Mosques across the country were filled on Tuesday evening by believers who wanted to celebrate Kadir Gecesi, the Night of Power, which marks the anniversary of the night on which the revelation of the Holy Quran first began.
Believers spent the night praying to God and performing supplications to seek pardon for their past mistakes and sins. Known as Laylat al-Qadr in Arabic, the Night of Power is traditionally accepted as the night between the 26th and 27th days of Ramadan.
It is believed that this is the night when the Quran was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad through the Angel Gabriel. It is, therefore, the most sacred night of the entire year.
Muslims believe that one should take special care to direct supplications to God on that night, as it is also the night when the fate of the next year is decided. The Quran states that the night is “better than a thousand months.”
Large, historic mosques drew the most people on the Night of Power, with worshippers in İstanbul crowding into the Sultanahmet, Eyüp Sultan, Süleymaniye and Fatih mosques. After breaking their fasts, believers performed the Tarawih prayer in congregation in the mosques and listened to recitations of the Quran, hymns and sermons.
During the Kadir Gecesi program at Fatih Mosque, İstanbul Mufti Osman Yaran urged people to pray for the Muslims of Syria, who have been on the receiving end of a brutal crackdown by the country's Baath regime for almost a year, and for the Muslims in Myanmar, who have been targeted in killings by local Buddhists.
Aynur Arslan, a visitor to Sultanahmet Mosque, said she was very happy to have spent the night there. “I prayed for all Muslims. May God protect our country and nation,” noted Arslan, who is originally from Mardin but was in İstanbul on vacation.
Turks in Western Thrace flocked to Selimiye Mosque in Edirne for the night. They arrived at the mosque by bus, hours before iftar (fast-breaking) time. After breaking their fasts in the courtyard of the mosque, they spent the night inside praying and reading the Quran.