World Bulletin / News Desk
Muslims throughout Turkey will celebrate Kadir Gecesi, or the Night of Power, today, marking the anniversary of the night on which the revelation of the Holy Quran first began.
Known as Laylat al-Qadr in Arabic, the Night of Power is traditionally accepted as the night between the 26th and 27th days of Ramadan. It is believed that the Quran was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad through the Angel Gabriel on this night. It is, therefore, the most sacred night of the entire year.
Muslims believe that one should take special care to direct supplications to God on that night, as it is also the night when the fate of the next year is decided. The Quran states that the night is “better than a thousand months.”
Every year, young and old, men and women from every social class and background flock to large historic mosques in İstanbul on this night to perform the terawih -- a voluntary night prayer specific to Ramadan -- and listen to the sermons and recitations of the Quran in congregation. Many mosques will remain open all night for Laylat al-Qadr to give the opportunity for Muslims to spend the night that comes only once a year in the mosque, passing their time in prayer, supplication and reflection.
For those who stay at home, many channels broadcast the prayer services going on at some of the larger mosques live. Laylat al-Qadr programs featuring talks on the importance of the night for Muslims are broadcast on many channels throughout the night.
WHAT IS THE NIGHT OF POWER?
The Quran's 97th chapter treats the Night of Power exclusively: “In the name of God, the Beneficent the Merciful. Indeed, We sent it [the Holy Quran] down on the Night of Power. What will convey to you what the Night of Power is like! Better is the Night of Power than a thousand months; in that Night the angels and the Spirit descend; by the permission of their Lord for every affair. Peace it is, till the break of dawn.”
It is not certain when the Night of Power occurs. Muslims are encouraged to seek out the night -- and the message of mercy found in it -- during the last 10 days of Ramadan. However, many Muslim countries, including Turkey, designate a set night as Laylat al-Qadr, usually the 27th day of Ramadan. The traditions of the Prophet Muhammad and the Holy Quran encourage Muslims to seek out God's forgiveness on this night which is the anniversary of the start of the sacred text's revelation. A companion of the Prophet Muhammad, Abu Hurayrah, related that the Prophet said, “Whoever stands [in prayer] in Laylat al-Qadr out of faith and in the hope of reward from God will have all of his previous sins forgiven.” (Recorded by Bukhari, Muslim)
A special dua, or supplication, that the Prophet taught Muslims to use during the last 10 days of Ramadan -- as there is no exact date for the Night of Power and Muslims only know that it will occur during one of the odd-numbered nights in this timeframe -- is frequently recited, “O God, verily you are forgiving and love forgiveness, so forgive me.” (Recorded by Ahmad, Tirmidhi)