Allah says in the Qur’an: 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. [Qur’an: 97:3-5]3
The blessed Laylatul Qadr can be found in any of the last 10 nights of Ramadan, which are the most blessed nights of the year. As such, we should increase our worship and devotion during this period.
Aisha reported: With the start of the last ten days of Ramadan, the Prophet used to tighten his waist belt (i.e. work harder) and used to pray the whole night, and used to keep his family awake for the prayers. [Bukhari]
Abu Hurayrah relates that the Prophet said: “Whoever stands (in the voluntary night prayer of) Ramadan out of faith and in the hope of reward, his previous sins will be forgiven. And whoever spends the night of Lailat Al-Qadr in prayer out of faith and in the hope of reward, his previous sins will be forgiven.” [Sunan an-Nasa’i]
Subhan Allah! Such immense rewards are to be gained during these blessed 10 nights. How can we afford to miss out on them? Who is to say that we will live to see the next Ramadan? We MUST make the best of these 10 nights. If we cannot manage all of the 10 nights, then as many as we can manage, particularly on the odd-numbered nights: 21st, 25th, 27th and 29th.
There is a saying that a person who fails to plan, plans to fail. So here is a Worship Plan that we can use to maximise these blessed 10 nights of Ramadan. But first, there are a few points to consder:
10 Points to Consider in the Worship Plan
- Remain in I’tikaf: The best way of catching the blessed night is to remain in I’tikaf, which both men and women can do. If it is not possible for one to remain in I’tikaf for the whole of the 10 days and nights, then one should try to remain in I’tikaf for as many days and nights possible. It is also possible to make intention of Nawafil I’tikaf each and every time one enters the masjid to gain rewards for the time spent in the masjid.
- Worship all the 10 nights: Try to worship the whole of the 10 nights or as many days you can manage as that is the best way to catch the unimaginable and incomprehensible rewards of Laylatul Qadr. Each and every good deed from Maghrib until Fajr on Laylatul Qadr is rewarded a minimum of at least 83 years’ of worship. Subhan Allah, that is longer than most of us will live!
- Best dua of the last 10 nights: اَللَّهُمَّ اِنَّكَ عَفُوٌّ ، تُحِبُّ الْعَفْوَ فَاعْفُ عَنِّي
Aisha reported: I asked: “O Messenger of Allah! If I realize Lailat-ul-Qadr (Night of Decree), what should I supplicate in it?” He replied, “You should supplicate: Allahumma innaka ‘afuwwun, tuhibbul-‘afwa, fa’fu ‘anni (O Allah, You are Most Forgiving, and You love forgiveness; so forgive me).”2 [At-Tirmidhi].
- Give charity: Any good act such as charity during Laylatul Qadr is rewarded like you have done it for over 83 years.
- Eat light: As you will be staying up until Fajr, the more you eat, the harder it will be for you to stay up and the less productive you will be!
- Hydrate well: Keep some water with you at all times. This will help you stay up, feel energised and refreshed and have a clearer mind.
- Complete all tasks beforehand: Make arrangements to clear as many of your pending tasks as possible or make a plan for tackling them later. This way, we are free to worship during the 10 nights without being distracted by worldly tasks.
- Show exemplary character: The Prophet said: “Nothing will be heavier on the Day of Resurrection in the Scale of the believer than good manners. Allah hates one who utters foul or coarse language.” [At- Tirmidhi]. So we must aim to be the best in character during these blessed nights and continue to do so for the rest of the year. We must not argue, swear, backbite, slander or gossip.
- No time wasting: We must make a firm intention that during these blessed 10 nights, we will not take part in idle talk, watch TV, play computer games or spend time on the social media. There are 355 days in the year for all that – if you really cannot resist. This is just 10 nights! There will be indeed an utter loss and regret for those of us who waste these blessed 10 nights.
- Making life changes: We should make the necessary changes to improve ourselves as Muslims and what better time to make such changes than during these blessed 10 nights where we can change our lives forever. We must internalise these changes and make a firm commitment to Allah , and maybe that he will wipe off our sins until we become newborn babies, In sha Allah.
The Worship Plan
The following is a possible worship routine for the last 10 blessed nights of Ramadan. It should be adjusted according to your local time.
07:00 pm – 7:30 pm: Break fast with dates and water and pray Maghrib (men with congregation and women at home). Afterwards pray the 2 raka’ahs of sunnah and as many nawafil (voluntary) prayers in sets of 2 raka’ahs as you can manage.
- Tip: The Prophet said: “Whoever draws near to Allah during it (Ramadan) with a single characteristic from the characteristics (voluntary) goodness, he is like whoever performs an obligatory act in other times. And whoever performs an obligatory act during it, he is like whoever performed seventy obligatory acts in other times.” [Sahih Ibn Khuzaymah, no. 1887]
Each fard prayer during Ramadan entails a reward of 70 obligatory prayers and each voluntary prayer entails a reward of a fard prayer. Can you imagine the rewards of voluntary and fard prayers during Laylatul Qadr? Subhan Allah! You will be rewarded like you have prayed the fard and voluntary prayers for over 83 years.
8:00 pm – 8:15 pm: Eat light to have optimum energy for worship. Avoid heavy and fried foods, as they will make you lethargic.
- Tip: The lighter your stomach, the more worship you can perform. The more worship you perform, the more reward you will obtain, In sha Allah.
8:15 pm – 8:30 pm: Get ready to pray Isha’ and Taraweeh. Make ghusl or wudu. Pray 2 raka’ahs tahiyyatul wudu after every wudu. Wear your best clothes and put on attar, use a miswaak and comb your hair, beard etc.
- Tip 1: Looking your best has a significant impact in making you more productive! These are the nights of maximum productivity! So look and smell good to be more productive!
- Tip 2: Walk to the masjid if you are not in I’tikaf. Each and every step is rewarded like you have been walking to the masjid for over 83 years! Subhan Allah!
8:30 pm – 10:00 pm: Pray Isha’ and Taraweeh. Pray 2 raka’ahs of tahiyyatul masjid upon arriving at the masjid and 4 raka’ahs of sunnah (this is often neglected) before the 4 fard of Isha’.
- Tip: Praying Taraweeh during Laylatul Qadr will bring rewards of over 83 years for each and every letter recited by the imam and for each and every prostration (sajda).
10:00 pm – 10:30 pm: As soon as Taraweeh is completed, prepare for worship until Fajr. Make fresh wudu or ghusl if you wish to. Drink water. If you are hungry, eat (light). Either stay at the masjid or go home immediately. Do not partake in any idle talk and go straight to the spot where there will be no disturbances and begin worship immediately. There should be no procrastination during these blessed 10 nights.
- Tip: The less time we waste, the more time we have for worship. The more time we have for worship, the more we can gain unimaginable rewards during these blessed 10 nights.
10:30 pm – 11:30 pm: Recite the Qur’an, contemplating and pondering over the words of Allah .
- Tip: The Noble Qur’an was revealed during Laylatul Qadr. So surely we should spend the last 10 nights of Ramadan reciting the Qur’an. Each and every letter is normally rewarded 10 good deeds. During Ramadan, this is increased further but during Laylatul Qadr each letter will be rewarded like one has recited it for over 83 years. Subhan Allah!
11:30 pm – 1:00 am: Pray nafl salah, recite the Qur’an or engage in reciting the dua of Laylatul Qadr Dua as much as possible which completely wipes out sins.
Allahumma innaka ‘affuwwun tuhibbul ‘afwa fa’fu ‘anni’4
‘O Allah You are The One Who forgives greatly, and loves to forgive, so forgive me. [Sunan Ibn Majah]
- Tip: This dua was given by the Prophet Muhammad to the most beloved person to him: Aisha . So that makes the dua extra special.
1:00 am – 2:45 am: 8 raka’ahs of tahajjud prayer with long sajdas, reciting as many surahs as you know. Knowing beforehand the meaning of the surahs that you will be reciting will allow you to attain khushu.
- Tip: The best nawafil prayer is tahajjud as it is a prayer that allows you to get closer to Allah . It can be prayed after Isha’ until just before Fajr begins. The best recitation of the Qur’an is done during tahajjud prayer. You should recite as much of the Qur’an as you have memorised. In the long prostrations, beg Allah for forgiveness and mercy and surely He will never turn away his slaves who beg of him during this prayer.
4:30 am – 5:00 am: Eat suhoor slightly earlier so you can spend the last 30 minutes in dua. The dua just before Fajr is the best and most accepted dua, and any dua on Laylatul Qadr is accepted without a doubt, In sha Allah.
- Tip: Prepare suhoor during the day and store it in the fridge as nothing should get in the way of our worship during these blessed nights. Preparing suhoor beforehand leaves us with more time to worship.
5:00 am until Fajr begins: Devote the last 30 minutes – an hour in dua. Beg and cry unto Allah . Praise and glorify Him by using His beautiful names, asking for His mercy and forgiveness and for our parents, families and ourselves. Ask for anything that your heart desires. Include duas for the Ummah. Surely Allah will accept each and every sincere dua during these blessed 10 nights, especially on Laylatul Qadr!
- Tip: Make a dua list and be sure to cover everything you can think of so that your mind does not go blank when making duas on these blessed nights.
Repeat this schedule for each and every night of worship during the last 10 nights of Ramadan and know that on at least one of the nights, we will gain the rewards equivalent to those of more than 83 years. Subhan Allah that is longer than most of us will live!
May Allah enable us to make the best of these nights. May He enable us to catch the blessed Laylatul Qadr and gain the rewards that are promised for it. Ameen.