By Hafsa Nakrawala, Grade 8
Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh!
As everyone is aware, we’re nearing the end of the blessed month of Ramadan. And as the days pass by, each quicker than the previous, we see the finish line in front of us, and we put in our utmost effort. As we enter the last ten nights, the time draws closer to Laylat al-Qadr, the most blessed night, the night the Quran was sent down from al-Lawh al-Mahfoudh (the Preserved Tablet) to the first heaven.
You might ask when exactly is Laylat al-Qadr? The answer is, the exact night is unknown. A hadith of the Prophet (SAW) commands us to seek Laylat al-Qadr during the last ten days, on the odd nights. Many people place significance on the 27th night before the rest, but the exact date is unknown, so I urge you, don’t fixate on a specific night, and pray on each as if it is Laylat al-Qadr.
Laylat al-Qadr is unlike any other night. This blessed night is the night when your qadr, or destiny, comes down from the al-Lawh al-Mahfoudh for the next year. On this night the angels receive your qadr and Allah (SWT) confirms what He wills or changes what He wills. The destiny of all creatures is of course already known to Allah before it is even written down, but on this night He makes this knowledge known to the angels and issues commands to them to bring about His decreed destiny. For example, on this night it is written who will live, who will die, who will be saved, who will be doomed, who will be destined for Paradise, who will be destined for Hell, who will be granted honor, who will be humiliated, where drought and famine will occur, and everything else that Allah wills in that year.
Apart from that, there are many ayaat that talk about the amount of mercy and forgiveness that Allah (SWT) sends down on Laylat al-Qadr. In Surat Al-Qadr, Allah (SWT) says: “The night of al-qadr is better than a thousand months.” Meaning, that worship on this night is better than that of a lifetime. May Allah give us tawfeeq to search for this night and utilize it for our salvation.
How can we, as Muslims, strive to get the most out of this blessed night? Here are some tips to help you make the most of this night.
- Niyah (Intention): Abu Huraira narrated that the Prophet (SAW) said: “Whoever established prayers on the Night of Qadr out of sincere faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven.” When we make the intention to spend the night in salah (taraweeh or qiyam ul-layl) then Allah will reward us and forgive us our sins. We should all have that sincere faith and firm belief in our hearts of earning Allah’s reward and pleasure.
- Pray Fajr and Isha in congregation: Prophet Muhamed (SAW) said: “Whoever attends Isha’ (prayer) in congregation, then he has (the reward as if he had) stood half of the night. And whoever prays Isha and Fajr in congregation, then he has (the reward as if he had) spent the entire night standing (in prayer).” Another hadith states that: “Whoever prays isha in congregation, he has taken his portion of Laylat al-Qadr.” Whether we spend the entire night in ibadah on Laylat al-Qadr or not, just praying Isha in congregation is enough to earn part of the reward we would have gained if we stayed up the whole night in prayer.
- Keep busy with short du’aa’: We all know the hadith narrated by Aisha (R), asking the Prophet (SAW) about what dua to make on Laylat al-Qadr, to which he (SAW) responded: “Allahumma innaka ‘afuwwun tuhibbul-‘afwa, fa’fu ‘anni” (O Allah, You are Forgiving, You love to forgive, so forgive me).Whatever you’re doing, just constantly repeat this short, comprehensive du’aa’ to expiate your sins.
- Give Life to the Night: When the last 10 nights would come, the Prophet (SAW) would give life to the night by constantly remembering Allah through dhikr. This is because dhikr gives life to the heart and it gives life to any space that we are in. Imam al-Shafi said that when you look at the sahaba, some of them preferred to spend the night in prayer, some of them in the recitation of the Qur’an, some of them in du’a, and some of them preferred to spend the night distributing their wealth as sadaqah. They each did different things because the Prophet’s (SAW) description in this regard was simply to give life to the night by doing actions that keep you in the constant remembrance of Allah.
Laylatul Qadr truly is a blessed night, a night filled with mercy and peace. May Allah enable us to make the most of this magnificent night, may Allah (SWT) forgive our sins (new and old), and may Allah allow us to carry on the beautiful habits and blessing of Ramadan throughout the rest of our lives. Please remember us and the entire muslim ummah in your du’aa’!