Lailatul Qadar or Laylat-ul-Qadr (Arabic: لیلة القدر), also known as the Night of Power, Night of Value, the Night of Decree or the Night of Measures, is an enigmatic and spiritually charged night in Islam. It is the anniversary of two very important dates in Islam that occurred in the month of Ramadan. It commemorates the revelation of the Quran, the holy book of Islam, and is shrouded in profound mystery. We will delve deeper into the interpretation of Surah Al-Qadr, the chapter that provides insight into Lailatul Qadar, with a focus on understanding its spiritual significance and the divine elements it entails.
Surah Al-Qadr: The Revelation
Surah Al-Qadr, the 97th chapter of the Quran, is a concise yet profound scripture consisting of just five verses. Despite its brevity, it offers deep insights into the significance of Lailatul Qadar and its divine nature.
We have indeed revealed this (Message) in the Night of Power:Sura’ al-Qadr
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 morn!
Verse 1 opens with the declaration: “We have indeed revealed this (Message) in the Night of Power.” This verse unequivocally connects Lailatul Qadar with the revelation of the Quran, affirming it as the night when Allah chose to bestow His divine message upon humanity.
Verse 2 presents a rhetorical question: “And what will explain to thee what the Night of Power is?” This question underscores the incomprehensible nature of Lailatul Qadar. It serves as a reminder that this night’s profound spiritual significance transcends human understanding.
Verse 3 declares: “The Night of Power is better than a thousand months.” This verse emphasizes the unparalleled value of Lailatul Qadar, highlighting its spiritual potency and the unique opportunity it presents for believers.
Verse 4 introduces the concept of angels and the Spirit descending during Lailatul Qadar: “Therein come down the angels and the Spirit by Allah’s permission, on every errand.” The presence of celestial beings signifies the divine nature of this night, as these beings descend upon the earth with Allah’s permission.
Verse 5 concludes with the assurance of peace: “Peace!… This until the rise of morn!” This peace signifies protection from evil and an atmosphere of spiritual serenity during Laylat-ul-Qadar.
Interpreting Surah Al-Qadr
The interpretation of Surah Al-Qadr provides profound insights into the spiritual essence of Lailatul Qadar:
- Divine Revelation: The opening verse of the chapter firmly establishes Lailatul Qadar as the night of the Quran’s revelation. It underscores the Quran’s divine origin and its intimate connection to this special night.
- Incomprehensible Nature: Verse 2 emphasizes the mysterious and incomprehensible nature of Lailatul Qadar. It serves as a reminder that while its significance is undeniable, its full depth eludes human comprehension.
- Spiritual Potency: Verse 3’s declaration of Lailatul Qadar being better than a thousand months highlights its exceptional spiritual potency. It serves as an invitation for believers to engage in acts of worship and devotion with unmatched fervour.
- Celestial Presence: Verse 4 introduces the presence of angels and the Spirit, emphasizing the divine nature of Lailatul Qadar. The descent of celestial beings symbolizes the divine connection and blessings that permeate this night.
- Peace and Serenity: The final verse assures believers of peace until morning, signifying protection from evil and the presence of a tranquil and spiritually uplifting atmosphere during Lailatul Qadar.
This Sura describes Lailatul Qadar, the “Night of Power” in Ramadhan on which Muslims believe the Qur’an was first revealed. The “Spirit” mentioned in verse 4 is commonly interpreted as referring to the angel Jibreel (Gabriel).
The “peace” referred to is “security in which Shaytan (Iblis) cannot do any evil or any harm”, while Ibn Kathir quotes Ash-Sha’bi as saying that it refers to the angels greeting the people in the mosques throughout the night.
Laylat al-Qadr, the Night of Power, holds a profound and spiritually charged place in Islam. Surah Al-Qadr, a chapter with concise yet impactful verses, offers deep insights into the divine nature of this night, its connection to the Quran’s revelation, and the presence of celestial beings. While Laylat al-Qadr’s blessings, timing, and broader significance are crucial, this interpretation primarily focuses on the spiritual elements and the mysterious essence that render this night sacred. It serves as a reminder of the profound spiritual connection that Muslims seek to cultivate with Allah during this auspicious time, drawing closer to the divine and seeking His guidance and blessings.
This special night, shrouded in mystery and divine significance, occurs during an odd-numbered night within the last ten days of Ramadan. However, its exact date remains uncertain due to the promises made in Surah Al-Qadr and various hadiths. Muslims consider Laylat al-Qadr a particularly auspicious time for prayer, supplication, and repentance to God. It is a period of heightened devotion and spiritual intensity, as believers strive to earn Allah’s favor and forgiveness during this sacred occasion.