The month of Ramadan peaks in its final ten days. It is during these nights that we should go all out to harvest the maximum rewards of Ramadan, following the lead of Rasulullah SAW:
'A'isha (RA) reported that when the last ten nights [of Ramadan] began Allah's Messenger (SAW) kept awake at night (for prayer and devotion), wakened his family, and prepared himself to observe prayer (with more vigour). (Muslim)
The night of Lailatul Qadr occurs on one of the odd numbered nights in the final ten days of Ramadan.
Narrated `Aisha (RA): Allah's Messenger (SAW) said, "Search for the Night of Qadr in the odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadan."
Lailatul Qadr is also known as the night of power, because this is the night that Allah has, through Jibril AS, revealed the Qur'an to mankind. "Qadr" also means destiny, when Allah looks to our "files" and, by His mercy and compassion, grants forgiveness to whom He chooses.
Rasulullah SAW mentioned that, "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." (Bukhari)
The Qur'an states the virtue of Lailatul Qadr:
“And what can make you know what is the Night of Decree? The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months.” (Al Qadr 97:2 – 97:3)
This is equivalent to over 83 years. Imagine an annual opportunity of being rewarded for more than an average human lifespan for just one single night of worship!
Lailatul Qadr was when Jibril AS descended with the Qur'an. The Qur'an contains the final and complete guidance, light and criteria for mankind. Allah wants us to read it, ponder its meaning and consider our direction in this world and the hereafter.
"By the clear Book, Indeed, We sent it down during a blessed night. Indeed, We were to warn [mankind]. On that night is made distinct every precise matter " (Ad Dukhan, verse 44:1 – 44:4)
Allah, through the Qur'an and His messenger, promotes Ramadan and all its treasures to us. If we have gone astray, Ramadan is the time to seek His forgiveness and work our way back to the right path. If we have been arrogant, then it is the time to knock on the door of His guidance with humility. If we have committed sins, it is the time to mend our ways and to have faith in His mercy. If we have been weakened by our numerous bad habits, it is time to turn to Him for strength and to conquer these.
Ramadan is a month of intensive spiritual training, during which time Allah wants us to be contented with His decree, be thankful, trust and rely on Him. The spiritual boost we accumulate during Ramadan should fuel our spiritual journey for the following eleven months.
The night of Lailatul Qadr is intrinsically tied with our destinies (qadr), which is a fundamental pillar of the Islamic faith. The following Hadith speaks of creation and destiny:
"First of all there was nothing but Allah, and (then He created His Throne). His Throne was over the water, and He wrote everything in the Book (in the Heaven) and created the Heavens and the Earth." (excerpt from Bukhari)
Our lives are pre-destined and our fates were determined before the earth came into existence. That does not absolve us from striving, struggling and fighting temptation. While Allah knows our future, we do not, and therefore we should not stop in our efforts for success in this life and in the hereafter. We should continuously knock on the door of Allah to seek guidance. Allah wants us to make the utmost effort, and our success depends on the amount and sincerity of our efforts. If we believe in the promise of Allah, He will open for us the door of guidance and clear our path to Paradise.