1. Aishah RA narrated that The Prophet (PBUH) used to strive hard (in worship) during the last ten days of Ramadan in a way that he did not strive at any other times. [Muslim]
2. Among the things he did were secluding himself in I'tikaf and seeking Lailatul-Qadar during this period of time. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
3. Aishah RA also said, "When the last ten days of Ramadan came, the Prophet (PBUH) would stay up at night, wake his family and girded his loins". [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
4. Sahih Muslim added that the Prophet (PBUH) strove hard and girded his loins.
Aishah's phrase "girded his loins" is a metaphor for his preparing himself to worship and strive hard in worship, more than usual. It has the meaning of "rolling up one's sleeves" to worship (i.e. getting ready to make a great deal of effort). It was also said that it was a metaphor for keeping away from women and abstaining from sexual relations.
• The phrase "stay up at night" means that he would stay awake, spending the night in prayer, etc.
• Aishah RA also said: "I never (pbuh) the Prophet (PBUH) recite the entire Qur'an in one night, or spend a whole night in prayer until the morning, or fast an entire month, except in Ramadan". [An-Nasa'i]
• The words "stay up at night" may mean that he spent most of the night in worship, or that he did not stay up for the entire night, but he did that at the times of ‘Isya' and Sahur, and other times, in which case it would mean that he stayed up for most of the night.
• The phrase "and wake his family" means that he would wake his wives for Qiyamulail. It is known that The Prophet (PBUH) used to wake his wives all year round, but he used to wake them to spend part of the night in qiyam.
The Prophet (PBUH) woke up one night and said:
"Subhanallah! What tribulations have come down tonight! What treasure has come down tonight! Who will wake up the dwellers of the apartments? There may be women who are clothed in this world and naked in the Hereafter".
The Prophet (PBUH) used to wake Aishah RA when he wanted to pray Witir.
But when he woke his wives during the last ten nights of Ramadan, this was more persistent than at other times of the year. The fact that The Prophet (PBUH) did this indicates the importance he attached to worshipping the Lord and making the most of this special time and occasion.
This exemplary of the Prophet (PBUH) to the Muslims, we should strive hard in worshipping Allah SWT. We should not waste the hours of these days and nights. For we do not know, perhaps this opportunity and time will never come again, for the spoiler of pleasures, i.e., death, which must come to all men, may come and snatch him and his life will end; then he will feel regret at the time when regret will be of no avail.
The Virtues Of The Lailatul-Qadar
"Ha-Mim [these letters are one of the miracles of the Qur'an and none but Allah (Alone) knows their meanings]. By the manifest Book (this Qur'an) that makes things clear. We sent it (this Qur'an) down on a blessed night [(i.e. the Night of Al-Qadar) in the month of Ramadan]. Verily, We are ever warning [mankind that Our Torment will reach those who disbelieve in Our Oneness of Lordship and in Our Oneness of worship]. Therein (that night) is decreed every matter of ordainments. As a Command (or this Qur'an or the Decree of every matter) from Us. Verily, We are ever sending (the Messengers), (As) a mercy from your Lord. Verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower".
[Surah Al-Dukhan, 44:1-6]
Firstly: Allah Described It As Being Blessed.
Allah described it as being blessed:
"We sent it (this Qur'an) down on a blessed night".
Ibn ‘Abbas and others said:
"Allah sent down the Qur'an at one time from al-Lawh al-Mahfouz to Baitul -‘Izzah in the first heaven, then it was revealed to the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) in stages according to events over twenty-three years".
(Tafsir Ibn Kathir, 4/529)
Secondly: That Night Every Matter Of Ordainments Is Decreed.
The phrase "Therein (that night)" is decreed every matter of ordainments means, on that night the destiny of all creatures for the coming year is decreed. On that night it is written who will live, who will die, who will be saved, who will be doomed, who will be destined for Paradise, who will be destined for Hell, who will be granted honour, who will be humiliated, where drought and famine will occur, and everything else that Allah wills in that year.
The destiny of all creatures is written on Lailatul-Qadar - and Allah knows best - that on Lailatul -Qadar they are transferred from Al-Lawh Al-Mahfouz.
Ibn ‘Abbas said:
"You may see a man furnishing his home or plowing his field, and he is one of those who are going to die", i.e.,
it has been decreed on Lailatul-Qadar that he is one of those who are going to die (in the coming year). And it was said that on this night, the destiny of people is shown to the angels.
• The meaning of "Qadar" is veneration or honor. I is a night that is venerated because of its special characteristics, and because the one who stays up during this night becomes a man of honour. Qadar means constriction, in the sense that the knowledge of precisely when this night is. It is hidden.
