There is a restlessness in the air tonight. Not only noticeable in the strong gusts that are whipping the trees around and blowing kilos of dust through the windows, but in people as well. Usually at this time of night, you can hear a pin drop here in M-ville. Everyone is either sleeping or huddled around their tv’s watching their favorite shows. Dogs bark, and the occasional donkey brays, but other than that, once dark settles in, sounds quiet.
Tonight is different. Singing and chanting float through the air on those gusts of wind. The mos.ques are full of men of all ages, praying, reading the Ko.ran, and asking for special blessing and forgiveness. Lights in homes remain on as women gather to chant and pray.
Tonight is the Night of Power – the 27th night of the fasting month of Ramadan. Wikipedia describes it this way:
Muslims often pray extra prayers on this day, particularly the night prayer. They awake, pray, and hope God will give them anything they may desire 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 Iʿtikāf (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. Devoting time to remember God, Muslims also hope to receive divine favors and blessings connected with the blessed night(lailatul qadr').
A’s co-worker, Z, has in fact taken 10 days off of work to sit in the mos.que. This is the man that A goes to when he has questions pertaining to religion and culture and social issues. Not only is this man quite religious, but he has seen the world, in a sense. He lived in Europe for 7 years and has read the New Testament. He is religious but he is also a thinker (those two don’t always go hand in hand) and therefore he is someone that A dialogues with a lot.
Please be pr.aying for Z tonight and in these days. Pr.ay that the scripture he has read would come to mind once again. Pr.ay that conversations he has had with A will spark something in his heart and mind. Pr.ay for Je.sus to meet him in that place.
Pr.ay for this city, this country, and for followers of Is.lam all across the globe as they gather and pr.ay on this night. Pr.ay for dreams and visions. Pr.ay for God to show up in power. Pr.ay for divine appointments and brokenness to take place.