Laylatul Qadr – Its Origin & Virtues

[By Maulana Zakariyyah Kandhlawi (rahimahullah)]

Amongst the nights of Ramadan there is one called “Laylatul Qadr” a night that is noted for its great blessings. The Qur’an Kareem describes it as being greater in blessedness and spiritual virtue than a thousand months which in turn means that it is greater than eighty three years and four months.

Fortunate indeed is that person who attains the full blessings of this night by spending it in ‘ibaadah of Allah, because he has then attained reward for ‘ibaadah of eighty three years and four months and even more. Indeed the granting of this night to the faithful Muslim is a great favour.

THE ORIGIN

Regarding this night, in a Hadith reported by Anas (radhiyallahu anhu) in Durre Manthoor Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) is reported to have said: “Laylatul Qadr was granted to my ummah and not to any other ummah before this“. Regarding the reason for the granting of Laylatul Qadr. various-reasons are mentioned. One reason, according to some Ahaadith is given thus: Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) used to look at the longer lives of the earlier people and was suddened when pondering over the much shorter lives of his own ummah. If his ummah had wished to compete with the people before them in the doing of righteous deeds, because of their shorter lives it would be impossible for them to either emulate or surpass them. To compensate for this difference in their life span, Allah in His infinite mercy granted them with this night of great blessing. This means that if any fortunate one of this ummah spends during his life time ten such nights in the worship of his maker, he would have gained the reward for ‘ibaadah of eight hundred and thirty years and even more. Another report states that: Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) once related to the sahaabah the story of a very righteous man from among the Bani Israa’il who used to spend one thousand months in ibaadah. On hearing this, the sahaabah envied that person because they could not attain the same reward.
whereupon Allah granted tliem the Night of Power as a recompense. 

Still another report states that our Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) once mentioned the names of the fout most pious people from among the Bani Israa’il who each spent eighty years in Allah’s sincere service, worshipping Him, and not sinning in the least. They were Nabi Ayyub (alayhis salaam), Zakariyya (alayhis salaam), Hizqeel (alayhis salaam) and Yu’sha’ (alayhis salaam). The sahaabahs heard this with astonishment. Then Jibraeel (alayhis salaam) appeared and recited Surah Qadr, wherein the blessing of this night was revealed.

Apart from these reports, there are others too, explaining the origin of the Night of Power. This type of difference in narration arises because, after occurrence of several incidents only one ayat is revealed. That aayah then is relevant to anyone of the incidents that took place. But no matter which of them we accept, the important fact that remains is that Allah has granted the ummah of Prophet Muhammad this night. This is a great favour and gift of Allah. To devote yourself on this night is also a blessing from Allah. How worthy of envy are those Mashaa’ikh who say they did not miss the ‘ibaadah of one Laylatul Qadr since they became of age. Now, as to which night it is, here again approximately fifty different views of the ‘ulama are mentioned. It is not easy for me to enumerate them all. But the most accepted versions, as well as further discussions on this night shall follow in the ensuing paragraphs of this article. The numerous excellences of this night are mentioned in various books of Hadith, These will also be mentloned. For the reason that the Qur’an Majeed itself mentions this night, we shall commence with a short commentary on Surah Qadr. (The translations are from A. Yusuf Ali).

In the name of Allah the beneficient, the’Merciful”.
“We have indeed revealed this {message} in the Night of Power“. (Suratul Qadr: 1).

Reference here is made to the fact that on this special night, the Qur’an was sent down from AI Lowhul Mahfuz (The preserved Tablet) to the heavens (above the earth). Because a great book like Qur’an was revealed in this night is in itself sufficient to explain its excellence, needless to mention all other blessings and virtues which are included. In the very next verse by way of drawing and increasing our interest in the matter under discussion, a question is asked:

And what will explain to you what the Night of Power is“. (Suratul Qadr: 2).

In other words, the question asked here is: Have you any knowledge as to the greatness and the great importance of this night? Have you any knowledge as to the great favours and bounties that are placed in it? The next verse proceeds to enumerate someof that greatness:

The Night of Power is better than a thousand months” (Suratul Qadr: 3).

The true meaning here is that reward for spending this night in ‘ibadah is better and more than having spent one thousand months ‘ibadah, it is in fact more 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“. (Suratul Qadr: 4)

A fine explanation is given in this verse by Imaam Raazi (rahimahullah) Commenting on this verse he explains that when man first appeared on earth, created by Allah as His vicegerent on earth, the Malaa’ikah looked on him with scorn. When Allah informed them of His intention of placing man on earth, they even ventured to ask: “Will you place in this earth one who shall commit evil therein and shed blood?

Similarly, when his parents noted his original form as a mere drop of mani (sperm), they too looked upon it with scorn and resentment, so much so that they considered it as something which polluted clothing and had to be washed away. But later when Allah made that same despicable sperm into a fine form of man, they began to love and cherish him. So far have things now progressed that when on this Night of Power we see that same man worshipping Allah and adoring Him, those very same Malaa’ikah who had previously looked down on him with scorn, descend towards him, obviously repentant for the thoughts they had once harboured against him.

In this verse mention is made  “and the spirit“. Reference is clearly to Jibraeel (alayhis salaam). Commentators of the Qur’an have given various versions of this word. Let us look at some of them:

(a) The vast majority of the commentators are agreed that Jibraeel (alayhis salaam) is meant here, and according to Imaam Raazi (rahimahullah) this is the most correct meaning. Allah first makes mention of the Malaa’ikah and then because of Jibraeel’s (alayhis salaam) status among them, special mention is made of him.

(b) Some commentators hold the view that “Spirits” here means one angel of such extra ordinary gigantic proportion that before him heavens and earth appear as almost nothing (as a morsel).

(c) Another group of commentators opine that “Spirit” here means one such group of Malaa’ikah who never appear and only on this night are they seen by other Malaa’ikah.

(d) Some commentators.again believe that the “Spirit” here designates one such creation of Allah which although it partakes of food and drink, still is neither man nor angel.

(e) There is also a view that “Spirit” here refers to ‘Isaa (alayhis salaam) who on this night comes down with the Malaa’ikah to view the righteous deeds of this ummah.
(f) The last view we wish to mention here is that “Spirit” means Allah’s special mercy which comes in the wake of the angels descent. But already stated the first opinion is the most acceptable.

In this respect Imaam Bayhaqi (rahimahullah) reports a hadith by Anas (radhiyallahu anhu) wherein Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) is reported to have said, “On Laylatul Qadr Jibraeel (aIayhis salaam) comes down with a group of angels and make dua’ for mercy for every one whom they. find busy in ‘ibadah“. This same verse under discussion says,

” … By Allah’s permission on every errand…”

The Author of Mazhaahire Haq writes that on this night ages ago the Malaa’ikah were created on this night long ago the creation on Aadam (alayhis salaam) was begun as the matter from which he was created had been gathered; on this night trees were planted in Jannah and large number of Ahaadith bear witness to the fact that on this night dua’s are granted. Similary we read in the kitaab Durre Manthoor, that according to a Hadith it was on this night that ‘lsaa (alayhis salaam) was lifted up bodily into the heavens and also it was on this night that the towbah (repentance) of Bani Israa’il was accepted.

Peace be until the break of dawn” (Suratul Qadr: 5).

Yes, this is the very embodiment of peace. Throughout its hours the Malaa’ikah recite salaam upon faithful believers adoring their Lord. As one group descends another ascends as is explained in the Ahaadith. Another interpretation is that it is a night of complete safety from evil and mischief.

These blessings remain throughout the night until the break of dawn and are not confined to any specific haul. And now having noted a few virtues of this night as explained in the words of Allah, there is no further need to quote any Ahaadith. However, since many virtues have been in numerous Ahaadith we mention a few here.

HADITH NO.1

Abu Hurayrah (radhiyallahu anhu) reports Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said. “Whoever slands in prayer and ‘ibaadah on the night of Power with sincere faith and with sincere hope of gaining reward. his previous sins are forgiven“. [Reported in At Targheeb from Bukhaari and Muslim].

COMMENTARY

In the above Hadith ‘standing’ refers to salaah as well as any other form of ‘ibaadah, as for example thikr, tilaawah etc. The phrase ‘ with sincere hope of gaining reward‘, means that one should be sincerely occupied with ‘ibaadah solely for the pleasure of Allah and to receive reward from Him. This should not be done for others to see or to deceive them. According to Khattaabi it means that one should have complete faith in the promise that any deed shall be rewarded and thus one must stand before Allah with earnestness and enthusiasm. Neither should one think of this ‘ibaadah as a burden, nor should there be any doubt about the reward which will be granted. After all it is a known fact that when one aims at a high goal and desire to have a great reward, while at the same time having complete certainty of receiving it, the burden of striving hard along an arduous path to attain that goal becomes easy. Similary the burden of standing for long hours becomes easy. This is the reason why those who had become spiritually elevated in Allah’s sight find it easy to remain in ‘ibaadah almost at all times.

