Surrendering to the Spiritual Majesty: The Last Ten Days of Ramadan

Dr. MAH Azhari
During Ramadan, as the moon rises high and the days slip into nights, there exists a moment of spiritual culmination — the last ten days. These days are not merely the conclusion of a month-long journey; they are a gateway to unparalleled blessings, forgiveness, and divine mercy. As we delve into the essence of these sacred moments, let us embark on a journey of worship and reflection that ignites our souls and draws us closer to the Divine.

In the final stretch of Ramadan, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) dedicated himself to acts of worship unlike any other time of the year. With the arrival of the last ten days, he intensified his devotion, spending the nights immersed in prayers, remembrance of Allah, and heartfelt supplications. Among his unique practices during this period was waking his family for the night prayer and exerting himself even more in worship, especially during these auspicious nights. It is authentically reported that he would gently awaken Fatimah and Ali, urging them to join him in prayer with the simple question, "Won't you two stand up for prayer?" This illustrates the Prophet's commitment to spiritual discipline and his encouragement for others to seize the opportunities for closeness to Allah during the blessed nights of Ramadan. His example illuminates the path of righteousness, urging us to seek forgiveness and mercy with humility and sincerity. Let us follow in his footsteps, striving to emulate his piety and dedication to worship.

At the pinnacle of these blessed days lies Laylat al-Qadr, the Night of Decree, a night so majestic that its worship surpasses a thousand months. Allah SWT says in the Quran:
"Indeed, We sent the Quran 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." (Quran, Surah Al-Qadr, 97:1-3)

Seeking the Night of Decree (Laylat al-Qadr) in the last ten days of Ramadan holds immense significance, as the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ instructed: 'Seek Laylat al-Qadr in the odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadan.' It is narrated in Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim that whoever stands in prayer on Laylat al-Qadr, driven by faith and anticipation of reward, will have their previous sins forgiven. This profound opportunity for spiritual renewal underscores the importance of vigilance and devotion during these blessed nights, as we strive to attain the forgiveness and mercy of Allah. Reflecting upon the teachings of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), we find guidance and inspiration in his devotion during these sacred nights. Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated that she asked the Prophet (peace be upon him) what to say if she knew which night was Laylat al-Qadr. He advised her to supplicate:
"O Allah, You are Forgiving and You love to forgive, so forgive me."(Hadith, Sahih al-Bukhari)

In the pursuit of Laylat al-Qadr's blessings, Thabit Al-Bunani and Hameed Ibn Taweel exemplified devotion by dressing in their finest attire, adorning themselves with perfume, and filling the masjid with fragrant incense. Thabit further recounted Tamim Al-Dari's practice of wearing a cloak worth a thousand dirhams on this auspicious night. Emphasizing the significance of these nights, it is recommended to cleanse oneself, dress elegantly, and apply perfume, as prescribed for congregational prayers and Eid celebrations, echoing Allah's call to adornment in the Quran. Yet, true adornment requires inner purification through repentance and turning sincerely to Allah, as mere external beauty holds no value without inner righteousness. Thus, in these final days of Ramadan, let us emulate the dedication of these companions, adorning both our outward appearance and inward selves in preparation for the divine blessings of Laylat al-Qadr. Can we afford to let such a night slip by without earnest supplication and devotion?

Within the spectrum of spiritual practices observed during the sacred month of Ramadan, one spiritual practise, in particular, that stands out for its profound impact on personal growth and connection with the divine is Iʿtikāf. The practice of secluding oneself in the masjid for worship and reflection.

The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ would consistently observe Iʿtikāf every Ramadan for ten days. However, in the year of his passing, he extended his Iʿtikāf to twenty days, setting a poignant example of dedication to worship and spiritual seclusion. This act exemplifies his unwavering commitment to drawing closer to Allah and maximizing the blessings of Ramadan, even in his final days. Such devotion serves as a timeless reminder for us to prioritize spiritual pursuits and intensify our efforts in seeking Allah's pleasure during the sacred month of Ramadan. Despite the Prophet Muhammad's (Peace be upon him) extensive engagements in leading the ummah, managing political affairs, and addressing internal matters, he consistently was available for the practice of Iʿtikāf during Ramadan. Such dedication serves as a powerful reminder for us not to overlook this opportunity for spiritual growth and connection with Allah.

During Iʿtikāf, Muslims engage in various acts of worship, including recitation of the Quran, dhikr (remembrance of Allah), and voluntary prayers. It is an opportunity to deepen our connection with the Quran, ponder its meanings, and internalize its guidance. Additionally, Iʿtikāf fosters a sense of community and brotherhood, as believers come together in devotion and support of one another's spiritual journey.

In the tranquillity of Iʿtikāf, we find solace and spiritual rejuvenation. Secluded within the walls of the masjid, we disconnect from the distractions of the world and immerse ourselves entirely in the remembrance of Allah. It is a time of introspection, of seeking clarity amidst the chaos, and of nurturing the bond between Creator and creation. Are we willing to forego this opportunity for spiritual enrichment?!

Beyond the individual acts of worship, the last ten days of Ramadan inspire a spirit of communal solidarity and compassion. It is a time to extend a helping hand to those in need, to embody the values of charity and kindness, and to foster unity within our communities. Let us remember that our worship is not confined to the mosque but extends to every act of goodness and compassion towards our fellow beings.

As we bid farewell to Ramadan, let us carry forward the lessons and blessings we have gained throughout this sacred month. Let us continue to embody the spirit of compassion, generosity, and devotion in our daily lives. Though Ramadan may end, the journey of faith continues, and it is our duty to sustain the spiritual momentum we have cultivated. May we remain steadfast in our devotion to Allah, seeking His guidance and mercy in all our endeavours, and may the spirit of Ramadan inspire us to be better individuals, spreading kindness and love wherever we go. Ameen.
© 2024 Dr. MAH Azhari