Remona Aly
Sunday 07 May 2017 BBC Radio 4

Something Understood: Seclusion

BBC Radio 4, Something Understood: Seclusion


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My own personal time of seclusion is a practice that goes back to the 7th century, when Prophet Muhammad secluded himself in the last third of the night, before the break of dawn to worship his Lord. This voluntary prayer is known in Arabic as ‘tahajjud’ – which means to give up sleep.

And it does feel like the world is dreaming while I leave the warmth of my bed, perform the ritual ablution, stand, bow and touch my forehead to the ground in devotion.

Wrapped in silence and the veils of night, there is only me, my Creator, my prayers. It’s a tranquil and sacred time, when Muslims believe that God draws closest to creation and responds to all who call out to their Lord. The intimacy of this secluded spiritual experience, brings my body, mind, heart and soul into harmony. It’s a moment of clarity, a moment of love.

Whenever I perform the night prayer, it’s like therapy for my soul, it renews my spirit, strengthens my bond with God, and readies me to navigate the challenges of life. My lips utter the opening words of the Quran, before the dawn opens another day.