What is Laylatul Qadr?
In surah Al-Qadr Allah clearly states:
"Surely We revealed it (the Holy Quran) on the grand night. And what will make you comprehend what the grand night. The grand night is better than a thousand months. The angels and Gabriel descend in it by the permission of their Lord for every affair, Peace! It is till the break of the morning." Holy Quran (97:1-5)
Allah (SWT) is inviting all the believers for a Divine feast; the invitation which has been brought by the messengers. Allah is the host, his most favorite angels are the servants and the believers are the guests. The table is spread with Divine blessings containing all sorts of rewards and favors. Though the eyes cannot see them nor the ears hear them not the human hearts imagine them, yet the bounties are all kept in readiness to be awarded to the guests in accordance to his/her actions.
Laylatul Qadr is a blessed night because the Almighty brings down during it goodness, bliss, and forgiveness for His servants. It is a feast which has come with a message that shows one the way to achieve happiness in both the worlds. Laylatul Qadr is a feast for the spirit, a feast of worship and prayers.
What do we therefore have to remind ourselves about Laylatul Qadr?
We have to remind ourselves about Laylatul Qadr that is:
A unique once in a year opportunity to do a life time's worth of activity.
A once in a year occasion for influencing our future destiny - "QADR" - Taqdeer.
Full of long lasting blessings.
The night of unsurpassed grandeur when the absolute Grand God revealed the Grand Quran through the Grand Wahy - Jibreel into the heart of the Grand Prophet Mohammad (saw).
The night when the whole multitude of angels and the Great Spirit (Ruh) descend on earth, greeting and praying for the believers and conveying messages to the Imam of age.
How to prepare oneself for The Night of Power (Laylatul Qadr)?
(I) Preparing Mentally
Strive to keep Allah (SWT) at the fore of one's mind the whole night long.
All the Ibadah (worship) done should be recited in the state of being completely awake, aware, conscious, and with a live heart. If one feels that one will not be able to concentrate then start reciting from now "We are from Allah and towards Him is our return." - Holy Quran (2:156) for it is considered as a tragedy if one can not in this night receive the divine grace in supplications. "Their prayers ascend upwards and reaches Allah (SWT), their words are accepted, and Allah (SWT) loves to listen to their prayers the way a mother likes her own child."
Is not it shameful that the prayers which ascend upwards should be recited from the tip of the tongue, while the heart and soul remain occupied in worldly affairs?
Many a times, one feels that one cannot 'properly' perform a certain Ibadah and so decided to forgo it. One should not do listen to this 'waswas' instead, one should perform it and more, for acceptance lies in the Hand of the Mercy of Allah (SWT).
(II) Preparing Physically
For worshipping in this night a suitable place, dress, and perfume should be arranged in advance (comfortable dress which does not distract us).
Paying alms during this night - to the people who really deserve financial support.
Follow the translation of the Duas in order to understand what you are reciting for lutf is only got when one knows what one is reciting.
(III) Preparing Spiritually
Increase ones eagerness for receiving the promised bounties and blessings.
Select worships and deeds which are more in harmony with one's mood.
When one stands for prayer, or any other Ibadah, to briefly spare a moment to think about the wisdom of that action/its meaning etc for e.g. Why am I standing towards Makkah? To realize that when I stand on my two feet, it indicates my hope and fear about the acceptance of my worship.
Resorting (Tawassul) to Ahlul Bayt (as) - With persistence, supplicating in a polite and soft manner, with words and content arousing their sympathies, should beseech them for bestowing upon us the grace of being vigilant during this night.
Crying and Shedding Tears: that during these nights ones fear, humility, tears, crying, anguish and lamentation be increased as much as possible. The Learned Scholar Hajj Mirza Javad Agha Maliki Tabrizi (ra) in his book (Suluk-i Arifan) Spiritual Journey of the Mystics tell us that One of the best method is that one should tie ones hands around ones neck; should pour dirt upon ones head; should place ones head against a wall; sometimes one should stand and sometimes one should cry; should imagine oneself at the scene of Judgment Day; and the way sinners are rebuked with harshness, then one should imagine and be scared least Allah (the Glorious, the Exalted) orders: "Lay hold on him, then put a chain on him, then cast him into the burning fire, then thrust him into a chain the length of which is seventy cubits." - Holy Quran (69:30-32)
Then one should cry: "O' Thou are the most compassionate, and Thou Who are the shelter of unsheltered ones!" "Where is Your vast blessing? Where is Your infinite forgiveness? Where are Your love and benevolence?" Ask for forgiveness of past sins in the most appealing manner with a promise to try never to return to the sins again - a TAWBA in every sense of the word Present ones requests before the Almighty Allah with full hope that they will be answered.
Prophet Mohammad (saw) when asked what one should invoke Allah during these nights, said: "Ask for your safety (here and in the hereafter)".