There is no sole specified act which has been prescribed for this night, except that there is a specific invocation to recite on Laylat al-qadr. Seeking forgiveness on this night is the one thing that has been stressed dearly by the Prophet PBUH. After Aisha RA enquired as to what Du’a should be recited if one knew when Laylat al-qadr was, the Prophet PBUH instructed her to say:
اللَّهُمَّ إِنَّكَ عُفُوٌّ كَرِيمٌ تُحِبُّ الْعَفْوَ فَاعْفُ عَنِّي
“O Allah! You are Most Forgiving, and you love to forgive. So forgive me.”
What’s fascinating about the word Afuww (meaning forgiveness) in this Dua is that it differs greatly from the general idea of forgiveness. Afuww refers to a complete wipe-out of something or to erase and efface something. And with the night being closely tied to establishing decrees for the forthcoming year, the Du’a is a special call to erase any misdeeds or afflictions from our decree which is finalised on this night.
Besides reciting this Du’a, the night has been established as a means of drawing closer to Allah by intensifying and maximising any form of worship. It is all about being conscious of this fact and realising that time is of the essence. With the night technically beginning at the time of Maghrib Salah, every moment from that time onwards should be used wisely and in remembrance of Allah.
Practically, the night should be spent in the recitation of the Qur’an, in Du’a or nafl/Tahajjud prayers. This was stressed by Imam al-Shafi’i who mentions that the pious predecessors spent their night in one or all of these three acts of worship and whosoever does this, has surely been rewarded. The integral point is that one does not miss worshipping on this night as one who does so has missed out on a great thing.
Praying Isha and Fajr in the mosque has also been greatly emphasised by the Prophet PBUH and scholars. The Prophet PBUH mentions the following regarding the Isha and Fajr prayer: “He who observed the ‘Isha’ prayer in congregation, it was as if he prayed up to midnight, and he who prayed the morning prayer in congregation, it was as if he prayed the whole night.” [Sahih Muslim]
The Twenty-Minute Programme
If you’re struggling to spend much time on these blessed nights doing the above, take out at least twenty minutes to accomplish the following four things:
- Spend 5 minutes performing Tahajjud/Nafl prayers
- Spend 5 minutes doing Dhikr of SubhanAllah, Alhamdulillah and Allahu Akbar
- Spend 5 minutes reciting a portion of the Qur’an (or simply look at it if you cannot recite it or struggle to recite it)
- Lastly, end your night by speaking to Allah, asking for His forgiveness and asking Him to accept your many wishes and desires. Don’t forget to include the above Dua.
Scholars of the past were baffled by the greatness of this night that they often found it challenging to articulate their thoughts.
Ibn Al-Qayyim said: “If Laylat al-qadr was one night in the year, I would stand for the night prayer the entire year, so I obtain it. So, what about one night in just ten nights?” [Badaa-i’ al-Fawaa-id]
It is a tremendous blessing of Allah that He enabled all of us – including the old, young, weak and strong – to take part in this divine moment and receive the reward of a lifetime. All we are left to do is stand up and respond to his divine blessing by honouring the night!