In the Name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Night of Power/ Laylatul Qadr, the Quran’s Perspective

Tradition has been playing a significant role in conditioning the minds and beliefs of humans. Muslims have never escaped the powerful impact of inherited values and practices on their religious ideologies. The result has been always adopting what God has never authorized. Submitters are no exception. While we feel very fortunate and blessed to receive the message of worshiping God alone and following Quran alone, we might spot ourselves here or there promoting, practicing, or uttering what God has never issued in His infallible scripture. True believers recognize their deviance because of their dedication to worship God and the eagerness to live by His truth. They constantly reevaluate their beliefs using the word of God because they are certain that the knowledge of Quran is an endless and timeless treasure. They strive to learn and they sincerely seek the truth. God, thus, responds by guiding them and fixing their works through the light of Quran.

Laylatul Qadr, known as "The Night of Power", is among the many events that tradition has been tampering with for years. The so-called Hadith and Sunna books are filled with volumes of baseless information about this night. Most of us, submitters, grew up in the midst of these innovations and it has been challenging for us to let go of them.

This reminder is about what God says about Laylatul Qadr/ Night of Power in Quran. It is an attempt to dust our brains from any traces of tradition or inherited claims about this night.

Chapter 97, "Al-Qadr", is one of the chapters where God is describing that night:

[97:0] In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
[97:1] We revealed it in the Night of Destiny.
[97:2] How awesome is the Night of Destiny!
[97:3] The Night of Destiny is better than a thousand months.
[97:4] The angels and the Spirit descend therein /feeha, by their Lord's leave, (to carry out) WITH every command. ("carry out", used in English translation of this verse, doesn't exist in its Arabic text) .
[97:5] Peaceful it is until the advent of the dawn.

It is crucial to note that:

  1. In 97:1, God states the fact that Quran was revealed during that night using the plural tense expressed as "We revealed it". 97:2 starts by a basic grammatical Wonder Expression, ma-adraka, that simply and literally means: you have no idea. God is literally stating : you have no idea how awesome this night is. Then, in 97:3-5, God is describing why that night is considered to be an awesome one. Such description must be given in present tense as an elaboration on the wondrous night. The whole description in 97:3-5 is referring to that specific night and the actual event that took place more than fourteen hundred years ago.

    The claim that the present/imperfect tense used in 97:4 dictates that the descend of the Spirit and the angels is annually reoccurring is invalid since description of events after Wonder Expressions in Arabic stylish grammar is always given in imperfect tense. We learn this from God in Quran through other examples of that same wonder expression, ma-adraka, where God uses the present tense in the subsequent verses to describe and elaborate on the wondrous entity or event spoken about (69:3, 74:27, 77:14, 82:17,18, 83:8, 83:19, 86:2, 90:12, 101:3, 101:10, and 104:5). These are only three examples out of them to examine descriptions of a future event (Day of Judgment) using present or imperfect tense: 74:27-28, 82:17-19, and 101:3-5

    Aside from the stylish grammar of Wonder Expressions, it is a fact that God uses past, present and future grammatical verb tenses all over Quran to describe events irrespective of their corresponding time lines (past, present or future). In other words, He sometimes uses present tense for future and past events, past tenses for future ones, and future tense for events that already took place. This is simply because we are trapped on earth and limited to its physical systems and time zones, where God is not. He oversees past, present and future all at the same time. So hanging on the verb's present tense in 97:4, alone, without examining and verifying all the other evidence to prove the reoccurring of the Night of Power is a baseless approach.

  2. In addition to the fact that the description after the wonder expression is always given in present tense, the verb format, "tanazzalu", in 97:4 is a unique present tense format chosen by God to indicate a process that takes place or continues over a specific period of time, irrespective of being in the past, present or future. This format is distinct from all other present tense formats.

    Please examine for your self the verb "tazawaru", in 18:17 where God describes the sun rising around the cave where the youth stayed : it is a present tense that is exactly in the same format used in 97:4 to describe an event that happened in the past and consumed a specific period of time. Another example, "tashaqaqu", is in 25:25 where God is describing the sky during a future event, Day of Judgment, using the same exact present tense format. A third example is in 11:105, "takallamu" where again God is describing a future event, the Day of Judgment, using the same exact present tense format.

    [18:17] You could see the sun when it rose/"tazawaru" coming from the right side of their cave, and when it set, it shone on them from the left, as they slept in the hollow thereof. This is one of God's portents.* Whomever God guides is the truly guided one, and whomever He sends astray, you will not find for him a guiding teacher.

