Laylatul Qadr: the Night of Power
Muslim scholars believe that while the Qur’an was revealed over a period of 23 years the Night of Power is considered the night in which the first revelations of Islam and the prophethood of Muhammed began. This night is in celebration of the arrival of the Qur’an.
In Arabic, Laylatul Qadr (the Night of Power) is described in the Qur’an as, “better than a thousand months” (Sura 97:3). Al-Qadr means power and implies having power over something, particularly to Allah. The character of Allah is said to be excellence in power, capable, all powerful, almighty and also implies “high esteem” and thus the Night of Power is to be highly esteemed.
When does it occur?
It is often a point of debate among Muslim scholars as to when exactly the Night of Power occurs. Some scholars say that this night is hidden. Some say it occurs on either the 1st, 7th or 19th night of Ramadan. However, there is strong evidence that the night occurs during the last 10 days of Ramadan, specifically on odd numbered nights. In a report by Bukhari, Muhammed said, “Seek it on the odd nights of the last 10 days of Ramadan.” In Hadith by Ubayy bin Ka’ab, Muhammed also said, “By Allah, I know which night it is. It is the night the Messenger commanded us to observe, the night of the 26th.”
Angels & the Night of Power
The whole Night of Power, from sunset to dawn, is the holiest night of the year. It is believed that there are groups of special angels who are only seen on the Night of Power. These angels perform special purposes. Some come down for worship, others for granting the request of the believing Muslim. Other angels come down bringing with them proclamations of the coming year.
As Muhammed had his destiny fulfilled by receiving the revelation of the Qur’an on this night, Muslims also call this the “Night of Destiny”. This night seems equally important among orthodox Muslims and in Folk Islam. It is on this night, and during the following weeks, that many Muslims have had supernatural encounters with God.
Today, many Muslims feel that this night is a special time when God gives extra notice to their requests. Often they are open to dreams and visions as they seek for guidance and revelation. Many Muslims pray all night seeking a response to specific requests. One common belief is that angels will shower down the peace and blessings of God on all who remain awake during this “night of power”. According to the Qur’an, God either listens directly or via the angel Gabriel, to the requests of Muslims concerning their fate.
Hopes & Expectations
Many Muslims will stay awake the entire night to pray for blessings and forgiveness. According to Abu Huraira translation of the Hadith, the Prophet Muhammed declared that “whoever prays during the Night of Power with faith and hoping for its reward will have all his previous sins forgiven.” There are many things that a Muslim will endeavour to do on the Night of Power including recite and study the Quran, make special requests from Allah, evaluate their own lives and make plans for the next year.
Muslims come to this night with several attitudes. Some want to prove their devotion to God through their prayers, even being proud of their religious accomplishments. Others, knowing in their hearts that they are incapable of really pleasing God by their own religious activity, will feel disappointed with themselves. Finally, significant numbers will be praying in desperation and are genuinely seeking help from God.
How to Pray
- Ramadan is a strategic time for Christians to believe that God would sovereignly reveal Himself to those who do not yet know Him.
- Pray for issues such as Muslim leaders and governments, Muslim families and children. Pray for Christians to humbly and wisely share the hope found in Jesus and pray for new believers (1 Timothy 2:1).
- Pray for God to reveal more about Jesus to the many Muslims who will seek God tonight (Psalm 118:21, Acts 4:33).