Saturday, October 22, 2016

Salatul Layl: Significance of Tahajjud- the Night Prayer.

Salat is an Arabic word whose basic meaning is "bowing, homage, worship, prayer." It is one of the Five Pillars of Islam and an obligatory religious duty for every Muslim. It is a physical, mental, and spiritual act of worship that is observed five times every day at prescribed times. In this ritual, the worshiper starts standing, bows, prostrates, and concludes while sitting on the ground. During each posture, the worshiper recites or reads certain verses, phrases and prayers.

The chief purpose of salah is to act as a person's communication with and remembrance of God. By reciting "The Opening", the first sura (chapter) of the Quran, as required in daily worship, the worshiper can stand before God, thank and praise Him, and ask for guidance along the "Straight Path". Salah is also cited as a means of restraining a believer from social wrongs and moral deviancy.

The five prayers are each assigned to certain prescribed times at which they must be performed, unless there is a compelling reason for not being able to perform them on time. These times are measured according to the movement of the sun. These are-

Salat al-Fajr: When it is near dawn,
Salat al-Zuhr: At the time when midday has passed and the sun starts to tilt downwards Noon,
Salat al-Asr: In the afternoon,
Salat al-Maghrib: Just after the sunset, and
Salat al-Isha: Around the nightfall.

It is to be noted that to end prayers for the night after Isha, the odd numbered rakahs must have the niyyah of "Wajib-ul-Lail", which is mandatory to "close" one's salah for that day. And Shi'ahs offer this as a one rakah salah at the end of salatul layl.

Five Daily Prayer
The above five compulsory ie. fard as-salah as daily prayers. When Muhammad brought the the provisions of this five compulsory salah as daily prayers, and Muslims began to observe it, the  Quraish were surprised to see the Ahkam and Arkan of the salah. Because, it was unprecedented. However, they did not reacted except Abu Jahl. He forbade Muhammad to offer salah, and threatened that if he would find him prostrate and offering salah in future, then he will crushed his neck under his foot.

This was answered with this verses- Nay, but man doth transgress all bounds, In that he looketh upon himself as self-sufficient. Verily, to thy Lord is the return (of all). Seest thou one who forbids-A votary when he (turns) to pray? Seest thou if he is on (the road of) Guidance?-Or enjoins Righteousness? Have you seen if he denies and turns away -Does he not know that Allah sees? Let him beware! If he desist not, We will drag him by the forelock,-A lying, sinful forelock! Then let him call his associates; We will call the angels of Hell. Day, heed him not: But bow down in adoration, and bring thyself the closer (to Allah)! -[al-Alaq, 96:6-19].

Abu Jahl, however, did not care the guards of hell. When he came to know that the sentinel are 19 nos over the Hell ["(Jahannam) Over it are nineteen (angels)".- al-Muddathir, 74:30], he told the  Quraish, "The companion of Muhammad is only nineteen. therefore, you need not worry about him." And a foul Quraish said, "O tribe of Quraish! Do not worry. I'm enough to quit the tale of
nineteen, with ten of them with my right arm and nine with the left."

The following Verse sent down in this regard- And We have set none but angels as Guardians of the Fire; and We have fixed their number only as a trial for Unbelievers,- in order that the People of the Book may arrive at certainty, and the Believers may increase in Faith,- and that no doubts may be left for the People of the Book and the Believers, and that those in whose hearts is a disease and the Unbelievers may say, "What symbol doth Allah intend by this?" Thus doth Allah leave to stray whom He pleaseth, and guide whom He pleaseth: and none can know the forces of thy Lord, except He and this is no other than a warning to mankind.-[al-Muddathir, 74:31].

However, later the general Arabs took part in teasing Muslim when they would find them engaged in salah. They forbade Muhammad to offer salah in the Ka'ba. Hence when they would find him or any Muslim engaged in offering salah, they would throw dirty goods to them
when they prostrate. Uqba ibn abu Mu'it brought an entrails of a camel and put it on the Prophet's head when he was prostrating himself in the Ka'ba.

