Question # 91: When is Laylat al-Qadr? Some masaajids and some people emphasize only the odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadan?

bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,

Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

Dear questioner,

First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.

Shorter Answer: With regard to singling out one night of Ramadan as Laylat al-Qadr, this requires evidence to show that it is this night and not any other. The more correct view is that it moves through all the last ten nights, but it is most likely to be one of the odd-numbered nights, and the night of the twenty-seventh is the most likely among the odd-numbered nights, because of the ahadith to that effect. However, from an authentic hadith, it is known that the knowledge of Laylat al-Qadr was taken away from Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) by Allah. Therefore, the scholars say that the reason why Laylat al-Qadr has been concealed is so that people will strive to seek it, because if its timing was known, they would limit their efforts to that night only. Following our role model, the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) used to strive hard in worship during the last ten days of Ramadan as he never did at any other time. And In sha Allah, whoever strives in worship during all of the last ten nights, praying, reading Qur’an, making du’aa’ and other kinds of good deeds will undoubtedly catch up with Laylat al-Qadr and attain what Allah has promised to those who do that out of faith and seeking reward.

Long Answer: The scholars differed as to the definition of Laylat al-Qadr, and there are many opinions, more than forty (Fath al-Bari)

Before we discuss the opinions of the scholars, let peruse some of the authentic ahadith in this regard:

  • Narrated `Aishah (رضي الله عنه): Allah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم) used to practice I`tikaf in the last ten nights of Ramadan and used to say, “Look for the Night of Qadr in the last ten nights of the month of Ramadan.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari)
  • ‘Aishah (رضي الله عنه) reported: The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) used to seclude himself (in the mosque) during the last ten nights of Ramadan. He would say, “Search for Laylat al-Qadr (Night of Decree) in the last ten nights of Ramadan.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
  • ‘Aishah (رضي الله عنه) narrated: “The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) would struggle (to perform Salat more) during the last ten (nights) more than he would struggle in the rest of it.” (Jami` at-Tirmidhi, Graded Sahih)
  • Anas bin Malik (رضي الله عنه) narrated: “The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) would perform I’tikaf during the last ten (nights) of Ramadan. One year he did not perform I’tikaf, so he performed I’tikaf for twenty (nights) in the following year” (Jami` at-Tirmidhi, Graded Sahih)
  • Ibn Umar (رضي الله عنه) reported Allah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم) as saying: “Seek it (Laylat al-Qadr) in the last (ten nights). If one among you shows slackness and weakness (in the earlier part of Ramadan), it should not be allowed to prevail upon him in the last week” (Sahih Muslim)
  • Narrated Ibn `Abbas: The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said, “Look for the Night of Qadr in the last ten nights of Ramadan,’ on the night when nine or seven or five nights remain out of the last ten nights of Ramadan (i.e. 21, 23, 25, respectively). (Sahih Al-Bukhari)
  • Narrated Ibn `Abbas (رضي الله عنه): Allah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said, “The Night of Qadr is in the last ten nights of the month (Ramadan), either on the first nine or in the last (remaining) seven nights (of Ramadan).” Ibn `Abbas added, “Search for it on the twenty-fourth (of Ramadan) (Sahih al-Bukhari)
  • Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas (رضي الله عنه): The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) as saying: Seek Laylat al-Qadr in the last ten night of Ramadan. When nine (nights) remain (i.e. on the twenty first), when seven (night) remain (i.e. on the twenty third), and when five (nights) remain (i.e. on the twenty fifth). (Sunan Abi Dawud, Graded Sahih by Al-Albani)
  • It was narrated from ‘Aa’ishah (رضي الله عنه) that the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Seek Laylat al-Qadr among the odd numbered nights of the last ten nights of Ramadan.” (Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim)
  • [As for signs of Laylat al-Qadr,] Zirr (b. Hubaish) (رضي الله عنه) reported: I heard from Ubayy b. Ka’b a statement made by ‘Abdullah b. Mas’ud in which he said: He who gets up for prayer (every night) during the year will hit upon Laylat al-Qadr. Ubayy said: By Allah I there is no god but He, that (Laylat al-Qadr) is in Ramadan (He swore without reservation): By Allah, I know the night; it is the night on which the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) commanded us to pray. It is that which precedes the morning of twenty-seventy and its indication is that the sun rises bright on that day without rays. (Sahih Muslim)

From the ahadith, it is clear there are varying reports; however, it is most likely that Laylat al-Qadr occurs on one of the odd-numbered nights among the last ten nights of Ramadan.

[Further,] Al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar (may Allah have mercy on him) said:  “The words of Imam al-Bukhari (may Allah have mercy on him) – “Seeking Laylat al-Qadr among the odd numbered nights of the last ten nights (of Ramadan)” – indicate that it is most likely that Laylat al-Qadr cannot be in any month other than Ramadan, and is in the last ten nights thereof, and is one of the odd-numbered nights, but not on any particular night. This is what is indicated by a number of the reports that have been narrated concerning it.” And he said: “The scholars said: The reason why Laylat al-Qadr has been concealed is so that people will strive to seek it, because if its timing was known, they would limit their efforts to that night only…” (Fath al-Bari)

[Interesting enough,] it was narrated from ‘Ubaadah ibn al-Saamit (رضي الله عنه) that the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) came out with the news of Laylat al-Qadr, but two men among the Muslims started arguing. He said: “I came out to tell you about Laylat al-Qadr, but so and so and so and so started arguing, so (that knowledge) was taken away. Perhaps that will be better for you. So seek it on the (twenty-) seventh and the (twenty-) ninth and the (twenty-) fifth.” (Narrated by al-Bukhari)

The scholars of the Standing Committee said:  “With regard to singling out one night of Ramadan as Laylat al-Qadr, this requires evidence to show that it is this night and not any other. But the odd numbered nights of the last ten nights of Ramadan are more likely than others (to be Laylat al-Qadr) and the twenty-seventh night is the most likely night to be Laylat al-Qadr, because of the ahadith to that effect. (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah li’l-Buhooth al-‘Ilmiyyah wa’l-Ifta’)

…The more correct view is that it moves through all the last ten nights, but it is most likely to be one of the odd-numbered nights, and the night of the twenty-seventh is the most likely among the odd-numbered nights. Whoever strives in worship during all of the last ten nights, praying, reading Qur’an, making du’aa’ and other kinds of good deeds will undoubtedly catch up with Laylat al-Qadr and attain what Allah has promised to those who do that out of faith and seeking reward.  (Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid)

Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.

Wassalaam