The night of 19 Ramadhan 40 A.H. marked the beginning of one of the greatest losses to humanity. A man who had given everything to others, who had been oppressed but never thought of revenge, who forgave his enemies, who helped the weak and fathered the orphans was preparing to meet his Lord. On this night, a wicked man was going to besmear his hands with the blood of the Commander of the Faithful.
Sadly on the 21st of Ramadhan 40 A.H. this great man departed from this world. The Commander of the faithful received a wound on his head. The best physicians of Kufa were called for the treatment of the Imam but the blow was too deep. In his last moments, his lips parted into a prayer of thanksgiving: “O Lord! I thank thee for rewarding me with martyrdom.” Then he expressed orders that his murderer should not be tortured before his execution, his body should not be mutilated, his family should not be made to suffer on account of his crime. Imam Ali’s justice was always tempered with mercy even to his worst enemies.
Imam urged everyone to do good to the needy and the helpless. He breathed his last on the night of the 21st Ramadhan 40 A.H . When the Two imams were returning after the burial of the Commander of the Faithful, they heard someone crying. As they approached, they saw a diseased old man, sitting in a corner and crying. Upon their asking, he replied: There was a man who used to visit me every day, used to put me to sleep on his lap, used to feed me with his own hands, it has been 3 days he has not come.” Even after his martyrdom, his deeds and words are alive. They are a beacon of light in the path of guidance for making our lives illuminated.
These last 10 days of Ramadhan also encompass the nights of Laylatul Qadr. ‘Qadr’ means to maintain, assign or decree an order. Thus in this night of Power, Allah (SWT) proclaims Divine Decrees in regards to his creation. It is the night of Taqdeer. “In that night is made distinct every affair of wisdom” (Quran 44: 4). This is why believers are encouraged to stay awake the entire night and pray for blessings and forgiveness, and to seek special favours from Allah (SWT). The Night of Power as mentioned in the Holy Quran is better than a thousand nights, which indicates that the devoted believer has a chance of adding the like of 80 years of worship to his life on this single night.
The word “Tanazzal” indicates that the angels descend on this night, group after group, some coming down while others ascending into heaven . This angelic traffic of good and peace continues until the break of Dawn. Laylatul Qadr is a feast for the believers, a feast for the spirit, therefore it is advised to spend the night in worship. The scholars of Spirituality state that the most important thing which we can do during these blessed nights, once we have ensured that our obligatory dues are paid in full to the Creator, is to seek closeness to Allah (SWT) through the prayers and supplications – specifically those which have been taught to us by the Ma’sumeen.
In order for our prayers to be accepted and if they what is best for us, to be implemented, numerous prerequisites should observed. However, the key point to focus on these nights while in prayer and communion with the Lord is to maintain ‘presence of heart’. We need to have focus and concentration on what we are doing and saying and not perform the A’maal out of tradition or a ritual.
Thus as we proceed forward on through these last ten nights of the Month of Ramadhan, we should look at our past deeds and seek forgiveness for them, look at where we want to go in the future, and then chart out a plan of action for these powerful nights.
May Allah (SWT) accept our supplications. Ameen