LAYLATUL QADR (The night of Power)

In the Name of Allah, the most Beneficient, the most Merciful

[THE FOLLOWING IS A LECTURE  BY  MOULANA ISMAIL MOOSA (A STUDENT OF THE DARUL IFTAA OF CAMPERDOWN, SOUTH AFRICA)

Respected Ulama kiraam, elders, brothers and friends, today marks the nineteeenth fast of the month of Ramadhaan. We are drawing close to the last ten days of this month. Although this entire month is blessed and sanctified, the last ten days of Ramadhaan has been additionally favoured by Allaah Ta’ala with unique virtues. Nabi صلي الله عليه و سلم has described these last ten days as a period wherein a person can attain salvation from the fire of Jahannum. It is precisely for this reason that Nabi صلي الله عليه و سلم would exert himself in worship on these ten days more than what he exerted himself in the first twenty days, as narrated in Saheeh Muslim, that Ayesha (May Allah Ta’ala be pleased with her) has said,

صحيح مسلم – (ج 3 / ص 176)

2845 – حدثنا قتيبة بن سعيد وأبو كامل الجحدرى كلاهما عن عبد الواحد بن زياد – قال قتيبة حدثنا عبد الواحد – عن الحسن بن عبيد الله قال سمعت إبراهيم يقول سمعت الأسود بن يزيد يقول قالت عائشة رضى الله عنها كان رسول الله -صلى الله عليه وسلم- يجتهد فى العشر الأواخر ما لا يجتهد فى غيره.

“Nabi صلي الله عليه و سلم would exert himself in the last ten days of Ramadhaan more than what he exerted himself at any other time of the year.”

In the narration of Bukhari and Muslim, Hadhrat Ayesha elucidated how Nabi صلي الله عليه و سلم increased his Ibadah by saying,

صحيح البخاري – (ج 2 / ص 711)

حدثنا علي بن عبد الله حدثنا سفيان عن أبي يعفور عن أبي الضحى عن مسروق عن عائشة رضي الله عنها قالت : كان النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم إذا دخل العشر شد مئزره وأحيا ليله وأيقظ أهله

[ ش أخرجه مسلم في الاعتكاف باب الاجتهاد في العشر الأواخر من شهر رمضان رقم 1174[

“When the last ten days of Ramadhaan should set in, Nabi صلي الله عليه و سلم should stay away from having any relations with his noble consorts.”

That is, Nabi صلي الله عليه و سلم would abstain from all worldly pleasures.

وأحيا ليله

“He used to remain awake in worship the entire night…”

As mentioned in another narration that Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: “I never saw the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) recite the entire Qur’aan in one night, or spend a whole night in prayer until the morning, or fast an entire month, except in Ramadaan”

وأيقظ أهله

“And Nabi صلي الله عليه و سلم should awaken his family members and urge them to also pray.”

It is known that Nabi صلي الله عليه و سلم would awaken his wives all year round, however in these last ten days Nabi صلي الله عليه و سلم should persist even more in waking up his family members so that they do not deprive themselves of the great virtues of this noble period by spending their time in sleep.

These Ahadeeth are sufficient to prove that the last ten days of Ramadaan have a special virtue. Hence, we should try to emulate Nabi صلي الله عليه و سلم by also exerting ourselves in worship.

The greatness of this is further enhanced by the fact that laylatul qadr could be on one of the coming days. As is narrated in Saheeh al Bukhari and Saheeh Muslim that Nabi صلي الله عليه و سلم said

صحيح مسلم – (ج 3 / ص 173)

حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو بَكْرِ بْنُ أَبِى شَيْبَةَ حَدَّثَنَا ابْنُ نُمَيْرٍ وَوَكِيعٌ عَنْ هِشَامٍ عَنْ أَبِيهِ عَنْ عَائِشَةَ – رضى الله عنها – قَالَتْ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- قَالَ ابْنُ نُمَيْرٍ « الْتَمِسُوا – وَقَالَ وَكِيعٌ – تَحَرَّوْا لَيْلَةَ الْقَدْرِ فِى الْعَشْرِ الأَوَاخِرِ مِنْ رَمَضَانَ ».

