Lecture on one of the highly probable nights of Qadr: 23rd night of Ramadaan 1438 2017
By Mowlana Syed Aftab Haider on 17 June 2017 at the Ahlul Bait (a.s) Islamic Centre, Ottery, Cape Town
Laylatul Qadr (night of power) is a very important night emphasized in the Holy Quran. The first 5 verses of Surah Dukhaan (chapter 44 of the Holy Quran) make direct reference to the significance of this night as the night of revelation:
I swear by the Book that makes manifest (the truth).
إِنَّا أَنْزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةٍ مُبَارَكَةٍ ۚ إِنَّا كُنَّا مُنْذِرِينَ
Surely We revealed it on a blessed night surely We are ever warning—
فِيهَا يُفْرَقُ كُلُّ أَمْرٍ حَكِيمٍ
Therein every wise affair is made distinct,
أَمْرًا مِنْ عِنْدِنَا ۚ إِنَّا كُنَّا مُرْسِلِينَ
A command from Us; surely We are the senders (of messengers).”
Furthermore, Surah Qadr (chapter 97) was revealed to explain the greatness of this night of Qadr. It is like no other night in the year.
إِنَّا أَنْزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ
“Surely We revealed it on the grand night.
وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ
And what will make you comprehend what the grand night is?
لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ خَيْرٌ مِنْ أَلْفِ شَهْرٍ
The grand night is better than a thousand months.
تَنَزَّلُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ وَالرُّوحُ فِيهَا بِإِذْنِ رَبِّهِمْ مِنْ كُلِّ أَمْرٍ
The angels and Gibreel descend in it by the permission of their Lord for every affair,
سَلَامٌ هِيَ حَتَّىٰ مَطْلَعِ الْفَجْرِ
Peace! it is till the break of the morning.”
THE NIGHT OF DESTINY AND GREAT VALUE
The above verses refer directly to the great importance of the night of Qadr. In Surah Dukhaan, Almighty Allah (SWT) refers to it as “Laylatul Mubaraka” and says that all matters are decided upon in its finer details tonight.
In Arabic, Qadr basically is derived from the meaning of “to measure”, and it is called the “Night of Measure” because our destiny is calculated in minute detail in the night of Qadr.
Some of the commentators of the Holy Quran say that it is called the night of great value (Qadr) because whoever keeps this night alive in worship and supplication, achieves great value. This night itself has the GREATEST value, and therefore it is called the night of Qadr. All possibilities may be correct. There is no contradiction in the understanding of the supreme importance of the night of Qadr.
In these daily duas of the month of Ramadaan, we read:
اللّهُمَّ ارْزُقْنِي حَجَّ بَيْتِكَ الْحَرَامِ
O Allah: (please) confer upon me with the grace of pilgrimage to Your Holy House,
فِي عَامِي هذَا وَفِي كُلِّ عَامٍ
in this year and every year
It is in the night of Qadr that Almighty Allah (SWT) finalizes His invite list for Hujjaaj.
مَا أَبْقَيْتَنِي فِي يُسْرٍ مِنْكَ وَعَافِيَةٍ وَسَعَةِ رِزْقٍ،
as long as You keep me alive, with easiness, good health, and expansive sustenance from You.
We prayer for sustenance, and again, it is decided in the night of Qadr!
THE NIGHT OF QADR IS LIVE EVERY YEAR
Another important insight is that some nights which we uphold during the year are part of history. They do not repeat. Example, the nights of birthdays or martyrdoms of great personalities are REMEMBRANCE of the historical event which occurred 14 centuries ago.
However, the night of Qadr is very unique. Indeed, we are remembering a very important event which occurred on this night 14 centuries ago. This event being the revelation of the Holy Quran in this night, as referenced in the above verses. But it is not a night to ONLY remember this historical event.
The night of Qadr is also our expression of appreciation and gratitude for the greatest gift and favour of Almighty Allah (SWT) to us, namely the Holy Quran which was revealed to our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWAS). We express our appreciation by keeping this night alive through Dhikr – the remembrance of Almighty Allah (SWT) and recitation of the Holy Quran.
This is only one aspect, because Surah Qadr referenced above says that the Angels descend every year on this night, including Gibril. They bring with them enormous bounties and favours from Almighty Allah (SWT) and hence we are asked to seek this mercy in this night. It is an extraordinary night, which only comes once a year.
WHEN IS LAYLATUL QADR?
