A Sacred Conversation

Posted by on Aug 18, 2011 in Prayer | 1,935 comments

4629988436_f32fec503a_bThere is a time of night when the whole world transforms. During the day, chaos often takes over our lives. The responsibilities of work, school, and family dominate much of our attention. Other than the time we take for the five daily prayers, it is hard to also take time out to reflect or even relax. Many of us live our lives at such a fast pace, we may not even realize what we’re missing.

But there is a time of night when work ends, traffic sleeps, and silence is the only sound. At that time—while the world around us sleeps—there is One who remains awake and waits for us to call on Him. We are told in the hadith qudsi: “Our Lord descends during the last third of each night to the lower heaven, and says: ‘Is there anyone who calls on Me that I may respond to him? Is there anyone who asks Me that I may give unto him? Is there anyone who requests My Forgiveness that I may forgive him?’” (Bukhari and Muslim)

One can only imagine what would happen if a king were to come to our door, offering to give us anything we want. One would think that any sane person would at least set their alarm for such a meeting. If we were told that at exactly one hour before dawn a check for $10,000,000 would be left at our doorstep, would we not wake up to take it?

Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) has told us that at this time of night, just before dawn, He will come to His servants.  Imagine this. The Lord of the universe has offered us a sacred conversation with Him. That Lord waits for us to come speak with Him, and yet many of us leave Him waiting while we sleep in our beds. Allah (swt) comes to us and asks what we want from Him. The Creator of all things has told us that He will give us whatever we ask.

And yet we sleep.

There will come a day when this veil of deception will be lifted. The Qur’an says: “[It will be said], You were certainly in unmindfulness of this, and We have removed from you your cover, so your sight, this Day, is sharp.” (Qur’an 50:22).

On that Day, we will see the true reality. On that Day, we will realize that two rak`at (units) of prayer were greater than everything in the heavens and the earth. We will realize the priceless check that was left on our doorstep every night as we slept. There will come a day when we would give up everything under the sky just to come back and pray those two rak`at.

There will come a day when we would give up everything we ever loved in this life, everything that preoccupied our hearts and minds, every mirage we ran after, just to have that conversation with Allah. But on that Day, there will be some from whom Allah (swt) will turn away… and forget, as they had once forgotten Him.

The Qur’an says: “He will say, ‘My Lord, why have you raised me blind while I was [once] seeing?’ [Allah] will say, ‘Thus did Our signs come to you, and you forgot them; and thus will you this Day be forgotten.’” (Qur’an, 20:125-126) In Surat al-Mu’minoon, Allah says: “Do not cry out today. Indeed, by Us you will not be helped.” (Qur’an, 23:65)

Can you imagine for a moment what these ayat (verses) are saying? This is not about being forgotten by an old friend or classmate. This is about being forgotten by the Lord of the worlds. Not hellfire. Not boiling water. Not scalded skin. There is no punishment greater than this.

And as there is no punishment greater than this, there is no reward greater than what the Prophet ﷺ describes in the following hadith:

“When those deserving of Paradise would enter Paradise, the Blessed and the Exalted would ask: Do you wish Me to give you anything more? They would say: Hast Thou not brightened our faces? Hast Thou not made us enter Paradise and saved us from Fire? He would lift the veil, and of things given to them nothing would be dearer to them than the sight of their Lord, the Mighty and the Glorious.” [Sahih Muslim]

But one does not need to wait until that Day to know the result of this nighttime meeting with Allah (swt). The truth is, there are no words to describe the overwhelming peace in this life from such a conversation. One can only experience it to know. Its effect on one’s life is immeasurable. When you experience qiyam, the late night prayer, the rest of your life transforms. Suddenly, the burdens that once crushed you become light. The problems that were irresolvable become solved. And that closeness to your Creator, which was once unreachable, becomes your only lifeline.

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  1. Subhanallah. Thank you for the reminder. Will make an effort to wake up tonight, IA.

  2. subhanallah.i guess my prayers are not good enough,my zikrs r not good enough.i think i need to do more.may Allaah give me the strenghth and ability.aameen.
    bless u yasmin.

  3. Sorry I’m new but I’d really like to learn more inshAllah…so this is about the night prayer before fajr? So is it ok to pray witr before bed, then wake up before fajr to do night prayer? if you only had time to do one or the other, is it better to do night prayer or 2 sunnah before fajr?

