Questions

Lailatul-Qadr

There is a powerful night in the month of fasting: Lailat-ul-Qadr. In this night the worship of Allah the Most High as well as the performance of any noble deed are more valuable than those which were being done during a thousand months. The Holy Qur’an says:

 "Verily! We have sent it [this Holy Qur'an[1]] down in the Night of Power (Lailatul-Qadr). And what will make you know [o, Muhammad] what the Night of Power is? The Night of Power is better than a thousand months! Therein descend the angels and the Rooh (i.e. Jibreel [angel Gabriel]) by Allah's permission with all decrees. Peace!(or – there is peace and quiet with any decree in this night [2])[It lasts] until the appearance of dawn"             (see, the Holy Qur’an, 97).

Here follow some explanations and comment on the surah:

  1. The fact that the last Scripture - the Holy Qur’an was sent down from the Preserved Tablet on the first celestial level out of the seven existing ones exactly in this night demonstrates its power and significance in the sight of the Creator.[3]
  2. The repetition of the word combination Lailatul-Qadr three times is not accidental. Such turn of speech in Arabic points at a respectful treatment the object defined with this word combination.
  3. Lailatul-Qadr – the Night of Power. Scholars specified various versions motivating theof this night. Here are some of them:

-         “its power and greatness lie in the fact that it was in this very night that the Holy Qur’an was sent down”;

-         “…because an enormous number of angels descend in this night to earth”;

-         “... because the manifestation of grace, mercy and forgiveness from the Lord of the worlds in this night is incomparable with other nights by its significance”;

-         “... because a believer, who spends this night praying, acquires, with the mercy of God the Most High, most great and powerful forces and energy”.

The word al-qadr can be also translated as tightness, closeness. Taking into account this meaning of the word Alims said: ”In this night such a great number of angels descend to earth that there is simply no room for them all”.

   It can be also translated as limitation, restriction, which means that awareness and knowledge about which night of the next month of Ramadan will be Lailatul-Qadr is limited by Allah the Most High. The Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (may Allah greet and bless him) gives only approximate information on the matter.

   Sometimes the word combination Lailatul-Qadr is translated as The Night of Predestination. It is especially true when the word qadr is read as qadar. Taking into account such possible translation Islamic scholars are said to have explained:” Depending on how a believer spends this night and with what prayers he invokes God the Most High, it may have a significant impact on the following year of the life of this person, with his actions going in line with the original all-awareness of the Creator”.[4]

  1. The Night of Power is better than a thousand months!” Of course, with regard for the fact that in these months and on these thousands of days there is no such night, there is no Lailatul-Qadr.

The ayah makes it clear for believers that any good deed performed in this blessed night is of greater value in the sight of God the Most High than the performance of the same action or deed during a thousand of months. This is the manifestation of the great mercy of the Creator towards men, who often forget about Him, eternity and piety.

  1. Therein descend the angels”- angels both descend from heaven to earth and become closer to believers.
  2. “…and the Rooh (i.e. Jibreel [angel Gabriel])”. Allah the Most High, first saying about all angels and then mentioning separately one angel from such great number, points at the privileged position of angel Jibreel [angel Gabriel] in His sight, in the sight of the Creator of the worlds.[5]   
  3. with any decree”. I.e. angels descend both in order to reveal and fulfill God’s decrees and to encourage the conception of all the deeds that are to be performed in the next year.[6]
  4. [It lasts] until the appearance of dawn” – Lailatul-Qadr begins immediately after the sun sets and ends at dawn, i.e. at the beginning of the time of the Morning Prayer Fajr.[7]

 The Holy Qur’an contains another mentioning of Lailatul-Qadr:

 “Verily, We [says God the Most High, herewith He means His Grandeur, and by no means at His plurality] revealed it [the Holy Qur’an][8] on a blessed Night. Verily, We are ever warning [informing people with those injunctions that were written by Us in the Holy Scripture, as well as with the explanation of is in store for them on the Judgement Day, in the hereafter]. Therein (in Lailatul-Qadr) every wise affair is made distinct. A command from Us; verily, We are the senders (of messengers). A mercy from your Lord. Verily, He is the Hearing, the Knowing”  (see, the Holy Qur’an, 44:3-6).[9]

Prophet Muhammad (may Allah greet and bless him) said:

“He, who performs a Night Prayer[10] in the Night of Power with faith and seeking his reward from Allah, will have his past sins forgiven”.[11]

   As far as Prophet Muhammad himself is concerned, ‘Aisha transmitted that “during the last ten nights of Ramadan Prophet Muhammad would pray a lot, wake his family for a Night prayer and perform many good deeds”.[12]

 

Question: We often hear how generously man is rewarded for a good deed performed in the Night of Power. When should one expect it to come? What are its signs?

