The Most Holy Night…Or Not?

Whenever the devil comes around, I realize again how little I know about anything.

– Shahara –

The devil has led me now to Ramadan. Oh, I know, Ramadan is a time, not a place. With the devil, distinctions such as that don’t matter too much. I could also say the devil led me to Persia, but then again, Persia is Iran…more or less. Yes, I know that Persia was an ancient kingdom within the borders of Iran.

At least, I think I know that much, but that’s about all.

I was led to Ramadan — the time, not the place — through poetry. Following links can lead to interesting places. I visited Fearless and Lucky and found a poem I didn’t understand on first reading. On my second reading, or actually, the third, words began to jump out at me. Blessed month. A return to full stomachs.

Yes, the month of Ramadan. A time of prayer and fasting, right? That’s all I knew.

So, hand in hand with the devil, I was off for a bit of research. I learned the story behind Ramadan, and I discovered Laylat al-Qadr, the Night of Power. According to Wikipedia — which may or may not be a reliable source in this instance — the Night of Power is considered the “most holy night of the year.” I read quickly, learned that the night occurs on an odd-numbered date during the final ten days of Ramadan, In other words, it could the 21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th, or 29th.

Are you with me so far? Good, because this is where I took a wrong turn and got lost. Not realizing these dates referred to the month of Ramadan, I mistakenly believed this most holy night of the year could well be happening at that very moment.

What an awesome thought! At once, I felt it. The night changed. It felt quieter, more peaceful, more awe-inspiring.

Only later did I realize how sadly mistaken I was.  Now, however, I’ve discovered that I must not be the only one confused. I did a quick Google search for “the holiest night of the year” and came up with a lot of different answers in my search for the actual date.

For Christians, the holiest night of the year is either Christmas Eve, Christmas, or Easter. Take your pick.

Another site stated quite unequivocally that this holy night was September 16-17, which had me totally baffled since Ramadan ends on August 8 this year. But then I looked a little deeper (something the devil is always prodding me to do) and discovered the website information I was reading was from 2009. Looks like I missed that one. But the site also informed me, unequivocally, again, that the holiest night is the 27th of Ramadan. Which means it should be coming up very soon.

August 5, maybe?

But, I digress.  While Muslims are celebrating one holiest night — whenever it is — and the Christians are celebrating another holiest night — whichever one they choose — the Hindus are worshiping on their holiest night, the night of Maha Shivaratri, occurring sometime in February or March. Then, there are others who consider Halloween the holiest night of the year, but let’s not go there right now.

While still caught up in the throes of excitement last night, thinking the devil had led me to a holy time and place, I decided I should begin reading and studying the Koran. So, off to Amazon, of course.

I was flooded with versions of the Koran. English translations by one Mufti or another — and what ismufti, actually? Some were free — the translations, not the muftis, and I have no idea what the plural of mufti really is, so forgive me if I’ve got it all wrong. I’m the one who claimed animals didn’t laugh, remember? I’m the one who thought last night was the holiest night of the year. Pay no attention to me. I’m wrong more often than I’m right.

I digress again. Some Korans were free, all were inexpensive, and many had “in-line commentaries”. All had lots of reviewers either (a) praising the translation and encouraging others to read it, or (b) berating the translation and warning others not to read it. Seems like nobody could agree on which translation was best — the concept of “right” doesn’t even seem to fit here — any more than anybody can say for certainty just when the most holy night of the year takes place.

So what are the chances for world peace?

Never mind. As I browsed through other Koran-related books, I did come across one devoted to getting rid of the Islamic version of the devil, and another about prayer. I’d like to explore those book further.

And, yes, I did finally download one English translation of the Koran, and yes, I have started reading, so now I’m back to cows, and hey, anybody ever heard of a laughing cow? Laughing cows make happy cheese, right?

Meanwhile, the chimps are still around. I logged on, checked e-mail and had an opportunity to complete a survey for a civic project. Off I went, clicking links, and there was the SURVEY MONKEY. Monkeys, chimps, apes, whatever. They’re related, and then listening to NPR this morning, I learned all about the competing theories of monogamy — which involved more apes, and they get really noisy, stinky, and obnoxious after a while.

There’s been a lot of snarling and growling going on around here. I could use a night of peace, so will somebody please let me know when the most holy night is going to happen?

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