The Night of Power and its Virtues
The night of Power is one of the nights occurring in the month of Ramadan. On this night:
• The decrees of creation are decided
• Allah accepts du'a` (prayers and supplication)
• The Qur`an was revealed on this night.
It was called laylut al-qadr because on this night the destiny of creatures for the coming year is decreed. Allah the Almighty says, In that (night) is made distinct every affair of wisdom. [Ad-Dukhan, 4]
Several interpretations were posited in reference to its name. It has been said that it was thus called due to its great value and high status with Allah, because on this night the earth is constricted due to the great number of angels who descend from the Heavens and because acts of worship are of great importance. Al-Husein Ibn Al-Fadl was asked, "Did not Allah decree destinies before He created the Heavens and the earth?" "Yes," he replied. The inquirer then asked, "Then what does laylut al-qadr mean?" Al-Husein replied, "The decrees are dispatched at specific points of time and they are then executed." Allah makes the decrees known to the angles: what provisions people will be given, who will live and die and everything that has been ordained for that year. He commands the angels to do whatever they have been enjoined to do.
Allah referred to this night as blessed. He says,
We sent it down on a blessed night: For We (ever) wish to warn (against Evil). [Ad-Dukhan, 3]
We have indeed revealed this (message) in the Night of Power. [Al-Qadr, 1]
It is recommended to seek out this night in all the nights of Ramadan, especially in the last ten odd days. The Prophet said, "Seek out the night of Power in the last odd ten days of Ramadan."
Scholars have differed over the time when laylut al-qard occcurs. It has been reported that it occurs on the eve of the 20th, 23rd, 24th ,25th, 27th, 29th or the last day of Ramadan. These dates were reported in traditions and scholars have inferred from them that laylut al-qadr moves around the last ten days of Ramadan.
Imam Al-Shafi'i (may Allah be pleased with him) said that the Prophet would answer [questions on when this night occurred] according to when it would occur in year when the question posited to him. Based on this, laylut al-qadr sometimes occurred on the eve of 21st, 23rd or the 27th though its signs can be seen on other nights.
Some scholars maintained that Allah kept laylut al-qadr concealed so that Muslims would strive to seek it out and dedicate themselves in worship throughout the month, seeking to attain it just as He Almighty concealed the hour when du'a` is accepted on Fridays so that Muslims would make du'a` throughout the day as He concealed His greatest name among his divine names so that Muslims would strive to supplicate to Allah by all his names as He also concealed time of death and the Hour so that people would work in preparation for that day.
Among the signs of laylut al-qadr mentioned in a hadith is the rising of a bright sun without any radiant beams of light. It was reported that the Prophet said, "It is a bright and serene night, neither hot nor cold. It is so bright that it is as if moon light reveals the planets; the devils do not come out until the break of dawn."
It has also been said that on this night, one can see all things prostrating to Allah; bright light illuminates even the darkest places; one can hear salams or the discourse of angels; and among its signs are the acceptance of du'a`.
It must not be supposed that laylut al-qadr is not attained except by those who witness supernatural phenomena. Allah's bounties are more expansive. A person who spends the night worshipping Allah may attain the reward for his worship without witnessing supernatural phenomena while another person who did not spend the night in worship may witness the supernatural phenomena associated with it. The former is indeed better; what is important is virtuousness and not the witnessing of supernatural phenomena as this may either be a blessing or an affliction.
It is recommended to spend this night making du'a`, especially the du'a` which the Prophet exhorted 'A`isha to make when she asked him about what to say on this night. He said, "Say, 'Allah you are the All-forgiving and love to forgive so forgive me."