It’s 1:24am.  It’s the 27th night of Ramadan.

Normally I would have spent this evening at the mosque performing special evening prayers as the congregation listened to the 30th and final part of the Qur’an.  Ramadan is the month in which the Qur’an was first revealed, and tradition holds that this miracle happened on one of the odd nights during the last ten days. The 27th is an arbitrary odd night celebrated by a majority of people.  Because of the auspicious nature of performing worship during (potentially) the very same night the Qur’an was revealed, many believe that additional acts of worship are raised in their worth, that prayers will be answered, and that the doors of heaven are open for those who are sincere in asking for forgiveness.

During my University days, I’d have a small break fast, grab my Qur’an and a chocolate bar, and head to the local mosque for a long night of worship. I’d chant, read, pray and sing — sitting with others in a dim room, enjoying the ambiance of the final days of Ramadan, the incense, the sugar rush, the tears rolling down my face.

Last year I missed the 27th. Eryn was 3 weeks old, I wasn’t fasting and the entire month flew by. I only realized that I had missed this night of power after the ‘Eid celebration was complete. I don’t think anyone bothered (or remembered) to tell me the date.  This year we spent the evening with family in Niagara Falls.  After a Timmie’s run and half way through the drive home, my heart sank as I realized the date.

So the second we got Eryn into her crib I went through my little ritual of purification, threw on my favourite abaya and prayer shawl and prayed in the still dark of our bedroom. I didn’t have chocolate, I didn’t have incense, music or the energy to chant.

All that kept me company was Eryn’s soft rhythmic snoring. Eryn, who was named after a gate in heaven.  The gate that opens especially for those who fast.

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