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The bonanza in Ramadan

Gratitude is due to Allah for counting us among witnesses to the most virtuous part of this year’s  Ramadan; the last ten days of the…

Gratitude is due to Allah for counting us among witnesses to the most virtuous part of this year’s  Ramadan; the last ten days of the holy month during which sinning Muslims are liberated from Hell fire. Today, being the 24th day of Ramadan and the night of 25th, is one of the plausible days we are encouraged to strive in worship and prayers seeking the night that is better than a thousand months. This most virtuous of all the nights is called ‘Laylat ul-Qadr’; meaning ‘The Night of Power’. Allah (SWT) asserts in Qur’an 97:3 that the ibadah (worship) observed by a Muslim on (the night of) Laylat ul-Qadr is better than all the devoutions offered in a thousand months that are not Laylat ul-Qadr. This is the spiritual bonanza in Ramadan.

The amazing miracle in this night is that Allah, in His wisdom, concealed the knowledge of the exact night of Laylat ul-Qadr just as He hides other forms of knowledge from us. For instance, Allah states Qur’an 31:34 that “Verily the knowledge of the Hour is with Allah (alone). It is He that sends down rain, and (it is) He that knows what is in the wombs. Nor does anyone know what it is that he will earn tomorrow; nor does anyone know in what land he is to die…”

Imam Malik (RA) reports in his Muwatta that Ziyad related from Malik that he heard a man he trusted of the people of knowledge say, “The Messenger of Allah (SAW) was shown the lifespan of the people (who had gone) before him and it was as if the lifecycle of his Ummah (community) had comparatively become too short for them (to have enough time) to put forth as many good deeds as those before them did. So, Allah gave him Laylat ul-Qadr, which is better than a thousand months”.

Many scholars share the view that Laylat ul-Qadr falls on one of  the nights of 21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th or 29th, which are the odd days in the last ten days of Ramadan. In practical terms, Muslims are encouraged to seek for Laylat ul-Qadr on the night preceding the odd days listed above. For example, today Saturday April 15, 2023 which is the 24th day of Ramadan is also a night to seek for Laylat ul-Qadr; being the night preceding tomorrow Sunday April 25th, 2023 which is the 25th day of Ramadan. Many scholars opine that Laylat ul-Qadr occurs on the 27th day of Ramadan. A School of Thought that shares this view goes further to explain that the Arabic letters which make up the Arabic phrase ‘Laylat ul-Qadr’ are nine in number, and that the phrase occurs three times in the holy Qur’an. It gives a total of 27 when nine is multiplied by 3; buttressing 27th of Ramadan as Laylat ul-Qadr.

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Muslims are generally exhorted by the Prophet (SAW) to increase the rate of their devoutions during the last ten days of Ramadan. No restrictions are placed on a Muslim as to which particular form of worship to engage in. It is nonetheless profitable if a Muslim diversifies his ibadah as to include tilawah (recitation the holy Qur’an), observing nafilah (superogatory) prayers generally called Tahajjud after midnight; seeking for forgiveness; glorifying Allah through Tasbih (saying ‘Suhana-llah’); or Takbir (saying Allahu Akbar); or Tahlil (saying ‘La ilaha ila-llah’); or Tahmid (saying Alhamdu lillah); or similar invocations of glory and gratitude to Allah (SWT). Aisha (RA) once asked the Prophet (SAW) of what to recite on this night. The Prophet (SAW) replied and recommended the supplication, “Allahumma Innaka Afwun, Tuhibb ul-Afwa, Fa’fu anni,” meaning “O Allah! You are Pardon; You like Pardon; Pardon me.”

Let us encourage our family members, male and female, to engage in these worthwhile acts of ibadah. The tahajjud (superogatory) prayer could be performed in congregation of family members that may include the husband, wife/wives, children, relations and aides. It’s not mandatory that the husband or father in the house must lead in the tahajjud prayer. If there’s a memorizer of the Qur’an among the children, his father should allow him to lead the congregational tahajjud prayer. Where there’s no memorizer, the best reciter of the Qur’an in the family would be the next to be considered for prayer leadership. In order to cover a large portion of the Qur’an during the tahajjud prayer, there’s no harm if the prayer-leader holds a copy of the Qur’an in his hand to recite longer verses or chapters while leading the tahajjud prayer. In order not to preclude women experiencing their monthly period from the benefits of this sacred part of Ramadan, they are allowed to engage, at least, in supplications.

To engage in sincere worship of Allah (SWT) is the main purpose of man’s creation. This implies that with or without Ramadan, worship is meant to be man’s preoccupation. The entire life span of man is, thus, a period for worshiping Allah (SWT) who states in Qur’an 51:56 “I have only created Jinn and men that they may serve Me”. All acts of ibadah performed by man are to his own advantage. Allah has nothing to gain from a believer’s worship of Him.

Laylat ul-Qadr is not the only subject-matter chosen by Allah and ranked higher amongst others. Such special differentiations include distinguishing Muhammad (SAW) among His prophets and messengers with a unique message to mankind and Jinn. He (SWT) also rated the holy mosque of Ka’abah, the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah and the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Palestine above other mosques in the universe. Similarly, Allah has chosen Friday as a special day ÿwith special virtues that are missing in other days of the week.

Now, if Laylat ul-Qadr with its exclusive value is singled out for our own religious benefit, we should have no reason as believers whose ultimate goal is bliss in the hereafter, not to take advantage of the spiritual bonanza it offers. Let us not miss the extraordinary bonanza presented by Laylat ul-Qadr. Aside of glorifying Allah and seeking forgiveness of our sins, let us use the night to also ask Allah for all our needs including blessed wealth, useful knowledge, pious heart, healthy body, righteous wife, righteous children, gainful employment, a house we can call our own, a beautiful car, promotion at workplace and prosperity in life. May Allah guide us to seek and find Laylat ul-Qadr, amin. Ramadan Kareem!

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