Laylat-ul-Qadr (Night of Power) – one of the most significant nights in the Islamic Calendar
This is an extract from the book “Al Jaami’u li Ahkaam is Siyaam” (A complete guide to the rules of fasting) by Sheikh Abu Iyaas Mahmood bin Abdul-Lateef bin Mahmood (‘Uwaydhah). Please note this is a draft translation from Arabic. If any confusion arises from the translation then please refer to the original Arabic book.
1) Abu Hurairah (ra) said that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “Whoever fasts Ramadhaan with Imaan an anticipation (of reward) then his past sins have been forgiven and whoever does Qiyaam on Laylat-ul-Qadr with Imaan and anticipation his past sins will be forgiven.”
Narrated by Al-Bukhaari (2014), Muslim, Abu Daawood, An-Nasaa’i, Ad-Daarami and Ibn Hibbaan.
2) Anas Bin Maalik (ra) said: “Ramadhaan began so the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said: Verily this month has arrived upon you and in it is a night that is better than 1000 months. The one who is deprived of it has been deprived of all Goodness and only the deprived person is deprived of it.”
Narrated by Ibn Maajah (1644). Also narrated by Ahmad and An-Nasaa’i from Abu Hurairah (ra).
In the month of Ramadhaan and its night Allah سبحانه وتعالى has made Laylat-ul-Qadr (The night of power) particularly special and the fact that it has been singled out within this great month and its nights is a great reflection of its favour and high merit. In relation to its favour there are many Ahaadeeth that mention it and we have chosen from them two Hadeeths, the first and second (mentioned above) as models or standpoints illustrating the merits of performing Qiyaam in it as well as the Khair that exists in it. This is so the Muslims increase in it their prayers, Du’a, Sadaqah etc… and the doors to goodness are various. It is better than one thousand months and a number of Ayaat have been revealed about it:
Allah سبحانه وتعالى said:
إِنَّا أَنْزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةٍ مُبَارَكَةٍ ۚ إِنَّا كُنَّا مُنْذِرِينَ
فِيهَا يُفْرَقُ كُلُّ أَمْرٍ حَكِيمٍ
أَمْرًا مِنْ عِنْدِنَا ۚ إِنَّا كُنَّا مُرْسِلِي
رَحْمَةً مِنْ رَبِّكَ ۚ إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ
“Hâ-Mîm (1) By the manifest Book (this Qur’ân) that makes things clear, (2) We sent it (this Qur’ân) down on a blessed night in the month of Ramadân Verily, We are ever warning (3) Therein (that night) is decreed every matter of ordainments. (4) As a Command (or this Qur’an or the Decree of every matter) from Us. Verily, We are ever sending (the Messengers), (5) (As) a Mercy from your Lord. Verily! He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower. (6)” [Surat-ud-Dukhaan, 1-6]
Allah سبحانه وتعالى says:
إِنَّا أَنْزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْ
وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْ
لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ خَيْرٌ مِنْ أَلْفِ شَهْرٍ
تَنَزَّلُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ وَالرُّوحُ فِيهَا بِإِذْنِ رَبِّهِمْ مِنْ كُلِّ أَمْرٍ
سَلَامٌ هِيَ حَتَّىٰ مَطْلَعِ الْفَجْرِ
“Verily, We have sent it (this Qur’ân) down in the night of Al-Qadr (Decree) (1) And what will make you know what the night of Al-Qadr (Decree) is? (2) The night of Al-Qadr (Decree) is better than a thousand months (i.e. worshipping Allâh in that night is better than worshipping Him a thousand months, i.e. 83 years and 4 months) (3) Therein descend the angels and the Rûh [Jibril (Gabriel)] by Allâh’s Permission with all Decrees, (4) (All that night), there is Peace (and Goodness from Allâh to His believing slaves) until the appearance of dawn. (5)” [Surat-ul-Qadr, 97:1-5]
In the fourth Ayah of Soorah Ad-Dukhaan it is said: “Therein (that night) is decreed every matter of ordainments” meaning that every great affair is decided and established on Laylatul-Qadr for the year that follows it. So it is the night where affairs are decreed with Allah Azza wa Jalla and there is no doubt concerning the lofty standing and high station of Laylatul-Qadr.
As for Soorat-ul-Qadr then the merit of this night stands out clearly with complete clarity in every Ayah of it. In the first Ayah is the explanation the Quran was revealed in this night, the second Ayah brings attention to its greatness and merits, the third Ayah says that it is better than a thousand months, where a month consists of thirty days meaning that this night is better than thirty thousand days. The fourth Ayah describes how the Angels (Malaa’ikah) descend with Jibreel (as) on this night with every ordinance and decree from Allah سبحانه وتعالى and in the final Ayah is the description that this night is peace, i.e. peace from evil until the dawn of the morning.
The second Hadeeth illustrates the loss of this greatness attached to the night by saying that: “That done deprives its goodness except for the deprived one.” O Allah do not deprive us of this night whilst we are still alive, and provide for us from your favour its goodness Ya Rabbil ‘Aalameen, Ameen.
Ahmad (25898), An-Nasaa’i, At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Maajah narrated from ‘Aa’isha (ra) that she said: “O Prophet of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم if I make contact with Laylat-ul-Qadr what should I say? He صلى الله عليه وسلم said: You say: Allahumma Innaka ‘Afuwun tuhibbul ‘Afwa fa’fu ‘Anni (O Allah you are the pardoner, you love to pardon, so pardon me)”.
At-Tirmidhi said: This Hadeeth is Hasan Saheeh.
The descriptions and characteristics of Laylat-ul-Qadr
The Noble Ahaadeeth have provided a number of descriptions about the Night of Power, from them is that it is a night which is pleasant and clear, not hot or cold. That the sun comes out in the morning white without beams and that there are no meteor showers (shooting stars), and also that it is quiet and calm. The following are a collection of Ahaadeeth that mention some of its characteristics and signs:
a) Ibn ‘Abbass (ra) said that the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “It is pleasant and clear, neither hot nor cold, the sun rises in the morning with a weak red (colour)”.
Recorded by Abu Daawood At-Tayaalissi (2680) and Al-Bazzaar. Ibn Khuzaimah (2192) narrated it as: “A pleasant night, neither hot nor cold, the sun in the morning is a weak red.”
Note: The second Hadeeth indicates that the Arabic description in the first Hadeeth means weak in terms of the red colour of the sky.
b) Zir Bin Hubaish said: I heard Ubay Bin Ka’b (ra) saying: “Laylat-ul-Qadr is the twenty seventh, It is the night which the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم informed us about that the sun will rise in a gushing white colour.”
Narrated by Ibn Abi Shaibah (489/2), Muslim, Abu Daawood, Ahmad and Al-Bayhaqi.
c) Ubaadah bin Saamit (ra) reports that he asked the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم about “Laylatul Qadr”. He replied: “It is in Ramadhan, during the last ten days, on the unevenly numbered nights, either the 21st 23rd, 25th, 27th, 29th or the last night of Ramadhan. Whosoever stands in “Ibaadah” on this night, with sincere faith and with genuine hopes of gaining reward, his previous sins will be forgiven. Among the signs of this night is that it is a serene, quiet, shining night, neither hot, nor cold but temperate as if a moon is shining clear, and no meteors are shot at the “Shayateen” on that night; it lasts until the break of the dawn. Another sign is that at morn, the Sun rises without any radiant beams of light, appearing rather like the moon in its fullness. On that day, Allah prohibits the “Shayateen” from rising up with the Sun.”
Reported by Ahmad (23145) and Al-Haithami said that the transmitters are trustworthy.
d) Jaabir Ibn ‘Abdullah (ra) said that the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “I was shown Al-Laylat-ul-Qadr and then forgot it. It is in the last ten nights and it is a night that is clear and bright neither hot nor cold”.
Narrated by Ibn Khuzaimah (2190).
e) Jaabir Bin Samurah (ra) said that the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “The Night of Power falls in the last ten of Ramadhaan, I had seen it but was caused to forget it and it is a night of rain and wind or he said rain and wind”.
Reported by Al-Bazzaar (1031). At-Tabaraani recorded it in Al-Mu’jam Al-Kabeer (1962/2) with the same wording except he added ‘thunder’ and it was also narrated by ‘Abdullah Bin Ahmad Bin Hanbal. Al-Haithami said that its transmitters are Saheeh.
