The Real Story Behind Laylatul Qadr

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Laylatul Qadr. The Night of Decree.

What’s so special about this night? Well, many things, the first being that the Quran was revealed on this night.

إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ

Verily! We have sent it (this Quran) down in the night of Al-Qadr (Decree). [Surah Al-Qadr (97) : 1]

And of course, we know that Laylatul Qadr is definitely in Ramadan (some people have doubts apparently!).

شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِّنَ الْهُدَىٰ وَالْفُرْقَانِ

The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Quran, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong). [Surah Al-Baqarah (2) : 185]

عن واثلة قال: قال رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم: أنزلت صحف إبراهيم أول ليلة من شهر رمضان ، و أنزلت التوراة لست مضت من رمضان ، و أنزل الإنجيل بثلاث عشرة مضت من رمضان ، و أنزل الزبور لثمان عشرة خلت من رمضان ، وأنزل القرآن لأربع وعشرين خلت من رمضان

“The Suhuf of Ibrahim were revealed on the first night of Ramadan. The Tawrah was revealed on the sixth of Ramadan. The Injeel was revealed on the thirteenth of Ramadan. The Zaboor was revealed on the eighteenth of Ramadan. And the Quran was revealed on the twenty-fourth of Ramadan.” [Sahih Al-Jaami, Hadeeth No. 1497. Please note that there is some dispute over its authenticity.]

عَنْ عَائِشَةَ، قَالَتْ كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يُجَاوِرُ فِي الْعَشْرِ الأَوَاخِرِ مِنْ رَمَضَانَ، وَيَقُولُ ‏‏ تَحَرَّوْا لَيْلَةَ الْقَدْرِ فِي الْعَشْرِ الأَوَاخِرِ مِنْ رَمَضَانَ ‏

Narrated Aishah (radiallahu anha): Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) used to practice itikaf 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, Volume 3, Hadeeth No. 237]

Now, what exactly does “the Quran was revealed on this night” mean?

Many people seem to think that it refers to the following story:

