`Eid Al-Fitr: A Day of Joy and Thanksgiving

By Dr. Wael Shihab

The Day of `Eid Al-Fitr is a blessed day for those who have observed their duty toward Allah during their fast in Ramadan.

The Day of `Eid Al-Fitr is a blessed day for those who have observed their duty toward Allah during their fast in Ramadan.

`Eid Al-Fitr is the day of thanksgiving and joy. It marks the end of the month of fasting, and it is when we feel happy and give thanks to Allah that He enabled us to obey His commands. We all fasted during the month of Ramadan, and by the end of the month, we realize that Allah’s commands are good for us; they aim at our well-being.

Allah does not want to put any burden on us; He gave us the rules of fasting for our own benefit. Fasting has many benefits for individuals and for communities. It has spiritual, moral, and physical benefits.

`Eid Al-Fitr has a deep significance. Its spirit is marked by distinguished values and virtues:

  • Thanksgiving and expressing gratitude to Allah
  • Experiencing joy and rejoice
  • Receiving the great reward of obeying Allah
  • Maintaining ties of kinship
  • Taking care of the poor and the needy

Thanksgiving and Expressing Gratitude

`Eid Al-Fitr is a day that marks the successful completion of the sacred month of Ramadan. It is a festival that signifies the completion of an act of duty and devotion. It teaches us that real happiness results from performing one’s duty and making sacrifices for a noble objective.

We should thank Almighty Allah, for He guided us to fasting in Ramadan, to doing good deeds, and to reciting the Qur’an. We should thank Him, for He is the One Who gave us the money we paid for zakat al-fitr and other charities. Allah says in the Qur’an,

“And (He desires) that you should complete the prescribed period and that you should glorify Allah for having guided you and that you may give thanks.” (Al-Baqarah 2:185)

Joy and Rejoice

`Eid is our joy; it is our feast. The month of Ramadan is a test from Almighty Allah. At the end of the month, we experience a great sense of achievement and closeness to Allah. It is the joy of spiritual fulfillment.

The day of `Eid Al-Fitr is time for celebration. On that day, we should not indulge in insulting or abusing others, as this may detract from the achievements of the month of Ramadan. `Eid Al-Fitr is a day of decent happiness and joy.

Almighty Allah says,

“Say, “In the bounty of Allah and in His mercy — therein let them rejoice. It is better than what they hoard.” (Yunus 10:58)

Abu Hurairah reported that Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said,

Those who fast will have two times at which they will feel happy: When they break their fast, they feel happy for breaking the fast, and when they meet their Lord, they will be happy because of their fast.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).

However, in celebrating `Eid Al-Fitr, we should enjoy our time by sticking to what is permissible and avoiding what is unlawful.

Great Reward

The Day of `Eid Al-Fitr is a blessed day for those who have observed their duty toward Allah during their fast in Ramadan. In heavens, `Eid Al-Fitr is called the day of reward.

It is reported in a Prophetic hadith that, on the day of `Eid Al-Fitr, the angels stand on both sides of the roads and proclaim,

O believers, walk toward your Lord, Who is the Most Generous. He favors you with goodness and gives you great reward. He commanded you to pray during the night and fast during the day. Now that you have obeyed Him, come and receive your rewards.“(At-Tabarani)

As the believers finish the `Eid Prayer, the angels say,

Allah has forgiven you. Return to your homes with the best of good and glad tidings. This is the day of reward. This day is called the day of reward in heaven as well.” (At-Tabarani)

Maintaining Ties of Kinship

`Eid Al-Fitr is a day when Muslims become more keen on visiting their relatives and friends. In the process, they exchange greetings and maintain ties of kinship. We should all visit our relatives or at least call them. Muslim brothers and sisters should greet one another by saying “Happy `Eid” or “May Allah accept your good deeds and ours.”

The Prophet said, “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should maintain good relations with his or her kindred.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Taking Care of the Poor and the Needy

Although Almighty Allah commanded us to take care of the needy, the poor, and the orphans throughout the year, taking care of them during `Eid Al-Fitr and `Eid Al-Adha is given greater emphasis. Allah and His Prophet instructed us to fulfill the needs of the poor and the needy in both `Eids, so that they would not be in need of begging.

