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Annual observance of Laylat al-Qadr is not in the Quran

Introduction

The Night of Power (Laylat Al-Qadr/Laylatul Qadr) was the special night of Ramadan 13 B.H. (Before Hijrah) when the whole Quran was placed into Muhammad’s soul (heart) (2:185) when he, the soul not the body, was taken to the highest universe (17:1, 53:4-18 and 97:1-5). Subsequently, the angel Gabriel helped Prophet Muhammad release a few verses of the Quran at a time, from his soul to his memory over the time period of 23 years (610 to 632 A.D) to release the whole Quran into his memory (2:97, 16:102, 17:106, 26:192-195). The Prophet wrote down the verses just released into his mind, and also shared them with the people around him.

There is also another view on the night but not acceptable to many as the references to the night in the Quran do not conform to it. However, it was the night in the month of Ramadan in 610 CE while Muhammad was meditating as usual in Hira cave, he was visited by the Gabriel with the famous first revelation, the first 5 verses of sura Al-Alaq (96:1-5), and after that, he received the rest of the Quran through the Gabriel over the time period of 23 years.

The Night of Destiny on the night of 27th Ramadan

The exact date of the Night of Destiny has become a long-standing bone of contention within the Muslim communities. Just as they argue about when Ramadan starts and ends, they also disagree on the date of this night. To some, this night is so elusive that they try to stay up all nights during the last ten days of Ramadan so as not to “miss out” any chances of experiencing it. Others hold the opinion that the exact date of this night is on the 27th of Ramadan. Many, if not all, of these varying opinions are based on the hadith or historical records dating back to early Islam.

However, below is the 3-fold mathematical confirmation on the exact date of this special night on the 27th of Ramadan, which is derived from the Quran using the very sura that deals with this subject, namely Sura Al-Qadr (Destiny).

  • Sura Al-Qadr (Sura # 97) contains three occurrences of the phrase “laylat al-qadr” (the Night of Destiny). The Arabic phrase, “laylat al-qadr” (لَيلَةِ القَدرِ) itself consists of nine letters. Therefore, within this sura, there are 27 (3 x 9) letters that participate in the proper name of this very special night.
  • The last verse of the sura states that “Peace IT is until the advent of the dawn” (Arabic: salamun HIYA hatta mathlail fajr). The word IT (HIYA in Arabic in feminine gender) refers to the night in question has the location of 27th out of the 30 total words that comprise this sura. It is noteworthy that 30 is the universally accepted number of days in a month.
  • The nine Arabic letters that make up this phrase, “Laylat Al Qadr” have the following gematric or numeric values: Laam=30, Ya=10, Laam=30, Ta=5, Alef=1, Laam=30, Qaf=100, Dal=4, Rah=200, i. e., the gematric or numeric value of “Laylat Al Qadr” is 30 + 10 + 30 + 5 + 1 + 30 + 100 + 4 + 200 = 410. If we add the gematric value of ‘Laylat Al Qadr” (410), the Sura number (97) and the verse numbers where “Laylat Al Qadr” occurs (1, 2, 3), the total is a multiple of 19 and the product is 27 => 410 + 97 + 1 + 2 + 3 = 513, or 19 x 27.

    Now there should not be any doubt about the night of 27th Ramadan 13 B.H. to be the Laylatul Qadr (Night of Power) when the Quran was revealed to Muhammad’s heart.

Annual Observance of the Night of Power

It has been traditionally believed that the angels and Gabriel descend to earth yearly on this night believed to be on the night of 27th Ramadan to carry out certain commands and answer our prayers. There is also another crucial belief among traditional circle that the praying in this night would qualify for receiving the reward from God equivalent to praying of more than a thousand months because of shorter life span of later generations of believers comparison to the believers of early generations. Hence, the night becomes very significant to traditional Muslims, even to some Muslims of new generation and turns many of them to spend the night by commemorating God either in their privacy or in a mosque with other Muslims while others retreat to a mosque in the last ten days of Ramadan to take advantage of God’s such blessings with an intent not to miss it as it may fall in any day of the last ten days of Ramadan to gain extra credit of righteousness. Muslims spend the entire night through different forms of prayers including reciting Quran, doing zikr (remembrance of Allah) and supplicating to Allah to forgive their past sins and accept their acts, even they make certain units of special salat prayer (namely, Salatul Qadr) having 2-unit at a time reciting sura Al-Qadr followed by sura Al-Fatehah in each unit based on teachings of Hadith and Sunna books or teachings given by their religious scholars.

The Night of Power in Quran’s Perspective

Laylatul Qadr known as “The Night of Power/Destiny”, is among the many events that tradition has been tampering with for years. The so-called Hadith and Sunna books that are filled with volumes of baseless information about Islam have also corrupted this night with man-made objectives. Most of us grew up in the midst of these innovations, and it has been challenging for us to let go of them. This generation is blessed by God with knowledge and tool to detect and remove corruptions from many areas in the belief and practices of Islam based on Quran, and it is another attempt to dust our brains from any traces of tradition or inherited claims about that night.

