Saturday, September 4, 2010

The last ten days of Ramadan





In this blessed month of Ramadan, we have now come to the grand finale – the last ten days of Ramadan that are even more blessed than the rest of Ramadan. In it is a night that Quran tells us is better than 1000 months (yes, months – not days).

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

There has come to you Ramadan, a blessed month which Allah has enjoined you to fast, during which the gates of heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are closed, and the rebellious devils are chained up. In it there is a night which is better than a thousand months, and whoever is deprived of its goodness is indeed deprived.” Narrated by al-Nasa’i, 2106; Ahmad, 8769. classed as saheeh by al-Albani in Saheeh al-Targheeb, 999.

So, in preparation for the grand finale, here is a checklist of some of the things that we can all do to make the remaining days of Ramadan work to our advantage –

1) Get in high gear for the next 10 nights and days –

Time is of the essence. Every moment counts. Whatever you need to do for the next ten days to make the most in Ibada, good deeds, reciting Quran, dhikr, making dua, etc., rewards are going to be multiplied. No one knew about the importance of these days more than the prophet (saws). Al-Bukhari and Muslim narrated from ‘Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) that when the last ten days of Ramadan began, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) would stay up at night, wake his family and tie his lower garment tight. According to Ahmad and Muslim: he would strive hard in worship during the last ten nights of Ramadan as he did not do at other times.

Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Hurayrah said “When Ramadan would come, the Messenger of Allah would say,

Verily, the month of Ramadan has come to you all. It is a blessed month, which Allah has obligated you all to fast. During it the gates of Paradise are opened, the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are shackled. In it there is a night that is better than one thousand months. Whoever is deprived of its good, then he has truly been deprived.)” An-Nasa’i recorded this same Hadith.

If we lose this opportunity, we get our next opportunity next year – assuming we are still around and are in good health and shape to make use of it. Even if we are – we have the past years’ sins on our shoulders and life’s normal trials and tribulations to face the coming year. So, there is no better time to ask Allah to make all that easier than NOW.

2) Get a Quran and recite as often as you can –

A few lines on this post can’t even come close to explaining the benefits and virtues of Quran. It is proven in the saheeh Sunnah that the Quran will intercede for those who read it at night, as Ahmad (6626) narrated from ‘Abd-Allah ibn ‘Amr that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

Fasting and the Quran will intercede for a person on the Day of Resurrection. Fasting will say, ‘O Lord, I deprived him of his food and his desires during the day, so let me intercede for him.’ And the Quran will say: ‘I deprived him of his sleep at night so let me intercede for him.’ Then they will intercede.” Narrated by Ahmad; classed as saheeh by al-Albani in Saheeh al-Jami’, no. 3882.

Narrated Abu Musa: The Prophet said,

The example of a believer who recites the Qur’an is that of a citron (a citrus fruit) which is good in taste and good in smell. And the believer who does not recite the quran is like a date which has a good taste but no smell. And the example of an impious person who recites the Qur’an is that of Ar-Rihana (an aromatic plant) which smells good but is bitter in taste. And the example of an impious person who does not recite the quran is that of a colocynth which is bitter in taste and has no smell.” (Book #93, Hadith # 649)

As is stated in the hadeeth narrated by ‘Abd-Allah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas (may Allah be pleased with them both), in which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

Whoever recites ten aayaat (verses) in qiyaam will not be recorded as one of the forgetful. Whoever recites a hundred aayaat (verses) in qiyaam will be recorded as one of the devout, and whoever prays a thousand aayaat (verses) in qiyaam will be recorded as one of the muqantareen (those who pile up good deeds).” (Reported by Abu Dawood and Ibn Hibbaan. It is a hasan report. Saheeh al-Targheeb, 635).

3) If your sins are holding you to move forward, this is the time to get them forgiven –

First the bad news – In Musnad Ahmad it is narrated that Thawbaan said: The Messenger of Allah (SAWS) said:

A man is deprived of provision (Rizq) because of the sins that he commits.’” (Narrated by Ibn Maajah, 4022, classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh Ibn Maajah).

And now for the good news

It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

Whoever spends the night of Laylat al-Qadr in prayer out of faith and in the hope of reward, will be forgiven his previous sins.”

4) What to say on Laylat al-Qadr –

One of the best dua’s that can be recited on Laylat al-Qadr is that which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) taught ‘A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her). It was narrated by al-Tirmidhi, who classed it as saheeh, that ‘A’ishah said: I said: “O Messenger of Allah, If I know which night is Laylat al-Qadr, what should I say?” He said: “Say: Allahumma innaka ‘afuwwun tuhibb al-‘afwa fa’fu ‘anni (O Allah, You are All-Forgiving and You love forgiveness so forgive me).”

