There is a Night of Decree which is given preference by Allah over other days in the last ten blessed days of Ramdhaan. Allah has blessed this ummah with its ample virtues and bounties.
إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةٍ مُّبَارَكَةٍ ۚ إِنَّا كُنَّا مُنذِرِينَ فِيهَا يُفْرَقُ كُلُّ أَمْرٍ حَكِيمٍ أَمْرًا مِّنْ عِندِنَا ۚ إِنَّا كُنَّا مُرْسِلِينَ رَحْمَةً مِّن رَّبِّكَ ۚ إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ رَبِّ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا ۖ إِن كُنتُم مُّوقِنِينَ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ يُحْيِي وَيُمِيتُ ۖ رَبُّكُمْ وَرَبُّ آبَائِكُمُ الْأَوَّلِينَ
“We Send it (this Qur’an) down on a blessed night (i.e. night of Qadr in the month of Ramadhaan.) Verily, We are ever warning [mankind that Our Torment will reach those who disbelieve in Our Oneness of Lordship and in Our Oneness of worship]. Therein (that night) is decreed every matter of ordainments. (A Command) from Us. Verily, We are ever sending (the Messengers), (As) a Mercy from your Lord. Verily! He is the All Hearer, the All-Knower. The Lord of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them, if you (but) have a faith with certainty. (None has the right to be worshipped but He). It is He Who gives life and causes death, your lord and the Lord of your forefathers” (Ad-Dukhan: 3-8)
Allah has described this night with being blessed due to its abundant good and virtues.
From among the blessings of this night is that the Qur’an was revealed in it.
Allah has described this Night saying that, in it, every matter of ordainment is predecreed. This means: Allah exposed to the Angels what is predestined in the Preserved Tablet, Book of Divine Decrees concerning what will happen from Allah’s command, in that year pertaining to provisions, life spans, good and evil, and more of every wise affair from the affairs of Allah which are perfect, proficient, have no faults, nor deficiency, stupidity, or falsehood. That is the determination of the Almighty the All-Knowing.
إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ خَيْرٌ مِّنْ أَلْفِ شَهْرٍ تَنَزَّلُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ وَالرُّوحُ فِيهَا بِإِذْنِ رَبِّهِم مِّن كُلِّ أَمْرٍ سَلَامٌ هِيَ حَتَّىٰ مَطْلَعِ الْفَجْرِ
“Verily! We have sent it (this Qur’an) down in the night of Al-Qadr (Decree). And what will make you know what the night of Al-Qadr (Decree) is? The night of Al-Qadr (Decree) is better than a thousand months. Therein descend the angels and the Ruh (Jibreel) by Allah’s Permission with all Decrees, Peace! (All that night, there is Peace and Goodness from Allah to His believing slaves) until the appearance of dawn” (Al-Qadr: 1-5)
The word “Qadr” means honor and respect. It also means determined and predestined. That is because this Night is honorable and great. Allah determines in this night what will happen in that year and the things that He will allow to occur according to His wisdom. Allah’s statement in this verse: “The Night of Honor is better than a thousand months,” means: in virtue, honor, and the abundant reward that we get for our deeds. This is the reason why the one who stands in prayer in this night, seeking Allah’s pleasure and reward, will have his previous sins forgiven.
His statement,“the angels descend,” The Angels are slaves from the slaves of Allah. They worship Him day and night.
“And those who are near Him (i.e. the angels) are not too proud to worship Him, nor are they weary (of His worship). They glorify His Praises night and day, (and) they never slacken (to do so)” (Al-Anbiya: 19-20)
They descend to the earth with good, mercy, and blessings in the Night of Honor. “The Ruh” is Jibreel, upon whom be peace, he is mentioned separately because of his rank and honor.
“It is peaceful,” referring to the night of power. It is peaceful for the believers from all fear because of the large number of people who will be freed from the hell fire in that night and be granted salvation from it.
“Till the rising of the dawn,” it means the night of power ends with the rising of the dawn, because the night worship ends with the rising of the dawn.
In this Noble Qur’anic Chapter, there are a number of Virtues for the Night of Honor:
1) In this Night, Allah the Most High revealed the Qur’an, which is a source of guidance for humanity and a means for them to obtain happiness in this world and the hereafter.
2) The question in His statement: “What will make you know what the night of honor is,” indicates the greatness of this night and its loftiness.
3) It is better than a thousand months.
4) The Angels descend in that night, only descending with good, blessings, and mercy.
5) It is peaceful because of the salvation many people will have from the punishment, due to their obedience to Allah.
6) Allah has sent down a chapter regarding its virtues which will be recited until the Day of Judgment.
From among the virtues of the night of honor is the hadith which is narrated by Abu Hurayrah رضي الله عنه who said that the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said:
“Whoever stands the night of honor in prayer, with faith and hope will have his previous sins forgiven” (Collected by Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
The meaning of the Prophet’s صلى الله عليه و سلم statement, “With faith and hope”, is having faith in Allah and the reward which He has prepared for the believers who stand during the night in prayer, seeking with it Allah’s reward. The reward is obtained by the one who knows that it is the Night of Honor and the one who does not know, because the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم did not make that as a condition for obtaining the reward.
