Laylat Ul Qadar

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Laylat Ul Qadar

Post by Noor'e Sahar on Fri Aug 06, 2010 1:07 am

In each of the daily prayer we
offer, we solemnly declare to Allâh, “Iyyaka na’budu” (You alone do we
worship). While the intelligent and committed believer realizes that his
very lifestyle spells worship, he knows, remembering the words of our
Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam that “Du’aa’ (supplication) is worship”
[Tirmidhi, Abu Dawűd] Allâh, the Most Merciful, has encouraged the
believers to take advantage of certain times during the year to make
du’aa’. Such an occasion presents itself annually during Ramadhân —
especially on the Lailatul Qadr, the Night of Power. On this night, the
single most important event in human history unfolded as, after the
Glorious Qur'ân was preserved in the Protected Tablet, Jibril descended
with the blessed book to reveal it, upon Allâh’s command, to His
Messenger sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam. Accentuating its significance,
Allâh says "and how would you know (the value of the) Night of Qadr" [97:2]

"Allâh's Messenger sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam used to exert more (in worship) on the last ten than on other nights." [Muslim]
So valuable is this Night of Qadr that the Qur'ân devotes a special Sűrah to it “Lailatul Qadr is better than a thousand months”
[97:3] This one night surpasses the value of 30,000 nights. The most
authentic account of the occurrence of the Night indicates that it can
occur on any one of the last ten, odd numbered nights of Ramadhân. The
fact that the exact night is unknown reflects Allâh’s will in keeping it
hidden. Indeed, the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam was prevented
from telling us its precise time. One day, he came out to tell the
companions the exact night. On the way he saw two men arguing with each
other. By the will of Allâh, he sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam forgot
and subsequently remembered it. Afterwards the Prophet sallallaahu
'alayhi wa sallam was instructed not to divulge this information. “Had I been allowed,” he sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam remarked once, “I would have told you (of its exact time).”
[Ahmad] The Almighty in His wisdom kept this hidden from us for many
reasons (wa Allâhu 'Alam). Perhaps He wants us to strive hard in our
worship during the last ten days of Ramadhân so that we don’t become
lazy, worshipping hard on just that one night and denying ourselves the
benefit of doing the same on the other nights. “Had people not left their salah except for that (one) night, I would have informed you (of its exact date).”
[Al-Tabarani] The sincere believer who worries day and night about his
sins and phases of neglect in his life patiently awaits the onset of
Ramadhân. During it he hopes to be forgiven by Allâh for past sins,
knowing that the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam promised that all
who bear down during the last ten days shall have all their sins
forgiven. To achieve this, he remembers the Prophet’s sallallaahu
'alayhi wa sallam advice in different sayings wherein he used words like
“seek”, “pursue”, “search”, and “look hard” for Lailatul Qadr (see
tomorrows Post). Moreover, Allâh and His Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa
sallam provided us some signs of its occurrence.

Allâh subhanahu wa ta'ala describes the night as “..peace until the rise of the morn.”[97:5]
In various sayings, the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam described
the night as serene, tranquil, and peaceful. The sun at sunrise would
appear reddish and without its normal blazing and sharp rays. Ubayy
radiallaahu 'anhu said : "On the morning of the night of Qadr the sun would rise without any beams; (it is like) a wash basin until it raises."[Muslim]

Abu Hurairah radiallaahu 'anhu said :
"We mentioned the night of Qadr to the Messenger of Allaah (S) and he
said: "Which of you remembers when the moon rises and it is like half a
bowl."
[Muslim]

Ibn Abbaas radiallaahu 'anhu said that the Messenger of Allaah (S) said : "The
night of Qadr is a night of generosity and happiness, it is not hot and
neither is it cold. The sun comes up in its morning weak, reddish."
[Tabaranee, Ibn Khuzaimah and Bazzaar]

The Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam added that “the angel of earth on that night of Qadr will be more numerous than all the pebbles of the earth.”
What should one do during the
last ten days in pursuit of Lailatul Qadr? The devoted servant of Allâh
makes these nights alive with prayer, reading and reflecting on Qur'ân.
The long qiyaam prayer has been particularly recommended during the
nights on which Laylat ul-Qadr could fall. This is indicated in many
hadeeths, such as the following:

