WAYS TO HELP ONESELF PRAY QIYAAM AL-LAYL.
Praise be to Allaah.There are many things that one can do to help oneself pray qiyaam al-layl, among which are the following:
BEING SINCERE TOWARDS ALLAH.
THE PERSON WHO WANTS TO PRAY QIYAAM AL-LAYL SHOULD REALIZE THAT ALLAH IS CALLING HIM TO QIYAAM.
KNOWING THE VIRTUES OF QIYAAM AL-LAYL.
REWARD FOR QIYAAM AL-LAYL.
STUDYING HOW THE SALAF & RIGHTEOUS PEOPLE PRACTISED QIYAAM AL-LAYL & ADHERED TO IT.
ETIQUETTE OF SLEEPING.
BEING KEEN TO TAKE A NAP DURING THE DAY, WHETHER BEFORE ZUHR OR AFTER.
AVOIDING EATING OR DRINKING TOO MUCH.
STRIVING AGAINST ONESELF TO PRAY QIYAAM AL-LAYL.
CHECKING ONESELF & REBUKING ONESELF FOR NOT PRAYING QIYAAM AL-LAYL.
BEING SINCERE TOWARDS ALLAH. :-
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…”
(SURAH AL-BAYYINAH 98 VERSE 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 (nation/community)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.”
MUSNAD AHMAD (HADITH 20718)
SOURCE OF MUSNAD AHMAD :-
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 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 (pious predecessors) 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.
THE PERSON WHO WANTS TO PRAY QIYAAM AL-LAYL SHOULD REALIZE THAT ALLAH 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.”
(SURAH AL-MUZAMMIL 73 VERSE 1-4).
Sa’d ibn Hishaam ibn ‘Aamir said to ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her):Inform me about the observance (of the night prayer) of the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him). She said: Did you not recite:” O thou wrapped up”? He said: Yes. She said: Allah, the Exalted and the Glorious, made the observance of the night prayer at the beginning of this Surah obligatory. So the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him and his Companions around him observed this (night prayer) for one year. Allah held back the concluding portion of this Surah for twelve months in the Heaven till (at the end of this period) Allah revealed the concluding verses of this Surah which lightened (the burden of this prayer), and the night prayer became a supererogatory prayer after being an obligatory one.
SAHIH MUSLIM (Book 4, Hadith 1623)
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
Abu Haraira (Allah be pleased with him) reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying:The most excellent fast after Ramadan is Allah month. al-Muharram, and the most excellent prayer after what is prescribed is prayer during the night.
SAHIH MUSLIM (Book 6, Hadith 2611)
Narrated `Abdullah bin `Amr:Allah’s Messenger (p.b.u.h) said to me, “The most beloved fasting to Allah was the fasting of (the Prophet) David who used to fast on alternate days. And the most beloved prayer to Allah was the prayer of David who used to sleep for (the first) half of the night and pray for 1/3 of it and (again) sleep for a sixth of it.”
SAHIH BUKHARI (Vol. 4, Book 55, Hadith 631)
Abu Umamah [may Allah be pleased with him] said:Amr bin Abasah reported to me that he heard the Prophet say: “The closest that the Lord is to a worshipper is during the last part of the night, so if you are able to be of those who remember Allah in that hour, then do so.” (Sahih)
SUNAN TIRMIDHI (Book 48, Hadith 210)
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, out of hope for what is with Me and out of fear of what is with Me.”
MUSNAD AHMAD (HADITH 3819)
SOURCE OF MUSNAD AHMAD :-
Qiyaam al-Layl expels forgetfulness from the heart, as is stated in the hadeeth
Narrated Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-‘As:the Prophet (p.b.u.h) said: If anyone prays at night reciting regularly ten verses, he will not be recorded among the negligent; if anyone prays at night and recites a hundred verses, he will be recorded among those who are obedient to Allah; and if anyone prays at night reciting one thousand verses, he will be recorded among those who receive huge rewards.
ABU DAWOOD (Book 6, Hadith 1393)
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.”
REWARD FOR QIYAAM AL-LAYL. :-
IN SHA ALLAH WE WILL UPDATE ON SEPARATE ARTICLE.
STUDYING HOW THE SALAF & RIGHTEOUS PEOPLE PRACTISED QIYAAM AL-LAYL & 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 Allaah 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.”
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.”
ETIQUETTE OF SLEEPING. :-
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) taught his ummah (followers)the etiquette of sleeping.
BEING KEEN TO TAKE A NAP 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.”
AL MUJRIHEEN IBNE HIBBAN (HADITH 1033)
SOURCE OF AL MUJRIHEEN IBNE HIBBAN
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.”
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.
Miqdam bin Madikarib said:“I heard the Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h) say: ‘A human being fills no worse vessel than his stomach. It is sufficient for a human being to eat a few mouthfuls to keep his spine straight. But if he must (fill it), then one third of food, one third for drink and one third for air.’”
IBN MAJAH (Vol. 1, Book 29, Hadith 3349)
SUNAN TIRMIDHI (Vol. 4, Book 10, Hadith 2380)
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 on the Day of Resurrection.”
SAHEEH AL-JAAMI (HADITH 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 Munabbih said: “There is no son of Adam dearer to his shaytaan than the one who eats and sleeps a lot.”
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…”
(SURAH AL-HAJJ 22 VERSE 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).”
