‘Ubaadah bin ‘Saamit R.A. said, ‘Once Rasulullah S.W. S.W. came out to inform us the true date of Laylatul Qadr. (Unfortunately at that time) an argument took place between two muslim men, whereupon he said, “I came out in order to inform you as to when Laylatul Qadr was, but because two people argued (the fixing of the correct date) was taken away. Perhaps that is better for you. So seek it among the ninth, seventh and fifth nights”.
Reported in Mishkaat.
Three important points are referred to in this Hadith. Firstly, there is mention of an argument which resulted in the knowledge of Laylatul Qadr being withheld from us. Arguments are always the cause of loss of blessings once Rasulullah S.W. S.W. inquired of the companions, “Shall I inform you of some action that is better than ‘salaah, fasting and charity?” The companions replied, “Certainly”. Rasulullah S.W. S.A. then said, “Maintaining peaceful and good relations amongst yourselves is most virtuous for verily arguments among yourselves eliminates faith “. This means that just as the razor removes hair form the head so does arguments amongst yourself remove faith. This is indeed an illness among us. Even those among us who appear exceptionally religious and busy with thikr are victims of these arguments and strife. Firstly we should carefully study Rasulullah S.W. S.W. saying, then check our conduct in which pride prevents us to submit towards natural conciliation. In the first chapter of book (where the etiquette of fasting is discussed) we read that Rasulullah S.W. S.W. said, “To insult a muslim is the most despicable and obnoxious type of achievement. We often go to such extent that when we cross words with Muslims in arguments, we do not even care for a Muslim’s or refrain from insults. In such cases no notice seems to be taken of the injunctions of Allah and His messenger. The Holy Qur’aan says,
“Argue not among yourselves, otherwise your courage will go and your strength depar, and be patient and persevering, for Allah is with those who patiently persevere”
(Surah Anfaal: 46)
It is now the duty of those who always seek to injure and destroy the honour and dignity of others to sit back and think how much they have through these despicable deeds, themselves become despicable in Allah’s sight and in the sight of those around them. The person who serves relationships with his brothers for more than three days and dies in this state will go straight to Jahannam. Rasulullah S.W. S.W. said that on every Monday and Thursday the actions of servants are brought befor Allah. Then through His Mercy (as a result of certain pious deeds) forgiveness is granted except to the idolators. However, regarding any two people between whom an argument had taken place. And friendship is cut off it shall be said “Leave their affair aside until such time that they become reconciled”.
Another Hadith states that when actions are presented before Allah, every Monday and Thursday, repentance is accepted from those who repent, and forgiveness is granted to those who seek pardon. As for those who had arguments, they are let as they are.
Another Hadith further teaches us that on Shabe Bara’at (the night of the 15th Sha’baan) the mercy of Allah is directed at all Allah’s creation and forgiveness is freely granted except for two types of persons. One, a kaafir (disbeliever), and the one who harbours bad thoughts against others in another Hadith it is stated: There are three kinds of people whose ‘salaah does not ascend one hand span above their heads for acceptance. Mentioned among these are the ones who argue among themselves.
In the above paragraphs I have digressed form the point under discussion. It was not my intention to mention all these Ahaadith on arguments. I merely did it to bring to our notice this great evil which we underestimate, so much so that evens those whom we consider to be noble and righteous are guilty of it. To Allah is my plea, and He is the One we seek assistance from. On the other hand, be informed that this fighting, use of harsh words and cutting oneself off from another, will only be regarded as a crime and evil in Islaam, when done out of enmity and hatred over worldly matters. It is permissible to break off relations with somebody because of evil deeds or because of some religious matter (wherein he is in the wrong and blameable). Ibn Umar R.A. once quoted a saying of Rasulullah S.W. to which his son said something, which outwardly appears as if he objected to it. The result was that Ibn Umar R.A. never again spoke to that son for as long as he lived. There are numerous similar instances reported of the sahaabah.
Often we too cut off relations with people and claim that it is for the sake of the Deen. Allah as All-knowing, All-seeing and He alone knows the true state of affairs. He knows which relationships are broken off because of the Deen and which are cut off because of the hurt to honour, pride and dignity.
The second point to which the Hadith under discussion draws attention is the fact that man should be satisfied and accept Allah’s ruling in all matter. For example, even though it seems that the loss of knowledge as to when Laylatul Qadr actually falls, is a great loss of blessing, it has to be accepted because It is from Allah. For this reason Rasulullah S.W. says, “It is better for us that way”. One should ponder over this, Allah is at all times merciful to His servants.
