Ramadan: The Last Ten Nights

Ramadan has taken me by storm. Just yesterday the month was dawning upon me, yet I find myself, today, already having reached the last 10 nights, as if the first 20 had charged through my life in full force, without hindrance or interruption. Time does not wait for anyone, it flows, passes, proceeds, and continues, undefied and uninterrupted, regardless of anything or anyone. I look with deep regret at the spent days of Ramadan, how careless I had been with my time, how I had fell short of planning and prioritising, all the while knowing only too well that the fate of the remaining days will be no different unless change is incurred.

When someone presents us with an opportunity which we neglect or misuse, it is unlikely they will offer us a better opportunity next time. To go further, if we keep neglecting the opportunities given to us, it’s almost certain they will cease from being given altogether.

Yet Allah, out of his infinite mercy, will never cease from allowing opportunities to pass our way. If we end up wasting an exclusive chance given to us by Allah, he will give us more chances. And the passing of one opportunity will often signal the nearing of a better one.

The bulk of Ramadan might be over, but the pinnacle is yet to pass. Crying over the expired nights of Ramadan, nights which may never return again, should tighten your resolve to maximise these last 10, with in which is hidden an ultimate jackpot unlike no other. While the context of Ramadan was mentioned in a few verses of Surat Al-Baqarah, the context of laylat-al- qadr has an entire independent surah devoted to it.

إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ ۝ وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ ۝ لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ خَيْرٌ مِّنْ أَلْفِ شَهْرٍ ۝

Indeed, We sent it (the Qur’an) down during the Night of Decree. And what can make you know what is the Night of Decree? The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months*.

Al-Qadr 97:1-3

As done previously with the verses pertaining to Ramadan, Allah first associated laylat-al- qadr with the Quran. Ramadan is the month of the Quran, hence it became the greatest month. Laylat-al- qadr is the night of the Quran, hence it became the greatest night. Jibreel came down with the Quran, hence he is the greatest Angel. The prophet ﷺ was given the Quran, hence he is the greatest prophet. Anything or anyone which the Quran associates with is destined for greatness, so never prioritise anything over it, especially in these critical days.

عن عمرو بن العاص: من قرأ القرآن فكأنما استدرجت النبوة بين جنبيه إلا أنه لا يوحى إليه‏‏

Narrated by Amr ibn Al-Aas: Whoever reads (memorises/learns) the quran, it is as if revelation has been brought before him, except that he is not revealed upon.

Any conversation may eventually become boring, any book may eventually bring you apathy, any friend may eventually become detached or distant from you, but the book of Allah is the best companion whose words will never become boring, and whose repetition will increase it in beauty**. The more the Quran is studied, the more the benefits and wisdom it reveals.

Finally, pray to Allah and ask him, for Allah is the one who can, wants to and will answer your supplications.

عَنْ سَلْمَانَ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ إِنَّ رَبَّكُمْ تَبَارَكَ وَتَعَالَى حَيِيٌّ كَرِيمٌ يَسْتَحْيِي مِنْ عَبْدِهِ إِذَا رَفَعَ يَدَيْهِ إِلَيْهِ أَنْ يَرُدَّهُمَا صِفْرًا

Narrated by Salman: The Prophet (ﷺ) said: Your Lord is munificent and generous, and is ashamed to turn away empty the hands of His servant when he raises them to Him.

Sunan Abi Dawud

Pray for yourself, your family and friends. Pray for the attainment of good and the avoidance of misfortunes.

And pray for your short life here and your infinite afterlife to come***. Isolate yourself for a few precious moments and pray and cry as though you are that terminally ill patient asking for a cure, or that drowning man asking for help. Because, ultimately, you are in no less need of Allah than the most vulnerable person on earth. The torments of the last day will render any previous calamities insignificant, and all be in need of help on that day, so don’t forget to ask Allah for his help on that day when you will need it the most.

اعلم أن من هو في البحر على لوح ليس بأحوج إلى الله وإلى لطفه من من هو في بيته بين أهله وماله ،فإذا حققت هذا في قلبك فاعتمد على الله اعتماد الغريق الذي لايعلم له سبب نجاة غيرالله

ابن قدامة

Know that a man floating on a piece of wood in the sea is not in more need of Allah and his kindness than a person in his home, sitting between his family and property. When this meaning becomes ingrained in your heart, then rely on Allah like a drowning man who knows not any other means to salvation but Allah.

-Ibn Qudamah

Ask Allah in your own words and language, but also in the supplications recommended by the prophet ﷺ.

قال رسول الله ص لعائشة: يا عائشة! عليك بجمَل الدعاء، وجوامعه”. فلما انصرفت، قلت: يا رسول الله! وما جمل الدعاء وجوامعه؟ قال : ” قولي: اللهم إني أسألك من الخير كله، عاجله وآجله، ما علمت منه وما لم أعلم، وأعوذ بك من الشر كله عاجله وآجله، ما علمت منه وما لم أعلم، وأسألك الجنة وما قرب إليها من قول أو عمل، وأعوذ بك من النار وما قرب إليها من قول أو عمل، وأسألك مما سألك به محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم، وأعوذ بك مما تعوذ منه محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم، وما قضيت لي من قضاء فاجعل عاقبته رشدًا

The messenger of Allah said to Aishah (while she was praying): Oh Aishah! Use the precise and concise supplications. So when I finished, I said: Oh messenger of Allah! What are the precise and concise supplications? He said: Say: Oh Allah! I ask you of all good, its near and far, what I knew of it and what I didn’t, and I seek refuge in you from all evil, its near and far, what I knew of it and what I didn’t, and I ask you heaven and any words and actions which bring it closer, and I seek refuge in you from Hell and any words or actions which bring it closer, and I ask you from what Muhammad ﷺ had asked you of, and I seek refuge in you from that which Muhammad ﷺ had sought refuge in you from, and whatever you had decreed for me then make its conclusion correct/guided.

