Ibn Taymîyah on When to Seek the Night of Decree

Ibn Taymîyah on when to seek the Night of Decree
Translation and notes by Abû ‘Abdillâh Owais Al-Hâshimî

Shaykh Al-Islâm Ibn Taymîyah– Allâh have mercy on him– was asked about the Night of Decree (Laylatu Al-Qadr) while he was imprisoned in the Tower of Al-Jabal. He replied: [1]

All praise is for Allâh. The Night of Decree occurs in the last ten nights of the month of Ramadan. This is how it is authentically reported from the Prophet– praise and peace of Allâh be upon him. He said it is on one of the last 10 nights of Ramadan. [2]

And it happens on one of the odd nights [of these 10]. However, the odd nights can be in terms of what has passed, so it is sought on the night of the 21st, the 23rd, the 25th, the 27th, and the 29th. And [odd nights] can also be in terms of what remains [of the month], as the Prophet– praise and peace of Allâh be upon him– said:

[Seek it in the last ten nights], when nine [nights] remain, when seven remain, when five remain, [3] or when three remain.

Based on this, if the month is 30 days long, these (odd remaining nights) correspond to the [last ten] even nights (from the beginning of the month): the 22nd is when nine remain, and the night of the 24th is when seven remain. And this is how it was explained by Abû Sa’îd Al- Khudrî in the authentic hadith. [4] And this is how the Prophet– praise and peace of Allâh be upon him– held the night prayers during the month.

And if the month is 29 days long, [counting the nights that] remain of the month [produces the same result as counting] what has passed.

That being the case, the believer should seek [the Night of Decree] on all of the last 10 nights, as the Prophet– praise and peace of Allâh be upon him– said:

Seek it in the last 10 nights. [5]

1 Ibn Taymîyah, Ahmad b. ‘Abd Al-Halîm. Majmû’ Al-Fatâwâ, 25: 153, 154. 3rd ed. 2005. Dâr Al-Wafâ, Al-Mansûrah, Egypt.
2 Recorded by Al-Bukhârî and others.
3 Recorded by Al-Bukhârî, see his chapter on Seeking Laylatu Al-Qadr on the odd nights of the last ten.
4 Recorded by Muslim, Abû Dâwûd and others.
5 Op. cit. Al-Bukhârî

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