One of the pillars of Islam is the Salah and beyond the mandatory prayers, we have been taught by the greatest of all creation SAWS, optional prayers that are of benefit to us. One of the greatest prayers that can benefit us is the prayer that is prayed in the final third of the night.
The imam reminded us of this by referring to the 15, 16 and 17th ayat of Sura As-Sajdah. It is translated to say:
The only ˹true˺ believers in Our revelation are those who—when it is recited to them—fall into prostration and glorify the praises of their Lord and are not too proud.
They abandon their beds, invoking their Lord with hope and fear, and donate from what We have provided for them.
No soul can imagine what delights are kept in store for them as a reward for what they used to do.
Dear brothers and sisters, we can see that the reward for this is beyond anything we can imagine or compare to in this life. This alone should compel us to get up for the night prayer.
Alongside this, the Quran also references this in Sura Al-Thariyat in ayats 15 to 17 which are translated to say:
Indeed, the righteous will be among gardens and springs,
Accepting what their Lord has given them. Indeed, they were before that doers of good.
They used to sleep but little of the night
Dear brothers and sisters, we are plagued with things that worry us and make us desire. Alongside that, we are all guilty of errors as Muslims and so the night prayer offers the opportunity to seek Allah’s bounty and His mercy.
Alongside this the imam spoke of a hadith in which the prophet SAWS spoke of the reward for night prayers. It is translated to say:
“O people, extend greetings (saying Salam to each other), keep relations with your kin, provide food (to people) and pray at night when people are asleep and you will enter Paradise in peace.”
Dear brothers and sisters, the night prayer is one of those optional acts of worship that has the potential to transform both our life in this dunya and our fortunes in the hereafter. It is therefore important for us to attempt to instill this sunnah as a habit in our lives.
And so this reminder concludes with 3 practical tips on how we can implement the night prayer as a habit into our lives.
- Sleep on time. The temptation is to stay awake deep into the night to perform the night prayer. This is not the correct approach. It is better to sleep on time and then wake up to perform the night prayer. On approach may be to wake up 10 minutes earlier than the start of Fajr as it allows you to pray the night prayer and then remain awake to perform the Fajr prayer as well. If sleeping at time is a challenge then one practical advice is to stop interaction with devices in the hour or 90 minutes leading up to sleep.
- Start small and work your way up. Maybe begin with the attempt to pray it once. Then once a fortnight or week, then twice weekly and so on. There is more benefit in gradually increasing the number of times as you stand a greater chance of sticking to it. Equally, the night prayer is prayed in units of 2 like any other nafl prayer so begin with just the minimum 2 rakats and if you decide in future to increase that to 4,6,8 etc then you can work gradually towards it
- It is Sunnah to have a nap in the afternoon if your schedule allows it. This is 15-20 power nap to give you the rest needed for the rest of the day. If time permits then make this part of the day also which increases further the chance of night prayers becoming a sustainable habit.
Dear brothers and sisters, the night prayer is an act of worship that has great power. Let us aim to get this implemented as a habit so that we can be amongst the group of people referred to in the following hadith in which the Prophet SAWS said:
Our Lord, the Blessed and the Exalted, descends every night to the lowest heaven when one-third of the latter part of the night is left, and says: Who supplicates Me so that I may answer him? Who asks Me so that I may give to him? Who asks Me forgiveness so that I may forgive him?