Explanation of Soorah al-Qadr :: Islam the Eternal Path to Peace :: Jannah.Org
Explanation of Soorah al-Qadr
by  Ibn Kathir  

In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

1. Verily, We sent it down in the night of al-Qadr.
2. And what will make you know what the night of al-Qadr is?
3. The night of al-Qadr is better than a thousand months.
4. Therein descend the angels and the Spirit by their Lord's permission with all Decrees.
5. Peace! Until the appearance of dawn.

Allah, Most High informs us that He sent down the Qur'aan in the night of Al-Qadr, and it is the blessed night referred to in the Words of Him, Almighty, All-Powerful: " Verily, We sent it down in the night of Al-Qadr ". The night of Al-Qadr occurs in the month of Ramadhaan, as Allah says: "The month of Ramadhaan in which the Qur'aan was sent down" (Soorah Al-Baqarah 2:185). Ibn `Abbaas, amongst others, explains that the complete Qur'aan was sent down from Al-Lawh Al-Mahfooz (the Preserved Tablet) in the night of Al-Qadr to Bait Al-`Izzah (the House of Glory) in the lowest heaven, from whence it was revealed piecemeal to the Prophet sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam according to events which took place during his life over a period of twenty-three years. Then, Allah says, in order to make clear the greatness of the matter of the night of Al-Qadr, which He has chosen for sending down of the Noble Qur'aan: " And what will make you know what the night of Al-Qadr is? The night of Al-Qadr is better than a thousand months " It is narrated on the authority of Mujaahid that the Messenger of Allah sallallahu `alayhi wa salam mentioned a man from Bani Israa'eel who carried his sword in the Way of Allah for a thousand months; the Muslims were amazed at this until Allah revealed: " Verily, We sent it down in the night of Al-Qadr. And what will make you know what the night of Al-Qadr is? The night of Al-Qadr is better than a thousand months "." (i.e. the thousand months during which the man carried his sword in the Way of Allah). (Narrated by Ibn Abi Haatim)

Ibn Jareer narrates, on the authority of Mujaahid that there was a man from Bani Israa'eel who used to spend the night in prayer then in the morning he would fight the enemy in the Way of Allah during the day, until the evening and he did this for a thousand months and so Allah revealed the Soorah: " Verily, We sent it down in the night of Al-Qadr " until the verse: " The night of Al-Qadr is better than a thousand months " That is, standing in prayer on that night is better than the actions of that man. Sufyaan ath-Thawree reports, on the authority of Mujaahid (also), that the night of Al-Qadr being better than a thousand months means that the good deeds performed on it, fasting on it and standing in prayer on it are better than a thousand months' good deeds, prayers and fasting. (Narrated by Ibn Jareer)

Ibn Abi Haatim relates, on the authority of Mujaahid that it means: The night of Al-Qadr is better than a thousand months without the night of Al-Qadr. This was also said by Qataadah ibn Da'aamah and Ash-Shaafi?i and others, including Ibn Jareer, and it is the correct interpretation and it is like the saying of the Prophet sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam: "To spend the night in the Way of Allah is better than a thousand nights not spent in worship." (Narrated by Ahmad)

Likewise, it is narrated that whoever goes to Friday prayers neatly-dressed, with a pure intention, it will be written for him the reward of a year's good deeds, as if he had fasted on it and spent its nights in prayer and in other acts of worship.

It is reported from Abu Hurairah that he said: "When the month of Ramadhaan came, the Messenger of Allah sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam said: "The month of Ramadhaan has come, a blessed month in which Allah has made it obligatory for you to fast; in it the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained. In it is a night better than a thousand months, whoever loses the benefit of it has lost something irreplaceable." (Narrated by Imaam Ahmad. This was also narrated by An-Nasaa'i).

It is reported on the authority of Abu Hurairah, that Allah's Messenger sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam said: "Whoever stood in prayer on the night of Al-Qadr, in faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, he will have all of his previous sins forgiven." (Narrated by Al-Bukhaari and Muslim).

