Did the Prophet forget which day Laylatul Qadr was?

ⓘ Supported by Al Medina 313.



Islamic Text

The Prophet ﷺ did not forget when Laylatul Qadr was, rather that the knowledge was lifted. Meaning, the Holy Prophet ﷺ was given the knowledge of it and then it was taken.

عُبَادَةُ بْنُ الصَّامِتِ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ خَرَجَ يُخْبِرُ بِلَيْلَةِ القَدْرِ، فَتَلاَحَى رَجُلاَنِ مِنَ المُسْلِمِينَ فَقَالَ: إِنِّي خَرَجْتُ لِأُخْبِرَكُمْ بِلَيْلَةِ القَدْرِ، وَإِنَّهُ تَلاَحَى فُلاَنٌ وَفُلاَنٌ، فَرُفِعَتْ، وَعَسَى أَنْ يَكُونَ خَيْرًا لَكُمْ، التَمِسُوهَا فِي السَّبْعِ وَالتِّسْعِ وَالخَمْسِ

(Sayidina) Ubadah bin As-Samit narrated that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ went out to inform (the people) about (the date of) Laylatu al-Qadr. However, two Muslims were arguing. So he ﷺ said, ‘Indeed, I came out to inform you about (the date of) Laylatul Qadr, but as so and so and so and so quarrelled, so it was lifted. And it may be better for you. Seek it on the 7th , the 9th and the 5th.’ (Sahih al-Bukhari, 49).

الْمُرَادَ بِرَفْعِهَا رَفْعُ بَيَانِ عِلْمِ عَيْنِهَا. (المنهاج شرح صحيح مسلم بن الحجاج)

What is meant by it being lifted, is that clarification of the knowledge specifying it was lifted. (Imam Yahya bin Sharaf al-Nawawi, Sharh Sahih Muslim).

The Sahih Hadith above demonstrates the negative impact Muslims arguing can have on the Ummah. Two Muslims were arguing and this led to the specification of Laylatul Qadr being lifted. However, it also highlights the fact that the decree of Allah (Most High) is always best for the Ummah.

” وعسى أن يكون خيْراً ” ليجتهدوا فى طلبها، ويكثروا العمل، ولا يتكلوا على عملهم فيها فقط إذا تعينت لهم. (شَرْحُ صَحِيح مُسْلِمِ)

It may be good for them. So that they work hard at seeking it and increase their good deeds. They do not rely on their deeds in it, (as they would have) if it had been specified. (Imam Qadi Iyaad, Sharh Sahih Muslim).

The fact that Laylatul Qadr was not specified will lead to Muslims seeking it on numerous nights. This will increase the good deeds they accomplish. Therefore, there is a clear benefit in not knowing the specified night.

And Allah Most High Knows Best.

-Answered by Shaykh Noorud-deen Rashid (05.04.2023)