In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
- Surely We revealed it on the Night of Majesty
- And what will make thee comprehend what the Night of Majesty
- The Night of Majesty is better than a thousand months.
- The angels and the Spirit descend in it by the permission
of their Lord for every affair
- Peace! it is till the rising of the morning.
1. Surely We revealed it on the Night of Majesty –
In this chapter, Al-Qadr (The Majesty), it is stated that
the period when the Holy Qur'an was being revealed was a time of
great blessings, and the reward for worship, righteous actions and
other efforts for the sake of religion that could have been attained
at that time, cannot be paralleled in any other age.
The pronoun hu (it) in anzalna-hu (We revealed it)
refers to the revelation of the Holy Qur'an on the Night of Majesty.
Elsewhere in the Holy Qur'an it is mentioned: The month of Ramadhan
is that in which the Qur'an was revealed (2:185). This tells
us that the Night of Majesty is in the month of Ramadhan.
According to the Holy Prophet, it is one of the odd nights of the
last ten days of Ramadhan, that is, it is either the 21st,
23rd, 25th, 27th or 29th
night. Another report puts it as one of these nights – either the
25th, 27th or 29th night.
It has been called the Night of Majesty because it is a night of
great grandeur and honour and one which man should value with total
respect and reverence. There is no doubt that the night in which
the Holy Qur'an was revealed – an extraordinary gift and an incomparable
book of guidance to mankind – should be regarded with the highest
honour and respect. This night receives its eminence from the fact
that the Holy Qur'an was revealed in it, and the anniversary of
the revelation of the Holy Qur'an on this night has been laid down
for all times as a night of great blessings and honour, so that
every year when that night comes, Allah opens the doors of His mercy
and blessings for His servants. This is not just a mere anniversary,
for just as the rivers of Allah’s mercy gushed forth on that sublime
night when the first revelation of the Holy Qur'an came, so too,
the same thing obtains every year on that particular night when
Allah showers His mercy and blessings on the hearts of all those
who endeavour to seek His grace.
Sometimes an objection is made that the whole Qur'an was not revealed
on that night. The answer to that is that the word Qur'an
has been used in reference to the entire Qur'an, or to a part of
it, or even to a single verse as we read: When the Qu'ran is
being recited, listen to it (7:204). Here the whole Qur'an cannot
be meant, but we are commanded to listen attentively when a part
or a verse of the Qur'an is being recited. Thus, when it is said
that the Qur'an was revealed on that night of Majesty, it does not
necessarily mean that the whole of the Qur'an was revealed. Even
if one verse was revealed, the statement would still have been true
– that the Qur'an was revealed on the Night of Majesty. The fact
remains that the revelation of the Holy Qur'an extended over a period
of twenty-three years and its verses were revealed in various places
on different occasions. But that night when the first verses of
the Holy Qur'an were revealed will always be considered as the night
on which the Qur'an was sent. The reason for this is that before
that night there was no Qur'an on earth.
2. And what will make thee comprehend what the Night of Majesty
3. The Night of Majesty is better than a thousand months.
In other words, to perform worship and to do acts of righteousness
on that night will bring to the believer more reward than he would
get in a thousand months. Here the word thousand is used
to signify a very large number and what is meant is that countless
blessings will accrue to the devotee if he fulfils the conditions.
It is recorded that in the month of Ramadhan the Holy Prophet (sas)
was extremely generous and at night he engaged in extra devotional
prayers, especially in the last ten nights when his worship reached
the topmost peak of perfection. In the latter part of the night
he used to read ten rakahs (cycles) of prayer in twos and
then add one rakah (cycle) called witr thus making
the whole prayer an odd number, that is, eleven rakahs (cycles)
in all. People normally read three rakahs (cycles) of prayer
(witr) in the latter part of the night.
The Holy Prophet (sas) used to read eleven rakahs
(cycles) of prayer called the Tahajjud prayer. This name
was given to it because tahajjud means getting up from
sleep. So the prayer that people read after rising up from sleep
is called Tahajjud. But if a person should stay awake all
night and keep on performing prayer throughout, that prayer according
to the definition of the Shari'ah (Law) cannot be called
So the eleven rakahs (cycles) of prayers that the Holy Prophet
(sas) used to read in the latter half of the night was called
Tahajjud because he used to read them after waking up from sleep
and he used to add the witr prayer so as to make the number
an odd one.
