Ramadan is a month of spiritual cleansing and purification for Muslims in which we try to increase our worship, good deeds and acts of charity. The last ten days and nights hold even more significance as Allah shows great mercy to His creation. They are a chance to benefit from the immense blessings of Ramadan and seek salvation before the month comes to an end.
Seeking Laylatul Qadr
Laylatul Qadr, the Night of Decree or Night of Power, is one of the most sacred nights in the Islamic calendar. It takes place in the last ten days of Ramadan and was the night in which the Qur’an was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
It is also believed to be the night in which Allah shows great mercy to His creation and the night in which one’s fate is decreed.
Allah says in the Qur’an, “The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months,” (Qur’an, 97:3). The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever prays on Laylatul Qadr out of faith and sincerity, shall have all their past sins forgiven,” (Hadith, Bukhari and Muslim).
Sincerely praying for forgiveness, reciting the holy Qur’an, sending salawat (blessings upon the Prophet) and offering optional (nafl) prayers are examples of beneficial acts of worship on these nights.
The exact date of Laylatul Qadr is unknown, although it is thought to occur on an odd night in the last ten days of Ramadan (e.g. the 21st, 23rd, 25th, 27 or 29th night). The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “Seek it in the last ten days, on the odd nights,” (Hadith, Bukhari and Muslim).
When Lady Aisha (may Allah be well pleased with her) asked the Prophet (peace be upon him) “O Messenger of Allah, if it is Laylatul Qadr, then what should I supplicate with?” he replied with the famous dua: “Allahumma, innaka Afuwwun Karimun, tuḥibbu al-afwa fa‘afu anna” – “O Allah, indeed You are Pardoning and Generous; You love to pardon, so pardon us.”
Many Muslims choose to spend the last ten days of Ramadan in seclusion (i’tikaf), where one solely focuses on worshipping Allah and refrains from involvement in worldly affairs. It is a time to reflect, increase worship and to increase one’s religious knowledge, seeking closeness to Allah.
The sunnah is to remain in i’tikaf for ten days but as a minimum it can be one day and one night. I’tikaf is a great opportunity to reconnect with Allah in solitude. It is also a time to implement good religious practices which can be carried on throughout the whole year.
This seclusion usually takes place at the mosque but with many mosques closed this Ramadan amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, a secluded space within the home can be designated, free from noise and distractions if possible.