Imagine a night, quiet and blissful. Having broken your fast, you prepare for Isha prayer by making wudu, carefully and consciously, eager to converse with the most High. As the night progresses, your heart, hopefully of the reward, mercy and forgiveness of Allah (swt) read from the Quran as your body prostrates to the One who has given you life and promises you Jannah, an immense reward for your submission to Him.
The Night of Blessing and Forgiveness
Laylatul Qadr, meaning, the night of destiny/decree or power, is the night worshippers of Allah cry out to their lord for whatever ails them, or thank Allah for whatever they have been blessed with. Laylatul Qadr is found in the last 10 days of the month of Ramadan, a month of fasting, expiation of sins, and self reflection. The prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) said “whoever stands in prayer duringLaylatul-Qadr with faith and hope in the reward of Allah, all of his/ [her] previous sins will be forgiven” (Sahih Bukhari, 1901).
Chapter 97 of the Quran is dedicated to glorifying this blessed night;
“Indeed, We revealed [the Qur’an] during the Night of Decree. And What can make you know what is the Night of Decree? The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months. The angels and the Spirit descend therein by permission of their Lord for every matter. Peace it is until the emergence of dawn" [97:1-5]
While we control our physical bodies by refraining from food and drink to earn the pleasure and mercy of Allah swt, our religion reminds us that we are spiritual beings, with souls that engage with Allah swt. During Laylatul Qadr, we are surrounded by things we cannot see, spirits and angels. Allah swt promises us peace, tranquility of the mind, body and soul so that we may engage in much needed conversation with our Lord. Rather than simply tell us the exact day of Laylatul Qadr, we are given 10 days so as to reap its rewards. The wisdom behind this is plenty and says a lot about our nature as human beings, and the beauty of Islam itself.
- Perhaps Allah (swt) wishes you to draw near to Him with repeated supplication. Perhaps your voice, your heart and your soul may extend to converse with him for more than one day, but across the last 10 days in particular.
- 10 days of intense self reflection, prolonged night prayers,athkar, good deeds, charity are better for our own souls and desires which take time to get used to committing to engaging in a particular action/good deed, and doing the above whilst catching Laylatul qadr is the best outcome.
- Conditioning the mind to refrain from engaging in frivolous activities for ten days ensures that you may engage in them less post Ramadan.
- A cleansing of the heart is key to a sound mind and a more positive mental health.
There are several ways to fully take Advantage of the last 10 Nights as well as the Night of Decree/Power. Aysha, may Allah be pleased with her, asked the Prophet what supplication to make on Laylatul Qadr. He [peace be upon him] said the following;
اللَّهُمَّ إِنَّكَ عُفُوٌّ كَرِيمٌ تُحِبُّ الْعَفْوَ فَاعْفُ عَنِّي
“Oh Allah! You are Most Forgiving, and you love to forgive. So forgive me”
The beauty of this dua (supplication) is that it calls upon a beautiful attribute of Allah (swt). He is the most merciful towards his creation and is shy to not respond to a caller’s dua. He is oft forgiving and years to forgive those who transgress against themselves, or those whose burdens need to be eased. On the authority of Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him), who said,
I heard the Messenger of Allah(ﷺ) say:Allah the Almighty said: O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you. O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as it.[at-Tirmidhi]
Subhanallah! This should not only motivate those who feel doomed to a life of hopelessness but also fill the believers heart with gratitude and love for Allah (swt) out of His mercy to us all. In addition, when we call Allah by his name of Al-Afuww instead of al-Ghafur, we ask Allah swt not to simply forgive or be protected from the consequences of the sin, but that this sin is forgotten, wiped away completely from our book of deeds.
What to do if I can't Pray or Miss the holy Night?
Don’t fret. On the authority of Umar ibn Al-Khattab, The prophet (peace be upon him) said
إِنَّمَا الأَعْمَالُ بِالنِّيَّاتِ، وَإِنَّمَا لِكُلِّ امْرِئٍ مَا نَوَى
“The Reward of deeds depends upon the intentions and every person will get the reward according to what he [she] has intended…”
Perhaps you are on your monthly period, or sick and cannot commit to prolonging your prayers, or reading a larger part of the quran. Perhaps you are caring for elderly relatives or very young children. Not everyone is blessed with time to themselves. In this case, there are several ways in which muslims can still reap the rewards of those who catch Laylatul qadr.
- Understand that Allah [swt] decreed for your circumstance to happen. Those who remain patient by doing the best with whatever situation they are in will surely gainajr andhasanaat.
- Increase your good deeds. If you cannot pray, help your family members or help those who cannot help themselves. Give your time and energy as sadaqah and Allah swt will reward you for your deeds and your intentions.
- Make loads of Athkar (remembrance of Allah swt). Keep your tongue moist with glorifying Him, seeking his mercy and forgiveness. Contemplate some verses of the quran. Memorize some of it and repeat it, and apply these verses to your daily life.
- Feed those who are fasting so that you may reap rewards without diminishing from thiers.
- Send salawat on the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him)
On the authority of Zayd ibn Khaalid al-Juhani, the prophet and messenger of Allah (swt) (peace be upon him) said,“Whoever gives iftaar to one who is fasting will have a reward like his, without that detracting from the reward of the fasting person in the slightest.” (At-Tirmidhi, 807).
- Any action that you do, make your intention solely for the sake of Allah and in replacement of the prayers or reading of the quran that you cannot perform/do.
Know that Allah swt knows your circumstances and understands your limitations. Try to make the most out of the last 10 days for Allah swt has given us a multitude of avenues to gain reward, accept our duas, heal us, expiate our sins and protect us from any future trials and tribulations. Do not miss such an opportunity if you can help it.
The companion Anas ibn Malik reported: “Ramadanapproached, so the Messenger of God said: ‘This month has come to you, and in it there is a night that is better than a thousand months. Whoever is deprived of it is deprived of all goodness, and no one is deprived of its goodness except one who is truly deprived.’”
May we all reap the benefits of such blessed days Ameen.