Muslim Girl in America

I'm an American girl, born and raised, and a Muslim.

Laylat-ul Qadr (or The Night of Power): Meaning and Prayers

Meaning

The last 10 days of Ramadan are particularly full of ibadat (or prayer). Within these days lie what is known as The Night of Power, or Laylat-ul Qadr. It is believed that on the Night of Power, the Quran was first revealed to Prophet Muhammed (Peace Be Upon Him). On this night, it’s also believed that angels come down to earth on every errand for Allah, and the blessings received are those as if you had prayed for a thousand nights.

There is an entire Surah in the Quran about this night (Surah Al Qadr, #97):

“We have indeed revealed this (Message) in the Night of Power.

“And what will explain to thee what the night of power is?

“The Night of Power is better than a thousand months.

“Therein come down the angels and the Spirit by Allah’s permission, on every errand:

“Peace!…This until the rise of morn!” (Surah 97:1-5)

 

The importance of this night is also referenced in Hadith:

“Whoever establishes the prayers on the night of Qadr out of sincere faith and hoping to attain Allah’s rewards (not to show off) then all his past sins will be forgiven.” Hadith, Bukhari Vol 1, Book 2:34

 

The specific date of this night was never revealed, though many observe this night on the odd days during the end of Ramadan* (21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th, and/or 29th nights, perhaps even others). The 27th night of Ramadan is widely believed to be the Night of Power, and so is considered to be especially important for ibadat.

 

*NOTE 1: For those unaware, the Islamic calendar is based on the lunar calendar (not the Gregorian one with months January-December). This is why Ramadan (the 9th month on the Islamic calendar) shifts and has no set start date every year on a Gregorian calendar. So the Night of Power may exist on an odd day in the Islamic calendar.

*NOTE 2: The month of Ramadan actually starts after sunset the day before the first day of fasting. For example, for 2014, my first day of fasting was Sunday, June 29th, but the first night of Ramadan was Saturday, June 28th. So when counting the nights of Ramadan, you must take this into consideration. For example, the 27th night of Ramadan occurs on the 26th day of fasting.

 

Ramadan Weeks 3-4: Prayers

For my non-Muslims blog readers, you may not understand the descriptions/recitations below. I will not go into a detailed description of salat (or Islamic prayer) here, though you can find more detailed descriptions from reputable sources online and in books.

I have listed particular prayers you can do for the Night of Power below. I have used as reference my mother, books she owns on prayers to say these nights during Ramadan, and Islamic Academy (which I will refer to as IA from here on out). IA referenced those same prayers though with slight differences, so you may see “OR” at various points because I list both sources. These are just the prayers and guidelines I have found; if you have different prayers for these nights listed, please comment below or contact me. Thank you to my mother and IA for the references.

Some general prayers:

  • In any night of Ramadan, after taraweeh, recite Surah Qadr seven (7) times. Allah Willing (Insha’Allah), the one who does so, will be saved from all troubles and afflictions.
  • On the Night of Power, or even on a Friday, recite Salat-Ul-Tasbih. Click here for IA’s instructions to perform Salat-ul-Tasbih. (Note: I have performed this with my mother, though I did not have a chance to confirm the contents of the IA website with her).

 

Night-specific prayers:

Each of the below nights has multiple prayers you should try to do or Quranic verses you should try to recite/read. The prayers listed below are all nafl (or optional) prayers that should be recited after completing Isha prayers (which are the last prayers of each day) on the night in question.

