By Chase Lacy
Rabat – Tonight is a special night for Morocco and a majority of the Muslim world. Muslims will come out in droves to celebrate Laylat al-Qadr (Night of the Decree), one of the holiest days during Ramadan.
The tradition dates back to when the Prophet Muhammad would spend a month in solitude, performing prayer and fasting at the Cave at Hira in Mecca. On that day the Angel Gabriel revealed the first verse of the Quran, Al-Alaq (Quran 96:1-5).
Although there is debate regarding the exact date of Laylat al-Qadr, there is a relative consensus on the 27th day of Ramadan. There is an atmospheric electricity that stimulates the spirit on a night that bears fruit to the perfection of God’s love and forgiveness for the individual’s sins.
Children who have not reached puberty are not required to participate in the fast for Ramadan. However, during Laylat al-Qadr, children will fast for the very first time. The f’tour on this night especially has bounties of food and sweets for everyone’s enjoyment.
Girls go to a negafa (stylist) who will dress them up with makeup, traditional clothing of the finest quality, and gold adornments.
Boys will typically dress in a djellaba (Moroccan tuni), crown their heads with a fez, and wear a special shoe called balgha. The style of dress that children wear during Laylat al-Qadr are similar to what brides and grooms wear for a wedding.
Families will often take their children to photo booths to commemorate the special day and give them presents. Adults will put henna on girls’ hands, and they will be paraded in an ammaria, a special sedan chair.
Both boys and girls, accompanied by their parents, will ride horses as well. One witnesses vivid colors while the ears reverberate with the sounds of drums and joyful shrills. Parents express how proud they are of their children. For both girls and boys, Laylat al-Qadr is seen as an important milestone in their lives.