Sketching is a habit I've had since I could speak. I still doodle of dreams I've had, visualising lessons I've learned and turning intangible concepts like heartbreak and death into colour. Regrettably for my reputation, I'm probably most known for the controversial cartoons on taboo Isamic topics (hurray for social justice), and more notably for the MUSLIMNESS author images.
Above is an etchy sketch I drew in the Ramadan of 2006. My writing's improved, somewhat. Having found it amongst my "about to trash" pile I thought I'd share it.
I had a dream where a piercing but not blinding light from Heaven injected into the universe and illuminated every shadow, galaxy and speck of dust. It was a fast light but it felt Divine. Drawing that out was near impossible - such is the nature of dreams - but its inspiration was chapter 97 of the Qur'an.
Layla tul Qadr. The Night of Divine Decree.
"Indeed, God sent the Qur'an down during the Night of Power. And what can make you know what is the Night of Power? The Night of Power is better than a thousand months. The angels and the Spirit Jibril descend therein by permission of their Lord for every matter. Peace! it is until the emergence of dawn." (Qur'an, 97)
Layla tul Qadr is a mysterious event assigned to any one of the last 5 odd nights of Ramadan. God reveals to us that He sent Qur'anic revelation to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) during Ramadan, and the Prophet himself (peace be upon him) was made to forget which odd night it was, due to two persons' argument that distracted him.
The wisdom behind this forgetfulness is marvellous. Rather than a human fault, I believe God hid the exact date to create a larger time space for Muslims to reach out to Him. Confirming the date itself is not the goal. Our belief in action is.
We "search" for the night - most believe to be the 27th - through personal worship, through prayer, in a community gathering at the masjid and at home with children. We search for a pinnacle of hope and faith that leaves us feeling spiritually high. The feeling of complete faith and reliance on God is the only evidence telling us that could have been the Night of Power.