He was a Christian living in a Muslim country and had decided to observe Ramadan with his Islamic friends – to get a “taste” of the culture he said, and his wife laughed since it meant going without food or water from sunrise through sunset for 28 days. The holy month occurred in June that year; the days were long and hot. One afternoon he was feeling weak and all but overcome with thirst as he stepped from the sidewalk into a small park where palm trees provided welcome shade. As he sank to the grass he noticed a handful of workers sleeping in the shadows across the way. Their clothes were much worn and their bare feet were dusty. He thought of them breaking their fast that night with their families – a simple meal of soup, dates, and boiled eggs. It would be dark by then and all the streets would be empty.
He knew it was the 26th day of Ramadan and the coming night was the “Night of Destiny” or “Night of Power” – the anniversary of the night that the angel Gabriel had revealed the first verses of the Quran to the Prophet Mohamed. He had been told it was a night favored by Allah over all nights; a prayer on this night would be worth 1,000 prayers on any other night. Some would be praying continuously through the darkness seeking an answer to a specific need, or for forgiveness. Angels could be expected to attend the faithful who would be open to dreams, visions, and revelations, even to receiving a message from Jesus.
He thought of his own family who would be gathered for dinner about 7:00 o’clock, and how he would abstain until 9:30, then join their maid for a meal almost as simple as the ones the workers would have.
Then, suddenly, without warning, it happened. He was overcome by what he would later talk about freely and call his Islamic epiphany. “After fasting that long I was spiritually vulnerable,” he would say, “as Christians we don’t think about non-Christian holy manifestations, but I had one. The light and love of Allah flooded over me. I was overcome with an outpouring of love for Islam and my Muslim brothers and sisters. I was moved to tears.”
Later, deep in that night of destiny, the man had a dream. He had been captured by a radical extremist group. He was bouncing along in the back of a work truck, his wrists and ankles were tied and underneath him were shovels, picks and chains. With him in the truck were the barefoot workers he had seen resting in the shade. They were sitting with their backs against the side of the truck. He could barely see them; it was dark and the air was dusty.
“Do any of you speak English?” he asked.
One of the workers looked at him and said. “You will talk later.”
He then awoke – spooked. He was a diplomat. That he could be kidnapped by radical militants was a possibility. He had often wondered what he might say to better his odds of being kept alive should that ever happen.
Was there any significance to this Night-of-Destiny dream? What would he have said had he been allowed to talk later? Then he felt the light and warmth of his afternoon experience returning, like moonlight surrounding his bed, and he knew that he would talk about his Islamic epiphany often – and that doing so would certainly elevate, and maybe even one day save, his life.
~ Kent Crookston, Orem, Utah