Category Archives: Tahajjud

‘The Night Prayers’ & TIPS – Shaykh Muhammad Naasiruddeen al-Albaanee

Night prayer

‘The Night Prayers’ by Shaykh Muhammad Naasiruddeen al-Albaanee (rahimahullah) As-Sunnah Islamic Newsletter Issue 15

What is Qiyaam al-Layl?

‘Qiyaam’ means ‘standing’ and ‘Qiyaam al-Layl’ means ‘standing in night.’ In the Islamic terminology, both terms refer to, ‘the voluntary night prayer, whose time extends from after Isha prayer until dawn.’ Other common names for Qiyaam al-Layl are, Salaat ul-Layl (the night prayer), Tahajjud (from hajada meaning remained awake at night), Witr (odd-numbered this term is also used to refer to the last one or three Raka’ah of Qiyaam) and Taraweeh (resting). A widespread misconception is that Tahajjud is a different night prayer than Qiyaam or Taraweeh. It is important to clarify this misunderstanding and to make clear that there is only one nafl night prayer known by different names. Even though the term Taraweeh is more commonly used to describe the night prayer in Ramadan, it is not different from Tahajjud. Thus, the practice of praying Taraweeh in the earlier part of the night and Tahajjud in the later part should be stopped.

The Excellence of Qiyaam al-Layl

Numerous Ahaadeeth and Qur’aanic verses mention the excellence of Qiyaam al-Layl and the merit of those who perform it regularly. Umm al-Mumineen, Aa’ishah (radhi allahu anha) reported that the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said:

“The most beloved deeds to Allaah are the most constant, even if they were little.” [Saheeh al-Bukharee and Saheeh Muslim] and she said in another narration: “Do not ever stop praying Qiyaam.

The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) never ceased praying it. When he was sick or weak, he prayed sitting.” [Saheeh al-Bukharee and Saheeh Muslims] He (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “You should pray Qiyaam al-Layl, for it is the habit of the righteous people who came before you, and it will bring you closer to your Lord, expiate for bad deeds, prevent sin, and expel disease from the body.” [At-Tirmidhee and Musnad Ahmad] Narrated Mu’adh Ibn Jabal (radhi allahu anhu): ‘The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said to him:

“May I show you the gates of goodness?’ (they are), “(a) Fasting is screen from Hell, (b) As-Sadaqah extinguishes the sins, as water extinguishes fire, (c) Standing in Salaat (prayer) by a slave of Allaah during the last third part of a night.” Then the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) recited the verse: “Their (believer’s) sides forsake their beds, to invoke their Lord in fear and hope; and they spend out of what We have bestowed on them.”‘ [Abu Dawood and at-Tirmidhee]

Abu Hurayrah (radhi allahu anhu) reported that Allaah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “The best of prayer after those prescribed (i.e. obligatory prayer) is that in the depth of night.” [Saheeh Muslims] Abu Hurayrah (radhi allahu anhu) reported that Allaah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “May Allaah have mercy on a man who wakes up at night, prays, and wakes his wife to pray; and if she refuses, he sprinkles water on her face. And may Allaah have mercy on a woman who wakes up at night, prays, and wakes her husband to pray; and if he refuses, she sprinkles water on his face.” [(Hasan) Abu Dawood ]

Abdullah Ibn Bashr (radhi allahu anhu) reported Allaah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) saying: “Whoever prays Qiyaam reciting ten verses, he will not be recorded among the negligent. Whoever prays Qiyaam reciting one hundred verses, he will be recorded among the devout. And whoever prays Qiyaam reciting one thousand verses, he will be recorded among those with a multitude of good deeds.” [(Hasan) Abu Dawood]

7 Practical Tips for praying Qiyaam al-Layl

1: Ikhlas (Sincerity) – the key to Allaah’s Help and Blessings

Help of Allaah is needed to accomplish and achieve success in all our affairs. And Allaah only helps those who are sincere in their hearts. The Messenger of Allaah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “If you are truthful with Allaah, then Allaah will deliver to you what you wish for.” [An-Nasa’ee, al-Hakim and Saheeh al-Jamee] Therefore, one should have a sincere intention to pray Qiyaam al-Layl; seek the Pleasure of Allaah Alone and avoid the desire of praise or fame. Allaah says: “And they were commanded not, but that they should worship Allaah, and worship none but Him Alone…” [(98): 5] Imam Ibn al-Qayyim said: “The degree to which a person is helped and aided by Allaah depends on the degree of his intention, drive, aim and hopes. Help from Allaah comes to people in proportion to their drive, intention, hopes and fears, and failure comes to them in like manner.”

2: Knowing the Virtues of Qiyaam al-Layl

Knowing the virtues and rewards of performing worship produces willingness and desire to perform the worship. We have previously mentioned numerous virtues of regularly praying Qiyaam al-Layl, here we mention the excellence of praying Qiyaam al-Layl particularly in the great month of Ramadan. Abu Hurayrah (radhi allahu anhu) reported: “Allaah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) encouraged the people, without making it an absolute command, to perform Qiyaam during Ramadan. He (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) used to say: “Whoever stands (in Qiyaam) in Ramadan out of faith and expectation (of Allaah’s reward), all his previous sins will be forgiven.” [Saheeh Muslim]

3: Taking a nap in the daytime

Taking a nap before or after Dhur Salaat will dismiss the stress and thus enable one to get up in the night and stand in front of his Lord. The Messenger of Allaah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “Take a nap, for the Shayateen (pl. of Shaytan) do not take naps.” [Reported by at-Tabaranee. Al-Saheehah (2647)]

4: Sleeping according to the Sunnah of Allaah’s Messenger

(a) Sleep early: Sleeping early is a healthy habit and it was the practice of Allaah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) to sleep directly after performing the Isha prayer. Abu Barzah al-Aslami (radhi allahu anhu) said that the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) used to prefer to delay Isha, and he did not like to sleep before it or talk after it.” [Saheeh al-Bukharee]

(b) Sleep in a state of taharah (purity): Ibn Abbas (radhi allahu anhu) reported that Allaah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “Purify these bodies and Allaah will purify you, for there is no slave who goes to sleep in a state of purity but an Angel spends the night with him, and every time he turns over, [the Angel] says, ‘O Allaah! Forgive Your slave, for he went to bed in a state of purity.’” [Reported by at-Tabaranee. See Saheeh al-Jamee (3831)]

(c) Choose a suitable bed: Excessive luxurious or soft bed provokes laziness and makes one sleep more and become negligent.

Aa’ishah (radhi allahu anha) narrates that the pillow of the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) on which he slept at night was made of leather stuffed with palm fibers.” [Abu Dawood and Musnad Ahmad. Saheeh al-Jamee (4714)] Once Umar Ibn al-Khattab (radhi allahu anhu) entered upon the Messenger of Allaah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) when he was lying on a mat of palm fibers that had left marks on his side. Umar (radhi allahu anhu) said: “O Messenger of Allah, why do you not get something more comfortable than this?” He (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “What do I have to do with this world? My relationship with this world is like that of a traveller on a hot summer’s day, who seeks shade under a tree for an hour, then moves on.” [Musnad Ahmad and al-Hakim. Saheeh al-Jamee (5545)]

(d) Cleaning the bed and lying on the right side. Abu Hurayrah (radhi allahu anhu) reported: “The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “When any one of you goes to bed, let him clear his bed by hitting it with his garment, for he does not know what may have come onto it. Then let him lie down on his right side…” [Saheeh al-Bukharee and Saheeh Muslim]