Besides the Fard as-Salah there are some prayers such as Wajib as-Salah, Salat al-Sun'na, Salat al-Nafl, the Night Prayer (Tahajjud), the Friday prayer (Salat al-Jumu'ah), Salat al-Eid, the funeral prayer (Salat al-Janazah) and Salat al-Istikharah. Our article is on the significance of Night Prayer.

Tahajjud- also known as Qiyamul Layl (Standing of Night), Salatul Layl (Prayer of Night). This salah may be performed in the early part of the night, the middle part of the night, or the later part of the night, but after the obligatory 'Isha'. Commenting on this subject, Ibn Hajar says: "There was no specific time in which the Prophet would perform his late night Prayer; but he used to do whatever was easiest for him."

But Amr ibn Absah claimed that he heard that the Prophet said: The closest that a servant comes to his Lord is during the middle of the latter portion of the night. If you can be among those who remember Allah the Exalted One at that time, then do so. — [at-Tirmidhi].

As there is no specific time for Tahajjud, also there is no specific rakahs as of fard as-salah. It would be fulfilled even if one prayed just one rak'ah of  after 'Isha'; however, it is traditionally prayed with at least two rak'at which is known as shif'a followed by witr as this is what Muhammad did.

However, for the case of Raka, one may follow the following hadiths- Narrated by Abdullah ibn Umar, "Salatul Layl is offered as two rak'at followed by two rak'at and (so on) and if anyone is afraid of the approaching dawn (Fajr prayer) he should pray one rak'at and this will be a Witr for all the rak'at which he has prayed before." -[Bukhari, No. 539, 990].

Before being five compulsory salah as daily prayers, Tahajjud made obligatory with the following verses of the Qur'an, "O you who wraps himself [in clothing], arise [to pray] the night, except for a little -Half of it -or subtract from it a little Or a little more; and recite the Qur'an in slow, measured rhythmic tones. Soon shall We send down to thee a weighty Message. Indeed, the hours of the night are more effective for concurrence [of heart and tongue] and more suitable for words. Indeed, for you by day is prolonged occupation. But keep in remembrance the name of thy Lord and devote thyself to Him whole-heartedly." -[al-Muzzammil 73:1-8].

Though the above verses it is clearly instructed to offer Tahajjud for most of the night. And Muhammad and all of his followers began to perform it. As a result, within a few days, their legs were swollen. Moreover, as watch not invented at that period, they would have not any idea, how long they were engaged in salah. Thus, they would have spent almost all the night in prayer. Their labour and pain was not hidden from God. But in His knowledge, it was predetermined that their hard labored salah offer would be short termed, and so that they may became accustomed working hard and laborious work.

The pagan Quraish began to mock Muslims observing their hard working during night. They said, "It is not Qur'an but danger revealed to you, there is no peace in the day, also no comfort at night."

Nazar ibn al-Harith, a prominent member of the Darun Nadoya and a Quraysh businessman did a strange thing. He brought a beautiful singing maid [Kayna] from Persia and employed her to revert people from Islam. He began to call out people, "Muhammad, recited Qur'an, and told you, to offer salah, fasting and sacrificing lives for the cause of religion. That is too sufferings. So, come to me, and enjoy yourself the dance and music of this young beautiful girl."

Then the following verse sent down- We have not sent down the Qur'an to thee to be (an occasion) for thy distress, but only as an admonition to those who fear (Allah), -[Taha,20: 2-3].

Finally, after one year, it was fulfilled which is in Gods mind, then the length of the prayers reduced by this verse. Indeed, your Lord knows, that you stand [in prayer] almost two thirds of the night or half of it or a third of it, and [so do] a group of those with you. And Allah determines [the extent of] the night and the day.
 
He has known that you [Muslims] will not be able to do it and has turned to you in forgiveness, so recite what is easy [for you] of the Qur'an. He has known that there will be among you those who are ill and others traveling throughout the land seeking [something] of the bounty of Allah and others fighting for the cause of Allah. So recite what is easy from it and establish prayer and give zakah and loan Allah a goodly loan. And whatever good you put forward for yourselves- you will find it with Allah. It is better and greater in reward. And seek forgiveness of Allah. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.-[al-Muzzammil 73:20].


