STRIVING IN WORSHIP
The Salaf have understood the Deen of Allah as well as the essence of this life and its inescapable leading to the Hereafter, so they felt aversion for the distractions and the tribulations of the world. They found no sleep and their heart kept away from desires. They kept above the insignificant concerns of life. Their biographies abound with stories that show their striving in righteousness, repentance and their strong will in worship and humbleness.
Al-Hasan al-Basri said, “Whoever competes with you in the Deen then try to surpass him, and whoever competes with you in the matters of this life then throw it back at him.” Whenever he missed a Salah in congregation, ibn `Umar radhiallahu `anhu used to fast one day, pray for one whole night and free a slave.
Abu Musa al-Ash`ari used to apply himself so much in worship at the end of his life that he was told, “Why don’t you slow down and be gentle with yourself?” He replied, “When the horses are released for a race and are close to the finish line, they give all the strength they have. What is left of my life is less than that.” He maintained the same level of devotion and worship until he died.
Mawriq al-`Ajli said, “I did not find an example, for the believer in this life, better than a man on a plank in the sea, imploring, ‘O Lord, O Lord’, hoping that Allah would save him.” Usamah said, “Whenever you see Sufyan ath-Thawri, it is as if you see someone in a ship fearing to drown. One would often hear him say, ‘O Lord save me, save me!”
Fatimah bint Abdil Malik, the wife of the Khalifah `Umar ibn `Abdil-Aziz said, “I have never seen a person offering a salah or fasting more than he did, or a person fearing the Lord more than him. After offering Salat-ul-Isha, he would sit down and cry until he becomes sleepy, then he would wake up again and continue crying until sleep overtakes him.”
Amir ibn Abdullah was once asked, “How can you tolerate being awake all night, and thirsty in the intense heat of the day?” He replied, “Is it anything more than postponing the food of the day to nighttime, and the sleep of the night to daytime? This is not a big matter.” When the night came, he would say, “Remembrance of the heat of hellfire has taken sleepiness from me.” And he would not sleep until dawn.
Ahmad ibn Harb said, “I wonder how the one who knows that above him, paradise is being embellished, and below him, the hell-fire is being kindled, and yet sleeps between them!”
Waqi` said, “Al Amash was almost seventy years old and he never missed the first takbirah (for salah in the masjid). I used to visit him frequently for more than two years and never saw him make up for even one rakah.”
Abu Hayan related that his father said, “Ar-Rabi` ibn Khuthaym was crippled and used to be carried to the congregational salah. So people told him, “You have an excuse (for not coming).” He said, “I hear ‘hayya `alas-salah’, the call to salah; so if you can come to it even by crawling, do so”, paraphrasing a hadith.
Abull-Mawahib ibn Sarsari said concerning Imam Abul-Qasim ibn Asakir, “I have never seen the like of him, and none had encompassed as many good characteristics as he did concerning his adherence to one way for forty years, making salah in the first row unless he had an excuse, i`tikaf during Ramadan and the ten days of Thul-Hijjah, and the lack of desire to accumulate properties and build houses, as he forbade himself these. He turned away any position of imam or speaker, though they were offered to him, and he devoted himself to enjoin good and forbid evil, and he would not fear anyone in that.”
By Omar Tarhuni
What is true worship? Is it formal prayer in the Mosque or in the home? Is is reciting a du’a or supplication? Is it fasting, paying Zakaat and doing the rituals of Hajj and Umrah? True worship is all these things, and more.
Islam has widened the scope of worship to include rituals and every virtuous action which is sincerely performed in compliance with the commandments of Alláh, in order to seek his pleasure. However, this concept is sometimes used as a pretext to support the erroneous view that the obligatory rituals of worship can be dispensed with , or that they are not very important. For example , one may say that the code of dress for Muslim women , as specified in the Quran and the Sunnah, is not obligatory or important as long a woman dresses decently.
The truth is quite contrary to this. The specific obligatory rituals are the chief means for strengthening our attachments with Allah.
