Laylatul Qadr

And what can make you know what is the Night of Decree? (Holy Qur’an 97:2)

Laylatul Qadr is possibly the most sacred night of the year. Also referred to as the Night of Power or the Night of Decree, it is described by Allah (SWT), in the Holy Qur’an, as being better than a thousand months. For this reason, Muslims dedicate themselves to worship all throughout the night, in order to reap the blessings and peace which rains down on the earth till morning.

But Laylatul Qadr is also hidden in mystery, which keeps believers guessing every Ramadan as to when it might be. Here are some answers to all our frequently asked questions about the Night of Power.


 

When is Laylatul Qadr 2022?

Based on the hadiths, the popular belief is that Laylatul Qadr falls on the 27th Night of the month of Ramadan. This is when many Muslim countries officially observe the Night of Power, with special prayers and functions being held at mosques.

Ibn Mas’ud said: “I swear by Allah that I know which night it is. It is the night Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) ordered us to observe standing in prayer…. It is the night on the eve of the 27th of Ramadan. Its sign is that the Sun will rise in the morning of that day white without exuding any rays.” [Muslim]

However, the hadiths about Laylatul Qadr are full of date variations. We take this to mean that the exact date of the Night of Power was deliberately hidden so that the believers would strive to seek it out. For this reason, Muslims spend every odd night in the last 10 nights of Ramadan in worship.

“Seek it in the last ten days of Ramadhan, when there are nine days left, and seven days left, and five days left.” [Bukhari]


 

What is the story of Laylatul Qadr?

Laylatul Qadr is when the first revelation of the Holy Qur’an was given to our beloved Prophet (ﷺ). On this night, the Angel Jibril (AS) came to him, while he was worshipping in seclusion in a cave on Mount Hira. The angel commanded him to “Read”. To which the Prophet (ﷺ) responded, “I cannot read”.

The Angel Jibril (AS) embraced our Prophet (ﷺ) and squeezed him and said to him again, “Read”. But the response was the same. The Prophet (ﷺ) could not and did not know what to read.

Jibril (AS) overwhelmed the Prophet (ﷺ) in his embrace again and commanded, “Read”. But the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “I cannot read”.

For the third time, Jibril (AS) embraced and squeezed the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), until he felt he would nearly pass out. And then came the command for a final time, ‘Read’… followed by the first verses to be revealed of the Holy Qur’an:

Read, ˹O Prophet,˺ in the Name of your Lord Who created – created humans from a clinging clot. Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous, Who taught by the pen – taught humanity what they knew not. (Holy Qur’an 96: 1-5)

In effect, Laylatul Qadr is the night in which Allah (SWT) first began to ‘speak’ to His beloved Messenger and revealed to him his mission of Prophethood. This mission, to deliver mankind into the salvation and peace of Islam, was one Muhammad (ﷺ) had been destined for, even before the world was created. Contemplating this gives us some idea of how momentous Laylatul Qadr is in the destiny of mankind. Perhaps that is why it is called the Night of Decree. And Allah (SWT) knows best.


 

Which Surah is about Laylatul Qadr?

Al-Qadr, the 97th Surah of the Holy Qur’an is about the Night of Power. It was revealed in Mecca and celebrates Laylatul Qadr – the night in which the Holy Qur’an was first sent down. Comprising only 5 verses, it is a short Surah and one that is easy to memorise. It is from this Surah that we know how important the Night of Power is.

Indeed, We sent it [i.e., the Qur’ān] down 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 [i.e., Gabriel] descend therein by permission of their Lord for every matter. Peace it is until the emergence of dawn. (Holy Qur’an 97:1-5)


 

On Laylatul Qadr what dua and supplication should we recite?

It is reported by A’isha (RA) that when she asked the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) what supplication she should recite if she came upon the Night of Decree, he advised her to recite the following dua:

Allahumma innaka ‘afuwwun tuhibbul-‘afwa, fa’fu ‘anni (O Allah, You are Forgiving and love forgiveness, so forgive me). [Bukhari]

For big or small transgressions, and even those sins we commit without knowing it, we are all in need of forgiveness. The best part about being in a state of regret for a mistake we’ve made is the fact that this is a state that Allah (SWT) loves.

Whoever establishes the prayers on the night of Qadr out of sincere faith and hoping to attain Allah’s rewards (not to show off) then all his past sins will be forgiven. [Bukhari]

Allah (SWT) loves those who turn to Him after their errors, and He loves to forgive and bring us back into His mercy.


 

What should I do on Laylatul Qadr?

If we want to gain the love of Allah (SWT) on this Holiest of nights, then what better way than to emulate the one He loves most? Here are some practices of our Prophet (ﷺ), based on the hadith:

Itikaf – One of the Prophet’s (ﷺ) practices was to observe I’tikaf on the last ten days of Ramadan. This is when a person retreats from unnecessary communication and worldly preoccupations and dedicates his/her time entirely to worship.

A’isha (RA) was reported to have said, “Allah’s Apostle (ﷺ) used to practice Itikaf in the last ten nights of Ramadan and used to say, “Look for the Night of Qadr in the last ten nights of the month of Ramadan”.” [Bukhari]

Tahajjud Prayer – Possibly one of the best forms of worship we can perform on the Night of Power is Tahajjud, the voluntary Night Prayer. This is usually performed in the last third of the night (although its time extends between Isha and Fajr).

A’isha (RA) reported that when the last ten nights began Allah’s Messenger kept awake at night (for prayer and devotion), wakened his family, and prepared himself to observe prayer (with more vigour). [Sahih Muslim]

Sadaqah – There is no easier time to give charity, willingly and generously, than when our hearts have been softened in the month of blessings. So, give what you can in whatever form, whether it’s Sadaqah for the needy, or even a smile or kind word to someone.

The Messenger of Allah, (ﷺ) was the most generous of people and he was even more generous in Ramadan. [Bukhari]

Other acts of worship we can perform on the Night of Power include:

  • Reading Qur’an
  • Istighfar – seeking forgiveness
  • Dhikr – remembrance of Allah (SWT)
  • Reciting Salawat – sending prayers and salutations upon the Prophet (ﷺ)

 

What are the Signs of Laylatul Qadr?

Based on the hadith, there is a popular opinion that when a Friday night falls on an odd night in Ramadan it is likely to be Laylatul Qadr.

Lailatul-Qadr is calm and pleasant, neither hot nor cold, the sun arises on its morning being feeble and red. [Ibn Khuzaimah]

Some other signs of the Night of Power based on the hadith include:

  • The possibility of rainfall during the day or the night
  • A night sky that is luminous but without rays
  • A light fog
  • A moon that is as clear as a half plate
  • A soothing night without the discomfort of extreme heat or cold
  • A sun that rises the following morning is weak, like a red orb without rays

On the morning following Laylatul-Qadr the sun rises not having any rays, as if it were a brass dish, until it rises up. [Muslim]

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