TONIGHT is the 21st Night, the last ten nights are here – this means the majority of Ramadhan has now passed by. Often at this stage we start to feel the sadness that we will lose Ramadhan soon; perhaps we may be feeling disappointed with ourselves for not doing enough ibadah so far in Ramadhan? If so, don’t lose hope as there is still a huge opportunity in front of us and actually the most crucial part of Ramadhan remains!
We can still do so much with the time left – so instead of winding down let’s really push ourselves and pick up the pace – don’t waste time now regretting or worrying about the time that you’ve wasted or wishing you’d done more; focus on today and the days to come and how you can really improve and do well. You can still make it your best Ramadan so far, you can still finish the Quran, still pray long qiyam and add to your bank of good deeds!
Don’t delay and feel ‘it’s too late what’s the point?’ or ‘I’ve already got too much to do – I’ll do it properly next year’ – remember it may be the last time we experience these last 10 days of Ramadhan. If we make the sincere intention to make the most of the time left and ask Allah to help us to do this, we will see the results inshaAllah!
*Lailatul Qadr – A Gift to the Ummah of Muhammad (PBUH)*
The Prophet (PBUH) told the Sahaba (companions) about a man from Bani Israel who used to spend the night in prayer. Then during the day he would fight the enemy in the way of Allah until the evening and he did this for a thousand months – he was blessed with a long life and so collected many good deeds.
The Sahaba felt they were at a disadvantage – they would never be able to do as many good deeds as people in those generations, and they loved to compete in doing good deeds.
They asked the Prophet (PBUH) about this, and in response surah Qadr was revealed. In 5 short ayaat Allah explained one of the greatest blessings, a miracle and gift that was given to our ummah and not to any other: Lailatul qadr. Allah gave us the opportunity to gain the reward for the equivalent worship of that man from Bani Israel i.e. an entire lifetime of worship in 1 night which is better than 1000 months! Allah says:
1. Verily! We have sent it (this Qur’an) down in the night of Al-Qadr
2. And what will make you know what the night of Al-Qadr is?
3. The night of Al-Qadr is better than a thousand months
4. Therein descend the angels and the Ruh [(Gabriel)] by Allah’s Permission with all Decrees,
5. Peace! until the appearance of dawn.
(Surah Al-Qadr, 97:1-5)
*Why was it called Lailatul ‘Qadr’? *
Qadr means Decree – On this night Allah gives the entire year’s decree to the angels – so it is called The Night of Decree
Qadr is also something which has high value, it is honoured – so it is called The Night of Power – Lailatul Qadr is honoured as it is the night in which the Qur’an was first revealed to the Prophet (PBUH) – it is one of the greatest moments in all history .
Another meaning of Qadr is to constrict – that night the earth is constricted because so many angels come down that there is very little space for them – so they come in groups, give salaam and leave immediately so the next group can come.
Jibreel (AS) no longer comes down to earth as his main mission is complete; but he comes down to earth again on Lailatul Qadr – it was his responsibility to bring down the message of the Qur’an to the Prophet (PBUH) in the past, and this night is the anniversary of the day when he first came down to the Prophet (PBUH) .
*The Value of Time on Lailatul Qadr*
This is a night of pure blessings – one night surpasses the value of 30,000 nights!!
It is better than 1000 months of ibadah – more than 83 and 1/4 years! That is longer than many people’s entire lives.
This year Lailatul Qadr is going to be approx. 6.5 hours, therefore 1 second is almost worth 24 hours.
Make sure everything in this time is for Allah’s sake – eating, drinking, resting etc. – to sustain yourself to make ibadah all night.
A person who misses Lailatul Qadr has indeed missed a great amount of good…
*Which Night is it?*
The Prophet (PBUH) came out to tell us when Lailatul Qadr was, and two of the Muslims were arguing. He said: “I came out to tell you when Lailatul Qadr was, and So and so and So and so were arguing, so it [the knowledge of when Lailatul Qadr was] was taken away from me. Perhaps this is better for you.” (al-Bukhari)
This hadeeth indicates how bad it is to argue and fight, especially with regard to matters of religion, and that this is a cause of goodness being taken away or concealed. However, there is a benefit in the exact timing being hidden….
