To some, it’s a night of mysteries and secrets. To others it’s a night of destiny and servitude to the Almighty. And unfortunately, to others, it is a night where one simply attempts to pray 100 units of “acrobat-prayer,”—prayers without reflection. The night we’re talking about is the night on which the Holy Qur’an was revealed–the Night of Qadr. Here are the verses about it in the Chapter of the Night of Qadr:
“Lo! We revealed it on the Night of Predestination (Qadr). Ah, what will convey unto thee what the Night of Power (Qadr) is! The Night of Power (Qadr) is better than a thousand months. The angels and the Spirit descend therein, by the permission of their Lord, with all decrees. (The night is) Peace until the rising of the dawn.” [Pickthal 97:1-5]
According to Allamah Tabatabai in Tafseer Al Mizan, the word Qadr can be explained as “quantification.” The Arabic words “Kulli Amr,” (every decree) may refer to the fact that on the Night of Qadr everything is put into place in a specified quantity. This would explain the things we hear people say in reference to the Night of Qadr. “On the Night of Qadr, everything that will happen the next year is planned out for you,” is an example of such a saying.
In other verses of the Holy Qur’an there is a reference to “Ulil Amr” (the ones with the command of the decree). According to the followers of Ahlul Bayt, “Ulil Amr” are the 14 infallibles. We now understand that the concept of “Kulli Amr” (every decree) in the chapter of Qadr has a direct relationship to our living twelfth Imam, the Master of This Age, Imam Al Mahdi (may Allah hasten his advent). From this angle, it is easily understandable when we hear people say, “On the Night of Qadr, all our deeds are exposed to the twelfth Imam.”
For the most part, on the Night of Qadr, pretty much every Islamic center is packed to capacity. The practicing, non-practicing, and everyone-in-between-Muslims alike, all flock to the nearest Islamic center which isn’t already full, on this blessed night. The programs consist mainly of congregational prayer, Quran, supplication recitation, and, of course, the renowned attempt to complete 100 units of recommended prayer.
There are people who like to use the 100 units of prayer to make up about a week’s worth of missed daily prayers if they have to do that. However for many, it’s probably not the best idea to make 100 units of prayer the main goal –but rather to focus on the quality of the prayer. It is important to point out, in reference to any prayer, a quote by an infallible Imam (peace be upon him): “Two units of prayer with reflection are better than staying up all night in worship with a preoccupied heart.” If our 100 units of prayer are like that, then we’re on the right track, God-willing.
There is no consensus among Muslims regarding when exactly the Night of Qadr is. However, there are various narrations that indicate the importance of the 19th, 21st, and 23rd nights of the Month of Ramadan as the nights to seek out the actual Night of Qadr. Among these nights, there is an extra emphasis on the 23rd night, which is popularly known as the “Greater Night of Qadr.”
There are many famous supplications recited on the Night of Qadr which can be found in Mafateeh Al Jinaan or online at www.duas.org.