This is the spirit of `Eid Al-Fitr, so let’s always keep this spirit among us. Let’s strengthen our bonds with our Creator and with one another. Let’s be more united and more and more committed to righteousness as individuals, families, and communities.

The Prophet is reported to have said, “The one who repents of his or her sins shall be equal to the one who did not sin.” So, seek Allah’s forgiveness and seek His favors and gifts.

Finally, here are some tips that can help us all keep the spirit of `Eid Al-Fitr:

  • Before you finish your i`tikaf (spiritual retreat in the mosque), greet all your brothers and sisters, saying “Happy `Eid” or “May Allah accept your good deeds and ours.”
  • Visit all your relatives and close friends, and call those who are living far away.
  • Take care of your family and your kids, and let them feel the happiness of `Eid.
  • Take part in `Eid celebrations to see your Muslim brothers and sisters.
  • Make du`aa’ for your Muslim brothers and sisters everywhere.
  • Try to celebrate the `Eid through permissible practices and keep away from unlawful ones.

May Allah accept our good deeds and grant us His forgiveness and mercy.

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Taken with slight editorial modifications from onislam.net.

Dr. Wael Shihab holds a Ph.D. in Islamic Studies from Al-Azhar University and is the Head of the Shari`ah and Fatwa sections at the English website of Onislam.net. You may reach him at this e-mail address: [email protected]

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Prophetic Traditions of Eid

Prophetic Traditions of Eid

By Islamweb.net

eid

If the Muslim misses the Eid Prayer, he should not make up for it.

The Muslim is obliged to pray certain prayers in congregation: the five daily prayers, the Friday prayer (Salat al-Jumu`ah), the prayers of the two `Eids and during the Hajj. The purpose behind these congregational prayers it is to provide opportunities to a greater number of Muslims to attend larger congregations in an atmosphere of religious piety. Apart from prayer, the sermon is an integral part of this gathering and the prayer.

The `Eid prayer is valid for men, women, children, travelers, residents, people in congregation, and people praying individually. It is also valid if performed in a house, mosque, or a distant place designated for the Salah (prayer).

There are several acts of the Sunnah (traditions of the Prophet (Peace and blessings upon him) associated with the two Eids.

Here we discuss some of them and outline their benefits:

The Muslim must take a bath before the Eid Prayer and wear the best of his clothes. This was the practice of the righteous predecessors. Imam Al-Baghawi said in ‘Sharh us Sunnah’ that, “The Sunnah is to take a bath on the day of `Eid. It is reported that ‘Ali (May Allah be pleased with him) used to take bath on the day of `Eid, and similarly it is reported that Ibn `Umar and Salamah ibn Al-Akwa` (May Allah be pleased with them) used to do so.

He should use the tooth-stick (Miswaak) before going to the `Eid prayer.

He must remove all offensive smells, which might distract or trouble others. It is prohibited for him to attend the Eid prayer if he smells onion or garlic. It is highly recommended for him to apply perfume in order to smell pleasant for the benefit of those who are in close proximity to him during prayer.

It is an act of Sunnah that the Muslim eats some dates in the morning before he goes to the place of the `Eid Prayer. This was the practice of the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him).

The Muslim should also hasten to have his breakfast in the morning of `Eid in compliance with the order of Allah The Almighty.

It is an act of Sunnah that women and children go out to attend the `Eid Prayer. However, the menstruating women should avoid the place of prayer, although they can listen to the Khutbah and supplications.

The Muslim goes to the place of the `Eid Prayer on foot and takes one road for going and another road for returning, as the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon) was authentically reported to have done this.

It is preferable for the Muslim to wait in the prayer place to listen to the Khutbah and say Amen to the supplications. The Prophet (Peace and blessings upon him) said regarding the menstruating women that they should be present: “To witness goodness and the Muslims gatherings and supplications.”