(e) Reciting the Adhkaar (supplications) mentioned in the Sunnah before sleeping. There are a number of Adhkaar prescribed in the Sunnah before going to bed, amongst them are reciting the last verses of Surah al-Baqarah, reciting Surah al-Falaq and Surah al-Nas and Surah Ikhlas blow in the palms and wipe as much of the body possible, starting from the head, face and then the front of the body doing it three times. [Saheeh al-Bukharee and Saheeh Muslim]

Ali Ibn Abi Talib (radhi allahu anhu) reported that when the Prophet’s daughter, Fatima (radhi allahu anha) came to him and asked him for a servant, he (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said to her and Ali: “Shall I not teach you something that will be better for you than a servant? When you go to bed, say ‘SubhanAllaah’ thirty-three times, ‘Al-hamdulillaah’ thirty-three times, and ‘Allahu Akbar’ thirty-four times. This is better for you than a servant.” [Saheeh al-Bukharee and Saheeh Muslim]

5: Avoid too much food and drink Too much food or drink is one of the main obstacles that make one lazy and negligent of Qiyaam al-Layl. The Messenger of Allaah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “Man fills no vessel worse than his stomach. It is sufficient for the son of Adam to have a few mouthfuls to give him the strength he needs. If he has to fill his stomach, then let him leave one-third for food, one-third for drink and one-third for air.” [Reported by at-Tirmidhee and Ibn Majah. Saheeh al-Jamee (5674)]

Abu Juhayfah (radhi allahu anhu) reported that the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said to a man who burped in his presence: “Stop your burping, for the people who eat the most in this life will be the most hungry on the Day of Resurrection.” [Reported by al-Hakim. Saheeh al-Jamee (1190)]

6: Striving against oneself: Striving against oneself to get up and pray and suppressing one’s desires bring about Allaah’s help and His Pleasure for the slave. Allaah says in the Qur’aan: “Strive in Allaah’s Cause as you ought to strive…” [Surah al-Hajj (25): 78] “And as for those who strive hard in Our Cause, We will surely guide them to Our Paths. And verily, Allaah is with the Muhsinoon (good-doers).” [ (29): 69] The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “The Mujahid (one who strives in way of Allaah) is the one who strives against his own self for the sake of Allaah.” [Reported by al-Tirmidhee. See al-Saheehah (549)]

He (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) also said: “When a man from my Ummah gets up to pray at night, striving against his own self to get up and purify himself, there are knots on him. When he washes his hands in wudhu, one knot is undone. When he washes his face, another knot is undone. When he wipes his head another knot is undone. When he washes his feet, another knot is undone. Then Allaah says to those who are veiled (in the Unseen): ‘Look at this slave of Mine, he is striving against his own self and asking of Me. Whatever My slave asks of Me shall be his.” [Musnad Ahmad. See Saheeh al-Targheeb (627)]

7: Rebuking one’s self for not praying Qiyaam al-Layl

Qiyaam al-Layl is a great blessing from Allaah, the Exalted, and He has placed in it numerous spiritual benefits and rewards for the believer. Therefore, one should rebuke one’s self, if he misses this great opportunity of achieving rewards and Pleasure of Allaah. Allaah says in the Qur’aan: “O you who believe! Fear Allaah and keep your duty to Him. And let every person look to what he has sent forth for the morrow, and fear Allaah. Verily, Allaah is All-Aware of what you do.” [(59): 18] Imam Ibn al-Qayyim (rahimahullah) said: “If the slave is responsible and accountable for everything, even his hearing, sight and innermost thoughts, as Allaah says,

“…Verily, hearing, sight, and the heart of each of you will be questioned by Allaah.” [Surah al-Isra (17): 36], then he should check on himself before he is brought to account.”

When does the last third of the night begin and end? – Shaykh Ibn Baaz

Outset and end of the last third of night [1]
Q: It is reported in the Hadith that Allah descends every night to the lowest heaven in the last third of the night [2]. When does the last third of the night begin and end?

A: There are Mutawatir Hadiths (a Hadith reported by a significant number of narrators throughout the chain of narration, whose agreement upon a lie is impossible) from the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) that prove that Allah descends. The Prophet (peace be upon him) stated, Our Lord descends to the lowest heaven every night when the last third of the night begins when He says, ‘Who calls Me to answer him? Who asks Me to give him? Who asks Me for forgiveness to forgive him? [3]

Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal-Jama`ah (adherents to the Sunnah and the Muslim mainstream) unanimously agreed that Allah descends in a manner that befits Him and that He is not like His creation at all in any of His Attributes, as He states, Say (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم): “He is Allâh, (the) One. “Allâh-us-Samad (السيد الذي يصمد إليه في الحاجات) [Allâh the Self-Sufficient Master, Whom all creatures need, (He neither eats nor drinks)]. “He begets not, nor was He begotten. “And there is none co-equal or comparable unto Him.” Surah Al-Ikhlas, 112

He (Glorified and Exalted be He) also says, There is nothing like Him; and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer.

According to Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal-Jama`ah, we must accept the Ayahs and Hadiths that speak of the Attributes of Allah as they are without Tahrif (distortion of the meaning), Ta`til (denial of Allah’s Attributes), Takyif (descriptive designation of Allah’s Attributes), or Tamthil (likening Allah’s Attributes to those of His Creation). At the same time, we must believe in them and believe that what is mentioned in these texts is true without likening Allah to His creation or discussing the nature of His Attributes. Rather, their view concerning His Attributes is like their view concerning His Dhat (Essence). Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal-Jama`ah affirm the Essence of Allah without Takyif, or Tamthil, and thus, we must also affirm His Attributes without Takyif or Tamthil.

The descent of Allah occurs in every country in a manner that befits Allah, because the descent of Allah is not like the descent of any of His creation. He is described as descending in the last part of the night in all parts of the world in a manner that befits His Majesty, Exalted be He.No one can know how He descends just as no one can know how His Essence is, except Him.

He states, There is nothing like Him; and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer.Surah Al-Shura, 42: 11. Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) also says: So put not forward similitudes for Allâh (as there is nothing similar to Him, nor He resembles anything). Truly! Allâh knows and you know not.Surah Al-Nahl, 16: 74

The time of the first and last third of the night differs according to the season; if the night is nine hours long, then the time of descent begins at the onset of the seventh hour and continues until dawn. If the night is twelve hours long, then the last third begins at the beginning of the ninth hour until the break of dawn and so on, depending on how long or short the night is in each place. May Allah grant us success.

Footnotes:

[1] This was published in Al-Da`wah magazine, issue no. 1138, on 2/9/1408 A.H.

[2] Al-Bukhari, Sahih, Book on supplications, no. 6321; Muslim, Sahih, Book on travelers* Salah and Salah shortening, no. 758; Al-Tirmidhy, Sunan, Book on Salah, no. 446; Abu Dawud, Sunan, Book on Salah, no. 1315; Ibn Majah, Sunan, Book on performing Prayer and its Sunan, no. 1366; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 2, p. 433; Malik, Al-Muwatta*, Book on call to Prayer, no. 496; and Al-Darimy, Sunan, Book on Salah, no. 1484.’

[3] Al-Bukhari, Sahih, Book on Friday, no. 1145; Muslim, Sahih, Book on travelers* Salah and Salah shortening, no. 758; Al-Tirmidhy, Sunan, Book on supplications, no. 3498; Abu Dawud, Sunan, Book on Salah, no. 1315; Ibn Majah, Sunan, Book on performing Prayer and its Sunan, no. 1366; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 2, p. 265; Malik, Al-Muwatta*, Book on call to Prayer, no. 496; and Al-Darimy, Sunan, Book on Salah, no. 1479.

