The Virtues of the Last Ten Days of Ramadhān
By Banu Saleh
In the Name of Allāh, Most Gracious, Most Merciful;
All perfect praise be to Allāh, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad is His Messenger.
Rasūlullāh (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: “Whoever fasts Ramadhān with faith and hoping for reward, he will be forgiven for all of his previous sins. Whoever stands (for prayer at night) during Ramadhān with faith and hoping for reward, he will be forgiven for all of his previous sins. Whoever stands (for prayer at night) during Laylatul-Qadr (the Night of Decree) with faith and hoping for reward, he will be forgiven for all of his previous sins.” [Al-Bukhari no. 2014 and Muslim no. 759-760]
Strive hard in Worship.
In a hadith from ‘Aishah (radiallāhu`anha) who said, “When the last ten days (of Ramadhān) began, the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alaihi wa sallam), would tie his lower garment (izār) tight, stay up at night, and wake his family (to offer acts of worship).” [Al-Bukhāri and Muslim]
Muslim recorded a sahih hadith with wording from 'Aishah (radiallāhu`anha) who said: “The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alaihi wa sallam), would strive hard in worship in the last ten nights (of Ramadhān) in a way that he would not do at other times.” [Muslim]
In another narration ‘Aishah (radiallāhu`anha) said, “When the last ten days of Ramadhān arrived, the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alaihi wa sallam) would stay up at night, wake his family and girded his loins.” [Al-Bukhāri and Muslim]
The wording of ‘Aishah(radiallāhu`anha), “When the last ten days would begin, he would tie his lower garment (izār) tight” indicates that Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alaihi wa sallam) would be paying much heed to those days and striving hard to offer acts of worship during those days.
I’tikaf and seeking Lailatul al-Qadar
The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alaihi wa sallam) would be secluding himself in I’tikaf and seeking Lailatul al-Qadar during this period. ‘Aishah (radiallāhu`anha) said, “The Prophet, sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam, would observe I'tikāf during the last ten days of Ramadhān until Allāh took his soul, then his wives observed I’tikāf after he was gone.” [Al-Bukhāri and Muslim]
Scholars hold the interpretation of 'Aishah’s (radiallāhu`anha) phrase “girded his loins” and ‘tying the lower garment (Izaar) tight’ is a metaphor for his preparing himself to worship and strive hard in worship, more than usual. It has the meaning of “rolling up one's sleeves” to worship (i.e. getting ready to make a great deal of effort). It was also said that it was a metaphor for keeping away from women and abstaining from sexual relations.
The phrase “stay up at night” means that he would stay awake, spending the night in prayer, etc.
The words “stay up at night” may mean that he spent most of the night in worship, or that he did not stay up for the entire night, but he did that at the times of ‘Isya’ and Sahur, and other times, in which case it would mean that he stayed up for most of the night.
The phrase “and wake his family” means that he would wake his wives for Qiyamulail. It is known that The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alaihi wa sallam) used to wake his wives all year round, but he used to wake them to spend part of the night in qiyam.
The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alaihi wa sallam) woke up one night and said: “Subhan Allah! What tribulations have come down tonight! What treasure has come down tonight! Who will wake up the dwellers of the apartments? There may be women who are clothed in this world and naked in the Hereafter.” [Al-Bukhari]
It was narrated that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alaihi wa sallam) used to wake ‘Aishah (radiallāhu`anha) when he wanted to pray Witir. [Al-Bukhāri]
Waking one's family to perform Solāh Tahajjud (voluntary night-prayers) is a recommended act and is even more so in the last ten days of Ramadhān for the great virtue of such nights. It is a great opportunity that every Muslim and his family should make the best of and not miss. The last ten days are the conclusion of this blessed month and what counts in deeds are how they end: It was narrated that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alaihi wa sallam), said: “Indeed, what counts in deeds are their ends.”
But when he woke his wives during the last ten nights of Ramadhān, this was more persistent than at other times of the year. The fact that The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alaihi wa sallam) did this indicates the importance he attached to worshipping his Rabb and making the most of this special time.
These are the exemplary of the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alaihi wa sallam) to the ummah that we should strive hard in worshipping Allah Subhānahu wa ta’ala. We should not waste the hours of these days and nights. For we do not know, perhaps this time will never come again, for the spoiler of pleasures, i.e., death, which must come to all men, may come and snatch him and his life will end; then he will feel regret at the time when regret will be of no avail.
Performs all different acts of worship
The striving hard in these ten days should not be in a specific kind of worship, rather it should be in all different acts of worship such as praying, giving charity, reciting the Qurān, mentioning Allāh and the like.
Reciting the Qurān
‘Aishah (radiallāhu`anha) also said: “I never saw the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alaihi wa sallam) recite the entire Qur’ān in one night, or spend a whole night in prayer until the morning, or fast an entire month, except in Ramadhān.” [An-Nasā’ie]
Scholars have mentioned that the last ten days of Ramadhān are better than the first ten days of Dzul-Hijjah. They are the best days of the year as a whole and they include the Night of Al-Qadr, which Allāh has made better than a thousand months. It was narrated on the authority of Abu Hurairah (radiallāhu`anhu) that the Messenger (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam) said: “Whoever stands (in qiyam) in Lailatul-Qadar [and it is facilitated for him] out of faith and expectation (of Allah’s reward), will have all of his previous sins forgiven.” [Al-Bukhāri, Muslim and Ahmad]
The hadith recorded by Al-Bukhāri and Muslim with phrase "and it is facilitated for him" is recorded by Ahmad from the report of ‘Ubadah Ibn As-Samit; it means that he is permitted to be among the sincere worshippers during that blessed night.
‘Aishah (radiallāhu`anha) reported, who said, "O Messenger of Allāh, if I witness the Night of Al-Qadar, what should I say?'' The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alaihi wa sallam), replied: “Say: “Allāhumma innaka ’afuw wun tuhibbul ‘afwa fa’fu ’anna” (O Allah! You are forgiving, and you love forgiveness. So forgive us) [Recorded by Ahmad, Ibn Mājah, and At-Tirmidzi; verified to be authentic by Al-Albāni]
Repentance and purifying.
Scholars recommended in such nights in which the Night of Al-Qadr is more likely to be, to take a bath, putting on nice fragrance and wear clean, appropriate clothes as prescribed in the Friday and ‘Eid prayers, and it is in fact prescribed to wear one’s finest clothes when performing every prayer. This is because Allāh says:”Take your adornment at every mosque.” [Al-A’raf, 7: 31] Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar (radiallāhu`anhu) said, “Allāh has more of a right over you to be adorned for Him.”
As a matter of fact, outward adornment will never be complete except by adorning the inside as well by turning to Allāh the Almighty in repentance and purifying one’s soul from the filth of sins as the adornment of the external part of the person while the filth of sins exists within will be to no avail.
Allāh Says: “O children of Ādam, We have bestowed upon you clothing to conceal your private parts and as adornment. But the clothing of righteousness – that is best.” [Al-A’raf, 7: 26]
No one will be successful in imploring the King in seclusion unless he is him who has adorned and purified his outward appearance as well as his inward reality, for Allāh the Almighty knows what is secret and that which is even more hidden than that. Allāh the Almighty does not look at your outward appearance; rather, Allāh looks at your hearts and deeds. So whoever stands before Him should adorn his outward appearance by wearing the appropriate clothing and his inward reality by wearing the clothing of righteousness.
[Adapted with modification from Islam Web Aug 30, 2010]