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Some scholars have determined that the night mentioned in the above verse is that of the Night of Power (laila al-Qadr), while others have seen it to be the Night of Salvation (Bara’ah). Other scholars have combined the two, coming up with the following:” The sacredness of Bara’ah is related to the revelation of the Qur’an on that night. On the fifteen night of Sha’ban (the Night of Bara’ah) was when the Qur’an was sent down to the skies of the world in a complete form. The Night of Power (Laila al-Qadr) is when the Qur’an began to be written and revealed section by section to the Prophet through the mediation of Archangel Gabriel. For this reason, it is not a contradiction to interpret this verse as indicating the Night of Bara’ah while the Night of Power marks the first night of revelation.” 

Laila al-Bara’ah occurs on the fifteen night of Sha’ban which, Insha Allah, will be falling on Saturday night, 16 July 2011. This night has been given the title of Blessed Night. It is called Blessed because it is a night of abundance, spiritual productivity, prosperity and sacredness. It is known as Al-Bara’ah (salvation) because it has been granted to Muslims by Allah (swt) as an opportunity to be purified of sins and to free themselves from their wrongs. It is known as rank or record because those who have performed deeds that are deemed worthy (who have spent this night in an appropriately aware manner) are chosen to be approved by Allah and mercy because the mercy of Allah is attained on this night. 

In Islamic sources, as well as in popular culture, it is stated that there are five characteristics belong to this night:

  1. Though not found in the best authenticated sources, it is reported in a hadith narrated by Aisha (ra) that heavenly decisions regarding those who will be born, those who will die, and the actions of people are placed in from of Allah, while their sustenance is revealed. However this hadith is not considered reliable.
  2. The forms of worship performed on that night (prayers, reading the Qur’an, reciting of du’as, remembrance and repentance) are greatly supported by the fasting and worshipping carried out on the previous day.
  3. It is the night of abundance and blessings
  4. It is a night of forgiveness.
  5. This was the night when the Prophet (saw) was granted intercession. The Prophet (saw) said:” When it is the middle of the month of Sha’ban, enliven the night with your prayer. Fast during the day, because Allah (swt) will descend to the Heavens of the earth at the time of sunset and say” Is there no one who is repentant? I will forgive them. Is there no one who wants a blessing? I will bless them. Is there no one who is ill? I will give them health.” 

Allah forgives every servant who turns to Him, who bows his or her head in repentance, or who weeps over mistakes. This is what the Night of Bara’ah clearly announces with blessings, abundance and gifts. It calls on Muslims to take stock of and consider their actions. On the other hand, it would be highly inappropriate to remain impervious to the call of the Prophet who prayed to Allah to accept his intercession on the behalf of all believers. 

According to Islamic sources, those who are practicing witchcraft, seeking revenge, abusing alcohol and drugs to become intoxicated and not trying to free themselves from these, those who do not treat their parents appropriately, and those who adhere to adultery, will not be able to avail themselves of the forgiveness, blessings, and the intercession of this night. While it is possible for everyone to avail themselves of these blessings, there will be some who remain outside this mercy. Those who try to eliminate the bad characteristics inherent in themselves; who examine their actions; who take this opportunity with their heart and mind fully aware; and who try to eliminate all evil in them, are those who can benefit. 

It is an opportunity for us as well as for those who are away from Allah, doing prohibited acts and sinful. They have to turn to Allah, go to masjids, mingle with the congregation, worship, read or listen to Al-Qur’an, make du’a and plead for divine forgiveness.

 Those who act in such a way on this night will have tested this spiritual atmosphere. They will have purged the evil, distance themselves from sin, adopted feelings of goodness, and turned toward good behavior, thus they will be able to reach the infinite mercy of Allah. Wallahu a’lam.

 (Prepared by Abdul Muhaemin Karim)

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