Lailat-ul-Qadr - The Night of Power
By Dr. Ibrahim B. Syed
'Lailat ul-Qadr' or 'Night of Power'…is a very important occasion in the history of Islam and in our personal lives. Laylatul Qadr is the crowning glory of the sacred month of Ramadhan. It is associated with the sending down of the Qur'an Majeed, the last Book of Allah on His last Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam), for the guidance of mankind. In Muslim history not only did Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) receive his first revelation that culminated in the Glorious Quran, but this day marks the anniversary (or beginning) of his Prophethood on earth. Muslims all over the world spend this night in prayers as it holds special Barakah for those in prayer.
As mentioned above, it is the night of Taqdeer, meaning the one in which Allah (SWT) announces to the angels His already decreed commands, rules, events, etc., for the coming calendar year, from the present Night of Power to the next Night of Power. Allah (SWT) states in Surah, AD – DUKHAN, 44: 3-4
"We sent it (Qur'an) down during a blessed night( Laylatul Qadr) ; We forever wish to warn (against evil). In that (night) is made distinct every affair of wisdom." (Al-Qur'an,AD-DUKHAN 44:3-4)
It should be known that most scholars believe Allah's commands and rules are not made on that night. It has already been decreed in the eternity what is known to Allah, but that knowledge is not known to anyone, including the angels, until He (Allah) announces it to the angels on that night so that they will record it on the protective slate.
This is also the night of honor and prestige which may be awarded to that servant who devotes himself/herself to special deeds, or to the deeds themselves for the higher value they contain on that night.
The Qur'an Majeed describes this Night.
Allah says in the Qur'an in Surah Al-Qadr, 97: 1-5:
We have sent down this (Qur'an) in the Night of Glory. ( 1 )
And what do you know what the Night of Glory is?
The Night of Glory is better than a thousand months.
The word ‘الرُّوحُ’ (al-ruh: the Spirit), as is evident from the context is used for Gabriel or Jibraeel(AS). His name is specially mentioned here because he occupies a very high rank among the angels.
Ibn Katheer (rahimahullaah) said concerning Allah's saying: "Therein descend the angels and the Rooh": "This means that the descending of the angels increases during this night due to the vast amount of its blessings. And the angels descend along with the descent of blessing and mercy, just as they descend during the time when the Qur'aan is recited and encompass the gatherings in which Allah is remembered and spread their wings for the true seeker of knowledge, out of respect for him."
That Night is peace, until the rising of the dawn. ( 5 )
The word ‘سَلَامْ’ (salam) signifies safety and protection from every sort of risk and danger in general and from any satanic interference in particular. Just as during the time of revelation of the Qur’an all passages into the world beyond space and time were sealed to block the penetrations of Satan and his army, as is mentioned at various places in the Qur’an, it looks as if during this night also these evil creatures are under Divine Detention till the rise of dawn. Hence, they are unable to acquire the secrets of this night and are unable to cause disruptions in its blessings.
There is a consensus among the Muslims that the revelation of the Qur’an began in this night, and that this night occurred during the month of Ramadan, as mentioned in the following verses of Surah Baqarah: (the Cow):2: 185,
FASTING DURING JOURNEY
It has been left to the option of the individual to observe or not to observe fasts during a journey. Some of the Companions of the Noble Prophet observed fasts and some did not when they were on a journey with him and neither raised any objection against the other. The Noble Prophet himself sometimes observed fasts on a journey and sometimes did not. Once the Prophet (SAS) saw people gathered round a man who had fallen to the ground and asked what was the matter with him. He (Prophet) was told that the man had become too weak to stand on account of observing fasts; then the Prophet (SAS) remarked that it was no virtue to observe fasts in such a condition.
During the time of war, the Prophet (SAS) used to issue orders for postponing the fasts. Hadrat 'Umar (RA) has related that they did not observe fasts twice during the month of Ramadan when they went to war under the command of the Noble Prophet: (1) on the occasion of the battle of Badr and (2) at the conquest of Makkah. Ibn 'Umar says that on the eve of the conquest of Makkah, the Noble Prophet (SAS) declared, "As we are going to fight our enemy you should postpone your fasts so that you may conserve your strength to fight."
There is a difference of opinion as to whether the people of a city, which is attacked by an enemy, can postpone the fast for the sake of Jihad, inspite of being the residents. Some scholars do not allow this. But Imam Ibn Taimiyyah has maintained with strong arguments that postponement of the fast under such circumstances is permissible.
