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The Best for Last | Fiqh Rulings & Acts of Worship in the Last 10 Days of Ramadan

Link to all Ramadan 2012 posts

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“And your Lord creates what He wills and chooses.” (28:68)

Allah, the Exalted, has created a wide variety of things, and in His Infinite Wisdom and Knowledge, He has chosen from among them selections for different purposes.

For example, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) created mankind, and from them He chose prophets and messengers, believers and disbelievers, righteous and evil.

He subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) created places and chose to honor from among them specific areas, blessing Makkah with being the location of His Sacred House and the land of al-Quds to have been inhabited by His prophets, and so on.

And Allah created times, and He chose and elevated specific times, certain months, days, or hours in status and virtues. Undoubtedly, the month of Ramadan is one of these blessed times and the best month of the year. From among Ramadan, Allah further raised the status of a night over that of one thousand months, and that is laylat’l-qadr.

Indeed, We sent 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. The angels and the Spirit descend therein by permission of their Lord for every matter. Peace it is until the emergence of dawn. (97:1-5)

It is due to the status of laylat’l-qadr that the last ten nights of Ramadan were considered of vital importance.


By the dawn. And [by] ten nights. (89: 1-2)

Ibn ‘Abbās and others said: The ten nights refers to the last ten of Ramadan.

‘Ā’ishah raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) tells us: “During the last ten nights of Ramadan, the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) would tighten his waist belt and spend the night in worship. He would also wake up his family.” (Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhāri)

‘Ā’ishah tells us: “The Prophet would exert himself in worship during the last ten nights more than at any other time of the year.” (Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim)

These ten nights of Ramadan were thus chosen for extra care and dedication in worship due to laylat’l-qadr being among them. Additionally, it is always best to seal our good deeds with the best we have, so it only makes sense that we take our worship a step further to end Ramadan with the best that we can. This is in contrast to those who start off Ramadan motivated and allow their worship to wither away by the end of the month. These ten nights begin on the 20th day of Ramadan, or the night of the 21st.

Fiqh Rulings and Acts of Worship in the Last Ten Days

Certain rulings and acts of worship are relevant to these special days.

1. Giving life to the night through prayer

‘Ā’ishah raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) described our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) as “giving life to the night,” which is done by praying in its beginning, end and middle according to a person’s ability. This prayer is known as “qiyām” or the “Getting Up” prayer because it usually takes place after a person has slept for some time, although it is also acceptable if a person prays only in the beginning of the night.

One should take care not to pray two witr prayers in one night, as the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “There should not be two witrs in one night.” (Abu Dāwūd, al-Tirmidhi, Aḥmad) One should also attempt to follow the Prophet’s ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) advice, “Make the last of your night prayer witr.” (Bukhāri) If you are praying behind an imām, and he prays the witr, then you may stand up after he finishes with a second rak‘ah should you intend to continue praying later in the night. It is also permissible to pray two rak‘ahs at a time and not pray another witr, and it has also been narrated that several of the Salaf used to even out their witr with another witr, and then end all of their night prayers with a final witr.

Ibn Rajab al-anbali said, “During the era of the tabi‘īn, they used to recite Al-Baqarah in eight rak‘ahs during the qiyām of Ramadan, then it was read in twelve rak‘ahs, or they lightened the recitation.”

The correct view is as al-Imām Aḥmad said: “It should be left to what the people can handle.”

‘Ali b. Abi Ṭālib raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) passed by a masjid and saw bright lanterns lit and the Book of Allah being recited and said, “May Allah light up your grave for you, O son of Khaṭṭāb, as you lit the mosques with the Qur’an.”

2. Taking care of family

‘Ā’ishah raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) said, “He woke up his family.” It has been reported in authentic narrations that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) used to wake up his family when the middle of the night was reached. He even knocked on Fāṭimah raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) and ‘Ali raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him)’s door during the night and called out to them, “Shall not the two of you wake up and pray?”

When the middle of the night began, ‘Umar b. al-Khaṭṭāb would also wake up his family, saying, “Al-ṣalāh, al-ṣalāh!” and he would recite the verse:

“And enjoin prayer upon your family and be steadfast therein.” (20:132)

Sufyān al-Thawri said, “I like that when the last ten days of Ramadan come upon us, one puts in lots of effort during the night and to wake up his wife and children for prayer if they can handle it.”

A Muslim is concerned for the members of his household and desires that they take advantage of blessed occasions and seasons, and thus a husband should help his family find the time to dedicate for worship and encourage that during these days.

Due to his focus on prayer during these nights, the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) abstained from having intimate relations with his wives and that is the meaning of “tightened his waist-belt” mentioned in ‘Ā’ishah’s ḥadīth per the strongest interpretations of the Salaf, as mentioned by Sufyān al-Thawri and others.

