Numerous Ahadeeth and Qur’anic verses mention the excellence of Qiyaam al-Layl and the merit of those who perform it regularly. The craziness of life often have us trudging through our daily routine and forgetting about this fruitful prayer, here are a few reminders of its importance and a number of practical tips to help you get in the habit of Qiyaam al-Layl.
He (Peace and Blessings be upon Him) 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.” [At-Tirmidhee and Musnad Ahmad]
It is also narrated Mu’adh Ibn Jabal (May Allah be Pleased with Him): The Prophet (Peace and Blessings be upon Him) said to him: “May I show you the gates of goodness? (they are), (a) Fasting is a screen from Hell, (b) As-Sadaqah extinguishes the sins, as water extinguishes fire, (c) Standing in salaat (prayer) by a slave of Allah during the last third part of a night.”
Then the Prophet (Peace and Blessings be upon Him) recited the verse: “Their (believer’s) sides forsake their beds, to invoke their Lord in fear and hope; and they spend out of what We have bestowed on them.” [Abu Dawood and at-Tirmidhee]
Practical Tips for Praying Qiyaam al-Layl
1. Ikhlas (Sincerity)
This is the key to Allah’s Help and blessings. The help of Allah is needed to accomplish and achieve success in all our affairs. And Allah helps those who are sincere in their hearts. The Messenger of Allah (Peace and blessings upon him) said: “If you are truthful with Allah, then Allah will deliver to you what you wish for.” [An-Nasa’ee, al-Hakim and Saheeh al-Jamee]
Therefore, one should have a sincere intention to pray Qiyaam al-Layl; seek the Pleasure of Allah Alone and avoid the desire of praise or fame. Allah says: “And they were commanded not, but that they should worship Allah, and worship none but Him Alone.” [Quran 98: 5]
2. Knowing the Virtues of Qiyaam al-Layl
Knowing the virtues and rewards of performing worship produces willingness and desire to perform the worship. We have previously mentioned numerous virtues of regularly praying Qiyaam al-Layl, here we mention the excellence of praying Qiyaam al-Layl particularly in the great month of Ramadan.
Abu Hurayrah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Allah’s Messenger (Peace and blessings be upon Him) encouraged the people, without making it an absolute command, to perform Qiyaam during Ramadan. He (Peace and blessings be upon Him) used to say: “Whoever stands (in Qiyaam) in Ramadan out of faith and expectation (of Allah’s reward), all his previous sins will be forgiven.” [Saheeh Muslim]
3. Taking a Nap in the Day Time
Taking a nap before or after Dhuhr salah will dismiss stress and thus enable one to get up in the night and stand in front of his Lord. The Messenger of Allah (Peace and blessings be upon Him) said: “Take a nap, for the Shayateen do not take naps.” [Reported by at-Tabaranee. Al-Saheehah 2647]
In essence, purify your intentions, clear your mind and rest your body in preparation for this fruitful salah.
4. Sleeping According to the Sunnah of Allah’s Messenger
(A) Sleep early: Sleeping early is a healthy habit and it was the practice of Allah’s Messenger (Peace and blessings be upon Him) to sleep directly after performing the Isha prayer.
(B) Sleep in a state of taharah (purity): Ibn Abbas (May Allah be pleased with him) reported that Allah’s Messenger (Peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Purify these bodies and Allah 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 Allah! Forgive Your slave, for he went to bed in a state of purity.” [Reported by at-Tabaranee. See Saheeh al-Jamee (3831)]
(C) Choose a suitable bed: An excessively luxurious or soft bed provokes laziness and makes one sleep more and become negligent. Aa’ishah (May Allah be pleased with her) narrates that the pillow of the Prophet (Peace and blessings upon Him) on which he slept at night was made of leather stuffed with palm fibers. [Abu Dawood and Musnad Ahmad. Saheeh al-Jamee (4714)]
(D) Cleaning the bed and lying on the right side: Abu Hurayrah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (Peace and blessings 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…” [Saheeh al-Bukharee and Saheeh Muslim]
(E) Reciting the adhkaar (supplications) mentioned in the sunnah before sleeping: There are a number of adhkaar prescribed in the sunnah before going to bed. Amongst them are reciting the last verses of Soorah al-Baqarah, reciting Soorah al-Falaq and Soorah al-Nas and Soorah Ikhlas and blowing in the palms and wiping as much of the body possible, starting from the head, face and then the front of the body doing it three times. [Bukhari and Muslim]
Ali Ibn Abi Talib (May Allah be pleased with him) reported that when the Prophet’s daughter, Fatima (May Allah be pleased with her) came to him and asked him for a servant, he (Peace and blessings upon Him) said to her and Ali: “Shall I not teach you something that will be better for you than a servant? When you go to bed, say ’SubhanAllah’ thirty-three times, ’Al-hamdulillah’ thirty-three times, and ’Allahu Akbar’ thirty-four times. This is better for you than a servant.” [Bukhari and Muslim]
5. Avoiding too much food and drink
Too much food or drink is one of the main obstacles that make one lazy and negligent of Qiyaam al-Layl. The Messenger of Allah (Peace and blessings 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 at-Tirmidhee and Ibn Majah. Saheeh al-Jamee (5674)]
6. Striving against oneself
Striving against oneself to get up and pray and suppressing one’s desires bring about Allah’s help and His Pleasure for the slave.
The Prophet (Peace and blessings upon Him) said:“The Mujahid (one who strives in way of Allah) is the one who strives against his own self for the sake of Allah.” [Reported by al-Tirmidhee. See al-Saheehah (549)]
He (Peace and blessings be upon Him) also 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 wudhu, 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 Allah 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. See Saheeh al-Targheeb (627)]
7. Rebuking one’s self for not praying
Qiyaam al-Layl is a great blessing from Allah, the Exalted, and He has placed in it numerous spiritual benefits and rewards for the believer. Therefore, one should rebuke one’s self, if he misses this great opportunity of achieving rewards and Pleasure of Allah.
Imam Ibn al-Qayyim (Rahimahullah) said: “If the slave is responsible and accountable for everything, even his hearing, sight and innermost thoughts, as Allah say, “…Verily, hearing, sight, and the heart of each of you will be questioned by Allah, [Soorah al-Isra (17): 36], then he should check on himself before he is brought to account.”
Taken from the book – ‘The Night Prayers’ by Muhammad Nasir ud-Deen al-Albanee (rahimahullah)
Do you pray Qiyam al-Layl regularly? If so, inspire us with some of your tips that help you remain consistent, share with us how this prayer has impacted your life.