There is no voluntary prayer before or after the `Eid Prayer. However, if the Muslim enters the prayer place or the Masjid, he is required to perform Tahiyyat-ul-Masjid (two Rak`ahs for greeting the mosque) even if it is at a time in which prayer is prohibited. That is because Tahiyyat-ul-Masjid is one of the prayers that can be performed at the prohibited times.

It is recommended for the Muslim to busy himself with Takbeer till the Imam comes for prayer because Takbeer is the recommended act of worship at that time. The Muslim may recite the Quran or perform voluntary prayers on the condition that it is not a prohibited time. However, saying Takbeer is preferable.

If people do not recognize the day of `Eid except after the sun has reached overhead (in the middle of the sky), they should perform the `Eid Prayer on the next day. If the Muslim joins the Imam in Tashah’hud (the final, seated part of the prayer), he should sit with him and complete two Rak`ahs after him, each starting with Takbeer.

If the Muslim misses the `Eid Prayer, he should not make up for it. This is the preponderant opinion because there is no evidence on making up for it if the Muslim misses it.

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Taken with slight editorial modifications from www.islamweb.net.

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The True Meanings of Eid: Unity and Mercy

The True Meanings of Eid: Unity and Mercy

By Islamweb.net

eid

Among the other noble meanings of Eid are mercy and kindness. What a great society it is whose people show mercy to each other!

Eid is a very special day which brings new meaning to our life. It is completely different from other days. Although it lasts for a short time, one may do many things in it that cannot be achieved over long years. This is out of the blessings of Allah The Almighty on people when He made the Days of Eid for them and made it a point of agreement among them. Eids are days that come after blessed seasons that are full of abundant goodness and mercy. What a great blessing of Allah The Almighty on His worshipers this is! He enabled them to end such seasons by the two Days of Eids. Allah The Almighty revealed the two Days of Eid to the last Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) as they had many beautiful meanings and abundant goodness for every individual and for society as a whole.

Eid has many noble and valuable meanings that make everyone happy. Thus, everyone has his own goals and wishes and seeks to achieve them by making the best use of their blessings. However, the best of these wishes is what is done sincerely for the sake of Allah The Almighty and that which is beneficial for all people without limiting the wishes of people as long as they are lawful, for there is no idea without an aim and no soul lives without hope.

The following are some of the noble meanings of Eid: unity and the feeling that all Muslims are like a single body. In fact, we are in dire need for the meaning of unity to prevail throughout this vast nation. The best form of unity is to refer, in judging and settling disputes, to only one system. Among the other forms of unity is that the ruler must not deprive his people of their rights and that people should fulfill their duties towards their rulers and nation. The different forms of unity entail that one should be open-minded to consider and accept any sound opinion or reasonable views without blame or punishment. Besides, no group of people should be wronged because of territorial, social, or sectarian reasons. Furthermore, the rulings of Shari`ah (Islamic legislation) and the requirements of public interest should be taken into consideration.

It is time we pay great attention to the matter of unity in conformity with the pure Shari`ah (legislation) of Islam. What a great dream it is that can unify those who strive in the cause of Allah The Almighty in the occupied territories under a single banner and common noble aim that can be expressed by expelling the aggressors and applying the Word of Allah The Almighty. Eid is a great chance to heal the rifts that may afflict families, settle disputes among people, and restore harmony and compassion to disturbed marital life.

Among the other noble meanings of Eid are mercy and kindness. What a great society it is whose people show mercy to each other! There are many poor people who do not possess their daily provisions and can do nothing to stop the tears of their children. According to the principles of natural mercy, there should be no person suffering from hunger found around those who lead an unimaginably luxurious life. In Muslim societies, there are orphans who have lost their main breadwinner and are deprived of a father’s kindness, advice and love. Although there are many institutions that exert tremendous efforts in taking care of orphans and showing kindness to them, we tend to forget the virtues of this deed and are in constant need of reminders.

Similarly, there are many widows or divorced women who lose their beauty over time and are troubled by people. In spite of the large number of matrimonial institutions and their great efforts in this field, not enough attention is paid to these two categories of women until they became easy prey to evil men who only seek amusement at their expense. There are also many people in jails and detention camps who are denied the happiness of Eid, for the bars surrounding them prevent happiness from entering therein.

Eid without unity and solidarity will be meaningless. The best kind of unity is that which has mass support. Can our ideas help us to unify? Will we live to see the faithful person who will restore the balance of the media and show mercy to our society from those who are trying to separate society from its religion, alter its values and divide its people? Will we live to see a public unity born by disseminating the noble meanings of mercy and unity throughout society to get rid of evil wherever it is, without public mischief, unrest, misguidance, or frightful corruption? Can we develop men and women who can bear the burdens of the different classes and sections of society, in order to reform and build it even if this takes a long time?

It is the norm that the truth usually reappears after its disappearance and returns after absence. It is not difficult at all for Allah The Almighty to bless us so that our collective efforts enter every lane and house carrying the seeds of mercy and the roots of unity so that we may begin another stage of progress and reform.

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Taken with slight editorial modifications from www.islamweb.net.

 

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Eid Time: Special Blessings upon the Muslim Nation

Eid Time: Special Blessings upon the Muslim Nation

By Truth Seeker Staff

Eid

Muslims must thank Allah the Almighty for this immense favor by adhering to His commands and avoiding His prohibitions even on the days of Eid and other happy occasions.

Allah the Almighty blessed the Muslim nation with Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adhha that sufficed them and left them in no need of any of the festivals of the pre-Islamic era.

The two Eids are distinct from the festivals of the disbelievers with all their various ideologies and beliefs in many ways. Their times are established by the visual sighting of the moon, not by astronomical calculations, unlike the disbelievers’ festivals which are established by astronomical calculations.

The two Eids are associated with great acts of worship and rites, such as fasting, Zakat-ul-Fitr, (post-Ramadan obligatory charity) Hajj and Udhhiyah (sacrificial animals).

These rites bring the Muslim closer to Allah the Almighty, such as the Takbeer (saying ‘Allahu Akbar’ (Allah is the Greatest), the Eid Prayer and its Khutbah (sermon). This is contrary to the disbelievers’ festivals which combine various rituals of disbelief and misguidance and include activities that are based on desires and misconceptions.

Righteousness, kindness and mutual support are shown by the payment of Zakat-ul-Fitr and the giving away the meat of Hady and Udhhiyah (sacrificial animals). None of the two Eids has any connection with the other false beliefs, such as the stars, memorials, or sanctification of human beings, ethnicities and nationalism.

Muslims must thank Allah the Almighty for this immense favor by adhering to His commands and avoiding His prohibitions even on the days of Eid and other happy occasions.

It was narrated on the authority of Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) arrived in Madinah and found its people celebrating two days. The Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) asked: “‘What are these two days?” They replied, “These are two days that we used to celebrate in the pre-Islamic era.” The Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Allah has given you instead two days better than them: Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adhha.” [Abu Dawud, An-Nasa’i, Ahmad, and Abu Ya`la] [Al-Hakim: Sahih (it meets the conditions stipulated by Muslim)] [Ibn Hajar: Sahih] [Al-Albani: Sahih]

Abu `Ubayd, the freed slave of Ibn Azhar, said, “I witnessed the Eid with `Umar ibn Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, and he said, ‘These are two days which the Messenger of Allah (Peace and blessings be upon him) forbade us from fasting: the day when you end your fast (of Ramadan) and the other day when you eat of your sacrifices.’” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

It was narrated on the authority of Abu Sa`eid, may Allah be pleased with him, that he said, “The Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) forbade us from fasting the day of ending the fast [i.e. Eid Al-Fitr] and the day of slaughtering [i.e Eid Al-Adhha].” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

It was narrated on the authority of Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) went out on the day of [Eid] Al-Fitr and performed two Rak`ahs (units of prayer) with no prayer before or after them. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

It was narrated on the authority of Umm `Atiyyah, may Allah be pleased with him, that she said, “The Messenger of Allah (Peace and blessings be upon him) ordered us to bring out the adolescent girls, menstruating women and the virgins on Eid Al-Fitr and Al-Adhha, but (stated that) the menstruating women should keep away from the prayer place and witness the goodness and the Muslims’ gathering and supplications.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

During such blessed occasions, women’s non-observance of proper Islamic covering, intermixing with men, forms of extravagance in clothing, food and celebrations, and prevalence of musical instruments and singing are signs of neglecting religious obligations and being ungrateful for the blessing of Eid.