Those who are capable of transcending the borders of matter, and veils of this world, can feel the uniqueness of this holy night. We don’t exactly know when the night of Qadr is, as it could be any of the odd nights in the last 10 nights of Ramadaan, starting from the 19th night. According to the teachings of Ahlul Bait (a.s), preference is given to the 23rd night of Ramadaan as the most probable night of Qadr.
But we don’t know! So people were always keen on knowing WHEN this great night of Qadr is.
People came to the 6th Imam of Ahlul Bait (a.s), Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (a.s) and asked him if he knows when the night of Qadr actually is.
Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (a.s) responded in the affirmative with a twofold response.
1. There is a fragrance from Paradise by which we Ahlul Bait (a.s) recognize this night. There are no veils of this world restricting them Ahlul Bait (a.s).
2. Secondly, if you appear as a visitor, you need a host! Angels are continuously descending from Heaven on this night and who is receiving them? Indeed, they are surrounding us Ahlul Bait (a.s). It is our living Imam Mahdi (atfs) who is the host. So indeed, Ahlul Bait (a.s) certainly know when is this night of Qadr, as they are infallible.
SURAH QADR IS THE BEST PROOF OF IMAMATE
In fact, Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (a.s) goes further to say that there is no better proof for Imamate than Surah Qadr!
Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (a.s) used to argue against those who don’t believe in Imamate and those who have a shaky understanding of Imamate with Surah Qadr as his evidence.
Laylatul Qadr is a journey toward Almighty Allah (SWT)! How can you go on this crucial journey to Almighty Allah (SWT) without your Imam? It is IMPOSSIBLE!
It is Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (a.s) who said that if this earth is devoid from the proof of Almighty Allah (SWT) then it won’t survive for even a fraction of a second. It will simply vanish!
In Mafatih al-Jinaan it is recommended that on this night of Qadr, we should constantly implore from Almighty Allah (SWT) for the reappearance of our living Imam Mahdi (atfs):
اللّـهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلى مُحَمَّد وَآلِ مُحَمَّد
O Allah, bless Muhammad and the family of Muhammad.
اَللّهُمَّ كُنْ لِوَلِيِّكَ الْحُجَّةِ بْنِ الْحَسَنِ
O Allah, be, for Your representative, the Hujjat (proof), son of Al¬Hasan,
صَلَواتُكَ عَلَيْهِ وَعَلى آبائِهِ
Your blessings be on him and his forefathers,
في هذِهِ السّاعَةِ وَفي كُلِّ ساعَةٍ
in this hour and in every hour,
وَلِيّاً وَحافِظاً وَقائِداً وَناصِراً وَدَليلاً وَعَيْناً
a guardian, a protector, a leader, a helper, a proof, and an eye.
حَتّى تُسْكِنَهُ أَرْضَكَ طَوْعاً وَتُمَتِّعَهُ فيها طَويلاً.
until You make him live on the earth, in obedience (to You), and cause him to live in it for a long time.
It is recorded in authentic Hadith narrations of Sunni and Shia resources, that “whoever dies without knowing the Imam of his time, dies the death of the ignorant (Jahil).”
Who is your Divinely appointed Imam whom Almighty Allah (SWT) has enlightened with that shining light of the heavens and earth?
Therefore, in conclusion, Laylatul Qadr is the night where all important decisions are concluded by Almighty Allah (SWT) in this night.
Laylatul Qadr is also regarded as the night of Lady Fatima Zahra (s.a), because this mercy and favour of Ahlul Bait (a.s) was born through this purified soul of Lady Fatima Zahra (s.a).
What do we know of this night of Qadr? Ayatullah Jawadi Amuli beautifully says that comprehension of the magnanimity of this night is not possible. If this is the case, then how can we even achieve the night of Qadr itself, if comprehension is not possible?!
O Allah (SWT), for the sake of the Holy Quran, and for the sake of Muhammad (SAWAS) and his purified progeny (a.s), and for the sake of the Imam of our time, the host of this important night, grant us all the blessings, mercy and goodness of this night of Qadr.
O Allah (SWT) keep us in this world in the service of the Holy Quran, in understanding of the Holy Quran, in practicing and promoting the Holy Quran.
O Allah (SWT) keep us alive with the Holy Quran and give us death with the Holy Quran.
O Allah (SWT) we require your help in the dark first night of our grave and let the Holy Quran be our protection as the light in this dark night.