Allah (SWT) says in Quran Surah Al-Qadr # 1-5
We revealed the Quran during the Night of Power. What do you know of the Night of Power. The Night of Power is better than a thousand months. During this night, the angel Gabriel and other angels descend therein with the permission of Allah (SWT) with all decrees. This night is peace and goodness until the rising of the dawn.
According to this Surah, Allah (SWT) revealed the Quran during the night of power. We, however, know that the Quran was revealed to Prophet Mohammad (SAS) during the twenty-three years of his life, piece-by-piece. Obviously, the question is what it means when Allah (SWT) informs us that the Quran was revealed during the night of power?
It means that the Quran was transferred from the place of ultimate custody of Allah (SWT) called Lohi-Mahfooz to this universe during the night of power. It also means that the first revelation, to Prophet Mohammad (SAS), which took place in the cave Hira, during Al-Qadar this night of power. It is an interesting observation to note that the Surah is right after Surah Al-Alaq. It points out that the very first revelation did take place during the night of power.
What does ‘Qadr’ mean? Qadr means valuable, precious and power. What made this night the night of power? The revelation of the holy Quran during this night made it a night of value and power.
Furthermore, a person who had no value becomes valuable and God-conscious by worship during this night.
The second meaning of ‘Qadr’ is destiny or fate. Although Allah (SWT) has decided everything in advance, even before we were born, but the decisions for this year are handed over to the angels for execution during this night. According to most of the scholars, the first few verses of Surah Al-Dukhan refers to this night also and strongly supports the above statement. Allah (SWT) says, In Surah Ad-Dukhan # 1-4
By the Quran that makes things clear. We sent this Quran down on a blessed night. Verily, we are ever warning (mankind). There (in that night) is cleared every matter of occurrences (like deaths, birth etc.)
Very few scholars think that these verses of Surah Al-Dukhan point toward the month of Sha’ban. They say that decisions are made during the month of Sha’ban and handed over to the angels for execution during the night of power. Allah (SWT) knows best.
Next, Allah (SWT) says that the night of power is better than a thousand months. What does it mean? Arabs of that time considered one thousand, a very large number. It means that the worship during this night of power is better than very large number of nights.
One thousand months equals eighty-three years and four months. Arabs felt that a person in his eighties becomes devout and pious by worship all his life. But the worship during the night of power is better than the worship over eighty years of continuous submission to Allah (SWT).
Furthermore, Ibn-abi-Hatim Narrated from Mujahid that Prophet Mohammad (SAS) related to his companions the case of a person from the Israelites who continuously worshipped for eighty years without a break. Similarly, Ibn-Jareer narrated from Mujahid that Prophet Mohammad (SAS) said that a person from Israelites used to worship during the night and go for fighting in the path of Allah (SWT) in the day. He did it for eighty years without a break. Allah (SWT) is saying to the followers of the holy prophet (SAS) that worship during the night of power is better than the worship of that jew for eighty continuous years. Hence, the night of power is the unique characteristic of the Ummah of Prophet Mohammad (SAS) and is a special gift from Allah (SWT) to Prophet Mohammad (SAS) and his followers.
This shows how much Allah (SWT) loves his Prophet Mohammad (SAS) and the followers of this Prophet. Although followers of earlier prophets had fasting prescribed for them but only the Ummah of Mohammad (SAS) is granted the supreme distinction of having a night of power during the holy month of fasting.
During this night of power, Gabriel (AS) and other angels appointed at “Sidra tul-Muntaha” come down to the earth and make a special plea to Allah (SWT) for those whom they see engaged in remembrance of Allah (SWT) sitting or standing. This night of power is the night of total peace and goodness and this peaceful state lasts till dawn. Some people may have some extraordinary experiences that night. Those who do not see these unusual happenings do also benefit from this blessed night.
When is this night? Allah (SWT) says in the Quran, Al-Baqarah # 185
We revealed the Quran during the month of Ramadan.
Allah (SWT) also says Surah Al-Qadr # 1
We revealed the Quran during the night of power.
Hence, the night of power happened to be somewhere in the holy month of Ramadan. There are many sayings of Prophet Mohammad (SAS) to point this out. As mentioned in Bukhari, Ayesha (RU) narrated that Prophet Mohammad (SAS) said, “Look for this night during the last ten days of Ramadan.”
It is also mentioned in Muslim as narrated by Ibn-Umar that Prophet Mohammad (SAS) said, “Look for this night during the odd nights of the last ten days of the month of Ramadan.” Many people believe it is on the 27th night of the month of Ramadan. It is not precisely specified so that we can earn extra bounties from Allah (SWT) by searching it and engaging ourselves in remembrance of Allah (SWT). This is, in fact, a mercy of Allah (SWT) upon us.
Sometimes we wonder why Allah (SWT) revealed the Quran during the night and not during the day-time. Allah (SWT) knows best. However, we may say that the night is the time of peace, tranquility, and better concentration. Hence, we have a more keen sense of reception. As Allah (SWT) says in Surah Al-Muzammil # 6
During the night the impressions are more keen and words come out more straight.
In other words, the words are more real and effective in the night and impressions are more lasting.
We also know that night, according to many schools of philosophy, means darkness, emptiness, hollowness and nothingness. When the day dawns, a light makes everything crystal-clear. When the Quran was revealed, the humanity was in total darkness.The Quran changed this darkness into light. This clear-cut guidance of the Quran made absolute distinctions between the right and the wrong. Allah (SWT) mentions this about the Quran in Al-Baqarah # 185
Quran is a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for guidance and the absolute criterion (between right and wrong).
Note that it is guidance not for Arabs only, nor for believers only, but rather for all mankind. Allah (SWT) says in Quran
“Allah (SWT) reveals the Quran on his obedient and beloved servant. This guidance is clear and this guidance takes people out from darkness and leads them into light. Allah (SWT) is, indeed, very kind and merciful for mankind.”
Note that among all the favors of Allah (SWT) to mankind, the biggest favor is to provide this guidance. Obviously, without this guidance, humanity will be lost forever in absolute darkness.
Finally, Ayesha (RU) asked Prophet Mohammad (SAS), “What should I do, if I happen to see this night of power?” Prophet Mohammad (SAS) said, “Make this Dua’:”
“Oh Allah, you are indeed forgiving, you love to forgive, please forgive us too.”
I pray that Allah (SWT) accepts this humble effort and forgives me and all the readers and listeners of this small article. Ameen.