The question that is found in the title of this post is actually answered directly in the Quran. Below is the translation of Chapter 97 of the Islamic Holy Book:
“We have sent it [the Quran] down in the Night of Qadr. And what may let you know what the Night of Qadr is? The Night of Qadr is much better than one thousand months. The angels and the Spirit descend in it, with the leave of your Lord, along with every command. Peace it is till the debut of dawn” (Q. 97).
Why is Laylatul Qadr Important?
Laylatul Qadr, often translated as the Night of Power, or Night of Decree, or Night of Glory falls in one of the last ten nights of the month of Ramadan. This is the night in which God began the revelation of the Quran. Worship done in this single night is equivalent to 84 years—basically, a lifetime—of worship outside this night. It has the potential, when approached with sincerity, to gain a person grand forgiveness and mercy from God. One narration says, “Whoever prays on Laylatul Qadr out of faith and sincerity, shall have all their past sins forgiven”[Bukhari and Muslim].
When Is Laylatul Qadr?
The exact date of this night is not known. The Prophet Muhammad (may the blessings and peace of God be upon him) told us in narrations to seek Laylatul Qadr out in one of the last ten nights in Ramadan, specifically odd nights. This means the 21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th, and 29th nights of Ramadan all have a high potential of being Laylatul Qadr. There is a beauty in the date not being known, because it gives the opportunity to a person to engage in extra worship throughout the last days of Ramadan in hopes of catching the right date. If one specific night was known, humans would naturally put forth their entire effort on that one night, and likely slack off on the other nights.
What do Muslims do on Laylatul Qadr?
Today, many Muslims spend these nights in the mosque where there are programs dedicated to foster an extra spiritual environment. Some take off days from work to ensure they can stay up all night without having to worry about their jobs. After the Taraweeh prayers, the imams will give a talk encouraging Muslims to tie their belts and hit the ground running in these final days. It is very possible a lot of people feel burnt out toward the end of the month, but this is the time that matters most! The boost is needed from the scholars of the community to ensure people exit the month on a high note.
The worship done in this night takes on many forms. Extra prayers, recitation of the Quran, heartfelt supplications, and glorifying God all have their due place. In particular, the Prophet (may the blessings and peace of God be upon him) advised Muslims to recite a supplication that translates to, “Oh Allah, truly you are The Pardoner, you love to pardon, so pardon me.” A beautiful aspect about this supplication: Muslims are asking God to do something He already loves and wants to do, forgive!
Just as a child who sees something scary, and then runs to his mother out of fear of that thing, we should in the same way run to God away from punishment. Just as the mother is there for her child with open arms, God too is there to receive us with a renewed faith and focus on Him.
To all the Muslims finishing up this blessed month of Ramadan, may God give you the strength to go out on a high note with true faith and sincerity. May this month be a means for you to spiritually cleanse yourself and come out fresh. May God make it easy for you to continue the good habits you developed in this month for the rest of the year and for the rest of your lives!