Why is it called Layla-tul-Qadr?
It is called Layla-tul-Qadr for the following reasons as explained by various scholars:
MEANING # 1:
One meaning of the word ‘Qadr’ is honor, ability, dignity or status. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has the greatest Qadr. No one has the position of Allah.
إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَـهُ فِى لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ
“Verily, We have sent it down in the Night of Al-Qadr.” [97:1]
On this night of Qadr [or the night of nobility and dignity] Allah Who has the greatest Qadr [He is the Most Dignified] sends His Angel Jibreel [Gabriel] who has the greatest Qadr[ status among all angels] with the Book of Allah which has the greatest Qadr to Prophet Muhammad salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam who has the greatest Qadr [he is the noblest and dignified human being]. Subhan’Allah!
Its status among all nights can be gauged from the ayah where Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,
لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ خَيْرٌ مِّنْ أَلْفِ شَهْرٍ
“The night of Al-Qadr is better than a thousand months.”
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala rewards good deeds on “this night” like no other night.
According to a hadeeth [interpretation not exact words], whoever stands on the night of Layla-tul-Qadr, seeking Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala’s forgiveness, Allah will forgive all their sins. On the Day of Judgment, the angels will be saying, “We didn’t worship You as much as we should have. We did not praise You in status as we should have.” This is what the angels would be saying, even though we have been informed that angels are continuously worshipping Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala . this is their job. They don’t do anything else because they don’t have desires like human beings or animals.
MEANING # 2:
Another meaning of the word is estimation, precision or determination. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala Himself is Ala Qulli Shai’in Qadeer. He has Absolute and Full Control over everything. He created us and He makes plans for our lives.
There are long term plans and short term plans. Long term plans are quite vague and general whereas the short ones are specific and pertain to one year, similar to the way we have yearly budgets. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has plans for our lives already. He knows them all, but on this night He lets His angels know what the plan is for this year. So, the budget or plan for the year is delivered to the angels on that night. This is one of the significance of this night.
MEANING # 3:
It’s also called the night of appreciation because on this night when people obey Allah, He really appreciates it. The people were told by their Prophet to stand up in prayer on this night and recite Qur’an because this is what Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala commanded us to do. So, when people abide by this command He is pleased with them and appreciates their efforts. We have also been told by Rasoolullah that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala doesn’t look at quantity or showing off, what matters to Him is our intention, commitment, and sincerity. No matter for how long you stay awake, pray with full khushu. The Prophet used to rest a little and then pray and then rest.
MEANING # 4:
Qadr also means congestion, restriction or being stuck in something.
تَنَزَّلُ الْمَلَـئِكَةُ وَالرُّوحُ فِيهَا بِإِذْنِ رَبِّهِم مِّن كُلِّ أَمْرٍ
“Therein descend the angels and the Ruh by their Lord’s permission with every matter.”
On this night, the heavens and the earth are restricted with the angels. They descend in such large numbers that the space on earth becomes insufficient to hold all of them. it is said that there are two shifts of angels in a day. One descends at dawn to record our doings till Asr time. They are then replaced by those assigned the job of recording our doings till dawn. But on the night of Qadr, all the angels will come down so the earth’s space will become restricted.
Subhan’Allah! So many meanings of one word – Qadr. There could not have been any other word. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala picked the perfect word that captures all the meanings at the same time without compromising on the integrity of the meaning.
[Transcribed from the lectures of Nouman Ali Khan and Omar Suleiman]