Even when someone is overtaken by a great calamity because of his own evil deeds. He needs only appeal to His Creator, admit his own weakness, and that same calamity becomes the cause for greater good. Nothing is impossible for Allah.
Our ‘ulama have mentioned several advantages in not knowing the proper time for Laylatul Qadr. Firstly, had we known the actual time for this blessed night, there would have been s many who would not have served Allah at all during the year or on other nights. They would only wait for the prescribed night in which to perform their ibaadah.
As things are now, one has to stay awake and be in ibaadah for quite a number of nights hoping that each night is perhaps the night. (This means more nights in Allah’s service and reward for the same).
Secondly, there are among us those who just do not seem to be able to avoid evil. How extremely dangerous and unfortunate for them would it be, when in spite of knowing that such and such a night is Laylatul Qadr and then still spend it in sin and evil? Once Rasulullah S.W. on entering the musjid saw one of the sahaabah sleeping on one side. He said Ali R.A. “Wake him up so that he can make wudhu”. This Ali R.A. did and then addressed the Nabi S.W. thus, “O Messenger of Allah, you are always first to hurry towards any good deed. Why did you not wake him up yourself?” To this Rasulullah S.W. replied, “I fear on his behalf that this man may refuse, and refusal to my command is kufr. If he refused your command, it would not be kufr (disbelief). Similarly Allah in His mercy does not approve that in spite of knowing which night is the real one, one should still spend it in sin and evil.
Thirdly, there are amongst some who find it possible to spend one, two or three nights in ibaadah, while we do not know which is the night of Power. Now say for arguments sake, we did not know which night Laylatul Qadr would be and in spite of that, for one reason or another within or outside our control, we allowed that night to go by without ibaadah, it is an almost certain fact that thereafter, for the rest of Ramadhaan, no other night would have been spent in ibaadah.
Fourthly, every night spent in ibaadah in search of Laylatul Qadr is a night for which a separate reward is granted. Fifthly, We have read that Allah boasts to His angels about those believers who exert themselves in ibaadah during Ramadhaan. Now when they spend more nights in Allah’s worship, more such chances of boasting arise.
In spite of not knowing when it is the night of Laylatul Qadr and although they have only a vague idea about its fixed time, still they exert themselves to the utmost in Allah’s service night after night. If such is their exertion when they do not know then how more will they exert themselves when it is known to them?
There are sure to be advantages, due to such blessings Allah often keeps certain things secret to Himself, as for example, the “Ismul Aazam” (the great name of Allah, whereby if we call upon Him, He ansers). Similarly there is special moment on the day of Jumu-ah when prayers are answered. This time too is not known with complete certainty. There are numerous other things which are included in this category. It is possible that because of the argument that took place the fixing of Laylatul Qadr during that Ramadhaan was caused to be forgotten. However, because of the other bevefits the knowledge of the fixed date was no revealed.
The third point to which attention is drawn is that Laylatul Qadr should be sought among the 9th, 7th and 5th. By reading these n conjunction with the other Ahaadith, we come to know that this refers to the last ten nights of Ramadhaan. So which nights are these? If we start form the 20th, counting up, then these three nights are the 25th, 27th and 29th, if, on the other hand we start counting from the 29th down, where Ramadhaan has 29 days, these nights are the 21st, 23rd, and 25th. And in the case where the month has 30 days it would be 22nd, 24th and 26th.
From the above one can see how much uncertainty there is about the correct date. Among the learned “ulama” there are approximately fifty different opinions. Because of this reason, some “ulama” have said that Laylatul Qadr does not occur on one and the same night every year. If in the one year it occurred on another night. There are times when Rasulullah S.W. commanded the companions to search among a number of nights, whereas at other times again he used to fix a certain night.
Abu Hurayrah R.A. reports that once during a conversation with the companions, mention was made of Laylatul Qadr Rasulullah S.W. asked “ what is the date today?” they replied, “The 22ne of Ramadhaan. The Nabi S.W. said, Search for Laylatul Qadr in the night following this day.
