How to pray Qiyaam al Layl Islamqa

Qiyamulail is an act of worship that joins the heart to Allah 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 Qiyamulail is one of the measures of sincere determination and one of the qualities of those who have great ambitions.

Allah has praised them and distinguished them from others in the Quran, where He says:
“Is one who is obedient to Allah, 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. " [Al-Zumar, 39: 9]

Qiyamulail is “sunnah mu'akkadah” (confirmed Sunnah), which the Prophet SAW urged us to do when he said, “You should pray Qiyamulail, 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. " [Al-Tirmidzi and Ahmad].

According to a hadith, the Prophet SAW said: “The best of prayers after the prescribed prayers is the night prayer. ’."Muslim

He also said ‘May Allah have mercy upon a man who wakes up at night, prays and wakes up his wife; if she refuses he sprinkles water on her face. And may Allah have mercy upon a woman who wakes up at night, prays and wakes up her husband; if he refuses, she sprinkles water on his face. ’ [Abu Dawud, al-Nasa'i]

Hadith: ‘Indeed, there are in Paradise homes which are transparent - Allah has prepared them for whoever gives food (to the poor), spreads the salam and prays by night when everyone else is asleep.’ [Ibn Hibban, declared saheeh by al-Albani]

Hadith: The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said, "Our Lord descends during the last third of each night to the lower heaven, and says: ‘Is there anyone who calls on Me that I may respond to him? Is there anyone who asks Me that I may give unto him? Is there anyone who requests My Forgiveness that I may forgive him? " Sifat al-Safwah, by Ibn al-Qayyim

The Prophet always had the habit of praying Qiyamulail, and never gave it up, whether he was traveling 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 Qiyamulail until his feet became swollen, and when he was asked about that, he said, “Should I not be a grateful slave? " [Consensus Agreement by the Fuqaha].


The School of Qiyam al-Layl

‘It is a school whose graduates are Islam’s best: the worshipers, by night & knights by day. They straighten their feet before Allah in the depths of the night, in a place where no-one can see them or know them to be. Their tears fall upon their cheeks and purify their hearts.

They have sought safety in their Lord, they have fled to Him and returned to Him fully recognizing His Rights upon them, hoping for His Pleasure, and so He became pleased with them. He placed light upon their faces and light in their limbs, steadfastness in their deeds, sincerity in their hearts and insight in their souls.

So they see with a light from Allah and they take delight in praying in the depths of the night more than the people of desires take delight in the desires they love most. So praying by night has become the most valued thing in their lives and an act upon which they are the most steadfast. Rather, it has become a part of their heart which cannot be separated. You see their hearts longing for the night prayer and it flutters in happiness when the night draws near because it shall soon stand before its Lord in tranquility, humbleness and repentance.

The Students of Knowledge and Qiyam al-Layl

The night of the true student of knowledge differs from the nights of the heedless and the negligent. His nights are filled with worship, standing before Allah whereby he asks Him of His Blessings, seeks forgiveness for his shortcomings, requesting all that he wishes for and beseeching Him in his complaints.

But indeed there are a people from amongst the students of knowledge who claim to seek knowledge but yet they are careless in their nights and so it passes them by in regret and sorrow. Gaining knowledge has thus become difficult for them and their akhlaq (character) turned bad, and that is because they spent the night in deep sleep such that nothing woke them up except the sun’s heat!

The scholars never thought that there could be a student of knowledge or a person of ‘ilm who slept the whole night without there being some form worship therein. In fact, they used to criticize whoever fell short in that!

Ibn al-Jawzi and al-Dhahabi both mention that Tawus went looking for someone during the last third of the night but they said, "He is sleeping." He said, "I didn't think anyone actually slept during al-Sahr (the last part of the night)."

Nafi ’narrates: Ibn‘ Umar (radhiallahu `anhu) used to revive the night with prayers then he would say,‘O Nafi ’! Has the last portion come? ’ I would say ‘No,’ so he would continue praying until I said, ‘Yes,’then he used to sit seeking forgiveness and supplicating until morning.
- Translated from ‘Ladhat al-’Ibadah’ by ​​Khalid al-Sayyid Rusha


The Virtues of Qiyamulail.

Whoever recognizes the virtues of this act of worship would be keen to pray and communicate to Allah, the Exalted, and to stand before Him.

Among the hadiths that describe the virtues of this act of worship is the hadith of Abu Hurairah RA, in which the Prophet SAW said: "The best of prayers after the prescribed prayers is prayer in the depths of the night, and the best of fasting after the month of Ramadhan is fasting the month of Allah, Muharram." [Muslim].

