Sunday, August 21, 2011

Seeking Laylatul-Qadar,

Seeking the Laylatul-Qadar in the Last Ten Days of Ramadhān.

In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
 All the praise and thanks is due to Allāh, the Lord of the al-'ālameen. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad, sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam is His Messenger.

It was narrated that The Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: “Seek the Honoured Night in the last ten [days of Ramadhān].” (This is recorded by Al-Bukhari).

The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) advises us and said: "Seek it on the odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadhān."[This is recorded by Bukhari]

Rasūlullāh (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) also said: “Whoever stands ( for prayer at night) during Laylatul-Qadr (the Night of Decree) with faith and hoping for reward, he will be forgiven for all of his previous sins.”  This is recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.

Laylatul-Qadar Is The Most Blessed Night.

Laylatul-Qadar is the Most Blessed Night and indeed a great amount of value. It falls on one the odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadhān [21, 23, 25, 27, and 29]. The Night is better than a thousand months [i.e. worshiping Allāh Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala in that night is better than worshiping Him a thousand months, i.e. 83 years and 4 months]. A believing person should strive to encounter the night with worship, if encountered all of the previous sins and misdeeds will be forgiven.

A person who misses it has indeed missed a great amount of good. If a believing person is passionate to obey his Lord and increase the good deeds in his record, he should strive to encounter this night and to pass it in worship and obedience. If this is facilitated for him, all of his previous sins will be forgiven.

Allāh Subhanahu Wa Ta`ala Says: 

“Ha-Mim. [These letters are one of the miracles of the Qur’ān and none but Allāh Alone knows their meanings]. By the manifest Book (this Qur’ān) that makes things clear. We sent it [this Qur’ān] down on a blessed night [i.e. the Night of Al-Qadar in the month of Ramadhān]. Verily; We are ever warning [mankind that Our Torment will reach those who disbelieve in Our Oneness of Lordship and in Our Oneness of worship]. Therein [that night] is decreed every matter of ordainments. As a Command [or this Qur’ān or the Decree of every matter] from Us. Verily, We are ever sending (the Messengers), [As] a mercy from your Lord. Verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.”

[Surah Ad-Dukhan, 44:1-6]

In the above ayat Allāh Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala described about Laylatul-Qadar:

“We sent it (this Qur’ān) down on a blessed night” [Ad-Dukhan, 44:3]. Ibn 'Abbas (radhiyallāhu'anhu) and others said: “Allāh sent down the Qur`an at one time from Al-Lauh-Mahfouz to Baitul 'Izzah in the first heaven, then it was revealed to the Messenger of Allāh (sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) in stages according to events over twenty-three years.”

[Tafsir Ibn Kathir, 4/529]

The Night Is Better Than A Thousand Months

Allāh Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala mentions its honour and great value:

“Verily, we have sent it [this Qur'ān] down in the Night of Al-Qadar [Decree].And what will make you know what the Night of Al-Qadar [Decree] is?. The Night of Al-Qadar [Decree] is better than a thousand months [i.e. worshiping Allāh in that night is better than worshiping Him a thousand months, i.e. 83 years and 4 months]. Therein descend the angels and the Ruh [Jibreel] by Allāh’s Permission with all Decrees; [All that night] there is peace [and goodness from Allāh to His believing slaves] until the appearance of dawn.”

[Al-Qadar, 97:1-5]

Seeking the Honoured Night

The Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said:

“Seek the Honoured Night in the last ten [days of Ramadhān].”

(This is recorded by Al-Bukhari).

When Is The Night?

The majority of the scholars said that the night occurs in the month of Ramadhān, but there is no agreement on the exact night, it is hidden on one of the last ten nights. Some said it comes on the 27th day of Ramadhān. But the evidence states that the night comes on the last ten days of Ramadhān, without specifying it but hidden on the odd numbered nights of Ramadhān. Thus, The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) advises us and said:

"Seek it on the odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadhān."