Al-Adab Al-Mufrad

عن أنس قال: كان أكثر دعاء النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم: اللهم ربنا آتنا في الدنيا حسنة وفي

الآخرة حسنة وقنا عذاب النار

Narrated by Anas, the most frequent supplication of the messenger ﷺ was: Oh Allah our Lord! Give us in this life goodness, and in the next life goodness, and save us from the torment of the hellfire***

Sahih Al-Bukhari

نْ عَائِشَةَ، قَالَتْ قُلْتُ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ أَرَأَيْتَ إِنْ عَلِمْتُ أَىُّ لَيْلَةٍ لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ مَا أَقُولُ فِيهَا قَالَ ‏ “‏ قُولِي اللَّهُمَّ إِنَّكَ عَفُوٌّ كَرِيمٌ تُحِبُّ الْعَفْوَ فَاعْفُ عَنِّي ‏”

Aishah narrated: “I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, what is your view if I know when the Night of Al-Qadr is, then what should I say in it?” He said: ‘Say: “O Allah, indeed You are Pardoning, [Generous,] You love to pardon, so pardon me”.

Jami’ Al-Tirmithi

‏While Ramadan is fast diminishing, the best of it could yet be approaching. So before crying over wasted irrecoverable time, appreciate that time isn’t measured by clocks, but by moments. Clocks quantify time, but the quality is measured by the memorable moments of your life. Perhaps a few moments of earnest worship and sincerity (especially at a blessed night) are worth more than many hours of passive or impassive worship.

Make your most cherished and memorable moments those in which you are closest to Allah, and never forget Allah’s vast unconditional mercy and love bestowed upon you, because being aware of Allah’s favour upon you will drive you to seek his pleasure, and loving Allah will open the doors of happiness for you in this life before the next.

عن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه ، عن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أنه قال‏:‏ “ قال الله، عز وجل‏:‏ أنا عند ظن عبدي بي وأنا معه حيث يذكرني، والله لله أفرح بتوبة عبده من أحدكم يجد ضالته بالفلاة، ومن تقرب إلي شبراً، تقربت إليه ذراعاً، ومن تقرب إلي ذراعاً، تقربت إليه باعاً، وإذا أقبل إلي يمشي، أقبلت إليه أهرول

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:

Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Allah says: ‘I am just as My slave thinks of Me, and I am with him when he remembers Me.’ By Allah! Allah is more pleased with the repentance of His slave than one of you who unexpectedly finds in the desert his lost camel. ‘He who comes closer to Me one span, I come closer to him a cubit; and he who comes closer to Me a cubit, I come closer to him a fathom; and if he comes to Me walking, I come to him running”

Sahih Al-Bukhari

*Called the night of decree (القدر) because in it Allah decrees matters. And it was said that it is better than an entire lifetime and the mention of 1000 months is for the purpose of exaggeration, as is normal in the Arabic language. It is better in importance, blessing, and reward. And the superiority of a set time, such as Ramadan or laylat-al- qadr, is dependent on the goodness and favours which occur at that time. The messenger ﷺ had encouraged us to seek out laylat-al- qadr in the last 10 odd nights, and in other narrations in the last 7 nights. Most scholars were of the opinion that it falls on the 27th (Abu Hanifa, Malik, and Ahmad) or the 21st (Al-Shafi’i), but there are strong authentic narrations that support it being on the 21st , 23rd , 25th , 27th , and 29th .

There is wisdom for not being given the exact night, so people do not become complacent, as Allah ought to the greater concern always, not a set time or place.

**The introduction to the poem of Qasim ibn Feerroh Al-Shatibi, known as Al-Shatibiyyah

***

{…فَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَقُولُ رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا وَمَا لَهُ فِي الْآخِرَةِ مِنْ خَلَاقٍ ۝ وَمِنْهُم مَّن يَقُولُ رَبَّنَا

آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ ۝ أُولَٰئِكَ لَهُمْ نَصِيبٌ مِّمَّا كَسَبُوا وَاللَّهُ

سَرِيعُ الْحِسَابِ }

{…And among the people is he who says, ‘Our Lord, give us in this world,’ and he will have in the Hereafter no share. But among them is he who says, ‘Our Lord, give us in this world [that which is] good and in the Hereafter [that which is] good and protect us from the punishment of the Fire.’ Those will have a share of what they have earned, and Allah is swift in account. }

Al-Baqarah 2:200-202

In these verses, the bad example is of someone who will ask Allah exclusively for matters pertaining to this life. Contrary to what some may expect, the good example is not of someone who will ask Allah exclusively for matters pertaining to their afterlife, but someone who asks Allah for both his current life and afterlife, because he is in need of Allah in this life before the next, and it is by turning to Allah and depending upon him in this life that one may appreciate that he is also in need of Allah in the next life.

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