Today’s reminder is continuing on from the night prayer last week.
The imam began the reminder today with a reference from the 79th ayat of Sura Al Isra. It is translated to say:
And rise at ˹the last˺ part of the night, offering additional prayers, so your Lord may raise you to a station of praise.
Dear brothers and sisters, we spoke last week on the benefit of the night prayers and how we should implement in into our lives. The reminder continues this week with outlining the blessings of this act of worship so that we can implement it into our lives.
One of the blessings that comes from this prayer is the eradication of hypocrisy. We all need to take extra care to be mindful of this point as we live in a time and a place where hypocrisy is displayed by people in all walks of life.
As Muslims, we need to make sure that our acts of worship are not hypocritical. That they are being performed for the sake of Allah SWT and not for the sake of status or others to witness.
One way that this can be achieved is to perform acts of worship that are hidden from the world. They are those acts of worship that have no chance of the world witnessing it and therefore it is being done solely for the One who is always watching.
The night prayer is an act of worship that falls under this category. It is something that is done when those around us are asleep. Nobody is there to witness it and it is something that offers a deep personal connection with Allah SWT alone.
The imam spoke of how Allah SWT addresses people that pray in the night. Sura Al-Furqan, ayat 63 and 64 are translated to say:
The ˹true˺ servants of the Most Compassionate are those who walk on the earth humbly, and when the foolish address them ˹improperly˺, they only respond with peace.
˹They are˺ those who spend ˹a good portion of˺ the night, prostrating themselves and standing before their Lord.
And that leads us onto the next point regarding the night prayer. We all live busy lives, in a world where distractions are so intense that even prayers in congregation are sometimes disturbed with ringtones or alarms on phones.
This is part of life and we can all make attempts to minimize these disruptions but the point here is that the prayers in the day time have dunya prodding us to draw attention away from the prayers. Whether it is family at home whilst you are trying to make prayers or whether it is school or work which has tight schedules that you must follow, the prayers during the day have their own challenges.
This is why the night prayer is such a blessing. It offers that solitude and that peace that no prayer during the day can offer. Often it is prayed in low light, alone and with next to no other noise or distraction being heard.
The imam mentioned a hadith which is translated to say:
The most excellent prayer after that which is obligatory is the (voluntary) late night prayer.” [Reported by Muslim]. it is better as it is done in secret, and its very difficult, and as its quieter there is better contemplation.
And it is worth mentioning again in today’s reminder that the night prayer is one of the ways of attaining Allah SWT’s mercy.
The imam relayed two hadith in relation to this point. The first is translated to say:
There is an hour during the night in which no Muslim bondman will ask Allah for good in this world and the next but He will grant it to him.
And this one which is translated to say:
“Make a practice of getting up at night, for it was the custom of the pious before you, is a means of bringing you near to your Lord, an atonement for evil deeds and a preventative of sin.”
Dear brothers and sisters, the night prayers offers so much for so little on our part. From the answering of our prayers to the eradication of our sins, this is the act of worship we should all be attempting to build into our lives.
By doing so, we will not only benefit greatly in the hereafter but we will have discovered a treasure that offers us peace and tranquillity in this life like nothing else.
And whilst we are still in a time of year when the nights are still long and the days are short, lets make the most of the opportunity and implement this blessed act of worship into our lives.Read More
Dear brothers and sisters, the topic of today’s reminder is something which might have been forgotten and has no part in the life of many of us. For some of us, we do it in the month of Ramadan but not in the rest of the times.
The act is the night prayer, an act that although isn’t obligatory, it is something which each and every one of us can benefit greatly from if performed. The imam reminded us of a hadith in relation to this in which the Prophet SAWS said:
“Hold fast to the night prayer, for it is the practice of the righteous before you, and a means of drawing closer to your Lord, and an eraser of sin, and a means of their prevention.”
Dear brothers and sisters, if we think about this hadith for a moment, there are a number of points and lessons we can take from this. Today’s reminder does this. Firstly, this is not a practice that has begun just with our faith, the practice itself has been performed by righteous people going further back than the advent of our faith.
Allah SWT also speaks of the night prayer. In Sūrah Al-Muzammil, which is one of the earliest chapters of the Qur’ān to be revealed to the Prophet SAWS, Allah SWT commanded His Prophet by saying:
Arise the night, except for a little. Half of it or a little less than that, or add to it, and recite the Qur’ān with measured recitation.
Dear brothers and sisters, if we ponder of this verse we can conclude that Allah SWT was urging everyone to the night prayers. Therefore, if Sūrah Al-Muzammil was amongst the first of revelation given to the Prophet Muḥammad SAWS then the instruction to pray at night was also one of the very first instructions given by Allāh SWT to the Prophet Muḥammad SAWS in his preparation for the mammoth tasks that awaited him.