It is clear from this verse that fasting in Ramadan has been prescribed not only as a form of worship and training for piety (Taqwa), but also to show gratitude for the great blessing of the Revelation of the Qur'an during the month of Ramadan. The object for which Allah has bestowed the Qur'an upon us is to reveal His Will so that we may fulfil it ourselves and persuade others to do the same. Fasting provides the best training for the fulfilment of this object and it is both a devotion and a sign of gratitude for the favor shown in the form of the Qur'an.
What Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said about Laylathul-Qadr:
It has also been reported by Hadrat Aisha(RAa), the wife of the
Prophet (pbuh) who said:
The translation is "O Allah! You are forgiving and you love forgiveness, so you too forgive me. "
From the foregoing verses of the Qur'an and the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) I would like to mention to you the following:
The Night of Power is better for you to live, to experience and to enjoy than one thousand months of your personal life. Even if you were to live one thousand months (83 years and 4 months) with sincerity, dedication, and sacrifices and with good intentions and deeds, the Night of Power is still far better for you to live and to enjoy.
The Revelation of the Qur'an started in the month of Ramadan and specifically on the Night of Power or Laylatul Qadr. The Revelation of the Qur'an is a sign of Mercy, a guide and a blessing of Allah to mankind.
Anyone who is interested in finding the best guide, he/she should look into the teachings of the Qur'an.
The Night of Power is a night of blessings because Allah has blessed this Night. Therefore whosoever is interested in receiving the blessings of Allah may look forward to the Night of Power.
Anyone who seeks the Night of Power and lives it, all his/her sins will be erased. This is, as if, he/she is, born again now free of all sins and mistakes.
Every one of us would like to live a life free of sins and free of mistakes. Everyone would like to meet Allah on the Day of Judgment without sins. Every one of us would like to feel that he/she is reborn today. All of us wish to rejuvenate ourselves, and to start a new year with a fresh outlook and a fresh life. Every one of us wants to live a pure life and everyone wants to purify himself/herself without anguish or torment. The Night of Power is one of the best ways in which a person is to achieve all these ideals.
As for the question as to which night it was, it is disputed and there are as many as 40 different views on this subject. However, a great majority of scholars hold the opinion that one of the odd nights of the last ten nights of the month of Ramadan is Lailat-ul-Qadr, , i.e. 21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th or 29th and among these also most scholars think that it is the 27th night.
According to Hadrat Abu Hurairah, the Noble Prophet (upon whom be
peace) said, in connection with Lailat-ul-Qadr, that it is the 27th
night. (according to Abu Da'ud Tayalisi). According to another tradition
from Hadrat Abu Hurairah, it is the last night of Ramadan. (Musnad
As far as the question about the exact date is concerned, it is difficult to answer it due to a disparity between the Ahadith. The only thing which can be said is that it occurred most probably during the last ten days of the month of Ramadan.
It is pointed out that the revelation of the Qur’an was a great blessing and favour of the Almighty 1. The fact that it was safeguarded in written form to provide mankind with Divine Guidance, is also referred to. Now, this surah, Al-Qadr, deals with the topic of the revelation of the Qur’an itself. A special reference is made to the night in which the Qur’an was revealed together with a mention of its greatness and importance in relation to other nights.
We must first seriously contemplate a few realities about the Glorious Qur'an:
Firstly, the Qur'an is not the result of some human whim; it is part of a Divine Scheme and has been revealed under the direct surveillance of the Almighty Himself.
Secondly, this night is superior to a thousand nights. Matters of paramount importance are settled and decided during this night. Those who deprive themselves of its blessings cannot gain them in any other way.
Thirdly, the Qur'an is totally free from any sort of evil interference from Satan as the night in which it was revealed is specially protected from his intrusions and interventions.
If we reflect upon these verses of Surah Al - Qadr, two of their implications become very clear:
Firstly, the Almighty has fixed a glorious night to specially hand over His decrees to the angels which are to be enforced by them in this world.
Secondly, the commissioning of the Prophet Muhammad (sws), his Indhar ( which means to warn people of their fate in this world as well as in the next one) to the Quraysh and the revelation of the Qur’an are among the Divine Decrees entrusted to the angels, which is a clear proof of the extraordinary significance of these events. They are a part of an important plan devised by the Almighty which must reach completion.
The verse does not mean that the whole of the Qur’an was revealed in a single night. All that it necessitates is that after a decision was made and the matter handed over to Jibraeel (AS), its first revelation took place during this night. Subsequently, the Qur’an was revealed in sections over a period of twenty three years, which in no way contradicts the actual meaning of this verse.
And what do you imagine what the Night of Destiny is? (2)
This verse tells us that the greatness and splendor of the Night of Destiny is beyond the realms of imagination. The reason behind its majesty and grandeur is that important decisions about this world are made in it.
