The Prophet’s Love of Worship
Mawlana Rashid Nur Attari Madani
Although the beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم was tirelessly engaged in spreading the message of Islam and supporting those around him, he worshipped Allah in abundance. Prior to the proclamation of prophethood, he would worship Allah Almighty in the cave of Ḥirāˈ, standing in worship, remembering Allah Almighty, immersed in contemplation. Sometimes he would spend the entire night in worship, standing in salah for so long that his sacred feet would swell.
Sayyidatuna ꜤĀˈisha رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْهَا states, “When the beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم would offer ˹supererogatory˺ salah, he would stand until his blessed feet would swell.” One day, Sayyidatuna ꜤĀˈisha رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْهَا asked, “Dear Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم! You do this, whereas Allah Almighty has forgiven the sins of your former ones and of your latter ones for your sake!”
The beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم replied:
اَفَلَا اَکُوْنُ عَبْدًا شَکُوْرًا
“Should I not be a grateful servant?”
The beloved Prophet’s love for salah
The Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم had great love for salah. He referred to salah as the coolness of his eyes. When the time of salah would arrive, he would say to Sayyiduna Bilāl رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ:
قُمْ یا بِلَالُ فَاَرِحْنَا بِالصَّلَاۃِ
“O Bilāl! Rise and give us comfort through salah.”
The manner of the beloved Prophet’s salah
Sayyiduna ꜤAbdullah b. Shikkhīr رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ narrates, “I once visited the Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم while he was offering salah. His chest was making a sound like that of a cooking pot that had come to a boil, due to his weeping.”
From these two narrations, one can sense the beloved Prophet’s love for salah and his humility and concentration in it. As followers of the beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم we too should strive towards experiencing comfort and tranquillity through salah.
The Prophetic practice of Tahajjud
The beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم offered Tahajjud throughout his life. There are various narrations about supererogatory prayers at night. Some mention that he would sleep a little after the Isha prayer, then rise to offer salah, then retire to sleep and then rise again to pray. He would then remain in salah until true dawn. Sometimes, he would arise after two thirds of the night had passed and remain engrossed in salah until true dawn.
At other times, he would wake up after half the night had passed and remain awake until dawn, reciting long surahs in prayer, or lengthening his bows, or lengthening his prostrations. At times, he would offer six units of salah, sometimes eight, and on other occasions more or less. In the later part of his worldly life, he offered some units of prayer standing and some seated. He would pray Witr along with Tahajjud.
Describing the Tahajjud prayer of the beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم, Sayyiduna Hudhayfah b. Yamān رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ states:
I performed Tahajjud with the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم one night, and he started reciting Surah al-Baqara. I thought: “He will bow at the end of one hundred verses,” but he continued. So, I thought, “He will recite this surah in the whole prayer,” but he continued the recitation. I then thought, “He will bow on completing this Sūrah.” He then started reciting Surah al-Nisāʾ and completed it, following which he began Surah Āl-ꜤImrān. He recited slowly.
When he recited a verse which mentioned tasbīḥ, he would recite tasbīḥ and when he recited a verse mentioning beseeching, he would beseech. When he recited a verse mentioning seeking protection, he would seek protection. Then he bowed and said, سُبْحَانَ رَبِّي الْعَظِيم. His bowing lasted the same length of time as his standing. Then he said, سَمِعَ اللهُ لِمَنْ حَمِدَهُ رَبَّنَا لَكَ الْحَمْدُ and stood for a lengthy time, about the same length as he had spent in bowing. He صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم then prostrated saying, سُبْحَانَ رَبِّي الْأَعْلىٰ, and his prostration lasted close to the length of time of his standing.
The practice of the beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم at night
The beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم would rest at night, engage in worship and also grant time to his family, so that each matter was given its right.
Sayyiduna al-Aswad b. Yazīd رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ says:
I asked Sayyidatuna ꜤĀˈisha رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْهَا about the night prayer of the Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم, so she said, “He used to sleep at the beginning of the night. Then he would get up and pray, and when the time before dawn arrived, he performed Witr. Then he came to his sleeping mat, and if he had a need, he would go to his wife. When he heard the call to prayer, he would spring up, and if he was in need of bathing, he poured water over himself, and if not, he performed wudu and went out to the salah.”
The worship of the beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم in Ramadan
In the blessed month of Ramadan, particularly in its last third, the beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم would engage in abundant worship. He would spend the entire night in prayers. Moreover, he would wake up his family members for night prayer and often observe iʿtikāf. His devotion and dedication during this sacred time serve as a profound example for all believers. Alongside salah, he would make dua, sometimes standing, at other times sitting and on occasions in prostration, in a state of deep reverence and whilst crying profusely. He would revise the Quran with Sayyiduna Jibrīl عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام and would also recite different litanies and duas.
Supererogatory fasting of the beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم
Apart from the obligatory fasts of Ramadan, it was from his practice to perform supererogatory fasts.
Sayyidatuna ꜤĀˈishah رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْهَا states:
The Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم used to fast till we would say that he would never stop fasting, and he would leave fasting till we would say that he would never fast. After arriving in Madinah al-Munawwarah, I never saw the Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم fasting for a whole month except the month of Ramadan, and I did not see him fasting more in any month than in the month of ShaꜤbān.