Showing happiness in Eid is permissible as long as it does not go beyond what is lawful, or involve prohibitions or neglecting obligations. The Muslim should spend generously on his family and children on the day of Eid because happiness is one of the rituals of Eid which in turn is one of the rituals of Islam.

Muslims should gather for having food together on Eid because this conduct highlights the rite of Eid, creates harmony and brings hearts together on this great day.

There is no harm in exchanging congratulations on Eid. It was reported that when the righteous predecessors, may Allah have mercy upon him, met on the day of Eid, they would congratulate one another, saying, “May Allah accept it from you and us.” The terms of congratulation may differ according to people’s traditions, countries and eras so long as they do not involve prohibited words or imitation of the disbelievers. It is not permissible to congratulate with the words that the disbelievers exclusively use in their festivals.

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Taken with slight editorial modifications from www.islamweb.net.

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Laylat al-Qadr: A Most Distinguished Night

Laylat al-Qadr: A Most Distinguished Night

By Sayyid Qutb

Islam is not mere formalities. Hence, the Prophet specifies that the consecration of that night must be motivated by faith and devotion.

Islam is not mere formalities. Hence, the Prophet specifies that the consecration of that night must be motivated by faith and devotion.

“From on high have We bestowed it [i.e. the Qur’an] on the Night of Power. Would that you knew what the Night of Power is! The Night of Power is better than a thousand months. On that night the angels and the Spirit by their Lord’s leave descend with all His decrees. That night is peace, till the break of dawn.” (Al-Qadr 97: 1-5)

This Surah speaks about the promised great night which the whole universe marks with joy and prayer. It is the night of perfect communion between this world and the Supreme society. That night marked the beginning of the revelation of the Qur’an to Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) an event unparalleled in the history of mankind for its splendor and the significance it has for the life of mankind as a whole. Its greatness is far beyond human perception.

“From on high have We bestowed it [i.e. the Qur’an] on the Night of Power. Would that you knew what the Night of Power is! The Night of Power is better than a thousand months.” (Al-Qadr 97: 1-3)

The Qur’anic statements which relate this great event radiate with Allah’s clear and shining light: “From on high We bestowed it on the Night of Power.” (Al-Qadr 97: 1) There is also the light of the angels and the Spirit moving between the earth and the Supreme society.

“On that night the angels and the Spirit by their Lord’s leave descend with all His decrees.” (Al-Qadr 97: 4)

In addition, there is also the light of dawn which the Surah represents as perfectly harmonious with the light of the Qur’an and the angels as well as with their spirit of peace:

“That night is peace, till the break of dawn.” (Al-Qadr 97:  5)

The night in question here is the same night referred to in Surat Ad-Dukhan:

“From on high We bestowed it [i.e. the Qur’an] on a blessed night, for We would warn [mankind]; on a night when every precept was made plain as a commandment from Us. We have ever sent forth messengers as a blessing from your Lord. It is He alone who hears all and knows all.” (Ad-Dukhan 44: 3-6)

It is clearly established that it is a night during the month of Ramadan, as stated in Surat Al-Baqarah:

“It was in the month of Ramadan that the Qur’an was revealed: a guidance for mankind and a self-evident proof of that guidance and a standard to distinguish right from wrong.” (Al-Baqarah 2: 185)

This means that the Night of Power marked the beginning of the revelation of the Qur’an to the Prophet and his mission of delivering it to mankind.

Ibn Ishaq related that the first revelation, consisting of the opening of Surat Al-`Alaq took place during the month of Ramadan, when Allah’s Messenger was at his devotion in the Cave of Hira’.

