Wednesday, August 15, 2012

I'ITHIKAF and the Laila-tul-Qadr

In an article published in the Mauritius-based news paper LE MAURICIEN on August 14, 2012 Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Sahib (atba) explained the significance of the last Ten days of the Fasting Month of Ramadan for the spiritual life of the believers. Drawing upon Qur’anic promises and Prophetic traditions and the long-established Muslim practice of going into a spiritual retreat (I’ITHIKAF) in those days, the Messenger of Allah of our times exhorts Muslims to do plenty of acts of worship which shall earn him (or her) the pleasure of Allah”.   

For the benefit of our esteemed readers, we are reproducing the article below:

Our Muslim brothers and sisters have prepared themselves to go into retreat during the ten last days of Ramadan to seek the “Laila-tul-Qadr” (that is, the Night of Destiny). They are into retreat in the Mosque, and are in another state of mind to concentrate themselves wholly on such acts of worship as the obligatory prayers, the voluntary prayers, the remembrance of Allah, reading of the Holy Quran and even devoting them to the learning of Deen and working for the spread of the message of Allah. In a nutshell, they shall do such acts which shall profit both their soul and Islam, be it in this world and the hereafter.
What is the Laila-tul-Qadr? Both the Quran and Sunnah provide us an insight into the meaning of such a night and its impact on the lives of Muslims. In the Holy Quran, Allah says: Surely, We have revealed it (that is, the Qur'an) during the Night of Destiny. And what will make you understand what the Night of Destiny is? The Night of Destiny is better than a thousand months. The angels and the Spirit descend therein by the command of their Lord, with the divine order on everything. All is peace until the appearance of dawn.” (Chapter 97, verses 2-6)

Traditions relate that the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was on his way to inform the Muslims of the date of the Night of Destiny, when he encountered two persons who were quarrelling, and thus because of that interruption, he forgot its specific date. He expressed hope that it was good for Muslims. His noble wife, Hazrat Aisha (ra) informs us: The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) used to go in seclusion in the mosque during the last ten days of the month of Ramadan, saying 'Look for the Night of Destiny in the odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadan.'” (Bukhari & Muslim). So, the possible nights for this blessed night are the 21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th and 29th.
We then think about what a blessing it was when our beloved Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) forgot the specified day revealed to him by Allah. If today Muslims brothers and sisters would have known the exact date, therefore, they would have prayed with devotion only during that night with the hope of witnessing the Laila-tul-Qadr. But Allah does not want His servants for only one night. He wants them to pray Him again and again, seeking His pleasure. When we see the state of Muslims nowadays, how they shun the obligatory acts of worship and only seek blessed nights like for the Miraj in Rajab and Shaabé Baraat in the month of Shabaan, therefore, we come to see the wisdom behind not knowing the exact date of the Laila-tul-Qadr of Ramadan.
They would have the excuse to say: “We did good deeds for one night which is better than a thousand months; so, technically God has forgiven us, and in His eyes we deserve now to be raised spiritually and have access to Paradise.” Therefore, they could then abandon any effort to engage in charitable works and rest on their laurels, enjoying a deserved rest after the success. Victims of their little optimism justified, they would be doomed to destruction.

The hour of death is also a secret that Allah does not disclose, because if He did, someone might have given vent to his lustful desires, enjoy all the illicit pleasures that the world can offer, and then at the approach of his death, to repent, to devote himself entirely to the worship of God and say that he will meet death in repentance and practicing believer. In fact, these secrets are a spur that is constantly pushing the servant of God to practice piety, to repent constantly and deploy continuous efforts to improve his conduct.
Thus, fixing the Night of Destiny determined in a single night is a mistake. Recall that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) invited his companions to seek the Night of Destiny (Lailat al-Qadr) during the last ten days of Ramadan, and he himself gave the example of the practical and concrete search of that blessed night by withdrawing completely to the mosque during the last ten nights of Ramadan. Does Allah (swt) not say in the Holy Qur'an (Chapter 33 verse 22): You have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful model (to follow) for him who hopes in Allah and the Last Day and remembers Allah much” ?
The Muslim believer is, therefore, encouraged to do plenty of acts of worship which shall earn him the pleasure of Allah. When he fulfils the obligatory and seeks the voluntary, and then live his life throughout in a Halal  (licit) way, therefore his prayers are accepted and he become close to Allah, and when he accede to the pleasure of Allah, Allah opens for him the doors of His mercy and protect him in his everyday life from the accursed Satan who toil night and day to deviate the servants of Allah from the right path.
Thus, when that pious believer has reformed his life in the correct manner which Allah loves, therefore, it is for him that with the coming of the month of Ramadan, all Satans are chained and he lives his life in complete obedience to Allah. And whenever he faults (for humans are weak in nature), he seeks the forgiveness of His Rab, and acts upon His commandments.
May Allah bless the Muslims and Humanity as a whole. May the blessings of the month of Ramadan touch the souls of each and every servant of God who toil night and day to make the world a better place to live in and who encourage nations towards brotherly peace and the strengthening of brotherhood, for we all come from God and to Him shall be our return, (Ameen).
(C): Le Mauricien, August 14, 2012
For the original article, see the link: