The virtue of the last ten days of Ramadaan and Laylat al-Qadr
Praise be to Allaah, the Lord of the Worlds, and peace and blessings be upon the Trustworthy Prophet Muhammad and upon all his family and companions.
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to strive hard (in worship) during the last ten days of Ramadaan in a way that he did not strive at any other times.
Muslim, 1175, from ‘Aa’ishah). Among the things he did were secluding himself in I’tikaaf and seeking Laylat al-Qadr during this time. (Al-Bukhaari, 1913; Muslim, 1169). In al-Saheehayn it is reported from the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) that when the last ten days of Ramadaan came, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) would stay up at night, wake his family and gird his loins. (al-Bukhaari, 1920; Muslim, 1174). Muslim added: he strove hard and girded his loins.
Her phrase “girded his loins” is a metaphor for his preparing himself to worship and strive hard in worship, more than usual. It has the meaning of “rolling up one`s sleeves” to worship (i.e. getting ready to make a great deal of effort).
It was also said that it was a metaphor for keeping away from women and abstaining from sexual relations.
The phrase “stay up at night” means that he would stay awake, spending the night in prayer, etc. It was reported in another hadeeth that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: “I never saw the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) recite the entire Qur’aan in one night, or spend a whole night in prayer until the morning, or fast an entire month, except in Ramadaan.”
(Sunan al-Nasaa’i, 1641). The words “stay up at night” may mean that he spent most of the night in worship, or that he did not stay up for the entire night, but he did that at the times of ‘Ishaa and Suhoor, and other times, in which case it would mean that he stayed up for most of the night.
The phrase “and wake his family” means that he would wake his wives to pray qiyaam. It is known that he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to wake his wives all year round, but he used to wake them to spend part of the night in qiyaam. In Saheeh al-Bukhaari it is reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) woke up one night and said, “Subhaan Allaah! What tribulations have come down tonight! What treasure has come down tonight! Who will wake up the dwellers of the apartments? There may be women who are clothed in this world and naked in the Hereafter.”
(al-Bukhaari, 1074). It was also reported (in Saheeh al-Bukhaari) that he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to wake ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) when he wanted to pray Witr. (al-Bukhaari, 952). But when he woke his wives during the last ten nights of Ramadaan, this was more persistent than at other times of the year.
The fact that he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did this indicates the importance he attached to worshipping his Lord and making the most of this special time.
The Muslim should follow the example of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), for he is the best example, and he should strive hard in worshipping Allaah. He should not waste the hours of these days and nights. For we do not know, perhaps this time will never come again, for the spoiler of pleasures, i.e., death, which must come to all men, may come and snatch him and his life will end; then he will feel regret at the time when regret will be of no avail.
Among the unique virtues of these special nights is that Laylat al-Qadr is among them. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Haa-Meem. [These letters are one of the miracles of the Qur’aan and none but Allaah (Alone) knows their meanings.]
By the manifest Book (this Qur’aan) that makes things clear.
We sent it (this Qur’aan) down on a blessed night [(i.e. the Night of Al-Qadr) in the month of Ramadaan]. Verily, We are ever warning [mankind that Our Torment will reach those who disbelieve in Our Oneness of Lordship and in Our Oneness of worship].
Therein (that night) is decreed every matter of ordainments.
As a Command (or this Qur’aan or the Decree of every matter) from Us. Verily, We are ever sending (the Messengers),
(As) a mercy from your Lord. Verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.” [al-Dukhaan 44:1-6]
Allaah sent down the Qur’aan on this night which the Lord of the Worlds has described as blessed. It was reported from a group of the Salaf – including Ibn ‘Abbaas, Qutaadah, Sa’eed ibn Jubayr, ‘Ikrimah, Mujaahid and others – that the night on which the Qur’aan was sent down was Laylat al-Qadr.
The phrase Therein (that night) is decreed every matter of ordainments means, on that night the destiny of all creatures for the coming year is decreed. On that night it is written who will live, who will di