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Significance of nights in Ramzan

india Updated: Oct 21, 2006 01:25 IST

THE HOLY month of Ramzan is passing through it third and final phase called ‘Aag se Nejat’ or protection from hell fire. This phase is remarkable for containing the night of ‘Lailat-ul-Qadr’ described by the holy scripture as ‘worth more than a thousand months’. The faithful are urged to look for it among the nights with odd numbers. However, according to a consensus reached among a group of ulema, it is most probably the 27th night of the month.

Unmatched in spiritual glory and significance, Lailat-ul-Qadr is all ‘rehmat’ and ‘salamti’. It is the night on which the earth is graced by the visit of archangel with his blessings for the faithful who may be awake in God’s remembrance while the world around them sleeps. It is the occasion on which descended most of the holy scriptures the world has known, on which ascended Jesus to the heavens and on which occurred many other events of the greatest import to mankind. Obviously a most special night, it is the most opportune time for prayers and for seeking forgiveness for past sin.

Lailat-ul-Qadr is identified physically by the calm, moderate and a sort of luminous atmosphere it carries with it from beginning to end. It is very appealing to senses. After it is over, the sun that rises in the morning is seen sending out no rays. On this night every natural object, both living and inanimate falls prostrate on the ground before the Almighty God. But this phenomenon is discernible only to the clairvoyant.

Much is said about the virtues and significance of fasting in Ramzan. But fasting is a day-time occupation beginning with a little before sunrise and ending with the sunset. In this way the attention is largely focused on days. The intervals of night are rather neglected. Are they meant merely for eating and sleeping? It has been clearly stated that in this month, if the days are meant for fasting, a certain part of the night is reserved for prayers, istighfar (plea for forgiveness) and introspection both of which are inter-related. It is party for this reason that 20 rakats of Tarawih prayer is supposed to be attended by the rozedar following Ishan prayer well before midnight. The rozedar cannot afford to neglect these nocturnal requirements if he wishes to derive the maximum benefit from the day’s fasting. Then the nights in Ramzan not only provide the desired breaks for eating and rest but also an opportunity for spiritual uplift the stage for which is set by fasting during the day.

At night, God descends down to come near to earth. The last part of the night is especially significant, when an angel comes to ask if there is anyone who wants to be forgiven or who needs any other thing to be granted. That is why, apart from the five compulsory prayers (namaz), three of which are reserved for different periods of night, Islam speaks especially of a prayer called Tahajjud to be performed towards the last part of the night. This prayer, though not mandatory is invested with an overwhelming spiritual value and importance not found with other prayers of other intervals.

Nights, as the poet Josh Malihabadi said, have a feminine quality about them. Nights are beauteous calm and free. They are romantic and mysterious. These qualities and characteristics have made them the subject matter of a good deal of poetry. Their appeal is not lost upon religion too as they are most congenial for spiritual permits. The nights of Ramzan, one of which is the celebrated ‘Lailat-ul-Qadr’, are gifted with a spiritual glory and significance, which a rozedar cannot easily miss.