3. Bathing Every Night

Ibn Jarīr al-Ṭabari mentioned that of the Salaf who used to encourage bathing every night of the last ten nights of Ramadan, and Ibrāhīm al-Nakha‘i was among those who bathed every night. Others used to bathe on those nights which they expected was laylat’l-qadr. It was reported that Anas b. Mālik would bathe, apply perfume and dress in his finest on the night of the 24th of Ramadan and every night. Ayyūb al-Sukhtiyāni would bathe on the nights of the 23rd and 24th and wear new clothes for these nights and fragrance himself with incense. It was also transmitted that Thābit al-Banāni and Hamid al-Tawil would dress in their best and apply fragrance during these ten nights. Tamīm al-Dāri bought a cloak for one thousand dirhams to adorn himself with on the nights he hoped laylat’l-qadr might fall.

In addition to outer beautification, one should not forget developing the inner beauty of taqwa during this time.

4. It is Sunnah to perform i‘tikāf  during these nights for whoever is able.

‘Ā’ishah reported that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) used to practice i‘tikāf in the last ten days of Ramadan until he died and then his wives used to practice i‘tikāf after him. (al-Bukhāri) The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) would lay out a straw mat as his designated area and sit aside and not busy himself with interacting with others. I‘tikāf is Sunnah by the consensus of Muslim scholars, and they also agreed that it must be performed at the masjid.

And do not have relations with them as long as you are staying for worship in the mosques.  (2:187)

If the night a person wants to perform i‘tikāf coincides with the night of Jumu‘ah, the majority of the scholars, such as al-Imām Abu Ḥanīfah, Mālik, al-Shāfi‘i, and Aḥmad, said it becomes incumbent that the person makes i‘tikāf in a masjid that offers Jumu‘ah prayer – with slight differences in the details of their opinions, which would be the topic of a more advanced discussion.

The opinion held by Hudhayfah raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him), ‘Aṭā’, and Sa‘īd b. al-Musayyib that i‘tikāf should only be performed in the three Holy Mosques is incorrect as it contradicts the āyah “as long as you are staying for worship in the mosques.” For this reason, Ibn Mas‘ūd objected to Hudhayfah’s opinion. As for the ḥadīth: “There should be no i‘tikāf except in the three mosques,” the chain of transmission stops at Hudhayfah in the authentic chains as mentioned by al-Ḥāfiẓ al-‘Ala’i and al-Haythami while continuing on to the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) in weak chains as mentioned by al-Shawkāni, and thus it cannot be accurately attributed to the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). Others, such as al-Tahawi, regarded the ḥadīth as abrogated. If the ḥadīth is authentic, it must be understood as a preference and not as excluding other mosques, and the permissibility of i‘tikāf in other mosques has been established by the consensus of scholars.

In the beginning of his life, the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) made i‘tikāf during the first ten nights of Ramadan, and once he performed it during the middle ten. He then began to make i‘tikāf during the last ten nights when he learned that laylat’l-qadr was among them, and he maintained the habit of i‘tikāf during the last ten nights from then on until he ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) passed away. It is not necessary to perform i‘tikāf during all ten of the days for those who are not able, and there is no set required minimum as is the opinion of al-Shāfi‘i, Abu Ḥanīfah, and Aḥmad. However, the statement of some scholars such as an-Nawawi, that even a moment spent at the masjid can be considered i‘tikāf does not seem plausible, considering that the linguistic meaning of i‘tikāf is to remain somewhere for a long duration of time. One narration from Abu Ḥanīfah states the opinion that the minimum is one night and one day, and this opinion is plausible, but if one were to stay for a whole day or night, or even most of a day or night, then I hope that it will be sufficient.

Ibn Ḥazm said, “The scholars of fiqh have agreed that whoever leaves their place of i‘tikāf for no need or necessity or an act of worship that he was commanded to do or highly encouraged to do, then his i‘tikāf is invalid.” (Maratib al-Ijmā‘)

Whoever began his i‘tikāf and then had to cancel it due to an unexpected event, he must make it up, according to al-Imām Mālik because when the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) canceled an i‘tikāf made it up in Shawwāl, but the majority (Abu Ḥanīfah, al-Shāfi‘i, Aḥmad) said that making it up is only recommended. It appears that the opinion of the majority is stronger, because the Prophet’s wives also canceled their i‘tikāf with him, and he did not command them to make up their i‘tikāf. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) did not break a habit that he had, and for that reason made up his i‘tikāf and also made up the sunnah of ẓuhr after ‘aṣr.

Whoever intends to make i‘tikāf of the last ten days of Ramadan should start at the maghrib ending the 20th, according to Mālik, Abu Ḥanīfah, al-Shāfi‘i, al-Thawri, because this is the first night of the last ten and it could be laylat’l-qadr. Al-Imām Awza‘i and Isḥāq and the opinion of al-Shaykh Ibn Baz that one should start after fajr on the 21st, because ‘Ā’ishah raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) said, “When he prays fajr, he entered his i‘tikāf.” The opinion of the majority is stronger, because the ḥadīth of ‘Ā’ishah could be referring to that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) entered the PLACE in the masjid that he had designated for himself during i‘tikāf. One should then end his i‘tikāf at maghrib on the last day of Ramadan, whether it is the 29th or 30th, because that night would belong to the next month. If he wants to stay until fajr, this was recommended by a large number of the Salaf.

