In getting ready for the last 10 nights of Ramadan, I wanted to share a few tips to make the most of them:
1. Do not be like the majority of people who wait for the 27th to spend a night in worship. The Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wa salam) stayed in I’itikaf (seclusion) for all 10 nights seeking Allahs pleasure. We have no guarantee that laylatul qadr will be the 27th night and in fact with moon sighting issues (yes im bringing it back up :)), we don’t even know for a fact which night is the 27th. So seek laylatul qadr every night and you will certainly catch it. Not only that, but you would have spent the other 9 nights conversing with your Creator, receiving His mercy, and elevating your status.
2. Catch Fajr and Isha in congregation. `Uthman bin `Affan (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) saying: “One who performs `Isha’ prayer in congregation, is as if he has performed Salat for half of the night. And one who performs the Fajr prayer in congregation, is as if he has performed Salat the whole night.”[Muslim]
3. Pray the entire set of taraweeh with the Imam. Taraweeh is qiyaamul layl. Yes its permissible to pray as little or as much of it as you want on any given day. But the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wa salam) said that whoever prays with the Imam “until he leaves” would receive the full reward of qiyaamul layl for the whole night. No one of us will be able to spend the entire night praying so this, along with tip 3, is a good way to ensure that you get the entire credit.
4. Spend the night in different forms of worship so that you don’t get bored. You don’t have to spend the whole night in prayer. Instead you can take breaks and just make dua. You can also specify a certain number of chapters of the Quran you want to ready every night. You can also read a translation of Quran or some ahadeeth as a break between prayers. Just keep yourself engaged. It’s also good to give charity and perform any extra good deeds in these nights. 5. Plan your duas. This is the night in which the entire next year will be decreed. So choose your duas wisely and make sure that you make them with a clean heart. Here is a tafseer that I did of Suratul Qadr last year: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Oam2qJz0y8