LAILATUL-QADR, What,When and how to seek ?
Its excellence is great, since in this night the Noble Qur’aan was sent down, which leads one who clings to it, to the path of honour and nobility, and raises him to the summit of distinction and everlasting life. The Muslims who adhere strictly to the Sunnah of Allaah’s Messenger SAW do not raise flags on this night, nor suspend colourful decorations. Rather they vie in standing during it (Lailatul-Qadr) in Prayer out of sincere faith and hoping for reward. Here, O Muslim, are the Qur’aanic Aayaat and authentic prophetic ahaadeeth referring to this night:
* Its excellence
As regards its excellence it is more than sufficient to mention that Lailatul-Qadr is better than a thousand months, He, the Mighty and Majestic, says:
” Verily! We have sent it (this Qur’aan) down in the Night of Decree (Lailatul-Qadr). And what will make you know what the Night of Decree is? The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months. Therein descend the angels and the Rooh (i.e. Gabriel) by Allaah’s Permission with all Decrees, Peace! until the appearance of dawn.” (Al-Qadr 97:
And in it every decreed matter for the year is conveyed, He, the Most High says:
” We sent it (this Qur’aan) down on a blessed Night. Verily, we are ever warning (mankind of Our Torment). Therein (that Night) is decreed every matter of ordainment. Amran (i.e. a command or this Qur’aan or His Decree of every matter) from Us. Verily, We are ever sending (the Messenger). (As) a Mercy from your Lord. Verily! He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.” (Ad-Dukhaan 44: 3-6)
* When is it?
It is reported from the Prophet SAW that it is within the twenty-first, twenty-third, twenty-fifth, twenty-seventh, twenty-ninth or the last night of Ramadhan.
Imaam ash-Shaafi’ee, rahimahullaah, said: To me it is as the Prophet SAW used to answer according to the question posed, it would be said to him: “Shall I seek it in such and such night?” So he would reply: “Seek it in such and such night.” And Allaah knows best. (Reported from him by al-Baghawee in Sharhus-Sunnah)
The most correct saying is that it occurs in the odd nights of the last ten nights of Ramadhan and this is shown by the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah, RA, who said: “Allaah Messenger SAW used to practice I’tikaaf in the last ten nights and say: ‘Seek out Lailatul-Qadr in the (odd nights) of the last ten days of Ramadhan.” (Bukhari, 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: Allaah’s Messenger SAW 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.” (Bukhari, Muslim)
This explains his, SAW saying: “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.” (Bukhari)
It is also known from the Sunnah, that knowledge of the exact night upon which Lailatul-Qadr falls was taken up because the people argued, ‘Ubaadah ibn as-Saamit, RA said: The Prophet SAW came out intending to tell us about Lailatul-Qadr, however two men were arguing and he said: “I came out to inform you about Lailatul-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.” (Bukhari)
Some ahaadeeth indicate that Lailatul-Qadr is in the last ten nights, while others indicate that it is in the odd nights of the last ten, so the first are general and the second more particular, and the particular has to be given priority over the general. Other ahaadeeth state that it is in the last seven – and these are restricted by mention of one who is too weak or unable. So there is no confusion, all the ahaadeeth agree and are not contradictory.
In conclusion: The Muslim should seek out Lailatul-Qadr in the odd 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 Allaah knows best.
* How should a Muslim seek Lailatul-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. Therefore it is recommended that the Muslim who is eager to be obedient to Allaah should stand in Prayer during this night out of Eemaan and hoping for the great reward, since if he does this, Allaah will forgive his previous
He SAW said: “Whoever stands in (Prayer) in Lailatul-Qadr out of Eemaan and seeking reward then his previous sins are forgiven.” (Bukhari)
It is recommended to supplicate a great deal in it, it is reported from ‘Aa’ishah, RA that she said: “O Messenger of Allaah! What if I knew which night Lailatul-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.) (At-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah)
O brother! You know the importance of this night, so stand in Prayer in the last ten nights, in worship, detaching oneself from the women, ordering your family with this, and increasing in actions of obedience and worship in it.
From ‘Aa’ishah, RA who said: “The Prophet SAW used to tighten his waist-wrapper (izaar) – (meaning detached himself from his wives in order to worship, and exerted himself in seeking Lailatul-Qadr), spend the night in worship, and wake the family in the last ten nights.” (Bukhari, Muslim)
From ‘Aa’ishah, RA: “Allaah’s Messenger SAW used to exert himself in the last ten nights more than he would at other times.” (Muslim)
* Its sign
[Many people believe in all sorts of superstitions about Lailatul-Qadr, and false beliefs from them are that the trees prostrate, and buildings sleep! And these things are clearly futile and baseless.]
Allaah’s Messenger SAW described the morning after Lailatul-Qadr, so that the Muslim may know which day it is. From Ubayy, RA who said: that he SAW said: “On the morning following Lailatul-Qadr the sun rises not having any rays, as if it were a brass dish, until it rises up.” (Muslim, Abu Dawood, at-Tarmidhi, Ibn Majah)
From Abu Hurairah, RA who said: “We were discussing Lailatul-Qadr in the presence of Allaah’s Messenger SAW, so he said: ‘which of you remembers (the night) when the moon arose and was like half a plate?'” (Muslim) [Qaadi ‘Iyaad said: “It contains 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.”]
From Ibn ‘Abbaas, RA who said: Allaah’s Messenger SAW said: “Lailatul-Qadr is calm and pleasant, neither hot nor cold, the sun arises on its morning being feeble and red.” (At-Tayaalisee, Ibn Khuzaimah, al-Bazzaar with hasan isnaad)
Let us seek abundance rewards from our Creator by performing extra actions in these last few days of the noble month of Ramadhan as it could be our last…
- It is a night that we CANNOT miss out on so here is how we can maximise this blessed night:
- Recite the Qur’an abundantly
Az-Zuhri used to say upon the coming of Ramadan, “It is only about reciting the Qur’an and feeding the poor.”
