searching for laylat-ul-qadr in myself

We have indeed revealed this (Message) in the Night of Power:
And what will explain to thee what the night of power is?
The Night of Power is better than a thousand months.
Therein come down the angels and the Spirit by Allah’s permission, on every errand:
Peace!…This until the rise of dawn

Quran, 97:1-5

The night of power is a misnomer, because that implies – as I had thought my whole life – that there is one set date that is above all else, that is Laylat-ul-Qadr. But there’s something beautiful about the fact that you have to search for the night, seek it in your prayers, devote yourself to the quest knowing full well that you will never know if you actually found it. Quite the opposite of Lara Croft (I only just finished Tomb Raider last night, it’s on my mind, okay?) in that we are meant to be content never knowing; we must be content with probability and faith. So you pray every odd night in the last ten days of Ramadan, stay up and offer salat, read the Quran, count sweetness on your tasbeeh and ask for the deepest desires of your heart.

Easy enough until the weight of Laylat-ul-Qadr hits you.

My friends know that I’m very religious, but that I don’t talk about it often because it’s deeply personal for me; but I must talk about it now because it is all that is on my mind tonight.

My heart is full of hopes and dreams, and it is full of fears that I push deep beneath the hopes for later perusal. And from that toxic pushing and shoving rises a viscous, thick bubble of insecurity. I’m not a good enough Muslim, I’m not a good enough person, I’m not good enough period. I fear being a hypocrite above all else – and how do you counter that?

I fear that I’m letting hedonism get the better of me. I’m afraid to lose my unwavering optimism and love for other people. I’m afraid to get hurt so badly again. I’m afraid that my parents will stop being proud of me. Oh god, am I afraid my parents will stop being proud of me. I’m afraid I won’t be enough for my friends – or that I haven’t been there for my friends at all. I’m afraid I’m going to be just “above average” for the rest of my life and never pull off any of the exceptional things I want to do. I’m afraid I’m wasting my time.

I’m afraid that I’m not actually the good person I think I am.

And it’s hard to wade through those feelings when that bubble bursts and your throat is choked up and muggy and tasbeeh becomes more frantic.

I was telling my best friend Jemma all about Laylat-ul-Qadr earlier – and how it doesn’t follow any rigid structure of worship, that you can “personalize” it so to speak and that maximizes intention. I mentioned how self-reflection and discussion are a part of worship. If that’s the case, then I probably scored bonus points in this bonus round (as we call it) for self-reflection to the point of existential crisis.

Maybe that’s why we’re meant to search for the night of power – because throughout all those days of searching, throughout all the sujoods, reading the Quran, whispering takbir with as much sincerity as you can muster, you find yourself thinking about yourself a little bit. And I’d be lying if I was only reflecting on my insecurities. I find myself thinking about how my most sincere prayers are for my family, how there are very few prayers I reserve for myself other than “Let me be the best person I can be to help the world.” And the gratitude! If I had to pray in gratitude, I would be seeking Laylat-ul-Qadr for the rest of my life.

I’m not going to wax ‘ilm because frankly, I’m not all that learned. But from what I can piece together, I’ve learnt that there are many objectives to be completed along the way to discovering Laylat-ul-Qadr.

Maybe it’s not entirely unlike Tomb Raider in that sense.

2 thoughts on “searching for laylat-ul-qadr in myself

  1. Having a mini existential crisis once a year during Ramadan is part and parcel of being an observing Muslim as far as I’m concerned :p Some years are more frantic in their soul searching than others but it’s always there… I hope you Inshallah find the answers you seek this Ramadan 🙂

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