 

21st Night of Ramadan

  1. Pray four (4)naflrakats (2 at a time).
    • In each rakat, after Surah Fatihah, recite Surah Qadr once (1) and Surah Ikhlas once (1).
    • After completion of salat (namaz), recite Durood Sharif seventy (70) times. IA has a list of Durood here.
    • Benefit: Insha’Allah (Allah Willing), angels will pray for forgiveness for that person.
  2. Pray two (2)naflrakats (all at one time).
    • In each rakat, after Surah Fatihah, recite Surah Qadr once (1) and Surah Ikhlas three (3) times.
    • After completion of salat, recite anyAstaghfar seventy (70) times. IA suggests the following:
      1. “Allah Hummagh Fir Li Wa Tub A’laiyya Inna Ka Innta Tawwabur Raheem” OR
      2. “Astaghfirullah Rabbi Min Kulli Zambiyon Wa Atoobu ilaiyh”
    • Benefit: Insha’Allah, effective for forgiveness of sins.
  3. Recite Surah Qadr twenty-one (21) times.

 

23rd Night of Ramadan

  1. Pray four (4)naflrakats (2 at a time).
    • In each rakat, after Surah Fatihah, recite Surah Qadr once (1) and Surah Ikhlas three (3) times.
    • After completion of salat, recite any Durood Sharif seventy (70) times.
    • Benefit: Insha’Allah, effective for forgiveness of sins.
  2. Pray eight (8)naflrakats (2 at a time).
    • In each rakat, after Surah Fatihah, recite Surah Qadr once (1) and Surah Ikhlas once (1).
    • After completion of salat, reciteKalimaTamjeed seventy (70) times.
      1. NOTE: You can find the Kalimas on Wikipedia or on IA. Here is the phonetic recitation of the Kalima in Arabic, as supplied by IA:
      2. Kalima Tamjeed: “Subhan Allahi Wal Hamdu Lillahi Wa La ilaaha illal laho Walla Hu Akbar. Wala Haowla Wala Quwwata illa Billa Hil Aliyil Azeem”.
  3. After recitingKalimaTamjeed, pray for forgiveness of sins.
    • Benefit: Insha’Allah, for forgiveness of sins.
  4. Recite Surah Ya Sin once (1) and Surah Rahman once (1).

 

25th Night of Ramadan

  1. Pray four (4)naflrakats (2 at a time).
    • In each rakat, after Surah Fatihah, recite Surah Qadr once (1) and Surah Ikhlas five (5) times.
    • After completion of this salat, recite theKalimaTayyibah one hundred (100) times.
      1. Kalima Tayyab (per IA): “Laa ilaaha illal Laho Mohammadur Rasoolullah”.
    • Benefit: Insha’Allah, Allah will give them unlimited sawab (good Deeds).
  2. Pray four (4)naflrakats (2 at a time).
    • In each rakat, after Surah Fatihah, recite Surah Qadr three (3) times and Surah Ikhlas three (3) times.
    • After completion of salat, recite any Astaghfar seventy (70) times OR KalimaShahadat seventy (70) times.
      1. Astaghfar (per IA):
        • “Allah Hummagh Fir Li Wa Tub A’laiyya Inna Ka Innta Tawwabur Raheem” OR
        • “Astaghfirullah Rabbi Min Kulli Zambiyon Wa Atoobu ilaiyh”
      2. Kalima Shahadat (per IA): “Ashadu Anlaa ilaaha illal Lahu Wa Ash Hadu Anna Mohammadan Abduhu Wa Rasoolohu”
    • Benefit: Insh’Allah, for pardoning of sins.
  3. Pray two (2)naflrakats (all at once).
    • In each rakat, after Surah Fatihah, recite Surah Qadr once (1) and Surah Ikhlas fifteen (15) times.
    • After completion of salat, reciteKalimaShahadat seventy (70) times.
      • Kalima Shaadat (per IA): “Ashadu Anlaa ilaaha illal Lahu Wa Ash Hadu Anna Mohammadan Abduhu Wa Rasoolohu”.
    • Benefit: Insh’Allah, freedom from the punishment of the grave.
  4. Recite SurahDukhan once (1).
    • Benefit: Insh’Allah, freedom from the punishment of the grave.
  5. Recite SurahFath seven (7) times.
    • Benefit: Insh’Allah, fulfillment of desires and wishes.

