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Perhaps the most demanding and yet rewarding practice of the believer is night prayer. The night prayer, initially ordained on every person entering Islam, has become for us, the mark of a true committed. Not for the faint-hearted, consistency in waking through the night to meet Allah means a person is giving their all. That’s why, though it may feel out of reach for so many, we thought it important to include an ‘Around the Web’ edition specifically dedicated to cultivating this essential practice.
You may hear a lot about the virtues of praying ‘qiyam al-layl’ or ‘tahajud’, but what’s the difference and how does it affect your practice? There are actually a lot of different terms referring to night prayers and this article here gives a good general overview of what’s what and how to perform it. Basically though, any prayer performed between sunset and sunrise, excluding the obligatory prayers, is considered night prayer. If you’re looking for something more technical and that gives an overview of many different types of night prayers, as well as some others performed during the day, check out the detailed list on this site.
Now that you know what the different types of night prayers are and how to perform them, get pumped!! Maybe you don’t feel ready to really commit to adding this practice to your regiment of prayers. Maybe you struggle with getting up for the obligatory morning prayer and are thinking how am I going to add night prayer on top of that?! Well, night prayer is really worth it. It’s the self care of the Muslim. Dr. Tamara Gray has even gone so far as to coin night prayer the ‘Keystone Habit’ – or the underlying habit that allows you to achieve your intended goals – of the believer. Listen to her expansion on the importance of night prayer for a believer. Not an auditory learner? … Check out this article which will get you inspired to make night prayer a real part of yourself.
Make a Plan
Are you inspired and ready to start praying at night but at a loss as to how to do it? Creating a new habit takes effort and planning. Well thankfully, there is a whole organization devoted just to helping you work through that: Productive Muslim. They’ve worked out a solid method on how to train yourself to wake up consistently before fajr prayer regardless of the time of year. Not ready to make such a strong commitment yet … check out this nightly routine they suggest as well. You may not be ready to wake up in the middle of the night, but some time spent praying before sleeping still counts and can help you work towards that lofty goal. There are also these and these great tips to boost your resolve should you find yourself waning.
Night prayer is a life goal. Just as life passes in season though, your own practice of night prayer may go through seasons. That’s why Allah ﷻ lifted the requirement of it, stating that He knows that people will go through different struggles. Yet, the impetus is still there. Allah ﷻ tells us (translated here):
Every muslim should make a goal for night prayer. Don’t pat yourself on the back that you do your 5 required prayers and be content. There is always room to grow. Simultaneously though, never give up or lose hope in Allah. He, most high, knows you and knows your condition. If you are sincere, Allah will surely pave a path for you. But truly be sincere. Your sincerity will show through your actions, so follow through.
May Allah grant us the light of presence before Him during the enveloping darkness of the night and may He count us among His beloved close ones. May Allah bless.