Saturday, August 27, 2011

Striving for Laylatul Qadr

 Tafsir  al-Qadr : 1-5

إِنَّا أَنْزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ (1) وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ (2) لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ خَيْرٌ مِنْ أَلْفِ شَهْرٍ (3) تَنَزَّلُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ وَالرُّوحُ فِيهَا بِإِذْنِ رَبِّهِمْ مِنْ كُلِّ أَمْرٍ (4) سَلَامٌ هِيَ حَتَّى مَطْلَعِ الْفَجْرِ (5)

(1)We have indeed revealed This (Quran) In the night of power: (2) and what will explain to Thee what the night of power is? (3) The night of power is better than a thousand months.(4) Therein come down the angels and the spirit by Allah’s permission, on every errand: (5) Peace!…This until the rise of morn!( Al Qadr : 1-5).

In the Quran , this surah is the 97th. There are some differences of opinion regarding the status of this surah that consists of 5 ayah. Some mufassirs such as Ibn ‘Abbas, Ibn Marduyah, Ibn al-Zubair, and ‘Aisha, classified this surah as Makiyyah.[1] While some others classified it as Madaniyyah. Some of the latter are al-Waqidi, who said that this surah was first revealed in Madinah. Even according to al-Tsa’labi, most mufassir put it as Madaniyyah. [2]

Tafseer of Ayah
Allah Swt says : إِنَّا أَنْزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ  (Innâ anzalnâhu fî laylah al-qadr) (We have indeed revealed this [al-Quran] in the night of power). This ayah uses the word Innâ (We have indeed), not Innî (I have indeed). Fakhruddin al-Razi explainded that the word must not interpreted as li al-jam’i (showing plural meaning). It is because it is impossible to address this to Allah (Swt), The One Almighty. Therefore, the word must be interpreted as li al-ta’zîm (to glorify, to praise).[3]

The word al-hâ’ (dhamîr al-ghâib, third person pronoun) in this ayah is not found al-ism al-záhirwhich is the point of reference. Nevertheless, the mufassir agreed that the dhamîr refers to al-Quran.[4] According to al-Qurtubi, the word al-Quran is not mentioned because the meaning is already understood.[5] Fakhruddin al-Razi and al-Zamakshari explained, the absence of al-ism al-zhâhir become one of the aspects that shows the glory of al-Quran.[6] While al-Khataabi and Abu Hayyan al-Andalusi associate it with the previous surah: iqra’ bi[i]smi Rabbika. So that it is  said:Read what we revealed unto you the words of Us, “Innâ anzalnâhu laylah al-qadr”.[7]

It is reported in this ayah that al-Quran was revealed in the night of al-qadr. In fact, al-Quran was sent down to Rasulullah (saw) gradually over twenty three years; day and night, in different months and circumstances. If so, what is the meaning of al-Quran was sent down in a night called al-qadr ?

To answer this question, there are at least two  explanations given by the ulama. First, the revelation of al-Quran which was reported in this ayah was the event of sending down al-Quran all at once from al-Lawh al-Mahfûzh to Bayt al-‘Izzah in the sky of the world. Furthermore, al-Quran was sent down to Rasulullah saw for 23 years gradually each time. This explanation was conveyed by Ibn ‘Abbas. This explanation was also forwarded by some mufassir, such as al-Alusi, al-Baghawi, al-Shawkani, al-Samaqandi, and others.[8]

Second, the revelation of al-Quran at first. This is the opinion of al-Sha’bi and others.[9] The initial revelation of al-Quran and the sending of Rasulullah saw took place in the night of al-qadr. This event happened during Ramadan as reported in the words of Allah Swt:
شَهْرُ رَمَضانَ الَّذِي أُنْزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدىً لِلنَّاسِ، وَبَيِّناتٍ مِنَ الْهُدى وَالْفُرْقانِ
Ramadan is the (month) In which was sent down the Qur’an, As a guide to mankind, also Clear (Signs) for guidance and Judgment (Between right and wrong). ( al-Baqarah : 185).

