by National Tarbiyyat Department USA
What is Lailatul Qadr?
“From various narrations of the Holy Prophet(sa) we find that in the last 10 days of Ramadan, one night comes that is known as “The Night of Decree”. In this night, God lays His special focus and attention on His sincere servants. When they reach a heightened spiritual condition, they are able to witness an extraordinary experience of God’s Grace and Nearness. This is generally why Muslims lay so much emphasis on the last 10 days of Ramadan. Many people who tend to not focus on their prayers, Taraweeh, recitation of the Quran, and various acts of bringing them closer to God, in the first 20 days of Ramadan, now try to better themselves.” (Friday Sermon August 27, 2010)
So if I see Lailatul Qadr, I’m set for life?
It’s not that simple. Huzoor(aba) clarifies this for us. He states:
“This night holds great significance. But if we only attempt to achieve God’s nearness in the last 10 days of Ramadan, and we make no other significant effort throughout the year, do you think this will make someone a true servant of God and a believer? Allah states elsewhere (Quran 51:57) that I have created Jinn and Man so that they may worship Me. If one thinks that by just trying to search for this one night in the last ten days of Ramadan can be equal to a man’s entire life of worship, then this will take one away from their purpose of life: to worship and be submissive to God’s Will.”
Huzoor(aba) further elaborates:
“It’s mentioned in one narration that a companion asked Hazrat Ubai Bin Kaab(ra) that “I heard Hazrat Ibn-e-Masood(ra) saying that if a person worships and prays for the entire year, then he will attain the Night of Decree. Is this true? He responded, “May God have mercy on him. He was simply stating this to make people realize to not put all of their hopes and attention on this one night. He knows very well that the actual Night of Decree takes place in the last 10 days of Ramadan.” (Sahih Muslim Book of Fasting)
“The Companions of the Holy Prophet(sa) knew very well that the efforts of the last 10 days of Ramadan are not what enables one to experience the Night of Decree. When one keeps the purpose of his life in mind, and tries his utmost to gain nearness to Allah, then, if Allah wills, His servant’s peace of mind, grants that special condition and state of being in which he will be able to experience this night. This is done out of God’s special grace and to be able to experience a unique form of His Nearness.”
“God has allocated this special night for those who try to spend every moment of theirs in progressing towards God, and use this time of Ramadan to increase in their standard of worship, reading and understanding of the Holy Qur’an and fasting to attain nearness to Him.” (Friday Sermon August 27, 2010)
All in all, God knows what’s in our hearts. We can’t shortchange this process. But those who strive to gain His nearness through the right measures and metrics have been given this opportunity.
When can it be found?
It’s important to note that this is an estimation. There was a reason and wisdom as to why the Holy Prophet(sa) forgot (through God’s wisdom and doing) the specifics. We do however, find a good idea of when it can take place.
The Holy Prophet(sa) stated:
“Seek it (the Night of Decree) in the last 10 days of Ramadan. If any of you become weak and for whatever reason aren’t able to do so, then do not falter by any means in the last 7 days of Ramadan.” (Sahih Muslim Book of Fasting)
The Holy Prophet(sa) stated:
“It has been revealed to me by God the Almighty that the Night of Decree is in the last ten days of Ramadan. The one who intends to perform Itikaaf should do so in the last ten days.” (Sahih Muslim Book of Fasting)
Hazrat Ibn-e-Umar(ra) relates that some of the companions of the Holy Prophet(sa) were shown the Night of Decree during the last seven days of Ramadan. Upon this the Holy Prophet(sa) stated:
“I see that your dreams are in agreement with the last seven days of Ramadan. Therefore, whosoever wants to seek the Night of Decree, should do so in the last seven days.” (Sahih Bukhari Book of Fasting)
The Holy Prophet(sa) stated:
“Search for the Night of Decree in the odd nights of the last 10 days of Ramadan.” (Bukhari Book of Fasting)
The overall consensus is that it will occur in the last 10 days of night, most probably on the odd nights.
Friday and 27th Night, 100% Chance?
Hazrat Musleh Maud states:
“In Seeratul Mahdi there is a narration of the Promised Messiah(as) that goes as follows:
“When the 27th day of Ramadan and Jummah happen to be on the same day, then that night is guaranteed to be the Night of Decree.”
Many members of the Jama’at read this and have become greatly excited that we now know the exact date. I have received so many letters on this topic that if I were to just read the names out of such people, it would take me well more than 45 minutes. Know this: to fully understand and absorb matters of the spiritual realm is not easy. Not every man has the understanding and capacity for this. Spiritual matters have various indications, hints, certain hidden conditions. Not all of this is very easy to understand by the average man.
