Inspired by Sister Raghad’s Halaqa this past Wednesday the 25th of August, 2010 . . .
We are approaching the Night of Power! It is called the Night of Power because whoever is exposed to it is “powered” spiritually. What’s the “spiritual voltage” of this night? It’s worth more than a thousand months of continuous worship. It is the only condensed power-packed night of the year. No doubt because it was the night the Qur’an was first revealed to Prophet Muhammad (saw), a time of the beginning of the guidance of humanity. The beginning of an Ummah guided through a blessed revelation of guidance. And for us, it certainly can be a new beginning with Allah (SWT). For the possibility of you being released from the hellfire (Jahanam) and becoming one of the residents of Paradise (Jannah) is high on that particular night. And guess what, if you are released once then you are NEVER held captive of the hellfire again—so give it your all. Imagine you become a living releasee from the hellfire, and a resident of Paradise walking on the face of this earth. You can possibly return to the state of a newborn child with a zero balance of sins. You can possibly be granted a book with empty pages—clean slate—and you can determine for the year ahead what you would like to fill those empty pages with. So make a sincere intention today to fill them up solely with actions that please Allah (SWT).
Some other translations of the name for this night is “Night of Determination” or “Night of Destiny” and rightly so. In this night, your upcoming life in this world and the hereafter are determined based on your actions on that particular night and their acceptance by Allah (SWT), and then destined and finally sealed with red wax forever: “By the Manifest Book! We sent it down on a blessed night—For We (ever) wish to warn (against Evil). During that night all matters are wisely apportioned, By Command, from Our presence. For We send Revelations as Mercy from your Lord, for He hears and knows (all things)!” (44:1-6) It is a night in which you will either be honored or humiliated in this world and the Hereafter, O Allah grant us the former. Let’s hope that after Ramadhan we are transformed and unrecognizable from the year before–the Qur’an becomes our best of companions, daily sadaqa is a necessity like food and drink, prayer becomes the coolness of our eyes, visiting the ill and elderly is a joy rather than a bore and chore.
The Night of Power is an open market of hasanaat with unbelievable sales. One night of Umrah (smaller pilgrimage) on that day is worth over 83 years worth of rewards of continuous Haj (pilgrimage), a Sadaqa (charity) is worth 83 years worth of rewards of continuously paying Zakat and the list can go on. For remember, voluntary acts of worship in Ramadhan receive the same rewards as obligatory ones, and on the Night of power they are to the power of “over 83 years”! Don’t waste your time doing the math for no worldly numbers can accommodate the rewards you can reap on that one night. How many of us will live to be over 80? And even if we do, how many of us can in earnest say that we are worshipping Allah (SWT) day in and day out, and will leave this world with a favorable record of our exact age at death? NONE!!! So this is your chance. Don’t delay. No one goes shopping after the sales are over, that would be absurd. Just like the earth has its seasons, similarly believers have seasons that they can attain the nearness to Allah (SWT) whether it is a specific time, day/s, and nights. And this Night of Power is the most suitable night to attain nearness of Allah (SWT) so that He (SWT) can hand you your share of spiritual energy and sustenance for the journey of the year ahead, and the final destination in the Hereafter. So expose yourself to its elements of mercy, peace, blessing, grace, favors. Race to compete for the maximum number of hasanaat so as to raise the temperature of your faith, in the hopes of launching your upcoming campaigns (SWT) for the sake of Allah after Ramadhan.
When exactly is the Night of Power? Many believe they have it figured out and claim it’s on the night of the 27th of Ramadhan. Those you will see camped out at the local Masajed solely on that night. Where’s the charm, if we already know when it is? We can just target that one day and give ourselves a huge pat on the back afterwards. The Prophet (saw) was searching for it himself:
Abu Salama reported that: “Once I went to Abu- Sa’id Al-Khudri and asked him, “Won’t you come with us to the date-palm trees to have a talk?” So Abu Said went out and I asked him, “Tell me what you heard from the Prophet about the Night of Qadr.” Abu Sa’id replied, “Once Allah’s Apostle performed I’tikaf (seclusion) on the first ten days of the month of Ramadan and we did the same with him. Jibreel (as) came to him and said, ‘The night you are looking for is ahead of you.’ So the Prophet performed the I’tikaf in the middle (second) ten days of the month of Ramadan and we too performed I’tikaf with him. Jibreel (as) came to him and said, ‘The night which you are looking for is ahead of you.’ In the morning of the 20th of Ramadan the Prophet delivered a sermon saying, ‘Whoever has performed I’tikaf with me should continue it. I have been shown the Night of “Qadr”, but have forgotten its date (or I was caused to forget it), but it is in the odd nights of the last ten nights. I saw in my dream that I was prostrating in mud and water.’ In those days the roof of the mosque was made of branches of date-palm trees. At that time the sky was clear and no cloud was visible, but suddenly a cloud came and it rained. The Prophet led us in the prayer and I saw the traces of mud on the forehead and on the nose of Allah’s Apostle. So it was the confirmation of that dream.”” (Bukhari)
So, make sure you witness every night without fail—in such a way that if attendance were being taken every night you have a check mark by your name. It suffices you to know that the Prophet of Allah (saw) did this, it was his (saw) Sunnah to observe the whole of the last ten nights: Ayesha (RA) said, “When the (last) ten nights began, the Messenger of Allah (saw)) would tighten his waist-wrapper (i.e., strive hard in worship or refrain from intimacy with his wives), stay awake at night and wake his family.” (Bukhari and Muslim) We are definitely in need of more hasanaat than the noblest of men who tread this earth, so don’t drag your feet. Take it in stride!
