My Brothers: The last ten nights of Ramadhan have come upon us, in them is great rewards and virtues.
One great attribute of these last 10 days is that the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallaam) worked harder in worship in them more than any other time. It is narrated in Muslim on Aisha (radiallaahu `anha) that the Prophet used to exert himself in these last 10 days more than any other time. Aisha (radiallaahu `anha) said, “When the last 10 days came, he used to “tighten his izar” and stay up all night in worship, and wake his wives.” (Saheehayn) The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallaam) used to combine both prayer and sleep in the first 20 nights, but in the last 10 he would prepare to work hard an “tighten his izar” (stay away from his wives)
So in these ahadeeth are proofs of the virtue of these last 10 nights. Because the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallaam) worked harder than normal in his worship. And he would combine between prayer, reciting Qur’an, making dhikr, giving charity, and other forms of worship. He also used to “tighten his izar” which means that he would stay away form his wives to free himself for prayer and dhikr. Another proof of it’s virtue is that he used to stay up at night, praying, reciting Qur’an, and making thikr with his heart, tongue, and limbs, due to the greatness of these nights, and seeking Laylatul-Qadr, the night that whoever worships in it, with eman, and seeking reward, will be forgiven all of his previous sins. What is clear from these ahadeeth is that the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallaam) used to do different kinds of worship in this night, reciting Qur’an, praying, and also eating suhur, etc. So there is no contradiction between this fact and the hadith which is narrated in Saheeh Muslim on Aisha (radiallaahu `anha) that she said, “I never saw him pray all night until morning.”
Another proof of the virtue of these nights is that he used to wake his wives for worship in them, because they are in the presence of a chance of a lifetime. So it is not acceptable for any sane Muslim to pass this great opportunity for himself and his family, because it is only a few nights. Maybe a person will be happy in this life and the hereafter because of this one night.
And from the huge deprivations and losses is that you see some Muslims wasting their time n useless matters on this valuable night, and when it is time to pray they fall asleep. They have missed a great deal of good, and there is no guarantee they will have this chance again. This is from the shaytan’s tricks. The sane person would not take the Shaytan as an ally, knowing how much Shaytan hates us, and this goes against logic and eman.
Form the special matters of this month is that the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallaam) would make itikaf in it. Itikaf is staying in the masjid to free your time to worship Allah. This is a confirmed sunnah in both the Qur’an and Hadith. Allah says, “Then strictly observe the fast till nightfall and touch them not, but be at your devotions in the mosques.” And the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallaam) made itikaaf and his companions followed him in that. The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallaam) said, “I made itikaaf in the first 10 days of Ramadhan looking for this night, then the middle 10, then I was told it is in the last 10. So whoever wants to make itikaaf then let him do so.” (Muslim)
It is narrated in the Saheehayn on Aisha (radiallaahu `anha) that she said, “The Prophet made itikaaf in the last 10 days of Ramadhan until he died. Then his wives made itikaaf after him.” Aisha reported that when the Prophet wanted to make itikaaf, he would pray Fajr, then enter his place of itikaaf, so Aisha asked permission to enter and he gave her permission to enter, and she put up a tent to stay in. The Hafsa asked permission to enter, and also put up a tent, the same happned with Zainab. So when the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallaam) saw theses tents, he said, “What is this?” They said, “They were put up for Aisha and Hafsa and Zainab.” He said, “Did they intend righteousness by this? Take them down so I don’t see them.” So they were taken down and he left his itikaaf in Ramadhan. Then he made itikaaf in the first 10 days of Shawwal. (From Bukhari and Muslim) Imam Ahmad said, “I don’t know of any of the Ulama who disagreed that itikaaf is sunnah.”
The point of itikaaf is staying away from people to worship Allah in the masjid, seeking reward and Laylatul-Qadr. So he should be busy in worship, and he should not waste his time in talking except in useful matters with his family or friends. The proof is from the hadeeth of Umm al Mumineen Safiiya (radiallaahu `anha), “The Prophet was making itikaaf, so I visited him at night, so I talked to him, then got up to leave. So the Prophet got up with me.” (Agreed upon)
Marital relations are forbidden for the person making itikaaf, and what leads to it from kissing and touching. As for leaving the masjid with only part of the body it is permissible because of the hadeeth were Aisha (radiallaahu `anha) says, “The Prophet used to stick his head out of the masjid and I would wash his hair while I was in menstruation.” (Bukhari)
As for leaving the masjid, it is in three ways.
First: Leaving for necessity, such as for using the bathroom, making wudu or ghusl, and eating and drinking. All this is permissible unless they can be done in the masjid.
Second: Leaving to do a righteous action that is optional, such as visiting the sick or following a janaza, etc. He should not do this. If he wants to visit a sick person, or he fears the sick person may die, t\he may make a condition that he will leave in the beginning of his itikaaf, and this is fine.
Third: Leaving for something inconsistent with the itikaaf, such as buying and selling, having relaions with your wife, etc…This should not be done even if a condition is made before the itikaaf, and it would break the person’s itikaaf.
From the greatest things about theses nights is that they contain Laylatul-Qadr, which is better than 1000 months. So realize the virtue of these nights and do not waste them.