It will be noted that the Hadith speaks about previous sins being forgiven. The ‘ulama‘ have said that this forgiveness are mentioned in the hadith above and other Ahaadith refers only to minor sins. Major sins can only be forgiven according to the Qur’an after sincere repentance with the vow and promise never to return to such sins again. This is the reason why the ‘ulama are unanimous that major sins are not forgiven except by sincere repentance. Hence whenever forgiveness of sins mentioned in the Ahaadith the ‘ulama specify it to be minor sins.

My late father (May Allah bless him and grant him light in his resting place) used to say that the word ‘minor’ has been omitted here for two reasons,

Firstly, he says a true muslim is one on whom major sins should not rest, because whenever a major sin has been commited, he will never rest or find peace until he has sincerely repented to Allah (begging) for forgiveness and promising not to do the same in future.

Secondly, my late father used to say, when such great and blessed days and nights come along, when a true muslim stands before Allah in prayer and adoration hoping to gain reward, it is a fact that the true muslim in his conscience should feel greatly grieved for previous sins. This grief over sins and the resolution not to return to such acts are the most important requirements of towbah. This means that on such days and nights the repentance for major sins is automatic. (leaving only minor sins to be forgiven). It is best however that when a night like Laylatul Qadr comes along. one who has committed major sins should first of all verbally repent with a heart full of sincere longing for forgiveness so that Allah in His infinite mercy may forgive all forms of sins. And when you do, remember me too in your dua’s.

HADITH NO.2

Anas (radhiyallahu anhu) reports: Once when Ramadan commenced, the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said: ‘A month has verily dawned over you wherein lies a night better than one thousand months. Whoever is deprived of its blessings has indeed deprived of (almost) all good. And none is deprived or its good except he who is complelely unfortunate”’. [Reported by Ibn Majah].

COMMENTARY

Who can have doubt as to the misfortune of the person who deprives himself of the great good of Laylatul Qadr? (Who can doubt the misfortune of the one who misses all the bestowed favours? Indeed there are so many of us). There are those who during the course of their services and duties of employment have to stay awake throughout the year at night. What difficulty can there be for people like these, should they for the sake of gaining the reward of over eighty years lbaadah, stay awake at night for this month in the way of Allah’s service?

For them the task should not be too difficult, but, because of lack of Interest, there is no urge in the heart. If that was present. then not one night but a thousand nights in worshipping Allah would become exceedingly easy.

It is that urge and desire that we must create. After all there must have been some reason why Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) had performed such lengthy salaah that his feet even became swollen. This he did despite having firmly believed the promises and glad tidings which Allah had given him. We also profess to be his followers. Those who really appreciated these opportunities of lbaadah did what was necessary and set an example to the ummah. They left no room for the critics to say. “Who could do it better or who is more capable of following.. these examples“. It is a matter of convincing the heart, that for these who desire doing things the most difficult task presents no hardship; This could only be achieved by remaining with a recognised Shaikh for spiritual guidance.

Let us look at the example of the following illustrious sons of Islam. One such man was ‘Umar ❤ (radhiyallahu anhu) who, having performed his Ishaa’ salaah used to return home and then remain in ‘salaah throughout the night until the athaan was heard for fajr. Then there is the example of the pious Khaleefa Uthmaan (radhiyallahu anhu) who, after fasting the whole day (almost throughout the year) used to spend the whole night in salaah, apart from having a little sleep during part of the first third of the early night. It is well known about him that he used to recite the whole Qur’an during one Rak’ah. In the Ihya ‘Ulum Ad Deen by lmaam Ghazaali (rahimahullah). Abu Taalib Makki makes mention about forty men from among the taabi’i, who used to perform fajr salaah with the same wudhu with which they had performed their Ishaa’ salaah. This had been reported by many authentic narrators.