This is the prayer that is called Tarawih in the month of
Ramadhan because after every two rakahs (cycles) of the prayer
a short rest is permitted and it is because of this short rest that
this prayer is named Tarawih. Thus the Tarawih prayer
in the month of Ramadhan is really the Tahajjud prayer and
not an additional or separate one, and for ease and convenience
it is read in an earlier part of the night rather that in the later
part. To read twenty rakahs (cycles) of Tarawih prayer
with three witr added making a total of twenty-three rakahs
(cycles) is not in accordance with the Sunnah of our
Holy Prophet Muhammad (sas). This came about because, in
the time of the Caliph Umar, people were sitting one night in the
masjid (mosque) and engaging in idle talk. The Caliph
passed by them and asked them what they were doing. On receiving
the reply that they were just enjoying some small talk, he asked
a hafiz (person who knows the Qur'an by heart) to gather
the people into a congregation and lead them in twenty rakahs
(cycles) of supererogatory prayer. The idea was that the whole Qur'an
should be read in the Tarawih prayer during the month of
Ramadhan. This then became the accepted practice, but this was not
the custom of the companions of the Holy Prophet (sas).
As regards the Night of Majesty, Lady Ayesha once asked the Holy
Prophet (sas) what du‘a (supplication) she should
make if she ever experienced that extraordinary Night of Grandeur,
and this is the prayer he gave to her:
“O Allah! Thou art the Forgiving and Thou lovest forgiveness, so
please forgive me.”
4-5. The angels and the Spirit descend on it by the permission
of their Lord for every affair. Peace! it is till the rising of
Here, many people infer from the expression min kulli amr
(for every affair) that on this night all decisions for the following
year regarding the administration and other affairs of the world
are determined. This deduction is not correct. Kul (every)
is a relative word and its application depends on the context or
the situation and covers only such matters that are under discussion.
For example, if on the occasion of a feast it is said that all the
people have arrived, it cannot mean that all the people in the world
are present there. What it means, in fact, is that all the invited
guests are present. Similarly, when the Prophet Noah was given the
following command in the chapter Hud: We (Allah) said:
Carry in it two of all things, a pair (11:40) it did
not mean that he had to take a pair of all the animals on earth,
but the order extended only to those animals that he would need
later on. So here the expression min kulli amr (for every
affair) does not refer to all the affairs of the world, but only
to such spiritual blessings and favours which are pertinent to that
glorious and honourable night on which the Holy Qur'an was revealed.
Ar-Ruh (the Spirit) refers to those angels who descend with
the word of Allah on the hearts of the righteous infusing them with
spiritual life. That is why they are called the Spirit.
The word salam means peace and freedom from every kind of
fear or anxiety. In other words, everything that descends on that
night is aimed towards the giving of physical and spiritual blessings
to man. Thus, if we study the Holy Qur'an, which was revealed on
that night of Majesty, we shall discover that it contains a message
of complete peace, the chief objective of which is to save man from
sin and evil, and trials and tribulations, and make him attain a
life of peace and tranquillity.
Therefore, if a person derives the benefit of this night and through
worship and strenuous efforts towards goodness he makes his heart
worthy of spiritual blessings, then it is inevitable that the angels
will bring divine communication and spiritual blessings to his heart
with such force that his soul shall be freed from the straight-jacket
of sins and shall enter the sanctuary of peace.
The question arises as to why the angels descend only on the heart
of man. The fact is that it is always the heart of man which receives
Divine communication and spiritual blessings through angels as has
been mentioned concerning the Holy Qur'an itself: Say: Whoever
is an enemy to Gabriel – for surely he revealed it to thy heart
by Allah’s command (2:97).
This verse proves that it is the hearts of righteous people that
receive spiritual blessings and Divine communications through the
agency of angels through whom Allah inspires righteousness. However,
those people whose hearts are closed to spiritual blessings and
who are under the sway of satanic forces will find it impossible
to receive angelic inspiration.
The literal meaning of hatta matla’il fajr (until the morning)
is that the spiritual blessings of that grand night extend till
dawn. However, it also conveys a deeper meaning and that is that
the peace and blessings that descend on the heart of man on that
night continue till the darkness of evil dissipates and heavenly
light suffuses the heart.
