The Blessed Night is Laylah al-Qadr, not the Middle of Sha’baan

Allah opens surah al-Dukkhaan (44) by mentioning “a blessed night” during which He sent down the Qur’an. The majority of the salaf and prominent interpreters of the Qur’an have indicated that this blessed night is Laylah al-Qadr, while a minority have claimed that it is referring to the night of the middle of the month of Sha’baan. What follows are three detailed clarifications of why the first position is correct and the second opinion is not supported by the textual evidences.

○ Sheikh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee wrote the following clarification at the beginning of his tafsir of surah al-Dhukhaan. al-Shinqitee’s tafsir was focused on the theme of explaining the Qur’an first and foremost by means of the Qur’an itself, and he follows this approach in this explanation as well:

قوله – تعالى – : إنا أنزلناه في ليلة مباركة . ـ

Allah’s statement:

إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةٍ مُّبَارَكَةٍ

Indeed, We sent it [the Qur’an] down during a blessed night [44:3]

أبهم – تعالى – هذه الليلة المباركة هنا ، ولكنه بين أنها هي ليلة القدر في قوله – تعالى – : إنا أنزلناه في ليلة القدر [ 97 \ 1 ] وبين كونها ( مباركة ) المذكورة هنا في قوله – تعالى – : ليلة القدر خير من ألف شهر [ 97 \ 3 ] إلى آخر السورة . ـ

Allah left this blessed night ambiguous here, however He made it clear that it refers to Laylah al-Qadr elsewhere in His statement:

إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ

Indeed, We sent it down during Laylah al-Qadr [97:1]

And He clarified its aforementioned quality of “blessedness” in His statement:

لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ خَيْرٌ مِّنْ أَلْفِ شَهْرٍ

Laylah al-Qadr is better than a thousand months [97:3]

until the end of that surah.

فقوله : في ليلة مباركة أي كثيرة البركات والخيرات . ـ

And Allah’s statement:

فِي لَيْلَةٍ مُّبَارَكَةٍ

during a blessed night [44:3]

meaning: one with abundant blessing and goodness.

ولا شك أن ليلة هي خير من ألف شهر ، إلى آخر الصفات التي وصفت بها في سورة ” القدر ” – كثيرة البركات والخيرات جدا . ـ

And there is no doubt that this night is better than one thousand months, as well as the rest of the attributes with which it is characterized in surah al-Qadr – it has abundant blessing and great goodness.

وقد بين – تعالى – أن هذه الليلة المباركة هي ليلة القدر ، التي أنزل فيها القرآن من شهر رمضان ، في قوله – تعالى – : شهر رمضان الذي أنزل فيه القرآن [ 2 \ 185 ] . ـ

Allah clarified that this blessed night is Laylah al-Qadr, the night in which Allah sent down the Qur’an during the month of Ramadan. This comes in Allah’s statement:

شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ

The month of Ramadan in which the Qur’an was revealed [2:185]

فدعوى أنها ليلة النصف من شعبان كما روي عن عكرمة وغيره ، لا شك في أنها دعوى باطلة لمخالفتها لنص القرآن الصريح . ولا شك كل ما خالف الحق فهو باطل . ـ

Thus, there is no doubt that the claim that the night referred to in the ayah of surah al-Dukhaan is the night of the middle of Sha’baan – as has been transmitted from ‘Ikrimah and others – is a false claim since it is at odds with the explicit text of the Qur’an. And there is no doubt that anything which is at odds with the truth is falsehood.

والأحاديث – التي يوردها بعضهم في أنها من شعبان – المخالفة لصريح القرآن – لا أساس لها ، ولا يصح سند شيء منها ، كما جزم به ابن العربي وغير واحد من المحققين . فالعجب كل العجب من مسلم يخالف نص القرآن الصريح بلا مستند كتاب ، ولا سنة صحيحة . ـ

And there is no basis for the ahaadeeth narrated by some – which are in conflict with the explicit text of the Qur’an – which state that this night is the night of Sha’baan. None of the chains of narration for these are authentic, as ibn ‘Arabi and other authenticators have judged. And it is truly amazing to find a Muslim who goes against the explicit text of Qur’an without any basis in the Qur’an or in the authentic sunnah.

