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Ramadan: Exclusive Sunnan for the Last Ten Nights

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This is a translation from Al-Hafidh ibn Rajab al-Hanbali (rahimahullah) who listed five specific Sunnan from the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) in relation to the last ten nights of Ramadan. Of these specific Sunnan (plural of sunnah) are:

1) Staying up at night.

A’isha (radi Allahu anha) said: The Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) would pray and sleep during the 20 days [of Ramadan], then during the ten [last nights] he would stay awake and tighten his belt. [Narrated in Ahmad, Authentic] What is understood from staying awake at night is staying up for most of it, as A’isha also said, “I did not know of Allah’s Messenger praying the whole night until morning.” [Muslim]

2) Waking up family.

A’isha (radi Allahu anha) reported that Rasul Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) would wake up his family during the last ten nights. [Bukhari] Sufyan ath-Thawri (rahimahullah) said: “It is beloved to me that I pray tahajjud and that I strive more [in worship, good deeds etc] and that I wake up my family for prayer if they are able to when the last 10 nights come.”

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It is also reported that the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) would come at night to Ali and Fatimah (radi Allahu anhuma) and say: “Won’t you both stand up and pray?” [Bukhari and Muslim]

It is reported in Al-Muwatta’ that Umar (radi Allahu anhu) would pray during the night then when he reached half of the night he would wake up his family for prayer and say to them, “The prayer, the prayer (as-salah, as-salah)” and then recite the ayah, “And enjoin prayer upon your family and be steadfast therein.” (20:132).

3) The Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) would tighten his belt.

There are two major opinions on what this statement means among the scholars. The first meaning is that the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) would strive and work harder and increase in his worship. The other meaning is that the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) would keep away from his wives (i.e., marital relations), and this is the opinion of many of the predecessors such as Sufyan ath-Thawri. He explained this hadeeth to mean that the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) would not return to his bed until the month of Ramadan had passed.

4) Bathing between Maghrib and Isha.

A’isha (radi Allahu anha) reported that the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) would bathe between the “two Adhans”. [Translator’s note: This hadeeth has been graded weak.] Ibn Jareer (rahimahullah) said, “They would love to bathe every night of the last ten nights.” It was also reported that Al-Nakha’i (rahimahullah) would bathe every night of the last 10 nights. Furthermore, of the Salaf were those who would bathe and wear perfume [only for the men] on the nights they hoped to be Laylatul Qadr such as Abu Ayyub Al-Sakhtayani (rahimahullah) who would bathe and wear two new garments.

We should note that beautification on the outside will not be complete without beautification on the inside. Beautifying oneself from the inside is sought with repentance, returning to Allah and purification from the filth of sins; for beauty of the outside while destroying the inside does not amount to anything.

Furthermore, it is not appropriate for an intimate conversation with a king to take place except with beautifying and purifying the apparent and hidden; specifically with the King of the Kings, the One who knows the secrets and that which is more hidden. He is the One who does not look to your forms but rather looks to your hearts and deeds. So whoever stands before Him, let him beautify his outer with clothing and his inner with Taqwa.

إذا المرء لم يلبس ثيابا من التقوى ٭ تقلب عريانا و إن كان كاسيا

If a person does not dress with the garment of Taqwa, he will become naked even if clothed.

5) I’tikaf (seclusion in the Masjid).

A’isha (radi Allahu anha) reported that the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) would perform i’tikaf in the last ten nights of every Ramadan until he passed away. [Bukhari and Muslim] In Bukhari, it is narrated from Abu Hurayrah (radi Allahu anhu) that the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam)  used to stay in I’tikaf for ten days in the month of Ramadan, but stayed for 20 days during the year he died.

The Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam), seeking Laylatul Qadr, would perform I’tikaf in these ten nights to disconnect from that which occupied him, clear his mind and seclude himself, remembering and supplicating His Lord.

So the one in I’tikaf has confined himself to the obedience of Allah and His remembrance and cut himself off from all distractions. He has engaged himself wholeheartedly with all that brings him closer to his Lord, with no other aim except to attain the pleasure of Allah. And when the ties of knowledge and love of Allah are strengthened, then is the person bestowed with total isolation with Allah.

