Laylat al-Qadr (night of power, night of value, Night of Measure, Night of Decree) is the best and most sacred night in the year based on Islamic teachings. In the Quran, Laylat al-Qadr is mentioned in two Suras: Sura al-Qadr and Sura al-Dukhan.
The exact date of Laylat al-Qadr is unknown. However, according to many traditions, it is in the month of Ramadan. Shia believe that it is the night of 19th or 21st or 23rd of the month of Ramadan or 15th of Shaban. Majority of Sunni Muslims mark 27th of the month of Ramadan as Laylat al-Qadr.
On these nights, Shia follow their Imams (AS) in staying awake the whole night, reciting the Quran, praying and performing other rituals. The anniversary of Imam Ali’s martyrdom at 21st of Ramadan has increased the importance of these days among Shia. According to hadiths, Laylat al-Qadr is not only for the Prophet’s time, rather there is Laylat al-Qadr in every year. Based on these hadiths, Shia demonstrated that there must be a living Imam so that the angels who descend on that night would descend on him, an Imam with similar characteristics as of the Prophet (PBUH).
According to the Islamic teachings, Laylat al-Qadr has a special sacredness and holiness. At this night the destiny of the coming year will be determined.
Occurrence of some events at this night has increased its importance. The whole Qur’an was sent down on the Prophet’s (PBUH) heart at this night as it is mentioned in Surat al-Qadr:
“Indeed We sent it (the Qur’an) down on the Night of Qadr.”
Imam Ali (AS) was martyred in this night. Shia mark this event every year by mourning their Imam in this night besides practicing Mustahab (recommended) acts of the night.
Exegetes of Quran believe that the verses of Sura al-Qadr connote that Laylat al-Qadr is repeated every year and it is not the only night that the Qur’an was sent down to the Prophet (PBUH), or the ones in the Prophet’s (PBUH) time. In addition, many hadiths, which are about to be Mutawatir, support this idea.
According to some hadiths, Laylat al-Qadr is one of the blessings of God to the Islamic nation (umma). The Prophet (PBUH) said “Allah has bestowed the Night of Qadr to my umma and non of the past nations have been blessed with this.”