Shaddaad (radhiyallahu anhu) was one of the sahaabah who used to lie awake throughout the night turning from side to side until fajir. Then he used to say, “O Allah, the fear for the fire of Jahannam has driven away sleep from my eyes‘. Aswad bin Yazeed (radhiyallahu anhu) apart from sleeping a little between Maghrib and lshaa‘, used to remain in ‘ibaadah throughout the night during Ramadan. Now let us look at a man like Sa’id ibn Musayyib (radhiyallahu anhu) it is said that he used to perform lshaa‘ and fajr with the same wudhu for fifty years. Then there is the example of ‘Sila bin Ashyam (radhiyallahu anhu) who after spending a whole night in Allah’s worship, used to say at the break of day, “O Allah. I am not fit to beg of You Jannah but all I beseech from You now is that You save me from Jahannam“.

Qataadah (radhiyallahu anhu) was a man who used to finish the recitation of the Qur’an every three nights of Ramadan but during the latter ten nights he used to complete the whole Qur’an every night. About Imaam Abu Haneefah (rahimahullah) it is well known that for forty years he performed Ishaa‘ and the following morning’s fajr1 with the same wudhu. To doubt or disbelieve is the denial of true historical facts. When his companions inquired of him as to where he had obtained the strength for that, he replied. “It is in answer to a special du’a’ which I made to Allah in the name of 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 that“. In other words, even in the afternoon sleep he used to follow the sunnah. This same Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahimahullah), while reciting the Qur’an used to cry so much that his neighbours used to feel pity for him. Once he wept the whole night, crying while reciting the following verse time and again:

Nay the Hour (of judgement) is the time promised for them (for their recompense) and that hour will be most grevious and bitter“. (Suratul Qamar: 46).

Ibrahim Ibn Ad’ham (rahimahullah) went so far not to sleep in Ramadan neither by night nor by day. Imaam Shafi’i (rahimahullah) used to recite the Qur’an about sixty times in his ‘salaah in the days and nights of Ramadan. Apart from these few there were countless others saintly souls who used to act diligently on the injunctions of the verse:

I have only created jinn and human that they may serve Me“. (Suratuth Thaariyaat: 56).

Nothing is difficult for those who have a will to practice. These are examples of those who have gone before. But today too there are many who with the same devotion, serve Allah and according to their own times turn night into day in the service of Allah. Even in these times of evil and iniquity there are those who in their saintly manner follow the example of Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). Leisure and comfort should not prevent one from deligent devotion. Nor are worldly errand obstacles.

The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “Allah says, ‘O son of Aadam, spend your time in my service and I shall enrich you with independence and freedom from want. and I remove poverty from you. Otherwise I shall fill you with obligations and duties while your poverty and needs shall not disappear“. How true, and we see the truth of this daily.

(There are people who serve only Allah while having no apparent means of earning anything and yet they need nothing. On the other hand we see people striving hard to earn worldly things and necessities. They become so engaged in their task that no time is left for ‘ibaadah. Then too, inspite of spending all their time seeking material needs, they remain full of wordly desires, necessities and obligations).

Anas (radhiyallahu anhu) reports that Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “On the Night of Power Jibraeel (alayhis salaam) decends to the earth with the group of angels, praying for blessings on every servant of Allah they see standing in worship or sitting and celebrating Allah’s praises, Then on the day of ‘Eid. Allah boasts about them to the angels, “O angels, what is the reward of that employee who had fully completed his service?” They reply. ‘O our Sustainer, his reward should be given in full’. To this Allah replies; ‘O My angels, verily My servants. the males among them as well as the females have performed the obligatory duty upon them, thereafter they set forth to the ‘Eidgah raising their voices in prayer to Me, swear by My honour, by My Grace, by My High position of greatness, that I shall surely answer the prayer ofthose people”. Thereafter Allah says (addressing the people) “Return. certainly I have forgiven your sins and have exchanged your evil deeds with righteous ones”, Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said “those people then return from the eidgaah in forgiven state“. [ Reported by Bayhaqi in Shua’bul lmaan].

