A special and unique night during Ramadan is called the Night of Power or al-Qadr. The meaning of the Arabic word “al-Qadr” is very mysterious to Muslims. They apply a variety of meanings: a name for the powerful Allah himself, a reference to the unknown destiny of oneself, an indication to the pre-destined or decreed fate of a believer. This uncertainty of meaning, in the mind of a Muslim, adds to the mystery and sacredness of the night. During this extraordinary and exceptional night, Muslims believe the gates of paradise are open and all one’s sins can be forgiven. Thus this night provides a golden chance for every Muslim to receive Allah’s favor and forgiveness of sins. But some Muslims stay awake during many nights of Ramadan in hopes of obtaining this forgiveness of al-Qadr. Why do they do so? The reason is that they do not know exactly when this night comes.
Allah told Muhammad the exact time and date of al-Qadr, but Muhammad forgot it and was not able to inform his followers about it. According to an authentic prophetic saying, after Allah informed Muhammad about the date of al-Qadr, Muhammad went out to inform the believers, “but there happened a quarrel between two Muslim men,” which caused Muhammad to forget it. He is reported to have said: “I have been shown the Night of ‘Qadr’, but have forgotten its date.” In another report he said: “I was caused to forget it.” While this is the general narrative provided by Islamic tradition regarding the date of this night, still there are conflicting reports regarding the actual date. Some say al-Qadr is within the last seven nights of Ramadan, others place it within the last ten nights. Some say it is during the odd, not the even, nights of the last ten nights, and others zealously claim that al-Qadr is specifically on the twenty-seventh night of Ramadan.
Among Muslims, there are various traditions concerning the observance of this most sacred night, but generally it is a night for reciting the Quran and spending lengthier time in prayer. Some highly devoted Muslims retreat into a mosque and intensely seek Allah to answer to their prayers. Nightly prayers take place throughout Ramadan, but intensify during the last ten days of Ramadan, in expectation of receiving the plenary forgiveness and blessings of al-Qadr. In Morocco, for instance, there is a very interesting tradition concerning the Night of Power. This tradition is not supported by the Quran, yet is commonly believed by cultural Muslims. It tells of a specific divine person named Sidi Qadr (my master Qadr) who appears during Ramadan on al-Qadr to resolve curses, forgive sins, and heal the sick. Moroccans wait earnestly for this divine person to come and answer their prayers.
They know not the divine Man, who came to bring relief to the oppressed, at whose name even the demons shudder. They know not the One who holds the power to forgive their sins any day or night of the year. They know not He who walked this earth healing the sick with the touch of his hand and or a word from his mouth—the One who still heals today. As Muslims seek God’s favor this month of Ramadan, and especially during the Night of Power, let us too, seek God’s favor on their behalf. Let us plead with earnestness that they would truly encounter God and through His Son Jesus, find forgiveness of sins.
Courses and books on Muslim Women are often seen as peripheral materials. This is odd when you consider that women make up at least half the Muslim world, amounting to one billion people. Because the Muslim world is largely gendered, the world Muslim women inhabit is largely invisible to many of the men running courses and writing books around the world. I don’t mean that women are not visible and active in public places, along with men—they are in most Muslim countries today. But the rules that guide their interaction, behavior, the topics they discuss, and the themes that shape both their religious and personal experience are different from those of Muslim men. They are two different communities occupying the same space.
New Zealand Massacre: Standing Up for Persecuted Muslims
Images of what a 24-year-old, white male did at a mosque in Christchurch, reminded me of something: “We have seen the face of evil and it is us.” I also recalled a similar incident much closer to home…
Book Review: A Wind in the House of Islam by David Garrison
The first three chapters describe the author’s research method and the purpose of the study. Garrison describes the world of Islam as an historical Dar al-Islam (House of Islam in Arabic), using the same designation of Muslims for their invisible religious empire from West Africa to Indonesia (6). Then the journey begins. Chapter-by-chapter Garrison walks the reader through the nine rooms of the House of Islam, from Indo-Malaysia through Persia and ending up in the Arab room. Each house provides case studies of Muslim movements to Jesus. These case studies are based on his personal interviews and are filled with stories and testimonies of the work of God in the House of Islam. Garrison’s final analysis identifies 82 movements from the 19-21st centuries with one remarkable pattern. 84% of these movements occurred in the first 12 years of the 21st century! So God is doing something in the House of Islam that he has never done before. More Muslims than ever are turning to Jesus, in these days.
The last three chapters of the book provide the practical applications we’ve come to expect from David Garrison. He answers the “So what?” question within the context of the mission of God to be known by all peoples. By observing how God is at work among Muslims, perhaps we can position ourselves to be better used by God to fulfill his Great Commission. This is the essence of the book. Review what God has done. Watch what he is now doing in an unprecedented way. Learn how he is doing it and live, work, and minister accordingly.
A Wind in the House of Islam has something for all types of readers. Students of history will enjoy the journey. Missiologists will engage the analysis and test the author’s conclusions. Practitioners will mine the case studies and faithful readers will be amazed and inspired by the transformational work of the spirit of God Himself. Can you hear it? The wind of the Spirit of God . . . blowing through Dar al-Islam?