The above represent what has been mentioned in the Ahaadeeth that are suitable for use as an evidence in relation to the description of Laylat-ul-Qadr and have excluded weak narrations or statements like: “No Shaytaan is sent out in it and no illness occurs” from Ibn Abi Haatim or “That the trees fall to the ground and then return to their roots and everything prostrates in it” from At-Tabari or “That the salty water becomes pure in that night” from Al-Bayhaqi. All of these and others beside them are not Saheeh in addition to the contradiction they bring to the reality. So Laylat-ul-Qadr comes when the temperature is mild in both summer and winter meaning that the day before it and after it are not the same in respect to moderateness. Also that it is calm, quiet and bright as if the full moon was shining without wind, storms, fog, dust clouds or falling meteors. It is therefore a night where the souls can find peace, comfort and the dangers are calmed as a mercy from Allah سبحانه وتعالى to his worshippers on that noble blessed night.
This description is consistent except for what was mentioned in hadeeth 5: “A night of rain and wind” and inspite of Al-Haithami saying that its transmitters are Saheeh I do not find peace of mind with it as the Saheeh Ahaadeeth do not contradict and oppose each other normally. By returning to the chain of the Hadeeth which is: ‘Abdullah reported Muhammad Bin Abi Ghaalib told me, ‘Abd-ur-Rahmaan Bin Shareek told us my father told me it from Simaak from Jaabir Bin Samurah. In this chain I found the following:
Firstly:’Abd-ur-Rahmaan Bin Shareek said about Abu Haatim: A weak (transmitter) of Hadeeth. Ibn Hibbaan mentioned him in Ath-Thiqaat (Trustworthy transmitters) and said that he could have made a mistake. Ibn Hajar mentioned this in ‘Tahdheeb At-Tahdheeb’ and nobody has mentioned him and verified him as trustworthy or said good about him. This reporter is therefore weak.
Secondly: Imam Ahmad said about Simaak – Bin Harb – that: the Hadeeth is confused. Sha’bah said he was Da’eef. ‘Aaamir said: They say that he was in error and they differ in regards to his Hadeeth and Ath-Thawri judged him to contain weakness. Ibn Mubaarak said: Simaak is Da’eef in Hadeeth and Ibn Hibbaan said in Ath-Thiqaat: He makes many mistakes. An-Nasaa’i said: Perhaps he was prompted and as this is unique in origin then it cannot be a proof. Ibn Hajar Al-Asqilaani mentioned all of this in Tahdheeb At-Tahdheeb and in spite of Ibn Hajar mentioning from a number less than praise for him, there is no doubt that this narrator is not from amongst those who are Saheeh and I regard him as Da’eef and the statement of An-Nasaa’i is sufficient: If it is unique in origin then it is not a proof and here he was unique in the report about the attributes of Laylat-ul-Qadr which contradicted the valid reports.
In conclusion this Hadeeth is Da’eef so it is rejected and as such the description mentioned in it is also rejected.
As for the description of the morning sun of Laylat-ul-Qadr in that it is bright with no rays and that it is a weak red and white that ripples. This is not a description of the night but rather a sign that appears at the expiration of the Night of Power. In relation to this sign I say: The sun at that time shines light red, the rays are like those that are suspended at the time of its setting. It is easy to look at it because its rays are weak and do not harm the eyes and there is no doubt that the weakness of these rays at that time arise from the condition of the weather, either due to high humidity, or the spread of light clouds or fog which covers most of the rays. Allah sends these things at this time so that the condition of the sun is a sign of Laylat-ul-Qadr as the sun ordinarily is consistent and does not change meaning that the morning sun of that night would be like any other morning in relation to its nature, brightness and rays but weather conditions in that night cause the sun to appear with the description which has been mentioned. If the sun had appeared in the morning of Laylat-ul-Qadr in other than its natural way then the Muslims and non-Muslims would have noticed. This would lead to determining the day in a decisive way which is against the reality and against the many Saheeh Ahaadeeth which obscured the specifying of the night as we will explain in the coming section with the help of Allah.
As for what we find in the books of the Soofiyah and ascetics and what some of the Fuqahaa have said in relation to the meanings of Laylat-ul-Qadr and specifying it and the visual sighting of the opening of the sky and the coming out of it of bright lights that immerses the creation and other than that of sights and supernatural affairs. All of these claims find no support for them in the Saheeh Ahaadeeth, they are from amongst the stories and tales that are passed from ascetics and their like and a number of Fuqahaa without evidence and if only one Saheeh or Hasan hadeeth could be brought which mentions the occurrence of any of these sights. ‘Ibaadah in the Shar’a requires a text and if there is no (legal) text here so these are issues which are outside the Shar’a and had these sights occurred then they would have happened at the time of the Sahaabah (rah) and this would have passed on to the people and spread and became famous and they are without doubt better than those that came after them but nothing of this has ever been reported from them.
Worse than this is that they have maybe relied on this issues from what they have seen in their dreams like one of them would say: I saw in my sleep that the gates or doors of the sky opening and bright shining lights shone from it and filled all sides of creation or one would say: I saw the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم in that night and he informed me that it was Laylat-ul-Qadr. These people consider visions and dreams as Sharee’ah evidences from which they take Ahkaam (legal rulings) so one of them may say: Them Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم came to me in the night and ordered me to do this and that and what the Messenger has ordered has become obligatory upon me. They make equal the statements of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم which have been narrated in Saheeh Ahaadeeth and what they say they have heard from him in their dreams. They consider both these statements to be Shar’i as if the Shar’a has an endless number of sources for it that do not run out or end. These are without doubt nets or traps from Shaytaan and Allah سبحانه وتعالى says:
الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ
“Today I have perfected/completed your Deen” [Al-Maa’idah, 5:3]
However they ignore this and view that the Deen can continue to be added to by these Ahaadeeth that they hear in their dreams as if the Deen for them has not yet been completed and this is without doubt is Kufr without any blurriness. Yes it is true that the sighting of the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم whilst dreaming is the truth as has been mentioned in the Ahaadeeth however this sighting is based on the condition that he is seen صلى الله عليه وسلم in his normal condition and description without change in that. And who from amongst these people has stood by his condition and descriptions all of them so that he can be absolutely sure that the person who he saw was really the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم?
Even if we were to suppose that we were able to obtain the knowledge of the condition and descriptions and that these were found in the person that was seen in the dream, then (it still must be known that) the speech of the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم in the dream is not from the Shar’a and his statements in it are not from the Sharee’ah evidences. They are not obligatory to be obeyed or implemented and they are not considered of that which gives comfort to the soul or refines it. They are signs of goodness specific to the one who saw and Allah سبحانه وتعالى says:
أَلَا إِنَّ أَوْلِيَاءَ اللَّهِ لَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ
الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَكَانُوا يَتَّقُونَ
لَهُمُ الْبُشْرَىٰ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ ۚ لَا تَبْدِيلَ لِكَلِمَاتِ اللَّهِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ هُوَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ
“Lo! verily the friends of Allah are (those) on whom fear (cometh) not, nor do they grieve? (62) Those who believe and keep their duty (to Allah). (63) Theirs are good tidings in the life of the world and in the Hereafter – There is no changing the Words of Allah – that is the Supreme Triumph.” (64) [Yunus, 10:62-64]
The Bushraa (Good tidings) here is the Ru’yah Saalihah (true vision) which the believer sees or shown to him as is mentioned in the Prophetic Ahaadeeth.
When is Laylat-ul-Qadr?
Ibn Hajar said the following in Al-Fath-ul-Baari:
“The Ulamaa have differed greatly in respect to Laylat-ul-Qadr and as a result we have from the Madhaahib more than forty statements similar to what occurred in respect to the time of Jum’ah and both share in being hard to attain and requires seriousness in obtaining them.”
He mentions forty-six views and I will now mentioned those which have stood out and most well-known and I invite whosoever wishes to take a look at all of them to find this in the famous book Al-Fath-ul-Baari (of Ibn Hajar Al-Asqilaani).
The fourth view: That it is possible in the entire year and this opinion is famous amongst the Hanafiyyah.
The fifth view: It is specific to Ramadhaan and can occur in any of its nights. This is the opinion of Ibn Umar (ra) which has been narrated by Ibn Abi Shaibah with a Saheeh chain… and also in Ash-Sharh Al-Hidaayah Al-Jazm Bihi from Abu Haneefah. Ibn ul-Mundhir, Al-Mahaamali and some of the Shaafi’een also viewed this and As-Sabaki outweighed this opinion to be true in his Sharh Al-Minhaaj and Ibn ul-Haajib told it in a narration. As-Surooji said in Sharh Al-Hidaayah: Abu Haneefah said that it passes through the whole of Ramadhaan and his two companions (students Abu Yousuf, Shaibaani) that it is in a specific night which is obscure and An-Nasafi said similar to this.
The tenth view: That it is the twenty-seventh night of Ramadhaan. Ibn Abi Shaibah and At-Tabaraani recorded a Hadeeth from Zaid Bin Arqam who said: “I do not doubt that it is the twenty-seventh night of Ramadhaan, the night the Quraan was revealed (descended).” Abu Daawood also extracted this from Ibn Mas’ood (ra).