Abu Tharr (radhiAllâhu `anhu) relates: "We
fasted with Allâh's Messenger sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam in
Ramadhân. He did not lead us (in qiyaam) at all until there were seven
(nights of Ramadhân) left. Then he stood with us (that night - in
prayer) until one third of the night had passed. He did not pray with us
on the sixth. On the fifth night, he prayed with us until half of the
night had passed. So we said, 'Allâh's Messenger! Wouldn't you pray with
us the whole night?' He replied:

'Whoever
stands in prayer with the imaam until he (the imaam) concludes the
prayer, it is recorded for him that he prayed the whole night.'
…"
[Recorded by Ibn Abi Shaybah, Abu Dawud, at-Tirmithi (who authenticated
it), an-Nasa'i, Ibn Majah, at-Tahawi (in Sharhu Ma`an il-Athar, Ibn
Nasr, al-Faryabi, and al-Bayhaqi. Their isnad is authentic.]

Abu Dawud mentioned: "I heard
Ahmad being asked, 'Do you like for a man to pray with the people or by
himself during Ramadhân?' He replied, 'Pray with the people' I also
heard him say, 'I would prefer for one to pray (qiyaam) with the imaam
and to pray witr with him as well, for the Prophet (sallAllâhu `alayhi
wa sallam) said: "When a man prays with the imaam until he concludes, it is recorded that he prayed the rest of that night." [Masaa'il]]

Abu Hurayrah (radhiAllâhu `anhu) narrated that the Messenger sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam said: "Whoever
stands (in qiyaam) in Laylat ul-Qadr [and it is facilitated for him]
out of faith and expectation (of Allâh's reward), will have all of his
previous sins forgiven."
Muslim; the addition [color=#008000]"and it is facilitated for him"
is recorded by Ahmad from the report of `Ubaadah Bin as-Samit; it means
that he is permitted to be among the sincere worshippers during that
blessed night.

He makes du’aa’ to Allâh,
penitently beseeching Him for His forgiveness. He is inspired by the
Prophet’s sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam words “Our Lord, most Exalted,
Most high comes down to the lowest heaven during the last third of each
night and announces (reassuringly): Whoever makes du’aa’, I shall answer
it. Whoever asks (for something halal) I shall grant it; and whoever
seeks forgiveness, I shall forgive him.” [Bukhârî] The believer,
conscious of Allâh and their sins, will continue to beseech Allâh, in
and out of prayer, during his prostration.

`A'ishah (radhiAllâhu `anha)
reported that she asked Allâh's Messenger sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam,
"O Messenger of Allâh! If I knew which night is Laylat ul-Qadr, what
should I say during it?" And he instructed her to say:

"Allâhumma innaka `afuwwun tuh, ibbul `afwa fa`fu `annee - O Allâh! You are forgiving, and youlove forgiveness. So forgive me." [Recorded by Ahmad, Ibn Majah, and at-Tirmithi]
Aa'isha radiallaahu 'anhu said:
"When the (last) ten started, the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam
would tighten his izaar (i.e. he stayed away from his wives in order to
have more time for worship), spend the whole night awake (in prayer),
and wake up his family." [Bukhaaree and Muslim] For a time, the only
concern will be cleansing oneself of the forgetfulness that this life
propagates in one’s heart, the sins that accumulate, darkening the
heart, making it insensitive to disobeying Allâh. He begs Allâh to keep
him away from misfortunes in this world, the punishment of the grave,
and the torment of Hell. He asks Allâh to make him patient and steadfast
in struggling to maintain his Islam in this world and asks Him to
overlook his shortcomings, periods of laziness and neglect. Sincere
devotion on that night will render the believer forgetful of the time,
until he is surprised by the Adhan of Fajr. After Fajr, as the sun
creeps above the horizon, reddish and weak in its appearance, without
any rays, the effort at night will have been worthwhile. The believer
rejoices, knowing that this was quite possibly Lailatul Qadr and
“Whoever stays up (in prayer and remembrance of Allâh) on the Night of
Qadr fully believing (in Allâh’s promise of reward for that night) and
hoping to seek reward (from Allâh alone and not from people), he shall
be forgiven for his past sins.”
[Bukhârî, Muslim]

