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The Night of Power (2/3)

EsinIslam Ramadan Explorer

Tajuddin B. Shuaib

Why the name, the Night of Power?

As mentioned above, it is the night of Taqdeer, meaning the one in which Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) announces to the angels His already decreed commands, rules, events, etc., for the coming calendar year, from the present Night of Power to the next Night of Power. Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) states:

"We sent it down during a blessed night; We forever wish to warn (against evil). In that (night) is made distinct every affair of wisdom!'' (Al-Qur'an, Surah Ad-Dukhan, 44: 3-4)

It should be known that most scholars believe Allah's commands and rules are not made on that night. It has already been decreed in the eternity what is known to Allah, but that knowledge is not known to anyone, including the angels, until He announces it to the angels on that night so that they will record it on the protective slate.

This is also the night of honor and prestige which may be awarded to the servant who devotes himself to special deeds, or to the deeds themselves for the higher value they contain on that night.

The Night Is Concealed

Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) in His Mercy, has concealed the Night of Power from us for the following reasons: The problems pertaining to an exact night on which the honors are attained are not unique with this Night. It seems that Allah conceals many things. He conceals his pleasure from us in all our good deeds so that we will strive in all of them. He conceals His wrath from us in all of the sins we commit so that we will avoid them. He conceals His most beloved servants (awliya) so that we will respect all the believers. He has concealed the time of His acceptance of our supplications so that we will strive in all our supplications. He concealed his greatest name, so that we mention all His names. He has concealed the time of death so that we will be conscious of Him and our deeds all the time.

He has concealed the exact date of the Night of Power so that we would double our efforts in the whole month of Ramadan, or at least the last ten days. He has concealed it also to test the serious and the non-serious. The seriously interested person will search for the night late and in the early hours until he or she attains it, regardless of the hardship.

Where Is The Night?

The majority of the scholars who agreed that the night occurs in the month of Ramadan, disagreed on the exact night. Some said it comes on the first day of Ramadan. Others said it is on the seventh; while others say it's on the 19th night. All these opinions are not built on sound proof. There is evidence that the night comes on the last ten days of Ramadan, specifically on the odd numbered nights. In a report by Bukhari, the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said:

"Seek it on the odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadan."

In a hadith by Ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with him), some men among the companions saw the night in a dream occurring in the last seven nights. Responding to this, the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) told them:

"I see your dreams coincide on the last seven, whoever wants to seek it should do so in the last seven." (Agreed upon)

In Muslim's report, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

"Seek the night in the last ten days, and if any of you is weak, or can't observe it, he should not miss the remaining seven days."

In Hadith by Ubayy bin Ka'ab (may Allah be pleased with them), he said:

"By Allah, I know which night it is. It is the night the Messenger commanded us to observe, the night of the 27th." (Reported by Ahmed/Tirmidhi)

Analyzing all these citations indicate still no one knows for sure which night is the Night of Power, at least in a given year. It seems that the night shifts and rotates to different nights from one year to another. It may occur on the 27th in one year, while the next year it will be on the 25th, while on the following year it will be occurring on the 29th, etc. There is an indication to this in hadith by Bukhari, when the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) states:

"Seek it on the twenty-ninth; it may be on the twenty-seventh, or on the twenty-fifth."

Imam Ibn Hajr, in his book, "Fathul Bari ", in the commentary of the Book of Bukhari, said:

"I accept the ruling that the night occurs on the odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadan, namely the twenty-first, twenty-third, twenty-fifth, twenty-seventh and or twenty-ninth."

Seeking The Night

It is recommended to seek the night and spend it diligently in devotion, including night Sunnah prayers (Tahajjud), recitation of Al-Qur'an and supplications. In a hadith related by Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him), the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said:

"He who spends the night in prayer on the Night of Power, as a sign of His faith, and seeking rewards from Allah, his previous sins will be forgiven." (Reported by Bukhari/Muslim)

This citation indicates that regardless of whether a person knows the night or not, Allah will grant him forgiveness for previous shortcomings.

"And what will explain to thee what the Night of Power is? The Night of Power is better than a thousand months." (Al-Qur'an, Surah Al-Qadr, 97:2-3)

Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) is emphasizing by putting the second verse in question form. The answer being no one knows, or comprehends, the awesomeness and the depth of honor of the night. As if to say whatever merits Allah informs you about the night is just nothing compared to the things you have no idea about. Nonetheless, He mentions three honors in the credit of the night:

1. "The Night is better than a thousand months."
2. "Therein, come down the angels...", and
3. "Peace!"

(Continued)

Source: Essentials of Ramadan
 

EsinIslam Ramadan Team

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