    [25:25] The heaven will break apart/"tashaqaqu", into masses of clouds, and the angels will descend in multitudes.

    [11:105] The day it comes to pass, no soul will utter/"takallamu" a single word, except in accordance with His will. Some will be miserable, and some will be happy.

  3. The process of revealing Quran consumed one specific night as stated in 17:1, 44:3 and it ended at Fajr/Dawn as stated in 97:5. Basically, in 97:1-5, God is stating that we have no idea (ma-adraka) how awesome that night is: it is better than thousand months, the angels and the Spirit descend, by God's leave, with every single command on that specific night, peace it is until Dawn (when the process ended). All of this is referring to a process that was completed in the past by God along with Gabriel and the angels.
  4. The verb "carry out" in 97:4, which means execute or accomplish, DOES NOT EXIST in the Arabic text of 97:4.

    [97:4] The angels and the Spirit descend therein, by their Lord's leave, (to carry out) WITH every command. تَنَزَّلُ الْمَلَئِكَةُ وَالرُّوحُ فِيهَا بِإِذْنِ رَبِّهِمْ مِنْ كُلِّ أَمْرٍ

    The verse literally says: The angels and the Spirit descend over that night, by God's leave, WITH EVERY COMMAND. Please note similar uses of that expression, مِنْ كُلِّ أَمْرٍ , WITH EVERY COMMAND, in the following verses expressed as مِنْ أَمْرِهِ/ مِنْ أَمْرِنَا and examine how they are always associated with the revelations of the Most Gracious: Al-rooh/Bilrooh/Rawhan/ رُوحًا / الرُّوحَ / بِالرُّوحِ:

    [16:2] He sends down the angels with the revelations, carrying His commands, to whomever He chooses from among His servants: "You shall preach that there is no other god beside Me; You shall reverence Me." ‏[٢:١٦] يُنَزِّلُ الْمَلَئِكَةَ بِالرُّوحِ مِنْ أَمْرِهِ عَلَى مَنْ يَشَاءُ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ أَنْ أَنذِرُوا أَنَّهُ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا أَنَا فَاتَّقُون

    [40:15] Possessor of the highest ranks, and Ruler of the whole dominion. He sends inspiration, bearing His commands, to whomever He chooses from among His servants, to warn about the Day of Summoning. ‏[١٥:٤٠] رَفِيعُ الدَّرَجَتِ ذُو الْعَرْشِ يُلْقِى الرُّوحَ مِنْ أَمْرِهِ عَلَى مَنْ يَشَاءُ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ لِيُنْذِرَ يَوْمَ التَّلَاق

    [42:52] Thus, we inspired to you a revelation proclaiming our commandments. You had no idea about the scripture, or faith. Yet, we made this a beacon to guide whomever we choose from among our servants. Surely, you guide in a straight path. ‏[٥٢:٤٢] وَكَذَلِكَ أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ رُوحًا مِنْ أَمْرِنَا مَا كُنْتَ تَدْرِى مَا الْكِتَبُ وَلَا الْإِيمَنُ وَلَكِنْ جَعَلْنَهُ نُورًا نَهْدِى بِهِ مَنْ نَشَاءُ مِنْ عِبَادِنَا وَإِنَّكَ لَتَهْدِى إِلَى صِرَطٍ مُسْتَقِيمٍ

    It has been traditionally believed that the angels descend to earth yearly on this night believed to be the 27th night of Ramadan to carry out certain commands and answer our prayers, something the Arabic text doesn't state or even hint to. Such wrong belief affirms 97:4 to be a reoccurring event to fulfill some man-made objectives where God is exclusively referring to a specific night that took place over 1400 years ago and a specific objective of revealing Quran to mankind.

  5. Then, in chapter 44 there is a crucial significance in how this specific night, when Quran was revealed, is exclusively referenced or pointed at ; not the anniversaries of that night:

    [44:3] We have sent it down/anzalahu in a blessed night/laylaten mubarakah, for we are to warn.
    [44:4] In it/feeha (the scripture), every matter of wisdom is clarified.
    [44:5] It is a predetermined command from us that we send messengers.
    [44:6] This is a mercy from your Lord. He is the Hearer, the Omniscient.

    In 44:3, "it" is referring to Quran/scripture in a singular masculine tense, "anzalahu", because Quran/scripture is masculine entity in Arabic grammar and language.