(SURAH AL-ANKABOOT 29 VERSE 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”
(SURAH AL-SAJDAH 32 VERSE 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 (warrior) is the one who strives against his own self for the sake of Allaah.”
SUNAN TIRMIDHI (HADITH 1621)
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.”
MUSNAD AHMAD (HADITH 17444)
SOURCE OF MUSNAD AHMAD
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.”
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.”
CHECKING ONESELF & 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.”
(SURAH AL-HASHR 59 VERSE 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.”
Qiyaam al-layl is an act of worship that connects the heart to Allaah, may He be exalted, and enables it to overcome the temptations of life and to strive against one’s own self, at the time when voices are stilled, eyes are closed in sleep, and sleepers are tossing and turning in their beds. Therefore qiyaam al-layl is one of the measures of sincere determination and one of the qualities of those who have great ambitions. Allaah has praised them and distinguished them from others in the Qur’aan, where He says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Is one who is obedient to Allaah, prostrating himself or standing (in prayer) during the hours of the night, fearing the Hereafter and hoping for the Mercy of his Lord (like one who disbelieves)? Say: ‘Are those who know equal to those who know not?’ It is only men of understanding who will remember.”
(SURAH AL-ZUMAR 39 VERSE 9)
Qiyaam al-layl is “sunnah mu’akkadah” (confirmed Sunnah), which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) urged us to do when he said, “You should pray qiyaam al-layl, for it is the habit of the righteous people who came before you, and it will bring you closer to your Lord, expiate for bad deeds, prevent sin, and expel disease from the body.” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi and Ahmad).
According to a hadeeth, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The best of prayers after the prescribed prayers is qiyaam al-layl.” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) always had the habit of praying qiyaam al-layl, and never gave it up, whether he was travelling or staying at home. Even though he, among all the sons of Adam, would be the one to have all his past and future sins forgiven, he prayed qiyaam al-layl until his feet became swollen, and when he was asked about that, he said, “Should I not be a grateful slave?” (Agreed upon).
This is how the noble salaf were, may Allaah have mercy upon them.
Abu’l-Darda’ (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “Pray two rak’ahs in the darkness of the night for the darkness of the grave.” Ahmad ibn Harb said: “I am astonished at people who know that the delights of Paradise lie above them and the horrors of Hell lie beneath them. How can they sleep in between them?”
When ‘Umar ibn Dharr saw that night had come, he would say: “Night has come, and night has dignity, and Allaah is most deserving of reverence.”
For this reason, al-Fudayl ibn ‘Ayaad said: “I met some people who feel ashamed before Allaah to sleep for too long in the depths of the night. Such a person may be resting on his side, and when he moves, he says to himself, ‘This is not your right. Get up and take your share of the Hereafter.’”
Al-Hasan said: “We do not know of any deed more difficult than the struggle to stay up at night or to spend money.” It was said to him, “Why do the mutahajjadeen (those who pray Tahajjud at night) have the most beautiful faces?” He said, “Because they spend time alone with the Most Merciful, so He adorns them with some of His light.”
The women of the salaf also used to strive to pray qiyaam al-layl with energy and determination. Where are the women of our own age when it comes to such great deeds?
‘Urwah ibn al-Zubayr said: “I came to ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) one day to greet her, and I found her praying and reciting the aayah (interpretation of the meaning), ‘But Allaah has been gracious to us, and has saved us from the torment of the Fire’ [al-Toor 52:27], repeating it and weeping. I waited for her, but I got bored of waiting, so I went to the market for some things I needed, then I came back to ‘Aa’ishah, and she was still praying and reciting this aayah and weeping.”
Anas ibn Maalik (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Jibreel said to me, ‘Go back to Hafsah, for she fasts a lot and prays a lot at night (qiyaam al-layl).’”
(SAHEEH AL-JAAMI 4227)
Mu’aadhah al-‘Adawiyyah, one of the righteous Taabi’aat (successors of the companions of the Prophet) spent her wedding night, along with her husband Silah ibn Ashyam, praying until Fajr. When her husband and son were killed in the land of jihaad (battle), she would spend the whole night in prayer, worshipping and beseeching Allaah, and she would sleep during the day. If she felt sleepy whilst she was praying at night, she would tell herself: “O soul, there is plenty of sleep ahead of you.”
When Habeebah al-‘Adawiyyah prayed ‘Ishaa’, she would stand on the roof of her house, wearing her chemise and khimaar (i.e., covered in proper Islamic dress), then she would say, “O my God, the stars have come out, people have gone to sleep, and kings have closed their doors, but Your door is open. Every lover is alone with his lover, but here I am standing before You.” Then she would start to pray and talk to her Lord until the time of suhoor. When the time of suhoor came, she would say, “O Allaah, this night is ending, the day is coming, and I wish I knew whether you have accepted this night (of worship) from me, so that I could congratulate myself, or if it has been rejected, so that I might console myself.”
‘Amrah, the wife of Habeeb al-‘Ajami, prayed qiyaam al-layl one night whilst her husband was asleep. When the time for suhoor came, and her husband was still asleep, she woke him up and said to him, “Get up, my master, for the night has gone, the day has come and ahead of you lies a long road with little provision, and a small group of righteous people who have gone before us, and we are still here.”
We ask Allaah to help us to remember Him, to thank Him and to worship Him properly. May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad.