Laylat Al Qadr – the Night of Decree
Posted on August 11th, 2012

By I. Ahmad Dalupotha, Negombo.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Allah says in the Holy Quran: Surely, We sent it down during the Night of Decree. And what shall make thee know what the Night of Decree is? The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months. Therein descend angels and the Spirit by the command of their Lord with Divine decree concerning every matter. It is all peace till the rising of the dawn. (97: 2-6)

Laylat al-Qadar is a night of great blessing in which Allah showers His Mercy upon those of His believers whom sincerely and faithfully love and obey His Will. It is a night which is commonly associated with the revelation of the Holy QurƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢an but also has other meanings which are all deeply rooted in AllahƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s attribute of Rahmaniyyat. From the above verses of the Holy QurƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢an (97:2-6) we are made to understand that

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Laylat al-Qadr literally means the ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”Night of Decree/PowerƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢. It is a night which is of greater value than a thousand months (1000 being the highest numerical figure in Arabic) and in which the angels descend upon the Earth and help to breath a new life into mankind. We also know from another place in the Holy QurƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢an (44:4) that it is a ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”Blessed NightƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢.

The second Caliph of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmood Ahmad (r.a.) writes in his Tafsir al-Kabir (Commentary to the Holy Quran) that the words ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”Therein descend angels and the SpiritƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ signify that, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚¦the Angels of God descend to meet and satisfy every religious need and to remove all obstacles and impediments from the way of the expansion and spread of the new Message.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ (Tafsir al-Kabir, Pg.2859, Ft.4786)

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ In the context of Surah al-Qadr we find that Allah is referring to the most blessed of nights in which the Holy QurƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢an was revealed to Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and he recited those blessed verses that will forever live in the hearts of all believers:

The words ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”one thousand monthsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ have several meanings two of which are that (1). as Laylat al-Qadr is better than a countless number of nights this signifies that the period of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) is greater than all other periods combined;

2. The rich content and value of the Holy QurƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢an is greater in worth than the combined research and efforts of all learned men. This definition is derived from the word ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-MonthsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ which can also mean learned men.

Laylat al-Qadr also has a wider understanding and can signify that when mankind reaches a point of darkness and is in need of reform Allah answers their need by sending a new reformer. In relation to this a period of 1000 months roughly amounts to a century and can thus be linked the saying of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”Verily God will continue for ever to raise for this Ummat in the beginning of every century one who Will restore for it its faith.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ (Abu Dawud, Kitabul Fitan)

Allah is described in the Holy QurƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢an as the Ever Merciful and such a verse personifies the magnificence of AllahƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s infinite Mercy which is safeguarded for the remainder of mankindƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s existence. Further expanding on this the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Community Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad writes; Allah says; Surely, We sent it down during the Night of Decree. ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ This Night, according to its common interpretation, is a Blessed Night, but some of the verses of the Holy QurƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢an indicate that the condition of the darkness of the world is also a Night of Decree on account of its hidden qualities. In that condition of darkness, sincerity and steadfastness, and piety and worship, have great value in the estimation of God. It was because of that condition of darkness which at the time of the advent of the Holy Prophet [PBUH] had arrived at its climax and demanded the descent of a Grand Light, that observing this dark condition and having mercy on the creatures afflicted with darkness, there was an up-surge in the attribute of Rahmaniyyat and heavenly blessings addressed themselves to the earth. That dark condition became blessed for the world and the world thereby received a grand mercy so that the Perfect Man and the Chief of the Prophets, like whom there had been no one, nor ever will be, came for the guidance of the world and brought that bright Book for the world whose match no eye has beheld. It was a great manifestation of spiritual perfection of God that, at a time of gloom and darkness, He sent down a Grand Light which is named the Furqan (Holy Quran) and which distinguishes between truth and falsehood and which demonstrated the coming of truth and the disappearance of falsehood. It descended upon the earth when the earth had become spiritually dead and land and sea had been greatly corrupted. By its descent it accomplished that to which God Almighty has pointed in the verse: That is to say: The earth had died and God revived it afresh. It should be remembered that the descent of the Holy QurƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢an which took place for the purpose of reviving the earth came about through the upsurge of the attribute of Rahmaniyyat. ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ (Brahin-e-Ahmadiyya, Ruhani KhazaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢in, Vol. 1, pp. 414-435, footnote 11)

The ultimate effect of a reformer being sent to the Earth is that the world enters a period of peace as is alluded to in the concluding verse of Surah al-Qadr – It is all peace till the rising of the dawn. (97:6) The word (peace) stands for a complete sentence meaning, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢it is all peace.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ In the time of a Prophet or Divine Reformer a peculiar kind of mental peace of equanimity descends upon the believers amidst hardships and privations. The heavenly happiness which inspires believers at that time transcends all material and sensuous joys. The expression (It is all peace till the rising of the dawn.) means, the passing of the night of hardships and the rising of the dawn of predominance and ascendancy of the cause of truth.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ (Tafsir Al-Kabir. Pg.2860 Ft.4797)

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Lailatul Qadr also has a significant meaning to each and every believer as it is a night in which a believer can benefit from great blessings. In a reported Hadith the Holy Prophet said: ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢Whoever establishes the prayers on the night of Qadr out of sincere faith and hoping to attain Allah’s rewards (not to show off) then all his past sins will be forgiven.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ (al-Bukhari, Vol.1, Bk.2, No. 34) In another saying (hadith) the Holy Prophet advises as to when one should seek Lailatul Qadr saying: ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢Search for the Night of Qadr in the odd nights of the last ten days of RamazanƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ (Al-Bukhari, Vol.3, Bk.32, No. 234)

The Promised Messiah (a.s.) is known to have said that should the 27th night of Ramazan fall upon a Friday then through AllahƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s Grace this will often be Lailatul Qadr. In light of the above blessed narrations it is incumbent on each believer to increase his or her worship (Ibaada) during the last ten days of Ramadan and pray sincerely that they may benefit from the fruits of Lailatul Qadr and have all their previous sins forgiven, Insha-Allah. May we each engage in sincere worship during this blessed month and incur the Mercy of Allah, Insha-Allah. Ameen.

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