In the last ten days of the month of Ramadan or Last Ashra, the Muslim Ummah has been given Shab-e-Qadr and special acts of worship. Yes, in other terms it is called I’tikaaf. It has a great virtue in the Hadith.
It is narrated on the by Hazrat Abdullah bin Abbas (May Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (PBUH) said about Mu’taqif: “He (i.e. Mu’taqif) turns away from sins and completes it like those who do good deeds. All virtues are bestowed.” [Ibn Majah]
Hazrat Ali ibn Hussain narrates from his father Hazrat Hussain (May Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (PBUH) said: “Whoever observes I’tikaaf for ten days in Ramadan, his reward is equal to two Hajj and two Umrah.” [Behaqi Sha’b al-Iman]
Staying in the mosque at the prescribed times for the worship of Allah and making the mosque obligatory on oneself is called I’tikaaf. It is one of the acts of virtue and one of the major acts of worship. I’tikaaf is the Sunnah at all times and the best in the last ten days of Ramadan. Because the Prophet (PBUH) used to observe I’tikaaf in the last ten days of Ramadaan. (Zad al-Ma’ad), Hazrat Ayesha (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: “The Messenger of Allaah (PBUH) He used to perform I’tikaaf in the last ten days and after that his wives used to perform I’tikaaf .” [Bukhari], Hazrat Abdullah bin Umar said that the Prophet (PBUH) used to observe I’tikaaf in the last ten days of Ramadaan. (Bukhari) It is narrated from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (PBUH) observed I’tikaaf for ten days in Ramadaan every year. But in the year in which the Prophet (PBUH) died, he had observed I’tikaaf for twenty days. [Bukhari]
In another narration, it is narrated from Hazrat Abdullah bin Abbas (May Allah be pleased with him) that the Holy Prophet (PBUH) said: “Whoever observes I’tikaaf one day for the pleasure of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. And separates the three ditches between Hell. Each trench is longer than the distance from east to west.” [Tabarani, Behqi]
The wisdom of I’tikaaf is that through it a person abstains from worldly life, blood, and games, avoids the actions and deeds that make Allah angry, and engages in worship and obedience to gain the pleasure of Allah. Therefore, take time for I’tikaaf and set your heart free for the worship of Allah.
There is a holy night in this Ashra which is called Shab-e-Qadr.
Meaning of Shab-e-Qadr:
Imam Zuhri (May Allah have mercy on him) says that Qadr means status. Since this night is higher than other nights in terms of honor and status, it is called Laylat al-Qadr. [Al-Qurtubi, 20, 130]
Who are very much honored and blessed? This night has been declared by Allah Almighty as better than a thousand months. Eighty-three years of a thousand months are four months. He has two points. The person who spent this one night in worship. He spent eighty-three years and four months in worship, and the time of eighty-three years is at least because he said, “Khairum min al-Shahar.” It has been pointed out that Allah, the Lord of Glory, will give as much reward as He should give. Estimating this reward is beyond the reach of human beings.
Purpose of I’tikaf:
Find the “Laylat al-Qadr” in the odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadan. [Sahih Al-Bukhari, 1: 270, Book of Fasting, Hadith No. 1913]
It is narrated on the authority of Ayesha that the Prophet (PBUH) said, “Look for Laylat al-Qadr in the last ten days of Ramadaan, and it is the twenty-first, thirtieth, twenty-fifth, twenty-seventh, twenty-ninth and last night.” [Tirmidhi Sharif, Chapter No. 536]
It is clear from this hadith that the purpose of I’tikaaf is to seek Laylat al-Qadr, so the I’tikaaf of the last ten days has been declared an essential Sunnah (Sunnat-e-Muakkadah). The Prophet (PBUH) used to observe I’tikaaf throughout Ramadan until Allaah informed him of the days of Laylat al-Qadr, after that followed I’tikaf in the last days of Ramadan till he (PBUH) live.
Characteristic of the Muslim Ummah:
Laylat al-Qadr is only a feature of the Ummah of the Prophet (PBUH). Imam Jalal-ud-Din Suyuti (May Allah have mercy on him) narrates from Hazrat Anas (May Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (PBUH) said: “This holy night has been given by Allah Almighty only to my Ummah. None of the previous Ummahs have got this honor.” [Al-Durr al-Manthur, 6:37]
Why this night only for the Muhammadan Ummah?
The most important reason for this is the compassion of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) for the Ummah and the grief of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). In al-Mawta ‘al-Malik:
“When the Prophet (PBUH) was informed about the ages of the previous people, he saw that the people of his Ummah were less age of life than other Ummah and thought that the people of my Ummah were been able to do equal Ibadah as the previous Ummah? So the Prophet (PBUH) awarded the Laylat al-Qadr. Which is better than thousands of months.” [Mawta Imam Malik, 1: 319, Book of Fasting, Chapter Majaa on Laylat al-Qadr, Hadith No. 15]
Reasons for keeping Laylat al-Qadr secret:
Imam Fakhr-ud-Din Razi (May Allah have mercy on him) says: Allah SWT’ has kept the Night of Destiny hidden for a few reasons.
- Just as he kept other things hidden, for example, Allah Almighty hid his pleasure in obedience so that the servants may be attracted to every obedience. He hid his wrath in sins so that they would avoid every sin. He would keep the acceptance of du’aa ‘hidden in the du’aa’s so that they would exaggerate in all du’aa’s. He kept the acceptance of the “Tauba” secret so that the servant would perpetuate all forms of repentance and the time of death was hidden so that the servant would be afraid.
- As if Allah Almighty says, “If I had determined the Laylat al-Qadr and that I knew your courage to sin, then if lust had brought you to the brink of sin that night and you would have fallen into sin. It would be harder to sin knowingly at night than to sin unknowingly. So that’s why I kept it a secret.
- As he said: I have kept this night hidden so that the servant who is bound by the rules of sharee’ah may work hard in seeking this night and earn the reward of this work.
- When the people do not have the certainty of Laylat al-Qadr, he will try every night of Ramadan in obedience to Allah Almighty in the hope that this night may be Laylat al-Qadr. [Tafsir Kabir, Al-Qadr, under verse: 4, 5) / 2-7]
Therefore, Laylat al-Qadr has also been kept hidden in view of innumerable expediencies. So that the righteous servants of Allah may continue to search for it throughout the year and thus strive to earn good deeds.
In the light of Qur’anic verses and hadiths, we have all come to know the importance of Shab-e-Qadr and the place of its blessings and greatness. Therefore, all of us should not lose this great night in negligence, but worship as much as possible, repent of our sins, and weep and pray.
The Hadith-e-Qudsi is that Allah Almighty says, I like the sound of crying of sinners more than the sound of those who say Tasbeeh. Allama Ruhul-Bayan says that Allah Almighty likes the sound of weeping because it is an expression of the perfection of those who recite Tasbeeh and the weeping of a sinner is an expression of the forgiveness of the Lord of the worlds. [Rohul Bayan vol. 15 p. 489]
May Allah SWT’ help us all to appreciate and utilize every single moment of Ramadan to do the best deeds.
Maulana Intekhab is an Educationist and currently doing M.Ed from Maulana Azad National Urdu University Hyderabad. He is very fond of writing on Islamic and Social topics.