What is the night of Qadr in the Muslim tradition?
The night of Qadr is a blessed night. It is the greatest night in the ten last days of the holy month of Ramadan. God – Praise be to Him – has made it so distinguished by making worship in it better than worship in a thousand months altogether; the equivalent of eighty three years and four months. He –Glorified be He– says: “The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months. The angels and the Spirit (Gabriel) descend therein by permission of their Lord for every matter” (Surat Al-Qadr, verses 3-4).
When is the night of Qadr and what are its signs?
Some of the signs of the Qadr night are explained in a number of hadiths of the Prophet –God bless him and grant him peace. For example, in one hadith narrated by Wathila Ibnu Al-Asqa’a, the Prophet –God bless him and grant him peace– said: “the night of Qadr is a bright night. It is neither hot nor cold, and clear of rain, cloud or wind. No star is shot on that night. In the morning after it, the sun rises without beams”. This hadith was narrated on the authority of At-Tabarani in his book Al-Kabir, hadith number 17605.
In addition, Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri narrated on the authority of Al-Bukhari that the Prophet –God bless him and grant him peace– said, “I have seen this night but I have been made to forget it; so, seek it on every uneven night in the last ten nights (of Ramadan)” (hadith number 1914). Uneven nights mean the twenty first, the twenty third, the twenty fifth, and so on. Some other scholars mentioned that believers feel more light, peace and delight within their hearts on the night of Qadr.
However, God – Glorified be He – has kept the exact date of the night of Qadr unknown mainly out of His mercy for mankind. By so doing, Muslims are urged to work harder in the blessed last ten nights of Ramadan with more prayers, invocations, and remembrance of God to draw near to Him. The Lord –Glorified be He– also concealed which night it is specifically with a view to test the believers and distinguish the ones who will persevere in worship to come across the great rewards therein from those who are careless and lazy.
What are the virtues of the night of Qadr?
1-God –Praised be He– sent down the holy Qur’an on that night as a guidance and mercy for mankind by which they can win happiness in this world and in the Hereafter.
2-This night is better than a thousand months. God said: “The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months” (Surat Al-Qadr, verse 3). The acts of worship we do in it are better than our deeds in a thousand months.
3-Angels and the Spirit Gabriel come down with every good, blessing and mercy on this night. God –Glorified be He– says: “The angels and the Spirit (Gabriel) descend therein by permission of their Lord with every matter” (Surat Al-Qadr verse 4).
4-It is a night of peace for the large amount of safety therein from torture and punishment. No punishment is assigned to the creatures on this magnificent night. This is implied in what our Lord – Praised be He – said in Surat Al-Qadr, verse 5: “Peace it is until the emergence of dawn”.
5-In praise of this magnificent night, God has named an entire Surah (chapter) in the Qur’an after it. Surat Al-Qadr includes five verses and is forever read until the end of time.
What is recommended to do on this night?
All righteous deeds lead to winning the blessing and virtues of this special night. Yet, scriptural texts have pinpointed two major ways to do so. The first way is by performing the Qiyyam (night) prayer. The Prophet –God bless him and grant him peace– promised that, “whoever performs prayer during the night of Qadr out of earnest faith and hope for reward is expiated for all their sins of the previous year”.
The second way to best benefit from the blessings of the night of Qadr is by supplication. When asked by his wife, Aisha, mother of the believers –may God be pleased with her– about this night, the prophet –God bless him and grant him peace– recommended her to “say: ‘Our Lord! Verily You are Pardoning and Bountiful and You love forgiveness; so, forgive me’”. Supplication is highly recommended in the holy month of Ramadan in general and on the night of Qadr in particular. Scholars believe that this is the reason why a supplication verse is placed in the midst of fasting verses in Surat Al-Baqara, in the holy Qur’an. God –Glorified be He– addresses his Messenger –God bless him and grant him peace– saying: “And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided”. (2: 186).