by Usman Majid
The month of Ramadan is the best month of the year. It comes pre-packed with unimaginable blessings, opportunities for huge rewards and a chance to attain Allah’s unlimited Mercy and Bounties.
Of these days and nights, undoubtedly the most valuable of these nights are the last ten, with the greatest night of all being Laylatul-Qadr – the Night of Power.
Scholars have noted that the entire year is a preparation for the month of Ramadan, and the whole of Ramadan is a preparation for the final ten nights, and the final ten nights are a preparation for Laylatul-Qadr.
Allah (swt) tells us in the Qur’an that:
The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months. [Qur’an – 97:3]
You may have heard people equate Laylatul-Qadr to around 83/84 years’ worth of worship (1000 months divided by 12), but in reality this night is in fact better than a thousand months, as per the above verse.
How AMAZING is that? This means that not only could we potentially be forgiven for a lifetime of sin, but any good deeds done on this night gives us the golden opportunity to earn more rewards than we could in an entire lifetime.
It goes without saying that the Night of Power is not to be missed! So, how do we find it?
Scholars have varied in their opinions as to which night it may be; some prefer prioritising the odd nights, while others have favoured specific nights.
In reality, nobody knows which night it could be, and it was for this reason that the Prophet (pbuh) would exert himself in extra worship during each of the last ten nights in order to ensure he would not miss it.
A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said that,
“The Prophet (pbuh) would exert his best (in worship) during the last ten days (of Ramadan) more than at other times.” [Muslim]
In another hadith, A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said:
“With the start of the last ten days (of Ramadan), the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) used to tighten up his loincloth, stay up at night and keep his family awake.” [Al-Bukhari & Muslim]
In today’s terms, “tighten up his loincloth” could be compared to rolling up one’s sleeves, or in other words, getting to business! This illustrates the importance that the Prophet (pbuh) would attach to these days and nights, and the merit of the Night of Power.
Therefore, the easiest way to find Laylatul-Qadr is to worship every night during the last ten nights of Ramadan. If you’re unable to do so, at least on the odd nights.
How do we do this? Below is a list of dos and don’ts to ensure you maximise this blessed opportunity.
What to Do During the Last 10 Days of Ramadan
1) Make a Plan & Set Goals
You’ve heard is a thousand times, but it works. Creating a simple plan – be it on paper or in your mind – puts you in the correct frame of mind and gives you something tangible to work towards.
Remember, this does NOT have to be complex; the simpler, the better. Observe how much time you have between Maghrib (when the night begins) and Fajr, and set realistic goals that can be achieved within this time. Don’t forget to exclude time for eating, travelling to and from locations, bathroom breaks, etc.
Your plan may simply include attending taraweeh every night, praying a certain number of extra voluntary prayers, reciting the Quran or giving a certain amount to charity. Whatever it is, write it down!
2) Make an Epic Du’a List
During these final moments of Ramadan, we should pour our hearts out to Allah (swt) as much as possible. This doesn’t mean just simply raising our hands and repeating the same du’as that we know by heart, but rather we should create a list of all the things you really want from Allah and ask for them.
Remember, Allah’s Treasures are endless; there’s NOTHING you may ask for that Allah cannot give you (just ensure that what you ask for is good!).
To help you get started, I’d recommend checking out The Ultimate Ramadan Du’a List.
The best Du’a during the last 10 nights:
Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) reported:
I asked: “O Messenger of Allah! If I realise Laylatul-Qadr (Night of Power), what should I supplicate in it?” He (pbuh) replied, “You should supplicate: Allahumma innaka ‘afuwwun, tuhibbul-‘afwa, fa’fu ‘anni (O Allah, You are Most Forgiving, and You love forgiveness; so forgive me).” [At-Tirmidhi].
Recommended Du’a time:
In a hadith narrated in the Jami’ of at-Tirmidhi, the Prophet (s) told us of three types of people whose DU’A is not rejected.
One of them is, “…The fasting person when he breaks his fast.”
So just as the Maghrib Adhan is about to be called and you take that first sip of water, raise your hands and call to your Lord!
