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How Should a Muslim Spend the Last Ten Nights of Ramaḍān?

Dr. Abū Wāʾil Musa Shaleem

Understanding the most virtuous actions during the last ten nights of the month of taqwá.

Ramaḍān is extremely virtuous, and the last ten nights are even more virtuous. Therefore, Muslims must take the time to learn exactly how to spend these nights so that they can capitalise on this auspicious occasion, especially when many Muslims are either clueless of how to spend this time or uncertain of what exactly they should be doing during this time.

Supplicating excessively in the last ten nights of Ramaḍān is definitely one of the best ways, if not the best way, a Muslim can spend these nights.

ʿĀʾishah (رضي الله عنها) said: “O Allāh’s Messenger, what do you think I should say in my supplication if I come upon Laylat al-Qadr? He (ﷺ) said: ‘Say:

اللَّهُمَّ إِنَّكَ عَفُوٌّ تُحِبُّ الْعَفْوَ فَاعْفُ عَنِّي

[i.e. O Allāh, You Pardon and love to pardon, so pardon me.’]”[1]

This Ḥadīth, amongst many other things, proves that:

  1. Supplicating excessively is definitely one of the best ways, if not the best way, a Muslim can spend these nights
  2. Asking for forgiveness should be a Muslim’s primary concern during these nights

Supplication during this night [i.e. Laylat al-Qadr] is more beloved to me than performing ṣalāḥ. However, a person can also perform ṣalāḥ and supplicate seeking [closeness] to Allāh and asking Allāh for his needs. They [i.e. ṣalāḥ and supplication] can be combined.

Sufyān al-Thawrī (d. 161 AH)

Ibn Rajab (رحمه الله) commented:

He [i.e. Sufyān al-Thawrī (رحمه الله)] means that the ṣalāḥ that contains more supplication is better than the ṣalāḥ that contains less supplication. [Therefore,] if a person prayed and supplicated, then that is good.

The Prophet (ﷺ) prayed in the nights of Ramaḍān. He recited in a rhythmic style. Whenever he (ﷺ) encountered a verse mentioning mercy, he (ﷺ) asked for [Allāh’s] Mercy, and whenever he (ﷺ) encountered a verse mentioning punishment, he (ﷺ) sought refuge from [Allāh’s] punishment. Therefore, the Prophet (ﷺ) prayed, supplicated, recited, and contemplated [his recitation], and there are no better acts performed on the last ten nights or any other night than these acts.[2]

Performing ṣalāḥ is also recommended. Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ) said: “Whoever stands on Laylat al-Qadr, with faith and in the hope of receiving Allāh’s reward, will have his past sins forgiven.”[3]

Although the Messenger (ﷺ) never performed more units of prayers during the last ten nights of Ramaḍān, as ʿĀʾishah (رضي الله عنها) relayed: “Allāh’s Messenger never prayed more that eleven units in Ramaḍān or any other month,”[4] the Messenger (ﷺ) prolonged his prayers during these nights. In fact, his prayers became increasingly longer as the twenty-seventh night approached.

Al-Nuʿmān ibn Bashīr (رضي الله عنه) reported:

We prayed qiyām with Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ) during Ramaḍān on the twenty-third night until the first third of the night elapsed. We then prayed qiyām with him on the twenty-fifth night until one-half of the night elapsed. We then prayed qiyām with him on the twenty-seventh night until we thought that we would miss al-falāḥ [i.e. saḥūr].[5]

Reciting the Qurʾān is also legislated since it was revealed on Laylat al-Qadr which lies in these last ten nights. Allāh said:

إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ

“Indeed, We revealed it [i.e. the Qurʾān] on Laylat al-Qadr.”
[Al-Qadr, 97:1]

Finally, the Ḥadīth of Al-Nuʿmān ibn Bashīr (رضي الله عنه) suggests that the Messenger (ﷺ) would remain awake all night. This was explicitly mentioned in another Ḥadīth. ʿĀʾishah (رضي الله عنها) reported: “When the last ten nights came, the Prophet (ﷺ) would exert himself, wake all night, and wake his family.”[6]

Therefore, supplicating excessively and prolonging the tarāwīḥ prayer are definitely the best ways to spend the entire nights of the last ten nights of Ramaḍān.


[1] Reported by al-Tirmidhī (3513) and Ibn Mājah (3850), and Shaykh al-Albānī graded it authentic.
[2] Latāʾif al-Maʿārif, pg. 204.
[3] Reported by al-Bukhārī ((35) and (1901) and (2014)) and Muslim (760).
[4] Reported by al-Bukhārī ((1147) and (2013) and (3569)) and Muslim (738).
[5] Reported by al-Nasāʾī (1606), and Shaykh al-Albānī deemed it authentic.
[6] Reported by al-Bukhārī (2024).

Published: April 14, 2023
Edited: April 2, 2024

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