    • Assalamu alaikum,

      The prayer I’m referring to is Qiyam, the prayer in the last third of the night (just before fajr comes in). It is sunnah that if you are going to pray Qiyam, to pray witr after. And then once fajr comes in, you pray 2 sunnah for fajr and then 2 for fajr.

    • Assalamu alaikum,

      The prayer I’m referring to is Qiyam, the prayer in the last third of the night (just before fajr comes in). It is sunnah that if you are going to pray Qiyam, to pray witr after. And then once fajr comes in, you pray 2 sunnah for fajr and then 2 for fajr.

      • Just one more clarification sister: If you aren’t sure whether you will be able to wake up for Qiyam, but intend to do so – but you miss it, and had left witr to be prayed after – in that circumstance, do you think it’s advisable to pray it after Isha. Having said that, do you pray witr again, after Qiyam, had you already prayed it after isha – that is, repeat it?

        JazkAllah khayr for your reply, iA…

        • Hayaah, that is an excellent question I also think about. It would be great if you could consult a sheikh on it and share the response with us :)

          • Salam,
            Insha’Allah this will help in answering your question about leaving witr until Qiyam time…

          • I only just saw this response, dear sister! Forgive me for the delay in responding back. I believe there have been some more posts about this, so I shall go look them up. In the interim, I’m afraid, I have no access to asking any sheikh for myself – but would appreciate if anyone else did – and got back on it, insha’Allah.

            JazakAllah khayr in advance :)

        • Salam,
          Insha’Allah this will help in answering your question about leaving witr until Qiyam time…

          • W/salaam and jazakAllah khayr for the link. I shall look into it now – I only just saw all the messages in reponse to my post from so many months ago – Alhumdulillah ala kulle haal :)

        • Sister Hayaa! the best time to pray witr is to pray it in the last third of the night that is before fajr. However, if one is unsure whether or not one will wake up for tahajjud then best to pray it before sleeping. This is based on the hadith reported by Jabir (ra); Allah’s Messenger pbuh said: If anyone is afraid that he may not get up in the latter part of the night, he should offer witr in the first part it, and if anyone expects to get up in the last part of it he should offer witr at the end of the night for prayer at the end of the night is witnessed by the angerls and that is preferable (Reported by Muslim).

          • JazakAllah khayr for responding! Appreciate your taking the time to corroborate it with ahadith, Alhumdulillah :)

            Best wishes; FiamaanAllah xxx

          • waiyyaki sister :-)

  4. SubhanAllah, an overwhelming article! Thank you incredibly much. May Allah SWT bless you <3

  5. jajha kallohu khoiron, dear sister…….I’ve never read such touching & inspiration writing on ‘qiyamul lail’ before…..pray for me so that I can start standing before my Allah Subhanu Wa Ta-ala soon..

  6. Masha Allah.. I find myself talking to Allah throughout the day.. waking up purely for this sake would take it to a new level altogether! Insha allah !

    • Indeed! May Allah bless us all with Qiyam! Ameen.

  7. SubhanAllah- this article was a wake up call…

  8. Yet another amazing article, Sister Yasmin. Qiyam Al-Layl definitely transforms our life. May Allah swt give us the Tawfeeq to perform it on a regular basis.
    جزاك الله خيرا

  9. MashaAllah, sister I do hope that I’ll always istiqamah to do that, but it is not. I make dua everyday so that I can transform myself totally. hopefully one day, I can fight myself to be istiqamah, find a peace time and He is listen to me…please make a dua to me too sister..

  10. Subhanallahi Wabihamdihi, Subhanallahil Aleem, Wabihamdihi Astagfirullah….Thanks for this wonderful post…May Allah help us for offering qiyamullail on a regular basis…

  11. subhan Allah. this brought a broad smile on my face.

  12. MashAllah awesome! JazakAllah sister! :)

  13. Jazakalla kair my sister may alla reward you immensly for this great reminder. love you for the sake of allah

  14. Subhanallah. What awaits is incomparable. May god almighty give strength and energy to do more zikr and sala. Ameen.

  15. subhan allah,,

  16. Assalamualaikum,

    I have never said Qiyam prayers, so wanted a little more information on it:

    1) What is the exact time frame during which the qiyam prayers can be said?
    2) Is it only two rakahsof nafl prayers? After which you say witr? Or are there more rakahs to be prayed?
    3) Is there a specidic surah top be read or dua to be made?

    Thank you so much for your advice and guidance..

