Excerpted from Manaar As-sabeel
Al-Muntada Al-Islami http://www.islaam.com/Article.aspx?id=130
In each of the daily prayer we offer, we solemnly declare to Allah, “Iyyaka na’budu” (You alone do we worship). While the intelligent and committed believer realizes that his very lifestyle spells worship, he knows, remembering the words of our Prophet (pbuh) that “Du’aa’ (supplication) is worship” [Tirmidhi, Abu Daud] Allah, the Most Merciful, has encouraged the believers to take advantage of certain times during the year to make du’aa’. Such an occasion presents itself annually during Ramadan — especially on the Lailatul Qadr, the Night of Power. On this night, the single most important event in human history unfolded as, after the Glorious Quran was preserved in the Protected Tablet, Jibril descended with the blessed book to reveal it, upon Allah’s command, to His Messenger (pbuh). Accentuating its significance, Allah says “and how would you know (the value of the) Night of Qadr [97:2] So valuable is this Night of Qadr that the Quran devotes a special surah to it. “Lailatul Qadr is better than a thousand months” [97:3] This one night surpasses the value of 30,000 nights. The most authentic account of the occurrence of the Night indicates that it can occur on any one of the last ten, oddnumbered nights of Ramadan. The fact that the exact night is unknown reflects Allah’s will in keeping it hidden. Indeed, the Prophet (pbuh) was prevented from telling us its precise time. One day, he came out to tell the companions the exact night. On the way he saw two men arguing with each other. By the will of Allah, he(pbuh)forgot and subsequently remembered it. Afterwards the Prophet (pbuh) was instructed not to divulge this information. “Had I been allowed,” he (pbuh) remarked once, “I would have told you (of its exact time).” [Ahmad] The Almighty in His wisdom kept this hidden from us for many reasons. Perhaps He wants us to strive hard in our worship during the last ten days of Ramadan so that we don’t become lazy, worshipping hard on just that one night and denying ourselves the benefit of doing the same on the other nights. “Had people not left their salah except for that (one) night, I would have informed you (of its exact date).” [Al-Tabarani] The sincere believer who worries day and night about his sins and phases of neglect in his life patiently awaits the onset of Ramadan. During it he hopes to be forgiven by Allah for past sins, knowing that the Prophet (pbuh) promised that all who bear down during the last ten days shall have all their sins forgiven. To achieve this, he remembers the Prophet’s (pbuh) advice in different sayings wherein he used words like “seek”, “pursue”, “search”, and “look hard” for Lailatul Qadr. Moreover, Allah and His Prophet (pbuh) provided us some signs of its occurrence. Allah (swt) describes the night as “..peace until the rise of the morn.” [97:5] In various sayings, the Prophet (pbuh) described the night as serene, tranquil, and peaceful. The sun at sunrise would appear reddish and without its normal blazing and sharp rays. The Prophet (pbuh) added that “the angel of earth on that night of Qadr will be more numerous than all the pebbles of the earth.”
What should one do during the last ten days in pursuit of Lailatul Qadr? The devoted servant of Allah makes these nights alive with prayer, reading and reflecting on Quran. He makes du’aa’ to Allah, penitently beseeching Him for His forgivness. He is inspired by the Prophet’s (pbuh) words “Our Lord, most Exalted, Most high comes down to the lowest heaven during the last third of each night and announces (reassuringly): Whoever makes du’aa’, I shall answer it. Whoever asks (for something halal) I shall grant it; and whoever seeks forgiveness, I shall forgive him.” [Bukhari] The believer, conscious of Allah and their sins, will continue to beseech Allah, in and out of prayer, during his prostration. For a time, the only concern will be cleansing oneself of the forgetfulness that this life propagates in one’s heart, the sins that accumulate, darkening the heart, making it insensitive to disobeying Allah. He begs Allah to keep him away from misfortunes in this world, the punishment of the grave, and the torment of Hell. He asks Allah to make him patient and steadfast in struggling to maintain his Islam in this world and asks Him to overlook his shortcomings, periods of laziness and neglect. Sincere devotion on that night will render the believer forgtful of the time, until he is surprised by the Adhan of Fajr. After Fajr, as the sun creeps above the horizon, reddish and weak in its appearance, without any rays, the effort at night will have been worthwhile. The believer rejoices, knowing that this was quite possibly Lailatul Qadr and “whoever stays up (in prayer and remembrance of Allah) on the Night of Qadr fully believing (in Allah’s promise of reward for that night) and hoping to seek reward (from Allah alone and not from people), he shall be forgiven for his past sins.” [Bukhari, Muslim]
"Allahumma innaka `afuwwun tuh.ibbul `afwa fa`fu `annee - O Allah! You are forgiving, and you love forgiveness. So forgive me." [Recorded by Ahmad, Ibn Majah, and at-Tirmithi. Verified to be authentic by Al-Albani]
"Allahumma innaka `afuwwun tuh.ibbul `afwa fa`fu `anna - O Allah! You are forgiving, and you love forgiveness. So forgive us."