The night of honor is in the month of Ramadhaan because it is in (this month) that Allah revealed the Qur’an, as He the Most High mentioned in the Qu’ran:
إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ
“We have indeed revealed it in the Night of Al-Qadr” (Al Qadr: 1)
And His statement:
شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ
“The Month of Ramadhaan in which the Qur’an was revealed” (Al-Baqarah: 185)
With these proofs it is clearly determined that the night of honor is in the month of Ramadhaan. It existed in the previous nations just as it exists in ours, and it will continue to exist till the Day of Judgment. The proof for this is in the narration of Abu Dharr رضي الله عنه who said to the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم:
“O messenger of Allah! Tell me about the Night of Honor. Is it in the month of Ramadhaan or in other months?’ So the Prophet responded saying: “Rather it is in the month of Ramdhaan.” He said: “Does it remain with the Prophets till they pass away or it will remain with us till the day of Judgment?” The Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said: “Rather it will remain till the Day of Judgment.” (Narrated by Ahmad, An-Nasa’i and Al-Hakim. He said: the hadith is sound)
However the virtues of this month are exclusive to this nation (i.e. the nation of Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم) and Allah knows best, just as this ummah is gifted the virtue of Friday and some other virtues. And all praise belongs to Allah.
Also the night of honor is in the last ten days of Ramadhaan due to the Prophet’s statement صلى الله عليه و سلم:
“Search for the night of honor in the last ten days of Ramadhaan” (Collected by Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
It is most likely to be in the odd nights rather than the even nights, because of his statement:
“Search the night of honor during the odd nights of the last ten nights of Ramadhaan” (Collected by Al-Bukhari)
It is most likely to be in the last seven days because of the narration of ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar رضي الله عنه:
“A group of men from the companions of the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم saw the Night of Honor in their dreams in the last seven nights. So the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said to them: ‘I can see that your dreams confirm one another that it is in the last seven. Therefore whoever is searching for it should do in the last seven nights.'” (Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
It is also narrated that the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said:
“Seek the night of honor during the last ten days, and if one of you becomes weak or is unable, then he should not miss the last seven.” (Collected by Muslim)
From the odd nights (the Night of Honor) is most likely to be the twenty-seventh night, which is supported by the narration of Ubayy bin Ka’b رضي الله عنه who said:
“By Allah I know in which night is the night of Honor. It is the night in which the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم commanded us to stand in prayer. It is the twenty-seventh night.” (Collected by Muslim)
The Night of Honor is not exclusive to one specific night every year. Rather it moves from one day to another. For example, if it is the twenty-seventh night in this year, it may be in the twenty-fifth night the following year based on Allah’s will and His wisdom. This is supported by the Prophet’s statement صلى الله عليه و سلم :
“Seek the night of honor in the last ninth or the last seventh or the last fifth.” (Narrated by Al-Bukhari)
Ibn Hajar mentioned in Fath Al-Bari:
“The closest opinion to the truth is that it is in the odd nights of the last ten and that it moves from one odd to another.”
Allah has hidden the knowledge of this night from the slaves as a mercy for them, in order that they will increase in their deeds pursuing this night, striving with prayer, remembrance of Allah, and supplication. This is a means of them gaining nearness to their Lord and an increased reward.
Likewise, Allah hid it as a trial and a test for slaves, in order to distinguish between the one who is serious in seeking it, eager to acquire it, and the one who is lazy and neglectful of it. This is because the one who is eager to obtain something will be serious in seeking it and he will overlook (the trials) and bear the hardships in the way.
Perhaps Allah may expose the knowledge of the night of honor to some people by allowing them to see some of the signs which the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم saw. He saw himself in a dream prostrating in water and mud. In that night it rained and he prostrated, while praying Fajr, in water and mud.
O My Brothers! In the night of honor, the doors are opened, the beloved ones are drawn near, their call is heard, their supplications are accepted and the laborers of this night receive great rewards. The night of honor is better than a thousand months! Therefore strive hard in seeking it. For verily this is the time to seek it and beware of negligence for verily negligence is perdition.
The age has passed in negligence, past time and a loss
Alas! How much have I wasted of the days of my life
I do not have any excuse for what I have wasted of my years
How negligent are we of the duties of praise and thanks
Indeed Allah has favored us with a great month
The month in which the Most Gracious revealed His Book
How can there be a month comparable to it, while the Night of Honor is in it?
How many authentic narrations are there about its virtues?
We have narrated from trustworthy people that it is search for during the odd nights
Therefore blessed is the individual who searches for it in these ten nights
It is in it the Angels descend with light and much good
Indeed Allah said: “Peace is that night until the rising of the dawn”
Therefore save it for verily it is from the most precious treasures
How many are freed from the hell fire in that night without even knowing
[From Ibn Rajab’s Lataif Al-Ma’rif, page 351, 352]
[Taken from Sittings During the Blessed Month of Ramadhaan by Shaykh Saalih Al-Uthaymeen].