I‘tikāf is also recommended for women, as the Prophet’s ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) wives practiced it during the Prophet’s ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) time and after his death, as ‘Ā’ishah reported in al-Bukhāri. The safety and privacy of the location and the woman’s wali’s approval are all conditions for women’s i‘tikāf . It is not permissible for women on their menses or experiencing post-partum bleeding to perform i‘tikāf.

The one who makes i‘tikāf must not waste his/her time in idle activities or socializing, even though this is permissible in small amounts, as long as most of the time is engaged in acts of worship. Al-Imām al-Zuhri said, “I am surprised at the behavior of Muslims. They abandoned i‘tikāf even though the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) never missed i‘tikāf from the time he migrated to Madīnah until he died.”

5. Reciting Qur’an

Al-Aswad b. Yazīd used to recite the whole Qur’an every six days, and when Ramadan started, he would finish it in three days, but when the last ten started, he would finish it every night. Al-Imām al-Shāfi‘i used to read the entire Qur’an every day during the last ten days of Ramadan. And the same was reported about Abu Ḥanīfah and many others from the Salaf. Ibn Rajab stated that the ḥadīth that warns us from reading the whole Qur’an in less than three days would not apply to someone doing so because he is in a place or time that is special. If it is Ramadan, one is in Makkah, or during Hajj, it would not be disliked, and this was the practice of the Salaf.

6. Laylat’l-qadr

“Therein on that night is made distinct every precise matter.” (44:4)

Al-Imām al-Zuhri said it was called that because it is such a distinguished, precise night. Mujāhid said:  “It is the night of Decree.”  It is a night that comes every year in Ramadan starting from maghrib until fajr. Al-Ḥasan al-Baṣri was asked, “Does laylat’l-qadr come in every Ramadan?” He said, “Yes, I swear by Allah, the one who has no partner, it is in every year in Ramadan and it is laylat’l-qadr. This night has so many unique qualities such as:

  • In it, the Qur’an was revealed to a place in the first heaven called Bayt’l-‘Uzza. (97:1) (44:3) and after that, it was sent down over 23 years. This was stated by Ibn ‘Abbās.
  • The Prophet Muḥammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “Whoever prays the night prayer on laylat’l-qadr for the sake of Allah, all his sins will be forgiven.” (al-Bukhāri & Muslim)

Kā ‘b al-Ahbar said, “This night will wipe out sins completely.”

  • It is a blessed night, i.e. it has abundant goodness. The good deeds performed on it are abundant, the acts and wealth given in charity, the obedience of Allah, as well as the reward, forgiveness, and multiplication of good deeds. Allah has made it better than one thousand months! (97:3).  Allah honored it with the title of a “Blessed Night” in Sūrat’l-Dukhān.  (44:3)

Mujāhid said, “Its deeds, its fasting and its qiyām are better than one thousand months.” This was explained as a thousand months of non-laylat’l-qadr days.

Anas reported that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “This month has come upon you and in it is a night greater than one thousand months, whoever is denied it has been denied all good, and no one is denied its good except one who is a true loser.” (Ibn Mājah)

What is meant by this is that prayer during this night equals the prayer of one thousand months, or that whoever gives in charity or supplicates or mentions Allah or gives of his zakāh or performs any other righteous act, it will be as if he has done the act for one thousand months, which is over 83 years. For those who gave life to laylat’l-qadr with worship for multiple years, it’s as if he has lived many lengthy lifetimes, and this is from the mercy of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) upon this nation. The lifespans of our nation may be shorter than of previous nations, but Allah has placed great barakah in its deeds so that they may equal the deeds of those who had much longer lives. Take care to maximize your good deeds this laylat’l-qadr.

  • Laylat’l-qadr is a night of peace and security.

Peace it is until the emergence of dawn. (97:5)

This night is safe from much harm. When angels give salām to the Children of Ādam, this means that they are praying for their safety and peace.

  • Many angels descend during this night.

The angels and the Spirit descend therein by permission of their Lord for every matter. (97:4)

Jibrīl is the head of the angels who only descends to earth for great affairs such as revelation to Allah’s prophets, and he descends during this night to pray for the faithful. This is due to the honor of the believer and the greatness of this night, for Allah sends down his purest creation, the angels, and sends among them the most honored, Jibrīl. Abu Hurayrah raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) narrates that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “Laylat’l-qadr is the twenty-seventh or twenty-ninth and the number of angels exceeds the number of pebbles on that night.” (Aḥmad, Ibn Khuzaymah)

The angels say āmīn to the prayers of the believers on this night and ask for their forgiveness and the acceptance of their deeds.

  • During this night, the affairs of the following year are set.

