LAYLATUL QADR – Night of power
Amongst the nights of Ramadhaan, there is one called ‘Laylatul Qadr’,a night that is noted for its greatest blessings. The Noble Qur’an describes it as being greater in blessedness and spiritual virtue than a thousand months, which in turn means that it is more valuable than eighty three years and four months. Fortunate indeed is that person who attains the full blessings of this night by spending it in the worship of Allah, because he has then attained the reward of ‘Ibaadah’ (worship) for eighty three years,four months and even more. Indeed (the granting of) this night for the faithful Muslims is a great favour.
Regarding this night in a Hadith reported by Anas (RA) in Durre Manthur, Rasulullah (Sallallaahu 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 Ahaadith, one reason is given thus: Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) used to ponder over the longer lives of peoples of the past ages and when comparing 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, Allah 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 ‘Ibaadah’ (worship) for eight hundred and thirty three years and even more.
Another report states that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) once related to the ‘Sahaaba’ the story of a very righteous man from among the Banu Israaeel, who spent one thousand months in ‘Jihaad’. On hearing this, the Sahaaba enviously felt that they could not attain the same reward, whereupon Allah granted them this Night (of Power). Still another report states that it so happened that our Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) once mentioned the names ofthe four most pious people from among the Banu Israaeel, each of whom spent eighty years in Allah’s sincere service, worshipping Him and not transgressing in the least. They were Nabi Ayyub, Zakariyya, Ezkeel and Yu’sha (Alayhimus salaam). The ‘Sahaaba’ heard this, wondering how to emulate their achievements. Then Jibraaeel (Alayhis salaam) appeared and recited ‘Surah Qadr’, wherein the blessings of this particular night were revealed.
There are reports too, explaining the origin of the Night of Power. But no matter which of these we accept, the important fact remains that Allah has granted us this night, as a great favour, and how fortunate are those divines who have never missed worship in this night. As to which particular night it is, here again approximately fifty different views are reported. It is not easy for me to enumerate them all, but the most generally accepted versions, shall follow in the ensuing pages of this chapter.
Because the Qur’an Majeed itself mentions the night, we shall commence with a short commentary of Surah Qadr.
‘We have indeed revealed this (message) in the Night of Power.’
Reference here is made to the fact that,on this specific night, the Qur’an was sent down from the ‘Lawhul Mahfoodh’ (the preserved Tablet) to the heavens (above the earth). The mere fact that the Qur’an 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 out 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 here 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 that a thousand months’
The true meaning here is that the reward forspending this night in worship (Ibaadah) is betterand more than that for having spent one thousand months in worship (Ibaadah); but as to how much more rewarding it is,we are not told here.
‘Therein come down the Angels and the Spirit, by Allah’s permission on every errand’
A fine explanation is given for this verse by Imaam Raazi. Commenting on this verse, he explains that when man first appeared on earth, the ‘Malaaikah’looked upon him with concern. They even ventured to ask Allah, ‘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 considered it as something which polluted the clothes and had to be washed away. But later, when Allah made that same sperm into a fine form of a child, they began to love and cherish him. So far have things now progressed that, when on this Night of Power we find that same man worshipping Allah and adoring Him, then those very Angels (Malaaikah) descend towards him, obviously repentant for the thoughts they had once harboured against him. In this verse, where in is mentioned (Wa-rrooh) ‘and the Spirit…’, the reference is to Jibraaeel (Alayhis salaam) who descends to the Earth during this night. Commentators of the Qur’an have given various meanings of this word. Let us look at some of them:
The vast majority of commentators are agreed that Jibraaeel (Alayhis salaam) is meant here and, according to Imaam Razi, this is the most correct meaning. Allah first makes mention of the ‘Malaaikah’ and then, because of Jibraaeel (Alayhis salaam)’s special status among them, a separate mention is made of him.
Some commentators hold the view that ‘Spirit’ here means one specific Angel of such extra-ordinary 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 ‘Malaaikah’ who never ordinarily appear and only on this night are they seen by other ‘Malaaikah’
Some commentators believe that ‘Spirit’ here designates one specific creation of Allah, who partake of food and drink, and yet neither men nor angels.