Regarding the naming of the night which is called al-qadr, there are also some explanations. According to Ibn ‘Abbas, Qatadah, and others, it is called al-qadr because that night is the time of determination of death, sustenance, and various events in the world given to the angels to carry out. This opinion was shared by al-Zamakshari, al-Shawkani, and al-Baghawi because it is in accordance with the words of Allah Swt:
إِنَّا أَنْزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةٍ مُبَارَكَةٍ
In the (Night) is made distinct every affair of Wisdom ( al-Dukhan  : 4)[10]

While al-Zuhri interpreted laylah al-qadr as the night which has al-‘azhamah wa al-saraf (majesty and glory).[11] This understanding is in line with the following ayah which explains that the night is better than a thousand nights. There are some who chose both opinions without denying one of them, such as al-Baidawi, al-Samaqandi, al-Sa’di, and al-Zuhaili.[12] If it is followed by the following explanation of the ayah, both opinions equally have strong arguments. It is not necessary to choose one of them and and negates the other meaning.  

Then Allah says: وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ (Wamâ adrâka mâ laylah al-qadr) (and what will explain to Thee what the night of power is?) The sentence of istifhâm gives the meaning of tafkhîm sa’nihâ (glorify His affairs); as if the case is out from the knowledge of creatures; and no one will know it except. Similar explanaion was put forwarded by al-Shawkani.[13]Not much different, al-Samaqandi also interpreted it as ta’zîm[an] lahâ (to magnify, to glory).[14]

This question is explained by the following ayah: لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ خَيْرٌ مِنْ أَلْفِ شَهْرٍ(Laylah al-qadr khayr min alfi syahr[in]) (The night of power is better than a thousand months). According to Abu Hayyan, a thousand months is the actual amount, which is 83 years. Al-Hasan said , The night of al-qadr is more excellent than to give charity during those months.”[15] According to Anas, righteous deeds (amal), charity (sadaqah), prayers (salaat),  alms (zakat) on lailatul qadar is better than a thousand months.[16] Similar opinion is shared by Mujahid, Amru bin Qays al-Malai, Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir, and al-Samaqandi.[17] Even according to al-Shawkani, this conclusion (that doing good deeds at that night is better than a thousand months, in addition to the fact that there is al-qadr in that night) is the opinion of most mufassirin.[18] Regarding the excellence of doing good deeds during the night is explained by Rasulullah saw :
مَنْ قَامَ لَيْلَةَ الْقَدْرِ إِيمَانًا وَاحْتِسَابًا غُفِرَ لَهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِنْ ذَنْبِهِ
Whoever prays in the night of lailatul qadar due to his iman and expects Allah’s rewards , then his sins of the past will be forgiven (Reported by al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, al-Nasa’i, and Ahmad).

Then Allah Swt explains other virtues of the night of al-qadr in His words:
تَنَزَّلُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ وَالرُّوحُ فِيهَا بِإِذْنِ رَبِّهِمْ مِنْ كُلِّ أَمْرٍ
Tanazzalu al-malâikah wa al-Rûh fîhâ bi idzni Rabbihim min kulli amr[in] (in the night the angels and the Angle of Gabriel will descend to Earth with Allah’s permission to set all affairs). In the night, the angels descend from the sky to the Earth . Including that of al-Rûh. According to jumhûr al-mufassirîn, what is meant by al-Rûh here is Gabriel.[19] The mention of Gabriel after the angels isathf al-kâsh ‘alâ al-‘âmm (adding something special to something common).[20] Usually, this serves to show glory and and majesty above the rest such as in the words of Allah Swt:
مَنْ كَانَ عَدُوًّا لِلَّهِ وَمَلَائِكَتِهِ وَرُسُلِهِ وَجِبْرِيلَ وَمِيكَالَ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ عَدُوٌّ لِلْكَافِرِينَ
Whoever is an enemy to Allah and His angels and apostles, to Gabriel and Michael,- Lo! Allah is an enemy to those who reject Faith.( al-Baqarah : 98).

According to Ibn Kathir, the number of angels who will descend to Earth is because of the many blessings. They descend to bring blessings and they are lookingng for the recitations of Quran (majlis dzikr) and put their wings over those who are seeking knowledge to glorify it.[21]

Al-Razi explained that the mentioning of  بِإِذْنِ رَبِّهِمْ (bi idzni Rabbihim) gives a hint that the angels will not do anything but with His permission. While the word Rabbihim functions as ta’zîm[an] li al-malâikah wa tahqîr[an] li al-‘asâh (to glorify the angles and harass the perpetrators of the immoral actions).[22] According to Qatada and others, the phrase bi idzni Rabbihim min kulli amr[in] (by Allah’s permission on every errand), gives understanding that on that night it was decided various matters, the death and sustenance were determined. This is in line with the words of Allah Swt:
فِيهَا يُفْرَقُ كُلُّ أَمْرٍ حَكِيمٍ
In the (Night) is made distinct every affair of Wisdom ( al-Dukhan : 4).[23]

Allah Swt closes the ayah by His words : سَلَامٌ هِيَ حَتَّى مَطْلَعِ الْفَجْرِ (Salâm[un] hiya hattâ mathla’ al-fajr)(Peace!This until the rise of morning !). It is explained by Mujahid that salvation (peace) meanssâlimah (safety); shaitan cannot do any crime or do something harmful.[24] Qatadah said that the phrase means goodness for all, there is no evil things until the rise of dawn .[25]While according to al-Sa’bi, when the angels provide safety to the residents of mosques from the sundown  until the rise of dawn, passing every Mu’minin and say , “al-Salâmu ‘alayka ayyuhâ al-Mu’min” (hope salvation upon you O, believers).[26]

Excellence of al-Quran and Lailatul Qadar

This surah informs us about the event of the revelation of al-Quran. This is a Book that was sent to the last prophet, that contains clarifications for every matters , a guidance and blessings, and glad tidings for the Muslim ( al-Nahl : 89).
وَنَزَّلْنَا عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ تِبْيَانًا لِّكُلِّ شَيْءٍ وَهُدًى وَرَحْمَةً وَبُشْرَى لِلْمُسْلِمِينَ

In this surah, the glorification of al-Quran appears in several things.  First, the glory and fame of al-Quran. Although it is not mentioned explicity (zâhir),  there is no difference that damîr al-ghâib refers to al-Quran. As already explained, it shows the greatness and the fame of al-Quran so that it not mentioned explicitly ( zâhir), the meaning is very clear.

Second,  the majesty of the One who sent it down. This surah mentions that the One who sent al-Quran down is Allah Swt. As the Book that comes from the Once who is All-True and Just, and so is the Book which was sent down by Him, صِدْقًا وَعَدْلًا  (sidqa[an] wa ad-la[a]) (true and just). Allah Swt says:
وَتَمَّتْ كَلِمَتُ رَبِّكَ صِدْقًا وَعَدْلًا لَا مُبَدِّلَ لِكَلِمَاتِهِ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ
The word of Thy Lord doth find its fulfilment In truth and In justice: none can change His words: for He is the one who heareth and knoweth all.( al-An’am : 115).

The use of  word Innâ which refers to Allah add to the glory of al-Quran. It is because the word Innâ  gives the meaning of li al-ta’zîm (to glorify, to exalt) for the One who sent it down. 

Third, the excellence of  the time of revelation. It is reported in this ayah that the revelation of al-Quran was on the very glorious moment, which is at laylah al-qadr. A night full of blessings ( al-Dukhan  : 3),
إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةٍ مُّبَارَكَةٍ إِنَّا كُنَّا مُنذِرِينَ
which is better than a thousand months.  During the night, the angels, including Gabriel, descend to Earth. This shows how precious and important the night is. It is because the angels will not descend unless there is a big event.  Rasulullah saw once said about laylah al-qadr:
إِنَّهَا لَيْلَةُ سَابِعَةٍ أَوْ تَاسِعَةٍ وَعِشْرِينَ إنَّ الْمَلاَئِكَةَ تِلْكَ اللَّيْلَةَ فِى الأَرْضِ أَكْثَرُ مِن عَدَدِ الْحَصَى
Indeed, laylah al-qadr is the 27th or the 29th. Indeed, the angels on the night on Earth are more than the amount of gravel (Reported by Ahmad from Abu Hurairah).

