Long summer fasts: a blessing in disguise!

Hot summer day with the sun shining

بسم الله والحمد لله والصلاة والسلام على رسول الله

Hungry; thirsty; parched tongue; irritated; tired; sleepy. Perhaps this describes how you're feeling during these long days of fasting.

What if someone were to tell you that it's actually a blessing in disguise? Well, that's exactly what this article attempts to do. You might be wondering how that's even possible. Here's how.

We have been encouraged to seek a blessed night - "Laylatul Qadr" (The Night of Power):

ليلة القدر خير من ألف شهر

"The Night of Power/Decree is better than a thousand months." [1]

من قام ليلة القدر إيمانا واحتسابًا غفر له ما تقدم من ذنبه

"Whosoever performs Qiyâm (stands in worship) during Laylat-ul-Qadr (Night of Decree/Power), with Faith and being hopeful of Allah's reward, will have his former sins forgiven." [2]

تَحَرَّوْا لَيْلَةَ الْقَدْرِ فِي الْعَشْرِ الأَوَاخِرِ مِنْ رَمَضَانَ

"Search for Laylat-ul-Qadr (Night of Decree/Power) in the last ten nights of Ramadhân." [3]

تَحَرَّوْا لَيْلَةَ الْقَدْرِ فِي الْوِتْرِ مِنَ الْعَشْرِ الأَوَاخِرِ مِنْ رَمَضَانَ

"Search for the Night of Qadr in the odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadhân." [4]

Now, it naturally follows that if the day is long, the night will be short. What this means is that in a short amount of time and for a small sacrifice of time and effort, we can gain a huge, tremendous reward - better than a thousand months!

How much time is involved?

If you look at our normal practice during the nights of Ramadhân, there's actually very little time that remains for Qiyâm.

After returning from the Maghrib prayer, we partake of Iftâr which is a Sunnah. We can then pray for a short while and then prepare for 'Ishâ' Salâh in the Masjid. This is followed by the Tarâweeh Salâh. By the time that is complete and we return home, there is only approx. an hour for Fajr. Add in time for Suhur (pre-dawn meal which is also a Sunnah) and this is reduced further.

Imagine! Only an hour or so of worship (in addition to the Tarâweeh and other prayers in the Masjid which we have completed throughout the month) for over 83 years of reward (if it happens to be Laylatul-Qadr)!

To keep the concentration, it may help to change the activity from standing in Salâh to recitation, zikr, du'â, etc. Don't forget to give in charity too during the blessed nights.

How many days?

As can be seen from the above, there are a number of narrations which mention various different nights in which to seek Laylatul-Qadr. So here are the possibilities:

  1. Make I'tikâf (seclusion) in the Masjid for the last 10 days of Ramadhân. Not only is this a Sunnah, it will ensure that we will find Laylatul-Qadr with no distractions.
  2. If that's not possible, we can spend these last 10 short nights in worship. As explained above, very little time is involved and we can take a nap during the day (for strength during the night) with the intention of Sunnah.
  3. If even that is not possible, seek Laylatul-Qadr in the odd numbered nights, i.e. 5 nights only.

May Allâh through His Infinite Grace grant us the blessings of Laylatul-Qadr and the ability to spend it in His worship.

[1] al-Qadr: 3
[2] al-Bukhâri, Muslim
[3] ibid
[4] al-Bukhâri


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