Ramadhaan – A Date with Dr. Zakir

 

Episode 13

 

Qiyaam ul Layl

[Part 1]

 

(Duration –  48 Minutes)

 

Yusuf Chambers: Dear brothers and sisters in Islam and Humanity, Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh, May the peace, mercy and blessings of Allah (Subhana wa Ta’ala)

be on all of you. Welcome to the show ‘Ramadhaan – A Date with Dr. Zakir’. I’m your host, Yusuf Chambers, and today we will be discussing the topic - ‘Qiyaam ul Layl’ The night Prayer.

 

Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh!

 

Dr. Zakir: Wa Alaikum Assalam Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh 

 

Yusuf Chambers: Very interesting topic once again and the first question I have for you is as we’ve often been doing, first question. What is the meaning of the term Qiyaam ul Layl and can you give us the differentiation between that term and Taraweeh which is often misconstrued.

 

Dr. Zakir: Alhumdulillah, Was Salaatu Was Salaam Aala Rasoolillah Wa Ala Aalihi Wa Ashaabihi Wa Ajma’een, Amma Baad.

 

A’uzu billahi minash shaytan nir-rajeem, Bismillah hirrahman nirraheem.

 

Rabbish rahli Şadri Wa Yassir Li ‘Amri Wa Ahlul `Uqdatam Min Lisaani Yafqahu Qawli.

As far as the word Qiyaam ul Layl is concerned it is broken up into 2 words Qiyaam. Qiyaam means to stand and Al Layl means the night. So literally it means standing in the night but in the Shariah, in the Islamic context it means that it is a voluntary prayer which is prayed in the Isha and before the break of dawn. And as we are aware that Isha starts after the redness of the sky after the sunset and you can pray this Qiyaam ul Layl just before the break of dawn, just before the time of Fajr.

 

So Qiyaam, the word Qiyaam ul Layl was given because a person in his voluntary prayer, he recites long verses of the Qur’an so the standing is long. Therefore it is called as standing in the night, the prayer where you have to stand for a long time and there are various different words which are used for the same Qiyaam ul Layl. 

 

For example it’s also called as Salaat ul Layl meaning the prayer at night. Its also called as Tahajjud, it’s also called as Witr, also as Taraweeh…

 

Salaat ul Layl as I mentioned means prayer at night, similar to standing in the night, but natural, for praying. The other word used is Tahajjud coming form the word ‘Hajjada’ which means to wake up. So when a person sleeps and he wakes up to pray, it’s called as Tahajjud also. 

 

The other word used is Witr, Witr meaning odd and our Prophet always said that we have to, after Isha Salaah we should offer Witr in odd Rakaats.

 

And the other name used is Taraweeh. Taraweeh comes from the Arabic word ‘Raaha’ which means to rest, which means to relax because after a few generations, after the Prophet, people when they used to read the Qiyaam ul Layl in Ramadhaan especially this word Taraweeh is mainly used for Qiyaam ul Layl in Ramadhaan. So when they used to pray Qiyaam ul Layl in Ramadhaan, after 4 Rakaat, they used to rest. So this word Taraweeh from that time onwards, it got stuck to this Qiyaam ul Layl in Ramadhaan, it’s called as Taraweeh. Normally after 4 rakaat, they used to rest and this has continued because they used to pray for long hours and even now though they pray for short time, a few verses yet in the Qiyaam ul Layl during Ramadhaan they stop, so the word is yet used as Taraweeh.

 

But at the time of the Prophet this word Taraweeh was never used. Even while praying this word was never used, even the Sahabas never used this word. It came on later on. So the more appropriate word is Qiyaam ul Layl, Taraweeh is not the right appropriate word. But it came later on but if a person when he reads for long time, Qiyaam ul Layl in Ramadhaan if he wants to rest, he can rest but its not forbidden to rest, the person is tired and he wants to rest, he can rest but its not compulsory to rest. So the more appropriate word is Qiyaam ul Layl and it’s not Taraweeh.

 

Yusuf Chambers: Dr. Zakir, next question is could you tell us something of the excellence of the night prayer, Qiyaam ul Layl, in Islam? 

 

Dr. Zakir:  As far as Qiyaam ul Layl, the night prayer is concerned there are various verses of the Qur’an, there are several Hadith talking about it but I will just mention a few of them. 

 

Allah says in the Quran in Surah Sajjdah ch. no. 32 verse no. 16 talking about those people who are in Paradise, people who will go to Jannah and He describes these people that

 

“Their limps do forsake the bed of sleep and they call to their Lord in fear and hope”

 

That means they leave aside their sleep and pray to Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala in hope and in fear, in Taqwa. And it continues 

 

“And they give in charity from the sustenance we have given, talking about the people in Jannah.  

 

Further if you read in the Quran in 

 

Surah Dhaariyaat ch. no. 51 verse no. 17 and 18 that 

 

These are the people of Jannah and righteous people they sleep veryt little in night and during the early hours in night, these people they pray for forgiveness. 

