Who knows when Laylatul-Qadr (the Night of Power) is?
That question has always been on the agenda of many Muslims in every Ramadan since the time of Hazrat Prophet. What impels man to ask that question is the excitement of searching for the night that is defined to be better than one thousand months by a verse in the Quran. That question, like many other questions, does not have only one answer. For some people, the answer is so easy as to have only two alternatives: yes or no. For others, the question has no definite answer. It can be predicted like the uncertainty principle in quantum but it cannot be known exactly. Some people claim that the beloved slaves of Allah will know when that night is. Others believe that such an exceptional night has a worldwide sign in the realm of physics and start to search for a physical event from atoms to galactic system indicating that night. In short, though the search methods are different, they all endeavor for one aim: to find the Night of Power. I want to share with you an event that I experienced in one of the previous Ramadans as a person who joined that search. I came across an interesting truth while searching for the Night of Power. Allah knows whether I know when the Night of Power is but I know the ones who know when the Night of Power is. Who are they? Here is the story…
The first thing I noticed when I started to search for the Night of Power was the existence of different viewpoints between the Muslims of Turkey and other countries. Although it was stated in the hadiths that the Night of Power should be searched for on the last ten nights of Ramadan and especially on the odd-numbered nights, the twenty-seventh night has been accepted as the Night of Power in Turkey. However, the other Muslims we met in America prefer to concentrate on the last ten nights, which is more appropriate in terms of the meaning of the hadith, instead of one single night. Some of them even prefer to perform itikaf (staying somewhere with the intention of worshipping Allah for a period of time, usually ten days) so as not to miss that night in the last ten days. While those who know the value of the Night of Power try to worship and benefit from every night in case it is the Night of Power, those who do not realize its value avoid worshipping every night in case it is not the Night of Power. Both approaches point to the mystery of the fact that the Night of Power is kept secret as a means of testing.
Another thing that I came across while searching for the Night of Power was that the methods of searching were different. Some go to the ocean on a cloudy night and look at it till morning as if searching for fish. Some search for it as if looking for a high-salary job. Some search for it like a merchant who is looking for an appropriate market just before eid (festival day) so as to make maximum profit. Some search for it like looking for the most valuable treasure of the world. Some search for it in the extraordinary news of the physical world. Some search for it in their dreams. Some search for it in a message coming from their sheikh or teacher. In short, people search for the Night of Power, which comes only once a year, using one thousand and one different methods.
Recently, just after iftar (meal eaten in the evening to break the fast), I accidentally heard the conversation of some people who were preparing to go fishing. All of them had concentrated on one thing: to catch as many fish as possible. They were planning to go to the ocean, which would take them about two hours, and catch fish there with fishing lines. While one of them expressed his concern by saying, “will the fish find our fishing lines in the enormous ocean?”, another one expressed his hope saying “where else can we find fish if we cannot find them in the enormous ocean?” As a matter of fact, people use a phrase ‘to be caught like a fish’ but as far as what I understood from their words, fish could not be caught so easily. It was necessary to consider many different factors like the weather, the worm you use, the place you go to, the time of the day in order to be successful. They said it was highly likely to find fish on a cloudy night. After agreeing on that point, they decided to go fishing. They were going to sacrifice their sleep. In a sense, they were going to cause themselves pain. When those negative thoughts came to their minds, they imagined big fish. As rational individuals, they agreed to sacrifice their sleep in return for the reward they would get. Maybe, according to them, it was irrational to go there during daytime. While I was listening to their negotiation, my imagination took me somewhere else: the search for the Night of Power. Would my soul agree to sacrifice its comfort and go search for the Night of Power in the ocean of Ramadan even for one night? Was it not more rational to catch fish in the ocean of Ramadan that would be on my table for endless meals than to catch fish in the ocean of this world that would be on my table for only one meal? Was it too difficult to sacrifice my comfort in return for the comfort of the endless number of nights? Those thoughts persuaded my soul to some extent but it was not enough. It demanded some other evidence.
