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Sunday 29th, August 2010

Itikhaaf (The Night of Power)

My dad and brother are doing Itikhaaf this year. I don’t think my dad has done it before but my brother has in Saudia Arabia. I am curious if he does it in the Masjid Al-Haram or any of the other masjids. They spend the last 10 nights of Ramadhan in the masjid. They sleep the days (except when they have to wake up to pray) and wake the nights in devotion and extra prayer. Yes they can do extra prayer during the days too. They can’t leave unless to get food or some emergency.

They both have a wife and daughter at home, not doing Itikhaaf. I can guarantee you that one of those daughters is not going to be much help. She’s not yet 3! :)

Thankfully the masjid has a working fridge and stove. The oven hasn’t been used in ages so they won’t use that. We’ll leave one five-gallon container of water with them and they’ll get the toaster oven. I told mom we can stock the freezer with a bag of fries and frozen fish sticks. We will partly bake some little beef pies that mom made and they can finish them up in the oven. And when we cook dinner we will carry it down for them. But since they will keep a car, maybe they can also come pick it up. I told them they can also expect KFC and Pizza and other food I feel like going and buying. After all, we might not be doing Itikhaaf but we will also have/want to spend the nights in extra devotion. My sister-in-law will make sure they’re stocked with snacks. Maybe we’ll move some of the niece’s into the masjid. I haven’t had chinese food in ages. Since my brother has been home I’ve not made pizza.

Empty house. Woohoo. My sister-in-law might spend some time by her mother. I tried to convince my mom she should do it too. Women don’t do it in the masjid. They kinda sequester themselves in part of the house, I think. Imagine…whole house too myself! Woohoo! Unfortunately no.

Now, you might be wondering what is the point of Itikhaaf.

When the prophet was 40 years old, he was spending a night in Ramadhan in the Cave Hira in prayer and devotion. The Angel Jibra’il came to him for the first time then. He received his first revelation. It was the first five verses of Suratul Alaq (Chapter 96 The Clot):

Read in the Name of your Lord, who has created,
Has created man from a clot
Read! And your Lord is Most Generous
Who has taught (the writing) by the pen
Has taught man that which he knew not.

This night is called The Night of Power. Worshipping Allah in that night is better than worshipping Him in a thousand months. So if you catch that night in prayer and devotion you will be…well very blessed.

The problem is nobody knows when the night is. The prophet was made to forget the actual date. Some people say it is the 27th. Some say it is in the last 10 nights. The strongest proofs and the general consensus is that it is in the odd nights of the last 10.

Some people don’t go so far. They just say it is in Ramadhan!

And that is the point of Itikhaaf.
You spend the nights of the last 10 in prayer and devtion, in search of the Night of Power. If you spend all those 10 nights praying (yes you can rest if you need to), you will obviously catch it.

What this really means is we’re coming down to the end!

My brother and father will “sequester” themselves in the masjid sometime Tuesday during the day. This will be the 20th fast and so they will be in the masjid before the start of the 21st day (that is Tuesday sunset!). until the end of Ramadhan (Ramadan will end at sunset before the day we go to the masjid for Eid prayers). Most likely Eid prayers will be Friday 10th and so it will actually be 9 nights?

Why did work have to start back now?

Today is the 18th fast.
I’m getting extremely tired and sleepy now.

I think I mentioned Itikhaaf or the Night of Power briefly in some previous posts here and here.

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