Concerning the Night of Absolution [Lailat al-Bara`a],
its special mercy, grace and merits
Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) has said:
"Ha-Mim. By the Book that makes plain; We sent it down on a blessed night...." (44:1-3)
According to Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be well pleased with him and with his father), "'Ha-Mim' means that Allah has predetermined everything in existence till the Day of Resurrection. 'The Book that makes plain' is the Qur'an, which is also the object referred to in 'We sent it down.' The 'blessed night' is the night of mid-Sha`ban, which is the Night of Absolution."
In the Qur'an, Allah (Exalted is He) calls many things 'blessed,' including the Qur'an itself, of which He has said:
"This is a blessed Reminder that We have revealed." (21:50)
Part of its blessedness is that one who reads it and believes in it enjoys right guidance and salvation from the Fire, and these benefits are also passed by extension to his ascendants and descendants. As the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) has said:
When someone reads the Qur'an from the written text, Allah (Almighty
and Glorious is He) alleviates the torment of his parents, even if they were unbelievers.
One of the things Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) calls 'blessed' is water, for He has said:
"And down from the sky We have sent blessed water." (50:9)
Part of its blessedness lies in the fact that all life depends on it. In the words of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He):
"And We made every living thing from water. Will they not then believe?" (21:30)
Water is said to contain ten subtle properties: delicateness, suppleness, energy, fluency, limpidity, mobility, moistness, coolness, humility and vitality. Allah (Exalted is He) has imbued the conscientious believer [mu'min labib] with these same properties, namely, refinement of the heart, flexibility of temperament, energy in obedient service, politeness of the personality, purity of behavior, movement in good works, moistness in the eye, coolness toward sinful transgressions, humility toward fellow creatures, and vitality in heeding the truth.
The olive tree is another thing called 'blessed' by Allah (Exalted and Glorious is He):
"From a blessed tree, an olive...." (24:35)
This was the first tree from which Adam (peace be upon him) ate when he was cast down to earth. It contains nourishment and enlightenment. In the words of Allah (Exalted is He):
"...and relish for the eaters." (23:20)
Some say the 'blessed tree' is Abraham (peace be upon him), some say it is the Qur'an, and others say it is true faith. Still others say it is the tranquil soul of the believer, insistent on good conduct, obedient to commandment, restrained by prohibition, submitted to destiny, conforming to the Lord in what He has decreed and ruled.
Jesus (peace be upon him) is also among those Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) calls 'blessed':
[Jesus said]: "And He has made me blessed wherever I may be." (19:31)
His blessedness (peace be upon him) includes the sprouting of the fruit from the date palm for his faithful mother, Mary (peace be upon both mother and son), and the gushing forth of water beneath him.
In the words of the Almighty and Glorious One:
Then [a voice] cried to her from below her, saying: "Grieve not, for your Lord has placed a rivulet beneath you. And shake the trunk of the palm-tree toward you: It will cause ripe dates
to fall upon you. So eat and drink and be consoled." (19:24-26)
Among other good deeds and miracles, he healed the blind and cured the leper, and brought the dead to life by his supplication.
The Ka'aba is one of the things called 'blessed' by Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He):
"The first House appointed for mankind was that at Bakka, a blessed place." (3:96)
Part of its blessedness is that one who enters it, bearing a heavy load of sins, will come out having been forgiven. Allah (Exalted is He) has said:
"And anyone who enters it is safe."(3:97)
So if someone enters the House as a believer, aware of his sins and repentant, Allah waives his punishment, accepts his repentance and forgives him. It is also said that anyone who enters it is immune to wrongdoing, as long as he remains within the Sacred Precinct. It is therefore unlawful to kill the game there, or to fell the trees.
The sanctity of the Ka'aba is due to the sanctity of Allah, the sanctity of the Mosque to the sanctity of the Ka⢡, the sanctity of the Mecca to the sanctity of the Mosque, and the sanctity of the Sacred Precinct to the sanctity of Mecca. As it is said: "The Ka'aba is a Qibla [direction of prayer] for the people of the Mosque, the Mosque is a Qibla for the people of Mecca, Mecca is a Qibla for the people of the Sacred Precinct, and the Sacred Precinct is a Qibla for the people of the earth."
The Night of Absolution has also been called 'blessed', because it is a vessel for the mercy, blessing, benefit, pardon and forgiveness descending for the people on earth.
According to Abu Nasr, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) is reported as having said:
On the night of the middle of Sha`ban, Allah (Exalted is He) descends to the heaven of this lower world and forgives every Muslim, excepting only the idolater, the bearer of malice, the breaker of family ties, or the woman who is sexually promiscuous.
Again from Abu Nasr, we learn that `Aisha (may Allah be well pleased with her) once said:
"When it was the night of mid-Sha`ban, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) had removed a garment of mine." Then she added, "By Allah! That garment of mine was not of silk, nor of raw silk, nor of linen, nor of silk and wool, nor of wool." [The reporter said:] "'Glory be to Allah!' I said to her, 'So what was it made of?'" She replied: "Its warp was of hair and its weft was of silk. I reckoned that he (Allah bless him and give him peace) might have gone to one of his [other] wives, so I got up and searched for him in the [darkness of the] apartment. My hand made contact with his feet, as he was prostrate in worship. Of his prayer (Allah bless him and give him peace), I remember these words:
Prostrate before You are my form and my spirit, and my heart is in Your safekeeping. I acknowledge Your favors, and to You I confess my sin. I have wronged myself, so forgive me; surely none forgives sins but You. I seek refuge with Your pardon from Your punishment, with Your mercy from Your vengeance, with Your approval from Your displeasure. I seek refuge with You from You. I do not tell Your praises, for You are as You have extolled Yourself.
She continued: "So he did not cease from worship, now standing and now sitting [on his heels], until morning came. Then his feet were put up, and as I massaged them I said: 'My father be your ransom and my mother too! Surely Allah has forgiven your former and your latter sins? Surely Allah has dealt with you? Is it not so? Is it not so?'
"He replied (Allah bless him and give him peace): 'O `Aisha, shall I not therefore be a grateful servant? Do you know what happens during this night?' 'What happens?' I asked, and he said: 'This is when all births are recorded for this year, and every death is registered. This is when provisions are allotted to mankind, and their deeds and actions are gathered up.'
"'O Messenger of Allah,' said I ['A'isha], 'Will no one enter Paradise except by Allah's mercy?' 'No one will enter Paradise except by Allah's mercy,' he told me (Allah bless him and give him peace). 'Not even you?' I asked. 'Not even I,' said he (Allah bless him and give him peace), 'unless Allah envelops me with His mercy.' Then he rubbed his hand over his head and his face."
copyright Al-Baz Publications