It is more likely to be one of the odd-numbered nights based on the hadeeth:
“Seek Lailatul Qadr in the odd-numbered nights of the last ten nights.” (al-Bukhari)
However, we should still search on ALL ten nights.
Some Muslims restrict themselves to ibadah on the 27th night – but they may be missing out, there is no evidence that just singles out the 27th.
Why did Allah hide this day? One of Allah’s names is Al Sattar. We know this name to mean The One who hides our sins. But through this quality Allah has also hidden the precise time of Lailatul Qadr from us so that we can develop and exert ourselves by worshipping Him all throughout the 10 days – just like He hid the time of our death so that we can worship Him all of the time.
Really it’s a blessing: if we missed one night (we try not to, but perhaps a person is ill or unable to pray) then we know there are other opportunities – ideally we do as much as we can in all the last 10 days.
*What to do on Lailatul Qadr*
Aisha (RA) reported:
‘With the start of the last ten days of Ramadhan, the Prophet (PBUH) used to tighten his waist belt (i.e. work hard) and used to pray all the night, and used to keep his family awake for the prayers.’ (al-Bukhari)
1) Pray Qiyaam (Night Prayer):
It is recommended to make a long qiyaam during the nights on which Lailatul Qadr could fall:
“Whoever stands [in qiyaam] in Lailatul Qadr out of faith and expectation [of Allah’s reward], will have all of his previous sins forgiven” (al-Bukhari and Muslim).
SubhanAllah! What a wonderful bargain! And even if you’re not praying, you can still get the same level of reward and make the most of this time (see below) and you can help family and friends by making it easier for them to worship – inshaAllah you’ll get the reward of their ibadah too. 🙂
2) Make du’aa:
“Nothing can change Qadr (the decree) except du’aa” (Ahmad, Tirmidhi)
Lailatul Qadr is the night when the decrees for the year are handed out – who will live, who will die, who will pass exams/fail, who will get a job/lose a job etc. – so this is a crucial time to make du’aa which can change your destiny in the year ahead!
We know du’aa is powerful – on Lailatul Qadr du’aa can change your Qadr and that of the entire ummah – so think about all the areas in your life and hereafter, your weaknesses, fears, areas you want to improve, relationships that need mending, studies and work – compile a du’aa list to go through on Lailatul Qadr.
Make du’aa for the ummah (including the circle!), and remember the angels make du’aa twice for you.
The very best time to make du’aa is in the last third of the night, when Allah descends to the lowermost heaven and says; “Who is calling Me, so that I may answer him? Who is asking Me so that may I grant him? Who is seeking forgiveness from Me so that I may forgive him?” (al-Bukhari, Hadith Qudsi)
If you can’t think of any du’aa or you get stuck, get out your ‘Hisnul Muslim’ (Fortress of a Muslim) du’aa book, and go through it – read the meanings of the du’aa too.
Try and attend the masjid – pray taraweeh on the night that the imam finishes the Qur’an – why? so you can catch the nice long khatm du’aa at the end!
3) Ask for Forgiveness:
A few circles ago we talked about forgiveness – one of the biggest things holding us back in life is our sins ; so to soften our hearts really make du’aa to Allah to forgive us all of our sins.
Aisha (RA) asked the Prophet (PBUH):
“O Messenger of Allah! If I knew which night Lailatul Qadr is, what should I say during it?” And he instructed her to say:
Allahumma innaka ‘Afuwwun tuhibbul ‘Afwa fa’fu ‘anee
O Allah! You are forgiving, and you love forgiveness. So forgive me”
(Ahmad, Ibn Majah and Tirmidhi)
The Prophet (PBUH) knew more than anyone about the value of this night – so why would he tell us to say this one short du’a, just 7 words?
Note that he didn’t use the word ‘maghfira’ for forgiveness, he used Allah’s name Al-Afuw. What’s the difference? ‘Maghfira’ means – Allah forgives your sins and conceals them on the Day of Judgment from others, and won’t punish you for them. Here is what will happen…..