It was the twenty-seventh day of Ramadan; we were talking about the process of the Night of Power with a physicist friend of mine. When I started to search for it, he said that night could be the Night of Power by considering a physical event. According to what he said, such a valuable night had to have a connection with a physical event universe-wide. According to the news he received from the physicists group which he was a member of, the eclipse of the Andromeda Galaxy was occurring that night. It was a great event, galaxy-wide. Furthermore, that event occurred on the last ten nights of Ramadan every year. It was not known on what night it occurred, just like the Night of Power. His arguments were quite convincing. Last year, it took place on the twenty-eighth of Ramadan, and this year it was happening that night. I quite believed in what he said due to my reliance on science. I decided to worship till morning because that night could be the Night of Power. A piece of news I received from the cyber world had also affected my decision. While I was telling a writer friend of mine about what I had heard, I received an interesting answer. He said, “Do you know? I have received a piece of news about the Night of Power today.” He added, “One of my readers sent me a message. He had learned from a saint that he knew that it was the Night of Power tonight.” It was incumbent on friends to inform each other about that great opportunity. So, a friend of Allah who found out about the Night of Power informed his friend about it. And we heard it from the friend of the friend. Upon those two events, both my mind and heart were delighted as if they found the answer. I thought, “Even my soul will agree to stay awake till morning.” However, after trying to worship for a while that night, I went to bed due to the effect of the counter arguments that emerged from inside me. It was two o’clock when I went to bed. The voice of the soul inside me said, “Thanks Allah. That is enough.” Soon, I woke up with a terrifying dream. The first thing that came to my mind was, “Is it really the Night of Power tonight?” I stayed awake for some more. However, my ignorant soul managed to make me sleep again.
Days followed days and the twenty-seventh night of Ramadan arrived. My search was going on. I tried to persuade my soul that it was highly probable that it was the Night of Power tonight. As the night continued, my mind tried to find satisfactory evidence against the doubtful voices coming from my soul. Acting upon a simile in the Booklet of Ramadan, I decided to telephone some friends. In fact, I wanted to teach my soul something while telling them about a truth. I was going to share a truth with them and try to persuade my soul. First, I called a friend of mine who sold toy helicopters. After greeting him and wishing him a good night, I came to the point.
“How much do you sell your helicopters?”
“What would you do if you had the opportunity of selling them for 1000 dollars in a market opened at night in a certain period of the year and if you were given the guarantee that all of the goods that you could take to the market would be sold?”
“I would get ready for it beginning from one year earlier. I would contact the factory and go to the market with the maximum amount of products.”
“What would you do if there were a market at night that you could sell them for 30 thousand dollars?”
“I would definitely stay in the market all night.”
After hanging up the phone, I asked myself: If you had the most profitable business in such markets and even if you owned the whole world, would they have any value compared to the profits of the Ramadan market? God Almighty answered that question with a sound like thunder in Chapter ar-Rad: “For those who respond to their Lord are (all) good things. But those who respond not to Him― even if they had all that is in the heavens and on earth, and as much more, (in vain) would they offer it for ransom.”(Ra’d, 18)
Then, what was the thing that made my soul consent to the profitable market of the world but drove it away from the market of the hereafter?
I dialed my telephone again. This time, I talked to a friend who was doing his doctorate on computers in the north of America. After making small talk, I came to the point.
“As far as I know, you work as an assistant at university. How much do you earn an hour?”
“There is a vacancy here with high wages. Would you like to apply for it?”
“What is it?”
“A job about computers.”
“How much do they offer?”
“Very much, but they have a condition. You have to work at night.”
“How much do they offer?”
“100 dollars an hour”
“Really? Since they offer so much money, they certainly will demand something.”
“What they demand is to work all night in order to finish the project soon. If you are interested, I will send you the advertisement.”
“Yes, please send it.”
“You will remain sleepless.”
“It does not matter! I will sleep during the day and work at night as long as it is something that I can do.”
While the conversation was going on like that, I reminded my soul the following words of Badiuzzaman: "That blessed month of Ramadan is a Night of Power in a person’s life because it contains the Night of Power; it adds another life to the life of a person who becomes successful in it. Its one minute is one day. Its one hour is two months; its one day is an eternal life like several years… The reward of good deeds in Ramadan is one thousand rewards for one deed. One letter of the Quran has ten rewards according to a sound hadith; it will bring ten fruits of Paradise. In Ramadan, one letter does not have ten rewards but one thousand rewards; and each letter of some verses like “Ayat ul Kursi” (the Verse of Throne) has thousands of rewards; and the reward is more on Fridays of the month of Ramadan. On the Night of Power, they are regarded as thirty thousand rewards."
At the end of my adventure of searching for the Night of Power, I found a very important truth: There was a mistake in the question of title of the writing. The question should be ‘Do we know the value of the Night of Power?’ Did the Quran itself not ask like that? Those who find the answer to that question actually find the answer to the question in the title too. After all, it may be difficult to know when the Night of Power is in a Ramadan and to worship all night. However, someone who worships about four hours on the last ten or fifteen nights of each Ramadan, will have definitely worshipped fully on one Night of Power in every three years. A person who becomes present in the month of Ramadan sixty-six times in his life will have worshipped on 22 Nights of Power fully. It means 22 thousand months, that is, 1833 years of reward of worshipping according to the glad tidings of the Chapter al-Qadr. Then, is it reasonable to miss that “divine campaign” offered by the All-Merciful, who will never break His promise?
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