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Immortal Occasions

The Grand Night

Blessed Ramadhan, as we have explained, is the month of action, reform, creativity and generosity, and besides it contains a very special occasion, the immortal night called Laylat-ul-Qadr. Roughly translated as the Night of Grandeur, it is the night on which the Holy Qur'an was sent down:

لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ خَيْرٌ مِنْ أَلْفِ شَهْرٍ. تَنَزَّلُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ وَالرُّوحُ فِيهَا بِإِذْنِ رَبِّهِمْ مِنْ كُلِّ أَمْرٍ.سَلَامٌ هِيَ حَتَّىٰ مَطْلَعِ الْفَجْرِ

"..the Grand Night is helter than a thousand months. The Angels and the Spirit descend therein by the permission of their Lord for (decreeing) every affair. Peace! it is till the breaking of the dawn."(Holy Quran, 97:3, 97:4, 97:5)

The Holy Book further says:

إِنَّا أَنْزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةٍ مُبَارَكَةٍ ۚ إِنَّا كُنَّا مُنْذِرِينَ. فِيهَا يُفْرَقُ كُلُّ أَمْرٍ حَكِيمٍ. أَمْرًا مِنْ عِنْدِنَا ۚ إِنَّا كُنَّا مُرْسِلِينَ.

Surely We revealed it on a blessed night. Indeed We are ever warning. Therein every wise affair is made distinct. A command from Us, surely We are the senders. (Holy Qur’an, 44:3, 44:4, 44:5)

When asked about Allah's saying

We revealed it on a blessed night, (Holy Qur’an, 44:3)

Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (‘a) replied:

Yes, it is Laylat-ul-Qadr, it comes every year, in the month of Ramadhan, during its last ten nights. The Qur'an was not sent down but on the Grand Night as Allah says: In it every wise affair is made clear. That is, He decrees that night everything to happen during the year. Questioner further on what is meant by

«Laylat-ul-Qadr is better than a thousand months»

He said, good deeds such as prayer charity, and etc. done that night are better than similar deeds during a thousand months without the Grand Night.

Hence, every believer has been enjoined to keep awake the whole Night of Qadr in prayer and seeking from the Almighty, pardon for sins and bounties he/she desires for.

A commentator says that the term ' thousand ' must be taken in an indefinite sense, i.e. a timeless time, and interprets it to mean that one moment of enlightenment under Allah's light is better than thousands of months or the year of animal life, and such a moment converts the night of darkness into a period of spiritual glory.

Concerning forgiveness and granting of divine bounties on this night there is a justification attached. After fasting for forty days the Lord granted Prophet Moses (‘a) the Law (Exodus 24:18) and after a similar fasting period Prophet Jesus (‘a) was commissioned with his office (Mathew 4:2). Thus, there is justification in the Almighty's special grant of forgiveness and bestowing of favours to obedient Muslims, who fast as per His command for the whole month consecutively.

Like the Qur'an, other Heavenly Books were also sent down in this blessed month to the respective Prophets. Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (‘a) says:

The Torah was sent down on the 6th of Ramadhan, the Evangelon the 12th, the Book of Psalms on the 18th, and the Furqan (the Qur'an) on the Grand Night.1

There are various narrations regarding the particular Night. The Qur'an did not mention any specific night, so as to encourage prayer and worship throughout the month. Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (‘a) questioned about the Night of Qadr said:

Seek it in 19th, 21st and 23rd nights.

Hence, Muslims are advised to spend the above nights, especially the 23rd in prayer and good deeds. Some of the recommended acts on the Grand Night are as follows:

1. Ghusl - taking bath.

2. Keeping awake the whole night praying and supplicating to Allah.

3. Charity and helping the poor and the needy.

4. Reciting the Holy Qur'an, especially the suras Rum, Ankabout and Dukhan.

In short, the Night of Qadr is the Grandest Night of the year. In the light of hadith, it is said that this night, Allah, the Exalted decrees providence and every other affair of mankind to happen throughout the year. So, we must pray in sincerity and try to extract the maximum benefit from this Night of Grace and Grandeur. Ameen.

Other Important Events Of Ramadhan

The month of fasting is not without its days of joy and sorrow. It has some important historical events which even today continue to wield their influence on the daily life of Muslims.

The year preceding his migration to Medina, the Prophet suffered two serious blows during Ramadhan, losing within a few days those two stalwarts of early Islam, his loving wife Khadija (s.a) and doting uncle Abu Talib (a). The year is known in the annals of history as the Year of Grief.

Umm-ul-Momineen Khadija (s.a) needs no introduction to Muslims. She married Muhammad (s) years before the start of his divine mission and at once believed in him when he was appointed to the Prophet Hood by the Almighty. Thereafter, she sacrificed her fabulous wealth for the propagation of Islam, and stood by her noble husband in all difficulties. They made an excellent husband and wife pair for 27 odd years and as long as she was alive, he never took another wife.

