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August 24, 2011

Exerting Oneself in Worship Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu Alaihivasallam


Aisha tells us: "The Prophet would exert himself in worship during the last ten nights more than at any other time of the year." (Muslim)

The great jurist, Al-Shafi'i, declares: "It is Sunnah for one to exert greater efforts in worship during the last ten nights of Ramadan."

When Aisha tells us that Prophet Muhammad would "tighten his waist belt", she is speaking figuratively. The phrase means to set about to devote oneself fully and wholeheartedly to the task at hand.

Seeking Out Laylat al-Qadr (Night of Power)

One of the greatest distinctions of these ten special nights is that one of them is Laylat al-Qadr. This is the greatest night of the year - better than a thousand months. This means that a Muslim can earn more rewards on the Night of Power than he would if - excluding this special night - he were to worship his Lord for eighty-four years straight. This is one of the immense favors that Allah has bestowed upon the Muslim community.

Imam Ibrahim Al-Nakha`i says: "Good works performed on this night are better than those performed consistently for a thousand months."

Abu Hurayrah relates that the Prophet said:

"Whoever spends Laylat al-Qadr in prayer, believing in Allah and seeking His reward, will be forgiven all of his past sins." (Al Bukhari& Muslim)

"Believing in Allah", in this hadith, means not only to believe in Allah, but to believe in the reward that we are promised for observing prayer on this night.

Laylat al-Qadr (the Night of Power) is on one of the odd nights. Aisha relates that Prophet Muhammad said:

"Seek out Laylat al-Qadr in the odd nights during the last ten nights of Ramadan." (Al Bukhari & Muslim)

It is most likely one of the last seven odd nights. Ibn Umar relates that Prophet Muhammad said:

"Look for it in the last ten nights. If one of you falls weak or unable to do so, then he should at least try on the seven remaining nights." (Muslim)

A Muslim should seek out this special night by spending the last ten nights of Ramadan engaged in various acts of worship.

The most likely candidate for Laylat al-Qadr is the 27th night of Ramadan. This is indicated by the statement of Ubayy ibn Ka`b: "I swear by Allah that I know which night it is. It is the night in which Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) ordered us to observe in prayer. It is the night on the eve of the 27th of Ramadan. Its sign is that the sun will rise in the morning of that day white without exuding any rays." (Muslim)

A Muslim should seek out this special night by spending the last ten nights of Ramadan engaged in various acts of worship. These include reciting the remembrances of Allah, reading the Quran, and begging Allah's forgiveness.

It is best for us to strive hard on all ten nights, because the Prophet Muhammad said:

"The way we "look for" Laylat al-Qadr is by engaging in extra worship."

When the Prophet said: "Look for it in the last ten nights" he did not mean that we should literally "look for" signs and indications that distinguish Laylat al-Qadr from other nights. The things that distinguish this night from other nights are part of the Unseen.

Allah says: {Surely We revealed it on a blessed night. Surely We ever wish to warn (against evil) - On this night, every wise matter is made distinct.} (Ad-Dukhan 44: 3-4)

Allah says in the Quran: {Laylat al-Qadr is better than a thousand months. The angels and the Spirit descend therein, by the permission of their Lord, with every decree. (This night is) peace, until the rising of the dawn.} (Al-Qadr 97: 3-5)

These are the ways in which Laylat al-Qadr is special. They are not things that we can see with our eyes. No one after the Prophet can see the angels.

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