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Quranic Sciences

Some Comments on the Blessed Surah of al-Qadr as Much as Suits these Papers-Part 2

 Some say that it is called "the night of measure" because the affairs, the life-terms and the provisions of the people are "measured" in that very night. Some say that as the angels on that night are so numerous (in the earth) that as if the earth is strictly "measured" for them, it is called al-qadr, and that is like: "and he whose provision is measured." [544]

These are some of the opinions concerning this subject. About each of them there have been researches, a hint at which is not without advantage.

As to the first opinion, i.e. that night being honourable and great, know that many things are said in this respect, to the effect that, as regards time and place in general, some are honourable and some are not, some are lucky and some are unlucky. But is this a natural and intrinsic characteristic of time and place, or is it because happy and unhappy events happen in them, and, consequently they are so described? Although this is not a noble and important topic, and to expand upon it is not advantageous, yet, we shall briefly refer to it.

What gives priority to the first possibility is that some narratives and ayahs which apparently regard time and place either honourable or unlucky, confirm this to be intrinsic, not a characteristic belonging to the particular condition. So, as there is no rational objection, they can be taken according to their apparent meanings.

What gives priority to the second possibility is that the truth of time and place is a single one, or even their entity (personality) is one, too. Such being the case, it will not be possible that a single person can be divided and be different in status [hukm]. Therefore, it is inevitable to take what is said about time and place as lucky or unlucky as caused by the events and happenings taking place in them. But this is not prove-able, because although time is a single entity, yet, as it gradually expands and is measurable, there can be no objection that some part of it be different in status and effect from another part. There is no evidence that a person, whoever he may be, cannot enjoy two status and two effects, rather the contrary is apparent. For example, the human beings, although every one of them is a single person, yet, there are many differences in their corporeal features, like the skin, the brain and the heart, as these are more delicate and honoured than the other organs. Similarly, some of the internal and external powers are more honourable than others. This is because man, in this world, is not apparently known as to have a complete unity, though single in person. But as apparently he is known of multiplicity, he can have different status.

The priority of the first possibility is not, however, an agreeably correct one, because this opinion is based, for example, on "the originality of appearance" [isalatuz-zuhur] and "the originality of the truth", [isalatul haqiqah], whereas methodically it is known that "the originality of the truth" and "the originality of appearance" are used when there is a doubt in the objective for the purpose of making sure of the objective, not that they should confirm the objective after that it had already been known. So, consider. [545]

Therefore, both aspects are possible, but the second aspect seems preferable. Consequently, "the night of qadr" was described as "the honoured night" because it was the night of the meeting of the Sealing Prophet, the night on which the real lover reached his Beloved. In the former discussions it was noted that the descension of the angels and the revelation was after the annihilation and the real proximity. From many narratives and noble ayahs it can be gathered that the luckiness and unluckiness of times and places are because of the events which take place in them. This can be realized by referring to them, although some of them also denote their intrinsic honour.

The other possibility for naming "the night of qadr" is because the affairs of the days of the year are measured on that night. So, know that the truth of "Fate" [qada] and "Destiny" (Divine Decree = qadar), its quality and its stages of appearance, are of the greatest and noblest divine knowledge, and it is because of their extreme exactness and nicety that deeply thinking about them is not allowed for the human race as it causes bewilderment and straying. Therefore, this truth is to be regarded of the religious secrets and the deposits of Prophethood, and one is to refrain from conducting scrutinizing research about it. We refer here only to a subject suiting this stage. That is, although the measurement of the affairs has been estimated from the very beginning in the knowledge of Allah, the Exalted, and it is not of the gradual matters in respect of the pure state of the divine knowledge, then, what does "taqdir" in every year and in a particular night mean?

