Specifying the Night of Decree and its Signs
This is supported by what Imam Ahmad recorded from Ubadah bin As-Samit that the Messenger of Allah (sallahu alayhe wa sallah) said,
“The Night of Al-Qadr occurs during the last ten (nights). Whoever stands for them (in prayer) seeking their reward, then indeed Allah will forgive his previous sins and his latter sins. It is an odd night: the ninth or the seventh, or the fifth, or the third or the last night (of Ramadan).”
The Messenger of Allah (saws) also said,
“Verily, the sign of the Night of Al-Qadr is that it is pure and glowing as if ther were a bright, tranquil, calm moon during it. It is not cold, nor is it hot, and no shooting star is permitted until morning. Its sign is that the sun appears on the morning following it smooth having no rays on it, just like the moon on a full moon night. Shaytan is not allowed to come out with it (the sun) on that day.” [Ahmad 5:324. It is a Mursal narration.]
This chain of narration is good. In its text there is some oddities and in some of its wordings there are things that are objectionable.
Abu Dawud mentioned a section in his Sunan that he titled, “Chapter: Clarification that the Night of Al-Qadr occurs during every Ramadan.” Then he recorded that Abdullah bin Umar said, “The Messenger of Allah (sallahu alayhe wa sallah) was asked about the Night of Al-Qadr while I was listening and he said,
“It occurs during every Ramadan.” [Abu Dawud 2:111. This narration is considered Mawquf.]
The men of this chain of narration are all reliable, but Abu Dawud said that Shu’bah and Sufyan both narrated from Ishaq and they both considered it to be a statement of the Companion (Ibn Umar, and thus not the statement of the Prophet (sallahu alayhe wa sallah) ).
It has been reported that Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri said, “The Messenger of Allah (sallahu alayhe wa sallah) performed Itikaf durig the first ten nights of Ramadan and we performed Itikaf with him. Then Jibril came to him and said, ‘That which you are seeking is front of you.’ So the Prophet (sallahu alayhe wa sallah) performed Itikaf during the middle ten days of Ramadan and we also performed Itikaf with him. Then Jibril came to him and said; ‘That which you are seeking is ahead of you.’ so the Prophet (sallahu alayhe wa sallah) stood up and gave a sermon on the morning of the twentieth of Ramadan and he said,
“Whoever performed Itikaf with me, let him come back (for Itikaf again), for verily I saw the Night of Al-Qadr, and I was caused to forget it, and indeed it is during the last ten (nights). It is during an odd night and I saw myself as if I were prostrating in mud and water.”
The roof of the Masjid was made of dried palm-tree leaves and we did not see anything (i.e. clouds) in the sky. But then a patch of wind-driven clouds came and it rained. So the Prophet (saws) lead us in prayer until we saw the traces of mud and water on the forehead of the Messenger of Allah (sallahu alayhe wa sallah) , which confirmed his dream.”
In one narration it adds that this occurred on the morning of the twenty-first night (meaning the next morning). They both (Al-Bukhari and Muslim) recorded it in the Two Sahihs .
[Fath Al Bari 2:329, 318, and Muslim 2:824]
Ash-Shafii said, “This Hadith is the most authentic of what has been reported.” It has also been said that it is on the twenty-third night due to a Hadith narrated from Abdullah bin Unays in Sahih Muslim . [Muslim 2:827]
It has also been reported that it is on the twenty-fifth night due to what Al-Bukhari recorded from Ibn Abbas that the Messenger of Allah said,
“Seek it in the last ten (nights) of Ramadan. In the ninth it still remains in the seventh it still remains, in the fifth it still remains.”
[Fath Al-Bari 4:306]
Many have explained this Hadith to refer to the odd nights, and this is the most apparrent and most popular explanation. It has also been said that it occurs on the twenty-seventh night because of what Muslim recorded in his Sahih from Ubay bin Ka’b that the Messenger of Allah (saws) mentioned that it was on the twenty-seventh night.
Imam Ahmad recorded from Zirr that he asked Ubayy bin Ka’b “O Abu Al-Mundhir! Verily, your borther Ibn Masud says whoever stands for prayer (at night) the entire year, will catch the Night of Al-Qadr .” He (Ubayy) said, “May allah have mercy upon him. Indeed he knows that it is the twenty-seventh night.” Then he swore by Allah. Zirr then said, “How do you know that?” Ubayy replied “by a sign or an indication that he (the Prophet (saws) ) informed us of. It rises that next day having no rays on it – meaning the sun.” [Ahmad 5:130] Muslim has also recorded it. [Muslim 2:828]
It has been said that it is the night of the twenty-ninth. Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal recorded from ‘Ubadah bin As-Samit that he asked the Messenger of Allah (sallahu alayhe wa sallah) about the Night of Decree and he replied,
“Seek it in Ramadan in the last ten nights. For verily, it is during the odd nights, the twenty-first, or the twenty-third, or the twenty-fifth, or the twenty-seventh, or the twenty-ninth, or during the last night.”
[Ahmad 5:318 There is a deficiency in tis chain of narration, but the meanings are found with others.]
Imam Ahmad also recorded from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah (sallahu alayhe wa sallah) said about the Night of Al-Qadr,
“Verily, it is during the twenty-seventh or the twenty-ninth night. And verily, the angels who are on the earth during that night are more numerous than the number of pebbles.” [Ahmad 2:519]
Ahmad was alone in recording this Hadith and there is nothing wrong with its chain of narration.
At-Tirmidhi recorded from Abu Qilabah that he said, “the Night of Al-Qadr moves around (i.e., from year to year) throughout the last ten nights.” This view that At-Tirmidhi mentions from Abu Qilabah has also been recorded by Malik, Ath-Thawri, Ahmad bin Hanbal, Ishaq bin Rahuyah, Abu Thar, Al-Muzani, Abu Bakr bin Khuzaymah and others. It has also been related from Ash-Shafi’i and Al-Qadhi reported it from him, and this is most likely. And Allah knows best.