(Photo by SPC Gary Silverman)
Ramazan is akin to the month leading up to Christmas in the Christian faith. According to Sura 2:185 of the Quran, “Ramazan is the month during which the Quran was revealed, providing guidance for the people, clear teachings, and the statute book. Those of you who witness this month shall fast therein. Those who are ill or traveling may substitute the same number of other days. GOD wishes for you convenience, not hardship, that you may fulfill your obligations, and to glorify GOD for guiding you, and to express your appreciation.”
Reading that passage, it would appear quite obvious what the purpose of Ramazan is. Unfortunately, extremists within Islam have contorted the meaning of Ramadan to attain a false sense of martyrdom and issue attacks against unbelievers, or infidels. It’s easy to bastardize religious scripture when your congregation is mostly illiterate and unable to read words for themselves.
Around the 27th night of Ramazan, Muslims begin celebrating what is called the “Night of Power,” or “Night of Destiny.” According to Islam, this night is better than a thousand months. It’s a time when the Lord’s angels descend upon Muslims to obey their every command. It’s during this time that Muslims believe they get extra credit for their deeds. The problem is that the interpretation of “good deeds” varies widely among Muslims. Again, the average person would interpret the Sura discussing this revelation as a peaceful night:
[97:0] In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
[97:1] We revealed it in the Night of Destiny.
[97:2] How awesome is the Night of Destiny!
[97:3] The Night of Destiny is better than a thousand months.
[97:4] The angels and the Spirit descend therein, by their Lord’s leave, to carry out every command.
Muslims who want to gain extra credit of righteousness spend the night by commemorating God the Almighty either in their privacy or in a mosque with other Muslims. There are also some Muslims who retreat to a mosque in the last ten days of Ramazan to take advantage of God’s blessings further and increase their faith of submission.
Of course, these are the literate ones that can read for themselves and largely understand the peaceful intent behind Islam. So, if the Night of Power is such a peaceful time of reflection and soaking in the extra blessings of God, why did we suffer through multiple rocket attacks this morning beginning at 0600 against our FOB? Oh, because I forgot to quote the fifth verse of the Sura:
[97:5] Peaceful it is until the advent of the dawn.
The extremists in Islam, particularly those in the Taliban and Al Qaeda have duped their followers into believing dawn ushers in the time to cease with peace and to begin again attacking the infidels. The faithful, reasonable man would interpret that one scripture to mean that dawn is a time for Muslims to get back to their regular lives, earning a living and providing for their family.
But, not the insurgency bent on ushering in the Caliphate through threats, extortion, and violence.
The Night of Power is a dangerous time for troops in a combat zone. This morning proved that with the breaking of dawn and peace that invited a barrage of rocket attacks that seemed to go on far too long. Although, that doesn’t really explain the rocket attacks that occurred DURING Ramazan. Thankfully, on this day, there were no deaths or major injuries – at least here.