In order to do that let us examine the very sura Al-Qadr that describes the Night of Power (Laylatul Qadr) including couple of verses from sura Al-Dukhan, which has also references to that night to better understand what God says about the night in Quran. However, here are Arabic text with English translation from both suras for easy reference to review and analyze to confirm what God has told us about the night in the Quran:

Verse # Arabic Text of the Verse
97:1 إِنّا أَنزَلنٰهُ فى لَيلَةِ القَدرِ
97:2 وَما أَدرىٰكَ ما لَيلَةُ القَدرِ
97:3 لَيلَةُ القَدرِ خَيرٌ مِن أَلفِ شَهرٍ
97:4 تَنَزَّلُ المَلٰئِكَةُ وَالرّوحُ فيها بِإِذنِ رَبِّهِم مِن كُلِّ أَمرٍ
97:5 سَلٰمٌ هِىَ حَتّىٰ مَطلَعِ الفَجرِ

[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 some English translation, doesn’t exist in its Arabic text) .
[97:5] Peace it is until the advent of the dawn.

Verse # Arabic Text of the Verse
44:3 إِنّا أَنزَلنٰهُ فى لَيلَةٍ مُبٰرَكَةٍ إِنّا كُنّا مُنذِرينَ
44:4 فيها يُفرَقُ كُلُّ أَمرٍ حَكيمٍ
44:5 أَمرًا مِن عِندِنا إِنّا كُنّا مُرسِلينَ
44:6 رَحمَةً مِن رَبِّكَ إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّميعُ العَليمُ

[44:3] Indeed, we have sent it down/anzalahu in a blessed night/laylaten mubarakah, indeed, we are warning.
[44:4] In it/feeha (the scripture/the blessed night), every matter of wisdom is clarified. (”feeha” does not refer to the scripture as mentioned in some English translation being a singular feminine tense)
[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.

Here are some crucial points to verify whether the descent of the Gabriel and angels is the annual reoccurring event in that night:

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. In this verse God is literally stating that 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 is given in the present tense as an elaboration on the wondrous night. The whole description in 97:3-5 is referring to the specific night of the actual event that took place more than fourteen hundred years ago.

The claim is the present/imperfect tense used in 97:4 dictates that the descent of the Spirit (Gabriel) and the angels is annually reoccurring event, is invalid since description of events after wonder expression in Arabic stylish grammar is always given in imperfect tense. We learn this from God in Quran through other examples with this 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 as found in 69:3, 74:27, 77:14, 82:17, 83:8, 83:19, 86:2, 90:12, 101:3, 101:10 & 104:5. However, there 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 & 101:3-5.

It is noteworthy that God uses past, present and future grammatical verb tenses all over Quran to describe events irrespective of their corresponding timelines, i.e., 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 evidences to prove the reoccurring of the Night of Power is a baseless approach.

2. The present tense verb format used in 97:4 is distinct from all other present tense formats. 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 exact verb format is also found in the verb, “tazawaru“, in 18:17 where God describes the sun rising around the cave where the youth stayed to describe an event that happened in the past and consumed around specific period of time. On the other hand, the same exact present tense verb format is used to describe the future events as found in the verb, “tashaqaqu“, in 25:25 where God is describing the sky during a future event, Day of Judgment, and in the verb, “takallamu“, is in 11:105, where again God is describing a future event, the Day of Judgment:

[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 17:144:3 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 the Gabriel and the angels. Thus, God is exclusively referring to a specific night that took place over 1400 years ago and a specific objective of revealing Quran to mankind.

4. The verb “carry out” in 97:4, means execute or accomplish, DOES NOT EXIST in the Arabic text of 97:4. 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: Rawhan/ Al-rooh/Bilrooh /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

So, 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 as the Arabic text doesn’t state or even hint to something like this. 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 but not to be the anniversaries of that night:
In 44:3, “it” is referring to Quran/scripture in a singular masculine tense, “anzalahu“, because Quran/scripture is a masculine entity in Arabic grammar and language while In 44:4, “in it/feeha” is referred to the blessed night/laylaten mubarakah in a singular feminine tense because the word “laylaten” 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 parentheses 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 53:8-9 where God is stating that He moved down as close as possible to reveal Quran to Muhammad.

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 Chapters 97 and 44 which confirm the involvement of the angels. The involvement of angels in the process of revelation is again confirmed in the texts of 16:2, and 4:166.

[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.”
[4:166] But God bears witness concerning what He has revealed to you; He has revealed it with His knowledge. And the angels bear witness as well, but God suffices as witness.

Conclusion

The above review confirms that 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).

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 53:4-18. The night 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, and Muhammad participated in the process driven by God involving Gabriel, and the angels.

We are also aware that there are some event/thing that are exceptionally described in the Quran to reflect our proper attention on it. The night, the Quran was revealed, is a special night exceptionally described it to be better than a thousand months (97:3) while the Quran is a wondrous creation of God exceptionally described it – the mountain would tremble and crumble if it were revealed on it (59:21). Thus, what is directly relevant to that event is 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):

[2:185] Ramadan is the month in 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.
Peaceful Friday, salaam and God bless.
Tafazzal (7/10/2015)