Better is the Night of Destiny than a thousand months. (3)
This is an expression of the exaltedness of the Night. The relative state of being ‘better’ is because it is favorable for the achievement of certain objectives. Just as in this material world there is a certain climate in a certain part of the year in which the seeds of a particular crop must be sown if they are to sprout, and if done in some other periods of time it will not yield the required produce, however much one tries; likewise, in the spiritual world also there are special days and times of the year which are set aside for special acts of worship. If they are offered during the assigned times, only then the required results are obtained, and any ignorance in this regard cannot be compensated for in other periods of time even if their span is extended. A few examples will make this matter more clear: to offer the Friday prayers, a certain day ( i.e. Friday) has been set aside; similarly, a particular month, i.e. Ramadan has been fixed for fasting; for the offering of Hajj and its rites too certain days have been appointed by the Almighty in the month of Dhul Hijjah. All these acts of worship have been made conditional to certain periods of time, during which their performance yields a reward that cannot be estimated.
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF
"The night of Al-Qadr is better than a thousand months."
(i.e. the thousand months during which the man carried his sword in the Way of Allah). (Narrated by Ibn Abi Haatim)
Ibn Jareer narrates, on the authority of Mujaahid that there was a
man from Bani Israa'eel who used to spend the night in prayer then in
the morning he would fight the enemy in the Way of Allah during the day,
until the evening and he did this for a thousand months and so Allah
revealed this Ayah:
That is, standing in prayer on that night is better than the actions of that man, who fought for thousand monhts. Sufyaan ath-Thawree reports, on the authority of Mujaahid (also), that the night of Al-Qadr being better than a thousand months means that the good deeds performed on it, fasting on it and standing in prayer on it are better than a thousand months' good deeds, prayers and fasting. (Narrated by Ibn Jareer)
Likewise, it is narrated that whoever goes to Friday prayers neatly-dressed, with a pure intention, it will be written for him the reward of a year's good deeds, as if he had fasted on it and spent its nights in prayer and in other acts of worship.
Abu Hurairah reported: "When the month of Ramadhan came, the Messenger of Allah sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam said: "The month of Ramadhan has come, a blessed month in which Allah has made it obligatory for you to fast; in it the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained. In it is a night better than a thousand months, whoever loses the benefit of it has lost something irreplaceable." (Narrated by Imaam Ahmad. This was also narrated by An-Nasaa'i).
HADITH NO. 5
Ubaadah bin Saamit (Radi Allahu anhu) said: 'Once Rasoolullah (Sallallaaho alaihe Wasallam) came out to inform us of the (true date of) "Laylathul Qadr". Unfortunately, a quarrel took place between two Muslims, whereupon he said: "I came out to inform you as to when "Laylathul Qadr" occurs, but because two people quarreled with each other, the knowledge of the correct date was taken away; perhaps that is better for you. So, seek it among the ninth, seventh and fifth nights.
Let alone the worldly people, even those among us who appear exceptionally religious and busy with "Zikr', are victims of these arguments and strife, and are obstinate ( or stubborn) in their stand, in spite of the saying of the Prophet (Sallallaaho alaihe wasallam).
The Messenger of Allah (Sallallaaho alaihe wa sallam) said that to insult a Muslim is indeed a grave crime and equivalent to the worst category of usury, but we do not even spare a Muslim's honour, or refrain from insults, and no notice is taken of the injunctions of Allah and His Messenger. The Glorious Qur'an says: "And argue not among yourselves, otherwise you will lose courage and your strength will depart." It is now the duty of those who always seek to injure and destroy the honour and dignity of others to sit back and reflect how much harm they have in fact done to themselves, and think how much they have, through these despicable deeds, become despicable themselves in Allah's sight and in the sight of those around them. However, regarding those two people between whom a quarrel has taken place, friendship having been cut off, it shall be said: Leave their affair in suspense until such time as they become reconciled."
We are in the last ten days in this month of Ramadan, and we should ask anxiously for forgiveness from Allah for our past sins. Reciting of Qur'an, praying Taraweeh and Qiyam-al-Layl and going into I’tikaf (elimination of all worldly activities) are the ways of worshipping in these days.
May Allah accept our fasting, our prayers and give us the strength, the power, the courage and the effort to do our best to obey Allah and to follow His teachings. May Allah guide us and may Allah strengthen our Iman. May Allah help us to live another year with sincerity and devotion. May Allah make us realize that one year of our life is over and that we are one year closer to our graves.
Let us wake up and do our best to please Allah in our daily life. Let us ask Almighty Allah for forgiveness. Ameen
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