There is also a view that ‘Spirit’ here refers to the Prophet Jesus (Alayhis salaam), who on this night comes down to look at the righteous deeds of the ‘Ummah’
The last interpretation we wish to mention here is that ‘Spirit’ means Allah’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, Imaam Bayhaqi (RA) relates a Hadith by Anas wherein Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) is reported to have said: ‘On ‘Laylatul Qadr’ Jibraaeel (Alayhis salaam) comes down with a group of angels and prays for mercy for every one whom they find busy in worship (Ibaadah).’
‘By Allah’s permission, descend on the Earth for blessed errands…’
The author of Mazaaire Haqq writes that on this night, ages ago, the ‘Malaaikah’ were created, long before the creation of Aadam (Alayhis salaam) was begun in the shape of a nucleous; on this same night Paradise was planted with tree and numerous Ahaadith bear witness to the fact that on this night prayers are accepted. Similarly, we read in the book, Durre Manthoor, that according to a Hadith it was on this night that the Prophet Jesus (Alayhis salaam) was lifted up bodily into the Heavens, and also it was on this night that the repentence (Tawbah) of Banu Israaeel was accepted.
‘Peace reigns until the break of dawn’
Indeed this night is the very embodiment of peace; the ‘Malaaikah’ offer salutations to the faithful believers adoring their Lord. As one group ascends, another group descends (with the same greetings), as indicated in some narrations. Another interpretation is that it is that it is a night of complete safety from evil and mischief. These blessings last all night until the break of dawn, and are not limited to anyone part of the night.
And now, having noted a few virtues of this night as explained in the Words of Allah, we now turn to the Hadith where we read more about the virtues of the night.
HADITH NO. 1
Abu Hurairah (Radhi Allaho anho) reports that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “Whoever stands in Prayers and worships on the night of power, with complete faith and with sincere hope of gaining reward, all his previous sins are forgiven.”
In the above Hadith, ‘Standing’ refers to ‘Salaat’, but includes any other form of ‘Ibaadah’, as for example ‘Zikr’, ‘Tilawah’, etc. The phrase … with sincere hope of gaining reward’, means that one’s intention should be pure and one should stand before Allah in utmost humility and sincerity. According to Khattabi, it means that one should have complete faith in the promise that deeds shall be rewarded and should not have the idea that this form of ‘Ibaadah’ is a burden, nor should he have any doubts (as to whether the promised reward shall be granted). After all, it is a known fact that when one aims high and desires a great reward, while at the same time having complete certainty of receiving it, the task of striving hard in prayers to attain that goal becomes easy. This is the reason why those who have become spiritually elevated in Allah’s sight find it easy to remain in “Ibaadah” almost at all times.
It will be noted that where the Hadith speaks about previous sins being forgiven, the Ulama have said that this forgiveness (as mentioned in the above Hadith and in others) refers only to minor sins, because as indicated in the Qur’an, the major sins can only be forgiven after sincere repentance, with the vow, never to commit such sins again. So whenever the Hadith states that sins are forgiven the Ulama take it to imply minor sins. My late father (May Allah bless him and grant radiance in his resting place) used to say that for two reasons the word ‘minor’ has been omitted in the Ahaadith. First, he says, a true Muslim is one on whom no major sins should remain, because whenever a major sin has been committed by him, he will never rest or find peace until he has sincerely repented to his Lord. Secondly, during such great and blessed days and nights, when a true Muslim stands before his Lord in prayers and adoration, hoping to gain reward, then he in his conscience feels greatly grieved for his previous sins, which together with the resolution not to return to such deeds, are the most important requirements of “Towbah” (seeking forgiveness). This means that, on such days and nights, the worshipper indeed repents for maior sins that have been committed by him. (Leaving only minor sins to be forgiven). It is best however that when a night like “Laylatul Qadr” comes along, one should first of all repent verbally, with his heart full of sincere longing for forgiveness, so that Allah in his infinite Mercy may forgive all forms of sins. And when you do this remember me too in your prayers.