A number of hadiths specifying this night have come down to us: some stress that it is on 27 Ramadan, others on 21; a few others say it is one of the last ten days and still some others do not go beyond saying that it is in Ramadan.

Its name, Laylat al-Qadr, or the Night of Power, may be taken to mean deliberate planning, management and organization, or it may mean value, position and rank. Both meanings are relevant to the great, universal event of the revelation of the Qur’an and the assigning of the message to the Prophet. It is indeed the greatest and most significant event the universe has ever witnessed. It is the event which explains most clearly how human life benefits by Allah’s planning, management and organization.

This night is better than a thousand months. The figure here and elsewhere in the Qur’an does not signify a precise number. It simply denotes something very high. Many thousands of months and many thousands of years have passed without leaving behind a fraction of the changes and results brought about during that blessed and happy night.

This night is too sublime for proper human perception

“Would that you knew what the Night of Power is!” (Al-Qadr 97: 2)

There is no reason to attach any value to the legends circulated concerning this night. It is great because Allah chose it for the revelation of the Qur’an, so that its light may spread throughout the universe, and divine peace may spread in human life and conscience.

That night is great because of what the Qur’an includes: an ideology, a basis for values and standards and a comprehensive code of moral and social behavior, all of which promote peace within the human soul and in the world at large.

It is great because of the descent of the angels, and Gabriel in particular, by their Lord’s leave, carrying the Qur’an. They fill all the space between heaven and earth in such a splendid, universal celebration, vividly portrayed in this Surah.

When we look today in retrospect, after the lapse of numerous generations, at that glorious and happy night, imagine the fascinating celebration the world then witnessed, and ponder over the essence of revelation and its far-reaching effects on human life and values, we appreciate how great this event was. We can then understand, to some extent, why the Qur’anic reference to that night is made in such an equivocal way:

“Would that you knew what the Night of Power is!” (Al-Qadr 97: 2)

On that night every matter of significance was made plain and distinct; new values and standards were established; the fortunes of nations were determined; and values and standards were sorted out.

Humanity, out of ignorance and to its misfortune, may overlook the value and importance of the Night of Power. When humanity does so ignore it, it loses the happiest and most beautiful sign of grace which Allah bestowed on it. It also suffers the loss of the real happiness and peace gifted to it by Islam, namely, the peace of conscience, family and society. What it has otherwise gained of material civilization is inadequate compensation for its loss.

Humanity is miserable in spite of higher production levels and better means of existence. The splendid light which once illuminated its soul has been put out; the happiness which carried it high up to the Supreme society has been destroyed; the peace which overflowed in people’s hearts and minds has disappeared. Nothing can compensate for the happiness of the human soul, the heavenly light and elevation to the loftiest ranks.

We, the believers in Islam, are commanded not to forget or neglect this event. The Prophet has taught us an easy and enjoyable way to commemorate it, so that our souls may always be in close communion with it and with the universal event which it witnessed. He has urged us to spend this night of each year in devotion. He said:

Seek the Night of Power in the last ten nights of Ramadan.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim.) He also said: “Whoever spends the Night of Power in worship, with a pure motive of faith and devotion, will have all his past sins forgiven.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim.)

Islam is not mere formalities. Hence, the Prophet specifies that the consecration of that night must be motivated by faith and devotion. This would make its consecration by any individual an indication of his or her full awareness of the far reaching effects of what took place on that night.

The Islamic method of education and character building links worship with faith and establishes truth in our hearts and consciences. By this method, worship is considered a means for maintaining full awareness of this truth, its clarification and firm establishment in our minds, hearts and souls.

This method has been proved to be the best for the revival of this truth so that it has an unfailing influence on people’s behavior. The theoretical understanding of this truth cannot, on its own and without worship, establish it or give it the necessary impetus for its operation in the life of the individual or society. This link between the anniversary of the Night of Power and its consecration in faith and devotion is a part of the successful and straightforward method of Islam.

