Small Watches of the Morning

By Jamal Rahman

“Pray in the small watches of the morning.” (Qur’an 17:79)

“No one knows what makes the soul wake up so happy; maybe a dawn breeze has blown the veil from the Face of God.” (Rumi)

It is said that in the early hours of the morning, the veils between the visible and invisible worlds are at their thinnest. During this time, you can sense the pulsating of angelic activity. If you listen carefully, you can hear the rustling of wings.

In the seventh century when the Prophet was meditating in the Meccan cave, angel Gabriel appeared to Muhammad in the small watches of the morning, and the first verses of the Qur’an were revealed. In the stillness of the night, says the Qur’an, “Spirit and the angels descend.” (97:4)

Describing the sacred intimacy and enchantment of the pre-dawn moments, the beloved  8th century female sage Rabia uttered:

“O my Lord
the stars glitter
and the eyes of men are closed.
Kings have locked their doors
and each lover is alone with his love.
Here I am alone with You.”

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