Different Beginnings of Ramadan: How to Find Laylat al-Qadr?

03 May, 2021
Q If we all have different times to start Ramadan, how are we supposed to know when is the Night of Power?


Short Answer:

  • The knowledge of the exact night is known only to Allah.  The Prophet said: Seek Laylat Al-Qadr in the odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadan.
  • Our role is to do our best seeking Laylat al-Qadr in the last ten days of Ramadan by doing extra acts of worship.


Salam Sister,

Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam. 

Let’s pray to Allah the Almighty for the unity of Muslims around the globe.

With regard to the different starts of Ramadan in different countries, there is a difference among Muslim scholars whether all Muslim countries should start fasting when the new moon of Ramadan is sighted in a Muslim country or should each country follow its own sighting of the new moon.

The Start of Ramadan

A great number of Muslim scholars prefer the opinion that if the new moon of Ramadan is certainly sighted in a specific country, all other countries, which share part of the night with it, should start fasting accordingly.

Another group of scholars view that each county can follow its moon sighting.

The preferred view is the first one in order to maintain the unity of Muslims.

With regard to the issue of Laylat Al-Qadr and its timing in different countries, let me say few words about it.

Laylat Al-Qadr

Laylat Al-Qadr is literally translated as the Night of Power or the Night of Decree.

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During this night, the revelation of the Quran from God (Allah) to Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) began.

We read in the Quran what means:

{Verily! We have sent it [the Quran] down on the Night of Decree (Laylat Al-Qadr). And what will make you know what the Night of Decree is? The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months. Therein descend the angels and the ruh [Gabriel] by Allah’s Permission with all decrees. Peace […] until the break of dawn.} (Al-Qadr 97:1-7)

Laylat al-Qadr falls only in Ramadan. Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

The blessed month has come to you. Allah has made fasting during it obligatory upon you.

During it, the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of Hellfire are locked, and the devils are chained.

There is a night [during this month], which is better than a thousand months.

Whoever is deprived of its good is really deprived [of something great]. (Ahmad)

The night referred to in the above narration is the Night of Power.

About the merits of Laylat al-Qadr, the Prophet is reported to have said:

Whoever stands in night prayer on Laylat Al-Qadr out of solely his true faith and seeks the divine reward, then his previous sins are forgiven. (Al-Bukhari)

Therefore, in one night all your previous sins can be forgiven if you spend this night in prayer, i`tikaf, reading the Quran, making dua (supplication), giving out in charity, helping the poor and the needy.

The recommended supplication during this night is what Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) reported from the Prophet:

Allahumma innaka `affuwwun, tuhibbul `afwa, fa`fu `annee (O Allah, You are the One Who pardons greatly, and loves to pardon, so pardon me.)

When is Laylat Al-Qadr?

As for when Laylat al-Qadr is, the Prophet is reported to have said:

Seek it on the last ten nights of Ramadan, on the night when nine or seven or five nights remain out of the last ten nights of Ramadan [i.e. 21st, 23rd, 25th respectively]. (Al-Bukhari)

In another narration we read:

Seek Laylat Al-Qadr in the odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadan. (Al-Bukhari)

It was narrated that some people among Muslims saw Laylat Al-Qadr on the last seven days of Ramadan, while others saw it in the last ten days. Upon that, the Prophet said: 

Seek it in the last seven days. (Al-Bukhari)

As for the occurrence of Laylat al-Qadr in the case of different beginnings of Ramadan, it is the same night, even though it starts at different times in different countries.

So in the Arab lands it begins when the sun sets in those countries, and in African countries it also begins when the sun sets there, and so on. Whenever the sun sets in a people’s land, it has begun for them, even if that process lasts more than twenty hours.

So for one group of people their night is regarded as Laylat al-Qadr, then for the next group of people, their night is regarded as Laylat al-Qadr. And there is no reason the angels cannot descend to one group of people and also another. (Source)

The knowledge of the exact night is known only to Allah. Our role is to busy with seeking Laylat al-Qadr in the last ten days of Ramadan by doing extra acts of worship such as prayer, reading the Quran, remembering Allah, observing i’tikaf, charity, etc.

I hope this answers your question.

Please keep in touch.


(From Ask About Islam archives)

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About Dr. Mohsen Haredy
Dr. Mohsen Haredy holds a PhD in Hadith literature from Leiden University, the Netherlands. He is the former Executive Manager and Editor-in-Chief of E-Da`wah Committee in Kuwait, and a contributing writer and counselor of Reading Islam. He graduated from Al-Azhar University and earned his MA in Hadith literature from Leiden University.