Aspects of Islamic Faith — 114: The best night of the year


The Qur’an says that it is better than a thousand months, and that it is perfect peace. It occurs once a year, but it is certain to take place. Therefore it is an occasion that must not be missed. What night are we talking about? It is the Night of Power for which a short surah is devoted in the Qur’an: “From on high have We bestowed it (i.e. the Qur’an) on the Night of Power. Would that you knew what the Night of Power is! The Night of Power is better than a thousand months. On that night the angels and the Spirit by their Lord’s leave descend with all His decrees. That night is peace, till the break of dawn.” (97: 1-5)

It is not possible to determine whether it is the start of the revelation of the Qur’an on this night that gives it its distinction, or that it is originally a blessed night chosen by God for the start of bestowing the Qur’an. Whichever is the case, the night is one of blessings defined by God in such great terms.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) who has taught us all good things has shown us the way to make the best benefit of this night and to ensure that we receive its blessings. He has indicated that spending the night, or most of it, in worship ensures the forgiveness of all of one’s past sins. One may alternate between different types of worship: prayer, reciting the Qur’an, glorification of God and supplication. It extends from the time when the obligatory prayer of Isha has been offered to the time when Fajr prayer is due at dawn. What is important is the sincerity that must be characteristic of one’s action. It should be in complete devotion to God and seeking His acceptance.

Which night is it? The Prophet tells us that it is one of the last ten nights of the month of Ramadan. Certain hadiths narrow that to the odd nights in the last third of the month. Yet the Prophet’s own action shows that he was extra vigilant of his worship in all ten nights of the last third of Ramadan. Aishah reports: “When it was the (last) third of the month (of Ramadan), the Prophet used to strengthen his resolve, spend the nights in worship and wake up his household.” (Related by Al-Bukhari).


Categories: Islam, Saudi Arabia

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