Friday Sermon: Laylatul Qadr - the Night of Destiny

August 27th, 2010

Hudhur gave a discourse on Laylatul Qadr, (the Night of Destiny) and the last ten days of Ramadan. Hudhur began by recitation of Surah Al Qadr. The translation reads:

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Ever Merciful

Surely, We sent it down on the Night of Destiny.

And what should make thee know what the Night of Destiny is?

The Night of Destiny is better than a thousand months.

Therein descend angels and the Spirit with their Lord’s decree concerning everything.

Peace – so will it be even at the rising of the dawn. (97:1-6)

Hudhur said in a few days we will enter the last ten days of Ramadan, during which, according to traditions, Laylatul Qadr falls. This is a night of particular spirituality in which God looks down on His servants in a special way. Muslims in general give a lot of significance to the last ten days of Ramadan. Even those who are not so attentive in the first two sets of ten days of the month try and improve their spiritual condition in the last ten days. People in our Community are also inclined to enhance their worship of God in the last ten days. Ahadith prove that Laylatul Qadr falls in the last ten days of Ramadan and it is a night of tremendous significance. However, can it make one a true believer and servant of God if effort is only made in the last ten days of Ramadan and the rest of the year is spent in disregard? God states that He created men and Jinn so that they may worship Him. Concentration of worship in search of a special spiritual night in the last ten days of Ramadan to make up for an entire life time’s worship takes one away from this basic objective of creation.

If God so wills, He manifests His special grace for the consolation of His servant, creating a condition, by virtue of which this special night is granted. His servant experiences a wondrous spiritual state. That is, fulfilling the pledge of worship of God, in which man notices spiritual development and enhancement every moment, indeed should notice it. When man fasts while reading and reflecting on the Qur’an and primarily fasting in order to enhance his devotion to God, indeed God sees that man is putting the commandments in practice to the best of his ability, and is supplicating and calling God in view of: ‘I am near. I answer the prayer of the supplicant when he prays to Me.(2:187), not only does God listen to prayers, rather He grants Laylatul Qadr in accordance to His promise during which He comes down to earth, near His servants. When man fulfils his pledge, God raises man’s spiritual state. If there is ever any deficiency, it is on our part, in our effort and our practices. God provides this blessed month every year with its last ten days and Laylatul Qadr, which is the highest point of attaining nearness to God. How much effort should then be made on man’s part! The spiritual experience of this special night brings about amazing transformation in a person and so it should, otherwise the due of the night is not fulfilled. If one believes one has experienced Laylatul Qadr, the worship of which night is better than the worship of 1000 months, and thinks he does not need any more worship, he is misled. In fact Lalilatul Qadr makes one a servant of God in an enhanced manner and in such a situation Divine beneficence flows. God states that when man endeavours to gain His nearness, honours and nurtures his pledge, He listens to prayers and continues to bestow.

The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that Laylatul Qadr is a time of purification for man so that he may become compliant to all God’s commandments. Hudhur said the month of Ramadan comes so that we may bring about such a transformation, search for Laylatul Qadr in the last ten days. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) made special effort during the last ten days of Ramadan and strove hard in worship of God. He would stay up at night and wake his family up. Not only did he increase his own worship in these days he could not tolerate that his family should be deprived of the immense blessings of God’s grace in the last ten days. Even the duration of his worship during ordinary times as well as its beauty cannot be assessed, let alone the state of his worship in the last ten days; it is beyond our imagination. Thus was the model he established for us. May God enable us to create such an environment in our homes to facilitate our forgiveness.

The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) said that one who fasts with fervour of belief and to gain pleasure of God, has his/her previous sins forgiven and one who wakes up for Laylatul Qadr with a passion of belief will have his/her previous sins forgiven. Hudhur explained fasting in Ramadan is conditional that it is done to strengthen belief and gain God’s pleasure, otherwise God has no interest in a person staying hungry. Observation of Laylatul Qadr is also conditional that it is done to gain sincere pleasure of God and not for the fulfilment of any worldly reasons. Hudhur said God’s pleasure should be foremost in our prayers.

The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) said that Laylatul Qadr should be searched in the last ten days. If one is weak and vulnerable he/she should never be overcome in the last seven nights. Hudhur explained that if for some reason one cannot avail of the blessing of Ramadan, every excuse should be discarded in the last ten days. In another tradition the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) said, ‘it [Laylatul Qadr] has been shown to some of you in the first seven nights of the last ten days and to others in the last seven nights.’ Hudhur said this clarifies the earlier Hadith that there is no specifically appointed night, rather it can fall on any night of the last ten days. Some ahadith mention looking for it in the odd nights of the last ten days.

