IN PART 1 we addressed the opportunity afforded us by Allah subḥanahu wa ta¢âlâ in Ṣalât Al–Layl, the Night Prayer. We continue with advice on how to make it a successful part of our lives.
Tips for Succeeding with the Night Prayer
Here are some pointers we can give ourselves to better our odds of succeeding in performing Ṣalât Al–Layl, and thus to be amongst the recipients of its infinite blessings:
- Seeking Ikhlas (sincerity)
Allah helps only those who are sincere in their hearts, as our Prophet œ has said:
If you are truthful with Allah, then Allah will deliver to you what you wish for. (Al-Nasâ’i)
So seek Ikhlâs by resolutely determining within yourself, “I will get up for the Night Prayer and will stand in front of my Lord to gain His vast favors.”
- Taking a Daytime Nap
Taking a nap before or after Thuhr Prayer will release stress and thus enable one to get up in the night to pray.
Some offices in the West have even started this practice of making their workers take a short rest during working hours, for this will help them work with greater efficiency for the remainder of their day.
- Avoiding Excessive Eating
Too much food or drink is one of the main reasons that make one lethargic and careless of Ṣalât Al–Layl.
Surely, less food—which enabling less need for sleep—the two when taken together, are the golden rule of thumb leading to success in instituting the Night Prayer.
- Shunning Sins
Even after the alarm goes off, we comfortably remain in our beds, at times not even having heard it!
Actually, it may be due to our sins during the day that Allah makes us go into deep sleep; He may not want to see and bless such a person at that celebrated time, unless that person is ready to come to Him begging forgiveness. So staying away from sins will help prevent one from blocking him-/her-self from Ṣalât Al–Layl and thus reaping its blessings.
Also, the heart should be free from the wrong of excessive worldly interests and from malice towards others.
- Striving against Ourselves
The Prophet œ once said:
When a man from my Ummah gets up to pray at night, striving against his own self to get up and purify himself, there are knots [fixed] on him. When he washes his hands in wuḍû, one knot is undone. When he washes his face, another knot is undone. When he wipes his head, another knot is undone. When he washes his feet, another knot is undone. Then Allah says to the angels: ‘Look at this slave of Mine, he is striving against his own self and asking of Me. Whatever My slave asks of Me shall be his. (Ahmad)
And striving against oneself is only possible through a servant’s utmost obedience and love for his Lord.
- Being Mindful of the Virtues of Salat Al-Layl
Knowing the rewards and intrinsic worth of performing Ṣalât Al–Layl produces the desire to perform it. We should read an article or a book highlighting its prestige, not just once but frequently, so as to keep ourselves keyed up and energized for it. In this regard, parents should also encourage their children. Being in the company of pious people, especially a pious spouse, can also help.
Abû Hurairah reported that Allah’s Messenger œ said:
May Allah have mercy on a man who wakes up at night, prays, and wakes his wife to pray; and if she refuses, he sprinkles water on her face. And [likewise], may Allah have mercy on a woman who wakes up at night, prays, and wakes her husband to pray; and if he refuses, she sprinkles water on his face. (Abû Dâwûd)
- Observing the Sunnah Manners of Sleeping
One should sleep early in accordance with our Prophet’s Sunnah. This is a very healthy habit as well.
We should perform ablution before sleeping, clean the bed and lie on the right side.
Then we should recite the Athkâr (supplications) prescribed in the Sunnah before going to bed, such as reciting the last verses of Sûrat Al-Baqarah, Âyat Al-Kursi and Sûrat Al-Mulk.
Also recite Sûrat Al-Falaq, Sûrat Al-Nâs and Sûrat Al-Ikhlâṣ, blow in the palms and wipe as much of the body as possible, starting from the head, face and then the front of the body doing it three times. (Bukhari and Muslim).
- Rebuking ourselves for not offering Salat Al-Layl
Allah has placed abundant spiritual benefits and rewards for the believers in Ṣalât Al–Layl. Let’s look within ourselves, contemplating how direly we need Allah’s help, and then, rebuke ourselves, if we miss this great opportunity of achieving Allah’s pleasure.
At night, the sincere servants, alone with their Lord, plead about their situation, asking Allah of His infinite mercy. It’s a sure chance to befriend our Lord, a lofty prize that many dream of but only a blessed few attain. So the next time we find it hard to part with our cozy, comfy beds, we can think of the comfortable beddings in the graves with which performing Ṣalât Al–Layl will endow us.
My Request of You… and Your Request of Me
And one more thing: Can I count on the favors of your kindness to remember to pray for forgiveness for me and for all Muslims when you are blessed with such enchanting hours with your Lord?
I would love to pray for you too. So, first let’s pray for each other that we never find ourselves guilty—neither here, nor in the Hereafter—of having missed such magnificent nightly opportunities.
The Bottom Line
Alḥamdulillâh for something even better than a cozy, comfy bed in the wee hours of the night! Let us not miss this time of promised answered du¢â’ and nearness to Allah.