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How to Focus in the Last 10 Nights of Ramadan

Nailah Dean

 Ramadan is the month to grow closer to our Creator. Ramadan is the month of Mercy. Ramadan is the Month of Quran. Ramadan is the month of Forgiveness. The Last 10 Nights of Ramadan holds special importance being that the Prophet (PBUH) would exert his best in worship during the last 10 days of Ramadan (Sahih Muslim).

Why are the Last 10 Nights of Ramadan Important?

The last 10 nights of Ramadan because it is when we as muslims seek the night of Laylatul Qadr(The night of Decree) when Allah releases are very important
Lady A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said: “The Prophet (pbuh) would exert his best (in worship) during the last 10 days (of Ramadan) more than at other times.” [Muslim]
The exact date of Laylatul Qadr is unknown, although it is thought to occur on an odd night in the last 10 days of Ramadan (e.g. the 21st, 23rd, 25th, 27 or 29th night). The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “Seek it in the last 10 days, on the odd nights,” (Hadith, Bukhari and Muslim).

A very important question to ask oneself is:

How can I focus in the Last 10 Nights of Ramadan?

1. Detox from Media

I think this is a good place to start. In order to deepen our spiritual practice, we must turn away from as much dunya matters as possible. While we must continue to fulfill our obligations by going to work, or taking care of our families, we can reduce time spent on things like entertainment that might create unnecessary distraction. Deleting your social media apps for the month is an easy way to silence the extra noise. Scrolling through Instagram or Facebook may not only fill our minds with harmful messaging, but it can create a time-suck, where five minutes turns into two hours. In addition, it’s also a good idea to “fast” from television, movies, or music. Why? Because those forms of entertainment may fill our minds with things other than Allah SWT. This is a great month to detox on all forms of entertainment so that our minds can be clean and ready to engage in reflection of Allah SWT and all the wonders that He has created. 

2. Give Sadaqah

Being generous in Ramadan is a great way to seek forgiveness in Allah and race toward Jannah Firdaus. Deeds are amplified in the last 10 days of Ramadan specifically. The rewards of giving sadaqah during Ramadan are increased by 70 and the reward for any righteous act during Laylatul Qadr is equivalent to having performed the same act for over 83 years! There are many charitable organizations like LaunchGoods, Islamic Relief USA, and ICNA Relief who can help make it easier to give to those in need to muslims all around the world. You can also donate to your local mosque/masjid.

3. Perform Qiyam or Tahajud

Many Muslims focus and pray on the last 10 nights of Ramadan in Taraweeh to seek Laylatul Qadr (the night of Decree).
The exact date of Laylatul Qadr is unknown, although it is thought to occur on an odd night in the last 10 days of Ramadan (e.g. the 21st, 23rd, 25th, 27 or 29th night). The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “Seek it in the last 10 days, on the odd nights,” (Hadith, Bukhari and Muslim)
One of my favorite aspects of Ramadan is the ability to go to the mosque late at night and pray taraweeh with other believers. I become entranced by the rhythmic voice of the Qari, and enjoy the short khatiras in between the rest points. What I find even more nurturing is doing qiyam or tahajud on my own. When I have the stamina, I either stay up until the last third of the night to pray, or wake up right before I need to start eating for sahoor, and pray tahajud. At this time of night, no one else is awake, and I feel wrapped up in the bounty of the night, feeling closeness to Allah SWT. Because of the quiet, distraction-free time, I am able to focus more on my duas, and connect with the ayahs I’m reading. 

Praying in the middle of the night was a treasured ibadah of our beloved Prophet SWS. Abu Umama al-Bahili radhiAllahu anhu reports that the Messenger of Allah said, “Hold fast to night prayer, for it was the way of the righteous before you, a way of drawing closer to your Lord, an expiation for wrong deeds, and a shield from sin.” [Tirmidhi, and others]. 

4. Read Quran in the language you understand

I remember going to a halaqa a few years back. The group consisted of students and young professionals across Boston. We took turns reflecting on different themes within surahs in the Quran. One attendee, an Arab American woman, gave her reflection and then mentioned in passing how this was a new experience for her. Although she spoke Arabic, her mother-tongue, she was not familiar with the type of formal Arabic found in the Quran(Fusha arabic). She appreciated the fact that the group exercises forced her to find a good translation of the Quran and engage with it on a weekly basis. 
There are many people with similar experiences. Their ability to read Quran allows them to understand “the gist” of things, but lack full comprehension because of the complexity of the tafsir(explanation of the Quran) This can lead to a disconnect within the heart. 
It’s important that we try our best to understand what we are reciting in our prayers. The comprehension of the words in a language we understand best can lead to heightened reflection which can lead to easier implementation of Allah’s teachings. Ramadan is a great opportunity to pick up a solid translation of the Quran and read it to reflect on Allah’s teachings. One of my favorite translations is by M.A.S. Abdel Haleem and published by Oxford World’s Classics. It is eloquent, but easier to digest. Check it out!

5. Sit with your Tasbeh

The first time I went with a big group to umrah, we were instructed to go independently to the harem in Medinah and sit in silence for one hour doing dhikr. I remember being so antsy that first time! While I had experienced group dhikr before, I had never spent more than maybe ten minutes at a time engaged in dhikr on my own. I soon learned though, that just like any type of meditation, an effective practice of dhikr requires a “warm up” period. I like to start off with a small number of istighfar, and build up from there. I add in salawat, and both Quranic and personal dua. The first ten or fifteen minutes might involve me fidgeting or trying to check my phone that I put on silent. However, once I get past that beginning stage I am able to really focus and feel connected to the words that are spilling out of my mouth. I begin to get into a steady rhythm, sometimes closing my eyes, and really focus on the lifeline that I am cultivating with Allah SWT. 

                  “Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest”.” [Quran 13:28]

I think the last two Ramadans spent in major seclusion, allowed many of us to achieve a closeness with the Divine that we had not before. Many of us were leading our own mini tarawehs, or creating i’tikafs in our homes. Others, accomplished their goal of finishing the Quran. The solitude led us to do more and dig deeper into ourselves to deepen our connection to Allah SWT.

While it’s important to engage in the communal aspect of the month, we should attempt to pay attention to ibadah that leads us to contemplate the beauty of our religion and the immensity of Allah SWT. May Allah let us all witness Laylatul Qadr! Ameen

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