HADITH NO. 2
Anas (Radhi Allaho anho) reports, “Once when Ramadhan commenced, the Messenger of Allah (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) said: ‘A month has verily dawned over you.wherein lies a night better than a thousand months. Whoever misses such a night has indeed been deprived.of all that is good; and none is deprived of it, except he who is really unfortunate.”
Who can have any doubt as to the misfortune of the person who is either deprived or deprives himself of the great good cf “Laylatul Qadr”? There are those who, during the course of their service and terms of employment, have to stay awake by night throughout the year. How easy should it be, for the sake of gaining the reward of over eighty years worship (Ibaadah) to stay awake for one month in Allah’s service? Because of lack of interest, there is no urge in the heart: if that interest were present, then even a thousand nights in worship of Allah would become exceedingly easy. It is this urge and desire that we must create.
Look at our Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam); he had been promised time and again that he had nothing to fear in the Hereafter, and had been given good news as to his exalted position. Yet night after night he was seen in “Ibaadah”, so much so that his feet became swollen. Among the believers of Islam, there are many saintly followers who copied his example. They were human beings like us, and none can thus say that it is impossible for us to have that same desire for worship; it is really a matter of taking this to heart. Let us look at the example of the following illustrious sons of Islam.
One such man was Hazrat Umar (Radhi Allaho anho) who, having performed his ‘Eshaa’ salaat, would return home and then remain in ‘Salaat’ throughout the night, until the ‘Azaan’ was heard for ‘Fajr’. Then there is the example of Hazrat Uthman (Radhi Allaho anho) who, after fasting the whole day used to spend the whole night in ‘Salaat’ apart from getting a little sleep during the first third of the night. It is well known about him that he used to recite the whole Qur’aan during one “Rakah” at a time. In the Ihya Ulumid Deen by Imaam Ghazaali, Abu Taalib Makki mentions some forty men from among the “Taabi’een”, who used to perform “Fajr” Salat with the same ablution (Wudhu) with which they had performed their ‘Eshaa” Salaat.’
Hazrat Shaddad (Radhiallaho anho) was one of the Sahabah who used to lie awake throughout the night from side to side until, ‘Fajr’ and used to say: “O Allah! the fear of fire of ‘Jahannam’ has driven away my sleep.” Aswad bin Yazeed (Radhi Allaho anho), apart from sleeping a little between ‘Maghrib’ and ‘Esha’ used to remain in ‘Ibaadah’ during ‘Ramadhan’ throughout the night. It is said of Saeed bin Musayyib that, for fifty years, he used to perform ‘Eshaa’ and ‘Fajr’ prayers with the same ablution (Wudhu). Then there is the example of Sila bin Ashyam who, after spending the whole night in Allah’s worship, used to say at the break of the day: “O Allah! I am not fit to beg “Jannah” (Heaven) of You, but all I beseech of You is.that You save me from “Jahannam” (Hell).