On that night is made distinct every precise matter. (44:4)

On this night, the angels are commanded to write who will live and who will pass away during it, the provision of every person, etc. This has been narrated from Ibn ‘Abbās, Mujāhid, ‘Ikrimah, Qatādah, ‘Abdul-Raḥmān al-Sulami, and many others from among the Salaf.

There are many different narrations regarding the specific timing of laylat’l-qadr. The ḥadīth of Bilāl tells us that it is one of the last seven nights. (al-Bukhāri) Another narration from Ibn ‘Umar similarly tells us that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) advised us to “seek it during the last seven (nights).”  (al-Bukhāri)

“Did you hear Allah’s Apostle talking about the Night of Qadr?” He replied in the affirmative and said, “Once we were in i‘tikāf with Allah’s Apostle in the middle ten days of (Ramadan) and we came out of it in the morning of the twentieth, and Allah’s Apostle delivered a sermon on the 20th (of Ramadan) and said, ‘I was informed (of the date) of the Night of Qadr (in my dream) but had forgotten it. So, look for it in the odd nights of the last ten nights of the month of Ramadan. I saw myself prostrating in mud and water on that night (as a sign of the Night of Qadr). So, whoever had been in i‘tikāf with Allah’s Apostle should return for it.’” (al-Bukhāri)

‘Ā’ishah raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) narrated that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “Seek laylat’l-qadr during the odd nights of the last ten nights of Ramadan.” (al-Bukhāri)

As mentioned earlier, Abu Hurayrah raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) narrates that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “Laylat’l-qadr is the twenty-seventh or twenty-ninth and the number of angels exceeds the number of pebbles on that night.” (Aḥmad, Ibn Khuzaymah)

In the ḥadīth of ‘Ubādah b. al-Ṣāmit who said, “The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) came upon us to inform us about laylat’l-qadr and two men from among the Muslims were arguing, so the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, ‘I had come out to tell you the timing of laylat’l-qadr, but so-and-so and so-and-so were arguing, and thus it (this knowledge) was taken up, and perhaps that is better for you. Seek it on the ninth, seventh, and fifth (of the last ten days of Ramadan).’” (al-Bukhāri)

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) also said, “I notice that your good dreams fall during the final seven days, so whoever is seeking it, should seek it during the final seven.” (Agreed upon)

Ubayy b. Kā‘b believed that it was the night of the twenty-seventh and he used to swear that it was so due to signs that he had seen, and it is the statement of Ibn ‘Abbās as well as the most popular and widespread view among Muslims.

Al-āfiẓ ibn Hajar collected forty-six different scholarly views concerning the timing of laylat’l-qadr. The strongest of these opinions is that it falls during the odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadan, with the most likely being the night of the twenty-first according to the Shāfi‘i scholars and the night of the twenty-seventh according to the majority. Some scholars came to the conclusion that it moves between the odd nights taking narrations that specify its falling once on the twenty-first and another on the twenty-seventh, etc. The wisdom behind hiding its exact time is so that none of the last ten nights is abandoned, and one should give life to all ten of these nights with qiyām in attempt of seizing this amazing opportunity.

Whoever stands in prayer during all ten nights will have ensured finding laylat’l-qadr and escaped the difference of opinion, in shā’ Allāh. Since the determination of the beginning of the month may be different from one country or group to another, the odd nights can be different from one group to another.

‘Ā’ishah raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) asked the Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) what she should say if she knew which night was laylat’l-qadr. He said: You should say, “Oh, Allah, You are the Most-Forgiving, and You love forgiveness, so forgive me.” (Aḥmad)

Signs of Laylat’l-Qadr

Some of the scholars mentioned signs for laylat’l-qadr, such as that it is a rainy night, as mentioned in al-Bukhāri. It is neither too cold nor too hot with mild weather as found in the ḥadīth recorded by Ibn Khuzaymah and al-Ṭabarāni. It is a bright night as reported in the ḥadīth mentioned by Ibn Ḥibbān. The sun of the following morning is not as radiant, as recorded in Muslim. A tranquility and calm is felt by those praying during it due to the abundance of angels present. People may also see dreams that indicate that it is laylat’l-qadr as seen by the ṣaḥābah.

These are merely signs and they do not necessarily signal laylat’l-qadr in surety, for these things are not exclusive to that night. A sign is not absolute proof of what it signifies. For example, wet ground may be a sign that rain has fallen, but wet ground may be caused by something else. Additionally, these signs are merely signs and not conditions, so one cannot affirm that a particular day was laylat’l-qadr. The specific time of laylat’l-qadr is of the knowledge of the Unseen that Allah has hidden from us and what is required of us is to busy ourselves with worship and hope for its acceptance.

Finally, I advise myself and all of you to have taqwa of Allah and to benefit from what remains of Ramadan, to pray for yourselves and your families, for the Muslims in this country and around the world, for our oppressed brethren in calamity stricken areas such as Syria, Burma, Kashmir, Afghanistan, Palestine, and elsewhere, that Allah gives victory to those who struggle in His path, to lift oppression, and to pray for those Muslim countries whose dictator-like governments have been removed that they may ease into a prosperous future.