It is absolutely wrong to imagine that true faith does not consist of specific rituals , and that the basis of true faith is merely purity of heart, goodness of intention and soundness of conduct. This represents misrepresentation of Islamic teachings. The intention to do good alone does not mark off the true men of faith from the rest.
Religion, after all, has an external aspect in the same way as it has an internal aspect. This attitude of deliberate disregard of ritual obligations is destructive of the very foundations of religion. For, if that viewpoint to be adopted , every one , even those who are in fact opposed to religion could claim to be the best of all worshipers.
The real purpose of Islam in declaring that Ibadah embraces the total life of man is to make faith play a practical and effective role in reforming human life, in developing in man an attitude of dignified patience and strength in the face of hardships and difficulties and in creating in him the urge to strive for victory of good over evil.
Islam is opposed to those defeatist and isolationist philosophies which are based on world-renunciation , on resignation from the resources of life , on withdrawal from the life of action and struggle , on sheer stagnation and decadence. These things have nothing to do with Islam. Rather , they are the symbols of defeatism and escape from the challenges that we find throughout life. For life requires strength, material resources and active habits. The role of Islam in the struggle of life is a positive one.
SUBMISSION AND LOVE
It is obvious now that when we talk about worship we talk about total, willing obedience and submission to Allah. Because this obedience and submission is a voluntary act, a free choice we have made with a sound mind, it must have been motivated by love for Allah. We could not have begun to worship Alláh without first loving him above anything and anyone else. Thus, there is no worship without obedience and submission, and there is no worship without love.
True worship is made of two elements.
First; compliance with the total commandments of Allah, the positive and the negative. Second; that such complianceand obedience must emanate and come from a loving heart for Allah.
Such love for Allah should be based on the awareness and recognition of His grace, bounty, kindness, mercy, beauty and perfection. He who knows Allah loves Him. This why the prophet was the most loving person for Allah because he was the most knowledgeable of Him.
Love and submission to Allah are the essence of worship in Islam which is established by a commitment of faith, a contract which we undertook when we accepted Islam as religion and way of life, when we recited the Kalima and bore witness that there is no God but Allah and that Muhamad is His Messenger.
Once we are committed and faithful to this contract, then we must submit our life to Allah, to follow His message and be guided by his Book and Messenger. This is the foundation of our worship.
Requirements and Conditions
In order to be able to perform it as it is prescribed, we must know the requirements and conditions of true worship.
SINCERITY. One of these required conditions that a Muslim should be aware of while performing any worship is sincerity. Almighty Allah said: “So whoever hopes for the meeting with His Lord let him work deeds of righteousness and associate none as a partner in the worship of His Lord” [18:110]
The Messenger, said: “Indeed God does not look at your faces nor your wealth but He looks at your hearts and your actions.” Also there is the Hadeeth Qudsee where the Messenger, said that God said:
“I am in no need of having partners. Thus, whoever does an action for someone else’s sake as well as Mine, will have that action rejected by Me.”
*Correctness and conformity. Another vital condition of worship is that it is correct so that it may be acceptable to God. Our Worship of God should be as He and His Messenger, have commanded us. Almighty Allah says:
“O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and do not let your actions be done in vain ( Useless).”Ch47:v33.
The Messenger, has said: “Whoever does an action which we have not commanded will have it rejected” And he, also said: “Whoever does an action in a way different from ours will have it rejected”.
Fudayl ibn Ayyaad, (i.e. a member of the second generation of Muslims), said regarding the verse: “that He may test you, which of you is best in deeds.” [11:7], “The most sincere and the most correct”, if it is correct but not sincere it will not be accepted and, if it is sincere but not correct it will not be accepted until it is both sincere and correct. Sincere means that nothing but the Face of God is sought and correct means that it is in conformity with the Sunnah.”