Hazrat Qataada (Radhi Allaho anho) used to recite the whole Qur’an every three nights of Ramadhan but, during the last ten nights, he used to finish the whole Qur’an every night. About Imaam Abu Hanifa (Radhi Allaho anho) it is.well known that, for forty years, he performed ‘Eshaa’ and the next morning’s ‘Fajr’salaat with the same “Wudhu”. When his companions inquired of him as to how he had obtained the strength for this, he replied: “It is in answer to a special prayer that I made to Allah by the blessedness of His Special Names.” He merely slept a little in the afternoons, about which he said: “In the Hadith we are advised to do so” (In other words, even in the afternoon sleep, his intention was to follow the “Sunnah”). The same Imaam Abu Hanifa used to cry so much while reciting the Qur’aan that his neighbours used to feel pity for him. Once he wept all night, crying while reciting the following verse again and again:
“Nay, the Hour (of Judgement) is the time promised for them (for their recompense), and that hour will be most grievous and bitter.” Ibrahim bin Adham went so far as not to sleep at all in Ramadhan, night or day. Imaam Shafi’ee used to recite the Qur’aan about sixty times during the days and nights of Ramadhan. And apart from these, there were countless other saintly souls who used to act diligently on the injunctions of the Quranic verse:
“I have created the “Jinn” and Human that they may only serve Me.” These are some examples of those who lived in earlier times. Even today, there are many who, with the same devotion, serve Allah. Even in these times of laxness and iniquity, there are people who try to follow noble example of Rasulullah (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam), and do not let their worldly pursuits or their physical comfort stand in their way. The Messenger of Allah said: “Allah says: ‘O son of Aadam, spend your time in My service, and I shall bless you with freedom from want, and I shall remove your poverty. Otherwise, I shall load you with pressing engagements and duties, while your poverty and needs shall not diminish.” How frequently we observe the truth of this. Some people serve only Allah, while having no means of livelihood, and yet they need nothing
HADITH NO. 3
Anas (Radhi Allaho anho) reports that the Messenger of Allah (Sallalaho alaihe wasallam) said: “On the Night of Power, ‘Jibra’il’ (Alayhis Salaam) descends upon the Earth with a group of Angels, praying for blessings for every servant of Allah whom they see in worship, standing or sitting, and engrossed in Allah’s praise. Then on the day of Eid, Allah boasts about them to the angels (who had been critical at the time of Aadam’s creation). “O My angels, what is the reward of that worker who has done his job very well?’ They reply: “O our Lord, his reward should be given to him in full.” To this Allah replies “O My angels, verily My servants, the males among them as well as females, have they duly performed their obligatory duty, thereafter they set forth to Eid prayer ground raising their voices in prayer to Me. I swear by My Honour, by My Grandeur, by My Grace and by My Exalted position, that I shall surely answer the prayers of these people.” Thereafter Allah addresses the people: “Go forth, I have forgiven your sins, and have replaced your evil deeds with righteous ones.” These people then return from the ‘Eidgaah’ in such a condition that their sins stand forgiven.”
In this Hadith, it is clearly mentioned that ‘Jibraeel’ (Alayhis Salaam) comes down with the angels. Another Hadith reported by Ibne Abbas and quoted by Abdul Qaadir Jilaani in his book ‘Ghunya’ further elucidates the contents of this Hadith. It is reported that Jibraeel (Alayhis Salaam), after his descent, commands the angels to proceed to the house of everyone busy with players, and greet him by shaking his hands. Thereupon the angels spread forth, visiting every dwelling, whether large or small, whether in the jungle or on a ship, wherein a believer resides to shake his hands. However, certain houses are not entered; the house wherein a dog or a pig is found, the house wherein one is found unclean (Janaabah), as a result of adultery, and the house wherein pictures (images) of men and animals are displayed. How unfortunate that Muslims’ houses should be deprived of the blessed entry of angels simply because there are pictures of men and animals being displayed, solely for the sake of decoration. A single picture may have been hung by some member of the household, as a result of which the complete household is deprived of blessings.
HADITH NO. 4
‘Aaisha (Radhi Allaho anha) reports that Rasulullah (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) said: “Seek “Laylatul Qadr” among the odd numbered nights of the last ten days of the month of Ramadhan.”
According to the great majority of the religious scholars. the last ten nights commence on the 21st night; such is the case whether the month of Ramadhan consists of 29 days or 30. So one should seek “Laylatul Qadr” on the 21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th and 29th night.
Ibne Hazm has a different opinion, saying that the word ‘Ashra’ as used in the Hadith means ten. As such, the above calculations will only be correct in cases where the month of Ramadhan consists of thirty days. However, when there are only twenty-nine days in the month (as often happens), the last ten days will commence with the 19th day, and the night being the 20th night. According to this calculation, it would appear that the ‘Unevenly numbered’ nights will actually be the 20th, 22nd, 24th, 26th, 28th and the 30th nights.
