Laylatul Qadr [Night of Power]

“We indeed revealed this (message) in the Night of Power.”

And what will explain to you what the Night of Power is?

The Night of Power” is better than a thousand months.

Origin

Anâs Radiallâhu anhu reports that Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam is reported to have said: “Laylatul Qadr” was granted to this “Ummah” (of mine) and not to any other “Ummah” before this.” As regards the reason for the granting of “Laylatul Qadr”, various views are held. According to some ahâdith, one reason is given thus: Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam used to ponder over the longer lives of peoples of the past ages and when compar¬ing them with the much shorter lives of his “Ummah”, he became greatly saddened, because if his ‘Ummah” wished to compete with the people before them, then because of their shorter lives, it would be impossible for them to either emulate or surpass the previous “Ummahs” in the doing of righteous deeds. Therefore, Allâh in His Infinite Mercy granted them this night of great blessings.

This means that, if any fortunate person of this “Ummah” during his life time spends ten such nights in the worship of his Maker, he would have gained the reward of Ibâdah [worship] for eight hundred and thirty three years and even more. Another report states that Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam once related to the’Sahâba’ the story of a very righteous man from among the Bani Isra’il, who spent one thousand months in ‘Jihâd’. On hearing this, the ‘Sahâba’ enviously felt that they could not attain the same reward, whereupon Allâh granted them this Night (of Power).

Still another report states that it so happened that our Nabî Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam once mentioned the names of the four most pious people from among the Bani Isra’îl, each of whom spent eighty years in Allâh’s sincere service, worshipping Him and not trans¬gressing in the last. They were Nabî Ayyub Alayhis salâm Zakariyya Alayhis salâm, Ezkeel Alayhis salâm and Youshâ Alayhis salâm. The “Sahâba” heard this, wondering how to emulate their achievements. Then Jibra’îl Alayhis salâm appeared and recited “Sûrah Qadr”, wherein the blessings of this particular night were revealed.

 

When Does this Night Take Place

As to which particular night it is, approximately fifty different views are reported. It is not easy for me to enumerate them all, but the most generally accepted version mentions that it is within the last ten nights of Ramadan, most probably on one of the odd numbered nights.

 

Explanation of Surah Qadr

[“We indeed revealed this (message) in the Night of Power.”]

Reference here is made to the fact that, on this specific night, the Qur’ân was sent down from the ‘Lawhul Mahfuz’ [the preserved Tablet] to the heavens (above the earth). The mere fact that the Qur’ân was revealed on this night would have been sufficient to ensure its greatness. But apart from this fact, it is also noted for many other things. In the very next verse, by way of increasing our interest in the matter under discussion a question is asked:

 

[And what will explain to you what the Night of Power is?]

In other words, the question asked there is: Have you any knowledge as to the greatness and importance of this night? Have you any knowledge as to the great favours and bounties that go with it? The next verse proceeds to explain its greatness.

 

[The Night of Power” is better than a thousand months.]

The true meaning here is that the reward for spending this night in worship [Ibâdah] is better and more than that for having spent one thousand months in worship [Ibâdah]; but as to how much more rewarding it is, we are not told here.

 

[Therein come down the Angels and the Spirit, by Allâh’s permission, on every errand.]

A fine explanation is given for this verse by Imâm Râzi. Rahmatullâhu ‘alayhi. Com¬menting on this verse, he explains that when man first appeared on earth, the “Mala’ikah” looked upon him with concern. They even ventured to ask Allâh “Will You place on this earth, one who shall be riotous therein and shed blood?”

Similarly, when his parents noted his original form as a mere drop of sperm, they too looked upon it with dislike, so much so, that they consi-dered it as something which polluted the clothes and had to be washed away. But later, when Allâh made that same sperm into a fine form of a child, they began to love and cherish him. So far have things now pro¬gressed that, when on this Night of Power we find that same man worship¬ping Allâh and adoring Him, then those very Angels [Malâ’ikah] descend towards him, obviously repentant for the thoughts they had once har¬boured against him. In this verse, where it is mentioned (War rûh) ‘and the Spirit the reference is to Jibra’îl Alayhis Salâm who descends to the Earth during this night. Commentators of the Qur’ân have given various meanings of this word. Let us look at some of them:

  •  The vast majority of commentators are agreed that Jibra’îl Alayhis Salâm is meant here and, according to Imâm Râzi Radiallâhu anhu this is the most correct meaning. Allâh first makes mention of the’Malâ’ikah’ and then because of ‘Jibra’îl’ Alayhis Salâm’s special status among them, a separate mention is made of him.
  • One commentators hold the view that ’Spirit’ here means one specific Angel of such extraordinary and gigantic proportions that before him the Heavens and the Earth appear as small as a morsel.
  • Another group of commentators opine that ‘Spirit’ here means one group of ‘Malâ’ikah’who never ordinarily appear, and only on this night are they seen by other ‘Malâ’ikah’.
  • Some commentators believe that ‘Spirit’ here designates one specific creation of Allâh, who partake of food and drink, and yet are neither men nor angels.
  • There is also a view that ‘Spirit’ here refers to the Nabî Îsa Alayhis Salâm, who on this night comes down to look at the righteous deeds of this Ummah.
  • The last interpretation we wish to mention here is that ‘Spirit’ means Allâh’s special Mercy, which comes in the wake of the angels descent. There are other interpretations also, but as already stated, the first opinion given above is the best known. In this connection, Imâm Bayhaqi Rahmatullâhi ‘alayhi relates a Hadîth by Anâs Radiallâhu anhu wherein Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam is reported to have said: “On Laylatul Qadr, Jibra’îl Alayhis Salâm comes down with a group of angels and prays for mercy for every one whom they find busy in worship [Ibâdah].”

 

[Peace reigns until the break of dawn.]

Indeed this night is the very embodiment of peace; through out its span, the ‘Malâ’ikah’ offer salutations to the faithful believers adoring their Rabb. As one group ascends, another group descends (with the same greetings), as indicated in some narrations. Another interpretation is that it is a night of complete safety from evil and mischief. (Extract from Teaching of Islâm)

 

Du`aa to be recited on the Night of Laylatul Qadr

It is reported from Hazrat Ayesha Radiallâhu anha: “I said: ‘O Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam, when I find myself in Laylatul Qadr, what shall I say?” Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam replied: ‘Say: O Allâh, Thou art the One who grants pardon for sins, Thou lovest to pardon, so pardon me.]

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