إِنَّا أَنْزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ
We have indeed revealed this (Message) in the Night of Power:
وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ
And what will explain to thee what the night of power is?
لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ خَيْرٌ مِنْ أَلْفِ شَهْرٍ
The Night of Power is better than a thousand months.
تَنَزَّلُ الْمَلائِكَةُ وَالرُّوحُ فِيهَا بِإِذْنِ رَبِّهِمْ مِنْ كُلِّ أَمْر ٍ
Therein come down the angels and the Spirit by Allah's permission, on every errand:
سَلامٌ هِيَ حَتَّى مَطْلَعِ الْفَجْرِ
Peace!...This until the rise of morn! [Quran 97:1-5]
Laylat-ul-Qadr (The Night of Power) is the night when the Quran was revealed. Allah(swt) informs us about the importance and value of this one night. To emphasize on its importance and value, Allah(swt) compares it to be better than a thousand months – Not 1 or 10 or 100 but even better than a 1000 months (about 83 years and 4 months). Muslims are not aware of the exact night but traditions inform us that Laylat-ul-Qadr is one of the odd nights of the last 10 days of Ramadhan i.e. the night of the 21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th, and 29th:
Narated by Aisha: Allah's Apostle said, "Search for the Night of Qadr in the odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadan." – [Bukhari Vol.3, Book 32, #234]
The above Hadith not only tells us that Laylat-ul-Qadr is in the odd nights of the last 10 days but also that, we as Muslims are to seek for this Night. This is a very special and blessed Night and we are not to indulge in decorations etc, but we are to worship to the best of our capacity and capabilities all night long in these odd nights. One of them is The Night and if we don't spend time lazing around and give it our best in all the odd nights, we will encounter Laylat-ul-Qadr.
Fortunate are those who will get a chance to worship on this Night that is equivalent to 83 years and 4 months! That's more than the average age that a human lives till. So a Muslim praying this one Night will get the rewards and blessing as if he had spent time praying for 83 years and 4 months . Worship during 1 night = blessings of a lifetime!
This Night is a very special Night full of mercy in which Allah(swt) forgives the committed Muslim prostrating before Him:
Narated by Abu Huraira: Allah's Apostle said, "Whoever establishes the prayers on the night of Qadr out of sincere faith and hoping to attain Allah's rewards (not to show off) then all his past sins will be forgiven." – [Bukhari Vol.1, Book 2, #34]
This Hadith is really important in conveying to us the clear message that worship must be done with clear intentions, conviction and the will to seek rewards of Allah(swt). If we want to worship to show off then we might as well not worship. We worship this one night out of sincerity and Allah(swt) the Most Merciful forgives all our past sins. Which one of us does not need sins forgiven? There is not a single person who does not need them erased! None of us are sinless, many we commit knowingly and many unknowingly, thus we should worship on this Night and get our sins erased. Do you not think we would be foolish to get laziness and sleep the best of us and make us miss an opportunity that we might never get again?
Prophet Muhammad(saw) used to exert himself worshiping in the last 10 nights of Ramadhan to a much greater extent:
Aisha (Allah be pleased with her) reported that when the last ten nights began Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) kept awake at night (for prayer and devotion), wakened his family, and prepared himself to observe prayer (with more vigour). – [Muslim Book 6, #2643]
As followers of Prophet Muhammad(saw) should we not walk on his footsteps and try to do what he practiced? Let's take a "vacation" from all the worldly talks, wants and needs and spend this night in worship.
What do we do on these odd nights?
1. Practice Itikaf on the footsteps of our beloved Prophet Muhammad(saw). He(saw) used to go to the masjid in the last 10 days of Ramadhan for Itikaf.
Aisha (Allah be pleased with her) reported that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) used to observe i'tikaf in the last ten days of Ramadan. – [Muslim Book 6, #2638]
2. Do loads and loads of Dhikr (remembrance of Allah) i.e. recitation of the Quran, more Salah etc.
3. In addition to the recitation of the Quran one can always sit and read the translation and tafsir and ponder upon what is read.
4. This Night is to get our sins erased so ask Allah(swt) to bestow upon us His Mercy and forgive our sins. Cry your heart out and ask for forgiveness!
5. Dua, dua, dua and loads of dua! In fact make an entire list and ask Allah(swt) for those. InshaAllah if our hearts are clean and its for our betterment Allah(swt) will surely fulfill them. Pray for our Muslim brothers who are suffering. Pray for your relatives, friends, loved ones, pray for everyone!
6. "It is also recommended to make extensive supplication on this night. `A'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, reported that she asked the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, "O Messenger of Allah! If I knew which night is Laylatul-Qadr, what should I say during it?" And he instructed her to say: "Allahumma innaka `afuwwun tuh.ibbul `afwa fa`fu `annee" (O Allah! You are Oft-Forgiving, and you love forgiveness. So forgive me). (Reported by Ahmad, Ibn Majah and At-Tirmithi)" – [Taken from: http://www.islamonline.net
7. Missed Taraweeh most of Ramadhan? Nevermind! Make it to taraweehs in these last final days.
8. If you are a woman who is menstruating then naturally you cannot offer Salah or pick the Quran. However you can recite the Quran from memory, make dua, listen to the Quran, seek more knowledge about Islam etc. Allah(swt) knows that you cannot offer Salah and thus do not be disheartened that this natural biological process has caused you to miss out worshiping in these odd nights. Allah(swt) looks at the intentions and you must have the 'want' in your heart to perform Salah. Recite whichever Surahs you do know......long or short…doesn't matter....but do spend time in worship. It's your intentions that matter.
There is a lot one can do if he has the will to do so. Do what you can and as much as you can. 360 nights out of the 365 we spend snoring away, feeling lazy to wake up for tahajjud or fajr. The least we can do is spend these 5 nights out of the 365 in worship. Remember we might not be around for such an opportunity next year.
- Ebrahim Saifuddin