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Richard Allinson sits in

1 hour, 27 minutes
First broadcast:
Wednesday 15 August 2012

Continuing to keep Vanessa's seat warm, Richard will have a first look at the day's papers and Pause For Thought at 0545am. E-mail the show: richard@bbc.co.uk.

Music Played

17 items
  • Image for Spin Doctors

    Spin Doctors Two Princes

    Driving Rock (Various Artists), Global Records & Tapes

  • Image for Paloma Faith

    Paloma Faith 30 Minute Love Affair

    Fall To Grace, RCA, 2

  • Image for The Box Tops

    The Box Tops The Letter

    Rediscover The 60's-With A Little Hel, Old Gold

  • Image for Andrew Gold

    Andrew Gold Never Let Her Slip Away

    Fantastic 70's (Various Artists), Sony Tv/Columbia

  • Image for Tim Hardin

    Tim Hardin If I Were A Carpenter

    Tim Hardin 2, Verve Records, 1

  • Image for fun.

    fun. Some Nights

    Some Nights, Atlantic

  • Image for Robert Palmer

    Robert Palmer Every Kinda People

    The Very Best Of Robert Palmer, EMI

  • Image for Matchbox Twenty

    Matchbox Twenty She's So Mean

    (CD Single), Atlantic, 1

  • Image for Tina Turner

    Tina Turner What's Love Got To Do With It

    No Greater Love (Various Artists), Global Records & Tapes

  • Image for Lissie

    Lissie When I'm Alone

    (CD Single), Columbia, 1

  • Image for Steve Winwood

    Steve Winwood While You See A Chance

    And I Write The Songs (Various Artis, Debutante

  • Image for Eric Church

    Eric Church Springsteen

    Chief, Wrasse Records, 1

  • Image for Deacon Blue

    Deacon Blue Real Gone Kid

    The All Time Greatest Rock Songs ..., Columbia

  • Image for Amy Macdonald

    Amy Macdonald Pride

    Life In A Beautiful Light, Mercury, 2

  • Image for Michael Bublé

    Michael Bublé Crazy Love

    (CD Single), 143 Records, 1

  • Image for Kylie Minogue

    Kylie Minogue Spinning Around

    Now 46 (Various Artists), Now

  • Image for Elton John & Pnau

    Elton John & Pnau Foreign Fields

    Good Morning To The Night, Mercury, 6


    We’re now three weeks into Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting. Three quarters of the way through, bodies are starting to feel tired from the physical strain of not eating or drinking during the day. But as physical strength starts to wane, Ramadan throws up a spiritual opportunity for the last ten days: the nights of ‘laylatul qadr’, the nights of power and destiny.

    We’re not usually very good at creating space for ourselves: instead we like to fill it up with pictures, videos, music and phone conversations, wherever we are, whatever we’re doing. Even when I am waiting, I feel I must be sending text messages, or playing games (otherwise I feel I look like a loser on my own). The value of quiet uninterrupted observation has vanished.

    This is an activity that can’t be done in short bursts or scheduled between appointments. It takes time, it takes meandering, it needs freedom from the interference of our surroundings.

    That’s where opportunities like laylatul qadr come in: an imposed outage from daily life, to sit and reflect, but with the added advantage that because everyone around you is engaged in the same activity, they won’t be bothering you.

    The Qur’an talks about these nights with an air of mystery because the exact dates are not known. There are hints that they are the 21st, 23rd, and 27th nights of Ramadan. The Qur’an says that the nights of power are “better than a thousand months.” For me, one of the reasons for the magnified importance of the night is the chance to ask ourselves: what is my place in the universe? How do I fit into the bigger picture?

    There’s a confluence of cosmic forces at play where Muslims believe that the heavens and the earth are connected even more powerfully than usual. To take advantage of this, Muslims will be engaged in spiritual devotion all night. Mosques will be heaving with worshippers keen to spend time in prayer and reflection.

    But you don’t need to go to a mosque to spend some quiet time on your own. Sometimes I just turn off the TV, switch off my phone, pause the music and close down my email. Everyone else can just wait. I find the positive results quite a surprise.


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