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The Last Ten Days of Ramadan (Part 2) PDF Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 08 September 2010 21:26

How to take full advantage and benefit from the last part of Ramadan?

Though all parts of Ramadan are full of blessings and rewards, its last ten days hold a special status reflected in the recommendations and practices of the Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h.) and his companions. I will focus here on three major practices of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) and his companions during these days.

1-Praying in the last ten nights of Ramadan

Al-Bukhari and Muslim record from Aishah that during the last ten days of Ramadan, the Messenger of Allah would wake his wives up during the night and then remain apart from them (that is, being busy in acts of worship). A narration in Muslim states: "He would strive (to do acts of worship) during the last ten days of Ramadan more than he would at any other time."

Aishah reported that with the start of the last ten days of Ramadan, the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) 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. (Bukhari)

2-Performing I`tikaf in the Masjid (seclusion in the Mosque)

Before going to the essential of this last section, let us stop by one of the great Imams of Ahl Assunnah wal Jama`ah, one of the greatest revivers of the Dawah and the methodology of the Salaf, Shaikh ul-Islam Shamsuddeen Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah who will give us a brain storming admonition.

He says (May Allah be pleased with him) in Zaad al Ma`aad fi hadyi khairi al `ibaab :

"Since the hearts' rectitude and firmness upon the path towards Allah, the Most High, rests upon directing it solely upon Allah and causing it to turn and give all its attention to Allah, the Most High. Since the disorder of the heart cannot be rectified except by turning to Allah, the Most High, and its disorder will be increased by eating and drinking too much, mixing with the people excessively, speaking profusely and sleeping too much. These will cause it to wander into every valley, and cut it off from its path to Allah, weaken it, divert it or put a halt to it.

From the mercy of the Mighty and Most Merciful is that He has prescribed for them fasting, which will cut off the excesses of eating and drinking, and empties the hear of its desires which divert it on its journey to Allah the Most High. He prescribed it in due proportion as will be appropriate and will benefit the servant, with regard to this world and the Hereafter, and does not harm him, nor damage what is beneficial for him.

He also prescribed I`tikaf for them, by which is intended that the heart is fully occupied with Allah, the Most High, concentrated upon Him alone, and cut off from preoccupation with the creation. Rather it is engrossed with Him alone, the One free of all defects, such that remembering Him, loving Him and turning to Him takes the place of all anxieties of the heart and its suggestions, such that he is able to overcome them. Thus all his concerns are for Him. His thoughts are all of remembrance of Him, and thinking of how to attain His Pleasure and what will cause nearness to Him. This leads him to feel contented with Allah instead of the people, so that prepares him for being at peace with Him alone on the day of loneliness in the grave, when there is no one else to give comfort, nor anyone to grant solace except Him. So this is the greater goal of I`tikaf."

I`tikaf is the seclusion and staying in the mosque with the intention of becoming closer to Allah. This was the practice of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) during the last ten days of Ramadan especially. He would do it during other months as well.

Aishah reported that the Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h.) used to practice I`tikaf in the last ten nights of Ramadan and used to say, "Look for the Night of Qadr in the last ten nights of the month of Ramadan." (Bukhari)

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) said: "Allah's Messenger (p.b.u.h.) used to perform I`tikaf for ten days every Ramadan, then when it was the year in which he was taken (died), he performed I`tikaf for twenty days. (Bukhari)

Aishah reported that the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) used to practice I`tikaf in the last ten days of Ramadan till he died and then his wives used to practice I`tikaf after him. (Bukhari)

Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) also reported that the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) used to perform I`tikaf in the last ten days of Ramadan until Allah the Mighty and Majestic, took him. (Bukhari and Muslim)

Al-Bukhari records from Abu Said that the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) said: "Whoever makes I`tikaf with me is to make I`tikaf during the last ten (nights)."

This Sunnah of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) has been abandoned by many Muslims and it is worth reviving it in this era.

Aishah related that if the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) intended to make I`tikaf, he would pray the morning prayer and begin it. One time he wanted to make I`tikaf during the last ten nights of Ramadan, and he ordered his tent to be set up. Aishah reported: "When I saw that, I ordered my tent to be set up, and some of the Prophet's wives followed suit. When he (the Prophet) prayed the morning prayer, he saw all of the tents, and said: 'What is this?' They said: 'We are seeking obedience (to Allah and His Messenger). Then he ordered his tent and those of his wives to be taken down, and he delayed his I`tikaf to the first ten days of Shawwal)." (Bukhari)

The fact that the Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h.) ordered (his and) his wives' tents to be struck down and (he himself left and) asked them to leave the I`tikaf after they have made the intention for it shows that they discarded the I`tikaf after they had begun it. (in this small paragraph are some additional comments to clarify things).

It is preferred for the one who is making I`tikaf to perform many supererogatory acts of worship and to occupy himself with prayers, reciting Quran, glorifying and praising Allah, extolling His oneness and His greatness, asking His forgiveness, sending salutations on the Prophet (p.b.u.h.), and supplicating Allah - that is, all actions that bring one closer to Allah. Included among these actions is studying and reading books of Tafsir and Hadith, books on the lives of the Prophets (p.b.u.t.), books of Fiqh, and so on. It is also preferred to set up a small tent in the courtyard of the mosque as the Prophet did.

3-Seeking Lailatul-Qadr (the Night of Decree)

It is the greatest night of the year like the Day of Arafah is the greatest day of the year. It is a night about which Allah reveled a full Surah, Suratul-Qadr (Al Qadr/1-5) and (ad-Dukhan/3-6)

It is the night when Quran was reveled.

