Although all days of Ramadan are equally blessed and full of Almighty Allahs mercy and benevolence, the last ten days of this holy month are of special significance. The last segment of these ten days is called the Najjat-Min-Nar (deliverance from fire) period. Aitikaf (seclusion) has been recommended in these last ten days. This means that a person cutoff from the daily routine of life, spends most of his time in reciting the Holy Quran, offering prayers and thinking of nothing else but Almighty Allah. All of the ten days or at least part of them should preferably be spent in the corner of a mosque. The home, family and children should be abandoned during Aitikaf and food should also be ordered from outside for both Sahar and Iftar.
However, it is necessary that the Motakif fulfils all the obligations towards his or her family and of these he or she is supporting. After ensuring that sufficient food, money and other household necessities are available, one can sit for Aitikaf in the mosque or even at home. Another pre-requisite for it is that one doesnt have to look after, or attend to the ailing members in the house and that his or her absence for a few days will not cause deterioration to the health of such an ailing member.
Ladies are permitted to go into Aitikaf in a corner of their house that has been especially partitioned, away from the noise and interference of the other members of the family. Seclusion is absolute and complete devotion and a single-minded approach towards the remembrance of Almighty Allah, through prayers, recitation of the Holy Quran and asking of forgiveness should be the only goals. A firm commitment should also be made during seclusion not to indulge in acts that are said to be sinful, ever again. Not even the slightest fraction of hypocrisy or self-deceit should be depicted during this pious seclusion.
In the last ten days also falls the night of power or honour, which shouldnt be missed by any Muslim. The yesternight we spent in mosques. It is said in the holy Quran, "blessed indeed is the night of power-when the mercy of Gods revelation breaks through the darkness of the human soul. All the powers of the world, divine speed of their mystic message of mercy by Gods command, blesses every nook and corner of the universe. All sins are stilled into the reign of peace, until this great mortal night gives place to the glorious day."
It was in this night that the first of the Quranic revelations, in the form of Wahy, came to Prophet Muhammad (SAW). The night of power (Lai-latul Qadr) is the most defining moment of the holy month of Ramadan. Lailatul Qadr is one of the ten nights of the last ten days of Ramadan, though there is no agreement as to which one it is. It may be the 2Ist, 23rd, 27th or 29th of Ramadan. It is best to take this in the mystic sense, which also accords with verse 3 of chapter 97 (Qadr). "The night of power is better than a thousands months". It transcends time, for it is Almighty Allahs power dispelling the darkness of ignorance by his revelation in every kind of affair.
A "thousand" must be taken in an indefinite sense, as denoting a very long period of time. This doesnt refer to our ideas of time, but to timeless time. One moment of enlightenment under Almighty Gods light is better than a thousand months and years of mortal life and such a moment converts the night of darkness into a period of spiritual glory. And catching this moment of glory of Almighty Allah is what the night of power during the month of Ramadan is all about. Muslims must strive hard to catch this moment every year like they did this year.
When the night of spiritual darkness is conquered by the glory of Almighty Allah, a wonderful peace and sense of security permeates the soul. And this lasts until life ends and the glorious day of the new spiritual world dawns, when everything will be on a different plane and the nights and days of this world will be even less than a dream. It is understood that the one who fasts for 29 or 30 days in Ramadan or the one who keeps oneself awake during the night of power is sure to be pardoned by Almighty Allah and shall be destined to go to heaven. The reward of the Day of Judgment will be decided upon the overall behaviour within and beyond peoples religious duties. Worship or Ibadat is a continuous process and one should always try to seek the pleasure of Almighty Allah throughout his or her life. Occasions like Ramadan and the night of power are no doubt a bonus that can be added to the virtues of Muslims during their lifetime.