 عن عَائِشَةَ زَوْجَ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَتْ كَانَ أَوَّلُ مَا بُدِئَ بِهِ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم الرُّؤْيَا الصَّادِقَةُ فِي النَّوْمِ، فَكَانَ لاَ يَرَى رُؤْيَا إِلاَّ جَاءَتْ مِثْلَ فَلَقِ الصُّبْحِ، ثُمَّ حُبِّبَ إِلَيْهِ الْخَلاَءُ فَكَانَ يَلْحَقُ بِغَارِ حِرَاءٍ فَيَتَحَنَّثُ فِيهِ ـ قَالَ وَالتَّحَنُّثُ التَّعَبُّدُ ـ اللَّيَالِيَ ذَوَاتِ الْعَدَدِ قَبْلَ أَنْ يَرْجِعَ إِلَى أَهْلِهِ، وَيَتَزَوَّدُ لِذَلِكَ، ثُمَّ يَرْجِعُ إِلَى خَدِيجَةَ فَيَتَزَوَّدُ بِمِثْلِهَا، حَتَّى فَجِئَهُ الْحَقُّ وَهْوَ فِي غَارِ حِرَاءٍ فَجَاءَهُ الْمَلَكُ فَقَالَ اقْرَأْ‏.‏ فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏”‏ مَا أَنَا بِقَارِئٍ ‏”‏‏.‏ قَالَ ‏”‏ فَأَخَذَنِي فَغَطَّنِي حَتَّى بَلَغَ مِنِّي الْجُهْدُ ثُمَّ أَرْسَلَنِي‏.‏ فَقَالَ اقْرَأْ‏.‏ قُلْتُ مَا أَنَا بِقَارِئٍ‏.‏ فَأَخَذَنِي فَغَطَّنِي الثَّانِيِةَ حَتَّى بَلَغَ مِنِّي الْجُهْدُ، ثُمَّ أَرْسَلَنِي‏.‏ فَقَالَ اقْرَأْ‏.‏ قُلْتُ مَا أَنَا بِقَارِئٍ‏.‏ فَأَخَذَنِي فَغَطَّنِي الثَّالِثَةَ حَتَّى بَلَغَ مِنِّي الْجُهْدُ ثُمَّ أَرْسَلَنِي‏.‏ فَقَالَ ‏{‏اقْرَأْ بِاسْمِ رَبِّكَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ * خَلَقَ الإِنْسَانَ مِنْ عَلَقٍ * اقْرَأْ وَرَبُّكَ الأَكْرَمُ * الَّذِي عَلَّمَ بِالْقَلَمِ‏}‏ ‏”‏‏.‏ الآيَاتِ إِلَى قَوْلِهِ ‏{‏عَلَّمَ الإِنْسَانَ مَا لَمْ يَعْلَمْ‏}‏ فَرَجَعَ بِهَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم تَرْجُفُ بَوَادِرُهُ حَتَّى دَخَلَ عَلَى خَدِيجَةَ فَقَالَ ‏”‏ زَمِّلُونِي زَمِّلُونِي ‏”‏‏.‏ فَزَمَّلُوهُ حَتَّى ذَهَبَ عَنْهُ الرَّوْعُ قَالَ لِخَدِيجَةَ ‏”‏ أَىْ خَدِيجَةُ مَا لِي، لَقَدْ خَشِيتُ عَلَى نَفْسِي ‏”‏‏.‏ فَأَخْبَرَهَا الْخَبَرَ‏.‏ قَالَتْ خَدِيجَةُ كَلاَّ أَبْشِرْ، فَوَاللَّهِ لاَ يُخْزِيكَ اللَّهُ أَبَدًا، فَوَاللَّهِ إِنَّكَ لَتَصِلُ الرَّحِمَ، وَتَصْدُقُ الْحَدِيثَ، وَتَحْمِلُ الْكَلَّ، وَتَكْسِبُ الْمَعْدُومَ، وَتَقْرِي الضَّيْفَ، وَتُعِينُ عَلَى نَوَائِبِ الْحَقِّ‏.‏ فَانْطَلَقَتْ بِهِ خَدِيجَةُ حَتَّى أَتَتْ بِهِ وَرَقَةَ بْنَ نَوْفَلٍ وَهْوَ ابْنُ عَمِّ خَدِيجَةَ أَخِي أَبِيهَا، وَكَانَ امْرَأً تَنَصَّرَ فِي الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ، وَكَانَ يَكْتُبُ الْكِتَابَ الْعَرَبِيَّ وَيَكْتُبُ مِنَ الإِنْجِيلِ بِالْعَرَبِيَّةِ مَا شَاءَ اللَّهُ أَنْ يَكْتُبَ، وَكَانَ شَيْخًا كَبِيرًا قَدْ عَمِيَ فَقَالَتْ خَدِيجَةُ يَا ابْنَ عَمِّ اسْمَعْ مِنِ ابْنِ أَخِيكَ‏.‏ قَالَ وَرَقَةُ يَا ابْنَ أَخِي مَاذَا تَرَى فَأَخْبَرَهُ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم خَبَرَ مَا رَأَى‏.‏ فَقَالَ وَرَقَةُ هَذَا النَّامُوسُ الَّذِي أُنْزِلَ عَلَى مُوسَى، لَيْتَنِي فِيهَا جَذَعًا، لَيْتَنِي أَكُونُ حَيًّا‏.‏ ذَكَرَ حَرْفًا‏.‏ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏”‏ أَوَمُخْرِجِيَّ هُمْ ‏”‏‏.‏ قَالَ وَرَقَةُ نَعَمْ لَمْ يَأْتِ رَجُلٌ بِمَا جِئْتَ بِهِ إِلاَّ أُوذِيَ، وَإِنْ يُدْرِكْنِي يَوْمُكَ حَيًّا أَنْصُرْكَ نَصْرًا مُؤَزَّرًا‏.‏ ثُمَّ لَمْ يَنْشَبْ وَرَقَةُ أَنْ تُوُفِّيَ، وَفَتَرَ الْوَحْىُ، فَتْرَةً حَتَّى حَزِنَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم‏.‏

Narrated Aishah (radiallahu anha): (the wife of the Prophet) The commencement (of the Divine Inspiration) to Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) was in the form of true dreams in his sleep, for he never had a dream but it turned out to be true and clear as the bright daylight. Then he began to like seclusion, so he used to go in seclusion in the cave of Hira where he used to worship Allah continuously for many nights before going back to his family to take the necessary provision (of food) for the stay. He come back to (his wife) Khadija again to take his provision (of food) likewise, till one day he received the Guidance while he was in the cave of Hira. An Angel came to him and asked him to read. Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) replied, “I do not know how to read.” The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) added, “Then the Angel held me (forcibly) and pressed me so hard that I felt distressed. Then he released me and again asked me to read, and I replied, ‘I do not know how to read.’ Thereupon he held me again and pressed me for the second time till I felt distressed. He then released me and asked me to read, but again I replied. ‘I do not know how to read.’ Thereupon he held me for the third time and pressed me till I got distressed, and then he released me and said,

