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Lifetime In a Night

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Allah the Almighty said: “Indeed, We sent it down during the Night of Decree. And what can make you know what the Night of Decree is?”[1]


Humans are beings of time, meaning that their existence in this world is governed by time, from various aspects related to their birth and age, their knowledge and work, in their human relationships, and even in their worship and relationships with their Creator. For humans, prayer is: “Indeed, prayer has been decreed upon the believers a decree of specified times”[2].

And Hajj: “Hajj is [during] well-known months”[3].

And so is fasting: “Fasting is prescribed for you as it was…”[4] until Allah says: “a limited number of days. So whoever among you is…”[5] leading to: “the month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Quran”[6]. The rule is to link the basic legislative acts of worship and even the systems of human relationships to time: “They ask you about the new moons. Say, ‘They are measurements of time for the people and for Hajj'”[7].

However, time, in terms of its units being large or small, does not differ from one another; an hour is an hour, a day is a day, a year is a year, and a century is a century. Yet, time may acquire value and significance if it serves as the container for an event. It gains impact on the soul in terms of optimism or pessimism, sacredness or blessing. But since divine wisdom sometimes reveals a particular quality in a place or time, the Lord’s choice of a time for a certain act of worship and obedience may reveal a specific significance to that time and place. Thus, the selection of the month of Ramadan for the revelation of the Quran and then choosing it for the obligation of fasting reveals a divine will dictated by wisdom, lordship, generosity, and divine kindness. Perhaps what was mentioned in the sermons of the Prophet, peace be upon him and his family, and the narrations of the Ahl al-Bayt, peace be upon them, about the multiplication of the effects of deeds, either due to a specificity that God placed in time, or as an honor from God for the revelation of the Quran during that time. This leads us to question the greatness and value of the Night of Decree: what is its greatness, and how is it manifested?Top of Form

The Greatness of the Night of Decree:

1- The time when the most perfect of books was revealed to the heart of the Seal of the Prophets, peace be upon him and his family.

2- Deeds in it are better than a lifetime: This is expressed in the saying of the Almighty “The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months[8].

This means that the blessing of performing deeds during this night is equivalent to the deeds of a thousand months in their fruit and outcome in the Hereafter, as well as in their effect on purifying and perfecting the soul. Through this, God’s compensatory grace for His servants’ shortcomings is manifest, allowing them to invest a single night in His obedience and worship to compensate for all that they have missed, even if it were a whole lifetime equivalent to a thousand months, which is about eighty years.

3- The night when angels and the Spirit descend: It is mentioned that the earth becomes crowded with flocks of angels and the Spirit on this night, which is the only night mentioned by the Almighty regarding the descent of angels and the Spirit, symbolizing mercy, goodness, blessing, kindness, fulfillment of needs, and arrangement of the affairs of the believers and creatures.

It also symbolizes the status of guardianship (Wilaya) as they descend upon the guardian (Wali) to convey to him the news of the heavens for the coming days, as they used to descend upon the heart of the Prophet, peace be upon him and his family. Their descent is a proof of the presence of God’s proof (Hujjah) and His remainder on His earth.

4- It is the night of peace: As the Almighty said: “Peace it is until the emergence of dawn”[9]2. Perhaps this is among the blessings of the descent of the angels and the Spirit, making it a night of peace and tranquility where the human is a guest of God, worshiping Him, calling upon Him while the angels are present. It is said that the peace is the angels’ greeting to those who invoke, and it is also said that it is a night where angels exchange greetings, with one ascending group greeting another descending.

5 – It is the Night of Decree: It is the night when the divine plan for the life of a human, whether as an individual or a community, or even for all humanity, is laid out, including decrees of life and death, provision, happiness and misery, health and illness. The Almighty indicated that the decree on this night encompasses everything significant and trivial: “On that night is made distinct every precise matter”[10].

Why is the decree on the Night of Decree?

The truth is that since the Night of Decree is the night when the Quran was revealed, it is a night of humanity’s fortune. Out of honor for this occasion and to demonstrate its virtue and blessing upon humanity, God made it the night of decree for His servants. On one hand, and on the other hand, He, the Most Subtle and the Merciful Lord, designated the night of decree during the last ten nights of the most noble month when the human has already shown signs of obedience through fasting. It is from His subtlety and mercy to make the night, in which the servant is engrossed in worshiping Him, reciting His book, prostrating, bowing, praising, and remembering, uttering supplications taught by the Prophet, peace be upon him and his family, and the Imams of guidance, the night of decreeing lifespans, provisions, sustenances, and events. It is as if God does not want to set the human life plan during times of heedlessness and sin when the human exposes himself to divine wrath, or at least divine neglect, and when angels do not intervene to mediate for the servant with God to increase His compassion, forbearance, and generosity.


Be Ready for the Night of Decree: Among the extra kindnesses of Allah the Almighty is that He concealed the Night of Decree among three nights, perhaps the wisdom being so that a person does not miss it. This is something we can take comfort in from the following narrative reported by Zurara from Abu Abdullah, peace be upon him, who said: “The decree is on the night of the nineteenth, affirmation on the night of the twenty-first, and the final decision on the night of the twenty-third”[11].

So, preparation for the Night of Decree includes:

  1. Knowing its right, value, and greatness.
  2. Psychological and spiritual readiness for the Night of Decree by removing obstacles to success, with repentance and returning wrongs and rights to their owners being the most important means of removing these obstacles, not only for the Night of Decree but throughout life.
  3. Sincerity in worship during it for Allah the Almighty.
  4. Diligence in worship and dedicating oneself to worship throughout it, as it was reported that Fatimah, peace be upon her, would not let her household sleep on the night of the twenty-third of Ramadan and would prepare them by reducing their food intake and urging them to sleep during the day. She, peace be upon her, said: “Deprived is the one who is deprived of its goodness”[12].
  5. Driving away laziness and sluggishness and engaging in acts of obedience with energy and joy.

Finally: It is essential to note and highlight that one should not be selfish in their supplications, limiting them only to themselves, their dependents, and their relatives. Rather, one should extend their prayers to a broader circle. They should bear the general concern and remember the mujahideen, the resisters, the leaders, and the entire nation as our Imams, peace be upon them, have taught us in Ramadan in the supplication after each prayer: “O Allah, enrich every poor, O Allah, satisfy every hungry, O Allah, clothe every naked, O Allah, settle the debt of every debtor, O Allah, relieve every distressed, O Allah, return every stranger, O Allah, release every captive, O Allah, reform every corrupt in the affairs of Muslims, O Allah, heal every sick, O Allah, suffice our needs with Your wealth, O Allah, change our state to a better state with Your excellent state, O Allah, settle our debts and enrich us from poverty, for You have power over everything.”

And let us remember the Guardian of Affairs in our prayers as our Imams, peace be upon them, have taught us to repeat the supplication for him: “O Allah, be for Your representative, the Hujjat (proof), son of Hasan, Your blessings be upon him and his ancestors, at this hour and in every hour, a guardian, a protector, a leader, a helper, a guide, and an eye until You make him dwell on Your earth willingly and let him enjoy it for a long time.”

[1] Surah Al-Qadr, verses: 1-2

[2] Surah An-Nisa, verse 103

[3] Surah Al-Baqarah, verse: 197

[4] Surah Al-Baqarah, verse: 183

[5] Surah Al-Baqarah, verse: 184

[6] Surah Al-Baqarah, verse: 185

[7] Surah Al-Baqarah, verse: 189

[8] Surah Al-Qadr, verse: 3

[9] Surah Al-Qadr, verse: 5

[10] Surah Al-Qadr, verse: 4

[11] Rawdat al-MuttaqinTop of Form

[12] Musnad Imam Ali, peace be upon him, page 409

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