The Creed of Islam
Pious Predecessors and Night Vigil
Maulana Muhammad ‘Adnan Chishti ‘Attari
Fortunate are the believers who stay awake at night, worshipping their Lord, confiding in Him. Such souls are held in great esteem in the Qur’an and hadith. For example, the Final Prophet of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم said that ‘On the Day of Judgment, everyone will gather in one place and then a voice will be heard saying, ‘Where are the people whose sides remained separated from their beds?’ Then, those people will stand up, they will be few in number, and they will enter Paradise without accountability. Then accountability will be taken from everyone else, (Attargheeb Wattarheeb, vol. 1, p. 240, Hadith 9).
Our Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم and Night Vigil
The Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم spent his nights standing immersed in the worship of Allah Almighty so much that his blessed feet would swell up. Sometimes, our Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم would pray two lengthy cycles of salah in the night, reciting Surah Al-Baqarah, Surah Aal-e-Imran, and Surah Al-Nisa in them, (Nasai, p. 289, Hadith 1661).
Special Nights for Night Vigil
Although the Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم would spend every night in worship, he gave special significance to the nights of Sha’ban and Ramadan. On 15th Sha’ban (laylat Al-bara’ah), our Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم would worship in different ways at different locations. Sayyidah ‘Aaishah Al-Siddiqah رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْهَا states that on one such night, the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم was worshiping in the masjid, in prostration, (Fazaail Al-Awqat, p. 32, Hadith 36). She رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْهَا adds, ‘I saw the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم prostrating, like a fallen cloth (without any movement), imploring Allah Almighty,’ (Zikr Ahadith ruwiyat ‘an Al-Nabi fi Zikr Layla-tul-Nisf min Sha’ban wa Fadlih, p. 134).
The Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم would spend the night of 15th Sha’ban at home and at the masjid, engrossed in worship, dhikr, and supplications. Sometimes, the entire night would pass in this worship and his blessed feet would become swollen, (Al-Da’awaat-ul-Kabeer, vol. 2, p. 145, Hadith 530). Sometimes, on 15th Sha’ban, the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم would go to the cemetery and pray for the forgiveness of the believers and martyrs, (Shu’ab-ul-Iman, vol. 3, p. 384, Hadith 3837).
Special Nights of Ramadan
When the last 10 days of Ramadan would arrive, the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم would stay awake at night and would awaken his family members for the worship of Allah, (Muslim, p. 598, Hadith 1174).
Sayyidatuna Zaynab رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْهَا reports that in the last 10 days of Ramadan, the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم would awaken every member of his household who had the ability to offer salah, (Mukhtasar Qiyam Al-Layl-lil-Marwazi, p. 247).
The Nights of Eid
Just as the days of Eid are jovial occasions, the nights of Eid are steeped in virtue and merit. The Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم encouraged his followers to spend these nights in worship: ‘Whoever offers salah in the nights of the two Eids, hoping for reward, his heart will not die on the Day when the hearts [of people] will die,’ (Ibn-e-Majah, vol. 2, p. 365, Hadith 1782).
The Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم also said, ‘Whoever worships in these five nights, Paradise is guaranteed for him, viz. 8th Dhul Hijjah, 9th Dhul Hijjah, 10th Dhul Hijjah, Eid Al-Fitr, and 15th Sha’ban, (Attargheeb Wattarheeb, vol. 2, p. 62, Hadith 2).
Sayyiduna ‘Ali Al-Murtada رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ and Night Vigil
The Commander of the Faithful, Sayyiduna ‘Ali Al-Murtada رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ states:
It is dear to me that a person frees himself for worship in these four nights:
1. The night of ‘Eid al-Fitr
2. The night of Eid al-Adha
3. The 15th night of Ramadan
4. The first night of Rajab, (Al-Tabsirah li Ibn-e-Jawzi, vol. 2, p. 20).
Sayyiduna ‘Umar b. ‘Abd Al-Aziz رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ and Night Vigil
Sayyiduna ‘Umar b. Abd Al-Aziz رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ was passionate and determined in his worship of Allah Almighty. During special nights, he would write to his governors, encouraging them to spend those nights in worship.
In a letter to his governor in Basra, ‘Adi b. Artat رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه, he stated:
[Worship in] four nights of the year is necessary for you. Verily Allah Almighty grants immense mercy on these nights:
1. The first night of Rajab
2. The night of the 15th of Sha’ban
3. The night of Eid al-Fitr
4. The night of Eid al-Adha, (Attargheeb Wattarheeb-lil-Asbahani, vol. 2, p. 393, Hadith 1851).
Types of Worship
The awliya were drawn to different forms of worship; some would pray Fajr with the wudu of ‘Isha salah; some would complete a recital of the Qur’an every 3 days; others would recite the entire Quran daily.
Sayyiduna ‘Uthman Al-Ghani رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ would recite the entire Qur’an in one cycle of salah in one night, (Musannaf Ibn-e-Abi Shaybah, vol. 5, p. 514, Hadith 8680).
The great Imam Abu Bakr b. ‘Ayash رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه recited the entire Qur’an in one day and night, for 60 years. (Sifat Al-Safwah, vol. 3, p. 109)
Sayyiduna Yahya b. Aksam رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه states: ‘I have accompanied Waki’ b. Al-Jarraah رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه during his travels and stays. He would fast daily and recite the whole Qur’an each night, (Sifat Al-Safwah, vol. 3, p. 112).
The narrator of the six authentic hadith compendiums, Imam Ahmad b. Mani’ رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه read the whole Qur’an every three days for 40 years, (Siyar A’lam-un-Nubala, vol. 11, p. 484).
Imam Ahmad b. Hanbal رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه states: ‘Ata b. Sa’ib رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه was from the best worshippers; he would recite the entire Qur’an every night, (Tahzeeb Al-Kamal, vol. 20, p. 90).
Worshipping Allah Almighty in abundance is not a heretical practice or a reprehensible innovation (bid’ah). Rather, it is the way of our pious predecessors and the early Muslims from the chosen generations. We will explore this topic further in next month’s issue اِنْ شَــآءَالـلّٰـه.
May Allah enable us to spend our nights worshipping Him with hearts full of awe and love for Him.
اٰمِیْن بِجَاہِ النَّبِیِّ الْاَمِیْن صَلَّی اللہ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلہٖ وَسَلَّم