He would fast the first three days of every month. He would not leave the fasting of the white days, i.e., the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth of every month, neither in the state of travel nor in the state of residence. He fasted the 10th of Muḥarram himself and encouraged others to do the same. He would give particular attention to the fasting of Monday and Thursday and would say, “Actions are presented (in the court of Allah Almighty) on Mondays and Thursdays and I love that my actions are presented in the state of fasting.”
Furthermore, on one occasion when he was asked about fasting on Mondays, he replied:
ذَاکَ یَوْمٌ وُلِدْتُ فِیْهِ، وَیَوْمٌ بُعِثْتُ، أَوْ أُنْزِلَ عَلَيَّ فِیْهِ
“That is a day in which I was born, and in which I was sent forth or revelation descended upon me.”
Sometimes the beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم performed continual fasting in which he would fast many days and nights consecutively, without break. However, he forbade his followers from this type of fasting. Some Companions رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْھُم asked, “Dear Messenger of Allah! You perform continual fasting?” He replied, “Which of you is like me? I spend the night in the state that my Lord gives me food and drink.”
Immersed in the remembrance of Allah Almighty
Despite being the perfect human and dear to Allah, the beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم consistently immersed himself in the remembrance of Allah. Whether he was travelling or at home, alone or in the company of others, in a state of good health or illness, he remained steadfast in remembering and glorifying Allah in all circumstances. In a lengthy narration in Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhari it is stated:
كَانَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَذْكُرُ اللَّهَ عَلَى كُلِّ اَحْيَانِهِ
“The Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم would remember Allah Almighty at all times.”
Whether standing, sitting, walking, eating, drinking, waking, sleeping, performing ablution, wearing new clothes, riding a conveyance and descending from one, travelling, returning, going to and returning from the masjid, at the time of; battle, rain, lightning, in every state and at every time, the beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم would be reciting duas.
At times of happiness, sadness, at dawn, sunset, upon hearing the call of a rooster or the braying of a donkey, and in every other circumstance, the beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم would turn to Allah in supplication. He would not only be engrossed in duas and remembrance of Allah Almighty during the day, but also in the silence of the night. To the extent that when he was departing from this world, he was repeating the words: اَللّٰھُمَّ فِی الرَّفِیْقِ الْاَعْلٰی.
In order to gain support in worship, he صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم would supplicate with the words:
اَللّٰہُمَّ اَعِنِّیْ عَلٰی ذِکْرِکَ وَشُکْرِکَ وَحُسْنِ عِبَادَتِکَ
“Dear Allah Almighty! Aid me upon Your remembrance, gratitude to You and worshipping You in the best manner.”
Spending in the way of Allah Almighty
He personified what it meant to be truly charitable, as he would not hoard gold, silver, merchandise or herds of animals. Instead, he would promptly distribute anything he received among those who were deserving. He did not like to keep any wealth with him overnight. Once, so much wealth from the land tax (kharāj) came that despite distributing it until the night, some still remained, so he stayed in the masjid overnight. He only stepped foot in his home when Sayyiduna Bilāl رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ gave him the news that the wealth had been distributed.
You will have noted that despite being the leader of both worlds, our beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم was always engrossed in the worship of Allah Almighty. He deemed salah to be a source of tranquillity and comfort and would offer it with utmost humility and concentration. He would rise at night to offer supererogatory prayers and fast during the days. He would remain absorbed in the remembrance of Allah Almighty. Despite performing all this worship, he would make dua for the ability to perform more.
The deep devotion of the beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم towards Allah’s worship serves as an inspiration for us to cultivate love for salah and bring joy to his heart through our prayers. Drawing from his practice of worshipping at night, we should strive to offer supererogatory prayers as well. If, for any reason, we are unable to perform these additional prayers, let us, at the very least, be consistent and dedicated in punctually completing the prescribed prayers. We should also arrange to undertake supererogatory fasts and never miss the fasting of Ramadan.
We should continue to gain the blessings of reciting the Quran and recite even more in Ramadan. We should try and set aside time for specific remembrance of Allah Almighty and keep our tongues moist in His remembrance in all states. The beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم would give away all his wealth in charity. We should strive to emulate this practice and give as much charity as possible in the way of Allah Almighty. Most importantly, we should make dua for the ability to perform worship and remain steadfastness upon it.
May Allah Almighty grant us a substantial portion from beloved Prophet’s passion for worship.
اٰمِیْن بِجَاہِ خاتَمِ النَّبِیّیْن صلَّی اللہ علیہ واٰلہٖ وسلَّم
 Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim: 7126
 Al-Muʿjam al-Kabīr: 1012
 Sunan Abī Dāwūd: 4986
 Sunan Abī Dāwūd: 904
 Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim: 1814
 Shama’il- al-Tirmidhi: 251
 Ṣirāṭ al-Jinān, vol. 8, p. 377
 Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhāri: 1969
 Jāmiʿ al-Tirmidhi: 742
 Sunan al-Nasāi: 2342
 Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhāri: 2004
 Jāmiʿ al-Tirmidhi: 745,747
 Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim: 2747
 Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhāri: 6851
 Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhāri, vol. 1, p. 124
 Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhāri: 4437, Seerat-e-Mustafa, p. 598
 Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah: 30013
 Sunan Abī Dāwūd: 3055