[Adhwaa’ al-Bayaan 7/172]

○ al-Haafidh Abu’l-Fidaa’ Ismaa’eel ibn Kathir also discussed this issue in his tafsir of surah al-Dukhaan. As the title al-haafidh indicates, ibn Kathir was an expert in the sciences of hadeeth, and so addressed this issue both from the angle of the Qur’anic evidence as well as from the angle of hadeeth. He addressed the issue by writing:

يقول تعالى مخبرا عن القرآن العظيم : إنه أنزله في ليلة مباركة ، وهي ليلة القدر ، كما قال تعالى : ( إنا أنزلناه في ليلة القدر ) [ القدر : 1 ] وكان ذلك في شهر رمضان ، كما قال : تعالى : ( شهر رمضان الذي أنزل فيه القرآن ) [ البقرة : 185 ] [ ص: 246 ] وقد ذكرنا الأحاديث الواردة في ذلك في ” سورة البقرة ” بما أغنى عن إعادته . ـ

Allah provided us with some information about the Magnificent Qur’an by saying,

إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةٍ مُّبَارَكَةٍ

Indeed, We sent it [the Qur’an] down during a blessed night [44:3]

and this is referring to Laylah al-Qadr, just as He said:

إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ

Indeed, We sent it down during Laylah al-Qadr [97:1]

And that takes places during the month of Ramadan, as Allah said:

شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ

The month of Ramadan in which the Qur’an was revealed [2:185]

And we have already mentioned a number of transmitted ahaadeeth on that matter in our explanation of surah al-Baqarah (02) which do not need to be repeated here.

ومن قال : إنها ليلة النصف من شعبان – كما روي عن عكرمة – فقد أبعد النجعة فإن نص القرآن أنها في رمضان . والحديث الذي رواه عبد الله بن صالح ، عن الليث ، عن عقيل عن الزهري : أخبرني عثمان بن محمد بن المغيرة بن الأخنس أن رسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – قال : ” تقطع الآجال من شعبان إلى شعبان ، حتى إن الرجل لينكح ويولد له ، وقد أخرج اسمه في الموتى ” فهو حديث مرسل ، ومثله لا يعارض به النصوص . ـ

And those who say that the “blessed night” is the night of the middle of Sha’baan – as has been transmitted from ‘Ikrimah – have certainly missed the mark, for the the Qur’an specifies that the “blessed night” is during Ramadan.

And the hadeeth which is narrated on the authority of ‘Abdullah ibn Saalih, on the authority of al-Layth, on the authority of ‘Aqeel ibn al-Zuhri that ‘Uthman ibn Muhammad ibn al-Mughirah ibn al-Akhnas informed him that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “Death is decreed from one Sha’baan to the next, such that it takes effect even if a man were to get married and have a child while his name was among those who are going to die,” – this is a mursal hadeeth [i.e. its chain of narration stops at a taabi’ee and does not connect to the Prophet through a sahabi], and the textual sources are not overturned by the likes of such things.

وقوله : ( إنا كنا منذرين ) أي : معلمين الناس ما ينفعهم ويضرهم شرعا ، لتقوم حجة الله على عباده . ـ

And Allah’s statement:

إِنَّا كُنَّا مُنذِرِينَ

Verily, We are ever warning [44:3]

meaning: ever teaching mankind what will benefit him and what will harm him in terms of the divine legislation. This is so that Allah can establish a proof against His slaves.

[Tafsir ibn Kathir 7/246-247]

The Permanent Committee for Islamic Research and Fataawaa, which is an official government institution of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia composed of senior scholars and headed by the country’s senior mufti, answered a question on this subject. Below is the question and the answer that the committee provided. The response affirms the above answers and adds to them by highlighting how this matter is based on textual evidence, not independent reasoning or speculation:

س: قال الله تعالى: حم (1) وَالْكِتَابِ الْمُبِينِ (2) إِنَّا أَنْـزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةٍ مُبَارَكَةٍ إِنَّا كُنَّا مُنْذِرِينَ ، قرأت في [تفسير الجلالين] لجلال الدين المحلي وجلال الدين السيوطي تفسير قوله تعالى: إِنَّا أَنْـزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةٍ مُبَارَكَةٍ إنها هي ليلة القدر، أو ليلة النصف من شعبان، نزل فيها من أم الكتاب من السماء السابعة إلى السماء الدنيا، وسألت كثيرًا من المشايخ وأفادوني بأن ليلة القدر في رمضان، فأرجو توضيح تفسير هذه الآية، حفظكم الله. ـ

