Ways That Motivate oneself to do Qiyamulail.
Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid.
In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
All the praise and Thanks is due to Allāh, the Lord of al-‘ālamīn. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad, Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam is His Messenger.
The Qiyamulail contain many virtues. It is the best prayers after the prescribed prayers which Allāh Subhānahu wa ta‘ala admires those who perform it. The other motivating factors in performing Qiyamulail or Tahajjud are as follows:
1 – Being Sincere Towards Allāh, As He Has Commanded Us to Be Sincere Towards Him and None Other In Our Deeds.
The more a person sincere towards Allāh Subhānahu wa ta‘ala, the more he would be guided and helped to obey Allāh and draw closer to Him.
Allāh Says: “And they were commanded not, but that they should worship Allāh, and worship none but Him Alone…” [Al-Bayyinah 98:5].
Ubayy Ibn Ka’ab (radiyallāhu‘anhu) reported that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Give glad tidings to this ummah of splendor, 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.” [Ahmad, Sahih Al-Jāmi’, 2825].
Mutarraf Ibn ‘Abdallāh Ibn Al-Shakir 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 (rahimahullāh) said: “The degree to which a person is helped and aided by Allāh depends on the degree of his intention, drive, aim and hopes. Help from Allāh comes to people in proportion to their drive, intention, hopes and fears, and failure comes to them in like manner.”
As a result of those grounds the salaf were very keen to conceal their acts of worship such as Qiyamulail.
Tamim Ibn Aws Al-Dari (radiyallāhu‘anhu) was asked by a man, ‘How do you pray at night?’ He got irritated and said, ‘By Allāh, one raka’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.’
Ayyub Al-Sakhtiyāni 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.
2 – Performing Qiyamulail Is Answering the Call Of Allāh Subhānahu wa ta‘ala.
The servant recognizes that his Master is calling him to perform qiyam, he will respond to the Call of Allāh Subhānahu wa ta‘ala.
Allāh says: “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’an (aloud) in a slow, (pleasant tone and) style.” [Al-Muzzammil, 73:1-4].
Sa’ad Ibn Hisham Ibn ‘Amir said to ‘A’ishah (radiyallāhu‘anha): “Tell me about how the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) prayed qiyam.” She said: “Have you not read “Yaa ayyuha’l-Muzzammil (O you wrapped in your garments!)?” He said, “Of course.” She said: “Allāh, may He be exalted and glorified, made Qiyam obligatory at the beginning of this surah, so the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and his companions prayed Qiyam for a year, and Allāh withheld the end of this surah for twelve months, until He revealed something at the end of this surah to make things easier, so Qiyam al-layl became voluntary after it had been obligatory.” [Muslim].
3 – Knowing the Virtues of Qiyamulail.
Whoever recognizes the virtues of this act of worship would be keen to pray and communicate to Allāh, 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 (radiyallāhu‘anhu), in which the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) 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 Allāh, Muharram.” [Muslim].
‘AbdAllāh Ibn ‘Amr (radiyallāhu‘anhu) reported that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “The most beloved of prayer to Allāh is the prayer of Dawud, and the most beloved of fasts to Allāh 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 fast every other day.” [Al-Bukhari, Muslim and others].
‘Amr Ibn ‘Absah (radiyallāhu‘anhu) reported that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) 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 Allāh at that time, then do so.” [Al-Tirmidzi and Al-Nasā’ie].
According to a hadith narrated by Ibn Mas’ud (radiyallāhu‘anhu), the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) 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. Allāh 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. Sahih Al-Targhib, 258].
Qiyam al-Layl expels forgetfulness from the heart, as is stated in the hadith narrated by ‘AbdAllāh Ibn ‘Amr Ibn Al-‘Aas (radiyallāhu‘anhu), in which the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) 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 muqantarīn (those who pile up good deeds).” [Abu Dawud and Ibn Hibban. It is a hasan report. Sahih 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 Allāh at the time of sahur, and keeping company with righteous people.”
4 – Studying How The Salaf And Righteous People Practised Qiyamulail And Adhered To It.
The salaf used to like Qiyamulail and rejoice greatly in doing it.
‘Abdallāh 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: Qiyamulail, meeting one’s brothers in faith, and praying in congregation.”
Thabit Al-Banāni said: “There is nothing I enjoy more than Qiyamulail.”
Yazid 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 Allāh.”