3) Stand in Prayer
The Prophet (pbuh) has also informed us that:
“Whoever stands (in the voluntary night prayer of) Ramadan out of faith and in the hope of reward, his previous sins will be forgiven. And whoever spends the night of Laylatul-Qadr in prayer out of faith and in the hope of reward, his previous sins will be forgiven.” [An-Nasa’i]
As well as ensuring you attend the Isha and Taraweeh prayers during each of these nights, I’d also recommend that you pray Fajr with the congregation when possible. The rewards are immense!
Uthman bin `Affan reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah saying:
“One who performs Isha’ prayer in congregation, is as if he has performed Salat for half of the night. And one who performs the Fajr prayer in congregation, is as if he has performed Salat the whole night.” [Muslim]
An easy way to achieve this would be to pack some snacks and your Suhoor meal and take them with you to the Masjid. This will save you time and ensure you can focus completely on worship. If your local Masjid serves Iftar and Suhoor, this is a big bonus!
4) Perform I’tikaf
If you have the capability, I’d highly recommend fulfilling this immense Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh). It involves secluding ones self (usually in the Masjid) to focus solely on the worship of Allah (swt) and seeking His forgiveness.
A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) reports about the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) that:
“He used to perform Itikaf in the last ten days or Ramadan until Allah the Mighty & Majestic, took him.” (Bukhari)
If you’re unable to perform ten days, try to perform even a few. If this is not achievable due to other commitments, then you may simply make the intention of I’tikaf whenever you attend the Masjid, even if this is only for 15 minutes.
5) Automate Your Good Deeds (Charity)
One of the coolest initiatives I’ve come across is www.mytennights.com. This website allows you to choose a charity, choose a giving amount, and it will automatically donate that set amount for you during each of the final ten nights.
That means you are guaranteed to catch Laylatul-Qadr and receive a reward for charity that is better than 1000 months!
6) BONUS TIP: Take Strategic Naps & Eat Smart
Putting such focus into worship can be hard on our bodies. Therefore, it’s important to be strategic with your sleep and food consumption to ensure that you have enough energy to sustain your ‘Ibadah.
If you miss out on any sleep during the night, be sure to make up for this ‘sleep debt’ with power naps throughout the day. Be careful though; don’t sleep away these last few nights. Naps should be short and calculated.
What NOT to Do During the Last 10 Days of Ramadan
1) Stop Wasting Time!
Having countless social media apps has made it a lot easier for us to waste time and procrastinate. Unfortunately for some of us, this could potentially mean wasting away the remainder of Ramadan and missing out on Laylatul-Qadr. What a loss!
If you must, use social media during the day and abstain during the nights.
I’d also recommend putting a hold on the iftar parties and social gatherings during these remaining nights, unless of course they are organised to help you worship more with friends. These activities can continue later, but for now, it’s time to hustle!
2) Don’t Burn Out
A trap that many of us fall into is exerting all of our efforts on one or two nights, only to feel overwhelmed and burnt out during the rest.
I’d recommend spreading your worship over all ten nights, and pushing a little harder during the odd nights especially.
3) Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
I get it. You’re seeing what others around you are doing and you wish you could worship just as much. This is not only silly, but it can put a serious stopper on your motivation.
Would you walk into a new job and expect to be as skilled as everybody else on day 1? Of course not. Similarly, we are all at different levels with our faith, so focus on what YOU can achieve and Allah will reward you for trying your utmost best.
4) Leave Nothing Behind
During these nights, be sure to leave absolutely nothing in your spiritual tank. Give it your all, and leave Ramadan knowing that you have no regrets and that you have it your all.
5) Don’t lose hope in Allah
One of the worst things we can do during this time is to lose hope in Allah (swt). Remember, YOU MADE IT THIS FAR! That is a clear sign that Allah (swt) wants to forgive you and has opened the pathway to His Mercy and Unlimited Treasures, for you.
Do not dwell upon your past; focus on where you are now, and have firm belief that you can completely transform yourself this Ramadan.
Say, “O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful.” [Qur’an – 39:53]
If the first 20 days of Ramadan haven’t gone well for you, there is still time to pick yourself up and maximise the time which you have left. If you’re feeling despair, you’ll find some tips and motivation in this blog on Reaping the Rewards in the Remainder of Ramadan.
May Allah (swt) allows us to witness Laylatul-Qadr, and may He completely erase all of our sins, rewards us immensely, draw us close to Him, secure our place in Jannatul-Firdous, and allows to leave Ramadan having been completely purified – Ameen!