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The Night Prayer (Qiyaam al-Layl) – Part 1


This is Part 1 of 2 on Qiyaam al-Layl. Part 2 can be found here.

4233-night-sky-at-25-degree.jpgAll Praise is due to Allah, Who has made Salah a relaxation for the believer, a refuge for the fearful, and a guidance for the savage. May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon the leader of those who perform salah, perform tahajjud, and make rukoo and sujood. And also upon his family, companions, and those who follow them in the right way until the day of judgement.

As for what follows:

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Night prayer is the diligence of the righteous, the transaction of the believers, and the action of the victorious. At night the believers are alone with their Lord – they turn towards their Creator complaining about their situations and asking of His bounties. They are standing in front of their Lord, devoted to the confidential talk with their Shaper, gently breathing the fragrances, taking from the lights of the good deeds, and seeking and begging for the greatest of gifts.

Night Prayer as mentioned in the Quran

Allah the Most Exalted said: “They arise from [their] beds” [As Sajda 32:16]
Mujahid and AlHasan said: “it means night prayer”.
Ibn Kathir explained the verse: “The meaning is night prayer, leaving sleep and rest upon a soft and flat furnishing.
AbdulHaq al Ashbeeli said: “Their sides find no rest upon a bed. So they are not settled on it because of the fear of the punishment, and hoping for reward.”

Allah the Exalted mentioned about the people who make tahajjud: “They used to sleep but little of the night, And in the hours before dawn they would ask forgiveness” [Dhaariyaat 51:17-18]
AlHasan said: “They burdened themselves with the night. They extended the salah until the early dawn, then they sat making dua and seeking forgiveness.”

Allah 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?

My brothers and sisters: Where are the people of the night? Where have the virtuous gone, and only the idle and inactive are left?!

Oh people of the night exert yourselves
[Seeking] A Lord who does not refuse when asked

Night Prayer as mentioned in the Sunnah

My dear Muslim brother/sister: The Prophet SAWS encouraged making night prayer and arousing interest in it.
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 SAWS said about the condition of Abdullah ibn Umar: “How excellent Abdullah is! If only he would pray salah at night ” [Agreed upon]
Saalim ibn Abdillah ibn Umar said: “After that, Abdullah slept very little at night.”

The Prophet SAWS 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]

The Prophet SAWS said: “Jibreel came to me and said: ‘Oh Muhammad: Live as you wish for you will die. Love whom you will for you will be separated. Do as you will for you will be recompensed for it. Know that the most honored of the believer is his standing at night, and his prestige is in not needing anything from the people ” [Narrated by AlHaakim and AlBaihaqi. It has been graded hasan by AlMundhiri and AlAlbaani]

He SAWS 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]

Someone told the Prophet SAWS about a man who slept the night until morning time. He said “That is a man in whose ear the Shaytan urinated! ” [Agreed upon]

The Prophet SAWS said: “The best prayer after the obligatory ones is night prayer” [Narrated by Muslim]

The Night Prayer of the Prophet SAWS

Allah the Most Exalted ordered His Prophet to perform night prayer in the following: “O you who wraps himself [in clothing], Arise [to pray] the night, except for a little – Half of it – or subtract from it a little. Or add to it, and recite the Qur’an with measured recitation. ” [AlMuzzammil 73:1-4]

And He said: “And from [part of] the night, pray with it as additional [worship] for you; it is expected that your Lord will resurrect you to a praised station .” [Israa 17:79]

Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, said: “The Prophet would stand at night until his feet became cracked. I said to him: Why do you do this oh Messenger of Allah, while all of your sins past and future have been forgiven? He said: Shouldn’t I be a thankful slave? ” [Agreed upon]

This proves that thankfulness is not only by the tongue. It is only done by the heart, the tongue, and the limbs. The Prophet SAWS established the duties of worship in the most complete manner, and in the most perfect form. He did all of this despite the fact that he had to spread the Islamic Aqeedah, teach the Muslims, exert himself in the path of Allah, and fulfill the duties of his family and children.

He was as Ibn Rawaha said:

Among us is the Messenger of Allah reciting His book
When the courtesy is separated from the morning, glowing.

He showed us guidance after blindness, so our hearts
Are full of certainty that what he said is reality.

He spends the night separated from his bed
When the beds are heavy with the idol-worshippers.

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]

Ibn Masood said: “I prayed one night with the Prophet. He continued standing until I thought of a bad idea. Someone said: What did you think of doing? He said: I thought to sit down and leave him! ” [Agreed upon]
Ibn Hajar said: “In this hadeeth is proof that the Prophet SAWS chose to prolong the night prayer. Ibn Masood was strong-willed in preserving his emulation of the Prophet SAWS. He did not think of sitting down until the prayer was much longer than he was used to.”