*Ihsan Another characteristic of our worship is being aware of the presence of Allah, that His knowledge is with us and He sees and hears us. This point is called Ihsaan – perfection or doing one’s utmost . Almighty God says: “The One Who sees you when you stand up for the prayer and when you move amongst those who prostrate themselves” [ 26:218]
We all know the hadith of Gabriel when he said to the Messenger: “Ihsaan is that you worship Allah as if you see Him and while you see Him not yet truly He sees you”.
Allah has also commanded us: “So call upon Him (out of) Fear and Hope” [6:56]
The Prophet, used to supplicate: “I ask God for Paradise and I seek refuge in Him from the Fire”.
The verse and the Hadeeth clearly tells us that our worship should be in between hoping for God’s Mercy and reward and fearing His punishment.
So these are the essential points which we must keep in mind concerning our worship, namely:
We must acknowledge that Worship of Allah is the purpose of our existence; We must have absolute Sincerity in fulfilling that purpose; We must observe Correctness of our worship by conducting it in the manner of the Sunnah of the Messenger. Worshipping God by combining Love, Fear and Hope; and Maintaning Ihsaan – a keen awareness, excellent consciousness of God. Here Alláh swt gives the example of one who learns and builds all of his actions on the essential points concerning the worship of his Lord, and one who does not.
“Which then is best? He who lays the foundation of his house upon Taqwa (i.e. God-consciousness) and His Good Pleasure, or he who lays the foundation of his house upon an undetermined sand cliff ready to crumble down, so that it crumbles down with him into the Fire of Hell?” [9:109].
So Brothers and Sisters, let’s be mindful of the purpose of our existence , aware that our worship and good deeds could be frustrated if they are insincere or incorrect, striving to combine love and fear and hoping to attain the degree of Ihsan.
At the day of Judgement, some people will find that their deeds and actions have been rejected By Allah and turned into floating dust. In this regard Allah says: “And We shall turn to whatever actions they did and turn them into scattered dust” [25:23]
But rather let us become cautious and send something foreword for the Day of Judgement, the Day when we will be in great need for good actions — that is our sincere and correct worship. Let us try to achieve the degree of Ihsan by worshipping Allah as if we see Him, and being constantly aware that even if we don’t see Him, He sees us.
THE OBLIGATION OF IBADAH UPON THE CREATION
By Abu Iyad as-Salafi
Source: The Book of Worship
Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullaah) says: “Allaah, the One free from all imperfections, the Exalted, created the heart for man that he may know things by it, just as he has created the eyes that he may see things by them and the ears that he may hear things by them and likewise [He created] all the various limbs for a specific purpose”
The hearts were created to know Allaah, become acquainted with Him, love Him, fear Him, develop a nearness and attachment to Him and become satisfied with Him. Also, to reflect, understand and receive admonition and guidance by the Books and Messengers sent by Allaah Azzawajall.
Allaah sends down the most excellent of speech, a Book, its parts resembling each other in goodness and truth, oft-repeated. The skins of those who fear their Lord shiver from it (when they recite it or hear it). Then their skins and their hearts soften to the Remembrance of Allaah. That is the Guidance of Allaah. He guides therewith whom He pleases and whomever Allaah sends astray, for him there is no guide
Indeed there is within that a Remembrance for whoever has a heart and lends an ear while he is a witness}
Indeed in the Remembrance of Allaah do hearts find satisfaction
“The ears carry words which contain ‘knowledge’ to the heart”  and therefore have been made the carriers of the knowledge which is contained in sounds/words to the heart. Allaah the Exalted said: “Indeed there are signs within that for a people who listen”
Will they then not listen
That We might make it a remembrance for you, and the keen ear (person) may (hear) and understand it
Likewise, the eyes have been made the carriers of the knowledge which is obtained by sight and observation to the heart. Allaah the Exalted said: “Have they not observed the things Allaah has created?”
And We bring forth from it produce from which their cattle and their own selves do eat. Do they then not see?
And within your own souls, will you not observe?
Do they not travel through the earth and see what was the end of those who came before them?
