Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Night of Forgiveness Lailat ul-Baraat


The Night of Forgiveness

Lailat ul-Baraat

Sura ad- Dukhan 44: Verse 1-6
Ha-Mim. By the Book that makes things clear; We sent it down during a blessed night: for We (ever) wish to warn (against Evil). In that (night) is made distinct every affair of Wisdom, By command, from Our Presence. For We (ever) send (revelations), As a Mercy from thy Lord: for He hears and knows (all things);
 The letters HA MIM are called ‘abbreviated letters’ (Hurfe Mukatiat) in Qur’aanic Terminology. Allah and his Rasul (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) know the meaning and it is revealed to the Urafa (special servants of Allah), who have deep knowledge. The commentators (Mufassireen) among the Urafa therefore say HA MEEM is one of the blessed names of the Holy Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) i.e. "My Beloved".  HA refers to Allah's Beloved, Rasul (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) one of whose blessed names is  "Haamid" -the one who praises Allah. "MEEM" refers to Allah, whose Blessed attribute is "Mahmood" - "The Praised".
                                         By the Qur’aan that makes everything clear                                        
                      Which was revealed during a blessed night as a warning against evil                     
                                                 This night all affairs are decided.                                                

Our commands descend. This is your Lords Mercy (rahmah) (Muhammad’s Rab ).
With reference to the "Blessed Night"- from the time of the Sahaba to the present their has been 3 interpretations i.e.
 1)      The Night of Ascension (Meraj) – as mentioned in Sura Najm 53: Verse 10
   So did (Allah) convey the inspiration to His Servant; (conveyed) what He (meant) to convey.  
2)      The Night of Power  (Qadr) – This is a majority view majority view deduced from a narration by Abdullah ibn Abbas (radiallahu anhu) 
3)      The Night of Forgiveness (Shabe Baraat)- that is also deduced from a narration by Abdullah ibn Abbas (radiallahu anhu)        
‘The Night of Forgiveness’ (Shabe Baraat)- is also called ‘The Night of Prayer’ (Shabe Dua), ‘The Night of Acceptance of Prayer’ (Shabe Qabooliat) and ‘The Night of Spiritual Plenty’ (Shabe Barakah[1]). It is narrated that Allah forgives all His creation on this night except for an idolater, one who harbours hatred and one who commits murder: as mentioned in the following Ahadith.
Al-Tirmidhi Hadith 1307        Narrated by Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-'As (radiallahu anhu)
Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said, Allah, the Exalted and Glorious looks down on the middle night of Shabaan and forgives all His creation except two people, the innovator and the murderer.
Transmitted by Ahmad.
Al-Tirmidhi Hadith1306         Narrated by AbuMusa al-Ash'ari (radiallahu anhu)
Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said, Allah, the Exalted and Glorious looks down on the middle night of Shabaan and forgives all His creation except a polytheist or one who is mushahin (innovator in religion and out of the main stream of the community.
Transmitted by Ibn Majah.
  On this night Allah makes all decisions, which is the job of angels to execute. There is a connection between Qadr and Baraat both of which were referred to by Hazrath Abdullah ibn Abbas (Radiallahu anha) whom The Holy Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) called, "Tarjuman ul Qur’aan" - commentator of The Holy Qur'aan".
Some scholars accept one night and reject any reference to the other, but Abdullah ibn Abbas (Radiallahu anha) accepts Qadr and Baraat as being true.
What connection does this night have with Qadr and Baraat?
On the night of Baraat the decision for each individual for the whole year is given i.e. happiness, sadness, birth, death, illness etc. is given. On the night of Qadr the angels execute these orders. A Hadith that says that Allah will change decisions as long as it is not given to angels to execute supports this.    Bayhaqi relates from `Aisha (Radiallahu anha) in Shu`ab al-iman with his chain of transmission that she said,
"The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam)  stood up in prayer during part of the night and made his prostration so lengthy that I thought his soul had been taken back. When I saw this I got up and went to move his big toe, whereupon he moved, so I drew back. When he raised his head from prostration and finished praying, he said: "O `Aisha, O fair little one (humayra')! Did you think that the Prophet had broken his agreement with you?" She replied: "No, by Allah, O Messenger of Allah, but I thought that your soul had been taken back because you stayed in prostration for so long." He said: "Do you know what night this is?" She said: "Allah and His Prophet know best." He said: "This is the night of mid-Sha`ban! Verily Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) look at His servants on the night of mid-Sha`ban, and He forgives those who ask forgiveness, and He bestows mercy on those who ask mercy, and He gives a delay to the people of envy and spite in their state."
Believers are granted forgiveness on this Blessed night, except
1.      Those who commit shirk by attributing a partner to God,
2.      Those who keep a grudge in their hearts, who severe the relationship with their relatives and friends,
3.      Those who practice sorcery, who drink alcohol, who indulges in interest (riba), and who “sell” their honor.
 Therefore between Baraat and Qadr is the time between DECISION and EXECUTION - Allah's door of Mercy (rahmah) is open. One can submit ones appeal by means of Optional Devotion (nafil), Fasting (roza), crying, seeking forgiveness (taubah), vows, etc. In a Hadith in ibn Majah it is stated that Ali (Radiallahu anhu) reports that Rasul (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said,
'Spend the night of mid-Shabaan in prayer and the day in fasting, for Allah descends to the nearest heaven during that night and says, "Is anyone asking forgiveness that I may forgive them? is anyone asking sustenance that I may grant them sustenance?, is anyone in difficulty that I may relieve them and so forth."
 This is similar to a court of law, where one is given leave to appeal and the court reviews the decision. Here Allah is giving us tidings of instant reprieve and he also Allah gives us about 1 month and 10 days (+_ 40 days) to appeal to Him to review decisions before they are executed. The review petition should contain vows, tears, prayers , obedient worship (ibadah), remembrance of Allah (Zikrullah), tasbih, gifts to the needy (sadaqa and qairaat), etc. which should reach Him by Qadr.
 It is The Holy Prophet’s compassion (sadaqa) that the nights of both EXECUTION and DECISION are told to us. Qadr is the greater night because it is the last time for appeal. Allah in His infinite mercy, through His blessed Rasul (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) has given us numerous opportunities to repent, may we all take heed.
Revised 1999-11-18
And 2003-09-29

[1] Barakah is a subtle spiritual energy, which flows through everything, but is strongest within the human. The more purified the human becomes, the greater the flow of barakah. Overpowering barakah can be experienced in sacred places, on sacred days and in sanctified people..