[This is recorded by Bukhari]

In view of this hadith it is suggested to make a long and extensive Qiyam, dzikirullah during the nights on which Laylatul-Qadar could fall [i.e. one of the night of 21, 23, 25, 27, and 29 of Ramadhān].

In a Hadith by 'Abdullah Ibn 'Umar (radhiyallāhu'anhu), some men among the companions saw the night in a dream occurring in the last seven nights. Responding to this, the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) told them, "I see your dreams coincide on the last seven, whoever wants to seek it should do so in the last seven."

In the Sahih Muslim it was reported the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "Seek the night in the last ten days, and if any of you is weak, or can't observe it, he should not miss the remaining seven days." In a Hadith by Ubayy bin Ka'ab (radiyallāhu'anhu), he said: "By Allāh, I know which night it is. It is the night the Messenger commanded us to observe, the night of the 27th." [Recorded by Ahmad; al-Tirmidzi]

Analyzing all these citations indicate still no one knows for sure which night is the Night of Power, at least in a given year. It seems that the night shifts and rotates to different nights from one year to another. It may occur on the 27th in one year, while the next year it will be on the 25th, while on the following year it will be occurring on the 29th, etc. There is an indication to this in Hadith by Al-Bukhari, when the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) states: "Seek it on the twenty-ninth; it may be on the twenty-seventh, or on the twenty-fifth."

Ibn Hajar Al-'Asqalani (rahimahullāh) said:

“I accept that the night occurs on the odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadhān, namely the twenty-first, twenty-third, twenty-fifth, twenty-seventh and or twenty-ninth. ...This might have a benefit linked to legislation...or exertion in worship, because if the Night of Qadr was specified to be on an exact night, people would limit themselves to that night and miss out on the worship on other nights. It is as if this is what the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) meant when he said: “...this might be better for you.””

[Fathul-Bari (4/328)]

Striving Hard In Worship

In a hadith from 'Aishah (radiyallāhu‘anha) who said:

“When the last ten days (of Ramadhān) began, the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam), would tie his lower garment (izār) tight, stay up at night, and wake his family (to offer acts of worship).”

[This is recorded by Al-Bukhāri and Muslim]

Muslim recorded a sahih hadith with wording from 'Aishah (radiyallāhu'anha) who said:

 “The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam), would strive hard in worship in the last ten nights (of Ramadhān) in a way that he would not do at other times.”

[Recorded by Muslim]

In another narration 'Aishah (radiyallāhu'anha) said:

“When the last ten days of Ramadhān arrived, the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) would stay up at night, wake his family and girded his loins.”

[Recorded by Al-Bukhāri and Muslim]

The wording of 'Aishah (radiyallāhu'anha), “When the last ten days began, he would tie his lower garment (izār) tight”  indicates  that Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) would be paying much heed to those days and striving hard to offer acts of worship during those days.

Abu Hurairah (radhiyallāhu‘anhu) narrated that the Messenger (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said:

“Whoever stands (in qiyam) in Laylatul-Qadar [and it is facilitated for him] out of faith and expectation (of Allāh’s reward), will have all of his previous sins forgiven.”

[Recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim; the addition "and it is facilitated for him" is recorded by Ahmad from the report of ‘Ubadah Ibn As-Samit (radhiyallāhu`anhu); it means that he is permitted to be among the sincere worshippers during that blessed night]

Solāt Tarawīh with the Imam Until He Concludes It

Abu Dzarr Al-Ghifari (radiyallāhu'anhu) relates:

“We fast with Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) in Ramadhān. He did not lead us (in qiyam) at all until the last seven (nights of Ramadhān). Then Rasūlullāh stood with us (that night – in prayer [solāh tarawīh]) until one third of the night had passed. Rasūlullāh did not pray with us on the sixth. On the fifth night, Rasūlullāh prayed with us until half of the night passed. So we said, ‘O Allāh’s Messenger! Wouldn’t you pray with us the whole night?’ Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) in turn replied: ‘Whoever stands in prayer (Solāh Tarawīh) with the imām until he (the imām) concludes it; it is recorded for him like he had performed the Qiyam the whole night.’ ”

[Recorded by Ibn Abi Shaibah, Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidzi, An-Nasa'ie, Ibn Majah, at-Tahawi (in Sharh Ma’an il-Athar, Ibn Nasr, Al-Faraibi, and Al-Baihaqi. Their isnad is sahih.]