It is narrated from Aa'isha
radiallaahu 'anhu that she said: "I said: 'O Messenger of Allaah, if I
know what night is the Night of Qadr what should I say?." He said: "Say: O Allaah you are pardoning and you love to pardon so pardon me. " [Ahmad, Ibn Majah, Tirmidhee]

It is also the Night when all ordainments for the year are decreed. Allâh ta'ala said, which means:
<blockquote>{By
the manifest Book (the Qur'ân) that makes thing clear. We sent it (this
Qur'ân) down on a Blessed Night (i.e. the Night of Qadr) in the month
of Ramadhân. Verily We are ever warning [mankind that Our Torments will
reach those who disbelieve in Our Oneness of Lordship and in Our Oneness
of Worship]. Therein (that night) is decreed every matter (amran) of
ordainment}
[The Smoke 44:2-5]
</blockquote>
The virtue of the last ten days of Ramadaan and Laylat al-Qadr
Praise be to Allaah, the Lord of the Worlds, and peace and blessings
be upon the Trustworthy Prophet Muhammad and upon all his family and
companions.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to
strive hard (in worship) during the last ten days of Ramadaan in a way
that he did not strive at any other times.

(Muslim, 1175, from ‘Aa’ishah). Among the things he did were
secluding himself in I’tikaaf and seeking Laylat al-Qadr during this
time. (Al-Bukhaari, 1913; Muslim, 1169). In al-Saheehayn it is reported
from the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) that when
the last ten days of Ramadaan came, the Prophet (peace and blessings of
Allaah be upon him) would stay up at night, wake his family and gird
his loins. (al-Bukhaari, 1920; Muslim, 1174). Muslim added: he strove
hard and girded his loins.

Her phrase “girded his loins” is a metaphor for his preparing himself
to worship and strive hard in worship, more than usual. It has the
meaning of “rolling up one's sleeves” to worship (i.e. getting ready to
make a great deal of effort).

It was also said that it was a metaphor for keeping away from women and abstaining from sexual relations.
The phrase “stay up at night” means that he would stay awake,
spending the night in prayer, etc. It was reported in another hadeeth
that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: “I never saw the
Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) recite the entire
Qur’aan in one night, or spend a whole night in prayer until the
morning, or fast an entire month, except in Ramadaan.”

(Sunan al-Nasaa’i, 1641). The words “stay up at night” may mean that
he spent most of the night in worship, or that he did not stay up for
the entire night, but he did that at the times of ‘Ishaa and Suhoor, and
other times, in which case it would mean that he stayed up for most of
the night.

The phrase “and wake his family” means that he would wake his wives
to pray qiyaam. It is known that he (peace and blessings of Allaah be
upon him) used to wake his wives all year round, but he used to wake
them to spend part of the night in qiyaam. In Saheeh al-Bukhaari it is
reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)
woke up one night and said, “Subhaan Allaah! What tribulations have come
down tonight! What treasure has come down tonight! Who will wake up the
dwellers of the apartments? There may be women who are clothed in this
world and naked in the Hereafter.”

(al-Bukhaari, 1074). It was also reported (in Saheeh al-Bukhaari)
that he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to wake
‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) when he wanted to pray Witr.
(al-Bukhaari, 952). But when he woke his wives during the last ten
nights of Ramadaan, this was more persistent than at other times of the
year.

The fact that he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did this
indicates the importance he attached to worshipping his Lord and making
the most of this special time.

The Muslim should follow the example of the Prophet (peace and
blessings of Allaah be upon him), for he is the best example, and he
should strive hard in worshipping Allaah. He should not waste the hours
of these days and nights. For we do not know, perhaps this time will
never come again, for the spoiler of pleasures, i.e., death, which must
come to all men, may come and snatch him and his life will end; then he
will feel regret at the time when regret will be of no avail.

