Allah سبحانه وتعالى says in the Glorious Qur’an:
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 حَتَّى مَطْلَعِ الْفَجْرِ
“Verily, We have sent it (this Qur’an) down in the night of Al-Qadr (Night of Power). And WHAT will explain to you what the Night of Power (al-Qadr) is? The night of Al-Qadr (The night of Power) is better than a 1000 months. Therein descend the angels and the Ruh by Allah’s Permission with all Decrees. (All that night) there is Peace until the rise of Fajr (of dawn).”
We have now entered the last third of Ramadan, and our beloved Prophet ﷺ said regarding these last 10 days,
«تَحَرَّوْا لَيْلَةَ الْقَدْرِ فِي الْوِتْرِ مِنَ الْعَشْرِ الْأَوَاخِرِ مِنْ رَمَضَانَ»
“Search for the Night of Qadr in the odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadan.”
Allah سبحانه وتعالى in Surah Al-Qadr and the Prophet ﷺ in many hadiths talk about the majesty of Laylatul Qadr, the ‘Night of Power’. It is a night of great mercy, rewards and blessings from our Rabb; a night where acts of worship and good deeds performed are worth more than a 1000 months (83 years) of worship – a whole LIFETIME of ibadaat; and a night of great forgiveness from Allah سبحانه وتعالى for our sins, for the Prophet ﷺ said,
«مَنْ قَامَ لَيْلَةَ الْقَدْرِ إِيمَانًا وَاحْتِسَابًا، غُفِرَ لَهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِنْ ذَنْبِ»
“Whoever stood for the prayers in the night of Qadr out of sincere faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven….”
So as Muslims we seek out Laylatul Qadr, striving to do as much prayer, recitation of Qur’an, dhikr, dua, seeking of repentance, engaging in discussions of Islam and other actions pleasing to our Lord, Allah Azza Wajjal on this precious night. However, during these last 10 days of Ramadan, we should also spend some time reflecting on the reason for the great importance and weight that Allah سبحانه وتعالى has given to ‘Laylatul Qadr’ and the significance of this night to our Deen.
Firstly, the name that is ascribed to this night itself – “The Night of POWER” reflects its majesty and greatness in the Sight of Allah سبحانه وتعالى. In Surah Al-Qadr, Allah سبحانه وتعالى says,
وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ
“And WHAT will explain to you what the Night of Power (al-Qadr) is?”, essentially saying to us, “What in the world could ever explain to you what this night of power is? How could you ever appreciate or imagine the weight of this night?”, emphasizing its magnificence and importance.
Then He سبحانه وتعالى informs us that the angels descend in abundance in this night with uncounted blessings and mercy – giving the greetings of Salaam to the believers who are busy in the worship of Allah till Fajr. The Mufassireen in their tafseers of Surah Al-Qadr describe the earth being congested with so many of the Malaika, such is the blessings of this night. Then Allah سبحانه وتعالى gives the night even more weight by informing us that the ‘Ruh’ – Jibrael (AS) – the greatest of the angels also descends on this night – the one who communicated with the Prophets; the one who brought the message of the Qur’an to our beloved Prophet ﷺ, the one who our Rasul ﷺ described as having 600 wings, with each wing filling the entire horizon (i.e. from the east to the west as far as the eye can see) – magnifying even further the status of this night.
But WHAT is it that gives this night such a great status, weight, and importance? It is because it is the night which Allah سبحانه وتعالى chose for the revelation of the Mighty Qur’an. Allah سبحانه وتعالى says,
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
“Surely We revealed it (the Qur’an) on a blessed night – Surely! We are ever warning. Therein every wise affair is made distinct, a command from Us; surely We are the senders (of apostles), a mercy from your Lord, surely He is the Hearing, the Knowing.”
So the great status of Laylatul Qadr is directly linked to the great status that Allah سبحانه وتعالى bestows upon the Qur’an and the message that is contained within it. And the magnificence of this night is linked to the magnificence of a new way of life that was born for the world that night that would take mankind from the DARKNESS into LIGHT. So to truly appreciate the Night of Power is therefore to also appreciate the TRUE WORTH of the CONTENT of the Qur’an.
Allah سبحانه وتعالى says about this Qur’an,
وَلَوْ أَنَّ قُرْآنًا سُيِّرَتْ بِهِ الْجِبَالُ أَوْ قُطِّعَتْ بِهِ الأَرْضُ أَوْ كُلِّمَ بِهِ الْمَوْتَى بَل لِّلّهِ الأَمْرُ جَمِيعًا
“And if there had been a Qur’an with which mountains could be moved (from their places), or the earth could be cloven asunder (split apart), or the dead could be made to speak (it would not have been other than this Qur’an. But the decision of all things is certainly with Allah.”
