Islamic Months · Ramadan

How the Salaf Prayed At Night During Ramadan


It was narrated that the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “Whoever observes the night voluntary prayers during the month of Ramadan out of sincere faith and hoping to attain the reward of Allah, then all his past sins will be forgiven.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

In the Quran, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says:

وَعِبَادُ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الَّذِينَ يَمْشُونَ عَلَى الْأَرْضِ هَوْنًا وَإِذَا خَاطَبَهُمُ الْجَاهِلُونَ قَالُوا سَلَامًا –
وَالَّذِينَ يَبِيتُونَ لِرَبِّهِمْ سُجَّدًا وَقِيَامًا


And the servants of the Most Merciful are those who walk upon the earth easily, and when the ignorant address them [harshly], they say [words of] peace. And those who spend [part of] the night to their Lord prostrating and standing [in prayer]. [Quran 25: 63-64]

The Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam as well as the Companions radhiAllahu ‘anhum were keen to perform the night voluntary prayers in Ramadan. ‘Aa’ishah radhiAllahu ‘anha said, Do not leave the night voluntary prayer, for the Messenger of Allah salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam did not leave it. When he was sick or tired, he used to perform the prayer while he was sitting.”

‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab radhiAllahu ‘anhu used to perform whatever Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala willed that he should perform of the voluntary night prayers. In the middle of the night, he used to wake up his family and say to them, ‘Prayer, prayer,’ and then recite the ayah in which Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says:

وَأْمُرْ أَهْلَكَ بِالصَّلَاةِ وَاصْطَبِرْ عَلَيْهَا ۖ
لَا نَسْأَلُكَ رِزْقًا ۖ نَّحْنُ نَرْزُقُكَ ۗ وَالْعَاقِبَةُ لِلتَّقْوَىٰ

And enjoin prayer upon your family [and people] and be steadfast therein. We ask you not for provision; We provide for you, and the [best] outcome is for [those of] righteousness. [Quran 20: 132]

Ibn ‘Umar radhiAllahu ‘anhu used to recite:

أَمَّنْ هُوَ قَانِتٌ آنَاءَ اللَّيْلِ سَاجِدًا وَقَائِمًا يَحْذَرُ الْآخِرَةَ وَيَرْجُو رَحْمَةَ رَبِّهِ ۗ قُلْ هَلْ يَسْتَوِي الَّذِينَ يَعْلَمُونَ وَالَّذِينَ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ ۗ إِنَّمَا يَتَذَكَّرُ أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ

“Is one who is devoutly obedient during periods of the night, prostrating and standing [in prayer], fearing the Hereafter and hoping for the mercy of his Lord, [like one who does not]?” [Quran 39: 9], and say, “That is ‘Uthmaan ibn ‘Affaan radhiAllahu ‘anhu.” Ibn Abi Haatim commented, “Ibn ‘Umar radhiAllahu ‘anhu said that because of the intense prayer and recitation of the Quran during the night by the Commander of the Believers, ‘Uthman radhiAllahu ‘anhu to the extent that he would even recite the whole Quran in just one Rak‘ah.”

‘Alqamah ibn Qays narrated, “I once spent the night with ‘Abdullah ibn Mas‘ood radhiAllahu ‘anhu. He woke up at the beginning of night and began to pray. He recited the Quran in a way similar to that of the Imaam of his district, with a medium regular pace. Those around him could hear him and he continued until what remained of the night’s darkness was equal to the time between the Athaan (the first call of prayer) for the Maghrib (sunset) prayer and the end of the Maghrib prayer (meaning a short time before the break of dawn). He then performed the Witr (odd) prayer.”

Furthermore, As-Saa’ib ibn Zayd radhiAllahu ‘anhu narrated that, “The leader in the voluntary night prayer would recite hundreds of ayaat such that we supported ourselves with staves due to the lengthiness of the prayer but we did not leave until the break of dawn.”

Note, also, that you should complete the Taraweeh prayer with the Imam in order to be recorded as one of those who spend (the night) in prayer. The Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: Whoever prays with the Imam until he finishes, Allah will record for him standing a whole night in prayer.” [Abu Dawood, An-Nasaa’i, At-Tirmithi and Ibn Majah]

Originally published here.


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