By Ieasha Prime
Praise be to Allah for allowing us to reach the 15th day of Ramadan. It’s right in the middle, when the freshness of Ramadan intentions for many have become stale, strength plateaued, excitement waned and the fast has lost its zeal. It’s a time when some return to their normal routine at work; hence, the fast is on autopilot and we are simply refraining from what is prohibited and checking the boxes of obligation.
Many are planning to regroup the last ten nights and are already shopping for Eid to beat the rush. The ranks of believers in tarawih prayer have lessened and iftars with the community are few. Believers have hopes of restoring some normalcy to our affairs. However, there is nothing normal about the time we are in.
Perhaps this is part of the reason why the Beloved Messenger of Allah, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) waited until the 15th night to begin the qunut (the praying out loud in the last rakat). It is this prayer in the last rakat that begins to move the heart and urge the soul onward to the door of Allah, energizing the believer to call out to The Lord of all the Worlds.
Allah introduces the 15th part of the Quran with Surah Isra Chapter 17. “Glory to Allah, Who took His servant in a miraculous Journey by night…” This journey would forever change the relationship between Allah and His servants. The night Journey was a direct experience between the Beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and Allah, The Majestic. This would set the precedence for the believer to have a direct connection to His Lord through the salat without an intercessor.
Not only did Allah and His Messenger include us in this life altering revelation of prayer, He raised the Beloved Prophet (pbuh) to the heavens in a moment. This miracle exposed the hypocrites who thought they had faith. Upon hearing this news they fell back in disbelief while others would ascend to the ranks of true believers in Allah’s Power and Muhammad as His Messenger.
Allah continues to unfold the greatness of this miracle with scientific discoveries. The servant bearing witness to these inventions (cellphones, voice travel, Skype’s image travel, worm-holes and now Hawkins’s work on the God- particle) are increased in faith, increased in admiration for the miracle of Quran and further recognizes Allah’s Majesty and Power.
The believer, more importantly, recognizes that Allah can, did and will suspend the norm for His servants and performed miracles! Allah emphasizes that when all the odds appeared completely against His servants, He intervened in their affairs and saved them from their enemies.
Allah says in Surah Isra that, “the believer is the one that trusts and takes Allah as the Disposer of all their affairs.” While you are fasting, reading the Quran, praying at night, doing service for others and arranging your spiritual affairs, Allah will handle your worldly affairs. You can only do this if you truly believe in Allah as The Lord of the Throne and your Lord as mentioned in Surah 17:20 “Of the bounties of thy Lord We bestow freely on all”.
Throughout the 15th juz, Allah reminds us to worship none except Him. He reminds us to be a grateful servant, have firm belief and excellent striving for a good fate on the Day of Judgment, be kind and humble to our parents and pray for them, give kith and kin their due rights, be fair and just in business dealings, and say only those things which are best.
Then comes a series of prohibitions- Do not be hasty, avoid being a spendthrift, do not kill your children for fear of want, do not come near unlawful sex, nor take life except for just cause, don’t harm the property of orphans, don’t pursue that which is not your business, and do not walk on the earth in insolence or arrogance.
Black Americans used to have a culture of prayer in general and prayers in the night in particular. It was under the veil of darkness that our ancestors would come together and pray to the Almighty. In congregation, they would draw upon each other’s strength while chanting and singing faithful prayers of praise, prayers for the right direction and timing, prayers for certainty in hardship and prayers for liberation.
Over time, this culture vanished. Black Americans are less confident about the power of prayer over-all and the specific power of their collective prayers. Black American Muslims have been granted a unique position with keys to The Kingdom and the sweetness of spiritual freedom.
The qunut (the Night Prayer) for Journey And Ascension must be reestablished. The eternal Messenger of Allah beckons us again at the midway point to not lose steam and to collectively gather in the night for a meeting between the servants and their Lord. At a time when our enemies are at the gate, their mouths filled with lies, their eyes filled with hatred, we must call on Allah to suspend the norm and Be the Disposer of our Affairs.
The angel Jibreel (upon him be peace) taught us to start the prayer with the Bismillah, praise of Allah, prayers of peace upon the eternal Prophet Muhammad, then say “Ya Awal al-Awalin, Ya Akhir al-Akhirin, Ya Dhu al-Quwah wa al-Matin, Ya Rahim al-Masakin, Ya Arham al-Rahimin……” Oh The First of the first, Oh Last of the last, Oh Possessor of Strength and One who solves problems, Oh Merciful to the downtrodden, Oh Most Merciful of those who show Mercy….”
Then cry out to your Lord, specify your needs and release the good concerns and desires of your heart, end with praise of Him, prayers of peace on the Prophet for making the connection and watch the miracles unfold in your life, in the community and the world!
Ieasha Prime is the Executive Director of Barakah, Inc., http://www.barakahinc.com, an online education resource for Islamic Study. She was traditionally educated in the Islamic sciences and is a frequent speaker nationally and internationally on a variety of subjects.