    In 44:3, the blessed night, laylaten mubarakah, is the Night of Power. It is referred to in the feminine, singular tense because the word "lylaten" is a feminine entity in Arabic grammar and language.

    In 44:4, God is still referring to that feminine entity, "Laylaten mubarakah", and this is confirmed, with no doubt, by attaching a grammatical tool that is exclusive for the feminine tense. God says "in it" and the "it" is exclusively for the feminine tense (feeha). Had God been referring to the scripture, as expressed between parenthesis in the translation, "in it" would have been certainly formulated in the masculine tense (feehi).

    Basically, God is stating that We revealed Quran in a blessed night- in that specific night, "feeha", every matter of wisdom is clarified. The same is expressed in 97:4 when God is stating : on that night, "therein or feeha", the angels and Gabriel descend, by God's leave, with every command. The same context is confirmed in chapter 53 where God is stating He moved down as close as possible to reveal Quran to Muhammad (53:8-9).

    [97:4] The angels and the Spirit descend therein /feeha, by their Lord's leave, (to carry out) WITH every command.

  6. The angels were the mediators in that ongoing process of revealing Quran to place every command and every matter of wisdom in Muhammad's heart as confirmed by both 44:3 and 97:4. That was completely done in the past. God uses the plural tense saying "WE revealed it", " We have sent it" in both chapter 97 and 44 which confirms the involvement of the angels. The angels involvement in the process of revelation is again confirmed in the texts of 16:2, and 4:166

No where in Quran do we read anything about the Night of Power, traditionally celebrated on the 27th of Ramadan, as reoccurring event to be observed yearly in a specific format. No where in Quran do we read about any extra credit that is specially earned when we stay up during that specific night meditating with Quran or imploring God. No where in Quran do we learn about any special blessings or miracles promised by God and are associated with what we traditionally do during this night. No where in Quran does state that the Spirit and the angles descend to earth on the anniversaries of that night to execute certain commands and grant us our wishes.

What is directly relevant to that event is that God has decreed for us fasting the entire blessed month of Ramadan when Quran was revealed. This is the rite decreed by God in Quran in honor of the Night of Power to purify our souls and express our appreciation for the light He had sent us:

[2:185] Ramadan is the month during which the Quran was revealed, providing guidance for the people, clear teachings, and the statute book. Those of you who witness this month shall fast therein. Those who are ill or traveling may substitute the same number of other days. GOD wishes for you convenience, not hardship, that you may fulfill your obligations, and to glorify GOD for guiding you, and to express your appreciation.

In conclusion, the Night of Power is honorable and special just like a thousand months because of the process of revealing Quran that had taken place and was completed in the past. The process of revelation involved God, Gabriel, and the angels. The Night of Power during which Quran was placed in Muhammad's heart is specifically referenced or pointed at, in black and white, in both 97:4 and 44:4, and it is fully described in 53:1-18. There is no command from God to witness the anniversaries of this night believed to be on the 27th of Ramadan. There is no mention in the entire Quran that this night is a yearly reoccurring one. There is no mention in the entire Quran of any special rituals or extra credit to be earned when we stay up all night in observance of that man-made occasion. There is no mention in the entire Quran that the angles and the Spirit descend on the anniversaries of that night to carry out any commands or grant us any wishes. We are commanded by God to meditate every night with Quran. We must strive to do that by reading what we can afford of it without burdening our souls (73:1-8, 73:20).

Hopefully, by God's will, submitters to God alone will benefit from the reminder (51:55) so they do not take part in the history of corrupting religion. Hopefully, by God's will, they will not persist on adding man-made innovations to the word of God or mixing up traditions and personal wishes with divine decreed laws and teachings. Hopefully they will not set the wrong precedent for their kids and future generations. Hopefully they will quit repeating the same invented practices attributed to the Night of Power over and over, year after year, while their children are observing and standing in line only to pass on such wrong practices to their kids and grand kids. Hopefully, the sincere would eventually grasp it and take heed. Knowledge will keep pouring from the teacher of the scripture. Believers will thrive by gaining knowledge and staying up to date. The messenger's death does not stop God from teaching His believers. God has instructed us to read the scripture every day and night, updating our beliefs and seeking His illimitable truth.

[20:114] Most Exalted is GOD, the only true King. Do not rush into uttering the Quran before it is revealed to you, and say, "My Lord, increase my knowledge."