Lailatul-Qadr: (The Night of Divine Determination)  
By Hazrath Abul Fatah Syed Nusrath Tasrifullahi Sahab
The Night of Divine Determination or Lailatul-Qadr is the most sacred of the nights in Islam and it has special significance to Mahdavia Community. The importance of this night can not be overemphasized as Qur'an, the Book of Allah, is revealed in this night. Also the Holy Book contains a Surah named as Suratul-Qadr in which importance of this night is described. The relevant Qur'anic verses are as follows:

"Lo! We revealed it on Lailatul Qadr - the Night of Divine Determination.
Ah, what will convey unto thee what the Night of Divine Determination is!
The Night of Divine Determination is better than a Thousand months.
The Angels and the Spirit descend therein, by the permission of their Lord, with all decrees.
(That night is) Peace until the rising of the dawn"
(Surah 97, V 1-5)

A study of Qur'an clearly shows the importance of Ibadah (prayer) at night and when it comes to the question of such a great night, one can understand how important and rewarding it will be.

There are several traditions (Hadiths) indicating its importance. Our beloved Prophet MohammedSLM said that one who believe in Allah and perform Ibadah (prayer) in this night with the clear purpose of sawaab, Allah forgive his/her sins. (Bukhari). In another Hadith, ProphetSLM said that one who finds this night and offer prayer, his past sins will be forgiven. (Kanzul-Ummaal).

Even though this night is very important yet neither Qur'an nor any hadith clearly indicates the exact date of this night and Ummah is divided on this issue. ProphetSLM asked the Ummah to search for this night in the odd nights of Ramadan. Different Islamic scholars viewed differently. Some believe that this night rotates the whole year and it is not necessary to be only in Ramadan. Ibn-AbbasRZ said it could be 27th of Ramadan. His logic being that the word "Lailatul-Qadr" consist of nine Arabic letters and it occurred three times in that Surah. Therefore, it could be 27th. However, these are all opinions of great Islamic scholars and no one said definitely as to when this night could occur.

In a tradition recorded in Saheeh Al-Bukhari, a companion of ProphetSLM, Samith bin UbadahRZ reported that the Prophet of Allah came out to inform us about the date of "Lailaltul Qadr". (He found that) two Muslims were quarrelling with each other. The ProphetSLM said that I had come out to inform you about the Qadr Night. However, on account of the quarrelling of so and so the identity of the Night has been taken away. Perhaps this may be better for you, to try to find it in the 29th, 27th and 25th (nights of Ramadan). This tradition shows that the prophet of Allah was himself aware of the night of Lailatul-Qadr. However, its definite identity was held back on account of the quarrel between the two Muslims. The ProphetSLM was fully aware of the exact date that is why he especially gathered men and women on the 27th of Ramadan and prayed until late in the night. This was a clear indication instead of a declaration.

Abu Zar GifariRZ narrated the events, as an eye-witness, in a well known tradition, recorded in Sihahs (Sound collection of Hadiths) namely, Sunan Abu Dawood, Tirmidhi, Nasai and Ibn Maja, as follows:

.........When three nights of Ramadan were left i.e., on the 27th night, he [the ProphetSLM] gathered all the members of his household and women, and all the people and prayed with us so long that we feared that we might miss "Falah". When Abu Zar GifariRZ was asked what was "Falah", he said, "Suhoor" - breakfast before dawn. Then the ProphetSLM did not lead us in prayers in the remaining nights of Ramadan.

It was in 908 Hijri, when the Caliph of Allah, the promised MehdiAS was at Kaha (Thatta, Sindh), Allah revealed to him that the 27th of Ramadan is the Night of Divine Determination (Lailatul-Qadr). Allah also ordained him to offer two Rakah of prayer as a thanksgiving for His blessings. Thus, Imam MehdiAS offered this prayer after midnight along with his members of family and the members of Dairah. (Community Circle) following the practice of the ProphetSLM. It is for this invaluable blessing of the Almighty Allah that every Mahdavi performs Dhikr-ullah during the whole night and offers this two Rakahs of prayer on that night as an obligatory thanksgiving, after Isha prayer.

Thus the Mahdavia community believes with certainty that the exact date of this night is the 27th night of Ramadan because we believe in our beloved Imam Hazrath Syed Mohammed (jaunpuri) as the Caliph of Allah, the promised Mehdi and Savior of the Ummah of Prophet MohammedSLM.

Keeping in mind the importance of this night, we should not waste even a single moment. Each and every moment of this night is precious so we should spend it as Allah ordained in the Qur'an, that:

"..Remember Me, I will remember you...."(2/152)

"....Lo! Worship preserveth from lewdness and iniquity, but verily remembrance of Allah is more important. And Allah knoweth what ye do."(29/45)

Since Dhikrullah (remembrance of Allah) is fard, we should spend every moment of this night in the remembrance of Allah and offer the Isha prayer after midnight followed by two rakahs of Lailatul-Qadr. (Dugana-e-Lailatul-Qadr).


* (Note: This is a slightly modified version of the article of Hazrath Abul Fatah Syed Nusrath Esq., published in "Insight").
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