THE SURAH IS DEDICATED TO ALL RESEARCHERS:
CHAPTER - 12 - SURAH – 97 - سورة القدر
AL-QADR – THE VALUE / THE MEASURE
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
With the identification [Bism] of the System of Consciousness [Allah], The Mother Nourisher [Rehman], that Encompasses Mercy [Rahim]
إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ
1) Indeed we have revealed / sent it down in the process of the valuable anxiety
وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ
2) And what you know what the state of valuable anxiety is?
لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ خَيْرٌ مِّنْ أَلْفِ شَهْرٍ
3) The state of valuable anxiety is better than the familiar / usual notable manifestations
تَنَزَّلُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ وَالرُّوحُ فِيهَا بِإِذْنِ رَبِّهِم مِّن كُلِّ أَمْرٍ
4) Therein the Malaikah [faculty of mind which possess command] continuously descends and the Ruh [spirit of consciousness] in it with the knowledge of their Rabb [Consciousness] from every judgment / opinion.
سَلَامٌ هِيَ حَتَّىٰ مَطْلَعِ الْفَجْرِ
5) It is state of peace [salam] until the emergence of the breakthrough [Al-Fajr].
A very important significance is attached to this surah in the “Islamic theology” – This surah is wrongly attributed to a single night of power or decree or blessed night of the revelation of 114 chapters book called Quran. Thus confining or limiting the significant of message to only one "night". The concept or belief of reverence of any blessed night or special day is like worshiping that event and it can be termed as blasphemy. Attaching any importance to personalities, things, time, dates and address is not the concept of the book Quran and the ideology of Islam.
No surah is isolated in the Quran every surah and concept are interconnected to a common theme and a single goal. This surah too is one of the series of an important chain of the book Quran.
It is the job of Gabriel / Jibrail to lodge or download (nazil) the unknown / unseen understanding, which is not visible to the intellect (Qalb) - (2:97). Such unknown knowledge is called بِالْغَيْبِ (Bil-Gayab) in Islamic terminology (2:3). Algebra and Jibrail have a common root word ج ب ر - The function of Algebra is to deduce or to find the X factor and the function of Jibrail suppose to be one of the Malaikah (commanding faculty of mind) is also the same, that is to bring out the unknown knowledge which is recognized as revelation (2:97-98) or wahi (7:3) in Arabic. Al-Jabr also means reunion of broken parts.
In short this surah can be treated as an extension of 2:183 – 187 the verses of saum in which the revelation of Quran occurred. The terms Saum – Ramadan – Nazil – Quran – Lail- Hajj is overall related in the understanding of the phenomenon of لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ (Lailathul-Qadr). And the beneficiaries of this amazing knowledge are those who believe in the unseen and works on it, such people are called Mutaqi or Cautious / Conscious / thoughtful / diligent about their own script [Al-Kitab] in colloquial terms. Such people are successful (Muflihoon) in Quran because they followed the guidance of their Rabb (2:1-5). Lailthul Qadar [the state of valuable anxiety] is also called Laithul Mubaraka [blessed anxiety] [44:1-8] because due to this period of darkness and anxiety breakthrough to peace is discover or achieved.
The first three verses are describing the word or the Arabic term لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ Lailthul Qadr or rather the entire surah is dedicated to it. The traditionalist term this vibrant term as the night of decree whereas the real meaning of الْقَدْرِ Al-Qadr is - to evaluate, measure, compute, estimate (6:91), determine and to know some specific purpose. The meaning of لَيْلَةِ Lail is a period or a process or a phase when one is anxious or uncertain about the outcome of his/her search.. Please check the meaning of Lail in EWL page 3015
This Surah intends to educate us about the phase or process of anxiety (لَيْلَةِ) – This moment can also be identified as the period of uncertainty. The surah does not discuss about the ordinary anxiety, but a very valuable one (الْقَدْر). Seeking of new knowledge or revelation, without any bouts of uneasiness and nervousness is not possible and cannot be considered as of real worth. The idea of the new findings provokes the seeker and this anxiety does not allow the seeker to take rest and be calm till the emergence of solution. Such phase of uneasiness or uncertainty or darkness is called Lailth in classical Arabic.
A researcher is the first one to initiate this mental journey and values it immensely. The outcome of this valuable anxiety changes his destiny and the destiny of the entire Mankind. This tough journey on the path of inquiry is actually termed as a pilgrimage or Hajj, in its final stage. This pilgrimage is like a crusade against one’s own self . The term LAITH is called as the period of anxiety and it is generally the period of ignorance or dark phases of one’s life. When any pioneer is in the midst of search of some important breakthrough (Fajr) and is in the dark about the outcome of his / her hard work - a feeling creeps into one’s psyche. And that feeling of uncertainty is called as anxiety, when the outcome is not known. This period / process of intense anxiety or over thinking leads to severe uneasiness, and this condition is termed as Lailth, which is a long tiresome journey or a mental crusade.
