The Virtue of Night Prayer

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Ramadân 8, 1422 (November 23, 2001)

(NOTE: If you want to build a strong and powerful relationship with Allah, check out Islamia TV, where you can watch Islamic speakers from across the globe deliver inspiring and motivational courses. Learn more at www.islamia.tv.)

All praise is due to Allâh, May peace and blessings be upon the Prophet, his household and companions.

Fellow Muslims! Fear Allâh and move nearer to Him. Acknowledge His favours on you by being kind to His creatures and remember Him in times of bliss He will remember you in times of hardship. He never created you for fun and whoever fears Him in this world will have security on the Day of Resurrection.

Brothers in faith! When one studies history and sees the conditions of the past nations, one will notice that this age is the most-gruesome in human history, the bloodiest and the most destructive. It is in fact paradoxical that things will be like this in a time when civilization, science and technology have reached and unsurpassed power. The present world with all its material progress and useful effects of its technology is still the most barbaric age of the human history. However, this surprise will disappear when the Muslim remembers the word of Allâh,

  “They know only the outside appearance of the life of the world (i.e. the matters of their livelihood) and they are heedless of the Hereafter,” (Ar-Room 30: 7).

Yes! They are heedless of the hereafter. They forgot their Lord and were oblivious of the purpose of their creation, they were dictatorial in their judgements, they make use of their intelligence, knowledge and science to invent destructive weapons and to struggle for the control of world resources.

It should be noted that if less than half of all these efforts were utilized in giving Allâh His dues and in search of His pleasure, people would have real peace and security, but most of them deny the truth, transgressed, kindled the fire of wars and contentions and caused a lot of financial and political problems. They also oppressed many nations and deny others their rights, so they were held responsible for what they used to do.

In this month of blessings, people of Islâm are announcing that the only gateway to reform lies in reforming the hearts and making them surrender completely to the will of Allâh. In Islâm, worship entails wide meanings; it includes sincere faith and a righteous deed.

Allâh says,

  “In the name of Allâh, Most-Beneficent, Most-Merciful. By the time. Verily! Man is in loss, except those who believe and do righteous good deeds and recommend one another to the truth and recommend one another to patience.” (Al-‘Asr 1-3)

Dear Muslims! Man is weak by nature. He can have no strength except by obeying his Lord. He is faced by evil powers, confronted by lustful desires and fought from all angles by different kinds of difficulties. The only way to overcome these problems is to return to Allâh and seek refuge with Him.

Fellow Muslims! The situation of Muslims today necessitates the talk about the most important act of worship in Islâm which is Salâh (prayer). The Messenger of Allâh resorted to it whenever he became distressed about an issue. Prayer is the water spring that never dries and the treasure that never ends. Prayer is the pillar of Islâm and the refuge place for the repentant and the scared. It is the light of the devoted slaves of Allâh. It removes the impurities of the hearts and enlightens them. Whoever is stronger in faith is better in prayer, longer in standing for Allâh in prayer and greater in certainty.

The Messenger of Allâh said,

 “ “Prayer is the best matter- and let him who can pray as much as possible do that.”

Brothers in faith! Night prayers strengthen the bond between man and his Lord. The messenger of Allâh said,

 “ “The best prayer after the obligatory ones is the night prayer.” (Muslim)

The Prophet did not only recommend the night prayer to his nation, but laid an excellent example for that. Al-Bukhârî and Muslim reported that the Prophet used to stand in prayer in the night so long so that his feet would become swollen.”

In Ramadân, the Messenger of Allâh used to pray more, when the last ten days came, he would pass the night in prayer, wake his household for prayer and exert himself for greater acts of worship.
He said,

 “ “The time when man becomes nearest to his Lord is in the middle of the last part of the night and if you can be among those who remember Allâh in this time, do that.”

In fact, there is an hour in the night, which if any Muslim is fortunate to meet this hour and ask Allâh of anything, Allâh will give it to him and the hour is in every night. It is by night prayers that dead hearts enlivened, spurred towards good deeds and prevented from evil acts.

Ibn ‘Abbâs said,

  “Whoever loves to find the long standing of the day of Resurrection less difficult should let him show himself to Allâh in the darkness of the night prostrating and standing, fearing the Hereafter and hoping for the mercy of his Lord.”

The slaves of Allâh spend their nights in prostration and standing; keeping themselves away from the comfort of their beds and subduing their slumber for the joy of moving closer to Allâh, with the hope to attain His promised bliss and out of fear His punishment. The real slaves of Allâh sleep little in the night. To them, night prayer has its sweetness.

Abu Sulayman Ad-Dârânî said,

  “Those who pray in the night enjoy when they are observing their night prayer more than what the people of pastime and fun enjoy from their pastime. If not because of the night, I would not have loved to remain in this world.”

When Umar was dying, he said

  “I do not grieve on anything of this life except the night prayer.”