Hudhur explained that whoever experiences Laylatul Qadr does so by virtue of a very special blessing of God. It is most important to value this experience and that can be by continually developing in one’s spirituality. The worship of this one night is better than that of a 1000 months. Hudhur said 83 years make up 1000 months. Thus if one experiences it, one’s lifetime’s prayers - that are good for a believer - are accepted. All prayers made are not good in God’s sight; He thus accepts what He deems good. This night also gives a believer a higher spiritual status and the descent of angels brings a revolutionary change in a believer’s connection with God. And one night’s worship becomes equal to a lifetime’s worship. This is because one attains the objective of one’s creation; for once having attained it, a believer continually strives to develop in this.

Hudhur said this night has extensive significance as explained by the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace). One significance of the Quranic verse ‘Surely, We sent it down on the Night of Destiny’ is the revelation of the Holy Qur’an. The complete Shariah that was revealed in the month of Ramadan, as the Qur’an also declares: ‘The month of Ramadan is that in which the Qur’an was sent down …’ (2:186). Not only did its revelation begin in Ramadan, but angel Gabriel (on whom be peace) would repeat its recitation each Ramadan with the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him). It also signifies that it was a need of the time that a perfect guidance is revealed, as the Qur’an states, it was a time when: ‘Corruption has appeared on land and sea…’ (30:42). The disorder that engulfed the world at the time was of incomparable scale and it was required that a perfect Book be revealed. As the Qur’an states:

‘The Praiseworthy, the Lord of Honour,

By this perspicuous Book.

Truly, We revealed it in a blessed Night.

Truly, We have ever been warning against evil

In it all wise things are decided,

By Our own command. Verily, We have ever been sending Messengers,

As a mercy from thy Lord. Verily, He is the All-Hearing, the All-knowing,’

(44:2-7).

Hudhur said thus this clear and open Book of guidance was revealed in this blessed time and night to the perfect man who was restless for mankind to worship the One God and consider Him All Powerful, rather than make a humble mortal son of God and make his death a source of salvation. It was in acceptance of the prayers of the perfect man (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) that this perfect Shariah was revealed which not only became a source of enlightenment in the dark era 1400 years ago, rather, it will continue to do so till the Day of Judgement, just as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) will remain the Seal of all the Prophets and the last law-bearing Prophet. And each time, distraught by the state of the world, God’s servants will supplicate to Him and implore Him, He will console them by fulfilling: ‘…Verily, He is the All-Hearing, the All-knowing,’.

The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) who was the true and ardent devotee of the Prophet (peace and blessings be on him) and was sent in his complete subordination said that an exquisite point found in Surah Al Qadr is that when a reformer descends from heavens, angels descend with him and attract eager people to the truth. Thus, at a time of spiritual darkness when people are inclined towards religion, it is a sign that a reformer is about to come down from the heavens. At this time two types of actions take place. One that grants purification of the soul to people and as a result hones their wisdom. The second action although sharpens wisdom but the soul does not reach the truth, rather it becomes an evidence of: ‘In their hearts was a disease, and Allah has increased their disease to them…’ (2:11) just as it happened in the times of all Prophets of God. When angels descend with Prophets of God each soul is stirred. Those who have truthful nature are drawn to the truth but others who were inclined to satanic ways although are stirred and also drawn towards religious matters but they do not turn to the truth. The effect on the good-natured is good and bad on the bad-natured. Each Prophet’s era has a Laylatul Qadr when the Book that has been given to him is revealed. The greatest Laylatul Qadr was that of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) and the extent of his Laylatul Qadr reaches up to the Day of Judgement. At a time when a deputy of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) is about to come, hearts are stirred again. The Laylatul Qadr appointed for the time of the descent of this deputy is in fact a branch or a shadow of the Laylatul Qadr of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him). During this time, which will last till the Day of Judgement, and regarding which the Qur’an states: ‘In it all wise things are decided’ (44:5) spiritual knowledge will be spread all over the world. It is the way of God that His word is revealed during Laylatul Qadr just as His Prophet comes at this time. This is also when His angels descend and people are drawn to piety. The angels start from the dark night of ignorance till the break of dawn attracting eager people to the truth.

