Rabbi! Inni Limaa Anjalta ilayya min Khayrin faqir
"My Lord! I am needy of whatever good Thou sendest down for me." - Prayer of Moses, upon him be peace, Quran 28:24
Just as there are times inside the coming and going of day and night, when we replenish our bodily hunger and thirst by intaking food and drinks, so there are special spiritual occasions in the flow of time which are appointed to replenish our soul. In every spiritual path we find that during these special occasion the devotees are encouraged to turn inward, to seek forgiveness for missing their mark of true divine-human nature, to remember the grace in which they are drowned or to unveil ignorance minute and great.
Tonight (mid Shaban in islamic lunar calendar) is observed as Shab-e-Barat (also known as Laylatul Baraah) or the night of blessings. Its a night appointed to seek divine grace, sustainance and to renew spiritually for humanity across the world. It is believed to be a special night washed by the luminous full moon, when the door of mercy and grace is opened to mankind by the Most Generous One and the door remains open until the arrival of dawn.
As often time in our busy, complex human existence that is veiled by so many layers of worldly concern we forget about our true nature. Thus it takes a time to turn inward, most importantly to purify our intentions. Shab e Barat is one such special night when all mankind is encouraged to do so. According to the Al Baqir and Jaa’far as Sadiq, hallowed be their station, God has promised to fulfill every legitimate desire put forward to Him tonight. During this night God, Embodiment of Perfection, bestows on people from His bounty and forgives them out of His Grace and Generosity.
Muslims across islamic communities around the world celebrate this night in praise and glorification, asking for forgiveness and grace. The night is specially observed in great enthusiasm in Indian sub-continent including here in Bangladesh. The muslims who are specially devoted to the holy bloodline of the Prophet (ahle bayat, the shiites) have more reason to mark this night as specially blessed because of the birth of the twelfth leader of islamic community just at the cusp of dawn at this night.
In the sacred tradition of Islam it is related: "Therefore, stay awake this night in prayer and worship and encourage your community to also keep awake this night in order to get closer to God through their actions since this is a noble night. This is a night in which not a single person supplicates to God except that his or her prayers are accepted. Nobody asks for a single thing on this night except that it will be given to him. No one asks God for forgiveness except that his sins are wiped out. No one turns in repentance to God except that He accepts their repentance. Whoever is deprived of the goodness of this night has definitely been deprived of something great."
The spiritual wisdom behind such appointed special nights (or days in that matter) in any faith tradition is that this encourage the majority of people (who not necessarily are living a very immersed spiritual life) to come back to their center of gravity of their spiritual self and renew their connection with divine center.
On one occasion, the holy Prophet spent half of this auspicious night through prayer and the rest through a long sijdah or prostration. It is reported that on one such occasion the holy Prophet was so deeply absorbed in his meditation (samadhi) and remained so long in prostration that his close associate became awfully nervous and thought that his noble soul perhaps had left his body.
The Holy Prophet, upon him be holy benediction, used to recite the following in Sajdah (prostration) tonight after the Tahajjud (deep night) prayers (audio in mp3):
"I prostrate my self in adoration before Thee, my thoughts and feelings in close attention, putting faith in Thee from the depth of my heart.
O the Great, my every noble deed's reliance is upon Thee, forgive my serious offenses because, beyond a shadow of doubt, no one can truly forgive except Thee.
I adhere close to the Light of Thy Being that had illuminated the heavens and the earths, removed and exposed the darkness, put in order the operations, from the beginning to the end, at all times free from violent and unexpected changes to the worse, absence of recovery and adjustment and discontinuation of the supply of natural resources.
O Allah give me a gnostic awe, pure conscience, free from hypocrisy, which is neither renegade nor villainous. I put my face on the dusty earth because it is imposed as a duty that I prostrate myself in adoration before Thee."
"O Allah, grant us a part of Your awe, that acts as a barrier between us and Your disobedience; grant us Your obedience, that helps us achieve Your pleasure, the certainty that makes the miseries of the world seem insignificant. O Allah, make us enjoy our hearing, our sight, our strength as long as You Keep us alive. Make us take rise against those who oppress us, and help us against those who show animosity to us. Place not our miseries in our religion, and let not this world be our biggest concern, nor the extent of our knowledge. And do not appoint over us one who has no mercy on us, by your mercy, O The Most Merciful."
- Prayer of the Holy Prophet on this evening of mid Shaban | Mp3 version and text credit
In both Eastern and Western Hemisphere this year (2009), Friday, 7th August sundown will be mostly observed as the occasion of this night of excellence. May this night's special blessings be with you all.
Qul: "alhamdu lillahi wa salamun aala ibadihi allazeena-s-tafa!"
Say, "Praise be to Allah, and pure peace be upon His worshippers whom He has chosen!" - The Quran 27:39