The One Who has created the seven heavens one above another, you can see no fault in the creation of the Most Beneficent. Then look again: “Can you see any rifts?” Then look again and yet again, your sight will return to you in state of humiliation worn out
Knowledge and Reflection
And thus, the heart accesses knowledge by these two routes (sight and hearing) and the heart “is in reality the place of knowledge”, reflection and understanding.
Do they not travel through the earth that they may have hearts with which they understand
Do they not carefully reflect over the Qur’aan or are there locks upon their hearts
They have hearts with which they do not understand
The eyes provide the heart with knowledge of Allaah’s handiwork, craftsmanship, skill, His signs and wonders to mankind and the deserted ruins of the previous nations. The ears provide the heart with the knowledge of what Allaah has rehearsed to them about Himself (His Names and Attributes) and from among His verses, what He has enjoined upon them, forbidden them, what He has warned them with (Hellfire), what He has promised them with (Paradise), knowledge of the examples He has set forth for mankind and of how He has dealt with the nations gone by.
Once the heart receives this knowledge it reflects and cogitates with it so that the Tawheed of Allaah Azzawajall, His absolute ownership over the Universe, and His right to be worshipped alone becomes apparent to it just like the daylight to the eyes.
Ibn al-Qayyim says: “The signs (handiwork) of Allaah which are observed give testimony to the truthfulness of the Aayaat of Allaah which are heard”. The Exalted says: “Soon will We show them Our Signs in their own souls and in the furthest horizons until it becomes clear to them that this is the Truth”
Meaning that: “We shall show them from Our Aayaat (signs) which they observe, witness (and which they hear about) by the faculties which We have bestowed upon them so that it becomes evident to them that that this Book (and the verses and signs contained therein) which We have revealed to them and which they read and recite is nothing but the manifest truth”.
Consequently, the servant of Allaah is made to realize the truth. Also his insignificance, helplessness and the Grandeur and Might of Allaah the Exalted; and therefore his absolute dependance upon Allaah Azzawajall for guidance and assistance in all his affairs till his matter has been decided (i.e. entry into Paradise or Hellfire).
WORSHIP: ITS DEFINITION AND NULLIFIERS
By Shaikh Abdul Baree Ath-Thubaytie
All praise is due to Allaah, who created mankind for the purpose of His worship. I testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allaah. I equally testify that Mohammad is his servant and Messenger. May peace and blessings be upon the Prophet, his family and his companions.
One of the Salaf (the righteous predecessors) said: “Indeed, Allaah has bestowed His favour upon His servants and commanded them to be grateful as much as they can, for gratitude, however little it may be, is a price for the favour, however big it may be. If one does not be grateful, he has exposed the favour to extinction…”
Dear brother! A believer’s soul does not yield to frivolities; however, his soul becomes tranquil, that tranquillity energises it and tells it, “O soul! Be happy, for the home is near and reunion is imminent”. Therefore, do not terminate your journey and thus be denied reaching the home of the loved ones. When Naafi was asked of Ibn ‘Umar’s activities at home, he replied, “He used to perform ablution for every prayer and recite Qur’an in between them [i.e. in between ablution and prayer.]”
Hasan al-Basree said – while describing efforts of Salaf in worship, “I have met people and I have accompanied groups. They (i.e. the people I have met and accompanied) did not use to rejoice at whatever came their way of the beauties of this world; nor did they use to get sad over whatever departed from them of this world. Rather, the world was less significant to them than the soil over which they walked. They would act by the book of their Lord and the Sunnah of the Prophet. During the night they stood up in prayer, prostrated their faces and wept out of fear of Allaah.”
Whenever Ibn ‘Umar missed a congregational prayer, he would atone for that by a day of fasting, a night vigil (in prayer) and manumission of a slave.
