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Topic initiated on Sunday, October 15, 2006  -  11:29 AM Reply with quote
Last Ten Days of Ramadan and lailatul-qadr

Though the entire month of Ramadan are full of blessings and rewards, its last ten days hold a special status reflected in the recommendations and practices of the Messenger of Allah, salla Allahu alaihi wa Sallam, and his companions. I will focus here on three major practices of the Prophet, Salla Allahu alaihi wa Sallam, and his companions during these days.

[b]1. Praying in the last ten nights of Ramadan

Al-Bukhari and Muslim record from ‘Aisha that during the last ten days of Ramadan, the Messenger of Allah would wake his wives up during the night and then remain apart from them (that is, being busy in acts of worship). A narration in Muslim states: “He would strive [to do acts of worship during the last ten days of Ramadan more than he would at any other time.” Aisha reported that with the start of the last ten days of Ramadan, the Prophet (Pbuh) used to tighten his waist belt (i.e. work hard) and used to pray all the night, and used to keep his family awake for the prayers. [Bukhari]

2. Performing I‘tikaf in the Masjid (seclusion in the Mosque)

I‘tikaf is the seclusion and staying in the mosque with the intention of becoming closer to Allah. This was the practise of the Prophet, Salla Allahu alaihi wa Sallam, during the last ten days of Ramadan especially. He would do it during other months as well.

‘Aisha reported that the Messenger of Allah, Salla Allahu alaihi wa Sallam, used to practise I`tikaf in the last ten nights of Ramadan and used to say, “Look for the Night of Qadr in the last ten nights of the month of Ramadan” [Bukhari]

Al-Bukhari records from Abu Said that the Prophet (Pbuh) said: “Whoever makes I`tikaf with me is to make I’tikaf during the last ten [nights].” This Sunnah of the Prophet, Salla Allahu alaihi wa Sallam, has been abandoned by many Muslims and it is worth reviving it in this era.

Sayyid Sabiq says in Fiqhus-Sunnah :

The Sunnah or preferred i‘tikaf has no specific time limit. It can be fulfilled by staying in the mosque with the intention of making i‘tikaf for a long or short time. The reward will be according to how long one stays in the mosque. If one leaves the mosque and then returns, he should renew his intention to perform i’tikaf. Ya’la ibn Umayyah said: “I secluded myself in the mosque for some time for I‘tikaf.” ‘Ata told him: “That is I‘tikaf, as long as you secluded yourself there.”

One who is performing Sunnah (like in Ramadan) i’tikaf (i.e. not the obligatory one that is made after a vow) may end his i‘tikaf at any time, even if it is before the period he intended to stay.

It is preferred for the one who is making I‘tikaf to perform many supererogatory acts of worship and to occupy himself with prayers, reciting the Qur’an, glorifying and praising Allah, extolling His oneness and His greatness, asking His forgiveness, sending salutations on the Prophet, upon whom be peace, and supplicating Allah - that is, all actions that bring one closer to Allah. Included among these actions is studying and reading books of tafsir and hadith, books on the lives of the Prophets, upon whom be peace, books of fiqh, and so on. It is also preferred to set up a small tent in the courtyard of the mosque as the Prophet did. Permissible Acts for the Mu‘takif (the person performing I‘tikaf). The following acts are permissible for one who is making I’tikaf.

(1) The person may go out for some need that he must perform. ‘Aishah reported: “When the Prophet Performed I`tikaf, he brought his head close to me so I could comb his hair, and he would not enter the house except to fulfil the needs a person has.” [Al-Bukhari, and Muslim].

Ibn al-Mundhir says: “The scholars agree that the one who performs I’tikaf may leave the mosque in order to answer the call of nature, for this is something that he personally must perform, and he cannot do it in the mosque. Also, if he needs to eat or drink and there is no one to bring him his food, he may leave to get it. If one needs to vomit, he may leave the mosque to do so. For anything that he must do but cannot do in the mosque, he can leave it, and such acts will not void his i’tikaf, even if they take a long time.

(2) The person may eat, drink, and sleep in the mosque, and he should also keep it clean.

Actions that nullify the I‘tikaf
If a person performs one of the following acts, his I‘tikaf will be nullified:

(1) Intentionally leaving the mosque without any need to do so, even if it is for just a short time. In such a case, one would not be staying in the mosque, which is one of the principles of I‘tikaf.

(2) Abandoning belief in Islam, as this would nullify all acts of worship. If you ascribe a partner to Allah, your work will fail and you will be among the losers.

