“Surely, We revealed it on the Night of Majesty — And what will make thee comprehend what the Night of Majesty is? The Night of Majesty is better than a thousand months. The angels and the Spirit descend in it by the permission of their Lord — for every affair — Peace it is till the rising of the morning.”—Holy Qur’an 97:1 – 5
The Month of Ramadan is a month in which Muslims celebrate the Revelation of The Holy Qur’an, through its daily readings, heightened prayer, acts of kindness and charity. Once we have completed the initial days of our daily practice of abstinence, during the Month of Ramadan we begin to get into the rhythm of our devotion. Muhammad, the Prophet (PBUH), said, “O people a very great month has come upon you, a month containing a night better than a thousand months. Allah (God) has made it an obligation to fast in it, and standing in prayer in its night is a voluntary action. Whoever seeks nearness to Him with a good deed in it will be like one performing an obligatory action in other months … It is a month the beginning of which is a mercy, the middle Forgiveness, and its end is a granting of freedom from the Fire (of sin) …”
Our spiritual, mental and physical awareness is purified, as we advance in the lesson of the Month’s Fast as we see gains in our ability to control our carnal passions, hungers, and the deepening of righteous character. Before dawn, we begin the fast with plenty of water or juice—or light nourishment to be sure we are well hydrated throughout the day. This light nourishment, which marks our intention to fast each morning is called suhoor, an Arabic word meaning “of the dawn.” We fast from dark to dark and complete each day of the fast with prayer after sunset (Maghrib) followed by a meal. This time is known as iftar, meaning to break fast. In our fast during the daylight hours the Honorable Elijah Muhammad teaches us going to war with the spiritual darkness represented in fasting from the appetites of Satan’s world, “until the daybreak of Truth coming in the first of the seven thousand years after the six thousand years of spiritual darkness and evil” is, in fact, a sign, “we are living now in the bright spiritual world of Allah,” and “therefore we are not the children of darkness, but the children of light and truth.… But, until we have accomplished our work of perfection of self and separation of us from the spiritual darkness.… we fast to get out of it.…,” (How to Eat to Live, Book 2, page 56 and 57.)
The Month culminates in its last 10 days through observation of the Night of Power or Majesty (Lailatul-Qadr). The Honorable Elijah Muhammad writes in “Message to the Blackman” on page 77, “Prayer is at sunrise, noon, midafternoon, sundown and before retiring. On awakening during the night, another prayer is made. In fact, two prayers should be said during the night, making a total of seven prayers a day. There is no worship of a Sunday or Sabbath in Islam. All the days are worship days.” Here, the “two prayers that “should be said during the night,” the Honorable Elijah Muhammad is referring to are the voluntary devotional prayers called tahajjud, meaning to “wake up from the depth of one’s sleep” and the witr meaning, that which is odd in number signified by an odd number of steps in the prayer, which points to the indivisibility of Allah (God). These prayers salat-ul-qiyaam or the Resurrection prayers were taken as an obligation on the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and are considered an observance of the foremost in devotion.
Allah (God) Reveals the great significance of this prayer in the Holy Qur’an, Chapter 17 verse 79 that He will raise us from where we are to a praiseworthy position if we come to manifest the significance of the observance of this special prayer, “And during a part of the night, keep awake by it, beyond what is incumbent on thee; maybe thy Lord will raise thee to a position of great glory.” These two oftemphasized night prayers are observed throughout the year generally in solitude in our homes, however, during the Month of Ramadan they are practiced earlier in the night directly following the ‘Isha, the Night prayer, in congregation. This communal observance is called Tarawih, The Rest or Retreat Prayer each night, especially during the last 10 nights of Ramadan.
The last 10 nights of the Holy Month of Ramadan, in which the most Holy of Nights in Islam is hidden among its odd-numbered nights, it is the practice throughout the Muslim world to retreat to our mosques to engage in nightly communal prayers, supplication and reading of the Holy Qur’an with more intensity. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “seek it (the night of Majesty) during the last 10 days of the month, and seek it and every night of it.”
We strive to be present, with our families and the Believing community, in prayer and contemplation, particularly in the odd-numbered nights of the month to gain the reward of a night’s prayers, in which it is better than that of a thousand months of prayer! According to the lunar system, mathematically, these 12 hours are equivalent to a period of approximately 84 years.
“Beneficent God! By the Book that makes manifest! We revealed it on a blessed night—truly We are ever warning. Therein is made clear every affair full of wisdom—A command from Us—truly We are ever sending messengers.” (Holy Qur’an 44:1-5). This night is known as, the Night of Power or the Night of Majesty (Laila-tul-Qadr). Laila is an Arabic word meaning “night,” which refers to the hours of darkness or the absence of light from the sun, approximately 12 hours during the period between sunset and sunrise.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has said, “Allah has favored Friday over all other days, Ramadan over all other months, and the Night of Power over all other nights.” This points to the choice of this night by Allah (God) being one of deep significance. The Quranic Arabic word qadr means power, decree, majesty, ability, control and determination. Qadr also indicates a special social status, or prestige when referring to a person with “qadr,” which shows us in the name given by Allah (God) to this night, the Night of Power (Laila-tul-Qadr), that Allah (God) writes history in advance, according to His Will, and determines the favor of His devoted ones to be victories over the evils of self in a rebellious world under the darkness of Satan’s rule.
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan stated on the Ummah Reflects podcast, “This is a great month of Ramadan, but this is the time when we, who want to live after the War is over, must change and clean up our lives. And nothing will help you clean up your life better than 30 days of The Fast of Ramadan!” The Month of Ramadan should produce a collective spirit among the Muslim community, through the intentional practice of self-restraint and mindfulness of purpose to commit ourselves wholly to the universal cause of the rise of humanity as the War of Armageddon sets the stage for Allah (God) to end the rule of Satan and his influence. Allah (God) has Revealed in verse 90 of Chapter 16 of the Holy Quran, “Surely Allah enjoins justice and the doing of good (to others) and the giving to the kindred, and He forbids indecency and evil and rebellion. He admonishes you that you may be mindful.”
Brother Sultan Rahman Muhammad serves as the Student National Imam of the Nation of Islam and resident Imam of Mosque Maryam National Center, Chicago. Visit NOI.org/ramadan, follow @ImamSultanM on Twitter, or email: [email protected].