Abu Dawud (rahimahullāh) related:
 “I heard Ahmad was asked, ‘Do you like for someone to qiyam with the people or by himself during Ramadhān?’ He replied, ‘Qiyam with the people’; I also heard him saying, ‘I would prefer for someone qiyam with the imām and perform witr also with him because Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: ‘Whoever stands in prayer (Solāh Tarawīh) with the imām until he (the imām) concludes it; it is recorded for him like he had performed the Qiyam the whole night’. ’”

Observing the I’tikaf

The Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) would be secluding himself in I’tikaf and seeking Laylatul al-Qadar during this period. 'Aishah (radiyallāhu'nha) said, “The Prophet, (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) would observe I'tikāf during the last ten days of Ramadhān until Allāh  took his soul, then his wives observed I’tikāf after he was gone.” [Recorded by Al-Bukhāri and Muslim]

The Beginning And Ending Of I'tikaf

Whenever a person enters the mosque and makes the intention of becoming closer to Allāh by staying there, he will be peforming i'tikaf until he leaves. If one has the intention to perform i'tikaf during the last ten days of Ramadhān, one should begin it before the sun sets (maghrib) of 20th. Al-Bukhari records from Abu Sa'id Al-Khudri (radiyallahu’anu) that the Prophet, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), said: Whoever makes i'tikaf with me is to make i'tikaf during the last ten [nights].” The ten refers to the last ten nights which begin on the night [maghrib]of the 20th.

Concerning the statement that when the Prophet, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) desired to make i'tikaf he would pray the morning [of the 20th] and then go to the place of his i'tikaf, it means that he used to enter the place which he had prepared for his seclusion, but the actual time that he entered the mosque for his seclusion was during the beginning of the night (maghrib) of 21st.

According to Abu Hanifah and Ash-Shafi’ie, whoever performs i'tikaf during the last ten days of Ramadhāmust leave the mosque after sunset on the last day of the month. Malik and Ahmad say that it is acceptable to leave after sunset, but they prefer for the person to remain in the mosque until the time for the 'Eid prayer.

Scholars hold the interpretation of 'Aishah’s (radiyallāhu'anha) phrase “girded his loins” and ‘tying the lower garment (Izaar) tight’ is a metaphor for his preparing himself to worship and strive hard in worship, more than usual. It has the meaning of “rolling up one's sleeves” to worship (i.e. getting ready to make a great deal of effort). It was also said that it was a metaphor for keeping away from women and abstaining from sexual relations.

The phrase “stay up at night” means that he would stay awake, spending the night in prayer, etc.The words “stay up at night” may mean that he spent most of the night in worship, or that he did not stay up for the entire night, but he did that at the times of ‘Isya’ and Sahur, and other times, in which case it would mean that he stayed up for most of the night.

The phrase “and wake his family” means that he would wake his wives for Qiyamulail. It is known that The Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) used to wake his wives all year round, but he used to wake them to spend part of the night in qiyam.

The Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) woke up one night and said: “Subhan Allāh! What tribulations have come down tonight! What treasure has come down tonight! Who will wake up the dwellers of the apartments? There may be women who are clothed in this world and naked in the Hereafter.” [Recorded by Al-Bukhari]

It was narrated that the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) used to wake ‘Aishah (radiyallāhu‘anha) when he wanted to pray Witir. [Recorded by Al-Bukhāri]

Waking one's family to perform Solāh Tahajjud (Voluntary Night-Prayers) is a recommended act and is even more so in the last ten days of Ramadhān for the great virtue of such nights. It is a great opportunity that every Muslim and his family should make the best of and not miss. The last ten days are the conclusion of this blessed month and what counts in deeds are how they end: It was narrated that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), said: “Indeed, what counts in deeds are their ends.”
The Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) woke his wives during the last ten nights of Ramadhān; this was more persistent than at other times of the year. The fact that The Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) did this indicates the importance Rasulullah  attached to worshipping the Rabb and making the most of this special period.

