The Night of Al-Qadr (Decree)

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Allaah, Most High, Says (what means):

"Indeed, We sent it [i.e. the Qur’an] down during the Night of Decree. And what can make you know what the Night of Decree is? The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months. The angels and the Spirit [i.e. Gabriel] descend therein by permission of their Lord for every matter. Peace it is until the emergence of dawn." [Quran: 97: 1-5]

Allaah informs us that He sent down the Noble Quran in the night of Al-Qadr (Decree), the blessed night referred to in the His Words (which mean): "Indeed, We sent it down during the Night of Decree."

The night of Al-Qadr occurs in the month of Ramadhaan, as Allaah Says (what means): "The month of Ramadan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur’an..." [Quran 2:185]. Abdullaah Ibn Abbaas, may Allaah be please with him, amongst others, explains that the complete text of the Noble Quran was sent down from Al-Lawh Al-Mahfooth (the Preserved Tablet) in the night of Al-Qadr to Bait Al-'Izzah (the House of Glory) in the lowest heaven, from whence it was revealed piecemeal to Prophet Muhammad, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam (may Allaah exalt his mention) according to events which took place during his life over a period of twenty-three years.

In order to intensify the greatness of the matter of the night of Al-Qadr, which He has chosen for sending down the Noble Quran, Allaah Almighty Says (what means): "And what can make you know what the Night of Decree is? The night of Decree is better than a thousand months."

The Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, mentioned a man from Bani Israa'eel (Children of Israel) who carried his sword in the Way of Allaah for a thousand months; the Muslims were amazed at this until Allaah revealed this verses (which mean): "Indeed, We sent it [i.e. the Qur’an] down during the Night of Decree. And what can make you know what the Night of Decree is? The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months." (i.e. the thousand months during which the man carried his sword in the Way of Allaah). [Ibn Abi Haatim]

Sufyaan Ath-Thawri reports, on the authority of Mujaahid, may Allaah have mercy on them, that the night of Al-Qadr being better than a thousand months means that the good deeds performed in that night, fasting on the day next to that night and standing in prayer in it are better than a thousand months' good deeds, prayers and fasting. [Ibn Jareer]

Likewise, it is narrated that whoever goes to Friday prayers neatly-dressed, with a pure intention, it will be written for him the reward of a year's good deeds, as if he had fasted in it and spent its nights in prayer and in other acts of worship.

Abu Hurayrah, may Allaah be pleased with him, reported that Allaah's Messenger, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, said: "Whoever stood in prayer on the night of Al-Qadr, in faith and hoping for a reward from Allaah, he will have all of his previous sins forgiven." [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]

Its Descriptions

It is narrated on the authority of Abdullah Ibn Abbas that Allaah's Messenger, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, said: "It is a night of magnanimity and joy, neither very hot, nor very cold; and the sun of the morning following it is weak and red-coloured." [Abu Dawood]

The Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, also said: "Verily, I saw the night of Al-Qadr and then I was made to forget it, but it is (to be looked for) in the last ten nights, the night is clear and fine, neither hot nor cold, as if there were a full moon and during this night, the devils do not go forth until the light of dawn." [Ibn Abi Haatim]

Scholars have differed as to whether the night of Al-Qadr was extant for the communities which preceded that of Prophet Muhammad, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, or whether it was specially designated for Muslims. There are two schools of thought on this subject: Az-Zuhri, may Allah have mercy upon him, said that Maalik, may Allah have mercy upon him, informed him that the Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, was shown the generations of old from mankind and it was as if the life-spans of his community (Muslims) were shorter, and so it was not possible to accomplish the same amount of deeds as those communities of old, who lived longer lives. For that reason, Allaah gave him the night of Al-Qadr which is better than a thousand months. According to Maalik, this necessarily means that Muslims have been specially favoured with the night of Al-Qadr.

The second view on this subject says that the night of Al-Qadr was given to the previous peoples as it was given to Muslims.

It is narrated that Abu Tharr, may Allaal be pleased with him, asked the Noble Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam: "Oh, Messenger of Allaah! Tell me about the night of Al-Qadr; is it in Ramadhaan, or another month?" He replied: "No, it is in Ramadhaan." [Imaam Ahmad].

This Hadeeth (narration) proves that the night of Al-Qadr is only to be looked for in the month of Ramadhaan and not, as has been attributed to Abdullah Ibn Masood, may Allaah be pleased with him, by the scholars of Koofah, that it is to be looked for throughout the whole year without any distinction.

It was also said that the night of Al-Qadr is on the first night of Ramadhaan, and that it is on the seventeenth of Ramadhaan, this was a saying attributed to Imaam Ash-Shaafi'i, may Allaah have mercy upon him, while Al-Hasan Al-Basri, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said that it is the night of the Battle of Badr, and it was said: The night of the nineteenth, this was attributed to Ali and Abdullah Ibn Masood, and it was said: the twenty-first, according to the Hadeeth of Abu Saeed Al-Khudri, may Allaah be pleased with him, in which he said: "The Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, made his I`tikaaf (seclusion in the mosque for worship) in the first ten days of Ramadhaan and we made I'tikaaf with him, then Jibreel (Arch-Angel Gabriel) came to him and said: "That which you are in quest of is still ahead of you." Then the Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, addressed the people saying: "Whoever has made I`tikaaf with me, let him return, for I have seen the night of Al-Qadr and then was made to forget it; but verily, it is in the last ten days and on the odd days..." [Imaam Ahmad]

Ash-Shaafi`i says, concerning these apparently contradictory reports: "The Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, when asked: "Should we search for it on such-and-such night?" would reply: "Yes" in order to encourage them to pray on the whole last ten nights, but the night of Al-Qadr is a fixed night and does not change." However, according to Ahmad, Ath-Thawri, Ibn Khuzaimah and others, it can occur any time on the uneven nights during the last ten days of Ramadhaan and this is closer to the truth, Allaah knows best.

Muslim reports that the Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, instructed his wife, 'Aa'ishah, may Allaah be pleased with her, to supplicate Allaah saying: "O Allaah! You are Forgiving, You love forgiveness and so forgive me." [At-Tirmithi] According to Imaam Maalik, one should look for the night of Al-Qadr throughout the last ten days of Ramadhaan and should try not to identify which the night of Al-Qadr is, but should intensify his devotions throughout.

the most preferred action is to increase one's supplications during the whole month of Ramadhaan, more in the last ten days, more still on the odd days, and especially in the aforementioned words to 'Aa'ishah by Allaah's Messenger, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam.

source: islamweb

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