One of the meanings of Lail in classical Arabic also means robber or thief, as he is uneasy during the search of valuables and is not sure about the outcome of his venture. During the period of ‘laith’ a person is in search of unusual important things hence he is restless until the emergence of a breakthrough or an opening or a way out (Fajr) is achieved.
The beloved author has further explained Lailthul Qadr as a valuable / useful anxiety or a better venture than the usual (Alfi) or familiar manifestations (Shahr). In this process of intense thinking, the person is encouraged or consoled through the Malaikah (a medium of authority embedded in mind) and Al-Ruh (air /spirit of consciousness) for his efforts or attempts in undertaking this long deadly journey. Verify the meaning of أَلْفِ [Alfi] from its derivatives mention in verse 106:1-2. In the era when the book Quran was in oral form the word denoting thousand was not yet discovered so to ascribe the meaning of Alfi as thousand is wrong.
Please note that this phenomenon called Ruh is an important thing whose absence makes one restless, lifeless, senseless and spiritless and whose presence makes things lively, cheerful, sensible and active. When the person is involved in such mental journeys or exercise he gets exhausted very quickly and needs the moral support and consolation at every moment of his research, which he receives from the mechanisms of Malaikah and Ruh. Spirit of consciousness or awareness is Ruh which keeps the person alert, spirited, on the toes and satisfied with his research process or work.
This unusual phenomenon when colludes with one’s intellect, it is called revelation or a breakthrough thinking. The phenomena of Malaikah and Ruh descend upon all those who think unusually and this phenomenon is not easy to understand, unless someone has experienced it. This happening is the main driving force for people who indulge deeply in the field of thinking and research. Such people are restless souls who are anxious until they find the solution or the breakthrough (Al-Fajr) to their dilemma. These individual pioneers need moral support or acknowledgement from time to time. The descent of Malaikah and Ruh is the sign of acknowledgment to the individual's mind that their research is going in the right direction and they should be steadfast and remain silent on it [saum]. It is an authentication of their valuable work by the Rabb through Ruh and Maliakah to help out or ease the anxiety that the person's heart and mind is going through.
The researcher or an investigator needs some kind of authentication for their findings on every step, without which he / she cannot move ahead in his / her thought process. The assurance that his work is going on the right track is signaled by these intangible forces. Once these individual pioneers, are sure that the journey of anxiety is on the right track they are relieved or at peace [salam] until their idea sees the light of the day or breakthrough [Al-Fajr] is achieved and its worthiness is measured (Al-Qadr) by all. The sense of relief obtained because of the soothing communication that is received from their Rabb makes them delighted. This momentous feeling of enlightenment is combined with authority is termed as descending of Ruh and Malaikah on one’s efforts during the undergoing task.
A mathematician gets mathematical expressions or formulas in the form of revelations. Archimedes got the breakthrough while he was about to bathe in his bathtub that was his fajr from the journey of anxiety (Lailth) towards enlightenment (Nahr). A Music composer gets his musical notes through revelations or a Poet gets his inspiration to write poetry through revelation. The revelation is the breakthrough through which one becomes famous (Mashur one of the derivatives of Shahr). This revelation changes the fortune (Taqdeer derivative of Qadr) and it becomes the destiny (Muqadar) of the individual and the mankind at large. The beloved author wants us to know the power of thinking in which the entire universal energies conspire to fulfill our urge to know the unknown and the unique. Only those people achieve it, who value (Qadr) it…If you value sports your muqaddar (destiny) will be in sports. If you value science your muqaddar will be in science. Al-Qadr depends upon what we value in life the most.
إِنَّا = Indeed
أَنزَلْنَاهُ = We have revealed to its destination (Manzil one of the derivatives of Nazil), descended, alighted, settled, downloaded, lodged - 1st person plural (form IV) perfect verb – subject pronoun – 3rd person masculine singular object pronoun
فِي = In
لَيْلَةِ = The process or journey of searching for light or enlightenment, period of darkness, anxiety – Genitive feminine noun.
الْقَدْرِ = The valuable, measurement, determined, computed, proportion, estimation etc (Qudrat, Qadir, Taqdeer, Muqadar, Miqdar are some of it derivatives).
أَلْفِ = usual, habitually, frequented, familiar, etc.
شَهْرٍ = Notable manifestation, (Mashoor, Shaurat, Musheer are some of its derivatives). - genitive masculine indefinite noun
الْمَلَائِكَةُ = The system of conveying the message with authority, Having power of authority, dominance, A faculty firmly rooted in mind, possessor of command, owned exclusively.
