If You Have Not Been Praying During The Night, You Need To Start After Reading This
If you are the type that sleeps throughout the night without trying to wake up in the middle of the night or at the third part of the night, be informed that you have been missing a great chance and opportunity.
After you have read this article, you will need to start waking up to seek for forgiveness and other bounties you are aspiring for from Allah (SWT).
Allah, says in the Qur’an: “And in the hours before dawn they would ask forgiveness” [adh-Dhaariyaat 51:18].
“And those who seek forgiveness before dawn” [Aal ‘Imraan 3:17].
The kind of prayer one can offer during this period has been rightly stated in the Hadith below. The most important of it is to ask for forgiveness. Also, seeking for other worldly benefits should follow. What is well established is that asking and seeking forgiveness are included in the general meaning of supplication (du‘aa’). Asking forgiveness (istighfaar) is a term that usually refers to a way of warding off the harm and negative impacts of sin.
It was narrated from ‘Ubaadah ibn as-Saamit that the Prophet (saw) said: “Whoever turns over at night should say: Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah wahdahu laa shareeka lah, lahu’l-mulk wa lahu’l-hamd wa huwa ‘ala kulli shay’in qadeer. Al-hamdu-lillaah wa subhaan-Allaah wa laa ilaaha ill-Allaah wa Allaahu akbar, wa laa hawla wa laa quwwata illa Billaah (There is no god but Allaah Alone, with no partner or associate)”.
It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Our Lord, may He be blessed and exalted, comes down to the lowest heaven every night when the last third of the night is left, and He says: ‘Who will call upon Me, that I may answer him? Who will ask of Me, that I may give him? Who will ask Me for forgiveness, that I may forgive him?’”
Narrated by al-Bukhaari (1145) and Muslim (758).
What is well established is that asking and seeking forgiveness are included in the general meaning of supplication (du‘aa’). Asking (su’aal) is a term that usually refers to seeking benefit, whether it is a spiritual or worldly benefit, and asking forgiveness (istighfaar) is a term that usually refers to seeking to ward off the harm and negative impacts of sin. Rather it is singled out for mention by way of asking for something specific after asking for good in general terms.
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
First of all he mentioned supplication (du‘aa’), then he mentioned asking and seeking forgiveness. The one who seeks forgiveness is asking, just as the one who is asking is supplicating or calling upon Allah, but he mentioned the one who asks to ward off evil after mentioning the one who asks to seek good, and he mentioned both of them after mentioning the one who calls upon Allah in supplication, which includes both of the above, as well as other things. So this comes under the heading of asking for something specific after asking for good in general terms.
End quote from Majmoo‘ al-Fataawa (10/239).
Al-Badr al-‘Ayni (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
What is mentioned here is supplication, asking, and seeking forgiveness.
The difference between these three is:
What is sought is either to ward off something harmful, or to bring something good, and the latter may be either spiritual or worldly.
Seeking forgiveness refers to the first of these.
Asking refers to the second.
Supplication refers to the third.
End quote from ‘Umdat al-Qaari (7/201). See also: Fath al-Baari by Ibn Hajar (3/31).
Al-Karmaani said: If you say: What is the difference between supplication and asking?
I say: What is sought is either to ward off something undesirable or to bring something that is desirable, which may be either worldly or spiritual.
Seeking forgiveness is seeking concealment of sin, so it refers to the first.
Asking refers to the second.
Supplication refers to the third.
Or [it may be said that] supplication is that in which there is no request, such as when we say, “Yaa Allah, yaa Rahmaan (O Allah, O Most Gracious).”
And asking is requesting or seeking.
Or it may be said that what is meant [by these terms] is one thing, and the different phrases are by way of emphasis.
End quote from al-Kawaakib ad-Daraari by al-Karmaani (6/200).
Two other additions [to this hadith] were narrated:
Imam Ahmad narrated in al-Musnad (15/362): “… Is there anyone who will repent, so that I might accept his repentance?”
He also narrated in al-Musnad (12/478): “… Who is there that will ask Me for provision, so that I might grant him provision? Who is there that will ask Me to relieve harm, so that I might relieve him of it?”
The purpose of this elaboration, in which a specific meaning is mentioned after a general meaning, is to emphasize that which is singled out for mention, as well as to further encourage the listener to offer supplication. This is something that everyone who hears this hadith will experience, because when hearing the hadith in full, he will sense the importance and virtue of offering supplication (du‘aa’) at this particular time more than he would if he only hears part of the hadith.
The hadith mentions supplication at this time in general terms and does not restrict it to the prayer only. Therefore the basic principle is that supplication is encouraged and is good at this time in general terms, whether it is offered whilst praying or otherwise.
It was narrated from ‘Ubaadah ibn as-Saamit that the Prophet (saw) said: “Whoever turns over at night and says Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah wahdahu laa shareeka lah, lahu’l-mulk wa lahu’l-hamd wa huwa ‘ala kulli shay’in qadeer. Al-hamdu-lillaah wa subhaan-Allaah wa laa ilaaha ill-Allaah wa Allaahu akbar, wa laa hawla wa laa quwwata illa Billaah (There is no god but Allaah Alone, with no partner or associate. To Him belongs praise and His is the sovereignty, and He is Able to do all things. Praise be to Allaah, glory be to Allaah, there is no god but Allaah and Allaah is Most Great. There is no power and no strength except with Allaah), then he says, Allaahumma aghfir li (O Allaah, forgive me), or he offers supplication, his supplication will be answered. If he does wudoo’ and prays, his prayer (salaah) will be accepted.”
Narrated by al-Bukhaari (1154).
In this hadith, there is a differentiation between the status of the one who wakes up at night and remembers Allah, seeks His forgiveness and calls upon Him, and the status of the one who does more than that by getting up, and doing wudoo’ [and praying].
Allah, may He be glorified, has promised His bounty and grace to both of them.
It was narrated that Abu Umaamah al-Baahili (may Allah be pleased with him) said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) say: “Whoever goes to his bed in a state of purity, and keeps remembering Allah until sleep overtakes him, then he will not turn over at any time in the night, asking Allah for something of goodness in this world and the hereafter, but He will grant it to him.”
Narrated by at-Tirmidhi (3562) and others. At-Tirmidhi said: This is a hasan ghareeb hadith.
For more information, please see: Nataa’ij al-Afkaar by al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar (3/82-84).