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Make the most of Laylatul qadr – the Night of Power

١ وَٱلْكِتَـٰبِ ٱلْمُبِينِ ٢ إِنَّآ أَنزَلْنَـٰهُ فِى لَيْلَةٍۢ مُّبَـٰرَكَةٍ ۚ إِنَّا كُنَّا مُنذِرِينَ ٣ فِيهَا يُفْرَقُ كُلُّ أَمْرٍ حَكِيمٍ ٤ أَمْرًۭا مِّنْ عِندِنَآ ۚ إِنَّا كُنَّا مُرْسِلِينَ ٥ رَحْمَةًۭ مِّن رَّبِّكَ ۚ إِنَّهُۥ هُوَ ٱلسَّمِيعُ ٱلْعَلِيمُ ٦ رَبِّ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَ

Ha Meem – By the clear Book!
Indeed, We sent it down on a blessed night,1 for We always warn ˹against evil˺.
On that night every matter of wisdom is ordained.
By a command from Us, for We have always sent ˹messengers˺, as a mercy from your Lord. He ˹alone˺ is truly the All-Hearing, All-Knowing. (Surah ad-Dukhan 1-6)

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said when the month of Ramadan began, “Verily, this month has presented itself to you. There is a night within it that is better than a thousand months. Whoever is deprived of it has been deprived of all good, and none is deprived of its good but that he is truly deprived.” Sunan Ibn Mājah 1644

عَنْ أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ قَالَ دَخَلَ رَمَضَانُ فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ إِنَّ هَذَا الشَّهْرَ قَدْ حَضَرَكُمْ وَفِيهِ لَيْلَةٌ خَيْرٌ مِنْ أَلْفِ شَهْرٍ مَنْ حُرِمَهَا فَقَدْ حُرِمَ الْخَيْرَ كُلَّهُ وَلَا يُحْرَمُ خَيْرَهَا إِلَّا مَحْرُومٌ

What is it?

Allah SWT prompts us to ask this question in a Surah dedicated to this topic and then tells us “It is better than 1000 months!” The average age in the UK is 81 years and this night alone is more than that – 83 years. We may have experienced double time at work but this is the equivalent of every second being a days wage.

And in Arabic the use of this term better than 1000 is similar to our use of 100! to indicate certainty but also that it’s greater than that.

In the Muwatta of Imam Malik, there is a hadith that states: “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was shown the lifespans of the people (who had gone) before him, or what Allah willed of that, and it was as if the lives of the people of his community had become too short for them to be able to do as many good actions as others before them had been able to do with their long lives, so Allah gave him Laylat al- Qadr, which is better than a thousand months.”

In Surah al-Qadr (97:1) and Surah al-Dukhan (44:3), it is mentioned that the Qur’an was revealed on this night. Ibn Abbas has explained this by mentioning on Laylatul-Qadr that the Qur’an was revealed in its entirety from the highest heaven to the lowest heaven, and placed in a special chamber called Bayt al-`Izzah (the House of Honor). From there, it was revealed gradually over the course of twenty three years to the Prophet Muhammad. Mustadrak al-Hakim 3781, Sunan al-Nasa’i11625, Sunan al-Bayhaqi 8521. Ibn Taymiyyah explains that this revelation from a written form (in Lawh al-Mahfudh) to a written form (in Bayt al-`Izzah) does not negate the Angel Jibreel hearing the Qur’an directly from Allah and bringing it to the Prophet (Majmu al-Fatawa 12/126-7). Thus we have the oral revelation of the Qur’an, and the written revelation of the Qur’an.

Why is it so special?

It is also mentioned by other scholars, such as Imam al-Sha’bi (d. 105 H), that the revelation of the Qur’an to the Prophet Muhammad began in the month of Ramadan on Laylatul-Qadr when Jibreel first descended to visit the Prophet Muhammad. This sunnah has continued so that Jibreel (AS) leads the angels every year to the earth on this special night. 

It is on this night that the angels from Sidratul Muntahaa (lote tree) descend under the leadership of Jibreel (AS) to greet every believer, man or woman, except one who takes wie or eats pork. So this night is special as in it, the Qu’ran descended, Jibreel (AS) descends and angels descend.

