The Last Ten Days of Ramadaan
by ‘Abdullaah Ibn Saalih Al-Fawzaan
Ahaadeeth As-Siyaam (pg. 133-135)
Trans. Masjid Ahl ul-Quran was-Sunnah Association, NY, USA
Aaishah (radhiallahu anha) said: When the last ten days (of Ramadaan) would come, the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) would spend his night in worship, wake his family (at night), exert himself and tighten his Izaar (waistcloth). 
This hadeeth is proof that the last ten days of Ramadaan have a special virtue over any other (set of days), in which one should increase in obedience and acts of worship, such as prayer, making dhikr (remembrance) and reciting the Quraan.
Aaishah (radhiallahu anha) has described our Prophet and role model, Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), with four attributes:
1. He (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) would “spend his night in worship”, meaning he would not sleep during it.
2. He (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) would “wake up his family” meaning his (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) pure wives, the Mothers of the Believers, so that they may take part in the profiting of good, the dhikr (remembrance) and the acts of worship during these blessed times.
3. He (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) would “exert himself”, meaning he (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) would persevere and struggle in worship, adding more to his deeds than what he had done in the first twenty days (of Ramadaan). He only did this because the night of Al-Qadr occurs during one of these (last ten) days.
4. He (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) would “tighten his Izaar (waistcloth)” meaning he would exert himself and struggle intensely in worship.
There are two struggles of the soul that the believer faces during Ramadaan: the struggle by day with fasting and the struggle by night with qiyaam (night prayer). So whosoever combines these two and fulfills their rights, then he is amongst the patient — those who will “be given their reward in full without any reckoning.” 
And one must incite, animate and persuade his family to perform acts of worship, especially in these great times in which no one neglects it except that he has been deprived. What is more incredible than this, is that while the people are performing prayer and making tahajjud, some individuals spend their time in forbidden gatherings and sinful events. This is indeed the greatest loss. We ask Allaah for his protection.
These ten days are the last part of the month and a person’s actions are based on his last ones. So perhaps, he will encounter the night of Al-Qadr, while standing
in prayer for Allaah and thus have all his past sins forgiven.
Therefore, embarking on these last days means entering into the profiting from righteous deeds in what remains of the month. From the unfortunate matters is to see that some people excel in righteous actions, such as prayer and recitation of the Qur’aan, in the first part of the month, but then signs of fatigue and weariness begin to show on them afterwards, especially when the last ten days of Ramadaan come in. And this is in spite of these last ten days possessing a greater standing than the first
ones. Thus, one must persevere in striving and struggling and increase his worship when the end of the month draws near. And we must keep in mind that a person’s actions are based on his last ones.