What are the blessings received by those of us who are busy in the late hours of the night preparing the pre-dawn meal for others? When the rest of the people are at the mosques or in their rooms offering their tahajjud prayers, the people who are preparing the food that everyone will eat are too busy to do so. Some of them might be able to offer a few brief units of prayer on their own, but they will certainly miss out on the congregation and they will not pray anywhere near as much as the people for whom they are preparing the food. It goes without saying that the people who are preparing the food will not be observing i`tikâf in the mosques – but they will be feeding those who are.
Sheikh Sulaymân al-`Isâ, professor at al-Imâm University in Riyadh
Those who are prevented from offering the night prayers due to the fact that they are preparing the pre-dawn meal will receive the same reward as if they were also observing the prayers. In truth, they may even realize a greater reward for themselves due to the service that they are rendering to those who are engaged in prayer.
There is evidence for this reward in the Sunnah. For instance, Anas relates the following:
We were with the Prophet (peace be upon him) during a journey. Some of us chose to fast on the journey while others opted to refrain from fasting since we were traveling.
On one intensely hot day, we broke camp at some place on the way. The people who had been fasting were utterly exhausted and unable to do anything. Those who had opted not to fast set about putting up the tents and watering the animals.
Then the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Those who refrained from fasting got the blessings today.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (2890) and Sahîh Muslim (111)]
At the same time, the people who prepare the pre-dawn meal in Ramadan should do their best to offer some prayers at night – however briefly. If they are of those who would otherwise offer their prayers in congregation, they should try to pray the witr prayer, at least, with the imam at the mosque, in order to get the reward for praying throughout the night that comes from finishing the prayer with the imam.
And Allah knows best.
Source: Islam Today
-- Al Arabiya Digital