The 9 Characteristics of ‘Ibad-ur Rahman (3/10) – Diligent and Consistent in Their Tahajjud

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Articles authored for The Ideal Muslimah are available here.

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ibadur-rahman-3

بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم

And those who spend the night in worship of their Rabb,
prostrate and standing.

[Surah Al-Furqan 25:64]

🌸 Third Characteristic: They are diligent and consistent in their Tahajjud

This ayah tells us the third beautiful characteristic of ‘Ibad-ur Rahman: they are dedicated, consistent and diligent in their night prayers i.e. Tahajjud. They love to wake up for Tahajjud for nothing else but for the pleasure of Allah. They will do their absolutely very best to never miss Tahajjud.  This is like when Allah s.w.t. says:

They used to sleep but little by night.
And in the hours before dawn, they were (found) asking (Allah) for forgiveness.
[Surah Adz-Dzariyyat 51:17-18]

Their sides forsake their beds, to invoke their Rabb in fear and hope…
[Surah As-Sajdah 32:16]

There is hardly a night that would pass by that ‘Ibad-ur Rahman do not pray to Allah s.w.t. even if it’s just a little part of the night. They will forsake their sleep and comfortable beds just to seek the pleasure of Allah, invoking Him in fear of punishment, hoping for His reward, and seeking His forgiveness right before dawn.

What is the difference between Tahajjud and Qiyamul-Layl?

Linguistically, [qiyam] means to stand. Therefore Qiyamul-Layl means to stand in the night, and it was understood by the ulama’ that it also includes all types of worship performed throughout the night.

Tahajjud comes from the word [hujood] (ha-ja-da) which linguistically means doing the opposite of something. So in essence it means going to sleep, and then doing the opposite by waking up. Therefore Tahajjud means waking up after sleeping and it became a name for prayer, because a person wakes up for it.

Heart-rendering encouragements by Rasulallah ﷺ and righteous predecessors to pray Tahajjud

Our Rabb admires two men: a man who leaves his mattress and cover,
and slips away from his wife and lover, to go and pray.
Allah says, “O My angels, look at My slave.
He has left his mattress and cover and slipped away from his lover and wife to pray,
out of hope for what is with Me and out of fear of what is with Me.”
[Ahmad | Grade: Hasan]

Our Rabb, the Blessed, the Superior,
comes every night down on the nearest Heaven to us
when the last third of the night remains, saying:
“Is there anyone to invoke Me, so that I may respond to invocation?
Is there anyone to ask Me, so that I may grant him his request?
Is there anyone seeking My forgiveness, so that I may forgive him?”
[Sahih Bukhari]

Imam Al-Hasan Al-Basri rahimahullah was asked why are the faces of those who perform night prayers shine more brightly than others? He answered:
“It’s because when they are alone with the light of the All-Merciful,
He clothes them with light from His Light.”

Ibn ‘Abbas r.a. said:
“Every night, they would worship Allah, even during a little part of the night.”

There is no more intimate conversation between a slave and his Rabb than waking up from sleep and pray Tahajjud for no other reason than to seek the pleasure and forgiveness of his Rabb.

“But this is too difficult for me…”

The thought of waking up for Tahajjud can be pretty overwhelming at first. But if we truly want to pray Tahajjud, all we have to do is just give it a try! I’m not even talking about spending a third or half of the night praying, but just get up 10 minutes before Fajr because that third of the night is still there in those last 10 minutes. From then on, we work our way up insya Allah.

Do not immediately set ourselves difficult goals like: I want to pray 3-hours of Tahajjud! We only end up burning ourselves out. If we over exhaust ourselves, we won’t be able to maintain consistency.

So start with humble steps and build the momentum little by little. Sleep early. Then on the first night, wake up 10 or 15 minutes before Fajr and just do 2-raka’ats, or recite short Surah like Surah Al-Asr or Surah Al-Kafirun. Then the next month (not the next day!), increase the numbers of raka’ats, increase the time spent in prayer, or recite longer surah. Keep on increasing on the following months. Of course, we should strive twice as hard in the month of Ramadhan – especially on the last 10 nights!

Insya Allah, it is doable. You may also read Qiyam: 14 Tips to Consistently Pray the Night Prayer for more awesome tips.

Alhamdulillah we have covered the third characteristic of ‘Ibad-ur Rahman. May Allah s.w.t. make it easy for us to be diligent and consistent with our Tahajjud – Allahumma ameen. We will continue with the subsequent characters of ‘Ibad-ur Rahman in the next posts, insya Allah.