    • 1) The tme for tahajjud is the entire night. Imam Ahmad was of the view that one may perform the night prayer from sunset to the break of dawn. According to this view any voluntary prayer performed between maghrib and isha is also regarded as qiyam al-layl.

      Other scholars are of the view that the time for the tahajjud begins after one has performed the isha prayer, while others still hold the view that it starts after one half of the night has passed.

      However, The best time to perform the night prayers is after a third of the night has passed until the last sixth of the night. The Prophet (SAW) said; The most beloved prayer to Allah is that of Dawud. He slept for the first half of the night, prayed during the last third of it and again slept for the sixth of it. (Al-Bukhari, 1145 and Muslim 1771)

      2) The best number of night prayers performed is 8 rakah and 3 witr totalling 11 rakah. This is based on the practice of the Messenger pbuh. its narrated from Aisha that Allah’s messenger did not offer more than 11 voluntary rakah during Ramadan nor during other than Ramadan. He offered four rakat- do not ask about their beauty and length (it is beyond description or imitation). Again he would pray four rakat- do not ask about its beauty of length (it is beyond description of imitation). Then he would pray three rakat of witr. Aisha said I said O Allah’s Messenger will you sleep before you pray witr? He said O Aisha my eyes sleep but my heart does not sleep (agreed upon meaning narrated both in Bukhari and Muslim).
      The best number of night prayers performed is 8 rakah plus 3 witr totalling 11 rakah alttogether as is evident in the hadith above. Although,, some other narrations mention 13 rakah.

      3) There is no specific surah to be read. However, what we do know from the practice of the Messenger pbuh as is reported by Abu Hurairah that Allah’s Messenger said, when any of you stands up at night to perform the night vigil prayer, let him begin his prayer with two short rakah. So its desirable to begin one’s prayer with two light i.e., short rakas and then prolong the rest of the rakahs.

      Jazakillah khair
      My apologies if you didnt want anyone else to answer your question.

    • 1)They can be said anytime after Isha’ prayer, but the most desirable time is the last third of the night, before Fajr.
      2)You can pray any number of raka’at beginning from one. After, you pray witr.
      3) There isn’t. However, the prophet used to read mostly longer surahs in his qyam prayers.
      May Allah aid us all in performing Qiyam prayers inshAllah

  17. SubhanaAllah! This article is a beautiful reminder. Sister Yasmin, your words are helping me to better understand my relationship with Allahswt. I had always seen Him, My Lord, as being a great distance away from me and that my meeting with Him, Rabbil Al amin, even farther away. But I now understand that my meeting with Allah is constant. It is whenever I call upon Him with sincerity and humility. My heart is so full right now. MashaAllah.

  18. Masha Alllah May Allah increase us in faith n give us de wisdom to understand His Words

  19. Ahamdulillah, may Allah give me the strenght to continue with my night prayers, until my last breath, ameen! I experience all what you have said sister, alhamdulillah, iam proud to be a muslim.

  20. May Allah the Exalted grant you reward of seeing His Face, sister Yasmin. The words that you write reach souls and hearts around the world, mashaAllah. May Allah the Exalted grant you eternal happiness, fill your life with His Endless Barakah, make every word, thought and action an act of ‘ibadah for His Sake. Ameen.

    Tawfiq in all that you do, inshaAllah!

  21. SubhanAllah…have been trying to inculcate the habit of tahajjud since many years but try as i might it is one of the most difficult things except during the blessed month of Ramadan. please make dua that i am given this tawfeeq and great honour….as part of a hadeeth says..’the honour of a believer is his standing in night prayer.

  22. Qiyam and Tahajjud are the same?

    Beautiful article, motivated me to wake up each night :)

    • Yes qiyam and tahajjud both refer to the same prayer-that is the night prayers. The term tahajjud is used when you sleep and then wake up to pray, whereas qiyam al layl is a generic term used for the night prayers in general. Eg, if you sleep then wake up to pray the night prayer, it is called tahajjud. but when you pray without having slept then refered to as qiyam al layl, although technically both refer to the same prayer. I hope its clear to you sister.

      BTW, I hope you dont mind me answering your question sister :)
      I dont know which city you live in sister but ALKAUTHAR INSTITUTE offers an entire 2 day course over the compulsory and voluntary prayers. You can check their website on the link: http://www.alkauthar.org to keep an eye over the course if it comes to the city you reside in :)

  23. Wonderful, very well written.

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