Mukhallad Ibn Husain said: “I never woke up at night except I saw Ibrahim Ibn Adham remembering Allāh and praying, and this made me depressed, so I consoled myself with this ayah : ‘…That is the Grace of Allāh which He bestows on whom He pleases. And Allāh 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 Allāh 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 and tahajjud 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 (rahimahullāh) 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 (rahimahullāh) 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.”
5 – Sleeping on one’s right side.
The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) taught his ummah to sleep on their right sides, as is reported in the hadith of Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu‘anhu), who said that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) 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, then let him say, ‘Bismika Rabbi Wada’tu janbi wa bika arfa’uhu. In amsakta nafsi farhamhaa wa in arsaltahaa fahfazhaa bimaa tahfazu bihi ‘ibādaka al-sāliheen (In Your Name, my Lord, I lay myself down and I get up again. If You take my soul, then have mercy on it, and if You send it back to me, then protect it with that with which You protect Your righteous slaves).’” [Al-Bukhari, Muslim and Others].
Al-Bara’ ibn ‘Azib (radiyallāhu‘anhu) reported that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “When you want to go to bed, do wudhu’ as for prayer, then lie down on your right side.” [Consensus Agreement by the Fuqaha]
Hafsah (radiyallāhu‘anha) said: “When the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) went to bed, he would put his right hand under his right cheek.” [Al-Tabarani; Sahih Al-Jāmi’, 4523].
Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim (rahimahullāh) said: “There is a reason for his lying on his right side, which is that the heart is located on the left, so if a person lays on his left side, he will sleep too deeply, because the heart’s position will be too comfortable, but if he sleeps on his right side, he will not be too settled, so he won’t sleep deeply.”
6 – Sleeping In a State Of Taharah (Purity).
Al-Bara’ Ibn ‘Azib (radiyallāhu‘anhu) reported that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “When you go to bed, do wudhu’ as if for prayer.” [Muttafaqa ‘alaih].
Mu’adz ibn Jabal (radiyallāhu‘anhu) reported that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “There is no Muslim who goes to sleep remembering Allāh and in a state of purity, and when he turns over he asks Allāh for good in this world and the next, but it will be given to him.” [Abu Dawud and Ahmad. Sahih Al-Jaami’, 5754].
Ibn ‘Abbas (radiyallāhu‘anhu) reported that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Purify these bodies and Allāh 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 Allāh, forgive Your slave, for he went to bed in a state of purity.’” [Al-Tabarāni. Al-Mundhiri said, its isnad is jayyid. Sahih Al-Jāmi’, 3831]).
7 – Going to Bed Early.
Sleeping straight after ‘Isha’ is the advice of the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), and a good and healthy habit. One of the ahadith that describe its virtues.
Abu Barzah Al-Aslami (radiyallāhu‘anhu) reported that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) used to delay the ‘Isha’, and he did not like to sleep before it or talk after it. [Al-Bukhari].
Al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar (rahimahullāh)reported that Al-Qadi ‘Ayad said, concerning the phrase “He did not like to sleep before it”: “Because that could lead to one praying it too late, or delaying it until after the preferred time, and talking after it could lead to one sleeping before Fajar and missing it, or missing Qiyamulail.”
Ibn Rāfi’ said: “‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (radiyallāhu‘anhu) used to wave his stick at the people when darkness fell, and would say, ‘Get up and go, may Allāh help you to pray qiyam at night!’”
Another matter that has to do with sleep is choosing a suitable bed, not one that is excessively luxurious or soft, because that makes a person sleep too much and become negligent, and causes laziness and carelessness. ‘Aishah (radiyallāhu‘anha) said: “The pillow of the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) on which he slept at night was made of leather stuffed with palm fibres.” [Abu Dawud and Ahmad. Sahih Al-Jaami’, 4714].
Ibn ‘Abbas (radiyallāhu‘anhu) reported that ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (radiyallāhu‘anhu) entered upon the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) when he was lying on a mat of palm fibres that had left marks on his side. ‘Umar said, “O Messenger of Allāh, why do you not get something more comfortable than this?” He (Prophet Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “What do I have to do with this world? My relationship with this world is like that of a traveller on a hot summer’s day, who seeks shade under a tree for an hour, then moves on.” [Ahmad and Al-Hākim; Sahih Al-Jami’, 5545].
‘Ali Ibn Bakar 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 Allāh, you are good, and by Allāh you are cool, but by Allāh I will not rest on you tonight.” Then he would get up and pray qiyam until Fajar.
Also, one should not sleep too much or too deeply. Ibrahim Ibn Adham said: “If you are sleeping at night, and running about during the day, and always committing sin, how can you earn the pleasure of the One Who is directing your affairs?”
