Laylat al-Qadr | One of the most important nights of Ramadan

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Courtesy of Wikipedia – This is the version, I have heard all my life. This is indeed the night of night of meditation focusing entirely and connecting with God. The italic comments are mine.

Laylat al-Qadr (لیلة القدر Arabic) is also known as Shab-e-Qadr (Urdu/ Persian), variously rendered in English as the Night of Destiny, Night of Power, Night of Value, the Night of Decree or Night of Measures.

It is the anniversary of the night Muslims believe the first verses of the Quran were revealed to the Islamic prophet Muhammad.

Revelation to Muhammad

Laylat al-Qadr is believed by the muslims to be the night when the Quran was first revealed. Some but not all Muslims believe that revelation of the Quran occurred in two phases, with the first phase being the revelation in its entirety on Laylat al-Qadr to the angel Gabriel (Jibril in Arabic) in the lowest heaven, and then the subsequent verse-by-verse revelation to Muhammad (SAW) by Gabriel, across 23 years.
The revelation started in 610 CE at the Hira cave on Mount Nur in Mecca. The first Surah that was revealed was Surah Al-Alaq (in Arabic ) “?????” which is also commonly referred to as Surah Iqra (in Arabic) “????”. During the first revelation the first five verses of this surah, chapter, were revealed. The first word of the revelation, ‘Ikra’ meaning ‘read’ is significant as Muhammad could not read.

The command ‘read’ thus remains a foremost command addressed to every Muslim and these points to the importance of reading, learning, and knowledge in Islam. The pillar of Islam standing on no lesser a theme through propagation of the Quran and the Traditions of Muhammad the religion gained and continues to gain strength.

This night being of historical significance, Quran tells the Muslims that they should worship as much as they can on this night. According to Islam it is also believed to be the night when God decides the destiny of everyone.


Muslims often pray extra prayers on this day, particularly the night prayer. They awake, pray, and hope God will give them anything they may desire on this night. Mostly, they perform tilawat (reading the Quran). This is pure meditation.

Those who can afford to devote their time in the remembrance of God stay in the mosque for the final ten days of Ramadan. This worship is called I?tik?f (retreat). They observe a fast during the day and occupy themselves with the remembrance of God, performing voluntary prayers and studying the Quran, day and night, apart from the obligatory prayers which they perform with the congregation. Food and other necessities of life are provided for them during their stay in the mosque. Devoting time to remember God, Muslims also hope to receive divine favors and blessings connected with Lailat ul-Qadr.

As per the Quran (Surah Qadr) Angels come down on the earth with all things (destiny of the people for the coming year). “The angels and Jibreel descend in it by the permission of their Lord for every affair” (97:4)

Those who are not familiar of the concept about angels on the earth, can read the above as a state of mind where one feels prepared to receive blessings, ready to be merciful, kind and generous.

Sunni Islam

Laylat al-Qadr is to be found in the last five odd nights of the 3rd decade of Ramadan. There is no history in the Quran as to when the specific date is. Therefore in the Sunni communities of all the Islamic countries, the Laylat al-Qadar is found to be on the last nights of Ramadan. Mostly it is on one of the odd nights, i.e. the 21st (means the night that follows the day number 21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th or 29th night. Many traditions insist particularly on the night before the 27 of Ramadan.

Ahmadiyya Islam

Ahmadiyya follow the same tradition as Sunni Muslims.

Shia Islam

Similarly Lailatul Qadr’ is to be found in the last ten odd nights of Ramadan but mostly on the 19th or 21st or 23rd or 27th night of Ramadhan. The 19th, according to the Shia belief coincides with the night Ali was attacked in the Mihrab while worshipping in the Great Mosque of Kufa, and died on the 21st of Ramadhan. Shia Muslims worship and regard these four nights as greatly rewarding.

Many Shia Muslims, who make up the largest minority of Islamic followers – including the Ismailis and especially Dawoodi Bohra’s – observe Laylat al-Qadr on the night of the 23rd, in keeping with traditions received through Ali and his wife Fatimah, Muhammad’s daughter and Fatimid ImamsThe tradition is also said to have been articulated by Ja’far al-Sadiq and other Shia Imams.

Religious importance


We have indeed revealed this (Message) in the Night of Power: And what will explain to thee what the night of power is? The Night of Power is better than a thousand months. Therein come down the angels and the Spirit by Allah’s permission, on every errand: Peace!…This until the rise of dawn! -Sura 97 (Al-Qadr), ?y?t 1-5[5]

The verses above regard the Night as better than one thousand months. The whole month of Ramadan is a period of spiritual training wherein believers devote much of their time to fasting, praying, reciting the Quran, remembering God, and giving charity.

However because of the revealed importance of this night, Muslims strive [give more effort] harder in the last ten days of Ramadan since the Laylat al-Qadr could be one of the odd-numbered days in these last ten (the first, third, fifth, seventh or ninth).

Normally, some Muslims from each community perform i?tik?f in the mosque: they remain in the mosque for the last ten days of the month for prayers and recitation.Women too observe i’tikaf . They remain in prayer and meditation mostly, although they are allowed to do the minimum domestic work to run the family .When Muhammed observed i’tikaf in a tent, he saw a few tents around his . His wives joined him by pitching tents .


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