It is the night when the Message sent to Mohammad, (p.b.u.h.) started.

It is the night when the light that would illuminate mankind to the end of life, started.

It is the night when every matter of ordainment is decreed.

Allah says in what can be translated as:

"Verily! We have sent it (this Quran) down in the Night of Decree (Lailatul-Qadr). And what will make you know what the Night of Decree is? The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months. Therein descend the angels and the Rooh (i.e.. Jibreel [Gabriel]) by Allah's Permission with all Decrees, Peace! until the appearance of dawn." (Al Qadr/1-5)

and in Surat ad-Dukhan:

"We sent it (this Quran) down on a blessed Night. Verily, We are ever warning (mankind of Our Torment). Therein (that Night) is decreed every matter of ordainment. Amran (i.e. a command or this Quran or His Decree of every matter) from Us. Verily, We are ever sending (the Messenger). (As) a Mercy from your Lord. Verily! He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower. (ad-Dukhan/3-6)

A person who misses Lailatul-Qadr is really a deprived person!

Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) said " The blessed month has come to you. Allah has made fasting during it obligatory upon you. During it the gates to Paradise are opened and the gates of Hellfire are locked, and the devils are chained. There is a night (during this month) which is better than a thousand months. Whoever is deprived of its good is really deprived (of something great). (Ahmad, an-Nisa'i and al-Bayhaqi)

What happens to the person who witnesses Lailatul-Qadr? and what should one do?

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h.) said : "Whoever stands (in prayer) in Lailatul-Qadr out of Eemaan (faith and sincerity) and seeking reward then his previous sins are forgiven". (Bukhari)

It is recommended to supplicate a lot during this night, it is reported from our mother Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) that she said: "O Messenger of Allah! What if I knew which night Lailatul-Qadr was, then what should I say in it?" He said.- "Say.- (Allahumma innaka 'affuwwun tuhibbul 'afwa fa'fu 'annee.)

"O Allah You are The One Who pardons greatly, and loves to pardon, so pardon me.". (at-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah with a Sahih Isnad)

When is Lailatul-Qadr?

It is preferred to seek this night during the last ten odd nights of Ramadan, as the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) strove his best in seeking it during that time. We have already mentioned that the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) would stay up during the last ten nights, would wake his wives, and then would remain apart from them to worship.

Ibn Abbas reported that the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) said, "Look for the Night of Qadr in the last ten nights of Ramadan, on the night when nine or seven or five nights remain out of the last ten nights of Ramadan (i.e. 21, 23, 25, respectively)." (Bukhari)

Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) said: "Allah's Messenger (p.b.u.h.) used to practice I`tikaf in the last ten nights and say: 'Seek out Lailatul-Qadr in the (odd nights) of the last ten of Ramadan.'" (Bukhari and Muslim)

However, if the servant is too weak or unable, then he should at least not let the last seven pass him by, due to what is reported from Ibn Umar, who said: "Allah's Messenger (p.b.u.h.) said: 'Seek it in the last ten, and if one of you is too weak or unable, then let him not allow that to make him miss the final seven.'" (Bukhari and Muslim)

This explains his saying: "I see that your dreams are in agreement (that it is in the last seven), so he who wishes to seek it out then let him seek it in the last seven." (Bukhari and Muslim)

It is known from the Sunnah, that knowledge of the exact night upon which Lailatul-Qadr falls was taken up because the people argued, Ubaadah Ibn as- Saamit (May Allah be pleased with him) said: "The Prophet came out intending to tell us about Lailatul-Qadr, however two men were arguing and he said: 'I come out to inform you about Lailatul-Qadr but so and so, and, so and so were arguing, so it was raised up, and perhaps that is better for you, so seek it on the (twenty) ninth and the (twenty) seventh and the (twenty) fifth.'" (Bukhari)

Some of the Ahadith indicate that Lailatul-Qadr is in the last ten nights, while others indicate that it is in the odd nights of the last ten, so the first are general and the second more particular, and the particular has to be given priority over the general. Other Ahadith state that it is in the last seven - and these are restricted by mention of one who is too weak or unable. So there is no confusion, all the Ahadith agree and are not contradictory.

In conclusion: The Muslim should seek out Lailatul-Qadr in the odd nights of the last ten: the night of the twenty-first, the twenty-third, the twenty-fifth, the twenty-seventh and the twenty-ninth. If he is too weak or unable to seek it out in all the odd nights, then let him seek it out in the odd nights of the of seven: the night of the twenty-fifth, the twenty-seventh and the twenty-ninth. And Allah knows best.

What are the signs of Lailatul-Qadr?

Allah's Messenger (p.b.u.h.) described the morning after Lailatul-Qadr, so that the Muslim may know which day it is. From Ubayy (May Allah be pleased with him) who said: that he (p.b.u.h.) said: "On the morning following Lailatui-Qadr the sun rises not having any rays, as if it were a brass dish, until it rises up." (Muslim, Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah)

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) said : "We were discussing Lailatul-Qadr in the presence of Allah's Messenger (May Allah be pleased with him) so he said: 'Which of you remembers (the night) when the moon arose and was like half a plate?'" (Muslim)

Ibn Abbas (May Allah be pleased with him) said: Allah's Messenger (May Allah be pleased with him) said: "Lailatul-Qadr is calm and pleasant, neither hot nor cold, the sun arises on its morning being feeble and red.'' (at-Tayaalisee, Ibn Khuzaimah and al-Bazzaar with a Hasan Isnad)

We pray to Allah, Almighty, Most Merciful to bless us this Ramadan by witnessing Lailatul-Qadr.




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