Q. Could you tell us about the excellence of the night prayer i.e. ‘qiyam-ul-layl’ in Islam?

Excellence of Night Prayer (Qiyam-ul-Layl)

Excellence of Night Prayer (Qiyam-ul-Layl)

A. (#DrZakirNaik):  There are several verses in the Quran and several hadiths talking about the excellence of night prayer. I will just mention few of them. Allah says in the Quran in Surah Al-Sajdah Ch. 32, V. 16, talking about those people who go to jannah, the people of paradise and he describes those people that “Their limbs do forsake the bed of sleep and they call to their Lord in fear and hope…” that means they leave aside their sleep and they pray to Allah subhanwatala in hope and in fear and in ‘Taqwah’. And the verse continues “…They give in charity from the sustenance we have given.” Talking about the people of jannah. Further if you read it is mentioned in Surah Al-Dhariyaat Ch. 51 V. 17-18, “These people they sleep very little at night and during the early hours of dawn these people they pray for forgiveness”. Allah further says in Surah Al-Furqan Ch. 25, V. 64,These are the people who spend their night in the adoration of their Lord standing and in prostration (in ‘qiyam’ and in ‘sujood’).” There are various verses in the Quran, there are various Hadith talking about the excellence of this night prayer. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said which is mentioned in Sahih Muslim that, “The best prayer after the prescribed prayers it is the night prayer”. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said which is mentioned in Sahih Al-Bukhari that, “the best prayer is the prayer of Dawud (a. s) and the best fasting is the fasting of Dawud (a. s).” And Dawud (a. s) used to sleep in the first part of the night and then he used to spend the next one-third of the night in praying to Allah subhanwatala and rest of it the one-sixth of the night he used to again sleep. Our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “When a person sleeps the Satan ties three knots at the back of his head and after tying each knot he whispers “the night is long so keep on sleeping” and when a person gets up and remembers Allah subhanwatala the first knot is undone, when he does the wudhu the second knot is undone and when he prays the third knot is undone and the person is energetic and insha’allah he will be on the staright path for the full day.” On the other hand if he gets up without remembering Allah, without doing wudhu without offering Salaah then he is lazy and his heart is mischievous. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) further said which is mentioned in Sahih Muslim that, “Allah subhanwatala he descends in the lowest part of the heaven in the last one-third of the night and he says “is there anyone who wants to supplicate to me and I will answer it, is there anyone who wants to ask from me and I will give it to him, is there anyone who wants to seek forgiveness and I will forgive him, is there anyone who wants to invest a good deed with me for I am not unjust and not wasteful.” And it continues till the break of dawn. And there are various excellences spoken about the night prayer. For example in the Sahih Hadith of Muhammad (peace be upon him) in Tirmidhi in which our beloved Prophet said, “the servant is closest to his Lord in the last one-third of the night and if he asks him, if he prays during this time it is the best time he can pray to Allah subhanwatala.” It is again mentioned that,  “a person asked to “which is the best time to pray?” and Prophet said “the best time when your prayer will be answered is during the last one-third of the night and after the prescribed prayers.” i.e. after the 5 obligatory prayers if you supplicate insha’allah that’s the best time to ask.  It is mentioned in Sunan Abu-Dawud that, “Prophet said that Allah subhanwatala has added one more prayer for you i.e. the Witr and if anyone wants to pray five rakat in witr he may do so, if anyone wants to pray three rakats of witr he may do so, if anyone wants to pray one rakat for witr he may do so.” It is further mentioned in Sunan Abu-Dawud, “beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said that a person who gets up in the middle of the night and prays to Allah subhanwatala and wakes up his wife and if she doesn’t wake up sprinkle some water on her. Allah’s mercy and blessing is on such people…” and the hadith further continues that “…Allah’s mercy and blessings is on those woman who wake up during the middle of the night and they pray to Allah subhanwatala and they wake up their husbands and if their husbands don’t wake up they sprinkle water on them. So again it is one of the best prayers after the obligatory prayers. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) also said, “The Prophet’s wife (may Allah be pleased with her) she said that the Prophet always used to pray the ‘qiyam-ul-layl’ and he never missed it even when he was sick and ill or lethargic he used to pray even though he used to pray while sitting.”

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