We all know the great virtue of Laylat al-Qadr (the Night of Decree), which most people probably consider to be the twenty-seventh of Ramadan. We find in authentic hadiths that even if it’s not the twenty-seventh, it definitely falls under the last ten nights of Ramadan (although there is some difference of opinion regarding this).
The rewards of any good deeds in Laylatul Qadr is multiplied an incredible number of times. As Allah (swt) says, it’s better than 1000 months:
“Indeed, We sent the Qur’an 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. The angels and the Spirit descend therein by permission of their Lord for every matter. Peace it is until the emergence of dawn.” (97:5)
But the thing is, the last ten nights/ days of Ramadan have their own significance. Even if you see all the signs of Laylat al-Qadr on the twenty seventh night (or the twenty first or twenty third etc), you shouldn’t become lax on acts of worship because you think you’ve caught Laylat al-Qadr. In the same way, you shouldn’t increase your worship on the odd nights or the twenty seventh only.
Why? Firstly, you can never be a hundred percent sure you’ve caught Laylat al-Qadr on a particular night, and so you should work hard on all the last ten nights. Secondly, the last ten nights of Ramadan are special by themselves, because the Prophet (PBUH) used to increase his worship during these nights.
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The Last Ten Days
Aisha (ra) narrates: “Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) used to practice I`tikaf in the last ten nights of Ramadan and used to say, “Look for the Night of Qadr in the last ten nights of the month of Ramadan.” (Bukhari 2020)
Also: “With the start of the last ten days of Ramadan, Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) would pray all the night, and would keep his family awake for the prayers. He tied his lower garment and devoted himself entirely to prayer and supplication.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim, Qt in Riyad al-Salihin B1 #99)
Allah (swt) could have made it clear to the Prophet (sa) and to us exactly which date Laylatul Qadr is. But He didn’t. Instead, he inspired the Prophet (sa) to increase worship on all the last ten days of Ramadan.
In fact, the exact date of Laylatul Qadr was revealed to the Prophet once, but that knowledge was again taken away.
“Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) went out to inform the people about the (date of the) night of decree (Al-Qadr) but there happened a quarrel between two Muslim men.
“The Prophet (ﷺ) said, ‘I came out to inform you about (the date of) the night of Al-Qadr, but as so and so and so and so quarrelled, its knowledge was taken away (I forgot it) and maybe it was better for you. Now look for it in the 7th, the 9th and the 5th (of the last 10 nights of the month of Ramadan).’” (Bukhari 49)
Note that the Prophet (sa) said “maybe it was better for you” that he forgot.
The Prophet (sa) also said, ‘I have been shown Lailatul-Qadr, then I was caused to forget it, so seek it in the last ten night, on the odd-numbered nights.’” (Ibn Majah 1766)
Ibn Umar (Allah be pleased with them) reported Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) as saying:
“Seek it in the last (ten nights). If one among you shows slackness and weakness (in the earlier part of Ramadan), it should not be allowed to prevail upon him in the last week.” (Muslim 1165 e)
‘A’isha (RAA) narrated, ’The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) used to perform I’tikaf during the last ten days of Ramadan until he died. Then his wives used to perform I’tikaf after his death.’ (Agreed upon, qt in Bulugh al-Maram Book 5, Hadith 719)
She also narrated that “Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) used to exert himself in devotion during the last ten nights to a greater extent than at any other time.” (Muslim 1175)
Ibn Taymiyyah said regarding the last ten nights of Ramadan, “Ten days of Dhul Hijjah are better than the ten days of Ramadan, and the last ten nights of Ramadan are better than ten nights in Dhul Hijjah.”
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As you saw above, some of the hadiths about Laylatul Qadr mention that it is in the last ten nights, and others specify it further to be the odd nights only.
Narrated `Aisha: Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “Search for the Night of Qadr in the odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadan.” Bukhari 2017
So the point is, instead of looking out for Laylatul Qadr and increasing your good deeds on any particular night, exert yourself on all the last ten nights of Ramadan, and especially the odd nights.
مجموع فتاوى ابن تيمية
All hadith references are as per sunnah.com.
Related Video: Last 10 Nights of Ramadan – Dr. Yasir Qadhi