Life – An Exalted Destiny – Aga Khan III
Layla tul Qadr – The Night of Power
Layla tul Qadr falls on the 23rd of Ramadan and this is a significant event in Muslim history as not only did Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) receive his first revelation that culminated in the Holy Quran, but this day marks the anniversary of his Prophethood on earth. Muslims all over the world spend this night in prayers as it holds special Barakah for those in prayer.
“In the name of God, the Beneficent the Merciful
“Indeed We sent it [the Holy Quran] down on the Night of Power. What will convey to you what the Night of Power is? Better is the Night of Power than a thousand months. In that Night the angels and the Spirit descend by the permission of their Lord for every errand. Peace it is, until the break of dawn.”
– Quran, Chapter 97 Al-Qadr
Many interpreters of this verse in the Holy Quran state that thousand months is Allah’s way of defining eternal time as it cannot be described in worldly time. A single moment of enlightenment of the Noor of Allah is better than a thousand months and such a moment of recognition converts the night into a period of spiritual glory and majesty, and every one of us should try to work towards this goal.
When the night of spiritual darkness is removed by the Noor of Allah, a wonderful peace and sense of security arises in the soul which lasts until this physical life ends and the glorious day of the spiritual world dawns, when everything will be on a different plane and the nights and days of this world will seem less than a dream. This is the meaning of “until the rise of dawn” and not the literal interpretation as many may construe or understand it. Surely, Allah’s realm/time span is larger.
Allah has says in the Quran: Rise to pray in the night except a little (73:1)
Allah ordered Prophet Muhammad (salwaat) to spend most of the night in worship in order that his Lord may lift him to a higher station. Hazrat Ali (salwaat) and others would join him for the nightly meditation (Baitul Khayal) and would be rising up in station and spirituality: Surely We will make to descend on you a weighty Word. Surely the rising by night is the firmest way to tread and the best corrective of speech. (73, 1-5)
Listen to Sura Qadr Audio File in MP3 Format
Our beloved Prophet Muhammad, praise and peace be upon him, said: “Whosoever offers voluntary prayers during the Night of Power out of belief and charging Allah with its recompense will have his past sins forgiven.” – Hadith, compiled by Bukhari and Muslim
Dai Nasir-i Khusraw explains the significance of this night saying: ” You illuminate the mosques on the Night of Qadr and make it as bright as the day, while your hearts are as dark as the darkest night. Know that illuminations are not enough. When you light the lamps, remind yourselves that your dark hearts, without inner purifications, will not become enlightened by the lamps”.
The Glory and Majesty of this night cannot be explained in any human terms. This Night is an opportunity to open out our hearts unto Him Who revealed the Holy Qur’an to Prophet Muhammad, who kept Allah’s message everliving and appointed his heirs, the Imams, as the carriers of the Divine mission. At Gadhir Khumm, Prophet Muhammed (salwaat) reminded the believers of the Holy Institution of Imamat, he said: “I am leaving behind me two weighty things. The Holy Quran and my posterity. Verily if you follow them both you will never go astray. Both are tied with a long rope and cannot be separated till the Day of Judgment.” This night is therefore, not only the Anniversary Night of the Holy Quran, but it is also the Anniversary of Hazrat Nabi Muhammad’s Prophethood.
One of the last ten nights of the month of Ramzan is called lail at-Qadr. The word lail or laila means night and qadr means originally measuring. Thus, lail at-qadr is translated as meaning the night of grandeur or night of majesty. In the Koran, it is spoken of in two places. In chapter 97, it is mentioned thrice as lail at-qadr: “Surely, We revealed it on lail at-qadr. And what will make thee comprehend what lail at-qadr is? Lail at-qadr is better than a thousand months. The angels and the souls descend in it by the permission of their Lord for every commandment (amr). Peace! it is till the break of the morning.” Here this night is spoken as the night in which the Koran was revealed, and it is further stated that it is the night on which angels and souls descend. It is also mentioned in another place in the Koran (44:2-5), where it is called laila mubaraka: “Consider the Book that makes manifest (the truth): We revealed it on a blessed night – surely We are ever warning – therein every wise commandment (amr) is made distinct, a command (amr) from Us.”
It will be seen that, in both place, the Koran is spoken of as having been revealed on this night, and elsewhere (2:186), it is stated that the Koran was revealed in the month of Ramzan, which indicates that this night occurs in the month of Ramzan. The revelation of the Koran on this night means that its revelation began on that night; in other words, the first revelation came to the Prophet on this night. It is called the night of measure because on it was laid the basis of a new revelation to the world, which contains every commandment (amr) full of wisdom and knowledge; for the same reason, it is called a blessed night or the grand night. The lail at-qadr is therefore as it were, the anniversary of the revelation of the Koran.
There are various hadith showing that the Muslims should look for this night in the last ten nights of Ramzan, or in the last seven nights. Another tradition relates that it is the 23rd, 25th, 27th or 29th night of Ramzan.
In a tradition related by Tabarsi (2:121) on the authority of Abuzar Ghafari and also on the authority of Imam Jafar Sadik, who transmitted it from his fathers, we are told that the Prophet said, “The scrolls (suhuf) of Abraham were sent on the 3rd night of Ramzan. The Torah of Moses was revealed on the 6th night of Ramzan. The Gospel (Injil) of Jesus was sent down on the 13th night of Ramzan. The Psalms (Zabur) of David were revealed on the 18th of Ramzan. The Furqan (Koran) was sent down on the 23rd night of the month of Ramzan.”
Imam Muhammad al-Bakir said, “The sign of lail at-qadr is that the wind would be pleasant. If it is cold, the wind makes it warm. If it is warm, the wind makes its cold” (al-Kafi, 4:160). According to Daim al- Islam, 1:350), Imam Muhammad al-Bakir relates that a man of the tribe of Juhayna came to the Prophet and said, “O Apostle of God! I am the owner of camels and sheep and slaves. I would love to be directed by you as to a night in the month of Ramzan, wherein I would devote myself to prayer.” So, the Apostle of God called him near and whispered in his ear. Now, when it was the night of 23rd of Ramzan, the Juhayni came with his family and sons, his slaves, camels and his sheep and stayed that night in Medina. The next morning he returned to his native place with those with whom he had come.
According to Daim al-Islam (1:351), the Prophet used to fold up his bedding and tightened his waistband during the last ten nights of Ramzan. He used to wake up his family on the night of the 23rd and sprinkle water on the faces of those that slept. Fatima would never allow any of her family to sleep during that night. She used to give them little food (during the iftar) and would prepare for the night throughout the day. She used to say, “Luckless is the man who has been denied the blessings of this night.”
The above point regarding the actual night of lail at-qadr is mere a physical discussion, but it should be borne in mind that lail at-qadr is a spiritual experience, not physical of the Prophet. It is also an error to think that it can be beheld as a physical experience, or that any physical change is witnessed on that night. It is absolutely spiritual experience of the man who exerts himself not only in the month of Ramzan but on every night of the year to seek nearness to the Divine Being through zikr.
- Layla tul Qadr – The Night of Power 23rd of Ramadan – August 11, 2012 page from last year
- Layla tul Qadr – The Night of Power and Destiny 23 of Ramadan – July 30, 2013 page from this year
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