اقْرَأْ بِاسْمِ رَبِّكَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ

خَلَقَ الْإِنسَانَ مِنْ عَلَقٍ

اقْرَأْ وَرَبُّكَ الْأَكْرَمُ

الَّذِي عَلَّمَ بِالْقَلَمِ

عَلَّمَ الْإِنسَانَ مَا لَمْ يَعْلَمْ

‘Read, in the Name of your Lord Who has created (all that exists), has created man out of a clot, Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous. Who has taught (the writing) by the pen, has taught man that which he knew not.’ [Surah Al-Alaq (96) : 1-5]

Then Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) returned with that experience; and the muscles between his neck and shoulders were trembling till he came upon Khadija (his wife) and said, “Cover me!” They covered him, and when the state of fear was over, he said to Khadija, “O Khadija! What is wrong with me? I was afraid that something bad might happen to me.” Then he told her the story. Khadija said, “Nay! But receive the good tidings! By Allah, Allah will never disgrace you, for by Allah, you keep good relations with your kith and kin, speak the truth, help the poor and the destitute, entertain your guests generously and assist those who are stricken with calamities.” Khadija then took him to Waraqa ibn Naufil, the son of Khadija’s paternal uncle. Waraqa had been converted to Christianity in the Pre-lslamic Period and used to write Arabic and write of the Gospel in Arabic as much as Allah wished him to write. He was an old man and had lost his eyesight. Khadija said (to Waraqa), “O my cousin! Listen to what your nephew is going to say.” Waraqa said, “O my nephew! What have you seen?” The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) then described whatever he had seen. Waraqa said, “This is the same Angel (Jibreel) who was sent to Musa. I wish I were young.” He added some other statement. Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) asked, “Will these people drive me out?” Waraqa said, “Yes, for nobody brought the like of what you have brought, but was treated with hostility. If I were to remain alive till your day (when you start preaching). then I would support you strongly.” But a short while later Waraqa died and the Divine Inspiration was paused (stopped) for a while so that Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) was very much grieved. [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Hadeeth No. 478]

The story above refers to the first revelation of the Quran to the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam). Many people seem to think this is what is being referred to when we say that the Quran was revealed on Laylatul Qadr. However, the majority of scholars are referring to something else altogether. Their view has merit based on the language of the Quran and also a narration from one of the Companions of the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam).

Let me explain step by step so that anyone can follow. This might seem a bit tedious but it is necessary so that there is no confusion.

First of all, let’s take a look at the following ayah (verse):

نَزَّلَ عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ مُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ وَأَنزَلَ التَّوْرَاةَ وَالْإِنجِيلَ

It is He Who has sent down the Book (the Quran) to you (Muhammad) with truth, confirming what came before it. And he sent down the Taurah (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel). [Surah Aal-Imran (3) : 3]

Look carefully at the words in red. Their translations appear in green.

For those who can’t read Arabic, the first word is نَزَّلَ (nazzala) and the second word is أَنزَلَ (anzala). Both have been translated as “sent down”. The first word is used for the Quran and the second word is used for the Taurah and Injeel

Look carefully again. Nazzala and Anzala. They both sound similar as they both have the n-z-l sound, but it’s obvious that they are not the same word so why is the translation the same?

Well, the translation is the same because the English language is very limited. The Arabic language, on the other hand, is very deep.

My Arabic isn’t the best but I’ll try my best to explain.

أَنزَلَ (anzala) is from إنزال (inzaal) which means sent down once.

نَزَّلَ (nazzala) is from تنزيل (tanzeel) which means sent down multiple times.

[This is generally what both words mean but apparently it’s deeper than this so we’ll just stick to the basics!]

The earlier books were sent down at one time (i.e. the whole book was sent down at once) whereas the Quran was sent down to the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) over a period of 23 years. I recall reading that Imam Suyuti mentioned this and I wondered “How did he know that the earlier books were revealed at one time?” Then, I came across this post that explained this ayah (verse) (basically what I’ve mentioned above) and then I understood how he knew. It’s not possible to understand this via a translation because both words are translated the same way.

