دار التوحيد Dâr'ul Tawhîd

Author Topic: THE WORSHIP OF RASŰLULLÂH DURING MUHARRAM | IBNU RAJAB AL-HANBALÎ  (Read 203 times)

Murabit

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بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ
The Worship of Rasűlullâh Sallallâhu Alayhi wa Sallam During Muharram
Ibnu Rajab al-Hanbalî Rahimahullâh[1]
 1. The Islamic Months, al-Hâfiz Ibn Rajab al-Hanbalî, Dar Al-Kotob Al-ilmiyah, p. 54-80.
The reviver of Tawhid will always be successful.

Murabit

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MUHARRAM-THE MONTH OF ALLÂH
THE MERIT OF MUHARRAM AND ITS FIRST TEN DAYS


Abu Hurayrah radiyAllâhu anh narrates that the Messenger of Allâh Sallallâhu Alayhi wa Sallam said, “The most superior fasting after the month of Ramadân is in the month of Allâh which you refer to as Muharram. The most superior salâh after the compulsory salâhs is the night [tahajjud] Salâh.”[1] This Hadîth is explained in the next two sections: the best optional fast and the best optional salâh.
 1. Muslim (1163).
The reviver of Tawhid will always be successful.

Murabit

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Section one: the merit of optional fast. This Hadîth clearly states that the best optional fast after the compulsory fast of Ramadân is the fast of Muharram. This could mean that after the month of Ramadân, it is the best month for optional fasts throughout the month. As for partial optional fasts where there is fasting in certain days of the month, these could be superior to the optional fasts of Muharram. For example, fasting on the day of ‘Arafah [9th Dhű al-Hijjah], the first nine days of Dhu al- Hijjah, the six fasts of Shawwâl, etc. This is supported by the Hadîth of Ali radiyallâhu anh who states that a man came to the Messenger of Allâh Sallallâhu Alayhi wa Sallam and said, “O Messenger of Allâh! Inform me of a month in which I could fast after the month of Ramadân.” The Messenger of Allâh Sallallâhu Alayhi wa Sallam said, “If you want to fast in any month after Ramadân, fast in Muharram because it is the month of Allâh. It is a month in which Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ accepted the repentance of a nation and will accept the repentance of other nations [as well].” [1]

However, it is said that the Messenger of Allâh Sallallâhu Alayhi wa Sallam used to fast the month of Sha’ban[2] and there is no narration stating that he used to fast the [whole] month of Muharram. Yes, he used to fast on the day of ‘Ashűra’ (10th Muharram).[3] In the last year of his life, he said, “If I am alive next year, I will fast in the ninth.”[4] This shows that he had not kept fast on the ninth before that. People provide certain weak answers to this.

It seems to me - and Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ knows best - that optional fasts are of two kinds:

    (1) Unrestricted optional fasting, and the best time for this is Muharram, just as unrestricted optional salâh is the night [tahajjud] salâh.

    (2) The fasting which is subservient to fasting before and after Ramadân. This is not unrestricted fasting. Rather, it is subservient to the fast of Ramadân and attached to it. It is therefore said that the six fasts of Shawwâl are attached to the fasts of Ramadân and the person who keeps these six fasts shall have the reward of compulsory fasts for the entire year recorded in his favour. It is related that Usâmah ibn Zayd RadiyAllâhu anh used to fast in the sanctified months (al-ashhur al-hurum). The Messenger of Allâh Sallallâhu Alayhi wa Sallam instructed him to fast in Shawwal. He thus gave up fasting in the sanctified months and began fasting in Shawwal.[5] We will explain this at the appropriate place - if Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ wills. So this type of fasting is attached to Ramadân and fasting on such days is the most superior unrestricted optional fast.

As for unrestricted optional fasting, the most superior is fasting in the sanctified months. It is related that the Messenger of Allâh Sallallâhu Alayhi wa Sallam instructed a person to fast in the sanctified months. We will explain this later - if Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ wills.

The most superior fasts of the sanctified months is fasting in Muharram. This is proven from this Hadîth in which the Messenger of Allâh Sallallâhu Alayhi wa Sallam said, “The most superior salah after the compulsory salahs is the night [tahajjud] salah.” This refers to the compulsory salahs together with the Sunnah salahs which are attached to them. The Sunnah salâhs before and after the compulsory salahs are superior to the tahajjud salah according to the unanimous opinion of the ‘ulama’. This is because they are attached to the compulsory salahs. It is only some of the Shafi’î ‘ulama’ who differ in this regard. Similar is the case with fasting before and after Ramadân - these fasts are attached to the month of Ramadân. Fasting during such days is superior to fasting in the sanctified months. While the most superior unrestricted optional fasting is the fasting in Muharram.

The ‘ulama’ differ with regard to which of the sanctified months are the most superior. Al-Hasan and others said that the most superior of them is Muharram. A group of latter scholars give preference to this view. Wahb ibn Darir narrates from Qurah ibn Khalid from al-Hasan who said, “Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ commenced the year with a sanctified month and ended it with a sanctified month. Therefore, apart from the month of Ramadân, there is no month which is greater in the sight of Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ than Muharram. It used to be called “the deaf month of Allâh” because of its intense sanctity.” Adam ibn Abi Iyas narrates that Abu Hilal ar-Rasibi narrated from al- Hasan that the Messenger of Allâh Sallallâhu Alayhi wa Sallam said, “The most superior salah after the compulsory salah is the salah which is offered in the middle of the night. The most superior month after Ramadân is Muharram. It is the deaf month of Allâh.”[6]

Abű Dharr radiyAllâhu anh narrates, “I asked the Messenger of Allâh Sallallâhu Alayhi wa Sallam, ‘Which night is the most superior and which months are the most superior?’ He replied, ‘The best part of the night is the middle of the night, and the most superior month is the month of Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ which you refer to as Muharram.” His reference to it as “the most superior month” is considered with regard to the month after Ramadân. As in the previous narration of al-Hasan. Sa’îd ibn Jubayr and others said, “The most superior of the sanctified months is Dhű al-Qa’dah or Dhű al-Hijjah. In fact, it is considered to be the most superior of all months. We will explain this at the appropriate place - if Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ wills.

Some Shâfi’î scholars are of the opinion that Rajab is the most superior of the sanctified months. This opinion is rejected. The most superior part of Muharram are its first ten days. Yamân ibn Ri’âb claims these are the days on which Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ took an oath in the Qur’an. However, the correct opinion is that the ten days on which He took an oath are the first ten days of Dhű al-Hijjah. This will be explained at the appropriate place - if Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ wills.

Abu ‘Uthmân an-Nahdî said, “The people used to accord respect to three sets of ten days: the last ten days of Ramadân, the first ten days of Dhű al-Hijjah, and the first ten days of Muharram.” This is mentioned in some editions of Fadâ’il al-‘Ashr of Ibn Abî ad-Dunyâ from Abű ‘Uthmân who narrates from Abu Dharr RadiyAllâhu anh that the Messenger of Allâh Sallallâhu Alayhi wa Sallam used to accord respect to these three sets of ten days. But his narration is not authoritative. It is said that it refers to the ten days with which Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ completed the forty days for Műsa ‘Alayhis Salâm, and that the difference lies on which ten days they were.

