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The Night Prayer (Qiyaam al-Layl) Part 2


This is Part 2 (final) of the topic. Part 1 can be found here.

night.gifNight prayer in the lives of the early Muslims

Imam AlHasan AlBasri said: “I did not find any worship more powerful than salaah in the middle of the night”.

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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.

Night Prayer in Ramadhan

Night prayer in Ramadhan is Salah at-Taraweeh which the Muslims perform during Ramadhan. It is one of the greatest acts of worship by which the worshippers seek to come closer to Allah in that month.

Al-Hafidh ibn Rajab said: “You should know that in Ramadhan the believer combines two actions by which he struggles against himself: during the day-time by fasting, and during the night-time by night prayer. Whoever combines these two forms of struggle receives his reward without any account.”

Shaikh Ibn Uthaimeen said: “Salah at night during Ramadhan has benefits and merits not found in other times. The Prophet SAWS said: ‘Whoever makes night prayer during Ramadhan, with Eman and hoping for reward from Allah, all his previous sins are forgiven. ‘ [Agreed upon]. Night prayer during Ramadhan is inclusive of salah in the early as well as late part of the night. For this reason, Taraweeh is part of night prayer during Ramadhan. It is necessary to seek it, to protect it, and to hope for reward from Allah because of it. It is only during a limited number of nights, so the intelligent believer takes advantage of the opportunity before it is lost.”

Salah at-Taraweeh has been legislated as a congregation in the mosques. The Prophet SAWS was the first to start the Sunnah of Salah at-Taraweeh in the mosque, but then he left it out of fear that it would become obligatory on the people. When the Prophet SAWS left this world and went to be with his Lord, the Sharia was completed and there was no fear of Taraweeh becoming obligatory. Its religious nature as a congregational salah has remained and is established.

It is necessary for the Muslims to take care of this salah and offer it completely, and have patience for the sake of Allah the Exalted.

Shaikh Ibn Uthaimeen said: “No one should fall behind in obtaining the rewards of salah at-Taraweeh. He should not leave until the Imam finishes it and Witr, so that he obtains all the reward for praying at night.”

It is allowed for the women to attend salah at-Taraweeh in the mosques so long as there is no danger, whether from them or against them. But it is necessary that she attends covered and wearing hijab, not showing off, perfumed, raising her voice, or displaying her beauty.

It is from the sunnah that they stand behind the men and away from them. They should begin with the last row because that is the opposite from men. They should leave the masjid right after the Imam makes tasleem and not stay unless due to some necessity.
This is because of the Hadith of Umm Salama (may Allah be pleased with her) who said: “When the Prophet would make salaam, the women would get up when he finished tasleem. He would stay in his place for a little while before he would stand. She said: We think, and Allah Knows Best, that this was so that the women could depart before the men would catch up to them .” [Narrated by Al-Bukhari]

May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon our Prophet, his family, companions, scholars, and all the Ummah.

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  1. Pingback: » The Night Prayer (Qiyaam al-Layl) - Part 1

  2. Abu Mus'ab

    August 4, 2007 at 10:02 AM

    Brother Amad,

    Jazakallah for this wonderful post. May Allah bless the Salaf for their good advice and bless us with a chance to pray the night prayer regularly.


  3. Nasir

    August 4, 2007 at 3:41 PM

    Assalamu Alaikum,

    For some reason the link for part II is not working.

  4. Amad

    August 4, 2007 at 4:28 PM

    Salam.. Nasir… this IS part 2.

    Part 1 is here: Part 1

    The link above seems to be working fine.

  5. abu ameerah

    August 4, 2007 at 5:52 PM

    excellent post!

    : )

  6. Faiez

    August 5, 2007 at 10:28 PM

    JazakAllahu khair, is there a part 3 in store? :)

  7. sincethestorm

    August 6, 2007 at 2:22 AM

    I was looking for the exact hadith but was unable to find it. There is a hadith that states that 2 rakahs of tahajjud prayer are higher in reward than prayer on the battlefield or in the Mecca or Medina (al-Harmain).

  8. ibnabeeomar

    August 6, 2007 at 2:44 AM

    sorry part 2 was the final

  9. Muslim

    August 6, 2007 at 11:07 AM

    Jazak Allahu Khair for that inspiring post.

  10. rojhan

    May 17, 2009 at 6:51 PM

    I am most intrigued at your historical and procedural reference to salat of the night. The logic is hay wire firstly you talk about salat of the shaab having different levels praying for the whole night or some part of the night. Every nawafil namaz or sunnat -e- mukiadah or ghair -e- mukhaidah are well defined in Islam meaning either they are in the sets of 2, 4 rakats and are cateogrized as to how many sets are to be read in each salat. It is most amazing that the most important non fard salat has not been categorized and has been left to the individual as to how much he might pray or rather according to his or her strength. This is certainly uncharacteristic of Islam or the Holy Prophet May Allah shower His blessings on Him. The Holy Prophet (SAWS) always quantified as to how much salat the muslims were to pray.

    Secondly the Salat-e-Tarweeh this is a sunnah which has its origins in Caliph Omar’s time . As no ghair fard namaz can be said in the form of congregation. When in the 5 obligatory prayers the sunnah mukidah and ghair mukaidah are said in the non-congregational manner then how come a once in a year prayer salat-e-tarweeh which is not said in the entire year except for ramazan is allowed to be said in congregation. Old Islamic sources do reveal that this prayer was invented by Umar bin Khattab the second Caliph and has no bearings to the time of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) . It is certainly suprising as to how a new prayer was created without the approval of the Holy Prophet (PBUH).

    Please would like to read your answer. Please do not quote weak ahadis. Do rely on historical evidence and logic please.

  11. farheen

    February 28, 2011 at 2:49 AM

    can i read yashin and quran at night instead of namaz..

  12. Alisher

    February 15, 2014 at 2:28 AM

    As alarm aleykum brothers and sisters. I am interested in the night pray. But how many raises to pray and after farz please brothers I need details how to pray.

  13. Prayer Times Kuwait

    June 10, 2019 at 2:50 PM

    Assalamu Alaikum, Jazak’Allah for this post.

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