Some examples where nazalla and tanzeel are used for the Quran:

تَنزِيلُ الْكِتَابِ لَا رَيْبَ فِيهِ مِن رَّبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ

The revelation of the Book (this Quran) is from the Lord of the Alameen (mankind, jinns and all that exists) in which there is not doubt! [Surah As-Sajdah (32) : 2]

وَإِن كُنتُمْ فِي رَيْبٍ مِّمَّا نَزَّلْنَا عَلَىٰ عَبْدِنَا فَأْتُوا بِسُورَةٍ مِّن مِّثْلِهِ وَادْعُوا شُهَدَاءَكُم مِّن دُونِ اللَّـهِ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ

And if you (Arab pagans, Jews, and Christians) are in doubt concerning that which We have sent down (i.e. the Quran) to Our slave (Muhammad), then produce a Surah (chapter) of the like thereof and call your witnesses (supporters and helpers) besides Allah, if you are truthful. [Surah Al-Baqarah (2) : 23]

So, that was simple right?

Except…..the word used to describe the revelation of the Quran in Surah Al-Qadr is Anzala, NOT nazzala!

إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ

Verily! We have sent it (this Quran) down in the night of Al-Qadr (Decree). [Surah Al-Qadr (97) : 1]

So, this implies that the Quran was sent down on Laylatul Qadr as a whole. However, we know that the Quran was sent down across a period of 23 years.

Shaikh Ibn Uthaimeen explains this ayah to mean that the revelation of the Quran BEGAN on Laylatul Qadr.

شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِّنَ الْهُدَىٰ وَالْفُرْقَانِ

The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Quran, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong). [Surah Al-Baqarah (2) : 185]

He states that “Al-Quran” in the above verse is referring to the type (jins) not the whole Quran, because the whole Quran was not just revealed in Ramadan but also in the other months.

So, according to this, it would appear that the first revelation (mentioned in the hadeeth about Surah Al-Alaq) would have occurred on Laylatul Qadr. [Shaikh ibn Uthaimeen doesn’t directly say this but this is what is implied.]

Problem solved, you say? Not quite because this is NOT the view of the vast majority of scholars. [This article in English points that out.]

Firstly, the language (anzala) would imply the Quran (as a whole) was revealed at one time on Laylatul Qadr. Secondly, there is a narration by Ibn Abbas (radiallahu anhuma), the cousin of the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) regarding what actually happened on this night.

Imam Ibn Kathir states in his tafseer (explanation) of Surah Al-Qadr:

“Ibn Abbas and others have said, “Allah sent the Quran down all at one time from the Preserved Tablet (Al-Lawh Al-Mahfoodh) to the House of Might (Baytul Izzah), which is in the heaven of this world. Then it came down in parts to the Messenger of Allah based upon the incidents that occurred over a period of twenty-three years.””

[Note: Shaikh Ibn Uthaimeen mentioned that the narration of Ibn Abbas was weak but I’m not sure if I agree because many scholars have depended upon it and transmitted it.]

So, according to this opinion, a copy of the Quran was sent down (all at once) from Al-Lawh Al-Mahfoodh (the Preserved Tablet) down to Baytul Izzah in the first heaven (i.e. first sky). And this is what the ayah in Surah Al-Qadr is referring to, which makes sense given the use of the word “anzala” (sent down once).

Al-Lawh Al-Mahfoodh has been mentioned in the Quran as well.

بَلْ هُوَ قُرْآنٌ مَّجِيدٌ

فِي لَوْحٍ مَّحْفُوظٍ

Nay! This is a Glorious Quran, (inscribed) in Al-Lauh Al-Mahfoodh (The Preserved Tablet)! [Surah Al-Burooj (85): 21-22]

What exactly is Al-Lawh Al-Mahfoodh? Well, this isn’t the topic for this post but it’s a tablet which contains everything that will happen. You can read more about it on the following link: What is al-lawh al-mahfooz?

Interestingly enough, there’s something else that happens on every Laylatul Qadr, which has a connection to Al-Lawh Al-Mahfoodh.

إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةٍ مُّبَارَكَةٍ ۚ إِنَّا كُنَّا مُنذِرِينَ

فِيهَا يُفْرَقُ كُلُّ أَمْرٍ حَكِيمٍ

أَمْرًا مِّنْ عِندِنَا ۚ إِنَّا كُنَّا مُرْسِلِينَ

رَحْمَةً مِّن رَّبِّكَ ۚ إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ

We sent it (this Quran) down on a blessed night (i.e. night of Qadr). Verily, We are ever warning [mankind that Our Torment will reach those who disbelieve in Our Oneness of Lordship and in Our Oneness of worship]. Therein (that night) is decreed every matter of ordainments. Amran (i.e. a Command or this Quran or the Decree of every matter) from Us. Verily, We are ever sending (the Messengers), (As) a Mercy from your Lord. Verily! He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower. [Surah Ad-Dukhan (44) : 3-6]

Imam Ibn Kathir states in his tafseer of this surah:

(Therein (that night) is decreed every matter, Hakim.) means, on Laylatul-Qadr, the decrees are transferred from Al-Lawh Al-Mahfoodh to the (angelic) scribes who write down the decrees of the (coming) year including life span, provision, and what will happen until the end of the year. This was narrated from Ibn Umar, Mujahid, Abu Malik, Ad-Dahhak and others among the Salaf.