Then Muhammad directly brought the provision of prayers five times a day through Miraj. And people consider that Tahajjud becomes nonobligatory now. It should be noted that it was not nonobligatory though any Verses of the Qur'an and the Prophet offer this salah regularly and also encouraged his followers to offer, as the benefits and awards of this salah are many. Furthermore, this salah purify soul and makes him capable approaching God. Qur'an says- Recite, what has been revealed to you of the Book and establish prayer. Indeed, prayer prohibits immorality and wrongdoing, and the remembrance of Allah is greater.  -[al-Ankabut, 29:45].

It is said in the Qur'an that when the sons of Jacob were very regretful remembering their deeds in the past, they said to their father downing their head, "O our father, ask for us forgiveness of our sins; indeed, we have been sinners."  
He said, "I will ask forgiveness for you from my Lord. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful."-[see, 12:97-98]

Jacob did not prayed at once for the forgiveness of his children, instead promised to pray. It is because, he wanted to pray in the last part of the night with a special focus. As he knew that it would be answered at the time. In the last part, closest to finish of the night, God declare from the lower Heaven: "Is there anyone who will pray and I'll accept? Is there anyone who beg forgiveness and  I'll forgive?"

However, Qur'an says- And during a part of the night, pray Tahajjud beyond what is incumbent on you; maybe your Lord will raise you to a position of great glory." -[ Al-Isra 17:79]. This instruction, although it was specifically directed to Muhammad, also refers to all Muslims, since Muhammad is to be the perfect example and guide for them in all matters). -[Fiqh as-Sunnah by Sheikh Sayyid Sadiq].

Moreover, the practice of regular Salah makes a man righteous, as well as lets him get an opportunity of God's mercy and forgiveness. God praises those who offers salah during the Night as: "And they who pass the night prostrating themselves before their Lord and standing." — [Al-Furqan 25:64].

There is also a number of Hadiths that reinforce the importance of Tahajjud. The following acts are recommended for one who wishes to offer it:

Upon going to sleep, one should make the intention to perform the prayers. Abu Darda quoted Muhammad as saying: Whoever goes to his bed with the intention of getting up and praying during the night, but, being overcome by sleep, fails to do that, he will have recorded for him what he has intended, and his sleep will be reckoned as a charity (an act of mercy) for him from his Lord. — [al-Nasa'i and Ibn Maja].

On waking up, it is recommended that one wipes the face, use a toothbrush, and look to the sky and make the supplication which has been reported from Muhammad. Abu-Hudhayfah ibn Utbah reported: Whenever the Prophet intended to go to bed, he would recite: With Your name, O Allah, I die and I live." And when he woke up from his sleep, he would say: All the Praises are for Allah Who has made us alive after He made us die (sleep) and unto Him is the Resurrection. — [al-Bukhari]

One should begin with two quick rakahs and then one may pray whatever one wishes after that. Aisha said: When the Prophet prayed during the late-night, he would begin his Prayers with two quick rakahs. —[Muslim].

It is recommended that one wakes up one's family, for Abu Hurairah quoted Muhammad as saying: May Allah bless the man who gets up during the night to pray and wakes up his wife and who, if she refuses to get up, sprinkles water on her face. And may Allah bless the woman who gets up during the night to pray and wakes up her husband and who, if he refuses, sprinkles water on his face. — [Ahmad].

It is essential to purify the body before salah. Because, through Salah a man presented himself before God-the Great. So to present our self in front of that Holy Entity, we have to purify our body and mind. However, the rules and procedure of the Ablutions for the purification of the body was not revealed immediately after the provisions of the prayers five times a day. It was revealed much later after the migration to Medina. The Verse of the Ablutions is -

O ye who believe! when ye prepare for prayer, wash your faces, and your hands (and arms) to the elbows; Rub your heads (with water); and (wash) your feet to the ankles. If ye are in a state of ceremonial impurity, bathe your whole body. But if ye are ill, or on a journey, or one of you cometh from offices of nature, or ye have been in contact with women, and ye find no water, then take for yourselves clean sand or earth, and rub therewith your faces and hands, Allah doth not wish to place you in a difficulty, but to make you clean, and to complete his favour to you, that ye may be grateful.-[al-Ma'idah, 5:6].

