Reflection No. 170 on Q 44:3 – Laylatul Qadr
On the martyrdom anniversary of Amīrul Mu’minīn Ali b. Abī Talīb (a), we convey our condolences to Imam al-Mahdī (af) and to the entire Muslim ummah.
إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةٍ مُّبَارَكَةٍ إِنَّا كُنَّا مُنذِرِينَ* فِيهَا يُفْرَقُ كُلُّ أَمْرٍ حَكِيمٍ
Innā anzalnāhu fī laylatim-mubārakatin, innā kunnā mundhirīn. Fīhā yufraqu kullu amrin hakīm.
Surely We revealed it on a blessed night surely We (ever) wish to warn (against Evil). Therein every wise affair is made distinct.
(Sūratud Dukhān No. 44, Āyāt 3- 4)
The night described in this verse is special. It is a blessed night and a source of mercy, forgiveness, and grace. Commentators agree that the night mentioned here is the Night of Grandeur and Decree (laylatul qadr), a night on which the fate of humanity was changed through the revelation of the holy Quran. It is also a night on which the decrees for mankind are determined each year.
Laylatul Qadr is a celebration to commemorate the arrival of the final guidance for humans. Just as important events are celebrated when they take place, and then annually, Laylatul Qadr is celebrated as the arrival of light and guidance for mankind. The celebratory feast is for the soul, a feast of worship and prayers.
It is through the love and kindness of the Creator that He has blessed us with such a night. Imam Muhammad al-Bāqir (a) was asked about this night being better than a thousand nights. He explained: Good deeds such as salāt, charity and all types of good [actions] in it are better than actions of a thousand nights in which there is no Laylatul Qadr. Were it not for Allah multiplying deeds for believers, they would not have reached [Him], but Allah multiplies for them the good deeds (Shahrullāh, H.613).
Without such opportunities to multiply good deeds and erase sins, human beings would have very little to offer Allah, ‘azza wa-jall – Almighty and Glorified. The Creator knows this weakness and has kept pathways open for jumping ahead in the journey towards Him.
Imam Zaynul ‘Ābidīn (a) talks about this in the Du‘ā to bid farewell to the month of Ramadan; It is You who has pointed them through Your speech from Your Unseen and Your encouragement in which lies their good fortune toward that which had You covered it from them, their eyes would not have perceived, their ears would not have heard, and their imaginations would not have grasped . . . O He who shows Himself praiseworthy to His servants through beneficence and bounty, flooding them with kindness and graciousness (Sahīfa Sajjādiyya, Du‘ā 45, passages 14 & 18).
Let the night of Qadr bring you lots of happiness; happiness at the arrival of God’s message to you through His Messenger, happiness at the opportunity to redeem yourself in the eyes of God, and at the chance to have a say in the decree that will be written that night. Such grace from God to a human being who is undeserving and ungrateful! Surely Allah is full of grace to His servants.
At a time when Muslims worldwide are busy fasting, praying, supplicating, offering alms and performing various good deeds in the holy nights of the month of Ramadan, this verse is a good reminder about the significance of Laylatul Qadr.
Source: Reflection No. 23 from Quranic Reflections, Academy for Learning Islam, Holy Ramadan 1435, Richmond Hill: 2014. For info on the book click here