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Amatullah is a student of the Qur'an and its language. She completed the 2007 Ta'leem program at Al-Huda Institute in Canada and studied Qur'an, Tajwid (science of recitation) and Arabic in Cairo. Through her writings, she hopes to share the practical guidance taught to us by Allah and His Messenger and how to make spirituality an active part of our lives. She has a Bachelors in Social Work and will be completing the Masters program in 2014 inshaAllah. Her experience includes working with immigrant seniors, refugee settlement and accessibility for people with disabilities.

16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Pingback: Exclusive Sunnan for the Last Ten Nights – MuslimMatters at Satellite Broadband Internet

  2. Avatar

    Ameera

    August 29, 2010 at 7:38 AM

    Jazaakillah khayr! :) It was great to be reminded of this at this point. :)

  3. Avatar

    Ayesha

    August 29, 2010 at 7:50 AM

    jazakillahukhairan for the reminder…
    ((Allahumma ballighna laylatul qadr ala ta’atik))

  4. Avatar

    Armokha

    August 29, 2010 at 8:13 AM

    MashaaAllah MashaaAllah very right timing for this post. Jazaak Allah khair. May Allah swt give us taufeeq to understand Quran and Sunnah..ameen

  5. Avatar

    n

    August 29, 2010 at 6:33 PM

    This article while its a great reminder…leaves out a lot of issues related to women….perfuming..it is mentioned as though the evidence is for both men and women? its obviously not im assuming…as women arent suposed to go out perfumed.

    -what about itikaf? does that relate to women compeltely as well. from what i know theres several issues related to women about that.

    Insh’allah in the future my suggestion is that when articles are written, that we make sure they address both men and women.

    The sunnah is obviously meant to be followed by both men and women.

    • Avatar

      Amatullah

      August 29, 2010 at 9:55 PM

      Jazaak Allahu khayran for your comment. Those issues were not added as this is a translation and we only included what ibn Rajab (rahimahullah) stated in his short piece.

      There is already an article about perfume on MuslimMatters that was posted a few days ago, most sisters know that wearing perfume outside is not permitted. As for i’tikaf for women, you can easily find answers to that anywhere. Every Ramadan these issues are brought up so we did not see a need to repeat these matters. In general, the scholars permit women to perform i’tikaf as long as she has the permission of her husband/father, or whoever her wali is. And Allah knows best.

  6. Avatar

    SOME

    August 30, 2010 at 2:17 AM

    Hi,

    I think that several stuff are not true, because I read that the Prophet pbuh would worship Allah SWT everynight. Also why is it always Aisha ra is in the hadeeth how about hafsa, khadija and his other wives said anything. sorry for my english i speak french :)

    • Avatar

      Amatullah

      August 30, 2010 at 2:47 AM

      A’isha (radi Allahu anha) narrated the most ahadeeth out of the wives of the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam), and she even narrated more ahadeeth than some of the major companions. After the Prophet died, she became a scholar and so she narrated many narrations from the Messenger of Allah. Khadija (radi Allahu anha) passed away very early after Islam, so we do not have any narrations from her. There are narrations from the other wives (radi Allahu anhun) but A’isha has narrated the most.

      As for some things not being true, alhamdulillah every one of these things stated in the article is backed up by authentic narrations. The Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) would worship Allah more than anyone, however sometimes he would sleep at night and other times he would pray at night. This is the balance of Islam.

  7. Pingback: A Guide to the Last Ten Days « Ramadan: The Greatest Month of the Year

  8. Avatar

    zuhaib

    August 30, 2010 at 5:54 PM

    Assalam-o-Alaikum,
    Anyone knows who is delivering dars on 21, 23, 25, 27 & 29th ramadan in masjid-al-Tawhid Leyton & what time are we going to do qayaam-ul-lail ?

  9. Avatar

    Nabil

    August 31, 2010 at 4:05 AM

    Assalamu ‘aleykum,

    Can we get a link to the original by Ibn Rajab in arabic by any chance?

    Jazakumullah khaiyran,

    wasalam.

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  12. Pingback: Causes of Forgiveness in Ramadan | MuslimMatters.org

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