بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
By Shaykh-ul-Hadīth, Hadrat Mawlānā Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullāh
The month of Ramadān is full of blessings. Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam said:
And it is a month the first part [first ten days] of which is mercy, the middle part [middle ten days] is forgiveness and the last part [last ten days] is emancipation from the Fire (of Jahannam). (Ibn Khuzaymah)
Having passed through the first ten days of ‘mercy’, we find ourselves in the second ten days of ‘forgiveness’ and approaching the last ten days, wherein Allāh ta‘ālā emancipates His servants from the Fire of Jahannam. Now, we will find people with different mind-sets; some will count down the days in eager anticipation of ‘Īd after which they will not have to stay hungry and thirsty for long hours anymore; some will have spent the major part of Ramadān exerting much effort in devotion to Allāh ta‘ālā and thus feel that they can now relax in the last ten days as they have, in their opinion, carried out much ‘ibādah already; and some will not have done anything of note until now and feel that there is no point of doing anything in these remaining days.
All these mind-sets are incorrect, as the last ten days of Ramadān hold great significance and virtue over the first twenty days of Ramadān. One only needs to examine the conduct of Nabī sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam during the last ten days to understand their virtue.
The Conduct of Nabī sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam during the Last Ten Days
Sayyidah ‘Ā’ishah radhiyallāhu ‘anhā reports that when the last ten days of Ramadān would enter, Nabī sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam would tighten his waist belt, stay awake at night and awaken his family. (Al-Bukhārī)
In this hadīth, Sayyidah ‘Ā’ishah radhiyallāhu ‘anhā has mentioned three things:
1. Nabī sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam would tighten his waist belt, which refers to preparation for exerting himself in ‘ibādah.
2. Nabī sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam would stay awake throughout the nights of the last ten days of Ramadān and worship Allāh ta‘ālā.
3. Nabī sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam would awaken his family also for ‘ibādah and tahajjud so that they too can acquire the blessings of the blessed nights.
The fact that Nabī sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam would especially exert much effort in devotion during the last ten days of Ramadān, shows the virtue and significance of these last ten days. And why would Nabī sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam not exert effort during these last ten days, when they have been specified for the Night of Qadr. Nabī sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam said,
Seek Laylat-ul-Qadr during the last ten days of Ramadān. (At-Tirmidhī)
The Virtues of Laylat-ul-Qadr
Laylat-ul-Qadr is a night full of blessings and goodness. ‘Ibādah carried out on Laylat-ul-Qadr is better than ‘ibadah carried out continuously for a thousand months (83 years and four months). Allāh ta‘ālā says:
Verily! We revealed it (the Qur’ān) during the Night of Qadr (from Al-Lawh Al-Mahfūz to the first heaven). Do you know what is the Night of Qadr? The Night of Qadr is much better than a thousand months. The angels and the Rūh (Sayyidunā Jibra’īl ‘alayhis salām) descend in it by the Command of their Rabb with every decision. It (this night) is full of peace. And (all of this) remains (from sunset) until the break of dawn. (97:1-5)
Nabī sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam said:
During the Night of Qadr, Jibra’īl ‘alayhis salām descends with a group of angels and they make du‘ā of mercy for every servant who stands or sits remembering Allāh ta‘ālā (engaged in worship). (Al-Bayhaqī)
Nabī sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam also said:
Whoever stands in worship during the Night of Qadr with Īmān and hope of reward, all his previous sins will be forgiven. (Al-Bukhārī)
If we understood the virtues and the blessings of this great night, we too would exert great effort towards acquiring these blessings just as our pious predecessors did. It is reported regarding Qatādah rahimahullāh that he would complete the entire Qur’ān every three nights during the first twenty days of Ramadān and every night during the last ten days. In order to become deserving of the virtues of Laylat-ul-Qadr, one must exert every effort and do everything he can. One easy way of becoming deserving of the blessings of the Night of Qadr is to observe the i‘tikāf of the last ten days of Ramadān. Sayyidunā Abu Sa‘īd Al-Khudrī radhiyallāhu ‘anhu narrates that Nabī sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam said,
Verily, in search of Laylat-ul-Qadr I performed i‘tikāf of the first ten days and then extended it to the next ten days for the same purpose; then I was told that this night is in the last ten days; so those who are performing i‘tikāf with me should perform the i‘tikāf of the last ten days. (Al-Bukhārī, Muslim)
The Importance and Virtue of I‘tikāf
We learn from the Sīrah of our beloved Nabī sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam that the i‘tikāf of the last ten days of Ramadān was a practice that he sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam would not miss. Sayyidah ‘Ā’ishah radhiyallāhu ‘anhā said that Nabī sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam would observe i‘tikāf in the last ten days of Ramadān until he passed away. (Al-Bukhārī, Muslim)
Sayyidunā Anas radhiyallāhu ‘anhu said that Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam observed i‘tikāf during the last ten days of Ramadān. One year he could not observe the i‘tikāf, so the following year he observed i‘tikāf for twenty days. (At-Tirmidhī)
Mentioning the virtues of i‘tikāf, Sayyidunā Ibn ‘Abbās radhiyallāhu ‘anhu says that Nabī sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam said,
He (the one observing i‘tikāf) refrains from sins (as he confines himself to the boundary of the masjid) and is rewarded for all good deeds (that he cannot do due to being in i‘tikāf e.g. visiting the sick or participating in janāzah salāh) like that person who carries out good deeds. (Ibn Mājah)
The one performing i‘tikāf, through the blessing of staying within the confines of the masjid, is able to refrain from sins which he may have committed outside of the masjid. Along with this, he is able to engage in so many worships e.g. salāh, dhikr, tilāwat, du‘ā. Moreover, every moment of his is a means of reward as i‘tikāf in itself is also a worship; hence the one performing i‘tikāf gains the reward of i‘tikāf even whilst eating and sleeping.
I‘tikāf: A Fortune
The one observing i‘tikāf is extremely fortunate for he disassociates himself from everything and throws himself into the Court of His Lord and Creator. He remembers Him, praises Him, glorifies Him and sincerely seeks His Forgiveness; he cries over his past mistakes and beseeches His Creator for His Mercy and seeks nothing but His Pleasure. His days and nights are spent only in this pursuit. The author of Marāqī-Al-Falāh states that if i‘tikāf is observed with sincerity, then it is amongst the most virtuous deeds.
Our Task in Hand
So if one is able to perform i‘tikāf during the last ten days, he should most definitely do so. The ladies should also perform i‘tikāf at home. If one is not able to perform i‘tikāf for all of the last ten days, he should perform i‘tikāf for however many days he is able to. And if one is so busy that he cannot spend even one day in i‘tikāf then the least he should do is value each and every moment of the last ten days, especially the nights. He should refrain from every minor and major disobedience to Allāh ta‘ālā carry out actions which please Him to acquire Divine Pleasure.
May Allāh ta‘ālā grant us the tawfīq to value the remaining days of Ramadān, especially the last ten days. May He bless us with the virtue of Laylat-ul-Qadr. May He accept those who have intended to carry out the Sunnah i‘tikāf and may Allāh ta‘ālā make this Ramadān a turning point in our lives and enable us to live a life of obedience until we depart from this world. Āmīn.
© Riyādul Jannah (Vol. 27 No. 5/6, May/June 2018)
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