The Ease of this Religion

Some examples of the ease that resulted through the Prophet’s blessings is that one who prays Isha in congregation, it is as if he has prayed half the night, and the one who also prays Fajr in congregation, it is as if he has prayed the whole night. (Muslim) Hence the night prayer is recorded for him while he lies asleep on his bed, and more so if he goes to sleep in a state of purity and remains in remembrance of Allah until his eyes close. Whoever fasts three days of every month it is as if he has fasted there whole month. (Bukhari) Hence he is regarded to be fasting the remaining days of the month in the record of Allah even though he is eating and “the one who is eating and grateful has the reward of the one who is patiently fasting.” (Tirmidhi) Whoever has the intention of waking up to pray by night but is overcome by sleep will have the reward of the night prayer recorded for him and that sleep of his would be a charity from Allah. (Abu Dawud)

Abu Darda’ said, ‘Excellent indeed is the sleep of the intelligent and their breaking of the fast! Look how they outstrip the night vigil and the fasting of the obtuse! (Abu Nu’aym)

It is for this reason that the authentic hadith mentions, “It is well possible that one who prays by night gets nothing from it save weariness and a person fasting gets nothing from it save hunger and thirst.” (Ahmad and Tabarani)

Someone said, ‘Many are the ones seeking forgiveness but their lot is anger, and many are the ones who are silent but their lot is mercy. The first seeks forgiveness yet his heart remains the heart of a rebellious sinner and the second remains silent but his heart is engrossed in the remembrance of Allah.’ Another said, ‘The issue is not about praying by night, rather the issue is of one who sleeps on his bed but awakes having outstripped the vanguard.’ In this respect it has been said,

What have I to do with your faltering journey – 
Walk with ease and at the fore will you be!

The Journey to Allah by Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbali Pages 49-51