How the People of the Past Saw the Night Prayer

Thaabit (ra) would say that there was nothing which brought more sweetness to his heart like the night prayer.


Apparent and Hidden Reasons Facilitating the Night Prayer

Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali mentioned apparent and hidden reasons facilitating night prayer:

The Apparent Steps are Four:

1)    Do not eat too much which will make you drink much, thus praying at night will be heavy on him.

2)    Do not tire yourself in the morning with trivial matters.

3)    Do not abandon midday nap as it helps in night prayer.

4)    Do not commit sins in the morning where you will be deprived from praying at night.

The Hidden Steps are Four:

1)    Clearing the heart from any hatred towards any Muslim, innovation and curiosity in the worldly life.

2)    A fearing heart overcoming it while short hope in the worldly life.

3)    To know the virtue of night prayer.

4)    The best of them all: Love of Allah, and strong belief that in his praying at night he doesn’t utter a word except he will supplicate his Lord.

إِنَّ نَاشِئَةَ الَّيْلِ هِىَ أَشَدُّ وَطْأً وَأَقْوَمُ قِيلاً

(Verily, rising (Nashi’ah) at night is better for understanding and more suitable for speech (recitation).)

`Umar, Ibn `Abbas and Ibn Zubayr, all said, “The entire night is Nashi’ah.” Mujahid and others said the same. It is said “Nasha’a” when a person stands at night to pray.

The Ranks of The Righteous Forefathers in Night Prayer

Ibn al Jawzi (rh) said: Know that the righteous forefathers were in seven ranks concerning praying at night:

First rank: They would pray the whole night and some of them would pray Fajr with the ablution of ‘Ishâ`.

Second rank: Some would pray half the night.

Third rank: They would pray third of the night, the prophet (prayer and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “The most beloved prayer to Allah is the prayer of Dawûd (as): He would sleep half the night, pray third of it and sleep sixth of it.” (Agreed upon)

Fourth rank: some would pray a sixth or fifth of the night.

Fifth rank: They would not consider certain timings, except they would pray until they feel sleepy, so they would sleep, but if they conscious again they will continue praying.

Sixth rank: Some would pray from the night four or two Rak’as.

Seventh rank: people who would pray between Maghrib and ‘Ishâ`, then pray in the last part of night, hence combining the two edges of night.

In Sahih Muslim it was reported that the Prophet (prayer and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “In the night there is an hour, no Muslim would match it with asking Allah good from this worldly life or the Hereafter, except He will give him it and that would be every night.”

(Reported by Muslim 757)

Night Prayer in the Qur`an

Allah Almighty said: {Their sides forsake their beds…} [Surat As Sajdah 32:16]

{تَتَجَافَى جُنُوبُهُمْ عَنِ الْمَضَاجِعِ] {السَّجدة: 16]

Transliteration: Tatajāfá Junūbuhum `Ani Al-Mađāji`

Mujahid and Al-Hassan said: “It means night prayer”.

Ibn Katheer (rh) said in his interpretation: “That means night prayer, leaving sleep and rest on comfortable beds”.

Abdul Haqq Al-Ishbili said: “Those who their sides repel from their beds, where it doesn’t rest on it nor be fixed from their fear of the warning and in hope for what they were promised”.

Some of the Main Things That Affect a Person’s Emaan and Night Prayer

  • Not lowering the gaze enough. Constantly staring at the opposite gender.
  • Talking badly about others or being present when it happens.
  • Pleasure eating; eating too much and too late. Imam Shaafi’ee (rh) said that he didn’t eat until he was full for 14/16 years and the one time he did, he vomited it out. He said that this leads to a hard heart, dulls the intelligence and makes it hard to wake up for Fajr.

Praying a Portion of the Night Prayer

Luqman (as) said to his son, let not the cock be cleverer than you; it crows at dawn whilst you are asleep.

Let us ensure that we are taking a portion of the night prayer, especially from the last third of the night.

The Standing and Sujood of Prayer

Shaykh ul Islam (rh) mentions in Fatawaa al-Kubra that the standing and sujood are equal because of the clear Hadith in the Saheeh which mentions, the best Salaah is the one with the longest qiyaam.

A Hadith in the Saheeh, that the closest one is to Allah is in sujood so suplicate much therein. The recital of the Qur’an is better than du’a and dhikr but the sujood position itself is better than the standing position itself so he viewed them both as equal!

As a side point, the human being is prone to becoming bored so change your routines, meaning if you pray Qiyaam, do 2 by 2 and then the Witr. The next time you pray Qiyaam increase and decrease, make different du’as in the Salaah, different du’as in rukooh, sujood and this is all from the Sunnah so a person should vary. A person may become tired or bored of the same thing and leave it!