Saturday, September 20, 2008, 7:29 PM
In each of the daily prayers we offer, we solemnly declare to Allah, “Iyyaka na`budu” (You alone do we worship). While the intelligent and committed believer realizes that his very lifestyle spells worship, he knows, remembering the words of our Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, that “Du`a’ (supplication) is worship” [At-Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud] Allah, the Most Merciful, has encouraged the believers to take advantage of certain times during the year to make Du`a’. Such an occasion presents itself annually during Ramadan — especially on the Laylat Al-Qadr, the Night of Power. On this night, the single most important event in human history unfolded as, after the Glorious Qur’an was preserved in the Protected Tablet, Jibril descended with the blessed book to reveal it, upon Allah’s command, to His Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him. Accentuating its significance, Allah says, "and how would you know (the value of the) Night of Qadr". (Al-Qadr:2)
So valuable is this Night of Qadr that the Qur’an devotes a special surah to it. "Laylat Al-Qadr is better than a thousand months". [Al-Qadr:3] This one night surpasses the value of 30,000 nights. The most authentic account of the occurrence of the Night indicates that it can occur on any one of the last ten, odd-numbered nights of Ramadan. The fact that the exact night is unknown reflects Allah’s will in keeping it hidden. Indeed, the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, was prevented from telling us its precise time. One day, he came out to tell the companions the exact night. On the way he saw two men arguing with each other. By the will of Allah, he, peace and blessings be upon him, forgot and subsequently remembered it.
Afterwards the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him,) was instructed not to divulge this information. “Had I been allowed,” he, peace and blessings be upon him, remarked once, “I would have told you (of its exact time).” [Narrated by Imam Ahmad] The Almighty in His wisdom kept this hidden from us for many reasons. Perhaps He wants us to strive hard in our worship during the last ten days of Ramadan so that we don’t become lazy, worshipping hard on just that one night and denying ourselves the benefit of doing the same on the other nights. “Had people not left their Salah except for that (one) night, I would have informed you (of its exact date).” [At-Tabarani] The sincere believer who worries day and night about his sins and phases of neglect in his life patiently awaits the onset of Ramadan.
During it he hopes to be forgiven by Allah for past sins, knowing that the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, promised that all who bear down during the last ten days shall have all their sins forgiven. To achieve this, he remembers the Prophet’s, peace and blessings be upon him, advice in different sayings wherein he used words like “seek”, “pursue”, “search”, and “look hard” for Laylat Al-Qadr.
Moreover, Allah and His Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, provided us some signs of its occurrence. Allah (swt) describes the night as "…peace until the rise of the morn". [Al-Qadr:5] In various sayings, the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, described the night as serene, tranquil, and peaceful. The sun at sunrise would appear reddish and without its normal blazing and sharp rays. The Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, added that “the angel of earth on that night of Qadr will be more numerous than all the pebbles of the earth.”
What should one do during the last ten days in pursuit of Laylat Al-Qadr? The devoted servant of Allah makes these nights alive with prayer, reading and reflecting on Qur’an. He makes Du`a’ to Allah, penitently beseeching Him for His forgiveness. He is inspired by the Prophet’s, peace and blessings be upon him, words “Our Lord, most Exalted, Most high comes down to the lowest heaven during the last third of each night and announces (reassuringly) : Whoever makes Du`a’, I shall answer it. Whoever asks (for something Halal) I shall grant it; and whoever seeks forgiveness, I shall forgive him.” [Bukhari] The believer, conscious of Allah and their sins, will continue to beseech Allah, in and out of prayer, during his prostration. For a time, the only concern will be cleansing oneself of the forgetfulness that this life propagates in one’s heart, the sins that accumulate, darkening the heart, making it insensitive to disobeying Allah. He begs Allah to keep him away from misfortunes in this world, the punishment of the grave, and the torment of Hell. He asks Allah to make him patient and steadfast in struggling to maintain his Islam in this world and asks Him to overlook his shortcomings, periods of laziness and neglect. Sincere devotion on that night will render the believer forgetful of the time, until he is surprised by the Adhan of Fajr. After Fajr, as the sun creeps above the horizon, reddish and weak in its appearance, without any rays, the effort at night will have been worthwhile. The believer rejoices, knowing that this was quite possibly Laylat Al-Qadr and “whoever stays up (in prayer and remembrance of Allah) on the Night of Qadr fully believing (in Allah’s promise of reward for that night) and hoping to seek reward (from Allah alone and not from people), he shall be forgiven for his past sins.” [Sahihs Bukhari and Muslim]
How should we observe Laylat al-Qadr and when is it?