(Hakim) means decided or confirmed, which cannot be changed or altered.

(As a command from Us.) meaning, everything that happens and is decreed by Allah and the revelation that He sends down — it all happens by His command, by His leave and with His knowledge.

So, this is another thing special about this night – the decrees of the following year are recorded from Al-Lawh Al-Mahfoodh.

Oh, and the surah right after it (i.e. Al-Jaathiyah) also has something related to this issue.

إِنَّا كُنَّا نَسْتَنسِخُ مَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ

Verily, We were recording what you used to do (i.e. Our angels used to record your deeds). [Surah Al-Jathiyah (45) : 29]

Imam Ibn Kathir states in his tafseer of this surah:

(Verily, We were recording what you used to do.) means, `We ordered Our scribe angels to record your deeds.’ Ibn `Abbas and others commented, “The angels record the deeds of the servants and then ascend to heaven with them. There, they meet the angels entrusted with the Records of deeds sent down from Al-Lawh Al-Mahfuz on each Night of Al-Qadr, containing what Allah has written will occur from the servants, long before He created them. They will compare their records and find out that not a single letter was added or deleted.’

Subhan Allah, this is truly something for us to ponder over. Many people just think about Laylatul Qadr as the night to go to the masjid and they don’t realise what is actually happening on this night.

Anyway, back to the original topic i.e. the anzala and nazzala issue. Which opinion is the correct one?

Well, I’m no scholar so it doesn’t matter what I say. However, I should point out that the two opinions don’t contradict one another and this issue has no bearing on aqeedah (creed). It’s possible that the whole Quran was sent down to Baytul Izzah on Laylatul Qadr and that the first revelation also happened on Laylatul Qadr. Allah knows Better.

I wrote this post simply to point out that the majority of scholars abide by what Ibn Abbas (radiallahu anhuma) stated (i.e. the Baytul Izzah issue), and not what is commonly understood by the people (i.e. the revelation of the first five verses of Al-Alaq)

[I should point out something though. In an earlier post (this one) I mentioned that Jibreel (alaihissalam) brought down the revelation to the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) from Baytul Izzah. I saw this mentioned in another place as well but this was a mistake. After I published that post, one of my teachers pointed out (with proof) that Jibreel (alaihissalam) came down with the revelation directly from Allah, and this makes more sense.]

A few more points to think about:

  1. Surah Al-Qadr is preceded by Surah Al-Alaq. Interesting….

[Oh, and Surah Al-Alaq is preceded by Surah At-Teen. If you didn’t understand that part, just read the tafseer here and you will.]

  1. In Surah Al-Kahf, Allah says:

الْحَمْدُ لِلَّـهِ الَّذِي أَنزَلَ عَلَىٰ عَبْدِهِ الْكِتَابَ وَلَمْ يَجْعَل لَّهُ عِوَجًا

All the praises and thanks be to Allah, Who has sent down to His slave (Muhammad) the Book (the Quran), and has not placed therein any crookedness. [Surah Al-Kahf (18) : 1]

The word used to describe the sending down of the Quran is anzala and not nazzala. Why? According to one of my teachers, this ayah is referring to the Quran as one blessing so therefore anzala (sent down once) is used (as revelation of the Quran as a whole is being referred to).

  1. Translations won’t get us very far. We need to learn Arabic.

The anzala/nazzala example is one which I always use to show people how limited translations are. [And that’s not the translator’s fault.]

Without focusing on the Arabic words, one wouldn’t even realise that different words are being used e.g. like in the example of the ayah in Surah Aal-Imran where both anzala and nazzala are used.

Another example that I use is the following hadeeth:

عَنْ عَلِيٍّ، رضى الله عنه قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ مِفْتَاحُ الصَّلاَةِ الطُّهُورُ وَتَحْرِيمُهَا التَّكْبِيرُ وَتَحْلِيلُهَا التَّسْلِيمُ ‏”

Narrated Ali ibn Abee Taalib (radiallahu anhu): The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: The key to prayer is purification; its beginning is takbeer and its end is tasleem. [Sunan Abee Dawood, Hadeeth No. 61. Graded “hasan sahih” (authentic) by Al-Albani.]