The eleventh view: It is unclear falling in the middle ten days of Ramadhaan as told by An-Nawawi and attributed by At-Tabaraani to ‘Uthmaan Bin Abi Al-‘Aas and Al-Hasan Al-Basri. It was also the view of some of the followers of Ash-Shaafi’.
The thirteenth view: It (Laylat-ul-Qadr) falls on the nineteenth which Abd-ur-Razzaaq attributed to ‘Ali and At-Tabaraani attributed this view to Yazeed Bin Thaabit and Ibn Mas’ood and it reached At-Tahaawi from Ibn Mas’ood.
The fourteenth view: That it is the first night from the last ten, Ash-Shaafi’ inclined towards this view and a group of his followers bound themselves to it however As-Sabaki said: It is not decisive for them.
The fifteenth view: Similar to the previous view except that if the month is complete and then it would fall on the twentieth night and if it was short by a day then it would be the twenty-first night. It is like this for the whole month and this is the view of Ibn Hazm…
The seventeenth view: That it is the twenty-third night. Muslim narrated from ‘Abdullah Ibn Unais in a Marfoo’ hadeeth: “I was shown Laylat-ul-Qadr and then caused to forget” (so he mentioned like what was in the Hadeeth of Abi Sa’ed) and then said: The twenty-third night instead of the twenty-first… [Ibn Hajar mentioned narrations with this from Mu’aawiyah, Ibn ‘Umar, Ibn ‘Abbaas, Sa’eed Bin Al-Musayyib, ‘Aa’isha and Makhool (rah).
The eighteenth view: That it’s the twenty-fourth night… [Ibn Hajar indicated a Hadeeth attributed to Ibn ‘Abbaas in this section and mentioned the Hadeeth of Abi Sa’eed and that has been narrated from Ibn Mas’ood, Ash-Sha’bi, Hasan and Qataadah. Ibn Hajar mentions a narration of Ahmad from Bilaal (ra): They sought Laylat-ul-Qadr on the twenty-fourth night].
The twenty-first view: That it is the twenty-seventh night and this is the view of the Madhhab of Ahmad and reported from Abu Haneefah and Ubay Bin Ka’abwho bound himself to it as extracted by Muslim. Muslim also narrated on the authority of Abu Haazim from Abu Hurairah (ra) who said: “We were mentioning between ourselves about Laylat-ul-Qadr so the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “Which of you remembers the time the Moon rose like a split bowl?” Abu-l-Hasan Al-Farasi said: Which night is the twenty-seventh, because the moon rises in it with this description.
At-Tabaraani narrated from Ibn Mas’ood (ra): “The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم was asked about Laylat-ul-Qadr so he said: Which of you remembers the night of As-Sahbaawaat? I said: I do, it was the twenty-seventh night”. Ibn Abi Shaibah narrated this from ‘Umar, Hudhaifaha and a group of the Sahaabah (rah). In the chapter related to Ibn ‘Umar (ra) Muslim recorded: A man saw Laylat-ul-Qadr on the twenty-seventh night. And Ahmad has a Hadeeth which is Marfoo’ which states: The night of power is the twenty-seventh night. Ibn ul-Mundhir said: Whoever was seeking it then he should seek it on the twenty-seventh night. Similar to this came from Jaabir Bin Sumarah recorded by At-Tabaraani in Al-Awsat. Also from Mu’aawiyah recorded by Abu Daawood as well as the author of Al-Hilyah from the Shaafi’iyyah saying that this was the opinion of the majority of Ulamaa.
The twenty-fifth view: It is in the odd nights of the last ten, this is based on the hadeeth of ‘Aa’isha (ra) and other than her in this section and this is the most likely (or strongest) of opinions and Abu Thawr, Al-Muzzani, Ibn Khuzaomah and many of the Ulamaa from the Madhaahib.
The twenty-seventh view: It includes all of the last ten days. This is the view of Abu Qulaabah and has been stated by Maalik, Ath-Thawri, Ahmad and Ishaq. Al-Mawardi claimed that this view had been agreed upon as is he took this from the Hadeeth of Ibn Abbaas that the Sahaabah agreed that it fell in the last ten nights and then disagreed in specifying which day from amongst the ten… [Ibn Hajar mentioned other Ahaadeeth which support this view].
The twenty-eighth view: Imaam Ash-Shaafi’ said: (Arjaahu) I have found the strongest the twenty-first night.
After Ibn Hajar mentioned all of these views (forty-six in total) he remarked:
“…And the most likely/correct of all of them (the opinions) is that it falls in the odd (nights) of the last ten. This view is what has been understood by the ahaadeeth in this subject area (Baab), and the most correct is the odd nights of the last ten, and from these the twenty-first for Imaam Ash-Shaafi’ and the twenty-seventh for the majority (of Ulamaa), and I have already presented the evidences for these views….”
The truth is that this is a tricky issue, due to the contradicting and clashing of texts related to it. Every group has taken a text or texts and extracted from them an opinion and was not able to reconcile between all of the evidences or explain the error in any other deductions or opinions. What I want to lay down here is that most of the differences which occur between the Madhaahib and Ulamaa are a result of weak Ahaadeeth in the main part and due to the holding on to one specific text or two and neglecting those that remain. Had the fuqahaa abandoned the weak Ahaadeeth and looked at the texts which are valid and suitable for Istidlaal (seeking an opinion from an evidence) with an impartial and equal view as well as not sticking to just one or two texts to extract the ruling then the differences between them would have gone away and been reduced to a level close to zero. Said in another way: Most of the differences/disputes between the Fuqahaa and A’immah (Imaams) either occurred as a result of using weak Ahaadeeth (and these are often very contradictory to one another) or due to not extending sufficient effort to reconcile the Ahaadeeth As-Saheehah and limiting themselves to one or two evidence which a Faqeeh thought sufficient to extract a Hukm from. He saw that a number of other Saheeh texts could be set aside.
In this book just as in the previous book (Al-Jaami’ LiAhkaam-is-Salaah) I deliberately abandoned all weak Ahaadeeth meaning those which had been agreed upon by the Muhaddithoon to be Da’eef. As for those in which they disputed then I would accept them or reject them based on the agreement or disagreement with the meanings contained in the Ahaadeeth which are valid evidences. I also bound myself to accepting the Saheeh and Hasan Ahaadeeth and placing them together for use and if I found a clear contradiction between them then I bound myself to exerting the utmost effort to work with all the evidences (without rejecting any) with the use of Ta’weel (interpretation) if necessary as this is better than neglecting or abandoning any of them.
Now I will return to our subject and will discuss the specification of Laylat-ul-Qadr and the differences which occurred between the Fuqahaa and A’immah in it:
Firstly: Many opinions from the Fuqahaa are based on evidences that do not have a Sanad (supporting chain). They have been relied on despite the Saheeh evidences that deal with this issue being in abundant supply. From amongst these is the fourth opinion mentioned above: that it is possible to fall in the entire year although they do not have a single Shariah evidence which supports this view. Rather they used a statement of Ibn Mas’ood which says: “Whoever stands the whole year in prayer will hit Laylat-ul-Qadr.” Narrated by Muslim from Zir Bin Hubaish. They relied on this and left tens of Saheeh and Hasan Prophetic Ahaadeeth. I do not think that they were ignorant of the fact that the statements of the Sahaabah are not Sharee’ah evidences and are only Ijtihadaat of the Sahaabah unless they all agree upon one ruling in which case it becomes an Ijmaa’ Sahaabah which is a Sharee’ah evidence.
Another of these type of opinions is the tenth view where those who have upheld it have used as evidence what was reported by Ibn Abi Shaibah and At-Tabaraani from the statement of Zaid Bin Arqam whilst neglecting and putting aside the Saheeh and Hasan Ahaadeeth. May Allah forgive them and in addition to this Hadeeth of Zaid Bin Arqam being from a narration of Al-Hoot Al-Khizaa’i of whom Al-Bukhaari said: His Hadeeth are rejected and Al-Hoot is Da’eef amongst the Muhadditheen.
The eleventh opinion is also of this type and relies upon the statement of Abi Al-‘Aas and Hasan Al-Basri as if their statements are legal evidences. They did not just follow the statements of the Sahaabah and Taabi’oon which do not count as Sharee’ah texts, which is weakness in itself, but rather and may Allah forgive and pardon them went against the correctly paved method – the method of the Sahree’ah texts – and they trod a hard, rugged and difficult path. Had I mentioned all forty-six opinions you would have found astonishment in them and how they were deduced.
