Ramadhan: Significance of the last ten nights
Mir Jamid Afzal
Ramadan is a month of fasting, reflection, devotion, generosity and sacrifice observed by Muslims around the world. Over the centuries Ramadan has retained its passionate spiritual meaning.
The word “Ramadan” comes from the Arabic word for “Parched Thirst” and “Sun-Baked Ground.” It is meaningful of the hunger and thirst felt by those who spend the month in fasting and get benefits of fasting. Ramadan is by nature a time of sacrifice. Each year Muslims spend the ninth month of the Islamic calendar observing a community wide fast. The fast of the month of Ramadan is considered one of the five pillars of Islam.
Muslims who are physically able are required to fast each day of the entire month from dawn to sunset. The month of Ramadan lasts 29 to 30 days depending on moon sighting and according to narration; Allah Almighty divides the Holy month of Ramadan into three Stages that’s known as Ashra of Ramadan. First part reflects Mercy of Allah (Rehmah), Second part reflects Forgiveness of Allah (Maghfirah and the third part reflects Safety from the Hell (Nijat).
The Holy Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said: It (Ramadan) is the month, whose beginning is mercy, its middle, forgiveness and its end, emancipation from the fire (of hell).No doubt, the month of Ramadan is full of blessings, mercy and forgiveness. It’s the best opportunity for all the Muslims to collect more blessings of Allah and pray for their forgiveness and to be saved from the Hellfire.
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.
Ramadan is all about fasting and following the commands of Allah Almighty. Fasting is not just abstaining from eating or drinking but to refrain from all inappropriate activities for the sake of Allah (SWT). There are countless opportunities to take advantage of during this holy month and Muslims seek repentance for past sins as well as become more pious for getting closer to Allah Almighty.
The act of fasting is not only filled with blessings and rewards but it is also a shield against sins and hell-fire in the hereafter. The significance of fasting is stated in hadith in these words: ‘Allah says: “Every good deed of Adam’s son is for him except fasting; it is for Me. And I shall reward (the fasting person) for it.’ Verily, the smell of the mouth of a fasting person is better to Allah than the smell of musk.”’ (Bukhari).
There are two important aspects of fasting: Suhur and Iftar that have great significance to Muslims. Allah, the Most Merciful has blessed us with two meals Suhur and Iftar during this holy month of fasting so we could recharge ourselves. Iftar and Suhoor are the most important meals of Ramadan and we should enlighten ourselves about the meals to reap the best out of it.
Muslims commences fast early morning at dawn just before the sunrise with a meal known as Suhoor. The Prophet (PBUH) told us about the blessings and virtue of Suhoor in these words: “Have Suhoor for verily there is a blessing in it.” (Abu Dawood).An essential part of Suhoor is making the intention to fast. Having Suhoor is Sunnah and one must try hard to have Suhoor even if it includes some dates and a sip of water. “Whoever does not have the intention of fasting before Fajr, there is no fast for him.” (Ahmad).Suhoor is the right time to eat up a meal and fill yourself adequately so that you can fast throughout the day. Suhoor is also a blessed time, the third part of the night and the best time to pray to Allah (SWT), make dua and seek forgiveness from Almighty Allah.
The last ten nights: 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 hazrat Aisha r.a.(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.
Giving sadaqa during the last ten nights
The last ten days of Ramadan are an opportunity to gain multiple rewards by giving sadaqa to those in need for the sake of seeking the pleasure of Allah. The rewards of giving sadaqa during Ramadan are multiplied by 70 and the reward for any righteous act during Laylatul Qadr is equivalent to having performed the same act for over 83 years! Islamic Relief can help ensure you never miss the reward of giving sadaqa during Laylatul Qadr by automating your donations. My Ten Nights is a tool that allows you to donate an amount of your choice, spread out over the last ten nights. Depending on where you live in the world, your donation will be made during the night, allowing you to focus on other acts of worship.
The Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) said “Sadaqa extinguishes sin as water extinguishes fire,” (Hadith, Tirmidhi). He also said that Allah offers relief on the Day of Judgement for those who give sadaqa: “The believer’s shade on the Day of Resurrection will be their charity,” (Hadith, Tirmidhi).
Give generously before Ramadan comes to an end and help us provide relief to those lives have been torn apart by war, famine and natural disaster. Show mercy to others so that Allah may show mercy to you.
(The author is a student and hails from Amlar Tral in south Kashmir)