“Whoever fasted the month of Ramadan out of sincere Faith (i.e. belief) and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his past sins will be forgiven, and whoever stood for the prayers in the night of Qadr out of sincere Faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all of his previous sins will be forgiven” (Bukhari 2014).
Ramadan is a month of spiritual cleansing and purification for Muslims in which we try to increase our worship, good deeds and acts of charity. The last ten days and nights hold even more significance as Allah shows great mercy to His creation. They are a chance to benefit from the immense blessings of Ramadan and seek salvation before the month comes to an end. Each and every day of Ramadan is no less than a blessing. Muslims start preparing for Ramadan in advance so that they are able to make the most of it without losing a moment in adjusting to its routine. Therefore, with the progression of each day of Ramadan, the spirit and enthusiasm of Muslims toward its observance to the best of efforts increases. As Ramadan is divided into three Ashras (10 days), it is the third 10-day or Ashra that is valued greatly among Muslims. One of the major reasons why it is valued and revered is the fact that it is the last Ashra and with it Ramadan ends, so Muslim try making the most of it. A Hadith reported regarding the last Ashra about the routine of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is as follows: “Allah’s Messenger used to exert himself in devotion during the last 10 nights to a greater extent than at any other time.” (Muslim). Therefore, the last 10 days of Ramadan require greater devotion and dedication toward getting the most out of it. The lines below give some tips that can help effectively in this regard.Itikaf is the renowned Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), which is most popular among Muslims. Itikaf refers to the last 10 days of Ramadan in which Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to live in seclusion and avoid worldly interaction till the last night when the moon of Shawal is sighted. Ayesha (may Allah bless her) narrates: “Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to perform Itikaf in the last 10 days of Ramadan until Allah the Mighty and Majestic took Him.” (Bukhari). From this Hadith, it becomes clear that Itikaf was one of his consistent Sunnahs, which he used to perform on regular bases on every Ramadan and throughout his life. Therefore, a Muslim should find encouragement from this fact and should pursue Itikaf. In another Hadith, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever makes Itikaf with me is to make Itikaf during the last 10 (nights).” (Bukhari). Therefore, Itikaf is one of the major Sunnahs of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), therefore, every Muslim must try observing Itikaf whenever the chance is available. The last 10 days are the ones that end with the end of the Ramadan and after that there is a whole year before it comes back again. Thus, those Muslims who are aware of the transitory nature of this worldly life understand the value of the last days of Ramadan, hence, they increase the intensity as well as duration of their prayer so that they get the maximum out of the parting days. Ayesha (may Allah bless her) narrates about Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in the following way: “With the start of the last 10 days of Ramadan, the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to tighten His waist belt (i.e. work harder) and used to pray all the night, and used to keep his family awake for the prayers.” (Bukhari). From this Hadith it is clear that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to pray excessively during the last 10 days of Ramadan. In addition to praying all night, he also made sure that his family members also stayed awake during the nights and indulged in prayer. Therefore, a Muslim must not only limit him or herself with own prayers, rather he or she must also make sure that all the other family members are also a part of the prayer and they also make the most out of the last precious nights of Ramadan. In Ramadan, Muslims make special preparations to recite Qur’an. Some of the Muslims recite the whole Qur’an one time, while there are others who recite the whole Qur’an several times. Each and every word of Qur’an brings great reward for a Muslim when recited in Qur’an. Besides the conventional reading of Qur’an from the start till its end, a Muslim must also search for different Hadiths of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in which he emphasized over different Surahs of Qur’an in terms of their greater reward. A Hadith in this regard is as follows: “Whoever recited Surah Zilzilah would get the reward of reciting half the Qur’an. Whoever recited Surah Al-Kafirun would get the reward as if reading a quarter of the Qur’an. Whoever recited Surah al Ikhlas would get a reward as if reading one third of the Qur’an.” (Tirmidhi). Therefore, while reciting Qur’an a Muslim must consider different Hadith of Prophet (peace be upon him) that specifically refer to particular Surahs and try reading and reciting them more frequently to earn greater reward.
