Tuesday, August 31, 2010
PREPARING FOR LAYLATUL QADR
1. Is there a need to prepare for Lailatul Qadr?
In order to answer this, let us define what the word PREPARE means?
Simply, put it means to make ready or fit, to bring into a suitable state, to make one ready
For e.g. when we want to prepare a meal, or go out for an event, we must have a GOAL in mind.
As in what is my end result, the final dish or my final destination where I wish to end up.
And as per the subject under discussion i.e. “Preparing for Lailatul Qadr” our GOAL is to take full benefit/make full use of the BOUNTIES & RAHMA that Allah (swt) bestows opens us in this night of LAYLATUL QADR.
It is important that we first understand the significance of LAYLATUL QADR in order that we know what sort of ‘ingredients’ are required for our preparation to reach the Ultimate Goal which is earning the pleasure of Allah (swt)
2. What is Laylatul Qadr therefore?
You are all aware of its importance so I will just briefly re-run through it.
In surah AL Qadr Allah (swt) clearly states: "Surely We revealed it (the Holy Qur'an) on the grand night. And what will make you comprehend what the grand night. The grand night is better than a thousand months. The angels and Gabriel descend in it by the permission of their Lord for every affair, Peace! It is till the break of the morning." (97:1-5)
Allah (swt) is inviting all the believers for a Divine feast; the invitation which has been brought by the messengers. Allah (swt) is the host, his most favorite angels are the servants and the believers are the guests. The table is spread with Divine blessings containing all sorts of rewards and favors. Though the eyes cannot see them nor the ears hear them not the human hearts imagine them, yet the bounties are all kept in readiness to be awarded to the guests in accordance to her actions.
Lailatul-Qadr is a blessed night because the Almighty brings down during it goodness, bliss, and forgiveness for His servants. It is a feast which has come with a message that shows one the way to achieve happiness in both the worlds. Laylatul Qadr is a feast for the spirit, a feast of worship and prayers.
Ahadith indicate that the fate of every believer for the coming year is decreed on this night.
When our Prophet (saw) was asked how man could enjoy the favors and good grace of proximity to, and mercy of, Allah (swt) he quoted Nabi Musa’s (as) supplication:
“Oh My God, I seek proximity to You; He (Allah) said: Proximity to Me is for him who stays awake on Laylatul Qadr
“Oh My God, I am in need of Your Mercy; He said: My Mercy is for him who shows mercy to the poor on Laylatul Qadr
“Oh My God, I am in need of the passport to cross the bridge; He said: that is for him who give alms on Laylatul Qadr
“Oh My God, I am in need of the trees in Paradise and their fruits; He said: that is for him who seeks forgiveness on Laylatul Qadr
“Oh My God, I seek deliverance from fire; He said: that is for him who remembers Allah on Laylatul Qadr
“Oh My God, I seek Your good pleasure; He said: that is for him who says a two rakat prayer on Laylatul Qadr
On another occasion Nabi Musa (as) said: “Oh My God, are You far away that I shout to You, or are You near that I whisper to You?” He said: “O Musa, I am sitting together with you!”
3. What do we therefore have to remind ourselves about Laylatul Qadr? That it is:
• A unique once in a year opportunity to do a life times worth of activity.
• Full of long lasting blessings
• The night of unsurpassed grandeur when the absolute Grand God revealed the Grand qur’an through the Grand Wahy - Jibraeel into the heart of the Grand Holy Prophet (saw)
• A once in a year occasion for influencing our future destiny - “QADR” - taqdeer. The Masumeen have explained to us that god in his infinite wisdom had planned the system of the universe in such a way that every persons destiny will be determined on a yearly basis in the angelic spheres through the agency of the imam of the age. Who is the leader and focus of the whole spiritual world) this gives MANKIND a unique opportunity to influence his own future (gains, loss/health/sickness, richness/poverty/ etc by performing certain acts, e.g. dua salat, sadaqah, jihad, acquiring knowledge, quran recitation etc.
• The night when the whole multitude of angels and the great spirit (ruh) descend on earth, greeting and praying for the believers and conveying messages to the Imam of age.
4. Do we than still need to PREPARE OURSELVES FOR LAYLATUL QADR after knowing its significance?
Yes, Let us imagine for a moment that we are invited for a special feast by the president of our country, who also tells us in advance that he is going to reward us with magnificent gifts as per the way we present and behave ourselves during the feast - What would we do ?
After the initial euphoria, we would leave no stone unturned to present themselves in the best possible manner. Preparations of what to wear, how to get there, what will I speak with the president, If I have to go through his secretary what will I say to him, what sort of gifts will I take with me, what sort of conversation with I have with him, all this and more will be thought about, rehearsed and re-rehearsed. Correct me if I am wrong!!
All this ‘tension’ in honor of an invitation from the President of a country. Lailatul Qadr is an invitation form the President of all Presidents, The Supreme One. Do we need to make preparations for this night?