But all authorities agree that when in search of ‘Laylatul Qadr’ Rasulullah (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) went into “Itikaaf”, he commenced it on the 21st night of Ramadhan. In view of this, these authorities consider the odd nights to be the appropriate nights for ‘Laylatul Qadr”.
Once should however spend each and every night from the 20th onwards in ‘Ibaadah’, so that one may be sure of having acquired the blessings of Ramadhaan. Spending ten or eleven nights in devotion is definitely not so difficult, if one looks at the great reward that is granted.
HADITH NO. 5
Ubaadah bin Saamit (Radi Allaho anho) said: ‘Once Rasulullah (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) came out to inform us of the (true date of) “Laylatul Qadr”. Unfortunately, a quarrel took place between two Muslims, whereupon he said: “I came out to inform you as to when “Laylatul Qadr” occurs, but because two people quarrelled 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.
Three important points are referred to in this Hadith. Firstly, there is mention of a quarrel, as a result of which the knowledge of the precise night of “Laylatul Qadr” was lost to us. Arguments and quarrels are always the cause of loss of blessings. Once Rasulullah (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) inquired of the companions: “Shall I inform you of an action that is better than “Salaat”, fasting and charity?” The companions replied. “Certainly” Rasulullah (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) then said: “Maintain peaceful and good relations amongst yourselves, for verily quarrels among yourselves destroy (shave off) faith;” i.e. just as a razor shaves off the hair, so does quarrelling affect ‘Deen’.
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 in our stand, in spite of the saying of the Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam). In the first chapter of this book, we read how the Messenger of Allah (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) 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 Holy Qur’aan 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. Rasulullah (Sallallaho alaihe Wasallam) said that he who severs relations with a brother Muslim for more than three days – and dies in this state, will go straight to Hell. In another Hadith, it is stated that on every Monday and Thursday, the actions of human beings are brought before Allah. Then through His Mercy (as a result of certain good deeds) forgiveness is granted, except to the idolaters. and those who set up equals to Allah. 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.”
Another Hadith states that, when actions are produced before Allah every Monday and Thursday, repentance is accepted from those who repent, and forgiveness is granted to those who seek pardon; as for those who had arguments (with each other) they are left as they were. A Hadith further teaches us that, on the night of the 14th of “Sha’baan” (Shab-i-Bara’at), the Mercy of Allah is directed at all Allah’s creation and forgiveness is freely granted, except to two persons: One, a”Kaafir” (disbeliever), and the other who harbours vindictiveness against others. In another Hadith it is stated: “There are three people whose “Salaat” does not ascend even a span above their heads.” Mentioned among these are those who quarrel among themselves.
In the above few paragraphs, have digressed from the point under discussion. It was not my intention to mention all these Ahaadith on quarrels or arguments. I merely did it to bring to your notice this great evil, which we greatly underestimate, so much so that even those whom we consider to be noble and righteous are guilty of it. On the other hand, it must be noted that this quarrelling use of harsh words and cutting oneself off from one another is a crime and evil in Islam, only when done out of enmity and hatred over worldly things and worldly causes. It is permitted to break off relations with someone because of his evil deeds or because of some religious matter (wherein he is in the wrong and blameable). Hazrat Ibn Umar(Radhi Allaho anho) once quoted a saying of Rasulullah (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam), to which his son said something that outwardly appeared as an objection to it. The result was that Ibn-e-Umar never again spoke to.that son, as long as he lived. There are several similar incidents related of the ‘Sahaabah’. In our own cases, Allah is All-Knowing. All-Wise and He alone knows the true state of affairs, as to which relations are broken off because of Deen and which because of our own honour, pride and dignity having become damaged.
The second point to which the Hadith under discussion draws attention is the fact that man should be satisfied with and accept in good grace, Allah’s ruling in all matters. For example, even though it seems that the loss of the knowledge as to when ‘Laylatul Qadr’ actually falls, is a great loss, yet it has to be accepted because it is from Allah. Because of this, Rasulullah (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) said: ‘It is better for us that way.” One should ponder over this. Allah is at all times Merciful to His servants. Even when someone becomes overtaken by a great calamity because of his own evil deeds, he needs only appeal to His Creator,.admit his own weakness, and that same calamity is made the cause for greater good.
