Monday 11 Rabia ath-Thani 1441 on December 9, 2019

The virtue of voluntary Night Prayer in Ramadan and Its rulings

It was narrated on the authority of Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet, sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ), said: "Whoever stands (in voluntary payers on the nights of) Ramadan out of faith and hoping for reward from Allah, his past sins will be forgiven." [Al-Bukhari] This Hadeeth means that when the Muslim performs voluntary prayers at night during Ramadan while having faith that he will indeed be rewarded, seeking the pleasure of Allah The Almighty, being free of ostentation and fame, and hoping for the reward of Allah The Almighty, his past sins will be overlooked and he will not be taken to account for them.

It was narrated on the authority of Ibn ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet, sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ), said: "Allah will bring the believer close to Him, envelop him in His mercy, and cover him. He will then make him confess his sins by saying: 'Do you remember (doing) this sin and this sin?' He will reply, 'My Lord, I remember,' till the believer thinks he is doomed. Then Allah will say: 'I covered it up for you in the worldly life, and I forgive it for you today.' Then the record of his good deeds will be handed to him. The disbelievers and the hypocrites, however, will be called out in front of the creation, ‘These are the ones who lied against their Lord. Unquestionably, the curse of Allah is upon the wrongdoers.’" [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

The Prophet, sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ), encouraged voluntary night prayers in Ramadan in the previous Hadeeth which was narrated on the authority of Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, and made it an act of the Sunnah by his practice. ‘Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said,

People were performing prayers in the Masjid (Mosque) of the Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) in Ramadan in groups. One man would lead a group of five or six men or more or less. One night, the Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) requested that I spread a mat for him in front of my room's door, and I did. The Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) left after performing the ‘Ishaa’ Prayer, and people who were gathered and present in the Masjid and he led them in prayer for a long time. Then, the Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) left, entered his house, and kept the mat in its place. In the morning, the people talked about the congregational prayer of the Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) that night the people crowded in the Masjid and the Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) led them in ‘Ishaa’ Prayer, then, entered his house. When people kept waiting in the Masjid, the Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) asked: “Why are the people waiting, O ‘Aa’ishah?” I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, the people heard of your congregational prayer last night and gathered tonight so that you may lead them in prayer.’ He said:“O ‘Aa’ishah, move your mat away.”I removed the mat and the Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) kept awake that night, and the people remained in the Masjid. In the morning, the Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) left and said: ‘O people, by Allah, I did not sleep last night, nor was I unaware of your location. I only feared that it would become obligatory for you. Carry out the acts you are able to do, for Allah does not withhold His reward and mercy until you despair.’" [Ahmad]

This Hadeeth teaches us some lessons:

1- The permissibility of the Taraaweeh prayer, as the Prophet, sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ), led the people in prayer after the ‘Ishaa’ Prayer.
2- The Prophet, sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ), did not perform voluntary night prayers with people in the rest of the month of Ramadan for fear that it would become obligatory for them. This fear no longer exists because of the death of the Prophet, sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ), and the final ruling is that Taraaweeh in Ramadan is something permissible.
3- The Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, were keen on worship and diligent in following the Prophet, sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ).
4- The Prophet, sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ), cared for and was kind to his Ummah (nation), as Allah The Almighty Says (what means):{There has certainly come to you a Messenger from among yourselves. Grievous to him is what you suffer; [he is] concerned over you and to the believers is kind and merciful.} [Quran 9:128]

Muslims should know that it is recommended to perform the voluntary night prayer behind the Imaam and remain with him till he finishes the Witr prayer. It was narrated on the authority of Abu Tharr, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet, sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ), said: "Whoever remained performing the prayer behind the Imaam until he left would receive the reward of performing voluntary prayers for the whole night." [Ibn Khuzaymah] This Hadeeth is general and women share the same reward, exactly as Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {Whoever does righteousness - it is for his [own] soul.} [Quran 41:46] However, it is not permissible for a woman to attend the Masjid wearing perfume as the Prophet, sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ), said: "Any woman who applies scent should not attend the ‘Ishaa’ prayer with us [in the Masjid]." [Muslim] ‘Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, remarked in later years, "Had the Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) seen what women have introduced after him, he would have banned them from attending the Masjids just as the women of the children of Israel were banned from places of worship." [Muslim] Scholars have commented that this refers to the adornment, perfume, and dazzling clothes that some women use.