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Tahajjud – from Sahih Bukhari

Translation of Sahih Bukhari, Book 21:

Prayer at Night (Tahajjud)

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 221:

Narrated Ibn Abbas:

When the Prophet got up at night to offer the Tahajjud prayer, he used to say: Allahumma lakal-hamd. Anta qaiyimus-samawati wal-ard wa man fihinna. Walakal-hamd, Laka mulkus-samawati wal-ard wa man fihinna. Walakal-hamd, anta nurus-samawati wal-ard. Walakalhamd, anta-l-haq wa wa’duka-l-haq, wa liqa’uka Haq, wa qualuka Haq, wal-jannatu Han wan-naru Haq wannabiyuna Haq. Wa Muhammadun, sallal-lahu’alaihi wasallam, Haq, was-sa’atu Haq. Allahumma aslamtu Laka wabika amantu, wa ‘Alaika tawakkaltu, wa ilaika anabtu wa bika khasamtu, wa ilaika hakamtu faghfir li ma qaddamtu wama akh-khartu wama as-rartu wama’a lantu, anta-l-muqaddim wa anta-l-mu akh-khir, la ilaha illa anta (or la ilaha ghairuka). (O Allah! All the praises are for you, You are the Holder of the Heavens and the Earth, And whatever is in them. All the praises are for You; You have the possession of the Heavens and the Earth And whatever is in them. All the praises are for You; You are the Light of the Heavens and the Earth And all the praises are for You; You are the King of the Heavens and the Earth; And all the praises are for You; You are the Truth and Your Promise is the truth, And to meet You is true, Your Word is the truth And Paradise is true And Hell is true And all the Prophets (Peace be upon them) are true; And Muhammad is true, And the Day of Resurrection is true. O Allah ! I surrender (my will) to You; I believe in You and depend on You. And repent to You, And with Your help I argue (with my opponents, the non-believers) And I take You as a judge (to judge between us). Please forgive me my previous And future sins; And whatever I concealed or revealed And You are the One who make (some people) forward And (some) backward. There is none to be worshipped but you . Sufyan said that ‘Abdul Karim Abu Umaiya added to the above, ‘Wala haula Wala quwata illa billah’ (There is neither might nor power except with Allah).

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 222:

Narrated Salim’s father:

In the life-time of the Prophet whosoever saw a dream would narrate it to Allah’s Apostle. I had a wish of seeing a dream to narrate it to Allah’s Apostle (p.b.u.h) I was a grown up boy and used to sleep in the Mosque in the life-time of the Prophet. I saw in the dream that two angels caught hold of me and took me to the Fire which was built all round like a built well and had two poles in it and the people in it were known to me. I started saying, “I seek refuge with Allah from the Fire.” Then I met another angel who told me not to be afraid. I narrated the dream to Hafsa who told it to Allah’s Apostle. The Prophet said, “Abdullah is a good man. I wish he prayed Tahajjud.” After that ‘Abdullah (i.e. Salim’s father) used to sleep but a little at night.

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 223:

Narrated ‘Aisha:

Allah’s Apostle used to offer eleven Rakat and that was his prayer. He used to prolong the prostration to such an extent that one could recite fifty verses (of the Quran) before he would lift his head. He used to pray two Rakat (Sunna) before the Fajr prayer and then used to lie down on his right side till the call-maker came and informed him about the prayer.

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 224:

Narrated Jundab:

The Prophet became sick and did not get up (for Tahajjud prayer) for a night or two.

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 225:

Narrated Jundab bin ‘Abdullah :

Gabriel did not come to the Prophet (for some time) and so one of the Quraish women said, “His Satan has deserted him.” So came the Divine Revelation: “By the forenoon And by the night When it is still! Your Lord (O Muhammad) has neither Forsaken you Nor hated you.” (93.1-3)

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 226:

Narrated Um Salama:

One night the Prophet got up and said, “Subhan Allah! How many afflictions Allah has revealed tonight and how many treasures have been sent down (disclosed). Go and wake the sleeping lady occupants of these dwellings up (for prayers), perhaps a well-dressed in this world may be naked in the Hereafter.”

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 227:

Narrated ‘Ali bin Abi Talib

One night Allah’s Apostle came to me and Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet and asked, “Won’t you pray (at night)?” I said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Our souls are in the hands of Allah and if He wants us to get up He will make us get up.” When I said that, he left us without saying anything and I heard that he was hitting his thigh and saying, “But man is more quarrelsome than anything.” (18.54)

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 228:

Narrated ‘Aisha:

Allah’s Apostle used to give up a good deed, although he loved to do it, for fear that people might act on it and it might be made compulsory for them. The Prophet never prayed the Duha prayer, but I offer it.

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 229:

Narrated ‘Aisha, the mother of the faithful believers:

One night Allah’s Apostle offered the prayer in the Mosque and the people followed him. The next night he also offered the prayer and too many people gathered. On the third and the fourth nights more people gathered, but Allah’s Apostle did not come out to them. In the morning he said, “I saw what you were doing and nothing but the fear that it (i.e. the prayer) might be enjoined on you, stopped me from coming to you.” And that happened in the month of Ramadan.

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 230:

Narrated Al-Mughira:

The Prophet used to stand (in the prayer) or pray till both his feet or legs swelled. He was asked why (he offered such an unbearable prayer) and he said, “should I not be a thankful slave.”

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 231:

Narrated Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin Al-‘As:

Allah’s Apostle told me, “The most beloved prayer to Allah is that of David and the most beloved fasts to Allah are those of David. He used to sleep for half of the night and then pray for one third of the night and again sleep for its sixth part and used to fast on alternate days.”

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 232:

Narrated Masruq:

I asked ‘Aisha which deed was most loved by the Prophet. She said, “A deed done continuously.” I further asked, “When did he used to get up (in the night for the prayer).” She said, “He used to get up on hearing the crowing of a cock.”

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 233:

Narrated Al-Ashath:

He (the Prophet (p.b.u.h) ) used to get up for the prayer on hearing the crowing of a cock.

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 234:

Narrated ‘Aisha:

In my house he (Prophet (p.b.u.h) ) never passed the last hours of the night but sleeping.

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 235:

Narrated Qatada:

Anas bin Malik said, “The Prophet (p.b.u.h) and Zaid bin Thabit took their Suhur together. When they finished it, the Prophet stood for the (Fajr) prayer and offered it.” We asked Anas, “What was the interval between their finishing the Suhur and the starting of the morning prayer?” Anas replied, “It was equal to the time taken by a person in reciting fifty verses of the Quran.”

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 236:

Narrated Abu-Wa il:

‘Abdullah said, “One night I offered the Tahajjud prayer with the Prophet and he kept on standing till an ill-thought came to me.” We said, “What was the ill-thought?” He said, “It was to sit down and leave the Prophet (standing).”

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 237:

Narrated Hudhaifa :

Whenever the Prophet got up for Tahajjud prayer he used to clean his mouth (and teeth) with Siwak.

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 238:

Narrated ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar :

A man said, “O Allah’s Apostle! How is the prayer of the night?” He said, “Two Rakat followed by two Rakat and so on, and when you apprehend the approaching dawn, offer one Raka as Witr.”

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 239:

Narrated Ibn Abbas:

The prayer of the Prophet used to be of thirteen Rakat, i.e. of the night prayer.

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 240:

Narrated Masruq:

I asked Aisha about the night prayer of Allah’s Apostle and she said, “It was seven, nine or eleven Rakat besides the two Rakat of the Fajr prayer (i.e. Sunna). ”

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 241:

Narrated ‘Aisha,

The Prophet (p.b.u.h) used to offer thirteen Rakat of the night prayer and that included the Witr and two Rakat (Sunna) of the Fajr prayer.

