Last night was one of the most sacred nights of Ramadan for muslims, and some even consider it as the most important one, as for them it is the night that their prophet Muhammad received the revelations of the Qur’an. As there is no absolute certainty about which of the last ten nights of Ramadan might be Laylat al-Qadr, the night of Power, all the odd nights starting from the 21st night of Ramadan are considered as the most important ones. Thus the majority of muslims spend the whole night praying in the mosque, some even spend the whole last ten days of Ramadan there. According to islamic believe, Laylat al-Qadr equals a thousand nights, thus the prayers performed during that night count more than during any other time.

Fortunately I was able to experience the 27th of the nights with some friends of mine in the state Mosque of Qatar, the Sheikh Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahhab Mosque. Correcting my last post about it, I heard that in fact it has room for around 30.000 people instead of 10.000.

The raka’at of the prayer were the longest I have experienced so far. Raka’at are the units of the islamic prayer that consist of all the sūrah (verses of the Qur’an), and movements described by their prophet. Unlike the regular prayers during one day, these two raka’at lasted about 20 minutes each, making it an intense experience.

Even though I did not understand a word of the imam’s recitation, the sound of his voice was soothing and peaceful. Following all the raka’at the duaa prayers were performed, which are not obligatory to my knowledge and can be compared to the rogations in church. People would ask for divine support for whatever they need it. At the end it became quite an intense experience, that can hardly be described. If you are interested to experience this most important moment in the islamic year, ask some friends to take you with them to the mosque. There is one more odd night

Somehow I did attract quite a lot of attention from other people who wanted to know if I also am muslim. I declined but wondered about why. The color of my skin possibly suggests, that I am most likely not born a muslim, and it is quite a big deal for muslims to see a non-muslim interested or at least curious about their practices. Needless to say, that I received a lot of wishes to convert to Islam, but I already got used to this since I have arrived.  Often this tends to lead to prolonged discussions about the reasons for why I did in fact not convert. I accepted that almost all the muslims I will meet, will make an effort to tell me about their religion, this is also part of living in a muslim country.

Even though I am just about to dive into a whole new topic, I just want to add, that I do enjoy some of the discussions among a group of muslims-only about their religion. I can see, that as human as it is to question, there are areas where cultural perspectives mix in with orthodox religious believe. Despite observing this, I have the impression, that this has led to a lot of prejudices about any religion by many people. They often see a cultural practice and mistake it as pure religion. Personally I object here. Looking at [religious] people is never looking at a religion. Members of any religion always interpret and make their own judgement and thus by nature don’t represent a religion to a hundred percent. This statement might get some to disagree heavily with me, as they will claim, that they do represent their religion a hundred percent.

Eventually most of the religious wars in the world originated on this misconception. I am not aware of any religion (scripture) that clearly orders people to kill each other. So, while possibly taking up the cudgels here for all Religions, I have found the following thinking a safe bet: If you want to judge about a religion, read the scriptures of that religion and don’t build your judgement just by looking at people. If we ever think, declaring believe for any form of religion makes anyone better than anybody else, we have already lost anyways.

Alright, I will leave it as that and go and enjoy the last 90 minutes of sunshine outside

Stay well.