How to perform Salatul Lyal?
Before offering the salah, It is good to perform this Dua-

"In the name of Allah the Beneficent, the Merciful." "O Allah, bless Muhammad and his family.
O Allah, I turn to You through Your Prophet, the Prophet of mercy. And I place him and his family in front of my needs. So make me through them respected, in the world and in the hereafter and from the near ones.

O Allah, have mercy on me through them and do not punish me. And guide me through them and do not lead me astray. And grant me sustenance through them and do not deny me. And fulfill my needs of the world and the hereafter. Surely You have power over all things and (You) are aware of all things."

Salatul Layl consists of a total of 11 rakats, divided into the following manner:
1. Nafilah of Layl: 8 [4 x 2] rakats
2. Sal√Ęt al-Shaf'a: 2 rakats
3. Salat al-Witr: 1 rakat

There are a variety of suras and supplications that have been recommended for recitation during these rakats. What follows in the description is one of the ways.

Nafilah of Layl: The 8 rakats of Nafilah are divided into 4x2 rakahs. Ist 2 rakats like the Fajr prayer. After Sura al-Fatiha, recite al-Ikhlas in the first rakat and al-Kafirun in the second. Dua Qunut is recommended in the second rakat, you may recite Dua Qunut in its simplest way just saying a salawat or subhanalla three times. In the other salats of Nafilah of Layl, any small surahs can be recited after Sura al-Fatiha. It is also permissible to omit the second sura after Fatiha during those rakats.

After 8 rakats, offer Dua as-

"In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful." "O Allah bless Muhammad and his family.
O Allah You are the Ever Living, the Eternal, the Elevated, the Mighty, the Creator, the Sustainer, the One who gives life and the One who causes to die, the Beginner, the Unique. For You is nobility and for You is generosity and for You is grace and for You is the command. You are One, there is no partner for You."

"O Creator, O Sustainer, O the One who gives life and the One who causes to die.
O the Unique, the Sublime, I ask you to bless Muhammad and his family and to have mercy on my lowliness before You and my beseeching You and my loneliness from people and my intimacy with You."

Salat al-Shaf'a: Its a two rakah prayer, and there is no Dua in it. In the 1st rakah, recite sura an-Nas after al-Fatiha. And in 2nd rakah, recite sura al-Falaq after al-Fatiha. And after completing Salah al-Shaf'a, offer the following Dua-

"In the name of Allah the Beneficent the Merciful." "O Allah bless Muhammad and his family.
O Allah, on this night the seekers have sought You and the aspirers have aspired for You and the searchers have hoped for Your blessings and grace

For, You have in this night, hidden bounties and rewards and presents and gifts which You bestow upon whom you please from Your servants and You deny them to one who has not reached Your regard.
Here I am, Your abject servant in need of You, hopeful of Your blessings and grace.

So, O my Master, if You have bestowed blessings on this night on anyone of Your creatures and turned to him with affection then bless Muhammad and his family, the pure, the purified, the virtuous ones, the excellent ones and favor me with Your grace and bounty.

O Lord of the worlds, And send blessings on Muhammad, the seal of the Prophets and his family, the Purified and salute them with a perfect salutation. Surely Allah is praiseworthy, Glorious. O Allah, I have supplicated to You as You have commanded, then answer me as You have promised.
Surely You do not break Your promises."

Salat al-Witr: Its a one rakah prayer. The following suras are recited sequentially after sura al-Fatiha.
Sura 112, al-Ikhlas, 3 times
Sura 113, al-Falaq, 1 time
Sura 114, an-Nas, 1 time

After completing these Sura's, offer Dua as follow and it is highly emphasized to be humble and tearful in Salatul Witr's Dua. Raise the left hand for asking forgiveness and use the right for holding a Tasbih.

"In the name of Allah, The Beneficent, the Merciful." O Allah bless Muhammad and his family.
I whisper unto You, O one who is present in every place, so that You may hear my call, for surely my sin is excessive and my shame is less.

My Master, O my Master, which of the terrifying states shall I remember and which of them shall I forget, for if there was nothing except death, it would be enough, then what about after death, greater and much worse?