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 242:

Narrated Anas bin Malik

Sometimes Allah’s Apostle would not fast (for so many days) that we thought that he would not fast that month and he sometimes used to fast (for so many days) that we thought he would not leave fasting through-out that month and (as regards his prayer and sleep at night), if you wanted to see him praying at night, you could see him praying and if you wanted to see him sleeping, you could see him sleeping.

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 243:

Narrated Abu Huraira

Allah’s Apostle said, “Satan puts three knots at the back of the head of any of you if he is asleep. On every knot he reads and exhales the following words, ‘The night is long, so stay asleep.’ When one wakes up and remembers Allah, one knot is undone; and when one performs ablution, the second knot is undone, and when one prays the third knot is undone and one gets up energetic with a good heart in the morning; otherwise one gets up lazy and with a mischievous heart.”

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 244:

Narrated Samura bin Jundab:

The Prophet said in his narration of a dream that he saw, “He whose head was being crushed with a stone was one who learnt the Quran but never acted on it, and slept ignoring the compulsory prayers.”

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 245:

Narrated ‘Abdullah :

A person was mentioned before the Prophet (p.b.u.h) and he was told that he had kept on sleeping till morning and had not got up for the prayer. The Prophet said, “Satan urinated in his ears.”

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 246:

Narrated Abu Huraira:

Allah’s Apostle (p.b.u.h) said, “Our Lord, the Blessed, the Superior, comes every night down on the nearest Heaven to us when the last third of the night remains, saying: “Is there anyone to invoke Me, so that I may respond to invocation? Is there anyone to ask Me, so that I may grant him his request? Is there anyone seeking My forgiveness, so that I may forgive him?”

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 247:

Narrated Al-Aswad:

I asked ‘Aisha “How is the night prayer of the Prophet?” She replied, “He used to sleep early at night, and get up in its last part to pray, and then return to his bed. When the Muadh-dhin pronounced the Adhan, he would get up. If he was in need of a bath he would take it; otherwise he would perform ablution and then go out (for the prayer).”

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 248:

Narrated Abu Salma bin ‘Abdur Rahman:

I asked ‘Aisha, “How is the prayer of Allah’s Apostle during the month of Ramadan.” She said, “Allah’s Apostle never exceeded eleven Rakat in Ramadan or in other months; he used to offer four Rakat– do not ask me about their beauty and length, then four Rakat, do not ask me about their beauty and length, and then three Rakat.” Aisha further said, “I said, ‘O Allah’s Apostle! Do you sleep before offering the Witr prayer?’ He replied, ‘O ‘Aisha! My eyes sleep but my heart remains awake’!”

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 249:

Narrated ‘Aisha:

I did not see the Prophet reciting (the Quran) in the night prayer while sitting except when he became old; when he used to recite while sitting, and when thirty or forty verses remained from the Sura, he would get up and recite them and then bow.

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 250:

Narrated Abu Huraira:

At the time of the Fajr prayer the Prophet asked Bilal, “Tell me of the best deed you did after embracing Islam, for I heard your footsteps in front of me in Paradise.” Bilal replied, “I did not do anything worth mentioning except that whenever I performed ablution during the day or night, I prayed after that ablution as much as was written for me.”

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 251r:

Narrated Anas bin Malik

Once the Prophet (p.b.u.h) entered the Mosque and saw a rope hanging in between its two pillars. He said, “What is this rope?” The people said, “This rope is for Zainab who, when she feels tired, holds it (to keep standing for the prayer.)” The Prophet said, “Don’t use it. Remove the rope. You should pray as long as you feel active, and when you get tired, sit down.”

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 251n:

Narrated ‘Aisha:

A woman from the tribe of Bani Asad was sitting with me and Allah’s Apostle (p.b.u.h) came to my house and said, “Who is this?” I said, “(She is) So and so. She does not sleep at night because she is engaged in prayer.” The Prophet said disapprovingly: Do (good) deeds which is within your capacity as Allah never gets tired of giving rewards till you get tired of doing good deeds.”

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 252:

Narrated ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin Al-‘As:

Allah’s Apostle said to me, “O ‘Abdullah! Do not be like so and so who used to pray at night and then stopped the night prayer.”

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 253:

Narrated ‘Ubada bin As-Samit:

The Prophet “Whoever gets up at night and says: — ‘La ilaha il-lallah Wahdahu la Sharika lahu Lahu-l-mulk, waLahu-l-hamd wahuwa ‘ala kullishai’in Qadir. Alhamdu lil-lahi wa subhanal-lahi wa la-ilaha il-lal-lah wa-l-lahu akbar wa la hawla Wala Quwata il-la-bil-lah.’ (None has the right to be worshipped but Allah. He is the Only One and has no partners . For Him is the Kingdom and all the praises are due for Him. He is Omnipotent. All the praises are for Allah. All the glories are for Allah. And none has the right to be worshipped but Allah, And Allah is Great And there is neither Might nor Power Except with Allah). And then says: — Allahumma, Ighfir li(O Allah! Forgive me). Or invokes (Allah), he will be responded to and if he performs ablution (and prays), his prayer will be accepted.”

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 254:

Narrated Abu Huraira

That once Allah’s Apostle (p.b.u.h) said, “Your brother, i.e. ‘Abdullah bin Rawaha does not say obscene (referring to his verses): Amongst us is Allah’s Apostle, who recites His Book when it dawns. He showed us the guidance, after we were blind. We believe that whatever he says will come true. And he spends his nights in such a way as his sides do not touch his bed. While the pagans were deeply asleep.”

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 255:

Narrated Nafi:

Ibn ‘Umar said, “In the life-time of the Prophet I dreamt that a piece of silk cloth was in my hand and it flew with me to whichever part of Paradise I wanted. I also saw as if two persons (i.e. angels) came to me and wanted to take me to Hell. Then an angel met us and told me not to be afraid. He then told them to leave me. Hafsa narrated one of my dreams to the Prophet and the Prophet said, “Abdullah is a good man. Would that he offer the night prayer (Tahajjud)!” So after that day ‘Abdullah (bin ‘Umar) started offering Tahajjud. The companions of the Prophet (p.b.u.h) used to tell him their dreams that (Laila-tul-Qadr) was on the 27th of the month of Ramadan. The Prophet said, “I see that your dreams agree on the last ten nights of Ramadan and so whoever is in search of it should seek it in the last ten nights of Ramadan.”

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 256:

Narrated ‘Aisha;

Allah’s Apostle offered the ‘Isha’ prayer (and then got up at the Tahajjud time) and offered eight Rakat and then offered two Rakat while sitting. He then offered two Rakat in between the Adhan and Iqama (of the Fajr prayer) and he never missed them.

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 257:

Narrated ‘Aisha:

The Prophet used to lie down on his right side, after offering two Rakat (Sunna) of the Fajr prayer.

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 258:

Narrated ‘Aisha :

After offering the Sunna of the Fajr prayer, the Prophet used to talk to me, if I happen to be awake; otherwise he would lie down till the Iqama call was proclaimed (for the Fajr prayer).

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 259:

Narrated ‘Aisha:

After offering the two Rakat (Sunna) the Prophet (p.b.u.h) used to talk to me, if I happen to be awake; otherwise he would lie down.

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 260:

Narrated ‘Aisha:

The Prophet was never more regular and particular in offering any Nawafil than the two Rakat (Sunna) of the Fajr prayer.

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 261:

Narrated ‘Aisha:

Allah’s Apostle used to offer thirteen Rakat in the night prayer and on hearing the Adhan for the morning prayer, he used to offer two light Rakat.