Our “Ulama” have mentioned quite a few advantages in our not knowing the precise date for “Laylatul Qadr”. First, had we known the actual location of this blessed night, there would have been so many who would not have worshipped Allah at all during the other nights. As things are, one has to stay awake and be in prayers (Ibaadah) for quite a number of nights, hoping that each night is PERHAPS the night. This means spending more nights in Allah’s worship and getting reward for the same.
Secondly, there are among us those who are just not able to avoid evil. How extremely dangerous and unfortunate for them would it be, when, in spite of knowing that such-and-such a night is “Laylatul Qadr”, they might still spend it in sin and evil? Once Rasulullah (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) on entering the mosque saw one of the “Sahaaba” sleeping. He said to Ali (Radhi Allaho anho): “Wake him up so that he can make “Wudhu”. This Ali (Radi Allaho anho) did and then addressed the Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) thus: ‘O Messenger of Allah, (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) you are always the first to hasten towards any good deed. Why then did you not wake him up youself” To this the Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) replied: “I feared lest this man may refuse and refusal to my command is (Kufr) denial of ‘Deen’. If he had refused your command, it would not be ‘Kufr’. Similarly, Allah in his Mercy does not wish that, inspite of knowing which night is the real one, a Muslim should still spend it in sin and evil.
Thirdly, if we did Know and in spite of that, for one reason or another, within or outside our control, we allowed night to go by without “Ibaadah”, then it is very likely that thereafter, for the rest of Ramadhan, no other night would have been spent in ‘Ibaadah’, whereas now many people find it possible to spend one, two or three nights in ‘Ibaadah”, while we do not know which is the Night of Power.
Fourthly, every night spent in “Ibaadah” in search of ‘Laylatul Qadr’ is a night for which separate reward is assured.
Fifthly, we have read that Allah speaks highly to His angels about those believers who exert themselves in “Ibaadah” during Ramadhan. Now more such occasions of receiving Allah’s appreciation arise, in spite of not knowing when the real night of “Laylatul Qadr” is and, although they have only a vague idea about its fixed time, still they exert themselves to the utmost in Allah’s service, night after night. If such then is their exertion when “Laylatul Qadr” is not known, how much more will they exert themselves were it known to them?
There are other advantages alse. It is common knowledge that Allah often keeps certain things secret to Himself, as for example, the ‘Ismul Aazam’ (the Great Name of Allah, whereby, if we call upon Him, He answers). Similar is the case of that special moment on the day of “Jumah ” when a supplicant’s prayers are answered; this time too is not known with complete certainty.
The third point to which attention is drawn in the Hadith is the fact that “Laylatul Qadr” should be sought among three nights – the 9th, 7th and 5th. By reading this in conjunction with the other Ahaadith, we come to know that this refers to the last ten nights of Ramadhan. So to determine which nights are these, if we start from the 20th, counting upwards, then these three nights are the 25th, 27th and 29th. If, on the other hand, we start counting from the 29th backwards (where Ramadhan has 29 days) these nights would be the 21st, 23rd and 25th but if Ramadhan has 30 days, then these would be the 22nd, 24th and 26th nights. From the above, one can see how much uncertainty there is about the correct date, and in fact among the learned Ulama, there are approximately fifty different opinions. Because of this, some Ulama have said “Laylatul Qadr” does not fall on one and the same night every year. If in this particular year, it fell on a particular night, then the following year it will fall on another night. There are times when the Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) commanded the companions to search among a number of nights, whereas at other times he used to fix a certain night.
Hazrat Abu Hurairah (RadhiAllaho anho)reports that once during a conversation with the companions, mention was made of “Laylatul Qadr”. Rasulullah (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) asked: “What is the date today?” They replied: ‘The 22nd of Ramadhan’ The Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) said: “Search for ‘Laylatul Qadr’ in the night following this day.”