 

Allah further says in 

 

Surah Furqaan ch. no. 25 verse no. 64 that 

 

“These are the people who spend their night in adoration of their Lord standing and in prostration, in Qiyaam and in Sujood.”

 

There are various verses in the Quran, there are various Hadith talking about the excellence of this night prayer.

 

Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) said, its mentioned in 

 

Sahih Muslim Vol. no.1 in the Book of Fasting Hadith no. 2612, our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) said that

 

“The best prayer after the prescribed prayers, after the prayers which are obligatory which are Fardh it is the night prayer” 

 

Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) said, It’s mentioned in 

 

Sahih Bukhari Vol no. 2 in the Book of Tahajjud Hadith no. 1131, the beloved Prophet said 

 

“The best prayer is the prayer of Dawud (alaihe salaam) and the best fasting is the fasting of Dawud (alaihe salaam) And Dawud (alaihe salaam), he used to sleep the first half of the night then he used to spend the next one third of the night in praying to Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) and the rest of it, the one sixth of night, he used to again sleep. Here again talking about the excellence of the night prayer.

 

Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) said its mentioned in 

 

Sahih Bukhari in Vol. no. 2 in the Book of Tahajjud Hadith no. 1142, our beloved Prophet said that 

 

“When a person sleeps, the Satan, he ties 3 knots at the back of his head and after tying each knot he whispers and he blows and says the night is long so keep on sleeping. And when a person gets up and remembers Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala), the first knot is undone, when he does the Wudu, the second knot in undone and when he prays the third know is undone and the person is energetic and InshaAllah he will be on the straight part the full day” 

 

On the other hand if he gets up without taking the name of Allah, without wudu, without offering Salaah then he is lazy and his heart is mischievous,. 

 

Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) further said, its mentioned in 

 

Sahih Muslim Vol. no. 1 in the Book of Salaah Hadith no. 1656 our beloved Prophet said that 

 

“Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala), he descends to the lowest part of the heaven in the last one third of the night. And He says that is there anyone who wants to supplicate to me and I will answer him. Is there anyone who wants to ask from Me and I will give it to him. Is there anyone who wants to seek forgiveness and I will forgive him. Is there any one who wants to invest a good deed with me for I am not unjust and not wasteful. And He continues till the break of dawn. 

 

And there are various excellence spoken about the night prayer for example in a Sahih Hadith of 

 

Tirmidhi Book of Supplications Hadith no. 3579 our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) said that

 

“The Sservant is the closest to his Lord in the last one third of the night and if he asks him and if he prays to Him during this time, it is the best time that he can pray to Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala)”

 

It’s mentioned in a Sahih Hadith of Tirmidhi in the Book of Supplications Hadith no. 3499 that 

 

When a person asked that which is the best time to pray, the beloved Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) said 

that 

 

“The best time that your prayer will be answered is during the last one third of the night and after the prescribed prayers, after the five obligatory prayers if you supplicate and then InshaAllah its the best time for Supplication and the last one third of the night.”

 

It’s mentioned in Sunan Abu Dawud Vol no. 1 in the Book of Salaah Hadith no. 1417 that beloved Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) said that 

 

“Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) has added one more prayer for you that is the Witr and if anyone wants to pray 5 Rakaat in Witr, he may do so. If anyone wants to pray 3 rakat for witr, he may do so. If anyone wants to pray one Rakat for witr, he may do so) 

 

It’s further mentioned in Sunan Abu Dawud Vol. no. 1 in the Book of Salaah Hadith no. 1303, the beloved Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) said that 

 

“A person who gets up n the middle of the night and prays to Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) and wakes up his wife and if she doesn’t wake up then sprinkle some water on her, Allah’s mercy and blessings is on such people, and the Hadith further continues that Allah’s mercy and blessings are on those women who wake up in the middle of the night and they pray to Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) and they wake up their husbands and if their husbands don’t wake up they sprinkle water on them. So again it is one of the best prayers after the obligatory prayers” 

 

Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) further said, its mentioned in 

 

Sunan Abu Dawud Vol. no. 1 in the Book of Salaah Hadith no. 1302

 

“The Prophet’s wife Hazrat Aisha, (may Allah be pleased with her,) she said that the Prophet used to always pray to the Qiyaam ul Layl and he never missed it even when he was sick and ill or lethargic, he used to pray even though he used to pray while sitting, he never missed it” 

 

So this was few of the Hadith and few Quranic verses which speak about the excellence of the night prayer. 

 

Yusuf Chambers: Well thank you very much for the answer Dr. Zakir. I am sure that’s very useful and informative for our viewers to know all about the excellence of the night prayer in Islam generally of course. Now I want to discuss Qiyaam ul Layl in termsht of Ramadhaan. Could you give us some imfrmation about Qiyaam ul Layl in the month of Ramadhaan? 