" Therein descend the angels and the Spirit " That is, innumerable angels descend with uncounted blessings and mercy, as they descend when the Qur'aan is recited and they surround those sitting in circles in remembrance of Allah and they lower their wings in the presence of the sincere seeker of knowledge in honour of him. As for the Spirit, it has been said that what is meant by it is the angel Jibreel `alayhis salaam and that he is mentioned thus to distinguish him from the other angels. It was also said that it means a group of angels, and Allah knows best. (see the Tafseer of Soorah An-Naba', verse 38)

" With all decrees " Sa'eed ibn Mansoor narrates, on the authority of Mujaahid, that it means the night is safe from the machinations of the devils, that they cannot commit evil or harm on it. Qataadah and others said it means that the Divine Decrees are issued at that night, the appointed time of everything is fixed and the blessings are apportioned, as in the words of Allah: " Therein [that night] is decreed every matter of ordainments " (Soorah ad-Dukhaan 44:4)

" Peace! Until the appearance of dawn " Sa'eed ibn Mansoor narrates, on the authority of Ash-Sha'bi, that it means the angels send their salutations of peace upon those who are occupied in prayer in the mosques until the dawn. It is narrated on the authority of Abu Hurairah, that the Messenger of Allah sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam said: "It is the night of twenty-seventh or the twenty-ninth and verily, the angels on that night are innumerable." Al-A`amash says, on the authority of Abu Lailaa that the verse means that the whole night is goodness, therein is no evil - until the appearance of the dawn. This is supported by a narration on the authority of `Ubaadah ibn As-Saamit that the Messenger of Allah sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam said: "The night of Al-Qadr is to be found in the last ten (nights of Ramadhaan), whoever stood in prayer during these nights, wishing for the reward of them will have his sins forgiven by Allah, both the earlier and the later; and it is the night of witr. (an uneven number). Nine, seven, five, three or the last night of it." (Narrated by Imaam Ahmad).

It is narrated on the authority of Ibn `Abbaas radhiallahu `anhu that Allah's Messenger sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam said: "It is a night of magnanimity and joy, neither very hot, nor very cold; and the sun of the morning following it is weak and red-coloured." (Narrated by Abu Dawood At-Tayaalisi).

It is reported on the authority of Jaabir ibn `Abdillaah, that the Messenger of Allah sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam said, "Verily, I saw the night of Al-Qadr and then I was made to forget it, but it is (to be looked for) in the last ten nights, the night is clear and fine, neither hot nor cold as if there were a full moon and on this night, the devils do not go forth until the light of dawn." (Narrated by Ibn Abi Haatim) Scholars have differed as to whether the night of Al-Qadr was extant for the communities which preceded that of Muhammad sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam or whether it was specially designated for them. There are two schools of thought on this subject: Abu Mus'ab Ahmad ibn Abi Bakr az-Zuhri (d.42H) said that Maalik informed him that the Messenger of Allah sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam was shown the generations of old from mankind and it was as if the lifespans of his community were shorter, and so it was not possible to accomplish the same amount of deeds as those communities of old, who lived longer lives and so Allah gave him the night of Al-Qadr which is better than a thousand months. According to Maalik, this necessarily means that this community (of Muslims) has been specially favoured with the night of Al-Qadr. One of the Shaafi'i scholars said that it is the view of the majority of scholars of fiqh, and Allah knows best. The second view on this subject says that the night of Al-Qadr was given to the previous peoples as it was given to this community and the proof of this is the hadeeth which says that. (Ibn Katheer has not mentioned the hadeeth, however).