Despite all of these varying factors there is no doubt that generally, Lailatul Qadr occurs on the 27th night. This view and belief is supported by not one, but many saints, scholars and the Promised Messiah(as) as well. 60 percent of scholars support this view. 40 percent state that it falls on any one of the odd nights of the last 10 days of Ramadan. Bearing all of these supporting views and references, we know that Jummah [Friday] is a special day of the week. It carries more blessings than the rest of the days. So, if Jummah were to coincide with the 27th day of Ramadan, we can say that it would demand that this day to be Lailatul Qadr. However, we cannot say that every time it’s Jummah and the 27th day of Ramadan that it has to be Lailatul Qadr.
We do not have the full context and various conditions in mind that the Promised Messiah(as) may have had when he stated this. In order to understand a certain statement, context is very important. This is only one narration and there can be so many things we are not seeing. I am not denying it’s validity. My question to you all is: you have shown great excitement to know which night it is. Are you truly just as desirous and passionate to receive those blessings that come with this night?”
There’s three types of Lailatul Qadr?
“Explaining this point, the Promised Messiah(as) has said that Lailatul Qadr is not just a specific night that falls during Ramadan. It has three forms:
- A night during Ramadan.
- Time of a Prophet of God.
- Lailatul Qadr of an individual when he is purified and has firm faith and rids himself of all evil while holding himself accountable.
If this Lailatul Qadr is experienced and we become sincerely God’s, abide by His commandments and elevate our standards of worship we have found the objective which is commanded by God. Following this each day and each night becomes an hour of acceptance of prayer. We, the followers of the true and ardent devotee of the Holy Prophet(sa), the Promised Messiah need to bring about a revolutionary change in ourselves and elevate our state of faith to the level where each word and deed is to attain pleasure of God and where we spend our lives holding ourselves accountable.” (Friday Sermon July 10, 2015)
Underestimating the Importance of the first 20 days?
“In order to attain God’s pleasure and to secure one’s faith, there is another aspect to the last ten days of Ramadan about which the Holy Prophet(sa) gave us glad-tiding and that is Lailatul Qadr (The Night of Decree). The Holy Prophet(sa) said that the past sins of a person who fasts during Ramadan in a state of belief and while holding himself to account are forgiven. And the past sins of a person who experiences Lailatul Qadr in a state of belief and while holding himself to account are also forgiven. Lailatul Qadr has great significance but other days of Ramadan also hold similar significance. What is important are the factors of state of belief and holding oneself to account. If there were any inadequacies in the early days of Ramadan, efforts should be made in latter days to make good those shortcomings.” (Friday Sermon July 10, 2015)
That one moment will change my life?
“This night (Lailatul Qadr) has a special significance for every believer, but we must remember that the worship and prayers of a single night will not ensure our forgiveness, or salvation or the acceptance of our prayers; nor will it make us the true servants of God. The fact is that man has been created for the purpose of worshipping and serving his Creator. When he keeps this purpose in mind and strives to attain His nearness, God blesses the devout and enables them to experience Lailatul Qadr.”
“When a believer fulfils his pledge of:
- faith and submission
- observes the fasting of Ramadan
- recites the Holy Qur’an reflecting over its meanings
- worships with greater zeal
- abides by God’s commands
Then God, who is most Merciful and always keeps His promises, not only listens to his prayers but also grants Him Lailatul Qadr. He comes down from heaven and says to His servant, ‘Ask Me this night and I shall grant you whatever you desire’. Thus whosoever is fortunate enough to experience this night is given a status that is equal to the worship of a lifetime.”
“When the Holy Prophet(sa) entered the last ten days of Ramadan, he would exert himself in worship and spend his nights in prayer. He would also wake up his household for prayers. This is the example that the Holy Prophet(sa) set before us.” (Friday Sermon August 27, 2010)
What if I have been lazy in beginning of Ramadan?
“If, for some reason, you have not been able to benefit from the first days of Ramadan, then in these last ten days you should shed all excuses and adorn your nights with worship.” (Friday Sermon August 27, 2010)
It’s not too late. We can still avail these blessed days of when Satan is shackled and the doors of Heaven are opened. Just start now.
How did Holy Prophet(sa) forget?