 

Dr. Zakir: All the advantages, all the blessings, all the excellence which are there, which I spoke in the earlier answer for Qiyaam ul Layl generally is multiplied in the time of Ramadhaan, Ramadhaan is the month of mercy as I discussed earlier and you get more Sawaab, you get multiple times more Sawaab, 10 times to 700 times so all the excellence discussed in the normal time, in the month of Ramadhaan it is multiplied. 

 

And the beloved Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) its mentioned in 

 

Sahih Bukhari Vol. no. 3 in the Book of Fasting Hadith no. 2009 that

 

“Anyone who offers the night prayer in the month of Ramadhaan with belief and with seeking Allah’s reward, all his past sins will be forgiven”

 

And it’s mentioned in the Sahih Hadith of 

 

Sahih Ibn Hibbaan (Vol. no. 8 Book of Fasting) Hadith no. 3438 that 

 

“There was a person who comes to Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) and asks him that what if I say that there is no God worthy of worship except Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) who has no got partners and Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) is the messenger of Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) and if I offer 5 times obligatory Salaah, prayers and if I fast in the month of Ramadhaan and if I pray in the night during Ramadhaan, if I offer the night prayer only in Ramadhaan Qiyaam ul Layl and if I give Zakaat then what is my position? So the beloved Prophet said that “anyone who does all these things, he will be amongst the Siddiqueen that’s the righteous people and among the Shuhadah, amongst the Martyrs” 

 

So this is the importance. Everything is the same but its multiplied. You will be called among the righteous people and amongst those who are Martyrs and therefore a person should see to it that he should offer the Qiyaam ul Layl in Ramadhaan, its very important, he should not miss it.

 

And furthermore besides the spiritual benefits that all that I discussed in the previous answer there are even physical benefits when a person fasts for the full day then during Iftaar, he eats and then if he offers 

Qiyaam ul Layl it is good for the body, the body of fasting, when he stands, he is in a position of bowing then the Sujood, it’s a good exercise and besides giving spiritual benefits, it even gives physical benefits. So as far as possible a person should see to it that he should not miss the Qiyaam ul Layl.

 

Yusuf Chambers: Excellent, I am sure a lot of people are going to be praying the night prayer now after you’ve given that good advice.  Ah.. the next question Is relating to the time that Qiyaam ul Layl should be practiced during the night? What’s the best time during the night?

 

Dr. Zakir: Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) said its mentioned in Sahih of 

 

Musnad Ahmad Vol. no. 6 Page no. 7 (Hadith no. 23963) the beloved Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) said that 

 

“Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) has added one more prsayer i.e. the Witr. So pray Witr between Isha and Fajr” 

 

That means the time of Isha is after sunset when the redness in the sky disappears, that is the time of Isha. So after you offer Isha you can pray anytime before the break of dawn, before the time of Fajr starts. This is the earliest and the latest where you can pray the Qiyaam ul Layl and as I mentioned earlier Witr is another name for Qiyaam ul Layl. 

 

And our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) said, its mentioned in 

 

Musannaf Abdur Razzaaq (Vol. no. 3 Book of Salaah) Hadith no. 4623 that our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) said that

 

“If someone fears that he will not wake up in the night then he can offer the Witr or the Qiyaam ul Layl in the early part of the night. But if a person knows that he is going to get up in the night, he should pray at night after he gets up from sleep” 

 

Because praying in the later party of the night is much better when angels pray for the person. And as I mentioned earlier the Hadith I mentioned earlier of 

 

Sahih Muslim Vol. no. 1 (Book of Salaah) Hadith no. 1656, it’s a Hadith which is also there in Sahih Bukhari with a different wording, it is Mutafaq Alaih.

 

It also occurs in 

 

Sahih Bukhari Vol. no. 2 in the Book of Tahajjud Hadith no. 1145, our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) said that

 

“Allah, the supreme, the glorious, He descends to the lowest part of the heaven during the last one third of the night. And He asks “Is there anyone who is supplicating to Me so that I can answer his supplication? Is there anyone who is begging to Me so that I can give him. Is there anyone who is asking forgiveness so that I can forgive him?” 

 

It’s a Mutafaq Allaih Hadith, occurs in Sahih Muslim and Sahih Bukhari. 

 

It’s further mentioned in the Hadith of 

 

Tirmidhi in the Book of Supplications Hadith no. 3579 that 

“The closest a servant is to his creator Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) is during the last one third of the night. And if he prays to Him during that time, it’s the best.” 

 

So the Qiyaam ul Layl, the Witr it’s immediately after Isha is earliest you can pray up till break of dawn but the best time is the last one third of the night”

 

And that’s what id further mentioned in 

Sahih Bukhari Vol. no. 3 (Book of Taraweeh) Hadith no. 2010 where

 

“Hazrat Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, he said when people were offering the Qiyaam ul Layl in Ramadhaan immediately after Isha that it’s good but it would have been better if they offered in the last one third of the night”

 

So praying in the last one third is the best. But you can start immediately after Isha and pray just before the break of Dawn, before the Fajr time. But in the Mosque generally, majority of the Mosque, they have immediately after Isha that is approximately 2 hours after the break of fast, after sunset. Plus, minus half an hour most of the mosques because it is convenient. Because there are people who are young in the congregation, there are people who are elderly people, there are women so to make it easier and not to make life difficult for them because most of them it’s difficult for them to get up in the middle of the night so in majority of the Mosques, they have it immediately after Isha or may be 2 hours or 2 and half hours after the break of fast which is no problem at all. 