COMMENTARY

In this Hadith it is clearly mentioned, that jibraeel (alayhis salaam) comes down with the angels. The author of Ghaaliyatul Mawaa’ithz quotes from the Ghunyah of Shaikh Abdul Qaadir jilaani (rahimahullah) that in a hadith reported by Ibn ‘Abbas (radhiyallahu anhu) it is mentioned that jibraeel (alayhis salaam), after his descent commands the angels to proceed to the house of everyone busy with ibaadah, and to shake his hand, Thereupon the angels spead forth visiting every house whether big or small, whether in the jungle or on a ship wherein a believing worshipper resides, to shake his hand. However, certain houses are not entered. The house in which there is a dog or a pig. The house in which there is a person in state of janaabah, which has resulted from adultery or fornication, and a house wherein pictures of men and animals are displayed. How unfortunate it is that many Muslim houses do not have the angels entering simply because there are pictures of men and animals being displayed, solely for the sake of adding what appears to be a bit of adornment.

Only one picture may have been hunged by one careless member of the household and the whole house (dwelling) is completely deprived of blessings.

HADITH NO.4

Aa’ishah (radhiyalIaahu anha) reports that Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “Seek Laylatul Qadr among the odd numbered nights of the last ten days of the month of Ramadan“.
[Reported in Mishkaat]

COMMENTARY

We come to the question: “When is Laylatul Qadr? The above Hadith commands us to seek it among the last ten nights of Ramadan. According to the vast majority of authorities, the last ten nights commence on 21st night. Such is the case that whether the month of Ramadan consists of 29 days or 30 days, one should seek Laylatul Qadr on the 21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th or 29th night. If the month is 29 days then too, these will be termed as the last ten (Akheer Asharah) Ibn Hazm has a different opinion, saying that the word Asharah as used in the Hadith means ten. As such the above calculation will only be correct where the month of Ramadan consists of thirty days. However, when there are only twenty nine days in the month (as often happens), the last ten days in the month will commence with the 29th day and the night being the 20th night. According to this calculation it will mean that the unevenly numbered nights will be the 20th, 22nd. 24th, 26th and 28th night. (With due respect to a greatly learned Aalim like Ibn Hazm, the majority of ‘ulama do not agree with him, the reason being that I’itikaaf is sunnah during the last ten days of Ramadan). All the ‘ulama are unanimous that when Rasulullah went into I’itikaaf in search of haq, he entered the Musjid to commence seclusion on the 21st night of Ramadan.

ADVICE

Though there is great possibility of Laylatul Qadr being on the odd nights from the 21st onwards, there does also exist the likelihood that it could fall during. the last ten nights. The best advice one can give here is that one should spend each night from the twentieth onwards in Ibaadah, so that one may be sure of having acquired the blessings of Laylatul Qadr. Ten or eleven nights is definitely not so difficult if one looks at the great reward that is granted.

HADITH NO.5

‘Ubaadah bin ‘Saamit (radhiyallahu anhu) said. ‘Once Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) came out to inform us the true date of Laylatul Qadr. (Unfortunately at that time) an argument took place between two muslim men. whereupon he said, “I came out in order to inform you as to when Laylatul Qadr was, but because two people argued (the fixing of the correct date) was taken away. Perhaps that is better for you. So seek it among the ninth, seventh and fifth nights“. [Reported in Mishkaat].
COMMENTARY

Three important points are referred to in this Hadith. Firstly. there is mention of an argument which resulted in the knowledge of Laylatul Qadr being withheld from us. Arguments are always the cause of loss of blessings. Once Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) inquired of the companions, “Shall I inform you of some action that is better than ‘salaah, fasting and charity?” The companions replied. “Certainly” Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) then said. “Maintaining peaceful and good relations amongst yourselves is most virtuous for verily arguments among yourselves eliminates faith“. This means that just as the razor removes hair from the head so does arguments amongst yourself remove faith.

This is indeed an illness among us. Even those among us who appear exceptionally religious and busy with their are victims of these arguments and strife. Firstly we should carefully study Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) saying, then check our conduct in which pride prevents us to submit towards natural conciliation.  Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) has taught us: “To insult a muslim is the most despicable and obnoxious type of achievement“. We often go to such extent that when we cross words with muslims in arguments. we do not even care for a muslim’s or refrain from insults. In such cases no notice seems to be taken of the injunctions of Allah and His Messenger. The Holy Qur’an says:

Argue not among yourselves. otherwise your courage will go and your strength deport and be patient and persevering for Allah is with those who patiently persevere“. (Surah Anfaal: 46)

It is now the duty of those who always seek to injure and destroy the honour and dignity of others to sit back and think how much harm they have done to themselves. They should think how much they have through these despicable deeds, themselves become despicable in Allah’s sight and in the sight of those around them. The person who serves relationship with his brothers for more than three days and dies in this state will go straight to Jahannam. Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said that on every Monday and Thursday the actions of servants are brought before Allah. Then through His Mercy (as a result of certain pious deeds) forgiveness is granted except to the idolators. However, regarding any two people between whom an argument had taken place and friendship is cut off it shall be said “Leave their affair aside until such time that they become reconciled“.

