An excerpt from AlMuraqaba by Ayatullah Mirza Jawad Agha Maliki Tabrizi
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
The most important thing of this month is the Night of Power (Lailatul Qadr) – the night which is superior, than a thousand months, one thousand months jihad, one thousand months reign, and the worship in it is superior than one thousand months of worship, (as has been narrated in the traditions). Yes! the Night of Power is a very precious and distinguished night, in accordance with the Qur’anic interpretation it is a very auspicious night; and as could be derived from the traditions, in this night the sustenance and age of servants, and the good and evil of their affairs are destined; the Holy Qur’an was descended in this night; also the angels are descended all over the earth, and when they pass through the gathering of believers, send salutations and praises upon them, and consider their prayers until the dawn.
“It has been narrated that during this night the prayers of all are accepted, and the prayer of no one remains unanswered except the following:
The one who has displeased and angered his parent and was declared disinherited or rebellious by them.
The one who has cut off his relationship with his kith and kin.
The one who possesses animosity and vengeance of a believer in his heart.
The one who consumes alcoholic drinks.”
In the book “Iqbal”, a tradition has been narrated from the Holy Prophet [s]:
“That Prophet Moses [a] in his prayer said: ‘O’ Allah! I desire Your nearness and union. ‘My nearness and union belong to someone who remains vigilant and awake during the Night of Power.’ Replied Allah. Prophet Moses [a] said: ‘O’ Allah! I want Your blessing and forgiveness.‘ ‘My blessing belongs to someone who is kind towards the destitute on the Night of Power.’ Replied Allah. Prophet Moses [a] said: ‘O’ Allah! I want to pass through the bridge of Serat on the road to Paradise safely.‘ ‘The safety in passing through the bridge of Serat belongs to someone who pays alms on the Night of Power,’ replied Allah. Prophet Moses [a] said: ‘O’ Allah! I want the trees and fruits of Paradise.‘ They belong to someone who does not forget to remember and praise Me on the Night of Power.’ Replied Allah. Prophet Moses [a] said: ‘O’ Allah! I wish to have your pleasure and consent.‘ My pleasure and consent belong to someone who offers two rak’ats of prayer during the Night of Power.’ Replied Allah.
In the same book of Iqbal it has been narrated from the Holy Prophet [s]:
“On the Night of Power the gates of Heaven are opened. There for every is no servant who offers prayer in this night, but Allah for every prostration stores a tree in the Paradise – the tree whose branches and shade is so vast that if a rider travels for one hundred years through its shade he would not be able to cross it; for every ra’kat would build a home for him in Paradise – the home decorated and built by pearls, topaz, and rubies; for every verse recited a crown from the crowns of Paradise; for every praise (tasbeeh) a bird from the birds of Paradise; for every sitting a rank from the ranks of Paradise; for every witnessing (tashahud) – a chamber from the chambers of Paradise, and for every salutation – a robe from the robes of Paradise would be bestowed upon him by Allah. And at the breaking of the dawn, companions – youthful and sympathetic, houris of Paradise – pure and decorated, servant obedient and well uniformed, horses – most obedient and swift, flowers, greenery, and good smells, running elegant fountain streams, and many other bounties which make the soul pleased and eyes to shine, would also be bestowed upon him by Allah.”
Beseeching Allah for Bestowing Readiness for the Night of Power (Lailatul Qadr)
Yes! the one who believes in the religion and respects Qur’anic verses and traditions of the sinless Imams [a], it would be desirable that he should make his best efforts and endeavours for celebrating this night. The efforts which are desirable and should be undertaken are, that during the whole year before the arrival of the Night of Power, he must repeatedly beseech Allah (the Glorious, the Exalted) to bestow upon him the divine grace (towfiq) to be vigilant during this night; bless him with most esteemed and dearest deeds; consider that night superior than one thousand months for him and may accept from him; make him His most favourite and nearest one during this night; bless him with His love, learning, nearness, union, pleasure, and consent together with health, happiness, and welfare; should be pleased with him in such a manner, that after this he would never be displeased with him; should make the prophets. Imams, and especially the Imam of the Age (may Allah hasten his appearance) pleased with him; and allocate him to live in Allah nearness accompanied by the impeccable ones, bestow upon him divine favour to succeed in establishing Allah’s obedience and consent, and make his ultimate end Allah’s countenance and pleasure.
Preparation For the Night of Power (Lailatul Qadr).