 

It is better to pray then not to pray…better to pray early than not to pray. But the best time is last one third of the night. So in some of the Mosques have during the last one third of the night, you know Qiyaam ul Layl, in Ramadhaan, that’s the best but the majority of the Mosques have it earlier which there is no problem at all. 

 

Yusuf Chambers: Okay, good. I think that you can do both, of course.

 

Dr. Zakir: Alhumdulillah.

 

Yusuf Chambers: Alhumdulillah.

 

Dr. Zakir: Allah has made life easy for us, Alhumdulillah.

 

Yusuf Chambers: May Allah allow us to do it the whole month, InshaAllah. Take all the benefits that you mentioned and will continue during this interview and the question and answers to come, InshaAllah. 

 

Dr. Zakir: InshaAllah

 

Dr. Zakir, the next question is relating to the etiquettes of the night prayer. Could you explain some of the most essential etiquettes of the night prayer?

 

Dr. Zakir: There are some Hadiths which give us some guidance. There is a Hadith which is Sahih Hadith according to Shaikh Albani it’s a Hadith of 

 

Al Baihaqi (Vol. no. 1 Book of Purification Hadith no. 163) where it says that our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) said that 

 

“When you get up in the middle of the night then you use the Siwaak and then you do Wudhu and then you offer Salaah”

 

So using the Siwaak is a Sunnah. Further its mentioned in 

 

Sahih Bukhari Vol. no. 2 in the Book of Tahajjud Hadith no. 1154 where the beloved Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) said and he gave certain things that when a person when he gets up in the middle of the night, he can recite

 

“La ilaha illallahu wahdahu la sharika lahu, lahulmulku wa lahulhamdu wa huwa 'ala kulli shay'in qadir” 

 

“Alhamdulillahi SubhanAllahi Wa la ila ha ill Allahu Walahu Akbar”

 

“la hawla wala quwwata illa billah”

 

And then you can recite 

 

“Allahummaghfirli”

 

“O Allah, forgive me, O Allah forgive me”

 

So these are recitations which you can do when you get up. 

 

Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) said, it’s a Sahih Hadith of 

 

Sunan Nasai (Vol. no. 2 Book of Qiyaamul Layl) Hadith no. 1621

 

Where the beloved Prophet said that when he used to get up in the middle of the Salaah, 

 

“Hazrat Aisha, (may Allah be pleased with her), she said that whenever the Prophet used to get up in the middle of the night, he used to recite 

 

“Subhana Rabbil Aalameen”

Means

 

“Glory be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds”

 

He used to recite several times. He used to even recite

 

“Subhanallah wa bihamdihi”

 

“Glory be to Allah and praise be to Him” several times.

 

So these are a few of the etiquettes of a person when he gets up in the middle of the night to offer the Salaah and there is also a Hadith of 

 

Sunan Abu Dawud, it’s a Sahih Hadith Vol. no. 1 in the Book of Salaah Hadith no. 1324 

 

“Once when Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam), in the night when he was passing by, he heard Hazrat Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, reciting the Qiyaam ul Layl and he could hear his voice and later on he hears the voice of Hazrat Umar, (may Allah be pleased with him), when both of them come to him the next day, he says to Hazrat Abu Bakr, (may Allah be pleased with him) that I could hear your voice, it was soft, it was low. 

Abu Bakr, (may Allah be pleased with him), he replies that the person whom I was praying to, he could hear it. Therefore I was praying softly. Then he says to Hazrat Umar, (may Allah be pleased with him), that your voice was loud so he said that I was trying to wake up those people who were sleeping and I was trying to shoo away the devils, the Shayateen. I was trying to drive them off. So then the Prophet says to Hazrat Abu Bakr, (may Allah be pleased with him) that you should increase your voice while offering the Qiyaam ul Layl and he told to Hazrat Umar, (may Allah be pleased with him), that you should lower your voice while offering Qiyaam ul Layl.

 

That means your voice should be moderate, neither too loud neither too soft while offering Qiyaam ul Layl. And there is another Hadith which is a Sahih Hadith mentioned in 

 

Sunan Abu Dawud Vol. no. 1 in the Book of Salaah Hadith no. 1322 that Ibn Abbas, (may Allah be pleased with him), he said that 

 

“Whenever the Prophet offered the Qiyaam ul Layl you could hear his voice in the inner room when he was reciting in the house” 

 

That means the voice was moderate neither too loud neither too soft. So these are few of the etiquettes of Qiyaam ul Layl.

 

Yusuf Chambers: Okay, thank you very much, Dr. The next question relates to the length of time, the length that one should make the night prayer. Is there any indication from the Quran and Sunnah relating the length?