Wahb ibn Munabbih said, “Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ revealed to Műsa ‘Alayhis Salâm saying, ‘Order your people to gain proximity to Me in the first ten days of Muharram. When it is the tenth day [of Muharram], they must come out to Me and I will forgive them.”

Qatâdah states that the dawn on which Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ took an oath in the first verse of Sűrah al-Fajr is the dawn of the 1st of Muharram from which the year commences. Since the sanctified months are the most superior after the month of Ramadân, or they are the most superior of all, it is desirable to fast in all of them - as instructed by the Messenger of Allâh Sallallâhu Alayhi wa Sallam. One of them marks the end of the lunar year while another one marks the beginning of the lunar year. If a person fasts for the entire month of Dhű al-Hijjah - apart from the days on which fasting is prohibited - and then fasts for the entire month of Muharram, he would have concluded the year with obedience and commenced the next year with obedience. It would thus be hoped that his entire year will be recorded as an act of obedience. This is because when a person’s initial deed is an act of obedience and his final deed is an act of obedience, he is considered to be completely engrossed in obedience in the period between the two.

A Hadîth states, “When the angels who are deputed to record deeds take a book of deeds to Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ and He sees good in its beginning and end. He says to His angels, ‘I make you witnesses to the fact that I have forgiven My servant for the intervening periods.’”[7]

Another Hadîth states, “O man! Remember me for some time at the beginning of the day and for some time at the end of the day and I will forgive you during the intervening periods, but not the major sins unless you repent from them.” Ibn al-Mubârak said, “The person who concludes his day with the remembrance of Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ shall have his entire day recorded in the remembrance of Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ.” He is making reference to the fact that deeds are judged by the manner in which they ended. If the beginning and end was spent in the remembrance of Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ, it is more worthy for the entire period to be included as spent in the remembrance of Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ. It becomes clear that commencing the year with sincere repentance wipes off the sins which were committed in the past during days of futile activity.


قطعت شهور العام لهوا وغفلة ... ولم تحترم فيما أنت المحرما
فلا رجبا وافيت فيه بحقه ... ولا صمت شهر الصوم صوما متمما
ولا في ليالي عشر ذي الحجة الذي ... مضى كنت قواما ولا كنت محرما
فهل لك ان تمحو الذنوب بعبرة ... وتبكي عليها حسرة وتندما
وتستقبل العام الجديد بتوبة ... لعلك أن تمحو بها ما تقدما

“You passed the months of the year in play and heedlessness. You did not accord any respect to Muharram nor did you fulfil the rights of Rajab. Nor did you keep fast for the entire month of fasting [Ramadân]. You neither spent the ten days of Dhu al-Hijjah in worship nor did you perform the hajj [in this month]. You will now have to wipe out your sins with tears and cry over them with remorse and regret. Approach the new year with repentance. Perhaps you will be able to wipe out the past sins.”

The Messenger of Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ referred to Muharram as the month of Allâh. This attribution to Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ demonstrates its honour and merit because Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ only attributes His special creations to His self. For example. He attributed Muhammad Sallallâhu Alayhi wa Sallam, Ibrâhîm ‘Alayhis Salâm, Is-hâq ‘Alayhis Salâm, Ya’qűb ‘Alayhis Salâm and other Prophets ‘Alayhis Salâm to His worship, and attributed His house [the Ka’bah] and His camel to Himself.

Since this month is specifically attributed to Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ and fasting is one of the deeds which is attributed to Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ, it was considered appropriate to specify an action for this month which is attributed to Him with an action which is attributed to Him and done solely for Him, viz. fasting.

It is said that the reason for attributing this month to Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ is to show that its sanctity belongs to Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ and no one has the right to change this as was the habit of the people of jâhiliyyah who used to change its sanctity and transfer it to Safar. He thus makes reference to the fact that it is the month of Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ which He sanctified, and no one from His creation has the right to change this.


شهر الحرام مبارك ميمون ... والصوم فيه مضاعف مسنون
وثواب صائمه لوجه إلهه ... في الخلد عند مليكه مخزون

“The sanctified month is blessed and sacred. The reward for fasting in it is multiplied and Sunnah. The reward for the one who fasts in it for the pleasure of his Lord is stored with his Creator in eternity.”

Fasting is a secret between a servant and his Lord. It is for this reason that Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ says, “Every deed of man is for him, except for fasting. It is for Me and I shall personally give the reward for it because he gave up his desires, food and drink for My sake.”[8]

There is a door in Paradise whose name is ar-Rayyân. None but those who used to fast shall enter through it. Once they have entered, it will be locked and no one else will be able to go through.[9] Fasting is a shield against the Hell-fire like a shield which one of you uses in battle.

The Messenger of Allâh Sallallâhu Alayhi wa Sallam said, “When a person fasts for a single day for the pleasure of Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ, Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ distances him from the fire of Hell equal to the distance which a young crow flies until it dies out of old age.”[10] Abu Umâmah Radiyallahu anh said to the Messenger of Allâh Sallallâhu Alayhi wa Sallam “Advise me.” He said, “Be regular in fasting because there is nothing equal to it.”[11] Abu Umâmah Radiyallahu anh and his family used to be very regular in fasting. When any smoke was seen coming out of their house during the day, it was a sign that they had a guest.

‘Umar Radiyallahu anh, Abu Talhah Radiyallahu anh, Â’ishah Radiyallahu anha, other Companions Radiyallahu anh and numerous people of the past used to fast constantly. Ibn ‘Umar Radiyallahu anh, al-Hasan al-Basrî rahimahullâh and others used to fest in all the sanctified months. One of them said, “It is merely lunch and supper. If you delay your lunch till supper, you will be included in the register of those who kept fast.”

“There are two occasions of joy for a fasting person: the joy when he opens his fast and the joy when he shall meet his Lord.” That is, when he will find the reward for his fasting stored for him. Someone heard a person announcing at the time of sehrî (pre-dawn) in the month of Ramadân, “O do you know what rewards we have set aside for fasting?! Get up for those rewards and start fasting.” It is related that a table [of food] will be laid out beneath the Throne for those who used to fest while the rest of the people will be busy giving an account of their deeds. On seeing them, the people will ask, “How is it that these people are eating while we are still being taken to account?” A reply will be given, “They used to fast while you abstained from fasting.” It is related that they will be expressing their opinions about the fruits of Paradise while the rest of the people will be giving an account of their deeds. Ibn Abî ad-Dunyâ related this in Kitâb al-Jű‘.

Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ says, “the fasting men and the fasting women, the men who guard their chastity and the women who guard [their chastity], the men who remember Allâh abundantly and the women who remember [Allâh abundantly] - Allâh has set aside for them forgiveness and a great reward.” (Sűrah al-Ahzâb, 33:35) “Eat and drink to your heart’s content as a reward for what you sent ahead in days gone by.” (Sűrah al-Hâqqah, 69: 24) Mujâhid and others said, “This verse was revealed with reference to the fasting people. If a person abstains from food, drink and intercourse, Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ shall give him in return something better than that: food and drink that does not end, and wives who do not die.”

The following is stated in the Taurâh, “Glad tidings to the person who stances himself for the day of the greatest meal. Glad tidings to the person who makes himself thirsty for the day of the greatest drink. Glad tidings to the person who abstains from intercourse which is available to him for a promised reward which he did not see as yet. Glad tidings to the person who abstains from food which is consumed in an abode that is temporal [i.e. this world] for an abode “whose fruit is eternal, and so is its shade” (Sűrah ar-Ra’d, 13:35)


من يرد ملك الجنان ... فليذر عنه التواني
وليقم في ظلمة الليـ ... ـل إلى نور القرآن
وليصل صوما بصوم ... إن هذا العيش فإني
إنما العيش جوار ... الله في دار الأمان   

“Whoever desires the kingdom of Paradise will have to abandon heedlessness. He must stand in the darkness of the night with the light of the Qur’ân, and keep fasting regularly. This life is fleeting. The true life is being in the proximity of Allâh in the abode of peace [Paradise].”

A righteous person used to fast a lot. He saw in his dream that he seemed to be entering Paradise. Someone called out from behind him, “O such and such person! Do you ever remember fasting for a single day for Allâh?” He replied, “By Allâh, indeed, I used to fast day after day.” He then started picking up the scattered pearls to his right and left [this was his reward which he saw in his dream].

A righteous person kept fasting until he became bent and he lost his voice. He then passed away. One of his friends saw him in a dream and asked him about his condition. He said:


قد كسي حلة البهاء وطافت ... بالأباريق حوله الخدام
ثم حلى وقيل يا قري ارقه ... فلعمري لقد براك الصيام

“I was made to wear a splendid garment, pitchers [of a drink] were passed around me, and I had attendants surrounding me. I was then made to wear jewellery and told thus, ‘o reader! Go up because fasting has most certainly worn you out.’”

A Tâbi’î kept fast for such lengthy periods that his complexion became dark. Al-Aswad ibn Yazîd kept fasting until his body became green and yellow. Whenever he used to be reprimanded and asked to be kind to his body, he would reply, “I am actually doing this for the honour of my body.” One of them kept fasting to the extent that he got the taste of his brain in his throat. One of them used to fast continuously. He fell ill while he was fasting. Some people said to him, “Open your fast.” He said, “This is not the time to stop fasting.” Another sick person was told, “Open your fast.” He replied, “How can I open my fast while I am a prisoner not knowing what is going to be done to me?”

‘Âmîr ibn ‘Abdillâh ibn az-Zubayr passed away while he was fasting but he did not open his fast [before his death]. Some people went to Abu Bakr ibn Abî Maryam while he was in the throes of death and he was fasting. They offered him water to open his fast. He asked, “Has the sun set?” They said, “No.” He refused to open his fast. They then brought him water when the pangs of death were severe. He asked them through gestures, “Has the sun set?” They replied, “Yes.” They dripped a single drop of water in his mouth and he passed away. Ibrâhîm ibn Hâni’, a companion of Imâm Ahmad rahimahullâh, was in the throes of death while he was fasting. He asked for water and asked, “Has the sun set?” The people replied, “No.” And they added, “There is concession to break a compulsory fast in such a condition, and here you are keeping an optional fast.” He replied, “Indeed. Wait a bit.” He then said, “It is for such things that those who endeavour should endeavour.” (Sűrah as-Sâffât, 37: 61) His soul then departed, but he had not opened his fast.
The entire world is a month of fasting for the pious people. The day of their ‘îd shall be on the day when they meet their Lord. A greater portion of the day of fasting has passed and the ‘îd of meeting Allâh has drawn near.


وقد صمت عن لذات دهري كلها ... ويوم لقاكم ذاك فطر صيامي

“I abstained from desires throughout my life. The day when I meet You [O Allâh] shall be the day when I open my fast.”

Since fasting is supposed to be a secret between the servant and his Lord, the sincere ones strove to conceal it in every way possible so that no one comes to know of it. A righteous man said, “We heard that ‘Îsâ ibn Maryam ‘Alayhis Salâm said, ‘When any of you is fasting, he must apply oil to his beard and wipe some of that oil on his lips so that when any person looks at him, he thinks that he is not fasting.’” Ibn Mas’űd Radiyallahu anh said, “When any of you is fasting, he must comb his hair and apply oil to it. When he gives charity with his right hand, he must conceal it from his left hand. When he offers optional salâh, he must offer it inside his house.” Abű at-Tayyâh said, “I saw my father and the seniors of my area that when any of them was fasting, he would apply oil to himself and wear his best clothes.”

One of the scholars of the past kept fasting for forty years and no one knew about it. He had a shop. He used to take two loaves of bread everyday from his house and depart towards his shop. On the way, he would give both the loaves in charity. His family members assumed that he was eating the bread in the market-place while the people in the market-place assumed that he ate at home before coming to the shop.

A righteous person became well-known for his abundant fasting. He would stand at the jâmi‘ musjid on a Friday, hold a jug of water in his hand, place its edge to his mouth, and do as if he was sipping from it. The people would be watching him but nothing would go down his throat. He started doing this in order to remove the popularity of his fasting.

No matter how much the truthful people try to conceal their conditions, the fragrance of truth betrays them. When a person conceals a secret, Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ most certainly brings it into the open.


كم اكتم حبكم عن الأغيار ... والدمع يذيع في الهوى أسرارى
كم أستركم هتكتمو أستارى ... من يخفي في الهوى لهيب النار

“No matter how much I conceal my love for you from others, my tears betray my secrets of love. No matter how much I try to conceal you, you remove my veils. Who is there who can conceal love from the blazing of the day?”


A Hadîth states, “The fragrance of a fasting person is better in the sight of Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ than the fragrance of musk.” No matter how much a fasting person tries to conceal this smell, it spreads to the hearts, and the souls inhale this fragrance. It may well appear after death and on the day of Resurrection.


فكاتم الحب يوم البين منهتك…  وصاحب الوجد لا تخفى سرائره

“The person who conceals love will disclose it on the day of separation. The secrets of a person in ecstasy cannot be concealed.”

When ‘Abdullâh ibn Ghâlib was buried, the fragrance of musk used to emanate from the soil of his grave. Someone saw him in a dream and asked him about the fragrance at his grave. He replied, “It is the fragrance of recitation [of the Qur’ân] and thirst [due to fasting].”

A Hadîth states, “The fasting people will come out of their graves and they will be recognized by the fragrance of their fasting. Their mouths will be better than the fragrance of musk.”