It is also stressed that the night is full of well-being until the rise of dawn. The news should make men increasingly glorify and exalt the Book of Allah Swt. In addition,  they should really try to find out and fulfill laylah al-qadr with righteous deeds. Rasulullah saw said:

تَحَرَّوْا لَيْلَةَ الْقَدْرِ فِى الْوِتْرِ مِنَ الْعَشْرِ الأَوَاخِرِ مِنْ رَمَضَانَ
Seek Lailatul Qadr on an odd night of the last ten days of Ramadan (Reported by al-Bukhari).

During those days, Rasulullah Saw was always stringent in worship, more than the first twenty days. Aisha (ra) said:
كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- يَجْتَهِدُ فِى الْعَشْرِ الأَوَاخِرِ مَا لاَ يَجْتَهِدُ فِى غَيْرِهِ.
Rasulullah saw was sincerity in the worship during the last ten days of Ramadan, something he did not do in the previous nights (Reported by Muslim, al-Tirmidzi, and  Ahmad).

At that night, it is recommended (sunnah) for a Muslim to multiply reading al-Quran and make dua. It is because the dua during those moments are effective. The dua that needs to be read continuously is as the one narrated by ‘Aisha ra that she said: “O Rasulullah, what if I meet lailatul qadr what should I do?” Rasulullah Saw said:
تَقُولِينَ : اللَّهُمَّ إِنَّكَ عَفُوٌّ تُحِبُّ الْعَفْوَ ، فَاعْفُ عَنِّي
 Said, Allah, Thou are the Forgiving, who loves mercy (sorry), then forgive me (Reported by  Tirmizi and Ibn Majah).

Given the excellence of laylah al-qadr, then it is right for the Muslim to strive to fulfill the last nights of Ramadan with a variety of worship and righteous deeds, including by preaching (da’wah) and striving for the implementation of  the law of the Book and the Sunnah. It must be remembered that this opportunity does not always exist. If you have met Ramadan this year, it is still uncertain that you can meet again next year. How fortunate if you meet a night which is more glorious than a thousand months or eighty-three years. What bounty is bigger than that?  

[1] al-Suyuthi, al-Durr al-Mantsûr, vol. 15 (Kairo: Maktabah Hijr, 2003), 533. But according to Ibn ‘Athiyah, al-Muharrar al-Wajîz, vol. 5 (Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 2001), 504 Ibn ‘Abbas put it into Madaniyyah.
[2] al-Qurtubi, al-Jâmi’ li Ahkâm al-Qur’ân, vol. 20 (Kairo: Dar al-Kutub al-Mishriyyah, 1964), 129; Abu Hayyan al-Andalusi, al-Bahr al-Muhîth, vol. 8 (Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1993), 492; al-Shawkani, Fath al-Qadîr, vol. 5 (tt: Dar al-Wafa’, tt), 633
[3] al-Razi, Mafâtîh al-Ghayb, vol. 32 (Beirut: Dar al-Fikr, 1981), 27
[4] al-Razi, Mafâtîh al-Ghayb, vol. 32, 27; al-Qurtubi, al-Jâmi’ li Ahkâm al-Qur’ân, vol. 20, 129; Abu Hayyan al-Andalusi, al-Bahr al-Muhîth, vol. 8, 492; Ibn ‘Athiyah, al-Muharrar al-Wajîz, vol. 5, 504; al-Baidawi, Anwár al-Tanzîl wa Asrár al-Ta’wîl, vol. 5 (Beirut: Dar Ihyâ’ al-Turats, tt), 327; Ibn Kathir,Tafsîr al-Qur’âmn al-‘Azhîm, vol. 8 (Riyad: Dar Thayyibah, 1999), 441; al-Baghawi, Ma’âlim al-Tanzîl,vol. 5 (Beirut: Dar Ihya’ Ihya’ Turats al-‘Arabi, 1990), 383; al-Shawkani, Fath al-Qadîr, vol. 5, 633
[5] al-Qurtubi, al-Jâmi’ li Ahkâm al-Qur’ân, vol. 20, 129
[6] al-Zamakshari, al-Kasysyâf, vol. 7 (Riyad: Maktabah Abikan, 1998), 407
[7] Abu Hayyan al-Andalusi, al-Bahr al-Muhîth, vol. 8, 492; al-Alusi, h al-Ma’ânî, 15 (Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1995), 411
[8] al-Alusi, h al-Ma’ânî, 15, 412; Abu Hayyan al-Andalusi, al-Bahr al-Muhîth, vol. 8, 492; Ibn ‘Athiyah, al-Muharrar al-Wajîz, vol. 5, 504; al-Baghawi, Ma’âlim al-Tanzîl, vol. 5, 383; al-Shawkani,Fath al-Qadîr, vol. 5, 633; al-Samaqandi, Bahr al-‘Ulûm, vol. 3 (Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1993), 496
[9] al-Qurtubi, al-Jâmi’ li Ahkâm al-Qur’ân, vol. 20, 129; Abu Hayyan al-Andalusi, al-Bahr al-Muhîth,vol. 8, 492; al-Zamakshari, al-Kasysyâf, vol. 7, 407
[10] al-Zamakshari, al-Kasysyâf, vol. 7, 407; al-Baghawi, Ma’âlim al-Tanzîl, vol. 5, 383; al-Shawkani,Fath al-Qadîr, vol. 5, 633
[11] al-Alusi, h al-Ma’ânî, 15, 415; Abu Hayyan al-Andalusi, al-Bahr al-Muhîth, vol. 8, 492
[12] al-Baidawi, Anwár al-Tanzîl wa Asrár al-Ta’wîl, vol. 5, 327; al-Samaqandi, Bahr al-‘Ulûm, vol. 3, 496; al-Sa’di, Taysîr al-Karîm al-Rahmân (tt: Mu’assasah al-Risalah, 2000), 931; al-Zuhaili, al-Tafsîr al-Munîr, vol. 30 (Beirut: Dar al-Fikr, 1998), 332
[13] al-Shawkani, Fath al-Qadîr, vol. 5, 633
[14] al-Samaqandi, Bahr al-‘Ulûm, vol. 3, 496
[15] Abu Hayyan al-Andalusi, al-Bahr al-Muhîth, vol. 8, 493
[16] al-Suyuthi, al-Durr al-Mantsûr, vol. 15, 534
[17] al-Thabari, Jâmi’ al-Bayân fî Ta’wîl al-Qur’ân, vol. 34 (Madinah: Muassasah al-Risalah, 200), 534; Ibn Kathir, Tafsîr al-Qur’ân al-‘Azhîm, vol. 8, 444; al-Samaqandi, Bahr al-‘Ulûm, vol. 3, 496
[18] al-Shawkani, Fath al-Qadîr, vol. 5, 633
[19] al-Alusi, h al-Ma’ânî, 15, 417; al-Shawkani, Fath al-Qadîr, vol. 5, 634. The same opinion is also shared by al-Razi, Mafâtîh al-Ghayb, vol. 34; al-Suyuthi, al-Durr al-Mantsûr, vol. 15, 538; al-Zamakshari, al-Kasysyâf, vol. 7, 408; Ibn Kathir, Tafsîr al-Qur’ân al-‘Azhîm, vol. 8, 444
[20] Ibn Kathir, Tafsîr al-Qur’ân al-‘Azhîm, vol. 8, 443
[21] Ibn Kathir, Tafsîr al-Qur’ân al-‘Azhîm, vol. 8, 444
[22] al-Razi, Mafâtîh al-Ghayb, vol. 32, 35
[23] Ibn Kathir, Tafsîr al-Qur’ân al-‘Azhîm, vol. 8, 444
[24] Ibn Kathir, Tafsîr al-Qur’ân al-‘Azhîm, vol. 8, 444
[25] al-Shawkani, Fath al-Qadîr, vol. 5, 634; Ibn Kathir, Tafsîr al-Qur’ân al-‘Azhîm, vol. 8, 444
[26] al-Shawkani, Fath al-Qadîr, vol. 5, 634; Ibn Kathir, Tafsîr al-Qur’ân al-‘Azhîm, vol. 8, 444


sadia said...

salam brother i have a question....

is it recommended to keep the missing ramandan(by menstruation) at shawal month with the 6 sawom altogether in one niyat or have to keep the missing sawom seperately?

waiting for quick reply....

Islamic Revival said...

Salam, check the relevant section in the following book for the answer: