Overview of Night And Witr Prayers

Overview of Night And Witr Prayers

By Editorial Staff

Some virtues of the night prayer

The night prayer is one of the most recommended acts that draw a person near to Allah. It is one of the hallmarks of prophets (Allah bless them and grant them peace) and righteous people. In the Gracious Quran, Allah describes the pious people who are destined for Paradise. They enjoy some attributes which qualify them to be admitted into it. Among these attributes is the following. Allah says,

Little of the night did they lie down. For at night’s end they were seeking (God’s) forgiveness. (Quran 51:17-18)

The best kind of excellence in the worship of Allah is the night prayer as it indicates the sincerity of its performer. Obedient people are described as performing the best act of worship, namely, prayer at the most excellent time i.e. night. Allah says,

True believers prefer performing the night prayer to sleep. They find more happiness in prayer and in making supplication to Allah at that time.

(Is such a one better), or one who is devoutly obedient (to God) in the watches of the night, bowing (his face) down to the ground and standing (in Prayer), fearing (God’s Judgment in) the Hereafter and imploring the mercy of his Lord? Say (to humankind, O Prophet): Are those who know (God) and those who do not know (Him) equal? (Quran 39:9)

True believers prefer performing the night prayer to sleep. They find more happiness in prayer and in making supplication to Allah at that time. Allah says,

and whose sides forsake their beds (in the night), to call upon their Lord in fear and hope; and who (generously) spend (in charity) from all that We have provided them. Thus not a soul (in the world) can (now) comprehend (the joys) that have been concealed (by God) for every one of them – from all that greatly delights the eyes – (awaiting them) in reward for all (the good) that they used to do (in life)! (Quran 32:16-17)

On the other hand, Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) highlighted the excellence of the night prayer when he said:

The most excellent prayer after the prescribed prayers is the prayer that is performed in the middle of night. (Muslim)

The Number of Rak’ahs (units) of the Night Prayer

The great scholar Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr related that scholars reached a consensus that the number of the rak’ahs of the night prayer is limitless. This is supported by a lot of proofs from the Sunnah. Ibn ‘Umar reported that a person asked the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) about the night prayer. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:

Prayer during the night should consist of pairs of rak’ahs, but if one of you fears morning is near, he should pray one rak’ah which will make his prayer an odd number for him. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

However, some contemporary scholars are of the opinion that a person can pray up to eleven rak’has. Narrated Abu Salama bin `Abdur Rahman:

That he asked `Aisha “How was the prayer of Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) in Ramadan?” She replied, “He did not pray more than eleven rak`ahs in Ramadan or in any other month. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

The first opinion may be more preferred because there are sound hadiths proving that Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) prayed thirteen rak’ahs for the night prayer. Another reason may be that Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) did not prohibit Muslims to pray more than eleven rak’ahs.

Witr Prayer

Witr prayer means to perform the prayer of an odd number of rak’ahs at the end of your night prayer. It is also part of the night prayer.  A person can perform the prayer of one, three, five, seven, or nine rak’ahs at the end, making what he performed an odd number.

When to perform the night prayer?

The time for the night prayer starts after performing the ‘Ish (Evening) Prayer until dawn. You can perform the night prayer at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end of night. Narrated Abu Qatadah:

The Prophet (ﷺ) asked Abu Bakr: When do you observe the witr?

He replied: I observe the witr prayer in the early hours of the night.

The Prophet (ﷺ) asked Umar: When do you observe the witr?

He replied: At the end of the night.

He then said to AbuBakr: This has followed it with care; and he said to Umar: He has followed it with strength. (Abu Dawud)

However, it is better to perform it at the end of night for the following hadith. Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) as saying:

Our Lord, the Blessed and the Exalted, descends every night to the lowest heaven when one-third of the latter part of the night is left, and says: Who supplicates Me so that I may answer him? Who asks Me so that I may give to him? Who asks Me forgiveness so that I may forgive him? (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

We learn from these two hadiths that a person may perform the night prayer or witr at any part of the night. If a person fears that he may not be able to wake up at the end of the night to perform the night prayer, it is better for such a person to perform it before going to bed. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:

My friend (the Messenger of Allah) (ﷺ) directed me to observe fast for three days in every month, to perform two rak’ahs (optional) Duha prayer at forenoon and to perform the Witr prayer before going to bed. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

On the other hand, if a person has the ability to wake up at the end of the night, it is better for him or her to perform prayer at that time. Narrated `Abdullah bin `Amr:

Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said to me, “The most beloved fasting to Allah was the fasting of (the Prophet) David who used to fast on alternate days. And the most beloved prayer to Allah was the prayer of David who used to sleep for (the first) half of the night and pray for 1/3 of it and (again) sleep for a sixth of it.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

How to perform the night prayer?

Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) sometimes used to perform the night prayer two by two. Sometimes, he performed four rak’ahs then another four then three at the end.

It is also proved that he performed nine connected rak’ahs sitting at the eighth to recite the supplication of the first tashahhud and at the ninth rak’ahs to recite the second tashahhud.

What to recite when you perform three rak’ahs for witr at the end of your prayer?

It was narrated that Ubayy bin Ka’b said:

“In the first rak’ah of witr, the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) used to recite: “Highly exalt the name of your Lord, the Most High;” in the second; “Say: O you disbelievers!” and in the third; “Say: He is Allah, (the) One.” (Al-Tirmidhi and Al-Nasa’i)

Du’a’ Al-Qunut (The Supplication of the Standing)

It is so called because a person recites it while standing. This supplication may be made after reciting the sura (chapter of the Quran) i.e. before ruku’ (bowing) or after standing up. It was narrated that Abu Al-Jawza said:

“Al-Hasan said: “The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) taught me some words to say in witr in Qunut:

Allahumma ihdini fiman hadayta wa ‘afini fiman afayta wa tawallani fiman tawallayta wa barik li fima a’tayta, wa qini sharra ma qadayta, fa innaka taqdi wa la yuqda ‘alayk, wa innahu la yadhilluman walayta, tabarakta Rabbana wa at’alayt

(O Allah, guide me among those whom You have guided, pardon me among those You have pardoned, turn to me in friendship among those on whom You have turned in friendship, and bless me in what You have bestowed, and save me from the evil of what You have decreed. For verily You decree and none can influence You; and he is not humiliated whom You have befriended. Blessed are You, O Lord, and Exalted.)’” (Abu Dawud, Al-Tirmidhi, Al-Nasa’i, and Ibn Majah)

You can recite this supplication or any other one because the companions used to recite a different one in the second half of Ramadan.

What to say when you finish your prayer?

On the authority of ‘Abdur-Rahman ibn Abza (Allah be pleased with him) who said that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) used to recite in Witr: “Glorify the Name of your Lord, the Most High;” and “Say: O you disbelievers!;’ and ‘Say: He is Allah, (the) One.’ And when he said the taslim, he would say: Subhanal-Malikil-Quddus (Glory be to the Sovereign, the Most Holy) three times, raising his voice with Subhanal-Malikil-Quddus the third time.” (Al-Nasa’i)

 

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Ramadan Is Not the End! It’s a New Start!

Ramadan Is Not the End! It’s a New Start!

By Editorial Staff

Kinds of people after Ramadan

1. The successful ones

The Blessed month of Ramadan during which Muslims have performed many acts of worship is now over. It acts as a witness for or against people.

Those who spared no effort to observe as many acts of worship as they could must be ecstatic with happiness. They hope that the month is not only a witness but that it is also their intercessor on the Day of Judgment.

Those who spared no effort to observe as many acts of worship as they could must be ecstatic with happiness. This is because they have successfully completed their fasting. They hope that the month is not only a witness but that it is also their intercessor on the Day of Judgment. Moreover, they have got rid of their past sins.

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “He who observes fasting during the month of Ramadan with Faith while seeking its reward from Allah, will have his past sins forgiven.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

The same reward is granted to those who also performed the tarawih (night prayer). Every Muslim who observed fasting and tarawih prays to Allah to accept their good deeds.

2. The Most successful ones

Out of precaution, good people fear that their actions are not accepted because of likely shortcomings that may be there in their worship. That’s why they ask Allah to accept their fasting, tarawih, recitation of the Quran, giving in charity and the other good deeds they have performed.

It was narrated that ‘Aishah said: “I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah,

“And those who give that (their charity) which they give (and also do other good deeds) with their hearts full of fear.” (Quran 23:60)

Is this the one who commits adultery, steals and drinks alcohol?’

He said: ‘No, O daughter of Abu Bakr’ – O daughter of Siddiq – rather it is a man who fasts and gives charity and prays, but he fears that those will not be accepted from him.’” (Ibn Majah and Al-Tirmidhi)

Ibn kathir and Al-Albany declared this Hadith as authentic.

3. The unsuccessful ones

On the other hand, there are others who are happy because Ramadan is over. They do not like it to perform fasting and other acts of worship. Those lazy people often neglect performing the compulsory acts of worship. That’s why one can find the number of Muslims observing prayer in mosques decreases after Ramadan.

Such people should ask themselves whether their deeds are accepted. They should be truthful if they really seek Allah’s forgiveness and mercy.

