Laylatul Qadr – The Night of Excellence
Laylatul Qadr is the night of excellence. In Arabic, the word ‘Layla’ means night. In Persian, word ‘Shabb’ is used. And the word ‘Qadr’ means exalted. Through the medium of the Holy Prophet (pbuh), Allah Almighty blessed his umma such a night in which the reward for devotions is better than the deeds for a thousand months.
Mawta ibn Imam Malik narrates the incident that when the Holy Prophet (pbuh) learned about the long lives of the people of previous umma, comparing their long lives to the shorter life spans of people of his umma, he wondered how would the people of his umma do deeds equal to that of the previous umma. To make up for the shorter life span of this umma, Allah Almighty, blessed the Holy Prophet with Laylatul Qadr (Laylat al-Qadr) which is better than a thousand months in excellence.
Abdullah ibn Abbas (ra) relates that once somebody mentioned a person from Bani Israel in the court of the Holy Prophet. That person had fought (did Jihad) in the way of Allah for a thousand months. Upon hearing this, the Holy Prophet (pbuh) prayed in the court of Allah: “O Allah, the good deeds of my umma will be less than previous umma because of their shorter living lives.” Upon this, Allah blessed His beloved with Laylatul Qadr. (Tafseer al-Khazan)
Imam Qurtabi about Laylatul Qadr
Imam Qurtabi in Tafseer Qurtabi writes that once the Holy Prophet (pbuh) whilst talking to the Companions mentioned the long lives of previous prophets. He said that Prophet Yaqub (Jacob), Zakaria (Zechariah), Hizqeel (Ezekiel) and Prophet Yusha (Joshua) prayed to Allah for 80 years each. And they didn’t commit any wrong doing throughout their lives. Upon hearing this, the Companions wished if they could have such long lives (so they could do lots of good deeds). Whilst they were thinking that, angel Gabriel came down and said to the Holy Prophet: “O beloved of Allah, your companions are being envious upon the long lives of previous umma, hence Allah has blessed you with better alternative.” Then he recited the Surah al-Qadr, listening to which the Holy Prophet became happy.
Imam Jalaluddin al-Suyuti relates a tradition from Anas ibn Malik (ra) that once the Holy Prophet (pbuh) said: “Allah has blessed only my umma with Laylatul Qadr. None of the previous nations had this blessing.” Allah blessed Mohammadan umma with Laylatul Qadr through Surah al-Qadr. Allah says in Quran:
إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ۔ وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ۔ لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ خَيْرٌ مِّنْ أَلْفِ شَهْرٍ۔ تَنَزَّلُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ وَالرُّوحُ فِيهَا بِإِذْنِ رَبِّهِم مِّن كُلِّ أَمْرٍ۔ سَلَامٌ هِيَ حَتَّى مَطْلَعِ الْفَجْرِ
Meaning: Surely, We sent down this (Holy Qur’an) during the Night of Destiny. And what have you made out what the Night of Destiny is? It is better than a thousand months (in merit, blessings, reward and recompense). The angels and the Spirit of Peace (Gabriel) descend by their Lord’s command during this (night) with decrees concerning all matters (of blessings and bounties). This (night) is (absolute) peace and security till daybreak. (al-Qadr: 1-5)
Excellence of Laylat al-Qadr over other nights
Allah exalted some prophets over others, similarly He exalted some men over others, some places over others, some days over others and some nights over others. For example if someone reads a prayer in Masjid al-Haram in Makkah, the reward for one prayer equates to one hundred thousand prayers elsewhere. Similarly, the reward is fifty thousand prayers in Masjid al-Nabawi and twenty five thousand prayers in Masjid al-Aqsa. In the same way, Allah has exalted Laylatul Qadr such that the reward for prayers in this night equals the collective reward for devotions of a thousand months. This would be 83 years and 4 months. Below are some reasons for exalting Laylatul Qadr over other nights:
- For the guidance of mankind, Allah blessed them with Quran. Quran descended to the realm of world during Laylatul Qadr. It was Laylatul Qadr when Quran was revealed upon the Holy Prophet (pbuh).
- Allah showers His special blessings upon His men during this night – from dusk to dawn.
- The devotees feel special efficacy in their prayers during Laylatul Qadr. This is because angels and their leader – Angel Gabriel descend to earth upon the orders of Allah. The special blessings of Allah continue to descend during Laylatul Qadr until Dawn.
A great Reward
Abu Huraira (ra) narrates that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) said: “Whosoever, whilst in the state of faith (Iman) prays during Laylatul Qadr for gaining reward, Allah Almighty forgives all his previous sins.” (Sahih al-Bukhari)
Anas ibn Malik narrates that once, when the month of Ramadan fell upon us, the Holy Prophet (pbuh) said:
“Upon you is a month that has a night (Laylatul Qadr) which is better than a thousand months. Whoever remained deprived of this night, it is as if he remained deprived of good. Only that person remains deprived of good who really is deprived of the good.”
Majority of Islamic scholars agree that Laylatul Qadr falls within the last 10 days of Ramadan. In particular, it is believed to be the odd nights of the last ten days. These odd nights can vary between regions depending on lunar calendar.