Abu Tharr R.A. reports that he inquired of Rasulullah S.W. whether Laylatul Qadr was only granted for the time of the duration of Rasulullah S.W. life, or whether it continued to come afer him. Rasulullah S.W. replied, “It continues until Qiyaamah”. I then inquired “In which section of Ramadhaan does it come? The Nabi S.W. replied, “Search for it in the first ten and in the laste ten days”. Thereafter Rasulullah S.W. became busy with other work, I waited, and finding another chance inquired, “In which section of those ten does Laylatul Qadr come? Upon this Rasulullah S.W. became so angry with me as he had never been before or after, and he said, “If it had been Allah’s object to make it known, would He not have informed? Search for it among the last seven nights, and ask no more”. In another Hadith again Rasulullah S.W. is reported to have told one sahaabah that Laylatul Qadr was on 23rd night.
Ibn Abbas R.A. related, “While sleeping once, somebody said to me in my dream, ‘Rise up. This is Laylatul Qadr. I woke up and proceeded in haste to Rasulullah S.W.. There I found him in ‘salaah. That was the 23rd night” according to other reports again, the 24th is Laylatul Qadr. Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood R.A. said, “Whoever remains all nights of the year in ibaadah can find Laylatul Qadr. (In other words the blessed night moves throughout the year and does not necessarily have to come in Ramadhaan only).
Ibn Mas’ood R.A. reports this view from Nabi S.W.. Durre Manthoor when this was mentioned to Ubay bin Kaab he said Abdullah ibn Mas’ood R.A. meant people will stay awake only on this night and become contented”. Thereafter he swore by Allah that Laylatul Qadr comes on 27th. This is also the view held by numerous sahaabah as well as taabi-iyn.
Among the Imaams, the well known opinion of Imaam Abu Hanifa R.A. is that Laylatul Qadr moces throughout the year, while another view of this is that it moves about throughout the month of Ramadhaan. His famous student followers, Imaam Muhammad and Imaam Abu Yousuf, however, were of the opinion that this night is fixed on one special night which is unknown, during the Holy month. While the Shaaf-iy’s believe that it occurs probably on 21st, Imaam Ahmad R.A. and Immam Maalik r, hold view that Shaaf-iy’s believe that it comes only among the odd nights of the last ten nights of Ramadhaan, moving from year to year and is not fixed. But as for the vast majority of ‘ulama their hope lies in Laylatul Qadr coming annually on 27th night.
Ibn Arabi R.A. says, “In my opinion the view of those who believe that Laylatul Qadr comes on various nights throughout the year, is most correct, because twice have I seen it in Sha’baan once on the 15th, and once on 19th and twice have I seen it in the middle ten nights of Ramadhaan, the 13th, and the 18t. and I have also seen it on every odd night of the last ten, for this reason I am certain that it could occur on any night of the year but comes mostly in Ramadhaan.
Shah Waliyullah R.A. of Delhi believed that Laylatul Qadr comes twice every year: (a) One Laylatul Qadr is that one on which Allah’s commands are revealed (to the angels). This is also the night on which the holy Qur’aan was sent down from the Al Lowhul Mahfuz to the heavens. This night does not come in Ramadhaan alone but moves and can come on any other night of the year. However, the night on which the Holy Qur’aan was revealed fell in Ramadhaan and mostly falls during Ramadhaan. (b) The second Laylatul Qadr is the one of tremendous spiritual value, when angels descend in large numbers, while shay’taans are held back, and a time when prayers and ibaadah are accepted. This comes only in Ramadhaan during the ‘uneven’ nights of the last ten days. (This view of Shaah Waliyllah used to be most acceptable to my late father).
Anyway, whether there are two Laylatul Qadr or whether there is only one, the fact still remains tht one has to search for it according to ones courage and ability. If not throughout the year, then in Ramadhaan. If that should prove difficult, then during the last ten days. When that too seems a bit too much to be expected, then only the odd numbered nights of the last ten days. When one has wasted these opportunities too, then by no means should the 27th be allowed to go by. If by Allah’s blessings and your good fortune that Laylatul Qadr, then in comparison all the prosperity and pleasures of the world would be meaningless. Thus, even though that may not be the much searched for night, then at least the reward for ibaadah is received.
The ‘salaah of Maghrib and Esha throughout the year should be performed with Jamaa-ah; because if it is Laylatul Qadr the reward for both is so much more. It is a great blessing of Allah that when one endeavours for religious aims and cannot make a success, he is still rewarded for the effort. And in spite of this, there are those who do not leave a stone unturned in their services for Deen. On the country; in worldly affairs when one does not break even his efforts and wealth in worldly things that are fruitless and without purpose, and do not hold any reward or consolation.