"But when He tries him, by straitening his means of life [fa qadara ‘alayhi rizqahu]..."
It means constricting or reducing his provision. Allah's decrees are decided and written down on this night. Al-Khalil ibn Ahmad said: it was called Lailatul al-Qadar because the earth is constricted by the great numbers of angels on that night, and Qadar means constriction.
• Allah SWT called it Lailatul-Qadar, because of its great value and high status with Allah, and because so many sins are forgiven that night. For it is the night of forgiveness. Abu Hurairah RA narrated that the Prophet (PBUH) said:
"Whoever stays up during Lailatul al-Qadar out of faith and in the hope of earning reward, all his previous sins will be forgiven".
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
• "Therein (that night) is decreed every matter of ordainments" [al-Dukhan 44:4], means the affairs of that year are dispatched from Al-Lawh Al-Mahfouz to the angels who record the decrees: who will live, who will die, what provision people will be given, what will happen until the end of that year, every matter of ordainments is decreed, and it cannot be altered or changed. [Tafsir Ibn Kathir, 4/137, 138]
All of this is already known to Allah before it is even written down, but He makes known to the angels what is to happen, and commands them to do whatever they are enjoined to do.
[Sharh Sahih Muslim li'l-Nawawi, 8/57].
• On that night "Many angels descend of that night because it is so blessed, and the angels descend when Allah's blessing and mercy bestowed down, just as they descend when Qur'an is recited, and they surround the gatherings of dzikir of Allah, and they beat their wings for the one who sincerely seeks knowledge, out of respect for him". [Tafsir Ibn Kathir, 4/531]
• The night is described as peace, i.e., it is safe, for the Syaitan cannot do any evil or cause any harm on this night, as Mujahid said. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, 4/531)
• On that night, many people are saved from punishment because of what they do to worship Allah SWT.
• Allah SWT forgives the previous sins of the one who stays up and prays during this night out of faith and in hope of earning the reward from Him. It was reported in the hadith of Abu Hurairah RA that the Prophet (PBUH) said:
"Whoever fasts the month of Ramadan out of faith and in the hope of earning reward, all his previous sins will be forgiven, and whoever stays up during Lailatul al-Qadar out of faith and in the hope of earning reward, all his previous sins will be forgiven".
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
The phrase "out of faith and in the hope of earning rewards" means, believing in Allah's promise of reward for this, and seeking the reward, with no other aim or purpose, such as showing off etc". (Fath al-Bari, 4/251).
• Allah has revealed Surah Al-Qadar concerning this night which will be recited until the Day of Resurrection, in which He mentions the honour and great value of this night. This is the surah in which Allah says:
"Verily, we have sent it (this Qur'an) down in the Night of Al-Qadar (Decree).And what will make you know what the Night of Al-Qadar (Decree) is. The Night of Al-Qadar (Decree) is better than a thousand months (i.e. worshipping Allah in that night is better than worshipping Him a thousand months, i.e. 83 years and 4 months).Therein descend the angels and the Ruh [Jibril] 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".
• The phrase and what will make you know what the Night of Al-Qadar (Decree) is-serves to draw attention to the importance and great significance of this night. The Night of Al-Qadar (Decree) is better than a thousand months means, it is better than over eighty three years, as we have mentioned. This is a great virtue, the value of which no one can fully understand except the Lord of the Al-'Alamin, the Most Exalted. This encourages the Muslim to spend this night in prayer and to seek the Face of Allah by doing so. The Prophet (PBUH) used to seek this night, hoping to gain some good from it, and he is the example for this Ummah.
It Is Mustahabb To Seek The Night Of Al-Qadar During The Last Ten Nights Of The Month.
• Abu Sa'id Al-Khudri RA said that The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) performed I'tikaf during the first ten days of Ramadan, then he did I'tikaf during the middle ten days in a Turkish tent [the word qubbah, translated here as "tent", refers to a tent or any circular structure] in which a mat was placed. He took the mat in his hand and put it at the side of the tent, and then he raised his head to speak to the people, so they came closer to him.
The (PBUH) Prophet said:
"I did I'tikaf during the first ten days, seeking this night, and then I did I'tikaf during the middle ten days. Then someone came to me and told me that it is in the last ten days, so whoever among you wants to do I'tikaf, let him do so".
So the people did I'tikaf with him. He said:
"I was shown an odd-numbered night, in the morning of which I was prostrating in mud and water".
