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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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Ibn 'Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with them both) reported that when the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) woke up he would wipe the sleep from his face with his hand, then look at the sky and recite the final ten aayaat of Soorat Aal 'Imran: "Verily, in the creation of the heavens and the earth…" [Aal 'Imraan 3:190 – interpretation of the meaning] [Reported by Muslim]

Imaam al-Nawawi said: "This indicates that it is mustahabb to wipe away the traces of sleep from one’s face, and to recite these aayaat when getting up from sleep."

Number Nine: Napping in The Day

Being keen to take a nap or siesta during the day, whether before zuhr or after. Anas (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "Take a nap, for the shayaateen do not take naps." [Reported by al-Tabaraani. Al-Saheehah, 2647]

Ishaaq ibn 'Abd-Allaah said: "Taking a nap is one of the deeds of good people. It revitalizes the heart and helps one to pray qiyaam al-layl."

Al-Hasan al-Basri passed by a group of people in the marketplace in the middle of the day, and heard the racket they were making. He said, "Do these people take a nap?" It was said to him, "No." He said, "I think their nights must be bad."

Number Ten: Eating and Drinking Moderately

Avoiding eating or drinking too much. Eating and drinking too much are two of the main obstacles that prevent people from praying qiyaam al-layl. Al-Miqdaam ibn Ma’d Yakrib (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) 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 al-Tirmidhi and Ibn Maajah. Saheeh al-Jaami’, 5674]

Abu Juhayfah (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) 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 hungry on the Day of Resurrection." [Reported by al-Haakim. Saheeh al-Jaami’, 1190]

Sufyaan al-Thawri said: "You should eat little, so that you will be able to pray qiyaam al-layl."

Ma’qal ibn Habeeb saw some people eating a lot, and said, "I do not think that our companions want to pray qiyaam al-layl."

Wahb ibn Munbih said: "There is no son of Adam dearer to his shaytaan than the one who eats and sleeps a lot."

 

Number Eleven: Fighting Yourself

 

Striving against oneself to pray qiyaam al-layl. This is one of the best means of helping oneself to pray qiyaam, because human nature is inclined towards wrongdoing, so the one who follows his own inclinations will be led to doom and destruction. Allaah has commanded us to strive against our own selves, as He says (interpretation of the meanings):

"And strive hard in Allaah’s Cause as you ought to strive…" [al-Hajj 22:78]

"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)." [al-'Ankaboot 29:69]

"Their sides forsake their beds, to invoke their Lord in fear and hope, and they spend (charity in Allaah’s Cause) out of what We have bestowed on them." [al-Sajdah 32:16]

Fadaalah ibn 'Ubayd (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "The mujaahid is the one who strives against his own self for the sake of Allaah." [Reported by al-Tirmidhi and Ibn Hibbaan. Al-Saheehah, 549]

According to the hadeeth of 'Uqbah ibn 'Aamir (may Allaah be pleased with him), the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) 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 wudoo’, 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.'" [Reported by Ahmad and Ibn Hibaan. Saheeh al-Targheeb, 627]

Muhammad ibn al-Munkadir said: "I struggled against my own self for forty years until it became right."

Thaabit al-Banaani said: "I struggled for twenty years to make myself pray qiyaam al-layl, and I enjoyed it (qiyaam al-layl) for twenty years."

'Umar ibn 'Abd al-'Azeez said: "The best of deeds are those which we force ourselves to do."

'Abd-Allaah ibn al-Mubaarak said: "The souls of righteous people in the past used to push them to do good deeds, but our souls do not do what we want them to do except by force, so we have to force them."

Qutaadah said: "O son of Adam, if you do not want to do any good except when you have the energy for it, then your nature is more inclined towards boredom and laziness. The true believer is the one who pushes himself."

Number Twelve: Avoiding Sin

If the Muslim wants to be one of those who earn the honour of speaking to Allaah in the depths of the night, let him beware of sin, for the one who is contaminated with the stain of sin will not be helped to pray qiyaam al-layl. A man said to Ibraaheem ibn Adham, "I cannot pray qiyaam al-layl, so tell me the cure for this." He said, "Do not commit sin during the day, and He will help you to stand before Him at night, for your standing before Him at night is one of the greatest honours, and the sinner does not deserve that honour."

A man said to al-Hasan al-Basri: "O Abu Sa’eed, I sleep in good health, and I love to pray qiyaam al-layl, and I prepare water with which to purify myself, so why can I not get up?" Al-Hasan said: "Your sins are restricting you." He said, may Allaah have mercy on him, "The slave who commits a sin will be denied the opportunity to pray qiyaam at night and to fast during the day."

Al-Fudayl ibn 'Ayaad said: "If you cannot pray qiyaam al-layl, or fast during the day, know that you are indeed deprived and restricted, chained by your sins."

Number Thirteen: Regret of Not Praying

Checking oneself and rebuking oneself for not praying qiyaam al-layl. Checking oneself is one of the signs of the righteous and truthful. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): "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." [al-Hashr 59:18].

Imaam Ibn al-Qayyim said: "If the slave is responsible and accountable for everything, even his hearing, sight and innermost thoughts, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning), '…Verily, the hearing, and the sight, and the heart of each of you will be questioned by Allaah’ [al-Isra’ 17:36], then he should check on himself before he is brought to account."

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