‘Allah will bring a believer near Him and shelter him with His Screen and ask him: Did you commit such-and-such sins? He will say: Yes, my Lord. Allah will keep on asking him till he will confess all his sins and will think that he is ruined. Allah will say: ‘I did conceal your sins in the world and I forgive them for you today’ (al-Bukhari)
But you still have to go through that embarrassing experience of admitting all your sins in front of Allah – May Allah help us – even though you will be forgiven for them.
Now take ‘Afuw: it has 2 meanings :
To completely erase and wipe away (our sins)
Excess and abundance (see 2:219 in the Qur’an)
So when you put these 2 meanings together it means Al-Afuw (Allah) is the One who wipes all our sins away completely (so that they are not even on record anymore) and gives us in abundance and even more than what we asked for (excess). SubhanAllah!
3) Read Quran:
Try to read in both Arabic and English if you don’t understand the meaning – really reflect on the verses and how they are relevant to us. Allah asks us:
‘Do they not then think deeply on the Quran, or are their hearts locked up (from understanding it)?’ (Surah Muhammad, 47:24)
This night is honoured because the Qur’an was revealed, so we should recite it on this night.
4) Give Sadaqa (charity):
Even a small amount of money consistently every night will make sure you end up giving sadaqa on Lailatul Qadr – so giving £1 will be like giving more than £30,000!
Sadaqa can be in giving others your time, a smile, passing information about Lailatul Qadr to others – you will get the reward for encouraging others: remember the Prophet (PBUH) woke his family up to worship Allah during the night, so get your family involved in worship on this night.
5) Abandon Worldly Pleasures and Worship Allah instead:
“Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) used to exert more [in worship] on the last ten than on other nights” (Muslim)
Who is successful in life? people who take advantage of their opportunities to win the love of Allah – and Lailatul Qadr is one of the greatest opportunities.
The Prophet (PBUH), even in his 60s, was spending the whole night in ibadah.
He used to perform I’tikaf – separate himself from family and people in general to engage completely in worship and remembrance of Allah in the masjid.
We can also engage in the sunnah of I’tikaf – how? Either in the masjid or in our homes, for all 10 days or less. We can do this by cutting ourselves off from the distractions of the dunya e.g. take time off work, switch off the TV, not chatting with others about things other than the deen, putting away magazines and fiction/non-fiction books, switching off Facebook/twitter/internet, putting away newspapers etc. – our focus should be on worshipping Allah alone and developing our relationship with Him.
One of the beautiful aspects of Islam is that it is a communal religion – there are no monks or nuns in Islam! But everyone has a need to be by themselves and worship Allah in this way for short periods – Islam is perfectly balanced so Allah gave us the night-time and the last 10 days of Ramadan to do this.
*A Stark Warning*
The Prophet (PBUH) ascended the minbar and said: “Ameen, ameen, ameen.” It was said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, you ascended the minbar and said, ‘Ameen, ameen, ameen.” He said: “Jibreel (PBUH) came to me and said: ‘If Ramadan comes and a person is not forgiven, he will enter Hell and Allah will cast him far away. Say Ameen.’ So I said Ameen… (Tirmidhi)
This sounds harsh… so why did the Prophet (PBUH) do this? He is highlighting the fact that in this month it’s easier to do good (the devils are chained up), the benefits and rewards are massive – so if we miss out on the rewards and forgiveness of Allah, the ONLY reason will be because, sadly, WE wanted it to be that way – through being lazy and not putting in the effort.
This is the ideal time to repent to Allah, while our hearts are softened. All of us has the potential and goodness in us to turn towards Allah, especially on these nights – respecting ourselves and valuing ourselves means we will fulfil that potential and not waste this opportunity.
- Remember, if we go to Allah walking, He comes to us running! 🙂 we need to put in the effort at least, and Allah the Most Merciful will help us with the rest.
May Allah allow each and every one of us to spend these last 10 days and nights of Ramadhan in the best way and reap the rewards of Lailatul Qadr. May Allah bless and forgive us all, may He protect us from the Helfire and enter us into His Gardens, ameen!