it is related on the authority of ‘ubaadah ibn as-saamit that the prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa salam, came to educate the people regarding the night of al-qadr (decree), but two muslims were arguing with each other. so, he, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa salam, said:
“i came out to inform you about the night of al-qadr, but so-and-so were quarreling, so its knowledge was taken away. yet, perhaps that is for your own good, so look for it on the ninth, seventh and fifth [of the last ten nights of ramadhaan].”[al-bukhaari]
moreover, abu sa‘eed al-khudri narrates that, before it was shown to him, the messenger of allaah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa salam, observed i‘tikaaf during the middle ten [days of ramadhaan], seeking the night of al-qadr. when the days elapsed, he ordered that his tent be dismantled. but then, it was revealed to him that it actually falls on one of the last ten [nights], so, he ordered his tent to be pitched once again. subsequently, he came to everyone and said: “o people! the night of al-qadr was shown to me and i came out to inform you of it; but there came two men, each of whom was demanding his right from the other, and the devil was in their company, so i forgot it. hence, anticipate it in [one of] the last ten nights of ramadhaan; seek it in the ninth, seventh and fifth [of its nights].” [muslim]
benefits and rulings [derived from these hadeeths]
first: division and differences are forbidden among muslims, due to the fact that the evil of argumentation and disputes based on falsehood, might affect not only the parties involved, but also extend to others, as it is one of the factors of goodness being taken away. that is why the night of al-qadr was moved to another night. moreover, forgiveness is withheld from those involved in an altercation and reckoning of their deeds is delayed until their reconciliation.
second: it can be drawn from the hadeeth narrated by ‘ubaadah that a whole group of people may be punished for the sins committed by a few.
third: the night of al-qadr still exists, according to the consensus of scholars; it was only knowledge of its exact time that was taken away, which is why the prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa salam, forgot it.
fourth: it is good for muslims not to be aware of its precise night, in order for them to do their utmost in all of the last ten nights of ramadhaan.
fifth: to be more exact, only the odd nights of the last ten of ramadhaan are the most likely ones to contain the night of al-qadr.
sixth: the night of al-qadr was first hidden from the prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa salam, and then shown to him; then, he was caused to forget it once again.
seventh: the prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa salam, was keen on seeking the night of al-qadr in the middle ten days of ramadhaan before it was shown to him that it actually occurred in its last ten; this zeal was despite the fact that allaah the almighty had forgiven him his earlier and later sins.
eighth: anticipating and being keen on [attaining] the night of al-qadr is to imitate the prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa salam; this is achieved only by spending all the last ten nights in prayer and worship in general, but also with emphasis on its odd ones.