The word “tahreem” has been translated as “beginning” and the word “tahleel” has been translated as “end”. Yes, they are the beginning and end of the salah (prayer) but this is not the meaning. A better translation that I found is the following:

The key of prayer is purification; takbeer (saying “Allah is most great”) makes (all acts which break prayer) unlawful and tasleem (uttering the salutation) makes (all such acts) lawful.

This one is a bit better but it might be confusing to many people so let me explain in more detail:

Takbeer is saying “Allahu Akbar”. It is the tahreem of the prayer. Tahreem means making something haram (prohibited). So before one says Allah Akbar, they are allowed to talk and drink water, for instance. Saying the takbeer and therefore starting the prayer, renders these two halal actions (i.e. talking and drinking water) haram.

Tasleem means saying “Assalamu Alaikum wa Rahmathullah”. It is the tahleel of the prayer. Tahleel means making something halal (lawful). So, before one says the tasleem, talking and drinking water are not allowed but after one has said it and has ended the prayer, these two actions are halal once more.

So, as you can see, many times, translations don’t give us the intended meaning.

By the way, both these words appear in the following ayah (but in a verb form) from Surah At-Tahreem (yes, now you know what that word means):

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ لِمَ تُحَرِّمُ مَا أَحَلَّ اللَّـهُ لَكَ ۖ تَبْتَغِي مَرْضَاتَ أَزْوَاجِكَ ۚ وَاللَّـهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

O Prophet! Why do you prohibit (for yourself) that which Allah has made lawful to you, seeking to please your wives? And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. [Surah At-Tahreem (66) : 1]

The purpose of this example (and this entire article, really) was to illustrate that we all HAVE to learn Arabic but how? Well, there are many resources out there but what is needed is consistency. Many people simply don’t make a year-round effort and then when Ramadan comes, they complain that they cannot focus during taraweeh because they don’t understand anything!

Do you want to understand next year’s taraweeh? If so, then start learning Arabic now. Those who have summer holidays should be especially keen to utilise the next two months.

The following three websites are good places to start. They also have reading and writing for those who struggle with that:

  1. Understand Quran

This is paid but they do have an option for those that cannot afford it.

2. Dr. Vaniya’s blog

This is V. Abdur Rahim, the author of the Madinah Books. He has provided a complete study program to follow. The videos for his books can be found at LQ Toronto.

Most of the books are available for free.

3. Islamic Online University Free Diploma Courses

This one currently has a course on reading and writing, three courses on grammar and a course on speaking.

Which one should you start with? It doesn’t matter. Just start.

And keep going. It doesn’t matter if takes years. Just keep going.

PS. Many of you might be thinking “Who is this female sending me an email?” Allow me to explain. You subscribed to one or more of my 8 blogs in the past. I decided to start a new website (Al-Bidaayah) and will now write on all the topics on it and not on the earlier blogs. So, I moved all my subscribers from the old blogs to the new website. I had tried this before but it didn’t work. Two days ago, I tried again and it worked, alhamdulillah. And that’s why this article showed up in your email. However, if you don’t want receive any more articles via email (after this rambling post, I don’t blame you), there’s an unsubscribe button at the bottom of the email.

Some of you had subscribed for multiple blogs. Unfortunately, the migration tool replicated your email addresses (which I cannot delete) and you might have gotten multiple emails. So, you might have to unsubscribe from all but one of the emails. Sorry about that.

Please do share this with others, baarakallahu feek.Print this pageEmail this to someoneShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Pin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook

4 thoughts on “The Real Story Behind Laylatul Qadr”

  1. Jazakillahu khairaa for resuming yr posts..i was wondering why you stopped..
    Those living in UAE can take advantage of Ustadh Fahad Al Tahiriy’s classes…

    1. Assalamu Alaikum.

      Wa iyyaaki.

      I just got very busy and so kept delaying working on the website.

      Yes, Brother Fahad’s classes are excellent. Jazakillahu kheira for reminding me of those.

      PS. I think you left a comment many months ago on my Haafidh blog requesting some Quranic Gems? I was actually thinking of you when I wrote this post!

  2. assalamu alaikum

    jazaakillahu khayran for moving me from your old blogs to this one…
    I felt so happy that I didn’t have to do anything and it just happened..lol
    jazaakillahu khayran for the post as well!

Share Your Thoughts