O Muslims, you are amid ten blessed nights and days. They are the last ten nights and days of the month of Ramaḍān. Allāh has made them a season wherein He frees individuals from the Fire. The Prophet (ﷺ) used to specify these ten for striving to do good deeds more than outside of them, as occurs in Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim from ʿĀ‘ishah (raḍī Allāhu ʿanhā) that the Prophet (ﷺ) used to strive in the last ten nights and days in a way that he did not strive outside of them. From ʿĀ‘ishah (raḍī Allāhu ʿanhā) who said, “The Messenger of Allāh (ﷺ) would stay up for the night once the last ten nights had begun, and he would wake up his family and he would tighten his lower garment.”2
She also said, “The Messenger of Allāh (ﷺ) used to strive more during the last ten nights and days than he strove outside of them.”3 There occurs in the Ṣaḥīḥayn (i.e. the authentic collections of al-Bukhārī and Muslim) from her that she said, “When the last ten nights had begun, the Prophet (ﷺ) would tighten his lower garment and he would stay up through out the night and he would awaken his family.”4 This includes striving to recite the Qur‘ān, prayer, remembrance (ẓikr), charity and other than that. The Prophet (ﷺ) would free up his time during these last ten nights and days for such deeds. So it is befitting for you – O Muslim – to follow the example of your Prophet (ﷺ). So free yourself up from the works of the worldly life, or lighten your load from those works so that you may utilize that time to be preoccupied with obedience during these blessed ten nights and days.
From the special qualities of these last ten nights is to strive in standing for prayer at night and to prolong the prayer by lengthening the standing, the bowing, the prostration and the recitation. One should wake up the family and the children so that they may participate along with the Muslims in this rite of worship and so that they may share in the reward and be trained upon worship. Indeed, many of the people have become neglectful with regards to their children. So they leave the children to wander about in the streets and to stay up late for play and foolishness. They do not respect these nights, and these nights do not hold a status in their souls. It is due to poor upbringing that they have been evidently deprived and are in a clear state of loss such that these nights come and pass whilst the people have turned away in neglect. They do not give these nights any importance and do not benefit from them. They stay up the entire night or most of it engaged in that which has no benefit, or perhaps a limited benefit that can be attained at another time. They strip these nights of that which they have been specified for. So when the time for standing in prayer comes, they are asleep and they miss out on abundant goodness for themselves. Perhaps they will not attain this goodness in another year. They, along with their families and children, are bearing a heavy burden whose evil outcome they have not thought about. Perhaps some of them will say, ‘This prayer at night is only optional and it is enough for me to safeguard the obligatory Prayers.’ Indeed, ʿĀ‘ishah (raḍī Allāhu ʿanhā) said to the likes of these people, “It has reached me about a people who say: We will safeguard the obligatory acts of worship and not worry about increasing upon them. Surely, Allāh will not ask them, except about that which He has obligated upon them. However, they are a people who sin during the nights and the days, and you are not, except from your Prophet and your Prophet is not except from you. By Allāh, the Messenger of Allāh (ﷺ) never left off standing for Prayer at night.”5
From the special qualities of these ten blessed nights is encountering the Night of Decree about which, Allāh says,
لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ خَيْرٌ مِّنْ أَلْفِ شَهْرٍ ﴿٣﴾
“The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months.”
There occurs in the Ṣaḥīḥayn from Abū Hurayrah (raḍī Allāhu ʿanhu), from the Prophet (ﷺ) that he said, “Whosoever stands for Prayer during the Night of Decree out of īmān (faith and belief) and hoping for reward will be forgiven for whatever has preceded from his sins.”6
The Muslim does not attain the success of encountering this magnificent night, except if he stands to pray during all the nights of the month, because the Night of Decree is not confined to a specific night of the month. This is from the wisdom of Allāh the Glorified, so that the servants will increase in striving and seeking it out and so that they will stand for Prayer for the entire month to search for it. So this will result in them doing an abundance of good deeds and obtaining an abundance of reward. Strive – may Allāh have mercy upon you – during these last ten nights at the end of this month. They are nights in which individuals are freed from the Fire. It has been related from the Prophet (ﷺ) that he said about the month of Ramaḍān, “It is a month whose beginning is a mercy. Its middle part is forgiveness and its last part is freedom from the Fire.”7
So the Muslim who comes across these seasons of mercy, goodness and freedom from the Fire must strive his utmost, preserve his time and seek out the pleasure of his Lord. Indeed, this Muslim who seeks to attain all the goodness and blessings within this month attains the highest levels with what has proceeded in the past days.
: Taken from Itḥāf Ahl al-Īmān bi Durūs Shahr Ramaḍān (p. 201-203) of Ṣāliḥ al-Fawzān, slightly adapted.
: Related by Muslim (no. 1174).
: Related by Muslim (no. 1175).
: Related by al-Bukhārī (no. 2024) and Muslim (no. 1174).
: Refer to Laṭāʾif al-Maʿārif (p. 29-30) of Ibn Rajab.
: Related by al-Bukhārī (no. 37) and Muslim (no. 759), Abū Dāwūd (no. 1372), al-Tirmidhī (no. 683), al-Nasaʾī (no. 2206), Ibn Mājah (no. 1641) and Aḥmad in al-Musnad (no. 9445).
: Ḍaʿīf: Related by Ibn Khuzaymah in his Ṣaḥīḥ (no. 1887), and al-Bayhaqī in Shuʿab al-Īmān (7/216). Al-Albānī mentions that it is ḍaʿīf (weak) due to ʿAlī Ibn Zayd Ibn Jadʿān; he is weak as has been stated by Aḥmad and others. Refer to Silsilah al-Aḥādīth al-Ḍaʿīfah (no. 871).
Translation by Maaz Qureshi