Sukoon al-Layl (Silence of the night)

Since 2014-01-02

There has not been a Prophet or Messenger except that they spent their nights in the worship of the One Who had sent them, and the night prayer has always been a sign of a believer.

There has not been a Prophet or Messenger except that they spent their nights in the worship of the One Who had sent them, and the night prayer has always been a sign of a believer. An Ummah precedes us who would revive their nights with prayer and supplication, who would beseech their Lord at a time when He is closest to them. Abu Bakr al-Siddiq (radhiallahu `anhu) once said to ‘Umar, ‘O Umar! Verily, Allah has rights by night which He does not accept during the day, and verily Allah has rights by day which He does not accept during the night…’

Truly, the Paradise of the believer in this world lies in his place of prayer…

The night prayer of the Prophets:

Fudhayl ibn al-’Iyadh: ‘It used to be said that the characteristics of the Prophets and the righteous, the chosen ones from Mankind whose hearts are pure, are three characteristics: They were forbearing, oft-returning (to Allah), and they all had a portion of Qiyam al-Layl (the night prayer).’

Musa `alayhisalam: The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said, ‘I passed by Musa – `alayhisalam – on the night of my Ascension while he was in his grave praying.’ 1

‘Isa `alayhisalam: ‘Verily the night and the day are two stores so look to what you do in them.’ Ibn ‘Abbas (radhiallahu `anhu) said regarding Prophet ‘Isa, ‘Wherever the night caught up with him, he would straighten his feet and stand in prayer until the morning.’ 2

Dawud `alayhisalam: The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said, ‘Dawud was the most devout worshipper from Mankind.’ 3

The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said, ‘The most beloved of prayers to Allah is the prayer of Dawud and the most beloved of fasts to Allah is the fast of Dawud. He used to sleep half of the night, stand up in prayer for a third of it and sleep a sixth of it, and he used to fast on alternate days.’ 4

Sulayman `alayhisalam: The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said, ‘The mother of Sulayman ibn Dawud said to Sulayman ‘O my son, do not sleep a lot at night because indeed, sleeping too much at night will leave a man in poverty on the Day of Judgment.’ 5

The night prayer of the righteous:
The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam): ‘Upon you is to observe the night prayer for it is the way of the righteous that came before you…’

Whenever Mu’adh ibn al-Jabal rose to pray at night, he would call out, ‘O Allah, indeed the eyes of people are asleep and the stars have receded but You are the Ever Living and Eternal. O Allah, my way to Paradise is slow and my fleeing from Hellfire is weak. O Allah, grant me Guidance from You which you return to me on the Day of Judgment, truly You do not fail in Your Promise.’ 6

Abul-’Aliyah: ‘We used to consider it a big sin that a man learns Qur’an then he sleeps without reciting some of it (in prayer).’ 7

Al-Hasan al-Basri: ‘If a slave falls asleep in prostration (out of tiredness), Allah boasts about him to the Angels saying, ‘Look at My slave, he worships Me whilst his soul is with Me and he is in prostration.’ 8

He (rahimahullah) also said: ‘By Allah, I have accompanied a people who spent these dark nights prostrating and standing up in prayer to their Lord. Their tears would flow down their cheeks, one time they’d be bowing and another time they are in prostration. They beseech and implore their Lord to free their necks (from the Hellfire) and the long night did not bore them because of the hope in their hearts for the Day of Return. May Allah have mercy upon a person who competes with them in these deeds and who is not content with falling short… truly the world has cut off its inhabitants and the deeds of a people are only returned to them.’ 9

It was once said to Yunus ibn ‘Ubayd, ‘Have you ever seen anyone perform like the deeds of Al-Hasan al-Basri?’ He said, ‘By Allah, I have not seen anyone who even speaks like him so how can I see anyone do like his deeds?! His words of admonition used to make the hearts weep while the admonition of other people doesn’t even make the eyes weep.’ 10

Al-Rabi’ ibn Khuthaym: He bought a horse for thirty thousand and used it to partake in battles. One day he sent his servant Yasar (on an errand) and tied his horse. When the servant returned he said, ‘O Rabi! Where is your horse?’ He said, ‘It has been stolen, O Yasar.’ He said, ‘While you were looking?!’ He said, ‘Yes, O Yasar. But I was beseeching my Lord `azza wa jall and there is nothing to busy me from beseeching my Lord.’ Then he made du’a for the thief saying, ‘O Allah, he stole from me and it was not I who stole from him. O Allah, if he is wealthy, then guide him and if he is poor then give him wealth.’ 11

Al-Hasan al-Banna: ‘The minutes of the night are expensive so do not render them cheap by heedlessness.’