Another Hadith states that when actions are presented 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. they are left as they are. Another Hadith further teaches us that on Shab e Bara’at (the night of the 15th Sha’baan) the mercy of Allah
is directed at all Allah’s creation and forgiveness is freely granted except for two types cf persons. One, a kaafir (disbeliever), and the one who harbours bad thoughts against others, in another Hadith it is stated, There are three kinds of people whose Salaah does not ascend one hand span above their heads for acceptance. Mentioned among these are the ones who argue among themselves.

In the above paragraphs I have digressed from the point under discussion. It was not my intention to mention all these Ahaadith on arguments. I merely did it to bring to our notice this great evil which we underestimate, so much so that even those whom we consider to be noble and righteous are guilty of it. To Allah is my plea, and He is the One we. seek assistance from. On the other hand, be informed that this fighting, use of harsh words and cutting oneself off from another, will only be regarded as a crime and evil in Islam, when done out of enmity and hatred over worldly matters. It is permissible to break off relations with somebody because of evil deeds or because of some religious matters (wherein he is in the wrong and blameable). Ibn Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) once quoted a saying of Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) to which his son said something, which outwardly appears as if he objected to it. The result was that Ibn ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) never again spoke to that son for as long as he lived. There are numerous  similar instances reported of the sahaabah.

Often we too Cut off relations with people and claim that it is for the sake of the Deen. Allah as All-knowing, All-seeing and He alone knows the true state of affairs. He knows which relationships are broken off because of the Deen and which are cut off because of the hurt to our honour, pride and dignity.

The second point to which the Hadith under discussion draws attention is the fact that man should be satisfied and accept 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 of blessing, it has to be accepted because it is from Allah. For this reason Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) says, “It is better for us that way“. One should ponder over this, Allah is at all times merciful to His servants.

Even when someone is 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 becomes. the cause Of greater good. Nothing is impossible for Allah.

Our ‘ulama have mentioned several advantages in not knowing the proper time for Laylatul Qadr. Firstly, had we known the actual time for this blessed night, there would have been so many who would not have served Allah at all during the year or on other nights. They would only wait for the prescribed night in which to perform their ibaadah. As things are now. one has to stay awake and be in Ibaadah for quite a number of nights hoping that each night is perhaps the night. (This means more nights in Allah’s service and reward for the same).

Secondly, there are among us those who just do not seem to be able to avoid evil. How extremely dangerous and unfortunate for them wouid it be. when in spite of knowing that such and such night is Laylatul Qadr and then still spend it in sin and evil? Once Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) on entering the musjid saw one of the sahaabah sleeping on one side. He said to Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) “Wake him up so that he can make wudhu“. This Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) did and then addressed the Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) thus asked ‘O Messenger of Allah, you are always first to hurry towards any good deed. Why did you not wake him up yourself? To this Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) replied. “I fear on his behalf that this man may refuse. and refusal to my command is kufr. If he refused your command. it would not be kufr (disbelief). Similarly Allah in His mercy does not approve that in spite of knowing which night is the real one, one should still spend it in sin and evil.

Thirdly, there are amongst some who find it possible to spend one, two or three nights in Ibaadah while we do not know which is the night of Power. Now say for arguments sake. we did not know which night Laylatul Qadr would be and inspite of that, for one reason or another, within or outside our control we allowed that night to go by without Ibaadah, it is an almost certain fact that thereafter for the rest of Ramadan. no other night would have been spent in Ibaadah.

Fourthly, every night spent in ibaadah in search of Laylatul Qadr is night for which a separate reward is granted.

Fifthly, We have read that Allah boasts to His angels about those believers who exert themselves in ibaadah during Ramadan. Now when they spend more nights in Allah’s worship, more such chances of boasting arise.

In spite of not knowing when it is the night of Laylatul Qadr 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 is their exertion when they do not know then how more will they exert themselves whenit is known to them? .

