Virtues of Ramadhaan
- Laylatul Qadr
by Sheikhul Hadith Maulana Muhammad Zakariyya (rah)
LAYLATUL QADR - Night of power
Amongst the nights of Ramadhaan, there is one called 'Laylatul Qadr',a night that
is noted for its greatest blessings. The Noble Qur'an describes it as being greater in
blessedness and spiritual virtue than a thousand months, which in turn means that it is
more valuable than eighty three years and four months. Fortunate indeed is that person who
attains the full blessings of this night by spending it in the worship of Allah, because
he has then attained the reward of 'Ibaadah' (worship) for eighty three years,four months
and even more. Indeed (the granting of) this night for the faithful Muslims is a great
Regarding this night in a Hadith reported by Anas (RA) in Durre Manthur,
Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) is reported to have said: "Laylatul Qadr was
granted to this Ummah (of mine) and not to any other 'Ummah' before this" As regards
the reason for the granting of 'Laylatul Qadr', various views are held.According to some
Ahaadith, one reason is given thus: Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) used to
ponder over the longer lives of peoples of the past ages and when comparing them with, the
much shorter lives of his 'Ummah', he became greatly saddened, because if his 'Ummah'
wished to compete with the people before them, then because of their shorter lives, it
would be impossible for them to either emulate or surpass the previous 'Ummahs' in the
doing of righteous deeds. Therefore, Allah in His Infinite Mercy granted them this night
of great blessings. This means that, if any fortunate person of this 'Ummah' during his
life-time spends ten such nights in the worship of his Maker, he would have gained the
reward of 'Ibaadah' (worship) for eight hundred and thirty three years and even more.
Another report states that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) once related to the
'Sahaaba' the story of a very righteous man from among the Banu Israaeel, who spent one
thousand months in 'Jihaad'. On hearing this, the Sahaaba enviously felt that they could
not attain the same reward, whereupon Allah granted them this Night (of Power). Still
another report states that it so happened that our Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) once
mentioned the names ofthe four most pious people from among the Banu Israaeel, each of
whom spent eighty years in Allah's sincere service, worshipping Him and not transgressing
in the least. They were Nabi Ayyub, Zakariyya, Ezkeel and Yu'sha (Alayhimus salaam). The
'Sahaaba' heard this, wondering how to emulate their achievements. Then Jibraaeel (Alayhis
salaam) appeared and recited 'Surah Qadr', wherein the blessings of this particular night
There are reports too, explaining the origin of the Night of Power. But
no matter which of these we accept, the important fact remains that Allah has granted us
this night, as a great favour, and how fortunate are those divines who have never missed
worship in this night. As to which particular night it is, here again approximately fifty
different views are reported. It is not easy for me to enumerate them all, but the most
generally accepted versions, shall follow in the ensuing pages of this chapter. Because
the Qur'an Majeed itself mentions the night, we shall commence with a short commentary of
'We have indeed revealed this (message) in the Night of Power.'
Reference here is made to the fact that,on this specific night, the Qur'an was sent
down from the 'Lawhul Mahfoodh' (the preserved Tablet) to the heavens (above the earth).
The mere factthat the Qur'an was revealed on this night would have been sufficient
toensure its greatness. But apart from this fact, it is also noted for many other things.
In the very next verse, by way of increasing out interest in the matter under discussion,
a question is asked:
'And what will explain to you what the Night of Power is?'
In other words, the question asked here is: Have you any knowledge as to the
greatness and importance of this night? Have you any knowledge as to the great favours and
bounties that go with it? The next verse proceeds to explain its greatness.
'The night of Power is better that a thousand months'
The true meaning here is that the reward forspending this night in worship (Ibaadah)
is betterand more than that for having spent one thousand months in worship (Ibaadah); but
as to how much more rewarding it is,we are not told here.
'Therein come down the Angels and the Spirit, by Allah's permission
on every errand'
A fine explanation is given for this verse by Imaam Raazi. Commenting on this verse,
he explains that when man first appeared on earth, the 'Malaaikah'looked upon him with
concern. They even ventured to ask Allah, 'Will You place on this earth, one who shall be
riotous therein and shed blood?'
Similarly, when his parents noted his original formasa mere drop of
sperm, they too looked upon it with dislike, so much so, that they considered it as
something which polluted the clothes and had to be washed away. But later, when Allah made
that same sperm into a fine form of a child, they began to love and cherish him. So far
have things now progressed that, when on this Night of Power we find that same man
worshipping Allah and adoring Him, then those very Angels (Malaaikah) descend towards him,
obviously repentant for the thoughts they had once harboured against him. In this verse,
where in is mentioned (Wa-rrooh) 'and the Spirit...', the reference is to Jibraaeel
(Alayhis salaam) who descends to the Earth during this night. Commentators of the Qur'an
have given various meanings of this word. Let us look at some of them:
The vast majority of commentators are agreed that Jibraaeel (Alayhis
salaam) is meant here and, according to Imaam Razi, this is the most correct meaning.
Allah first makes mention of the 'Malaaikah' and then, because of Jibraaeel (Alayhis
salaam)'s special status among them, a separate mention is made of him.
Some commentators hold the view that 'Spirit' here means one specific
Angel of such extra-ordinary and gigantic proportions that before him the Heavens and the
Earth appear as small as a morsel.
Another group of commentators opine that 'Spirit' here means one
group of 'Malaaikah' who never ordinarily appear and only on this night are they seen by
Some commentators believe that 'Spirit' here designates one specific
creation of Allah, who partake of food and drink, and yet neither men nor angels.
There is also a view that 'Spirit' here refers to the Prophet Jesus
(Alayhis salaam), who onthis night comes down to look at the righteous deeds of the 'Ummah'
The last interpretation we wish to mention here is that 'Spirit'
means Allah's special 'Mercy' which comes in the wake of the angels descent.
There are other interpretations also, but as already stated, the first
opinion given above is the best known. In this connection, Imaam Bayhaqi (RA) relates a
Hadith by Anas wherein Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) is reported to have said:
'On 'Laylatul Qadr' Jibraaeel (Alayhis salaam) comes down with a group of angels and prays
for mercy for every one whom they find busy in worship (Ibaadah).'
'By Allah's permission, descend on the Earth for blessed
The author of Mazaaire Haqq writes that on this night, ages ago, the 'Malaaikah' were
created, long before the creation of Aadam (Alayhis salaam) was begun in the shape of a
nucleous; on this same night Paradise was planted with tree and numerous Ahaadith bear
witness to the fact that on this night prayers are accepted. Similarly, we read in the
book, Durre Manthoor, that according to a Hadith it was on this night that the Prophet
Jesus (Alayhis salaam) was lifted up bodily into the Heavens, and also it was on this
night that the repentence (Tawbah) of Banu Israaeel was accepted.
'Peace reigns until the break of dawn'
Indeed this night is the very embodiment of peace; the 'Malaaikah' offer salutations
to the faithful believers adoring their Lord. As one group ascends, another group descends
(with the same greetings), as indicated in some narrations. Another interpretation is that
it is that it is a night of complete safety from evil and mischief. These blessings last
all night until the break of dawn, and are not limited to anyone part of the night. And
now, having noted a few virtues of this night as explained in the Words of Allah, we now
turn to the Hadith where we read more about the virtues of the night.
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