Ramadan 06: Standing Up at Night

Ramadan is the month of fasting, the Qur’an and standing a night.

“O you wrapped in garments (Prophet Muhammad)! Stand (to pray) all night, except a little – Half of it, – or less than that, Or a little more. And recite Qur’an (aloud) in a slow (pleasant tone and) style.” (Surah Al-Muzzammil:73)

This is what Allah the Almighty has said to his Prophet. And naturally, the noble Messenger complied with the command of his Lord by standing long hours in the night, crying profusely in all humiliation.

In the same manner, Allah ordered his beloved Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him:

“And in some parts of the night (also) offer the Salat (prayer) with it (recite the Qu’ran in the prayer) as an additional prayer (tahajjud optional prayer) for you (OMuhammad). It may be that your Lord will raise you to Maqam Mahmud (a station of praise and glory).” (Surah Al-Isra:79)

Accordingly, your own standing at night in this world will be glorious and honoured on the Day of Judgement. The nights of the fasting people are short because they are delightful. Allah the Almighty describes His righteous servants thus:

“They would lie asleep during but a small part of the night. In the early hours of the dawn they were found praying for forgiveness.” (Adh-Dhariyat:17-18)

The sound of weeping used to be heard from among the Prophet’s Companions, Migrants (muhajiroon) and Helpers (Ansar), whenever the darkness descended upon them. They were like monks in the night, but when day broke, they would be like fearless lions to their enemies. The homes of these people were like training institutes for faith. In these days our homes have become training grounds for vice. May Allah save us from such evils.

When we lost standing in prayer at night, our hearts became hard, our tears dried and our faith became weak. The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“Whoever stands (in prayer) out of sincere faith and hoping for reward will have his previous sins forgiven.” (Recorded in al-Bukhari)

If we call to mind the Momentous Day that will come, the Day of Judgement, this should encourage us to stand and pray in the night. It is the day when the graves will turn out their contents and what is in the hearts will be revealed. What have we prepared for that Day? How much will we wish we had stood to pray in the night?

Our righteous predecessors knew the great reward and preoccupied themselves with standing at night.  Among them were those who spent the night bowing, prostrating and standing before Allah. Among them were those who recited crying, who contemplated and hoped and were thankful.

Why have we made our homes desolate places without any standing or praying in the night? Why have we made it empty of Qur’anic recitations? How can one who remembers the grave and the gathering of mankind ever sleep? The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“Do not be like such and such a person. He used to stand in prayer at nights and then he abandoned this practice.” (Recorded in al-Bukhari and Muslim)

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