وهبني كتمت السر أو قلت غيره…  أتخفى على أهل القلوب السرائر
أبى ذاك أن السر في الوجه ناطق…  وأن ضمير القلب في العين ظاهر

“Tell me and I will conceal the secret, or else, I will say something else [different from what you tell me]. Can secrets be concealed from the people of the hearts? A secret expresses itself on the face, and what is in the depth of the heart becomes obvious in the eyes.”

 1. Ahmad checked it (1/154) and At-Tirmidhi (741).
 
 2. Also, Al-Bukhari (1970) and Muslim (872).
 
 3. Al-Bukhari (2004) and Muslim (1128).
 
 4. Checked by Ibn majah (1736) and Muslim (1134).
 
 5. Checked by Ibn Majah (1744).
 
 6. Al-Hakim checked it (1/307) and Ibn Khuzaimah (1134) and Ibn Al- Mubarak in Al-Zuhd (427).
 
 7. Narrated by At-Tirmidhi (981) and Al-Baihaqi (7053).
 
 8. Al-Bukhâri checked it (1904) and Muslim (1151).
 
 9. This was proved in Al-Hadîth as-Sahîh by Al-Bukharî (1896) and Muslim (1152).
 
 10. Al-Musnad (2/526) and in Ibn Luhai’a and it is weak.
 
 11. Al-Musnad (5/249).
 
The reviver of Tawhid will always be successful.

Murabit

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Section two: the merit of the night salâh

The Hadîth of Abu Hurayrah Radiyallahu anh [mentioned at the beginning of this chapter] demonstrates that the night (tahajjud) salâh is the most superior after the compulsory salâhs. As for whether it is superior to the Sunnah salâhs which are offered before and after the compulsory salâhs or not, there is difference of opinion in this regard, and this was explained previously. Ibn Mas’ud Radiyallahu anh said, “The superiority of the night salâh over the day salâh is like the superiority of charity given in privacy over charity given in public.”[1] ‘Amr ibn al-‘âs Radiyallahu anh said, “A single rak’ah [of salâh] offered at night is better than ten rak’ahs offered during the day.” (Narrated by Ibn Abî ad- Dunyâ) The reason for the superiority of night salâh over the day salâh is that it is easier to conceal and closer to sincerity.

The pious predecessors used to strive to conceal their tahajjud salâh. Al-Hasan said, “A person used to have visitors, but he would get up at night and offer salâh without his visitors knowing about it.” They used to engage in abundant supplications, but their voices would not be heard. A person would sleep with his wife on the same pillow and cry the entire night without her perceiving anything.

Muhammad ibn wâsi‘used to offer salâh the entire night in his carriage while travelling for hajj. He would instruct his camel driver to raise his voice in order to divert the people’s attention from him. A person used to get up in the middle of the last part of the night without anyone knowing anything about him. When the time of dawn approached, he would raise his voice in the recitation of the Qur’an giving the impression that he woke up just at that time.

[Another reason for the superiority of the night salâh] is that it is more difficult on the souls. This is because the night is the time to sleep and give the body a rest from the fatigue of the day. Giving up sleep while the soul is inclined to sleep is a great effort. A person said, “The most superior deeds are those which are difficult on the souls.”

Another reason is that recitation of the Qur’ân in the night salâh is more likely to enable a person to reflect and ponder [over what he is reading]. This is because all occupations and activities come to an end at night. There is presence of heart, and the tongue and heart work in concert on the mouth. Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ says, “Surely waking up at night has the strongest impression and the word comes out most upright.” (Sűrah al-Muzzammil, 73: 6) It is for this reason that we are ordered to recite the Qur’ân in a measured pace at night. It is also for this reason that the night salâh prevents a person from sinning, as will be mentioned in a Hadîth narrated by at-Tirmidhî.

Abu Hurayrah Radiyallahu anh narrates that someone said to the Messenger of Allâh Sallallâhu Alayhi wa Sallam “There is a person who offers salâh at night but steals the next morning.” He said, “What you are referring to [i.e. the night salâh] shall stop him [from stealing].” [2]

The time of tahajjud is the most superior time for optional salâh. It is a time when a person is closest to his Allâh. It is a time when the doors of the heavens are opened, supplications are accepted, and the needs of the seekers are presented to Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ. Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ praises those who wake up at night in order to engage in His remembrance, supplicate to Him, seek His forgiveness, and converse with Him. He says:

“Their sides remain away from their sleeping places, calling on their Sustainer with fear and longing. And they spend out of what We provided for them. So no soul knows what bliss is in store for them - a recompense for what they used to do.” (Sűrah as-Sajdah, 32: 16-17) “who seek forgiveness for sins in the latter part of the night.” (Sűrah Al ‘Imran, 3: 17) “They used to sleep but little at night. And in the hours of dawn they used to seek forgiveness.” (Sűrah adh-Dhâriyât, 51: 17-18) “Who spend their night before their Sustainer, prostrating and standing.” (Sűrah al- Furqdn, 25: 64) “Can he who is engaged in worship in the hours of the night, prostrating and standing [before Allâh], fearing the Hereafter and hoping for the mercy of his Sustainer [be compared to an unbeliever]? Sy, ‘Are those who know equal to those who do not know?’” (Sűrah az-Zumar, 39: 9) “Among the people of the Book there is a group on the straight path. They recite the verses of Allâh at night times and they prostrate.” (Sűrah. Al ‘Imran, 3: 113)

Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ said to His Prophet Sallallâhu Alayhi wa Sallam,“In some portion of the night remain awake with the Qurân - this addition is for you only. It may be that your Sustainer will raise you to a laudable position.” (Sűrah Bani Isrâ’îl/al-Isrâ’, 17: 79) “And during some part of the night, prostrate before Him. And extol His purity all night long.” (Sűrah al-Insân/ad-Dahr, 76: 26) “O you wrapped in garments! Remain standing at night except little. Half the night or a little less than that. Or add to it, and recite the Qur’ân distinctly.” (Sűrah al-Muzzammil, 73: 1-4)

‘Â’ishah radiyAllâhu ‘anha said to a man, “Do not leave out the night salâh because the Messenger of Allâh Sallallâhu Alayhi wa Sallam never left it out. If he was ill - or she said, if he was feeling tired - he would perform it sitting.” She said in another narration, “I have heard that some people are saying, ‘As long as we fulfill the compulsory duties, we will not bother about doing anything more.’ I take an oath that Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ will only question them about their compulsory duties. However, they are committing a wrong by day and night. You are most certainly strongly connected to your Prophet and he is most certainly strongly connected to you. By Allâh, the Messenger of Allâh Sallallâhu Alayhi wa Sallam never left out the night salâh.” She then quoted every verse which makes mention of the night salâh. She made reference to the feet that there are two major benefits in the night salâh: (1) Following the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allâh. and emulating him. Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ says, “There is a good example for you in the Messenger of Allâh.” (Sűrah al-Ahzâb, 33: 21) (2) Atonement of sins. Man commits sins by day and night and needs to engage in abundant acts which atone for sins. The night salâh is one of the greatest atonements. The Messenger of Allâh Sallallâhu Alayhi wa Sallam said to Mu’âdh ibn Jabal Radiyallâhu anh, “A person offering salâh in the middle of the night atones for sins.” He then recited this verse, “Their sides remain away from their sleeping places...” (Sűrah as-Sajdah, 32: 16)[3]