الرُّوحُ = Something that Cools or soothes, pleasant, spirited, lively, cheerful, wind, blowing with mouth, relief, relieved, restore to him his right due, air of consciousness
أَمْرٍ = Command, order, consult, counsel, advice, opinion, injunction, judgment, determination, mark, sign, set to show the way in difficult situations, errand (Amir, Tamir are some of the derivatives) – consultation with mind in every affair- Genitive masculine indefinite noun.
رَبِّهِم = Their Lord, Nourisher, Provider, Consciousness etc
مَطْلَعِ = Rise, appear, elevates, eminent, apparent, known, emergence, etc
سَلَامٌ = Safety, security, relaxation, free, relax, free from imperfection
الْفَجْرِ = The breakthrough, passage, channel, break open, open a way, dawn, appearance of light / enlightenment.
بِإِذْنِ = With knowledge, Listens, desired eagerly, permission, leave, apprise, inform etc
EXEGESIS ACCORDING TO THE INTERPRETATION:
The respected author is trying hard to explain the criterion that lead to the revelation (Nazil). Lailth is a journey of anxiety which is termed as the uneasy period or phase of ignorance. The surah is addressed to a single person or a group of individuals. The uneasiness faced by the person going through this period is due to lack of proper enlightenment on a certain subject. This anxiety or uneasiness remains until one does not find a proper solution or does not achieve the breakthrough (Fajr), which he / she are looking for. The breakthrough he/she is looking for is not the usual or ordinary, but it has a great value to it. Due to the constant period of restlessness or anxiety to search for an answer to the long pending problem, a word or expression - an authority of authentication is released from the system of consciousness. This forces of authority (Malaikah) has the quality to overcome or control the mind of a person by the virtue of which he is full of energy (Ruh) until the final breakthrough (Fajr) is achieved.
Why this authentication or assurance from Malaikah and Ruh is necessary for a person who is involved in research?
A pioneer researcher is always against all odds as he is constantly trying to do what nobody has ever achieved or done before him. He or she is the pioneer in his/her works, and it’s obvious that the general people will not accept his work because it is ahead of his contemporaries’, unless it is proved by clear evidence or argument. Keeping quiet and not indulging in unnecessary conversations or debates with others is recommended during this uncertain period of anxiety, traditionally understood as night. That’s why this surah is connected with the revelation of Al-Quran and Saum.
The essence of this surah is not easy to understand from the traditional point of view but this is a common phenomena experienced by all thinking people.
The feminine marker at the end of the word Malaikah indicates a process or a mechanism, which when activated it turns confusion into the position of dominance or authority and Ruh signifies energy, spirit or air of consciousness / awareness.
When the power of anxiety is at its peak, a valuable and precious phenomenon occurs. In that period of anxiety one gets the solution to his research or dilemma or problem, but this is not an ordinary solution, it’s a breakthrough which is beneficial to everyone. The solution during this period of anxiety is better than the thousand months of living in ignorance. It is the dawning of relief to the person until the breakthrough sees the light of the day. This is how darkness / anxiety [Al-Lailth] is converted into Al-Fajr or An-Nahr. The period of anxiety into phase of enlightenment is Fajr. That's why darkness is considered as valuable anxiety لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ -
Invention of electricity is a breakthrough for entire mankind. It is an authority and dominance over all other inventions in that field. The same thing could be said about Al-Quran it was a breakthrough work in the field of human psychology and character building in the Arabic language. No other book was parallel to this magnificent book of that era. It was a light, guidance and source of enlightenment to those underprivileged nomadic tribes who were living a life of tremendous hardship and fear.
The purpose of this surah is that, the solutions to all our problems can be solved by us alone, provided we focus on our work. The universal energies will help us to find a way to solve our problems. Malaikah does not come down from heaven; it is a deep rooted faculty in our brain itself (EWL page # 3023) which gives us the power, authority and control over our anxiety. The work of a Ruh is to keep us excited, agile, alert and content with the knowledge of awareness or consciousness.
1) Indeed, we have sent it (this Quran) down in the night of the Decree.
2) And what will make you know what the Night of the Decree is?
3) The Night of the Decree is better than a thousand months.
4) Therein descend the Angels and the Ruh (Jibrael) by Allah's Permission with all decrees,
5) (All night), there is peace until the rising of the dawn.