8 – Having the Habit of Reciting Adhkār Prescribed By Syari’ah before Going to Sleep.
The Adhkār are like a fortress which protects a person from the Shaitan, by the permission of Allāh, and helps him to get up for qiyam. Among these adhkār is that mentioned in the hadith of Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu‘anhu), who said that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) 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, then let him say, ‘Bismika Rabbi wada’tu janbi wa bika arfa’uhu. In amsakta nafsi farhamhaa wa in arsaltahaa fahfazhaa bimaa tahfazu bihi ‘ibaadaka al-saaliheen (In Your Name, my Lord, I lay myself down and I get up again. If You take my soul, then have mercy on it, and if You send it back to me, then protect it with that with which You protect Your righteous slaves).’” [Muttafaqa ‘alaih].
‘Aishah (radiyallāhu‘anha) reported that when the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) went to bed each night, he would put his palms together, blow in them, and recite Qul huwa Allaahu ahad, Qul a’udzu bi Rabbi’l-Falaq and Qul a’udhu bi Rabbi’l-Naas, then he would wipe as much of his body as he could with his hands, starting with his head and face, and the front of his body, doing this three times. [Muttafaqa ‘alaih].
Ibn Mas’ud (radiyallāhu‘anhu) reported that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Whoever recites the last two ayahs of Surah Al-Baqarah; this will take care of him.” [Muttafaqa ‘alaih].
Anas Ibn Malik (radiyallāhu‘anhu) reported that when the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) went to bed, he would say: “Al-hamdu Lillaah illadhi at’amanaa wa saqaanaa, wa kafaanaa fa kam mimman laa kaafeeya lahu wa laa mu’weeya lahu (Praise be to Allāh Who has fed us and given us to drink, and Who has given us enough, for how many are there who have no-one to suffice them or give them refuge).” [Muslim].
According to the hadith of Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu‘anhu) in which he tells the story of how he captured the Shaytān, the Shaytān said to him: “When you go to bed, recite Ayat al-Kursi, ‘Allāh! None has the right to be worshipped but He, the Ever-Living, the One Who sustains and protects all that exists…’ [Al-Baqarah, 2:255] until the end of it, because it will bring Allāh’s protection for you, and no shaitan will approach you until morning comes.” Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu‘anhu) mentioned this to the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), and he said, “He spoke the truth even though he is a liar.” [Consensus Agreement by the Fuqaha].
‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib (radiyallāhu‘anhu) reported that when the Prophet’s daughter Fatimah (radiyallāhu‘anha) came to him and asked him for a servant, he (the Prophet Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) 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 ‘Subhān Allāh’ thirty-three times, ‘al-hamdu Lillāh’ thirty-three times, and ‘Allāhu akbar’ thirty-four times. This is better for you than a servant.” [Muttafaqa ‘alaih].
Anas Ibn Malik (radiyallāhu‘anhu) reported that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Recite ‘Qul yaa ayyuha’l-kaafirun’ when you go to sleep, for it is a renunciation of shirik.” [Al-Baihaqi. Sahih al-Jaami’, 1172].
Hafsah (radiyallāhu‘anha) reported that when the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) went to bed, he would put his right hand under his right cheek and say: ‘Rabbi qinī ‘adhābaka yawma tab’athu ‘ibādaka (My Lord, save me from Your punishment on the Day when You resurrect Your slaves).’” [Abu Dawud, Sahih Al-Jāmi’, 4532].
Al-Bara’ Ibn ‘Azib (radiyallāhu‘anha) reported that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “When you go to bed, take wudū’ as if for prayer, then lie down on your right side, then say: ‘Allāhummah aslamtu nafsi ilayk, wa wajahtu wajhi ilayk, wa fawwadtu amri ilayk, wa alja’tu zahri ilayk, raghbatan wa rahbatan ilayk, laa malja’a wa laa manjā minka illa ilayk. Āmantu bi kitābik alladhi anzalt, wa bi nabiyyik alladhi arsalt (O Allāh, I submit myself to You, I turn my face to You, I delegate my affairs to You and I rely totally on You, out of fear and hope of You. There is no refuge or sanctuary from You except in You. I believe in Your Book which You have revealed and in Your Prophet whom You have sent).’ Then if you die, you will have died on the fitrah, so make these the last words you speak.” [Muttafaqa ‘alaih].