 

Dr. Zakir: There are various Hadith talking about it and the length can vary but the Sunnah of the Prophet was that he used to pray usually for long hours 

 

And there’s a Hadith of Sahih Bukhari Vol. no. 2 Book of Tahajjud Hadith no. 1135 that 

 

“A Sahaba says that I joined the Prophet one night while he was offering the Qiyaam ul Layl and it was so long that an evil thought came to me. So then he was asked that what was the evil thought he said like sitting down and keeping the Prophet standing”

 

That means it was so long. There’s another Hadith in 

 

Sahih Muslim Vol. no. 1 in the Book of Salaah Hadith no. 1697 where it says that

 

“Once a Sahaba, he prays the Qiyaam ul Layl alone with Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) and the Prophet started reciting Surah Baqarah and the Sahaba says that when we finished about 100 verses he thought that the Prophet would bow down but the Prophet continued. Then later on he thought that after some verses he would bow down but he continued. Then he thought that may be after Surah Baqarah ends the Prophet would bow down but after Surah Baqarah ends he continues reciting, he recites Surah Nisa and that again is 176 verses and after that ends he recites Surah Ale-Imran and he continues leisurely, that means Prophet used to pray for hours. Imagine, Surah Baqarah, Surah Nisa, Surah Ale Imran, it is about all put together at least 5 Juz, imagine only in that one Rakat! 

 

Yusuf Chambers: SubhanAllah.

 

Dr. Zakir: So this was the length at many times but there is no fixed length a person can vary as much as he wants. The Prophet always preferred praying longer. 

 

Further it’s mentions in Sahih Hadith of 

 

Sunan Abu Dawud Vol. no. 1 in the Book of Salaah Hadith no. 873 

 

“The beloved Prophet, one of the Sahabas say that when he used to pray, he started the Qiyaam ul Layl and he after Surah Fathia, he read Surah Baqarah then he went in the Ruku, in the bowing position and when he was in the bowing position he stayed there as long as he was standing before. Then he got up and put his head straight and he was in the standing position till as much time as he was in the bowing position”

 

Yusuf Chambers: SubhanAllah.

 

Dr. Zakir: Then he goes is the Sujood and the Prophet was… but natural he says that Subhana Rabbiyal Azim in the Ruku Glory to Allah and then in the Sujood he says Subhana Rabbiyal Aala, Glory be to Allah who is the highest and he was in the Sujood position as long as he was in the standing position as long as he was in the standing position. And in between in the 2 Sujood also he was as long as he was in the Sujood position saying that all these positions the Qiyaam, the Ruku the standing after Ruku, the Sujood and the sitting between the 2 Sujood, he used to take his own time and it used to be long. That means the Qiyaam ul Layl was very long”

 

There is another Hadith in Sahih Muslim Vol. no. 4 (Book of Qiyaamah) Hadith no. 6774,

 

“Hazrat Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, she says that the Prophet while offering Qiyaam ul Layl, the night prayer, he used to stand for such long hours that his feet used to swell. So his wife Hazrat Aisha, (radiallahu anha), (may Allah be pleased with her), she says that all your past and the future sins have been forgiven so why do you ask for forgiveness so much, why do you pray for so long. So he said that shouldn’t I be thankful to Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala)?

 

So all the more he should be thankful. So the Prophet used to normally pray for long hours. So the longer you offer the Qiyaam ul Layl, the better it is.

 

Yusuf Chambers: Well, may Allah give us strength to utilize the night prayer with length like you have described the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) to have done, Alhumdulillah. Dr. Zakir, is it better according to Qur’an and Sunnah to offer the Qiyaam ul Layl individually or in congregation?

 

Dr. Zakir: There are Hadith which say that a person can offer Qiyaam ul Layl individually, also in congregation both are accepted and all the references I gave, most of them Prophet used to offer together and I gave some references when the Sahaba used to join the Prophet so both are there, but as far as which is better but natural there are various Hadith in Sahih Bukhari saying that if you offer in Congregation, you get 27 times more Sawab. I know of 2 Hadith saying that. 

 

And further as far as Qiyaam ul Layl in Ramadhaan is concerned the Hadith in 

 

Sahih Bukhari Vol. no. 3 in the Book of Taraweeh Hadith no. 2012

 

“Where once the Prophet, he goes to the Mosque and there he finds that people are offering in the groups so he offers Salaah, the Qiyaam ul Layl, at night and many people join behind him. Next day the news spreads and the next night the full mosque is filled with people. The third night again when the Prophet comes to offer Qiyaam ul Layl the Mosque is overflowing with people in the congregation but naturally. The fourth night again, it is overfilled but the Prophet, he knows that people are waiting out again to join him for Qiyaam ul Layl, he does not go out purposely. And during Fajr after offering the Fajr Salaah, after the Salaah is over and he says that “not that I was not aware that the people were waiting for me for the Qiyaam ul Layl but I did not want to make it compulsory for you”. I don’t want people to think that it’s compulsory to offer salaah for Qiyaam ul Layl lest it would be difficult for you.” 

