Lailat-al-Qadr ليلة القدر
What dose Lailat-al-Qadr mean?
Lailat-al-Qadr literally means magnificent night or The Night of Power.
Hadhrat Abu Bakr Warraaq رضي الله عنه has mentioned that this night is known as 'Lailat-al-Qadr' because it means respect i.e. a person, who didn't have any good deeds under his name, could become pious and respects this night by repenting and offering extra prayers. Qadr also means Fate; because on this night, all the creation of Allah سبحانه تعالي are accounted from one Ramadhan to the next Ramadhan. (Tafseer Mazhari)
Why is this night given to this Ummah?
It is a great blessing of Allah سبحانه تعالي that he has bestowed his creation with this blessed night. It is mentioned in numerous Ahaadeeth that the past Ummah were given a longer life span of almost a thousand years. If we are to compare in actions and deeds then it is almost impossible for Ummah of Rasoolullah صلي الله عليه و سلم to match their rewards. For this reason, Allah سبحانه تعالي has bestowed us with this great night. If someone is fortunate and gains this night in last ten odd nights of Ramadhan and spends them in remembering Allah سبحانه تعالي, it is like he has spent more than a 1,000 months in worship which is equivalent to 83 years and 4 months or worship.
Allah سبحانه تعالي says in the Noble Qur`aan:
ليلة القدر خير من الف شهر
'Lailat-al-Qadr' is better than a thousand months.
(Surah Al-Qadr, Verse 3)
This blessed night is given as a gift from Allah سبحانه تعالي to the Ummah of Rasoolullah صلي الله عليه و سلم and whoever has the opportunity, should take benefit from this night. Hadhrat Anas رضي الله عنه narrates that the Prophet صلي الله عليه و سلم has mentioned, "Allah سبحانه تعالي has bestowed my Ummah (nation) with this special night, which has not been given to any other Ummah."
As we all know valuable and important things cannot be gained without effort. This is the very reason why Lailat-al-Qadr has been kept anonymous.
The Prophet صلي الله عليه و سلم has mentioned;
"عسئ ان يكون خيرالكم "
"do you not know, that by not giving the date of this night, is much fortunate for you"
(Ibn-e-Katheer page 636 Vol. 4).
If the date Lailat-al-Qadr was known, the people will not have the value for it. Mufassir Ibn-e-Katheer Dimashqee says, "Keeping this night a secret is a wisdom in itself, because in finding this night, one will pray throughout Ramadhan and keep every night in mind." (Ibn-e-Katheer page 636 Vol. 4).
If a specific date was given for Lailat-al-Qadr, then people will only prepare for this alone, and leave the remainder of this blessed month deserted of A'maal (deeds). A person will only repent and worship Allah سبحانه تعالي on this specific night.
It is known that 'Lailat-al-Qadr' could be found in the odd nights of the final ten days of Ramadhan as mentioned in this Hadeeth in Tirmizi narrated by Hadhrat Aaisha رضي الله عنها
قال رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم : تحرو اليلة القدر في العشر الاواخر من رمضان .
"search for 'Lailat-al-Qadr' in the last ten days of Ramadhan"
From this we understand that verily it is wrong to deny all the nights and specify 27th of Ramadhan making it necessary to complete the Qur'aan in Taraweeh on this night.
Bearing in mind, especially nowadays the Qur'aan should be completed on the 29th night. So that the people who have started to believe the 27th being the specific night are proven wrong.
Most people who believe that 27th is 'Lailat-al-Qadr' do not attend or give much significance to the prayers of Taraweeh after the completing of the Qur'aan.
Supplications of Lailat-al-Qadr
For this night, there isn't any specific prayer mentioned that one can perform. Recitation of the Qur'aan and offering Nafl (optional) Salaah is most appropriate, followed by repentance and Du'aa.
The following Du'aa should be read as well as Durood Shareef.
اللهم انك عفو٫ تحب العفو٫ فاعف عني
'O' Allah, indeed You are All-forgiving; You love forgiveness; therefore forgive me.
To gather up in mosque's on this night to perform Nawaafil prayers (optional) or any other acts in congregation is an act of innovation (Bid'ah) and forbidden in Islam. An optional prayer on any nights should be performed in your own homes. In the time of the Prophet صلي الله عليه و سلم and his companions رضي الله عنهم staying awake throughout the night was not their habit, even though they had more value for this night than us. They divided the nights equally into three portions. One Third was spent in fulfilling the rights of the family, i.e. wives etc. One third dedicated in worship and one third for resting.
May Allah سبحانه تعالي bless his worshipers with this great night and may Allah سبحانه تعالي guide us all to the straight path.