These are the exemplary of the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) to the ummah that we should strive hard in worshipping Allāh Subhānahu wa ta’ala. We should not waste the hours of these period. For we do not know, perhaps this opportunity will never come again, for the spoiler of pleasures, i.e., death, which must come to all men, may come and snatch him and his life will end; then he will feel regret at the time when regret will be of no avail.

Performing All Different Acts of Worship

The striving hard in these ten days should not be in a specific kind of worship, rather it should be in all different acts of worship such as praying, giving charity, reciting the Qurān, mentioning Allāh and the like.

The Recitation of the Qurān

'Aishah (radiyallāhu‘anha) also said: “I never saw the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) recite the entire Qur’ān in one night, or spend a whole night in prayer until the morning, or fast an entire month, except in Ramadhān.” [This is recorded by An-Nasā’ie]

Scholars have mentioned that the last ten days of Ramadhān are better than the first ten days of Dzulhijjah. They are the best days of the year as a whole and they include the Night of Al-Qadr, which Allāh has made better than a thousand months.

Abu Hurayrah (radhiyallāhu'anhu) narrated that the Messenger (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said“Whoever stands (in qiyam) in Laylatul-Qadar [and it is facilitated for him] out of faith and expectation (of Allāh’s reward), will have all of his previous sins forgiven.” [Recorded by Al-Bukhāri, Muslim and Ahmad]

The hadith is recorded by Al-Bukhāri and Muslim with phrase “and it is facilitated for him” is recorded by Ahmad from the report of 'Ubadah Ibn As-Samit (radiyallāhu'anhu); it means that he is permitted to be among the sincere worshippers during that blessed night.

Making Extensive Supplications and Repentance

'Aishah (radiyallāhu'anha) reported that she asked Allāh’s Messenger (sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam), “O Messenger of Allāh! If I knew which night is Laylatul-Qadar, what should I say during it?” And he instructed her to say: “Allāhummainna Ka 'afuw Wun Tuhibbul 'Afwa Fa’fu 'Anna (O Allāh! You are Forgiving, and you love forgiveness. So forgive us) ” [Recorded by Ahmad, Ibn Majah, and At-Tirmidzi: sahih]


Scholars recommended in such nights in which the Night of Al-Qadr is more likely to be, to take a bath, putting on nice fragrance and wear clean, appropriate clothes as prescribed in the Friday and ‘Eid prayers, and it is in fact prescribed to wear one’s finest clothes when performing every prayer. This is because Allāh says:”Take your adornment at every mosque.”[Al-A’raf, 7: 31] 'Abdullah Ibn 'Umar (radiyallāhu'anhu) said, “Allāh has more of a right over you to be adorned for Him.”  As a matter of fact, outward adornment will never be complete except by adorning the inside as well by turning to Allāh the Almighty in repentance and purifying one’s soul from the filth of sins as the adornment of the external part of the person while the filth of sins exists within will be to no avail.

Allāh Says: “O children of Ādam, We have bestowed upon you clothing to conceal your private parts and as adornment. But the clothing of righteousness – that is best.” [Al-A’raf, 7: 26]

No one will be successful in imploring Allāh the Almighty in seclusion unless he is him who has adorned and purified his outward appearance as well as his inward reality, for Allāh the Almighty knows what is secret and that which is even more hidden than that. Allāh the Almighty does not look at your outward appearance; rather, Allāh looks at your hearts and deeds. So whoever stands before Him should adorn his outward appearance by wearing the appropriate clothing and his inward reality by wearing the clothing of righteousness.


 [Adapted with modification from Islam Web Aug 30, 2010]

Please See: Tarawih and Laylatul-Qadar

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