Despite a volatile week, spirits were still high during Laylatul Qadr activities at Masjidul Aqsa last night which drew smaller crowds than usual. Its believed 270,000 Palestinians gathered tonight at Al Aqsa masjid on the 27th of Ramadan, considered the Night of Power, the climax of Ramadan.
Following the killings of three Palestinians and an Israeli police person at its Damascus gate last, Masjidul Quds saw an increase in Israeli security officials and the prevention of entrance into Jerusalem for residents of the West Bank.
A large group of South Africans are currently residing at the Marwani Mosque in Jerusalem for I’tikaaf during the last ten days of Ramadan, visiting Masjidul Aqsa every night. The group has been busy with a litany of programmes focused on worship and religious learning.
Despite the security concerns, the group is amazed at the spiritual atmosphere at Islam’s third most sacred site. Ayoob Dadabhay, who is part of the South African group, says that despite the fewer number of attendees at the Masjid last night, the atmosphere was “simply amazing.”
Laylatul Qadr proceedings at Masjidul Aqsa began with the Esha Salaah, followed by Taraweeh, which sees the completion of the Qur’an. Following a break of an hour and a half in which worshippers eat and relax, Qiyamul Layl prayers take place. This goes on until 3am, afterwhich Suhoor (pre-dawn meal) is eaten. Fajr Salah comes in early at 4am.
Dadabhay explained that a special feature of the night, believed to be a night where prayers are readily accepted by Allah SWT, is the experience of high emotion when the Imam of Masjidul Aqsa prayed for the oppressed peoples throughout the world, something the Palestinians are at the very heart of.
Dadabhai also expressed concern over the changing atmosphere of the visits to al-Aqsa due to the increased Israeli security officials and due to the banning of many Palestinian friends from the West Bank, saying that “first time visitors are not getting the experience of those who have been before.” VOC