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.
Qiyaam (Standing for prayer) in Ramadhaan and Laylat-ul-Qadr
The merits of Qiyaam in Ramadhaan and Laylat-ul-Qadr:
The favours or merits of Qiyaam in Ramadhaan are mentioned generally in the Prophetic Ahaadeeth and the merits of Laylat-ul-Qadr are mentioned specifically. From them I mention the following:
1) Abu Hurairah (ra) said that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said:
“Whoever stands (in prayer) in Ramadhaan with Imaan and the anticipation (of reward) then all of his past sins will be forgiven”. Recorded by Al-Bukhaari (37), Muslim, Abu Daawood, An-Nasaa’i, and At-Tirmidhi. The Lafzh of Muslim (1780) and An-Nasaa’i is: “The Messenger of Allah (saw) use to encourage the performance of Qiyaam in Ramadhaan without ordering them to do it as a lightening for them. So he (saw) said: Whoever stands (in prayer) in Ramadhaan with Imaan and the anticipation (of reward) then all of his past sins will be forgiven. The Messenger of Allah (saw) died whilst this was the order”. Al-Bukhaari (2009) mentioned at the end: “...And the people were upon that”.
2) Abu Salamah Ibn Abd-ur-Rahman Bin Auf from his father Abd-ur-Rahman Bin Auf (ra) said that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said:
“Verily Allah Tabaarak wa Ta’Aalaa obliged Siyaam (fasting) upon you and its Qiyaam has been made Sunnah for you. Whoever fasts it (i.e. Ramadhaan) and performs Qiyaam with Imaan and anticipation (of reward) his sins will come off him as if it was the day his mother gave birth to him”. Narrated by An-Nasaa’i (2210), Ibn Maajah and Ahmad.
3) Abu Hurairah (ra) said that the Prophet (saw) 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.
4) Anas Bin Maalik (ra) said:
“Ramadhaan began so the Messenger of Allah (saw) 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).
What is mentioned in the first and second Hadeeth: (Whoever performs Qiyaam in Ramadhaan Imaanan and Ihtisaaban (anticipation of reward) his past sins will be forgiven) is an explanation of the merit of performing Qiyaam in Ramadhaan and is there anything better for a Muslim than his sins being forgiven? Verily the son of Aadam makes mistakes often and if his sins were applied upon him he would enter the fire so he is therefore in the greatest need of that which will wipe out his sins and lead to his forgiveness so that he can be saved from the fire and enter Jannah. So Allah (swt) has bestowed his favour on him with the performance of Qiyaam in Ramadhaan so that his sins can be wiped and cleansed and that he can become from amongst the people of Jannah.
The statement in the two Hadeeth: (Whoever performs Qiyaam in Ramadhaan Imaanan and Ihtisaaban (anticipation of reward) his past sins will be forgiven) includes a restriction that the Qiyaam in Ramadhaan is performed with Imaan and Ihtisaab and that the order of Qiyaam has not come in a Mutlaq (absolute) manner, so that those who perform it are informed that it is not sufficient to stand for prayer in the blessed month of Ramadhaan alone for show or so people may hear of it or that it is performed as an employment and job like the situation with many Imaams in our present time or that it (the Salaah) is performed for the sake of it with the performance of Salaah has no care in it and the point of its end is eagerly anticipated. The above categories and there like are not waiting for their sins to be forgiven and they do not understand or suppose that the speech of the Noble Prophet (saw) is applicable to them which makes obligatory the Imaan and Ihtisaab. That their Imaan pushes them to stand in prayer with a desire, truthfulness and sincerity hoping to have this on their side on the day of account, anticipating and desiring its acceptance from Allah Al-‘Ali Al-‘Azheem. So let those who are performing Al-Qiyaam pay heed to this extremely critical point.
In the month of Ramadhaan and its night Allah (swt) 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 third and fourth (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:
1) Allah (swt) said:
حم وَالْكِتَابِ الْمُبِينِ إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةٍ مُّبَارَكَةٍ ۚ إِنَّا كُنَّا مُنذِرِينَ فِيهَا يُفْرَقُ كُلُّ أَمْرٍ حَكِيمٍ أَمْرًا مِّنْ عِندِنَا ۚ إِنَّا كُنَّا مُرْسِلِينَ رَحْمَةً مِّن رَّبِّكَ ۚ 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)
2) Allah (swt) says:
إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ خَيْرٌ مِّنْ أَلْفِ شَهْرٍ تَنَزَّلُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ وَالرُّوحُ فِيهَا بِإِذْنِ رَبِّهِم مِّن 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 id decided and established on Laylat-ul-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 Laylat-ul-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 (swt) 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 fourth 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 (saw) if I make contact with Laylat-ul-Qadr what should I say? He (saw) 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 (saw) 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 (saw) 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. The wording of Muslim (2777) is:
c) Ubaadah bin Saamit (ra) reports that he asked the Prophet (saw) 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 it's 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 (saw) 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 (saw) 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 (swt) 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 In 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 passes 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 (saw) 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 (saw) 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 (saw) 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 (swt) says:
(...(اليوم أكملت لكم دينكم
(...Today I have perfected/completed your Deen...) (Al-Maa’idah Ayah: 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 (saw) whilst dreaming is the truth as has been mentioned in the Ahaadeeth however this sighting is based on the condition that he is seen (saw) 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 (saw)? 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 (saw) 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 (swt) says:
أَلَآ إِنَّ أَوۡلِيَآءَ ٱللَّهِ لَا خَوۡفٌ عَلَيۡهِمۡ وَلَا هُمۡ يَحۡزَنُونَ (٦٢) ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَڪَانُواْ يَتَّقُونَ (٦٣) لَهُمُ ٱلۡبُشۡرَىٰ فِى ٱلۡحَيَوٰةِ ٱلدُّنۡيَا وَفِى ٱلۡأَخِرَةِۚ لَا تَبۡدِيلَ لِڪَلِمَـٰتِ ٱللَّهِۚ ذَٲلِكَ هُوَ ٱلۡفَوۡزُ ٱلۡعَظِيمُ (٦٤)
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) (Surah Younus Ayaat: 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.