Secondly: Another of the issues which caused differences among the Fuqahaa was carelessness sometimes of not putting the Khaass (specific) in front of the ‘Aam (general) and the Muqayyid (restricted) in front of the Mutlaq (unrestricted). Sometimes you will find them sticking to a general text despite the existence of a text that is Khaass and specifies it.
For example the fifth view: It specifies that all nights of Ramadhaan are possible for Laylatul-Qadr to occur relying on the statement of Ibn ‘Umar which was reported by Ibn Abi Shaibah which is a general statement. This is even if we suppose that the statement of Ibn ‘Umar is a Sharee’ah evidence which it is not and this view ignores the many texts that restrict Laylat-ul-Qadr to the last ten nights of Ramadhaan.
The twenty-seventh opinion is similar where is states that it occurs in the last ten nights all of them. Notice here the wording ‘all of them’. They have relied here on the statement of Ibn ‘Abbaas that the Sahaabah had agreed that it was in the last ten nights. This statement is also ‘Aam (general) although the texts had restricted it to the odd nights of the last ten and therefore there is no meaning to the wording ‘all of them’ in light of this.
Thirdly: Another issue that caused many differences amongst the Fuqahaa was the manner in which they interpreted the wording of the texts and sometimes by giving meanings that are not present despite the presence of many texts which contained clear meanings (in the Mantooq) which required no further interpretation or need for it.
This is similar to the twenty-first view: That it is the twenty-seventh night only relying on what was reported by Muslim (2779) from Abu Hurairah (ra): “We were mentioning about Laylat-ul-Qadr whilst in the company of the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم and he said: Which of you remembers when the moon rose and it was like a split bowl?” i.e. like half a bowl. They then went to the explanation of Abu Al-Hasan Al-Faarisy for this text so he said: It means the twenty-seventh night because the moon came out with this description. It is as if none except him knew this description?!
And I do not know what they say in relation to the Hadeeth recorded by Al-Imaam Ahmad (23517) from Abu Ishaq that he heard Abu Hudhaifah talking about a man from amongst the companions of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم who heard from the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم: “I looked at the moon in the morning of Laylat-ul-Qadr and I saw it as if it was a split bowl. Abu Ishaq said: The moon was like this on morning of the twenty-third night.”
So in light of the above two explanations which one should we take the Tafseer of Abu Al-Hasan Al-Faarisy or that of Abu Ishaq?
Fourthly: May the reader pardon me if I have taken a long time in this issue, but this issue in which there has occurred a wide difference amongst the Fuqahaa deserves time given to it, indeed it deserves a whole book to be written concerning it. This is for the one who finds interest and importance diminishing the differences between the Madhaahib and Fuqahaa. So I continue and say the following: From amongst the reasons for why the Madhaahib and Ulamaa had vast differences in addition to what has preceded is due to the combining of statements which appear to them to be contradictory on what level in terms of deduction without outweighing between them.
An example of this is the twenty-seventh opinion: That the night of power moves within the last ten nights, so it comes one year on the twenty-third, another on the twenty-fifth and comes on a third year on the twenty-seventh. They have established this by combining all the texts on one level without outweighing them. They say that the Night of Power moves despite the texts absolutely not mentioning that it moves or transfers but rather mentioned that each one of these nights is Laylat-ul-Qadr in itself.
Fifthly: The outweighing of one evidence over the other, which are equal in correctness (Saheeh) without explaining the reasons for this outweighing. This opened a wide area for differences to occur between them in the case where outweighing was not stipulated or conditions placed for explaining the reasons. Every Faqeeh was able to go towards a text from amongst the texts and outweighed it over the others and relied on it alone for deduction. This opened a wide door for taking all of the texts despite their great number and contradictions between them so the opinions of the Fuqahaa became many and contradictory to an equal number as there were opinions. An example of this is the thirteenth opinion that stated that it was the nineteenth which was outweighed by those who proposed it without any explanation of the reasons for this.
The fourteenth opinion and eighteenth are also examples of this, the outweighing in these has occurred without explaining the reasons so that others are not prevented from refuting them and coming up with their own outweighed conclusions and opinions. So that we can arrive at the truth and correct view in this issue then it is necessary to examine the evidences that are related to it although there are many and contradictory:
A – Collection of Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri:
1) Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri (ra) said: “Once we were in I’tikaf with Allah’s Apostle in the middle ten days of (Ramadhaan) and we came out of it in the morning of the twentieth, and Allah’s Messenger – delivered a sermon on the 20th (of Ramadan) and said, ‘I was informed (of the date) of the Night of Qadr but had forgotten it. So, look for it in the odd nights of the last ten nights of the month of Ramadhaan. I saw myself prostrating in mud and water on that night (as a sign of the Night of Qadr). So, whoever had been in I’tikaf with Allah’s Apostle should return for it.’ The people returned to the mosque (for I’tikaf). There was no trace of clouds in the sky. But all of a sudden a cloud came and it rained. Then the prayer was established (they stood for the prayer) and Allah’s Apostle prostrated in mud and water and I saw mud over the forehead and the nose of the Prophet”.
Narrated by Al-Bukhaari (2016), (2018), (2036), (2040) and Muslim (2769), (2772).
2) Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri (ra) said: “The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم used to practice I’tikaf in the middle ten days of Ramadan and once he stayed in I’tikaf till the night of the twenty-first and it was the night in the morning of which he used to come out of his I’tikaf. The Prophet said, “Whoever was in I’tikaf with me should stay in I’tikaf for the last ten days, for I was informed (of the date) of the Night (of Qadr) but I have been caused to forget it. (In the dream) I saw myself prostrating in mud and water in the morning of that night. So, look for it in the last ten nights and in the odd ones of them.” It rained that night and the roof of the mosque dribbled as it was made of leaf stalks of date-palms. I saw with my own eyes the mark of mud and water on the forehead of the Prophet (i.e. in the morning of the twenty-first)”.
Narrated by Al-Bukhaari (2027), Muslim, Maalik, Abu Daawud and Al-Bayhaqi.
3) Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri (ra) said: “The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم observed i’tikaf in the middle ten days of Ramadan to seek Lailat-ul-Qadr before it was made manifest to him. When (these nights) were over, he commanded to strike the tent. Then it was made manifest to him that (Lailat-ul-Qadr) was in the last ten nights (of Ramadhaan), and commanded to pitch the tent (again). He then came to the people and said: O people, Lailat-ul-Qadr was made manifest to me and I came out to inform you about it that two persons came quarrelling with each other and there was a devil along with them and I forgot it. So seek it in the last ten nights of Ramadan. Seek it on the ninth, on the seventh and on the fifth…”
Narrated by Muslim (2774). Abu Sa’eed explained that the ninth was the twenty-first night, the seventh was the twenty-third night and the fifth referred to the twenty-fifth night.
4) Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri (ra) said: “The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم observed i’tikaf (confined himself for devotion and prayer) in the first ten (days) of Ramadan; he then observed i’tikaf in the middle ten (days)… he (the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: I observed i’tikaf in the first ten (nights and days) in order to seek that night (Lailat-ul-Qadr). I then observed i’tikaf in the middle ten days. Then (Wahy) was sent to me and I was told that this (night) is among the last ten (nights). He who among you likes to observe i’tikaf should do so; and the people observed it along with him, and he (the Holy Prophet) said: That (Lailat-ul-Qadr) was shown to me on an odd (night)…”
Narrated by Muslim (2771).
B – Collection of ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar (ra):
1) ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar (ra) said: “Some men amongst the companions of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم were shown in their dreams that the night of Qadr was in the last seven nights of Ramadan. Allah’s Apostle said, “It seems that all your dreams agree that (the Night of Qadr) is in the last seven nights, and whoever wants to search for it (i.e. the Night of Qadr) should search in the last seven (nights of Ramadan).”
Narrated by Al-Bukhaari (2015), Muslim, Ahmad, Ad-Daarami and Ibn Hibbaan.
2) ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar (ra) said: “Search for Laylat-ul-Qadr in the last seven (nights)”.
Narrated by Muslim (2762), Maalik, Ahmad, Ibn Hibbaan, Al-Bayhaqi and Ad-Daarami.
3) ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar (ra) said: “A Man saw (in his dreams) that Laylat-ul-Qadr was on the twenty-seventh night so the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said: I see your vision falls in the last ten so seek it in the odd nights from them”.
Narrated by Muslim (2763)
4) ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar (ra) said: “Search for it in the last ten – meaning Laylat-ul-Qadr – and if one of you becomes weak then don’t let this overcome him in the remaining (last) seven”.
Narrated by Muslim (2765), Ibn Khuzaimah, Ibn Hibbaan and Al-Bayhaqi. Imaam Ahmad Bin Hanbal (1111) from ‘Ali (ra) recorded the wording: “Seek Laylat-ul-Qadr in the last ten (nights) of Ramadhaan. If you become overcome (tired, weak) then don’t let this happen in the last/remaining seven”.
5) ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar (ra) said that the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “Whoever has been looking (for it) then he should look on the twenty-seventh night. He said: Look for it on the twenty-seventh night means Laylat-ul-Qadr”.
Narrated by Ahmad (4808).
C – Collection of ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Abbaas (ra):
1) ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Abbaas (ra) said that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “Look for the Night of Qadr in the last ten nights of Ramadhaan ,’ on the night when nine or seven or five nights remain out of the last ten nights of Ramadan (i.e. 21, 23, 25, respectively)”.
Narrated by Al-Bukhaari (2021), Abu Daawood, Ahmad and Al-Bayhaqi. Al-Bazzaar (1029) narrated it from Anas (ra). Abu Daawood At-Tayaalissy (881), Ahmad and At-Tirmidhi narrated it with a different wording from Abu Bakrah: “…with nine remaining or seven remaining, or five remaining or three remaining or the last remaining night.”
Just as Abu Daawood At-Tayaalissy (2166) narrated from Sa’eed Al-Khudri (ra): “Look for it with seven remaining or five remaining or three remaining.”
2) ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Abbaas (ra) said: “I had been sleeping when it was said to me that it was Laylat-ul-Qadr. He said: I got up and I was drowsy and I was attached to the breadth of the tent of the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم. He said: He was praying so I found out that this night was the twenty-third”.
Narrated by Ahmad (2547), At-Tabaraani in Al-Mu’jam Al-Kabeer and Ibn Abi Shaibah.
3) ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Abbaas (ra) said: “A man came to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and said: O Prophet of Allah, I am an old sick man and standing in Qiyaam is hard for me so order me with a night so that Allah will reconcile it with me, Laylat-ul-Qadr. So he صلى الله عليه وسلم said: You should focus on the seventh”.
Narrated by Ahmad (2149) and Al-Bayhaqi.
D – The Collection of Zirr Bin Hubaish from Abi Bin Ka’b (ra):
1) Zirr Bin Hubaish said: “Zirr (b. Hubaish) reported: I heard from Ubayy b. Ka’b a statement made by ‘Abdullah b. Mas’ud in which he said: He who gets up for prayer (every night) during the year will hit upon Lailat-ul-Qadr. Ubayy said: By Allah I there is no god but He, that (Lailat-ul-Qadr) is in Ramadhan (He swore without reservation:) By Allah, I know the night; it is the night on which the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) commanded us to pray. It is that which precedes the morning of twenty-seventy and its indication is that the sun rises bright on that day without rays”.
Narrated by Muslim (2777) and Ahmad.
In another version from Muslim (2778) it states: “Ubayy b Ka’b reported: By Allah, I know about Lailat-ul Qadr and I know it fully well that it is the twenty-seventh night (during Ramadan) on which the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) commanded us to observe prayer.”
This was also narrated by Ibn Khuzaimah, Ibn Hibbaan, Al-Bayhaqi with differences in the expressions.
2) Zirr Bin Hubaish said that I heard Ubayy Bin Ka’b (ra) saying: “The twenty-seventh night is the night that the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم informed us of: That the sun rises white rippling”.
Recorded by Ahmad (21510) and Ibn Abi Shaibah.
3) From Zirr from Abi Ubayy Bin Ka’b (ra) that he said: “The companions of The Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم were mentioning and discussing amongst ourselves about Laylat-ul-Qadr so Ubayy said: I and by the one who there is no God beside, I know which night it is. It is the night which the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم informed us of, the twenty-seventh night that has passed from Ramadhaan and the sign for that is that the sun that rises the next morning from that night ripples and does not have rays. Salamah Bin Kuhail claimed that Zirr informed him that he had observed for three years from the first to last day of Ramadhaan and he saw that following the twenty-seventh night the sun rose rippling without rays”.
Narrated by Ahmad (21509), Abu Daawood and Al-Bayhaqi.
4) Zirr said: “If it wasn’t for the foolish I would have placed my hands to my ears and called out: Laylat-ul-Qadr is the twenty-seventh night. This is news for the one who did not lie to me from someone who did not lie about it, meaning Ubayy Bin Ka’b from the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم”.
Narrated by Ibn Khuzaimah (2187). This has been related with the same meaning from Ahmad Bin Hanbal, Ibn Hibbaan and Daawud At-Tayaalissy.
E – Collection from Abu Dharr (ra):
1) Abu Dharr (ra) said: “I said: O Messenger of Allah, tell me about Laylat-ul-Qadr. Is it in Ramadhaan or other than it? He replied: It is indeed in Ramadhaan. I said: O Messenger of Allah, Does it remain as long as the Prophets are present and when they pass away it is taken with them or does it remain until the day of judgement? He answered: Indeed it is until the day of Judgement. I asked: O Messenger of Allah, which part of Ramadhaan does it fall? He Replied: Look for it in the first and last ten nights. Then the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم was talking (on another topic) and then I took a chance and asked: O Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم, which part from these twenty (nights)? He replied: Look for it in the last ten and do not ask me about this again after this. Then the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم was talking until I sensed another opportunity (to ask) so I asked: O Messenger of Allah, I took an oath that you would tell me – or when you have told me – in which part of the last ten is it? Then he became angry with me with more anger than I had seen against before or after and said: If Allah had willed he would have informed you of its timing. Search for it in the last seven nights”.
Narrated by Al-Haakim (437/1) and Adh-Dhahabi concurred with it and verified it as Saheeh. Ahmad, An-Nasaa’i and Al-Bazzaar also narrated it.
2) Abu Dharr (ra) said: “We were fasting with the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم in Ramadhaan and he did not make Qiyaam with us in any of the month until there remained seven. He then made Qiyaam with us until a third of the night had passed and then on the fourth night he did not perform it with us and then performed it with us in the following night until half of the night had passed approximately. He said: So we said: O Messenger of Allah, what if we made Naafilah (Qiyaam) for the remainder of the night? He replied: A man if he stands in prayer with the Imaam until he leaves then it counts for the remainder of the night. He then did not stand with us in prayer on the sixth and then stood with us on the seventh. He صلى الله عليه وسلم said: He called for his family and gathered the people and we stood in prayer until we feared that we would miss (al-Falah) Suhoor.”
Narrated by Ahmad (21778).
3) Abu Dharr (ra) said: “We stood in prayer with the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم on the twenty-third night of Ramadhaan for a third of the night in its first part and he said: I do not think that what you are searching for (Laylat-ul-Qadr) is behind you (i.e. has passed). We then prayed for half of the twenty-fifth night and he said: I do not think that what you are searching for is behind you. We then stood in prayer on the twenty-seventh until the morning and then he was silent”.
Narrated by Imaam Ahmad (21899) with a Jayyid Sanad (chain).
F – The collection of ‘Ubaadah Bin As-Saamit (ra):
1) ‘Ubaadah Bin Saamit (ra) said that the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “Laylat-ul-Qadr is in the remaining (last) ten, whoever performs Qiyaam in it seeking its reward then Allah Tabaaraka wa Ta’Alaa will forgive his past and future sins. It is in the odd nights: nine (from the end i.e. 21st) or seven or five or three or the last night. And the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said: The sign of Laylat-ul-Qadr is that it is clear as if the moon was shining brightly, calm and quiet not hot and not cold and a meteor cannot be thrown out in it until the morning. Also from its signs is that the sun in the morning after comes out on the horizon without any rays like the moon when it is full and it is not allowed for the Shaytaan to exit with it on that day”.
Narrated by Ahmad (23145) and it has been previously mentioned in the sub-section (The descriptions of Laylat-ul-Qadr).
2) ‘Ubaadah Bin Saamit (ra) said that the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “Look for it in the ninth, seventh and fifth meaning Laylat-ul-Qadr”.
Narrated by Ahmad (23043). And in another narration from Ahmad from ‘Ubaadah (23090/23089) with the following wording: “…So look for it in the last ten and it is in the odd (nights), on the twenty-first, twenty-third, twenty-fifth, twenty-seventh or twenty-ninth or in the last night”.
3) ‘Ubaadah bin Saamit (ra) said: “The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم came out to tell us about Laylat-ul-Qadr (i.e. when it was) then there were two men from amongst the Muslims quarrelling so he said: I came out to inform you about Laylat-ul-Qadr and so and so and so and so were quarrelling so it was lifted (i.e. knowledge of it was taken away) and it may be that there will be goodness in this for you. So search for it in the ninth, seventh and fifth”.
G – Various other Ahaadeeth on the issue:
1) ‘Aa’isha (ra) the wife of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “That the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم used to perform I’tikaaf in the last ten of Ramadhaan until Allah سبحانه وتعالى raised him then his wives continued to perform I’tikaaf after him”.