 

When should one expect it to come?

First, the absolute majority of Islamic scholars said that Lailatul-Qadr comes every year, precisely in the month of Ramadan.

Second, only Allah the Most High[13] knows beforehand which night of Ramadan is the Night of Power.

   In the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (may Allah greet and bless him) there is a great number of hadith which indicate probable time limits for finding this blessed night. Here are some of them:

“Seek the Night of Power [praying, performing Night Prayers and doing noble deeds] during the last ten days of the month of Ramadan”;[14]

“Look for the Night of Power on an odd-numbered night during the last ten days of the month Ramadan”;[15]

 “He, who will look for the Night of Power, should look for it during the last seven days”;[16]

“The Night of Power is the night of the 27th day”;[17]

 “The Night of Power is the night of the 24th day”;[18]

 “The Night of Power is the night either of the 27th or of the 29th day. In this night the number of Angels [, who will descend to earth] will be greater than pebbles [on the whole planet]”.[19]

   Imam Ibn Hajjar commenting on theof the chapter [from the hadith collection of Imam al-Bukhari] in which the great Muhadith mentions several hadith from those adduced above, made a useful observation: “Suchfor this chapter[20] somehow indicates the fact that Lailatul-Qadr is to be sought in Ramadan, on the last ten days and precisely on the odd-numbered days out of them”.[21]

   A considerable number of Islamic scholars pointed at the night of the 27th day of Ramadan saying that this is the most probable time, although it is not for certain. Very often various festive events both at the national and local level, which are timed to this great Night, take place exactly on the 27th day[22] of the month of Ramadan.[23]

   Of course for those, who don’t want to miss this great night, it would be most fore-sighted to pay special attention to each night of the last ten nights of Ramadan. It would be good, relying on Allah’s mercy, at least to perform an additional prayer, then invoke Allah, the Creator of the worlds, with a Du’a and perform at least one, though not necessarily very significant, but noble deed in the name of God the Most High. Even if a night has not been the Night of Power, our prayers, with the mercy of the Creator, will be heard and accepted, for they were read at night, moreover, in one of the nights of the blessed month of Ramadan.

 

What are its signs?

  1. This night possesses an extraordinary shine and brightness of its own.
  2. Taking into account local climate the weather in that night won’t be either cold or warm, i.e. the night temperature will be average for this climate, region and season.
  3. This night will be calm, clear and dry.
  4. Stars do not fall in that night.
  5. The next morning after this night the sun will be bright, brilliant and encarnadine (light-red). Its shine will be tender, not blinding just like the full moon in the clear night.[24]

 

Question. Why is the date of this blessed night concealed from people? Why isn’t this night clearly defined unlike other two festive nights, whose signs are mentioned in the hadith?

Answer. Not a single night of the year is comparable with the Night of Power, as it has already been mentioned above. Probably, that’s why it is concealed from people, in order that they don’t confine themselves to one night in the year when they ward off evil most diligently and live with their hearts, soul.

   Some prominent scholars said: ”A Muslim should seek Lailatul-Qardr in every night of the year”, i.e. revive it with prayers, Du’a and deep reflection both about the worldly and the eternal.

   The mysterious and ambiguous character of this issue is similar to the unknown day of death, the date of the Day of Doom. Why? Simply because when having the possibility to be pious today one shouldn’t leave it for tomorrow, let alone for the following years or decades!

 

Question. How should one act in the Night of Power (Lailatul-Qadr)?

Answer. One should do more noble deeds, perform additional prayers, read the Holy Qur’an, pray to God the Most High for forgiveness and ask Him for blessing (Tawfik) in one’s deeds as well as for Barakah, appealing to Allah the Most High in any language in which it is most convenient for you to express your thoughts, hopes and wishes.

   You can also read a Du’a-prayer in Arabic. For example, ‘Aisha once asked Prophet Muhammad (may Allah greet and bless him): “With what Du’a-prayer is it better to invoke God the Most High in Lailatul-Qadr?” The Prophet answered: “Say: “Allaahumma innaka ‘afuwwun tuhibbul-‘afwa fa’fu’nni”.[25]


[1] “The month of Ramadan is that in which the Qur’an was revealed [it was sent down from the Preserved Tablet on the first celestial level out of the seven existing ones], a guidance to men and clear proofs of the guidance and the distinction [between right and wrong]” (see, the Holy Qur’an, 2:185). See, for example: Al-Hamsy M. Tafsir wa bayan [Comment and explanation]. Damascus: ar-Rashid, p. 496, 598.