 

27th Night of Ramadan

  1. Pray two (2)naflrakats (all at once).
    • In each rakat, after Surah Fatihah, recite Surah Qadr three (3) times, and Surah Ikhlas seven (7) OR twenty-seven (27) times.
    • After completion of salat, pray for the forgiveness of sins.
    • Benefit: Insha’Allah, forgiveness of previous sins.
  2. Pray twelve (12)naflrakats (4 at a time).
    • In each rakat, after Surah Fatihah, recite Surah Qadr once (1), and Surah Ikhlas seven (7) OR fifteen (15) times.
    • After completion of salat, recite anyAstaghfar seventy (70) times.
      1. Astaghfar (per IA):
        1. “Allah Hummagh Fir Li Wa Tub A’laiyya Inna Ka Innta Tawwabur Raheem” OR
        2. “Astaghfirullah Rabbi Min Kulli Zambiyon Wa Atoobu ilaiyh”.
  3. Pray four (4)naflrakats (2 at a time).
    • In each rakat, after Surah Fatihah, recite Surah Takathur once (1) and Surah Ikhlas three (3) times.
    • Benefit: Insha’Allah, saved from hardship at the time of death, and freed from the punishment of the grave.
  4. Pray two (2)naflrakat (all at one time).
    • In each rakat, after Surah Fatihah, recite Surah Ikhlas seven (7) times.
    • After completion of salat, recite this seventy (70) times:
      • “Astaghfirul laa hal azeemil lazee laa ilaaha illa huw al haiy yul qayyoomu wa atoobu ilahh”.
    • Benefit: Before the person gets up from the praying area, insh’Allah they and their parents will receive pardons, and Allah Almighty will command the angels to adorn the Paradise for them.
  5. Pray two (2)naflrakat (all at one time).
    • In each rakat, after Surah Fatihah, recite Surah al Inshirah once (1) and Surah Ikhlas three (3) times.
    • After completion of salat, recite Surah Qadr eleven (11) OR twenty-seven (27) times.
    • Benefit: Insh’Allah, for unlimited sawab of Ibadat.
  6. Pray four (4)naflrakat (all at one time).
    • In each rakat, after Surah Fatihah, recite Surah Qadr three (3) times, and Surah Ikhlas eleven (11) OR fifty (50) times.
    • After completion of salat, reciteKalimaTamjeed insajdah (prostration position ofnamaz):
      • Kalima Tamjeed (per IA): “Subhan Allahi Wal Hamdu Lillahi Wa La ilaaha illal laho Walla Hu Akbar. Wala Haowla Wala Quwwata illa Billa Hil Aliyil Azeem”.
    • Benefit: Insh’Allah, fulfillment of desires and wishes.
  7. Recite Surah alMulk seven (7) times.
    • Benefit: Insh’Allah, freedom from punishment.

 

29th Night of Ramadan

  1. Pray four (4)naflrakats (2 at a time).
    • In every rakat, after Surah Fatihah, recite Surah Qadr once (1) and Surah Ikhlas three (3) times.
    • After completion of salat, recite Surah al Inshirah eleven (11) OR seventy (70) times.
  2. Pray four (4)naflrakats (2 at a time).
    • In each rakat, after Surah Fatihah, recite Surah Qadr once (1) and Surah Ikhlas five (5) times.
    • After completion of salat, recite Durood Sharif twenty-five (25) OR one hundred (100) times.
    • Benefit: Insh’Allah, effective for forgiveness of sins.
  3. Recite Surah Waqi’ah three (3) OR seven (7) times.
    • Benefit: Insh’Allah for increase in Rizq.

 

 

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Ramadan Resolutions

So the first week of Ramadan has passed. Your body is getting used to the lack of sleep (and sustenance), and, hopefully, your mind is slowly becoming clearer. That’s what Ramadan does for me; it helps me to focus on what’s important and put aside the things that usually annoy me or pull my focus away.

