The Night of Decree
The Night of the Revelation of the Qur’an.
A collection of narrations and sayings from the Prophet ﷺ, his Companions (God be pleased with them), the Righteous Ones [salihin] and our Shaykhs on the Night of Decree [laylatul qadr].
The Night of Decree
On the Night of Decree [laylatul qadr], Godﷻ orders Jibrīl (upon him be peace). Jibrīl descends to earth with Angels carrying a green flag. They plant the flag onto the Ka`ba. There are one hundred wings on the flag. Two of those wings do not open except on that night.
Jibrīl opens those two wings on that night, and those wings reach from the east to the west.
On that night Jibrīl instructs the Angels, and they salute and shake hands with everybody who is standing, sitting, performing prayers and remembering Godﷻ [dhikr]. They respond with “āmīn” to all of their prayers.
This continues until the dawn, when Jibrīl says, “O group of Angels! Prepare for the return.”
The Angels say, “O Jibrīl, what did Godﷻ do about the needs of believers who are from Our Master Muḥammad’s ﷺ Community?”
Jibrīl replies, “Godﷻ looked with mercy and grace at them tonight and forgave them. However, four groups are excluded.”
The narrator [Ibn `Abbās (God be pleased with them both)] says, “When we asked “O Messenger of God! Who are they?”, he ﷺ replied:
“The alcoholic, the rebellious child against his or her parents, the one who cuts off ties of kinship, and he who is mushāḥin.”
Then we asked “O Messenger of Godﷺ! What is mushāḥin?”, and he ﷺ said:
“He who cuts off ties between people and he who is disorderly and hostile.””
The Night of Decree taken from Shaykh ꜥAbdullah Sirajuddin al-Husayni
Shaykh ꜥAbdullah Sirajuddin al-Husayni (God sanctify his secret) writes in his text, “Fasting: its Proprieties, its Aims, its Benefits and its Virtues”:
Abū Hurayra (God be pleased with him) relates that the Prophet ﷺ said, “Whoever spends the Night of Destiny in worship [qāma], with full faith in it, seeking what is promised of its reward, all of their past sins will be erased.”
Imām an-Nawawī (God be pleased with him) said regarding this Hadith, that the meaning of “spending it in worship with full faith in it” is that one is convinced that the Night of Decree is true and that it is an act of worship and devotion. And the meaning of “seeking what is promised of its reward”, that one seeks the Pleasure of God the Exalted and the reward He promised to those who perform worship on that Night, without any ostentation (showing off) and the like.
It is a sunna to pray much on that night, and to make many supplications and all other types of worship. It is also recommended that one stays awake the whole night in worship and one needs to seek out the Night of Destiny in the last ten nights of Ramaḍān as it is related in Bukhari that our Liege-lady ꜥĀ’isha (God be pleased with her and her father) said, “The Prophet ﷺ said, ‘Seek out the Night of Decree in the final ten (nights) of Ramaḍān.”
And in the Two Authentic Ḥadīth Texts (Muslim and Bukhārī), it is mentioned that in the final ten nights of Ramaḍān, the Prophet ﷺ would spend them in worship, would wake up his family to perform worship, would exert himself ﷺ even more and would pull his waist-belt tight.
One who believes in that special night and worshiped God in it, will still receive rewards for it, even if its lights and special secrets were not unveiled for them; whether awake or asleep (in dreams). This is shown in a narration from Muslim that the Prophet ﷺ said, “Whoever spends the Night of Decree in worship, and upholds it in belief and seeking its reward, their past sins will be forgiven.”
It is also recommended to recite often on this night the following supplication attributed to our liege-lady ꜥĀ’isha (God be pleased with her and her father) whereby she asked the Prophet ﷺ, “O Messenger of God ﷺ, what should I say if I realised that I have found the Night of Decree?”
He ﷺ answered, “Say, O God, you are oft-forgiving, gracious and generous, You love to pardon, so pardon me (of my sins).”
اَللّٰهُمَّ إِنَّكَ عَفُوٌّ كَرِيمٌ تُحِبُّ ٱلْعَفْوَ فَاعْفُ عَنِّي
Allāhumma innaka ꜥafuwwun karīmun tuḥibbul ꜥafwa, faꜥfu ꜥannī
O God! Truly You are Oft-Pardoning, Gracious and Generous, You Love to pardon, so pardon me!
Dates for the Night of Decree
Based on the words of the Friends of God [awliya’]
Shaykh ibn ‘Arabī (may God sanctify his secret) stated:
“If the 1st of Ramaḍān falls on a Monday, then it (the Night of Decree) may be expected on either the 23rd night or the 19th.
1st Ramaḍān is on a Tuesday: 29th or 25th.
1st Ramaḍān is on a Wednesday: 21st or 17th.
1st Ramaḍān is on a Thursday: 27th or 23rd.
1st Ramaḍān is on a Friday: if the first day of any month other than Ramaḍān falls on a Friday, then the blessed night will be either the 15th night or the 19th of that month.
1st Ramaḍān is on a Saturday: 25th or 21st.
1st Ramaḍān is on a Sunday: if the first day of any month other than Ramaḍān falls on a Sunday, then the blessed night will be either the 17th night or the 13th of that month.”
According to Imām al-Ghazālī (may God sanctify his secret), the Night of Decree [laylatul qadr] can be calculated based on the following:
This is from his text where he said:
O ye who ask about the Night of Power which is…In the last ten days; it manifests
For verily it is in the odd nights of the ten [days]…It is known from the day on which the month [of Ramaḍān] begins
As for Sunday and Wednesday…[Then it begins on the Twenty] Ninth
And Friday with Tuesday…The [Twenty] Seventh
And if it began on a Thursday…Then it is the [Twenty] Fifth
And if it began on a Saturday…Then it is the [Twenty] Third
And if it began on a Monday…Then it is the [Twenty] First
This is [related to us] from the Sufi Ascetics.
1. Ṣaḥih, Ibn `Asākir.