Know that "Fate" and "Divine Decree" are of degrees, and according to those degrees and emergences [nasha''at] they differ in their status. The first degree is the facts which are judged (evaluated) and measured in His knowledge by the manifestation in "The Holiest Emanation" in the wake of the appearance of the Names and Attributes. Afterwards, by the High Pens and in the High Tablets, according to the appearance, and by the manifestation of the Act, they are ordained and confirmed. No changes and alterations may happen in these degrees. The inevitable and unchangeable decrees [qada] are the abstract facts happening in the entities [hadarat-i ayan] and in the emergence [nash''ah] of His Knowledge and descending to the abstract Pens and Tablets. Afterwards , the facts appear in isthmus [barzakhiyah] and ideal [mithaliyah] images in other Tablets and in a lower world, which is the world of "the distinct imagination" [kh''iyal-i munfasil] and "the universal imagination" [khyalul kull] - the world which, according to the method of the illuminationist philosophers, is called " The World of the Suspended Ideas " [alam-i muthul-i mu''allaqah]. In such a world changes and differences are possible to happen, or actually they do happen. After that, the evaluations [taqdirat] and measurings take place by means of the angels in charge of the world of nature. In this Tablet of Fate there are continual changes and alterations, or rather it is, in itself, a flowing form and a passing, gradual fact. In this lauh (Tablet) the facts can be strong or weak, and the movements may be swift, slow, accelerated or decreased. Nevertheless, the "near-to-Allah" [yalillahi] aspect, the unseen aspect, of these very things,-which is the aspect of tadalli (suspension) to Allah, and it is the form of the appearance of the "Spread Emanation" [faid-i munbasit] and the "Extended Shade" [zill-i mamdud], and the truth of Allah''s "Active knowledge" - there can occur in it no change or alteration.

In short, all the changes, alterations, additions to the lives, and measuring (the peoples'') provisions are, as the philosophers believe, in the lauh of "the qadr of knowledge" [qadr-i ilmi], which is "the world of ideas"-while to the writer, they are in the lauh of "the qadr of objectivity" [qadr-i ayni], which is the very place of the measurements-done by the angels in charge of it. Therefore, there is no objection [mani] that, as "the night of qadr" is the night of full attention of the "perfect guardian" [wali-i kamil] and of the appearance of his heavenly sovereignty, changes and alterations may happen, in it, in the world of nature through the honourable person of the "perfect guardian" and the Imam of each era and the pole [qutb] of the time-who, in our time, is "Allah''s Remainder" [baqiyatullah] in the worlds (earths, lands = aradin), our Master, Patron, Imam and Guide, the Proof, the son of al-Hasan al-Askari, may our souls be ransom for his coming. So, he may accelerate or slow any individual part of nature that he desires, and enlarge or straiten any provision he wills. And this will is that of the Haqq, and is the shadow and the rays of the Eternal Will and follows the Divine commands, as the angels of Allah, too, can do (change) nothing by themselves. Every act (change =tasarruf), rather every particle of existence, is of Allah and of His unseen grace [latifah]: "So keep straight as you are commanded." [546]

As to what has been said concerning the other possibility of naming "the night of qadr", i.e. it was so called because the earth seems too much narrow with the throng of the angels on that night, this point is a far-fetched one, despite the fact that Khalil ibn Ahmad, [547] the wonder of the time, may Allah''s pleasure be upon him, says that what can be discussed is that the angels are not of the kind of the world of nature and matter, so what does it mean to say that the earth seemed narrow? However, such matters have been related in some noble narrations, like the case of the funeral procession of Sa''d ibn Mu''adh, [548] may Allah be pleased with him, or the angels'' spreading their wings for the students of knowledge. [549] This is when the angels appear in the assimilation [tamaththul] of "Ideal images", descending from the unseen world to the "World of Ideals" [ alam-i mithal] and narrowing the dominion of the earth, or it is probably their worldly assimilation in the kingdom of the earth, although this still cannot be seen by the natural animal eyes. However, the narrowing is on the basis of "Ideal" [mithaliyah] or "worldly" [mulkiyah] assimilation.

The second matter concerns the truth of "the night of qadr". Know that every spiritual grace has a reality, and for every worldly form there is a heavenly and unseen interior. People of knowledge say that the stages of the descension of the truth of the existence, in respect of the setting of the sun of the truth in the horizon of individuations, are "nights", whereas the stages of ascension, in respect of the rising of the sun of the truth in the horizons of individuations, are "days". Hence, the honour and the unluckiness of the "days" and the "nights" are, accordingly, clearly known.