Night prayer is a break-off from this life to get in contact with Allâh. Those who engage in night prayer do not find any sweetness in sleep. They remember the loneliness of the grave and the horror of the Last Day.

Truthful slaves of Allâh stay awake in the night praying and invoking their Lord out of fear of His punishment and in hope for His blessing and “No person knows what is kept hidden for them of joy as a reward for what they used to do.”

Though their intentions and requests may vary, night is their source of making pleas to their Lord. Some seek nearness to Allâh, some are afraid of the Last Day and other seek forgiveness for their sins. Allâh then bestows His favours on them and grants them their requests and chooses them because they are contented with little sleep in the night and use the rest of the night in prayer, reading the Qur’ân and remembering of Allâh.

The night is the arena for the high-minded people. It is the provision for the journey of life. As for the low-minded people, their concern is for this world and they thereby forget the eternal life. Some of the righteous predecessors said,

  “How can a person who sleeps all night and spend all his day in pastime hope for salvation?”

It is however a pity that youths of this age spend all their night and day in pastime and fun!

Brothers in faith! Inability to observe night prayers hardens the heart and makes one heedless of the word of Allâh. The Messenger of Allâh was told of a man who would sleep all the night.

The Prophet said,

 “ “Satan has urinated in the ears of such a man.”

Whoever does not have a particular act of worship he observes during the night is negligent of his own rights. Which type of depravity is greater than having an opportunity to converse with one’s Lord and allow it to slip away through sleeping and low-mindedness?! We are not talking about those who spend their nights in forbidden things.

Brothers in Islâm! In these days there are generations of Muslims who spend their nights on useless things like watching immoral TV programmes like music and the like on satellite channels. That is the reason many households complain of lack of interest in night prayers. Somebody complained to Ibn Al-Aswad – one of the companions of the Prophet – saying,

  “We are unable to pray in the night!” He answered, forsake your sins!”.

Endeavour dear brothers, to pray whatever you can in the night. Try to pray the congregational night prayer in Ramadân and be constant in that, for it is by patience, perseverance, constancy and sincerity that you can achieve strength and help from your Lord. Know that minutes of the night are valuable; do not therefore waste them in forgetfulness and shopping. Also, wake members of your family in the night to pray and repent for their sins.

The Messenger of Allâh said,

 “ “May Allâh bless a man who wakes up in the night and prays; and wakes up his wife and she also prays. If she refuses to stand up, he sprinkles water on her face. May Allâh bless a woman who wakes up in the night and prays and wakes her husband up and he prays, and if he refuses to stand up, she sprinkles water on his face.”

Allâh says,

  “Say: shall I inform you of things far better than those? For the pious ones, there are gardens (Paradise) with their Lord, underneath which rivers flow. Therein is their eternal home and purified wives. And Allâh will be pleased with them. And Allâh is All-Seer of the slaves. Those who say: Our Lord! We have indeed believed, so forgive us our sins and save us from the punishment of Fire,. They are those who are the patients ones, those who are truthful and obedient with sincere devotion in worship to Allâh. Those who spend (in the way of Allâh) and those who pray and beg Allâh’s pardon in the last hours of the night.” (Âl-‘Imrân 3: 15-17).

You should also know dear brothers that one of the ways that make prayer easy is to turn back to Allâh with sincerity, to have good thought of Him, to hope for what is with Him and to refrain from committing sins. Also, eat little food, for whoever eats much food will feel heavy and sleep deeply.

Wahb Ibn Munabbih said,

  “Satan loves none more than the one who eats much and sleeps much.”

Free your heart from jealousy and hatred. Abstain from innovation, stick to Sunnah and let the fear of Allâh fill your heart. Know also that among the great facilitators of night prayer is the love of Allâh, His Messenger and His Book.

The period of night prayer extends from after the Ishâ prayer till dawn and the Prophet had prayed in all parts of the night. “Whoever wakes up his wife and prays together with her , both will be written among those men and women who remember Allâh much”.

As for the manners of night prayer, it is recommended that one starts with two light raka’ahs and then prays with a tasleem after every two raka’ahs. It is also recommended that longer recitation should be made. One should also try to observe long bowing and prostration and endeavour to remember Allâh a lot. However, one should not make things hard for himself.

The Messenger of Allâh said,

 “ “You should do only what you can, for by Allâh! Allâh will not desist from answering your prayers until you become bored.”

You can also be encouraged to observe night prayers if you remember that you are in noble and preferable days, like this blessed month. The one who neglects many good deeds in this month is deprived and losses. These are some of the most hopeful days, so fear Allâh and make best use of your time and show Allâh the good that is in you.

Enjoy the blessings of your Lord, spread salâm, feed people and pray in the night while other people are asleep, your will enter the Paradise of your Lord with peace.

(NOTE: If you want to build a strong and powerful relationship with Allah, check out Islamia TV, where you can watch Islamic speakers from across the globe deliver inspiring and motivational courses. Learn more at www.islamia.tv.)



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