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For the book by Spider Robinson see Night of Power (novel)

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Laylat al-Qadr (Arabic: لیلة القدر‎) (also known as Shab-e-Qadr), the Night of Power, the Night of Decree or Night of Measures, is the anniversary of two very important dates in Islam that occurred in the month of Ramadan. "Qadr" is Arabic for power / ability. It is the anniversary of the night Muslims believe the first verses of the Quran were revealed to the Islamic prophet Muhammad.

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Complete revelation to Muhammad

Laylat Al-Qadr is the anniversary of the night Muslims believe the first verses of the Quran were revealed to Muhammad by the angel Gabriel (Jibril in Arabic). It is also the anniversary of the night in which the Quran is believed by Muslims to have first been revealed. The Laylat Al-Qadr is also known as the night of excellence.

Religious importance

Quran

(Quran 97, 1-5) [1]

In the name of God, the Benevolent, the Merciful.
1 Lo! We revealed it on the Night of Predestination.
2 Ah, what will convey unto thee what the Night of Power is!
3 The Night of Power has more blessings than a thousand months.
4 The angels and the Spirit descend therein, by the permission of their Lord, with all decrees.
5 (The night is) Peace until the rising of the dawn.

The verses above regard the Night as better than one thousand months. The whole month of Ramadan is a period of spiritual training wherein believers devote much of their time to fasting, praying, reciting the Quran, remembering God, and giving charity. However because of the revealed importance of this night, Muslims strive harder in the last ten days of Ramadan since the Laylat al-Qadr could be one of the odd-numbered days in these last ten (the first, third, fifth, or seventh). Normally, some Muslims from each community would perform an i'tikaf in the mosque: they remain in the mosque for the last ten days of the month for prayers and recitation.

Sunnah

Muslims often pray extra prayers on this day, particularly the night prayer. They awake, pray, and hope Allah will give them anything they may desire for on this night. Mostly, they perform tilawat (reading the Quran).

Those who can afford to devote their time in the remembrance of God stay in the mosque for the final ten days of Ramadan. This worship is called itikaf (retreat). They observe fast during the day and occupy themselves with the remembrance of God, performing voluntary prayers and studying the Quran, day and night, apart from the obligatory prayers which they perform with the congregation. Food and other necessities of life are provided for them during their stay in the mosque, thus they may not leave the precincts of the mosque except for a genuine religious purpose. Devoting time to remember God, Muslims hope to receive divine favors and blessings connected with the blessed night.

Date

Laylat al-Qadr is to be found in the last 10 nights of Ramadan. There is no history in the Quran as to when the specific date is. In Sumatra, Morocco, Bangladesh and Pakistan it is celebrated on 27 Ramadan,[1][2] but other cultures celebrate it on the 21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th and 29th.

Many Shia Muslims — including the Ismailis — observe Laylat al-Qadr on the last 5 odd nights of Ramadan, though the 23rd night is considered the most probable date, in keeping with traditions received through Imam Ali and his wife Bibi Fatimah Zahra, the Prophet’s daughter.[3] The tradition is also said to have been articulated by Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq and other Shia Imams.

Orientalist View

Orientalists have contended that prior to Islam, Laylat al-Qadr was the Arab New Year.[4] According to A. Wensinck, the practice of i'tikaf or seclusion, which predated Islam according to the Quran[Qur'an 2:187], was linked to this day. Wensinck thought it must have been a summer solstice holiday and a time when homes were thought to be susceptible to demonic infiltration, necessitating seclusion.[5] Other Orientalists consider Laylat al-Qadr to have been related to a Jewish holiday, possibly Sukkot.[6] Muslim scholars do not support any of these claims.[citation needed]

See also

References

  1. ^ Amirul Hadi. Islam and state in Sumatra: a study of seventeenth-century Aceh‎. p.128.
  2. ^ Marjo Buitelaar. Fasting and feasting in Morocco: women's participation in Ramadan‎. p.64
  3. ^ "The Ismaili: Laylat al-Qadr". http://www.theismaili.org/cms/793/Laylat-alQadr. Retrieved 2009-09-12. 
  4. ^ Friedrich Schwally. Geschichte des Qorans von Theodor Nöldeke, (Zweite Auflage bearbeitet von Friedrich Schwally), Teil 1: Über den Ursprung des Qorans, Weicher, Leipzig, 1909 volume 1, p. 179.
  5. ^ Arent Jan Wensinck. "Arabic New-Year and the Feast of Tabernacles". Amsterdam: Uitgave van de koninklijke Akademie van Wetenschappen te Amsterdam, Afdeeling Letterkunde. Nieuwe reeks 25.2. 1925. pp.1-17.
  6. ^ K. Wagtendonk. Fasting in the Koran. E.J. Brill, 1968. pp.97-99.

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