Lailatul-qadr (the Night of Majesty) is generally known
as one of the odd nights of the last ten nights of Ramadhan on which
the Holy Qur'an was revealed. But it has a deeper significance for
it refers to the period of the prophethood of the Prophet Muhammad
(sas) when the Qur'an was revealed. This period is called
night because at that time the whole world was shrouded in
darkness, misguidance and unbelief. It is also called Al-Qadr
(The Majesty) because the Holy Qur'an, that extraordinary heavenly
book of Divine guidance, was sent down to man, and the Prophet Muhammad
(sas), that incomparable guide, was appointed on that night.
There can be no doubt, therefore, that our Prophet’s time was greater
than a thousand months and superior to all other ages. The blessings
that came to a believer for worship and religious service in that
age cannot be had in any succeeding age. In this regard, the Holy
Prophet himself said that the recompense for giving a handful of
barley in that period far exceeded the reward one would get in a
later age for giving a heap of gold as large as Mount Uhud. This
is because at a time of great need a little assistance merits greater
reward than great help later on when the need is not demanding.
In the Holy Prophet’s time, Islam was faced with such monumental
difficulties and calamities that the extent of the need for sacrifices
by way of wealth and lives is beyond description. So the reward
for the selfless service of those who sacrificed their lives and
property for Islam in that precarious time and never swerved an
inch from the path of Allah cannot be attained by those who came
after when Islam had triumphed in the world and Muslims had at their
command great wealth and power.
The Prophet’s lifetime was the time when the angels and the spirit
were descending on earth – on the one hand the Holy Qur'an was being
revealed and on the other hand the hearts of the believers were
being suffused with spiritual life. For every act of sacrifice and
selflessness there flowed a constant stream of assistance and support
– angels descended, faith was revived and strengthened, hearts were
invested with spiritual power – and even in the midst of all these
dangers the message of peace was silently working its way into the
hearts of people to such an extent that eventually the dark cloud
of unbelief was lifted and the divine light of guidance spread its
glorious rays all over the world.
The expression a thousand months embodies a subtle meaning
– one thousand months amount to almost eight-three years. Now, the
Holy Prophet (sas) has said that at the turn of every century
a mujaddid (reformer) would appear for the revival of the
religion of Islam. As every mujaddid is a khalifah
(successor) of the Holy Prophet (sas), therefore, his age
is like a facsimile or reflection of the Prophet’s age and bears
a strong connection with it. And the seventeen years that make up
the complete century bear a superiority over the remaining eighty-three
years just as the Prophet’s age enjoyed a complete supremacy over
all other eras. In other words, a mujaddid’s dispensation
extends on the average over a period of seventeen years and the
remaining eighty-three years are deprived, as it were, of a mujaddid.
What a wonderful coincidence it is, therefore, that the Mujaddid
and Promised Messiah of our century, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad,
claimed to have received revelation for thirty years but his claim
to being the Promised Messiah amounted to exactly seventeen years!
As the time of the appearance of a mujaddid is a trying
time for religion and there is a crying demand for religious service,
therefore the reward for worship and good actions in this period
is correspondingly greater than in any other age, more so because
sacrifice of wealth and lives is called for.
This is the time of the mujaddid of the fourteenth century
when Islam is beset by all kinds of dangers and attacks. There is
a preponderance of false creeds and the darkness of irreligion and
misguidance has overspread the earth. Therefore, for this reason,
the descent of Allah’s angels and His communications are respectively
much more numerous and more powerful now than in the time of any
other mujaddid and so, too, the deeper knowledge of the Holy
Qur'an and the inspired truths that have been revealed.
Furthermore, the magnitude of blessings for divine service and
sacrifice for religion in this age will never be equalled in later
times when the darkness of misguidance will have been dissipated,
thus allowing the sun of Islam to rise from the West and shed its
rays over the whole world. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (sas)
himself has said in relation to this present age that a sincere
sajdah (prostration) to Allah now will be worth more than
years of worship in another era.
Thus, in this period of godlessness, to put religion above the
world and to sacrifice wealth and lives for Islam in these vulnerable
times, and to devote oneself to the worship of Allah in this atheistic
age, will bring to the sincere devotee more blessings than those
people will receive in later times when the need for such sacrifices
for Islam will not exist, and when the Oneness of Allah and true
knowledge of Him will be prevalent throughout the world.