97. Al-Qadr (The Grandeur)
This sūrah of five verses takes its name from the word al-qadr (The Grandeur, power, destiny, measure, worth) in the first verse. It is about the Laylat al-Qadr (the Night of Destiny, Power, and Measure), which occurs in the third part of the holy month of Ramadān. Spending that night in devotions is of great worth.
In the Name of God, the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate.
1. We have surely sent it (the Qur’ān) down in the Night of Destiny and Power.
2. What enables you to perceive what the Night of Destiny and Power is?
3. The Night of Destiny and Power is better than a thousand months!
4. The angels and the Spirit descend in it by the permission of their Lord with His decrees for every affair—
5. (Being) a sheer mercy and security (from all misfortunes, for the servants who spend it in devotions in appreciation of its worth),. (being) until the rising of the dawn.1
1. As explained in sūrah 44, note 1, every thing and event has eternal existence in God’s Knowledge. Since He is absolutely uncontained by time and space, there are no divisions of the past, the present, and the future in His Knowledge, in which all time is a point or the present. Creating means that He gives external existence to the “archetypes” in His Knowledge, according to the measures of the world to which the things belong. His will for things and events in the material world is that they follow a process in order to come into being.
When God wills for an individual thing to come into existence, or an individual event to take place, He decrees it to be with its own particular identity. We can describe this as each thing and event being identified with its particular nature by the Divine Destiny, as referred to in verse 15: 21. Destiny transfers this event or thing from the realm of Knowledge to the realm of Divine Power; and Divine Power creates it according to the measures determined by Destiny. (We should always bear in mind that all of the explanations concerning God are in respect to us, or from our perspective, and according to our measures in our relationship with Him.)
Thus, each year must have a particular identity and importance for the acts of the Divine Destiny and Power during the whole history of the universe in general, and for humankind in particular; and there is a special night each year in which every thing or being that God has willed to come into existence, and every event that has been willed to take place during that year, is identified or particularized and transferred from the Divine Knowledge to the disposal of the Divine Power. As understood from other relevant verses, such as 2: 185, which state that the Qur’ān was sent down in Ramadān, this night is the Night of Destiny, Power, and Measure. Since this night is in Ramadān according to the lunar year, which is 11 days shorter than the solar year, any night in the solar year can be this night, once every 354 years.
The Qur’ān is sent down in one of two ways; once in its totality, and the other in parts. Interpreters of the Qur’ān say that the Qur’ān was sent in its totality from the Supreme Preserved Tablet to the heaven of the world or Bayt al-Ma‘mūr. We do not know the precise nature of this Bayt (House), or of the Qur’ān’s being sent down to it or to the heaven of the world. However, in light of verses 44: 1–6, it can be said that as every Divine Book was identified with its particular nature in its totality by Destiny in, or transferred in its totality from, God’s Knowledge or the Supreme Preserved Tablet or Mother Book (see 6: 59, note 13; 13: 39, note 13; 17: 14, note 10; 43: 4, note 1), the Qur’ān was also identified in its totality in, or transferred from, the same original source on the Night of Destiny, Power, and Measure.
The angels, who are called messengers in 44: 5, have duties regarding the affairs in the universe, and the lives of beings. Among them are those charged with bringing the Divine Revelation to the Prophets, namely Gabriel and his aides. They receive God’s decrees and set out to carry them out. They also descend with God’s special grace, mercy, and security during the Night of Destiny, Power, and Measure.
As for the Spirit, as explained in sūrah 70, note 1, he must be an angel-like being. According to Imām al-Ghazzālī, he is an angel (or angel-like being) whom God employs in breathing each person’s spirit into their body. Bediüzzaman Said Nursi maintains that there is a spirit representing every thing, and every being. So the Spirit may be the being responsible for all the spirits, who represents their worship and presents it to God. During the Night of Destiny, Power, and Measure, he may be descending to breathe peace, liveliness, and exhilaration into the believers who keep vigil. (God knows best.)