Question: Allah says:

حم * وَالْكِتَابِ الْمُبِينِ * إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةٍ مُّبَارَكَةٍ ۚ إِنَّا كُنَّا مُنذِرِينَ

Ha, Meem. * By the clear Book, * Indeed, We sent it down during a blessed night. Verily, We are ever warning [44:1-3]

 In the book Tafsir al-Jalalayn by Jalal al-Deen al-Mahalli and Jalal al-Deen al-Suyooti I read an explanation of Allah’s statement:

إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةٍ مُّبَارَكَةٍ

Indeed, We sent it down during a blessed night. [44:1-3]

that “this is referring to Laylah al-Qadr, or to the night of the middle of Sha’baan. It was sent from the Umm al-Kitaab in the seventh heaven down to the lowest heaven” [see Tafsir al-Jalalayn pg. 497]. I have asked a number of sheikhs about this and they have informed me that Laylah al-Qadr is during Ramadan, so I hope that you provide clarity regarding the explanation of this ayah – may Allah preserve you all.

ج: أقسم الله جل شأنه بكتابه العزيز الذي هو آيته التي آتاها محمدًا صلى الله عليه وسلم؛ لتكون معجزة وحجة له على رسالته، أنه أنزل عليه القرآن الكريم في ليلة مباركة كثيرة الخير، وهي ليلة القدر، كما قال تعالى: إِنَّا أَنْـزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ (1) وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ (2) لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ خَيْرٌ مِنْ أَلْفِ شَهْرٍ إلى آخر السورة، وهي في شهر رمضان؛ لقوله تعالى: شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنْـزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِنَ الْهُدَى وَالْفُرْقَانِ ، ومن قال: إنها ليلة النصف من شعبان فقد أخطأ وأبعد النجعة؛ لمخالفته لنصوص القرآن والأحاديث النبوية الثابتة التي بينتها وعينت شهرها وسمتها باسمها، وليس مع من قال: إنها ليلة النصف من شعبان دليل من الكتاب أو السنة الثابتة يعتمد عليه في تفسير الليلة المباركة بذلك، وليست المسألة عقلية حتى يقال فيها بالرأي أو يعتمد فيها على الأدلة العقلية، وإنما هي سمعية يعتمد فيها على النقول من الكتاب والسنة الثابتة. ـ

Answer: Allah swears by His Mighty Book which is a sign of His which He gave to Muhammad (ﷺ) so that it could be a miracle and proof of his prophethood. He swears that He sent the Noble Qur’an down to him during a night of blessings and abundant goodness,which was Laylah al-Qadr. This is as Allah said:

إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ * وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ * لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ خَيْرٌ مِّنْ أَلْفِ شَهْرٍ

Indeed, We sent the Qur’an down during Laylah al-Qadr* And what can make you know what is Laylah al-Qadr* Laylah al-Qadr is better than a thousand months. [97:1-3]

until the end of the surah. And Laylah al-Qadr takes place during the month of Ramadan, according to Allah’s statement:

شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِّنَ الْهُدَىٰ وَالْفُرْقَانِ

The month of Ramadhan in which the Qur’an was revealed, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. [2:185]

And whoever says that “the blessed night” is the night of the middle of Sha’baan is certainly mistaken and has missed the mark due to his opposition to the texts of the Qur’an and the authentic statements of the Prophet which make the matter clear and indicate its month and call it by name. And whoever says that it is the night of the middle of Sha’baan does not have any proof from the Qur’an or the authentic Sunnah to stand on for interpreting “the blessed night” in that way. This is not a matter subject to intellectual reasoning such that one could speculate about it or rely on reasoning for proofs; it is exclusively a matter of transmitted material in which one relies upon the transmitted texts of the Qur’an and authentic Sunnah.