One of the Salaf used to say: ‘For 40 years, nothing has upset me as much as the rise of dawn.’ (i.e. marking the end of tahajjud)

‘Amr ibn al-Aswad used to have an expensive garment of 200 dirhams which he wore exclusively for the night prayer. 12

Imam Hamza ibn Habib (one the 7 Qurraa): Muhammad ibn al-Fudhayl said about him, ‘I don’t consider that Allah keeps punishment away from the people of Kufa except by (the virtues of) Hamza. He used to read the Qur’an until the people departed, then he would pray four units, then he would pray between al-Dhuhr and al-’Asr, and between al-Maghrib and al-’Isha. One of his neighbours said that he never used to sleep at night and that they would often hear him recite the Qur’an melodiously.’ Hamza himself used to say, ‘I would look into the mushaf (copy of Qur’an) until I feared losing my sight!’ 13

Abu Ja’far (also one of the Qurra): Nafi’ (rahimahullah) said. ‘When Abu Ja’far was being washed (for his funeral), they saw that between his neck and heart was a script like that of the mushaf. No one from among those present doubted that this was the light of the Qur’an.’ 14

‘Abdullah ibn Ghalib al-Hadani: ‘When the enemy approached (in battle), he said ‘What can sadden me in this world? By Allah, there is no happiness in it for the wise one and by Allah, were it not for my love of meeting the night in prostration and lying my forehead down for You O’ Master, in-between movement of limbs and joints (i.e. praying), in the depth of the nights all in hope of Your reward and Pleasure, were it not for this, I would have hoped to leave this world and its people.’ Then he broke the scabbard of his sword and went forth to fight until he was killed. When he was buried, they found the fragrance of musk at his grave and the people began to take the dust of his grave as if it were musk.

A man once saw him in a dream and said, ‘O Abu Faras, what have you done?’ He said, ‘The best of deeds.’ He asked, ‘Where have you gone?’ He said, ‘To Paradise,’ He said, ‘With what?’ He said, ‘By having conviction (yaqin) and standing for long periods in Tahajjud (night prayer) and bearing thirst in the midday heat (i.e. fasting).’ He said, ‘And what is this sweet fragrance at your grave?’ He said, ‘That is the fragrance of recitation and thirst.’ He said, ‘Advise me.’ He said, ‘Seize goodness for yourself; do not allow the nights and days to pass you by empty, for indeed I have seen that the righteous ones attain piety with piety.’ 15

Qatadah: ‘A hypocrite does not remain vigil at night (in prayer).’ 16

Abu Salman al-Darani: ‘If it wasn’t for the Night prayer, I wouldn’t have liked to remain in this world.’

Hadith: The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said, “Our Lord descends during the last third of each night to the lower heaven, and says: ‘Is there anyone who calls on Me that I may respond to him? Is there anyone who asks Me that I may give unto him? Is there anyone who requests My Forgiveness that I may forgive him?” 17

Rabi’a al-’Abidah: When questioned by her husband as to why she gets up to pray at night, she simply said, ‘I only rise up when I am called.’ 18

And ‘Utbah would be found walking along the seashore at night saying, ‘O Allah, if You punish me, then I do love You and if You have mercy upon me, then still I love You.’ 19

Hadith Qudsi: ‘O My Slaves, it is only your deeds which I record for you, then I shall reward you for them…’ 20



1] Sahih Muslim, Ahmad and al-Nasa’i
2] Al-Bidayah wal-Nihayah (2/16)
3] Sahih Muslim, al-Tirmidhi, al-Hakim
4] Sahih al-Bukhari
5] Reported by Ibn Majah and al-Bayhaqi (chain contains al-Fadhl ibn ‘Isa who is weak)
6] Hilyat al-Awliya, by Abu Nu’aym
7] Al-Zuhd, by Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal
8] Al-Zuhd
9] Mukhtasar Qiyam al-Layl, by Al-Marwazi
10] Tanbih al-Mughtarin, by Al-Sha’rani
11] Al-Zuhd
12] Al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah, by Ibn Kathir (8/26)
13] Ma’rifat al-Qurraa al-Kibar
14] Siyar A’lam al-Nubala, by Imam al-Dhahabi
15] Mukhtasar Qiyam al-Layl, by Imam al-Samarqandi
[16] Hilyat al-Awliya’, by Abu Nu’aym
[17] Sifat al-Safwah, by Ibn al-Qayyim
[18] Reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim
[19] Sifat al-Safwah
[20] Sahih Muslim

Source: Fajr

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