By Shaykh Abdul Qayum | 29 Mar 2024

As we approach the final third of the blessed month of Ramadan, it is crucial that we renew our commitment and increase our devotion to Allah. In one well-known Hadith, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ (peace be upon him) is reported to have ascended the pulpit and said, “Ameen, ameen, ameen.” It was said, “O Messenger of Allah, you ascended the pulpit and said ameen, ameen, ameen.” The Prophet ﷺ replied, “Verily, Gabriel came to me, and he said: ‘Whoever reaches the month of Ramadan and he is not forgiven, then he will enter Hellfire and Allah will cast him far away, so say amin.’”

This Hadith serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of seeking forgiveness in this Blessed Month and the immense opportunity for redemption that Ramadan brings.

The last ten days of Ramadan hold even greater significance, because Laylat al-Qadr (the Night of Power) falls in one of the odd nights. Allah tells us that Layla al-Qadr is "better than a thousand months" (Qur’an 97:3). The Prophet ﷺ would exert himself in worship during these nights, abandoning sleep and calling upon his family to join him in prayer and supplication. 

Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) reported, “When the last ten days of Ramadan began, the Prophet ﷺ would tighten his waist belt, spend the night in worship, and wake his family.” (Sahih al-Bukhari)

The Messenger ﷺ would also visit the homes of his family members, such as Ali and Fatima (may Allah be pleased with them), to encourage them to pray and worship during the last ten nights. He would recite the verse, “And enjoin prayer upon your family and be steadfast therein,” (Qur’an 20:132), reminding them of the importance of collective worship.

In addition to increasing our prayers and the recitation of the Qur’an, we should also strive to perform I‘tikaf (seclusion in the mosque) during these last ten days, as was the practice of our beloved Prophet ﷺ. I‘tikaf allows us to disconnect from worldly distractions and gives us a unique opportunity to focus solely on our relationship with Allah. The essence of I‘tikaf lies in minimizing interaction with others and dedicating ourselves fully to worshipping Allah the Most High.

Those of us that are unable to perform I‘tikaf, should seek to make the most of these blessed nights by engaging in heartfelt du‘a (supplication) and istighfar (seeking forgiveness). The Prophet ﷺ taught us the most powerful du‘a for Laylat al-Qadr: “O Allah, indeed You are the pardoning; You love to pardon, so pardon me.” (Tirmidhi) Let us cry out to Allah with sincerity and humility, beseeching His mercy and forgiveness.

Remember that the reward for praying in congregation is immense, especially during these nights. The Prophet ﷺ said, “Whoever stays with the imam until he finishes, it is as if he spent the whole night in prayer.” (Abu Dawud) Therefore, let us strive to pray with the imam and remain in the mosque until the completion of the prayers.

During the sermon I raised an important point about the number of rak‘ahs (units) we should pray in Tarawih. The Prophet ﷺ would pray lengthy rak‘ahs, reciting the longest portions of the Qur’an such as Surahs Al-Baqarah, An-Nisa, and Al-Imran in a single rak‘ah. The companions would even lean on their sticks due to the prolonged standing. It is practically impossible to pray twenty rak‘ah while reciting long portions of the Qur’an in one night.

Later, during the time of Umar ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him), the number of rak‘ahs was increased to twenty to accommodate a larger congregation while still maintaining a substantial time spent in prayer.

Though both eight and twenty rak‘ah are from the Sunnah, what is more important than the units we pray is the time we stand in prayer and the quality of our presence in front of Allah. The Sunnah is to spend a large portion of the night in prayer, whether that is done in units of eight or units of twenty is not as important. 

As we approach the Night of Power, I remind the congregation that worship during Laylat al-Qadr extends beyond just the ritual prayers. Engaging in recitation of the Qur’an, heartfelt supplications, and seeking forgiveness are all part of the Ibadah during this blessed night. We should strive to maximise our time in worship, utilising every moment from sunset until dawn.

Lastly, it is crucial to remember that this Ramadan, and particularly the last ten days, may be our final opportunity to attain the blessings and forgiveness of Allah. We should approach these days with a sense of urgency, recognising the fleeting nature of this life and the immense value of these precious moments. 

My dear brothers and sisters, let us seize these remaining days of Ramadan and dedicate ourselves wholly to the worship of Allah. May He accept our efforts, forgive our shortcomings, and grant us the highest levels of Paradise. Ameen.

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