Overview - Surah 97: al-Qadr (The Decree)

Surah Introduction

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The Surah talks about the majesty and glory of the Qur'an and the time in which  the Qur'an was revealed. It takes its name after the first Ayat, إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ "Indeed, We sent the Qur'an down during the Night of (Qadr) Decree." (97:1)

There are 5 Ayat in this Surah.

Overview

Total Ayat5
Total Words *30
Root Words *17
Unique Root Words *0
Makki / MadaniMakki
Chronological Order* 25th (according to Ibn Abbas)
Year of Revelation*
Events during/before this Surah*
N/A
Events during/after still to occur*
N/A
Names of Prophets Mentioned
No Prophets names are mentioned in this Surah
Surah Index
Angels, Gabriel, Qur’an (bestowed on a blessed night)

Central Theme

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Its theme is to acquaint man with the value, worth and importance of the Qur’an. Its being placed just after Surah 96: al-‘Alaq (The Clinging Substance) in the arrangement of the Qur’an by itself explains that the Holy Book, the revelation of which began with the first five verses of Surah 96: al-‘Alaq was sent down in a destiny making night. It is a glorious Book and its revelation for mankind is full of blessings. At the outset, God says: “We have sent the Qur’an down.” That is, it is not a composition of Muhammad himself, but We Ourself have revealed it."

Then, it is said that “We sent it down in the Night of Destiny.” Night of Destiny has two meanings and both are implied here. First, that it is the night during which destinies are decided; or, in other words, it is not an ordinary night like the other nights, but a night in which destinies are made or marred. The revelation of this Book in this night is not merely the revelation of a book but an event which will change the destiny of not only the Quraysh, or of Arabia, but of, the entire world. The same thing has been said in Surah 44: ad-Dukhan (Smoke), (please see Introduction to that Surah). The other meaning is that this is a night of unique honour, dignity and glory; that it is better than a thousand months. Thus, the disbelievers of Makkah have been warned, “You on account of your ignorance regard this Book, which Muhammad has presented, as a calamity for yourselves and complain that a disaster has befallen you, whereas the night in which it was decreed to be sent down was such a blessed night that a task was accomplished in it for the well being of mankind, which had never been accomplished even during a thousand months of history." In conclusion, it has been stated that in this night the angels and Gabriel descend with every decree by the leave of their Lord, and it is all peace from evening till morning; that is, there is no interference of evil in it, for all decrees of God are intended to promote good and not evil. Even if a decision to destroy a nation is taken, it is taken for the sake of ultimate good, not evil.

Connection of the name of the Surah and its Ayaat

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The Surah as whole deals with the Night of Qadr.

Connection between the beginning and the ending of the Surah

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Manuscripts / Inscriptions

Connection of the Surah to the Surah before/after it

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  • Surah al-Alaq [96] was the first revelation which occured on the 'Night of Power and Decree' in Ramadhan. Surah al-Qadr [97] is about the 'Night of Power.'

The Virtues of the Surah

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The Prophet is reported to have said, "Whoever stands [in prayer] the night of Qadr, with faith and seeking reward, shall have his previous sins forgiven." [Bukhari]

Special Features of the Surah

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Important key and unique words of the Surah

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Total Word Count per Ayat (shows how many words per Ayat) *

Period of Revelation

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Whether it is a Makkan or a Madīnan revelation is disputed. Abu Hayyan in Al-Bahr al-Muhti has made the claim that the majority of scholars regard it as a Madīnan Surah. Ibn Mardayah has cited Ibn Abbas, Ibn Zubair and A’isha as saying that this Surah was revealed at Makkah. A study of the contents also shows that it should have been revealed at Makkah as we shall explain below.

Background Reasons for Revelation

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Relevant Hadith

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Lessons/Guidance/Major-Issues/Reflections

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  • The night of Qadr in which The Qur'an was revealed is better than one thousand months.

Tafsir Zone

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Miscellaneous Issues

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Laylat-ul-Qadr is an honorable night which Allah gave great characteristics to show its virtue and status, of which:

1- It is the night in which the Qur'an was revealed. as Allah (may He be Exalted) says: "Verily, We have sent it (this Qur'ân) down in the night of Al-Qadr (Decree)." [Surat Al Qadr: 1].

The revelation of the Qur'an therein is a proof to its status and virtue where Allah, the Glorious, revealed therein the greatest type of Dhikr and the most honorable book. By reciting the Qur'an, you shall gain one of the greatest reasons of guidance and piety.

2- Allah (may He be Exalted) described it as a blessed night by his saying: "We sent it (this Qur'ân) down on a blessed night [(i.e. the night of Al-Qadr, Sûrah No. 97) in the month of Ramadân - the 9th month of the Islâmic calendar]. Verily, We are ever warning [mankind that Our Torment will reach those who disbelieve in Our Oneness of Lordship and in Our Oneness of worship]." [Surat Ad-Dukhan: 3]. So, it is blessed because of its abundant goodness, great virtue, and the great rewards which Allah gives to those who perform Qiyam (Voluntary Night Salah) out of faith and hoping for Allah's Reward.

3- Allah (may He be Exalted) mentioned in His Book: "Therein (that night) is decreed every matter of ordainments." [Surat Ad-Dukhan: 4]. i.e., Precise commands relating to the livings of people and their deaths are separated from Al Lawh-ul-Mahfuzh (the Preserved Tablet) to the sheets of angels —who record all matters of people, such as: sustenance, actions, events, and ages— up to the next year by Allah's Knowledge, Wisdom, and Ability; and that indicates the status of that night.

4- Allah's Saying: "The night of Al-Qadr (Decree) is better than a thousand months (i.e. worshipping Allâh in that night is better than worshipping Him a thousand months, i.e. 83 years and 4 months)." [Surat Al Qadr: 3].

This Ayah shows the virtue of performing Qiyam and the great reward for actions in that night. The reward of worshipping Allah in that night equals the reward of worshipping Him for one thousand months which means several and eighty years.

If the rewards of good actions are doubled in Ramadan, how about performing these actions in Laylat-ul-Qadr?! None but Allah knows the reward that is given to the person who performs Qiyam in that night out of faith and hoping for the reward of Allah.

5- Angels come down to the earth with goodness, blessing, and mercy for the believers. Allah (may He be Exalted) says: "Therein descend the angels and the Rûh [Jibrîl (Gabriel)] by Allâh's Permission with all Decrees. * (All that night), there is Peace (and Goodness from Allâh to His believing slaves) until the appearance of dawn." [Surat Al Qadr: 4 - 5].

Therefore, it is a reassuring night, in which many people are freed of torment, and many people are helped to obey their Forgiving Lord who accepts repentance.

6- The Hadith that was authentically reported in Sahih Al Bukhari and Sahih Muslim from the Prophet (peace be upon him) that he said: "Whoever establishes Salah on the night of Qadr out of sincere faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, all his previous sins will be forgiven." Proves that it is a night in which sins are forgiven, gates of goodness are opened, rewards are multiplied, and matters are facilitated.

For these great virtues and others, authentic Hadiths were reported from the Prophet (peace be upon him) to exhort people to seek that night in the last ten days of Ramadan, show its virtues, and explain the Sunnah of (peace be upon him) in performing Qiyam during that night as well as the practice of his Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) in exerting efforts to seek it.

All these narrations incite the determinations of those who seek the Hereafter, forgiveness of their sins, and reward to follow their example righteously in order to gain the pleasure of the Most Gracious and win His vast Paradise.