The Night of Al-Qadr (Lailat ul Qadr)
The Night of Qadr (Lailat ul Qadr) is a special night that occurs every year in Ramadan and represents a golden opportunity for Muslims to gain blessings and forgiveness from Allah (God).
The word Qadr can be best translated as: value, valuability, worthiness, or stature. However, from the same root of this word, another word, Qadar (which means destiny or pre-destination) is derived. Some translators of the Quran, such as Yusuf Ali, have translated Qadr as “Power”, which is a wrong translation of Qadr, in our opinion.
The Quran describes this Night:
إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةِ ٱلْقَدْرِ
Peace it is until the rise of Dawn!" (Quran 97: 1-5)
And in it every decreed matter for the year is conveyed. Allah, the Most High, says:
" We sent it (this Quran) down on a blessed Night. Verily, We are ever warning (mankind of Our Torment). Therein (that Night) is decreed every matter of ordainment. A command from Us. Verily, We are ever sending (the Messenger) as a Mercy from your Lord. Verily! He (Allah/ Lord) is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower." (Quran 44: 3-6)
The Night of Qadr is the night of spiritual bliss. Prophet Mohammad (s.a.a.w.s) is reported to have said:
"Verily this month has come to you; and therein is a Night which is better than a thousand Months. Whosoever is deprived of it, is deprived of all goodness; and none is deprived of its goodness, except a totally unfortunate person". (Source: Ibn Majah)
On this particular night, all the provisions, wealth, agricultural products, who is to live and die that year, and everything on the Earth concerning mankind, is to be decided.
The Night of Qadr is also the night in which the Quran was sent down by God based on the Preserve Board (which contains the knowledge of everything in the seven heavens, universe, humans & other creatures, everything that happened in the past, is happening now and is going to happen in the future, etc.). Allah (God) sent down the first revelations of the Quran from the Preserve Board to the first heaven. The book was then taken from the first heaven by the arch-angel Gabriel and brought to Earth, where the first part of it was revealed to the Prophet Mohammad on the Night of Qadr, and the rest revealed to him gradually over a period of 23 years.
The Night of Qadr, as the Quran says, is better than a thousand months. One thousand months are equivalent to 83 years and 4 months, meaning more than a lifetime of average human being. Very fortunate is the person who spends this night in prayer. The man or woman, who prays for the whole night during this Night, will deserve blessings and reward from Allah as if he or she has prayed for eighty three years and four months consecutively.
Prophet Mohammad (s.a.a.w.s) said: "The Night of Qadr has been bestowed by Allah (as an honor or privilege) to my Ummah (People/ Nation/ Followers of Prophet Mohammad). It was not given previously to any other Ummah." (Source: Dur-Mansoor).
This indicates that previous prophets (Abraham, Moses, Jesus, etc) were not offered by God this privileged occasion for their followers.
When is it?
It is reported from the Prophet (s.a.a.w.s) that it is within the twenty-first, twenty-third, twenty-fifth, twenty-seventh, twenty-ninth or the last night of Ramadan.
The most correct saying is that it occurs in the odd nights of the last ten nights of Ramadan and this is shown by the hadith of Aa'isha (r.a.), who said: "Allah Messenger (s.a.a.w.s) used to practice I'tikaaf in the last ten nights and say: 'Seek out the Night of Qadr in the odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadan." (sources: Sahih Bukhari, and Sahih Muslim )
However if the servant is too weak or unable, then he should at least not let the last seven days pass him by, due to what is reported from 'Ibn 'Umar, who said: Allah's Messenger (s.a.a.w.s) said: "Seek it in the last ten, and if one of you is too weak or unable then let him not allow that to make him miss the final seven." (sources: Sahih Bukhari, and Sahih Muslim)
This is also confirmed in another saying of Prophet Mohammad’s (s.a.a.w.s): "I see that your dreams are in agreement (that it is in the last seven) so he who wishes to seek it out, then let him seek it in the last seven." (source: Sahih Bukhari)
It is also known from the Sunnah, that knowledge of the exact night upon which the Night of Qadr falls was taken up because the people argued. “Ubada ibn As-Saamit (r.a.) said: The Prophet (s.a.a.w.s) came out intending to tell us about the Night of Qadr, however two men were arguing and he said: "I came out to inform you about the Night of Qadr but so and so, and, so and so were arguing, so it was raised up, and perhaps that is better for you, so seek it on the (twenty) ninth and (twenty) seventh and the (twenty) fifth." (source: Sahih Bukhari)
In conclusion: The Muslim should seek out the Night of Qadr in the odd-numbered nights of the last ten: the night of the twenty-first (the night before the twenty-first day), the twenty-third, the twenty-fifth, the twenty-seventh and the twenty-ninth. If he is too weak or unable to seek it out in all the odd nights, then let him seek it out in the odd nights of the last seven: the night of the twenty-fifth, the twenty-seventh and the twenty-ninth. And Allah knows best.
How should a Muslim seek the Night of Qadr?
One who misses this blessed night, then he has missed much good for no one misses it, except one from whom it is withheld.
Prophet Mohammad (s.a.a.w.s) said: "Whoever stands in (Prayer) in the Night of Qadr out of faith and seeking reward, his previous sins will be forgiven." (source: Sahih Bukhari)
It is recommended to supplicate a great deal in it, it is reported from 'Aa'isha (r.a.) that she said: "O Messenger of Allah! What if I knew which night the Night of Qadr was, then what should I say in it?" He said: "Say: Allaahumma innaka 'affuwwun tuhibbul 'afwa fa'fu 'annee." (O Allaah you are the one who pardons greatly, and loves to pardon, so pardon me.) (source: at-Tirmidhi, and Ibn Majah)
From 'Aa'isha (r.a.) who said: "The Prophet (s.a.a.w.s) used to tighten his waist-wrapper - (meaning detaching himself from his wives in order to worship), spend the nights in worship, and ask his family to stay up praying in the last ten nights." (sources: Sahih Bukhari, and Sahih Muslim)
From 'Aa'isha n(r.a.): "Allah's Messenger (s.a.a.w.s) used to exert himself in the last ten nights (of Ramadan) more than he would at any other time." (source: Sahih Muslim)
Allah's Messenger (s.a.a.w.s) described the morning after the Night of Qadr, so that the Muslim may know which day it is. From Ubayy, (r.a.) narrated that Allah's Messenger (s.a.a.w.s) said: "On the morning following the Night of Qadr, the sun rises not having any rays, as if it were a brass dish, until it rises up." (sources: Sahih Muslim, Abu Dawood, At-Tarmidhi, and Ibn Majah)
From Abu Huraira, (r.a.) narrated that: "We were discussing the Night of Qadr in the presence of Allah's Messenger (s.a.a.w.s) , so he said: 'Which of you remembers (the night) when the moon arose and was like half a plate?” (source: Sahih Muslim) [Qaadi 'Iyaad said: "This is an indication that it was towards the end of the month - since the moon does not appear like that when it arises except towards the end of the month."]
Ibn 'Abbas (r.a.) narrated that Allah's Messenger (s.a.a.w.s) said: "The Night of Qadr is calm and pleasant, neither hot nor cold, the sun arises on its morning being feeble and red." (sources: At-Tayaalisee, Ibn Khuzaimah, and Al-Bazzaar)