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Two weeks before the start of Ramadan, Islam’s annual fast, Muslims mark Lailat al Bara’ah, the Night of Forgiveness.
This year, Lailat al Bara’ah began Friday evening.
Ramadan starts at sundown July 8.
Muslims use Lailat al Bara’ah to pray from sunset to sunrise because it is the day Allah opens the doors to forgiveness and mercy. Prayers can be made at home or at a mosque. People ask for forgiveness and commit to not sin in the future.
Many people recite the Quran and use other forms of worship through the night.
People are encouraged to remember death, and many visit relatives’ graves. This is to encourage them to not delay in their repentance.
Some mark the day with charity, especially providing food to the poor.
Other parts of the celebration may include fireworks and lighted homes.
Repentance that night is important because it is the day that Allah decides destinies for everyone for the coming year.
For Shia Muslims, it is the day that Imam al-Mahdi was born. He is considered an important leader who is to bring absolute justice to the world by establishing Islam as the world religion.
Sunnis teach that the day also marks Allah rescuing Noah from the flood.
Depending on the country and language, the day is known by many other names including Shab-Barat, Mid-Sha’ban, Berat Kandili or Lailat al-Du’a.
Contact Leila Pitchford-English at lenglish@the
advocate.com or P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821.