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Qiyam Al-Layl and Tahajjud Prayer

Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid

category: Prayer

source: Islam-QA.com

reads: 12050

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There are many things that one can do to help oneself pray qiyaam al-layl, among which are the following:

Number One: Sincerety

Being sincere towards Allaah, as He has commanded us to be sincere towards Him and none other in our deeds. He tells us (interpretation of the meaning): "And they were commanded not, but that they should worship Allaah, and worship none but Him Alone…" [al-Bayyinah 98:5].

The more sincere a person is towards Allaah, the more he will be guided and helped to obey Allaah and draw closer to Him. Ubayy ibn Ka’b (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "Give glad tidings to this ummah of splendour, religion, high rank, victory and prevalence on earth. Whoever does the deeds of the Hereafter to gain some worldly benefit, will have no share of the Hereafter." [Reported by Ahmad. Saheeh al-Jaami’, 2825]

Mutarraf ibn 'Abd-Allaah ibn al-Shakheer said: "The goodness of a deed is related to the goodness of the heart, and the goodness of the heart is related to the goodness of the intention."

Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) 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."

Therefore the salaf were very keen to conceal their acts of worship such as qiyaam al-layl. A man asked Tameem ibn Aws al-Daari (may Allaah be pleased with him), "How do you pray at night?" He got very angry and said, "By Allaah, one rak’ah that I pray in secret in the small hours of the night is more beloved to me than praying the whole night long and then telling people about it."

Ayyoob al-Sakhtiyaani used to spend the entire night in prayer, then when dawn approached, he would go back to bed and lie down, and when dawn came, he would raise his voice as if he had just woken up.

Number Two: Knowing that Allah is Calling You

The person who wants to pray qiyaam al-layl should realize that Allaah is calling him to qiyaam. When the slave realizes that his Master, Who has no need of people’s worship, is calling him to do this, he will respond. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): "O you wrapped in your garments (i.e., Prophet Muhammad)! Stand (to pray) all night, except a little. Half of it, or a little less than that, or a little more; and recite the Qur’aan (aloud) in a slow, (pleasant tone and) style." [al-Muzzammil 73:1-4]

Sa’d ibn Hishaam ibn 'Aamir said to 'Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her): "Tell me about how the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) prayed qiyaam." She said: "Have you not read 'Yaa ayyuha’l-muzzammil (O you wrapped in your garments!)?'" He said, "Of course." She said: "Allaah, may He be exalted and glorified, made qiyaam obligatory at the beginning of this soorah, so the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and his companions prayed qiyaam for a year, and Allaah withheld the end of this soorah for twelve months, until He revealed something at the end of this soorah to make things easier, so qiyaam al-layl became voluntary after it had been obligatory." [Reported by Muslim]

Number Three: Knowing The Virtues of Qiyaam

Knowing the virtues of qiyaam al-layl. Whoever knows the virtues of this act of worship will be keen to talk to Allaah, may He be exalted, and to stand before Him at that time. Among the reports that describe the virtues of this act of worship is the hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him), in which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "The best of prayers after the prescribed prayers is prayer in the depths of the night, and the best of fasting after the month of Ramadaan is fasting the month of Allaah, Muharram." [Reported by Muslim]

'Abd-Allaah ibn 'Amr (may Allaah be pleased with them both) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "The most beloved of prayer to Allaah is the prayer of Dawood, and the most beloved of fasts to Allaah is the fast of Dawood. He used to sleep for half of the night, then get up and pray for a third of the night, then sleep for a sixth of the night, and he used to fast every other day." [Agreed upon]

'Amr ibn 'Absah reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "The closest that the Lord is to His slave is in the later part of the night, so if you can be one of those who remember Allaah at that time, then do so." [Reported by al-Tirmidhi and al-Nisaa'i]

According to a hadeeth narrated by Ibn Mas’ood (may Allaah be pleased with him), the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "Our Lord admires two men: a man who leaves his mattress and cover, and slips away from his wife and lover, to go and pray. Allaah says, 'O My angels, look at My slave. He has left his mattress and cover and slipped away from his lover and wife to pray, our of hope for what is with Me and out of fear of what is with Me.'" [Reported by Ahmad. It is a hasan report. Saheeh al-Targheeb, 258]

Qiyaam al-Layl expels forgetfulness from the heart, as is stated in the hadeeth narrated by 'Abd-Allaah ibn 'Amr ibn al-'Aas (may Allaah be pleased with them both), in which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "Whoever recites ten aayaat in qiyaam will not be recorded as one of the forgetful. Whoever recites a hundred aayaat in qiyaam will be recorded as one of the devout, and whoever prays a thousand aayaat in qiyaam will be recorded as one of the muqantareen (those who pile up good deeds)." [Reported by Abu Dawood and Ibn Hibbaan. It is a hasan report. Saheeh al-Targheeb, 635]

Yahyaa ibn Mu’aadh said: "The medicine of the heart is five things: reading Qur’aan and pondering the meaning, having an empty stomach, praying at night (qiyaam al-layl), beseeching Allaah at the time of suhoor, and keeping company with righteous people."

Number Four: Knowing The Way of The Salaf

Studying how the salaf and righteous people practised qiyaam al-layl and adhered to it. The salaf used to enjoy qiyaam al-layl and rejoice greatly in doing it. 'Abd-Allaah ibn Wahb said: "Every type of pleasure is enjoyed only once, except for acts of worship, which are enjoyed three times: when you do it, when you remember it, and when you are given the reward for it."

Muhammad ibn al-Munkadir said: "There is nothing left of the joys of this life except three: qiyaam al-layl, meeting one’s brothers in faith, and praying in congregation."

Thaabit al-Banaani said: "There is nothing I enjoy more than qiyaam al-layl."

Yazeed al-Riqaashi said: "A lot of tahajjud brings delight to the worshippers, and a lot of thirst (i.e., fasting), brings joy when they meet Allaah."

Mukhallad ibn Husayn said: "I never woke up at night except I saw Ibraaheem ibn Adham remembering Allaah and praying, and this made me depressed, so I consoled myself with this aayah (interpretation of the meaning): '…That is the Grace of Allaahm which He bestows on whom He pleases. And Allaah is the Owner of Great Bounty.’ [al-Hadeed 54:21]"

Abu 'Aasim al-Nabeel said: "Abu Haneefah used to be called al-Watad (pole or pillar) because he prayed so much."

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