‘Abdallah Ibn‘ Amr RA ​​reported that the Prophet SAW said: “The most beloved of prayer to Allah is the prayer of Dawud, and the most beloved of fasts to Allah is the fast of Dawud. He used to sleep for half of the night, then get up and pray for a third of the night, then sleep for a sixth of the night, and he used to almost every other day. " [Al-Bukhari, Muslim and others].

‘Amr Ibn‘ Absah reported that the Prophet SAW said: "The closest that the Lord is to His slave is in the later part of the night, so if you can be one of those who remember Allah at that time, then do so." [Al-Tirmidzi and Al-Nasa’i]).

According to a hadith narrated by Ibn Mas’ud RA, the Prophet SAW 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. Allah says, ‘O My angels look at My servants. He has left his mattress and cover and slipped away from his lover and wife to pray, our of hope for what is with Me and out of fear of what is with Me. "
[Reported by Ahmad. It is a hasan report. Saheeh Al-Targhib, 258].

Qiyam al-Layl expels forgetfulness from the heart, as is stated in the hadith narrated by ‘Abdallah Ibn‘ Amr Ibn Al-‘Aas RA, in which the Prophet SAW said:
“Whoever recites ten ayat in qiyam will not be recorded as one of the forgetful. Whoever recites a hundred ayat in qiyam will be recorded as one of the devout [?], And whoever prays a thousand ayat in qiyam will be recorded as one of the muqantareen (those who pile up good deeds). " [Abu Dawud and Ibn Hibban. It is a hasan report. Saheeh Al-Targhib, 635].

Yahya ibn Mu'adh said: “The medicine of the heart is five things: reading Qur'an and pondering the meaning, having an empty stomach, praying at night (Qiyamulail), beseeching Allah at the time of sahur, and keeping company with righteous people. "


The night prayer of the Prophets

Fudhayl ​​ibn al-’Iyadh: ‘It used to be said that the characteristics of the Prophets and the righteous, the chosen ones from Mankind whose hearts are pure, are three characteristics: They were forbearing, oft-returning (to Allah), and they all had a portion of Qiyam al-Layl (the night prayer). ’

Musa `alayhisalam: The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu` alayhi wa sallam) said, ‘I passed by Musa -` alayhisalam - on the night of my Ascension while he was in his grave praying. ’ Saheeh Muslim, Ahmad and al-Nasa'i

‘Isa `alayhisalam: ‘Verily the night and the day are two stores so look to what you do in them.’ Ibn ‘Abbas (radhiallahu` anhu) said regarding Prophet ‘Isa, ‘Wherever the night caught up with him, he would straighten his feet and stand in prayer until the morning.’ Al-Bidayah wal-Nihayah (2/16)

Dawud `alayhisalam: The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu` alayhi wa sallam) said, ‘Dawud was the most devout worshiper from Mankind.’ Saheeh Muslim, al-Tirmidhi, al-Hakim

The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said, ‘The most beloved of prayers to Allah is the prayer of Dawud and the most beloved of fasts to Allah is the fast of Dawud. He used to sleep half of the night, stand up in prayer for a third of it and sleep a sixth of it, and he used to fast on alternate days. ’Sahih al-Bukhari

Sulayman `alayhisalam: The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu` alayhi wa sallam) said, 'The mother of Sulayman ibn Dawud said to Sulayman' O my son, do not sleep a lot at night because indeed, sleeping too much at night will leave a man in poverty on the Day of Judgment. 'Reported by Ibn Majah and al-Bayhaqi (chain contains al-Fadhl ibn' Isa who is weak)


The Salaf And Righteous People Practiced Qiyamulail And Adhered To It.

Al-Fudhayl ​​ibn ‘Iyyadh:‘ I saw a people whose shyness of Allah in the darkness of the night drove away their long sleep. One of them would be lying on his side but when he moved he would say, ‘This is not for you. Get up and take your portion of the Hereafter. ’

It was said to al-Hasan (al-Basri), ‘How comes the Mutahajjidin (those who pray tahajjud) have the most beautiful faces? ’He said, ‘Because they secluded themselves with the Most Merciful and so He clothed them with a light from Him.’

Thabit al-Bunani said, ‘I can't find in my heart anything sweeter to me than Qiyam al-Layl.’

Ibrahim ibn Shimas: ‘I knew Ahmad ibn Hanbal when he was a young boy, and he used to revive the night (with prayer). ’

‘Amr ibn Dinar used to split the night into 3: One third for sleeping, one third for studying hadith and one third for praying.