It is related that those who are regular with the tahajjud salâh shall enter Paradise without having to account for their deeds. Shahr ibn Haushab narrates from Asmâ’ bint Yazîd that the Messenger of Allâh Sallallâhu Alayhi wa Sallam said, “When Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ assembles all the early and latter generations on the day of Resurrection, an announcer will come forward and call out in a voice which all the creations will hear, ‘Today, all the creations will learn who is most worthy of affection’. He will then return and call out, ‘Where are the people whom neither trade nor business distracted from the remembrance of Allâh?’ A small number of people will stand up. He will return and call out, ‘Those who used to praise Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ during times of prosperity and affliction may now stand up.’ A small number of people will stand up. He will return and call out, ‘Those whose sides used to remain away from their sleeping places may now stand up.’ A small number of people will stand up. The accounting of deeds for the remainder of the people will then commence.”[4] Narrated by Ibn Abî ad-Dunyâ and others. It is also narrated from Shahr ibn Haushab from Ibn ‘Abbâs Radiyallâhu anh as his statement. A similar Hadîth is narrated by Abu Is-hâq, from ‘Abdullâh ibn ‘Ata’, from ‘Uqbah ibn ‘Âmir as a marfű‘ and mauqűf Hadîth. A similar Hadîth is also narrated from ‘Ubâdah ibn as-Sâmit, Rabî‘ah ibn al-Jarashi, al-Hasan and Ka’b as their statement.

A predecessor said, “Standing up for the night salâh will ease the lengthy standing up on the day of Resurrection. Those who used to wake up for the night salâh will hasten towards Paradise without reckoning and they would have rested from the lengthy wait for the reckoning.” A Hadîth of Abu Umâmah Radiyallâhu anh and Bilâl Radiyallahu anh states, “Be steadfast with the night salâh because it was the habit of the righteous people before you. The night salâh is a means of proximity to Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ, an atonement for sins, a preventative against sins, and an expellant of illnesses from the body.”[5] We learn from this Hadîth that the night salâh ensures the health of the body and repulses illness from it. Similar is the case with fasting during the day. Abu Hurayrah Radiyallahu anh narrates, “Keep fasting and you will remain healthy.”[6] Dust as the night salâh atones for sins, it also raises the rank of a person. We already mentioned that those who are regular with the night salâh shall be among the first ones to enter Paradise without reckoning.

There is a famous Hadîth in which a dream of the Messenger of Allâh Sallallâhu Alayhi wa Sallam is related. It is stated therein that the angels of the highest assembly (al-Mala’ al-Ala) will dispute about the deeds which increase the rank of a person and the deeds which are atonements for sins. The deeds which increase the rank of a person are: (1) providing food, (2) making the salam (Islamic greeting) common, and (3) offering salâh at night while the people are asleep.[7] The Messenger of Allâh Sallallâhu Alayhi wa Sallam said, “There are apartments in Paradise whose outside can be seen from the inside, and the inside can be seen from the outside. They are reserved for those who possess these three qualities”[8] The famous Hadîth of ‘Abdullah ibn Salâm Radiyallahu anh which states that the first thing which he heard the Messenger of Allâh Sallallâhu Alayhi wa Sallam saying when he arrived in Madinah was this, “O people! Provide food, make the salâm common, maintain ties of kinship, and offer salâh at night while the people are asleep; you shall enter Paradise peacefully.”[9]

Among the merits of tahajjud is that Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ loves those who perform it, speaks highly of them to His angels, and accepts their supplications.

Abű ad-Dardâ’ Radiyallahu anh narrates that the Messenger of Allâh Sallallâhu Alayhi wa Sallam said, “There are three types of people whom Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ loves, at whom He smiles, and with whom He is happy.” Among these is, “A person who has a beautiful wife and a comfortable bed. Yet he gets up at night. Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ says, ‘He is leaving aside his desires and engaging in My remembrance. Had he willed, he could have continued sleeping. Another is a person who is travelling with a group of people. They fell asleep peacefully, but he got up in the latter part of the night [and offered salâh] during prosperity and affliction.’”[10]

Abu Dharr Radiyallahu anh narrates that the Messenger of Allâh Sallallâhu Alayhi wa Sallam said, “There are three types of people whom Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ loves.” He mentioned therein, “A group of people travelled through the night [and became so exhausted] that sleep was the most desirable thing to them. They placed their heads down to sleep, but one person stood up praising Me and reciting My verses.” [11]

Ibn Mas’űd Radiyallahu anh narrates that the Messenger of Allâh Sallallâhu Alayhi wa Sallam said, “Our Sustainer admires two people: (1) A person who jumps out of his bed, from between his duvet and beloved wife, and goes to offer his salâh. Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ says, ‘Look at My servant: he jumped out of his bed, from between his duvet and beloved wife and goes to offer his salâh, desiring the reward which I have and fearing the punishment which I have. (2) A person who wages jihad for the cause of Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ. His friends are put to flight. He knows what the consequences of fleeing are and what the rewards are in returning [to the battle field]. So he goes back [and fights] till he dies. Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ says, ‘Look at My servant. He went back [to fight] out of hope for My reward and fearing My punishment [and fought] till he died.’” [12]

The above Hadîth mentions the words “jumps out” to demonstrate the person’s eagerness and determination.

‘Atîyyah narrates from Abű Sa’îd Radiyallahu anh that the Messenger of Allâh Sallallâhu Alayhi wa Sallam said, “Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ is most pleased with three people: (1) A person who gets up in the middle of the night, performs an excellent ablution and offers salâh. (2) A person who falls asleep while in prostration. (3) A person who is with a defeated army. He is sitting on a swift horse and could have fled had he wanted [but he remained steadfast in battle].”[13]

Ibn Mâjah narrates from Mujâhid, from Abu al-Waddak, from Abű Sa’îd Radiyallahu anh that the Messenger of Allâh Sallallâhu Alayhi wa Sallam said, “Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ is most pleased with three types of people The row of worshippers in salâh. (2) A person who offers salâh in the middle of the night. A person who remains fighting [In jihad] - I think he said – at the back of the army.”[14]

Abân narrates from Anas from Rabî’ah ibn Waqqâs that the Messenger of Allâh Sallallâhu Alayhi wa Sallam said, “There are three paces where supplications are not rejected: (1) A person who is in the desert where no one can see him. He stands up and offers salâh. Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ says to His angels, ‘I see this servant of Mine knowing that he has a Lord who forgives sins. See what he is asking for.’ The angels say, ‘Lord! He is seeking Your pleasure and Your forgiveness.’ Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ says, ‘Be witness to the fact that I have forgiven him and am pleased with him.’ (2) A person who stands up at night. Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ says, ‘Did I not make the night for tranquillity and sleep for resting? Yet this servant of Mine got up and is offering salâh, knowing that he has a Lord.’ Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ then says to His angels, ‘See what this servant of Mine is asking for.’ The angels say, ‘Lord! He is seeking Your pleasure and Your forgiveness.’ Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ says, ‘Be witness to the feet that I have forgiven him.’”[15] He then mentioned the third person who is with an army in which all his companions fled while he remains steadfast in battle. He is mentioned in the previous Ahâdîth as well.

