In the name of Allah, Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy.
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All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all creation, and may He extol the Messenger in the highest company, and grant him peace and blessings.
O servants of Allah! Ponder over how quickly these days and nights of Ramadan have passed by and how quickly your life is passing by, bringing you closer and closer to your final destination. Most of Ramadan has passed and only a little remains, so seize this opportunity and this time before the end of the month because these final days and nights are treasures for the wakeful believers. Whoever performs righteous deeds in these these final days and nights, he will find that they will remain and be stored to be opened up for him on the Day of Resurrection. The believers will find that their deeds have brought them honour, nobility and happiness in the Hereafter. And the disbelievers will find that their deeds have brought them regret and sorrow. That is the Day when the believers will be told:
كُلُوا۟ وَٱشْرَبُوا۟ هَنِيٓـًٔۢا بِمَآ أَسْلَفْتُمْ فِى ٱلْأَيَّامِ ٱلْخَالِيَةِ ٢٤
“Eat and drink at ease for that which you have sent on before you from the days that have passed!” (Al-Hāqqah: 24) Whereas the loser on that Day, about him Allah stated:
وَأَمَّا مَنْ أُوتِىَ كِتَـٰبَهُۥ بِشِمَالِهِۦ فَيَقُولُ يَـٰلَيْتَنِى لَمْ أُوتَ كِتَـٰبِيَهْ ٢٥
وَلَمْ أَدْرِ مَا حِسَابِيَهْ ٢٦
يَـٰلَيْتَهَا كَانَتِ ٱلْقَاضِيَةَ ٢٧
مَآ أَغْنَىٰ عَنِّى مَالِيَهْ ۜ ٢٨
هَلَكَ عَنِّى سُلْطَـٰنِيَهْ ٢٩
“But as for him who will be given his Record in his left hand, will say: “I wish that I had not been given my Record! And had not known what is my account. Would that it had been my end (my death)! My wealth has not availed me. My power (and arguments to defend myself) have gone from me!” (Al-Hāqqah 25-29) And he will say:
يَقُولُ يَـٰلَيْتَنِى قَدَّمْتُ لِحَيَاتِى ٢٤
فَيَوْمَئِذٍۢ لَّا يُعَذِّبُ عَذَابَهُۥٓ أَحَدٌۭ ٢٥
وَلَا يُوثِقُ وَثَاقَهُۥٓ أَحَدٌۭ ٢٦
“He will say: ‘Alas! If only I had sent forth good deeds for my life!’ So on that Day none will punish as He will punish. And none will bind as severely as His binding [of the evildoers].” (Al-Fajr: 24-26)
O Muslims! You are now in the last ten days of the month, and these are the best days of the month. The Messenger of Allah (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) would single out these days like no others. It is reported by Bukhāri and Muslim that when the last ten days would enter, he would tighten his waist sheet (izār), stay up during the night and wake up his family to pray. This means that he would strive harder, seeking reward, mercy and forgiveness from his Lord, the Mighty and Majestic. And though all the days are days of striving and exertion to perform good deeds, for the seeking of the blessings from Allah; yet he would push himself further in these final days. He would increase in the night prayer, and lengthen his standing, such that some nights he would not sleep, or not sleep for most of the night.
So the Salaf of this Ummah would take this example from their Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam); they would make their standing in the night prayer long, they would supplicate to Allah seeking His Mercy and Forgiveness in their sujood, they would recite the Book of Allah and remember Allah; glorify Him and extol His Might and Greatness.
This is in opposition to those who make no difference between the last ten nights and the rest of Ramadan, and that is due to their ignorance or negligence because the Sunnah of Allah’s Messenger is clear that would exert himself much in the last ten nights, and wake up his family so they may join him in attaining blessings, reward and forgiveness. So, this is a great encouragement for parents and especially fathers to wake up their families or to prepare them to attend the ‘Ishā Prayer and the Taraweeh in the Masjid, to follow the Imām until he has completed the Taraweeh. Bukhāri reported that Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “Whoever stands with the imām in the night prayer up until he has finished, his previous sins will be forgiven.”
We should not leave our youth to be wasted and lost in this month, shaytān invites them to loss and to waste their lives. They spend Ramadan watching movies, listening to music, in shopping centres, and following the lives of the sinners and unbelievers on social media. It is for the parents to take their responsibility seriously and cultivate their children upon the Sunnah and good character from an early age.
In these last ten days, the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) would seclude himself in the masjid in i’tikāf. Allah mentions I’tikāf in the Qur’ān in His saying:
وَلَا تُبَاشِرُوهُنَّ وَأَنتُمْ عَاكِفُونَ فِي الْمَسَاجِدِ
“And do not be sexually intimate with your wives while you are making i’tikāf in the Mosques.” I’tikāf is for the purpose of spending one’s time in the recitation of the Quran, optional prayers (nawāfil), du’ā and dhikr – and to leave off the concerns of the dunyā (the worldly matters). Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) did not cease performing i’tikāf until he died, and after him, his wives made i’tikāf in the masjid. If one is not able to make i’tikāf, the should spend much time in the masjid reading the Book of Allah, its tafseer and meanings and busy himself with supplications, dhikr and the superogatory prayers. Women and teenage girls should likewise busy themselves at home with reading and understanding the Book of Allah, and reading the authentic translations and the tafseer. These are not days of frivolity and filling the belly with foods and sweets. We should spend these days and nights in dhikr and du’ā, asking Allah to give us the best in this world and the next, and to protect us from the Fire.
