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Excellence of Standing in Prayer at Night

September 4, 2014
Imam Al-Nawawi’s Riyad-us-Saliheen
Chapter 212
Excellence of Standing in Prayer at Night

Allah, the Exalted, says:

And in some parts of the night (also) perform the Salat (prayer) with it (i.e., recite the Qur’an in the prayer) as an additional prayer (Tahajjud optional prayer – Nawafil) for you (O Muhammad (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam)). It may be that your Rubb will raise you to Maqam Mahmud (a station of praise and glory, i.e., the honour of intercession on the Day of Resurrection).” (17:79)

Their sides forsake their beds…” (32:16)

They used to sleep but little by night [invoking their Rubb (Allah) and praying, with fear and hope].” (51:17)

1160. `Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) kept standing (in prayer) so long that the skin of his feet would crack. I asked him: “Why do you do this, while you have been forgiven of your former and latter sins?” He said, “Should I not be a grateful slave of Allah?”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

1161. `Ali (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) visited me and Fatimah (May Allah be pleased with her)  one night and said, “Do you not observe prayer (at night)?
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

1162.  Salim bin `Abdullah bin `Umar bin Al-Khattab (May Allah be pleased with them) reported, on the authority of his father, that the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “What an excellent man `Abdullah is! If only he could perform optional prayers at night.” Salim said that after this, (his father) `Abdullah slept very little at night.
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

1163.  `Abdullah bin `Amr bin Al-`As (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said to me, “Do not be like so-and-so O `Abdullah! He used to pray during the night, then stopped the practice.”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

1164.  `Abdullah bin Mas`ud (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Mention was made before the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) of a man who slept throughout the night till morning. The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) remarked, “He is a man in whose ears Satan urinated.”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].n

1165. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “When any one of you sleeps, Satan ties three knots at the back of his neck. He recites this incantation at every knot: `You have a long night, so sleep.’ If he awakes and remembers Allah, one knot is loosened. If he performs Wudu’, the (second) knot is loosened; and if he performs prayer, (all) knots are loosened. He begins his morning in a happy and refreshed mood; otherwise, he gets up in bad spirits and sluggish state.”

[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

1166.  `Abdullah bin Salam (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “O people, promote the greetings, feed (the poor and needy) and perform Salat when others are asleep so that you will enter Jannah safely.”
[At-Tirmidhi].

1167.  Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “The best month for observing Saum (fasting) after Ramadan is Muharram, and the best Salat after the prescribed Salat is Salat at night.”
[Muslim].

1168.  Ibn `Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “Salat during the night should consist of pairs of but if you fear that morning is near, then pray one Rak`ah as Witr.”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

1169.  Ibn `Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) performed the night prayer in pairs (i.e., Rak`ah) and made it odd number by observing one Rak`ah (as Witr).
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

1170.  Anas (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) used to leave off observing Saum (fasting) during a month until we thought that he would not observe Saum at all during it; and (sometimes) he would observe Saum till we began to think that he would not omit any day of that month. If one wished to see him performing Salat during the night, he could do that; and if one wished to see him sleeping at night, he could do that.
[Al-Bukhari].

1171.  `Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) used to perform eleven Rak`ah (of Tahajjud) prayers at night. He (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) would prostrate so long as one of you might recite fifty Ayat (of the Qur’an). Thereafter, he would perform two Rak`ah before Fajr prayers and would lie down on his right side till the Mu’adhdhin would come and inform him about the time of (Fajr) prayer.
[Al-Bukhari].