During this time, I’m reminded about the great friends I have, who try their best to cheer me on this month and make an effort to understand the month and what I’m going through.

Ramadan Kareem

During this month, I also learn (or re-learn) how to maintain a calm state when people say mean, upsetting, or insensitive things to me. For example, my boss, as I was leaving work before a long weekend, said, ‘Have a great weekend not eating!’ and then laughed and walked away. It’s times like those that you just take a deep breath and walk away.

But why do we resolve to only walk away during Ramadan? We should use, for lack of a better word, the momentum we gain during Ramadan to continue good behaviors afterwards. Every time January 1st rolls around, we make resolutions for the New Year; why not make resolutions for Ramadan and after Ramadan? So here are my resolutions.

Ramadan Week 2 – Ramadan Resolutions

  • Say more Sunnah prayers (these are optional prayers that precede or follow obligatory prayers).
  • Be thankful for the great friends and family I have, and say extra prayers for them.
  • Take a deep breath when my not-so-great friends and family are not nice to me. I also resolve to say extra prayers for them.
  • Remember that I cannot change how others treat me or how much they judge me, but I can control my reaction to them. Keep Calm and Carry On.

Keep Calm and Carry On

  • Forgive those that have been mean or acted against me. I don’t want the unease of unforgiveness in my heart. Forgiveness can be one of the hardest things a person does. Some people will never forgive, others will only think about it but never act upon those feelings. But some anger is more easily let go (such as forgiving Veronica Roth for the incredibly stupid ending to the Divergent series). Other forgiveness takes making a very conscious choice to really let go of animosity towards someone for something they have done. Not just thinking about it, or fooling yourself into thinking you’ve forgiven someone. When you truly make the choice to forgive someone, in your heart and soul, the effect is almost instantaneous; you feel a lightness and a calm that wasn’t there before. It’s a wonderful feeling. And when you begin, you find that you can keep going and forgive others. At least, that’s what I’ve found.
  • Conversely, I will seek forgiveness for the wrongs I have done, from both the people I have wronged and from Allah. Admitting you were wrong and asking someone else for forgiveness may be even harder than forgiving another. You are placing yourself in an incredibly vulnerable position, and you may not know if the other person is open to forgiveness. But if they don’t accept your apology, that’s their fault, not yours. You’ve made the effort and, if it’s truly from your heart, you will feel better.

One thing I have learned about resolutions is that you should keep them realistic. Making a long list now only ends up being a long list of incomplete tasks later. Resolutions shouldn’t be easy, in my opinion. They’re meant to be something difficult, something that you are striving to do, a change you are wanting to make. And change isn’t easy. Change can be scary because of the unknown. We don’t know what we’ll be like once we’ve changed. We don’t know how others will react to our changed selves. And we don’t know if we’ll be able to keep changing ourselves for the better, or if we’ll revert back to our old selves. But, despite all that, we still need to try. I’m a firm believer that people can and should always try to become better, do better, and, most particularly, treat others better.

What do you resolve to do this Ramadan? And after Ramadan? If you’re not sure where to start, I found this website helpful. Please let me know what you resolve to do in the comments below.

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What does Ramadan mean to you?

Another year, another Ramadan. It is, by far, my favorite month of the year.

The first day (or first few days) of fasting can be the most difficult. Your body is adjusting to a new sleeping and eating schedule, and your mind is adjusting to a more intense prayer schedule (at least mine is, as I add additional prayers throughout the day). Sunday was my first day of fasting for Ramadan this year, and I found myself having to adjust to something else: relaxing.

I typically work three jobs, but for Ramadan I cut back on my hours for two of them. So it came to be that yesterday I found myself in the middle of the day without any work. Oh, there were house chores to be done and there was certainly work I could do, but I took the day off. And so I spent the day in prayer and relaxation between prayers. It was a very lovely sort of vacation.