“Seek Laylatul Qadr on the last ten nights of the months of the month of Ramadhaan.”

In Tafseer Ibn Katheer it is mentioned that Umar (May Allah Ta’ala be pleased with him) gathered all the Sahabah to enquire about laylatul qadr. They came to a concensus that it is on the last ten nights of Ramadhaan. Furthemore, In Bukhari it is also mentioned,

صحيح البخاري – (ج 2 / ص 710)

وابتغوها في كل وتر

“Seek Laylatul Qadr on the odd nights.”

Thus, we should search for laylatul qadr on the 21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th and 29th. By standing in worship these five nights, insha Allah, we will definitely attain Laylatul qadr. The great commentator of Hadith, Haafidh Ibn Hajr Al Asqalani mentions in Fath-ul-Baaree: “The most strongest opinion is that it is on an odd night in the last ten nights and that every year it is on a different night.”

Respected Brothers, there is concensus amongst all Scholars that Laylatul qadr is the greatest night of the year. Allah Ta’ala has reaveled an entire chapter in the Quran in which he discusses the virtuos of this great night. Allah Ta’ala says,

إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ

The greatest privalage of laylatul qadr is that the Quran was revealed on this night. A person might think that it is famously said that the Quran was revealed in bits over a period of close to twenty three years. What does it mean that the Quran was revealed on laylatul Qadr? Hadhrat Ibn Abbas explains as mentioned in Shuab al Iman of Imam Bayhaqi,

شعب الإيمان – البيهقي – (ج 2 / ص 415)

روينا عن عكرمة عن ابن عباس أنه قال : أنزل القرآن جملة واحدة إلى سماء الدنيا في ليلة القدر

“(The meaning of this verse) is that the Quran was revealed from the lawhul mahfoodh to the first heaven on this night.”

In Tafseer Qurtubi it is mention that Allamah Shabi said that the revelation of the Quran started from the night of Qadr. This is sufficient to explain the excellance of this night. Further, Allah intends drawing and increasing our interest in this night by asking,

وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ

“What will make you realise what is laylatul qadr?”

In other words it is as if Allah is asking, “Do you know how great this night is?” “Do you have any knowledge on the great bounties and favours which decsends on this night?”

Allah continues by expounding the virtues of this night and saying,

لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ خَيْرٌ مِّنْ أَلْفِ شَهْرٍ

“Laylatul Qadr is more better than a thousand months.”

A thousand months is equal to eighty three years and four months. What guarantee do we have that we will live for such a legnthy period? And even if we do live for such a lengthy period, it is obvious that we won’t spend all the time in worship. This one night is not equal, it is far better than eighty three years and four months. The reason for Allah multiplying actions to such a long period is because of a narration narrated in the Muatta of al-Imâm Mâlik rahî mahullâh:

وقال مالك في الموطأ من رواية ابن القاسم وغيره : سمعت من أثق به يقول : إن رسول اللّه صلى اللّه عليه وسلم أري أعمار الأمم قبله

“Allah’s Messenger sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam was shown the legnthy lives of the previous communities.

فكأنه تقاصر أعمار أمته ألا يبلغوا من العمل مثل ما بلغ غيرهم في طول العمر ؛

He was concerned about how his community would be able to to do so much actions and thereby gain as many rewards as those of the previous communities.

فأعطاه اللّه تعالى ليلة القدر ، وجعلها خيرا من ألف شهر.

Allah the Exalted saw the concerns in the heart of His Beloved sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam and removed these concerns by giving him Laylatul-Qadr, which is more virtuous than a thousand months.” (Imâm Mâlik, Muatta)

Another report states that our Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam once mentioned the names of four most pious people from among the Bani Isra’eel,

“عبدوا اللّه ثمانين سنة ، لم يعصواه طرفة عين” ؛

They each spent 80 years in the sincere service of Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata’ala without disobeying him for a split second. They were

أيوب وزكريا ، وحزقيل بن العجوز ويوشع بن نون ؛

“The Sahabah who were always willing to exceed others in good heard this with astonishment. Sayyidina Jibra’eel Amin Alayhis Salatu Wasallam appeared and said,

فقال : يا محمد عجبت أمتك من عبادة هؤلاء النفر ثمانين سنة لم يعصوا اللّه طرفة عين ، فقد أنزل اللّه عليك خيرا من ذلك ؛ ثم قرأ : {إِنَّا أَنْزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ}

When Nabi صلي الله عليه و سلم heard this, it is mentioned that his blessed face of became radiant with happiness.