Undoubtedly, we must start our preparations way ahead of time, after all going by human fitra, there is more than profit that can be got from this feast of Lailatul Qadr unless out of sheer carelessness we end up amongst those negligent and idle ones, who do not achieve anything except tiredness, loss and eternal doom, who will gain nothing except regret and cry out aloud on the day of Reckoning:
"Ah! Woe upon me! In that I neglected (my duty) towards Allah."
5. What sort of Pre-preparations are needed before the advent of this grand Qadr?
Jibrael was asked; "What has the Almighty Allah done on this night with the wishes of the believers among the nation of Muhammad (pbuh)?" He answered, "The Almighty Allah has looked upon them on this night and forgiven them, all of them, except the following:
“One who is addicted to drinking, One who severs his ties with his kin, and One who is a trouble-maker."
We have been advised to beseech Allah (swt) during the whole year before the arrival of the Night of Power,
to keep us alive for this night,
• To bestow upon us the towfiq to remain vigilant during this night and pray for blessings and forgiveness.
• To bless us that we are able to do the best of deeds on this night
• To comprehend fully the importance of this night which is superior to one thousand months.
• To pray that we can become one of the favorites of Allah (swt) and be blessed with His love, learning, nearness, union, pleasure, together with health, happiness, and welfare;
• To yearn and act so that Allah (swt) be so pleased with us in such a manner, that after this night He would never be displeased us again.
• To pray that our Aimma esp. the Imam-ul-Asr be pleased with us & intercede on our behalf
6. How to Prepare oneself for The Night of Power (Lailatul-Qadr).
(I) Preparing Mentally
• Strive to keep Allah (swt) at the fore of one’s mind the whole night long.
• All the Ibadah done should be recited in the state of being completely awake, aware, conscious, and with a live heart
If one feels that one will not be able to concentrate then start reciting from now "We are from Allah and towards Him is our return.” - Holy Qur'an (2:156) for it is considered as a tragedy if one can not in this night receive the divine grace in supplications
"Their prayers ascend upwards and reaches Allah, their words are accepted, and Allah loves to listen to their prayers the way a mother likes her own child."
Is not it shameful that the prayers which ascend upwards should be recited from the tip of the tongue, while the heart and soul remain occupied in worldly affairs?
Many a times, one feels that one cannot ‘properly’ perform a certain ibadah and so decided to forgo it. One should not do listen to this ‘waswas’ instead, one should perform it & more, for acceptance lies in the Hand of the Mercy of Allah (swt).
(ii) Preparing Physically
The other preparations to be done for this night are,
• for worshipping in this night a suitable place, dress, and perfume should be arranged in advance (comfortable dress which does not distract us)
• paying alms during this night - to the people who really deserve financial support
• Follow the translation of the duas in order to understand what you are reciting for lutf is only got when one knows what one is reciting.
(iii) Preparing spiritually
• increase ones eagerness for receiving the promised bounties and blessings;
• select worships and deeds which are more in harmony with ones mood
• When one stands for prayer, or any other ibadah, to briefly spare a moment to think about the wisdom of that action/its meaning etc for e.g. Why am I standing towards Mecca? To realize that when I stand on my two feet, it indicates my hope and fear about the acceptance of my worship
• Resorting (Tawassul) to Ahlul-Bait [a] - With persistence, supplicating in a polite and soft manner, with words and content arousing their sympathies, should beseech them for bestowing upon us the grace of being vigilant during this night.
• Crying and Shedding Tears:
that during these nights ones fear, humility, tears, crying, anguish, and lamentation be increased as much as possible. The Learned Scholar Hajj Mirza Javad Agha Maliki Tabrizi (r.a.) in his book (Suluk-i Arifan) Spiritual Journey of the Mystics tell us that One of the best method is that one should tie ones hands around ones neck; should pour dirt upon ones head; should place ones head against a wall; sometimes one should stand and sometimes one should cry; should imagine oneself at the scene of Judgment Day; and the way sinners are rebuked with harshness, then one should imagine and be scared least Allah (the Glorious, the Exalted) orders: "Seize ye him, bind ye him, burn ye him in the blazing fire, and make him march in a chain whereof the length is seventy cubits." - Holy Qur'an (69:30-32)
Then one should cry: "O' Thou are the most compassionate, and Thou Who are the shelter of unsheltered ones!" "Where is Your vast blessing? Where is Your infinite forgiveness? Where are Your love and benevolence?" Ask for forgiveness of past sins in the most appealing manner with a promise to try never to return to the sins again - a TAWBA in every sense of the word Present ones requests before the Almighty with full hope that they will be answered. The Prophet (S.A.W.) when asked what one should invoke Allah during these nights, said: "Ask for your safety (here and in the hereafter)".
7. Recommended Ibadah to be performed on The Night of Qadr:
WE are advised that this night be divided into 3 parts -
1st part to be allocated for Gaining Knowledge - Najhul Balagha, Tadabbur etc
2nd part to be allocated for Meditation (not when you are too sleepy)
One should not forget to select a period for having a private union between oneself and ones Creator and
3rd part to be allocated for Salatul Layl to connect with Nawaafil with Subh prayer
Suggested ways to get the maximum of this blessed opportunity”
1: Imam al- Sadiq (as) quotes “On all these nights, it is recommended that you perform the ghusl twice: once at the beginning of the night, and once at its end”.
When performing the recommended ghusl, to remember that while god likes physical cleanliness, more important He loves inner cleanliness of the heart, from immoral character e.g. jealousy, greed, etc. Thus resolve to clean the soul also by TAUBAH + JIHAD of NAFS
2: When praying 2 rakat namaz of recommended prayers with 7 times surah tawheed, make efforts to concentrate on the message of tawheed and get the heart to believe that truly GOD ALONE is ALL -powerful/All Merciful/Independent etc. therefore we should fear none BUT HIM, hope from none BUT HIM, we should ask from none BUT HIM
3: After the salaah when repeating ISTEGHFAR 70 times try to first be really repentant for serious mistakes done, sincerely ask for forgiveness either by: (a) recalling 70 different sins OR (b) feeling remorseful for 10 sins of the 7 main organs: eyes, ears, tongue, hands, mouth, stomach + private parts OR (c) some particular sins that you may have committed repeatedly OR
(d) recalling the variety of punishments of different sins and finally resolve NOT TO Repeat them in the future, then only can one realistically expect to deserve the reward the HP has promised “Whoever performs this act will surely be forgiven by the Almighty even before here rises from his place".
When opening the qur’an and praying for your needs with the intercession of the qur’an, realize that while the qur’an is a cure for spiritual illness, it only benefits the pious ones and the evil doers are deprived of its illumination. Thus increase the chances for qur’an intercession to work on your behalf by earnestly following the rulings of the qur’an.
While placing the qur’an on the head. Remind yourself that true salvation can only be achieved by always keeping the rules of qur’an ahead of us to follow. The fact that we put the Qur’an on our head is a sign of respect and reverence. We beseech Allah by the thaqalayn - the speaking and the silent Qur'an. - Holy Qur'an (39:56)
As you seek intercession of the Al mighty (bika ya al…) and the 14 infallibles realize that God is limitless Ounces of Mercy and the Ma’sumen pure agencies for the distribution of divine mercy to all creations.
While performing Ziyarah of Imam Husein (as), remind yourself that on this august night, the souls of 124,000 Prophets (peace be upon them all) visit Imam, who is aware of our inner spiritual reality and is hurt and repulsed by our record of repeated evil deeds, indifference to God’s commandments; thus, we should avoid disgracing ourselves in that great audience of Imam. Also, associate the themes in the ZIYARAH of:
• Firm bond of love and obedience of God (SALAT).
• Economic betterment of community (ZAKAT).
• Overall mobilization of forces towards virtue (AMR BIL MA`RUF).
• Overall cleansing of evil from society.
• All-out war in all spheres of life to promote truth (JIHAD).
• Tremendous endurance of all ensuing difficulties (SABR).
• Complete distancing (LA`NAH) from all forms of injustice (DHULM) with destiny- shaping opportunity of this night and resolve to become on active player in improving the future in preparation for the REAPPEARANCE OF AL-MAHDI.
8. How to Farewell the Night of Power (Lailatul-Qadr) One should resort (tawassul) to the M'asumin - to whom that night belongs - should submit ones deeds & worship to those exalted ones, with a heart broken, with grief & shedding tears, should request them to make those deeds as righteous, and request them to intercede with Allah (swt)
9. The Day of Power (Qadr)
According to Ahadeeth both the night and day are interconnected, as far as their worth, value, esteem, and splendor are concerned, i.e. if the day is esteemed and honorable, the night of that day also possesses the same distinction and vice versa. Therefore, we must appreciate the importance of the Days of Power and like the Nights of Power, should celebrate them by sincerely performing worships and righteous deeds.
On a final note, our destiny to large extent can be changed in this very night and much depends on us, how we decide to utilize both the night and the day of Qadr and for that matter each single moment of this blessed month of Ramadhan.
Let us therefore pray together that we may be granted the Tawfiq to be able to do the A’maals of Laylatul Qadr in its correct essence, that we may be granted the Maghferah and that we may earn the Pleasure of Allah (swt) in such a manner that our lives take a positive turn in a manner that we may earn the salvation for both this world and the Hereafter. Ameen
A humble request that we remember each other in our prayers and especially those we do not forget our Marhumeen...
Rabbana Taqabbul Minna……………
Source : http://www.dartabligh.org/