Its excellence is great, since in this night the Noble Qur'aan was sent down, which leads one who clings to it, to the path of honour and nobility, and raises him to the summit of distinction and everlasting life. The Muslims who adhere strictly to the Sunnah of Allaah's Messenger SAW do not raise flags on this night, nor suspend colourful decorations. Rather they vie in standing during it (Lailatul-Qadr) in Prayer out of sincere faith and hoping for reward. Here, O Muslim, are the Qur'aanic Aayaat and authentic prophetic ahaadeeth referring to this night:
* Its excellence
As regards its excellence it is more than sufficient to mention that Lailatul-Qadr is better than a thousand months, He, the Mighty and Majestic, says:
" Verily! We have sent it (this Qur'aan) down in the Night of Decree (Lailatul-Qadr). And what will make you know what the Night of Decree is? The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months. Therein descend the angels and the Rooh (i.e. Gabriel) by Allaah's Permission with all Decrees, Peace! until the appearance of dawn." (Al-Qadr 97: 1-5)
And in it every decreed matter for the year is conveyed, He, the Most High says:
" We sent it (this Qur'aan) down on a blessed Night. Verily, We are ever warning (mankind of Our Torment). Therein (that Night) is decreed every matter of ordainment. Amran (i.e. a command or this Qur'aan or His Decree of every matter) from Us. Verily, We are ever sending (the Messenger). (As) a Mercy from your Lord. Verily! He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower." (Ad-Dukhaan 44: 3-6)
* When is it?
It is reported from the Prophet SAW that it is within the twenty-first, twenty-third, twenty-fifth, twenty-seventh, twenty-ninth or the last night of Ramadhan.
Imaam ash-Shaafi'ee, rahimahullaah, said: To me it is as the Prophet SAW used to answer according to the question posed, it would be said to him: "Shall I seek it in such and such night?" So he would reply: "Seek it in such and such night." And Allaah knows best. (Reported from him by al-Baghawee in Sharhus-Sunnah)
The most correct saying is that it occurs in the odd nights of the last ten nights of Ramadhan and this is shown by the hadeeth of 'Aa'ishah, RA, who said: "Allaah Messenger SAW used to practice I'tikaaf in the last ten nights and say: 'Seek out Lailatul-Qadr in the (odd nights) of the last ten days of Ramadhan." (Bukhari, Muslim )
However if the servant is too weak or unable, then he should at least not let the last seven days pass him by, due to what is reported from 'Ibn 'Umar, who said: Allaah's Messenger SAW said: "Seek it in the last ten, and if one of you is too weak or unable then let him not allow that to make him miss the final seven." (Bukhari, Muslim)
This explains his, SAW saying: "I see that your dreams are in agreement (that it is in the last seven) so he who wishes to seek it out then let him seek it in the last seven." (Bukhari)
It is also known from the Sunnah, that knowledge of the exact night upon which Lailatul-Qadr falls was taken up because the people argued, 'Ubaadah ibn as-Saamit, RA said: The Prophet SAW came out intending to tell us about Lailatul-Qadr, however two men were arguing and he said: "I came out to inform you about Lailatul-Qadr but so and so, and, so and so were arguing, so it was raised up, and perhaps that is better for you, so seek it on the (twenty) ninth and (twenty) seventh and the (twenty) fifth." (Bukhari)
Some ahaadeeth indicate that Lailatul-Qadr is in the last ten nights, while others indicate that it is in the odd nights of the last ten, so the first are general and the second more particular, and the particular has to be given priority over the general. Other ahaadeeth state that it is in the last seven - and these are restricted by mention of one who is too weak or unable. So there is no confusion, all the ahaadeeth agree and are not contradictory.
In conclusion: The Muslim should seek out Lailatul-Qadr in the odd nights of the last ten: the night of the twenty-first (the night before the twenty-first day), the twenty-third, the twenty-fifth, the twenty-seventh and the twenty-ninth. If he is too weak or unable to seek it out in all the odd nights, then let him seek it out in the odd nights of the last seven: the night of the twenty-fifth, the twenty-seventh and the twenty-ninth. And Allaah knows best.
* How should a Muslim seek Lailatul-Qadr?
One who misses this blessed night then he has missed much good for no one misses it except one from whom it is withheld. Therefore it is recommended that the Muslim who is eager to be obedient to Allaah should stand in Prayer during this night out of Eemaan and hoping for the great reward, since if he does this, Allaah will forgive his previous sins.
He SAW said: "Whoever stands in (Prayer) in Lailatul-Qadr out of Eemaan and seeking reward then his previous sins are forgiven." (Bukhari)
It is recommended to supplicate a great deal in it, it is reported from 'Aa'ishah, RA that she said: "O Messenger of Allaah! What if I knew which night Lailatul-Qadr was, then what should I say in it?" He said: "Say: Allaahumma innaka 'affuwwun tuhibbul 'afwa fa'fu 'annee." (O Allaah you are the one who pardons greatly, and loves to pardon, so pardon me.) (at-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah)
O brother! You know the importance of this night, so stand in Prayer in the last ten nights, in worship, detaching oneself from the women, ordering your family with this, and increasing in actions of obedience and worship in it.
From 'Aa'ishah, RA who said: "The Prophet SAW used to tighten his waist-wrapper (izaar) - (meaning detached himself from his wives in order to worship, and exerted himself in seeking Lailatul-Qadr), spend the night in worship, and wake the family in the last ten nights." (Bukhari, Muslim)
From 'Aa'ishah, RA: "Allaah's Messenger SAW used to exert himself in the last ten nights more than he would at other times." (Muslim)
* Its sign
[Many people believe in all sorts of superstitions about Lailatul-Qadr, and false beliefs from them are that the trees prostrate, and buildings sleep! And these things are clearly futile and baseless.] Allaah's Messenger SAW described the morning after Lailatul-Qadr, so that the Muslim may know which day it is. From Ubayy, RA who said: that he SAW said: "On the morning following Lailatul-Qadr the sun rises not having any rays, as if it were a brass dish, until it rises up." (Muslim, Abu Dawood, at-Tarmidhi, Ibn Majah)
From Abu Hurairah, RA who said: "We were discussing Lailatul-Qadr in the presence of Allaah's Messenger SAW, so he said: 'Which of you remembers (the night) when the moon arose and was like half a plate?'" (Muslim) [Qaadi 'Iyaad said: "It contains an indication that it was towards the end of the month - since the moon does not appear like that when it arises except towards the end of the month."]
From Ibn 'Abbaas, RA who said: Allaah's Messenger SAW said: "Lailatul-Qadr is calm and pleasant, neither hot nor cold, the sun arises on its morning being feeble and red." (at-Tayaalisee, Ibn Khuzaimah, al-Bazzaar with hasan isnaad)
Let us seek abundance rewards from our Creator by performing extra actions in these last few days of the noble month of Ramadhan as it could be our last...