The other decent efforts for this night are that before its arrival, the prudent wayfarer should arrange for its preliminaries and necessities, e.g. for worshipping in this night a suitable place, dress, and perfume should be arranged in advance for engaging in private humming communications Allah (the Glorious, the Exalted), as well as for communications with his masters, i.e. sinless Imams [a] he should arrange suitable themes and contents; for paying alms during this night should allocate some money, even for the invitation of guests and for payment of alms, he should plan in advance to select the most suitable guests and the genuinely poor people who really deserve financial support.
Let us imagine that if an emperor dispatches a special courier before someone, with compassion and mercy invites him for a special feast, gives him glad-tidings that if he appears in the royal feast with decency and decorum, rewards and magnificent gifts would be bestowed upon him, and the more respectfully he would behave in the assembly, the emperor too would increase his rewards and gifts in proportion with his behaviour. Undoubtedly, after receiving such a message this person would become excited and pleased, and in order to prepare himself would not leave any stone unturned, and during this period would mobilize all his resources and efforts to procure whatever is required for being present in such an assembly, so that finally, when that moment arrives, being fully decorated in a respectable and decent manner, he could present himself over there.
The invitation of an emperor is responded in the above manner but how about the invitation of Allah (the Glorious, the Exalted), who is the King of all kings – the King of the Earth and the Heavens – has invited us for His feasts; in order to invite us has dispatched his favourite angels, pious prophets and sinless Imams as his couriers. He has assigned His angels to announce his invitation kindly and compassionately to us; has given us the glad-tidings of giving us permanent abode in Paradise in return for sincere worshipping during one single night (the Night of Power); has promised such bounties, which have not been seen by any eye, have not been heard by any ear, and have not been imagined through any human being’s mind, as well as has given us the glad-tiding of illumination, ecstasy, majesty, splendour, nearness, union, and countenance, for whose least comprehension and understanding, faculties of reason and thoughts find themselves astonished and helpless.
Are we among those who have prepared for this night and invitation, the way we ought to be, and must be, in order to attain the eternal blessing and salvation? Or are we among those negligent and idle ones, who do not achieve anything except loss and eternal doom? We must better know that the one who acts naively and lazily, and does not strive to take advantage of the magnificent generosities of this night, when in the Hereafter, would see that those who were zealous, committed, and vigilant during these nights what have they achieved, and what magnificence, splendour and glory have been bestowed upon them. But they would gain nothing except regret – the regret so great and painful that the Hell’s blazing fire and its torturous punishments would seem smaller as compared to their regret, and then together with the losers and eternally doomed ones, would cry loudly:
“Ah! Woe upon me! In that I neglected (my duty) towards Allah.” – Holy Qur’an (39:56)
But on that Day when the gates of repentance would have been closed, there would be nothing left for compensation of the damage, everyone would have seen the ultimate outcome of his deeds, and then feeling sorry and being regretful would not produce any gain. Therefore, we must take a look upon ourselves, and before falling into such regret and grief, must admonish ourselves for being so lazy, naive, and easy going. And before that we are called for accounting and are condemned into the state of wretchedness and destitution, for wasting our precious capital – the capital through which we could have accomplished most precious and greater gains we better put our self to scrutiny.
Selection of the Most Suitable Deeds
Other desirable efforts of this night are that with the nearing of these nights, one should increase his eagerness for receiving the promised bounties and blessings; should select worships and deeds which are more in harmony with his mood from the point of view of sincerity, heart’s presence, and internal purification; in this matter should seek help from Allah (the Glorious, the Exalted), and the impeccable ones; and if he cannot diagnose himself what suits his mood properly, he should seek guidance from Allah (the Glorious, the Exalted), through consultation (istekhara).
Meditation and Pondering
After recital of invocations and supplications one should also allocate some time for self-meditation and pondering, of course, this should be done at a time when he is free from whatever disturbs his thoughts like domination of sleep, over-eating, and pains of hunger etc.
Not to be Negligent from Allah
During these nights, one must strive his best to keep thinking about Allah (the Glorious, the Exalted), all along the night, and should not forget Him during any part of the night even for the sake of recommended and justified deeds. Also while offering prayer and supplications he should not think about any other thing even though if they happen to be recommended things.
