Can you briefly explain the Islamic perspective on the night of power (Laylah al-Qadr)?
بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم
Allah Almighty reveals in the Qurʾān, the chapter of power (Sūrah 97), in which he describes the night of qadr (power) as being better [in blessings and spiritual virtue] than a thousand months. He says: “Verily we have revealed it [the Qurʾān] in the night of power. And do you know what the night of power is? The night of power is better than a thousand months. Therein descend the angels and the Rūḥ [Jibrīl] by Allah’s permission with all decrees, there is peace until the appearance of dawn.” The Prophet ﷺ says, “Whoever stands [in prayer] on the night of power with faith and hope of reward, all his previous sins are forgiven” (Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, 1901)
However, the precise date of this night was concealed from mankind due to several reasons although the ḥadīths suggest that it falls during the last ten nights of the blessed month of Ramaḍān. Many people assume that the night of power is falls on 27 Ramaḍān. While this is indeed a possibility, one should avoid specifying a particular date as it is contradictory to the Prophetic teachings. The Prophet ﷺ once said: “I was shown this night but I was made to forget it. Look for the night of power among the odd numbered nights of the last ten days [of Ramaḍān], and verily I saw that I was prostrating in water and soil. So whoever had been in Iʿtikāf (staying in the mosque) with the messenger of Allah ﷺ should return” (Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, 2016). Therefore, one should increase his worship in the last ten days of the month and do Iʿtikāf if possible, in search of this blessed night. ʿĀʾishah (may Allah be pleased with her) says: “When the last ten days of Ramaḍān would come, the Prophet ﷺ would tighten his waist-wrapper (izār), spend the night in worship, and wake his family up [for worship]” (Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, 2024).
A specific Duʿā to be read on the night of power (and due to its ambiguity to be recited in the last ten days of Ramaḍān) has been narrated by ʿĀʾishah (may Allah be pleased with her) who asked the Prophet ﷺ what to say in this blessed night. The Prophet ﷺ replied: Say:
اللَّهُمَّ إِنَّكَ عَفُـوٌّ تُحِبُّ الْعَفْوَ فَاعْفُ عَنِّيْ
“O Allah, indeed you are the forgiver. You love to forgive, so forgive me” (Sunan al-Tirmidhī, 3513; Sunan Ibn Mājah, 3850)
Allah knows best
9 Ramaḍān 1427 / 1 October 2006
Note: Refer to the following article on the subject of translating Laylat al-Qadr as the night of power: https://islamicportal.co.uk/meaning-of-laylat-al-qadr/.