MARYLAND – Hundreds of American Muslims gathered from Maryland state and District of Columbia for a special ceremony marking Laylat Al-Qadr, or night of power, asking Allah for forgiveness in the last days of the holy month of Ramadan.
The ceremony, held on Tuesday night at the Islamic Education Center in Potomac, Maryland, attracted more than 2000 Muslims from Maryland and Columbia, Tasnim news agency reported on Wednesday, June 29.
Gathering before sun set, Muslims prayed in congregation before breaking their fast on the 22nd day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
They later held a late-night vigil to mark the last of three special nights in the holy month of Ramadan, known as Laylat al-Qadr.
Muslims in North America started fasting on Monday, June 6, on the first day of the holy month of Ramadan.
In Ramadan, adult Muslims, save the sick and those traveling, abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.
Muslims dedicate their time during the holy month to be closer to Allah through prayers, self-restraint and good deeds.
The last ten nights of Ramadan are very special. These are the nights that the Prophet Muhammad would spend in constant worship. Among these nights is Laylat al-Qadr (the Night of Power) – a night more blessed than a thousand months.
The Prophet used to single these nights out for worship and the performance of good deeds. He would exert himself in worship during these ten nights more than any other nights of the year.
I`tikaf is a spiritual retreat in the mosque where a Muslim secludes for the purpose of purifying his or her heart.
The ritual aims to get close to Allah by performing extra acts of worship, especially Tahajjud (optional night prayers) and reciting Qur’an.
Most Muslims perform I’tikaf during the holy month of Ramadan, spending the last 10 days of the month exclusively in the mosque.