Signs of acceptance

There are signs that denote that one’s good deeds are accepted. One of these signs is that one finds themselves more steadfast and unwavering in abiding by the rituals of Islam. The progress in worship and behavior Muslims make by the end of Ramadan denotes their success in benefitting from Ramadan.

On the contrary, there are people who have not made any progress. They are still lazy to do acts of worship. Thus, their condition after Ramadan is the same as or even worse than before it. This denotes non-acceptance of their worship.

In fact, they have not seized the opportunity to gain the great rewards of the blessed month. They may not have the chance to live until the next Ramadan. We ask Allah, Almighty, to guide such people to repentance and to shower them with His mercy.

Worship is not over after Ramadan

If the month of Ramadan is over, this does not mean the time of worship is over. Allah says,

“And worship your Lord (thus) – until the certainty (of death) comes to you.” (Quran 15:99)

We can understand from this aya that one should continue to worship Allah as long as he is alive because no one knows the specific time of his or her death. It’s everyone’s hope to die while they are in the best state of maintaining the rituals of Islam and closeness to Allah. To achieve this goal, one should consider the following aya. Allah says,

“O you who believe! Be ever God-fearing, with a fear justly due Him. And do not die, except while you are muslims, in willing submission to God (alone).” (Quran 3:102)

When interpreting this Aya, Imam Ibn Kathir, the great commentator of the Quran, said, “Preserve your Islam while you are well and safe, so that you die as a Muslim. The Most Generous Allah has made it His decision that whatever state one lives in, that is what he dies upon and is resurrected upon. We seek refuge from dying on other than Islam.”

In fact, good deeds should still be observed all the year round. Fasting, performing night prayer, reciting the Gracious Quran, giving in charity, making du’aa (supplication) and enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil are just a few examples. Let us look at one or two of these kinds of worship!

Fasting

Although fasting is compulsory in Ramadan, it is still recommended in the other months. In Shawwal, it is recommended to fast six days.

Abu Ayyub (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “He who observes Al-Sawm (the fasts) in the month of Ramadan, and also observes Al-Sawm for six days in the month of Shawwal, it is as if he has observed Al-Sawm for the whole year.” (Muslim)

One can start to perform those six days from Shawwal 2 because it is prohibited to fast the first day of Shawwal. They may be observed consecutively or separately during the month.

The other supererogatory fasts

The other recommended fasts during the year include fasting on Mondays and Thursdays, and for three days every month, the 13th, the 14th and the 15th.

The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) would also encourage Muslims to do more acts of worship on the first nine days of Dhul-Hijjah, the 12th month in the lunar calendar. This includes fasting on those days. Moreover, the reward for fasting on the Day of Arafat, the 9th day of Dhul-Hijjah, is the forgiveness of the sins of two years, one before and one after that day. It should be noted that it is not recommended for the pilgrim to fast the Day of Arafat. The reward of the pilgrim for standing on Arafat and doing other acts of worship is the forgiveness of all past sins. So, the pilgrim does not fast on that day to be better able to do more acts of worship.

It is also highly recommended to fast a lot of days of Al-Muharram, the first month in the lunar calendar. Fasting the 10th day of Al-Muharram forgives the sins of the previous year. Also, Prophet Muhammad (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) used to fast most days of Sha’ban.

The night prayer

The night prayer is not exclusively recommended in Ramadan. It can still be performed at every night of the year.

Narrated Abu Hurairah:

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) as saying: The most excellent fast after Ramadan is Allah’s month al-Muharram, and the most excellent prayer after the prescribed prayer is the prayer during night. (Muslim)

The night prayer is one of the best acts of worship that brings the Muslim closer to Allah. In addition, it is a symbol of goodness and excellence. Allah says,

“Little of the night did they lie down. For at night’s end they were seeking (God’s) forgiveness.” (Quran 51: 17-18)

Reciting the Gracious Quran

Reciting the Gracious Quran should be part and parcel of the Muslim’s everyday life. There are several ayat (verses) from the Quran and many hadiths that encourage Muslims to read the Quran, study its meanings and reflect upon its admonitions. The Muslim should spend some time to do this even if it is ten minutes. Allah says,

“Indeed, those who recite the Book of God, and who (duly) establish the Prayer, and who spend (charitably) from what We have provided them, secretly and openly- they have hope in a (blessed) transaction that shall never come to ruin- that He may give them their rewards (in full) and increase them evermore from His bounty. Indeed, He is all-forgiving, ever-thankful.” (Quran 35: 29-30)

There are a lot of other acts of worship which every Muslim should do a share of it. May Allah accept our and your good deeds! Ameen!

 

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