Fortunate indeed is that person who attains the full blessings of this night by spending it in ‘ibaadah of Allah, because he has then attained reward for ‘ibaadah of eighty three years and four months and even more. Indeed the granting of this night to the faithful Muslim is a great favour.
Regarding this night, in a Hadith reported by Anas in Durre Manthoor Rasulullah S.W. is reported to have said: “Laylatul Qadr was granted to my ummah and not to any other ummah before this”. Regarding the reason for the granting of Laylatul Qadr, various reasons are mentioned.
One reason, according to some Ahaadith is given thus: Rasulullah S.W. used to look at the longer lives of the earlier people and was saddened when pondering over the much shorter lives of his own ummah. If his ummah had wished to compete with the people before them in the doing of righteous deeds, because of their shorter lives it would be impossible for them to either emulate or surpass them.
To compensate for this difference in their life span, Allah in His infinite mercy granted them with this night of great blessing. This means that if any fortunate one of this ummah spends during his life time ten such nights in the worship of his maker, he would have gained the reward for ‘ibaadah of eight hundred and thirty years and even more. Another report states that; Rasulullah S.W. once related to the sahaabah the story of a very righteous man from among the Bani Israa’iyl who used to spend one thousand months in jihad. On hearing this, the sahaabah envied that person because they could not attain the same reward, whereupon Allah granted them the Night of Power as recompense.
Still another report states that our Nabi once mentioned the names of the four most pious people from among the Bani Israa’iyl who each spent eighty years in Allah’s sincere service, worshipping Him, and not sinning in the least. They were Nabi Ayyoob alayhis salaam and Yu’shaa alayhis salaam. The sahaabahs head this with astonishment. Then Jibreel alayhis salaam appeared and recited Surah Qadr, Wherein the blessing of this night was revealed.
Apart from these reports, there are others too, explaining the origin of the Night of Power. This type of difference in narration arises because, after occurrence of several incidents only one aayah is revealed. That aayah then is relevant to anyone of the incidents that took place. But no matter which of them we accept, the important fact that remains is that Allah has granted the ummah of Muhammad this night. This is a great favour and gift of Allah. To devote yourself on this night is also a blessing from Allah. How worthy of envy are those Mashaa’ikh who say they did not miss the ‘ibaadah of one Laylatul Qadr since they became of age.
Now, as to which night it is, here again approximately 50 different views of the ‘ulama are mentioned. It is not easy for me to enumerate them all. But the most accepted versions, as well as further discussions on this night shall follow in the ensuing pages of this book. The numerous excellences of this night are mentioned in various book of Hadith. These will also be mentioned. For the reason that Qur’aan Majeed itself mentions the night, we shall commence with a short commentary on Surah Qadr. (The translations are from A. Yusuf Ali).
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful”. We have indeed revealed this (message) in the Night of Power. (Suratul Qadr: 1).
Reference here is made to the fact that on this special night, the Qur’aan was sent down from Al Lowhul Mahfuz (the preserved Table) to the heavens (above the earth).
Because a great book like Qur’aan was revealed in this night is in itself sufficient to explain its excellence, needless to mention all other blessings and virtues which are include. In the very next verse by way of drawing and increasing our interest in the matter under discussion, a question is asked:“And what will explain to you what the Night of Power is”. (Suratul Qadr: 2). In other words, the question asked here is: Have you any knowledge as to the great favours and bounties that are placed in tin? The next verse proceeds to enumerate some of that greatness: “The night of Power is better than a thousand months”.
The true meaning here is that reward for spending this night in ‘ibaadah is better and more than having spent one thousand months ‘ibaadah, it is we are not told here.“Therein come down the Angels and the Spirit by Allah’s permission on every errand”. (Suratul Qadr: 4)
A fine explanation is given in this verse by Imaam Raazi R.A. commenting on this verse he explains that when man first appeared on earth, created by Allah as His vicegerent on earth, the Malaa’ikah looked on him with scorn. When Allah informed them of His intention of placing man on earth, they even ventured to ask: “Will you place in this earth one who shall commit evil therein and shed blood?”
Similarly, when his parents noted his original form as a mere drop of mani (sperm), they too looked upon it with scorn and resentment, so much so, that they considered it as something which polluted clothing and had to be washed away. But later when Allah made that same despicable sperm into a fine form of man, they began to love and cherish him. So far have things now progressed that when on this Night of Power we see that same man worshipping Allah and adoring Him, those very same Malaa’ikah which had previously looked down on him with scorn, descend towards him, obviously repentant for the thoughts they had once harboured against him.
In this verse mention is made… “and the spirit”. Reference is clearly to Jibraeel Alayhis Salaam. Commentators of the Qur’aan have given various versions of this word. Let us look at some of them:
(a) The vast majority of the commentators are agreed that Jibraeel alayhis salaam is meant here, and according to Imaam Raazi, (R.A.) this is the most correct meaning. Allah first makes mention of the Malaa’ikah and then because of Jibraeel’s alayhis salaam status among them, special mention made of him.
(b) Some commentators hold the view that “Spirits” here means one angel of such extra ordinary gigantic proportion that before him heavens and earth appear as almost nothing (as a morsel).
(c) Another group of commentators opine that “Spirit” here means one such group of Malaa’ikah who never appear and only on this night are they seen by other Malaa’ikah.
(d) Some commentators again believe that the “Spirit” here designates one such creation of Allah, which although it partakes of food and drink, still is neither man nor angel.
(e) There is also a view that “Spirit” here refers to ‘Iysaa alayhis salaam who on this night comes down with the Malaa’ikah to view the righteous deeds of this ummah.
(f) The last view we wish to mention here is that “Spirit” means Allah’s special mercy which comes in the wake of the angels descent. But already stated the first opinion is the most acceptable.
In this respect Imaam Bayhaqi R.A. reports a Hadith by Anas wherein Rasulullah S.W. is reported to have said, “On Laylatul Qadr Jibraeel Alayhis Salaam comes down with a group of angels and make duaa’ for mercy for every one whom they find busy in ‘ibaadah”. This same verse under discussion says, “… By Allah’s permission on every errand…”.
The author of Mazhaahire Haq writes that on this night ages ago the Malaa’ikah were created: on this night long ago the creation on Aadam alayhis salaam was begun as the matter from which he was created had been gathered: on this night trees were platned in Jannah and large number of Ahaadith bear witness to the fact that on this night duaa’s are granted. Similarly we read in the kitaab, Durre Manthoor, that according to a Hadith it was on this night that ‘Iysa alayhis salaam was lifted up bodily into the heavens and also it was on this night that the towbah (repentance) of Bani Israa-‘iyl was accepted.
“Peace be until the break of dawn”. Yes, this is the very embodiment of peace. Throughout its hours the Malaa’ikah recite salaam upon faithful believers adoring their Lord. As one group descends another ascends as is explained in the Ahaadith. Another interpretation is that it is a night of complete safety from evil and mischief. These blessings remain throughout the night until the break of dawn and are not confined to any specific hour. And now having noted a few virtues of this night as explained in the words of Allah, there is no further need to quote any Ahaadith. However, since many virtues have been in numerous Ahaadith we mention a few here.
To be continued
By Maulana Muhammad Zakariyya Kaandhawi,
Curtesy of Fazail-e-Amaal