The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to strive hard in worship during the last ten days of Ramadaan as he never did at any other time, praying, reading Qur’aan and making du’aa’. Al-Bukhaari and Muslim narrated from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) that when the last ten days of Ramadaan came, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) would stay up at night and would wake his family up, and would abstain from marital relations. Ahmad and Muslim narrated that he used to used to strive hard in worship during the last ten days of Ramadaan as he never did at any other time.
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) enjoined staying up and praying on Laylat al-Qadr out of faith and in the hope of reward. It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever stays up and prays on Laylat al-Qadr out of faith and in the hope of reward, his previous sins will be forgiven.” Agreed upon. This hadeeth indicates that it is prescribed to observe Laylat al-Qadr by spending the night in prayer.
One of the best du’aa’s that may be recited on Laylat al-Qadr is that which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) taught to ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her). Al-Tirmidhi narrated, and classed the report as saheeh, that ‘Aa’ishah said: “I said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, if I know which night is Laylat al-Qadr, what should I say on that night?’ He said, ‘Say: Allaahumma innaka ‘afuwwun tuhibb al-‘afwa fa’affu ‘anni (O Allaah, You are forgiving and You love forgiveness, so forgive me).”
With regard to specifying which night of Ramadaan is Laylat al-Qadr, this needs specific evidence, but the odd-numbered nights during the last ten nights are more likely than others, and the night of the twenty-seventh is the most likely to be Laylat al-Qadr, because that is mentioned in the ahaadeeth.
With regard to innovations, they are not permissible during Ramadaan or at other times. It was proven that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever innovates anything in this matter of ours that is not part of it will have it rejected.” According to another report, “Whoever does any action that is not part of this matter of ours will have it rejected.”
We know of no basis for the celebrations that are held during some nights of Ramadaan. The best of guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and the worst of matters are those which are innovated (bid’ah).
And Allaah is the Source of strength. May Allaah send blessings and peace upon our Prophet Muhammad and his family and companions.
Standing Committee for Academic Research and Issuing Fatwas , 10/413
Seeing Laylat al-Qadr
Laylat al-Qadr may be seen with the eye, for the one whom Allaah helps to see it. That is by seeing its signs. The Sahaabah (may Allaah be pleased with them) used to recognize it by its signs. But not seeing them does not means that one will not gain its reward, if one spends that night in prayer out of faith and the hope of reward. The Muslim should strive to seek it in the last ten nights of Ramadaan, as enjoined by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), hoping to earn reward. If it so happens that a person spends this night in prayer out of faith and seeking reward, then he will gain its reward, even if he does not know that that was Laylat al-Qadr. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever spends the night of Laylat al-Qadr in prayer out of faith and seeking reward, all his previous sins will be forgiven.” According to another report: “Whoever spends that night in prayer, seeking Laylat al-Qadr, then he catches it, his previous and future sins will be forgiven.”
And a sound report from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) indicates that the sign of Laylat al-Qadr is that the sun rises on the following morning with no visible rays. Ubayy ibn Ka’b used to swear that it was the night of the twenty-seventh, citing this sign as evidence. The more correct view is that it moves through all the last ten nights, but it is most likely to be one of the odd-numbered nights, and the night of the twenty-seventh is the most likely among the odd-numbered nights. Whoever strives in worship during all of the last ten nights, praying, reading Qur’aan, making du’aa’ and other kinds of good deeds will undoubtedly catch up with Laylat al-Qadr and attain what Allaah has promised to those who do that out of faith and seeking reward.
And Allaah is the Source of strength, May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad and his family and companions.
Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid
When to seek Laylatul Qadr (Night of Power)
Narrated Ibn 'Umar: Some men amongst the companions of the Prophet were shown in their dreams that the night of Qadr was in the last seven nights of Ramadan. Allah's Apostle said, "It seems that all your dreams agree that (the Night of Qadr) is in the last seven nights, and whoever wants to search for it (i.e. the Night of Qadr) should search in the last seven (nights of Ramadan)." Sahi Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 32, Number 232
Narrated 'Aisha: Allah's Apostle said, "Search for the Night of Qadr in the odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadan." Sahi Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 32, Number 234
Ibn Umar (Allah be pleased with them) reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: Seek it (Lailat-ul-Qadr) in the last (ten nights). If one among you shows slackness and weakness (in the earlier part of Ramadan), it should not be allowed to prevail upon him in the last week. Sahi Muslim, Book 006, Number 2621
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