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Taken with slight modifications from the Book: In the Shade of the Qur’an.

Sayyid Qutb (1906-1966) was a prominent and influential Muslim intellectual and writer. He wrote many books about Islam and its distinctive features as a comprehensive way of life. Among his most important works is his exegesis of the Qur’an In the Shade of the Qur’an, which was widely welcomed among Muslims and established itself as one of the best references in Qur’an exegesis.

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The Night of Power: Oh What a Night!

The Night of Power: Oh What a Night!

By Magda Azzam

The other meaning is that this is a night of unique honor, dignity and glory, so much so that it is better than a thousand months.

The other meaning is that this is a night of unique honor, dignity, and glory, so much so that it is better than a thousand months.

“Lo! We revealed it on the Night of Power. Ah, what will convey unto thee what the Night of Power is! The Night of Power is better than a thousand months. The angels and the Spirit descend therein, by the permission of their Lord, with all decrees. (That night is) Peace until the rising of the dawn.” (Al-Qadr 97: 1-5)

Muslims believe that the month of Ramadan is the holiest month of the year, the month when worshipers are closest to their Creator, and the Night of Power (Laylat Al-Qadr) is the holiest night of Ramadan.

Some Islamic scholars have said that the complete Qur’an was sent down from the Preserved Tablet (Al-Lawh Al-Mahfuz) in the night of Al-Qadr to the House of Glory (Bayt Al-`Izzah) in the lowest heaven, from whence it was revealed piecemeal to the Prophet Muhammad according to events that took place during his life over a period of twenty-three years.

What Laylat Al-Qadr Means

The night itself has two meanings. First, it is the night during which destinies are decided. Muslims believe that the revelation of the Qur’an in this night is not merely the revelation of a book, but an event that will change the destiny of the entire world.

“Therein [that night] is decreed every matter of ordainments.” (Ad-Dukhan 44:4)

The other meaning is that this is a night of unique honor, dignity, and glory, so much so that it is better than a thousand months. Muslims believe that it was such a blessed night that what was accomplished in it for the well-being of mankind had not been accomplished during a long period of human history.

“Lo! We revealed it on a blessed night. Lo! We are ever warning.” (Ad-Dukhan 44:3)

According to Muslims, Laylat Al-Qadr is the night when the gates of heaven are wide open and Allah will listen to the lucky ones who encounter it. In Islam, there is no intermediary between the creation and the Creator. Whether you live in a stately mansion or in a tent in the middle of the desert, all you need to do is raise your hands towards the sky and ask Him. In your heart you know nobody can take away anything Allah has meant for you or give you anything Allah has denied you.

“And when My servants question thee concerning Me, then surely I am nigh, I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he crieth unto Me. So let them bear My call and let them trust in Me in order that they may be led aright.” (Al-Baqarah 2:186)

Every day in the life of a Muslim is special if he is mindful of Allah in all that he does. Laylat Al-Qadr is even more so. For Muslims, this one night is better than a thousand months of our life, and worshiping on that one night is better than 84 years of our worship.

When Is Laylat Al-Qadr?

Muslims believe that the Lord has concealed the exact date of the Night of Power so they would worship Him fervently during the whole month of Ramadan. It was reported that the Prophet Muhammad said:

Seek it on the odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadan.” (Al-Bukhari, 202)

What Muslims Do on Laylat Al-Qadr

Muslims are encouraged to seek this night and spend it diligently in devotion including performing voluntary salah (ritual Prayer), reciting Qur’an, and supplicating. The Prophet Muhammad said:

He who spends the night in prayers on the Night of Power as a sign of his devotion and seeking rewards from Allah, his previous sins will be forgiven.” (Al-Bukhari, 2014)

For Muslims, it is a glorious night in which angels ascend while others descend, with their Lord’s permission, saluting those who worship Allah on that night, and bringing with them a wish of safety and peace.

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Taken with slight editorial modifications from onislam.net.

Magda Azzam: a Muslim writer from Egypt. She worked for IslamOnline.net as an editor, Discover Islam Dept.

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