5) Get in the class of the Pious People –

Allah has described the pious as follows (interpretation of the meaning):

They used to sleep but little by night (invoking their Lord (Allah) and praying, with fear and hope). [Quran: Surah Adh-Dhariyat (17)]

And in the hours before dawn, they were (found) asking (Allah) for forgiveness, [Quran: Surah Adh-Dhariyat (18)]

6) Finally……

Think of all that you need to ask Allah for and ask Him now. If you haven’t before, this is the time to connect with Him and feel closer to Him. And when you do during these last ten nights and days of this Ramadan, you would want to do this again and again – even after the month is over.

And finally, when you are in a state of prayers and worship, please open your heart for others as well and please do remember your brothers and sisters in your prayers. Remember what the Prophet said:

“The supplication that gets the quickest answer is the one made by one Muslim for another in his absence.” Reported by Abu Daw’ud and Tirmidhi

May we all make the most of the last ten nights and days of Ramadan…

………………………………………… IqraSense.com Blogger

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

LAYLATUL QADR

 In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful We have indeed revealed this (Message) in the Night of Power: And what will explain to thee what the Night of Power is? The Night of Power is better than a thousand months. Therein come down the angels and the Spirit by God's permission, on every errand: Peace!...This until the rise of morn!


Surah 97 The Holy Qur’an

The Holy Qur'an contains a short surah dedicated to Laylatul Qadr. Surah Al-Qadr is the 97th surah and consists of five verses. However, these short verses carry great meaning and guidance. They tell us all we need to know about the essence and spirit of Laylatul Qadr.

Laylatul Qadr falls sometime within the last 10 days of Ramadhan.

"Seek it in Ramadan in the last ten nights. For verily, it is during the odd nights, the twenty-first, or the twenty-third, or the twenty-fifth, or the twenty-seventh, or the twenty-ninth, or during the last night." Sahih Hadith Ahmad 5:318

Laylatul Qadr is the most blessed night. A person who misses it has indeed missed a great amount of good. If an individual wants to obey his Lord, increase the good deeds in his record and have all past sins forgiven, they should take part in Laylatul Qadr.

“Whoever stays up (in prayer and remembrance of Allah) on the Night of Qadr fully believing (in Allah’s promise of reward for that night) and hoping to seek reward (from Allah alone and not from people), he shall be forgiven for his past sins.” Sahih Hadith Bukhari / Muslim

We should strive to find this night, and then pass it in worship and obedience. If this is done for the sake of Allah, with sincerity, then all past sins will be forgiven. However, if a person misses out on worship during Laylatul Qadr they truly are a deprived person.

This night is full of reward and blessing and is equivalent to a thousand nights of worship. Anyone who takes part in Laylatul Qadr will have worshipped an equivalent of eighty three years and three months. It is as if a person has spent an entire lifetime in non-stop worship.

“The Night of Power is better than a thousand months.” 97:3 The Holy Quran

"Allah's Messenger, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, looked back at the previous communities and saw that his community lived for a much shorter period in comparison to them. He was concerned about how his community would be able to gain as many rewards as those of the previous communities. So when Allah the Exalted saw the concerns in the heart of His Beloved, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, then he, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, was given Laylatul-Qadr, which is more virtuous than a thousand months." (Imâm Mâlik, Muatta)

Worship during this night can take on many forms. Here are a few suggestions to help you through Laylatul Qadr:

• Plan ahead if you are working. If you are going to spend a night awake in worship, book the following day off.

• Take regular breaks during the night to avoid getting over-exhausted. Try switching between different forms of worship instead.

• Perform Itikaaf (seclusion in a mosque for worship) – If possible, take a vacation for the last 10 days of Ramadhan. If you cannot stay at your local mosque ask family or friends to help out during your Itikaaf at home. If you cannot spend all 10 days in Itikaaf, then do as many days as you can - even if it is only one day.

• Increase the recitation of the Qur'an, and reflect on the meaning of the verses, especially the verses used in Salah. This will help you concentrate.

• Increase Salah (prayer).

• Find out if there are any events organised, and take your family along.

Doing all of the above activities may be too much to do throughout the night but is far better than social gatherings and meaningless talk that we stay awake for.

If your Arabic is not very strong then there are many good English translations of Qur'an and Hadith, which can be used instead. Other useful reading might include books of tafsir (Qura’n commentary), books on the lives of the Prophets (upon whom be peace), and books of fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) as well as Du’a books.

The days of Laylatul-Qadr are an important time for worship, especially the last 10 days. We should pray sincerely from our hearts in order to be saved from the hellfire. This is a good opportunity not only to pray for ourselves but also for our fellow brothers and sisters, for if we can not do anything else then our prayers will help.

Ibn Abbas (RA) heard the Prophet (SAAWS) advising someone, saying, “Take advantage of five before five: You’re youth before your old age, your health before your sickness, your wealth before your poverty, your free time before you become occupied, and your life before your death.”

May Allah help us to purify our hearts, strengthen our faith, and enable us to meet every challenge, and overcome every difficulty in our lives. May Allah allow us to serve Him with sincerity in our work, study, professional, business, family and social lives. When the time comes for us finally to return to Him, may Allah admit us to the companionship of those whom He loves.

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