‘Umar ibn Abdil-Azeez’s wife said, “I have never seen anyone who prayed fasted and feared Allaah more than him (meaning her husband). He would pray Salaatul-‘Eshaa and then sit down doing Adh-Dhikr [remembering Allaah] until he was overcome by slumber. He would remember some of the issues of the Last Day while he was on his bed and tremble like a sparrow and then sit down weeping. I would then cover him with a sheet.”
Wakee’ said, “Al-A’mash never missed the first Takbeer (in a congregational prayer) for almost seventy years and I visited him for more than six years, and I have never seen him performing a missed Raka’ah.” Sulaymaan Ibn Hamzah also said, “I have never prayed an obligatory prayer alone except twice and even then I felt as if I had not prayed it at all.” It should be noted that he was almost ninety years old when he died.
These are just a few examples from a people who’s hearts were full of love for Allaah in all their conditions; they then became delighted, their souls became tranquil and peace ruled over their limbs. Then, thoughts of love replaced those of disobedience, the will to move nearer to Him replaced that of displeasing Him and movements of the tongue became that of obedience or contrary to disobedience.
As for the Prophet, love of worship has penetrated deep into his heart and the greatest manifestation of his worship is that he submitted his whole life to Allaah in all his conditions. Allaah says, “And who can be better in religion than one who submits his face (himself) to Allaah and he is a Muhsin (a good-doer).” (An-Nisaa: 125).
The Prophet used to fear Allaah and always seek for his forgiveness. He said, “By Allaah! I indeed invoke Allaah for forgiveness and repent to Him more than seventy times a day.” (Al-Bukhaaree) He used to worship Allaah in the night and would keep on standing until his legs became swollen and when he was asked, “O Messenger of Allaah! You do this when your former and latter sins have been forgiven?” He would reply, “Should I not then be a grateful slave?” (Al-Bukhaaree & Muslim).
However, the most wonderful aspect of the Prophet’s worship is that astonishing combination of the highest level of worship and performance of his role as the head of his Ummah. He said, “By Allaah! I am the most fearful of Allaah among you, but I fast, and eat; I pray and I sleep and I marry women. Whoever dislikes my way is not of me.” (Al-Bukhaaree)
Ibn Taymiyyah said, “The heart cannot be good, prosper, have felicity and easiness, enjoy and have tranquillity except through the worship of its Lord alone. Even if it attains all pleasures of this world it will not get peace and tranquillity, for it has a natural spontaneous need to its Lord because He is its Lord…”
Brothers in faith! The greatest type of worship is to perform that which Allaah makes obligatory on His servants and to refrain from all that He forbids. Aboo Hurayrah narrated that Prophet said, “Allaah says, ‘The most beloved things with which my slave comes nearer to me is what I have enjoined on him.’” (Al-Bukhaaree). Ibn Al-Qayyim said, “Since the Salaf lived their whole life in worship it is then necessary for us to know, with which type of worship they started and which one have they given priority.” He then answered; the best acts of worship are the most pleasing to Allaah in that particular time. The best act of worship during the presence of a guest is to take care of him and to be distracted by that from recommended acts of worship. This is also in performing one’s duties towards one’s wife and family. The best act of worship in the night is to be occupied with prayer, reciting the Qur’an, supplication and Thikr. The best thing during the time of the Athaan is to leave whatever worship one is doing and answer the Mua’ththin (by repeating what he says). The best thing during the time of the five obligatory prayers is to exert one’s efforts in their prompt performance. The best thing when the poor is dire need of assistance is to assist them and give that preference over supererogatory Thikr. The best thing to do when your brother is sick or dead is to visit him, attend his funeral, and give that priority over your supererogatory Thikr. And the best thing to do when you are afflicted and suffer people’s harm is to be patient and not to run away from them. The Muslim should be moving in between stations of servitude. If you see the ‘Ulamaa’ you see him with them; if you see those who are devotedly performing acts of worship, you see him with them, and if you see those giving generously in charity, you see him with them!