The original article in Arabic can be found here.

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

Alhamdulillah, we're at over 850 supporters. Help us get to 900 supporters this month. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.



  1. Mujahideen Ryder

    July 30, 2007 at 4:35 PM


    please, the secrecy is killing me!

  2. ibnabeeomar

    July 30, 2007 at 5:07 PM

    mashallah jazakallahu khayr to muslimmatters for the nice reminder ;)

  3. Amad

    July 30, 2007 at 5:21 PM

    Br. Muslim (or are you a sister?), you do great work that always matters.


  4. Bint Bashir

    July 30, 2007 at 6:29 PM


    What a beautifull reminder just when i needed it.

    This hadith alone is enough to understand why we should be waking up for the night prayer;

    Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) quoted the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) as saying:

    “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)

    May Allah SWT make us amongst those who establish the night prayer, Ameen.

  5. AbdulRahman

    July 31, 2007 at 12:34 AM

    Thanks again for another beneficial post.

    Off-topic, I’d like to ask Sh. Yasir Qadhi a question in private, how may I do so?

  6. htrk

    July 31, 2007 at 3:37 AM

    Jazakallahu khairan. Thanks for the inspiring post.

    Such reminders are always a source of inspiration for Muslims like me, who often forget the importance of optional acts, and their role in bringing one closer to Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala).

  7. Amad

    July 31, 2007 at 8:32 AM

    MR: Just to save your sanity :) , there is no one particular person that posts under MM. If there is a general, non-controversial, and non-authored piece, it may be posted for MM.

    Ok now, you can breathe again!

  8. ibnabeeomar

    July 31, 2007 at 10:02 AM

    htrk- you can email info //at// muslimmatters dot o r g and it will be forward to him insha’Allah

  9. BintMuhammed

    July 31, 2007 at 10:39 AM

    JazakaAllah khair for the reminder…Don’t you all feel different the next day when you pray qiyaamul-layl, you have this special aura surrounding you…it is indeed a great feeling.

  10. Pingback: » The Secret Life of Husbands (Sex & the Muslim Ummah)

  11. AbdulRahman

    August 1, 2007 at 3:20 AM

    But I want it to be a private correspondence. Alright if it’s okay with the Sheikh, you can give him my e-mail address?

  12. aarij

    August 1, 2007 at 11:11 AM

    amazing, really amazing.

    jazakum Allah khair for this, it reminds me of shaikh yasir’s speech at light upon light.

    i really hope and pray that i can implement this (qiyam) in my life, in sha Allah.

  13. Faiez

    August 3, 2007 at 3:15 AM

    Please remember to post the rest of the parts soon. Thanks.

    Asalaamu alaikum

  14. ibnabeeomar

    August 3, 2007 at 8:53 AM

    part 2 is coming soon

  15. Pingback: » The Night Prayer (Qiyaam al-Layl) Part 2


    October 18, 2007 at 2:01 AM


    Sh. Yasir Qadhi has his email on his books, its: yqadhi //at// hotmail

  17. qamrul

    November 8, 2007 at 2:51 PM


    اللهis one and he deserves to be worshipped with the sincerity of perfection.

    To establish means to make something a firm standard. Speaking to a group encouraging them upon ideas and remembrance is not the same as establishing. It is not establishing at all!

    I make a call to perfection although this is strange.
    And I define it :

    1. Arabic must be made the national language of the Muslims in every country where we reside. English language is the great calamity to this Muslim nation. And it is unfortunate that this risaal is in english.

    2. It should be voiced that no one shall relate a verse from the Book, a narration from the ahadith, or a statement from a scholar, or a saying from the salaf unless he has memorized it with the correct grammer and pronounciation and that the knowledge can be related intelligently along with it’s explanation of the capable scholars of tafseer, fiqh and ahadith. I SAY ALONG WITH ITS EXPLANATION, not by the imam but the 4 imams or some one of great knowledge. the imams in darul kufr, most are not capable of guiding the people.

    3. Memorization should replace depending on books and the internet. The masses must be taught to memorize.

    4. What is known as dawa, should be done in stages. To give someone an entire Quraan translation or to answer each and every question he poses is not doing justice to this religion of Islam. It is not an intelligent way to convey the method. Tell the people what concerns them. Most of the people only ask looking to disprove or to show hatred toward the way of Allah and his messenger, because they are not sincere. So call the people to sincerity; that Allah deserves to be worshipped as One.