In the last the ten days, there is Laylatul-Qadr regarding which Allah said:
إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةٍ مُّبَارَكَةٍ ۚ إِنَّا كُنَّا مُنذِرِينَ
فِيهَا يُفْرَقُ كُلُّ أَمْرٍ حَكِيمٍ
“We sent this Qur’an down on a blessed night. Verily, we are ever warning [mankind]. In that night is decreed every matter of ordainment.” (Ad-Dukhān: 3-4.)
So He (the Most High) informed us that He revealed the Quran on this blessed night, showing its great virtue in Allah’s sight, and He described it as ‘mubārakah’ (blessed) – and when Allah describes something as blessed, then there is no end to its goodness and bounty. In this night are decreed the affairs that will occur during the year, that which is already recorded in the Lawhul-Mahfoodh (the Preserved Tablet) wherein everything that is to occur is inscribed. Allah also said concerning the Night of Decree (Laylatul-Qadr):
إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ
وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ
لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ خَيْرٌ مِّنْ أَلْفِ شَهْرٍ
تَنَزَّلُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ وَالرُّوحُ فِيهَا بِإِذْنِ رَبِّهِم مِّن كُلِّ أَمْرٍ
سَلَامٌ هِيَ حَتَّىٰ مَطْلَعِ الْفَجْرِ
“Verily! We have sent the Quran down in the night of Al-Qadr (Decree). And what will make you know what the night of Al-Qadr is? The night of Al-Qadr is better than a thousand months of worship. Therein descend the angels and Jibrīl by Allah’s Permission with all Decrees. Peace all that night until the appearance of dawn.” (Al-Qadr) A thousand months is 83 years and 4 months. So the worhip in this one night is better than a lifetime of worship. Imagine if a person worships in this night consistently, year after year – how many lifetimes of worship will he accumalate for himself?!
The Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) stated: “Seek out Laylatul-Qadr in the last ten nights of Ramadān.” (Al-Bukhāri) Muslims should strive hard in worship in each of the last ten nights in order to attain its reward. The Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) also said:
مَنْ قَامَ لَيْلَةَ الْقَدْرِ إِيمَانًا وَاحْتِسَابًا غُفِرَ لَهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِنْ ذَنْبِهِ
“Whoever stands in prayer on Laylatul-Qadr with imān and hoping for reward, his previous sins will be forgiven.” (Al-Bukhāri)
Many people pray Ishā and Taraweeh with the imām in the masjid, then they return to the masjid again later in the night and establish another jamā’ah for the night prayer, this is not reported from the Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) or his Sahābah, as Shaikh Al-Albānī (rahimahullāh) pointed out. Rather, after praying with the imām the whole of the Taraweeh until he finishes, people should busy themselves with reciting the Book of Allah, with du’ā, dhikr and so on. Ā’ishah (radiyallāhu ‘anhā) said: “Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) did not increase upon eleven rak’ahs (in the night prayer) in Ramadān or outside of it.” (Muslim no. 738, Al-Bukhāri no. 1147) This narration shows that the term Tarāwīh refers to the Night Prayer in Ramadan that also includes the Witr.
Allah did not reveal to us exactly which night is Layalatul-Qadr, but he did say: “Search for Laylatul-Qadr in the odd nights of the last ten days.” (Al-Bukhāri) Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) stated: “I was shown Laylatul-Qadr, then I was caused to forget it, but I saw myself prostrating in water and clay in the morning prayer that followed it.” Abdullāh Ibn Unays (radiyallāhu ‘anhu) then said: “It rained down on us on the twenty-third night and the Messenger led us in prayer [for Fajr] and then he turned around and there were traces of water and clay on his forehead and nose.” (Muslim). Note that ‘an odd night’ precedes the odd day of Ramadan; not the other way around as is the norm in the West.
‘Ā’ishah (radiyallāhu ‘anhā) asked: “O Allah’s Messenger if I find it, what should I supplicate?” He said:
اللَّهُمَّ إِنَّكَ عَفُوٌّ تُحِبُّ الْعَفْوَ فَاعْفُ عَنِّي
“Say: O Allah, indeed You are Pardoning, You love to pardon, so pardon me.” (At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Mājah, saheeh).
So fear Allah, O people of Sunnah, and strive in these ten days for indeed it is the conclusion of month and the deeds are measured in accordance to what they finish upon. Bukhāri reported that that the Prophet (salallāhu ‘laihi wasallam) said: “A man does the deeds of the people of the Fire but he will be from the people of Paradise. And a man does the deeds of the people of Paradise but he will be from the people of the Fire – indeed the deeds are measured upon their conclusions.”
So whoever was righteous in the beginning of Ramadan and he was performing good deeds, let him continue upon that and increase further, because for him it is goodness upon goodness. As for the one who was lazy and negligent in the early part of the month, then let him repent and make up for the loss in these ten days. And whoever repents, then Allah accepts their repentance. The Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said: “There are those in the month of Ramadan in every day and every night whom Allah grants freedom from the Fire – and there is a supplication for every Muslim which will be granted.” (Al-Bazzār no. 3142, Ahmad 2/254, Ibn Mājah no. 1643, authentic).
And all praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all creation, and may He extol the Messenger in the highest company, and grant him peace and blessings.
Abu Khadeejah Abdul-Wāhid.