Narrated by Al-Bukhaari (2025), Muslim, Abu Daawud, An-Nasaa’i and Ahmad.
2) ‘Aa’isha (ra) said: “The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم used to exceed the norm (in terms of ‘Ibaadah) in the last ten of Ramadhaan and would say: Look for Laylat-ul-Qadr in the last ten of Ramadan”.
Narrated by Al-Bukhaari (2020) and At-Tirmidhi. Muslim (2782) narrated it split up as “The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم used to make I’tikaaf in the last ten of Ramadan” and (2776)
3) Umm Salamah (ra) said: “That the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم made I’tikaaf in the first ten of the first year, he then performed the middle ten and then the last ten and said: I saw Laylat-ul-Qadr and was then caused to forget it and the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم continued making I’tikaaf in them (the last ten) until the Messenger of Allah passed away”.
Narrated by At-Tabaraani (994/23). Al-Haithami said that the Isnaad (chain is Saheeh).
4) Mu’aawiyah (ra) and may Allah pardon him said that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “Laylat-ul-Qadr is the twenty-seventh night”.
Narrated by Ibn Hibbaan (3680), Abu Daawood, Al-Bayhaqi, At-Tabaraani and Ibn Abi Shaibah.
5) Abu Hurairah (ra) said that the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said in regards to Laylat-ul-Qadr: “It is (either) the twenty-seventh or twenty-ninth night. The number of Malaa’ikah (angels) in that night are greater in number than can be counted”.
Narrated by Abu Daawood At-Tayaalissy (2545) and Ibn Khuzaimah. It has also been narrated by Ahmad, At-Tabaraani in Al-Mu’jam Al-Awsat and Al-Bazzaar. Al-Haithami said that its transmitters are trustworthy.
6) ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab (ra) said: “…Verily the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said in relation to Laylat-ul-Qadr what they have known. Look for it in the odd nights of the last ten, so in any odd night you see”.
Narrated by Al-Imaam Ahmad (85), Al-Bazzaar and Abu Ya’laa. Al-Haithami said the transmitters of Abu Ya’laa are trustworthy.
7) Busr Bin Sa’eed narrated from ‘Abdullah Bin Unais from the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم that he said: “I was shown Laylat-ul-Qadr and then caused to forget it and I was shown the morning in which I will make Sujood (prostration) in water and mud. He said: It rained upon us on the night of the twenty-third so the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم prayed with us and then left and he had the markings of water and mud on his face and ear. He said: ‘Abdullah Ibn Unais was saying that it was the twenty-third”.
Narrated by Muslim (2775) and Ahmad and Al-Bayhaqi.
Ahmad (16142) also narrated: “…So we said to him: O Messenger of Allah when will we find this Blessed night? He صلى الله عليه وسلم replied: Look for it in this night and he said: that was the twenty-third night…”.
And Al-Bayhaqi (309/4) narrated: “…So he ordered us – i.e. the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم – with the twenty-third night…”.
8) Abu Hurairah (ra) said that the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “How much has passed from the month? They said: twenty-two days and eight remain so He صلى الله عليه وسلم said: Indeed twenty have passed and seven remain: Seek it tonight”.
Narrated by Al-Bayhaqi (310/4) and Ahmad.
9) Nu’maan Bin Basheer(ra) said whilst on the Minbar of Homs: “We performed Qiyaam with the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم on the twenty-third night of Ramadhaan for a third of it, then we prayed on the twenty-fifth with him for half the night and then we stood in prayer with him on the twenty-seventh night until we thought that we would miss the Suhoor. He said: We used to call out for our Suhoor al-Falaah and as for us we say: the seventh night is the twenty-seventh and you say it is the twenty-third so who is more correct: Us or you?”
Narrated by Ahmad (18592), An-Nasaa’i and Ibn Khuzaimah.
10) ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood (ra) said: “The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم was asked concerning Laylat-ul-Qadr? So he said: I was informed about it and then (this knowledge) was moved away from me so seek it in the seventh with surety/conviction (yaqeen) or the third with yaqeen (conviction)”.
Narrated by Al-Bazzaar (1028) and Al-Haithami said its transmitters are trustworthy.
11) Anas (ra) said that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “Look for it in the last ten: in the ninth, seventh and fifth”.
Narrated by Al-Bazzaar (1029). Al-Haithami said the transmitters are Saheeh.
12) Jaabir Bin Samurah (ra) said that the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “Search for the night of Laylat-ul-Qadr on the twenty-seventh night”.
Narrated by At-Tabaraani (285) in Al-Mu’jam As-Sagheer.
So I say and Allah is the one who reconciles the truth: Firstly: There are Saheeh Ahaadeeth that Al-Bukhaari and Muslim agree upon and there are Ahaadeeth which are unique to Al-Bukhaari, Muslim and other than them. When Ahaadeeth have been agreed upon by Al-Bukhaari and Muslim then they are the peak of evidential deduction (Istidlaal) and have precedence in a situation of contradictions or opposing evidential meanings. There are also other Saheeh and Hasan Ahaadeeth so whatever agrees is suitable for Istidlaal (use as an evidence for deduction) and whatever disagrees then the Saheeh are taken and Hasan are dropped.
Secondly: By looking at the mentioned texts which are more than thirty we find this text agreed upon which has been narrated by Al-Bukhaari and Muslim that: “I was shown Laylatul-Qadr and then caused to forget it.”
This wording is at the peak in terms of suitability and correctness and there is no other text that contradicts its meaning or is equal to it in terms of correctness and viability and contradicts it. Any contradictory evidence that has come can only be viewed in terms of its position and rank in relation to the position of this text (i.e. from Al-Bukhaari and Muslim) especially as none of them have included an explanation of the later timing of one to the other or linked to an occasion so as to claim the occurrence of abrogation. All of these evidences have come on an equal footing in terms of timing so there is no abrogation in this issue at all.
Thirdly: If there is a Prophetic statement issued in a Mas’ala (issue) and there are also statements of the Sahaabah in the same issue, then the statements of the Sahaabah are not looked at (i.e. they do not hold value) and in this issue the Prophet statement is present, indeed there are many Noble Prophetic statements which have been issued in this Mas’ala. Due to this there is no need or is it essential to mention the statements of the Sahaabah in this issue so I have left them altogether. Whoever wishes to look into these statements then they have been recorded in the Musannaf of Ibn Abi Shaibah as examples in pages 488-490 in the second volume.
Fourthly: When the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم orders us with a matter or forbids us from it, then it becomes obligatory upon to obey and comply and if he صلى الله عليه وسلم informs us with a news or information then we believe it (Tasdeeq) and it is not allowed ever to deny it. Here he صلى الله عليه وسلم has informed us through an evidence which is agreed upon (Mutaffaq Alaihi) that he had known the night of Laylat-ul-Qadr and then forgot it or it is more correct to say that he was caused to forget it meaning that Allah سبحانه وتعالى caused it to be forgotten. There is no text that has informed us that the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم had remembered it again (after forgetting it) and where this Saheeh Khabar (report) is of the highest level of legal texts and where no alternative has been given to it or change been reported then it is obligatory on every Faqeeh and non-Faqeeh to accept this information and it isn’t Halaal to have a view that contradicts it and differs from it.
So for example it isn’t allowed to say that the Messenger of Allah knew the night of power throughout his life but kept it hidden from the Muslims so that they would exert themselves more in the last nights of Ramadhaan and not only in one night. This opinion is not allowed for a Muslim Faqeeh and non-Faqeeh to hold because it contradicts with the statement of the Messenger of Allah that states that he was shown the night and then caused to forget it, and the issue remained like that.
And worse than this is when a Muslim whatever the degree of his knowledge and Fiqh claims that he knows when Laylat-ul-Qadr is. It is like he is claiming with this view that he knows something that the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم did not know or that his knowledge is above that of the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم.
Fifthly: A number of the Sahaabah in what has been related from them and a number of Fuqahaa have attempted to specify Laylat-ul-Qadr using the texts and evidences that I have presented. I say: If they have based their specification on the signs that the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم had informed them of then this specification does not reach the level of definitive knowledge (al-‘Ilm al-Yaqeeni) but is rather speculative (Zhanny) knowledge which could be correct and could be mistaken. Built upon this I say that all of the specifications attributed to the Sahaabah and Taabi’oon and Fuqahaa are all based on Zhann (doubt/speculation) only or Ghalabat Azh-Zhann (preponderant speculation) and is not under any circumstance regarded as definitive and unquestionable.
An example of this is what has been narrated from the Noble Sahaabi Ubayy Bin Ka’b (ra) in what has been mentioned in the collection of Zirr Bin Hubaish “Then they united without exception on the twenty-seventh night.” He took his knowledge for specifying the night from the signs which were heard from the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم only and he didn’t claim to take this knowledge (about the date) from the statements of the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم. So he said: “With the sign/indications that the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم informed us of that it (the sun) would rise that day without any rays shining from it.”