Among the unique virtues of these special nights is that Laylat
al-Qadr is among them. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Haa-Meem. [These letters are one of the miracles of the Qur’aan and none but Allaah (Alone) knows their meanings.]
By the manifest Book (this Qur’aan) that makes things clear.
We sent it (this Qur’aan) down on a blessed night [(i.e. the Night of
Al-Qadr) in the month of Ramadaan]. Verily, We are ever warning
[mankind that Our Torment will reach those who disbelieve in Our Oneness
of Lordship and in Our Oneness of worship].

Therein (that night) is decreed every matter of ordainments.
As a Command (or this Qur’aan or the Decree of every matter) from Us. Verily, We are ever sending (the Messengers),
(As) a mercy from your Lord. Verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.” [al-Dukhaan 44:1-6]
Allaah sent down the Qur’aan on this night which the Lord of the
Worlds has described as blessed. It was reported from a group of the
Salaf – including Ibn ‘Abbaas, Qutaadah, Sa’eed ibn Jubayr, ‘Ikrimah,
Mujaahid and others – that the night on which the Qur’aan was sent down
was Laylat al-Qadr.

The phrase Therein (that night) is decreed every matter of
ordainments means, on that night the destiny of all creatures for the
coming year is decreed. On that night it is written who will live, who
will die, who will be saved, who will be doomed, who will be destined
for Paradise, who will be destined for Hell, who will be granted honour,
who will be humiliated, where drought and famine will occur, and
everything else that Allaah wills in that year.

What is meant by the idea that the destiny of all creatures is
written on Laylat al-Qadr is – and Allaah knows best – that on Laylat
al-Qadr they are transferred from al-Lawh al-Mahfooz. Ibn ‘Abbaas said:
“You may see a man furnishing his home or plowing his field, and he is
one of those who are going to die,” i.e., it has been decreed on Laylat
al-Qadr that he is one of those who are going to die (in the coming
year). And it was said that on this night, the destiny of people is
shown to the angels.

The meaning of “Qadr” is veneration or honour, i.e. it is a night
that is venerated because of its special characteristics, and because
the one who stays up during this night becomes a man of honour. And it
was said that Qadr means constriction, in the sense that the knowledge
of precisely when this night is, is hidden. Al-Khaleel ibn Ahmad said:
it was called Laylat al-Qadr because the earth is constricted by the
great numbers of angels on that night, and Qadr means constriction.
Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “But when He tries him, by
straitening his means of life [fa qadara ‘alayhi rizqahu]…” [al-Fajr
89:16], i.e., by constricting or reducing his provision.

And it was said that Qadr means Qadar, i.e., that on this night the
decrees for the coming year are ordained, as Allaah says (interpretation
of the meaning):

“Therein (that night) is decreed every matter of ordainments” [al-Dukhaan 44:4]
· and because Allaah’s decrees are decided and written down on this night.
So Allaah has called it Laylat al-Qadr, because of its great value
and high status with Allaah, and because so many sins are forgiven and
so many faults are concealed during this night. For it is the night of
forgiveness, as it was reported in al-Saheehayn from Abu Hurayrah (may
Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of
Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever stays up during Laylat al-Qadr out of
faith and in the hope of earning reward, all his previous sins will be
forgiven.”

(al-Bukhaari, 1910; Muslim, 760).
Allaah has given this night special characteristics which make it unique:
1. It is the night on which the Qur’aan was sent down, as we have
stated above. Ibn ‘Abbaas and others said: “Allaah sent down the Qur’aan
at one time from al-Lawh al-Mahfooz to Bayt al-‘Izzah in the first
heaven, then it was revealed to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and
blessings of Allaah be upon him) in stages according to events over
twenty-three years.”

(Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 4/529)
· Allaah described it as being better than a thousand months, as He
said (interpretation of the meaning): “The night of al-Qadr is better
than a thousand months” [al-Qadr 97:3].

· Allaah described it as being blessed, as He said (interpretation of
the meaning): “We sent it (this Qur’aan) down on a blessed night”
[al-Dukhaan 44:3].

· On this night, the angels and the Spirit [al-Rooh] descend, “i.e.,
many angels descend of this night because it is so blessed, and the
angels come down when Allaah’s blessing and mercy come down, just as
they come down when Qur’aan is recited, and they surround the circles of
dhikr (gatherings where Allaah is remembered), and they beat their
wings for the one who sincerely seeks knowledge, out of respect for
him.”

(See Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 4/531). The Spirit [al-Rooh] is Jibreel
(peace be upon him), who is specifically mentioned in this manner as a
sign of respect for him.

· This night is described as peace, i.e., it is safe, for the
Shaytaan cannot do any evil or cause any harm on this night, as Mujaahid
said.

(See Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 4/531). On this night, many people are
saved from punishment because of what they do to worship Allaah, may He
be glorified.

· “Therein (that night) is decreed every matter of ordainments” [al-Dukhaan 44:4 – interpretation of the meaning]
, i.e., the affairs of that year are dispatched from al-Lawh
al-Mahfooz to the angels who record the decrees: who will live, who will
die, what provision people will be given, what will happen until the
end of that year, every matter of ordainments is decreed, and it cannot
be altered or changed. (See Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 4/137, 138). All of
this is already known to Allaah before it is even written down, but He
makes known to the angels what is to happen, and commands them to do
whatever they are enjoined to do. (Sharh Saheeh Muslim li’l-Nawawi,
8/57).

· Allaah forgives the previous sins of the one who stays up and prays
during this night out of faith and in hope of earning the reward from
Him. It was reported in the hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be
pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be
upon him) said: “Whoever fasts the month of Ramadaan out of faith and in
the hope of earning reward, all his previous sins will be forgiven, and
whoever stays up during Laylat al-Qadr out of faith and in the hope of
earning reward, all his previous sins will be forgiven.” (Agreed upon).
The phrase “out of faith and in the hope of earning reward” means,
believing in Allaah’s promise of reward for this, and seeking the
reward, with no other aim or purpose, such as showing off etc.”

(Fath al-Baari, 4/251).
Allaah has revealed a soorah concerning this night which will be
recited until the Day of Resurrection, in which He mentions the honour
and great value of this night. This is the soorah in which He says
(interpretation of the meaning):

“Verily, We have sent it (this Qur’aan) down in the Night of Al-Qadr (Decree).
And what will make you know what the Night of Al-Qadr (Decree) is?
The Night of Al-Qadr (Decree) is better than a thousand months (i.e.
worshipping Allaah in that night is better than worshipping Him a
thousand months, i.e. 83 years and 4 months).

Therein descend the angels and the Rooh [Jibreel] by Allaah’s Permission with all Decrees,
(All that night), there is peace (and goodness from Allaah to His
believing slaves) until the appearance of dawn.” [al-Qadr 97:1-5]

The phrase And what will make you know what the Night of Al-Qadr
(Decree) is? serves to draw attention to the importance and great
significance of this night.

The Night of Al-Qadr (Decree) is better than a thousand months means,
it is better than over eighty three years, as we have already
mentioned. This is a great virtue, the value of which no one can fully
understand except the Lord of the Worlds, may He be blessed and exalted.
This encourages the Muslim to spend this night in prayer and to seek
the Face of Allaah by doing so. The Prophet (peace and blessings of
Allaah be upon him) used to seek this night, hoping to gain some good
from it, and he is the example for this Ummah.

It is mustahabb to seek it during Ramadaan, especially in the last
ten nights of the month. It was reported in Saheeh Muslim that Abu
Sa’eed al-Khudri (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: the Messenger of
Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did I’tikaaf during
the first ten days of Ramadaan, then he did I’tikaaf during the middle
ten days in a Turkish tent [the word qubbah, translated here as “tent”,
refers to a tent or any circular structure] in which a mat was placed.
He said: so he took the mat in his hand and put it at the side of the
tent, then he raised his head to speak to the people, so they came
closer to him. He said: “I did I’tikaaf during the first ten days,
seeking this night, then I did I’tikaaf during the middle ten days. Then
someone came to me and told me that it is in the last ten days, so
whoever among you wants to do I’tikaaf, let him do so.” So the people
did I’tikaaf with him. He said: “I was shown an odd-numbered night, in
the morning of which I was prostrating in mud and water”. Then in the
morning of the twenty-first, he got up to pray Subh and it was raining;
the roof of the mosque leaked, and there was mud and water. He came out
when he had finished praying, and there was mud and water on his
forehead and nose. That was the morning of the twenty-first, one of the
last ten days.