Then in the morning of the twenty-first, he got up to pray Subuh and it was raining; the roof of the mosque leaked, and there was mud and water. He came out when he had finished praying, and there was mud and water on his forehead and nose. That was the morning of the twenty-first, one of the last ten days.
Abu Sa'id said:
"It rained on the night of the twenty-first, and the roof of the mosque leaked over the place where the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) was praying. I looked at him, when he had finished praying Solat al-Subuh, and his face was wet with mud and water".
[Bukhari and Muslim].
‘Abdullah ibn Unays RA that was similar to the hadith of Abu Sa'id, except that he said,
"it rained on the night of the twenty-third".
Ibn ‘Abbas RA, narrated that the Prophet (PBUH) said:
"Seek it in the last ten days of Ramadan, when there are nine days left, and seven days left, and five days left".
Lailatul-Qadar is in the last ten days of Ramadan, as stated in the hadith of Abu Sa'id quoted above, and as stated in the hadith of Aishah, and in the hadith of Ibn ‘Umar who said that the Prophet (PBUH) said:
"Seek Lailatul al-Qadar in the last ten days of Ramadan".
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
The Prophet (PBUH) said:
"Seek it in the last ten nights, on the odd-numbered nights".
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Ubadah Ibn Al-Samit said: the Prophet (PBUH) came out to tell us when Lailatul-Qadar was, and two of the Muslims were arguing. He said:
"I came out to tell you when Lailatul-Qadar was, and so and so and so and so were arguing, so it [the knowledge of when Lailatul-Qadar was] was taken away from me. Perhaps this is better for you. So seek it on the ninth and the seventh and the fifth" [Al-Bukhari], i.e., on the odd-numbered nights.
The hadith indicates how bad it is to argue to matters of religion, and that this is a cause of goodness being taken away or concealed.
Sheikh Al-Islam Ibn Taimiyyah said:
"But odd-numbers have to do with what is past [i.e., when one starts counting from the beginning of the month], so it should be sought on the twenty-first, the twenty-third, the twenty-seventh or the twenty-ninth; or it may be with regard to what is left, as the Prophet (PBUH) said: ‘when there are nine left, or seven left, or five left, or three left.' On this basis, if the month has thirty days, these will be even-numbered nights, so on the twenty-second there will be nine days left, on the twenty-fourth there will be seven days left. This is how it was explained by Abu Sa'id Al-Khudri in the sahih hadith, and this is how the Prophet (PBUH) prayed qiyam during this month. If this is the case, then the believer should seek it in all of the last ten days".
[Al-Fatawa, 25/284, 285].
It was reported, in a hadith narrated by Ahmad from Ibn ‘Umar and a hadith narrated by Abu Dawud from Muawiyah that the Prophet (PBUH) said:
"Lailatul-Qadar is the night of the twenty-seventh".
[Ahmad and Abu Dawud].
The view that it is the night of the twenty-seventh is the opinion of most of the Sahabah and the majority of scholars, and Ubai ibn Ka'b RA used to assert, without saying "Insya Allah", that it was the night of the twenty-seventh. Zurr ibn Hubaish said:
I said: What makes you say that, O Abu'l-Mundhir? He said: by the signs of which the Messengers of Allah (PBUH) told us: that the sun rises that morning with no visible rays.
Ibn ‘Abbas RA also stated that it is the night of the twenty-seventh. He reached this conclusion by means of an amazing process. It was reported that ‘Umar RA gathered the Sahabah together and included Ibn ‘Abbas even though he was very young. They said,
"Ibn ‘Abbas is like one of our children. Why have you brought him here with us?" ‘Umar said: "He is a youth who has a good mind and who asks lots of questions".
Then he asked the Sahabah about Lailatul-Qadar, and they agreed that it was one of the last ten nights of Ramadan. He asked Ibn ‘Abbas about it, and he said: "I think I know when it is: it is the night of the twenty-seventh." ‘Umar said, "What makes you think that?" He said, "Allah made the heavens seven, and the earth's seven, and the days seven, and He created man from seven, and He made Tawaf seven (circumbulation, and al-Sa'ie seven, and the stoning of the Jamrah seven."
So Ibn' Abbas thought that it was the night of the twenty-seventh because of this analysis. This has been soundly reported from Ibn ‘Abbas.
Another of the ways in which the conclusion was reached that it is the night of the twenty-seventh is by noting that the word fiha (therein) in the ayat:
"Therein descend the angels and the Ruh [Jibril]" [Al-Qadar 97:4] is the twenty-seventh word of Surah Al-Qadar [in the original Arabic].
