday Eid ul-Fitr, on which feasts are held. During the month following Ramadan, called Shawwal, Muslims are encouraged to fast for a further six days.

Practices during Ramadan

Fasting

Main article: Sawm

The most prominent event of this month is the fasting (sawm) practiced by most observant Muslims. Every day during the month of Ramadan, Muslims around the world get up before dawn to eat the Suhoor meal (the pre dawn meal) and perform their fajr prayer. They break their fast when the fourth prayer of the day, Maghrib (sunset), is due.

During Ramadan, Muslims are expected to put more effort into following the teachings of Islam and to avoid obscene and irreligious sights and sounds. Sexual activities during fasting hours are also forbidden.[Qur’an 2:187] Purity of both thought and action is important. The fast is intended to be an exacting act of deep personal worship in which Muslims seek a raised level of closeness to God Almighty. The act of fasting is said to redirect the heart away from worldly activities, its purpose being to cleanse the inner soul and free it from harm. Properly observing the fast is supposed to induce a comfortable feeling of peace and calm. It also allows Muslims to practice self-discipline, sacrifice, and sympathy for those who are less fortunate, intended to make Muslims more generous and charitable. Muslims can eat after the sun has set. Pregnant women, the elderly, the ill and children less than 12 years of age are all exempt from fasting as lack of food could damage health.

Prayer and reading of the Qur’an

Sultan Ahmet Mosque, Istanbul in Ramadan (the writing with lights called mahya)

Sultan Ahmet Mosque, Istanbul in Ramadan (the writing with lights called mahya)

Ramadan Lanterns, Cairo


Ramadan Lanterns, Cairo

Eid Ul-Fitr meal, Malaysia

Eid Ul-Fitr meal, Malaysia

In addition to fasting, Muslims are encouraged to read the entire Qur’an.

Sunni Muslims tend to perform the recitation of the entire Qur’an by means of special prayers, called Tarawih, which are held in the mosques every night of the month, during which a whole section of the Qur’an (juz, which is 1/30 of the Qur’an) is recited, so that by the end of the month the entire Qur’an has been completed. Tarawih is an Arabic phrase referring to those extra prayers. This prayer is performed after salah of Isha’a, but before the witr rakat. Tarawih is an innovation introduced into Islam by the second Caliph Umar so is not practiced by Shia Muslims.

Muslims also pay Zakat (only applicable if one can afford it) during the month. For those who qualify to pay Zakaat, as per the Islamic Nisab (that is those whose wealth exceeds their necessities), of the leftover of their wealth earned in that Islamic calendar year. Although Zakat can be paid any time of the year, it has to be calculated on a year to year basis, and many Muslims use Ramadan as the month for calculation and disbursement.

Ramadan is also a time when Muslims are to slow down from worldly affairs and focus on self reformation, spiritual cleansing and enlightenment, establishing a link between God Almighty and themselves by prayer, supplication, charity, good deeds, kindness and helping others.

Since it is a festival of giving and sharing, Muslims prepare special foods and buy gifts for their family and friends and for giving to the poor and needy who cannot afford it, this can involve buying new clothes, shoes and other items of need. There is also a social aspect involved – the preparing of special foods and inviting people for the Iftar meal (the meal to break the Fast).

In many Muslim and non Muslim countries with large Muslim populations, markets close down in the evening to enable people to perform prayers and consume the Iftar meal (the meal to end the fast) – these markets then re-open and stay open for a good part of the night. Muslims can be seen shopping, eating, spending time with their friends and family during the evening hours.

Events of Ramadan

Laylat al-Qadr (Arabic: لیلة القدر) (known as Shab-e Qadr in Persian), literally the “Night of Decrees” or “Night of Measures”, is the anniversary of two very important dates in Islam that occurred in the month of Ramadan.[citation needed] Muslims believe that it was the night of the Laylat al-Qadr that the Quran’s first verse was revealed. The exact night of the Laylat al-Qadr is only known to God and Muhammed but he chose to keep it to himself so that Muslims won’t pray only that night. That is why Muhammad indicated that it was one of the last ten odd nights of Ramadan.

The Islamic holiday of Eid ul-Fitr (Arabic: عيد الفطر) marks the end of the fasting period of Ramadan and the first day of the following month, after another new moon has been sighted. The Eid falls after 29 or 30 days of fasting, as per the lunar sighting. Eid ul-Fitr means the Festival of Breaking the Fast, a special celebration is made. Food is donated to the poor (‘Zakat al-Fitr’), everyone puts on their best, preferably new, clothes, and communal prayers are held in the early morning, followed by feasting and visiting relatives and friends. The prayer is two rakaahs only, and it is an optional prayer as opposed to the compulsory 5 daily prayers. According to one current school of thought (Ankaboot), it is suggested that North American Muslims arrange their work-schedule for Eid by requesting the two most likely days of Eid as Holidays or simply as days off from work. This allows for quality family time, and is akin to the Christian/North American tradition of taking Christmas and Christmas Eve off as holidays. This also allows for time off to celebrate the Eid prayer at a mosque and with family. The fast always ends after 29 or 30 days of fasting, and thus the request would be for the 29th and 30th day after the start of the fast.

Muslims are encouraged to fast six days in Shawwal, the month following Ramadan that begins after Eid ul-Fitr; these days need not be consecutive. According to hadith, one who fasts the month of Ramadan and six days during Shawwal will be rewarded as though he fasted the entire year.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramadan