The Virtues of Night Worship

Which of the Last Ten Nights of Ramadan Isn’t Laylatul Qadr?

file000386365548Which of the Last Ten Nights of Ramadan Isn’t Laylatul Qadr?

Despite knowing that the Blessed Night of Power falls somewhere in the last ten days of Ramadan, the question continues to pop up: Which night is Laylatul Qadr? But before we ask such a question it would help to step back and look deep into the spirituality of Islam.

Rather than mechanistically looking at the last ten nights as a gambling of a limited supply of worshiping energy, scarcely interspersed here and there, and wrestling with ourselves on whether tonight is an odd night or an even night depending on which moon-sighting system was used, we can save ourselves some stress by considering Laylatul Qadr and what it means to be a sincere worshiper. At the heart of any act of worship is sincere intention (ikhlas) and in skewing our ibadah in only a few of the last ten nights, hoping to bump into the blessed Night of Power by chance, not effort, we risk damaging that crucial sincere intention, so that even if we do perform ibadah on the Night of Power, we run the risk of a diminished reward.

How does it appear to our Lord, Allah subhana wa ta’ala, to see His servants knit-picking over which of the last ten nights is the Night of Power? Is not the reward generous enough that we should rush to it? If we are being stingy with our worship, then do we truly yearn to seek the Face of our Lord? If we find weakness in our hearts, then these are the tough questions we need to ask ourselves.

We can also ask ourselves: “If tonight were the Night of Power, and I did happen to pray this night, but I neglected worship on all the other of the last ten nights- is this proper adab towards my Creator? Do I expect my Lord’s generosity while I am greedy with my worship? Even with my poor adab, if I were to gain the reward, what sort of relationship is this to have with my Lord? Don’t I desire closeness (qurb) with my Most Merciful Lord?” No matter how tired you are, you will be fully rested the next day, so what does it matter if you are feeling tired in worship when the reward is worth a 1,000 months?

And whosoever honors the Symbols of Allah, then it is truly from the piety (taqwa) of the heart. (Qur’an, 22.32)

The Night of Power is undoubtedly a tremendous symbol of Allah, and the question of which of the last ten nights is the Night of Power can be answered through the meanings of this verse. Honoring the Night of Power entails not simply worshiping during it, but honoring all of the last ten nights. Seen from this perspective we can ask our nafs rhetorically, “Which of the last ten nights of Ramadan isn’t Laylatul Qadr?” And as Ramadan greets us goodbye in honoring the last ten nights with due worship, we honor the greater blessing that is Ramadan.

May Allah bless us with the fullest reward of Laylatul Qadr, ameen.