Similarly, the Muslim should have the habit of reciting Adhkār prescribed by syari’ah when waking up, such as that reported by Abu Hurayrah (radiyallāhu‘anhu), who said that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “When any one of you wakes up, he should say: ‘Al-hamdu Lillāh illadzi radda ‘alayya roohi, wa ‘aafaani fi jasadi wa adhina li bi dhikrihi (Praise be to Allaah Who has restored my soul, given health to my body, and allowed me to remember Him).” [Al-Tirmidzi and Al-Nisa'i, Sahih Al-Jaami’, 326].
‘Ubadah Ibn Al-Samit (radiyallāhu‘anhu) reported that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Whoever turns over at night and says ‘Lā ilāha ill-Allāh wahdahu lā sharīka lah, lahu’l-mulk wa lahu’l-hamd wa huwa ‘a’l kulli shay’in qadeer. Al-hamdulillahi, subhān Allāh wa lā illāha ill-Allāh wa Allāhu akbar wa lāhawla wa lā quwwata illa Billāh (There is no god but Allāh Alone, with no partner or associate. His is the Dominion and the Praise, and He is Able to do all things. Praise be to Allāh, glory be to Allāh. There is no god except Allāh, Allāh is Most Great and there is no strength and no power except in Allāh),’ then says, ‘Allāhummaghfir li (O Allāh, forgive me),’ or some other du’a, it will be answered, and if he does wudhu’ and then prays, his prayer will be accepted.” [Al-Bukhari]
Imam Ibn Battal said: “Allāh has promised through His Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) that whoever wakes up from his sleep pronouncing words of Tawhid, submitting to His sovereignty, recognizing His blessings by praising Him, exalting Him above that which does not befit Him by glorifying Him (saying ‘Subhān Allāh’), submitting to Him by magnifying Him (saying ‘Allāhu akbar’) and admitting one’s utter dependence upon His help, then if he makes du’a it will be answered, and if he prays his prayer will be accepted. Everyone who hears this hadith should apply it and make the most of it, and make his intention sincerely for his Lord, may He be glorified and exalted.”
Al-Bara’ Ibn ‘Azib (radiyallāhu‘anhu) said: “When the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam)woke up, he would say: ‘Al-hamdu Lillāh illadzi ahyānā ba’da mā amātanā wa ilaihi al-nushur (Praise be to Allāh Who has brought us back to life after having caused us to die, and unto Him is the resurrection).’” [Muslim].
Ibn ‘Abbas (radiyallāhu‘anhu)reported that when the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) woke up he would wipe the sleep from his face with his hand, then look at the sky and recite the final ten ayat of Surah Al ‘Imran: “Verily, in the creation of the heavens and the earth…” [Al- ‘Imran, 3:].” [ Muslim]
Imam Al-Nawawi (rahimahullāh) said: “This indicates that it is mustahabb to wipe away the traces of sleep from one’s face, and to recite these ayat when getting up from sleep.”
9 –Take A Nap during the Day, Whether before Zuhur or After.
Anas (radiyallāhu‘anhu) reported that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Take a nap, for the shayaateen do not take naps.” [Al-Tabarāni; Al-Sahihah, 2647].
Ishaq Ibn ‘AbdAllāh said: “Taking a nap is one of the deeds of good people. It revitalizes the heart and helps one to pray Qiyamulail.”
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.”
10 – Avoiding Too Much Eating or Drinking.
Eating and drinking too much are two of the main obstacles that prevent people from praying Qiyamulail. Al-Miqdam Ibn Ma’ad Yakrib (radiyallāhu‘anhu) reported that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Man fills no vessel worse than his stomach. It is sufficient for the son of Ādam 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.” [Al-Tirmidzi and Ibn Mājah. Sahih Al-Jaami’, 5674]).
Abu Juhaifah (radiyallāhu‘anhu)reported that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) 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 hungriest on the Day of Resurrection.” [Al-Hākim; Sahih Al-Jaami’, 1190].
Sufyaan Al-Thawri said: “You should eat little, so that you will be able to pray Qiyamulail.”
Ma’qal Ibn Habib saw some people eating a lot, and said, ‘I do not think that our companions want to pray Qiyamulail.”
Wahab Ibn Munbih said: “There is no son of Ādam dearer to his shaitan than the one who eats and sleeps a lot.”
11 – Determination to Perform Qiyamulail.
