As Ramadan comes to a close, there’s still one hidden gem that Muslims look forward to every single year in this blessed month. Laylatul Qadr, or The Night of Power and Excellence or The Night of Decree, is one of the holiest nights in the calendar for Muslims all over the world. This night in particular is emphasized to be one of the most sacred. It was on this night that Quran was sent down through the heavens to the Prophet Muhammad. The entire 97th chapter of the holy book is dedicated to this night.
“Indeed, We revealed [the Qur’an] during the Night of Decree. And what can make you know what is the Night of Decree? The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months. The angels and the Spirit descend therein by permission of their Lord for every matter. Peace it is until the emergence of dawn.” (97:1-5)
On this night, the angels descend from the heavens and God sends down the fates, destinies, and all decrees for the coming year. It is on Laylatul Qadr that Muslims all over the world pray in a way they have never prayed before. All in the hope that they can change their destiny and seek their heart’s greatest desires.
The descent of the angels is mentioned in the Qur’an, and since angels are usually associated with traits such as light, guidance, and blessings, you can only imagine how symbolic that is for a night as magnificent as Laylatul Qadr. In one narration, the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Truly the angels on this night are as numerous as the pebbles upon the earth.”
The companion Anas ibn Malik reported a story and said, “Ramadan approached, so the Messenger of God said: ‘This month has come to you, and in it there is a night that is better than a thousand months. Whoever is deprived of it is deprived of all goodness, and no one is deprived of its goodness except one who is truly deprived.'”
As Yaqeen Institute writes:
Just as a person awaiting the decree of a judge in the courtroom prays most intensely at the moment when that decree is about to be decided, likewise Laylatul-Qadr may signal that final opportunity to change one’s fate (taqdeer). After that, a person’s taqdeer in the record of the angels is only changed if it was written from before that it would be changed. The hadith scholar, Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani (d. 854 H) notes the difference between the contingent decree (al-Qada’ al-Mu’allaq) which God has given the angels and the irrevocable decree (al-Qada’ al-Mubram) which is with God. The recording of one’s fate which the angels possess can be subject to change, as the Qur’an states “God erases and confirms what He wills” (13:39) and the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said, “Nothing averts fate except supplication (la yaruddu al-qadar illa al-du’a).” However, one’s record with God in the Preserved Tablet (al-Lawh al-Mahfudh) is immutable. Thus, a person praying on Laylatul-Qadr may result in their records with the angels being altered, before those records seal one’s fate for the coming year. Du’a on this night has the greatest power to change decree, hence the night is both the Night of Power and the Night of Decree.
Better than a thousand months
The beloved Prophet Muhammad noted that Laylatul Qadr is better than a thousand months of worship. Imagine the magnitude of this statement. It’s as if you had the opportunity to spend a lifetime of days worshiping God. Often times, it can be difficult to be completely present during Ramadan. Work and other responsibilities can sometimes take a lot out of you and worship can be relegated to a secondary task. It can be disheartening when you see your friends and family rave about their Ramadan bliss whilst you are bending over backwards just to keep afloat. God knows this. He knows the difficulties and stressors we face in life and He understands that Ramadan can also be a difficult time for some of us. That’s the Mercy of God. Knowing all this and more, Allah s.w.t. gifts us one night, that is worth years and years of Ramadan worship! The night of Decree is one last parting gift from Allah before we say goodbye to Ramadan.
So remind yourself of the bounty and magnitude of the Prophet’s words. Do not forget that any action done on this night such as reciting the Quran, remembering Allah, giving charity etc, is better than doing said things for one thousand months. You will be rewarded based on that. And remember too, that actions are judged by their intention. You don’t need to splurge if you don’t have the means to do so. Instead, for example, donate $2 each night to a worthy cause with the intention that it is Laylatul Qadr. This way, you will have reaped the reward as if you donated each day for 1000 months. God is so good!
Laylatul Qadr is hidden
The exact night on which this blessed night occurs has not been mentioned and is unknown. The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon his beautiful soul, said, “Search for Laylatul-Qadr in the odd nights of the last ten nights of Ramadan.”
There is a tremendous wisdom behind not knowing exactly when it occurs, which scholars have pointed out. As Ibn Qudamah al-Maqdisi (d. 620 H) writes:
God has concealed this night from the ummah so that they may strive in seeking it and performing worship throughout the month in the hopes of catching it. Similarly, He concealed the hour of special acceptance on Friday so that one would increase in their supplications throughout the day, and He concealed His Greatest Name (ism al-a’dham) amongst His Divine Names and His Pleasure with acts of obedience so that people would strive for them. And He concealed an individual’s lifespan and the Hour [of the Day of Judgment] so that humanity would continuously strive in good deeds, being heedful of them. [x]
The Prophet also mentioned, “Whoever prays during the night of Qadr with faith and hoping for its reward will have all of his previous sins forgiven.”
The best dua
There is also a special opportunity on this night to seek forgiveness from God.
A’isha asked the Prophet, “O Messenger of Allah! If I knew which night is Laylatul-Qadr, what should I say during it?” And he instructed her to say:
اللَّهُمَّ إِنَّكَ عُفُوٌّ كَرِيمٌ تُحِبُّ الْعَفْوَ فَاعْفُ عَنِّي
O Allah! You are Most Forgiving, and you love to forgive. So forgive me.
Make a dua list
Laylatul Qadr gives you the opportunity to ask yourself what you really want from Allah. Make a list of everything, don’t hold back. Whether it’s small, big, outlandish, unimaginable, or simple. Be in conversation with God on this night. Talk to Him. He can give you the whole world if you ask Him to and He thinks it best for your wellbeing in this world and the next. Pray for yourself, but also for your family, friends, the entire Muslim community.