Sunday, October 7, 2007

A Precious Prophetic Pearl on Upholding the Night of Power / Decree (Part Two)

Part Two:

The word "القيام" is a very rich word, and is used in a lot of different contexts. Here in the hadith, what is meant by القيام (the verbal noun of يَقُمْ literally 'to stand') is to uphold this Night in 'ibadah (worship) and ta'ah (obdedience). The significance of using the word "قام - يقوم" is that it is often used as a synonym for "carrying out", "executing", "producing", esp. when used with the baa' e.g. قام بـ and so on. So, it is general for any kind of activity which in the context involves worship and obedience to Allah. It is also often used with prepositions such as إلى , لـ , على , and so on. It also has connotations of "standing up to do something" like getting ready for Salah, and so on. It is also in this sense of "obedience" and "devotion" that the word القيام is used in the following Qur'anic verse: (وَقُوْمُوْا للهِ قَانِتِيْن) (And stand up in obedience and devotion to Allah).

Some scholars say that what qualifies as القيام on that night is anything called قيام in the minimal sense of the word and not necessarily spending the whole night in worship, so much so that it is sufficient to just pray Salah al-'Isha in congregation. Having said this , it should be remembered that according to the popular and customary meaning of the expression قام الليلة (he upheld the night) it is not used except for someone who upheld the whole night or the greater part of it rather than just a small portion thereof.

In addition, he gets the reward mentioned in hadith even if he was not aware of the fact that that particular night was Laylatul-Qadr, which means that if you spend all of the nights of Ramadhan in القيام in some form or the other then you bound to receive the reward of upholding the Night of Power, insha Allah.

At the same time it is not sufficient that you just engage in some form of 'ibadah but that you do so with iman, that is, firm belief and conviction that what you are doing is something genuine and a form of obedience to Allah, not something false and disobedience to Allah, and having firm faith that it is a cause for earning Allah's Forgiveness and that He will reward you for it.

Likewise his 'ibadah for that Night must be sincerely and utterly for the Sake of Allah which is the meaning of "ihtisab". There should be no showiness in it. The word الاحتساب (al-ihtisab) comes from the word الحساب (reckoning, computing, counting, etc.) which is almost as if you are carefully taking account and reckoning of your 'ibadah ensuring that it does not become contaminated with worldly interests such as riya' (showiness). Here it is important not to put yourself in a position where you know that you stand to compromise your 'ibadah, like when you are a good orator and you have to give a talk in front of a massive audience, or you have a good voice and you have to recite the Qur'an in front of a large crowd or you are wealthy and you give sadaqah for everyone to see, etc. If you are obliged to take such a position then try at least to remind yourself to have a pure intention from time to time so as not to compromise your 'ibadah. May Allah help us to to keep our intentions pure, and take the showiness out of our actions.

As for the part of the hadith that deals with the obliteration of previous sins, it refers to minor sins perpetrated against Allah (according to what Imam al-Nawawi reports as being the received view). As for what concerns the Rights of Allah's Servants, these still stand, such that if you have wrongfully taken something from someone then you will have to return it to its rightful owner.

As to why these two nouns ( إيماناً and احتساباً ) are mansub, 3 possibilities have been given:

(a) they are mansub due to being the haal (state or condition in which the agent occurs at the time of the action) because they are two verbal nouns (masdar) having the meaning of their active particples (ism fa-'il), so the structure becomes: من يقم ليلة القدر مؤمنا ومحتسبا (whosoever upholds the Night of Qadr while being in the state of iman and ihtisaba ...),

(b) they are mansub due to being the maf'ul li-ajlihi (object of reason) so the structure becomes من يقم ليلة القدر من أجل لإيمانه واحتسابه (whosoever upholds the Night of Qadr out of iman and ihtisab ...)

(c) they are mansub due to being the tamyiz (noun of specification) so the structure prior to tamyiz was as follows: من يقم ليلة القدر قيام إيمان وقيام احتساب (whosoever upholds the Night of Qadr with an upholding that is based on iman and ihtisab ...)

In another version of the hadith there is the addition: وما تأخر (and his future sins), that is, both his past and future sins will be forgiven.

Finally, the word القدر can either mean "high status, rank, position, worth" on the one hand or "decreeing or setting out in the future" on the other hand.

As for the first interpretation, scholars have given different reasons as to why this Night is the Night of High Status, Rank, Position, etc.:

- because someone who is a nobody on that Night becomes a somebody, i.e. someone of no standing becomes someone of high standing in the estimation of Allah

- because there is no righteous deed that a believer performs on that night except that increases in worth and rank and is accepted by Allah

- because a Book of exceptionally high status was revealed during that Night

As for the second interpretation, some scholars maintain it is called the Night of Decree because it is the Night on which Allah decrees the the affairs of human beings for that year.

Moreover, القَدْر can be variously pronounced as الْقَدْر (with a sukun on the daal) and الْقَدَر (with a fathah on the Daal) are two diactical variants just as النَّهْر (with a sukun on the haa') and النَّهَر (with a fathah on the haa') are two dialectical variants for the word "river".

Wallahu a'lam.

May Allah make us of those who uphold or have upheld the Night of Power / Decree with iman (firm conviction) and ihtisab (sincerity and purity of intention), Ameen!

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