The Muslim holiday Lailat al Qadr (also spelled Lailat al Kadr) means “Night of Destiny” or “Night of Power.” This is the night when, according to classical exegesis, the first verses of the Qur’an were revealed to Muhammad. The Encyclopaedia of the Qur’an states,
The phrase “Night of Power” (laylat al-qadr) appears in Quran 97:1, and lends itself to the name of the sūra (Sūrat al-Qadr)…This night is described as a night better than a thousand months in which angels…descend by leave of their lord from every command, and there is said to be a peace that lasts until the break of dawn. The “blessed” night during which God sent down the Qurʾān is believed to be the night of qadr (Ṭabarī, Tafsīr, xxv, 64).
Muslim commentators, following Ibn ʿAbbās (d. 68/686-8), have suggested that the Qurʾān was sent down from the Preserved Tablet ( cf. q 85:21-2) to the lowest heaven on this night and then revealed by Gabriel to Muḥammad over a period of twenty or twenty-three years (Ṭabarī, Tafsīr, xxx, 166; cf. Ibn Isḥāq-Guillaume, 111-2); or, following al-Shaʿbī (d. ca. 103/721), that this night was the occasion of the first revelation (Ṭabarsī, Majmaʿ, ix, 516-21; Rāzī, Tafsīr, xxxiii, 27-8; cf. Ṭabarī, Tafsīr, xxx, 166)…
What do people do on Lailat al Qadr?
According to the website timeanddate.com, many Muslims in the United States believe that Laylat al Qadr marks the time when the Qur’an’s first verses were revealed to the Islamic prophet Muhammed. It is also believed that this night marks their fate in the following year. Therefore, many Muslims pray in the night to God for mercy, forgiveness, and salvation. This practice is also called Ehyaa.
This “Night of Power” is considered the most appropriate time of the entire year to pray for salvation and blessings. It is believed that a Muslim’s past sins are forgiven if the person prays throughout this night. Many people assemble at mosques during the Isha’ prayer, with many prayers being made until midnight.
Questions to think about on Lailat al Qadr
- How can Allah pardon the greatest of sins and still be just?
- Does Allah have to deny/ignore His justice in order to pardon sin?