30-Days of Prayer for
the Muslim World

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Muslims and God   30-Days: Our Purpose in Prayer


26 Dec 2013

 

Night of Power

July 24th in 2014

 

Laylatul Qadr (the Night of Power) holiest of all

Muslim scholars believe that while the Qur'an was revealed over a period of 23 years the Night of Power is considered the night in which the first revelations of Islam and the prophethood of Muhammed began. This night is in celebration of the arrival of the Qur'an.

In Arabic, Laylatul Qadr (the Night of Power) is described in the Qur'an as, “better than a thousand months” (Sura 97:3). Al-Qadr means power and implies having power over something, particularly to Allah. The character of Allah is excellence in power, capable, all powerful, almighty. It also implies ‘high esteem’ and thus the Night of Power is to be highly esteemed.

When does it occur?

It is often a point of debate among Muslim scholars as to when exactly the Night of Power occurs. Some scholars say that this night is hidden. Some say it occurs on either the 1st, 7th or 19th night of Ramadan. However, there is strong evidence that the night occurs during the last 10 days of Ramadan, specifically on odd numbered nights. In a report by Bukhari, Muhammed said, “Seek it on the odd nights of the last 10 days of Ramadan.” In Hadith by Ubayy bin Ka’ab, Muhammed also said, “By Allah, I know which night it is. It is the night the Messenger commanded us to observe, the night of the 27th.”

Muslims believe angels perform special deeds on this night

The whole Night of Power, from sunset to dawn, is the holiest night of the year. It is believed that there are groups of special angels who are only seen on the Night of Power. These angels perform special purposes. Some come down for worship, others for granting the request of the believing Muslim. Other angels come down bringing with them proclamations of the coming year.

Today, many Muslims think this is a special night when God gives heed to their requests. Often they are open to dreams and visions as they seek for guidance and revelation. Many Muslims pray all night seeking a response to specific requests. One common belief is that angels will shower down the peace and blessings of God on all who remain awake during this ‘night of power’. According to the Qur’an, God either listens directly or via the angel Gabriel, to the requests of Muslims concerning their fate.

As Muhammed had his destiny fulfilled by receiving the revelation of the Qur’an on this night, Muslims also call this the “Night of Destiny”. This night seems equally important among orthodox Muslims and in Folk Islam. It is on this night, and during the following weeks, that many Muslims have had supernatural encounters with God.

Muslims are encouraged to stay awake the entire night, and pray for blessings and forgiveness. According to Abu Huraira translation of the Hadith, the Prophet Muhamed declared that “whoever prays during the Night of Power with faith and hoping for its reward will have all his previous sins forgiven.” There are many things that a Muslim will endeavour to do on the Night of Power including recite and study the Quran, make special requests from Allah, evaluate their own lives and make plans for the next year.

Some Muslims will take the day off work so they can stay up all night and will often spend this night in the mosque.

Prayer Points

Researchers contend that 80% of new Christians in South Asia come to Christ as a direct result of supernatural encounters. More than half of new believers in Iran have had a dream or vision of Jesus and at least 35% of all recent Turkish conversions were in response to a dream and/or vision. In most cases, these supernatural encounters are in relation to a specific need or answer to prayer and are the result of years of prayer and labour by God’s people, including martydom. Often, a Muslim has heard the message of Jesus or even read parts of the Bible. While not all Muslims experience dreams or visions of Jesus, the supernatural is very much an accepted part of life.

There are many stories throughout the Bible where God spoke through a dream or vision. (Genesis 41, Genesis 46:2 & 3, Daniel 4, Judges 7:10-15, Ezekiel 11:24, Matthew 2:12, 19, Acts 10:3-20, Revelation 1:1). In many of these cases the end result was for the purpose of salvation or physical safety. Ramadan is a strategic time for Christians to believe that God would sovereignly reveal Himself to those who do not yet know Him.

* Consider setting this night aside as an all night prayer time with your church or mission group. Look for ways to make your time of prayer varied and interesting. For example: Flags, photographs, maps, posters, video documentaries will all add lots of interest and give you ideas to pray for.

* As you pray during this night, pray for issues such as Muslim leaders and governments, Muslim families and children. Pray for increased numbers of missionaries and workers, and pray for new believers (1 Timothy 2:1).

* Pray for a supernatural move of the Holy Spirit to reveal Jesus to the many Muslims who will seek God tonight (Psalm 118:21, Acts 4:33).

  

30-Days of Prayer for
the Muslim World

Prayer Materials 2005

The Night of Power

The Night of Power (Al-Qadr)

Surat 97 of the Qur’an
Revealed before the Hijrah. This chapter has 5 verses.

“In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
1. We have indeed revealed this (Message) in the Night of Power:
2. And what will explain to thee what the Night of Power is?
3. The Night of Power is better than a thousand Months.
4. Therein come down the angels and the Spirit by Allah’s permission, on every errand:
5. Peace! ... This until the rise of Morn!”

The Night of Power, or “Laylat ul-Qadr” as it is known in Arabic, is one of the most significant moments of the Islamic year. Muslims believe that groups of angels are sent out on the Night of Power to perform special purposes. Some come down to earth to worship Allah, others come to bring about the requests of believing Muslims. Special angels are also said to descend to earth to make proclamations about the coming year. This night is also called the “Night of the Decree or Destiny” by some.

