Qiyaam al-layl is Sunnah muâakkadah (a confirmed Sunnah). Many texts of the Qurâaan and Sunnah encourage it and speak of its high status and great reward.Â
Qiyaam al-layl plays a great role in strengthening one's faith and helping one to do good deeds. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):Â
âO you wrapped in garments (i.e. Prophet Muhammad)!
2.Â Stand (to pray) all night, except a little â
3.Â Half of it or a little less than that,
4.Â Or a little more. And recite the Qurâaan (aloud) in a slow, (pleasant tone and) style.
5.Â Verily, We shall send down to you a weighty Word (i.e. obligations, laws).
6.Â Verily, the rising by night (for Tahajjud prayer) is very hard and most potent and good for governing oneself, and most suitable for (understanding) the Word (of Allaah)â
Allaah praises those who have faith and are pious for their noble characteristics and good deeds, one of the most special of which is qiyaam al-layl. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):Â
âOnly those believe in Our Ayaat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.), who, when they are reminded of them, fall down prostrate, and glorify the Praises of their Lord, and they are not proud.
16.Â Their sides forsake their beds, to invoke their Lord in fear and hope, and they spend (in charity in Allaahâs Cause) out of what We have bestowed on them.
17.Â No person knows what is kept hidden for them of joy as a reward for what they used to doâ
Allaah describes them elsewhere in the following terms (interpretation of the meaning):Â
âAnd those who spend the night in worship of their Lord, prostrate and standing.
65.Â And those who say: âOur Lord! Avert from us the torment of Hell. Verily, its torment is ever an inseparable, permanent punishment.â
66.Â Evil indeed it (Hell) is as an abode and as a place to rest in.
67.Â And those who, when they spend, are neither extravagant nor niggardly, but hold a medium (way) between those (extremes).
68.Â And those who invoke not any other ilaah (god) along with Allaah, nor kill such person as Allaah has forbidden, except for just cause, nor commit illegal sexual intercourse and whoever does this shall receive the punishment.
69.Â The torment will be doubled to him on the Day of Resurrection, and he will abide therein in disgrace;
70.Â Except those who repent and believe (in Islamic Monotheism), and do righteous deeds; for those, Allaah will change their sins into good deeds, and Allaah is OftâForgiving, Most Merciful.
71.Â And whosoever repents and does righteous good deeds; then verily, he repents towards Allaah with true repentance.
72.Â And those who do not bear witness to falsehood, and if they pass by some evil play or evil talk, they pass by it with dignity.
73.Â And those who, when they are reminded of the Ayaat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) of their Lord, fall not deaf and blind thereat.
74.Â And those who say: âOur Lord! Bestow on us from our wives and our offspring the comfort of our eyes, and make us leaders of the Muttaqoon (the pious).â
75.Â Those will be rewarded with the highest place (in Paradise) because of their patience. Therein they shall be met with greetings and the word of peace and respect.
76.Â Abiding therein excellent it is as an abode, and as a place to rest inâ
From this we may note the virtue of qiyaam al-layl and its good consequences that cannot be ignored; it is one of the means of avoiding the punishment of Hell and attaining Paradise, and we may note the great blessing it brings of conversing with the Lord. May Allaah make us among those who attain success thereby.Â
Allaah has described the pious in Soorat al-Dhaariyaat as having a number of characteristics â including praying qiyaam al-layl â by means of which they attain Paradise. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):Â
âVerily, the Muttaqoon (the pious) will be in the midst of Gardens and Springs (in the Paradise),
16.Â Taking joy in the things which their Lord has given them. Verily, they were before this Muhsinoon (goodâdoers).
17.Â They used to sleep but little by night invoking their Lord (Allaah) and praying, with fear and hopeâ
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) encouraged us to pray qiyaam al-layl in many ahaadeeth, such as the following:Â
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: âThe best prayer after the obligatory prayer is prayer at night.â Narrated by Muslim, 1163.Â
And he said: âYou should pray qiyaam al-layl, for it is the custom of the righteous who came before you and it brings you closer to your Lord, and expiates sins and prevents misdeeds.âÂ
Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 3549; classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Irwaâ al-Ghaleel, 452.Â
âThe custom of the righteousâ means it was their usual practise.Â
âIt brings you closer to your Lordâ means, it is an act of worship by means of which one may draw closer to Allaah.Â
âand prevents misdeedsâ means, it prevents one from committing sin. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):Â
âVerily, AsâSalaah (the prayer) prevents from AlâFahshaâ (i.e. great sins of every kind, unlawful sexual intercourse) and AlâMunkar (i.e. disbelief, polytheism, and every kind of evil wicked deed)â
It was narrated that âAmr ibn Murrah al-Juhani said: A man came to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) from Qadaaâah and said to him: âO Messenger of Allaah, what do you think if I bear witness that there is no god except Allaah and that you are His Messenger, and I pray the five daily prayers, and fast the month (of Ramadaan), and pray qiyaam in Ramadaan, and pay zakaah?âÂ The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: âWhoever dies doing that will be one of the siddeeqs and martyrs.âÂ
Narrated by Ibn Khuzaymah; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Ibn Khuzaymah, 2212.Â
Al-Tirmidhi (1984) narrated that âAli said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: âIn Paradise there are apartments the outside of which can be seen from the inside and the inside of which can be seen from the outside.â A Bedouin stood up and said: âWho are they for, O Messenger of Allaah?â He said: âThey are for those who speak good words, feed others, fast regularly and pray to Allaah at night when people are sleeping.â Classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi.Â
Al-Haakim narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: âJibreel came to me and said: âO Muhammad, live as long as you want, for you will die. Love whomever you want, for you will leave him. Do whatever you want for you will be requited for it. Remember that the believerâs honour is his praying at night, and his pride is his being independent of people.â Classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaamiâ, 73. Â
The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: âWhoever prays qiyaam reciting ten verses will not be recorded as one of the negligent. Whoever prays qiyaam reciting one hundred verses will be recorded as one of the devout. Whoever prays qiyaam reciting one thousand verses will be recorded as one of the muqantireen.âÂ
Narrated by Abu Dawood, 1398; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood.Â
The muqantireen are those who will be given a qintaar of reward. A qintaar is a large amount of gold, and most of the scholars of Arabic language are of the view that it is four thousand dinars.Â
And it was said that a qintaar is a bullâs hide full of gold, or eighty thousand, or a large but unspecified amount of wealth. See al-Nihaayah fi Ghareeb il-Hadeeth by Ibn al-Atheer.Â
What is meant by this hadeeth is to emphasize the greatness of the reward earned by the one who recites a thousand verses. Al-Tabaraani narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: âA qintaar is better than this world and everything in it.â Classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Targheeb, 638.Â
Al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar said: From Soorat Tabaarak al-Mulk to the end of the Qurâaan is one thousand verses.Â
Whoever prays qiyaam reciting from Soorat Tabaarak to the end of Qurâaan has prayed qiyaam with one thousand verses.Â
And Allaah knows best.