As Muslims around the world increase their devotion on the 27th night of Ramadan in earnest search of Laylatul Qadr, local huffath have one goal in mind – the recitation of the full Quran in one night during salah. It’s been an aspiration of well-known Cape Town haafith and teacher Shaykh Ismail Londt for years, who has now mustered up the courage to take on the colossal task, with the help of some of the Mother City’s top reciters.
The special Qiyaamul Layl programme is being called ‘Shabeena’ and is being hosted by the Muslim Judicial Council’s Department of Quranic Affairs. It’s been dubbed as a ‘historic event’ and will cement Cape Town as the heart of the huffath fraternity in South Africa.
Shaykh Londt said he was inspired by the idea after a discussion with Shaykh Irfaan Abrahams at the weekend, where the MJC president mentioned that the 27th night of Ramadan coincides with the 21st of June, the longest night of the year. Shaykh Abrahams related his own desire to facilitate the reading of the entire Quran in one evening, a wish also expressed by Shaykh Londt.
“The last I heard of this was when Shaykh Salih Abaadi al marhoum mentioned to me that the senior mashaikh used to refer to the recitation as the ‘Shabeena’. According to the late scholar, the last person to have recited the entire Quran in one night was Tahir Malik, one of the descendants of the Saartjie Van De Kaap (who donated the land for the Auwal Masjid). He completed this in the 1970’s and completed the entire Quran in two rakats,” Shaykh Londt explained.
“In terms of the Sunnah, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) encouraged that Muslims not recite the entire Quran in less than three days. However we have record of Uthmaan (ra) and Tamim al-Dari (ra) who recited the entire Quran in one unit of prayer.”
The alim believes the program comes at an opportune time given the current drought and the broader socio-economic challenges that South Africans are faced with.
“The situation of the ummah at large is concerning,” he added.
With the number of huffath increasing in Cape Town, some purveyors of the Quran do not have much scope for recitation at their local masajid. Many huffath yearn for that opportunity to recite the Quran, as it’s a time they connect on a higher level with the verses of the sacred texts.
Shaykh Londt conceded that the Shabeena would be a huge mental and physical challenge for the huffath who have taken up the recital, but that they were enthused by their passion for the Quran. The ustaad, who has mentored hundreds of young huffath in Cape Town, quipped that tonight’s programme would be ‘mental Olympics’ and that “each reciter is an athlete in his own way.”
“These individuals have come along for years in Taraweeh so their focus has developed tremendously. We will have to do many exercises to keep them going, as there is no room for errors. Alhamdullilah, each haafith has a backup who can follow, in case they slip…we are all human and we make mistakes. But it’s all about the challenge and doing it for Allah’s sake and for the love of His word,” added Shaykh Londt.
For tonight’s programme, Shaykh Londt will be leading a dynamic group of huffath from all parts of Cape Town. Amongst them are Shaykh Abdul Kareem Davids, Hafith Abbas Moerat, Hafith Hamza Forbes, Hafith Ijaaz Mukaddam, Hafith Salim Peck, Hafith Mogammad Allie, Hafith Taariq Peck and others. The programme will see each huffath recite three ajaza in two rakaat. Twenty rakah will be performed for the evening.
“We are looking at ten hours until suhoor time. We need to do 3 juz per hour, as it is 20 minutes per juz,” Shaykh pointed out.
The Taraweeh prayer will be performed as per normal after Esha and the Shabeena will commence at 8.30pm until 5am from Darul Islam Masjid in Surrey Estate. VOC will broadcast the programme live from 10pm. VOC