Hazrat Abu Zarr (RadhiAllaho anho) reports that he inquired of the Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) whether “Laylatul Qadr” was only granted during the life-time of Rasulullah (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) or whether it would continue to come after him. Rasulullah (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) replied: “It will continue until the day of judgement (Qiyaamah).” I then inquired: “In which section of Ramadhan does it come?” The Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) replied, “Search for it in the first ten and in the last ten days.” Thereafter the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) became busy with other work. I waited, and finding another chance inquired: “In which section of those ten days “Laylatul Qadr” comes?” Upon this, Rasulullah (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) became angry with me, as he had never been before, and said: “If it had been Allah’s wish to make it known, would He not have informed us? Search for it among the last seven nights, and ask no more.”
In another Hadith again, Rasulullah (Salllallaho alaihe wasallam) is reported to have told one “Sahaabi” that “Laylatul Qadr” was on the 23rd night. Ibn Abbas(RadhiAllaho anho) related: ‘While sleeping once, someone said to me in my dream. ‘Rise up, this is “Laylatut Qadr”. I woke up and proceeded in haste to Rasulullah (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) and I found him in “Salaat”. That was the 23rd night.” According to other reports again, the 24th was “Laylatul Qadr.” Hazrat Abdudah ibn Mas’ood (Radhiallaho anho) said: “Whoever remains all the nights of the year in prayer (Ibaadah) can find “Laylatul Qadr.” (In other words, the blessed night moves throughout the year and does not necessarily have to come in Ramadhan only.) When this was mentioned to Ubay bin Ka’ab (Radhi Allaho anho) he said: “Yes Ibne Masood meaning is that people may not stay awake just on this night and become contented.” Thereafter, he swore by Allah that “Laylatul Qadr” comes on the 27th. This is also the view held by numerous “Sahaaba” as well as “Tabi’een”. What Ibn Mas’ood and Ubay (Radhiallaho anho) actually meant was that, the person who remains in “Ibaadah” all the nights of the year will certainly realize when “Laylatul Qadr” is.
Among the Imaams, a well known opinon of Imaam Abu Hanifa (Rahmatullah alaih) is that “Laylatut Qadr” moves throughout the year, while another view of his is that it moves about throughout the month of Ramadhan. His famous student-followers, Imaam Muhammad and Imaam Abu Yousuf, however, were of the opinion that the night is fixed on one specific night (which is unknown) during the Holy month of Ramadhan. While the Shaafies believe that very likely it occurs on the 21st, Imaam Ahmed and Imaam Malik hold the view that it comes among the last ten nights of Ramadhan, shifting from year to year and is not fixed. But the vast majority of the ‘Ulama’, consider it most likely that “Laylatul Qadr” comes annually on the 27th (of Ramadhan).
Ibn Arabi (Radhi Allaho anho) says: “In my opinion, the view of those who believe that ‘Laylatul Qadr’ comes on various nights throughout the year is most likey correct, because twice I have seen it in Sha’baan – once on the 15th and once on the 19th; and twice I have seen it in the middle ten nights of Ramadhan – The 13th and the 18th. And I have seen it on every odd night of the last ten. For this reason, I am certain that it moves over all nights throughout the year, but comes mostly in Ramadhan.
Shah Waliyullah of Delhi believed that “Laylatul Qadr” comes twice every year (a) One “Laylatul Qadr” is that one, on which Allah’s commands are revealed (to the angels); this is also the night on which the Holy Qur’aan was sent down from the “Lowhul Mahfuz” to the Heavens. This night does not come in Ramadhan alone, but shifts and can come on any other night of the year. However, the particular night on which the Holy Qur’aan was revealed fell in Ramadhan. (b) The second “Laylatul Qadr” is the one of tremendous Spiritual value, when angels descend in large numbers, while “Shayateen” are held back, and when prayers are answered. This night comes only in Ramadhan, during the various odd nights of the last ten days. (This view of Shah Waliyullah used to be most acceptable to my father.)
