What to do on the Night of Power (Laylatul-Qadr)?

Details of the Question

What to do on the Night of Power (Laylatul-Qadr)? Is there sound information about the value of the Night of Power and what to do on that night?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Is there sound information about the value of the Night of Power and what to do on that night?

We need to make the following explanation to answer this question:

1. Its meaning:

At certain times, those who work overtime are given a few times more than the normal wage. The anniversaries of some events are days of bonus. Some kings distribute money to the people when they ascend the throne. Sometimes a general amnesty is granted and even some big crimes are pardoned. In some markets, fairs and other places, a profit of more than one hundred percent is obtained. They can give us only some opinion to be able to understand the Night of Power. For, the owner of that night is the Creator, the Generous, the Pardoner...

His treasure, generosity and pardoning do not resemble to those of anybody else. His grant and pardoning is as big as His majesty compared to man. Since all treasures belong to Him, He knows how much He will give to whom. The Night of Power is His grant, amnesty and bonus to the ummah of Muhammad. This also shows how much mercy Allah has on His slaves and how much He wants their salvation.

2. What is its content or what does "Qadr" mean?

"Qadr" which is an Arabic word lexically means to be strong enough but it also means decree, determination, honor, loftiness and pressure.

When the meaning decree is taken into consideration, Laylatul-Qadr is called night of decree and determination; the night on which "the Quran was sent down and every affair of wisdom is made distinct..." mentioned in the chapter of ad-Dukhan points to this night. However, since the Quran was sent in twenty-three years based on incidents, its being sent down on the Night of Power means its being sent down to the sky of the world as a whole.

When the meaning honor and loftiness is considered, this night is more honorable and greater than one thousand nights; or, a person who has no value or honor will be valuable and honorable by worshipping on that night. (Qurtubi, XX/131)

When the meaning pressure is considered, a big crowd and congestion occur on the earth because angels come down. This also shows that great and honorable incidents take place as a result of big pressure. Laylatul-Qadr includes all of these three meanings; that the phrase "Laylatul-Qadr " is repeated three times in the verse might indicate this.

3. Its Time:

The time of acceptance is hidden on Friday; Allah`s consent is hidden among deeds; Allah's wrath is hidden among sins; the time of Doomsday, where and when man will die are hidden; the middle prayer is hidden among daily prayers, the greatest name of Allah is hidden among His names; righteous slaves and saints are hidden among people; similarly, the Night of Power is hidden.(see Qurtubi XX/137) One of the wisdoms behind it is that people should not disobey Allah on other nights relying on the Night of Power; another wisdom is that Allah wants His slaves to worship on all nights of Ramadan so that they will come across with the Night of Power. However, the soundest narrations indicate that it is in the month of Ramadan and on the twenty-seventh night.

For, it is stated in the chapter of "al-Qadr" that the Quran was sent down on the Night of Power and it is stated in the chapter of al-Baqara that the Quran was sent down in Ramadan. It means the Night of Power is a night in Ramadan. In fact, many Companions and imams narrated that the Night of Power was on the seventeenth night of Ramadan, which corresponded to the day of the Battle of Badr, and that it was on the twentieth, twenty-first, twenty-second,..twenty-ninth night but those who narrated that it was on the twenty-seventh night were more than the others. The narrations of the others should be understood as the Night of Power that year was on that night.

That the sum of the letters of the phrase "Laylatul-Qadr" repeated three times in the chapter of "al-Qadr" is twenty-seven in Arabic and that the pronoun hiya referring to Laylatul-Qadr is the twenty-seventh word of the chapter might be indicating this.    That the Messenger of Allah performed itikaf on the last ten days of Ramadan and worshipped indicates that the Night of Power is on one of the last ten nights of Ramadan and that the night is not certain. Besides, the Messenger of Allah said, "Laylatul-Qadr was shown to me but afterwards something made me forget it."

