A transformative night of contemplation engaged in by billions is almost upon us this year
Muslims around the world have been observing Ramadan for the last 25 or so days: a month of fasting, abstinence from sin and food, and a time of increase in contemplation, worship and communal commitment to God. Within this month, they also commit to “seeking” a night considered the most powerful night in the year: Laylatul Qadr (literally: the Night of Power).
What is Laylatul Qadr?
Laylatul Qadr, often translated as the Night of Power, or Night of Decree, or Night of Glory, is believed by Muslims to be one of the last ten nights of the month of Ramadan. This is the night in which God began the revelation of the Quran.
Worship done in this single night is said to be equivalent to 84 years—basically, a lifetime—of worship outside this night.
It has the potential, when approached with sincerity, to gain a person great forgiveness and mercy from God. One narration says, “Whoever prays on Laylatul Qadr out of faith and sincerity, shall have all their past sins forgiven” [Bukhari and Muslim hadith collections].
When is Laylatul Qadr?
The exact date of this night is not known. The Prophet Muhammad (may the blessings and peace of God be upon him) informed people to “seek” Laylatul Qadr out in one of the last ten nights in Ramadan, specifically odd nights. This means the 21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th, and 29th nights of Ramadan all have a high potential of being Laylatul Qadr.
Muslims regard there as being an intriguing beauty in the date not being known, because it gives the opportunity to a person to engage in extra worship throughout the last days of Ramadan in hope of catching the right date. If one specific night was known, humans would naturally put forth their entire effort on that one night, and likely slack off on the other nights.
What do Muslims do on Laylatul Qadr?
Many Muslims spend these nights in dedicated personal or communal programs of worship. Some take off days from work to ensure they can stay up all night without having to worry about their vocations. People then engage in contemplation, reading of the Qur’an, prayer (formal and informal), charity and other rewarding actions.
A night to ask for forgiveness
In particular, the Prophet (may the blessings and peace of God be upon him) advised Muslims to recite a supplication that translates to, “O God, truly you are The Pardoner, you love to pardon, so pardon me”.
This year, the “odd” nights of Ramadan depend (as every year) on when one began their fasting. Given Muslims start on different days due to differences in viewpoints on moonsighting (practically a difference of just one day), either the night of Tuesday 19 or that of Wednesday 20 May 2020 will be the 27th “odd night” that is usually the most sought out.
To our members and community seeking out the blessings of the Night of Power this year, we hope you find strength, meaning and purpose through its magnanimity and promise!