Thereafter, Allah Ta’ala mentions even more virtues of this night by saying,

تَنَزَّلُ الْمَلائِكَةُ وَالرُّوحُ فِيهَا

“Therein descend the angels and the Ruh [Jibrael (Gabriel)]

Shaykhul Hadith, Moulana Zakariyyah Kandehlawi (May Allah Ta’ala be pleased with him) mentions that Majority of Scholars agree that the Ruh refers to Jibraeel (May Allah Ta’ala be pleased with him). He is specifically mentioned in this manner as a sign of respect for him. Angels decsend in their multitudes on this night and pray for those who they find engaged in Ibadah. A hadith to this effect is mentioned in Sunan Bayhaqi that

شعب الإيمان – البيهقي – (ج 3 / ص 343(

3717 – أخبرنا أبو سعد عبد الملك بن أبي عثمان الزاهد نا أبو إسحاق إبراهيم بن محمد بن رجاء أنا عبد الله بن سليمان بن الأشعث نا محمد بن عبد العزيز الأزدي نا أصرم بن حوشب نا محمد بن يونس الحارثي عن قتادة عن أنس بن مالك قال : قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم :

إذا كان ليلة القدر نزل جبريل عليه السلام في كبكبة من الملائكة يصلون على كل عبد قائم أو قاعد يذكر الله عز و جل

“On laylatul qadr Jibraeel (May Allah Ta’ala be pleased with him) comes down with a group of angels and make dua for every person they find in worship whether he is standing in prayer, or seated or making dhikr of Allah. We always want the dua of the pious; by standing in prayer on this night we can attain the prayers of Angels who never sin. Their prayers are will most definitely be accepted.

The Angels descend on this night. And with what do they decsend? Allah Ta’ala says,

بِإِذْنِ رَبِّهِم مِّن كُلِّ أَمْرٍ

“By the command of Allah the angels bring down all Decrees.”

Imam Qurtubi has said the meaning of this is,

الجامع لأحكام القرآن – (ج 20 / ص 133)

أمر بكل أمر قدره اللّه وقضاه في تلك السنة إلى قابل

Like in Surah Dukhaan Allah takes an oath and says.

القرآن الكريم – (ج 1 / ص 376)

حم (1) وَالْكِتَابِ الْمُبِينِ (2) إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةٍ مُّبَارَكَةٍ إِنَّا كُنَّا مُنذِرِينَ (3) فِيهَا يُفْرَقُ كُلُّ أَمْرٍ حَكِيمٍ

On this night is decreed every matter of ordainments” [al-Dukhan 44:4 – interpretation of the meaning],

One of the meanings of Qadr is ‘ordainment’. Allah ordains everything on this night. Ibn Abbas (May Allah Ta’ala be pleased with him) has said,

الجامع لأحكام القرآن – (ج 20 / ص 130)

وعن ابن عباس قال : يكتب من أم الكتاب ما يكون في السنة من رزق ومطر وحياة وموت ، حتى الحاج.

“The sustenance, rain, who will live, who will die; everything is decreed on this night, to such an extent that it is even decreed who will go for haj and who wont go.” The GREAT Mufassir, Ikramah said,

قال عكرمة : يكتب حاج بيت اللّه تعالى في ليلة القدر بأسمائهم وأسماء أبائهم ، ما يغادر منهم أحد ، ولا يزاد فيهم. وقاله سعيد بن جبير.

“The names of those who will go for haj are recorded together with their fathers names. Whoevers names is written will not stay behind and whoevers name is not written can have all the money of the world, yet he will not go for haj.” A similar statement has also been narrated from the great Tabi, Hadhrat Saeed bin Jubair. Thus, if we want good conditions to come on us, let us spend this night imploring and beseeching Allah to bring good on us. When everything is being decreed, let us ask Allah to write good for us for the coming year.

