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Laylat al-Qadr (Arabic: لیلة القدر) (also known as Shab-e-Qadr), variously rendered in English as the Night of Destiny, Night of Power, Night of Value, the Night of Decree or Night of Measures, is the anniversary of two very important dates in Islam that occurred in the month of Ramadan. It is the anniversary of the night Muslims believe the first verses of the Quran were revealed to the Islamic prophet Muhammad.
Revelation to Muhammad 
Laylat al-Qadr is believed to be the night when the Quran was first revealed. Some but not all Muslims believe that revelation of the Quran occurred in two phases, with the first phase being the revelation in its entirety on Laylat al-Qadr to the angel Gabriel (Jibril in Arabic) in the lowest heaven, and then the subsequent verse-by-verse revelation to Muhammad by Gabriel, across 23 years. The revelation started in 610 CE at the Hira cave on Mount Nur in Mecca. The first Surah that was revealed was Surah Al-Alaq (in Arabic ) "العلق" which is also commonly referred to as Surah Iqra (in Arabic) "اقرأ". During the first revelation the first five verses of this surah, chapter, were revealed. The first word of the revelation, 'Ikra' meaning 'read' is significant as Muhammad could not read. The verses spoken by the angel Gabriel were imprinted in the heart of Muhammad. The command 'read' thus remains a foremost command addressed to every Muslim and this points to the importance of reading, learning, and knowledge in Islam. The pillar of Islam standing on no lesser a theme through propagation of the Quran and the Traditions of Muhammad the religion gained and continues to gain strength. This night being of historical significance, Muslims should worship as much as they can on this night. It is also believed to be the night when God decides the destiny of everyone.
Muslims often pray extra prayers on this day, particularly the night prayer. They awake, pray, and hope God will give them anything they may desire on this night. Mostly, they perform tilawat (reading the Quran).
Those who can afford to devote their time in the remembrance of God stay in the mosque for the final ten days of Ramadan. This worship is called Iʿtikāf (retreat). They observe a fast during the day and occupy themselves with the remembrance of God, performing voluntary prayers and studying the Quran, day and night, apart from the obligatory prayers which they perform with the congregation. Food and other necessities of life are provided for them during their stay in the mosque. Devoting time to remember God, Muslims also hope to receive divine favors and blessings connected with Lailat ul-Qadr.
As per the Quran (Sure Qadr) Angels come down on the earth with all things (destiny of the people for the coming year). "The angels and Jibreel descend in it by the permission of their Lord for every affair" (97:4)
Sunni Islam 
Laylat al-Qadr is to be found in the last five odd nights of the 3rd decade of Ramadan. There is no history in the Quran as to when the specific date is. Therefore in the Sunni communities of all the Islamic countries, the Laylat al-Qadar is found to be on the last nights of Ramadan. Mostly it is on one of the odd nights, i.e. the 21st (means the night that follows the day number 20), 23rd, 25th, 27th or 29th night. Many traditions insist particularly on the night before the 27 of Ramadan.
Shia Islam 
Similarly Lailatul Qadr' is to be found in the last ten odd nights of Ramadan but mostly on the 19th or 21st or 23rd night of Ramadhan. The 19th, according to the Shia belief coincides with the night Ali was attacked in the Mihrab while worshipping in the Great Mosque of Kufa, and died on the 21st of Ramadhan. Shia Muslims worship and regard these three nights as greatly rewarding.
Many Shia Muslims, who make up the largest minority of Islamic followers — including the Ismailis and especially Dawoodi Bohra's — observe Laylat al-Qadr on the night of the 23rd, in keeping with traditions received through Ali and his wife Fatimah, Muhammad's daughter and Fatimid Imams. They further believe that there is no doubt over the date and this is being kept secret by Allah to really testify the follower of Ahl al-Bayt. The tradition is also said to have been articulated by Ja'far al-Sadiq and other Shia Imams.
Religious importance 
We have indeed revealed this (Message) in the Night of Power:
And what will explain to thee what the night of power is?
The Night of Power is better than a thousand months.
Therein come down the angels and the Spirit by Allah's permission, on every errand:
Peace!...This until the rise of dawn!
The verses above regard the Night as better than one thousand months. The whole month of Ramadan is a period of spiritual training wherein believers devote much of their time to fasting, praying, reciting the Quran, remembering God, and giving charity. However because of the revealed importance of this night, Muslims strive [give more effort] harder in the last ten days of Ramadan since the Laylat al-Qadr could be one of the odd-numbered days in these last ten (the first, third, fifth, seventh or ninth). Normally, some Muslims from each community perform iʿtikāf in the mosque: they remain in the mosque for the last ten days of the month for prayers and recitation.Women too observe i'tikaf . They remain in prayer and meditation mostly, although they are allowed to do the minimum domestic work to run the family .When the Holy Prophet (sal) observed i'tikaf in a tent, he saw a few tents around his . His wives joined him by pitching tents .
See also 
- Laylatul Qadr, the Night of Power on Beliefnet.com
- Laylat Al-Qadr, The Night of Power - Last 10 Days
- Lailatul Qadar
- Shab e Qadr 2011 (Laylat al-Qadr)
- Al Qadr (The Night of Power And Fate)
- Al Qadr Learn Surah Al Qadr with Audio at MountHira.com
- Lailat al Qadr (BBC Religion) with dates
- The Powerful Night of ramzan
- Laylatul Qadr: Introduction and guidance on special prayers for the night. (Includes Salaatul Tasbeeh)
- "Deliverance from Error on Knowledge of Times of Day and the Direction of Prayer" is an Arabic manuscript from 1683 which talks about the Night of Destiny