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 considered to be 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.
Today, many Muslims think this is a special night when God gives heed 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.
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.
Muslims are encouraged to stay awake the entire night, and 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.
Some Muslims will take the day off work so they can stay up all night and will often spend this night in the mosque.
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.
Prayer and God’s Power
Researchers contend that 80% of new Christians in South Asia come to Christ as a direct result of supernatural encounters. More than half of new believers in Iran have had a dream or vision of Jesus and at least 35% of all recent Turkish conversions were in response to a dream and/or vision. In most cases, these supernatural encounters are in relation to a specific need or answer to prayer and are the result of years of prayer and labour by God’s people, including martyrdom. Often, a Muslim has heard the message of Jesus or even read parts of the Bible. While not all Muslims experience dreams or visions of Jesus, the supernatural is very much an accepted part of life.
How to Pray
- There are many stories throughout the Bible where God spoke through a dream or vision. (Genesis 41, Genesis 46:2 & 3, Daniel 4, Judges 7:10-15, Ezekiel 11:24, Matthew 2:12, 19, Acts 10:3-20, Revelation 1:1). In many of these cases the end result was for the purpose of salvation or physical safety. Ramadan is a strategic time for Christians to believe that God would sovereignly reveal Himself to those who do not yet know Him.
- As you pray during this night, pray for issues such as Muslim leaders and governments, Muslim families and children. Pray for increased numbers of missionaries and workers, 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).