In this verse, the Lord of the Worlds سبحانه وتعالى informs us of the sheer weight and significance of the message that is contained in the Qur’an – that if given to the mountains, despite the magnitude and enormity of these structures, they would be moved by the weight of the ideas, the content, and the solutions to mankind’s problems contained in this Glorious Book.
Allah سبحانه وتعالى also says,
وَلَوْ أَنَّمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ مِن شَجَرَةٍ أَقْلَامٌ وَالْبَحْرُ يَمُدُّهُ مِن بَعْدِهِ سَبْعَةُ أَبْحُرٍ مَّا نَفِدَتْ كَلِمَاتُ اللَّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ
“And if all the trees on the earth were pens and the ocean (were ink to write with), with seven oceans behind it to add to its supply, yet the Words of Allah (contained in this Q) would not be exhausted. Verily Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.”
In this beautiful verse, He سبحانه وتعالى conveys to us in a powerful manner that even if all the trees in the world were pens and all the oceans were ink with seven more like them – they would not be able to match the content, and the solutions for life and humanity that are contained in the Words of Allah سبحانه وتعالى in the Qur’an. Indeed, if all the books in all the libraries, homes, institutions in the world on subjects such as politics, economics, law, sociology, and family life were pooled together, it would still pale into insignificance compared to the Qur’an and this Deen and what they bring mankind of answers to their problems. Indeed, it would be like comparing the Knowledge and Wisdom of the Creator to that of creation – there is absolutely no comparison.
Therefore, the significance of this Night of Power is that it marked the revelation of the Glorious Qur’an and the birth of a COMPREHENSIVE DEEN that brought with it solutions to every problem that mankind would face as individuals, as a society, or on a state-level – be it in spiritual, moral, economic, family, social, legal, or political matters – solutions that are unmatched to anything that mankind can produce; and unlike the laws of man are applicable for all generations and all places without exception. It marked the birth of an unrivalled system that would bring peace and tranquility to the heart and mind of a person, and that would uproot corrupt and unjust ideas, traditions and laws, elevating human beings from the confusion, chaos, corruption, and misery caused by laws from the desires and minds of men; a system that would bring harmony and justice to all human beings, their society, and state through the values and laws of the Creator سبحانه وتعالى – a true mercy and light for humanity.
And it was a system that was implemented for 1300 years – starting at the time of the Prophet ﷺ in Madinah and then after him, implemented by the KHILAFAH SYSTEM – until 1924 – spreading justice, economic prosperity, excellence in education, science and medicine, security, dignity for women, and harmony between Muslims and non-Muslims from Spain to China.
But today, with the absence of this Khilafah state, the laws from the Glorious Qur’an are no longer implemented as a whole in our Muslim lands, extinguishing the light and mercy that Islam brought humanity from this world. Its unmatched solutions – superior to the content of all the books in the world have gone – submerging this Ummah and mankind in darkness, mass poverty, indignity, insecurity, and suffering.
Today we see millions from amongst humanity suffering from soul-destroying crippling levels of poverty and even dying from starvation even though Allah سبحانه وتعالى has created enough wealth and resources for every single person and beyond to live a good life. He سبحانه وتعالى says,
وَبَارَكَ فِيهَا وَقَدَّرَ فِيهَا أَقْوَاتَهَا فِي أَرْبَعَةِ أَيَّامٍ
“He blessed the earth and measured therein nourishment for all things.”
And today we see our brothers and sisters surviving on bread and dirty water and living in disease-ridden slums, our mothers picking food from garbage to feed their families, and our grandmothers begging on streets even though Allah سبحانه وتعالى has blessed our Muslim lands with the majority of the world’s oil, gas, gold reserves and millions upon millions of acres of the most fertile land in the world – such that our Ummah should not suffer a single day of financial hardship. Indeed it is said that if zakat was collected from just the 20 richest people in Pakistan it would generate over $600 million; and that just 2% of the reserves of the Thar coal fields in Pakistan could provide electricity for the country for the next 40 years without the people suffering a second of blackouts; and that if Nigeria alone were farmed properly, it could feed the whole of Africa. Subhanallah!