🌸 ‘Ibad-ur Rahman Characteristics Recap 🌸

3rd Characteristic
They are dedicated, diligent, and consistent with their Tahajjud. They love to wake up for Tahajjud to seek the pleasure and forgiveness of Allah s.w.t. They will do their absolutely very best to never miss it.

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References:
Tafsir Ibn Kathir
Tafsir Surah Al-Furqan by Dr Abdullah Yasin
The Right Belief Series by Imam Karim AbuZaid
Strangers In The Night by Sheikh Omar Suleiman
IqraSense.com

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Lifelong Iman Rush – Tip #11: The Concept of Making Up Promptly

In life, we experience something amazing that makes us feel compelled to come closer to Allah, where we feel a sense of iman-rush. But after a while, dunya gets to us and our reality check makes us feel that we cannot be spiritual consistently. Here’s a tip on how to remain consistently on the path towards the pleasure of Allah. To catch up on the previous posts of this series, click here 📌

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We know that fardh ibadahs are mandatory and we are required to exert our utmost effort to fulfil those obligations. Unfortunately when it comes to voluntarily ibadahs (eg. nawafil prayers, optionals fasting, qiyamulail, etc.), most of us tend to take them lightly. When we miss one of our voluntarily ibadah, we say “Oh well, it’s only sunnah anyway.” But look how serious Rasulallah sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam took his voluntarily ibadah:

When Rasulallah sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam did not pray at night because he was prevented from doing so by sleep (i.e. sleep overwhelmed him) or by pain,
he would pray 12 rak’ahs during the day. [1]

‘A’isha r.a. reported that when Rasulallah sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam missed the night prayer due to pain or any other reason,
he observed 12 rak’ahs during the daytime. [2]

To explain the above 2 ahadith, Rasulallah sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam would always pray Witr with 11 rak’ahs. But if he sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam was prevented from it due to sickness or sleep, he would pray them the next day during the daytime with 12 rak’ahs. This was his sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam zeal in regard to his ibadah, and this is the Sunnah that we should all strive to follow.

Let’s ponder on the following hadith:

‘Umar bin Al-Khattab (r.a.) reported that Rasulallah sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam said: “Anyone who sleeps through his hizb, or a part of it,
should recite it between the Fajr prayer and the Zuhr prayer.
It will be written for him as if he had recited it in the night.” [3]

The hadith teaches us that if we fail to recite the portion of the Qur’an that we intended to recite that night, whether inside or outside our prayer, because we fell asleep – then we should still recite it on the next day between the Fajr prayer and Zuhr prayer. Because by the mercy of Allah s.w.t., this deed will still be written as if we had recited it during the night! Therefore if we fall asleep before we could finish the recitation of Surah Al-Mulk, the 3 Qul, and Ayatul Kursi, then we can make it up on the next day and still earn the rewards – alhamdulillah!

The hadith also points out something very important, that a time has been specified i.e. between Fajr and Zuhr. Therefore one of the things that we can derive from this is: Do not procrastinate! Make up those ibadah that we missed immediately before Zuhr.

This is a practical concept that we can do, insya Allah. So if we were to miss something because we overslept or got sick, the Sunnah encouraged us to still make it up. This will also help us to maintain our consistency and spiritual growth.

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📚🖋 References:
[1] Sunan an-Nasa’i
[2] Sahih Muslim
[3] Sahih Muslim

Ramadhan Gem – Day 26

The wisdom behind not knowing which exact night Laylatul Qadr falls upon ❤

Ibn Qudaamah Al-Maqdisee (rahimahullaah) said:

“Some of the people of knowledge said:
Allah The Most High made this night unapparent (obscure) upon the Ummah in order that they should strive hard in seeking after it; and that they should find aspiration in worship when seeking to attain it.

Just as He made the hour in which the supplication is answered on a Friday as unapparent – in order that they should be plentiful in making supplication throughout the day.

Just as He has made His Greatest Name unapparent from amongst His Names; and His Pleasure in varying forms of obedience – in order that they should strive hard in all of them.

Likewise He has made death and the establishment of The Hour as unapparent – in order that the people should earnestly endeavor in performing actions – out of caution from them both.” [1]
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[1] Mawsoo’ah Al-Fiqhiyyah vol 35 p.366
original reference can be found in Al-Mughnee vol 3 p.117

Ramadhan Gem – Day 22

There is divine wisdom and mercy why Allah s.w.t. does not reveal which night is Laylatul Qadr. So in these last remaining nights of Ramadhan, let us not nitpick which night to stay up for ibadah. Ibn ul-Qayyim (rahimahullah) said:

“If Laylat ul-Qadr was 1 night in a year, I would’ve prayed the full year so that I catch it. What of (only) 10 nights?”

