Have you ever gone to a performance of some sort and something isn't going quite right? Maybe they're having technical difficulties, or maybe someone started to feel ill. Suddenly, the performance stops and they announce that they'll be back after a brief intermission. Only you know that the word brief is actually in quotes ("brief") and it's going to take longer than you hoped it would?
Remember when I said I was going to take a little step back from blogging? And then we cut to a scene where pages were flying off the calendar?
What I'm trying to say is that I really didn't intend on having this long of a break between my last post and now. My anxiety has definitely eased up since my last post and I could go on and on about what's been up since then, but I'd rather dive into what I want to discuss today.
In the month of Ramadan, there is one night that is arguably one of the most important nights during Ramadan. It is called Laylat al Qadr, or The Night of Power. As I've explained before, Ramadan is a time that we recognize the Quran being sent down. Now Laylat al Qadr is marking the specific day that the first verses were revealed. However, we don't know exactly which day it is. We are told that it falls within the last ten days of Ramadan (can you believe we're already in the home stretch?!) and that it falls on an odd day. That means that it could be tonight which is why I felt it would be a good time to talk about it.
As a part of my Arabic lessons, my teacher will teach me different parts of the Quran and exactly how it is translated and the stories behind those surahs. The most recent that she taught me, which also happens to be one of my favorite, is Surat al Qadr. It specifically talks about Laylat al Qadr. In this section, Laylat al Qadr is explained to be "خير من الف شهر" or "better than a thousand months. What that means is that there is an incredible amount of opportunity for forgiveness and blessings that can come from this night. So a lot of people will stay up all night or as late as they can to pray and read Quran and take in as many rewards as they can in this night.
Surat al Qadr goes on to explain that in this night, by the permission of God, angels and the spirit of Gabriel will come down to the earth. And they will stay with us through the night until dawn. And surat al Qadr ends with "سلام هي حتى مطلع الفجر" which translates to "peace be upon (Laylat al Qadr) until dawn. One of my favorite details about Laylat al Qadr comes from this line. It's the word هي. This word means "she" or "her." So as a woman, I find it really cool that the night of power that brings so many great and beautiful things is referred to as "her."
So now back to the detail that we don't really know which day the night of power is. Something a lot of Muslims do in the last ten days of Ramadan is kind of kick worshiping up into high gear. Typically there is an opportunity for people to go and stay at the mosque 24/7 for the last ten days. However, this year that isn't possible. But even so, there are still so many opportunities for extra prayers, reading more Quran, listening to talks and lectures and finding many other ways to benefit in these last days of Ramadan.
I know for myself, this Ramadan has been anything but ordinary. I've struggled to maintain the excitement and drive I was feeling in the beginning. I've definitely hit a slump. But thankfully there are still plenty of opportunities to get a lot out of what remains during this Ramadan.