There are sure to be advantages. Due to such blessings Allah often keeps certain things secret to Himself, as for example, the “Ismul A’zam” (the great name of Allah. whereby if we call upon Him, He answers). Similarly there is a special moment on the day of Jumu’ah when prayers are answered. This time too is not known with complete certainty. There are numerous other things which are included in this category. It is possible that because of the argument that took place the fixing of Laylatul Qadr during that Ramadan was caused to be forgotten. However because of the other benefits the knowledge of the fixed date was not revealed.

The third point to which attention is drawn is that Laylatul Qadr should be sought among the 9th, 7th and 5th. By reading these in conjunction with the.other Ahaadith. we come to know that this refers to the last ten nights of Ramadan, which nights are these? If we start from the 20th. Counting up then these three nights are the 25th. 27th and 29th. If, on the other hand we start counting from the 28th down, where Ramadan has 29 days, these nights .are the 21st, 23rd, and 25th. And in the case where the month has 30days it would be 22nd 24th and 26th.

From the above one can see how much uncertainty there is about the correct date. Among the learned ‘ulama there are approximately fifty different opinions. Because of this reason, some ‘ulama have said that Laylatul Qadr does not occur on one and the same night every year. If in an year it occurred on one night then the following year it occurred on another night. There are times when Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) commanded the companions to search among a number of nights, whereas at other times again he used to fix a certain night.

Abu Hurayrah (radhiyallahu anhu) reports that once during a conversation with the companions, mention was made of Laylatul Qadr. Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) asked “What is the date today?” They replied, “The 22nd of Ramadhaan. The Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “Search for Laylatul Qadr in the night following this”. Abu.Tharr (radhiyallahu anhu) reports that he inquired of Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) whether Laylatul Qadr was only granted for the time of the duration of Rasulullah’s (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) life, or whether it continued to come after him. Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) replied, “It continues until Qiyaamah“. I then inquired “In which section of Ramadan does it come? The Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) replied. “Search for it in the first ten and in the last ten days“, Thereafter Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) became busy with other work. I waited and finding another chance inquired, “In which section of those ten does Laylatul Qadr come? Upon this Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) became so angry with me as he had never been before or after, and he said, “If it had been Allah’s object to make it known, would He not have informed? Search for it among the last seven nights, and ask no more“. In another Hadith again Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) is reported to have told one sahaabah that Laylatul Qadr was on 23rd night.

Ibn Abbaas (radhiyallahu anhu) related, “While sleeping once, somebody said to me in my dream. ‘Rise up, This is Laylatul Qadr’. I woke up and proceeded in haste to Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam. There I found him in salaah. That was the 23rd night“. According to other reports again the 24th is Laylatul Qadr. Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (radhiyallahu anhu) said, “Whoever remains all nights of the year in lbaadah can find Laylatul Qadr“. (In other words the blessed night moves throughout the year and does not necessarily have to come in Ramadan only). Ibn Mas’ood (radhiyallahu anhu) reports this view from Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) Durre Manthoor when this was mentioned to Ubay bin Kaab (radhiyallahu anhu) he said “Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (radhiyallahu anhu) meant people will stay awake only on this night and become contented“. Thereafter he swore by Allah that Laylatul Qadr comes on 27th. This is also the view held by numerous sahaabah as well as tabi’ieen.

Among the Imaams, the well known opinion of Imaam Abu Hanifa (rahimahullah) is that Laylatul Qadr moves throughout the year while another view of this is that it moves about throughout the month of Ramadan. His famous student followers, Imam Muhammad and lmam Abu Yusuf. however, were of the opinion that this night is fixed on one special night which is unknown, during the Holy month. While the Shafi’i’s believe that it occurs probably on 21st. Imaam Ahmad (rahimahullah) and lmaam Maalik (rahimahullah) hold view that it comes only among the odd nights of the last ten nights of Ramadan, moving from year to year and is not fixed. But as for the vast majority of ‘ulama, their hope lies in Laylatul Qadr coming annually on 27th night.

Ibn Arabi (rahimahullah) says, “In my opinion the view of those who believe that Laylatul Qadr comes on various nights throughout the year is most correct, because twice have I seen it in Sha’baan once on the 15th and once on 19th and twice have I seen it in the middle ten nights of Ramadan, the 13th, and the 18th. And I have also seen it on every odd night of the last ten. For this reason I am certain that it could occur on any night of the year but comes mostly in Ramadan.”