سَلامٌ هِيَ حَتَّى مَطْلَعِ الْفَجْرِ

“(The night is) Peace until the rising of the dawn”

There are many commentaries as to what the meaning of peace is. Some commentators suggest that it means pass greetings to all believers.

الجامع لأحكام القرآن – (ج 20 / ص 134)

هو تسليم الملائكة على أهل المساجد ، من حين تغيب الشمس إلى أن يطلع الفجر ؛ يمرون على كل مؤمن ، ويقولون : السلام عليك أيها المؤمن.

Another interpretation is that this is a night of safety from all evil and mischeif.

Brothers from this chapter of the night we learnt the following virtues of the night of Qadr:

1) The Quran was sent down on this night

2) This one night is better than a thousand months

3) It is a night in which a huge number of angels descend bringing mercy and praying for those in worship

4) It is a night which brings forth peace from all evil that devil can any harm to any person.

5) Allah has called this night a blessed night.

6) It is on this night when everything for the coming year is ordained.

These are virtues and qualities which are mentioned in the Noble Quran. There is no need to look any further. Nevertheless, when we go through the Ahadith of Nabi صلي الله عليه و سلم we find numerous other virtues of this night. In Saheeh al Bukhari it is mentioned,

صحيح البخاري – (ج 1 / ص 21)

35 – حدثنا أبو اليمان قال أخبرنا شعيب قال حدثنا أبو الزناد عن الأعرج عن أبي هريرة قال : قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم ( من يقم ليلة القدر إيمانا واحتسابا غفر لله ما تقدم من ذنبه )

“Whoever stands on Laylatul Qadr with Iman having full conviction of the rewards and also seeking the rewards, Allah will forgive all his past sins.”

We have also mentioned the hadith wherein Jibraeel (May Allah Ta’ala be pleased with him) descends with a group of Angels and they supplicate for every person they find engage in worship.

Due to the numerous virtues of this night, In Musnad Ahmad there is a narration where Nabi صلي الله عليه و سلم mentioned,

مسند أحمد بن حنبل – (ج 2 / ص 385)

8979 – حدثنا عبد الله حدثني أبي ثنا عفان ثنا حماد بن زيد أنا أيوب عن أبي قلابة عن أبي هريرة قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم : فيه ليلة خير من ألف شهر من حرم خيرها فقد حرم

“Whoever is deprived of the good of this month is extremely unfortunate.”

A few actions which should be carried out on this night. The first is that it is mustahab to make ghusl between Maghrib and Esha prayers. Ibn Abi Asim narrates on that whilementioning the actions of Nabi صلي الله عليه و سلم on this night, Ayesha (May Allah Ta’ala be pleased with her) said,

لطائف المعارف – (ج 1 / ص 207)

و اغتسل بين الأذانين

Nabi صلي الله عليه و سلم should make ghusl between the Maghrib and Esha prayers.

In a slightly weaker hadith narrated from Ali (May Allah Ta’ala be pleased with him) it is mentioned that Nabi صلي الله عليه و سلم should make ghusl on every night of this last ten days between Maghrib and Esha. Ibn Jareer mentions,

لطائف المعارف – (ج 1 / ص 207)

كانوا يستحبون أن يغتسلوا كل ليلة من ليالي العشر الأواخر

“Our Pious Predeccessors loved to make ghusl on every night of the last ten nights.”

Also, on the night which one expects most to be laylatul qadr it is mustahab to wear ones best garment and apply scent. It is narrated of Anas (May Allah Ta’ala be pleased with him) that he had a special garment reserved only for the night of Laylatul Qadr. On the night which he thought most to be laylatul qadr, he should adorn that garment and apply Itr. In the morning he should fold the garment and put it away for the next Ramadhaan. The great Tabi, Ayub Sakhtiyaani (May Allah Ta’ala be pleased with him) should wear new clothes on the nights which he thought best to be Laylatul Qadr. Similarly, the great student of Anas (May Allah Ta’ala be pleased with him), Thaabit al Bunani and his student Hammad bin Salamah used to wear there best clothes and apply Itr and also apply scent in the entire Masjid.