If you have any comments or questions, feel free to visit me on Twitter @WaleedKBasyouni. I wish you accepted fasts, righteous deeds, and a joyous Eid.

 

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is Vice President of AlMaghrib Institute and Director of Clear Lake Islamic Center (CLIC). He is a frequent guest speaker at Universities, Conventions, Radio Talk Shows, Television, Interfaith meetings, and community centers nationally and internationally. He is also a member of the North American Imam Federation (NAIF), Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America (AMJA)-Fatwa and Research Committee, Director of Texas Dawah Convention, and Advisor to numerous Islamic Societies/Organizations around the US.Shaykh Waleed Basyouni graduated with a Bachelors in Islamic Sciences from Al-Imam Muhammad University, KSA; did his Masters in Islamic Theology, World Religions and Modern Religious Sects from Al-Imam Muhammad University; and acquired a Doctorate in Theology. He is also an instructor at the American Open University in Alexandria, VA, USA, and serves as, the Imam of Clear Lake Islamic Center, Houston, TX, USA. Shaykh Waleed has Ijaazahs in reciting the Holy Quran and in several books of Hadeeth, awarded by various scholars. He studied with great scholars time such as Shaykh Ibn Baz, Abdul-Razzaq Afify and others.

14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Nadia Hussain

    August 7, 2012 at 8:50 AM

    Jazakumullahu Khairan for such a detailed info regarding Laylat’l-Qadr.

    Just to make a correction by mistake instead of writing [SWT] with Allah’s name you wrote [SAW] in below line of point # 6:

    For those who gave life to laylat’l-qadr with worship for multiple years, it’s as if he has lived many lengthy lifetimes, and this is from the mercy of Allah upon this nation.

  2. Avatar

    Aziza

    August 7, 2012 at 12:41 PM

    Awesome article, JazakAllah Khair!

  3. Avatar

    umm esa

    August 8, 2012 at 5:38 AM

    jazakAllahu khayran, shaykh.

  4. Avatar

    nabil

    August 8, 2012 at 6:44 AM

    Jazak’Allah’Khairan for such an amazing article full of useful knowledge.

  5. Avatar

    Gibran

    August 9, 2012 at 2:00 AM

    Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

    JazzakAllahu khairun

    I think you meant Kashmir not Cashmere. May Allah help all our brothers and cause us to spend in his way for His Face.

  6. Avatar

    jamal

    August 10, 2012 at 12:58 PM

    assalamalaakum,

    JazzakAllahu khairun for your interesting article. Could you please further explain……It is also permissible to pray two rak’ahs at a time and not pray another witr, and it has also been narrated that several of the Salaf used to even out their witr with another witr, and then end all of their night prayers with a final witr.

    • Avatar

      Aly Balagamwala | DiscoMaulvi

      August 13, 2012 at 12:20 AM

      For those who prayed Witr post-Taraweeh with the imam and then decided to pray further during the night, they have 2 choices:

      1) They can pray one rakat to even out their previous witr, do their Qiyaam and then pray a final witr.
      2) They can just simply pray the Qiyaam in units of 2 rak’ahs and not end with a witr.

  7. Avatar

    noorminAllah

    August 11, 2012 at 3:12 PM

    for those of us who can not pray b/c of our menses (sadly), what are other acts of worship we can do?

  8. Avatar

    Dr. Abdul Aziz

    August 12, 2012 at 5:35 AM

    It is good to find accurate, better to go throug all odd nights,
    Good article on laiila tul qadir

  9. Pingback: 30 Torch bearers – #18 |

  10. Pingback: 30 Torch bearers – #18 | Mahavalous

  11. Avatar

    Muhammad Kabeer

    July 10, 2015 at 7:13 AM

    Jazaakumullaahu khairan for the article.

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History and Seerah

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Ibn-ʿAllan’s Commentary Dalilul-Falihin: The Book of Fasting | Hadiths 9-12

 وعن عائشة رضي الله عنها قالت: “كان رسول الله ﷺ إذا دخل العشرُ أحيَى الليل، وأيقظ أهلهُ، وشدَّ المئزر” متفقٌ عليه().

 

ʿAʾishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported:

When the ten nights would begin, the Messenger of Allāh r would keep the night alive; he would also awaken his family and tighten his wrapper.

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Al-Bukhārī and Muslim.

“When the ten nights would begin”

What is meant is the last ten nights

“The Messenger of Allāh ﷺ would keep the night alive”

He would keep stay up at night and engage in various forms of worship such as ṣalāt, dhikr, and meditation/reflection. Or he kept himself alive by remaining awake, since sleep is death’s sibling. The metaphor refers to the night because when someone who is sleeping is woken-up and brought back to life, their night can be said to have been given life through them.

“He would also awaken his family”

He did so to draw their attention towards the time of goodness, so they may expose themselves to the gusts of goodness. A narration in Tirmidhī states, “When the last ten days of Ramaḍān would enter, the Messenger of Allāh r would not fail to wake up anyone who was capable of staying up in his household”. He would lead them towards the avenues of goodness, and help them attain it.

“And tighten his wrapper”

Al-Khaṭṭābī explains: “The meaning is likely to be earnestness in acts of worship. Just as one would say ‘I have tightened my wrapper for this matter’ i.e I have buckled down to it/rolled up my sleeves for it. It is also said that it may be a metaphor for buckling down and withdrawing from women. It is also said that it may have a literal meaning and a figurative meaning at the same time, i.e that he literally tighten his waist wrapper (izār) and also withdrew from women and buckled down for worship. However, the first explanation is more plausible because in another narration the following wording is found “He would tighten his wrapper and withdraw from women”. This leads us to conclude that the expression tightening his wrapper relates to earnestness in worship only.

– باب فضل السحور وتأخيره ما لم يخشَ طلوع الفجر

Chapter on the virtues of saḥūr, and of delaying it as long as one does fear the rising of dawn

 

 عن أنسٍ، رضي الله عنه، قال: قال رسول الله : “تسحروا؛ فإن في السحور بركةً” متفقٌ عليه .

Anas (May Allāh be pleased with him) reported:

The Messenger of Allāh said, “Eat suḥūr [or practice saḥūr] (predawn meal) because surely, there is baraka in suḥūr.”

[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Saḥūr is the meal which is taken prior to the rise of dawn. Suḥūr on the other hand, is the act of partaking food at that time. This will have relevance in the ensuing commentary of the ḥadīth.

“The Messenger of Allāh ﷺ said, ‘Eat suḥūr [or practice saḥūr] (predawn meal)’ ”

This is considered mandūb i.e praiseworthy. The Sunna itself is fulfilled by having a little food even if it is only a sip of water. It is mentioned in a ḥadīth of ʿAbdullāh bin-Surāqa, traced back to the Nabī r: ‘Practice suḥūr, even if only with a sip of water’. It is narrated by Ibn-ʿAsākir[2]. The Sunna is likewise fulfilled by having a considerable quantity of food.

“Because surely, there is baraka in suḥūr [or saḥūr].”

Al-Ḥāfiẓ Ibn-Ḥajar explains: ‘The use of both spellings is found in authentic narrations. If suḥūr is meant i.e the act of eating at that time, then by baraka is meant the reward and merit. If saḥūr is meant i.e the food which is eaten at that time, then by baraka is meant the fact that it strengthens one for fasting and makes one energetic for it. It also reduces the difficult involved in it’.

It is also said that the baraka lies in the fact of being awake at that time and engaging in duʿāʾ.
It is however more appropriate to say that the Baraka is attained through various avenues, namely: adherence to the Sunna, acting differently than the ahlul-kitāb (Christians and Jews), strengthening oneself for worship through it, its being a cause for one to engage in dhikr and duʿāʾ at a time when acceptance is highly likely, and it also allows for one who has forgotten to make the intention for fasting before sleeping to do so[3].

This ḥadīth was also narrated by Aḥmad, Al-Tirmidhī, Al-Nasāʾī, and Ibn-Māja all through Anas. Al-Nasāʾī has already narrated it through Abū-Hurayra and Ibn-Masʿūd. Aḥmad has also narrated it through Ibn-Masʿūd. This has all been mentioned in Al-Jāmiʿul-Ṣaghīr.

 وعن زيد بن ثابتٍ، رضي الله عنه، قال: تسحرنا مع رسول الله ثم قمنا إلى الصلاة. قيل: كم كان بينهما؟ قال: قدر خمسين آية. متفقٌ عليه

Zaid bin Thābit (May Allāh be pleased with him) reported:

We took suḥūr (predawn meal) with the Messenger of Allāh r and then we stood up for ṣalāt (prayer). It was asked: ‘How long was the gap between the two?’ He replied: ‘The time required for the recitation of fifty verses.’

[Al-Bukhārī and Muslim].

Zaid bin-Thābit was from the Anṣār of Madīna, and he was 11 years old when the Nabī r emigrated from Makka to Madīna. His father passed away when he was 6 years old, and the Nabī r considered him too young to participate in the battle of Badr (~13 years old). He however allowed him to participate in Uḥud. It is also said that he in fact did not participate in Uḥud but rather in Khandaq and the following expeditions with Rasūlullāh r. He used to write revelation for the Nabī r and he was one of the three people who compiled the Qurʾān by gathering its various verses and chapters and verifying their authenticity. The effort to compile the Qurʾān after the demise of the Nabī r was ordered by Abū-Bakr and ʿUmar.
ʿUmar and ʿUthmān would both designate him as imām in Madīna when they traveled for Ḥajj. Ibn Abī-Dāwūd explains: ‘Zaid bin-Thābit was the most knowledgeable of the rules of inheritance among the Ṣaḥābah, and he was among those firmly grounded in knowledge.
A total of 92 ḥadīth from Rasūlullāh r have been narrated by him, 10 of which are found in the collections of Bukhārī or Muslim. He passed away in Madīna in the year 54 A.H.

“We took suḥūr (predawn meal) with the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ”

One can notice a subtle indication of etiquette in the choice of words, rather than saying ‘Us and Rasūlullāh took suḥūr’ he used wording which emphasizes the fact that they followed his example r.

“And then we stood up for ṣalāt (prayer)”

The morning ṣalāt i.e ṣubḥ.

“It was asked: ‘How long was the gap between the two?’ He replied: ‘The time required for the recitation of fifty verses.’ ”

Anas is the one who asked the question. Imām Aḥmad also narrated a ḥadīth where Qatāda asks Anas the same question.
The verses referred to are of moderate length. They were neither long nor short, and were read neither fast nor slow. The ʿArab had the habit of estimating time through physical actions, such as saying ‘As long as it takes to milk a goat’. Zaid however chose to estimate the time through the action of reading the Qurʾān to indicate that it was a time fit for worship through recitation of the Qurʾān. Ibn Abī-Jamra explains: ‘The ḥadīth is an indication of the fact that the vast majority of their time was immersed in ʿibāda (worship)’.

The ḥadīth also indicates that suḥūr was done as late as possible, as it is more befitting for the intent behind it. Also because it was the Nabī r’s habit to look for that which was most gentle for his Umma and apply it. If he did not take suḥūr that would prove difficult for some of them, just as taking suḥūr in the middle of the night would be difficult for those overtaken by sleep. That could lead to leaving suḥūr altogether or in it being a tiresome process.

 وعن عمرو بن العاص رضي الله عنه أن رسول الله r قال: “فَصْلُ ما بين صيامنا وصيام أهل الكتاب أكلةُ السحر” رواه مسلم .

ʿAmr bin Al-ʿĀṣ (May Allāh be pleased with him) reported:

The Messenger of Allāh ﷺ said, ‘The difference between our observance of fasting and that of the people of the scriptures (ahlul-kitāb) is suḥūr (predawn meal)’

[Narrated by Muslim].

ʿAmr bin Al-ʿĀṣ accepted Islām in the year of Khaybar, i.e the beginning of the 7th year A.H. Him, Khālid Ibnul-Walīd and ʿUthmān bin-Ṭalḥa came to the Nabī and accepted Islām together. He was made the commander of the 17th expedition, called sariyatu dhātil-salāsil and which had 300 men. It was then reinforced through another regiment in which were Abū-Bakr and ʿUmar, and whose commander was Abū-ʿUbayda bin-Jarrāh. The Nabī r told the latter ‘Do not be at odds with eachother’. ʿAmr used to lead the ṣalāt of the combined regiments until they returned to Madīna (notwithstanding the illustrious personalities who joined them). He was designated as an ambassador to Omān where he remained until the death of the Nabī r. Abū-Bakr t then sent him as governor to Shām and he was present in the various conquests of its territory. He then governed Palestine for ʿUmar t for some time after which he was sent with a regiment to Egypt, which he conquered. He remained its governor until the death of ʿUmar. ʿUthmān left him in his position for another 4 years, and he then removed him. ʿAmr then settled away in Palestine from which he would occasionally visit Madīna. Muʿāwiya t eventually designated him governor of Egypt, where he remained as governor until his death and was buried there. He passed away on the eve of ʿIdul-Fiṭr the year 43 A.H at the age of 70 years. His son ʿAbdullāh led his funeral prayer. He was among the heroes and intellectuals of the ʿArab, and was known to be a leader with a great vision.
When the time of his death dawned upon him he said: ‘O Allāh you have ordered me and I was not compliant, you prohibited me and I did not refrain, I am not strong so I seek assistance, neither am I free of blame so I apologize, and I am not arrogant but rather I am repentant; there is no deity except You’. He kept repeating these words until he passed away.

“The difference between our observance of fasting and that of the people of the scriptures (ahlul-kitāb)”

The ahlul-kitāb are the Jews and Christians. They were given revealed scriptures, hence the name ahlul-kitāb.

“Is suḥūr (predawn meal)”

This is an unequivocal statement to the fact that taking suḥūr is a special trait for us, and that Allāh has made it a favor and distinction for this Umma. This favor and distinction were not granted to the previous nations.

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Ibn-ʿAllan’s Commentary Dalilul-Falihin: The Book of Fasting. Hadiths 7-8

– وعنه، رضي الله عنه، أن رسول الله ﷺ، قال: “إذا جاء رمضانُ، فُتحتْ أبواب الجنة، وغُلقت أبواب النار، وصُفدت() الشياطين” متفقٌ عليه().

Abū-Hurayra (May Allāh be pleased with him) reported:

The Messenger of Allāh said, “When Ramaḍān begins, the gates of paradise are opened, the gates of the fire of hell are closed, and the devils are chained.”

Narrated by Al-Bukhārī and Muslim.