‘Amr ibn Dharr:‘ When the worshipers see that night has come over them, and they see that the people of heedlessness have taken their place of rest on their beds and returned to sleep, they rise up to stand before Allah in happiness and bliss. They seek out glad tidings because of what He (`azza wa jall) has granted them of lengthy tahajjud and allowed them to partake from the goodness of maintaining night vigil. So they turn towards the night with their bodies and their faces touch the earth. The night comes to an end but the sweetness they find in recitation does not come to an end and their bodies do not tire from prolonged worship. Then morning comes for both of these two parties, the night has left them either with a profit or with deceit. Those people (who slept) wake up after they have tired of sleep and rest, and these people (who prayed) wake up looking forward to the approach of another night.How different these two groups are.

Abu’l-Darda ’RA said:" Pray two raka’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 Allah is most deserving of reverence. ”

For this reason, Al-Fudail Ibn ‘Ayad said:“ I met some people who feel ashamed before Allah 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 Qiyamulail with energy and determination.

Anas ibn Malik RA reported that the Prophet said: “Jibril said to me, 'Go back to Hafsah, for she fasts a lot and prays a lot at night (Qiyamulail).'” [Al-Hakim, Sahih Al-Jaami ', 4227].

Mu’adhah al-‘Adawiyyah, one of the righteous Tabi’at spent her wedding night; along with her husband Silah Ibn Ashyam, praying until Fajar. When her husband and son were killed in the land of jihad, she would spend the whole night in prayer, worshiping and beseeching Allah, 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 Habibah Al-'Adawiyyah prayed 'Isha', she would stand on the roof of her house, wearing her chemise and Khimar (ie, 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 sahur. When the time of sahur came, she would say, “O Allah, 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 Habib Al-‘Ajami, prayed Qiyamulail one night whilst her husband was asleep. When the time for sahur 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 right people who have gone before us, and we are still here. "

Muhammad Ibn Al-Munkadir said: "There is nothing left of the joys of this life except three: Qiyamulail, meeting one’s brothers in faith, and praying in congregation."

Thabit Al-Banaani said: “There is nothing I enjoy more than Qiyamulail.”

Yazid Al-Riqaashi said: "A lot of tahajjud brings delight to the worshipers, and a lot of thirst (i.e., fasting), brings joy when they meet Allah."

Mukhallad Ibn Husain said: “I never woke up at night except I saw Ibrahim Ibn Adham remembering Allah and praying, and this made me depressed, so I consoled myself with this ayah: 'That is the Grace of Allah which He bestows on whom He pleases. And Allah is the Owner of Great Bounty ’[Al-Hadid 54:21]."

Abu ‘Asim Al-Nabil said:" Abu Hanifah used to be called al-Watad (pole or pillar) because he prayed so much. "

Al-Qasim Ibn Ma’een said: “Abu Hanifah spent an entire night in qiyam reciting this ayat:
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 Allah until morning came. "

Ibrahim Ibn Shammas said: “I used to see Ahmad Ibn Hanbal staying up at night to pray when he was a young man.”

Abu Bakar Al-Marwadhi said: “I was with Imam Ahmad for nearly four months in the army, and he never stopped praying qiyam at night or reading Qur'an during the day, and I never knew when he completed the Qur'an, because he kept that secret. "

Imam Al-Bukhari used to pray qiyam at night until the time of sahur, and he would read between a half and a third of the Qur’an, and complete it at sahur every third night.

Al-'Allamah Ibn 'Abd Al-Hadi said, describing the qiyam of Shaikh Al-Islam Ibn Taimiyah: “At night he would keep away from people, and spend that time only with his Lord, beseeching Him continually and reciting Qur'an , 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 Shaikh Imam 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’an, hadith and principles of faith. "

Al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar said, describing his Shaikh Al-Hafiz Al-‘Iraqi: “I stayed with him, and I never saw him forsake qiyam al-layl: it was like a habit for him.”

The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam): ‘Upon you is to observe the night prayer for it is the way of the righteous that came before you ...’

Ali Ibn Bakar RA used to have a slave-woman who would spread out his bed for him, and he would touch it with his hand and say: “By Allah, you are good, and by Allah you are cool, but by Allah I will not rest on you tonight. " Then he would get up and pray qiyam until Fajar.