 

So purposely Prophet gave a break to make it known to the people that it’s not Fard to offer Qiyaam ul Layl and he did not want to make it difficult for the people. But from the Hadith we come to know that offering in Jamaat is better and there is another Hadith in 

 

Sunan Abu Dawud Vol. no. 1, in the Book of Salaah Hadith no. 1370 

 

“Once the Prophet was offering Qiyaam ul Layl and he finishes and when he is about to get up people say that why don’t you pray more. So the Prophet says that anyone who prays till the Imam finishes if he prays with the Imam till he finishes it is as though he has prayed for the full night”

 

So from these 2 Hadith we come to know that offering Qiyaam ul Layl in congregation is better than offering individually irrespective whether it’s in Ramadhaan or outside Ramadhaan. 

 

Yusuf Chambers: Okay, Thank you Doctor. Actually there is another issue which is come up in my own research and it relates to the fact that many people consider it a Bida’ to go into congregation and pray the Qiyaam ul Layl and this started in the Khalifat of Umar (Radhi Allahu Anhu), (may Allah be pleased with him), could you comment on this? 

 

Dr. Zakir: People have a misconception that Hazrat Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, he was the one who started this congregation Salaah, Qiyaam ul Layl, during Ramadhaan, it’s a misconception. But in fact it is he who revived the Sunnah of the Prophet. As I mentioned earlier in the Hadith of 

 

Sahih Bukhari Vol. no. 3 in the Book of Taraweeh Hadith no. 2012

 

That the Prophet was the person who offered Qiyaam ul Layl and people joined the congregation and he allowed it. Then later on the next night the whole mosque was filled and third night it was overflowing and fourth night he did not come out purposely. 

 

From this Hadith we come to know that it was the Prophet who started this and Sunnah of the Prophet but at the time of Hazrat Abu Bakr, (may Allah be pleased with him), there were hardly any people who prayed that. Even in the starting of the caliphate of Hazrat Umar it was the same thing, (may Allah be pleased with him). 

 

It’s further mentioned in the Hadith of Sahih Bukhari Vol. no. 3 in the Book of Taraweeh Hadith no. 2010, 

 

“The Sahaba says that he was walking along with Hazrat Umar in one of the mosques,(may Allah be pleased with him), and he finds that people were praying individually and some people were praying in a small group so Hazrat Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, he gathered all the people and he said lets make one Jamaat. And he appointed Ubai ibn Kaib, (may Allah be pleased with him), to lead the salaah and everyone prayed behind him. And later on when he comes back  after a few nights he finds that people are praying in cone congregation and then he comments ‘it is preferable to pray when the people are sleeping then that they are praying now’” 

 

Because you know that they pray immediately after Isha Salaah as I mentioned earlier.

 

So praying Qiyaam ul Layl in Ramadhaan so praying the Qiyamul Layl in Ramadhaan what people call as Taraweeh it’s preferable to pray in the last 1/3rd of the night but if you pray early also, no problem.

 

Now coming back to the question that it’s an excellent bid’ah people misunderstand this statement and they say O that means bid’ah can be good, bid’ah is normally in the Shariah means an innovation in the religion but here Hazrat Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) he never used it as a bid’a in the religion, there’s nothing like bid’a which is good you know because its mentioned in the hadith of

Sahih Muslim Vol. no. 1 hadith no. 1885 that 

 

“All innovations in the religion are wrong and they lead to error.”

 

And another hadith says

 

“All innovations lead to hellfire” 

 

So all innovations are wrong. Now based on this hadith when Umar (may Allah be pleased with him said) that its an excellent bid’a so people normally say that bid’a can be good and bid’ah can be bad good bid’a is allowed so he really meant here was bid’a in the linguistic term not bid’ah in the religion because in linguistic bid’a means something which is new.,so at time people did not pray in one congregation so he reminded them of the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) so it was going back to the Sunnah of the Prophet but for that time it was bid’ah linguistically it was something new so it doesn’t mean that Hazrat Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) he innovates something in the religion, he took the people back to the sunnah of the Prophet. 

 

For e.g. if I go to a city where people are wearing their trousers below the ankle and if I say that you know wearing above the ankle is the Sunnah of the Prophet but it’s a bid’ah for that time because people its new for them they didn’t know about it so its bid’a for that time but its going back to the sunnah of the Prophet wearing the trousers above the ankle.