My master O my Master, up to when and till when will I say, I am to blame, again and again, but then You do not find any truth or loyalty in me?

I call for help and I call for help, O Allah, from desires which have overpowered me and from the enemy which has pounced on me and from the world which attracts me and from the soul that leads towards evil except that on which my Lord has mercy.

My master, O my master, if You have had mercy on the likes of me then have mercy on me and if You have accepted from the likes of me then accept from me.
O One, who accepts the early morning prayer accept me,
O One, who I still know only good from Him.
O One, who nourishes me with blessings morning and evening, have mercy on me when I come to You alone, my glance fixed on You, my actions carried on my neck.

When all of creation will withdraw away from me, yes, even my father and mother and those for whom I worked and struggled then if You will not have mercy on me, who will have mercy on me, who will give me solace from the loneliness of the grave and who will make me speak when I am alone with my deeds and when You will ask me about what You know better than me?

Then if I say yes (to my sins) where will be the escape from Your Justice?
And if I say I did not commit it, You will say was I not a witness over you?
So (I beseech) Your Forgiveness, Your Pardon.

O my master, before the wearing of the clothes of Hell, Your Forgiveness, Your Pardon. O my Master, before the Hell and the Fire, Your Forgiveness, Your Forgiveness.
O my Master, before the hands are tied to the necks,
O the most Merciful and the best of Forgivers."

You may offer Dua Qunut in the following manner-

"In the name of Allah, the Beneficent the merciful." "There is no god except Allah, the Forbearing, the Generous.
There is no god except Allah, the High, the Almighty.

Glory be to Allah, Lord of the seven heavens and Lord of the seven earths and whatever is in them, and between them and above them and below them,
Lord of the Mighty Throne. Peace be on the Messengers.

"All praise is for Allah, Lord of the worlds."
"O Allah, bless Muhammad and his family." After this Dua, offer this prayer for forgiveness as much as you can [70 times recommended]: "I seek forgiveness of Allah my Lord and I turn to Him."

Then ask for the forgiveness for the believers, men and women, [died or alive]: "O Allah forgive all believers, male and female." Then say: I seek forgiveness of Allah, He who there is no god but He, the Ever living, the subsisting, from all my oppression's and my sins and my excesses on my soul, and I turn (repentant) to Him

Then recite [7 times]:  "This is the position of one who seeks refuge in You from the fire."
Then say: "I ask for Your pardon. My Lord, forgive me and have mercy on me, and turn to me Surely You are the Oft-returning, the Merciful."

The End.
Not Yet verified.

# Some one asked, "Bro, is there any verse in the Qur'an about the no. of daily prayer?"

@ I said, "Prophet Muhammad received the provision of the daily "five times" obligatory salah directly from God through al-Mi'raj, although the number of daily prayers, are not mentioned in any of the verses of the Qur'an. As far as we know, only three prayers are mentioned by name in the Qur'an. In other words, the word Salat is qualified with descriptive words in three instances. These are-

Salat al-Fajr: Dawn  Prayer. 11:114; 17:78; 30:17; 50:39.
Salat al-Wusta -Middle (Noon) Prayer. 2:238; 17:78.
Salat al-Isha -Evening Prayer. 24:58; 17:78; 11:114.

But People of this days are so wise! They analyze Qur'an and claimed that it mentioned. According to their analysis-

Salat al-Fajr: Mentioned by the Verses- 7:205, 11:114, 17:78, 24:58, 30:17, 38:18, 50: 39.
Salat al-Wusta: Mentioned by the Verses- 17:78, 30:17, 50: 39.
Salat al-Asr: Mentioned by the Verses- 2:238, 11:114, 30:17, 38:18.
Salat al-Maghrib: Mentioned by the Verses- 7:205, 11:114, 17:78.
Salat al-Isha:  Mentioned by the Verses- 11:114, 17:78, 30:18, 50:40.

Sources:
al-Qur'an
Wikipedia
Sahih al-Bukhari
Sahih Muslim
al-Nasa'i
Sunan Ibn Maja
at-Tirmidhi
Ahmad ibn Hanbal
Fiqh as-Sunnah by Sheikh Sayyid Sadiq.
al-Islam.org

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