“We find from Hadith that the Holy Prophet(sa) was informed of a time where all prayers are accepted. This is no small thing. He was very happy and had come out of his home to inform others about it so that they too could benefit from it. When he came out, he sees that two Muslims were fighting. He became busy in trying to resolve their matter. In the process of trying to resolve their argument, he had forgotten the specific time to that window of opportunity. In fact, from the wording of the Hadith, you can tell that he didn’t forget, but was made to forget due to a hidden wisdom within the knowledge of God. Because of this argument, I was made to forget the time of Lailatul Qadr. So now, search for it in the odd nights of the last 10 days of Ramadan.” (Bukhari)
“There are two lessons for us in this: One, that when people fight and argue amongst themselves, the blessings of Lailatul Qadr are removed. Being deprived of this is a huge loss. The second lesson is that no blessing of God can be attained without true effort.” (Khutbaat-e-Mahmood, May 2, 1924)
Holy Prophet(sa) said “it might be for you own good” that we don’t know the specifics.
Allah’s intent is not for us to have a crash course and try to cram all the good we ever do in our lives into a specific day or even 10 days.
The Night of Decree is a gift. A gift that God bestows to those He sees fit and are doing their utmost to gain His nearness. It’s for those who are not trying to attain it for one night, but those who wish to make it a part of their lives.
This is why it’s stated that ‘the most beloved actions are those that are small, but done regularly’. (Ibn Majah Book of Zuhd). This is because these actions show consistency, and that they are a part of our lives. If we thought it were to be at a specific time, say, “10:30 pm every 25th night of Ramadan” this would have completely derailed many from the entire purpose of this night and what God desires from us in this journey to attain it.
Hazrat Musleh Maud(ra) clarifies that it wasn’t a specific time that Holy Prophet(sa) was coming out to share with the rest of the companions. He states:
“The Holy Prophet(sa) did not come out with a specific time (of Lailatul Qadr) to tell the companions about. The fact that he forgot tells us that it wasn’t a specific time: [if it was say 10:30 pm one wouldn’t forget that] but a specific point that the Holy Prophet(sa) interpreted from his communion with God that if incorporated in our efforts would help us attain this night. He (saw) said “I came out to tell you about the Lailatul Qadr, but your fighting caused me to forget it. So now search for it in the last 10 days of Ramadan.” This tells us that it wasn’t a specific time one could pinpoint.”
“God also has exceptions to the rule. You can’t force God to work according to your desires and opinions. What you can do is seek this blessing in the last 10 nights, and stop all of the fighting amongst yourselves. Fighting and disharmony amongst yourselves removes any blessings that were possible.” (Khutbaat-e- Mahmood May 2, 1924)
Mentioning all of these various angles and aspects were not intended to create more confusion, but to create true clarity. The fact of the matter is, we have various hints and indications. But our approach to God has to come with the mentality of not searching for shortcuts. We must seek Him earnestly and sincerely, while focusing on analyzing and purifying ourselves. Maybe, then, Allah may bless us with this honor of Lailatul Qadr.
It will determine your next year’s destiny?
Hazrat Musleh Maud(ra) explains how this time is critical and will shape the future of our lives. He states:
“The Night of Decree is greatly tied to a people’s unity and their harmony with one another. Those people who lose their unity lose their access to the Night of Decree. The Night of Decree is the night in which the destiny of an individual for the next year is written. This moment or time will determine what will become of him, how far will he progress and achieve success, what benefits he’ll receive, what losses he will have to face. All of man’s success is determined and occurs at ‘night’. The same way human development takes place in the ‘dark’ or unseen.”
“If we ponder over the Qur’an, we see that human development and growth also takes place in ‘darkness’. The womb of a mother is ‘hidden’ and ‘dark’. This is where all of the child’s features, strengths, weaknesses, are being developed. If in these days’ proper care, nutrition, and attention isn’t given, the child grows up to be weak, and will be weak in certain moral aspects as well. This is why scholars of Islam and the Shar’iah take great care of ensuring no stress should fall upon the mother in this critical time. She is not allowed to fast, and should not go through any emotional trauma at this time, such as in a divorce, etc. This is so that the development of the child is not compromised.”
“We take great care and consider the time of pregnancy to be a critical and essential time where every effort should be made for the best treatment, nutrition, and care is given to the mother and what’s inside of her. We must do the same for our spiritual time of being in the womb. We need to ensure we give our best efforts in spiritually nourishing ourselves. This will ensure a healthy ‘spiritual’ birth that will carry on to set the tone for our futures.” (Khutbaat-e-Mahmood Dec 4, 1936)