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The Night of Al-Qadr
Occasion of RevelationIbn Abi Hatim has reported from Mujhid (as mursal hadith) that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ was told about a mujahid [ warrior in the cause of religion ] from amongst the Children of Israel who carried weapons of war on his shoulders for a thousand months during which time he never laid down his arms. The Companions were amazed when they heard this. On that occasion, this Surah was revealed which describes that worship in the Night of Qadr granted to this Ummah exceeds by more than a thousand months of jihad persistently fought by that warrior. According to another narration of Mujahid cited in Ibn Jarir, a worshipper from among the Children of Israel used to worship Allah the whole night, and as soon as the dawn broke, he would arm himself and fight the whole day. This continued consecutively for a thousand months. This Surah was thus revealed. This shows the superiority of the Ummah of the Holy Prophet `, and that the Night of Qadr is a special characteristic of this ummah. [ Mazhari ].
Meaning of The Night of QadrOne meaning of the word Qadr is ‘greatness, honour or dignity’. Zuhri and other scholars have assigned this meaning to it. The night is called the Night of Qadr because it is a night of greatness, honour, majesty and dignity. Abu Bakr Warraq has stated that this night is so called because a person becomes a man of honour and dignity on account of repentance, seeking pardon and righteous acts during this night, whilst prior to this he might have lacked honour and dignity on account of unrighteous life he might have led.
Date of the Night of QadrIt is explicitly stated in the Qur’an that the Night occurs in the blessed or auspicious month of Ramadan, but its exact date has not been disclosed. As a result, it is disputed and debated among scholars. There are about forty opinions recorded. Mazhari states that the most authentic opinion is that the Night of Qadr occurs in the last ten nights of Ramadan, but no specific date has been fixed. It could be any of the last ten odd nights which may alternate from year to year. According to authentic Traditions, it could be one of the following nights: 21, 23, 25, 27 and 29. Thus all the apparently conflicting Traditions relating to the odd nights are reconciled. All the Traditions pertaining to the date of the Night are authentic, and there is no need for any convoluted interpretation. Most eminent jurists – like Aba Qilabah, Imam Malik, Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Sufyan Thawri, Ishaq Ibn Rahwaih, Abu Thawr, Muzani, Ibn Khuzaymah and others – agree that the Night occurs in the last ten odd nights, alternating. Imam Shafi’i has two opinions. In one he sides with the majority, and in another he holds that the night is fixed and does not alternate. [ Ibn Kathir ].
The Value and Importance of the Night and a Special Du’ a for the NightThe greatest virtue of the Night is mentioned in the Surah itself, that is, the acts of worship performed in this single night is better than worship in one thousand months which amounts to eighty-three years and four months. The figure here and elsewhere in the Qur’an does not signify its precise number, but simply denotes a very large or high number. Allah alone knows how much more or better.
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