(الفوائد ١/٥٥)

Ramadhan Gem – Day 21

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Tips for the Last 10 Nights of Ramadan by Sheikh Tawfique Chowdhury

1. Don’t let your ‘performance’ until now affect your last 10 days. The moment of forgiveness could be today or anytime in the coming days – it is not all lost. If you sincerely wish it could have been better – chin up and get ready to make it your best yet. Start with a positive, sincere intention.

2. Take a little time to read tafseer of Surah al-Qadr to understand what actually happens this night. You will feel its power & greatness so much more.

3. Don’t wait for the 27th Night to give it your “all”. The entire last 10 days should be your target. Stay up each night. Would you want to miss Laylatul Qadr even “by chance”?

4. Don’t fall into any innovation/celebration any masjid or culture might try to promote. Follow the Sunnah. Rasulallah s.a.w. guided us simply: “Whoever stays up and prays on Laylat al-Qadr out of faith and in the hope of reward, his previous sins will be forgiven.”

5. Memorize and keep asking the du’a taught by Rasulullah s.a.w.: Allaahumma innaka ‘afuwwun, tuhibb al-‘afwa, fa’affu ‘anni (O Allah, You are forgiving, and You love forgiveness, so forgive me).

6. Prepare a short dua’ list. Remember this is as awesome as it ever gets for a servant of Allah. The Night of Qadr, of Destiny! Consciously pick each and everything you crucially wish for in this dunya, in your deen, family, and in your akhirah. Don’t forget to include the brothers and sisters around the world who are suffering and in grief.

7. Give charity every single night: If you have $1000 to give, do not give it all on one night. Rather, give $100 every night so that you would definitely have given charity on Laylatul Qadr, in sha Allah! What a fantastic opportunity to increase your rewards!

8. Take brief naps during the day, if possible. Keep your stomach light. After a brief nap, refresh yourself and get ready for worship.

9. Don’t neglect your family. Rasulullah s.a.w. made it a point to wake up his wives throughout these nights. And yes, your children are not too young to stay up some part of the night – if they can be allowed to play video games or watch TV, they can be inspired to be up at least for sometime! Prepare them, make them excited, plan some activities for them to do.

10. Look the Part: The way we dress and prepare has a big effect on our psychology. Wear your best, perfume yourself, and feel the energy!

11. Choose a spot, whether in the Masjid or in your home, where you can have peace and solitude. Keep your mushaf, praying mat, and water at hand so that you are not distracted by constantly getting up for this or that.

12. Say NO to Social Media: These last 10 nights are not the nights to tweet pics, or update FB statuses about how amazing the night is and how you are feeling & worshiping Allah! Let that be a secret between you & your Rabb. So switch off those phones, wifi, laptops and computers. Disconnect with the world, and connect with al-‘Afuww!

13. If you find yourself feeling sleepy, vary your acts of worship. Alternate between qiyaam, heartfelt dua’a, reading the Qur’an. Do not spend the night listening to lectures or recitations. Or do it only for a short while when you feel the sleep coming on!

14. Patience is the Key: The last 10 days might be tiring. You might still have work or school. This is the time to bear all that hardship, and keep firm sabr. Think how Allah has blessed you with this tremendous opportunity that might NEVER come again in your life again. If you knew for sure that this was your last ‪Ramadhan‬, if you knew certainly that Jannah was up for grabs, wouldn’t you sprint for it no matter what it takes?

15. This is most important: Keep husn adh-dhann bi Allah (good expectations from Allah). When you ask, remember you are asking the Most Generous. If you hope for the best, He will give you the best. Don’t hold back. Trust in Him, pour out your heart in front of Him, and let no doubt, no barrier, no evil thoughts keep you away from Ar-Rahman, Ar-Raheem.

May Allah s.w.t. enable us to witness Laylatul Qadr and give us the complete reward of this Night, forgive our shortcomings, write Jannah for us and our family, and save us from the Hellfire. Ameen!

Ramadhan Gem – Day 3

Allah s.w.t. has set THE stage for us this Ramadhan:

1. Fasting
“Whoever observes fasts during the month of Ramadan out of sincere faith, and hoping to attain Allah’s rewards, then ALL of his past sins will be forgiven.” [1]

When we fast in Ramadhan out of iman, meaning not fasting because everyone is doing it or to lose weight, but because we firmly believe that this is a pillar of Islam that Allah mandates upon us, and wanting Jannah – then all of our previous sins will be forgiven.