Some scholars states this is the night in which the destiny of each person was decided. ‘Abdullah ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “It is written in Umm al-Kitab (the Heavenly copy of the Qur’an) during Laylatul-Qadr what shall come to pass in the following year of good and evil, sustenance, and lifespan. Even the pilgrimage of the pilgrim (shall be decided); it will be said ‘so-and-so will perform pilgrimage’ (on this night).” – Tafsir al-Baghawi 7/227-228.

Other scholars defined the meaning of Qadr as ‘power,’ indicating the greatness of the honor and might of the night.  Similar to this view is the interpretation of Qadr’ as ‘power’ in that the righteous deeds performed during this night are far more powerful than they would be on any other night. Tafsir al-Baghawi 8/48.

Another meaning is ‘restriction’ as the earth becomes restricted as angels descend to the earth on the holy night, occupying the earth. The Prophet ﷺ stated: “Truly the angels on this night are as numerous as the pebbles upon the earth.” Musnad Ahmad, 10734.

This is a night which should capture our attention and one of the questions we should ask ourselves is what has got our attention the most over the last few years – TikTok with its endless scrolling and addictive algorithm, Netflix’s Squid Games or Ertugrul Resurrection, Angry Birds? These are revelations which can swallow countless years of one life. This was the impact of the Quran when it lands upon pure hearts – the power to improve civilisations and unite the globe.

If we find dessert parlours, Shisha houses and football with donated plastic water bottles more entertaining than listening to the Qur’an, perhaps we need to review our perspective.

When is it?

Ubadah ibn al-Samit reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, came out to inform people about the Night of Decree in Ramadan, but two Muslim men were insulting each other. The Prophet said, “Verily, I have come out to tell you about the Night of Decree, but two men were insulting each other. Thus, its knowledge was taken away and perhaps it is better for you. Look for it during the seventh, ninth, or fifth night of the last ten nights.” Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 49

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, saying, “Seek the Night of Decree on the last night of Ramadan. Ṣaḥīḥ Ibn Khuzaymah 2189. There are numerous sahih narrations about when it lands which include the last 10 nights, the odd nights of the last 10, the last 7 nights and specific nights within these 10.

Although there are signs, many differ on which night best meets these criteria – Ibn Abbas reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said regarding the Night of Decree, “It is a calm night, neither hot nor cold, and the sun rises upon its day red and faint.” Ṣaḥīḥ Ibn Khuzaymah 2192

What to do?

Rather than spending the evening in your Audi A4, reflect on the Aqsa S4 – 4 special activities which you can’t miss on this night:

Salaah

Praying Isha and Fajr in the congregation will make you deserve the reward of worshipping Allah (SWT) the whole night. According to hadith, the Prophet (SAW) said that whoever prays Isha in congregation, Allah (SWT) will write down for them the first half of the night in prayer; and whoever prays Fajr prayer in congregation, Allah (SWT) will write down for them the second half of the night in prayer.

Praying Tarawih at the mosque is another noble deed to be performed on all 10 nights of Ramadan. In a hadith, the Prophet (SAW) said,

“Whoever prays qiyam with the imam until he finishes, Allah will write down for him the entire night in prayer.”

Supplication

A person praying on Laylatul-Qadr may result in their records with the angels being altered, before those records seal one’s fate for the coming year. There is also a special link between this night and seeking forgiveness from God. A’isha asked the Prophet, “O Messenger of Allah! If I knew which night is Laylatul-Qadr, what should I say during it?”

And he instructed her to say:

اللَّهُمَّ إِنَّكَ عُفُوٌّ كَرِيمٌ تُحِبُّ الْعَفْوَ فَاعْفُ عَنِّي
“Allahumma innaka afuwwun tuhibbul-afwa, fa’fu ‘annee” To extend this dua to the whole Ummah, change the ending to fa’fu ‘annaa.
O Allah! You are Most Forgiving, and you love to forgive. So forgive me.

The believers can also supplicate to Allah (SWT), in other words. You can make any good dua, keeping in mind the manners and sincerity of intention, as the dua made on this night has the highest chance of being answered.

