If Ramadan is the best month of the year, the last ten days of this holy month are considered the best nights of worship and good deeds. Therefore, the Muslims from all over the world are waiting for these days, which start on the night of the twenty-first of Ramadan until the last day of the month, with a burning desire and a strong enthusiasm. Muslims make every effort to accomplish acts of worship and good deeds in order to grant themselves all the benefits and multiplied rewards carried by this night. As described by Allah (SWT):” The Night of Qadr is much better than one thousand months” (97/3).
The guidance of the Prophet in the last ten days of Ramadan
The Prophet (pbuh) and his beloved Companions attached great importance to the last ten days of Ramadan which were highly appreciated nights and were considered as a special guidance. It was narrated in the Hadith that “Aisha (Allah be pleased with her) reported that Allah's Messenger (pbuh) used to exert himself in devotion during the last ten nights to a greater extent than at any other time”. This is a clear indication of the importance and tremendous stature of the last ten days of Ramadan in Islam.
In the last ten days of Ramadan, the Prophet (pbuh) used to spend the night praying, performing Qiyam-ul-layl, reading the Quran, remembering Allah (SWT) and practicing other acts of worship. Aisha (RAA) narrated: “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”. Following the Sunna of the Prophet, Muslims roll up their sleeves in the last third of Ramadan. They stay up late to pray, seek forgiveness and glorify Allah (SWT). They remember Allah Standing and sitting and lying on their sides, and they all hope for his mercy and seek his pleasure.
It is the guidance of the Prophet (pbuh) in the last ten days of Ramadan also, that he used to awake his family for prayer and remembrance of Allah. It was reported in the Hadith that:”The Prophet would awaken his family during the last ten (nights) of Ramadan”. Therefore, Muslims are keen to seize this divine opportunity, and share its virtues and blessings with their families and dear ones as they persist to awaken them from sleep in order to pray and follow the Prophet’s guidance (pbuh).
In the last ten days of Ramadan, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) was always keen on observing I'tikaf in the mosque until he died, as it was stated in the Hadith narrated by Aisha (RAA): “The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) used to perform I'tikaf during the last ten days of Ramadan until he died. Then his wives used to perform I'tikaf after his death”. Many Muslims still maintain the Sunna of I'tikaf, where they stay in mosques and do not leave them, and nothing can distract them from the remembrance of Allah, and the seeking of his forgiveness and his pleasures, and most of all they do not mix with people except for the utmost necessity.
The Place of Laylat Al-Qadr (Night of Decree)
Perhaps the greatest thing to do in the last ten days of Ramadan is exerting oneself to seek Laylat Al-Qadr, how could it be otherwise when The Almighty has described it in Surat Al-Qadr/3: "The Night of Power is better than a thousand Months”. In terms of years, Laylat Al-Qadr is equal to eighty-three years and four months. The Prophet (pbuh) said in the Hadith: "Search for Laylat al-Qadr in the last ten days of Ramadan", agreed upon. This great night is closer to odd nights, because the Prophet (pbuh) said in an authentic Hadith: "Search for the Night of Qadr in the odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadan". And it is in the last seven days, as it is stated in Sahih Muslim, the Prophet (pbuh) said: "Seek it in the last ten nights. If one among you shows slackness and weakness (in the earlier part of Ramadan), it should not be allowed to prevail upon him in the last week."
The wisdom behind the hiding of Laylat Al-Qadr is to exert oneself in seeking it, because if it is known, the Ijtihad in worship will be limited to it alone. Therefore, Muslims strive hard during the last ten days, as they multiply numbers of prayers, Qiyam, remembrance of Allah , memorization, and recitation of the Quran to ensure the reward of Ramadan, the reward of the last ten days of it, and most of all the reward of Laylat Al-Qadr which cannot be compared to any other night or time.
Written by: Amine Hilal