Fellow Muslims! Allaah says, “And I created not the jinn and humans except that they should worship Me (alone).” (Ath-Thaariyaat: 56). This verse plainly explains the purpose of our creation; that our lives should not be spent except in worshipping Allaah. Prayer, fasting, alms giving, Hajj, truthfulness, trustworthiness, being dutiful to parents, supplication, reading the Qur’an, hoping for Allaah’s mercy and being afraid of His punishment are all acts of worship.
Brothers in faith! Indeed what has afflicted Muslims in the course of their long history and what is afflicting them today is a consequence of their deviation from the real concept of worship and application of the two conditions of worship which are: sincerity and following path of the messenger of Allaah. While abandoning sincerity lead to directing acts of worship that are solely Allaah’s to others besides Him; lack of following the path of the Prophet leads to the appearance of various kinds of worship on which there is no permission from Allaah nor recommendation from His Prophet .
However, some people restrict the concept of worship to rituals only. Whenever this set of people works, they abstain completely from worship and whenever they worship, they keep away completely from work. This is unfortunately the most common belief. It is the people who hold this concept who say, “What does religion have to do with a woman’s dressing and her work? What does religion have to do with our personal behaviour? Their purpose is to remove religion from one’s life and confine it only to the mosque. That is why you see someone who prays, fasts, and reads Qur’an, yet cheats, bribes and takes bribes and wrongs others. You also see a woman who prays yet disobeys laws of Allaah by dressing immodestly and mingling with men.
Brothers in Islaam! Deeds towards which one is naturally inclined become acts of worship through good intentions. The farmer in his farm, the labourer, the trader, or the practitioner of any other profession is capable of turning his occupation into an act of worship, provided that he does not tarnish it with cheating, lying, tricking etc. This is the concept of worship in its wider sense. To have a full imagination of acts of obedience makes a Muslim full of good, mercy, and benefit for his fellow human beings, thereby encouraging him to do more acts of worship and assist his Ummah.
My dear brother! It is possible for you to add a viable brick into the structure of this Ummah and add to your scale of good deeds weighty works, which may appear insignificant to you. Listen to what the Prophet said, “Do you want me to tell you of what is better than the rank of fasting, prayer and charity?” The Companions said, “Yes, O Messenger of Allaah. He said, “Making peace between people among whom there is discord.” (Abu Dawood) He also said, “Whoever visits a sick person or a brother of his for Allaah’s sake, a caller will call him thus, ‘You are good and your passage is good. May you take Paradise for an abode.’ ” (At-Tirmithie).
Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allaah said, “While a man was walking along the road, he saw a branch of a tree with thorns lying on the road and he removed it, so Allaah thanked him for that and forgave him (his sins).” (Muslim). It is also reported that the Messenger of Allaah said, “Deeds of my nation – both the good and evil – were shown to me and I found that among their good deeds is removal of harmful things from the pathway.” (Muslim).
Restricting righteous deeds to special acts of worship makes seekers of piety spend all their time in repetition of limited deeds as if they do not see that other ways lead to the pleasure of Allaah.
Brothers in Islaam! Fear Allaah and beware of all things that invalidate worship or remove its reward. Among these are associating partners with Allaah and showing off. Allaah says, “If they had joined in worship others with Allaah all that they used to do would have been of no benefit to them.” (Al-An’aam: 88).
Another act that invalidates worship is innovation. The Prophet said, “Whoever does a deed upon which there is no order from us will have it rejected.”
Doing injustice to others also destroys one’s worship. The Prophet said, “The bankrupt among my Ummah is the one who comes on the Day of Resurrection with prayer, charity and fasting and yet has abused someone, slandered someone, taken someone’s money illegally, shed someone’s blood and beaten someone. Each of these people will be given of his good deeds (by way of compensation). If his good deeds however finishes before judgement is passed on him, parts of their sins will be thrown on him, and he will then be cast into Hell.” (Muslim).