One of my personal favourites is a dua I came across many years ago:
اللهم صل على محمد وارضى عنا رضا لا تسخط علينا بعده صحيح
Allahumma salli ‘alaa Muhammad wardha ‘annee ridhan laa taskhatu ba’da
“O Allah, send your prayers upon Muhammad (SAW) and grant me your Pleasure after which you are never displeased”

Sadaqah

Charity is a virtuous deed that should be performed on all of the last 10 nights. Laylatul Qadr charity brings multiplied rewards and to give £10 on this night is equivalent to giving at least every day for 83 years!

Sincere repentance

Although we all love a shortcut, know that you can’t outplay Allah(SWT) by using this on night to seek forgiveness for a year of misspent sin or with no intention to change our lives. You can’t gamify it! Rather, an accepted deed is only that which is done sincerely seeking Allah’s forgiveness and committing to change our ways.

Allah (ʿazza wa jall) says in a ḥadīth qudsī: “Son of Ādam, as long as you call upon Me and hope in Me, I will forgive you despite what you do, and I do not care. Son of Ādam, even if your sins were to reach to the clouds of the sky, then you seek forgiveness from Me, I will forgive you. Son of Ādam, even if you were to come to Me with nearly an earth full of sins, and then you meet Me, not having associated anything with Me, then I will surely bring you as much as the earth in forgiveness” (Tirmidhī).

Ibn al-Qayyim (raḥimahullāh) writes, “The state of tawbah is at the beginning, the middle and the end of the servant’s journey to his Creator. The servant who seeks the pleasure of Allah never abandons tawbah. He remains in the state of tawbah until his death”.

A burglar scaled the wall of Maalik bin Dinar’s house one night and easily managed to get inside. Once inside the house, the thief was disappointed to see that there was nothing inside actually worth stealing. The owner of the home was inside at the time, he was busy performing prayer. Realizing that he was not alone, Maalik quickly ended his prayer and turned around to face the thief. Without showing any sign of being shocked or afraid, Maalik calmly extended greetings of peace and then said, “My brother, may Allah forgive you. You entered my home and found nothing that is worth taking, yet I do not want you to leave my home without taking away some benefit.”

He stood up, went to another part of the room, and came back with a jug full of water. He looked into the eyes of the burglar and said, “Make ablution and perform two units of prayer, for if you do so, you will leave my home with a greater treasure than you had initially sought when you entered it.”

Much humbled by Maalik’s manners and words, the thief said, “Yes, that is a generous offer indeed.”

After making ablution and performing two units of prayer, the burglar said, “O Maalik, would you mind if I stayed for a while, for I want to stay to perform two more units of prayer?”

Maalik said, “Stay for whatever amount of prayer Allah decrees for you to perform now.”

The thief ended up spending the entire night at Maalik’s house. He continued to pray until the morning. Then Maalik said, “Leave now and be good.”

But instead of leaving, the thief said, “Would you mind if I stayed here with you today, for I have made an intention to fast the day?”

“Stay as long as you wish,” said Maalik.

The burglar ended up staying for a number of days, praying during the late hours of each night and fasting throughout the duration of each day. When he finally decided to leave, the burglar said, “O Maalik, I have made a firm resolve to repent for my sins and for my former way of life.”

Maalik said, “Indeed, that is in the Hand of Allah.”

The man did mend his ways and began to lead a life of righteousness and obedience to Allah. Later on, He came across another burglar he knew. [His friend] said to him, “Have you found your treasure yet?”

He said, “My brother, what I found is Maalik bin Dinaar. I went to steal from him, but it was he who ended up stealing my heart. I have indeed repented to Allah, and I will remain at the door [of His Mercy and Forgiveness] until I achieve what his obedient, loving slaves have achieved.”

[al-Mawaa’idh wal-Majaalis: 85]

BONUS S: Stay Away from Sins from Maghrib Until Dawn

It is important to stay away from evil deeds from Maghrib, like backbiting, slander, or foul language, until dawn. The believers are advised to remember that the night in Islam starts at sunset, which is the time of breaking fast and praying Maghrib. Making sincere supplications and performing the Salah of Maghrib on time is the right way to start the night of Laylatul Qadr.

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