Seeking out Laylat-ul-Qadr and the way to spend this night

How to spend Laylat-ul-Qadr (the Night of Decree) in worship; is it by offering Salah (Prayer), reciting the Qur’an, reading the Sirah (the Prophet’s biography),listening to lectures and lessons, or celebrating it in the Masjid (Mosque)?

 A:  First: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) used to be exceptionally diligent in his worship during the last ten days of Ramadan, more so than at any other time; praying, reciting the Qur’an and supplicating. It was reported by Al-Bukhari  and Muslim  on the authority of ‘Aishah (may Allah be pleased upon her) that when the last ten (nights of Ramadan) began, the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) would stay up the night, wake his family (for prayer) and tighten his Izar (i.e. exert himself in worship and abstain from conjugal intercourse).  Ahmad  and Muslim  reported: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) used to strive hard in worship during the last ten days of Ramadan as he never did at any other time.

 Second: The Prophet (peace be upon him) exhorted to stay up and pray Qiyam (optional Night Prayer) on Laylat-ul-Qadr out of faith and in the hope of reward. It was narrated on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Anyone who spends Laylat-ul-Qadr in Qiyam, out of Iman (Faith) and Ihtisab (confident anticipation of Allah’s Reward), will have their past sins forgiven. (Related by the Group of Hadith Compilers except Ibn Majah)  This Hadith indicates that it is prescribed to stay up and spend this night in Qiyam.

Third: One of the best Du‘a’s (supplications) to be said on Laylat-ul-Qadr is that which the Prophet (peace be upon him) taught to ‘Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her). It was reported by Al-Tirmidhy who ranked the Hadith as Sahih (authentic), that ‘Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said: I said, 'O Messenger of Allah, if I know which night is Laylat-ul-Qadr, what should I say on that night?' He replied, 'Say: Allahumma innaka ‘afuwwun tuhib-ul-‘afwa fa‘ffu ‘anny [O Allah! You are All-Forgiving and You love forgiveness, so forgive me].'

 Fourth: With regard to specifying which night of Ramadan is Laylat-ul-Qadr; this requires specific evidence, however the odd-numbered nights during the last ten nights are more likely than others. The night of the twenty-seventh is the most likely to be Laylat-ul-Qadr based upon the Hadiths reported in this regard.

 Fifth: With regard to Bid‘ahs (innovations in religion), they are not permissible during Ramadan or at other time. It was authentically reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) stated: Anyone who performs an action which is not in accordance with this matter of ours (Islam) will have it rejected. According to another narration: Anyone who introduces anything into this matter of ours (Islam) which is not of it will have it rejected.

We know of no basis for the celebrations held during some nights of Ramadan. Truly, the best of guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the worst of matters are those which are newly-invented in the religion.

May Allah grant us success! May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions!

 Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta’
Fatwaa Link