The last ashra of Ramadan is on our threshold and it is time to add to our prayers as we prepare to encounter the Lailatul Qadr, or the Night of Decree, or the Night of Power.
Allah the Almighty declares: "Verily, We have sent it (Holy Quran) down in the night of Al Qadr (Decree). And what will make you know what the night of Al Qadr is? The night of Al Qadr is better than a thousand months (i.e. worshipping Allah in that night is better than worshipping Him a thousand months, i.e. 83 years and 4 months). Therein descend the angels including Angel Gabriel by Allah's permission with all Decrees. (All that night), there is peace (and Goodness from Allah to His believing slaves) until the appearance of dawn." (Holy Quran).
The Night of Power is the crowning glory of this season of worship. It is most likely to take place in the last 10 days of the month when a Muslim's devotion reaches its zenith. As mentioned in our earlier article, one way of doing this is to stay in a mosque for Itikaaf, following the sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
It was on this night that the Holy Quran was first revealed to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) by Allah. That was a defining event because it meant that Allah chose to show man the way to his happiness in this present life and the life Hereafter, providing him with a constitution to implement. Little wonder that this beautiful night is regarded by Muslims as the most important event in history.
It is a night that every living Muslim craves to stand/sit before the Creator, supplicates Him, and seeks for better days ahead. Since Allah decrees whatever is ahead of his servants on that night, it is therefore apparent that whoever is fortunate to be alive on that night and be in prayers, crying to Allah in submissiveness with sincere heart, and being repentant as well as remorseful of his sins, Allah would surely listen to him and decrees better life for him.
Tradition says that 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. Ibrahim Yahaya, a senior English lecturer at British Academic Centre in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, writes, "Because of the special nature and importance of this night, Allah has intentionally hidden the exact day from Muslims. This is because Allah in His inestimable wisdom wants people to strive in achieving something better in life.
"He has concealed the exact day of the Qadr night so that we may double our efforts in the whole month of Ramadan or at least in the last 10 days. The true believer will search for the night of Qadr at late night and in the early hours until he or she attains it, regardless of the hardship."
Some people, however, take Ramadan 27 as a traditional date to observe this night. But we stress that Prophet (PBUH) did not mention any such day of Ramadan as the Night of Power.
There are some scholars who believe Lailatul Qadr falls on the first two ashras of Ramadan but there is an overwhelming consensus that the night falls on the last 10 days of Ramadan, specifically on the odd-numbered nights. This is supported by Bukhari Hadith which says, "The Messenger of Allah, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: 'Seek it (the Qadr Night) on the odd nights of the last 10 days of Ramadan'."
Aishah reports: "When it was the (last) third of the month (of Ramadan), the Prophet (PBUH) used to strengthen his resolve, spend the nights in worship and wake up his household." (Related by Bukhari).
It is on this night that destinies of individuals are decided. The Holy Quran says, "Therein [that night] is decreed every matter of ordainment."
Eminent Islamic scholar Adil Salahi writes, "The Prophet (PBUH) who has taught us all good things has shown us the way to make the best benefit of this night and to ensure that we receive its blessings.
"He has indicated that spending the night, or most of it, in worship ensures the forgiveness of all of one's past sins. One may alternate between different types of worship: prayer, reciting the Holy Quran, glorification of God and supplication. It extends from the time when the obligatory prayer of Isha has been offered to the time when Fajr prayer is due at dawn.
"What is important is the sincerity that must be characteristic of one's action. It should be in complete devotion to God and seeking His acceptance."
Muslims are encouraged to seek this night and spend it diligently in devotion, including performing salah, reciting the Holy Quran, supplicating and making dhikr.