There is no syar'ie evidence (dalil) to support this manner of analysis, and there is no need for such calculations, because we have sufficient syar'ie evidence available to us.
The view that it is usually the night of the twenty-seventh - and Allah knows best - does not mean that this is always the case. It could be the night of the twenty-first, as mentioned in the hadith of Abu Sa'id quoted above, or it could be the twenty-third, as mentioned in the report of ‘Abdullah Ibn Unays RA quoted above.
According to a hadith narrated by Ibn ‘Abbas RA, the Prophet (PBUH) said:
"Seek it in the last ten days of Ramadan, and when there are nine days left, and when seven days left, and when five days left".
Some eminent scholars thought that it is more likely that Lailatul al-Qadar moves and does not come on a specific night each year. Al-Nawawi RA said:
"This is the apparent meaning because of the conflict between the sahih hadith on this matter, and there is no way to reconcile the hadith apart from saying that Lailatul al-Qadar moves".
Allah SWT has concealed this night so that His slaves will strive to seek it, and will strive hard in worship, just as He has concealed the hour of jumu'ah, and so on. So the believer should strive hard during the days and nights of these ten days, seeking Lailatul-Qadar and following the example of our Prophet (PBUH), and he should strive in making do'a' and seeking to draw close to Allah.
"I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, what do you think, if I witness Lailatul-Qadar, what I should say?' Prophet (PBUH) said: ‘Say, O Allah You are Forgiving and Generous, and you love forgiveness, so forgive me'."
[Ahmad, Tirmidzi and Ibn Majah]
Thirdly: A Greater Virtue Is Attached To I'tikaf On The Night Than On Any Other Night Of The Year
A greater virtue is attached to I'tikaf on the night than on any other night of the year. I'tikaf means staying in the mosque to worship Allah the Exalted.
The Prophet (PBUH) used to spend these ten days in I'tikaf, as stated in the hadith of Abu Sa'id quoted above. He spent the first ten days in I'tikaf, and then the middle ten days, then he told them that he had been seeking Lailatul al-Qadar, and that he had been shown that it was in the last ten days, and the Prophet (PBUH) said:
"Whoever was doing I'tikaf with me, let him do I'tikaf for the last ten days".
Aishah RA that the Prophet (PBUH) used to do I'tikaf during the last ten days of Ramadan until he passed away, then his wives did I'tikaf after him. (Bukhari and Muslim)
When the Prophet (PBUH) wanted to perform I'tikaf, he would pray Fajar, and then enter the place where he was to do I'tikaf, as was stated in al-Sahihain from the Hadith of Aishah.
The four imams and others said that he entered it before the sun set, and they interpreted the hadith as meaning that he entered his place of I'tikaf and kept away from people after Solat al-Subuh, not that this was the time when he started his I'tikaf. [Sharh Muslim li'l-Nawawi, 8/68, 69; Fath al-Bari, 4/277).
It is Sunnah for the person in I'tikaf to keep himself busy with worship, and it is forbidden for him to have intercourse or to do anything that leads to it, because Allah Says :
"And do not have sexual relations with them (your wives) while you are in I'tikaf (i.e. confining oneself in a mosque for prayers and invocations leaving the worldly activities) in the mosques".
And he should not go out of the mosque except in the case of a pressing need.
Some Signs By Which Lailatul Al-Qadar Is Known
• The first sign: Ubai Ibn Ka'b RA narrated that the Prophet (PBUH) announced that one of its signs was that when the sun rose on the following morning, it had no (visible) rays. [Muslim, 762]
• The Second Sign: Ibn ‘Abbas narrated by Ibn Khuzaimah, and by al-Tayalisi in his Musnad, with a sahih isnad, that the Prophet (PBUH) said: "Lailatul-Qadar is a pleasant night, neither hot nor cold, and the following day the sun rises red and weak." [Sahih Ibn Khuzaimah, 2912; Musnad al-Tayalisi]
• The Third Sign: Waathilah Ibn Al-Aqsa' RA said that the Prophet RA said: "Lailatul-Qadar is a bright night, neither hot nor cold, in which no meteors are seen." (At-Tabarani in al-Kabir. See Majma' al-Zawa'id, 3/179; Musnad Ahmad)
It is not essential for the one who "catches" Lailatul-Qadar to know that he has "caught" it. The point is to strive hard and to be sincere in worship, whether or not one knows that one has "caught" or "encounter" it. It may be that some of those who do not know that may be better with Allah SWT and higher in status than those who know which night it was, because the former strove hard.
Allah Knows Best.
By Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid
Source: Islam Q&A