All thanks are due to Allah for letting the months and years go by and for giving preference to some days over others. All Glory be to Him in whose Hands lies All Sovereignty and Power.

May the prayers and blessings of Allah be upon the best of mankind, the best of those who have prayed and the best of those who have fasted; Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) and everyone who follows him till Judgment Day!

Some days come with huge donations and the Prophet (SAWS) commanded us to make use of these days and to grab the chance for hope of gaining any of these divine donations after which we would never go miserable again.

One of those very special days is the Night of Power, the blessed night which draws its blessing from the revelation of the very first verse of the Qur’an. Allah says, “We sent it [Quran] down on the Night of Destiny.” (TMQ, 97:1). So it is the night that connected the heavens with the earth, the night where the words of Allah were brought down from the Preserved Tablet[1] to embrace the people of the earth so they would bask under their reverence.

Happy is the one whom Allah grants success to gain this night, happy is the one who is granted Allah’s satisfaction, forgiveness and mercy on this night. Happy is the one to whom the great treasures are opened and whose neck is, for all eternity, saved from hellfire.

To start with you might ask; why was this particular night given this name? There are many stories as to why it was given this name (Laylat Al-Qadr). Some of these stories link the name to “Destiny” from the pretext that it is the night in which all the destinies and livelihoods are determined. Al-Nawawi said, “The scholars say that it was given this name because of the destinies recorded by the angels on that night as Allah says, ‘On that night every wise decree is specified” (TMQ, 44:4)’”

Others say it was given that name from the pretext of reverence since this night has a high ‘value’ and ‘status’ in the Eyes of Allah since it witnessed the revelation of the Qur’an. Allah says, “Surely We sent it down on a blessed night…” (TMQ, 44:3). It is also said that it was given that name because it witnesses the descent of the angels, the descent of blessings, mercy and forgiveness upon mankind, so the one who observes it will acquire the highest status and rank. It is also said that it was given that name because it is the night when the earth cannot encompass all the angels.

Whatever the reason is this night is a very special gift from Allah to His nation. Spending this night in prayer is equal to the worship of one thousand months. This is but a compensation from Allah for the shortness of life! Imam Malek (RA) says in his Muwata, “I heard someone whose knowledge I trust so much saying that the Prophet (SAWS) was shown the life-expectancies of all the preceding nations and he realized how short the lives of his nation will be so they will not be able to reach what the other nations reached because of their longevity. So Allah gave him the Night of Power and made it better than a thousand months.”

The Prophet (SAWS) spoke a lot about this night, about its time, its virtues, what should be done in it, the best supplications to say… and all of this due to its high status and to urge the people to compete towards gaining its virtues.

Al-Nassaei and Ibn-Majah narrated that the Prophet (SAWS) said, “In Ramadan there comes a night better than a thousand months. He who is forbidden from this night is forbidden from all the goodness and no one is forbidden from its goodness except the deprived.” He also said as narrated by Abu-Hurayra, “He who spends this night praying in faith and contentment will be forgiven his past and future sins.”

The Prophet (SAWS) commanded us to detect this night closely and he said, “Detect this night closely within the last ten days of Ramadan.” He even narrowed the options by saying that it comes at an odd (not even) night. He said, “Detect it within the odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadan.” So it is either the 21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th or 29th night.

Many people hope to be able to detect this night so they would stay the whole night up praying and worshiping to gain its rewards, but it was one of the unknown wisdoms of Allah to hide its exact location so that the worshipers would take their worship seriously throughout the days not for just one particular day. We will narrate below some of the stories that show us how keen the Prophet (SAWS) was on detecting and celebrating this night.

Some of the companions used to say that the best night for detecting it is the 27th and so Ubai Ibn-Kaab (RA) used to say, “By Allah I know which night it is! It is the night that the Prophet (SAWS) commanded us to stay up praying and this is the night of the 27th.” Ahmad also narrated in his Musnad on the authority of Ibn-Omar (RA) that he said, “The Prophet (SAWS) said, ‘If you will detect it, then detect it on the night of the 27th.”

There are other stories that relate how the companions differed in detecting this night like the narration of Muslim on the authority of Abdullah Ibn-Anas who said, “The Prophet (SAWS) said, ‘I have come upon the Night of Power but I was made to forget it, then I had a glimpse that I was prostrating in water and mud the next morning.’ Abdullah continues, “It rained on the night of the 23rd and the water dripped (from the roof) of the mosque at the place where the Messenger of Allah (SAWS) observed prayer. I looked at him and as he completed the dawn prayer, (I found) his face was wet with mud and water.” Imam Ahmad also narrated on the authority of Abu-Bakra that he heard the Prophet (SAWS) saying, “Detect it when you only have nine days left, or seven days left, or five days left, or three days left or at the last night.” So Abu-Bakra used to pray throughout the first twenty days just as he prayed throughout the year and at the last ten nights he would multiply his effort.

Ibn-Omar (RA) also said, “Some men amongst the companions of the Prophet were shown in their dreams that the Night of Power was in the last seven nights of Ramadan. Allah’s Apostle said, ‘It seems that all your dreams agree that (the Night of Power) is in the last seven nights, and whoever wants to detect it should detect it in the last seven (nights of Ramadan).” ~Muslim

So it is located in the last ten nights of Ramadan for those who want to detect it diligently and for those who want to come closer to Allah. This is not just the worship of one night but the whole ten nights to block our desires and whims and to struggle with our baser self.

You might wonder: And what should I do at this night? It might help if we told you that there are some things you need to observe during this night the most important of which is the vigil night prayer. Vigil prayers are the best way to communicate with the Almighty according to Abu-Hurayra who narrated that the Prophet (SAWS) said, “He who spends this night praying in full faith and contentment will be forgiven his past and future sins.”

You also need to supplicate and invoke Allah; invocation is the decisive tool that helps the worshiper to declare his full submission to his Lord, declaring his weakness and humbleness between His Hands. The best supplication for this night was reported by Lady Aisha (RA) as narrated in Al-Tirmidhi. She asked the Prophet (SAWS), “Prophet of Allah, what if I knew which night it is! What do I say then?” He said, “Say this: O Allah, You are forgiving and You love forgiveness, so forgive me!”

The most important for this night and any other night is to maintain all the obligatory acts of worship since these are the most beloved to Allah. As narrated in Al-Bukhari there is a divine narration that says, “And my bondman has never come closer to Me with anything more beloved to Me than the obligatory acts which I commanded.”

After that comes the general effort each one of us can exert at this night; this exceptional night! The Prophet (SAWS) used to prepare for this particular night according to Lady Aisha who narrated, “With the start of the last ten days of Ramadan, the Prophet used to tighten his waist belt (i.e. work hard) and used to pray all the night, and used to keep his family awake for the prayers.” ~Muslim

I ask Allah Almighty to bless us all with the virtue of this night and to make us among the forgiven ones whom He saved from hellfire and those with acceptable deeds, for He is our best hope and our exalted guardian.

May the prayers and blessings of Allah be upon the best of mankind; Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) and everyone who follows him till Judgment Day!

[1] Allah wrote down in the Preserved Tablet (al-Lawhu ‘l-Mahfuz) all that has happened and will happen, which will come to pass as written.

(دار الإفتاء المصرية – eng.dar-alifta.org)