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Monday, June 24, 2013

Muslims Celebrate Shab-e-Baraat, a night of Marathon self- reflection

Muslims Celebrate Shab-e-Baraat, a night of Marathon self- reflection
Shaban 15, 1434 | June 24, 2013

Every one of us is laden with guilt from time to time, doing something or the other; being angry at your child; saying things you should not have said; and deviating from the standards you have made a part of your own life – all these things accumulate and build up inside us and expressed in different formats without being conscious.

We need to release this pent up negative energy, the Creator God through religions has devised a system to do so – it’s called repentance, the Catholics have a format of confession – the Jains do it through the festivities of Paryushan. This night is a Muslim confession night with the creator God within the confines of his or her own mind.
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The Daily Times, “This is the best night of prayer and worship of God to seek His forgiveness for sins and blessing to achieve success in this world and hereafter. The significant distinction of this night, according to Islamic belief, is that it falls on the night of Shaban 15 in which all births and deaths in universe are written in the ‘Loh-e-Mehfooz’ for the forthcoming year. 

Religiously it is described differently to people with different needs.  Most people just want to observe and not want to know the details, there is nothing wrong with it, it is just another way of doing it.  How many men actually read the manuals when they assemble their furniture or electronic devices? They just do it.

Although it is between the individual and his own self and God, it is always good to do things in groups – nothing different than going for a walk, gym or bicycling.  Muslims usually go to the Mosque and spend the whole night praying, meditating and contemplating. It is the night to clean the slate and start all over again.

This is also a night when you seek forgiveness for others, other than yourselves, your loved ones, the people who are alive and those who are gone. Muslims have a beautiful universal prayer that includes literally every soul – when it says, all the living and the dead.  Muslims invariably commemorate the loved ones who are no more in this world.

Last night was that night, the 15th night of Shaban, the 8th month of Muslim calendar. This night is called by various names:
·         Lailat al-Baraa (Arabic: ليلة البراءة‎, Night of Innocence)
·         Lailat al-Du'a (Arabic: ليلة الدعاء‎, Night of Prayer or Supplication)
·         Neem Sha'ban (Persian: نيم شعبان‎ in Afghanistan and Iran.
·         Nisf Sha'ban (Arabic: نصف شعبان‎, Mid-Sha'ban) in Arabic speaking countries.
·         Nisfu Sya'ban in Malay speaking countries.
·         Shab e Baraat (Urdu: شبِ براءت‎ ) Marathon night of reflection
·         Berat Kandili in Turkish

For the last 20 years, Mike has being writing the essence of festivals of all religions and traditions in easy to understand and relatable language for everyone, including people of the faith that celebrate the festival. This is basic enough for people of others faiths to catch the drift.  More at www.mikeghouse.net  and the various links at the site. Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on Pluralism, interfaith and building cohesive societies.

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