Laylatul Qadr is the 27th Night of Ramadan
Abi ibn Kaab, Ibn Abbas, Ghaus al-Azam Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani, Imam Abu Hanifa and most scholars agree that Laylatul Qadr is the 27th night of Ramadan. The Arabic word Laylatul Qadr consists of 9 characters. The word ‘Laylatul Qadr’ appears three times in Surah ‘Laylatul Qadr’. When multiplying 3 with 9, we get 27. This endorses the fact that Laylatul Qadr is in fact the 27th night of the month of Ramadan.
Surah al-Qadr with 30 words. Interestingly, the 27th word is Laylatul Qadr. This is a sign for the sage from Allah Almighty that Laylatul Qadr falls on the 27th night of Ramadan. (Tafseer Azizi 259)
We can infer the reason for not explicitly setting the timing of Laylatul Qadr so that people won’t become complacent. If this was known, chances are people would have become negligent towards performing the daily rituals assuming they had gained enough reward through Laylaul Qadr which would have led to them failing in the hereafter. Not explicitly announcing the timing of Laylatul Qadr is same as not announcing the timing of one’s death so that one would not become complacent and say that I have plenty of time left. I will do good deeds near the end of my time so that I am counted amongst the pious ones.
Allah Almighty kept the time of death hidden from human beings so that they would always be afraid of death, engage in good deeds and keep correcting their deeds. Such that death comes upon them when they were on the path of righteousness. In the same way in the world they must be protected from the legitimate pleasures and escape from the torment in the hereafter because of Allah’s Mercy.
Signs of Laylat al-Qadr
Some of the most important Signs of this night are:
- It is a bright night.
- Not too hot or cold instead mild in nature
- Clear and transparent
- Stars do not fall or break and kill the demons/devil during Laylat al-Qadr.
- The last part of this night is very pleasant.
- When looking towards the sky, it appears as if theophanies of Divine light descending upon earth.
- During Laylatul Qadr, the inwards of believers find peace in worship and are naturally more inclined towards worship.
- Some of previous Saints narrated they found the water of the sea sweet when tasted during this blessed night.
- Some Saints have stated that during this night everything prostrates. Even the trees also prostrate, they bow to the ground and then return to their original position.
- People of Divine sight observe Laylatul Qadr better than ordinary people.
The fact is that only those people feel the blessings of this night whom Allah Almighty wishes. Like two human beings sitting side by side, one of them is able to observe the blessings of this night whereas the other one remains deprived. In fact the blessings of this night cannot be described in words, only those who experience it know the power and glory of this blessed night.
The Effects of Laylatul Qadr
- The sun is not very sharp the morning following Laylatul Qadr. It is without rays, like a smooth pillow and like the moon of the fourteenth night.
- Allah has prevented Satan from going out at the time of sunrise on that day unlike other days when Satan appears at the time of sunrise.
Special Recitals of Laylat al-Qadr
Umm al-Momineen Ayesha bint Abu Bakr (ra) asked, “Oh Prophet (pbuh), What should I do if I know when Laylat al-Qadr is going to be? “Holy Prophet (pbuh) said, pray in these words, “O Allah you are the forgiver, you like forgiving, I ask you for forgiveness.”
The take away from aforementioned discussion is that Laylatul Qadr is a reward of Allah for the umma of his beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) so that they may worship Allah well in this one night and attain His closeness. There is nothing more desirable for a seeker of Allah than to ask for His closeness. The prayers made with sincerity of intention are not rejected in this night. Throughout the year the man remains ignorant towards Allah, dwells in the pleasures of all kinds of sins. So in this night, we should pray to Allah Almighty for piety and to give us the strength to obey the teaching of His beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). May Allah enable us to benefit from this blessed night. Ameen
What is special about Laylatul Qadr?
Laylatul Qadr is a very special night. It is the 27th night in the Holy month of Ramadan. The Holy Prophet (pbuh) said that the reward for worship in this one night is equal to worshipping a thousand months.
Why is the 27th night of Ramadan so important?
The 27th night in the Holy month of Ramadan is Laylatul Qadr. There are many Hadith and the verses in the Holy Quran that describe the excellence of this blessed night. The reward of prayers in this one night equals the reward of a thousand nights.
What is meant by Laylatul Qadr?
The Arabic word Layla means night and Qadr means of excellence. So Laylatul Qadr is the night of excellence. There are many Hadith and verses in Quran describing the excellence of this night.
How do I spend my Laylatul Qadr night?
The reward of prayers in Laylatul Qadr increases many fold to equate to reward for a thousand months. There is no prescribed method or rituals for this night. Once Umm al-Momineen Ayesha bint Abu Bakr (ra) asked. “Oh Prophet (pbuh), What should I do if I know when Laylat al-Qadr is going to be? “Holy Prophet (pbuh) replied. “Pray in these words, “O Allah you are the forgiver, you like forgiving, I ask you for forgiveness.” So, one should try and spend as much time as possible on this night in prayer. One should ask for forgiveness and closeness of Allah.