For example, during prayer (salaat), one should not think about recommended deeds like building of mosque, cleaning of mosque, and paying alms etc., because all these are indications of negligence; even during a part of the prayer (salaat), he should not think about the next portion of the prayer, e.g. in the state of standing, to think about the prostration is negligence. He must try to concentrate upon whatever act of the prayer he is performing and should not be negligent about whatever he is doing or reciting. In order to make this task easier, before performing different acts of prayer, e.g. recital or genuflexion (rukoo), first of all, he should think about them briefly and then should perform them. And in case while performing a certain act, negligence dominates over him, and if a verse or invocation is recited with negligence, he must repeat it again.
For example, when he wants to stand towards Mecca (Qiblah) for prayer (salaat) first of all, he should think briefly about the wisdom of standing towards Mecca, and then should turn his face in that direction; and when he wants to stand for the prayer, first of all, he should think about the meanings of standing, i.e., his standing is for truth and his resting upon his two feet is the indication of his hope (raj’a) and fear (khouf) about the acceptance of his worship. When he wants to recite the phrase:
“In the name of Allah the Beneficent, the Merciful.”
First of all, he should think about its meaning in brief, and then should recite it with his tongue, and similar is the case with other acts of the prayer.
Resorting (Tawassul) to Ahlul-Bait [a]
The one who wants to be vigilant in this manner throughout the night, must take refuge in the sinless (ma’sum) – the one to whom this night belongs – at the beginning of that night, should stretch his hands towards their generous threshold. With persistence, supplicating in a polite and soft manner, with words and content arousing their sympathies, should beseech them for bestowing upon him the grace of being vigilant during this night. Then he must surrender and hand over all his existence, reason, heart, self, virtues, deeds to them, and throughout the night, must be careful not to commit anything which is not in harmony with this surrender, because the one who succeeds in it, certainly would have achieved whatever he aspired for during this night.
Crying and Shedding Tears
For the prudent wayfarer who desires, that during these nights his fear, humility, tears, crying, anguish, and lamentation be increased as much as possible, one of the best method is that he should tie his hands around his neck; should pour dirt upon his head; should place his head against a wall; sometimes he should stand and sometimes he should cry; should imagine himself at the scene of Judgement Day; and the way sinners are rebuked with harshness, should rebuke himself accordingly; then he should look towards his right, imagining about the companions of the right hand (ashab al-yamin) and should think about their splendour, majesty, features, virtues, robes, and smells; then he should look towards the left, imagining about the companions of the left hand (ashab al-shumal) should regard himself among them, thinking about their torturous and painful condition with blackened faces, their swollen eyes, tied hands and feet, and burnt skins; the angels standing in readiness to execute Allah’s command to throw him together with them inside Hell; then he should imagine and be scared lest Allah (the Glorious, the Exalted) orders:
“Seize ye him, bind ye him, burn ye him in the blazing fire, and make him march in a chain whereof the length is seventy cubits.” – Holy Qur’an (69:30-32)
Then he should cry:
“O’ Thou are the most compassionate, and Thou Who are the shelter of unsheltered ones!”
And should cry:
“Where is Your vast blessing? Where is Your infinite forgiveness? Where are Your love and benevolence?”
Then he should cry, should remember His patience and kindness, should think about His infinite forgiveness and generosity, and if Satan wants to make him hopeless should tell him: ‘you, with all these sinning and transgressions can’t be hopeless about Allah’s blessing and forgiveness, which belongs especially to righteous ones and you are not among them.’ He shouldn’t pay attention to his words, don’t let his whispers effect his heart, turn his face from him, take refuge in Allah, (the Glorious, the Exalted), and should pay more attention to his prayer, hopes and needs, and in a hopeful manner should speak to Allah (the Glorious, the Exalted): it is far away from Your benevolence and magnanimity to turn Your face away from someone needy like me, and not to forgive a destitute and helpless one like me who has stretched his needy hands towards Your threshold, has resorted to Your most favourite ones, with tearful eyes, and heart and body trembling with fear.
Then becoming further hopeful, he should submit his wants before Him, and whatever spiritual exalted position and sublime ranks, like enlightenment, love, union, faith, and piety could enter in his mind, he must beg from Him. And should repeat the following text as much as possible:
“O’! Thou Who is capable of doing whatever he pleases, and except Thee there is none, who could do whatever he desires. O’! Thou are the One Whose great generosities and large bounties are not expansive at all. O’! Thou Whose donations do not decrease anything (from His treasures), and Whose not giving away does not increase anything.”
