The Vigil of Standing and Prostration

Becoming Servants of the Most Merciful Series

Part IPart IIPart IIIPart IVPart VPart VIPart VIIPart VIIIPart IXPart XPart XI Part XIIPart XIIIPart XIV | Part XV

prayerIn continuing with the noble traits of the true servants of The Merciful, we find that they are characterized by a deep sincerity; they give up their precious sleep time in devotion to their Most Gracious Creator. The Most High elucidates the next quality of His servants who are,


“Those who spend part of the night prostrating and standing in devotion to their Lord.” (Qur’an, 25:64)

Praying in the night reflects a special relationship with God. It is a distinguishing characteristic of those who are in an elevated state of faith. Almighty God asks us in another verse,


“Is the one who is devoutly obedient during periods of the night, prostrating and standing in prayer, fearing the hereafter and hoping for the mercy of His Lord, (like the one who does not)? Say, ‘Are those who know equal to those who do not know?’ Only they will remember who are people of understanding.”(Qur’an, 39:9)

Many people often pray the recommended prayers during the day, yet rarely pray the night prayer. Of course it is good that they pray these prayers, but according to the Prophet ﷺ there is a mistaken set of priorities. He said, “The best prayer after the obligatory prayers is the night prayer.” (Muslim)

We should take this blessed opportunity in Ramadan to build this closeness with Allah. Starting with the Taraweeh (night prayers in Ramadan) prayers, we get accustomed to praying in the early night. Although that has a great reward and the Prophet said, “Whoever prays the nights of Ramadan will have his previous minor sins forgiven” (Bukhari), the real reward and much deeper act of faith and obedience is in praying the last third of the night. The Prophet ﷺ said, “God descends (in a way that suits His Sublimity) in the last third of the night. He then says, ‘Who will supplicate me so I can answer him? Who will ask Me so I can give him? Who will seek my forgiveness so I can forgive him?'” (Bukhari)

No doubt, praying during the night has a huge reward in the hereafter, but it is also a major deterrent to a sinful lifestyle. It softens our hearts, helps us remember Qur’an, and most importantly it brings us closer to God. We should all take this opportunity in Ramadan to get up at least an hour before Fajr to pray. Let’s start by simply praying 4 rakahs of tahajjud prayer, and witr (which may be prayed in any odd number of rakahs). Then, in the last ten nights, let’s make itikaaf (seclusion) in the Mosque. If that’s not possible, then continue with the 4 rakahs.

Someone might have not memorized much of the Qur’an and they may be concerned that they don’t have much to read. In that case you may suffice with al-Fatihah as it is just a Sunnah to read another surah. If you have memorized something, you may read what you know in each rakah. For those who can read the Qur’an in Arabic, there is a facilitation in the  practice of the companions in that you may pray while holding the Qur’an and read directly from it. It has been authenticated that Aishah radi Allahu `anhu (may Allah be pleased with her) ordered her servant to lead her in taraweeh while he was reading from the Qur’an. (Bukhari)

After Ramadan, let’s continue to do this even if it is just waking up 15 minutes earlier so that we can pray two rakahs and witr. The Prophet ﷺ taught us to make witr the last prayer of the night before Fajr and that we should not pray witr twice in one night. He ﷺ also said, “The best deeds are those we are consistent with, even if they are small deeds.” (Bukari)

For those of us who are having problems with focus and concentration in our prayers, I advise you to read this series. May Allah make praying in the nights easy for us and may He count us among His servants!

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  1. anonymous says:

    Loved it. Thank you so much :]

  2. anonymous says:

    this made me teary–especially the ayaat mentioned

    it can be hard to get up–but what one misses out on is like the icing on the cake—the cherry on the pie…..when you wake up in the morning having been up for tahajjud–you have an extra “zing” about extra calmness, you could move a mountain, you feel that great alhamdulillah!

    the odd day you accidentally miss tahajjud (having tasted that special closeness to Allah ‘azza wa jall at that time) you feel like you really missed out

    try it folks—it amazes me how many of us wake to feed our physical bodies (suhoor) but just can’t wake to feed our souls , even just once a week when you can sleep in the next day–just try it insha’Allah, slowly and gently.

    jazak’Allahukhayrn for the article

  3. R says:

    Jazak’Allah khairan for such beneficial artical. But what if you intend to pray tahajjud and witr but woke up at the time of the fajr? Should we make up for missed witr before fajr salah? At what time we cannot pray tahajjud and witr? Can we pary just few minutes before the azaan of fajr?

    • Abu Majeed says:

      As-salamu alaikum R,

      It has been authentically narrated in al-Bukhari tat if you miss your tahajjud and witr. You may make it up by praying even raka’s (no odd like witr) for however much you missed i.e. however many rakas you intended except instead of witr you pray two raka’s.

  4. amina says:

    Jazakillah Khair for this. Pls I have a question and would really appreciate an answer. Assuming I intend to pray Qiyam layl after taraweeh,Is it right for me to get up at the end of the witr with the imam to pray an extra rakah?

  5. abu majeed says:

    AA sister Amina,

    You may intend to pray two or four raka’as when the imam is praying 1 or 3 and thus you may pray witr later. You may also not pray the witr with the imam at all if you like.

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