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Laylatul-Qadr: The Night of Decree
Allah (the Most High) stated in His Book:
إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةٍ مُّبَارَكَةٍ ۚ إِنَّا كُنَّا مُنذِرِينَ
فِيهَا يُفْرَقُ كُلُّ أَمْرٍ حَكِيمٍ
“We sent this Qur’an down on a blessed night. Verily, we are ever warning [mankind]. In that night is decreed every matter of ordainment.”
And Allah (the Most High) also stated:
إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ
وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ
لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ خَيْرٌ مِّنْ أَلْفِ شَهْرٍ
تَنَزَّلُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ وَالرُّوحُ فِيهَا بِإِذْنِ رَبِّهِم مِّن كُلِّ أَمْرٍ
سَلَامٌ هِيَ حَتَّىٰ مَطْلَعِ الْفَجْرِ
“Verily! We have sent the Quran down in the night of Al-Qadr (Decree). And what will make you know what the night of Al-Qadr is? The night of Al-Qadr is better than a thousand months of worship. Therein descend the angels and the Jibrīl by Allah’s Permission with all Decrees. Peace all that night until the appearance of dawn.”
The Night of Decree is among the last ten nights of Ramadān. The Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) stated: “Seek out Laylatul-Qadr in the last ten nights of Ramadān.” Muslims should strive hard in worship in each of the last ten nights in order to attain its reward. The Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said:
مَنْ قَامَ لَيْلَةَ الْقَدْرِ إِيمَانًا وَاحْتِسَابًا غُفِرَ لَهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِنْ ذَنْبِهِ
“Whoever stands in prayer on Laylatul-Qadr with imān and hoping for reward, his previous sins will be forgiven.”
Allah (the Most High) informed us that it is better than a thousand months of worship. It is called Laylatul-Qadr (the Night of Decree) because in it is decreed all the events that will take place in the year to come as is stated in the verse from Sūrah Ad-Dukhān, “On that night is decreed every matter of ordainment.” So, it is the pre-decree for the year. As for the overall Pre-Decree, then that was written fifty-thousand years before the creation of the heavens and earth as occurs in the authentic narrations.
It is called Laylatul-Qadr due to the greatness of this night, its excellence and nobility. It is better than a thousand months, meaning, standing in this night and performing righteous deeds is better than one thousand months that are devoid of it. So, it is sought out by the Muslims in the odd nights of the last ten of Ramadān due to the saying of the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam): “Seek it in the last ten nights: the twenty-third, twenty-fifth, twenty-seventh or twenty-ninth.”
Which night is it exactly?
Some of the Companions such as Ibn ‘Abbās, Ubayy bin Ka’b, Mu’āwiyah and others (radiyallāhu ‘anhum) regarded it to be in the twenty-seventh night. The correct saying among them is that the actual night is not known and is hidden―and the wisdom behind that is so that the Muslims can strive each night to seek it out. Abdullāh bin Unays (radiyallāhu ‘anhu) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) stated: “I was shown Laylatul-Qadr, then I was caused to forget it, but I saw myself prostrating in water and clay in the morning prayer that followed it.” Abdullāh Ibn Unays (radiyallāhu ‘anhu) then said: “It rained down on us on the twenty-third night and the Messenger led us in prayer [for Fajr] and then he turned around and there were traces of water and clay on his forehead and nose.” Note that in the Islamic terminology, the night precedes the day, so the twenty-third night comes before the twenty-third day. In another narration, he (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) stated: “I was shown Laylatul-Qadr in a dream, then one of my family woke me up and I was caused to forget it―so seek it out in the remaining ten nights.” In a narration, he (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) stated: “Seek it in the odd nights of the last ten.”
It is recommended to strive in supplicating plentifully throughout these nights because the supplications are answered. ‘Ā’ishah (radiyallāhu ‘anhā) asked: “O Allah’s Messenger if I find it, what should I supplicate?” He said:
اللَّهُمَّ إِنَّكَ عَفُوٌّ تُحِبُّ الْعَفْوَ فَاعْفُ عَنِّي
“Say: O Allah, indeed You are Pardoning, You love to pardon, so pardon me.”
So, based on this, the Muslims should strive in these nights with prayer, supplications, seeking forgiveness and performing righteous deeds such as dhikr, charity, etc. ‘Ā’ishah (radiyallāhu ‘anhā) said: “When Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) would enter the last ten nights, he would remain awake, and wake up his family, he would tighten his waist-sheet (izār) and spend the nights in prayer.” And she (radiyallāhu ‘anhā) said: “He (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) would exert himself in the last ten nights like no other time.”
This is an opportunity of a lifetime of reward that will not return if it is missed. The following year is another year, but this year will not return. Allah (the Most High) informed us that it is better than a thousand months ―that is in excess of eighty years! That is equivalent to a lifetime of obedience to Allah―it is a great virtue and mighty opportunity that is only found in the last ten nights of Ramadān. So, if you strive in the last ten nights, then you will come across it without doubt, and attain its excellence.
The Signs of Laylatul-Qadr
Ubayy bin Ka’b (radiyallāhu ‘anhu) stated: “The sign of Laylatul-Qadr is that the Sun rises the following morning white and without rays.”
In a narration, he (radiyallāhu ‘anhu) said: “The Sun rises the following morning like a brass dish having no rays until it rises high up.”
Abu Hurayrah (radiyallāhu ‘anhu) said: “We were remembering Laylatul-Qadr in the presence of Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) so he said: ‘Who among you remembers [that night] when the moon rose and it was like a piece of the plate.’”
Abdullāh bin ‘Abbās (radiyallāhu ‘anhumā) stated that Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said: “Laylatul-Qadr is easy and calm, not too hot and not too cold, and the Sun rises the following morning weak and reddish.”
What can be better than this reward for the one whom Allah guides and grants success? So, be ardent and strive in seeking out this night and perform as many righteous deeds as you are able. And whoever passes by these ten nights which are filled with mercy and forgiveness from the Lord, and persists in sins without care or concern, then he has prevented himself from much goodness and immense reward. So, it is upon such people to repent to Allah and seek His forgiveness because the door of repentance remains open―let them take hold of themselves, bring their souls under control and earn a manifold reward through the last ten nights and not return to their sinful lifestyles after that.
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 Ad-Dukhān: 3-4.
 Al-Qadr: 1-5.
 Al-Bukhāri (no. 2020), Muslim (1169).
 An-Nasā’ī (no. 2206).
 Al-Bukhāri (no. 2021 and 2022) with similar wording.
 Muslim (no. 762).
 Abu Dawūd (no. 1386).
 Muslim (no. 1168).
 Muslim (no. 1166).
 Ibn Mājah (no. 1766).
 At-Tirmidhi (no. 3513), Ibn Mājah (3850), Al-Hākim (1/530) and he said: “It is authentic upon the conditions of Al-Bukhāri and Muslim,” and Adh-Dhahabi agreed.
 Muslim (no. 1174).
 Muslim (no. 1175).
 Muslim (no. 762).
 Abu Dawūd (no. 1378).
 Muslim (no. 1170).
 Reported by At-Tayālisi, Ibn Khuzaymah, Al-Bazzār and graded sahīh by Al-Albāni in Sahīh Al-Jāmi’ (no. 5475).