The night of majesty (Layla-tul Qadr) is here
IT feels as if it was yesterday. But alas! We have now entered the climax in the spiritual season of the blessed month of Ramadan. Here I am referring to the last ten days of this glorious month; days in which the night of Majesty would occur; a night which is better than a thousand months spent in worshipping the Almighty.
In other words, when the Almighty says ìthe night of majesty is better than one thousand monthsî it is meant to call our attention to the fact that the night is equal in importance to 30,000 days of worship; it is equivalent to eighty three years of complete devotion to the Almighty. To hold the night sacred, to consecrate the night to the worship of the Almighty, therefore, is to partake in such rare divine blessings as would not be seen again until next year.
Put differently, the night of majesty is that in which the affairs of the cosmos or the universe (why is this not referred to as multiverse?) is reviewed; laylat al-Qadr, the night of Majesty, is the night in which your destiny and mine could be re-written for the better provided we avail ourselves of the opportunity therein.
Yes! Have you forgotten what your lord and sustainer says in chapter 44 verses 1-5 of the Quran? Your lord says: Ha M’im; We swear by the Glorious Book; That We revealed this Qurían in a blessed night (Layla-tul Qadr); for We wanted to forewarn mankind; In that night every matter is decided wisely by a command from usÖî When carefully contemplated, these verses appear to give some clues to some of the vexed issues which have constantly bothered humanity: the issue of destiny, the challenge of knowing the unknowable.
Here the Almighty unveils part of the hidden to us all; we are being summoned to partake in divine politics if as such it may be described. When He, the Almighty, says “In that night every matter is decided wisely by a command from us”, it is like an invitation from His majesty to humanity to actively partake in a process which will ultimately lead to the distribution of divine blessings; the blessings of life, of wealth and health, of terrestrial and celestial successes.
Unlike our experience on earth where the so-called legislators appropriate the national resources at the beginning of each year by giving sole consideration to their prosperity, the night of Majesty open the celestial space to the poor and the rich, the mighty and the lowly to present their “proposals” to the Almighty.
Brethren, on this night we are being invited to “join” the angels in the process of “appropriating” earthly fortune; you are being asked, on the night of majesty, to have a say in how your future is going to look like.
In a statement credited to Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w), the Almighty is reported to have said that on the night of Majesty ìthe number of Angels who will descend to earth will be greater than the number of pebbles on the whole planetî! But why would the earth play host to such an indescribable number of angels? Angels of the Almighty, you would remember, are luminous creatures; they are entities created from light; some of them bear two wings, others three, yet others four wings.
The wings of the angels, I should remind you, are signifiers, the signified being divine authorities; the wings of the Angels are metaphors for the unknowable features of those divine messengers. Again, Angels are entities without freewill; they are incapable of rebelling, like humans, against the Almightyís plans and will.
Thus they would descend in abundance during the Night of Al-Qadr, in obeisance to His command and in celebration of the abundant blessings of the night; the same way they time the Qur’an is being recited. But how might you go about partaking in your own destiny during this night? This question was also posed by Aishah (r.a) to Muhammad (s.a.w).
She said: “I said ìO Messenger of The Almighty, on the night of Laylat al-Qadr, what should I say?’ The Prophet then replied: “Say: Allahuma innaka ‘afuwwun tuhibbu al-‘afwa fa’affu ‘anniî meaning “O the Almighty! You are oft-forgiving and You love forgiveness, so forgive me”. In the course of preparing this sermon, I was struck by one other fact: that each time the month of Ramadan enters the last ten days, the Prophet used to gird his loins.
The phrase “gird his loins” is a metaphor for the Prophetís preparation for ìconsolidatedî acts of worship. In other words, during the last ten days of Ramadan the Prophet used to increase his acts of worship.
He would forsake the bed of his wives, and resort to the hallowed precincts of the mosque in order to do Iítikaf-seclusion. Now let it be remembered that Muslim women are not exempted from these spiritual caravan.
A woman, having obtained the permission of her husband, could also do Iítikaf in a central mosque which has facilities that would protect her chastity and guarantee her spirituality. Women in their monthly cycles may not embark on seclusion.
They are however, encouraged to engage in adhkar- spiritual invocation and litanies. At a public lecture the other day, a brother lamented his inability to read as many Qurían as he would have loved because he recently started learning. He wanted to know the formula for reading the Qurían such that he can complete the recitation of the glorious book at least four times in the month.
My response to him was that it is not the number of times we complete the recitation of the Quran in this month that matters but the number of times we read them carefully, contemplated their meaning and are blessed as a result.
If you happen to be a slow reader of the Quran, be rest assured that the reward that would accrue to you would be commensurate to the intention you had when you set out to read the glorious Book. What about the nawafil? This a treasure store of divine blessings.
Abu Hurayra narrated that the our Prophet said: “whoever stands (in prayer) in Laylatul Qadr while nourishing his faith with self-evaluation, expecting reward from the Almighty, will have all of his previous sins forgiven. As you continue to increase your spiritual capital during these last ten days of this glorious month, remember your brethren all around the world who are presently going through trials, tribulations and strife. Remember your sister in Syria, your brother in Gaza and your compatriots in the North Eastern parts of this country.
Not to spare a thought for them is to suffer spiritual deficit. Prophet Muhammad says: “He is not a believer he who wakes up in a day and share no concern for his fellow brethren”. Therefore join me in supplicating thus: “Allahuma innaka ‘afuwwun tuhibbu al-‘afwa fa’affu ‘anna” aamin. (08122465111 for text messages only)