Who is deprived of the blessings and rewards of the Night of Power is truly DEPRIVED.
Prophet Muhammad (saw) is reported to have said, “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)
Remember the angels will be descending to the earth on this night:
“Therein descend the angels and the Rûh [Jibril (Gabriel)] by Allah’s Permission with all Decrees, (All that night), there is Peace (and Goodness from Allah to His believing slaves) until the appearance of dawn” (97:4-6).
The best of angels and Jibreel (as) shouldn’t find you fast asleep snoring your head off, but up and ready to receive the peace and blessings that they bring with them from the heavens. Jibreel (as) will be beside himself with joy to see you holding the Qur’an in your hand, reciting it as he (as) revealed it to the Prophet (saw) over 1400 years ago, contemplating its meanings, and determining to take firm hold of it in the year ahead. He (as) will rest assured that the Ummah is lucky to have a Muslim like you in their midst, and he and the rest of the angels will pray for you and will provide their Lord (SWT) in the heavens with the best of accounts of you. Insha Allah. So, please don’t snore the last ten nights of Ramadhan away. Say your heartfelt goodbyes to sleep for just these ten days of the year!
Yeah, I know you get it by now. So, what should we do during these upcoming ten night of Ramadhan. Here are some recommendations:
1) Be in the mood for a lot of sujood: The Prophet (saw) enjoined staying up and praying on Laylat al-Qadr out of faith and in the hope of reward. It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (raa) that the Prophet (saw) said: “Whoever stays up and prays on Laylat al-Qadr out of faith and in the hope of reward, his previous sins will be forgiven.”(Bukhari) So, spend your nights in prayers with long ruku’u and sujood, and recitation of long surahs. Feel at home in Salaat, you should because you are in the presence of your Lord (SWT). Don’t miss out the voluntary prayers after or before the obligatory ones—in other words, build your palace in Paradise and choose your neighbors from now. Who would be betters eternal neighbors than the Prophet (saw) and his companions: Abu Bakr, Umar, Othman, and Ali (raa).
2) Pack your bags: Go for a retreat to Allah–“I’tikaf– in the Masjed for the last ten days or a couple of days. Abu Huraira (raa) reported that: “The Prophet used to perform Itikaf every year in the month of Ramadan for ten days, and when it was the year of his death, he stayed in Itikaf for twenty days.” (Bukhari)
3) You and the Qur’an should be inseparable: Remember it is the month of the Qur’an. Ibn ‘Abbas narrates “. . . Jibril would come to the Prophet (saw) every night to rehearse the Qur’an with him.” (Bukhari) So here are some suggestions: study the Qur’an; come together with your family and friends for this purpose; check your memory and knowledge of the Qur’an with someone who has preserved it better; increase recitation of the Qur’an especially during the night when you are less preoccupied and can better concentrate. Make the sincere intention to maintain strong relations with the Qur’an after Ramadhan. Neglecting of the Qur’an is of different levels, as Ibn al-Qayyim writes: not reciting or listening to it; not studying and understanding it; not conveying its message; not judging by it in personal and communal matters, at all levels of society; not believing in it.
4) A special Dua for a special kind of forgiveness: I love Ayesha (raa) she asks the right questions. It was narrated by Ayesha: “I asked: O Messenger of Allah! Tell me if I were to witness the Night of Power, what should I recite therein?” The Holy Prophet Muhammad advised me to recite: “Allaahumma inna-ka ‘afoowwan tuhibbul ‘afwa fa, afu ‘ana” (O Allah! You are Forgiving, You love forgiveness, please have forgiveness for me)”(Bukhari). “Afu” means your sins are completely erased—clean slate—to such a degree that you yourself forget them, as do the angels who recorded them, and guess what your sins won’t haunt you on the Day of Reckoning.
5) Knock at Allah’s (SWT) door: Cry and plead at Allah’s doors asking for Him (SWT) to accept you and release you and make you exempt from the hellfire. Don’t despair, knock and knock and knock. He (SWT) likes those who are persistent.
For more ideas on what to do during these upcoming ten nights, please visit this site.
Let’s turn our backs to worldly matters! For goodness sake don’t use the last ten days to do your Eid shopping, or make Eid cookies, or prepare your home for your Eid guests. Don’t worry, if I visit you I’ll turn a blind eye :). With all sincerity turn your attention to Allah (SWT), so that you may be worthy of receiving the light of this upcoming blessed Night of Power.