Then he should insists more about the same meanings and plead by saying:
“O’ my Lord! if I do not deserve to request whatever I have requested from You, but Your generosity and benevolence is such and deserve to bestow upon me the grant of my needs. O’ my Lord! Your recognition, which You Yourself have taught me encourages me, that I should desire my great needs from You, because, whatever You bestow upon Your servants and provide for them is not because they are worthy of them, and if there is such worthiness, even that worthiness is bestowed upon them by You, therefore, benevolence and welfare could not belong to anyone except You, and if such is the case, O’ Lord! That worthiness and decency, which You bestowed upon Your righteous servants, bestow upon me too, so that I could also achieve this worthiness, whereby my prayers could receive Your acceptance and my desires get fulfilled.
O’ Allah (the Glorious, the Exalted)! You are the one that whatever You do, no one can question You, and there is no one who could dare to raise a finger of criticism. Or could challenge You in Your Power and Reign, You are such that neither Your generosity have any limit and boundary, nor Your blessing have any end, therefore, O’ Lord bestow upon me worthiness in accordance of Your Power, and make me rich with Your generosity. O’ Thou are the most generous one among the generous ones! O’ Allah (the Glorious the Exalted)! If You want to punish me, instead, punish one of those who don’t believe in Your divinity and keep enmity towards Your friends. Come on and punish him, but as far as I am concerned, can I find anyone else except You to pardon me? O’ Lord! Would You deprive me from Your generosity ? Or there is no need for You to punish and take revenge but as far as I am concerned, I do need a lot of Your forgiveness and generosity.
O’ my Lord! Your enemy as well as my enemy, Satan desires that I become deprived from Your supplication and prayer and, thus, become pessimistic and hopeless from Your blessing and generosities, but I, because of Your grace have turned off my face from him, and trampled over whatever he desired. Therefore, help and support me over him, because in spite of his whispering I didn’t become hopeless and never turned off my face from You.
O’ Lord! With my little comprehension about Your blessing and forgiveness as well as Your being needless and omnipotent, I don’t believe that You will deprive from Your forgiveness and pardon, anyone of Your servants even the pagans except the enemies of your favourite ones who have oppressed your saints and tortured them but as regards to the punishment of others, if it was not the surrender and obedience to Your book and Your prophet’s words, I wouldn’t have believed; that regarding the punishment of unbelievers, you have stated in your book that they will be punished; from the point of view of my reason – the reason which you have bestowed upon me – in case you decided to punish them to fulfil Your warning against them, You are not helpless to do so.
But if You don’t act in accordance with Your warning, by not punishing them, then even in that case, there would not be the least interference in Your Exalted essence and perfection. O’ Lord! I presume so about the unbelievers, then how come shouldn’t be hopeful about the believers who have taken refuge in Thee, have put their trust in Your generosity, and desire Your union, even though they might have sinned and acted disobediently?
O’ my Lord! My Master! Sinning is from the servant and forgiveness is from the Master, especially, if the Master happens to be Exalted and beneficent like Thee. O’ my Lord! This is what I presume about Your generosity and kindness towards Your servants, during other months, days, and nights, and therefore, I am hopeful. But during the Holy Month of Ramadhan on the Night of Power, which You have created for the sake Your special generosities and blessings; have bestowed a special favour upon Your servants; have given glad-tidings of Your forgiveness and mercy to the sinners; have opened the gates of Your benevolence and magnanimity towards all; have spread the tablecloth of your forgiveness and blessing for all; can I say except that – You will reward everyone with pardon, forgiveness, love and blessing; would grant their wants; would accept their prayers; would reward their evils with goods, and their sins with good deeds; and would let Your greatness and magnanimity to surpass their limits – what else can I presume?
This is my optimistic presumption towards You, and that is my favourable opinion about Your kindness and magnanimity; You Yourself are knowledgeable, that Your great Prophet has given what glad-tidings for those, who have favourable opinion about you.”
The Day of Power (Qadr)
It should be understood that in accordance with the traditions both the night and day are interconnected, as far as their worth, value, esteem, and splendour are concerned, i.e. if the day is esteemed and honourable, the night of that day also possesses the same distinction and vice versa. Therefore, we must appreciate the importance of the Days of Power and like the Nights of Power, should celebrate them by sincerely performing worships and righteous deeds.
Taken from the book: Spiritual Journey of the Mystics