Shah Waliullah (rahimahullah) 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’an was sent down from the Al Lowhul Mahfuz to the heavens. This night does not come in Ramadan alone but moves and can come on any other night of the year. However. the night on which the Holy Qur’an was revealed fell in Ramadan and mostly falls during Ramadhaan. (b) The second Laylatul Qadr is the one of tremendous spiritual value. when angels descend in large numbers, while shayateens are held back and a time when prayers and ibaadah are accepted. This comes only in Ramadan during the ‘uneven’ nights of the last ten days. (This view of Shah Waliullah used to be most acceptable to my late father).

Anyway, whether there are two Laylatul Qadr’s or whether there is only one, the fact still remains that one has to search for it according to ones courage and ability. If not throughout the year, then in Ramadan. If that should prove difficult, then during the last ten days. When that too seems a bit too much to be expected, then only the odd numbered nights of the last ten days. When one has wasted these opportunities too, then by no means should the 27th be allowed to go by; If by AlIah’s blessings and your good fortune that is Laylatul Qadr, then in comparison all the prosperity and pleasures of the world would be meaningless. Thus, even though that may not be the much searched for night, then at least the reward for ibaadah is received.

The salaah of Maghrib and ‘Isha throughout the year should be performed with jama’ah; because if it is Laylatul Qadr the reward for both is so much more. It is a great blessing of Allah that when one endeavours for religious aims and cannot make it success, he is still rewarded for the effort. And inspite of this, there are those who do not leave a stone unturned in their services for Deen. On the contrary; in worldly affairs when one does not break even his efforts are also written off as a loss. Then too in this latter case numerous people spend their lime, efforts and wealth in worldly things that are fruitless and without purpose and do not hold any reward or consolation.

HADITH NO.6

‘Ubaadah bin Saamit (radhiyallahu anhu) reports that he asked Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) about Laylatul Qadr. He replied “It is in Ramadan during the last ten days, on the unevenly numbered nights, either the 21st. 23rd, 25th, 27th and 29th or the last night of the month of Ramadan. Whosoever stands in ibaadah on this night with sincere faith and with genuine hopes of gaining reward his previous sins will be forgotten. Among the signs of this night is that it is a serene, quite, shining night, not hot, nor cold and (as if through the amount of spiritual light) the moon remains clear. without any rays. No stars are flung (at the shayaa’teen) on that night until the break of dawn. Another sign is that the sunrises without any radiant beams of light, appearing rather like the moon in its fullness. On that day Allah prohibits the shayaa’teen from rising up with the sun“. [Reported in Durr Manthoor]

COMMENTARY

Part of what has been mentioned in this Hadith has already been dealt with. Some signs are mentioned about the actual night; These signs are clear and need no further explanation. Apart from these signs, however, there are other signs too, as found in the Hadith and in the experience of those who had the fortune to encounter Laylatul Qadr. The sign that is, however, most common in the Hadith and generally witnessed is the rising of the sun ‘without any radiant beams of light’. The other signs besides this are not necessarily always found. One sahaabi, Ab’da bin abi Lubaabah (radhiyallahu anhu) says, “On the evening of the 27th, I tasted the water of the sea and it was sweet“. Ayoob bin Khaalid (rahimahullah) said. “When I once had to perform ghusl (bath) with sea water, then on tasting it found it sweet. This was on the 23rd night“. Some of the Mashaa-ikh wrote that on the evening of Laylatul Qadr everything prostrates on the ground then return to their positions. These are however things that are only shown to the extremely pious ones and are not seen by the ordinary person.

HADITH NO.7

Aa’isha (radhiyallahu anha) reports; “O Messenger of Allah, when I find myself in Laylatul Qadr, what shall I say?” The Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) replied, ‘Say a Allah Thou are One who pardons. Thou lovest to pardon, so grant me forgiveness“. [Reported by Ahmad, Ibn Majah and Tirmizhi].

COMMENTARY

This is indeed  an all inclusive prayer, wherein one begs Allah in His infinite grace should forgive sins, What else would one require? Imaan Sufyaan Thawri (rahimahullah) used to say that to keep oneself busy on this night with dua‘ is better than any other forms of Ibaadah, Ibn Rajab (rahimahullah) says that one should not only remain busy with dua‘, but should also take part in all other forms of ‘ibaadah as well, such as the recitation of Qur’an, ‘salaah, dua‘, prescribed devotions etc. This latter opinion is considered correct and close to what Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) has said, as already mentioned in previous Ahaadith.

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