Shab-e-Qadr Persian phrase meaning 'the night of power' or 'the night of respect'; the most blessed of all the nights of the year according to Islam. In the Holy quran and hadith it is referred to as Lailatu'l-Qadr; in Bangladesh it is commonly known as 'Shab-e-Qadr'. In this night, five verses of Al-Alaq, the first surah (chapter) of the Quran was revealed. About Shab-e-Qadr the Quran says: it is the night in which the Quran was revealed; it is better than a thousand months; during this night the angels including Jibra'il descended with the permission of their Lord; there is peace all night long.

The precise date of Shab-e-Qadr is unknown except that, according to the Quran, it falls in ramadan. According to the prophetic tradition it is an odd-numbered night among the last seven or ten days of the month, that is, the 21st, 23rd, or 25th, or any of the 25th, 27th or 29th night of Ramadan. However, most Muslim scholars believe that Shab-e-Qadr is the 27th night of Ramadan, which is also the view generally held in Bangladesh. This blessed night is a great mercy of Allah to the Muslims, for by praying in this single night they can get the reward of prayer done in more than a thousand months.

The Prophet (Sm) asked the believers to pray a lot in this night. If a believer prays throughout this night all his past sins are forgiven. Shab-e-Qadr is observed with great religious fervour in Bangladesh. Pious Muslims, who do not wish to miss the special benefits of this night, start their devotions from the 21st night of Ramadan. Most Muslims, however, observe it only on the 27th. At the time of Isha' prayer, people assemble at mosques, with many staying till midnight to pray. Women pray at home. The day following Shab-e-Qadr is an official holiday in Bangladesh. To mark the occasion radio and television broadcast special programmes and the newspapers and periodicals publish special features. [MA Quasem]