Whenever Mu’adh ibn al-Jabal rose to pray at night, he would call out, ‘O Allah, indeed the eyes of people are asleep and the stars have receded but You are the Ever Living and Eternal. O Allah, my way to Paradise is slow and my fleeing from Hellfire is weak. O Allah, grant me Guidance from You which you return to me on the Day of Judgment, truly You do not fail in Your Promise. ’Hilyat al-Awliya, by Abu Nu’aym

Abul-’Aliyah: ‘We used to consider it a big sin that a man learns Qur’an then he sleeps without reciting some of it (in prayer).’ Al-Zuhd, by Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal

Al-Hasan al-Basri: He (rahimahullah) also said: ‘By Allah, I have accompanied a people who spent these dark nights prostrating and standing up in prayer to their Lord. Their tears would flow down their cheeks, one time they’d be bowing and another time they are in prostration. They beseech and implore their Lord to free their necks (from the Hellfire) and the long night did not bore them because of the hope in their hearts for the Day of Return. May Allah have mercy upon a person who competes with them in these deeds and who is not content with falling short… truly the world has cut off its inhabitants and the deeds of a people are only returned to them. ’ Mukhtasar Qiyam al-Layl, by Al-Marwazi

Al-Hasan al-Banna: ‘The minutes of the night are expensive so do not render them cheap by heedlessness.’

One of the Salaf used to say: ‘For 40 years, nothing has upset me as much as the rise of dawn.’ (i.e. marking the end of tahajjud)

‘Amr ibn al-Aswad used to have an expensive garment of 200 dirhams which he wore exclusively for the night prayer. Al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah, by Ibn Kathir (8/26)

Imam Hamza ibn Habib (one the 7 Qurraa): Muhammad ibn al-Fudhayl ​​said about him, ‘I don’t consider that Allah keeps punishment away from the people of Kufa except by (the virtues of) Hamza. He used to read the Qur’an until the people departed, then he would pray four units, then he would pray between al-Dhuhr and al-’Asr, and between al-Maghrib and al-’Isha. One of his neighbors said that he never used to sleep at night and that they would often hear him recite the Qur’an melodiously. ’Hamza himself used to say, ‘I would look into the mushaf (copy of Qur’an) until I feared losing my sight!’ Ma’rifat al-Qurraa al-Kibar

‘Abdullah ibn Ghalib al-Hadani: ‘When the enemy approached (in battle), he said ‘What can sadden me in this world? By Allah, there is no happiness in it for the wise one and by Allah, were it not for my love of meeting the night in prostration and lying my forehead down for You O 'Master, in-between movement of limbs and joints (ie praying), in the depth of the nights all in hope of Your reward and Pleasure, were it not for this, I would have hoped to leave this world and its people. ' Then he broke the scabbard of his sword and went forth to fight until he was killed. When he was buried, they found the fragrance of musk at his grave and the people began to take the dust of his grave as if it were musk.

A man once saw him in a dream and said, ‘O Abu Faras, what have you done?’ He said, ‘The best of deeds.’ He asked, ‘Where have you gone?’ He said, ‘To Paradise,’ He said, ‘With what?’ He said, ‘By having conviction (yaqin) and standing for long periods in Tahajjud (night prayer) and bearing thirst in the midday heat (i.e. fasting). ’ He said, ‘And what is this sweet fragrance at your grave?’ He said, ‘That is the fragrance of recitation and thirst.’ He said, ‘Advise me.’ He said, ‘Seize goodness for yourself; do not allow the nights and days to pass you by empty, for indeed I have seen that the right ones attain piety with piety. ’ Mukhtasar Qiyam al-Layl, by Imam al-Samarqandi

Qatadah: ‘A hypocrite does not remain vigil at night (in prayer).’ Hilyat al-Awliya ’, by Abu Nu’aym

Abu Salman al-Darani: "If it wasn't for the Night prayer, I wouldn't have liked to remain in this world."


A man spent the night at the home of Ahmad, and he placed some water next to his bed. The man said: “I did not get up to pray at night or use the water. So, when I awoke, he said to me: "Why didn't you use the water?" I became embarrassed and didn’t answer, and he said: "Subhan Allah! Subhan Allah! I have never heard of a student of Hadith who does not pray at night. ””

The same incident occurred with another man, and he said to Ahmad: "I did not pray because I am traveling." So, Ahmad said to him: “You should pray at night even if you are traveling! Masruq performed Hajj and would not sleep except while he was prostrating. "

Taqi ad-Din (Ibn Taymiyyah) said: "This shows that it is disliked for a person concerned with knowledge to not pray at night, even if he is on a journey."

‘Abdullah bin Ahmad said:“ My father would pray ‘Isha’, take a light sleep, then get up to pray and supplicate until morning. "

Ibrahim bin Shimas said: “I knew Ahmad bin Hambal as a young child, and he would stay up all night praying.”

[‘Al-Adab ash-Shar’iyyah’; 1/169]

Ibn Muflih’s ‘Al-Adab ash-Shar’iyyah’

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