Saturday, 28 August 2010
Knowing Laylat al-Qadr
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
Laylat al-Qadr or the Night of Power is a special time in the month of Ramadhan. In truth, it is not just a ‘night’. It is a state, a hal. Its secrets are many. And not all are meant to be opened. For the one who is Blessed, every night of Ramadhan could be Laylat al-Qadr. Allah (s.w.t.) is not limited. No matter the case, there will still be that one night, when the Divine Presence seems overwhelming. According to my shaykh, there is at least one for the mu’minun and one for the awliya’. The Night of Power is the most virtuous night of the year.
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
We have indeed Revealed this (Message) in the Night of Power: And what will explain to thee what the Night of Power is? The Night of Power is better than a thousand months. Therein come down the angels and the Spirit by Allah’s Permission, on every errand: Peace! This until the rise of morn! (Surah al-Qadr:1-5)
Any action therein, for example, reciting the Qur’an, doing dzikr, and so on, is better than acting for one thousand months which do not contain the Night of Qadr. There are many amalan and practices specific for the night.
One of the Naqshbandiyyah practices for the night is to pray a hundred raka’at of swalah after the Khatmu Khwajangan. This is done in sets of two raka’at. In the first raka’at, Surah al-Qadr is recited seven times after Surah al-Fatihah. In the second raka’at, Surah al-Ikhlasw is recited eleven times after Surah al-Fatihah. The rest of the swalah is performed as per normal.
Imam al-Bukhari (r.a.) and Imam Muslim (r.a.) recorded from Abu Hurayrah (r.a.) that the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “Whoever prays during the Night of Qadr with faith and hoping for its Reward will have all of his previous sins Forgiven.”
As to the supplication during the Night of Qadr, ‘Aishah (r.a.) said, “I asked the Messenger of Allah, ‘O Messenger of Allah, if I know what night is the Night of Qadr, what should I say during it?’
He said, ‘Say: O Allah, You are Pardoning and You Love to Pardon, so Pardon me.’” This is related by Imam Ahmad (r.a.), Imam ibn Majah (r.a.), and by Imam at-Tirmidzi (r.a.), who called it swahih.
It is a sunnah to seek this night just as our Prophet (s.a.w.) did. However, if one is negligent in his fasting and his ‘ibadah, no matter if he knew beforehand and planned to stay up that night, it will miss him by. It is not a Reward to be taken for granted. It is preferred to seek this night during the last ten nights of Ramadhan, as the Prophet (s.a.w.) strove his best in seeking it during that time. As already mentioned, the Prophet (s.a.w.) would stay up during the last ten nights, would wake his wives, and then would remain apart from them to worship.
Scholars hold different opinions as to which is the Night of Power. Some are of the opinion that it is the 21st, some say the 23rd, others say the 25th and still others say it is the 29th. Some say that it varies from year to year but it is always among the last ten nights of Ramadhan. Most scholars, though, vouch for the 27th. According to our shuyukh, the night varies each year. It might vary for various individuals as well.
Imam Ahmad (r.a.) recorded, with a swahih chain, from ibn ‘Umar (r.a.) that the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “He who likes to seek that night should do so on the 27th.”
Ubayy ibn K’ab (r.a.) said, “By Allah, and there is no God but Him, it is during Ramadhan - and He Swore to that - and by Allah, I know what night it is. It is the night during which the Prophet ordered us to make prayers, the night of the 27th. Its sign is that the sun rises in the morning white and without any rays.” This is related by Imam Muslim (r.a.), Abu Dawud (r.a.), Imam Ahmad (r.a.), and by at-Tirmidhi (r.a.) who called it swahih.
One of the signs of the next day besides the sun being whiter and having no rays is that there will be a slight rain. It may start the moment the adzan for fajr is called. For those who are aware, there will be that moment in the last third of the night that the air is suddenly different in taste and smell. It is cooler. The soul is uplifted and the feeling is like nothing ever felt. For most of us, this will be closest we can ever come to Knowing the Pleasure of the Divine Presence. And may Allah (s.w.t.) Grant us that.