(3) Losing one’s reason due to insanity or drunkenness, or the onset of menstruation or post-childbirth bleeding, all of which disqualifies a person for I’tikaf.

(4) Sexual intercourse. Allah says [in meaning]: “But do not associate with your wives while you are in seclusion (I`tikaf) in the mosques. Those are limits (set by) Allah. Approach not nigh thereto. Thus does Allah make clear His Signs to men: that they may learn self-restraint. [Al-Baqara; 2:187]

I‘tikaf is not restricted to men only, women also should do it : ‘Aisha (the wife of the Prophet) reported that the Prophet, Salla Allahu alaihi wa Sallam, used to practise I`tikaf in the last ten days of Ramadan till he died and then his wives used to practise I`tikaf after him. [Bukhari]

3. Seeking Lailatul-Qadr (the Night of Decree)

It is the greatest night of the year like the Day of ‘Arafah is the greatest day of the year. It is a night about which Allah revealed a full Surah, Suratul-Qadr [97:1-5] and the 3rd to the 6th verses of Surat ad-Dukhan [44:3-6]

It is the night when the Qur’an was revealed.

It is the night when the Message (the Final and seal of all messages) sent to Mohammad, Salla Allahu alaihi wa Sallam, started. It is the night when the light, that would illuminate mankind to the end of life, started. It is the night when every matter of ordainment is decreed Allah says in what can be translated as : “Verily! We have sent it (this Qur’an) down in the Night of Decree (Lailatul-Qadr). And what will make you know what the Night of Decree is? The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months. Therein descend the angels and the Rooh (i.e.. Jibreel [Gabriel]) by Allah’s Permission with all Decrees, Peace! Until the appearance of dawn.” [97:1-5] and in Surat ad-Dukhan : “We sent it (this Qur’an) down on a blessed Night. Verily, We are ever warning (mankind of Our Torment). Therein (that Night) is decreed every matter of ordainment. Amran (i.e. a command or this Qur’an or His Decree of every matter) from Us. Verily, We are ever sending (the Messenger). (As) a Mercy from your Lord. Verily! He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower. [44:3-6]

A person who misses Lailatul-Qadr is really a deprived person!

Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet, Salla Allahu alaihi wa Sallam, said “ The blessed month has come to you. Allah has made fasting during it obligatory upon you. During it the gates to Paradise are opened and the gates of Hellfire are locked, and the devils are chained. There is a night [during this month] which is better than a thousand months. Whoever is deprived of its good is really deprived [of something great]. [Ahmad, an-Nisa’i and al-Bayhaqi]

One who misses this blessed night then he has missed much good for no one misses it except one from whom it is withheld. Therefore it is recommended that the Muslim who is eager to be obedient to Allah should stand in Prayer during this night out of Iman and hoping for the great reward, since if he does this, Allah will forgive his previous sins.

What happens to the person who witnesses Lailatul-Qadr and what should one do?

Abu Hurairah Radhiya Allahu ‘anhu reported that the Messenger of Allah, Salla Allahu alaihi wa Sallam, said : “Whoever stands (in prayer) in Lailatul-Qadr out of Iman (faith and sincerity) and seeking reward then his previous sins are forgiven”. [Bukhari]

It is recommended to supplicate a lot during this night, it is reported by ‘Aisha radhiya Allahu `anha, that she said: “O Messenger of Allah! What if I knew which night Lailatul-Qadr was, then what should I say in it?” He said.- “Say.- (Allahumma innaka ‘affuwwun tuhibbul ‘afwa fa’fu ‘annee.)

“O Allah You are The One Who pardons greatly, and loves to pardon, so pardon me.”. [at-Tirmithi and Ibn Majah with a Sahih Isnad]

When is Lailatul-Qadr ?

It is preferred to seek this night during the last ten odd nights of Ramadan, as the Prophet Salla Allahu alaihi wa Sallam,, did his best in seeking it during that time. We have already mentioned that the Prophet (Pbuh) would stay up during the last ten nights, would wake up his wives, and then would remain apart from them to worship.

Ibn Abbas reported that the Prophet, Salla Allahu alaihi wa Sallam, said, “Look for the Night of Qadr in the last ten nights of Ramadan ,’ on the night when nine or seven or five nights remain out of the last ten nights of Ramadan (i.e. 21, 23, 25, respectively).” [Bukhari]

‘Aisha radhiya Allahu ‘anha said: “Allah’s Messenger used to practise I’tikaf in the last ten nights and say: ‘Seek out Lailatul-Qadr in the (odd nights) of the last ten days of Ramadan.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

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