‘Uqbah ibn ‘Âmir Radiyallâhu anh narrates that the Messenger of Allâh Sallallâhu Alayhi wa Sallam said, “There are two people from my ummah: one of them wakes up at night and imposes on his self to perform ablution. He has several knots when he commences his ablution. When he washes his hands, one knot becomes untied; when he washes his face, another knot becomes untied; when he passes his wet hands over his head, another knot becomes untied; when he washes his feet, another knot becomes untied. Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ says to the angels who are behind the veil, ‘Look at this servant of Mine who is imposing all this on his self. He shall receive whatever he asks for.’”[16]

The Messenger of Allâh Sallallâhu Alayhi wa Sallam said, “‘Abdullâh - i.e. ibn ‘Umar Radiyallâhu anh - is an excellent man. If only he was regular in offering the night salâh.” Consequently, ‘Abdullâh Radiyallahu anh would sleep very little at night.[17]

Abu Dharr Radiyallahu anh used to say to the people, “Tell me, if any of you decided to go on a journey, would he not carry such provisions which would aid him and convey him to his destination?” The people replied, “Indeed.” He said, “The journey on the road to the Hereafter is the farthest. You should therefore carry whatever will aid you. Perform hajj so that you can overcome difficult matters. Keep fest on an intensely hot day in preparation for the hot day of the Resurrection. Perform two rak’ahs of salâh in the darkness of the night in preparation for the solitude of the grave. Give In charity in preparation for the evil of the most difficult day.” Where are the people of the night? Where is al-Hasan, Sufyan and Fudayl?

يا رجال الليل جدوا…  رب داع لا يرد
ما يقوم الليل إلا…  من له عزم وجد
ليس شيء كصلاة ال   يل للقبر يعد

“O people of the night, remain earnest and strive hard. It may well be that the supplication will not be refused. None but a person endowed with determination and earnestness engages in worship at night. There is nothing like the night salâh as a preparation for the grave.”

Many pious predecessors performed the fajr salâh with the ablution of the ‘ishâ salâh for twenty years. Some of them did so for forty years. One of them said, “Nothing but the break of dawn caused me grief for the past forty years.”

Thâbit said, “I endured engaging in night worship for twenty years. I then started enjoying the night worship for the next twenty years.”

The most superior time for engaging in night worship is in the middle of the night. The Messenger of Allâh Sallallâhu Alayhi wa Sallam said, “The most superior manner of engaging in night worship was that of Dâ’űd ‘Alayhis Salâm: he used to sleep half the night, engage in worship for one third, and sleep again for one sixth of the night.” [18]

When the Messenger of Allâh Sallallâhu Alayhi wa Sallam used to hear the rooster, he would wake up for salâh.[19] The rooster normally crows in the middle of the night.

Abu Dharr Radiyallahu anh narrates, “I asked the Messenger of Allâh Sallallâhu Alayhi wa Sallam ‘Which part of the night is the best?’ He replied, ‘The middle of the night.’”[20]

Abu Dharr Radiyallahu anh narrates, “I asked the Messenger of Allâh Sallallâhu Alayhi wa Sallam ‘Which part of the night is the best for worship?’ He replied, ‘When the middle of the night passes, or in the middle of the night. But there are few who do this.’”[21]

Ibn Abî ad-Dunyâ narrates from Abu Umâmah Radiyallâhu anh that a man asked, “O Messenger of Allâh! Which part of the night is most superior?” He said, “The middle of the night.” He asked, “Which supplication is most likely to be accepted?” He said, “Supplication after the compulsory salâhs.” [22]

The above Hadîth is also narrated by at-Tirmidhî and an-Nasa’î as follows, “Which supplication is most likely to be accepted?” He said, “Supplication made in the middle of the last part of the night and after the compulsory salâhs.” [23]

‘Amr ibn ‘Abasah Radiyallâhu Anh narrates that he heard the Messenger of Allâh Sallallâhu Alayhi wa Sallam saying, “The closest Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ is to a servant is in the middle of the night. If you are able to be among those who remember Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ at that time, you must do so.” [24]

It is related that Dâ’űd ‘Alayhis Salâm asked, “O Allâh! At what time should I get up for You?” Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ said, “Do not get up in the first part of the night nor in the last part. Rather, get up in the middle of the night so that you can be in solitude with Me and I will be in solitude with you. And present your needs to Me.”

A famous tradition states, “The person who claims to love me is a liar because when the night overcomes him, he sleeps away and abandons Me. Doesn’t every lover like to be in solitude with his beloved? So here I am watching my beloveds. When the night overcomes them, I place their sight in their hearts. They address me while seeing me and speak to me in my presence. Tomorrow I will gladden my beloveds in my gardens [of Paradise].”

الليل لي ولأحبائي أحادثهم…  قد اصطفيتهم كي يسعوا ويعوا
لهم قلوب بأسراري لها ملئت…  على ودادي وإرشادي لهم طبعوا
سروا فما وهنوا عجزا ولا ضعفوا…  وواصلوا حبل تقريبي فما انقطعوا


“The night is for me and my beloveds. I converse with them. I selected them so that they may listen and remember. They have hearts which are filled with my secrets. They are naturally inclined to my love and directives. They travelled without becoming weak and incapable. They joined the rope of my proximity and did not sever it.”


The true lovers do not have anything more beloved to them than the times of solitude in which they converse with their beloveds. It is a cure for their hearts and the peak of their quest.

كتمت اسم الحبيب من العباد…  ورددت الصبابة في فؤادي
فيا شوقا إلى بلد خلي…  لعلي باسم من أهوى أنادي

“I concealed the name of my beloved from the servants and I kept my ardent love in my heart. O, how I desire a place that is deserted so that I could call out the name of my beloved [and no one would be able to hear me].”

Dâ’űd at-Tâ’î used to say at night, “Your concern for me has incapacitated all other concerns. It has come to me as an ally against sleeplessness. My desire to see you is the firmest of all my pleasures. This has come as a barrier between me and desires.”

‘Utbah, a youth, used to say in his private conversation with Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ at night, “If You punish me, I most certainly love You. If You show mercy to me, I most certainly love You.” (In other words, my love for You is unwavering under all conditions).


لو أنك أبصرت أهل الهوى…  إذا غارت الأنجم الطلع
فهذا يتوح على ذنبه…  وهذا يحلي وذا يركع

“If you were to see the lovers when the rising stars have disappeared, you would see this person crying over his sins, this one offering salâh, and that one bowing before Me].”
The person who does not join them in their love and does not taste the sweetness of their private conversation [with Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ] cannot understand what causes them to cry. The person who did not see the beauty of Yűsuf ‘Alayhis Salâm cannot understand what caused pain to the heart of Ya’qűb ‘Alayhis Salâm.


