97. Qadr

Syed Abu-Ala' Maududi's Chapter Introductions to the Quran


The Sura has been so designated after the word al-qadr in the very first verse.

Period of Revelation

Whether it is a Makki or a Madani revelation is disputed. Abu Hayyan in Al-Bahr al-Muhti has made the claim that the majority of scholars regard it as a Madani Sura. All bin Ahmad al-Wahidi in his commentary says that this is the first Sura to be sent down in Madinah. Contrary to this Al Mawardi says that occording to the majority of scholars it is a Makki revelation and the same view has Imam Suyuti expressed in Al-Itqan. Ibn Mardayah has cited Ibn Abbas lbn Az Zubair and Hadrat Aishah as saying that this Sura was revealed at Makkah. A study of the contents also shows that it should have been revealed at Makkah as we shall explain below.

Theme and Subject Matter

Its theme is to acquaint man with the value worth and importance of the Quran. Its being placed just after Sura Al-Alaqin the arrangement of the Quran by itself explains that the Holy Book the revelation of which began with the first five verses of Sura Al-Alaq. was sent down in a destiny making night. It is a glorious Book and its revelation for mankind is full of blessings. At the outset Allah says: "We have sent it down." That is it is not a composition of Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace and blessing) himself but We Ourself have revealed it. Then it is said that "We sent it down in the Night of Destiny." Night of Destiny lies two meanings and both are implied here. First that it is the night during which destinies are decided; or in other words it is not an ordinary night like the other nights but a night in which destinies are made or marred. The revelation of this Book in this night is not merely the revelation of a book but an event which will change the destiny of not only the Quraish or of Arabia but of the entire world. The same thing has been said in Sura Ad-Dukhanfor which please see Introduction to that Sura and E. N. 3 thereof. The other meaning is that this is a night of unique honour dignity and glory; so much so that it is better than a thousand months. Thus the disbelievers of Makkah have been warned as if to say: "You on account of your ignorance regard this Book which Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace and blessings) has presented as a calamity for yourselves and complain that a disaster has befallen you whereas the night in which it was decreed to be sent down was such a blessed night that a task was accomplished in it for the well being of mankind which had never been accomplished even during a thousand months of history. This also has been said in verse 3 of Ad-Dukhanin another way which we have explained in the introduction to that Sura. In conclusion it has been stated that in this night the angels and Gabriel descend with every decree (which in verse 4 of Sura Ad- Dukhanhas been described as arm-hakim: wise decree) by the leave of their Lord and it is all peace from evening till morning; that is there is no interfercnce of evil in it for all decrees of Allah are intended to promote good and not evil. So much so that even if a decision to destroy a nation is taken it is taken for the sake of ultimate good not evil.