This night of “blessing” is supposedly the same night of the month of Ramadan as when Mohammed first received the revelation of the Qur’an, but may actually be one of several nights. Bukhari, a companion of Mohammed, reported that the prophet of Islam said, “Seek it on the odd numbered nights of the last ten days of Ramadan.” According to the Hadith by Ubayy bin Ka’ab, Mohammed also said, “By Allah, I know which night it is. It is the night the Messenger commanded us to observe, the 27th night.” Even so, according to many the exact moment during Ramadan remains a mystery to test the sincerity of Muslims concerning their faith. The seriously interested person will seek God’s blessings all night until he or she attains this moment of blessing, regardless of the hardship.

Muslims are often encouraged to stay awake during the entire night, and pray for blessings and forgiveness. This is one moment of the year when Muslims have a bit more confidence that God will hear and act on their behalf. According to tradition, Mohammed is supposed to have said: “Whoever prays during the Night of Power with faith and hoping for its reward will have all his previous sins forgiven.”

Muslims often also recite the Qur’an on this night while making special requests to God. Others may evaluate their own lives and make plans for the next year. Sometimes Muslims will take time off work to be able to stay up all night, spending the time at the local mosque.

Muslims come to this night with several attitudes. Some want to prove their devotion to God through their prayers, even being proud of their religious accomplishments. Others, knowing in their hearts that they are incapable of really pleasing God by their own religious activity, will feel disappointed with themselves. Finally, significant numbers will be praying in desperation and are genuinely seeking help from God.

Prayer Points

Be specific in your praying. Ask God to inspire you. Often women who are sterile will look to God to conceive as a result of their praying during this night. Others who are unemployed will pray. Some who are having family problems or who are sick will also be calling on God during this night.

You might pray something like the following:

* Lord, may Your compassion flow in our hearts for Muslims during this night. Lord, You are a father to the fatherless. You are near to those who are lowly and contrite in heart (Isa 51:17, 57:17 and 66:2).

* Lord, may You break down all thoughts of self-righteousness through religious activity among Muslims who participate in the Night of Power. May You move them toward true humility before You (Dan 4:37).

* May all glory be Yours because of Your loving character and for all You have done. Lord, may You be acting during the Night of Power so that people may have a revelation of Jesus, the Messiah.

* Lord, remember those who are genuinely seeking Your help this night. May You give them the help they need in such a way that they will understand that it comes to them through the Messiah, Jesus (Ps 34:18, Zech 9:9).

Notes on the Qur’an

Please note: The text of Surat 97 (facing) is the only place in the “30 Days” booklet where we have cited an entire Surat (chapter) of the Qur’an. Reading the Qur’an is not forbidden for Christians but it should be done with care.

All chapters of the Qur’an begin with the words “In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.” While this sounds like a Biblical idea of God it is actually the exact opposite concept. In popular Islamic thinking grace is definitely something to be “earned.” One receives grace and pardon by performing certain religious acts. Allah is gracious only to those who practice Islam. He is no lover of sinners.

Meritorious religious activity receives grace in Islam. For example: Some Muslims believe that they will receive the merit of 100,000 daily prayers by praying at the Mosque Haram in Mecca. This amounts to about 55 years of prayer five times per day. This merit will weigh heavily in the balance on the Day of Judgement. However to receive such merit Muslims need to make the pilgrimage to Mecca. They receive merit and forgiveness as a result of their religious activity (if it is God’s will).

 Prayer in Islam

Muslims are supposed to pray five times a day at specific times while facing the direction of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. Muslim prayer is formal and ritualistic yet many Muslims do make every effort to be sincere and upright in performing their prayers.

Muslim prayer is characterised by rules of respect and attitudes of politeness toward Allah (Please note that all Arab speakers use this word for God — whether Christian or Muslim, though their ideas of God are significantly different.).

"Praying correctly and at the appropriate time is one of the greatest indications of (Muslim) faith and a great sign of true religion".1 Prayer is to be done with heart and body cleanliness, with cleanness of clothing and in a ceremonially clean place. The washing of the hands, nose, face, forearms, ears, and feet in preparation for Muslim prayer is important. 

Muslims place very strong emphasis on the exact postures and the words of their prayers (which are always in Arabic). Almost all Muslim prayer is concerned with reciting specific phrases from memory. In the course of the five regular prayer times a Muslim will prostrate himself a total of 34 times and he will repeat the following phrases:

"Allah is greater"

"Praised be my mighty Lord"

"Allah hears the one who praises him"

He will also recite the "Al-Fatiha" or another text from the Qur’an 17 times, the "Shadada" (Islamic creed), and the greeting of peace to all Muslims.

Muslims can make requests to God privately after they finish their ritual prayers. However, Muslims do not believe that God binds himself to his people through covenants. This is a key concept for understanding their attitudes toward answers to prayer and their lack of assurance of God’s steadfast love towards them. In addition, Muslims generally believe that Allah’s desires (for good or ill) will always be done despite their activities or requests. Trusting in God for specific responses to prayer in the Christian sense is not practised among Muslims. This is a huge difference between Muslim and Christian experience.

Prayer points:

* Muslims need to come to know the Christ of Christian prayer. Pray that Muslims would come to know that God Himself wants to communicate directly with them. Pray this specifically for any Muslims that you may know personally. Pray for the Muslims in your city, region and nation.

* Pray for newly-converted Muslims, that they may develop real confidence in God as one who keeps His covenants, makes promises and who hears and answers prayer.

* Christians need to share their prayer experience with Muslims in humility. Pray that God will give us wisdom when describing our Christian prayer experience so that God would be glorified and Muslims could understand Him better.

1"Enseignement de la prière" by Mohammed Mahmoud Assaouaf  p..20 French Translation of Salaheddine Kechrid 1977