    In the non muslim countries the muslim want to rush everything;

    And you see how beatiful the scholars in many of the muslim countries are. They do not have wealth, but they support thier students. They get to know them well, they feel for each of them, they help them get married and dedicate thier time.

    We are always complainig about the muslim countries government and situtation, but the fact is that thousands and thousands and thousands of us soldiers who went to conquer a muslim country came back as Muslims, yet in United states we spend all of this money and only 20,000 people a year become muslim; most of which leave the religion. 20,000 sounds like a lot, but in one city there can be more than a million people!
    How many masaajids are there? perhaps 90% are 90% full of muslims from the muslim countries!

    It is because there is no solid base, solid knowledge here. And deep down everyone including the imams have an identity and guilt crisis; they traded Mecca and Medina for Mecca, New York and Medina, California.

    We are encouraged to protest the non muslim authority, while there really isnt any muslim authority here to begin with. Doesnt that make us appear foolish? Harrasing other people’s leaders when we have no leader, yet thier leader is in reality our leader, but we hate that because he is not a muslim. So try to go live under a muslim leader! and at least you will have dignity of being opressed by a muslim, because one day inshallah that muslim will enter the garden, and he is our brother so we overlook his faults, insallah.

    We want to encourage brothers to become students of knowledge and imams, yet those who say this will not spend 8 hours or 4 hours a day every day in teaching the people for free, from the very beginning.

    We make speeches about weak the prayer is of the muslims and the lack of iman and attendence to taraweeh, when not one will establish arabic and teach the entire people until they learn. So how do you expect imaan, when we can hardly understanding a word in the taraweeh?

    We are told not to debate and argue, but there are no muhadditheen or fuquhaa available. Reading a fatwa on line is not a substitute for having a muhaddith or faqih in every masjid.

    Seek knowledge, seek knowledge we are told, yet no one will sit down and help us memorize saheeh bhukari along with its meaning! Encouragements without dedication. It is obvious there is no dedication to islamic knwoledge here like in saudia.

    The fashion now is to raise lots of money for dawa projects, yet most of the imams are not standing on the street talking to the people about Islam? This is free and it works.

    It is not the responsility of the people to take care of all the homeless and esablish the community! The people of knowledge should establish it, then we can help THEM by following them in what they constructed.

    Quick to ask for money for thier salaries and projects, yet the Muslims can not turn to those imams to establish a liveable wage in the land. Is it that difficult for the imams to go to every muslims bussiness to make sure they pay thier workers liveable salaries?
    YES, IT IS TOO HARD. BECAUSE THE IMAMS ARE EMPLOYEES OF THE MASJID WITH A CONTRACT. They can not make to salaat 20 minutes and the khutbah 5 minutes; and they definitely can not scare away the muslim bussineses giving cash to the masjid


    In fact, I hold that all of the 90% of the knowledge on the internet is not even necessary. It causes debate and misunderstanding, and there is no perfection in any of it. Because the scholars are not accesible to the common poeple this is what you are left with.

    Shouldnt every Imam be a scholar before he takes the position?

    There are 12 sciences of Quran and 3 arabic sciences, hardly any imam is capable of teaching them all. And even if he was capable of teaching a few of these, he has not established it.

    the prerequisite for any of these classes should be that the student is able to speak arabic well. You see, Islam does not have a real base in the non muslim countries.

    Allahu alim. May Allah teach me and you to be just and wise.

    I can go on, but it would be wasting time. May Allah forgive us all.

    • iveybelle

      August 19, 2012 at 9:04 PM

      If you do not like it here in the united states of america PLEASE, GO BACK!!!!!

    • hedaya

      July 23, 2015 at 8:18 AM

      Salaam alaikum..U will not be wasting your time for u say for the sake of Allah…jazak Allahu khair for much of what u u said is valid..fe aman Allah

  18. ibnabeeomar

    November 8, 2007 at 3:34 PM

    jazakallahu khayr for your internet fatwa in english :)

  19. amin

    October 20, 2013 at 11:32 PM

    salam,alhamdulillah,alhamdulillah,may Almighty ALLAH accepts our ibadat

  20. New muslim

    February 8, 2014 at 2:29 PM

    Hello! can somebody help me by telling how to preform the night prayer? where can i find the information? Please no answer from sunni or shia. you should follow only the sunnah of profeten (SAW). He was just muslim.

  21. Zia-e-Taiba

    October 18, 2016 at 2:25 AM

    Nice to see an Article about Prayer.

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