In the path of the Imam (98)
The Night of Qadr (Ordainment) is very important among Muslims as it is the time in which our affairs are designated for one year. That’s why it is also called the Night of Destiny. According to the Qur’an, the Night of Qadr is better than one thousand nights. Considering the lofty status of this night, we are going to dwell upon the issue on the basis of the views of Imam Khomeini (God’s mercy upon him).
The noble Qur’an has used the word Qadr in three meanings. The first meaning of Qadr is measurement. The end of ayah 3 of surah Talāq reads, “Certainly Allah has set a measure for everything.” The second meaning of Qadr is value and status. The beginning of ayah 91 of surah Al-An’ām reads, “They did not regard Allah with the regard due to Him.” The third meaning of Qadr is the Qur’an is tightness. In part of ayah 7 of surah Talāq, we read, “And let he whose provision has been tightened spend out of what Allah has given him.”
There are differences among ulema and exegetes of the Qur’an on the meaning of the word Qadr in Laylat-ul-Qadr. Imam Khomeini in his book, “Ādāb-ul-Salāt” (codes of ritual prayer) writes, “Some ulema maintain that since the high-positioned Qur’an has been sent down to the high-positioned Prophet by the High-positioned King to the high-positioned Ummah, this night has been called Laylat-ul-Qadr. Some say that it is called so because the affairs, destinies and the sustenance of people are determined on this night. Others are of the opinion that it is called so because of the ample number of angels on earth so that they are pressed for the space.”
The Qur’an has mentioned some features for the Night of Qadr. Firstly, it is the night of sending down the Qur’an. Secondly, it is so grand and lofty that the servants cannot understand its value. Thirdly, it is better than 1,000 nights. Fourthly, the angels and Rooh (the greatest angel) descend to the earth with God’s permission. And fifthly, it is peace till dawn. In other words, the divine mercy, forgiveness and blessings pour down upon servants throughout this night.
Imam Khomeini says on the characteristics and status of the blessed month of Ramazan and the Night of Qadr, “The month of Ramazan is a blessed month; maybe because in this month the Wali-ye A’zam (Great Authority) which is the Messenger of God has reached the loftiest position and, after reaching there, has caused the angels and the Qur’an to descend. It is by his power that the angels and the Qur’an are sent down. On this night, the Wali-ye A’zam (Great Authority) attains the reality of the Qur’an and then causes it to come down to the point that he says it to the people. It means that the Qur’an is a mystery between God and the Great Authority who is the Messenger of God. And the Qur’an is sent down after him to the point that it gets the form of words and script so that we also make little use of it.”
It is not known exactly when the Night of Qadr is. Some Sunni scholars believe that it is not known at all on which night of the year it falls, although it was in the month of Ramazan in the time of the Prophet. Other Sunni scholars maintain that it is on the eve of the 27the of Ramazan. But, Shia ulema are of the opinion that the Night of Qadr is on one of the eves of the 19th, 21st and 23rd of the blessed month of Ramazan; though the 23rd is more likely. Some of the Shia ulema believe that the 19th night is the time of determination, the 21st is the time of ratification and the 23rd is the time of signing and finalizing of the affairs of one year. Imam Khomeini was among these ulema.
Imam Khomeini (God’s mercy upon him) used to spend the Night of Qadr in prayer, supplication and worship. He would close his meetings during Ramazan to spend his hours in recitation of the Qur’an and prayer. According to the companions of the Imam he would spend more time in prayer and supplication on this night; although he used to pray and supplicate at midnight throughout the year. Imam Khomeini used to go to sleep at 10 p.m. On the Night of Qadr, too, he would go to sleep at 10 but he would wake up earlier to have more time for prayer and supplication. One of the guards of Imam Khomeini said, “Once on the Night of Qadr I was with the Imam. There was only a curtain between me and him. We used to avoid disturbing him. And the Imam used to supplicate in a way so that he wouldn’t disturb anyone. He would supplicate in a very low voice. However, we would wake up with the sound of the Imam’s crying. He used to recite the Qur’an and supplications. He used to recite Abu Hamza supplication, too.”