 

So people misunderstand this statement of Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) talking about new for that time and for that people but actually it is going back to the Prophet so it is not what Hazrat Umar (may Allah be pleased with him innovated it). He told the people that this is what the Prophet did and there are several such examples 

 

Many Muslims you know temporary marriage done by some groups of Muslims the Prophet had prohibited that Hazrat Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) he knew about it so during the seventh Hijri of Tabuk he said it is wrong so people think he imposed it but he knew the Prophet said it  was Haraam the temporary marriage you know it’s called as Mut’ah so just because he implemented the Sunnah which very few people knew at that time and he was there when the Prophet said that Mut’ah temporary marriage is Haraam people think that he brought it into the deen, its going back to the Sunnah of the Prophet hope that clarifies 

 

Yusuf Chambers: JazakAllah Khair Dr. Zakir. Dr. Zakir I would call upon you to resolve one of those common disputes in the Muslim Ummah during the month of Ramadhaan regarding the number of rakaat that are prayed in the “Taraweeh” or “The Qiyaam ul Layl” or “The night Prayer”. Is it 8 or should it be 20

 

Dr. Zakir Naik: Our beloved Prophet Muhammad 

(Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) said it’s mentioned in 

 

Sahih Bukahri Vol. No. 1, in the book of salaah hadith no. 472 he said that 

 

“When a person asked that how should you offer tha Qiyaam ul Layl so the Prophet said that… He should offer Qiyaam ul Layl in two rakaat followed by two rakaat followed by two rakaat followed by two rakaat and so on and when he fears that dawn is approaching he should offer one rakaat so all the rakaat become witr become odd”

 

That means you can pray as many as you wish later on have one number an odd number so that everything becomes odd.

 

So as far as the number of rakaats are concerned you can pray as many as you wish but as far as the practice of Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) is concerned its mentioned in 

 

Sahih Bukhari Vol. No. 2 in the Book of Tahajjud hadith no. 1147 that 

 

Hazrat Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) she says that 

 

“The Prophet while offering Qiyaam ul Layl in Ramadhaan used to always offer eleven rakaat, not more than eleven rakaat and this he used to do also in other months”

 

That means 8 rakaats of Qiyamul Layl and 3 rakaats of witr so it becomes 8+3 11 rakaats and there are various other hadith which always says all the hadith which we find of the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) whether it be Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim, all of them said that he prayed 8 rakaat or 11 rkaaats eleven includes 8+3. 

 

And further the same hadith of Sahih Bukhari Vol. No 2 in the Book of Tahajjud hadith no. 1147 that 

 

“Hazrat Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) when she says that the Prophet always offered eleven rakaats in Ramadhaan and even other times and she said that he used to offer four rakaats and I cannot narrate to you the time, the beauty and the length of these rakaat and he used to again offer four rakaat and I cannot narrate to you the beauty and the length of these 4 rakaat and then he used to offer three rakaat indicating 8+3”

 

But if you read the practice of the Salafus Saliheen of predecessors of the Sahabaas the Taba’een, Tabe Taba’een we find from records that they prayed 11 rakaats, some prayed 13, some prayed 19, some prayed 23, some prayed 36, some prayed 39 rakaats also. 

 

And if you read Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaibah Vol. no. 2 Page no. 165 – 166 it says that 

 

“The Taba’een when they offered the Qiyaam ul Layl in Ramadhaan which is known as taraweeh they offer twenty rakaats some place it says they offered thirty six rakaats”

 

So far as the rakaats are concerned the call...the commandment of the Prophet was that read two rakaat…two rakaat… two rakaat …. two rakaat as much as you wish and then one and as I mentioned earlier in Sahih Bukhari Vol. 1 hadith no. 472 

 

You can read as many rakaats you want in  two..two…two…and then one but if you want to follow the Sunnah of the Prophet, the Prophet always offered eight rakaats plus three. So what is permissible as many as you wish…8,10, 20, 36 no problem and then followed by 3 witr but the Prophet offered 8+3… 11 but you can offer as many as you wish 

 

Yusuf Chambers: Well offcourse you’ve mentioned that one could pray as much as you like in terms of the number of rakaat but the Sunnah is eight, this is what you’ve said?

 

Dr. Zakir: Yes, Prophet offered eight

 

Yusuf Chambers: Alhumdulillah 

 

Dr. Zakir: But he permitted, you can offer as many as you wish 

 

Yusuf Chambers: Right! Right! So as many as you like, but the Sunnah is eight, however umm…if a person or a group of people pray 8 in one hour and another group of people pray 20 in one and a half hour, which would you say is the best?

 

Dr. Zakir: The question has got two portions, one is the number of rakaat other is the length, as I mentioned in the earlier answer that the longer it is, the better it is The Prophet said that 

 

And the other is that any rakaat is fine Prophet offered eight, now here eight and one hour is better or twenty and one and a half hour is better. Before I answer this question I would like to tell you that 

 

If a person is offering a Salaah in a mosque which is praying in congregation 8 rakaat he should not get up and pray additional 12 and make it 20 because he feels 20 is better, neither should a person who is offering Taraweeh or the Qiyaam ul Layl in Ramadhaan offers his Qiyaam ul Layl in a mosque which is offering 20 rakaat in Jamaat, he should not offer 8 rakaats and walk out because the Prophet said that 

 

“A person who prays along with the Imaam and ends with the Imaam it is as though he has offered salaah for the whole night”

 

So we should be more tolerant and I agree that the Prophet allowed all types if a person wasn’t to offer 20 if he is offering in a mosque of 8 rakaats in Jamaat, offer 8 rakaats in Jamaat and go home and offer the remaining balance that’s 12 rakaats. 