The Messenger of Allāh said, “When Ramaḍān begins, the gates of paradise are opened”

The most apparent meaning is that this is a literal opening of the doors of paradise for a person who passes away during Ramaḍān, or for a person who performs good actions which are accepted. It is also said that the meaning is figurative, meaning that performing good actions in Ramaḍān will lead to the gates of paradise being opened in the hereafter. Another figurative meaning may also be the abundance of mercy and forgiveness, as can be inferred by a narration of Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim “The doors of mercy are opened”.

“The gates of the fire of hell are closed”

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The same observation can be made about this statement as has just been said regarding the gates of paradise.

It is also said that this is a metaphor to express the fact that the egos of the fasting persons are pure from the impurities of shameful actions, and they are liberated from the things which lead to sinful acts by means of their tamed based desires.
Al-Ṭībī explains: ‘The benefit of this is two-fold: the angels are clearly made aware that the action of those fasting is highly revered in front of Allāh. The fact that the truthful Nabī is the one informing about this matter also serves to increase the eagerness of the Muslim individual’.

“And the devils are chained”

This statement can also be considered to be in a literal sense. It may also figuratively mean that they are prevented from causing excessive nuisance to the believers and from provoking them. That makes them seem as they are chained. It may also mean that the Muslims refrain from involving themselves in the acts of disobedience which the devils annoy them with.

– باب الجود وفعل المعروف والإكثار من الخير في شهر رمضان

والزيادة من ذلك في العشر الأواخر منه

Chapter on generosity, performing good actions, increasing in goodness during Ramaḍān and augmenting in that during its last 10 days

1/1222- وعن ابن عباس، رضي الله عنهما، قال: كان رسول الله ﷺ، أجود الناس، وكان أجود() ما يكونُ في رمضان حين يلقاهُ جبريلُ، وكان جبريلُ يلقاهُ في كل ليلةٍ من رمضان فيدارسهُ القرآن، فلرسولُ الله ﷺ، حين يلقاهُ جبريلُ أجودُ بالخير من الريح المرسلة” متفقٌ عليه().

Ibn ʿAbbās (May Allah be pleased with them) reported:

The Messenger of Allāh ﷺ was the most generous of men; and he would be the most generous during the month of Ramaḍān when Jibrīl visited him. Jibrīl would meet him every night of Ramaḍān and he would review the Qurʾān with him. As a result, at the time Jibrīl met him the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ was more generous with goodness than the free wind.

What is meant by good actions in the title are obligatory and recommended actions alike. Increasing such actions in Ramaḍān is mandūb (i.e commendable) as the reward will be multiplied on virtue of the distinction of this time. This particularity in Ramaḍān is because it is the best of the months, so it is commendable to keep it alive with such actions and see their reward multiplied as a result.

The last ten days start on the eve of the 21st day of fasting, and they end on the last day whether the month ends in 29 days or 30 days.

Al-Bukhārī and Muslim.

“The Messenger of Allāh (ﷺ) was the most generous of men”

He was the man endowed with the most generosity. Indeed it is a fact that that which has been narrated of his generosity has not been narrated regarding anyone else.

“And he would be the most generous during the month of Ramaḍān when Jibrīl visited him.”

His state of generosity in Ramaḍān was superior to that outside of Ramaḍān, but he was nevertheless the most generous man in an absolute sense.

“Jibrīl would meet him every night of Ramaḍān and he would review the Qurʾān with him”

It is said that the wisdom in reviewing the Qurʾān is that it renews the pledge of having a content ego. Contentment in turns breeds generosity. Ramaḍān is also the season of goodness because Allāh’s bounties on his servants are increased therein. It was the habit of Nabī to give preference to follow the example of the sunna of Allāh (i.e his customary practice) in dealing with His servants. The combination of what has been mentioned i.e the time, the one who came down (Jibrīl), what he descended with (the Qurʾān) and the learning were all obtained through the hand of generosity. And Allāh knows best.

“As a result, at the time Jibrīl met him the Messenger of Allāh (ﷺ) was more generous with goodness than the free wind”

He was, in the speed of his generosity faster than the wind. The free wind indicates the wind which continuously blows with mercy. His generosity was all-encompassing in its benefit just as the free wind fully encompasses anything it blows on.

A narration of Imām-Aḥmad includes the following wording at the end of this ḥadīth: “He was never asked anything except that he gave it”[1].

Imām Al-Nawawī explains:

“This ḥadīth contains many fine lessons: encouragement towards generosity at all times, and increasing it during Ramaḍān as well as when meeting righteous people (analogy with the meeting of Jibrīl). It also indicates the virtue of visiting the pious and noble folk, and to do so repeatedly as long as the person being visited does not mind. It also points to the laudable nature of abundantly reading Qurʾān during Ramaḍān and the fact that it is superior to all forms of remembrance of Allāh [dhikr/adhkār]. Indeed, if dhikr was superior or equivalent to it then they would have done it (the Nabī and Jibrīl). Some commentators have said that these were tajwīd sessions. This is however objectionable as memorization of the Nabī was a given, and anything beyond memorization could be achieved through a few sessions. It is therefore clear that the intent in Jibrīl’s coming was an increase in the amount of recitation.

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