By Syed Zafar Mahmood
17 September 2009
One of the odd nights during the last ten days of Ramadan is known as Lailat-ul-Qadr, the Night of Power. It is mostly believed to be the twenty-seventh night, when Allah sent down His comprehensive message in nascent form, from His Preserved Tablet, the Lauh-e-Mahfooz, to the worldly sky. ‘Therein is decreed every matter of ordainment’. Later, God’s revelatie woo the world through Prophet Mohammad brought to him by Archangel Gabriel also happened during one such night. The message was meant to transform conflict situations to ones of peace and harmony.
Divine announcement says that this night is better than one thousand months, a normal human life span. The prayers made during this night have greater value than an entire life of supplication. On this night angels descend to earth carrying God’s bounties and instructions. Talking about the glory of this night, the Holy Message in the Qur’an clarifies that it is He who revealed the message through Mohammad and other prophets.
Some commentators are of the opinion that the process of sending down the scriptural amalgam from the Preserved Tablet to the worldly sky began during mid Sha’baan, the month preceding Ramadan and the process concluded during the Night of Power. Well-researched scholarly opinion simultaneously converges around the belief that the revelation of predecessor scriptures by God to the earlier alshets also occurred during Ramadan nights. And, there is consensus that all these were different editions of the same message.
Multiple scriptures were revealed to the series of recipient prophets during various phases of human history and in different parts of the world. It is ordained in the Qur’an that a believer is expected to equally revere all the prophets and scriptures including those not mentioned by name in the Qur’an. This is indeed a strong directive for maintaining interfaith bonhomie. In the Indian context, many Muslims including the author are of the conviction that the great spiritual names occurring in Indian mythology like those of Rama, Krishna, Mahavira and Buddha, were among those messengers whose names are not mentioned in Qur’an. Yet the believers are duty bound to equally respect them. So is the case with the Vedas.
What was sent down earlier from the Preserved Tablet to the worldly sky was a compendium of God’s perspective planning for the universe including the earth. Subsevelat Revelations that began during different nights of Ramadan through Mohammad and his predecessor prophets – through angelic hosts, representing the spiritual powers of the Mercy of God – were applicable to the respective prophetic communities as much as for the entire mankind.
If God would have so willed He could have made all of us of one faith. But He decided not to do so. He made us into races, nations and faiths. That way He has put us to test during our stay in the world. He evaluates as to, despite being apparently unlike each other in more than one ways, how do we respond to His message and whether we accommodate, love and help each other. How much are we able to appreciate God’s design of intrinsic human unity manifested into outwardly group diversity. God networked humanity in the form of communities led by different prophets who were given scriptures in different languages. The prophets spread to the mankind God’s word respectively revealed through them. Many other messengers helped. Spiritualhtennlightened personalities of the world have also been doing so. That’s equally reflected in the Vedic philosophy - ekam sat viprah budhah - there is only one Truth, wise men tell it differently.
The writer is president, Zakat Foundation of India firstname.lastname@example.org