LAYLATUL QADR: THE NIGHT OF POWER BY YAQEEN UL HAQ AHMAD SIKANDER

"We have indeed revealed this (Message) in the Night of Power: And what will explain to thee what the night of power is? The Night of Power is better than a thousand months. Therein come down the angels and the Spirit by Allah's permission, on every errand: Peace!...This until the rise of morn! (Al Qur'an 97:1-5) Laylat-ul-Qadr (The Night of Honour or Power) is the night in which the Quran was revealed. During this night, the whole of the Qur'an was revealed from Lawh-e-Mahfooz (The Preserved Tablet) to the lowest heaven known as Bayt-ul-Izzah (House of Honour). Allah (SWT) informs us about the importance and value of this one night in the Qur'an. To emphasize on its importance and value, Allah (SWT) compares it to be better than a thousand months in order to indicate the auspiciousness and the virtuousness of this night. This night is so much significant because in this night the wise decision of blessing man with guidance was taken. Muslims are not aware of the exact night but the Ahadith (traditions) of Muhammad (SAW) inform us that Laylat-ul-Qadr is one of the odd nights of the last 10 days of Ramadhan i.e. the night of the 21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th, and 29th. Narated by Aisha (RA) that Muhammad (SAW) said, "Search for the Night of Qadr in the odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadan." – (Bukhari Vol.3, Book 32, #234). This night opened the gates for the holy Qur'an and accordingly every year in the month of Ramadhan this night is celebrated to commemorate the revelation of the Qur'an. We have to worship to the best of our capacity and capabilities all night long in these odd nights. This Night is a very special Night full of mercy in which Allah (SWT) forgives the committed Muslim sincerely worshipping before Him: Narated by Abu Huraira (RA) that Muhammad (SAW) said, "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." – (Bukhari Vol.1, Book 2, #34) This Hadith is really very important in conveying to us the clear message that worship must be done with clear intentions, conviction and the will to seek the good pleasure of Allah (SWT) only. Everyone amongst us wants that our sins must be forgiven. Nobody is innocent. All of us commit mistakes and sins both knowingly and unknowingly. So this night is indeed a best opportunity to erase all our sins in just one go!

Prophet Muhammad (SAW) used to worship to a far greater extent during the last ten days of the Ramadhan: Aisha (Allah be pleased with her) reported that when the last ten nights began Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) kept awake at night (for prayer and devotion), wakened his family, and prepared himself to observe prayer (with more vigour). – (Muslim Book 6, #2643) As followers of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), we must try to walk upon his footsteps and do what he practised. Let's take a "break" from all the worldly talks, wants and needs and spend this night only in of our worship of our Lord, the Most High.

THE SIGNS OF THE NIGHT OF THE QADR: 1) The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) described the morning of the night of Qadr so that the muslims can know which night it is. Ubayy (RA) said : "On the morning of the night of Qadr the sun would rise without any beams; (it is like) a wash basin until it raises." (Sahih Muslim) 2) Abu Hurairah (RA) said : "We mentioned the night of Qadr to the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and He said: "Which of you remembers when the moon rises and it is like half a bowl." (Sahih Muslim) 3) Ibn Abbaas (RA) said that the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said : "The night of Qadr is a night of generosity and happiness, it is not hot and neither is it cold. The sun comes up in its morning weak, reddish." (Tabaranee, Ibn Khuzaimah and Bazzaar). WHAT TO DO ON THESE ODD NIGHTS? 1. Practice Itikaf as our Prophet Muhammad (SAW) used to do. He (SAW) used to go to the masjid in the last 10 days of Ramadhan for Itikaf. Aisha (Allah be pleased with her) reported that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) used to observe i'tikaf in the last ten days of Ramadan. – (Muslim Book 6, #2638) 2. Do loads and loads of Dhikr (remembrance of Allah) i.e. Recitation of the Quran, its translation and tafsir and ponder upon what is read, Pray more Salah etc. 3. This Night is to get our sins erased so ask Allah (SWT) to bestow upon us His Mercy upon us and forgive our sins. Cry your heart out and ask for forgiveness! Pray for our Muslim brothers who are suffering. Pray for your relatives, friends, loved ones, pray for everyone! 4. "It is also recommended to make extensive supplication on this night. `A'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, reported that she asked the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, "O Messenger of Allah! If I knew which night is Laylatul-Qadr, what should I say during it?" And he instructed her to say: "Allahumma innaka `afuwwun tuhibbul `afwa fa`fu `annee" (O Allah! You are Oft-Forgiving, and you love forgiveness. So forgive me). (Reported by Ahmad, Ibn Majah and At-Tirmithi).

5. A menstruating woman cannot naturally offer Salah and pick up the Qur'an. But there is no need to be disheartened that this natural biological process has caused you to miss out worshiping in these odd nights. Allah (SWT) knows that such women cannot pray like usually and He looks at the intentions and you must have the 'want' in your heart to perform Salah. Recite whichever Surahs you do know......long or short…doesn't matter....but do spend time in worship. It's your intentions that matter. And you still can recite the Quran from memory, make dua, listen to the Quran, and seek more knowledge about Islam etc There is a lot that one can do during this auspicious night. Do as much worship as u can and continuously seek Allah's forgiveness. 360 nights out of the 365 we spend in sleeping and feeling lazy to get up for Tahajjud and Fajr. At least we can spend these five nights in worship out of the 365 days. The last days of the Ramadhan are really most important. And its during these days that one might encounter laylat ul Qadr and have all his past sins forgiven by Allah, the Most Merciful. The laylatul Qadr is a very important occasion in Islam. Every Muslim must live it and to enjoy it. Laylatul Qadr is indeed a ' Night of Mercy', a ' Night of Blessing', a 'Night of Peace ' and a 'Night of Guidance'. So we ask Allah to give us the ability to change our souls during this blessed moth of Ramadhan and not to be of those who are prevented from His Mercy and forgiveness. Indeed Allah is the One who hears us and responds to us always. Let's take a vacation for Allah. We take a break from our jobs for almost everything in life. So let’s take a short break and focus upon worshipping our Allah (SWT) and thanking him with utmost conviction.

(Yaqeen Ul Haq Ahmad Sikander is a student at International Islamic University Malaysia. He can be reached at http://www.yaqeenulhaq.info or can be mailed at yaqeen@ymail.com )

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