Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala created human beings for His worship and also informed them of the manner and the times of worship. Ramadan is that special month wherein several different acts of worship come together. Of these, the foremost is the timely performance of the obligatory prayers. There are other voluntary prayers (such as Salat-ul Duha – mid morning prayer) which are a means of attaining closeness to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. As for the one who stands in worship with sincerity during the nights of Ramadan, there are glad tidings of forgiveness for all past sins.
The Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Whoever establishes prayers during the nights of Ramadan faithfully out of sincere faith and hoping to attain Allah’s rewards (not for showing off), all his past sins will be forgiven.” [Bukhari: 37]
The pious believers always make an effort to spend their nights standing in prayers. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,
تَتَجَافَىٰ جُنُوبُهُمْ عَنِ الْمَضَاجِعِ يَدْعُونَ رَبَّهُمْ خَوْفًا وَطَمَعًا وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ يُنفِقُونَ
“They arise from [their] beds; they supplicate to their Lord in fear and aspiration, and from what We have provided them, they spend.” [As-Sajdah : 16]
Normally, it is difficult to stand in night worship (i.e. for Qiyam al-Layl) but it becomes easy when done in the congregation (in the form of Taraweeh) and due to the blessings of Ramadan. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says about the God-fearing ones:
كَانُوا قَلِيلًا مِّنَ اللَّيْلِ مَا يَهْجَعُونَ – وَبِالْأَسْحَارِ هُمْ يَسْتَغْفِرُونَ
“They used to sleep, but little of the night. And in the hours before dawn they would ask forgiveness.” [ad-Dhariyat : 17-18]
The Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “The best prayer after the prescribed prayer is prayer at night.” [Muslim: 2755]
There is a narration from Abu Umamah radhiAllahu ‘anhu that the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Be vigilant in standing up [in prayer] at night for it was the practice of the pious before you. It is a means of gaining proximity to your Lord, expiation for transgressions and a barrier from sins.” [Ibn Khuzaimah, Vol. 2, 1135]
To offer Taraweeh prayers during Ramadan is a recommended practice of the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam established both by his words and actions which he also urged upon his Companions radhiAllahu ‘anhum.
It is better to offer Taraweeh prayers in congregation. The Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said included his wives and other household members in this congregation and made long recitation therein. Especially, during the last ten nights, he woke them from sleep to establish the night prayer. Abu Dhar radhiAllahu ‘anhu narrated that we fasted in Ramadan with the Messenger of Allah salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and he did not lead us in (voluntary) night prayer until there were only seven days left. When there were six days left, he did not lead us. When there were five days left (i.e. on the night of the 25th), he led us in prayer until a third of the night had passed. We said, O Messenger of Allah salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, we wish that you had continued praying with us till the end of the night. He said: If a man prays with the Imam until he finishes, it will be written for him as if he prayed the whole night.
Then he did not lead us till there were three nights of the month left. Then (on the night of the 27th), he led us, and called out his family and his wives (for the congregation) and led us until we were afraid that we would miss al-falah. The narrator asked what al-falah was. Abu Dhar radhiAllahu ‘anhu replied, “Sahoor.” [at-Tirmidhi: 806]
Things to Do:
– Establish the voluntary Duha prayers
– Pray Taraweeh in the congregation at the nearest mosque
– Read the translation of the portion of the Qur’an to be recited in Taraweeh that night (in order to be able to understand it better)
– Focus more on the state of the heart, sincerity, and submission before Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala while praying rather than how many units of prayer you offer, as quality is more beloved to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala than quantity
– Lengthen the qiyam of your obligatory prayers
– Procrastination and laziness in offering prayers is a sign of hypocrisy. Try to offer each obligatory prayer at its earliest time