The month of Ramadan peaks in its final ten days. It is during these nights that we should go all out to harvest the maximum rewards of Ramadan, following the lead of Rasulullah SAW:
‘A’isha (RA) reported that when the last ten nights [of Ramadan] began Allah’s Messenger (SAW) kept awake at night (for prayer and devotion), wakened his family, and prepared himself to observe prayer (with more vigour). (Muslim)
The night of Lailatul Qadr occurs on one of the odd numbered nights in the final ten days of Ramadan.
Narrated `Aisha (RA): Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said, “Search for the Night of Qadr in the odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadan.”
Lailatul Qadr is also known as the night of power, because this is the night that Allah has, through Jibril AS, revealed the Qur’an to mankind. “Qadr” also means destiny, when Allah looks to our “files” and, by His mercy and compassion, grants forgiveness to whom He chooses.
Rasulullah SAW mentioned that, “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)
The Qur’an states the virtue of Lailatul Qadr:
“And what can make you know what is the Night of Decree? The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months.” (Al Qadr 97:2 – 97:3)
This is equivalent to over 83 years. Imagine an annual opportunity of being rewarded for more than an average human lifespan for just one single night of worship!
Lailatul Qadr was when Jibril AS descended with the Qur’an. The Qur’an contains the final and complete guidance, light and criteria for mankind. Allah wants us to read it, ponder its meaning and consider our direction in this world and the hereafter.
“By the clear Book, Indeed, We sent it down during a blessed night. Indeed, We were to warn [mankind]. On that night is made distinct every precise matter “ (Ad Dukhan, verse 44:1 – 44:4)
Allah, through the Qur’an and His messenger, promotes Ramadan and all its treasures to us. If we have gone astray, Ramadan is the time to seek His forgiveness and work our way back to the right path. If we have been arrogant, then it is the time to knock on the door of His guidance with humility. If we have committed sins, it is the time to mend our ways and to have faith in His mercy. If we have been weakened by our numerous bad habits, it is time to turn to Him for strength and to conquer these.
Ramadan is a month of intensive spiritual training, during which time Allah wants us to be contented with His decree, be thankful, trust and rely on Him. The spiritual boost we accumulate during Ramadan should fuel our spiritual journey for the following eleven months.
The night of Lailatul Qadr is intrinsically tied with our destinies (qadr), which is a fundamental pillar of the Islamic faith. The following Hadith speaks of creation and destiny:
“First of all there was nothing but Allah, and (then He created His Throne). His Throne was over the water, and He wrote everything in the Book (in the Heaven) and created the Heavens and the Earth.” (excerpt from Bukhari)
Our lives are pre-destined and our fates were determined before the earth came into existence. That does not absolve us from striving, struggling and fighting temptation. While Allah knows our future, we do not, and therefore we should not stop in our efforts for success in this life and in the hereafter. We should continuously knock on the door of Allah to seek guidance. Allah wants us to make the utmost effort, and our success depends on the amount and sincerity of our efforts. If we believe in the promise of Allah, He will open for us the door of guidance and clear our path to Paradise.
Muslim ibn Yasar al-Juhani said: When Umar ibn al-Khattab (RA) was asked about the verse “When your Lord took their offspring from the backs of the children of Adam” (Surah Nuh verse 172) he said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (SAW) say when he was questioned about it: Allah created Adam, then passed His right hand over his back, and brought forth from it his offspring, saying: I have these for Paradise and these will do the deeds of those who go to Paradise. He then passed His hand over his back and brought forth from it his offspring, saying: I have created these for Hell, and they will do the deeds of those who go to Hell.
A man asked: What is the good of doing anything, Messenger of Allah? The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: When Allah creates a servant for Paradise, He employs him in doing the deeds of those who will go to Paradise, so that his final action before death is one of the deeds of those who go to Paradise, for which He will bring him into Paradise. But when He creates a servant for Hell, He employs him in doing the deeds of those who will go to Hell, so that his final action before death is one of the deeds of those who go to Hell, for which He will bring him into Hell. (Abu Dawwud)
We should also know that our fates were sealed in the fourth month of our existence:
Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said, “… (as regards your creation), every one of you is collected in the womb of his mother for the first forty days, and then he becomes a clot for another forty days, and then a piece of flesh for another forty days. Then Allah sends an angel to write four items: He writes his deeds, time of his death, means of his livelihood, and whether he will be wretched or blessed (in religion). Then the soul is breathed into his body…” (Bukhari)
Our future was already determined when we were in our mother’s wombs. However, because we do not know what has been written for us, we should be fearful and hopeful to Allah. Not being able to foresee our own futures should give us both the fear and the motivation to try harder, humble ourselves and increase our faith and reliance on His mercy, to be amongst the blessed and avoid being amongst the wretched.
What do we normally pray for during Lailatul Qadr? Majority of us centre our prayers around our dunia needs and necessities – for a wife, apartment, job or children’s exams. There is more to Ramadan than just fixing our sins. What happens if we only seek what we want and we ignore what Allah wants? What happens if we do not use this time to gain the pleasure of Allah and to do what pleases Him? What about what Allah wants from us? What about supplicating for our own self-improvement, or to be a tool that Allah uses in this life for the sake of goodness?
Hence will all of the above in mind, on the night of power, Allah wants to see what we want in our lives and what we are planning to do. On Lailatul Qadr, Allah will descend His peace until dawn. He wants us to live and die in peace, and to meet with Allah in peace, and then enter Darul Salaam, the house of peace, in Paradise. He has given us the instructions on how to get there. He has reminded us every year to reduce our ties to dunia and turn to Him. He has even granted us a night of worship that exceeds decades. Allah has given us plenty, and the rest is up to us, depending on how much we yearn for His rewards.