Yesterday happened to be one of the last 10 days of Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting.
Yesterday also happened to be one of the odd nights, the 25th.
Thus, yesterday was a reasonable possibility for the night of Laylatul Qadr.
People gathered in small groups and there was much shuffling and moving in the Mosque. Here and there men whispered quietly on whether or not they should stay the night. I on the other hand was frantically preparing for a planned sleepover.
Phone calls were made and anxious waiting periods we suffered. Last minute preparations for food was accomplished in frantic haste. Somehow the time flew and there I was, 12:00 am, Midnight. At that crucial moment I thought it was over. The planning had been terrible and a majority of the people had yet to show up. No soul would stay today at the Mosque.
I let my gaze circle around the mosque. Empty, except for a few individuals sitting here and there, absorbed in their own thoughts. Soon they would leave too.
Where was everybody?
Then, a crack and a squeak and a friend came through the door. A few moments later another entered, then another, like some steady stream of water, more and more people entered into the Mosque seeking the night of Laylatul Qadr, a Night so powerful that it is worth 83 years of worship.
Soon the Mosque was alive with human voices, as I stared in utter disbelief. Was my phone clock off or something? I peeked at it again and sure enough it was 12:15 am. Some of the elders had come as well which was most unexpected. Small children ran around the prayer room, hitting each other with a golf ball they found in some shanty corner. Wow, I thought. I shouldn’t have been so moody about this whole affair. Usually staying over at the mosque wasn’t on the priority list for the elders at our mosque but gezz, apparently it was a priority today.
And I was perfectly fine with that.
Soon, Quran was recited, lectures were given and many honourable deeds were done (which consisted of the attendees eating and listening without being a distraction). But soon enough, eyelids were heavy and mouths were protruding with a hungry look. It looked as if all of us needed a splash of water to the face.
But soon the prayers commenced. Then, all rose in incredible, dreamy fashion, with their tired eyes and sore limbs to stand before their Lord in prayer. Much du’a (supplication) was made and many prayers were performed. The lights were dimmed and many slept in warm, prepared corners of the Mosque. Dreamy, quite whispers pervaded the mosque. Yet this night was filled with a strange palpable energy of some 20 people that have gathered for one purpose: Worship.
The moment did not last. The food was eaten for the pre-dawn meal and the dawn prayer was prayed.
Our vigil had come to a conclusion.
Here I am the next day sitting in front of my computer writing this post and it is as if I have come back from an otherworldly journey, sad and dispondent to leave the excitement and experience behind.
That was the hunt for Laylatul Qadr. All I hope for now is to engage in this hunt again next year. But even that is a speculation because none of us know when death will complete his