Anyway, whether there are two ‘Laylatul Qadrs’ or whether there is only one, the fact still remains that one has to search for it; if not throughout the year, then at least in Ramadhaan; should that during the last ten days. When that too seems a bit too much for us, then at least the odd-numbered nights of the last ten days; in case one has missed some of these too, then the 27th should not be allowed to go by. Thus, if by good fortune one is blessed with the night, then it would outweigh all comforts and enjoyable things in the world.
Even if one fails to get the much-searched-for night, then at least the reward for the worship (Ibaadah) is received. At least efforts should be made that the ‘Salaat’ of Maghrib and Eshaa throughout the year is performed with “Jamaat”; because if it is ‘Laylatul Qadr’ the reward for both is so much more. It is a great blessing of Allah that when one makes an endeavour for religious aims and cannot meet with success, he is still rewarded for the efforts. But in spite of this, how few there are who would strain every nerve in the service of “Deen”? On the other hand, in worldly affairs when one’s endeavours do not bear fruit, then these efforts are written off as a loss. In spite of this, numerous people continue to spend their time, efforts and wealth in worldly pursuits that are fruitless and without worthwhile purpose, and do not hold forth any such such reward or consolation.
HADITH NO. 6
Ubaadah bin Saamit (Radhiallaho anho) reports that he asked the Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) about “Laylatul Qadr”. He replied: “It is in Ramadhan, during the last ten days, on the unevenly numbered nights, either the 21st 23rd, 25th, 27th, 29th or the last night of Ramadhan. Whosoever stands in “Ibaadah” on this night, with sincere faith and with genuine hopes of gaining reward, his previous sins will be forgiven. Among the signs of this night is that it is a serene, quiet, shining night, neither hot, nor cold but temperate as if a moon is shining clear, and no meteors are shot at the “Shayateen” on that night; it lasts until the break of the dawn. Another sign is that at morn, the Sun rises without any radiant beams of light, appearing rather like the moon in it’s fullness. On that day, Allah prohibits the “Shayateen” from rising up with the Sun.”
Part of what has been mentioned in this Hadith has already been dealt with. Some signs are here mentioned about the actual night. These signs are clear and need no further elucidation. Apart from these, there are other signs too, as mentioned in the Ahadith or in the experiences of those who had the good fortune to experience “Laylatul Qadr.” The sign that is, however; most specific in the Hadith is the rising of the sun, ‘without any radiant beams of light.’ Other signs are not always there. One Sahaabi, Ab’da bin Abi Lubaaba (Radhi Allaho anho) says: “On the evening of the 27th , I tasted the water of the sea and it was sweet.” Ayub bin Khalid said: ‘I once had to bathe myself with sea water, and on tasting it, found, it sweet. This was on the 23rd night.” Some of the “Mashaaikh” (religious divines) wrote that, on the evening of “Laylatul Qadr”, everything prostrates itself before Allah, so much so that trees fall flat on the ground, then return to their normal position; these are however spiritual phenomena not visible to the ordinary person.
HADITH NO. 7
Aaisha (RadhiAllaho anha) reports: “I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam), should I find myself the “Laylatul Qadr”, hat shall I pray. The Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) replied: say, Allaahumma innaka afuwwun tohibbu al’afwa fa’fu anna “O Allah, Thou art the One who grants pardon for sins. Thou lovest to pardon, so O pardon me.”
This is indeed such an all-inclusive prayer, wherein one begs that Allah in His infinite Grace should forgive his sins. If that has been obtained, the path to the Hereafter is secure. What more would one require? Imaam Sufyaan Thowry used to say that to keep oneself busy on this night with ‘Duaa’ (invocations to Allah) is better than any other form of worship (Ibaadah). Ibne Rajab says that one should not only remain busy with ‘Duaa’, but should also take part in all other form of ‘Ibaadah’, e.g. recitation of the Holy Qur’an, ‘Salaat’, contemplation, etc. This latter opinion is most correct and nearer to what Rasulullah (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) had said, as already mentioned in the previous Ahaadith.
Source: Virtues of Ramadaan: Sheikhul Hadith Muhammad Zakariyya