2. Praying qiyam every night
“Whoever prayed at night in it (Ramadhan) out of sincere Faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, then ALL of his previous sins will be forgiven.” [2]

Scholars said that what is meant by praying qiyaam in Ramadhan is to pray Taraweeh. That’s 11 rakaats minimum (inclusive of 3 rakaats of witr) behind the Imam. If not possible, then do it at home. The idea is not to miss a single prayer.

3. Spending Laylatul-Qadr in prayers
“Whoever establishes the prayers on the night of Qadr out of sincere faith and hoping to attain Allah’s rewards (not to show off) then ALL his past sins will be forgiven.” [3]

How Merciful is Allah s.w.t. He knows all of our sins and mistakes, those days of low-level of iman, those times when we chose desire over piety – yet despite all of that He loves and wants to forgive us. May we emerge from Ramadhan cleansed from our sins, and our hearts healed.
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[1] Sahih Bukhari – http://sunnah.com/bukhari/2/31
[2] Sahih Bukhari – http://sunnah.com/bukhari/31/1
[3] Sahih Bukhari – http://sunnah.com/bukhari/2/28

Lifelong Iman Rush – Tip #8 Wake Up for Qiyamullail (The Night Prayer)

In life, we experience something amazing that makes us feel compelled to come closer to Allah, where we feel a sense of iman-rush. But after a while, dunya gets to us and our reality check makes us feel that we cannot be spiritual consistently. Here’s a tip on how to remain consistently on the path towards the pleasure of Allah. To catch up on the previous posts of this series, click here 📌

———-🌸———-

There is no more intimate conversation between a slave and his Rabb than standing up at night and pray Tahajjud. Imam Al-Hasan Al-Basri rahimahullah was asked why are the faces of those who perform Tahajjud shine more brightly than others? He answered: “It is because when they are alone with the light of the All-Merciful, He clothes them with light from His Light.” That’s how close a person gets to Allah s.w.t. in Qiyamullail.

Qiyamullail is an ibadah that truly engages one’s iman. Fighting ourselves out of bed just to talk to Allah s.w.t. when no one else sees or hears us – what is a greater iman exercised than that? Even Allah s.w.t. Himself is AMAZED by a person who leaves his/her comfortable bed and spouse, just to call upon Him.

Our Rabb admires two men:
a man who leaves his mattress and cover, and slips away from his wife and lover,
to go and pray. Allah says,

“O My angels, look at My slave.
He has left his mattress and cover and slipped away from his lover and wife to pray,
out of hope for what is with Me and out of fear of what is with Me.”

[Reported by Ahmad. It is a hasan (sound) report. Saheeh al-Targheeb, 258]

It was mentioned to Rasulallah s.a.w. about a man who slept all night until morning, to which he s.a.w said:

“That is a man in whose ear the Shaitan has urinated.”
[Sunan an-Nasa’i]

In essence, Shaitan tries to keep us away from Qiyamulail because he knows that had you experience the sweetness of Qiyam, he has no appeal to you anymore and his waswas will mean nothing to you. Qiyamulail is a necessity for spiritual progress! A person who prays Qiyamulail PROTECTS his iman, insya Allah.

To prove this, it was narrated that Rasulallah s.a.w. would sit with the companions every morning and ask if anyone has experienced a good dream to share. Abdullah ibn Umar really wanted to have a good dream just so that he could share it with Rasulallah s.a.w. One night, he dreamt that he was taken by two angels towards the Hellfire so he started seeking refuge with Allah from the Fire. Then another angel met the other two and said to him, “Do not be afraid.”

When he woke up, he was too ashamed to tell Rasulallah s.a.w. of his dream. So he told about it to Hafsa r.a., his sister, as well as wife of Rasulallah s.a.w. When Hafsa r.a. narrated it to Rasulallah s.a.w, he said:


“What an excellent man Abdullah is 
if he only observes the night prayer.”
[Sahih Bukhari]

First of all, look at the way Rasulallah s.a.w responded. He didn’t say: What a terrible young man, he never prays Qiyamulail! But instead he s.a.w. comforted him by praising him: What an excellent person Abdullah is! Since then, Abdullah ibn Umar only slept little at night to perform Qiyamulail.

Coming back to the point: It is not sufficient for our spiritual progress if Qiyamulail is not part of our daily ibadah. We need to develop it as a consistent spiritual habit – even if it’s just 2 raka’ah, even if it takes only 5 minutes. If we find it difficult to wake up in the last third of the night, just wake up 10 minutes extra before the Fajr azan! 🙂