 

As far as the question is concerned which is better? 8 rakaats in one hour or 20 rakaats in one and a half hour, here again as I said the call…the commandment if it is that you can offer as many as you wish and the longer it is…the longer it is better but the Prophet offered long and 8 rakaat, so if you ask me which is better? Both are acceptable but the better would be that if he offers the same length but with 8 rakaat… same length 8 rakaat whether it be one hour, two hour or three hours, so if you ask me one hour with 8 rakaat is better or one hour with 20 rakaat is better? I would prefer one hour with 8 rakaat.

 

But as your question if it’s one hour with 8 rakaat and one and a half hour with 20 rakaat I would prefer 20 rakaat…one and a half hour because the call of the Prophet is the longer the better which you are doing and again the call is that you can offer as many as you wish, so I would prefer 20 rakaat and one and a half hour rather than 8 rakaat and one hour and that’s what we see in the Harmain there are 20 rakaat but they are long for approximately for two hours they have. And in other mosque they have 8 rakaat and shorter duration but in both the Harmain, Masjid-e-Haram, Makkah and Madinah MashaAllah they have for long hours as is it the Harmain you get multiple rewards you get 1,000 times in the Masjide Nabwi and 100,000 in Masjide Haram in Makkah.

 

Yusuf Chambers: SubhanAllah, Absolutely, O thank you very much Dr. Zakir regarding that superb answer and last question in the interview phase. That Dr. Zakir relating to women. Are women allowed to pray the Taraweeh in congregation in the Masjid 

 

Dr. Zakir: As far as are women being allowed to pray in the masjid, our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) said, it’s mentioned in

 

Sahih Bukhari Vol. no. 1 in the Book of Salaah Hadith no. 834 the Prophet said that 

 

“Do not prevent the female servants of Allah from going to the mosques”

 

The Prophet said in Sahih Bukhari Vol. no. 1 in the Book of Salaah Hadith no. 865 that 

 

“If the women ask you permission to go to the mosque even at night, you give it to them” 

 

That means even going at night but natural for Qiyaam ul Layl or for Ishaa Salaah, you give it to them, Talking about Taraweeh, you give it to them and further it’s mentioned in the hadith of 

Sunan Abu Dawood Vol. No. 1 book of Salaah Hadith no. 1370 

 

“It narrates about Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) had iftaar along with the family and the women and all of them and then they prayed at night Qiyaam ul Layl and they nearly missed their salaah, Salaah is success talking about the pre-dawn meal talking about Suhoor which we discussed earlier they nearly missed the Suhoor, indicating that the full family along with the women they prayed together with Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) saying it’s allowed”

 

Further it’s mentioned in the hadith of 

 

Sahih Muslim Vol. no. 1 in the Book of Salaah, Hadith no. 881

 

“The beloved Prophet he said that the best row for the men in Salaah are the first rows and the worst is the last row, the best row for the women are the last rows and the worst rows are the front rows”

 

That means the women can go in the mosques to offer Salaah even Qiyaam ul Layl but there are some etiquettes, the men should be in the first row and the women should be in the last rows and they should be careful, they should not create a fitna that’s important not have you know…. Sometimes ladies come with all glamorous dresses and they wear adornments and ornaments etc. 

 

As the Qur’an says in Surah Nur ch. 24 verse no. 31

 

“Say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; and display not her beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; and draw her veil over the bosoms”

 

That’s means you know unnecessary glamour ornaments etc.

 

And Qur’an says in Surah Ahzab ch. 33 verse 59 that 

 

“O Prophet! Tell Your wives Your daughters, and the believing women, when they go abroad, when they go out they should put on their Jilbaab their cloak”

 

So they should take care that they wear their Jilbaab when they go for salaah for the Qiyaam ul Layl in Ramadhaan or in the mosque and should not make fitnah as long as they don’t create fitnah and they don’t unnecessary put perfume and attraction they can go Alhumdulillah, it is fine it is good.

 

And it’s further mentioned in Sahih Bukahri Vol. no. 1 in the Book of Salaah Hadith no. 849 that 

 

“The Prophet after when he led the congregation he turned to the people and he waited and the women immediately got up and they left” 

 

And the narrator says that you know maybe the Prophet did that purposely so that he didn’t want the men and women to meet.

 

You know so you should be careful it should not create a fitnah so women can go to the mosque and they can offer the taraweeh it’s perfectly fine, it was the practice at the time of the Prophet also.

 

Yusuf Chambers: Thank You very much for that final answer I think we’ve once again we’ve learnt a lot about this particular aspect, the night prayer…Qiyaam ul Layl during the month of Ramadhaan Alhumdulillah and hopefully we will all take as much benefit as possible and implement it during this Ramadhaan and the coming Ramadhaans InshaAllah…JazakAllah Khair