(Saheeh Muslim, 1167).
In a report, Abu Sa’eed said: “It rained on the night of the
twenty-first, and the roof of the mosque leaked over the place where the
Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was
praying. I looked at him, when he had finished praying Salaat al-Subh,
and his face was wet with mud and water.”

(Agreed upon). Muslim narrated a hadeeth from ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Unays
(may Allaah be pleased with him) that was similar to the hadeeth of Abu
Sa’eed, except that he said, “it rained on the night of the
twenty-third.” According to a hadeeth narrated by Ibn ‘Abbaas (may
Allaah be pleased with them both), the Prophet (peace and blessings of
Allaah be upon him) said: “Seek it in the last ten days of Ramadaan,
when there are nine days left, and seven days left, and five days left.”
(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 4/260).

Laylat al-Qadr is in the last ten days of Ramadaan, as stated in the
hadeeth of Abu Sa’eed quoted above, and as stated in the hadeeth of
‘Aa’ishah, and in the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Umar who said that the Prophet
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Seek Laylat al-Qadr
in the last ten days of Ramadaan.”

(The hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah was narrated by al-Bukhaari, 4/259; the
hadeeth of Ibn ‘Umar was narrated by Muslim, 2/823. This wording is that
of the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah).

It is more likely to be one of the odd-numbered nights, because of
the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah who said that the Messenger of Allaah (peace
and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Seek Laylat al-Qadr in the
odd-numbered nights of the last ten nights.”

(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 4/259)
We should seek it especially in the odd-numbered nights, i.e., on the
twenty-first, the twenty-third, the twenty-fifth, the twenty-seventh
and the twenty-ninth. It was reported in al-Saheehayn that the Prophet
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Seek it in the last
ten nights, on the odd-numbered nights.”

(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1912, see also, 1913. Also narrated by Muslim, 1167, see also 1165).
According to the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with
them both), the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)
said: “Seek it in the last ten nights of Ramadaan, when there are nine
left, when there are seven left, when there are five left.”

(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1917-1918). So it is more likely to be one of the odd-numbered nights.
In Saheeh al-Bukhaari it was narrated that ‘Ubaadah ibn al-Saamit
said: the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came out
to tell us when Laylat al-Qadr was, and two of the Muslims were arguing.
He said: “I came out to tell you when Laylat al-Qadr was, and So and so
and So and so were arguing, so it [the knowledge of when Laylat al-Qadr
was] was taken away from me. Perhaps this is better for you. So seek it
on the ninth and the seventh and the fifth”

(al-Bukhaari, 1919), i.e., on the odd-numbered nights.
This hadeeth indicates how bad it is to argue and fight, especially
with regard to matters of religion, and that this is a cause of goodness
being taken away or concealed.

Shaykh al-Islam ibn Taymiyah said: “But odd-numbers have to do with
what is past [i.e., when one starts counting from the beginning of the
month], so it should be sought on the twenty-first, the twenty-third,
the twenty-seventh or the twenty-ninth; or it may be with regard to what
is left, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)
said: ‘when there are nine left, or seven left, or five left, or three
left.’ On this basis, if the month has thirty days, these will be
even-numbered nights, so on the twenty-second there will be nine days
left, on the twenty-fourth there will be seven days left. This is how it
was explained by Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri in the saheeh hadeeth, and this
is how the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) prayed
qiyaam during this month. If this is the case, then the believer should
seek it in all of the last ten days.”

(al-Fataawaa, 25/284, 285).
Laylat al-Qadr is more likely to be in the last seven days. Ibn ‘Umar
(may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that a man among the
companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)
was shown Laytal al-Qadr in a dream, and that it was one of the last
seven nights. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be
upon him) said: “It seems that your dreams agreed that it is one of the
last seven nights, so whoever wants to seek it, let him seek it in the
last seven nights.”

(narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1911; Muslim, 1165). Muslim reported: “Seek
it in the last ten nights, and if any of you are weak or unable to do
that, then let him not miss the last seven.”

It is most likely to be on the night of the twenty-seventh. It was
reported, in a hadeeth narrated by Ahmad from Ibn ‘Umar, and a hadeeth
narrated by Abu Dawood from Mu’aawiyah, that the Prophet (peace and
blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Laylat al-Qadr is the night of
the twenty-seventh.”

(Musnad Ahmad and Sunan Abu Dawood, 1386). The view that it is the
night of the twenty-seventh is the opinion of most of the Sahaabah and
the majority of scholars, and Ubayy ibn Ka’b (may Allaah be pleased with
him) used to assert, without saying “in shaa Allaah”, that it was the
night of the twenty-seventh. Zurr ibn Hubaysh said: I said: What makes
you say that, O Abu’l-Mundhir? He said: by the signs of which the
Messengers of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) told
us: that the sun rises that morning with no visible rays. (Narrated by
Muslim,2/268).

Many marfoo’ ahaadeeth were narrated which said that it was on this particular night.
Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with them both) also stated that
it is the night of the twenty-seventh. He reached this conclusion by
means of an amazing process. It was reported that ‘Umar (may Allaah be
pleased with him) gathered the Sahaabah together and included Ibn
‘Abbaas even though he was very young. They said, “Ibn ‘Abbaas is like
one of our children. Why have you brought him here with us?” ‘Umar said:
“He is a youth who has a good mind and who asks lots of questions.”
Then he asked the Sahaabah about Laylat al-Qadr, and they agreed that it
was one of the last ten nights of Ramadaan. He asked Ibn ‘Abbaas about
it, and he said: “I think I know when it is: it is the night of the
twenty-seventh.” ‘Umar said, “What makes you think that?” He said,
“Allaah made the heavens seven, and the earths seven, and the days
seven, and He created man from seven, and He made Tawaaf seven
(circuits), and al-Saa’ee seven, and the stoning of the Jamaar seven.”
So Ibn’ Abbaas thought that it was the night of the twenty-seventh
because of this analysis. This has been soundly reported from Ibn
‘Abbaas.

Another of the ways in which the conclusion was reached that it is
the night of the twenty-seventh is by noting that the word fihaa
(therein) in the aayah (interpretation of the meaning): “Therein descend
the angels and the Rooh [Jibreel]” [al-Qadr 97:4] is the twenty-seventh
word of Soorat al-Qadr [in the original Arabic].

There is no shar’i evidence (daleel) to support this manner of
analysis, and there is no need for such calculations, because we have
sufficient shar’i evidence available to us.

The fact that it is usually the night of the twenty-seventh – and
Allaah knows best – does not mean that this is always the case. It could
be the night of the twenty-first, as mentioned in the hadeeth of Abu
Sa’eed quoted above, or it could be the twenty-third, as mentioned in
the report of ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Unays (may Allaah be pleased with him)
quoted above. According to a hadeeth narrated by Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah
be pleased with them both), the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah
be upon him) said: “Seek it in the last ten days of Ramadaan, when there
are nine days left, and seven days left, and five days left.”

(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 4/260).
Some of the scholars thought that it is more likely that Laylat
al-Qadr moves and does not come on a specific night each year. Al-Nawawi
(may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “This is the apparent meaning
because of the conflict between the saheeh ahaadeeth on this matter, and
there is no way to reconcile the ahaadeeth apart from saying that
Laylat al-Qadr moves.”

(al-Majmoo’, 6/450).
Allaah has concealed this night so that His slaves will strive to
seek it, and will strive hard in worship, just as He has concealed the
hour of jumu’ah, and so on.

So the believer should strive hard during the days and nights of
these ten days, seeking Laylat al-Qadr and following the example of our
Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and he should
strive in making du’aa’ and seeking to draw close to Allaah.

It was reported that ‘Aa’ishah said: “I said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah,
what do you think, if I witness Laylat al-Qadr, what should I say?’ He
said: ‘Say, O Allaah, You are Forgiving and Generous, and you love
forgiveness, so forgive me.’”

(Narrated by Imaam Ahmad, al-Tirmidhi (3515) and Ibn Maajah (3850). Its isnaad is saheeh).
Thirdly: a greater virtue is attached to I’tikaaf on this night than
on any other night of the year. I’tikaaf means staying in the mosque to
worship Allaah, may He be exalted. The Prophet (peace and blessings of
Allaah be upon him) used to spend these ten days in I’tikaaf, as stated
in the hadeeth of Abu Sa’eed quoted above. He spent the first ten days
in I’tikaaf, then the middle ten days, then he told them that he had
been seeking Laylat al-Qadr, and that he had been shown that it was in
the last ten days, and he said: “Whoever was doing I’tikaaf with me, let
him do I’tikaaf for the last ten days.” It was reported from ‘Aa’ishah
(may Allaah be pleased with her) that the Prophet (peace and blessings
of Allaah be upon him) used to do I’tikaaf during the last ten days of
Ramadaan until he passed away, then his wives did I’tikaaf after him.

(Agreed upon). There is also a similar report narrated from Ibn ‘Umar.
When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) wanted
to do I’tikaaf, he would pray Fajr, then enter the place where he was to
do I’tikaaf, as was stated in al-Saheehayn from the hadeeth of
‘Aa’ishah.

The four imaams and others (may Allaah have mercy on them) said that
he entered it before the sun set, and they interpreted the hadeeth as
meaning that he entered his place of I’tikaaf and kept away from people
after Salaat al-Subh, not that this was the time when he started his
I’tikaaf.

(See Sharh Muslim li’l-Nawawi, 8/68, 69; Fath al-Baari, 4/277). It is
Sunnah for the person in I’tikaaf to keep himself busy with worship,
and it is forbidden for him to have intercourse or to do anything that
leads to it, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “And
do not have sexual relations with them (your wives) while you are in
I‘tikaaf (i.e. confining oneself in a mosque for prayers and invocations
leaving the worldly activities) in the mosques” [al-Baqarah 2:187].

And he should not go out of the mosque except in the case of a pressing need.
The signs by which Laylat al-Qadr is known
The first sign: it was reported in Saheeh Muslim from the hadeeth of
Ubayy ibn Ka’b (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace
and blessings of Allaah be upon him) announced that one of its signs was
that when the sun rose on the following morning, it had no (visible)
rays.

(Muslim, 762).
The second sign: it was reported from the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Abbaas
narrated by Ibn Khuzaimah, and by al-Tayaalisi in his Musnad, with a
saheeh isnaad, that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon
him) said: “Laylat al-Qadr is a pleasant night, neither hot nor cold,
and the following day the sun rises red and weak.”

(Saheeh Ibn Khuzaymah, 2912; Musnad al-Tayaalisi).
The third sign: it was reported by al-Tabaraani with a hasan isnaad
from the hadeeth of Waathilah ibn al-Asqa’ (may Allaah be pleased with
him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
“Laylat al-Qadr is a bright night, neither hot nor cold, in which no
meteors are seen.”

(Narrated by al-Tabaraani in al-Kabeer. See Majma’ al-Zawaa’id, 3/179; Musnad Ahmad).
These three saheeh ahaadeeth explain the signs which indicate Laylat al-Qadr.
It is not essential for the one who “catches” Laylat al-Qadr to know
that he has “caught” it. The point is to strive hard and to be sincere
in worship, whether or not one knows that one has “caught” it. It may be
that some of those who do not know that may be better with Allaah and
higher in status than those who did know which night it was, because the
former strove hard. We ask Allaah to accept our fasting our prayer at
night, and to help us to remember Him and to thank Him and to worship
Him properly. May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad.

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