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 262:

Narrated ‘Aisha:

The Prophet (p.b.u.h) used to make the two Rakat before the Fajr prayer so light that I would wonder whether he recited Al-Fatiha (or not).

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 263:

Narrated Jabir bin ‘Abdullah :

The Prophet (p.b.u.h) used to teach us the way of doing Istikhara (Istikhara means to ask Allah to guide one to the right sort of action concerning any job or a deed), in all matters as he taught us the Suras of the Quran. He said, “If anyone of you thinks of doing any job he should offer a two Rakat prayer other than the compulsory ones and say (after the prayer): — ‘Allahumma inni astakhiruka bi’ilmika, Wa astaqdiruka bi-qudratika, Wa as’alaka min fadlika al-‘azlm Fa-innaka taqdiru Wala aqdiru, Wa ta’lamu Wala a’lamu, Wa anta ‘allamu l-ghuyub. Allahumma, in kunta ta’lam anna hadha-l-amra Khairun li fi dini wa ma’ashi wa’aqibati amri (or ‘ajili amri wa’ajilihi) Faqdirhu wa yas-sirhu li thumma barik li Fihi, Wa in kunta ta’lamu anna hadha-lamra shar-run li fi dini wa ma’ashi wa’aqibati amri (or fi’ajili amri wa ajilihi) Fasrifhu anni was-rifni anhu. Waqdir li al-khaira haithu kana Thumma ardini bihi.’ (O Allah! I ask guidance from Your knowledge, And Power from Your Might and I ask for Your great blessings. You are capable and I am not. You know and I do not and You know the unseen. O Allah! If You know that this job is good for my religion and my subsistence and in my Hereafter–(or said: If it is better for my present and later needs)–Then You ordain it for me and make it easy for me to get, And then bless me in it, and if You know that this job is harmful to me In my religion and subsistence and in the Hereafter–(or said: If it is worse for my present and later needs)–Then keep it away from me and let me be away from it. And ordain for me whatever is good for me, And make me satisfied with it). The Prophet added that then the person should name (mention) his need.

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 264:

Narrated Abu Qatada bin Rabi Al-Ansari;

The Prophet said, “If anyone of you enters a Mosque, he should not sit until he has offered a two-Rakat prayer.”

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 265:

Narrated Anas bin Malik

Allah’s Apostle led us and offered a two Rakat prayer and then went away.

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 266:

Narrated ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar Abu,

I offered with Allah’s Apostle a two Rakat prayer before the Zuhr prayer and two Rakat after the Zuhr prayer, two Rakat after Jumua, Maghrib and ‘Isha’ prayers.

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 267:

Narrated Jabir bin ‘Abdullah :

While delivering a sermon, Allah’s Apostle said, “If anyone of you comes while the Imam is delivering the sermon or has come out for it, he should offer a two Rakat prayer.”

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 268:

Narrated Mujahid:

Somebody came to the house of Ibn ‘Umar and told him that Allah’s Apostles had entered the Ka’ba. Ibn ‘Umar said, “I went in front of the Ka’ba and found that Allah’s Apostle had come out of the Ka’ba and I saw Bilal standing by the side of the gate of the Ka’ba. I said, ‘O Bilal! Has Allah’s Apostle (p.b.u.h) prayed inside the Ka’ba?’ Bilal replied in the affirmative. I said, ‘Where (did he pray)?’ He replied, ‘(He prayed) Between these two pillars and then he came out and offered a two Rakat prayer in front of the Ka’ba.’ ” Abu ‘Abdullah said: Abu Huraira said, “The Prophet (p.b.u.h) advised me to offer two Rakat of Duha prayer (prayer to be offered after sunrise and before midday). ” Itban (bin Malik) said, “Allah’s Apostle

(p.b.u.h) and Abu Bakr, came to me after sunrise and we aligned behind the Prophet (p.b.u.h) and offered two Rakat.”

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 269:

Narrated Ibn ‘Umar:

I offered with the Prophet two Rakat before the Zuhr and two Rakat after the Zuhr prayer; two Rakat after Maghrib, Isha’ and the Jumua prayers. Those of the Maghrib and ‘Isha’ were offered in his house. My sister Hafsa told me that the Prophet used to offer two light Rakat after dawn and it was the time when I never went to the Prophet.”

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 270:

Narrated ‘Amr:

I heard Abu Ash-sha’tha’ Jabir saying, “I heard Ibn Abbas saying, ‘I offered with Allah’s Apostle eight Rakat (of Zuhr and ‘Asr prayers) together and seven Rakat (the Maghrib and the ‘Isha’ prayers) together.’ ” I said, “O Abu Ash-shatha! I think he must have prayed the Zuhr late and the ‘Asr early; the ‘Isha early and the Maghrib late.” Abu Ash-sha’tha’ said, “I also think so.” (See Hadith No. 518 Vol. 1).

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 271:

Narrated Muwarriq:

I asked Ibn ‘Umar “Do you offer the Duha prayer?” He replied in the negative. I further asked, “Did ‘Umar use to pray it?” He (Ibn ‘Umar) replied in the negative. I again asked, “Did Abu Bakr use to pray it?” He replied in the negative. I again asked, “Did the Prophet use to pray it?” Ibn ‘Umar replied, “I don’t think he did.”

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 272:

Narrated ‘Abdur Rahman bin Abi Laila:

Only Um Hani narrated to me that she had seen the Prophet offering the Duha prayer. She said, “On the day of the conquest of Mecca, the Prophet entered my house, took a bath and offered eight Rakat (of Duha prayers. I had never seen the Prophet offering such a light prayer but he performed bowing and prostrations perfectly .

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 273:

Narrated ‘Aisha:

I never saw the Prophet offering the Duha prayer but I always offer it.

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 274:

Narrated Abu Huraira:

My friend (the Prophet) advised me to do three things and I shall not leave them till I die, these are: To fast three days every month, to offer the Duha prayer, and to offer Witr before sleeping.

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 275t:

Narrated Anas bin Sirin:

I heard Anas bin Malik al-Ansari saying, “An Ansari man, who was very fat, said to the Prophet, ‘I am unable to present myself for the prayer with you.’ He prepared a meal for the Prophet and invited him to his house. He washed one side of a mat with water and the Prophet offered two Rakat on it.” So and so, the son of so and so, the son of Al-Jarud asked Anas, “Did the Prophet use to offer the Duha prayer?” Anas replied, “I never saw him praying (the Duha prayer) except on that day.”

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 275:

Narrated Ibn ‘Umar:

I remember ten Rakat of Nawafil from the Prophet, two Rakat before the Zuhr prayer and two after it; two Rakat after Maghrib prayer in his house, and two Rakat after ‘Isha’ prayer in his

house, and two Rakat before the Fajr prayer and at that time nobody would enter the house of the Prophet Hafsa told me that the Prophet used to offer two Rakat after the call maker had made the Adhan and the day had dawned.

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 276:

Narrated Aisha:

The Prophet never missed four Rakat before the Zuhr prayer and two Rakat before the Fajr prayer.

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 277:

Narrated ‘Abdullah Al-Muzni:

The Prophet said, “Pray before the Maghrib (compulsory) prayer.” He (said it thrice) and in the third time, he said, “Whoever wants to offer it can do so.” He said so because he did not like the people to take it as a tradition.

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 278:

Narrated Marthad bin ‘Abdullah Al-Yazani:

I went to ‘Uqba bin ‘Amir Al-Juhani and said, “Is it not surprising that Abi Tamim offers two Rakat before the Maghrib prayer?” ‘Uqba said, “We used to do so in the life-time of Allah’s Apostle.” I asked him, “What prevents you from offering it now?” He replied, “Business.”

