“Verily, We have sent it (this Qur’an) down on the night of Qadr. And what will make you know what the night of Qadr is? The night of Qadr is better than a thousand months. Therein descend the angels and the Ruh (Jibreel) by Allah’s Permission with all Decrees. (All that night), there is Peace until the appearance of dawn.” (Qur’an 97:1-5)
Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam would exert himself in devotion during the last ten nights to a greater extent than at any other time. (Muslim)
A’ishah radhiyallahu anha related that Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam said: ‘Search for Laylatul Qadr on the odd-numbered nights during the last ten nights of Ramadan.’ (Bukhari)
Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam said: ‘Whoever prays during the night of Qadr with faith and hoping for its reward will have all of his previous sins forgiven.’ (Bukhari and Muslim)
Here are some tips of things we can do to maximize these blessed days:
1. Take a vacation for Allah
We take a break from our jobs for almost everything in life. Why not take out time to focus on worshiping and thanking our Creator? If this is not completely possible, take a few days off at least if you can. This can make it easier to stay awake at night to do extra Ibadah, not having to worry about getting to work the next day. It will also facilitate doing I’tikaaf.
2. Perform I’tikaaf
It was a practice of Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam to spend the last ten days and nights of Ramadan in the Masjid for I’tikaaf. Those in I’tikaaf in the Masjid perform various forms of Thikr (remembrance of Allah), perform additional Salaah, and recite and study the Noble Qur’an. I’tikaaf of a shorter period of time, like one night, a day or a couple of days is encouraged as well.
3. Make this special Du’a and get your sins wiped out
A’ishah radhiyallahu anha said: I asked Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam: ‘O Messenger of Allah, if I know which night is the night of Qadr, what should I say during it?’ He said: ‘Say: O Allah, You are the One who Pardons and You love to pardon, so pardon me.’ (Ibn Majah & Tirmidhi)
The transliteration of this Du’a is “Allahumma innaka ‘afuwwun tuhibbul ‘afwa fa’fu ‘annee”.
Abu Hurairah radhiyallahu anhu narrated that Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam said: ‘Whoever stands (in prayer) on Laylatul Qadr while nourishing his faith with self-evaluation, anticipating reward from Allah, will have all of his previous sins forgiven.’ (Bukhari and Muslim)
One of the best times to make du’a is during the last part of the night.
Abu Hurairah radhiyallahu anhu narrated that Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam said: ‘When the last third of the night remains, Allah, the Glorious, descends towards the heaven of the earth and proclaims: Who is there who supplicates for Me, and I may grant his supplication? Who is there who begs Me for anything and I may grant it to him? And who is there who seeks My forgiveness, and I may forgive him?’ (Bukhari, Muslim)
This means for instance, waking up an hour or so before Suhoor time to ask Allah for anything and everything your heart desires. This can be done supplicating with the Du’as of the Sunnah, but more preferable is Du’a in your own language, with sincerity and conviction.
4. Make a personal Du’a list
Ask yourself what you really want from Allah. Make a list of each and everything, no matter what it is, whether it deals with this world or not. Allah loves to hear from us.
5. Recite the Qur’an
Perhaps you can choose Surahs or passages from the Qur’an, which you have heard in Tarawih to recite. If you have attended a class where the recitation of the Qur’an is taught, this is a great time to put your knowledge into practice. Choose the last few Surahs or a particular Surah of your choice and read its translation and Tafseer. Then think deeply about their meaning and how it affects you on a personal level. However, the most meritorious is to complete an entire recitation of the Qur’an as many a times as possible.
6. Evaluate yourself
Ask yourself those questions that need to be asked. Do an evaluation of where you are and where you are going. Let this evaluation lead you to feel happiness for the good you have done and remorse for the bad you have done. This latter feeling should make it easier to seek Allah’s sincere forgiveness when making the Du’a.
7. Make a to-do list for the odd nights of the last ten days
This should define how you would like your night, the one better than a thousand months, to be used. Pick things from this list and define the sequence you would like to do things in. This will help you avoid wasting your time in unproductive and frivolous activities.