The Night of Barat
The Characteristics and Importance of Night of Barat
The financial activities that are carried out in accordance with an annual program are checked and inspected at the end of the year in accordance with the principles of that program. Profit and loss accounts are completed. After the determination of the final accounts, the program for the following year is prepared. It becomes possible to obtain a stable and sound development in the economic life thanks to those checks and inspections that are repeated every year.
Let us have a look at our spiritual life and activities in the light of that example. Since the world is a place of spiritual trade created for gaining the life in the hereafter, it is quite natural that the activities related to that trade are subject to inspection every year. The first occasion of that inspection is during the period of the three holy months. It starts with Night of Barat and ends in Laylatul Qadr (Night of Power).
It is stated that the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th verses of the Chapter ad-Dukhan are about Night of Barat. Here are those verses:
"By the Book that makes things clear― We sent it down during a blessed night: for We (ever) wish to warn (against Evil). In that (night) is made distinct every affair of wisdom."
There are two views about those verses. According to the view of the most of the tafsir (interpretation) scholars, that holy night is the Night of Power. A group of scholars including Ikrima bin Abi Jahl say that it is the Night of Barat. According to another view that combines the two views, the affairs of wisdom start to be made distinct on the Night of Barat and continue till the Night of Power. What are those affairs of wisdom and what does that verse mean?
Annual Destiny Program
According to what is reported from Ibn Abbas, the affairs of wisdom are made distinct as follows:
- All of the events that will take place in the following year are recorded by different angels in the books. Livelihoods, times of deaths, richness, poverty, deaths, births are all recorded during that period. Even the number of hajjis (pilgrims) of that year is ordained during that period. The destiny of everybody and everything is recorded.
- The books about livelihoods (sustenance) are given to the angel Michael (Mikail).
- The books about wars are given to the angel Gabriel (Jibril).
- The book of deeds are given to Israfel, who is the great angel in charge in the sky of the world.
- The book about death and misfortunes are given to Azrael.
According to Fakhruddin ar-Razi, the arrangements of those books start on the Night of Barat and are completed on the Night of Power; each book is delivered to its owner.1
The fact that the Night of Barat “is like a sacred seed of the whole year and the program of human destiny, and is therefore as holy as the Night of Power” is based on that meaning.2
The following explanation is given about the Quran being sent down on the Night of Barat:
The Night of Barat is the night when the Quran was sent down to the sky of the world from Lawh al-Mahfuz (Prescribed Tablet) as a whole. It is called inzal. It was started to be sent down to our Prophet for the first time and in pieces on the Night of Power. It is called tanzil.
Characteristics of the Night of Barat
The following explanations are given in tafsir books about that night: When someone pays his tax, he is given a document to show that he has been freed of his debt. Similarly, Allah, the Exalted, writes a document of acquittal for his believing slaves on the Night of Barat. That night has four different names: “Holy Night”, “Night of Barat”, “Night of Acquittal” and “Night of Mercy”
"Barat” means being freed of something, being acquitted, having no sins or crimes. "Barat" means that there is no relationship between the two things and that a person is freed from an obligation or he has no obligation. That night is called the Night of Barat because it is hoped that believers will be freed of their burden of sins and that they will attain divine forgiveness.
It gives the night a different significance since some scholars accept that the incidence of the change of qiblah (direction that should be faced by a Muslim while praying) from al-Aqsa Mosque to the Kaaba in the second year of Hegira took place on the Night of Barat.3
The Night of Barat has five different characteristics.
1. All affairs of wisdom are started to be made distinct.
2. The prayers and worshipping on that night have many times more rewards than other nights.
3. The divine mercy surrounds the whole world.
4. The mercy and forgiveness of Allah becomes abundant.
5. Our Prophet was given the full authority of intercession (shafa’a).
According to what is reported in a narration, the Messenger of Allah asked for intercession for his umma on the thirteenth night of Shaban; one third of the intercession was given. He asked again on the fourteenth night; two thirds were given. He asked again on the fifteenth night; the whole was given. However, those who run away from Allah like a camel escapes are excluded...
The fact that the water of Zamzam increased apparently on that night is interpreted as a holy sign to strengthen the significance of that night.4
Our Prophet attracts attention to the Night of Barat in a hadith as follows:
"On the 15th night of Shaban, stay awake at night and worship; and fast during the day. After the sun sets, Allah descends onto the first of the skies with His mercy and says:
Is there no one asking forgiveness that I may forgive them? Is there no one asking sustenance that I may grant them sustenance? Is there no one under trial that I may relieve them?
It goes on like that until dawn rises. 5
That night, the divine mercy is abundant and overflows. The night of Barat is a unique opportunity given to human beings when the program of the destiny of human beings is ordained. A person who benefits from that night, who manages to get his sins forgiven, who asks for his wishes from Allah sincerely and who takes shelter in Him from misfortunes is very lucky. On the other hand, a person who cannot benefit from the manifestation of the mercy that surrounds the world is so unlucky.
Those who are not forgiven that night
Our Prophet mentions those who are not forgiven on that night in a hadith as follows:
“Doubtlessly, Allah surrounds everything on the fifteenth night of Shaban with his mercy. He forgives all of His creatures except mushriks (polytheists) and those whose hearts are full of hatred or enmity of others."6
"Allah, the Exalted, forgives all Muslims on that night except soothsayers, magicians, people who are full of hatred, alcoholics, people who harm their parents and those who insist on committing fornication.” 7
“Allah, the Exalted forgives all of His slaves except those who disobey their parents and those who associate partners with Him."8
Our Prophet, who entered the period three months (Rajab, Shaban and Ramadan) with a different spirit and significance, gave a different importance to Shaban; he worshipped and prayed more in Shaban than other times. He fasted on most of the days of Shaban and prayed and worshipped more differently on the nights of Shaban.
On a Night of Barat, Hazrat Aisha woke up but she could not see the Prophet near her. She got up and started to look for him. She found the Prophet near the cemetery of Baqi, with his head looking at the sky. Our Prophet (pbuh) informed Hazrat Aisha about the virtue of the Night of Barat as follows:
"Allah, the Exalted, descends onto the first of the skies, forgiving more sinners than the hair on the backs of the sheep of Banu Kalb on Laylatul Barat." 9
The reward of good deeds are given as tenfold at ordinary times but on the Night of Barat the good deeds are given twenty thousand times more reward. For instance, if one letter of the Quran is given ten rewards at other times, twenty thousand rewards are given on the Night of Barat.
Therefore, if we try hard sincerely on the Night of Barat, it can make us gain the reward of a life of worshipping equal to fifty thousand years in one night.
"Therefore, it will gain us great rewards if we read the Quran, ask forgiveness and say salawat."10
If we say that the power of working and gaining of one person is limited in spiritual life as it is in the material life, there is a solution to it. A spiritual company that we will establish with our believing brothers who share the same aim and who live in the world for the same purpose can gain us an endless spiritual wealth that we cannot calculate. Besides, in material wealth, the profits are divided among the shareholders and they decrease; in spiritual profits, that kind of division is not in question because spiritual activities are luminous; they have light. Light does not decrease and it is not divided like material things.
Worshipping on the Night of Barat
It is mustahab (desirable) to perform prayers, read the Quran, mention the names and attributes of Allah (dhikr) and ask forgiveness due to the spiritual value of that night, and to help the needy and do similar good deeds.
Although Imam Ghazali says in al-Ihya that there is a narration about performing prayers of a hundred rak’ahs, hadith scholars say that that prayer does not exist in the Sunnah and that they have found out that it was prayed in Quds (Jerusalem) 400 years after the Hegira. Imam Nawawi even says that such a prayer is bid’ah (innonvation) because it is not present in the Sunnah.
It is better to perform qada (missed) prayers instead of it. However, it does not mean that it has no reward if you perform it. It will be useful to show tolerance to people who tend to perform prayers at a time when people do not usually pray.
Prayer for the Night of Barat
Our Prophet (pbuh) prayed his Lord as follows on that night:
"O Allah! I take shelter in Your forgiveness from Your torture, in Your consent from Your wrath. I am too weak to praise you as necessary. You are exalted as You praise Yourself."11
Prayer of Barat
Some great saints prayed as follows:
"O Allah! If my name is written among the names of happy people (People of Paradise), keep my name fixed there. If my name is written among the names of evil people (People of Hell), remove my name from that list because you state the following: 'Allah doth blot out or confirm what He pleaseth: with Him is the Mother of the Book."12
Let us ask Allah Almighty to make the Night of Barat, which we are going to revive with this realization and consciousness, beneficial for us.
1 Khulasatu'l-Bayan. 13:5251.
2 Şualar (Rays), p,426.
3 TDİ."Barat" item.
4 Hak Dini Kur’an Dili, 5:4295
5 Ibn Majah, Iqama, 191.
6 Ibn Majah, Iqama, 191.
7 at-Targhib wa't-Tarhib, 2:118.
8 Ibn Majah, Iqamatu's-Salat, 191; Tirmidhi, Sawm, 38.
9 Tirmidhi, Sawm:39.
10 Şualar (Rays), p,426.
11 at-Targhib wa't-Tarhib, 2:.119, 120.
12 ar-Ra’d, 39; Majmuatu’l-Ahzab, 1:597.
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