Qiyam ulLayl- The Night Prayer

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

May the peace and blessings be on our beloved Prophet, Muhammad, peace and blessings of God be upon him.

part 1: excerpts from: http://muslimmatters.org/2007/07/30/the-night-prayer-qiyaam-al-layl/

Hudhaifa said: “I prayed with the Prophet one night. He started with AlBaqara, so I thought that he will make rukoo after that. Then he started AlNisaa and recited it. Then he started Aal-Imraan and recited it. He would recite slowly; when he came to an ayaa with Tasbeeh, he would make Tashbeeh. When he came to a request, he would request. When he came to a seeking of refuge, he would seek refuge…. ” [Narrated by Muslim]

“Our Lord descends to the lowest heaven during the last third of the night, inquiring: ‘Who will call on Me so that I may respond to him? Who is asking something of Me so I may give it to him? Who is asking for My forgiveness so I may forgive him?’” (Al-Bukhari)

llah said: “ Is one who is devoutly obedient during periods of the night, prostrating and standing [in prayer], fearing the Hereafter and hoping for the mercy of his Lord, [like one who does not]? Say, “Are those who know equal to those who do not know?” Only they will remember [who are] people of understanding .” [Zumur 39:9]
In other words: Is the one whose character is this, similar to the one who sleeps at night and wastes himself? Can he be anything other than one who is knowledgeable about Allah’s rewards but ignorant of His punishments?

The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said: “Whoever stands at night and recites ten ayaat is not recorded among the heedless. Whoever stands at night and recites one hundred ayaat is recorded among the pious. Whoever stands and recites one thousand ayaat is recorded among those who received a huge quantity of good deeds .” [Narrated by Abu Dawood and graded saheeh by AlAlbaani

It is upon you to perform night prayer, because it was the practice of the righteous people before you. It is a means of obtaining closeness to Allah the Exalted, it erases sins, it prevents wrondoings, and it drives away sicknesses from the body .” [Narrated by Ahmad, AlTirmidhi, and graded saheeh by AlAlbaani]

The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “There is a room in Jannah where the exterior is seen from the interior, and the interior is seen from the exterior. Someone said: “Who is it for, Messenger of Allah?”
He said: “It is for the one whose speech is pleasant, he feeds others, and he spends the night standing while the people are asleep ” [Narrated by AlTabarani, AlHaakim, and graded saheeh by AlAlbaani]

part 2:http://muslimmatters.org/2007/08/04/the-night-prayer-qiyaam-al-layl-part-2/

Abu Uthmaan AlHindi said: “I was the guest of Abu Huraira for seven [days]. He, his wife, and his servant would divide the night into three parts, praying one part and staying awake for another part”.

When Shaddad ibn Aws would go to bed, he would be like a grain in a frying pan. Then he would say: “Oh Allah, hell-fire does not stop me from sleeping”. Then he would stand to pray.

Taawus would strongly awaken his family, then he would make wudhu and face the qibla until morning. He would say “The sleep of the worshippers has caused them to completely stop remembering the hell-fire!”

Zum’a al-Aabid would pray long hours of the night. When dawn would approach, he would raise his voice and announce: “Oh riders of the beds, are you going to sleep and waste away the entire night? Will you not get up and leave the bed!” He would then hear crying from one place, a person making dua from another place, and someone making wudu from another place. When fajr time would come, he would say: “At the morning time, the people are thankful for the announcement”

The levels of the early Muslims with regards to Night Prayer

Imam Ibnul Jawzi said: You should know that the early Muslims were at one of seven levels with regards to night prayer:

  • Level one: These would stay up the entire night. Some of them would pray Fajr with the same wudu as Isha.
  • Level two: These would pray half of the night.
  • Level three: These would pray one-third of the night. The Prophet SAWS said: ” The most beloved salah to Allah The Exalted is the salah of Dawud. He would sleep half of the night, pray one-third, and sleep one-sixth“. [Agreed upon].
  • Level four: These would pray one-sixth of the night or one-fifth.
  • Level five: These would not specify an amount of the night. He would only pray until he became sleepy, and would then sleep. When he woke up, he would pray.
  • Level six: These would pray two or four rakah.
  • Level seven: These would stay awake between the two Isha times [the early time for Isha and the later, recommended time], and they would sweeten their mornings [with dua]. This way, they would join the night and morning. The Prophet SAWS said: ” Indeed in every night is a time wherein if the worshipper asks Allah for something good, He will give it. And this is in every night.” [Narrated by Muslim]

The factors that make Night Prayer easy

Imam Abu Hamid AlGhazali mentioned some external and internal factors that make Night Prayer easy.

External factors are four:

1: That the individual should not eat or drink too much. Then sleep will overpower him, and waking up will be difficult.
2: The person should not tire himself in the daytime with things of no benefit.
3: He should not avoid the mid-day nap because it helps with regards to waking up.
4: He should not make sins in the daytime because that will prevent him from night prayer.

Internal factors are four:
1: The heart should be free from these: malice towards the Muslims, bid’as, and excessive worldly interests.
2: The heart should have a lot of fear and not too much hope.
3: He should know the benefits of night prayer.
4: The best motivation: Love of Allah, and having strong eman that in his prayer every letter that he utters is freeing him from the punishment of his Lord.

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