The blessings of Qiyamullayl
As we approach the last ten nights of Ramadan, I would like to share with you the blessings of qiyam al layl, (night prayers) in general.
Tarawih during Ramadan is qiyam Ramadan.
Qiyam and tarawih are not obligatory, but from the sunnah.
وَعَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ عَمْرِو بْنِ الْعَاصِ رضي الله تعالى عنه قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: «مَنْ قَامَ بِعَشْرِ آيَاتٍ لَمْ يُكْتَبْ مِنَ الْغَافِلِينَ، وَمَنْ قَامَ بِمِئَةِ آيَةٍ كُتِبَ مِنَ الْقَانِتِينَ، وَمَنْ قَامَ بِأَلْفِ آيَةٍ كُتِبَ من المقنطرين» . رَوَاهُ أَبُو دَاوُد.
The enormous reward for praying during the dead of night
Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-‘As narrated (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace be on him) said:
If anyone prays at night reciting ten verses, he will not be recorded among the negligent (ghafileen); if anyone prays at night and recites a hundred verses, he will be recorded among those who are (qaniteen) obedient to Allah; and if anyone prays at night reciting one thousand verses, he will be recorded among (al-muqantireen) those who receive piles of rewards. (Abu Dawud)
The command to pray in the night was from the earliest revelations
In this hadith we see the importance of qiyamullayl. Allah Almighty commanded the Prophet (peace be on him) to wake in the night to pray at the very beginning of his mission. It is mentioned in Surat Muzzammil which was the fourth surah to be revealed after the first revelation of Surat al Alaq. It was essential for the emotional, spiritual and mental well being of the Prophet (peace be on him) to perform this night prayer. Allah Almighty said:
In the name of Allah Most Gracious Most Merciful.
O you, wrapped up in clothes, (1)
Stand at night (for prayer) except a little (2)
Half of it, or make it a little less, (3)
Or make it a little more; and recite the Qur’an clearly with tartil (in a distinct and measured tone). (4)
˹For˺ We will soon send upon you a weighty revelation. (5)
Truly the rising by night is most potent for governing (the soul), and most suitable for (framing) the Word (of Prayer and Praise). (6)
For during the day you are over-occupied ˹with worldly duties˺. (7)
And remember the name of your Lord, and devote yourself to Him with exclusive devotion. (8)
Allah Almighty addresses the Prophet (peace be on him) as the one who is wrapped up in clothes ‘ya ayuhal muzzammil’ because when he returned home shivering after his first encounter with the angel Jibril in the cave of Hira, his wife Khadija covered him in extra clothes.
He commanded the Prophet (peace be on him) to stand up for night prayers, not for the entire night, but for more or less half the night and to recite in a distinct and measured recitation and remember Allah and devote yourself to Him completely. This time is special, freed from all the concerns of the day, the words have more impact on the mind and soul.
The prophet (peace be on him) therefore encouraged us to perform qiyam. Allah Almighty stressed the importance of tahajjud which is the prayer you perform after isha in surat al Isra. The best time for this is just before Fajr, which is suhoor time in Ramadan.
﴿٧٩﴾ وَمِنَ اللَّيْلِ فَتَهَجَّدْ بِهِ نَافِلَةً لَكَ عَسَىٰ أَنْ يَبْعَثَكَ رَبُّكَ مَقَامًا مَحْمُودًا
And keep vigil with it during parts of the night, offering additional prayers, so your Lord may raise you to a worthy position. (17:79)
Praying tahajjud throughout the year
In Surat Sajdah Allah Almighty refers to those who perform qiyam throughout the year as the ones who abandon their beds because they seek Allah and His bounty. They sleep but not through the whole night.
﴿١٦﴾ تَتَجَافَىٰ جُنُوبُهُمْ عَنِ الْمَضَاجِعِ يَدْعُونَ رَبَّهُمْ خَوْفًا وَطَمَعًا وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ يُنْفِقُونَ
Their sides shun their beds, as they pray to their Lord, out of reverence and hope; and from Our provisions to them, they give. (32:16)
These beautiful verses encourage us to pray in the night.
How much should we pray in the night?
In the first hadith I mentioned, it says that those who pray 10 verses are counted as not being among the ghaafil – those who are disconnected from Allah and who find worship onerous and tedious.
Does 10 verses include the Fatiha? Yes, it can include the Fatiha, which means that as a minimum if you recite 2 rakahs, and recite the Fatiha with at least 3 additional verses, it would mean that you will not be recorded as heedless.
Those who recite 100 verses would be recorded from being among the most obedient to Allah.
Do you have to recite during salah or can you recite in the night outside salah?
This point has been discussed among scholars. Most likely it refers to reciting during the salah, but it would also be valid and in line with other narrations of the Prophet (peace be on him) that you can recite 100 verses outside the salah. Ibn Khuzaymah for instance narrated that whoever recites 10 verses in salah, but in other narration it says man qama – the one who stands and recites, but this could be taken to mean the one who holds firmly to the verses. Therefore it could be the one who reflects and applies the verses, as interpreted it by the scholars At-Teebi and Mubarakfouri.
We are being encouraged to reflect on the Quran and to recite it and to stand up during the night prayer with the Quran in our hearts. When we do this we reach different levels of closeness to Allah.
10 is the minimum, 100 is much better, and will be those who stand with tranqulity and react to the verses, when there are verses of rahma they seek rmercy and when there are ayahs of punishment they seek refuge in Allah.
How much is 1000 verses?
Allah knows the reward of those who recite a 1000 verses, as they reach the highest level.
Here are three ways to read 1000 verses from the beginning middle or end of the Quran:
Beginning of the Quran
Surat al Baqarah til Surat al A’raaf (verse 157) – 8 juz.
Middle of the Quran
Surat Furqan til Surat Saffaat (verse 67) – 4 juz.
End of the Quran
Surat al Mulk til Surat Al Naas (995 verses) plus 5 verses of Surat al Baqarah – 2 juz
Let’s roll up our sleeves and do our best in the last ten nights of Ramadan to perform qiyam and recite the Quran. If you cannot do this, at least do the minimum. And encourage each other to do more.
May Allah make us from the khashieen (those who have humility, tranquility and focus) and the muqarabeen (those who are close to Him) and among the qaniteen (those who are obedient to Allah) and the muqantireen (those who earn piles of rewards). Ameen
Shaykh Haytham Tamim
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