Secondly, the hadith earlier also mentioned the night prayer as “a means of drawing closer to your Lord”. Allah SWT has offered so much to those who discipline themselves to glorify Him through this act of worship; because it means so much to Him. Each and every one of us can relate to how valuable sleep is these days and therefore to sacrifice this has its just reward with Allah SWT.
And what is their reward? In truth, we do not entirely know for certain. Allāh SWT has said in the Glorious Quran:
Their sides forsake their beds, as they call upon their Lord in fear and hope, and from what We have provided them, they spend. And so no soul knows of the delights of the eyes that have been hidden for them, as reward for what they used to do
Dear brothers and sisters, this is not to say that Allah SWT has not uncovered some of the secrets behind this unknown reward. The Prophet SAWS said:
In Jannah, there are rooms, the outsides of which can be seen from their insides and their insides can be seen from their outsides. An Arab Bedouin man got up and asked, ‘Who do they belong to O messenger of Allāh?’ He responded, ‘They belong to those who speak with goodness, offer food, consistently fast and pray at night when people are asleep.’
Thirdly, the hadith mentioned that the night prayer is “an eraser of sin, and a means of their prevention”. Dear brothers and sisters, we all run the risk of doing sins which we fear being reminded of on the Day of Reckoning, then this act enables us to erase them during the night.
Not only that, the act also provides us with prevention and so if we need a shield to prevent us from those sins that we fear returning to after repentance due to how irresistible they seem, again, such a shield can be acquired during the night.
Dear brothers and sisters, this is one of the most amazing realities of the night prayer; it erases the sins of yesterday whilst providing a shield against the sins of tomorrow. Perhaps this is one of the reasons the Prophet SAWS referred to the night prayer as being “the honour of a believer”, for sins give rise to humiliation; a cold, bitter and dark sense of inward humiliation that one truly feels during the sin and after it as well, whilst the night prayer is a liberator from this.
We have a hadith reminded to us by the imam today in which the Prophet SAWS said:
Angel Jibrīl came to me and said, ‘O Muḥammad, live as long as you wish, you shall die in the end. Love whom you wish, you will be separated from them in the end. Do whatever you wish, you shall be held accountable in the end, and realise that the honour of a believer is in his night prayer, and that his dignity is when he is not reliant on others.
Dear brothers and sisters, as we can deduce from today’s reminder, not only is the act of performing night prayers a blessed act, but based on the rewards, it is one that we need to try and implement into our everyday lives.
However, as with all new habits, it will take some preparation and dedication in order to be formed. The reminder concludes with 3 points in helping to establish the night prayer.
- Begin with the intention of performing the night prayer with conviction and sincerity. Without the permission of Allah SWT, we are unable to do anything and therefore make this the cornerstone of the habit you are attempting to start.
- Understand that the notion of an undisturbed sleep is only a recent phenomenon. Even in the west, divided sleep periods was considered normal and it did not affect the health. In fact, recent scientific studies confirm the benefits of segmented sleep.
- Recongize damaging behaviour that may prevent the act of night prayers. From eating a heavy meal at night to staying up late staring at a screen, these are all behaviours that will disrupt your body and mind and thus prevent the ability to have a good sleep and wake up for night prayers.
Dear brothers and sisters, the night prayer is the time when the distractions of the world are at a minimum. Use this opportunity of solitude to resurrect a desirable act of worship as well as provide oneself with the blessings of Allah SWT in this life and the next.Read More
It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever prays at night in Ramadan out of faith and in the hope of reward, his previous sins will be forgiven.”
This hadith is a perfect reminder of the mercy that is shown in the month of Ramadan and it also shows that this act that we are all engaged in this evening is one of the means of forgiveness of sin.
Just to be clear, what is meant by the night prayer is also referred to as qiyam al-layl and taraweeh prayers too.
What does it mean to be in faith and in the hope of reward? If we look at this meaning in detail then it means to pray the night prayer with focus, sincerity and intention to please Allah SWT.
Dear brothers and sisters, this is a special month for many reasons. One of the many benefits of the month is the masjid comes alive in this month unlike any other time of the year. As you can see today and especially on the weekend, the rows are full all the way to the back of the main hall.
We reconnect with friends and unlike jumma prayers, there is no time pressure associated with this and going back to our lives. However, we ought to be careful that this hadith speaks of forgiveness for those who seek it and are hopeful of it.
If we are focused more on the social aspect of this night, we run the risk of falling short of the requirement of this promise with qiyam al layl. Not only do we run the risk of losing focus ourselves but the hum of chatter in the hall can affect others who are attempting to focus on the imam and the night prayer.
Instead, we should make the most of the time given in this blessed month and the opportunity of this time of each day. Use the time at the end of vitr to catch up with one another and lets make the night prayer be a witness to our attaining forgiveness from Allah SWT.
May Allah SWT grant us forgiveness from our sins through our attendance at Qiyam al Layl.Read More