As for the Ibadah of this night, Scholars mention that a person can choose whether he wants to stand in Salah, or make dhikr or spend time engaging himself in supplication. In Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah there is a narration where Ayesha (May Allah Ta’ala be pleased with her) asked Nabi صلي الله عليه و سلم

سنن الترمذي – (ج 5 / ص 534)

3513 – حدثنا قتيبة حدثنا جعفر بن سليمان الضبعي عن كهمس بن الحسن عن عبد الله بن بريدة عن عائشة قالت : قلت يا رسول الله أرأيت إن علمت أي ليلة ليلة القدر ما أقول فيها ؟

“Oh Nabi of Allah, if I find out which is laylatul qadr, what supplications should I make?” Nabi صلي الله عليه و سلم replied,

قال قولي اللهم إنك عفو كريم تحب العفو فاعف عني قال هذا حديث حسن صحيح

“Increase in the recitation of the following dua ‘Oh Allah, you are all pardoning and you are extremely generous, you love to forgive so please forgive me.”

If we do not know the Arabic we can read this dua in English also.

Ibn Rajab Hambali (May Allah Ta’ala be pleased with him) that a person should combine the following three actions:

1) Recitation of the Quran

2) Engaging in Salah

3) Supplicating to Allah Ta’ala

Ibn Rajab Hambali (May Allah Ta’ala be pleased with him) mentions that combing these three actions is the best and Shaykhul Hadith Moulana Zakariyyah Kandehlawi second this opinion.

Respected brothers, to do Ibadah on just ten nights is not difficult. Remember, this night is a gift for us. In his Tafsîr, Ad-Durr al-Manthûr, Imâm Jalâlud-dîn as-Suyûtî (May Allah Ta’ala have mercy on him has cited a narration where it is mentioned: “This blessed night has only been gifted to my Ummah. None of the previous communities ever received such a gift.” (al-Imâm Jalâlud-dîn `Abdur-Rahmân Suyûtî, Tafsîr ad-Durr al-Manthûr, 6:371) Let us accept and appreciate this gift by engaging in the worship of Allah.

By worshiping Allah on this night we can make up for all our negligence and shortcomings of the past years, as Ibn Rajab Hambali mentions,

لطائف المعارف – (ج 1 / ص 207)

يا من ضاع عمره لا شيء استدرك ما فاتك في ليلة القدر فإنها تحسب بالعمر

“Oh the one wasted his life by not doing any actions, Catch up what you missed on Laylatul Qadr because the reward you can get is equal to that of lives.”

Let us carry out extra worship on these remaining few nights. Even though laylatu qadr will be on only one night, remember that every night of Ramadhaan is virtuous. On every night Allah Ta’ala calls out,

وينادي مناد يا باغي الخير أقبل ويا باغي الشر أقصر

A caller calls out, O the one seeking, Come forward, O the one seeking evil, retreat”

Thereafter, Allah Ta’ala calls out

شعب الإيمان – البيهقي – (ج 3 / ص 304)

هل من مستغفر نغفر له هل من تائب نتوب عليه هل من داعي نستجيب له هل من سائل نعطي سؤله

And likewise we have mentioned in the beginning that Nabi صلي الله عليه و سلم should increase his worship on all these last ten nights. This month should not pass without us attaining forgiveness otherwise there are chances of us be chances are that this very same month will be a means of our destruction. As is mentioned in Mustadrak Hakim etc, that Nabi صلي الله عليه و سلم climbed the mimbar and heard the curse of Jibraeel (a.s) where he said,

المستدرك على الصحيحين للحاكم مع تعليقات الذهبي في التلخيص – (ج 4 / ص 170)

بعد لمن أدرك رمضان فلم يغفر له

((Woe to him who found the month of Ramadhaan yet he did not attain forgiveness))

By letting this month pass without attaining forgiveness, Allah forbid, we can become the targets of the curse of Jibraeel (May Allah Ta’ala be pleased with him) upon which Nabi صلي الله عليه و سلم said Ameen. Let us implore Allah Ta’ala to forgive us. May Allah Ta’ala grant us the ability to practice on whatever has been said.