On the excellence of rising in the night to pray

Riyad as-Salihin (The Meadows of the Righteous)

by Imam Nawawi

212. Chapter: On the excellence of rising in the night to pray

Allah Almighty says, "And stay awake for prayer during part of the night as a supererogatory action for yourself. It may well be that your Lord will raise you to a Praiseworthy Station," (17:79) and the Almighty says, "Their sides eschew their beds," (32:16) and the Almighty says, "The part of the night they spent asleep was small." (51:17)

1160. 'A'isha said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to get up to pray at night to the extent that his feet became swollen. I said to him, 'Why do you do this, Messenger of Allah, when you have been forgiven your past and future wrong actions?' He said, 'Should I not be a thankful slave?'" [Agreed upon]

1161. 'Ali reported that one night the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, came to him and Fatima daughter of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and knocked at their door. "He said, 'Do you not pray?'" [Agreed upon]

1162. Salim ibn 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar ibn al-Khattab reported from his father that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "'Abdullah is an excellent man. If only he would pray during the night." Salim said, "After that 'Abdullah spent very little of the night asleep." [Agreed upon]

1163. 'Abdullah ibn 'Amr ibn al-'As said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said to me, "'Abdullah, do not be like so-and-so who used to pray at night and then stopped doing it.'" [Agreed upon]

1164. Ibn Mas'ud said, "A man was mentioned in the presence of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and it was said of him that he had continued to sleep into the morning without having got up for the prayer. He said, 'Shaytan urinated in his ears,' or he said, 'his ear.'" [Agreed upon]

1165. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Shaytan ties three knots at the back of your necks when you are asleep. He hits every knot saying the words, 'You have a long night ahead of you so sleep soundly.' When you wake up and remember Allah, one knot is undone. When you do wudu', one knot is undone. When you pray, one knot is undone. So the morning finds you cheerful and energetic. Otherwise, the morning will find you lazy and foul-tempered." [Agreed upon]

1166. 'Abdullah ibn Salam reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "O people, make the greeting common practice and provide food and pray at night while people are asleep, and you will enter the Garden in safety." [at-Tirmidhi]

1167. Abu Hurayra reported said that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "The best fast after Ramadan is the month of Allah, al-Muharram, and the best prayer after the obligatory prayer is the night prayer." [Muslim]

1168. Ibn 'Umar reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Night prayers are two by two, and when you are afraid that the dawn is near, then pray one rak'at as witr." [Agreed upon]

1169. Ibn 'Umar reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to pray in the night two by two and then do one rak'at for witr." [Agreed upon]

1170. Anas said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used not to fast in a month until we thought that he would not fast for any of it and he would fast until we thought that he would not break his fast for any of it. If anyone wanted to see him praying in the night he could see him doing that or to see him sleeping he could see him doing that." [al-Bukhari]

1171. 'A'isha said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to pray eleven rak'ats. In them he would stay in sajda long enough for one of you to recite fifty ayats before lifting his head. He would pray two rak'ats before the Fajr prayer and then lie down on his right side until someone came to him to call him to the prayer."[al-Bukhari]

1172. 'A'isha said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, did not do more than eleven rak'ats (at night) during Ramadan or at any other time. He would pray four rak'ats - do not ask about their beauty or length - and then he would pray four more - and do not ask about their beauty or length - and then he would pray three. I said, 'Messenger of Allah, do you sleep before the witr?' He said, ''A'isha, my eyes sleep but my heart does not sleep.'" [Agreed upon]

1173. 'A'isha reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to sleep in the first part of the night and stand in prayer in the last part of it." [Agreed upon]

1174. Ibn Mas'ud said, "I prayed in the night with the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and he stood so long that I wanted to do something awful." He was asked, "What did you want to do?" He said, "I wanted sit down and leave him." [Agreed upon]

1175. Hudhayfa said, "I prayed with the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, one night and he began al-Baqara. I said, 'He will go into ruku' after a hundred.' He continued and I said, 'He will pray one rak'at with it.' But he continued. I said, 'He will go into ruku' with it.' Then he began Surat an-Nisa' and recited it and then began Ali 'Imran and recited it. He recited slowly and when he passed through an ayat of glorification, he glorified Allah. When he passed a question, he asked it. When he passed an ayat of seeking refuge, he sought refuge. Then he went into ruku' and began to say, 'Glory be to my Lord, the Immense.' His bowing was about as long as his standing. Then he said, 'Allah hears whoever praises Him. Our Lord, yours is the praise.' Then he stood for a long time, nearly as long as his bowing. Then he prostrated and said, 'Glory be to my Lord, the Most High.' His prostration was almost as long as his standing." [Muslim]

1176. Jabir said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was asked, "Which prayer is the best?" He said, "A long qunut (i.e. standing).'" [Muslim]

1177. 'Abdullah ibn 'Amr ibn al-'As reported that the Messenger of Allah , may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "The prayer which Allah Almighty loves best was the fast of Da'ud, and the fast which Allah Almighty loves best is the prayer of Da'ud. He used to sleep half of the night and pray one third of it and then sleep a sixth. He used to fast one day and break the fast the next day." [Agreed upon]

1178. Jabir said, "I heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say, 'There is an hour during the night in which whatever good of this world and the Next a man asks Allah Almighty for, He will give it to him. That happens every night.'" [Muslim]

1179. Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "When one of you gets up in the night, he should begin his prayer with two quick rak'ats." [Muslim]

1180. 'A'isha said, "When the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to get up at night, he would begin his prayer with two quick rak'ats." [Muslim]

1181. 'A'isha said, "When the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, missed the prayer in the night due to illness or some other reason, he would pray twelve rak'ats during the daytime." [Muslim]

1182. 'Umar ibn al-Khattab reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Anyone who sleeps through his hizb or part of it, should recite it between the Fajr prayer and the Dhuhr prayer. It will be written for him as if he had recited it in the night." [Muslim]

1183. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "May Allah show mercy to a man who gets up in the night and prays and wakes up his wife, and. if she refuses, splashes some water in her face. May Allah show mercy to a woman who gets up in the night and prays and wakes up her husband, and if he refuses, splashes water in his face." [Abu Dawud]

1184. Abu Hurayra and Abu Sa'id stated that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "When a man wakes up his wife at night and they pray together - or they pray two rak'ats together - they are written down among 'the men and women who remember'." [Abu Dawud]

1185. 'A'isha reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "If one of you nods off while he is praying, he should go and lie down until he is no longer sleepy. If someone prays when he is drowsy, he may not know whether he is asking for forgiveness or asking for something bad for himself." [Agreed upon]

1186. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "When one of you gets up in the night, and the Qur'an is unintelligible on his tongue and he does not know what he is saying, then he should lie down again." [Muslim]