Sahur is a blessed meal. Our Holy Prophet (saw) said “Eat Sahur as there are blessings in Sahur” (Bukhari and Muslim). The significance of waking up for Sahur can not be emphasised enough, we should not deprive ourselves of blessings.
Qiyam means ‘standing’ and ‘Qiyam al-Layl’ means ‘standing at night’. According to the Shariah both terms refer to the ‘voluntary night prayer, whose time extends after the Isha prayer until dawn’. Numerous hadith and Qur’anic verses mention the excellence of Qiyaam al-Layl and the merit of those who perform it regularly.
Our Holy Prophet (saw) encouraged people, without making it an absolute command, to perform Qiyam during Ramadan. He (saw) used to say
“Whoever stands (in Qiyam) in Ramadan out of faith and expectation (of Allah’s reward), all his previous sins will be forgiven” (Bukhari and Muslim).
Tahajud prayer therefore should be a regular act during this blessed month. Sufi’s say that if one does something continuously for forty days it becomes a habit. Thus, if one establishes these additional acts of worship during Ramadan, they may be carried over throughout the year, spreading the benefit of Ramadan through the other months. In reference to this point Sheikh Ahmad has said “take advantage of Ramadan, for your entire year will go depending on how your month goes“.
Allah (swt) commends those who deprive their sides from their beds, resist sleep (which the body loves) and rise for prayer, for the sincere sake of earning the pleasure of Allah (swt). Rising for Tahajud prayer proves that we prefer Allah (swt) to our own selves.
We are told by our Holy Prophet (saw) that “Our Lord descends every night to the lowest heaven, when only one third of the night remains. He says “Is there any servant of mine who invokes me for anything so that I may answer his request? Is there anyone who begs Me for pardon and forgiveness, so that I may to forgive him?” (Bukhari and Muslim)
Someone once asked Hadrat Aisha (raa) about the most wondrous thing she observed about the Holy Prophet (saw). She said “Everything about him was wondrous. But I will say this, when the veiling of the night came, and when every lover went to his lover, he (saw) went to be with his Lord”.
Al-Hussain was once asked “How come those who regularly observe the night prayer have the most attractive faces?” He replied “Because they stay in intimate company with the Almighty and He drapes them in some of His Own light”.
A man once told a righteous man “I am unable to maintain night worship, prescribe a remedy for me”. The righteous man said “Do not disobey Him during the day and He will keep you up between His hands at night”. From this we can conclude that night prayer is a gift that can be taken away when, for example, the worshiper starts to backbite, gossip, slander, consume unlawful food, earn illicit wealth etc.
What is important about night prayer is consistency. It is better to rise at night for ten minutes on a regular basis than to stay up for hours one night and next night sleep; moderation insures consistency.
Our Holy Prophet (saw) has said that the Sahur should be delayed as much as possible whilst the Fatoor should be opened immediately. Observing the Fajr prayer on time should also be implemented during the blessed month of Ramadan. We all know how tempting it is to delay the prayer to its last possible moment. Imam Malik has said “The most important of all your affairs are your prayers. Whoever guards it and is vigilant about its times, has guarded his religion. And whoever is negligent, is negligent about all the other affairs in his life”. Hence prayer is everything; there is no spiritual life without it.
Recitation of the Holy Qur’an during Ramadan is especially effective in reviving one’s relationship with the Book of Allah (swt). The Holy Prophet (saw) has said that tranquillity and mercy of Allah (swt) descends on the one who remember Him’. And recitation of the Holy Qur’an is one of the highest forms of remembrance. Hence, recitation of the Holy Qur’an at Sehri time, coupled with an increase in the mercy and blessings of Allah (swt), greatly increases the rewards and benefits. Furthermore, recitation of the Holy Qur’an during this blessed time is witnessed by Allah (swt), His Beloved Prophet (saw) and the angels.
Our Holy Prophet (saw) has prophesised that a time will come in which knowledge will be considered more important then practise.
May Allah (swt) give us the ability to do Aml (act) on the Ilm (knowledge) that we acquire. And may He give us the towfeew (ability) to respect and take advantage of every single blessed moment of Ramadan. Ameen.
Prepared by Shaykh Muhammad Ramadhan al Qadri (Minhaj Youth Training Co-ordinator).
Summarised by Alveena Salim