Laylat ul-Qadr [The Night of Power]

H. Talat Halman, Hugh Talat Halman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionarypeer-review

Abstract

Laylat al-Qadr is the inaugural event of Islam. Laylat al-Qadr is translated in terms such as “The Night of Power,” “The Night of Destiny, and “The Night of Predestination.” As an event of revelation it called the Wahy, a word meaning both inspiration and revelation as an act, rather than the text itself. Muslims often perform extra night prayers on this night and this holiday is also a part of the extensive practice of dedicating the last 10 days of Ramadan to praying, reading (tilawa), and contemplation in the mosque. (I‘tikakf, retreat). Many people perform extra night prayers and consider that the Night of Power is a night in which forgiveness is bestowed, especially for those who stay up and pray. This night first occurred in the last ten days of Ramadan, thirteen years before the hijra, (in the summer of 610 CE in the Gregorian calendar).Up until this night the Prophet Muhammad had been maintaining seclusion in a cave. The angel Gabriel appeared before the Prophet on the “loftiest part of the horizon” (Qur’an 53:5, and 81:23) and “two bows lengths away (Qur’an 53:9)” and commanded him three times to read (Iqra: “recite”.) The first two times Gabriel embraced and squeezed him so hard he struggled to breathe. Each time the Prophet Muhammad appealed, “I am not one who can read.” After releasing him from the third embrace Gabriel then recited the first five verses of the Sura that is now called both Sura ‘Alaq or Sura Iqra (96:1-5). The Night of Power honors and symbolizes the reception of the Qur’an. Some even commentators relate that on that night, the entire Qur’an was revealed. However interpreted the Night of Power holds great importance in Islamic spirituality and as the beginning of the revelation of the Qur’an is a pivotal event in human history.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLaylat ul-Qadr [The Night of Power]
PublisherABC-CLIO: Islam: A worldwide Encyclopedia
StateAccepted/In press - 1800

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