It is narrated that Abu Zarr radhiallahu `anhu asked the Prophet sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam: "Oh, Messenger of Allah! Tell me about the night of Al-Qadr, is it in Ramadhaan, or another month?" He sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam replied: "No, it is in Ramadhaan." (Narrated by Imaam Ahmad). He sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam also said: "?it is until they Day of Resurrection." And, "Look for it in the last seven days of Ramadhaan and do not ask me any more about it." (Narrated by An-Nasaa'i) - This hadeeth proves that the night of Al-Qadr is only to be looked for in the month of Ramadhaan and not, as has been attributed to Ibn Mas`ood radhiallahu `anhu by the scholars of Koofa, that it is to be looked for throughout the whole year without any distinction. In line with this, Abu Dawood wrote in his Sunan: "Chapter: - Evidence that the night of Al-Qadr is in every Ramadhaan." He then went on to narrate on the authority of Ibn `Umar radhiallahu `anhu that he heard the Messenger of Allah sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam being asked about the night of Al-Qadr; he replied: "It is in every Ramadhaan." And all of the men in this sanad are thiqaat. (trustworthy) except that Abu Dawood said that the narration is mawqoof.

It was also said that the night of Al-Qadr is on the first night of Ramadhaan, and that it is on the seventeenth of Ramadhaan - this was a saying attributed to Ash-Shaafi'i and Abu Dawood narrated a hadeeth on the authority of Ibn Mas`ood radhiallahu `anhu and said that it was marfoo`, while Al-Hasan Al-Basree said that it is the night of the Battle of Badr, and it was said: The night of the nineteenth - this was attributed to `Ali and Ibn Mas`ood (may Allah be pleased with them both), and it was said: the twenty-first, according to the hadeeth of Abu Sa'eed al-Khudri radhiallahu `anhu in which he said: "The Messenger of Allah sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam made his I`tikaaf in the first ten days of Ramadhaan and we made I'tikaaf with him, then Jibreel `alayhis salaam came to him and said: "That which you are in quest of is still ahead of you." Then the Messenger of Allah sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam addressed the people saying: "Whoever has made I`tikaaf with me, let him return, for I have seen the night of Al-Qadr and then was made to forget it; but verily, it is in the last ten days and on the odd days, and I saw myself as if I were prostrating in mud and water." - the roof of the Prophet's mosque was made from palm leaves and we could not see anything on the sky, but clouds came and it rained on us and the Messenger of Allah sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam led us in prayer, until I could see the marks of rain and mud upon his forehead - a proof of what he had seen in his vision." Another version has it that it occurred on the morning after the twenty-first; this is narrated by Al-Bukhaari and Muslim, and according to Ash-Shaafi`i, it is the most authentic narration. He (Ash-Shaafi`i) says, concerning these apparently contradictory reports: "The Messenger of Allah sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam when asked: "Should we search for it on such-and-such night?" would reply: "Yes." (In order to encourage them to pray on the all last ten nights), but the night of Al-Qadr is a fixed night and does not change." However, according to Ahmad, Ath-Thawri, Ibn Khuzaimah and others, it can occur any time on the uneven nights during the last ten days of Ramadhaan and this is closer to the truth, and Allah knows best.

Muslim reports that the Messenger of Allah sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam instructed `Aa'ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) to supplicate Allah saying: "Oh, Allah! You are Forgiving, You love forgiveness and so forgive me." (Allahumma innaka `Afuwwun, tuhibbul `afwa, fa`fu `annee) At-Tirmizi, An-Nasaa'i and Ibn Maajah narrated the same thing. According to Maalik, one should look for the night of Al-Qadr throught the last ten days of Ramadhaan and one should try not to identify which is the night of Al-Qadr, but should intensify one's devotions throughout. And the most preferred action is to increase one's supplications during the whole month of Ramadhaan, more in the last ten days, more still on the odd days, and especially in the aforementioned words to `Aa'ishah by Allah's Messenger sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam.

It is narrated that Ka`b said: "Verily, whoever fasted the month of Ramadhaan resolving not to disobey Allah when he breaks his fast, will enter Paradise without reckoning or questioning. This is the end of the tafseer of Soorah Al-Qadr, all praise is due to Allah, and from Him proceeds all Grace.


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