The dire economic state of our Ummah today is a result of abandoning the mercy of the laws contained in the Qur’an and how to organise the wealth of our lands as Allah سبحانه وتعالى has commanded. But when these laws were implemented under His سبحانه وتعالى’s System, the Khilafah, it was a very different story. Under this state, in the 8th century, when Umar bin Abdul Aziz was the Khalifah of the Muslims, he once wrote to one of his officials in Iraq, Abdul-Hameed ibn Abdur-Rahman, telling him to pay the people their dues (their basic needs). ‘Abdul-Hameed wrote back to him, “I have paid the people their dues and there is still money in the Bayt al-Mal (Central Treasury).” Then Umar wrote telling him to look for everyone who had borrowed money and pay of his debts. Abdul-Hameed wrote back to him, “I have paid off their debts, and there is still money in the Bayt al-Mal”. Umar wrote back telling him to look for every single man who had no money but wanted to get married and to arrange his marriage and pay the mahr for him. Abdul-Hameed wrote back to him saying, “I have married off every single man I could find, and there is still money in the bayt al-mal of the Muslims.” Umar then wrote to him, telling him to look for everyone who owed the kharaj (land tax) and needed help to cultivate his land, and lend him whatever he needed to help him do that.
Subhanallah! This is no dream. This is the mercy and fruits of implementing the Islamic economic laws contained within the Qur’an and Sunnah upon a land – that can create prosperity and ensure that everyone has their basic needs met.
Establishing Political Justice:
Today the Muslim world is plagued with political repression – whether governed by democracies or dictatorships. We have leaderships who govern through fear – spying on their citizens, gagging the media from accounting their corrupt and unjust actions, and arresting, imprisoning, torturing and even killing with impunity anyone who speaks out against their oppressive rule. They are rulers who view themselves as above the law, change constitutions and abandon the people’s rights at a whim, pocket the wealth of the Ummah, and criminalise the act of accounting those who govern the state.
This is the direct result of abandoning the political system of Islam, the Khilafah, and instead adopting non-Islamic secular or theocratic systems to govern our lands where human beings legislate the laws, and not the One who created the human being. And as a consequence, we now have leaderships who are indifferent to the needs and sufferings of the people but rather are consumed with preserving their selfish interests and seats of power.
In stark contrast, under the political system shaped by the laws from the Qur’an and Sunnah, the Khilafah, political justice, accountability and transparency in governance, the rule of law, and the prohibition of arbitrary arrests, spying on citizens, or torture are integral principles of ruling. Indeed, the Islamic political system created rulers of taqwa who would urge and encourage their citizens to account them in their duties and support and facilitate them to fulfil their Islamic obligation of commanding the Maruf and forbidding the Munkar.
For example, Umar bin Al-Khattab (ra), upon assuming the office of Khalifah gathered the people and called them to account him as their ruler if he ever strayed from his responsibilities. He said, “In the performance of my duties, I will seek guidance from the Holy Book, and will follow the examples set by the Holy Prophet and Abu Bakr. In this task I seek your assistance. If I follow the right path, follow me. If I deviate from the right path, correct me so that we are not led astray. Once a person shouted out to him in a public meeting, “O Umar! Fear Allah!” The audience wanted to silence him but Umar prevented it, saying: “If such frankness is not shown by the people, they are good for nothing and, if we do not listen to them, we would be like them (i.e. good for nothing.).” But this was not just lip service, for every year at the time of Hajj, he made all the high officials of the state report to him and at this time any person was able to raise any complaints they had against the authorities of the state which were immediately attended to. Once a person complained that a governor had lashed him for no fault of his. After investigation, the governor was also publicly lashed with the same number of stripes.
This importance given to political justice and supporting the people in raising grievances against the state and accounting the ruler continued throughout the centuries of Islamic rule. Mamoon Ar-Rashid for example, one of the Abbassid Khalifs, would specifically set aside Sundays for his public audience to hear their complaints. From early morning till afternoon, everyone – men and women – were free to present to the Khalifah their grievance which was instantly attended to. One day a poor old woman complained that a cruel person had usurped her property. “Who is that person?” asked the Khalifah. “He is sitting beside you,” replied the old woman, pointing to the Khalifah’s son, Abbas. Abbas tried to defend his action in a hesitant tone while the old woman was getting louder and louder in her arguments. The Khalifah stated that it was the honesty of her case that had made her bold and gave a judgement in her favour and against his own son.
These are but a few examples of the unrivalled justice established within a society governed by the Laws contained in the Qur’an and Sunnah.
Protecting the Life and Honour of the Muslims:
Today we also see that there is an utter absence of security and protection of the blood, lives and honour of our Ummah – whether it be in Syria, Palestine, Myanmar, Afghanistan, Central Africa, China and beyond. The blood of our brothers and sisters has become cheaper than water and there is no state or system that moves to protect their blood or even provide them sanctuary where they can live dignified lives, enjoying the full rights of citizenship that Islam affords those who live under its rule – regardless of nationality, ethnicity, or religion.
