How should we spend holy nights? What should we do in order to gain Allah's (SWT) content?

The Details of the Question
How should we spend holy nights? What should we do in order to gain Allah's content?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

There are some important means of deserving forgiveness and intercession, earning thawabs, advancing in religion, being safe from troubles and problems and gaining Allah’s content, which can be –and necessary to be- applied in holy nights. It will be useful to remember some of them in short and with the list below in general: 

1. One should read the Quran and listen to the ones who read. There should be Quran-citing invitations held in appropriate places. The feelings of love, respect and loyalty for the words of Allah, i.e. the Quran should be renewed and strengthened.

2. One should send compliments (salawat) to the Prophet and renew his/her awareness of being one of his followers, and hope for his intercession.

3. One should perform qada and nafilah (supererogatory) prayers. If there are prayers exclusive to that night, they can be performed as well. Holy nights should be spent with prayers and with consciousness of kindness in prayers, in accordance with their essence.

4. One should meditate; “Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going to? What does Allah expect from me?” are the main issues which one should contemplate, besides other important matters.

4. One should make an account and revision of her/his past and outline the plan and program of the present and the future.

5. One should repent her/his sins sincerely and should regret and turn to the Lord, considering that night as the last chance.

6. One should perform invocations (dhikr) and supplications to Allah.

7. Believers should make amends with and forgive each other, and assure their content with others.

8. Resentful and offended people should be reconciled; people should be pleased, and sorrowful faces should be given a smile.

9. One should pray for the good of himself and for other Muslim brothers and sisters mentioning their names.

10. One should ask the news of those who have got rights over himself and the necessities of moral quality of fidelity and gratefulness should be fulfilled.

11. One should visit the poor, orphans, the sick and the elderly people and please them with love, compassion, respect, gifts and charity.

12. Verses, hadiths about that night and comments of them should be read from the books about them individually or in groups.

13. Religious meetings, panels and conversations should be organized, ;advices of preachers should be listened; poems should be recited and a different feeling should be evoked in hearts with religious songs and hymns.

14. Prayers of maghrib, isha’a and fajr should be performed in groups in mosques, at holy nights.

15. Tombs of the Companions, scholars and saints should be visited and they should be pleased, and supplications should be made to Allah in the spiritual atmosphere of their tombs.

16. One should visit their dead relatives’, friends’ and ancestors’ graves, which is a requirement of faith brotherhood.

17. One should wish their elderly people, masters, parents, friends and other acquaintances blessed holy nights, by visiting them in person or by phoning, faxing and e-mailing to them.

18. If possible, one should fast the day before the holy nights.

There is not an exclusive way of praying for holy nights. Holy nights can be spent with prayers (salat), reading the Quran, supplications and other kinds of worship… Some special prayers performed at holy nights are not present in sunnah; and they are not based on a notable narration either. Nevertheless, it does not mean that “it is makrooh to perform prayers at those nights”. There are many narrations encouraging tahajjud and nafilah prayers. Of course, it is more virtuous to perform them at holy nights.” (Canan, Kutub-u Sitte, 3/289).

Moreover, it is unobjectionable to perform prayers which are said to be exclusive to holy nights additionally; it makes one earn thawabs.

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