Laylatul Qadr: The Night of Power
What is The Night of Power?
“Laylatul Qadr” is a name recognised by all Muslims. However, whereas many Non-Muslims have heard of the month of Ramadan, and most likely understand the basics about the month and what goes on throughout, very few Non-Muslims will be aware of The Night of Power or Destiny or its Arabic known by Muslims; “Laylatul Qadr”. For Muslims it is the most significant night in the whole month of Ramadan, indeed the whole year, one which shapes the what the following year will be like. This article will attempt to explain the significance, and describe some of the recommended acts for the night, as well as its spiritual rewards.
A look at the meaning of the Arabic name “Laylatul Qadr” and its connection with the Quran
The Night of Power takes its name from a chapter in the Quran called “Al-Qadr”; it contains five verses, and was revealed on this special night in Ramadan. The Quran was first revealed during the month of Ramadan, on this most special of nights. The Quran reads;
The month of Ramadan
is one in which the Quran was sent down
as guidance to mankind,
with manifest proofs of guidance and the Criterion.
This Chapter also tells how the entire Quran was revealed on this night. Commentators have included the 1st, 17th, 19th, 21th, 23th, 27th or 29th, as the Night of Destiny. However, the most popular narrations mention the last 10 days as the most likely time of this night, and of these nights, it is usually the 21st or 23rd, 25th or 27th night which are emphasized, the night being one of the odd numbered nights in the last ten nights of Ramadan. As a result, many Muslims engage in long acts of worship on at least two of these mentioned nights, some even choose to worship for three nights, and given the spiritual significance of these days, acts of worship carry extra importance.
The Arabic word “layla” in “laylatul” means “night”, and “qadr” means “fate”, “divine fore-ordainment”, “pre-destination” and “power”.
The significance of these nights for Muslims
Laylatul Qadr is the holiest night in the entire year for Muslims. It is said that on this night every person’s destiny for the following year is determined. This includes life and death, sustenance, abundance of crops or famine, everything good or bad. It is also a night of peace which brings many blessings. Hasan Al-Basri, one of the early Muslim scholars, is reported as having said that “all the affairs of lifespan, deeds, creation, and provision are decreed on Laylatul-Qadr in the month of Ramadan and will come to pass in the coming year.”
Some scholars, referring to “qadr” as meaning “power”, focus on the greatness and honour of the night.
Given the special status of this night, one recommendation is for example to spend the last ten days of Ramadan in spiritual retreat, typically in the mosque.
Reciting the al-Qadr chapter of the Quran and its rewards
Reciting this chapter of the Quran on the night of Qadr is believed to bring various rewards. In one narration from Prophet Muhammad, it is said that the one who recites it will be rewarded like the one who has fasted the whole month of Ramadan, and who has stayed awake the whole night of Al-Qadr. The Quran speaks of the Night of Destiny in the following manner:
The Night of Ordainment is better than a thousand months.
In it, the angels and the Spirit descend
by the leave of their Lord with every command.
It is peaceful until the rising of the dawn.
(Quran, Chapter Al-Qadr; 97:3-5)
It is also narrated of this night that all prayers on this night are accepted, and that the prayer of no one remains unanswered. According to one narration, the Prophet of Islam stated that “truly the angels on this night are as numerous as the pebbles upon the earth.”
Recommended acts for these nights
One of the most important acts on this holy night is for the person to stay awake until dawn engaged in worship, and if a person misses this night, he or she will certainly have missed many spiritual blessings according to Islamic tradition.
For example, one common narration states that the person who stays awake on Qadr night will have his or her sins forgiven, no matter how numerous they are. There are lists of specific prayers that are enjoined on the worshipper on this night, and the person should commence the night with the ritual bath after the sunset prayer.
Some of the things that should be avoided on that night are sins, unnecessary socializing, arguing, shopping, etc. What should not be forgotten is that grudges we hold amongst ourselves will prevent us from attaining God’s mercy and forgiveness on that night.
A very brief list of recommendations on some of the recommended acts for the night are as follows;
- Staying awake for at least one of the possible nights
- Starting the night with the ritual bath
- Praying some of the “normal” daily prayers, but lengthening them
- Reading various recommended chapters of the Quran
- Reading recommended supplications for the night
- Being engaged in supplications (prayers) of one’s own on the night, for other people, as well as for oneself; praying for others is highly recommended
- In the prayers, especially asking for forgiveness from God, praising Him and expressing gratitude, and asking for specific things, as this is the night on which prayers are said to be answered
- Of great importance however is the mindset: the person should realise the importance of this night and reflect genuinely upon the words he or she is reading and supplicating
The Night of Power is a beautiful and impactful night for Muslims, and hopefully the article has presented the underlying reasons for this, as reminded Muslims to make the most of it. If one misses this night, one must wait another whole year for the next chance to reap such immense spiritual blessings and rewards.