Of course, today, Monday, I’m back at work (as are most) and back to the daily grind (I can already feel Ramadan Brain taking over). But taking a break from all the craziness and hectic pace of daily life really helped me to focus on the month ahead, what it means, and what I hope to accomplish for the month (besides fasting). And I’d like to know what Ramadan means to you.

 

Ramadan Week 1 – What does Ramadan mean to you?

For the first week of Ramadan, let’s consider what Ramadan means to us, in a spiritual sense. I recently met someone who said they only fasted because they were supposed to, not because they felt any great spiritual or other need to do so. They didn’t feel that connection to God. Is this you? Do you feel like this?

I certainly did. Many years ago, Ramadan felt like an obligation, not as something more as it does to me now. When you’re a teenager and busy with school and life and hormones, you don’t always think about the meanings behind your actions (remember those days?). So, this year, while your body and life is adjusting to a new schedule this week, take some time to think about the following:

  • Why do you fast? To fulfill an obligation? Or for something deeper?
  • What do you feel mentally when you pray? Do you feel as though you’re just going through the motions? Or do you feel something more?
  • Do you feel upset that you have to fast? Or do you feel excited or hopeful (along with exhausted) at the idea of fasting?

Personally, I feel that, in today’s modern world, we too often just do things without understanding our motivations for doing so. We’re so busy, busy, busy, and we just want to mark things off our to-do list. In regards to Ramadan, if you’re fasting only because you’re expected to, then think about those expectations. Whose expectations are they? Are they your family’s? Or, deep down, are they really yours? Are you spending long hours at the taraweeh prayers in the evenings because others think you should? Or are you doing it for yourself?

Do you wish you were consistent with prayers and felt that deeper connection that others feel with God? In addition to thinking about what Ramadan means to you, think about what being Muslim means to you. Being Muslim means, at least to me, being kind, hard-working, devoted, charitable, and more. Despite what other adjectives ignorant people may use to define Muslims, remember that only you can define yourself and what you think and feel.

Take the time in this first week for some introspection. If the questions above are too much to contemplate just yet, then start thinking about actions in your daily life. Think about situations at work. For example, think about a time you had the opportunity to do something good or help someone and didn’t do anything – why? Or, conversely, think about a time you had an opportunity to do something bad. How did you handle it? Why did you make the decision you did, one way or the other?

Every day, we are faced with a million little decisions. Make a left at the light and get stuck in traffic, or make a right and possibly avoid it. Do I stop and get a coffee in the morning? Or do I drink it at home and spend a few more moments with my family? Do I start studying for my exam now or later? Do I stop at the store today or another day? Think about why you make even the little decisions each day.

For example, consider the traffic situation I just mentioned. Going one way you avoid traffic, going another you get stuck in it. But, are you avoiding traffic because you’re excited to get to work? Or do you need to get to work because you have a horrible boss and you don’t want them to be upset with you? Conversely, if you made a left and got stuck in traffic, why? Did you want some time to yourself (and why can’t you make this time anywhere else in your day)? Or do you only know one way to get to work and are scared to learn a new way? There are other scenarios here, too, of course, but those are a start.

You can see how any reasoning behind a decision can be illuminating about you, your fears, and your personality. And, just to be clear, I’m not saying you should stop before every decision and analyze it. You’d never get anything done if you did. In my experience, just understanding some of your motivations can help you in the future to live a fuller, more confident life. It certainly helped me.

After a month of reflection and introspection, I have had some revelations about myself. I learned the root cause of my decision-making, or the reason why I make any kind of decision. And, knowing that, I have not only felt more confident but I have become more confident in my decisions and less unsure of myself on the whole. And I have also felt a deeper spiritual connection because I’ve realized that I pray because I believe, not because others expect me to.

I love to hear from my followers; please let me know how your first week goes. I’ll be posting new thoughts and things to focus upon for each week (inshAllah) so please visit again if you have a chance. You can also follow my blog (see the “Follow” button in the top left of the page) to stay up-to-date and receive notices of new posts.

May all of us have a blessed Ramadan. Ameen.

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