من لم يبت والحب حشو فؤاده…  لم يدر كيف تفتت الأكباد

“The person who did not sleep with love filled in his heart cannot understand how hearts break.”

Abu Sulaymân used to say, “Those who spend the night in worship experience more delight than the delight which is experienced by those who are engrossed in amusement. Were it not for the night, I would have disliked remaining in this world.”

The middle of the night is for those who love solitude in order to engage in private conversation with their beloved. The pre-dawn is for the sinners so that they may seek forgiveness from the sins. The middle of the night is thus specifically for the solitude of the special servants. The pre-dawn is generally for all the servants to present their needs and to obtain signatures authorizing the fulfilment of their needs. The person who is unable to compete with the true lovers in their quest should not lag in joining the sinners in their seeking forgiveness and asking for pardon.

The pages of those who repent are their cheeks, and their ink is their tears. Someone said, “If those who fear [Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ] cry [before Him], they have actually corresponded with Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ with their tears. The letters which are sent in the pre-dawn are carried [to Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ] without the celestial sphere knowing about them. The replies to these letters are sent in such privacy that the angels do not know about them.


صحائفنا إشارتنا…  وأكثر رسلنا الحرق
لأن الكتب قد تقرا…  بغير الدمع لا تثق

“Our scrolls are our gestures and most of our messages are burnt. Since the letters are read without tears, do not be over confident.”

Conditions are constantly presented before Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ and signatures authorizing the fulfilment of needs are issued till the break of dawn. Our Lord descends every night to the lowest heaven and says, “Is there anyone seeking repentance so that I may accept his repentance? Is there anyone seeking forgiveness so that I may forgive him? Is there any supplicant so that I may accept his supplication?” This continues till the break of dawn. It is for this reason that the pious predecessors preferred salâh in the latter part of the night over the first part.

نحن الذاين إذا أتانا سائل…  نوليه إحسانا وحسن تكرم
ونقول في الأسحار هل من تائب…  مستغفر ليال خير المغنم

“We are those whom when a beggar comes to Us, We bestow our favours and honour to him. We say at the time of pre-dawn, ‘Is there anyone repenting and seeking forgiveness so that he could receive the best booty?’”

Booty is distributed among all those who participate in the battle. The infantry, runners, and youngsters are given together with the leaders, courageous ones, brave ones and cavalry. So before the dawn of reward breaks, the people [who engaged in night worship] receive the booty, acquire something to be proud about, and they commend night-journeying at daybreak. In the meantime, those who spent their night sleeping and in negligence know nothing of what transpired.

A righteous person used to engage in night worship. When it was the pre-dawn, he would announce at the top of his voice, “O you caravan of people who stopped over for the night! Are you going to sleep throughout the night? Are you not going to wake up and depart?” When people hear his voice, they jump from their beds. You would then hear one person crying, another supplicating, another reciting the Qur’ân, and another performing ablution. When the dawn broke, he would announce at the top of his voice, “At daybreak the travellers commend night-journeying.”
[25]

يا نفس قومي فقد نام الورى…  إن تصنعي الخير فذو العرش يرى
وأنت يا عين دعي عنك الكرى…  عند الصباح يحمد القوم السرى

“O soul! Get up because the people have fallen asleep. If you do good, the Master of the Throne is watching you. And you, o eyes! Leave your sleep aside. At daybreak, the travellers commend night-journeying.”

O you who engage in night worship, intercede in favour of those who are asleep, o you whose hearts are alive, have mercy on those who are dead.

Someone said to Ibn Mas’űd Radiyallâhu anh, “We are unable to get up at night to engage in worship.” He replied, “It is your sins which are causing you to lag behind.” Someone said to al-Hasan, “We are unable to get up at night to engage in worship.” He replied, “It is your sins which have restricted you.” Al-Fudayl ibn ‘Iyâd said, “If you are unable to engage in worship at night and fast during the day, you must realize that you are deprived and in shackles. It is your sins which have shackled you.”

Al-Hasan said, “A person commits a sin and is deprived of engaging in night worship because of it.” A pious predecessor said, “I committed a sin and was deprived of night worship for six months.” None are worthy of solitude with kings except those who are sincere in their love for them and their affairs with them. As for those who are opposed to them, they are not worthy of this. It is stated that Jibrâ’îl ‘Alayhis Salâm calls out every night, “Cause such and such person to wake up [for night worship] and cause such and such person to continue sleeping.” A righteous person got up on a cold night wearing worn out clothes. The cold struck him and he began crying. Someone called out from the unseen, “We enabled you to wake up [for night worship] and caused the others to continue sleeping. But now you are crying over us!”


يا حسنهم والليل قد جنهم…  ونورهم يفوق نور الأنجم
ترنموا بالذكر في ليلهم … فعيشهم قد طاب بالترنم
قلوبهم للذكر قد تفرغت … دموعهم كلؤلؤ منظم
أسحارهم بهم لهم قد أشرقت … وخلع الغفران خير القسم

“O how beautiful they are when the night pervades them. Their lustre outshines the light of the stars. They are chanting the praises of Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ at night, and their lives have become wholesome with this chanting. Their hearts are totally devoted to remembrance, and their tears are like strung pearls. Their pre-dawn is glittering brilliantly with them. The garments of forgiveness [which they received] are the best things in their lot.”

The night is an oasis which all the people who seek Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ go to. They all have different purposes and needs. “Each tribe recognized its drinking place.” (Sűrah al-Baqarah, 2: 60) The true lover enjoys himself through private conversation with his beloved. The person in fear humbles himself and begs for pardon, and cries over his sins. The hopeful person persists in asking for his wants. As for the poor heedless person, Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ was most kind to him by providing him with comfort in his deprivation and loss of his share. The Messenger of Allâh Sallallâhu Alayhi wa Sallam said to Abdullah ibn ‘Amr Radiyallâhu anh, “Do not be like that person who used to engage in night worship and then gave it up.” [26]

Râbi’ah fell ill once so she began offering her night acts of worship during the day, and she recovered from her illness. She became attached to this [engaging in worship during the day] and gave up her night worship. One night she saw a dream in which she entered a huge green garden. The door to a house in the garden was opened for her. A bright light emanated from the house. It was so bright that it almost snatched away her eyesight. Servants whose faces were like pearls came out from the house with braziers in their hands. A woman who was with Rabi’ah asked them, “Where are you going to?” They replied, “A certain person who killed a martyr in the ocean. We are going to burn him.” She said, “Why don’t you burn this woman?” [Referring to Râbi’ah]. They looked at her and said, “She had a share in that but she abandoned it.” The woman then turned towards Râbi’ah and said:

صلاتك نور والعباد رقود … ونومك ضد للصلاة عنيد

“Your salâh while the people are asleep is light for you. Your sleep is a stubborn opponent of salâh.”

