Its Blessed Name: Laylat al-Qadar
Night [Layl]: indicates the time from sunset till dawn.
Power [al-Qadar]: This word carries a number of different meanings such as honor, serenity, judgment, and power. The scholars differed over the meaning of this word when used in relation to that special night that takes place during the month of Ramadan. Here are the most common interpretations:
1. Magnificence and Honor.
This meaning is obvious because it is the night that the Qur’an was sent, Prophethood was announced and the angels descend. Other scholars held that the one who revived this night with worship would become honorable because Allah (swt) would raise rank.
As Muslims we should feel honored because Laylat-al-Qadar was the night that the Qur’an was sent and the Prophet ﷺ was chosen by Allah. However, this was also the night that witnessed the birth of a new religious nation – the nation of the Prophet ﷺ – and we are blessed to belong to that nation. Do you feel humble? Do you feel blessed to be a part of that nation? Do you feel and share the greatness of this night? Do your actions reflect that humility? If one wants to be honored, then let him do so by worshiping Allah.
2. Something Restricted or Difficult to Attain.
The exact date of Laylat al-Qadar is unknown; the knowledge of its occurrence is restricted from men. The only way to find it is to put forth effort and seek it. It is also said that the earth becomes full with the presence of an infinite number of malaikah (angels).
When something is hidden, it is a sign of its value. One who truly understands this will work to find the hidden treasure in this night.
3. Judgment and Decision.
This is the night when the angels will distribute what is destined for Allah’s servants with regards to those servants’ provisions and lifespan for the next year. Some scholars contended that the night which ones provisions and life were to be given is during the middle of the month of Sh’aban (the month preceding Ramadan). However, the majority of scholars hold that it is this night, the Night of Power.
When Does it Occur?
Laylat al-Qadar takes place in the last ten nights of Ramadan. The Prophet ﷺ said, “I witnessed the Night of Power, then I forgot [which night it was]. It happens in the last ten nights (of Ramadan).” (Ibn Hiban)
The night is mild, as stated by the Prophet ﷺ, “The night of power is a mild night neither hot nor cold.” (Ibn Khuzaymah, authentic.
The number of angels out that night are too numerous to count.
The Prophet ﷺ said, “The number of angels present that night on earth cannot be counted.” (Ibn Khuzaymah, good hadith)
It is a clear night and the stars are visible: The Prophet ﷺ said, “The night of power is a clear night… as though its moon uncovers the nights’ stars.” (Ibn Hibban)
The Morning After
The sun rises in the morning after the Night of Power “red and weak.” (Ibn Khuzaimah, authentic)
In another hadith, the Prophet ﷺ said about its sunrise that it is “white, having no rays”. [Muslim]. Having no rays is explained by the narration above as being “weak.”
Things to do
Engage in worship in its strict sense.
Be kind to others.
If you’re in the Masjid, be clean.
Avoid being rude.
Things not to do
Talk and waste one’s time socializing.
Sleep the night away.
Making the Masjid untidy.
What if I Have Commitments the Next Day?
What To do If the Scholars Differ
Surely, folks may have started a day before or after (according to who they follow) when fasting. In such cases, a person should pray a little every night, coupling it with the intention to catch this blessed night. The Prophet (sa) said, “Actions are based on intentions.”
Do You Have to Stand the Whole Night
Scholars noted that one does not have to stand the entire night to experience it. One could worship for a short while and still receive the blessings of the night. Thus those who have to work, take care of the kids, or other responsibilities need only worship for a short while. [See Fath al-Bari of Ibn Hajar.]
May Allah grant us guidance to experience this night.
source: Suhaib Webb
Founder, Ella Collins Institute
Resident Scholar, Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center (ISBCC) photo courtesy – productive muslim