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 279:

Narrated Mahmud bin Ar-rabi’ Al-Ansari,

that he remembered Allah’s Apostle and he also remembered a mouthful of water which he had thrown on his face, after taking it from a well that was in their house. Mahmud said that he had heard Itban bin Malik, who was present with Allah’s Apostle in the battle of Badr saying, “I used to lead my people at Bani Salim in the prayer and there was a valley between me and those people. Whenever it rained it used to be difficult for me to cross it to go to their mosque. So I went to Allah’s Apostle and said, ‘I have weak eye-sight and the valley between me and my people flows during the rainy season and it becomes difficult for me to cross it; I wish you would come to my house and pray at a place so that I could take that place as a praying place.’ Allah’s Apostle said, ‘I will do so.’ So Allah’s Apostle and Abu Bakr came to my house in the (next) morning after the sun had risen high. Allah’s Apostle asked my permission to let him in and I admitted him. He did not sit before saying, ‘Where do you want us to offer the prayer in your house?’ I pointed to the place where I wanted him to pray. So Allah’s Apostle stood up for the prayer and started the prayer with Takbir and we aligned in rows behind him; and he offered two Rakat, and finished them with Taslim, and we also performed Taslim with him. I detained him for a meal called “Khazir” which I had prepared for him.–(“Khazir” is a special type of dish prepared from barley flour and meat soup)–

When the neighbors got the news that Allah’s Apostle was in my house, they poured it till there were a great number of men in the house. One of them said, ‘What is wrong with Malik, for I do not see him?’ One of them replied, ‘He is a hypocrite and does not love Allah and His Apostle.’ On that Allah’s Apostle said, ‘Don’t say this. Haven’t you seen that he said, ‘None has the right to be worshipped but Allah for Allah’s sake only.’ The man replied, ‘Allah and His Apostle know better; but by Allah, we never saw him but helping and talking with the hypocrites.’ Allah’s Apostle replied, ‘No doubt, whoever says. None has the right to be worshipped but Allah, and by that he wants the pleasures of Allah, then Allah will save him from Hell.” Mahmud added, “I told the above narration to some people, one of whom was Ab-u Aiyub, the companion of Allah’s Apostle in the battle in which he (Ab-u Aiyub) died and Yazid bin Mu’aw7ya was their leader in Roman Territory. Abu Aiyub denounced the narration and said, ‘I doubt that Allah’s Apostle ever said what you have said.’ I felt that too much, and I vowed to Allah that if I remained alive in that holy battle, I would (go to Medina and) ask Itban bin Malik if he was still living in the mosque of his people. So when he returned, I assumed Ihram for Hajj or ‘Umra and then I proceeded on till I reached Medina. I went to Bani Salim and Itban bin Malik, who was by then an old blind man, was leading his people in the prayer. When he finished the prayer, I greeted him and introduced myself to him and then asked him about that narration. He told that narration again in the same manner as he had narrated it the first time.”

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 280:

Narrated Ibn ‘Umar,

Allah’s Apostle said, “Offer some of your prayers in your houses and do not make them graves.”

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 281:

Narrated Quza’a:

I heard Abu Said saying four words. He said, “I heard the Prophet (saying the following narrative).” He had participated in twelve holy battles with the Prophet.

Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, “Do not set out on a journey except for three Mosques i.e. Al-Masjid-AI-Haram, the Mosque of Allah’s Apostle , and the Mosque of Al-Aqsa, (Mosque of Jerusalem).”

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 282:

Narrated Abu Huraira

Allah’s Apostle said, “One prayer in my Mosque is better than one thousand prayers in any other mosque excepting Al-Masjid-AI-Haram.”

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 283:

Narrated Nafi’:

Ibn ‘Umar never offered the Duha prayer except on two occasions:

(1) Whenever he reached Mecca; and he always used to reach Mecca in the forenoon. He would perform Tawaf round the Ka’ba and then offer two Rakat at the rear of Maqam Ibrahim.

(2) Whenever he visited Quba, for he used to visit it every Saturday. When he entered the Mosque, he disliked to leave it without offering a prayer. Ibn ‘Umar narrated that Allah’s Apostle used to visit the Mosque of Quba (sometime) walking and (sometime) riding. And he (i.e. Ibn ‘Umar) used to say, “I do only what my companions used to do and I don’t forbid anybody to pray at any time during the day or night except that one should not intend to pray at sunrise or sunset.”

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 284:

Narrated ‘Abdullah bin Dinar:

Ibn ‘Umar said, “The Prophet used to go to the Mosque of Quba every Saturday (sometimes) walking and (sometimes) riding.” ‘Abdullah (Ibn ‘Umar) used to do the same.

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 285:

Narrated Ibn ‘Umar:

The Prophet used to go to the Mosque of Quba (sometimes) walking and sometimes riding. Added Nafi (in another narration), “He then would offer two Rakat (in the Mosque of Quba).”

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 286:

Narrated ‘Abdullah bin Zaid Al-Mazini:

Allah’s Apostle said, “Between my house and the pulpit there is a garden of the gardens of Paradise.”

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 287:

Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet said, “Between my house and my pulpit there is a garden of the gardens of Paradise, and my pulpit is on my fountain tank (i.e. Al-Kauthar).”

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 288:

Narrated Qaza’a Maula:

(freed slave of) Ziyad: I heard Abu Said Al-khudri narrating four things from the Prophet and I appreciated them very much. He said, conveying the words of the Prophet.

(1) “A woman should not go on a two day journey except with her husband or a Dhi-Mahram.

(2) No fasting is permissible on two days: ‘Id-ul-Fitr and ‘Id-ul-Adha.

(3) No prayer after two prayers, i.e. after the Fajr prayer till the sunrises and after the ‘Asr prayer till the sun sets.

(4) Do not prepare yourself for a journey except to three Mosques, i.e. Al-Masjid-AI-Haram, the Mosque of Aqsa (Jerusalem) and my Mosque.”

The Excellence of the Tahajjud Prayer and Its Effect in Increasing Imaan – Shaikh Hussain al-Awaa’ishah [PDF]

excellence tahajjud

Excellence of Standing in Prayer at Night – Riyadh ul Saleheen

Imam Al-Nawawi’s Riyad-us-Saliheen
Chapter 212
Excellence of Standing in Prayer at Night

Allah, the Exalted, says:

“And in some parts of the night (also) perform the Salat (prayer) with it (i.e., recite the Qur’an in the prayer) as an additional prayer (Tahajjud optional prayer – Nawafil) for you (O Muhammad (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam)). It may be that your Rubb will raise you to Maqam Mahmud (a station of praise and glory, i.e., the honour of intercession on the Day of Resurrection).” (17:79)

“Their sides forsake their beds…” (32:16)

“They used to sleep but little by night [invoking their Rubb (Allah) and praying, with fear and hope].” (51:17)

1160. `Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) kept standing (in prayer) so long that the skin of his feet would crack. I asked him: “Why do you do this, while you have been forgiven of your former and latter sins?” He said, “Should I not be a grateful slave of Allah?”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Commentary: This Hadith has already been mentioned. It is reproduced here to illustrate the practice of the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) in respect of Qiyam-ul-Lail. It tells us that:

1. The Nafl Salat should be performed with full concentration and peace of mind.

2. The more one is endowed with gifts from Allah, the greater gratitude and worship one should express for them to Allah.

3. The best time for showing one’s humility before Allah and for worship is the later period of night.

1161. `Ali (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) visited me and Fatimah (May Allah be pleased with her) one night and said, “Do you not observe prayer (at night)?”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Commentary: This Hadith tells us that one should also awaken others at night for prayer so that they also avail the benefits of performing prayer at this particular time.

