Al-Qadr night (‘the night of destiny’) is one of the nights that the believer cannot fully and truly realise its magnificence and sanctity because the virtues of this (one) night exceed those of a thousand months. Actually, it is the night of peace that fills the universe with Allah’s kindnesses and abundant blessings on His servants that persist until the break of dawn.
What is the position of this night in time?
The holy verses that talk about the revelation of the Quran suggest that it took place in one of the nights of the month of Ramadan. Allah says: “The month of Ramadan is that in which the Quran was revealed” (02:185), and: “Surely, We revealed it on a blessed night, surely We are ever warning. Therein every wise matter is made distinct, a command from Us; surely We are the senders (of messengers)” (44:3-5). Perhaps what is meant by it, in comparison with Al-Qadr verse, is the night of Al-Qadr.
Traditions differ in identifying the exact night in which the Quran was revealed; however, the traditions of the twelve Imams reveal that it is the twenty-third night of the month of Ramadan. Abdullah ibnBakir quoted what ZuraraibnA‘yan narrated that one of the two Imams Al-Baqir (PBUH) and As-Sadiq(PBUH) said: “the twenty-third night is the night of Al-Juhni,” who once inquired from the Messenger of Allah, Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him and His Family), on what night exactly he should come to him to commemorate Al-Qadr night, since his house is far from the city of Medina, and the Messenger told him to come on the twenty-third night. Furthermore, Malik and Al-Buhaiqipointed in the book ‘Ad-dur Al-Manthur’ to the same night – the twenty-third. However, the Sunni scholars believe that Al-Qadr night is the twenty-seventh.
What is meant by Al-Qadr?
Al-Qadr could be referred to a high level of nobility and elevated dignified status which Allah bestows upon His believers, or it could be referred to predestination, in the sense that Allah predestines in it the events of time, such as life and death, misery and blessing, war and peace…etc, which we tend to accept, for Allah says: “Therein every wise matter is made distinct,a command from Us; surely We are the senders (of messengers)” (44: 04-05), and: “The angels and the spirit descend therein by the permission of their Lord for every matter” (97:04).
Al-Qadr night: One of Allah’s secrets
Allah says: “Surely We revealed it on the grand night [of predestination], and what will make you comprehend what the grand night [of predestination]” (97: 02-04). The believer cannot realise the significance of this night on his/her own, for that is Allah’s secret in time, just as it is His secret in place and in persons. He is the Creator of the entire existence, with all its forms, and it is He Who grants a thing some singularity which renders it ‘worth mentioning’, and it is He Who surrounds another thing with some secrets that render it great, for He Who creates the existence is the One capable of attributing a value to it. Thus, Allah attributed to this night its spiritual value, for He says: “The grand night [of predestination] is better than a thousand months.” However, it must be noted that the true value does not lie in the number of days Al-Qadr night is equal to; nay, it implies the status of this night before which all other periods of time are merely seconds and minutes.
Did Al-Qadr night earn such an honour and high status after the Quran was revealed in it or it was already so before the Quran was revealed? It seems that this night was honourable before the Quran was revealed in it, for Allah says: “Surely, We revealed it on a blessed night,” meaning that this night was blessed in itself. Perhaps the Quran was revealed in this night, as it is a Divine matter that witnesses the descent of angels in it. And what could be greater than the Quran that is the light and guidance to mankind through the Divine kindness that attaches the earth to the sky, and leads life towards the Divine plan of wise thought, methodology, Islamic laws, and life’s universal conception, which opens up to man/woman many windows to grasp the spirit sent down by Allah; thus, elevating his/her status to the supreme spiritual heavens and bringing him/her closer to Allah?
“The angels and the spirit descend in it by the permission of their Lord for every matter.” This is the secret of the night that witnesses the descent of the angels whom Allah delegates with earthly matters related to the believer’s matters and concerns, in his/her sustenance, movementand age… etc. It is also the night that witnesses the descent of the spirit, which perhaps refers to Jibril (PBUH); the angel that was distinguished from other angels – according to many traditions – in that he is the messenger who transfers the revelations to prophets, who, in their turn, deliver them to people. The ‘spirit’ might also refer to the great creation which embodies a special mysterious ability or is characterised with a nature different than that of angels, but what are the details of this creation? What are its exact features? Allah did not reveal the truth of this matter; however, we know that Allah has a reason and objective for every matter He ordains, knowing that interpreters related the matter to sustenance, age and all that is related to the believer’s life.
Preparing for the night of Al-Qadr
The prophetic instructions that were inspired by Allah stressed the necessity of praying and invoking Allah, seeking His satisfaction by means of pious words, fearing tears and invocative sobs… This will be the basis of Divine appreciation, for Allah would take care of the worshipper and open him up to Him by His kindness and mercy. This is the secret of the association between man/woman as a human being and the night of Al-Qadr. It is the night where man/woman meets the Divine secret. S/He spends the whole night praying and prostrating. S/He would invoke Allah, faithfully and from the bottom of his/her heart, making this night a Divine meeting that is different than any other. The believer can meet Allah [spiritually] at any time, but meeting Him in this night is totally different since it is better than a thousand months. In this night, mercy is multiplied, [good] deeds become bigger, and the good is increased and Allah’s blessings are multiplied. It is also the night of peace, in which man/woman lives the spirituality of peace with himself/herself and with others, for it has been transformed to convey the meaning of peace that is open in all its meaning to Allah, so that it would be comfort and peace to the spirit and heart of man/woman.
A peace for the soul
This blessed night is considered a night of peace since it embodies no evil, hatred or harm that can tarnish the meaning of peace in this night. It is the peace of the soul that extends in the spirituality of this night whose hours and minutes are filled with Allah’s kindness and mercy. It extends to dawn, when a new day starts, and a new man/woman is born, filled with the spirituality Allah has bestowed upon him/her; a man/woman of love, peace and good who serves Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful Who is the ultimate Source of Peace, the Mighty, the Compeller and the Majestic.
This is the night of predestination that might not have a fixed date, for Allah wanted the believer to seek it in more than one night, assuming that any of his nights could be the night of Al-Qadr in worshipping Allah and seeking His satisfaction. This is what Allah wanting from His servants: seeking to be closer to Him in their souls and hearts, for surely they cannot reach Him with their bodies.
Source: Edited excerpt from “Interpretations inspired from the Quran” (Min Wahi Al-Quran) cited in Bayynat.