Since Laylatul-Qadr is the night when the Quran was sent down, one can think that it occurred once and it is over. However, that it is said "therein come down the angels..." in the chapter of al-Qadr, not came, shows that it is repeated. Then, it should be understood as follows: the Quran's being sent down coincided with Laylatul-Qadr; it should not be understood as follows: That night became Laylatul-Qadr because the Quran was sent down that night.

According to Shah Waliyyullah, there are two Nights of Poewer (Laylatul-Qadr): one of them is hidden in the whole year and the other is hidden in the last ten days of Ramadan. (Shah Waliyullah Dahlawi, Hujjatullah`i1-Baligha, N/55)

It is said that Laylatul-Qadr has some signs. The night is pure, calm and bright as if the moon is there. It is mild, not very cold or very hot. In the morning, the sun does not dazzle the eyes; it rises faintly like the moon; its shape is clear; it is a bit red. (see Ibn Kathir, VNI/466)

4. Why one thousand months?

The reason why it is said that Laylatul-Qadr is better than one thousand months is to show that it is full of goodness, not to compare it to one thousand months as a measurement. For, when it is said better, it means one thousand months and more. Only Allah knows the amount of this more (extra). However, there are some narrations why "one thousand months" is used.

The reason why the phrase "one thousand months" is mentioned is that the Muslims were worried when they found out that somebody from Children of Israel made jihad for one thousand months, or they envied when they heard that  four people worshipped for eighty years (about one thousand months) continuously, or the Messenger of Allah was worried that the average life expectancy of his ummah was not long enough to prepare enough deeds for the hereafter. Thus, Allah rewarded His Messenger Muhammad (pbuh) and his ummah.  (for these narrations, see Elmalılı, VNI/5972)

5. What to do on that night?

Almost everybody accepts that Laylatul-Qadr is better than all days and nights including arafah and Friday for the ummah of Muhammad. However, Laylatul-Miraj (Night of the Ascension) is better for the Messenger of Allah himself. (Elmalılı, VNI/5983) Then, the reward of worshipping on that night will definitely be great. The Messenger of Allah stated the following: "If a person stays up on the night of Qadr out of sincere faith and hoping to attain Allah's rewards, all his past sins will be forgiven." (Bukhari, Iman, I/I5, Sawm NI/23; Muslim, Salat, N/175)

It means the first condition of benefitting from this night is to stay up, not to sleep. There is no allocation or limitation about what to do. To perform prayers, to read the Quran, to read prayers (dua), to meditate are the deeds that are present in the Sunnah of the Prophet. The Messenger of Allah did all of them. (see Elmalılı, VNI/5982) When the last ten days of Ramadan came, the Prophet would stay up, awaken his wives and children and worship a lot. (Ibn Kathir, VNI/471).

That the Prophet performed itikaf on the last ten days of Ramadan is a sunnah that aims to find Laylatul-Qadr and to worship on that night. Therefore, it is probably the best to do all kinds of worshipping for a while. When Hz. Aisha asked the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) what to do on Laylatul-Qadr, he told her to pray as follows: "Allahumma innaka afuwwun tuhibbul-afwa fa`fu anni (O Allah! You are the Forgiver and You like forgiving; so, forgive me). " (Musnad, VI/182)

It means the best prayer (dua) to say that night is to ask for forgiveness. To perform the night (isha) and morning (fajr) prayers in congregation will mean to stay up that night; everybody must do this at least. The Messenger of Allah probably indicated this when he said, "A person who performs the night prayer in congregation on Laylatul-Qadr receives his share from it." (Qurtubi, XX/138)

However, if this prayer is said on every night of Ramadan, it will probably coincide with Laylatul-Qadr and it will probably be accepted. Therefore, the following is stated: "Anyone who is deprived of it is deprived of something very big." (Musnad, N/230, N/385, 425; Ibn Kathir, VN/464)

Besides, as an indication of man's respect for these exceptional days and nights, he needs to show more efforts in Ramadan than other months and on Laylatul-Qadr than other nights. Furthermore, it is sunnah to pray and worship more on the day of Laylatul-Qadr than other days and it is mustahab to pray for solutions to the problems of all Muslims. (Nawawi, al-Adhkar, 163)

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