This is one of the best means of helping oneself to pray Qiyam, because human nature is inclined towards wrongdoing, so the one who follows his own inclinations will be led to doom and destruction. Allāh has commanded us to strive against our own selves, as He says:
“And strive hard in Allāh’s Cause as you ought to strive…” [Al-Hajj 22:78]
“And as for those who strive hard in Our Cause, We will surely guide them to Our Paths. And verily, Allāh is with the muhsinun (good-doers).” [Al-‘Ankabut 29:69]
“Their sides forsake their beds, to invoke their Lord in fear and hope, and they spend (charity in Allāh’s Cause) out of what We have bestowed on them” [Al-Sajdah 32:16]
Faddālah Ibn ‘Ubayd (radiyallāhu‘anhu) reported that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “The mujahid is the one who strives against his own self for the sake of Allāh.” [Al-Tirmidzi and Ibn Hibban. Al-Sahihah, 549].
According to the hadith of ‘Uqbah Ibn ‘Amir (radiyallāhu‘anhu), the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) 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 wudu’, 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 Allāh 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.” [Ahmad and Ibn Hibban. Sahih al-Targhib, 627].
Muhammad Ibn Al-Munkadir said: “I struggled against my own self for forty years until it became right.” Thabit Al-Banaani said: “I struggled for twenty years to make myself pray qiyam al-layl, and I enjoyed it (Qiyamulail) for twenty years.”
‘Umar Ibn ‘Abd Al-‘Azīz said: “The best of deeds are those which we force ourselves to do.”
‘Abdallāh Ibn Al-Mubarak 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.”
Qatadah 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.”
12 – Avoiding the Sins.
If the Muslim wants to be one of those who earn the honour of munajat to Allāh 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 Qiyamulail.
A man said to Ibrahim Ibn Adham, “I cannot pray Qiyamulail, 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 honors, and the sinner does not deserve that honour.”
A man said to Al-Hasan Al-Basri: “”O Abu Sa’id, I sleep in good health, and I love to pray qiyam 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 Allāh have mercy on him, “The slave who commits a sin will be denied the opportunity to pray qiyam at night and to fast during the day.”
Al-Fudail Ibn ‘Ayad said: “If you cannot pray Qiyamulail, or fast during the day, know that you are indeed deprived and restricted, chained by your sins.”
13 – Checking Oneself And Rebuking Oneself For Not Praying Qiyamulail.
Checking oneself is one of the signs of the righteous and truthful. Allāh says: “O you who believe! Fear Allāh and keep your duty to Him. And let every person look to what he has sent forth for the morrow, and fear Allāh. Verily, Allāh is All-Aware of what you do.” [Al-Hashar 59:18].
Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim said: “If the slave is responsible and accountable for everything, even his hearing, sight and innermost thoughts, as Allāh says, ‘…Verily, the hearing, and the sight, and the heart of each of you will be questioned by Allāh’ [Al-Isra’ 17:36], then he should check on himself before he is brought to account.”
Qiyamulail is an act of worship that joins the heart to Allāh, 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 Qiyamulail is one of the measures of sincere determination and one of the qualities of those who have great ambitions.
Allāh has praised them and distinguished them from others in the Qur’an, where He says: “Is one who is obedient to Allāh, 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 (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) 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 (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “The best of prayers after the prescribed prayers is Qiyamulail.” The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) always had the habit of praying Qiyamulail, 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 Qiyamulail until his feet became swollen, and when he was asked about that, he said, “Should I not be a grateful slave?” [Muttafaqa ‘alaih].
This is how the noble salaf were, may Allāh have mercy upon them. Abu’l-Darda’ (radiyallāhu‘anhu) 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 Allāh is most deserving of reverence.”
For this reason, Al-Fudail Ibn ‘Ayad said: “I met some people who feel ashamed before Allāh 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. Where are the women of our own age when it comes to such great deeds? ‘Urwah Ibn Al-Zubair said: “I came to ‘Aishah (radiyallāhu‘anha) one day to greet her, and I found her praying and reciting the ayah ‘But Allāh has been gracious to us, and has saved us from the torment of the Fire’ [At-Tūr 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 ‘Aishah, and she was still praying and reciting this ayah and weeping.”
Anas ibn Malik (radiyallāhu‘anhu) reported that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Jibril said to me, ‘Go back to Hafsah, for she fasts a lot and prays a lot at night (Qiyamulail).’” [Al-Hākim, Sahih Al-Jāmi’, 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, worshipping and beseeching Allāh, 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 (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 sahur. When the time of sahur came, she would say, “O Allāh, 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 righteous people who have gone before us, and we are still here.”
Allāh Almighty Knows Best.
[Via Islam Q&A]