Lailat al-Qadr is the most magnificent night of the year, a night about which Allah has revealed a Surah in the Qur’an i.e. Surat Al-Qadr. In it He says:
“The Night of Power is better than a thousand months. Therein come down the angels and the Spirit (Gabriel) by the permission of their Lord, on every errand: ‘Peace!’…This until the break of dawn!” [97:1-5]
It is the night, as has been mentioned above, in which the Qur’an was made to descend to the lowest heaven before being revealed on Earth. But it is also the night in which all that is to happen throughout the course of the coming year is revealed to the angels, who are assigned to discharge Allah’s decrees, including: who is to receive how much sustenance, who is to be born, and who is to die. Allah says elsewhere of this tremendous night,
“By the Scripture that makes (matters) plain. Verily, We sent it down on a blessed night – verily, We are ever warning. In it (that night) every affair of wisdom is made distinct.”
This night has been declared as better than a thousand months, and so worship in this one magnificent night is better than the worship of 83.3 years! But when is this night? Abu Sa`id al-Khudri (RA) relates that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) entered into I`tikaf (confinement inside a mosque to devote oneself to worship for some time) during the first ten days of Ramadhan, and some Sahabah joined him. Then Jibril came to him and said, “That which you search is ahead of you.” They then continued the I`tikaf for the middle ten nights, and again Jibril came and said to the Prophet (SAW), “That which you search is ahead of you.” Then, on the morning of the twentieth day of Ramadhan, the Prophet (SAW) addressed the Sahabah and said, “I was shown Lailat al-Qadr, but I have forgotten it,” – other narrations mention that he said, “but its knowledge was lifted away from me, and it may be that this is better for you,” – “and it is in the last ten nights (of Ramadhan), in the odd nights…” [al-Bukhari].
Muslims should therefore spend some time of all the nights of Ramadhan in extra worship, with particular emphasis on the odd nights among the last ten. Of all the hadiths narrated about this night, a large number indicate that the 27th night is Lailat al-Qadr. This is why it has become customary for people to worship on that night. However, this may simply be pointing to the fact that it was on that night during the Prophet’s life. The Prophet’s (saw) statements expressing that it can be on any other odd night are extremely explicit. He (saw) said, ‘Seek Lailat al-Qadr in the odd nights of the last ten nights of Ramadhan.’ [al-Bukhari]. Thus those who single out the 27th for worship risk missing out Lailat al-Qadr altogether.
No particular form of worship has been prescribed for this night: Salah, reciting the Qur’an, engaging in dhikr (remembrance of Allah), and du`a’ are all ways in which one can gain reward and nearness to Allah (SWT). It is not at all necessary, rather forbidden by most scholars, to gather in Masjids for collective worship, rather solitary worship whether in the Masjid or at home is recommended and most effective.
By: Shaykh Shafi Choudhury