1172.  `Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) did not observe more than eleven Rak`ah (of Tahajjud prayers), be in Ramadan or any other month. First of all he would perform four Rak`ah. Ask not about their excellence and their length. He (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) would then perform four more Rak`ah; and do not ask about their excellence and their length. Then he would perform three Rak`ah (Witr prayer). (`Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) added) I submitted: “O Messenger of Allah! Do you sleep before performing the Witr prayer?” He (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “O `Aishah! My eyes sleep but my heart does not sleep.”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

1173.  `Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) would sleep during the early part of night and stand in Salat during the latter part.
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

1174.  Ibn Mas`ud (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: One night I joined the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) in his (optional) Salat. He (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) prolonged the Qiyam (standing) so much that I made up my mind to commit an act of wrong. He was questioned: “What did you intend to do? He replied: “I intended to sit down and stop following him (in Salat).”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

1175.  Hudhaifah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: I performed Salat with the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) one night, and he started reciting Surat Al-Baqarah. I thought that he would go in Ruku` (bowing posture in Salat) at the end of one hundred Ayat, but he continued (reciting); and I thought that he would perhaps recite (this Surah) in the whole Rak`ah (prayer), but he continued the recitation; I thought he would perhaps bow on completing (this Surah). He (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) then started reciting Surat An-Nisa’ which he followed with Surat Al-Imran. He recited leisurely. When he recited an Ayah which mentioned the tasbeeh, he would say Subhan Allah and when he recited the Ayah which tells how the Rubb is to be asked, the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) would then ask from Him; and when he (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) recited an Ayah asking one to seek Protection Allah, he would seek Protection of Allah. Then he bowed and said, “Subhana Rabbiyal-Azim (My Rubb the Great is free from imperfection)”; his bowing lasted about the same length of time as his standing, (and then on returning to the standing posture after Ruku`) he would say, “Sami’ Allahu liman hamidah, Rabbana lakal-hamd (Allah listens to him who praises Him. Praise be to You, Our Rubb!),” and he would then stand about the same length of time as he had spent in bowing. He would then prostrate himself and say, “Subhana Rabbiyal-A`la (My Rubb the Supreme is free from imperfection),” and his prostration lasted nearly the same length of time as his standing (Qiyam).
[Muslim].

1176.  Jabir (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) was asked: “Which Salat is the best?” He replied, ” The best Salat is that in which Qiyam (the duration of standing) is longer.”
[Muslim].

1177.  `Abdullah bin `Amr (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “The Salat which is dearest to Allah is that of (Prophet) Dawud; and As-Saum (the fasting) which is dearest to Allah is that of (Prophet) Dawud. He used to sleep half the night, get up to perform Salat for one-third of it, then sleep through the remaining one-sixth of it; and he used to observe Saum on alternative days.”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

1178.  Jabir (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) saying, “Every night there is a special time during which whatever a Muslim asks Allah of any good relating to this life or the Hereafter, it will be granted to him; and this moment comes every night.”
[Muslim].

1179.  Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “When one of you gets up at night to perform (Tahajjud) prayer, let him start Salat with two short Rak`ah.”
[Muslim].

1180.  `Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported: Whenever the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) stood for Salat at night, he would start his prayer with two brief Rak`ah.
[Muslim].

1181.  `Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported: If the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) missed his night (Tahajjud) Salat because of indisposition or the like, he would perform twelve Rak`ah during the day.

[Muslim].

1182.  `Umar bin Al-Khattab (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said: “If anyone falls asleep and therefore fails to observe his Hizb (share) or part of it, if he observes it between the Fajr and the Zuhr prayers, it will be recorded for him as though he had observed it during the night.”
[Muslim].

1183.  Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “May Allah show mercy to a man who gets up during the night and performs Salat, awakens his wife to pray and if she refuses, he sprinkles water on her face (to make her get up). May Allah show mercy to a woman who gets up during the night and performs Salat, awakens her husband for the same purpose; and if he refuses, she sprinkles water on his face.”
[Abu Dawud].

1184.  Abu Sa`id and Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “When a man awakens his wife during the night and they both perform two Rak`ah Salat together, they are recorded among the men and women who celebrate remembrance of Allah.”
[Abu Dawud].

1185.  `Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “When one of you dozes off while performing Salat, he should lie down till his drowsiness has gone away from him. When one of you performs Salat while dozing, he may abuse himself instead of seeking pardon (as a result of drowsiness).”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

1186. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “When anyone of you stands up for Salat at night and finds it difficult to recite the Qur’an accurately and he is unaware of what he is reciting, he should go back to sleep.”
[Muslim].

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