 ثم بين سبحانه سنته العادلة ورحمته الشاملة في عباده بقوله: إِنَّا كُنَّا مُنْذِرِينَ ، أي: مرسلين رسلاً يبلغون عن الله شريعته وهدايته لهم، ويخوفونهم عاقبة مخالفة أوامره ونواهيه؛ إقامة لعدله وإسقاطًا لمعاذير خلقه، ورحمة منه بعباده، كما قال تعالى: رُسُلا مُبَشِّرِينَ وَمُنْذِرِينَ لِئَلا يَكُونَ لِلنَّاسِ عَلَى اللَّهِ حُجَّةٌ بَعْدَ الرُّسُلِ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَزِيزًا حَكِيمًا ، وكما قال: ذَلِكَ أَنْ لَمْ يَكُنْ رَبُّكَ مُهْلِكَ الْقُرَى بِظُلْمٍ وَأَهْلُهَا غَافِلُونَ وقال: مَنِ اهْتَدَى فَإِنَّمَا يَهْتَدِي لِنَفْسِهِ وَمَنْ ضَلَّ فَإِنَّمَا يَضِلُّ عَلَيْهَا وَلاَ تَزِرُ وَازِرَةٌ وِزْرَ أُخْرَى وَمَا كُنَّا مُعَذِّبِينَ حَتَّى نَبْعَثَ رَسُولا . وبالله التوفيق. وصلى الله على نبينا محمد، وآله وصحبه وسلم. ـ

Then Allah clarified His practice of justice and His mercy which encompasses His slave by saying:

إِنَّا كُنَّا مُنذِرِينَ

Verily, We are ever warning [44:3]

meaning: ever sending messengers to convey Allah’s divine legislation and His guidance to the people and to inculcate fear of the punishment of opposing His commands and prohibitions in them. This springs from His justice and effectively shoots down any excuses that His created beings might offer, and it is a mercy from Him towards His slaves. This is as Allah says:

رُّسُلًا مُّبَشِّرِينَ وَمُنذِرِينَ لِئَلَّا يَكُونَ لِلنَّاسِ عَلَى اللَّـهِ حُجَّةٌ بَعْدَ الرُّسُلِ ۚ وَكَانَ اللَّـهُ عَزِيزًا حَكِيمًا

Messengers as bringers of good tidings and warners so that mankind will have no argument against Allah after the messengers. And ever is Allah Exalted in Might and Wise. [4:165]

and as He said:

ذَٰلِكَ أَنْ لَمْ يَكُنْ رَبُّكَ مُهْلِكَ الْقُرَىٰ بِظُلْمٍ وَأَهْلُهَا غَافِلُونَ

That is because your Lord would not destroy the cities for wrongdoing while their people were unaware. [6:131]

and He said:

مَّنِ اهْتَدَىٰ فَإِنَّمَا يَهْتَدِي لِنَفْسِهِ ۖ وَمَن ضَلَّ فَإِنَّمَا يَضِلُّ عَلَيْهَا ۚ وَلَا تَزِرُ وَازِرَةٌ وِزْرَ أُخْرَىٰ ۗ وَمَا كُنَّا مُعَذِّبِينَ حَتَّىٰ نَبْعَثَ رَسُولًا

Whoever is guided is only guided for [the benefit of] his soul. And whoever errs only errs against it. And no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another. And never would We punish until We sent a messenger. [17:15]

And success lies with Allah. May Allah grant His peace and blessings upon our prophet Muhammad, and upon his family and companions.

 اللجنة الدائمة للبحوث العلمية والإِفتاء

The Permanent Committee for Islamic Research and Fataawaa

عضو            نائب رئيس اللجنة                 الرئيس
عبد الله بن غديان     عبد الرزاق عفيفي     عبد العزيز بن عبد الله بن باز

Signed by: ‘Abdullah ibn Ghudayyaan (member), ‘Abd al-Razzaaq ‘Afeefi (Deputy Director of the Committee), and ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn ‘Abdullah bin Baaz (Director)

[al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, Fatwaa #11627, (Vol. 4, pages 308-310). See here.]

See also: The wisdom of not disclosing the date of Laylatu’l-Qadr: Imam al-Baghawi

See also: The night of the middle of Sha’baan: Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali

See also: A Khutbah just before the last ten days of Ramadan: Imam al-Sa’di

See also: Turning Away from the Sources of Tafsir: Ibn Taymiyah

See also: The Meaning of “Laylah al-Qadr”: Sheikh ibn ‘Uthaymeen

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3 thoughts on “The Blessed Night is Laylah al-Qadr, not the Middle of Sha’baan

  1. Pingback: The night of the middle of Sha’baan: Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali | Tulayhah

  2. Pingback: The wisdom of not disclosing the date of Laylatu’l-Qadr: Imam al-Baghawi | Tulayhah

  3. Pingback: The Meaning of “Laylah al-Qadr”: Sheikh ibn ‘Uthaymeen | Tulayhah

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