Laylatul-qadri khayrun min alfi shahr
The Night of Power is better than a thousand months.
(Sūratul Qadr, No.97, Āyat 3)
During the last ten nights of the holy month of Ramadan is a night which is exalted and unique. According to Tafsīr Majma‘ul Bayān, some days and timings are more blessed than others. Allah ‘’azza wa-jall has placed a lot of blessings in this special night of the month of Ramadan, making it the most significant of times in the year. Laylatul Qadr, or the night of power, is described in the above verse as being better than a thousand nights. That translates to the night being better than eighty three years. To understand this better let us look at some issues discussed under the above verse in tafāsīr.
The name Laylatul Qadr.
The word Qadr can be understood in many different ways:
a. Night of Power or greatness. Something of immense value. The Quran talks about Qadr of Allah as recognition on His status: They do not regard Allah with the regard due to Him. Indeed Allah is all-strong, all-mighty (Q 22:74). The night has value because of the guidance from Allah that was revealed to human beings during that night, to a Prophet who has the highest status of all the Prophets, through the angel Jibra’īl who is the chief of the angels, to the Muslim Ummah who are a respected nation with Allah. It has also been narrated that one who does not have a high rank and status with Allah can achieve that on this night through the worship he performs. The greatness also refers to the status of the A‘māl performed on that night.
b. Night of Decree. The name also refers to the fact that the destiny for that year is decreed on that night. Allah says: Every definitive matter is resolved on it (Q 44:4). Imam al-Ridhā (a) says: On the night of Qadr Allah decrees what will happen from this year to the next. He decrees life and death, good and difficult, sustenance [etc.]. Thus whatever Allah decrees on this night will certainly happen (Thawābul A‘māl wa Iqābul A‘māl, p.133).
c. Night of Measure. Qadr in the Quran is also used to mean measure. Allah says: There is not a thing but that its sources are with Us, and We do not send it down except in a known measure (Q 15:21). All things are sent down or decreed on that night according to a measure.
Why Laylatul Qadr?
It is the night when the Quran was revealed. Some commentators believe it was the night when the Quran was brought down from Baytul M’amūr (Heavenly abode), for Jibra’īl to reveal in parts to the Prophet (s). Others say it was the night when the Prophet received the entire Quran, but was asked to transmit it as and when the occasion demanded.
Laylatul Qadr is a celebration to commemorate the arrival of the final guidance for humans. Just as the arrival of a child is celebrated, on its birth and then every year, as a bringer of joy and fulfilment for the family, Laylatul Qadr is celebrated as a bringer of light and guidance for mankind. Unlike the birthday which is celebrated with a feast for the senses, Laylatul Qadr includes a feast for the spirit, a feast of worship and prayers.
The night is an opportunity for human beings to gain more than is possible on the other nights/days of their lives. It is the grace of Allah that He gives such opportunities without which we would have very little to show for ourselves.
What to do on Laylatul Qadr
The best thing to do on this great night is to ask forgiveness for sins and safety from the displeasure of Allah. The Holy Prophet (s) says: Whoever stays up the Night of Qadr performing Mustahab acts and is faithful and believes in the Day of Judgment, all his sins will be forgiven (Manhaj al-Ṣādiqīn, v. 10, p. 308). The A‘māl found in reliable books such as Mafatīhul Jinān are recommended acts to perform during the night.
Feel blessed to witness the arrival of such a night. Imam Ja‘far al-Sādiq (a) says: From the book of Allah we can deduce that the number of months with Allah is twelve, and the best of these months is the month of Ramadan, and the heart of the month of Ramadan is Laylatul Qadr (Bihārul Anwar, v. 58 p. 376). May the Almighty grant us tawfīq to make the most of the heart of this holy month!
Sources: Shaykh Tabarsī, Tafsīr Majma’ul Bayan;