1162. Salim bin `Abdullah bin `Umar bin Al-Khattab (May Allah be pleased with them) reported, on the authority of his father, that the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “What an excellent man `Abdullah is! If only he could perform optional prayers at night.” Salim said that after this, (his father) `Abdullah slept very little at night.
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Commentary: This Hadith points out the excellence of `Abdullah bin `Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) as well as the merits of Qiyam-ul-Lail. It also tells us that it is permissible to praise someone in his presence if one is sure that he will not become proud due to that praise. Another aspect of this Hadith is that it induces one to wish for others’ welfare and happiness.

1163. `Abdullah bin `Amr bin Al-`As (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said to me, “Do not be like so-and-so O `Abdullah! He used to pray during the night, then stopped the practice.”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

1164. `Abdullah bin Mas`ud (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Mention was made before the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) of a man who slept throughout the night till morning. The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) remarked, “He is a man in whose ears Satan urinated.”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Commentary: This Hadith holds inducement for Qiyam-ul-Lail and highlights its merits. It also urges one to perpetuate his good actions, follow the practice of the righteous and avoid the way of those who are negligent or become negligent in the performance of virtuous deeds. Urination of Satan in a person’s ear or ears can be literally true (although we cannot perceive it) because if a person does not seek the protection of Allah against Satan, then Satan joins him in food and other activities, as is evident from other Ahadith. Therefore, urination of Satan is also possible. Some people think it is a metaphor to the effect that he who does not get up at night for prayer and goes on enjoying his sleep, Satan `closes’ his ears until he does not hear the remembrance of Allah. Some others consider it a metaphor for the contempt and insult of Satan. In either case, we learn from this Hadith that missing the Qiyam-ul-Lail is disliked because it provides Satan an opportunity to create mischief, and he succeeds in creating obstructions in the worship and obedience of Allah.

1165. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “When any one of you sleeps, Satan ties three knots at the back of his neck. He recites this incantation at every knot: `You have a long night, so sleep.’ If he awakes and remembers Allah, one knot is loosened. If he performs Wudu’, the (second) knot is loosened; and if he performs prayer, (all) knots are loosened. He begins his morning in a happy and refreshed mood; otherwise, he gets up in bad spirits and sluggish state.”

[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Commentary: “Tying knots” can be literal, the way magicians do it in their magical exercises. With this practice Satan tries to withhold people from the worship of Allah. Some people are of the opinion that it is a metaphor for sleepiness/dozing. In any case, Satan does his level best to withhold a person from the worship of Allah. Satan experiences frustration if someone gets up at night for prayer; he also experiences happiness if he manages to keep someone asleep until dawn.

1166. `Abdullah bin Salam (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “O people, promote the greetings, feed (the poor and needy) and perform Salat when others are asleep so that you will enter Jannah safely.”
[At-Tirmidhi].

Commentary: This Hadith has glad tidings for those who enthusiastically do all the good works mentioned in this Hadith. “Enter Jannah in peace” here means that they will enter Jannah without suffering any punishment in Hell.

1167. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “The best month for observing Saum (fasting) after Ramadan is Muharram, and the best Salat after the prescribed Salat is Salat at night.”
[Muslim].

Commentary: The month of Muharram is related to Allah which makes its eminence clear. It shows that in the optional Saum (fasting) the most meritorious are those which are observed in this month. After the obligatory Salat, the most meritorious is the optional Salat performed at night.

1168. Ibn `Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “Salat during the night should consist of pairs of but if you fear that morning is near, then pray one Rak`ah as Witr.”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

1169. Ibn `Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) performed the night prayer in pairs (i.e., Rak`ah) and made it odd number by observing one Rak`ah (as Witr).
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Commentary: Both the foregoing Ahadith tell us that the Nafl Salat performed at night should be in the form of couplets followed by one Rak`ah of Witr. Thus, this Hadith not only brings out justification for one Rak`ah Witr but also proves its superiority. Even if one has to perform three Rak`ah Witr, he should first perform two and then perform one separately.

1170. Anas (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) used to leave off observing Saum (fasting) during a month until we thought that he would not observe Saum at all during it; and (sometimes) he would observe Saum till we began to think that he would not omit any day of that month. If one wished to see him performing Salat during the night, he could do that; and if one wished to see him sleeping at night, he could do that.
[Al-Bukhari].

Commentary: What this Hadith tells us is that whether it was optional Saum (fasting) or optional Salat (Nawafil) of the night, that is to say Qiyam-ul-Lail, the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) did not have a permanent routine for it. Sometimes it so happened that almost the month passed but he did not observe fasting and then a few days before the end of the month he would start fasting. Sometimes, he would fast day after day continuously, and it would appear as if he would continue fasts for the whole month, but he would then suddenly terminate fasts. Similar was the case of Tahajjud. Sometimes, he would perform Tahajjud prayer in the first portion of the night, sometimes in the second, and sometimes in its later portion. Thus, he was found sleeping and performing Salat in every part of the night.

1171. `Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) used to perform eleven Rak`ah (of Tahajjud) prayers at night. He (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) would prostrate so long as one of you might recite fifty Ayat (of the Qur’an). Thereafter, he would perform two Rak`ah before Fajr prayers and would lie down on his right side till the Mu’adhdhin would come and inform him about the time of (Fajr) prayer.
[Al-Bukhari].

Commentary: This Hadith tells us that it was a practice of the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) to sleep on his right side after performing two Sunnah of Fajr prayer. It also tells us that he used to make long prostrations in Tahajjud prayer, because one gets closer to Allah in a state of prostration. This Hadith also stresses on utmost concentration in Salat as it is highly pleasing to Allah and there is a greater possibility of acceptance of prayer which is made in a state of prostration.

1172. `Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) did not observe more than eleven Rak`ah (of Tahajjud prayers), be in Ramadan or any other month. First of all he would perform four Rak`ah. Ask not about their excellence and their length. He (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) would then perform four more Rak`ah; and do not ask about their excellence and their length. Then he would perform three Rak`ah (Witr prayer). (`Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) added) I submitted: “O Messenger of Allah! Do you sleep before performing the Witr prayer?” He (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “O `Aishah! My eyes sleep but my heart does not sleep.”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Commentary:
1.”My heart does not sleep” signifies that “usually I am not so overwhelmed by sleep that I miss the Salat”. Some people give a different interpretation of this by saying that his Wudu’ remained intact as his heart was awake. This is one of the attributes of the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam). This Hadith stresses on performing Salat with full decorum and concentration because this is the way the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) did it. The real beauty of Salat lies in performing it in accordance with the Sunnah of the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) and with full peace of mind.

2. If one is confident of getting up in the later part of the night, one can perform Witr after Tahajjud prayer; but if one is not sure of getting up at the time of Tahajjud then it is better to perform Witr after `Isha’ prayer.

1173. `Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) would sleep during the early part of night and stand in Salat during the latter part.
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Commentary: This Hadith tells us about the ordinary routine of the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam). Ordinarily, he would go to sleep in the first part of the night and perform Tahajjud prayer in the later portion, which is the best time for it. But, as already mentioned in the preceding Ahadith, he sometimes also performed it in the early as well as middle hours of the night.

1174. Ibn Mas`ud (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: One night I joined the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) in his (optional) Salat. He (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) prolonged the Qiyam (standing) so much that I made up my mind to commit an act of wrong. He was questioned: “What did you intend to do?” He replied: “I intended to sit down and stop following him (in Salat).”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Commentary: We learn from this Hadith that:

1. Qiyam-ul-Lail (Tahajjud prayer) must be fairly long and every constituent of it should be performed with full peace of mind.