According to another aspect, the arch of descension is the Muhammadan "night of qadr", and the arch of ascension is the Ahmadan "Resurrection Day", because these two arches are the extension of the light of the "Expanded Emanation" [faid-i munbasit], which is "the Muhammadan Truth" [haqiqat-i muhammadiyah], and all the individuations [taayyunat] are of the First Individuation of "the Greatest Name". So, from the point of view of Unity [wahdat], the world is the "night of qadr" and the "Day of Resurrection", and it is no more than a single night and day, which is the entire House of Realization, the Muhammadan "night of qadr" and the Ahmadan "Day of Resurrection". The one who is assured of this truth will always be in the "night of qadr" and in the "Day of Resurrection", and these two become united.

From the point of view of multiplicity, there will be nights and days. Some nights have qadr (greatness, dignity) and some have not. Among all the nights, the Ahmadan constitution [bunyah], the Muhammadan individuation (SA) - into whose horizon has set the light of the truth of existence, with all the affairs, Names and Attributes, and with full luminosity and entire truth - is the absolute night of qadr, as the Muhammadan day is the absolute Day of Resurrection. Other days and nights are limited ones. The Qur''an''s revelation [nuzul] to this noble constitution [bunyah] and pure heart, is the revelation [nuzul] in the "night of qadr". So, the Qur''an was revealed both in full in "the night of qadr", by way of complete and absolute disclosure, and in parts along twenty-three years in "the night of qadr."

The gnostic Shaykh, the Shahabadi [549a] (may his prosperity by lasting), used to say that the Muhammadan period is "the night of qadr", that is, all the periods of existence are the Muhammadan period, or it is because in this period the perfect Muhammadan poles, the infallible guiding imams (AS), are "the nights of qadr". What proves our suggested possibility concerning the truth of "the night of qadr" is the lengthy noble hadith which is quoted by al-Burhan Exegesis from the noble al-Kafi, in which it is said that when a Christian asked Imam Musa ibn Ja''far about the hidden explanation of "Ha Mim! (I swear) By the explaining Book. We revealed it on a blessed night - Surely We are ever warning. There in every wise affair is made distinct," [550] he replied: "As to "Ha Am", it is Muhammad (S. A.) "The explaining Book'' is Amirul Mu''minin ''Ali (AS), and "the night" is Fatimah (AS)". [551]


[544]. Surah at-Talaq: 7.

[545]. It demands consideration because this allegation can be claimed here from another aspect, and it is that the appearance in ascribing a predicate to a proposition is that the proposition itself has the same status and it is the proposition in complete, as the Shaykh, our teacher in the conventional sciences used, concerning generalization [itlaq], to call this statement, without needing preliminaries, to prove the generalization.

[546]. Surah Hud: 112.

[547]. Khalil ibn Ahmad ibn Umar ibn Tamim, Abu Abdur-Rahman al-Bahili, al-Basri, the grammarian and prosodist, born in the year 100 or 105 H. in al-Basrah, and died in 160, 170 or 175 H. He was a famous linguist and a writer. He discovered the meters of poetry. He was an Imami and, as some say, he was a companion of Imam Ja''far as-Sadiq (AS) and quoted him in his narrations. He wrote many books on diverse arts, including Zubdatul Arud (the Gist of Prosody), al-Ayn, a book on Imamate, al-Iqa'' (rhythm), an-Nu''m (tone or softness), al-Jumal [syntax], ash-Shawahid (ancient verses as evidences), an-Nuqat wa ash-Shikl (dots and form), and a book on the meanings of the alphabetic letters. For further information bibliographies and books on rijal such as Ayanush-Shi ah, vol. 30, p. 50, may be consulted.

[548]. Furu''ul Kafi, vol. 3, p. 236, the "Book of Funerals", ch. on "Questioning in the Grave", hadith 6.

[549]. This concept is referred to Imam as-Sadiq (AS) through several channels in Ma''alimul Usul, p. 7.

[549a]. Refer to footnote No. 97.

[550]. Surah ad-Dukhan: 1-4. Al-Burhan Exegesis, vol. 4, p. 158.

[551]. Usulul Kafi, vol. 2, p. 326, the "Book of the Proof'', ch. on "The Birth of the Prophet (SA), hadith 4.