Establish regular prayers – at the sun’s decline till the darkness of the night, and the morning prayer and reading: for the prayer and reading in the morning carry their testimony. And pray in the small watches of the morning: (it would be) an additional prayer (or spiritual profit) for thee: soon will thy Lord raise thee to a Station of Praise and Glory! [17:78-79]
Their limbs do forsake their beds of sleep, the while they call on their Lord, in Fear and Hope: and they spend (in charity) out of the sustenance which We have bestowed on them. [32:16]
As to the Righteous, they will be in the midst of Gardens and Springs, Taking joy in the things which their Lord gives them, because, before then, they lived a good life. They were in the habit of sleeping but little by night. And in the hour of early dawn, they (were found) praying for Forgiveness. And in their wealth and possessions (was remembered) the right of the (needy,) him who asked, and him who (for some reason) was prevented (from asking). [51:15-19]
Hazrat Abu Hurayra (RA) reports that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, “The best prayer after the obligatory prayers is the night prayer.” [Muslim]
Hazrat Amr bin Abash (RA) reported that Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said: “The closest that a servant is to his Lord, is in the last part of the night. If you can be among those who remember Allah at that hour then do so.” [al-Tirmizi]
‘Now I know why Allah wants us to stay awake at night and pray,’ was actually the first thought that crossed my mind right after I hit the Publish button for my last post.
The underlying meaning is just beautiful. The more I think about it, the more it fascinates me. The term Salaah (or Salaat), loosely translated as ‘prayer’ in English, literally means to supplicate. Now the term supplication itself means to seek humbly for something you crave for by being submissive. Craving in itself is a strong word for desire. Thus, it means when you pray, you are actually begging Allah (SWT) to fulfill a strong desire of yours. Unfortunately, as most of us do not understand a single word that we recite during our Salaah, we just offer them as part of our daily ‘rituals’ and the ‘urge’ never really brims to the surface.
Now obviously, to properly supplicate, we need to meditate, contemplate and try to understand what we are praying for. And what better time there could be than the night, at least for the night owls, when it becomes easier to concentrate. And for the larks and the hummingbirds, there is just nothing to lose as well because Allah (SWT) promises great rewards for those who sacrifice their sleep to be able to pray, read the Qur’an and grasp its meaning.
May Allah (SWT) help me and everyone else to understand the Message clearly and implement it in our daily lives. Ameen.