By Khadija the Prophet had several children including son Qasim through whom his Kunya (agnomen) Abul Qasim is derived. But none of the children survived except daughter Fatima (s.a), through whose two sons Imam Hassan (‘a) and Imam Husayn (‘a) Prophet Muhammad's noble lineage (Seyyids) has spread out around the world.

The Prophet was nearly 53 years of age when he lost Khadija and though he married several women later in life, these were mere matrimonial alliances in view of the social or political necessities. The following narration found in all authentic sources proves that he always used to cherish the memory of that loyal woman who was the mother of his illustrious Ahl-ul-Bait.

Once when one of his wives, Ayesha, questioned about Khadhija s.a, the Prophet (s) replied:

Allah did not give me a better one than her. She was the mother of my children and the light of the house. She believed in me when others denied me. She supported me with her wealth when people deprived me. I had my children through her, but l was deprived of having them from others (wives). 2

The second blow he suffered in that Year of Grief was the sad demise of his uncle and guardian Abu Talib. After losing his grandfather Abdul-Mutlib, at the tender age of eight, The Prophet was raised up by his dear uncle Abu Talib and his wife Fatima bint Asad as their own child. A close bond existed between uncle and nephew and as long as Abu Talib towering presence loomed large in Mecca, the infidels could never think of doing bodily harm to the Prophet (s).

The passing away of Abu Talib was a deep shock, and emboldened Meccan Jahiliym who seeing a great obstacle removed from their way, ganged up for an attempt against the Prophet 's life. The events of the Hijra are outside the scope of our book, and it suffices here to quote the nephew's saying on the uncle's demise:

“The Quraysh could not raise a hand against me until Abu Talib a.s died. »

But the greatest tragedy in fasting Ramadhan is the martyrdom of lmam Ali ibn Abi Talib (a), the Prophet's loyal cousin, husband of his dear daughter Fatima, and his valiant standard bearer who single-handedly won many a crucial battle. Imam Ali's (‘a) peerless personality ranks second only to Prophet Muhammad (s), and books galore on his wise sayings, heroic deeds, praises and other excellent qualities.

On the 19th of Ramadhan, in the year 40 A.H., while leading the Morning Prayer at Masjid Kufa (Iraq), Amir-al­ Momineen Ali (‘a) was struck on the head by the assassin's sword in the very act of prostration. The blow by Abdur­ Rahman ibn Muljim the Kharije(heretic) cut a deep wound and for three days the Commander of the Faithful passed in pain.

Finally on the 21st of Ramadhan the Imam attained martyrdom, an event which plunged the Ummah into chaos and enabled the Omayyad tyrants to seize power and distort Islam.

Let us now review the days of joy in this blessed month. On 15th Ramadhan, in the second year of the Hijra, the Prophet became a grandfather, when son Hassan (‘a) was born to his daughter Fatima and Imam Ali (a). It was a very happy occasion for the Ahl-ul-Bait and none was happier than Prophet Muhammad (s).

The Qur'an and hadith bear witness to his pristine purity enjoining Muslims to love and tread the radiant path of the Prophet's illustrious progeny. Being forced to abdicate the caliphate a few months after his father Imam Ali's martrydom, Imam Hassan (‘a) spent the rest of his life in Medina propagating and expounding Islam and the Holy Qur'an.

The same year on 2nd Ramadhan the history of faith and righteousness took a new turn when a few hundred Muslims defeated a vastly superior force of Meccan pagans at a place called Badr. It was the first armed encounter the new found Islamic State had to face and by the Grace of the Almighty, it came out with flying colours.

Six years later in the year 8 A.H. Allah bestowed another great victory for the Prophet in blessed Ramadhan, when Mecca the hitherto bastion of infidelity fell without a fight. Abu Sufyan and his pagan hordes laid down their arms, and Prophet Muhammad (s) entered his birthplace granting amnesty to his deadly adversaries on condition they accept Islam.

He then purged that pinnacle of monotheism, the Holy Kaaba, of the filth of idols with Imam Ali (‘a) personally dismantling the deities atop the holy house. Bilal the Abyssinian then called the faithful to prayer.

"There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the Prophet of Allah”

Hence, dear Muslims we must strive to keep fresh the memory of these great events which shaped our history and laid firm the foundations of the Almighty's last revelation to mankind, Islam.

By organising speeches and lectures, as is normally seen in Ramadhan, we not only enlighten our young ones of the significance of this blessed month and its immortal events but also acquaint others of Islam's lofty teachings. Likewise it is incumbent upon us to stop those violating the sanctity of this month in public places by eating, drinking or mocking at religious tenets.

  • 1. Wasail ash Shia, Al-Hurr Al-Amili
  • 2. Refer Musnad ahmed bin hanbal part 6.p 117, Sahih bukhari part 2 p. 177 and also part 4 p.36, 195, Ibn e maja,abwab an nikah part 1 p.315, Ibne kasir on tarikh e kamil vol 3 p.128 and various other sources
    It means the continuation of progeny, because later in life He had a son called Ibrahim through his Egyptian wife Mary the Copt, who died in infancy.