Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Hunt For Lailatul Qadr

Dear Brothers & Sisters In Islam,

Alhamdulillah! Praise be to Allah Lord of the whole world. O Allah forgive me! I repent! Lead me to the straight path! I have been very ignorant about Islam the whole of my life. I am thankful to Allah for letting me live another day to meet Ramadan Al-Mubarak this year.

Ramadan, which literally means "to burn", is a month marked by fasting, prayers, charity, restraint and complete devotion to Allah. It is a month of blessings, forgiveness and barakah, and there is no better time to reflect deep within ourselves, increase our good deeds and ask sincere forgiveness from Allah.

Fasting is one of the greatest blessings Allah has bestowed on us, and carried out with the intention of gaining His pleasure makes it an act of worship, where it has the potential to make us be constantly aware of Him. If a person refrains from eating and drinking without having the intention to worship Allah, then they aren't gaining the full reward of fasting. It also confirms our belief in and love for the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) as we fast according to the manner in which he fasted. On the aspect of personal development, fasting also helps bring out the best in our manners, with Ramadan often being cited as the “month of patience and self-discipline” both for our perseverance in this month and in our preparation for the Hereafter.

The month of Ramadan can be divided into three phases. The first 10 days are the days of mercy from Allah (phase of rahmah). The second 10 days are the days of forgiveness of Allah (phase of maghfirah). While the last 10 days are the phase of itqun min an-nar (salvation from the Hellfire).

During Ramadan, Allah grants us the opportunity to reap the reward of our good deeds in many folds. Prophet Muhammad ( Peace be upon him ) had said: “O People, a great and a blessed month is approaching you. In this month, there is a night that is better than one thousand months. Allah has made fasting obligatory and prayers at night commendable during this month. Whosoever will do a voluntary good deed during this month, it is as if he performed an obligatory good deed at another time and whosoever will perform an obligatory good deed, it is as if he performed seventy obligatory good deeds at another time. This is the month of patience and the reward of patience is Paradise. This is the month of kindness. In this month the believer’s provision is increased. Whosoever will give food to a fasting person in this month, it will bring forgiveness for his sins, will save him from the Hell fire and he shall have his reward while the fasting person will not lose any of his reward.” (As-Suyuti, Ad-Durr al-Manthur)

Ramadan also holds the promise of the acceptance of duas to a much greater degree than at any other time of the year. Abu Hurairah (RA) reported that the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said: “There are three people whose supplications are not rejected: the fasting person when he breaks his fast, the just ruler and the supplication of the oppressed” (Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah and Ibn Hibban).

Charity has a special significance during Ramadan. Muslims are also encouraged to be generous and give contributions to the poor and needy. It will not only teach us kindness and generosity but also allow us reap the rewards many folds compared to any other months. Ibn Abbas (RA), one of the companions of the  Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) narrated: “The Prophet (Peace be upon him) was the most generous amongst the people, and he used to be more so in the month of Ramadan when Jib’reel visited him, and Jib’reel used to meet him on every night of Ramadan till the end of the month. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) used to recite the Holy Quran to Jib’reel, and when Jib’reel met him, he used to be more generous than a fast wind (which causes rain and welfare).” (Al-Bukhari)

In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.
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.
(Surah Al-Qadr: 97; 1-5)

The absolute pinnacle of Ramadan is when Lailatul Qadr (Night of Decree), the most blessed and divine of all nights, descends upon us. Lailatul Qadr is a night holier and grander than a thousand months. Who could ever imagine that one Ramadan night may enable a Muslim to gain as much reward as could be earned in a life of eighty years and four months? Imagine if we stayed up that night to do prayers, duas, dzikir and recite the Quran. The reward is mind-blowing. In one night we can achieve the reward of more than a lifetime. Subhanallah!

But when is Lailatul Qadr? Indeed Allah S.W.T hides from us six things:
* Allah S.W.T hides His mercy in our obedience.
* Allah S.W.T hides His wrath in our vice.
* Allah S.W.T hides His most glorious name in the Quran.
* Allah S.W.T hides Lailatul Qadr in the month of Ramadan.
* Allah S.W.T hides the most important prayer in the five daily prayers.
* Allah S.W.T hides the Judgement Day in all the days.

It is believed that Lailatul Qadr will appear on the last ten days of Ramadan, especially on the odd-numbered nights.
Sayyidatina Aishah (RA) reported: “When the (last) ten started, the Prophet SAW would tighten his izar (i.e. he stayed away from his wives in order to have more time for worship), spend the whole night awake (in prayer), and wake up his family.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim) And she also said: “Allah’s Messenger SAW used to exert more (in worship) on the last ten than on other nights.” (Muslim) The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said: “Seek it in the last ten nights, on the odd-numbered nights.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

All that I can say, in conclusion, I have missed on these opportunities all my life. Suffice to say, I had been astray in the past. I hope Allah accepts my repentance. O Allah lead me to the straight path. I have come to realize a new concept of the month of Ramadan as a bonus month for all Muslim. It is a month when Allah grants us good deeds in many folds, forgives us from our past sins and preferentially grants us our duas to those who observe the fast with utmost sincerity and piety. Just like the ibadah of  Haj and Umrah when everything that you do will be rewarded many folds. Abu’l Darda’ (RA) relates that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “The prayer prayed in the Sacred Mosque (Masjid al-Haram) is akin to one hundred thousand prayers, and the prayer in my mosque is akin to one thousand prayers and the prayer in Jerusalem is akin to five hundred prayers.” (Tabarani/al-Bazzar) Such is the universal mercy of Allah who wants every Muslim to enter the Heaven and to be saved from the Hell fire. Insyaallah! I will strive to be better this year than previous years and seek that special night in my quest for Allah's mercy, blessing and forgiveness.

The hunt for Lailatul Qadr begins!

اَللَّهُمَّ اِنَّكَ عَفُوٌّ كَرِيْمٌ تُحِبُّ الْعَفْوَ، فَاعْفُ عَنِّىْ وَاغْفِرْلِى.

“Allahumma innaka ‘afuwun karim tuhibbul ‘afwa fa’fu ‘anni wagh’firli”
O Allah! You are one who Pardons Greatly, Most Generous and loves to pardon. 
Please pardon me and forgive me.