However, to be able to read and recite Qur’an, you must be able familiar with Arabic language. In Qur’an, Allah says: “By the manifest Book (the Qur’an) that makes thing clear. We sent it (this Qur’an) down on a Blessed Night (i.e. the Night of Qadr)….” (44:2-4) .The blessed night refers to the Night of Qadr and it is one of the highly revered and cherished nights in the Islamic calendar. This night can be found in the odd nights in the last 10 days of Ramadan. Therefore, every Muslim in addition to praying excessively in all the last 10 days, should worship, pray and supplicate more in the odd nights. Prophet (peace be upon him) said in a Hadith: “Whoever stands (in Qiyaam) in Laylat Al-Qadr out of faith and expectation (of Allah’s reward), will have All of his previous sins forgiven.” (Bukhari). Therefore, a Muslim must seek the Blessed night by praying excessively in the last 10 days of Ramadan. Here are some steps that one can take to prepare for the nights of Laila-tul-Qadr. 1) Get in high gear for the next 10 nights and days – Time is of the essence. Every moment counts. Whatever you need to do for the next ten days to make the most in Ibada, good deeds, reciting Quran, dhikr, making dua, etc., rewards are going to be multiplied. No one knew about the importance of these days more than the prophet (saws). Al-Bukhari and Muslim narrated from ‘Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) that when the last ten days of Ramadan began, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) would stay up at night, wake his family and tie his lower garment tight. According to Ahmad and Muslim: he would strive hard in worship during the last ten nights of Ramadan as he did not do at other times. Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Hurayrah said “When Ramadan would come, the Messenger of Allah would say, Verily, the month of Ramadan has come to you all. It is a blessed month, which Allah has obligated you all to fast. During it the gates of Paradise are opened, the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are shackled. In it there is a night that is better than one thousand months. Whoever is deprived of its good, then he has truly been deprived.)” An-Nasa’i recorded this same Hadith. If we lose this opportunity, we get our next opportunity next year – assuming we are still around and are in good health and shape to make use of it. Even if we are – we have the past years’ sins on our shoulders and life’s normal trials and tribulations to face the coming year. So, there is no better time to ask Allah to make all that easier than now. 2) Get a Quran and recite as often as you can – A few lines on this post can’t even come close to explaining the benefits and virtues of Quran. It is proven in the saheeh Sunnah that the Quran will intercede for those who read it at night, as Ahmad (6626) narrated from ‘Abd-Allah ibn ‘Amr that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: Fasting and the Quran will intercede for a person on the Day of Resurrection. Fasting will say, ‘O Lord, I deprived him of his food and his desires during the day, so let me intercede for him.’ And the Quran will say: ‘I deprived him of his sleep at night so let me intercede for him.’ Then they will intercede.” Narrated by Ahmad; classed as saheeh by al-Albani in Saheeh al-Jami’, no. 3882. Narrated Abu Musa: The Prophet said, The example of a believer who recites the Qur’an is that of a citron (a citrus fruit) which is good in taste and good in smell. And the believer who does not recite the quran is like a date which has a good taste but no smell. And the example of an impious person who recites the Qur’an is that of Ar-Rihana (an aromatic plant) which smells good but is bitter in taste. And the example of an impious person who does not recite the quran is that of a colocynth which is bitter in taste and has no smell.” (Book #93, Hadith # 649).
As is stated in the hadeeth narrated by ‘Abd-Allah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas (may Allah be pleased with them both), in which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: Whoever recites ten aayaat (verses) in qiyaam will not be recorded as one of the forgetful. Whoever recites a hundred aayaat (verses) in qiyaam will be recorded as one of the devout, and whoever prays a thousand aayaat (verses) in qiyaam will be recorded as one of the muqantareen (those who pile up good deeds).” (Reported by Abu Dawood and Ibn Hibbaan. It is a hasan report. Saheeh al-Targheeb, 635). 3) If your sins are holding you to move forward, this is the time to get them forgiven – First the bad news – In Musnad Ahmad it is narrated that Thawbaan said: The Messenger of Allah (SAWS) said: A man is deprived of provision (Rizq) because of the sins that he commits.’” (Narrated by Ibn Maajah, 4022, classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh Ibn Maajah). And now for the good news – It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: Whoever spends the night of Laylat al-Qadr in prayer out of faith and in the hope of reward, will be forgiven his previous sins.” 4) What to say on Laylat al-Qadr – One of the best dua’s that can be recited on Laylat al-Qadr is that which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) taught ‘A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her). It was narrated by al-Tirmidhi, who classed it as saheeh, that ‘A’ishah said: I said: “O Messenger of Allah, If I know which night is Laylat al-Qadr, what should I say?” He said: “Say: Allahumma innaka ‘afuwwun tuhibb al-‘afwa fa’fu ‘anni (O Allah, You are All-Forgiving and You love forgiveness so forgive me).” 5) Get in the class of the Pious People – Allah has described the pious as follows interpretation of the meaning): They used to sleep but little by night (invoking their Lord (Allah) and praying, with fear and hope). [Quran: Surah Adh-Dhariyat (17)] And in the hours before dawn, they were (found) asking (Allah) for forgiveness, [Quran: Surah Adh-Dhariyat (18)] 6) Finally Think of all that you need to ask Allah for and ask Him now. If you haven’t before, this is the time to connect with Him and feel closer to Him. And when you do during these last ten nights and days of this Ramadan, you would want to do this again and again – even after the month is over. And finally, when you are in a state of prayers and worship, please open your heart for others as well and please do remember your brothers and sisters in your prayers. Remember what the Prophet said: “The supplication that gets the quickest answer is the one made by one Muslim for another in his absence.” Reported by Abu Daw’ud and Tirmidhi.In a nutshell, the last 10 days should be observed with more spirit and enthusiasm as with them the Ramadan ends and who knows whether someone will live another year to welcome this holy month again and collect all the riches and rewards that it comes with. The Quran states that the night of destiny is “all peace til the rising of the dawn” (97:6). True peace is in finding the inner satisfaction of hearts, which according to the Quran, is in the remembrance of God (13:29). It is only when one is at peace with oneself that he/she can extend peace to others. The last ten days of Ramadan will provide an opportunity for Muslims to practice these virtues. Muslims can ensure peace within their communities, and the society around them, by adopting these virtues in their daily lives and demonstrating the true meaning behind this most sacred time of the year. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said “Sadaqa extinguishes sin as water extinguishes fire,” (Hadith, Tirmidhi). He also said that Allah offers relief on the Day of Judgement for those who give sadaqa: “The believer’s shade on the Day of Resurrection will be their charity,” (Hadith, Tirmidhi).Give generously before Ramadan comes to an end and help us provide relief to those lives have been torn apart by war, famine and natural disaster. Show mercy to others so that Allah may show mercy to you. May we all make the most of the last ten nights and days of Ramadan.
(Authors write regularly on “Islamic topics” exclusively for “Kashmir Horizon”. Views are their own)