Abdur-Raziq said, “When Ramadan came, Sufyan Ath-Thawri would give up all acts of (voluntary) worship and devote himself to the recitation of the Qur’an.”
Laylatul Qadr is the night the Qur’an was revealed so we should spend much of the night reciting it for we will gain 700 hasanah or more by reciting each letter!
- Strive to gain forgiveness
One should strive and do their utmost to gain the mercy of Allah especially in the odd numbered nights of the last ten days. If one leaves Ramadan without gaining the mercy of Allah then surely they are the most unfortunate ones and are the biggest losers in this world and the next.
- The main Dua for Laylatul Qadr is the following:
Aisha (Ra) 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.’ “
“Allahumma innaka ‘afuwwun tuhibbul ‘afwa fa’fu ‘annee” (Ahmad, Ibn Majah, and Tirmidhi).
- Gaining forgiveness on laylatul Qadr
Abu Huraira narrated that the Messenger said: “Whoever stands (in prayer) in Laylatul Qadr while nourishing his faith with self-evaluation, expecting reward from Allah, will have all of his previous sins forgiven.” (Bukhari and Muslim).
We should sincerely repent for past and present sins with the intention of not repeating them again and ask of Allah Ta’aala to help us prevent ourselves from doing them again and ask Allah to perfect our characters and to help us improve ourselves in every way possible.
- Do much Superogatory Prayers (Nafil)
Rabi’ah ibn Malik al-Aslami reported that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: “Ask (anything).” Rabi’ah said: “I ask of you to be your companion in paradise.” The Prophet said: “Or anything else?” Rabi’ah said: “That is it.” The Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said to him: “Then help me by making many prostrations (i.e., supererogatory prayers).” (Muslim)
The Prophet peace be upon him said: “Whoever draws near to Allaah during it (Ramadaan) with a single characteristic from the characteristics of (voluntary) goodness, he is like whoever performs an obligatory act in other times. And whoever performs an obligatory act during it, he is like whoever performed seventy obligatory acts in other times.” – (Sahih Ibn Khuzaymah, no. 1887).
In this most blessed month of Ramadhan all good deeds are multiplied by 70 or more. Every Nafil one prays one will gain the reward of a Fard Salaah and every Fard Salah is the reward of 70 Fard salaah. Subhanallah what other time of the year is this possible? NONE! So let us make the best of these precious seconds and pray as many Nafil prayers as is possible!
- Here are some Nafil prayers we can pray on Laylatul Qadr:
- Two Rakat after performing Wudu (Ablution)
Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said to Bilal (may Allah be pleased with him): “Tell me about the best of your deeds (i.e. one which you deem the most rewarding) since your embracing Islam because I heard your footsteps in front of me in Paradise.” Bilal (may Allah be pleased with him) replied: “I do not consider any act of mine more rewarding than that whenever I make ablution at any time of night or day, I perform Prayer for as much as was destined for me to do.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim)”
- Two Rakat for those who seek Lailatul Qadr in the mosque
Narrated Abu Qatada Al-Salami (ra): Allah’s Messenger (saw) said:
“If anyone of you enters a mosque, he should offer two Rak’a (Tahayyat-al-Masjid) prayer before sitting.”(Sahih al Bukhari )
Imam Abu Sa’id al-Khadimi said,
“There is scholarly consensus (ijma`) that among the best of virtuous acts is the night vigil prayer.” [al-Bariqa al-Mahmudiyya Sharh al-Tariqa al-Muhammadiyya]
The scholars derived the following in regards to Tahajjud from the Qur’an and prophetic hadiths:
- The minimal night vigil prayer is 2 rakats. [Hindiyya, quoting Fath al-Qadir]
- Its optimal recommended amount is 8 rakats, because this was the general practice of the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him, his family, and companions). [Hindiyya, quoting Fath al-Qadir]
- Lengthier recitation is superior to a larger number of rakats prayed. [Durr al-Mukhtar, Radd al-Muhtar]
- It is recommended to start the night vigil with two short rakats, because of the hadith of Abu Hurayra that the Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “It you get up for night prayer, start with two short rakats.” [Muslim, Ahmad, Abu Dawud]
Ibn Mas`ud (Allah be pleased with him) was asked, “I cannot pray at night.” He said, “Your sins have prevented you.”
- Increase in Dhikr (Rememberance of Allah)
We should glorify Allah night and day, especially in the last odd nights.
- Make much dua
We should be very busy in Dua as much as we can especially in the last 10 odd numbered.
Allah Almighty says in the Qur’an:
“When my servants ask you concerning me, (tell them) I am indeed close (to them). I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calls on me.” [2:186]
The place of duaa is so high to Allah, that the Prophet(Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallim) had said: “Nothing is more honourable to Allah the Most High than du`a.” [Sahih al-Jami` no.5268].
Almighty Allah also said: “The most excellent worship is du`a.” [Sahih Al-Jami` no. 1133]
Therefore let us devote much of the night of Qadr in dua asking of Allah for his mercy and forgiveness for all of our past sins and making firm intentions to Allah that we will change for the better and strive to become closer to him as well as make our deen a FULL part of our lives and not just a little part of our life as Allah says:
Allah tells us In the Qur’an to enter fully into our deen and not partly:
O believers enter into Islam completely and do not follow the footsteps of Shaitan, surely he is your clear-cut enemy…. (Surah Al-Baqara, Ayah 208-210)
So then will we not make Islam a FULL part of our lives? This is our best opportunity and if we don’t take it and death comes to us then surely we will regret it for ETERNITY!
And Allah knows best in all matters