Laylat al-Raghaib Date in the current year: January 11, 2024

Laylat al-Raghaib Laylat al-Raghaib is one of the five Islamic holy nights referred to as Kandil nights. It is observed in some countries on the first Thursday of the month of Rajab, marking the beginning of the “three holy months”. Unlike some other Kandil nights, it is not an official holiday in any Islamic country.

The five Kandil nights are primarily celebrated in Turkey and Muslim Balkan communities. Having originated during the rule of the Ottoman sultan Selim II (in the second half of the 16th century), they celebrate events related to the life of Muhammad:

  • Muhammad’s birth (Mawlid, Mevlid Kandili)
  • Muhammad’s conception (Laylat al-Raghaib, Regaip Kandili)
  • Muhammad’s ascent to heaven (Laylat al-Miraj, Miraç Kandili)
  • Forgiveness of sins (Shab-e-Barat, Berat Kandili)
  • The first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad (Laylat al-Qadr, Kadir Gecesi)

On each of these nights, the minarets on mosques are illuminated throughout Turkey, and special prayers are performed. However, not all of these five nights are equally important to all Muslims. For example, Mawlid and Laylat al-Qadr are widely celebrated by Muslims across the world, while the tradition of celebrating Laylat al-Raghaib is followed by a relatively small number of Muslims and even frowned upon by some Muslim scholars.

Laylat al-Raghaib marks the beginning of the so-called “three holy months” in the Islamic calendar, leading up to Ramadan. The month of Rajab is the beginning of the prelude to Ramadan; it is also one of the four sacred months (alongside Muharram, Dhu al-Qadah and Dhu al-Hijjah) during which warfare is considered blasphemous. Sha’ban is the month of the “Night of Records” (Laylat al-Bara’at). Finally, Ramadan is a month of fasting, prayer and reflection; its observance is one of the Five Pillars of Islam.

Laylat al-Raghaib is also known as the “Night of Wishes”. It is believed that the night was given its name by angels, who asked God to grant forgiveness for those who fast during the month of Rajab. Those who celebrate it believe that their wishes will be fulfilled if they recite a special set of prayers on the Thursday night preceding the first Friday of Rajab.

Muslims who observe Laylat al-Raghaib usually fast for two days, on the first Thursday and Friday of Rajab, although some fast only on Friday. On Thursday, as we’ve already mentioned above, it is customary to perform a special set of prayers, which will be rewarded with fulfillment of one’s wishes. It is also customary to read the Quran, repent to God (Tawaba) and ask for forgiveness.

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Laylat al-Raghaib, Kandil nights, Night of Wishes, religious observances, Muslim observances, observances in Islam