EXEGESIS ACCORDING TO TRADITIONALIST:
There are different versions about the meaning of Lailthul Qadr by the traditional translators. Some says it is a Night of Power or Decree, others say it is Night of Majesty or Dignity. The basic concept of these translators are same - that it is in this night the first divine revelation brought by the Arch Angel Jibrael, to the honorable messenger of Arabia in the Cave Hira [غَـار حِـرَاء], in the month of Ramadan. Because of this event the night became auspicious and those who are awake all night, busy in performing prayers will have a reward of thousand months from their Lord.... Thus it is called Night of Power, Decree, Dignity, Majesty etc.
I would add that this غَـار حِـرَاء traditionally understood as Cave Hira actually means achieving of revelation is due to adoption / meeting of worthy ideas when in deep contemplation.
If we follow the traditional interpretation of this great surah there is no lesson in it for anyone. Only information is provided about the scenario, how the angels and Chief Angel Jibrael descends down with the revelation of "Quran" and the whole night becomes auspicious due to it, until the emergence of dawn.
Again the timeless immemorial message of the the book Quran is confined to that particular night only, by the so called scholars of this sacred book. The message of this surah is so meaningful and deep but the so called scholars of the noble Quran have made the entire message handicapped by confining it to that superficial event. Sadly, they believe that one cannot understand the book Quran without the help of crutches made by “hadith compilers”. We have been conditioned to think that only with the help of Hadith books we can understand or deduce the message of Quran. Although supplementary knowledge is important to deduce overall concept but to think the message of the Quran is handicap without the Hadith literature is an insult to the Author and the book Quran. This is the severe travesty with the evocative message of the book Quran which is meant for everyone and all times to come.
Al-Quran should act as a measuring instrument to check all the extra Islamic material. The “Hadith” should not show light to the book Quran. The traditionalists claim that Quran cannot be understood without referring to Hadith. The book Quran must be the measuring instrument to check the veracity of all other books on the subject. The ulterior motive of the so called narratives of the prophet is to give guidance to the message of the book Quran and misguide the followers of the book Quran from the divine guidance. All these supplementary books were written after approximately 200 years of the messenger’s or author’s demise and to take these books as a guide to understand the message of the Quran is worse than blasphemy.
POINTS FROM THIS SURAH:
Every work either big or small creates an anxiety before its completion. However every job does not excite you or in other words, does not give you a kick. This kick or excitement is a sign of manifestation that the work or assignment that you have undertaken is of your interest and is very dear to your heart. You don’t need an extra motivation to do this job as the job itself urges you or commands you to complete it. This extra motivation is provided by the Rabb by secreting Malaikah and Ruh to authenticate your work and ease out the anxiety during the long mental journey of finding the solution.
This job won’t let you sleep. It increases your excitement day by day and the result is that eventually your level of anxiety also grows. This level of anxiety is not an ordinary anxiety and it cannot be subdued unless the entrusted task gets completed. The task is a prolonged one and for that continuous determination and excitement is needed to fulfill that task. The task of soothing and consoling is done by the Malaikah and Ruh by authenticating, consoling and giving energy to find the solution to the bothering problem.
What makes a person to undertake this task? Who commands him / her to do such a thankless job? – The job is entrusted upon him by his consciousness and it is his consciousness that commands him, day and night, to complete it. And it is his consciousness that will ease out his anxiety by acknowledging his work through the secretion of Malaikah and Ruh in him. The pioneers have no master or guide over them to authenticate or acknowledge their work; nevertheless he gets his energy or acknowledgement of his work through the intangible feeling of solace through Malaikah and Ruh. This is the signal from his Rabb to him that his investigation is on the right track; this keeps him fastened towards his goal. Finally there is Peace (Salam), after the attainment of the breakthrough (Fajr). Some call these feelings as eureka moments.
Q: Are there any special nights in which we should spend our time in superfluous prayers rather than sleep?
A: Contrary to popular practice and belief there are no 'special nights' with special ceremonial prayers. However, thinking, pondering or meditation with sincerity in any dark hour of need is a sign of a Mutaqi or who is cautious / conscious about the need of his/her environment.
Although Al-Quran mentions specific dark phases of anxiety in the life of any person with the words 'Laithul Al-Qadr' and 'Laithin Mubaarakah' (44:1-7), it is not an annual night for 'special prayers'. According to the Qur'an it is the period of extreme anxiety during which the matter is cooked / kindled / heated up to its final stage (Ramadan) and is manifestation (shahr) is in the form of revelation of the Qur'an (Expression in our mother tongue). Thus this is the blessed anxiety (dark phase) due to which the Quran or expression is revealed as the guidance and criterion for agitated souls. Hence 'Surah Al-Qadr' is actually articulating and acknowledging the status of the dark period as a blessed period and not specifying an annual night of special prayers for granting boons.
The overwhelming influence of Hadith literatures over the Qur'an has seduced us to misread the obvious essence of the Surah.