There was an ‘âlim who used to engage in worship in the pre-dawn. He then remained sleeping for several nights [and did not wake up for this night worship]. He saw two men in his dream. They were standing over him and one said to the other, “This person used to seek forgiveness in the pre-dawn and then gave it up. O you who had a heart, and then turned away. O you who had a special time with Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ, and then went away. The pre-dawn worship is feeling lonely over your absence. Fasting during the day is inquiring about you. The continuous nights [in which you remained asleep] are reprimanding yon for having abandoned them.”


تغيرتم عنا بمحبة غيرنا…  وأظهرتم الهجران ما هكذا كنا
وأقمستم ألا تحولوا عن الهوى…  فحلتم عن العهد القديم وما حلنا
ليالي كنا نستقي من ومالكم…  وقلبي إلى تلك الليالي قد حنا

“Yon turned away from us for the company of others. You displayed your aloofness, but this is not how we were. You had taken an oath that you will not change your love away from us. But you have broken the old promise while we have not broken ours. Remember the nights when we used to ask you for a drink when we were in communion with you. My heart is yearning for those nights.”

Someone said to the Messenger of Allâh Sallallâhu Alayhi wa Sallam, “Such and such person remained asleep till the morning.” He replied, “Satan urinated in his ear.”[27] Surîy as-Saqatî used to say, “I saw benefits coming in droves in the darkness of the night. What a loss has been experienced by the person who lost the good of the night! The heedless people and those who spent their night sleeping have most certainly experienced loss and deprivation.”

A person was regular in night worship but remained sleeping one night. Someone came to him in his dream and said, “Wake up and perform salâh.” He then said to him, “Don’t you know that the keys to Paradise are with those who engage in night worship, and that they are its treasurers?”

Another person was in the habit of waking up for night worship. He fell asleep one night and someone came to him in his dream and said, “How is it that you displayed shortcomings in your proposal? Don’t you know that when a person stands up to offer the tahajjud salâh the angels say, ‘The proponent has stood up for his proposal.’?”

One of them saw a doe-eyed damsel of Paradise in his sleep, so he said to her, “Accept my proposal of marriage for myself.” She said, “Convey your proposal in my favour to my Lord and pay me my dowry.” He asked, “What is your dowry?” She replied, “Lengthy periods of tahajjud salâh.”

Abu Sufyân ad-Darani fell asleep one night so a doe-eyed damsel of Paradise woke him up and said, “O Abu Sufyân! You are sleeping while I am augmenting myself for you in my private chamber for the past 500 years?”

One of them purchased a doe-eyed damsel of Paradise from Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ in exchange for a dowry of thirty completions [khatam of the Qur’an]. He fell asleep one night before he could complete the thirty completions. He saw the damsel in his dream telling him:


أتخطب مثلي وعني تنام…  ونوم المحبين عني حرام
لأنا خلقنا لكل امرئ…  كثير الصلاة براه الصيام

“Do you propose to someone like me and then you sleep away from me? It is forbidden for those who love me to sleep away from me. We have been created for every person who offers salâh in abundance and who has become emaciated by fasting.”

The Messenger of Allâh Sallallâhu Alayhi wa Sallam used to knock on the door of Fatimah Radiyallâhu ‘anhâ and ‘Ali Radiyallâhu anh and ask, “Are you not going to offer salâh?”[28] A Hadîth states, “When a person wakes up and gets his wife up as well, and they both offer salâh, they are both recorded among those males and females who engage in the abundant remembrance of Allâh Subhânahu wa Taâlâ”[29]

The wife of Habîb al-‘Ajami used to wake him up at night and say, “The night has passed and there is a long road ahead of us. Our provisions for the journey are few, and the caravans of righteous people have gone ahead, while we are left behind.”

يا راقد الليل كم ترقد…  قم يا حبيبي قد دنا الموعد
وخذ من الليل وأوقاته … وردا إذا ما هجع الرقد
من نام حتى يتقضي ليله… لم يبلغ المنزل أو يجهد
قل لأولي الألباب أهل التقى … قنطرة العرض لكم موعد

“O you who are sleeping at night! How much are you going to sleep? Wake up, o my beloved! The appointed time has approached. Take from the portions of the night an act of worship when the sleeping people are still sleeping peacefully. The One who sleeps until the night expires will not reach his destination unless he strives. Say to the intelligent people - the people of piety - the bridge on which you have to present yourselves is your appointed place.”
 1. At-Tabarany checked it in al-Kabir (10384).
 
 2. Al-Musnad (2/447).
 
 3. Ahmad checked it in Al-Musnad (2921, 22002).
 4. Ibn Kathîr mentioned it in his explanation (6/75, 366) and Al-Hafez mentioned it in Al-Matalib al-‘Aleya (4627) as belonging to Ishaaq Bin Rahawayh and abi Ya’la.
 5. At-Tirmidhî checked it in As-Sunan (3549) and Ibn Khuzaimah (2/177).
 6. At-Tabarany in Al-Awsat (3312).
 
 7. Ahmad (1/368) and At-Tirmidhî(1984).
 
 8. Ahmad (1/156) and At-Tirmidhî (1934).
 
 9. At-Tirmidhî checked it (2485) and Ibn Mâjah (1334).
 
 10. At-Tabarany and others narrated it and Al-Haithami said in Al-Majmaa‘ (2/255): Its men are Trustworthy.
 
 11. Ahmad checked it (5/153), At-Tirmidhi (2568. and An-Nasaei (3/207).
 
 12. Al-musnad (1/416).
 
 13. Al-Bazzar checked it as in Al-Majmaa‘ (2/256).
 
 14. Ibn Mâjah checked it in As-Sunan (200).
 
 15. Al-Hindî mentioned it in “Kanz Al ‘Oummal” (3336).
 
 16. Ahmad checked it (4/159, 201) and Ibn Hibbân (1052).
 
 17. Al-Bukharî (1122. and Muslim (2478).
 
 18. Al-Bukharî checked it (1131).
 
 19. As in Al-Bukharî (1132) and Muslim (741).
 
 20. Al-Nasa‘î checked it in As-Sunan (1/283).
 
 21. Ahmad checked it in Al-Musnad (5/179).
 
 22. Ibn Mâjah checked it in (1251).
 
 23. At-Tirmidhî (3499) checked it and An-Nasa‘î also checked it in "Al-Yawm wal Layla” (one day and night) (108).
 
 24. Abu Dawod checked it (1277), At-Tirmidhî (3579) and An-Nasa‘î (1/280).
 
 25. This is a proverb which is applied to a person who endures difficulty or fatigue hoping for rest or ease.
 
 26. Al-Bukhârî checked it (1152) and Muslim (1159).
 
 27. Al-Bukhârî checked it (1144) and Muslim (774).
 
 28. Al-Bukharî checked it (1127.) and Muslim (775).
 
 29. Abu Dawoud checked it (1309.) and Ibn Mâjah (1335).
 
The reviver of Tawhid will always be successful.

 

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