The same can be said about all of the Ahaadeeth that have been reported from him so Ubayy Bin Ka’b heard the signs and indications from the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم and then made his own Ijtihaad in applying those signs onto the reality and as a result concluded that Laylat-ul-Qadr was the twenty-seventh night. So this specifying is an Ijtihaad from him and not news that has been passed to us which it is obligatory to accept and take. As for the statement “We united without exception” then this does not negate that it is his Ijtihaad and the fact that there was a unity does not take away from the fact that the conclusion was based on an Ijtihaad based on the signs of the night and therefore does not substantiate definite knowledge. So Ijtihaad in the signs does not lead to definitiveness in defining, specifying or in knowledge generally unless the Sahaabah all agreed with the view of Ubayy and indeed that all of the Muslims agree with the huge abundance of signs that they have in front of them.
Sixthly: Some of the Fuqahaa thought that the statement of the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم: “Look for it in the ninth, seventh and fifth” or “look for it in the last odd ten” indicates that he صلى الله عليه وسلم knew the specific date.
It would be possible for this understanding to be correct had the text concerning the Messenger being caused to forget the night not existed. His statement therefore negates any understanding from this approach so the Muslims should (despite their love for Ijtihaad in the matters of ‘Ibaadah) to stop their study on this matter of specifying the night of Laylat-ul-Qadr) and to place the issue with the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم who has informed them that he does not know when it is.
Seventhly: As an evidence that the signs lead to mistakes is what has occurred with the Noble Sahaabah (rah): Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri and ‘Abdullah Ibn Unais (rah). As for Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri he had heard from the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم that he saw himself prostrating in the morning of the night in water and mud as was reported in a number of narrations and when Abu Sa’eed saw the Messenger of Allah prostrating in the Fajr prayer after the twenty-first night in water and mud then from this it was understood by him that Laylat-ul-Qadr was on the twenty-first night so he spread this view which he had trust in so many of the A’immah (scholars) and Fuqahaa took this view based on that.
As for ‘Abdullah Ibn Unais (ra) he heard from the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم what was quoted in Hadeeth number 7 from the ‘Various other Hadeeth’ section that: “And I was shown its morning and I was prostrating in water and mud, He (‘Abdullah) said: It rained on the night of the twenty-third and the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم prayed with us and then left and the marks of water and mud were upon his face and nose.”
So when ‘Abdullah Ibn Unais saw that the Messenger of Allah had prostrated in water and mud on the morning after the twenty-third night he understood from this sign that Laylat-ul-Qadr was the twenty-third night, so he spread his view and a number of Fuqahaa took this view. This indicates an area of doubt where understandings differ in terms of deducing the signs and deducing with them (the signs) does not provide the necessary level of knowledge but remains in the sphere of Zhann (speculation and doubt) or Ghalabat Azh-Zhann (preponderant speculation).
I would like to bring attention here to the point that claims of definitive knowledge are Haraam in this Mas’ala (fiqhi issue) because they go beyond the knowledge of the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم.
Eighthly: If we examine the narrations from Abu Sa’eed in what is related to the signs which have been relied upon: Al-Bukhaari has related four of them (2016), (2018), (2036) and (2040) which mention the sign in an absolute way like: (And I saw myself prostrating in water and mud). Theses texts do not restrict themselves to the morning of Laylat-ul-Qadr. Imaam Muslim two reports with the same wording: (2769) and (2772) where Al-Bukhaari has only reported one which includes a restriction: “I was shown that I prostrate in water and mud in its morning” and Muslim reports two that limit it to the morning: (2771) and (2775). So here we have six narrations from two people which have not specified the morning of Laylat-ul-Qadr and only three that have specified the sign to the morning.
I outweigh the six reports over the three as it is not beyond me that the mention (of the morning) happened as a result of the falling of the occurrence of water and mud in the morning of that night so this specification was attributed to the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم as a result. This is a possible interpretation or explanation so that we can reconcile between the Ahaadeeth especially as the unrestricted evidences are more numerous than those that have come with a restriction because they have more strength in the process of deduction. We can then incorporate this explanation and understanding so that we can reconcile these restricted reports with the reports of ‘Abdullah Ibn Unais mentioned in seven in the ‘Various other Ahaadeeth’ section. These mentioned that the sign occurred on the twenty-third night and without this interpretation it would then be necessary to reject either the narrations of Abu Sa’eed or ‘Abdullah Ibn Unais (rah) and working with all the evidences is always better than neglecting or rejecting some (if possible). And with our statement that the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم did not restrict himself to making Sujood (prostration) in water and mud with any restriction but rather made a Mutlaq (unrestricted) statement and then rain fell on the twenty-first night and again on the twenty-third night. As a result Abu Sa’eed thought that the sign had occurred on the twenty-first night and ‘Abdullah Bin Unais thought that the sign applied to the twenty-third night.
As a result the two views differed and due to our interpretation we have worked with all the narrations without the need of rejecting any of them. Verily the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said two separate statements: He saw Laylat-ul-Qadr and then he was made to forget and he saw himself prostrating in water and mud and neither of the two are linked to each other. The link occurred as it seems came from the understanding of the narrators as a result of the falling of rain on the morning of these two nights and with this understanding and interpretation we have worked (and reconciled) all of these evidences.
Someone could come and say: If the texts are Saheeh and if an addition came in one of them then this addition is acceptable because an addition from the trustworthy is acceptable, so then why is not the statement (of its morning) not accepted and other narrations carried over upon its meaning?
The answer to this is that the difference between Abu Sa’eed and ‘Abdullah Bin Unais in what they related makes us not accept this addition and had there not been a difference we would have accepted both of them. So the pardon is established for us upon rejecting the addition and the most correct view is what we have gone with which is that the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم after informing the Muslims that he had been shown the Night of power and then caused to forget it. He told them of new information which was not connected with what was before it that he saw himself prostrate in water and mud and his statement came to happen in the two nights in which the rain descended. There is nothing mentioned from him صلى الله عليه وسلم that makes his Sujood in water and mud a sign for the occurrence of Laylat-ul-Qadr.
Following on from this, Abu Sa’eed and ‘Abdullah Bin Unais both made an error in determining Laylat-ul-Qadr and this mistake came from the connection between the two pieces of information which were not connected to each other in origin. With this interpretation we can continue to a conclusion which is that these two Hadeeths with their numerous narrations do not benefit us in determining Laylat-ul-Qadr and it is not correct to infer from them any specification to the Night of Power and what came to us firstly of information that “I was shown the Night of Power and then caused to forget it” is sufficient for us. With that we have a firm truth which is that the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم did not know himself when Laylat-ul-Qadr was after Allah سبحانه وتعالى caused its knowledge to be forgotten. This is what Allah سبحانه وتعالى wanted and this brings Khair (goodness) to the Muslims as was mentioned in the Hadeeth of ‘Ubaadah Bin As-Saamit (Number 3) which said: “So it was raised (the knowledge of it) and maybe this will be good for you.”
As long as there is Khair in the fact that the determination of Laylat-ul-Qadr has been lifted then why would the Fuqahaa exert themselves in trying to specify and determine it? Why would they reject the Khair for themselves and the rest of the Muslims!? Also why did they not stop at the statement of the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم which was narrated by Abu Dharr (ra) (Number 1 in his collection quoted earlier) that: “If Allah had willed He would have made you aware of it”?! Then after the will of Allah سبحانه وتعالى is known, does there remain a right or place left for the will of one of his creation!?
Ninthly: We will now look at the narrations reported from ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar (ra) which have been recorded by Al-Bukhaari and Muslim: “…So search for it in the last seven” and from Muslim “I see your vision in the last ten so seek it in the odd thereof” and “Look for it in the last ten…and don’t be overcome in the last seven.” These evidences do not settle between the last ten and seven nights and do not specify a specific night for Laylat-ul-Qadr and this confirms what is widespread and known nearly to the point of Tawaatur that Laylatul-Qadr falls in the last ten nights. The Messenger of Allah performed I’tikaaf throughout the last ten days and nights of Ramadhaan seeking the Night until he passed away to Allah Ta’Alaa which was highlighted in the Hadeeth of ‘Aa’isha (ra) (Number 1 in the various Hadeeth collection) which indicates clearly that this Hukm (judgement) continued without being abrogated.