This is the result of having leaderships in our lands today who rule according to their own whims and desires rather than according to the laws and solutions contained in the Qur’an. These non-Islamic regimes therefore use their armies to protect their selfish national interests or thrones of power rather than mobilising them in the interests of the Ummah and the Deen as Commanded by Allah سبحانه وتعالى. These leaderships have an utter disregard and contempt for the verse in the Qur’an that says,
إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ إِخْوَةٌ فَأَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَ أَخَوَيْكُمْ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ
“The believers are naught else than brothers. Therefore make peace between your brethren and observe your duty to Allah that haply ye may obtain mercy.”
And that says,
إِنَّ هَذِهِ أُمَّتُكُمْ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً وَأَنَا رَبُّكُمْ فَاعْبُدُونِ
“Verily this Ummah of yours is one Ummah, and I am your Lord so worship Me”
And that says
وَاعْتَصِمُواْ بِحَبْلِ اللّهِ جَمِيعًا وَلاَ تَفَرَّقُواْ وَاذْكُرُواْ نِعْمَةَ اللّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذْ كُنتُمْ أَعْدَاء فَأَلَّفَ بَيْنَ قُلُوبِكُمْ فَأَصْبَحْتُم بِنِعْمَتِهِ إِخْوَانًا وَكُنتُمْ عَلَىَ شَفَا حُفْرَةٍ مِّنَ النَّارِ فَأَنقَذَكُم مِّنْهَا
“And hold fast, all together, by the rope which Allah (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves; and remember with gratitude Allah’s favour on you; for you were enemies and He joined your hearts in love, so that by His Grace, you became brethren; and you were on the brink of the pit of Fire, and He saved you from it.”
However, when the Qur’an was the basis of the system which ruled our lands, then this Ummah enjoyed as one of its countless blessings – full protection, security, and guardianship under the leadership of this true Islamic system – the Khilafah. For example, during the rule of Khalifah al-Mu’tassim Billah in the 9th century, a Muslim woman was captured and abused by a Roman soldier. Frightened and alone, the woman called out the name of the Khalifah in distress and help; “[Ya Mu’tasim] Oh Mu’tasim.” When news of the incident reached Mutassim, he responded, “Labbaik [I am here at your call].” And he said, “Wallahi, I will send an army that is so big that when it reaches them it will still be leaving our bases. And tell me the strongest city of these Romans and I will send the army to that city.” It was the month of Ramadan but he did not delay in this action. Rather he immediately dispatched a formidable army 90,000 strong to the city of Amurriyah, the strongest fort of the Romans to rescue the woman. The city was liberated from its oppressors and came under the rule of Islam, and Al-Mu’tassim freed the woman with his own hands, even apologizing for the brief time she had to wait for him, saying, “Dear sister, I could not come earlier, for the way from Baghdad to you is quite a far one.” Hence, a whole army was sent to rescue just one woman for such is the great status of honour and protection that Islamic rule affords the citizens of its state; and such was the duty and capability of the Khilafah that was able to unite its resources and soldiers from its vast lands to defend its Ummah without hesitation.
Again, this is not a dream. It is the mercy and protection brought to this Ummah by ruling our lands according to the laws and solutions contained in this Glorious Qur’an.
So, as we seek out Laylatul Qadr in these last 10 days of Ramadan, pleading to our Lord for His Forgiveness, Mercy and Rewards, and striving to complete the recitation of the Glorious Qur’an, let us also reflect on what gives this Night of Power its great significance and importance – which is the revelation of the Book of Allah سبحانه وتعالى and all it contains. And with this, let us also ask ourselves if we have given this Qur’an the status in our lives and this world that it deserves – a status that reflects the magnificence ascribed by the Lord of the Worlds سبحانه وتعالى to the night in which it was revealed – a night better than a 1000 months! For this Glorious Qur’an is not merely a spiritual book for recitation, or one that defines a handful of rules and regulations that we live by. No! Rather it is a book revealed by the Creator of mankind سبحانه وتعالى to His Messenger ﷺ to shape the whole of our lives and govern all of our affairs – political economic, judicial, social and beyond – in a manner that brings the Mercy of Allah to humanity, and the light of his Deen to this world. To think of this Book otherwise or treat it as anything less than this is to underestimate the value of this gem that we have in our hands that would have moved mountains if revealed to them!
The Prophet ﷺ said,
«إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَرْفَعُ بِهَذَا الْكِتَابِ أَقْوَامًا، وَيَضَعُ بِهِ آخَرِينَ»
“Allah will elevate some nations through this book and degrade others with it” [Muslim]
Dr. Nazreen Nawaz
Director of the Women’s Section in the Central Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir