Comments on Laylat al-Qadr from Nuzat al-Majalis

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is extracted and adapted from Nuzat al-Majalis, compiled by Imam Jamal ad-Din ash-Sharwani (q.s.).  This is the chapter on Laylat al-Qadr.

The Night of Allah’s (s.w.t.) Decree in the last ten days of the month of Ramadhan.  A large number of the commentators have said that deeds done on that night are better than the deeds of 1,000 months which do not contain a Night of the Decree.

Shaykh Ka’b al-Ahbar (r.a.) said, “There was a righteous king among Bani Isra’il.  Allah Revealed to their prophet, ‘Tell him to wish for something.’

He said, ‘I wish to strive in the way of Allah with my possessions and my offspring.’

Allah Gave him one thousand children.  He began to prepare each child for battle until that child died as a martyr, whereupon he prepared the next one, and so forth until they were all killed in a period of 1,000 months.  Then the king himself entered the fray and was killed.  The people said, ‘No-one will ever be able to attain to his merit.’  And Allah Revealed this Surah (al-Qadr).”

Surah al-Qadr
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!

Imam al-Waqidi (r.a.) said, “It was the first surah Revealed in Madina.”

Imam Najm ad-Din an-Nasafi (r.a.), however, said, “Eighty-five suwar were Revealed in Makkah, the first being al-Fatihah and the last, ‘Woe unto the Defrauders,’ (Surah al-Muthafifin); and twenty-nine were Revealed in Madina, the first being al-Baqarah and the last, al-Ma’idah.”

Imam Abu Bakr al-Warraq (r.a.) said, “Solomon’s kingdom was five hundred months, and Dzu al-Qarnayn’s kingdom was five hundred months, and Allah has Made the deeds done during that night outweigh both kingdoms.”

It is written in Rawdh al-Afkar, that one day, the Prophet (s.a.w.) mentioned four men who had who had worshipped Allah (s.w.t.) for eighty years, not disobeying him for one blink of an eye.  The companions were seized by wonder at this, whereupon Gabriel (a.s.) came to him and brought him this surah such that the Prophet (s.a.w.) and the companions were overcome with joy.

The scholars differ concerning the designation of the Night of the Decree.  Most say that it falls on the twenty-seventh of Ramadhan.  Whoever prays on that night, four raka`at in which he recites Surah al-Fatihah, Surah at-Takatsur once, and Surah al-Ikhlasw three times, Allah (s.w.t.) will Make the throes of death easy for him, Remove from him the punishment of the grave, and Give him four pillars of light on top of each of which rest 1,000 palaces.

However, Imam ash-Shafi’i (r.a.) said, “The strongest reports I have is that it falls on the twenty-first.”

Imam Abu Layts as-Samarqandi (r.a.), the author of Tanbih al-Ghafilin, was reported to have said it is not confined to the last ten nights of Ramadhan, but Imam ar-Rafi’i (r.a.) rejected this opinion.  However, it is confirmed that he said that the letters which form Laylat al-Qadr are nine, and Allah (s.w.t.) Mentioned it three times in the surah: 9 x 3 = 27 which is an indication that it falls on the twenty-seventh.

This is also the opinion of ibn ‘Abbas (r.a.), who adduced the fact that Allah (s.w.t.) Created seven heavens, seven earths, seven seas, and seven days; and that He Created us from seven elements and nourished us with seven kinds of food, according to His Saying:

And produce therein corn, and grapes and nutritious plants, and olives and dates, and enclosed gardens, dense with lofty trees and fruits and fodder ― (Surah ‘Abasa:27-31)

And finally, as ibn ‘Abbas (r.a.) adduced, that He Ordered us to prostrate upon hearing seven verses.


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