Monday 19 Rabi‘ al-awwal 1443 - 25 October 2021
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Defining Laylat al-Qadr; is it possible for a person to catch up with Laylat al-Qadr twice in the same Ramadan?

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Publication : 09-05-2021

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Question

How can we understand the scholarly opinions of within last ten in between moving from odd-to-odd nights of Laylatul Qadr by rotation based on Qur’aan and Sunnah?

 In case someone who traveled and experienced two back-to-back odd nights in two differently moon-sighted countries, also if that odd night happens to be the real Lailatul Qadr based on the next morning signs of both the countries, then is there the possibility for him fortunately to experience two Qadr nights in one Ramadan indeed?

 Further, what is the nature of odd-even for characterizing the last ten nights as it varies depending on its definition of oddness/evenness whether to be defined as keeping beginning in mind (i.e. what have passed) or whether keeping end in mind (i.e. what remains)?

 In this regard, how do we also understand the statement that indicates praying 4 rakaats after Isha is equivalent to experiencing Qadr itself, or praying Magrib and Isha in congressional in the Qadr night is equivalent to getting the whole portion of Qadr itself?

Summary of answer

1.. If countries differ with regard to the beginning of the month, then odd-numbered nights in one country will be even-numbered in another, but that does not mean that Laylat al-Qadr will occur on two different nights, such that a person could catch it in his country, then travel to another country and catch up with it again in that country. Rather it is one night. 2.. There is only one scenario in which someone could catch up with the same night twice, such as if Laylat al-Qadr is on the Tuesday night, and he catches up with it or with part of it, then he travels westwards; in that case he could catch it again, because the night begins earlier in the east.

Praise be to Allah.

Firstly:

Defining Laylat al-Qadr

Laylat al-Qadr occurs in the last ten nights of Ramadan, on one of the odd-numbered nights – that is, on the night of the twenty-first, the twenty-third, the twenty-fifth, the twenty-seventh or the twenty-ninth. It may also happen on an even-numbered night, because the even-numbered nights are odd-numbered if we count backwards from the end of the month, counting what remains of the month, if the month is complete (thirty days), as al-Bukhaari (2022) narrated that Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “It is in the last ten nights, when nine of the last ten nights have passed, or when seven of the last ten nights remain” – referring to Laylat al-Qadr. It was narrated from Khaalid, from ‘Ikrimah, from Ibn ‘Abbaas: Seek it on the twenty-fourth.

So counting of the nights may be based on what has passed, or on what remains, as al-Bukhaari (2021) narrated from Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Seek it in the last ten nights of Ramadan, meaning Laylat al-Qadr, when nine nights remain, when seven nights remain, when five nights remain.”

Muslim (1167) narrated that Abu Sa‘eed al-Khudri (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) observed i‘tikaaf during the middle ten days of Ramadaan, seeking Laylat al-Qadr before it was shown to him. When they were over, he ordered that the tent be taken down, then he was shown that it (Laylat al-Qadr) was in the last ten nights, so he ordered that the tent be put back, then he came out to the people and said:

“O people, Laylat al-Qadr was shown to me, and I came out to tell you about it, but two men came disputing, and the shaytaan was with them, and I was caused to forget it. So seek it in the last ten nights of Ramadaan, seek it on the ninth, the seventh and the fifth.”

I [the narrator] said: O Abu Sa‘eed, you know better about what the numbers refer to than we do. He said: Yes, we are more likely to know about that than you. I said: What are the ninth, the seventh and the fifth? He said: When twenty-one nights have passed, the one that follows them is the twenty-second, and that is the ninth [from the end]. When twenty-three nights have past, the one that follows that is the seventh [from the end]. When twenty-five nights have past, the one that follows that is the fifth [from the end].

Hence the one who wants to catch Laylat al-Qadr should pray qiyaam on all ten nights.

Ibn ‘Atiyyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said in his Tafseer (5/505): Laylat al-Qadr moves around in the odd-numbered nights of the last ten nights of Ramadan. This is the correct and reliable view, and it is an odd-numbered night, depending on whether the month is complete (thirty days) or incomplete (twenty-nine days). So the one who is watching for it must watch for it from the twentieth night onwards, every night, until the end of the month, because the odd numbers when counting backwards if the month is complete will not be the same if the month is incomplete. The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “When three remain, when five remain, when seven remain.” And he said: “Seek it on the third, the fifth, the seventh, and the ninth [from the end].” Maalik said: What he meant by the ninth is the night of the twenty-first. Ibn Habeeb said: What Maalik meant is that this applies if the month is incomplete. It seems that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) took into account that the month could be either complete or incomplete, so that one will not be entirely sure of having caught Laylat al-Qadr unless he prays qiyaam on all of the last ten nights. End quote.

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said: Laylat al-Qadr is in the last ten nights of Ramadan. It was soundly narrated from the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) that he said: It is in the last ten nights of Ramadan.” It may be on one of the odd-numbered nights, but what is odd-numbered is based on what has already passed, so he should seek it on the night of the twenty-first, the night of the twenty-third, the night of the twenty-fifth, the night of the twenty-seventh, and the night of the twenty-ninth. Or what is odd-numbered may be based on what remains, as the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “… When nine nights remain, when seven remain, when five remain, when three remain.”

Based on that, if the month is thirty days, then counting backwards from the end, Laylat al-Qadr will be on one of the even-numbered nights, so when nine nights are left, that is the twenty-second; when seven nights are left, that will be the twenty-fourth, and so on. This is how Abu Sa‘eed al-Khudri understood the saheeh hadith. If the month is twenty-nine days, then counting the days based on what remains is the same as counting the days based on what has passed.

As that is the case, the believer should seek Laylat al-Qadr on all of the last ten nights, as the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Seek it in the last ten nights.” And it is more likely to be in the last seven.

End quote from Majmoo‘ al-Fataawa (25/284).

Secondly:

Is Laylat al-Qadr different in different countries?

Can Laylat al-Qadr vary from one country to another? If countries differ with regard to the beginning of the month, then odd-numbered nights in one country will be even-numbered in another, but that does not mean that Laylat al-Qadr will occur on two different nights, such that a person could catch it in his country, then travel to another country and catch up with it again in that country. Rather it is one night.

So if Laylat al-Qadr occurs on the twenty-seventh of Ramadan, for example, and the twenty-seventh may be on Tuesday or Wednesday in different countries, because they started Ramadan on different days, then Laylat al-Qadr can only be on one of those days. If it is on Tuesday night, it cannot be on Wednesday night, and vice versa.

So if Laylat al-Qadr was on Tuesday, then it was on the night of the twenty-seventh according to some people, and on the night of the twenty-sixth according to others. This emphasizes the importance of not missing any of the even-numbered nights, because it may in fact be odd-numbered, and there was a mistake with regard to the beginning of the month.

There is only one scenario in which someone could catch up with the same night twice, such as if Laylat al-Qadr is on the Tuesday night, and he catches up with it or with part of it, then he travels westwards; in that case he could catch it again, because the night begins earlier in the east.

And Allah knows best.

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Source: Islam Q&A