Night of Power

2016 Ramadan GraphicLaylat Al Qadr known as the “Night of Power” is the holiest night of the year for Muslims. Most Islamic scholars believe it falls on one of the odd-numbered nights of the final ten days of Ramadan. Typically it is celebrated on the 27th day of Ramadan, which is today, July 2, 2016. It commemorates the night that Muslims believe the Prophet Muhammad received the first revelations of the Qur’an, which are recorded in Sura 96.

The Night of Power is described in Sura 97: “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 morn!”

The Hadith also describes the Night of Power and says that anyone that prays on this night out of sincere faith will have all his past sins forgiven. (Bukhari Vol. 1, Book 2, Number 35).

Arab News claims Muhammad intentionally did not give an exact night for the celebration of Laylat Al Qadr, because of the importance of the night. Muslims are encouraged to “seek” the Night of Power in the last ten days of Ramadan. This way Muslims believe Allah can give something worthwhile to the deserving person while “denying the hypocritical and lackadaisical ones.”

Imam Khalid Latif, from the Islamic Center at New York University, reveals that what a Muslim does to seek out the Night of Power will vary from person to person. Some will pray the regular prayers at the ascribed times and then stand for hours in ritual prayer. Others will read or listen to the Qur’an.

Some Muslims participate in what is called “itikaf” which in Islam means to stay in a mosque for a particular period of time for the purpose of worshiping Allah. In order to receive the blessing of itikaf the person participating must be mentally stable, a true Muslim, and seek to perform itikaf to seek closeness with Allah, not to please another person or to show off. They must fast and stay inside the mosque for the entire period of the itikaf which is for a minimum of three days. Muslims are encouraged to spend their time reading the Qur’an, performing prayers and seeking blessings from Allah during the itikaf.Night of Power

From the Qur’anic passage, Muslims believe angels come and perform special purposes including granting requests and bringing proclamations of the coming year.  Many Muslims pray all night, and believe the angels will shower down blessings and peace if they remain awake. It is a time when Muslims are open to dreams and visions as they seek guidance and revelation for the coming year.

All Muslims consider themselves the spiritual descendants of Ishmael, Abraham’s son. Ishmael was the first person in the Bible that God named before his birth and his name means “God hears.”

Sura 1 in the Qur’an is considered to be one of its most important passages. A devout Muslim will pray this sura as many as 18 times a day – during their regular prayers, when he gets up, when he goes to bed and before meals. In this sura, Muslims ask Allah to guide them to the right path.

So many times a day for the past 1,400 years devout Muslims have prayed Sura 1.  The spiritual descendants of Ishmael, the one whose very name means “God hears,” have been crying out to know the right path.

In Luke 1:78-79 (NLT) we read:

“Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.”

God hears the cries of Ishmael’s descendants who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death today. They ask daily to be guided to the right path, let us cry out that they will indeed be guided to the true right path – the path to peace, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Prayer Points:

God hears the prayers of the Muslim people around the world – pray that their hearts will be open to His truth as He reveals Himself to them.

Pray that Jesus Christ, the Son of the true and living God will appear to Muslims during this time through dreams and visions.

Since this is a time of heightened spiritual activity, pray that Spirit-filled Christians around the world will be quickened by the Holy Spirit to pray and contend for the Muslim people.

Islam’s Identity Crisis

2016 Ramadan GraphicIn order to completely deal with a spiritual issue, God looks at the root. At the root of Islam is an identity crisis.

All Muslims consider themselves the spiritual descendants of Ishmael, Abraham’s son. In fact, Muhammad was a direct descendent of Ishmael through Ishmael’s second son, Kedar.

The Biblical account of Ishmael is found in Genesis 16-17. Ishmael, whose name means “God hears,” was the first person to ever be named by God before birth. The Bible tells us that Abram was 86 years old when Ishmael was born to Hagar, the servant of Abram’s wife. Thirteen years later, when Abram was 99, God appeared to him, changed his name to Abraham and promised to make him the father of many nations. God also told Abraham that His covenant would be established through his son Isaac, the son that Sarah his wife would have.

Abraham petitioned God regarding his son Ishmael, and God said, “as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation…”

Genesis 21 describes the fulfillment of the promise of the birth of Isaac. When Isaac was weaned Abraham had a feast. Sarah saw Ishmael mocking Isaac, and insisted that Abraham send Ishmael and his mother away. At age 15, Ishmael was cast out of his father’s house. Abraham loved Ishmael so the thought of sending him away was quite distressing. God then said to Abraham, “Do not let it be displeasing in your sight because of the lad or because of your bondwoman. Whatever Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice; for in Isaac your seed shall be called. Yet I will also make a nation of the son of the bondwoman, because he is your seed” (Genesis 21:12-13).

So at the age of 15, Ishmael was forced from his father’s house. After soon running out of water, he found himself dying in the wilderness. His mother, Hagar, could not bear to see her son die so she left him alone under a shrub to die. Imagine the pain of rejection and fatherlessness, Ishmael must have experienced – in an instant he went from being a son to a servant. The Bible says God heard the cry of Ishmael, and then He spoke to Hagar, “Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is. Arise, lift up the lad and hold him with your hand, for I will make him a great nation” (Genesis 21:17-18). God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. She gave Ishmael a drink, saving him from death. He grew and lived in the wilderness.

Ishmael lost his identity when his father, Abraham cast him out. Without a father, he also lost his inheritance. Even today the religion of Islam reflects the lost identity and inheritance of Ishmael. Muslims see themselves as servants of God but they cannot have a personal relationship with their god, Allah, so they are desperately working in order to please him and avoid judgment.

Prayer Point:

Pray that God will reveal the truth about the destiny of the Muslim people that is hidden in the name of Ishmael – He hears their cries and desires a relationship with them as their Father.