[2] Taking into account the niceties of the Arabic grammar it is also possible to translate the phrase in the following way: “It (Lailatul-Qadr) is peace (safety, welfare)”. See, for example: Az-Zuhayli W. At-tafsir al-munir [The elucidating tafsir]: 32 volumes. Damascus: al-Fikr, 1991, volume 30, p. 332.

[3] See: Al-‘Askalani A. Fath al-bari bi sharh sahih al-bukhari: 14 volumes. Volume 4, p. 300.

[4] See, for example: Al-‘Askalani A. Fath al-bari bi sharh sahih al-bukhari: 14 volumes. Volume 4, p. 300, 301.

[5] See: Az-Zuhayli W. At-tafsir al-munir. Volume 30, p. 333, 335.

[6] See, for example: Az-Zuhayli W. At-tafsir al-munir. Volume 30, p. 333, 335.

[7] See: ibid. P. 335.

[8] At a certain moment it was in this night that the Holy Qur’an was sent down from the Preserved Tablet on the first level out the seven existing ones. Later on during the following twenty three years angel Jibreel (Gabriel) on God’s decree was transmitting the lines (ayat) to Prophet Muhammad (may the Lord greet and bless him) revealing and explaining God’s decrees and injunctions, the importance of which will survive till the End of Time.  See, for example: Az-Zuhayli W. At-tafsir al-munir. Volume 30, p. 332, 334.

[9] See, for example: Al-hamsy M. Tafsir wa bayan. P. 496.

[10]First of all such prayers as “Tarawih”, “Tahajjud” and “Vitr”.

[11] Hadith from Abu Hurayra; the holy hadith from al-Bukhari, Abu DAud, an-Nassai and at-Tirmizhi. See, for example: As-Suyuty Dj. Al-djami’ as-sagyr. P. 536, hadith ¹ 8902.

[12] See: Al-‘Askalani A. Fath al-bari bi sharh sahih al-bukhari: 14 volumes. Volume 4, p. 316, hadith ¹ 2024.

[13] And probably those angels who were given knowledge about it by God the Most High.

[14] See, for example: Al-‘Askalani A. Fath al-bari bi sharh sahih al-bukhari: 14 volumes. Volume 4, p. 301, hadith ¹ 2020, 2021, 2022.

[15] See, for example: Al-‘Askalani A. Fath al-bari bi sharh sahih al-bukhari: 14 volumes. Volume 4, p. 301, hadith ¹ 2016, 2017; As-Suyuty Dj. Al-djami’ as-sagyr. P. 472, hadith ¹ 7725, “sahih”.

[16] See, for example: Al-‘Askalani A. Fath al-bari bi sharh sahih al-bukhari: 14 volumes. Volume 4, p. 301, hadith ¹ 2015.

[17] Hadith from Mu’awii; the holy hadith from Abu Daud. See, for example: As-Suyuty Dj. Al-djami’ as-sagyr. P. 472, hadith ¹ 7723, “sahih”.

[18] Hadith from Bilal; the holy hadith from Ahmad. See, for example: As-Suyuty Dj. Al-djami’ as-sagyr. P. 472, hadith ¹ 7724, “hassan”.

[19] Hadith from Abu Hurayra; the holy hadith from Ahmad. See, for example: As-Suyuty Dj. Al-djami’ as-sagyr. P. 472, hadith ¹ 7726, “sahih”.

[20] “Seeking Lailatul-Qadr on the odd-numbered days of the last ten days”.

[21] See: Al-‘Askalani A. Fath al-bari bi sharh sahih al-bukhari: 14 volumes. Volume 4, p. 306.

[22] It is possible to say – in the evening of the 26th day. You should take into account the fact that every day (twenty-four hours) begins with the sunset. I.e. at sunset the 27th night begins and it is followed by the 27th day.

[23] See: Az-Zuhayli W. At-tafsir al-munir. Volume 30, p. 337; az-Zuhayli W. Al-fiqh al-islami wa adillatuh: 11volumes. Volume 3, p. 1623, 1624.

[24] See: As-Suyuty Dj. Al-djami’ as-sagyr. P. 472, hadith ¹ 7727, 7728; al-‘Askalani A. Fath al-bari bi sharh sahih al-bukhari: 14 volumes. Volume 4, p. 306; Az-Zuhayli W. At-tafsir al-munir. Volume 30, p. 337; az-Zuhayli W. Al-fiqh al-islami wa adillatuh: 11volumes. Volume 3, p. 1624, 1625.

[25] “O, Allah! You are the Forgiving, You love to forgive. Forgive me!”

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