Remarking on the beautiful writing of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) Hudhur said if the world, especially the Muslims, understood his message, rather than oppose it, they would become his helpers. Hudhur said the reasoning given by the Promised Messiah is very strong and those who wish for peace and are looking for a reformer and are awaiting the Messiah should think and reflect as the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that if at a time of spiritual darkness people are inclined towards religion, it is a sign that a reformer is about to come down from the heavens. At the time of his advent people were desperately waiting for someone but when he made his claim, a section of the society opposed him while some accepted him and thus accomplished their worldly life and the Hereafter. Hudhur said time and again the Muslims announce that Khilafat is needed to take care of the Islamic world. How can there be Khilafat, unless the Messiah comes? In the time of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) the pious-natured recognised him but people like Abu Jahl who considered himself very wise was destroyed. In the time of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) we see the example of Hadhrat Maulana Nur-ud-din and Sahibzada Abdul Lateef shaheed (may Allah be pleased with them both) who in spite of hailing from far off places came to him and accepted him. Whereas Maulwi Muhammad Hussain Batalwi was close by but remained deprived. Those who do not have the capacity to accept piety are arrogant and self-centred and their wisdom also becomes negative and because of their negativity their spiritual condition deteriorates.

Hudhur said the condition of those who reject the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) in the current times is the same. In their assumption they make pious statements but they have no effect because they are the detractors of one who has been sent by God.

Hudhur said Tahir Nadeem sahib has been chronicling about the Arab Ahmadis in Al Fazl. Writing about the events leading up to the acceptance of Tahir Hani sahib, a life devotee who is working very hard, he relates that initially he tried every scheme to reject the message of Ahmadiyyat. He then read some books which took him to a religious scholar, who in his opinion had the capability to refute the message. However all he did was scoff at the books. Hani sahib arranged a debate of the scholar with Mustapha Thabit sahib in which he did not measure up. Eventually he left the scholar and God guided him to Ahmadiyyat. Hudhur said in spite of possessing religious knowledge those who reject the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) run out of reasoning. Today too, those who claim to know religion follow satanic practices. As the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) has explained the period of the Laylatul Qadr granted to the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) extends till the Day of Judgement and it is through it that pious-natured are coming to the message of truth. However, the wretched are losing the way. Hudhur said this era of Laylatul Qadr has been re-established on a shadowy basis because of his deputy, the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace). In the current age we can attain Laylatul Qadr by valuing and recognising this Laylatul Qadr.

There are various states of people: follow religion properly, avail of Divine beneficence by virtue of pious nature or presume oneself to be the caretaker of religion and create oppression and brutality in the name of religion, similarly use of certain inventions to trample human morals and values, while other [inventions] are beneficial to the believers and are becoming a source to spread the word of God. All these positive and negative aspects are a proof of the advent of one sent by God and Laylatul Qadr. It is worth noting here that God states that the descent of angels continues till ‘the rising of the dawn’. The angels have been descending from the time of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) when Islam was triumphant. That was the ‘rising of the dawn’ which cannot and will not return. This is when religion was perfected. However, as the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said this condition continues to manifest in the time of the ‘deputy’ in a shadow-like basis. This light remained for thirty years during the era of Khilafat e Rashida. Gradually spiritual darkness spread and was followed by complete darkness. Today, again it has re-emerged with the advent of the Promised Messiah in a shadow-like basis. This is the age following the ‘rising of the dawn’ which, in a way came to an end at the passing away of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace).

In order to seek beneficence from this new day that has dawned, in order to protect the triumphs that are destined for Ahmadiyyat Islam from worldly flamboyance and to continue to raise the levels of spirituality, God reminds us of Laylatul Qadr each year in Ramadan.

In one way the era of the Holy Prophet’s Laylatul Qadr finished at his passing away with and the revelation of the Holy Qur’an at ‘the rising of the dawn’, but in another way it will continue with the message for the Ummah to pay the dues of the Qur’an and Ramadan and reap the benefits of this very special night. By creating this recurrent spiritual ambiance, God has bestowed a huge favour. If, in appreciation of this, we discharge of our obligations, we will continue to avail of the beneficence issued by the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him). May God always confer His blessings on us. Our detractors, in their presumption, harass us and wish to see us in darkness, wish our destruction and in their presumption hope to devastate us, but Divine communities are not wasted nor can they be destroyed. May the harassment that has been ongoing in Pakistan bring about an arrangement of Laylatul Qadr and may we see that manifestation of ‘the rising of the dawn’ which manifests in the form of enduring peace and triumph.