Laylatul Qadr is the crowning glory of the holy month of Ramadhaan. It is associated with the sending down of the Qur'an Majeed, the last Book of Allah on His last Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam), for the guidance of mankind. The Qur'an Majeed describes this Night. "We have indeed revealed this (message) in the Night of Power: And what will explain to you what the Night of Power is? The Night of Power is better than a thousand months. Therein come down the Angels and the Spirit (Jibraeel) by Allah's permission, on every errand: Peace! This until the rise of Morn!" (597: V1-5). The Night of Power is the night of spiritual bliss. Our Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) is reported to have said concerning Ramadhaan: "Verily this month has come to you; and therein is a night which is better than a thousand Months. Whosoever is deprived of it, is deprived of all good; and none is deprived of its good except a totally unfortunate person". (Ibn Majah). "Whosoever stands up (in prayer) at the Night of Power out of faith and hopeful of reward, all his past sins will be forgiven." (Targhib) Better than a thousand months A thousand months are equivalent to 83 years and 4 months. Fortunate is the person who spends this night in prayer. The man or woman, who prays for the whole night during this Night, will deserve blessings and reward for the period as if he or she had been praying for eighty three years and four months consecutively. Since the Night of Power is better than one thousand months no one can actually measure the extent as to how much better it is. Exclusive The Holy Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: "Laylatul Qadr has been bestowed by Allah to my Ummah (People). It was not given to any people before this." (Dur-Mansoor). How manifest and replete the special bounties and mercies of Allah Ta'ala are upon this Ummat is quite really beyond imagination. It will therefore be extremely foolish to allow ourselves to be deprived of these great blessings at the expense of sheer laziness and a few hours of extra sleep.
Which Night is it?
Although there are different reports in different traditions regarding the exact night, it is almost unanimous that the blessed night occurs in one of the last ten nights of Ramadhaan and more probably in one of the last ten odd nights i.e. 2lst, 23rd, 25th 27th or 29th night. The popular opinion is, however, in favour of the 27th Night of Ramadhaan but that is not absolutely certain. The traditions indicate that it is to be sought in one of the last ten nights and referrably in the last three odd nights. It was therefore the practice of the Holy Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) and his companions to make I'tikaaf in the Mosque for the whole time offering Divine service during the last ten days of Ramadhaan. Hazrath Aisha (Radhiallaahu Anha) reported that the Apostle of Allah said: "Search for the Blessed Night in the odd (nights) from the last ten (nights) of Ramadhaan" (Bukhari).
Hazrath Aisha has narrated another saying:
"I asked: O Messenger of Allah! Tell me if I were to find a Night of Power, what should I recite therein?" Holy Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) advised her to recite: Al-laa-hum-ma in-na-ka 'a foow-wan tu-hib-bul-'af wa fa-fu 'an-ni. O Allah! You are Forgiving, You love forgiveness, so forgive me. (Bukhari).
Special attention should therefore be given to the excessive recitation of this dua on the blessed night. Furthermore one may engage in lengthy rakaats of Tahajjud salaat, Tilaawat of the Qur'anA¬ Dua, Zikr, etc.
The worship and the vigil of the Night of Power are a treat to the soul. The heart tends to melt into tears of heartfelt gratitude. The body is in a state of angelic ecstasy The soul strives to reach nearer to Almighty Allah. In this holy month of Ramadhaan let us strive to seek the Night of Power and its bliss. May Allah reward us with His bountiful blessings. Aameen.
This great Sunnah of our beloved Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) is so replete with spiritual benefits that a brief treatise like this can never do justice to enumerating them. Perhaps the greatest and the actual motivation behind it is the search for Laylatul Qadr. In I'tikaaf, even one's sleeping is regarded as Ibaadat, hence making it so much easier to gain the benefits of the blessed night. Furthermore one gains the opportunity of emulating Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) concerning whom Hazrath Aisha (Radhiallaahu Anha) reports: "When the last ten Nights of Ramadhaan would come, Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) would spend the whole night in Ibaadat. He would exert himself tremendously and even wake up his family members." (Bukhari, Muslim). She even reports that he would never exert himself in worship at any other time like he did on this occasion (Muslim).
BEAUTY OF I'TIKAAF
The example of the one who resides in the Masjid in I'tikaaf is like a person, who having gone to certain place for something remains there until it is granted. Allamah Ibn Qaiyyim (R.A.) writes that the actual aim of I'tikaaf is to divert the heart from everything except Allah and to join it with Allah alone, thereby forming a complete spiritual connection with Him. In essence all love and desire becomes centred around Allah alone, one's only true Helper and Protector.
VIRTUE OF I'TIKAAF
One cannot possibly imagine the tremendous virtue and reward promised for I'tikaaf. Just to mention a few Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: "Whomsoever performs I'tikaaf for a day thereby seeking the pleasure of Allah, Allah will open three trenches between him and the fire of Hell, the width of each being the distance between heaven and earth." (Tabraani). It is also reported: "Whoever performs I'tikaaf for the final ten days of Ramadhaan, for him is the reward of two Hajj and two Umrahs." (Kashful Ghumma). When Allah Ta'ala is prepared to grant us so much in return for a little sacrifice on our part, then it will surely be a great loss if we fail to avail ourselves of the opportunity. May Allah Ta'ala give us the Taufeeq to practice. Aameen.
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