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Qiyam Al-Layl and Tahajjud Prayer

Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid

category: Prayer

source: Islam-QA.com

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Al-Qaasim ibn Ma’een said: "Abu Haneefah spent an entire night in qiyaam reciting this aayah (interpretation of the meaning): 'Nay, but the Hour is their appointed time (for their full recompense), and the Hour will be more grievous and more bitter’ [al-Qamar 54:46], repeating it and weeping, beseeching Allaah until morning came."

Ibraaheem ibn Shammaas said: "I used to see Ahmad ibn Hanbal staying up at night to pray when he was a young man."

Abu Bakr al-Marwadhi said: "I was with Imaam Ahmad for nearly four months in the army, and he never stopped praying qiyaam at night or reading Qur’aan during the day, and I never knew when he completed the Qur’aan, because he kept that secret."

Imaam al-Bukhaari used to pray qiyaam and tahajjud at night until the time of suhoor, and he would read between a half and a third of the Qur’aan, and complete it at suhoor every third night.

Al-'Allaamah Ibn 'Abd al-Haadi said, describing the qiyaam of Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah: "At night he would keep away from people, and spend that time only with his Lord, beseeching Him continually and reciting Qur’aan, repeating different kinds of acts of worship by night and by day. When he began to pray, his body would start to tremble, leaning to the left and right."

Ibn Rajab said concerning his shaykh Imaam Ibn al-Qayyim: "He was a man of worship, tahajjud and lengthy prayers. I have never seen his equal in worship and knowledge of the Qur’aan, hadeeth and principles of faith."

Al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar said, describing his shaykh al-Haafiz al-'Iraaqi: "I stayed with him, and I never saw him forsake qiyaam al-layl: it was like a habit for him."

Number Five: Sleeping on One’s Right Side

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) taught his ummah to sleep on their right sides, as is reported in the hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him), who said that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) 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, then let him say, 'Bismika Rabbi wada’tu janbi wa bika arfa’uhu. In amsakta nafsi farhamhaa wa in arsaltahaa fahfazhaa bimaa tahfazu bihi 'ibaadaka al-saaliheen (In Your Name, my Lord, I lay myself down and I get up again. If You take my soul, then have mercy on it, and if You send it back to me, then protect it with that with which You protect Your righteous slaves).’" [Agreed upon]

Al-Baraa’ ibn 'Aazib (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "When you want to go to bed, do wudoo’ as for prayer, then lie down on your right side." [Agreed upon]

Hafsah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: "When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) went to bed, he would put his right hand under his right cheek." [Reported by al-Tabaraani, Saheeh al-Jaami’, 4523]

Imaam Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: "There is a reason for his lying on his right side, which is that the heart is located on the left, so if a person lays on his left side, he will sleep too deeply, because the heart’s position will be too comfortable, but if he sleeps on his right side, he will not be too settled, so he won’t sleep deeply."

Number Six: Sleeping in a State of Tahaarah (Purity)

We have already quoted the hadeeth of al-Baraa’ ibn 'Aazib (may Allaah be pleased with him), in which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, "When you go to bed, do wudoo’ as if for prayer." [Agreed upon]

Mu’aad ibn Jabal (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "There is no Muslim who goes to sleep remembering Allaah and in a state of purity, and when he turns over he asks Allaah for good in this world and the next, but it will be given to him." [Reported by Abu Dawood and Ahmad. Saheeh al-Jaami’, 5754]

Ibn 'Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with them both) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) 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 al-Tabaraani. Al-Mundhiri said, its isnaad is jaayid. Saheeh al-Jaami’, 3831]

Number Seven: Going to Sleep Early

Sleeping straight after 'Ishaa’ is the advice of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and a good and healthy habit. One of the ahaadeeth that describe its virtues was narrated by Abu Barzah al-Aslami (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to prefer to delay 'Ishaa’, and he did not like to sleep before it or talk after it. [Reported by al-Bukhaari]

Al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar reported that al-Qaadi 'Ayaad said, concerning the phrase 'He did not like to sleep before it': "Because that could lead to one praying it too late, or delaying it until after the preferred time, and talking after it could lead to one sleeping before Fajr and missing it, or missing qiyaam al-layl."

Ibn Raafi’ said: "Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allaah be pleased with him) used to wave his stick at the people when darkness fell, and would say, 'Get up and go, may Allaah help you to pray qiyaam at night!'"

Another matter that has to do with sleep is choosing a suitable bed, not one that is excessively luxurious or soft, because that makes a person sleep too much and become negligent, and causes laziness and carelessness. 'Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: "The pillow of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) on which he slept at night was made of leather stuffed with palm fibres." [Reported by Abu Dawood and Ahmad. Saheeh al-Jaami’, 4714]

Ibn 'Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that 'Umar ibn al-Khattaab entered upon the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) when he was lying on a mat of palm fibres that had left marks on his side. 'Umar said, "O Messenger of Allaah, why do you not get something more comfortable than this?" He (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) 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." [Reported by Ahmad and al-Haakim. Saheeh al-Jaami’, 5545]

'Ali ibn Bakkaar (may Allaah have mercy on him) used to have a slave-woman who would spread out his bed for him, and he would touch it with his hand and say: "By Allaah, you are good, and by Allaah you are cool, but by Allaah I will not rest on you tonight." Then he would get up and pray qiyaam until Fajr.

Also, one should not sleep too much or too deeply. Ibraaheem ibn Adham said: "If you are sleeping at night, and running about during the day, and always committing sin, how can you earn the pleasure of the One Who is directing your affairs?"

Number Eight: Adhkaar Before Sleep

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