2. It is permissible to perform Nafl Salat in congregation.

3. In case an Imam inordinately lengthens a Salat, it is permissible for his followers to detach themselves from the congregation. But Ibn Mas`ud has regarded his intention to do so as bad, and for this reason its justification becomes doubtful. Since the Imam has been exhorted to take care of his followers in Salat, this apparently furnishes justification for the detachment.

1175. Hudhaifah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: I performed Salat with the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) one night, and he started reciting Surat Al-Baqarah. I thought that he would go in Ruku` (bowing posture in Salat) at the end of one hundred Ayat, but he continued (reciting); and I thought that he would perhaps recite (this Surah) in the whole Rak`ah (prayer), but he continued the recitation; I thought he would perhaps bow on completing (this Surah). He (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) then started reciting Surat An-Nisa’ which he followed with Surat Al-Imran. He recited leisurely. When he recited an Ayah which mentioned the tasbeeh, he would say Subhan Allah and when he recited the Ayah which tells how the Rubb is to be asked, the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) would then ask from Him; and when he (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) recited an Ayah asking one to seek Protection Allah, he would seek Protection of Allah. Then he bowed and said, “Subhana Rabbiyal-Azim (My Rubb the Great is free from imperfection)”; his bowing lasted about the same length of time as his standing, (and then on returning to the standing posture after Ruku`) he would say, “Sami’ Allahu liman hamidah, Rabbana lakal-hamd (Allah listens to him who praises Him. Praise be to You, Our Rubb!),” and he would then stand about the same length of time as he had spent in bowing. He would then prostrate himself and say, “Subhana Rabbiyal-A`la (My Rubb the Supreme is free from imperfection),” and his prostration lasted nearly the same length of time as his standing (Qiyam).
[Muslim].

Commentary: This Hadith has already been mentioned. In his commentary on Sahih Muslim, Imam An-Nawawi has interpreted the words (occuring in this Hadith) as “I thought he would perhaps recite in the whole Rak`ah.” Here Rak`ah means complete Salat (two Rak`ah). This interpretation is necessary for the reason that in its absence, the meanings of the next sentence go wrong. Due to this reason, we have kept these meanings in view in our translation. In any case, it furnishes justification for the desirability of long Qiyam (standing in Salat), the desirability of congregation in Nafl Salat, and the maintenance of the correct sequence in the recitation of the Surah of the Qur’an in prayers, which is not accepted by many people.

1176. Jabir (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) was asked: “Which Salat is the best?” He replied, ” The best Salat is that in which Qiyam (the duration of standing) is longer.”
[Muslim].

Commentary: We learn from this Hadith that of all the articles of Salat (Ruku`, Sujud, etc.), it is best to lengthen the Qiyam because the greater the Qiyam is, the longer the recitation of the Qur’an will be. Since the recitation of the Qur’an is the best form of remembrance of Allah, the lengthening of the Qiyam is also most meritorious.

1177. `Abdullah bin `Amr (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “The Salat which is dearest to Allah is that of (Prophet) Dawud; and As-Saum (the fasting) which is dearest to Allah is that of (Prophet) Dawud. He used to sleep half the night, get up to perform Salat for one-third of it, then sleep through the remaining one-sixth of it; and he used to observe Saum on alternative days.”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Commentary: Since Islam has strictly forbidden self-affliction to the extent that it has forbidden hardship even in worship, compulsory awakening for Salat at midnight and observing Saum (fasting) for the whole month (except of the month of Ramadan) is disapproved. The model set by the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) is the ideal pattern of moderation in this respect. In this Hadith the fasting and the prayer of Prophet Dawud have been regarded most pleasing to Allah, because their conduct had a moderation which is enjoined by Islam.

1178. Jabir (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) saying, “Every night there is a special time during which whatever a Muslim asks Allah of any good relating to this life or the Hereafter, it will be granted to him; and this moment comes every night.”
[Muslim].

Commentary: Like the special moment in Jumu`ah, the time when this special moment occurs every night is not determined. But it is generally in the late hours of the night because that is the best time for worship. As in the case of Lailat-ul-Qadr the wisdom of keeping it secret lies in the inducement to search it by means of worship and prayer, praise and remembrance of Allah.

1179. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “When one of you gets up at night to perform (Tahajjud) prayer, let him start Salat with two short Rak`ah.”
[Muslim].

1180. `Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported: Whenever the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) stood for Salat at night, he would start his prayer with two brief Rak`ah.
[Muslim].

Commentary: These two Ahadith point out the desirability of performing two brief Rak`ah before one embarks on Tahajjud prayers, as this was the practice of the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam). The wisdom behind this is to drive away laziness and pave the way for the nocturnal prayers in a proper manner. Allah knows better.

1181. `Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported: If the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) missed his night (Tahajjud) Salat because of indisposition or the like, he would perform twelve Rak`ah during the day.

[Muslim].

1182. `Umar bin Al-Khattab (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said: “If anyone falls asleep and therefore fails to observe his Hizb (share) or part of it, if he observes it between the Fajr and the Zuhr prayers, it will be recorded for him as though he had observed it during the night.”
[Muslim].


Commentary: This Hadith has already been mentioned. The word “Hizb” literally means “share” and “turn”. Here it means that (daily round of recitation) which a person determines for himself, such as prayer or recitation of the Qur’an. For instance, if a person decides that he will perform eight Rak`ah in Tahajjud, recite one Juz` (part) of the Qur’an everyday, remember Allah in such and such form for so many times etc., etc. And then he makes every possible effort to put into practice his decision, but if casually he is unable to fulfill his routine, he should do it afterwards. This action of his will be credited to his account by Allah as if he completed it at the appointed time. This Hadith furnishes justification for the performance of optional righteous acts even after their due time.

1183. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “May Allah show mercy to a man who gets up during the night and performs Salat, awakens his wife to pray and if she refuses, he sprinkles water on her face (to make her get up). May Allah show mercy to a woman who gets up during the night and performs Salat, awakens her husband for the same purpose; and if he refuses, she sprinkles water on his face.”
[Abu Dawud].

Commentary: This Hadith tells us about the conduct of pious husbands and wives. Its outstanding feature mentioned here is that they help each other in acts of virtue and obedience of Allah.

1184. Abu Sa`id and Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “When a man awakens his wife during the night and they both perform two Rak`ah Salat together, they are recorded among the men and women who celebrate remembrance of Allah.”
[Abu Dawud].

Commentary: This Hadith points out the excellence of performing Tahajjud prayers with one’s wife. Those who do so will be recorded as (the men and the women who remember Allah much, with their hearts and tongues). For such people, as the Verse concludes [Allah has prepared for them forgiveness and a great reward (i.e., Jannah)]. (33:35)

1185. `Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “When one of you dozes off while performing Salat, he should lie down till his drowsiness has gone away from him. When one of you performs Salat while dozing, he may abuse himself instead of seeking pardon (as a result of drowsiness).”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

1186. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “When anyone of you stands up for Salat at night and finds it difficult to recite the Qur’an accurately and he is unaware of what he is reciting, he should go back to sleep.”
[Muslim].

Commentary: Since peace of mind and concentration are essential for performing Salat, it should be performed when one is fresh and free from tiredness and drowsiness. This is the reason Muslims have been prohibited through these two Ahadith from performing Salat when they are overwhelmed by sleep. In such conditions one cannot make proper expression of one’s humility before Allah, which is the essence of Salat. Therefore, in such conditions one should first have some sleep because only then one will get real pleasure from the recitation of the Qur’an, prayer and praise of Allah, and will be in a position to beseech Him earnestly for pardoning one’s sins.

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