Al-Bukhaari (2015) has one narration from Ibn ‘Umar (ra) and Muslim has four narrations from him (2762), (2765), (2766), (2767) and none of these come specifying Laylat-ul-Qadr. We then find Ahmad with two narrations from him (4808) and (6474) which specify Laylatul-Qadr to be on the twenty-seventh night. By reviewing the Musnad of Al-Imaam Ahmad we find two other reports from Ibn ‘Umar (5430) and (5932) which request searching for Laylat-ul-Qadr in the last seven without specifying the twenty-seventh. All of these Hadeeth from Ahmad have been reported from ‘Abdullah Ibn Deenaar from Ibn ‘Umar so can this contradiction be made sense of?
In the book ‘Tahdheeb at-Tahdheeb’ of Ibn Hajar we find the following statement from Al-‘Uqaily: In the reports of the Scholars about him – ‘Abdullah Ibn Deenaar – it is said: ‘inconsistent’. So the Ahaadeeth from the two Shaikhs (Al-Bukhaari and Muslim) are taken as well as those from Ahmad that request searching for Laylat-ul-Qadr in the last ten or the last seven nights and the two narrations from Imaam Ahmad that specify the searching to the twenty-seventh is left especially as all of these Ahaadeeth came from ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar (ra). So we have combined the Saheeh narrations of Abu Sa’eed and ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar (rah) which call for searching for Laylat-ul-Qadr in the last ten or the last seven and this is the strongest of what has been reported in the Saheeh Ahaadeeth.
As for the collection of Ibn ‘Abbaas (ra), the first Hadeeth has come in agreement with the collections of Abu Sa’eed and Ibn ‘Umar so is included with them. As for the second that specifies the twenty-third as Laylat-ul-Qadr then this is a vision of Ibn ‘Abbaas which he saw and not a report from the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم and we do not seek to worship Allah سبحانه وتعالى with our visions or anybody else’s with the exception to those of the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم or a Ru’yah (vision) of a Sahaabi if he صلى الله عليه وسلم confirms it. In this Hadeeth the vision of Ibn ‘Abbaas has not been confirmed by the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم and is therefore not a legal proof for us and this is in relation to the Matn (the written text of the Hadeeth). As for the Sanad (chain) this Hadeeth was related from Simaak from ‘Ikraamah from Ibn ‘Abbaas and Simaak is Da’eef (weak) amongst the narrators so this Hadeeth is rejected Matnan and Sanadan (By text and chain).
As for the third Hadeeth then amongst its transmitters is Mu’aadh Bin Hishaam who has been classified as Da’eef by Al-Humaidy, Yahya Bin Mo’een and Abu Daawood and is therefore also rejected. As for the collection of Zirr Bin Hubaish or rather the collection of Ubayy Bin Ka’b, we have already shown the weakness in all of them as they were all based on Ijtihaad on the signs of the Night of Power, and these signs cannot be understood from one angle especially when there are other narrations which indicate different understandings and conclusions to these very same signs as occurred with the Hadeeth of ‘Abdullah Ibn Unais which we have previously mentioned.
As for the collection of Abu Dharr (ra), then the first Hadeeth is in agreement with the majority of Saheeh Ahaadeeth which guide to the last ten and last seven nights. As for the second Hadeeth, it does not contain a mention of Laylat-ul-Qadr but rather indicates the merits of performing Qiyaam on the twenty-third, twenty-fifth and twenty-seventh nights. This is an issue in which there is no dispute and it fits with the view that Laylat-ul-Qadr should be sought in the odd nights of the last seven. As for the third Hadeeth; it has Zaid Bin Al-Hubaab in its chain and Ahmad Bin Hanbal said about him: He was truthful and precise in his words from Mu’aawiyah Bin Saalih but made a lot of mistakes. Ibn Hibbaan mentioned him in Ath-Thiqaat and said: He made errors. His Hadeeth are considered if they are narrated from those who are well known but if they are unknown they contain a lot of what is rejected. He is therefore not of the level of the Saheeh narrators and this is especially the case if what he comes with is in contradiction to what the Saheeh narrators have come with.
As for the collection of ‘Ubaadah Bin As-Saamit (ra) then they are in agreement with the Saheeh Ahaadeeth that order the searching for Laylat-ul-Qadr in the odd nights of the last ten or seven. As for the ‘Various Hadeeth Collection’, then the narrations of ‘Aa’sha, Umm Salamah, ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab, Anas Bin Maalik (rah) all mention the last ten or seven and the odd nights within them.
In relation to the narration of Mu’aawiyah from Ibn Hibbaan (Number 4) which stated that ‘Laylat-ul-Qadr falls on the twenty-seventh night’ it has in this report ‘Ubaidullah Bin Mu’aadh bin Mu’aadh and Yahya Bin Mo’een said: Ibn Sameenah, Shabbaab and ‘Ubaidullah Bin Mu’aadh are not people of Hadeeth, they (or their words) hold no value. This Hadeeth is therefore rejected in its Sanad even if some of the Muhadditheen have classified him as trustworthy, then trust in a person is one thing and the correctness of Hadeeth is something else. It could be that the narrator is trustworthy, upright and truthful but not Daabit (accurate) or Haafizh (can remember well) and therefore due to this reason is not a suitable narrator of Hadeeth and ‘Ubaidullah Ibn Mu’aadh falls into this category.
The narration of Abu Hurairah (Number 5) its Sanad as collected by Abu Daawood At-Tayaalissy is: “Younus said: Abu Daawood told us: ‘Imraan told us from Qataadah from Abu Maymoonah from Abu Hurairah.” Abu Maymoonah has been judged competent by a number of Muhadditheen and has been described as Al-Faarisy. Ad-Daaraqutni is amongst those who have verified him however the Abu Maymoonah in this Hadeeth is not Abu Maymoonah Al-Faarisy who has been described with trust, uprightness and truthfulness and Ad-Daaraqutni brought attention to this difference. He said: Abu Maymoonah from Abu Hurairah from Qataadah is unknown (Majhool) and is therefore left (i.e. not accepted). This Hadeeth is therefore weak and rejected.
As for Hadeeth 8 from Al-Bayhaqi it includes Ahmad Bin Abdul-Jabbaar and Ibn Hajar said concerning him in Tahdheeb At-Tahdheeb: “Ibn Abi Haatim said: He has be written about and his narrations have been held back due to the amount of talk concerning him. Mateen said: He used to lie. Abu Ahmad Al-Haakim said: He is not strong with them and Ibn Aqdah left him (and his narration). Ibn ‘Adi said: I saw the people of Al-‘Iraq reach a consensus about his weakness and Ibn ‘Aqdah did not relate from him…”. So Ahmad Bin Abdul-Jabbaar is classified as weak with the majority of ‘Ulamaa and therefore this Hadeeth is also rejected.
In respect to the Hadeeth of Jaabir Bin samurah (Number 12) which was reported by At-Tabaraani in Al-Mu’jam As-Sagheer it includes in the report Simaak Bin Harb and he is Da’eef which we have made clear already more than once so it is rejected.
The Hadeeth of Nu’maan Bin Basheer (Number 9) we say in respect to it what we have said for Hadeeth Number 2 from the collection of Abu Dharr in that it does not include in it a mention of Laylat-ul-Qadr. As for the Hadeeth of ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood (ra) it includes in the report ‘Abdullah Bin Al-Jahm and Abu Zur’ah said about him: I saw him and did not write or report from him and he was truthful. Abu haatim said: I saw him and did not write from him. He used to spread/circulate (speech). Amongst the transmitters is also ‘Amru Bin Abi Qais Az-Zaari and Al-Aajiry said from Abu Daawood: In his Hadeeth there is a mistake. ‘Uthmaan Bin Abi Shaibah said: There is no problem in him, he used to be a little obscure in some Hadeeth. So in this Hadeeth there is flexibility and weakness and can therefore not stand up against the Saheeh Ahaadeeth ever. On top of this the Hadeeth did not specify Laylat-ul-Qadr with a specific night but rather moved between the twenty-third and twenty-seventh night.
We sum up what preceded by saying that the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم knew at the beginning when Laylat-ul-Qadr was, then Allah Al-‘Aleem Al-Khabeer caused this knowledge to be forgotten. This remained the situation until he صلى الله عليه وسلم passed away and as long as the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم did not know its time then it is not allowed for any of the Sahaabah or other than them to specify the night. It is obligatory on all of the Muslims, the ‘Ulamaa and other than them to be satisfied and find it sufficient to search and look for Laylat-ul-Qadr in the last ten or seven nights of Ramadhaan within its odd nights. It will not then fall in other than the twenty-first, twenty-third, twenty-fifth, twenty-seventh or twenty-ninth night like has been mentioned in the Hadeeth reported by Abu Daawood At-Tayaalissy, number 1 in the collection of ‘Abdullah Ibn Abbaas on the way of Abu Bakrah with the wording: “…with nine remaining, or seven remaining, or five remaining, or three remaining or the last night.”