Of these things that invalidate one’s worship is filthy words uttered by some people without thinking of its consequences. The Prophet said, “A man may utter a word (carelessly) which displeases Allaah without thinking of it’s gravity and because of that he will be thrown into the Hell-fire.” (Ibn Maajah). The Prophet also told us of a man who said, “By Allaah! Allaah will not forgive so and so.” Allaah then said, “Who is that person swearing by Me that I will not forgive so and so? I have indeed forgiven him and render your own deeds fruitless!” (Muslim).
The Prophet said, “A man passed by a tree branch on a road and said, ‘By Allaah! I shall remove this away from the Muslims lest it harms them.’ For that, he was admitted to Paradise.” (Muslim).
Brothers in faith! Worshipping Allaah does indeed necessitate using all one’s limbs in his obedience and carrying out His orders. One should then worship Allaah by preventing his eyes from watching unlawful things and using them to look at what Allaah loves, like a copy of the Qur’an, books of knowledge &c. He should also worship Him by preventing his ears, hands and feet from all that Allaah forbids and using them in things that He enjoins and loves. Allaah says, “Say (O Mohammad), Verily my Salaat (prayer), my sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allaah, the Lord of the ‘Aalameen (mankind, jinns and all that exists). He has no partner. And of this I have been commanded, and I am the first of the Muslims.” (Al-An’aam: 162-163).
THE DISEASE OF LATE NIGHTS
By Shaykh Saleh al-Budair
O Muslims! The favours of Allaah upon His slaves cannot be enumerated. Among these favours is that He has created sleep, and He has created the night so that we may rest in it. Allaah, the Bestower of Favours, says that which translates as: “And [We] made your sleep [a means for] rest, and made the night as clothing.” (An-Naba’: 9-10) And also: “[He is] the cleaver of daybreak and has made the night for rest and the sun and moon for calculation. That is the determination of the Exalted in Might, the Knowing.” (Al-An’aam: 96) During the night, people are calm and their bodies and minds are relaxed, which results in the required rest. Allaah created this time for people to unwind, calm down and rest in, and this is from His mercy. Allaah says that which translates as: “And out of His mercy He made for you the night and day that you may rest therein and [by day] seek from His bounty and [that] perhaps you will be grateful.” (Al-Qasas: 73)
O Muslims! In the past, the nights were a field of competition and hard work; during them one would only see people praying, crying, supplicating or reciting the Qur’aan. Our Salaf, may Allaah have mercy upon them, used to view the nights as the best means that lead one to Paradise. However, the Muslims of today take their nights as a means of entertainment and frivolity. Satan dispatches his followers and spreads his evil ideas, and this has led to late nights being a source of immorality, corrupt behaviour, and a path that leads to ones destruction, as well as a period in which the evilest of prohibited television programs are broadcast.
Late nights ruin the bodies; they enter upon us as a terrifying intruding stranger and are a shelter for every sinful and sick-hearted person. They are the source of all evil and any objective person will testify to this. They earn the wrath of Allaah and His punishment and cause the hearts to become sick as well as encouraging wrong doing.
All of these evils are a direct result of the Muslim nation feeding in western ideology and its associated lifestyle. The Muslims have fed from the fruits of this bitter tree (i.e., the western ideology) which promotes a lifestyle which is by its nature far away from the religion of Allaah and rebellious against all spiritual morals. It encourages the following of ones lusts and desires, just like as animals do. This is nothing but poison which the disbelieving and evil ideas of secularism have fed us. It is mandatory upon the Muslims from all walks of life, and especially the leaders and those in authority, to protect the younger generation from this destructive volcano of secularism which destroys everything that it comes across.
O Muslims! During vacations and holidays, late nights become a serious problem which is widespread, and most people who practice this habit forego sleep and all other important activities in their lives and immerse themselves in wrongdoing and sinful acts. They seem to forget that the days of summer are temporary, just like a guest, and that these days and nights will quickly come to an end.
Successful are those who ponder upon the heat of summer and the hot water it produces and reflect thereby on the Hereafter and the Hellfire. This is a preventive remembrance which would stop them from spending their nights sinfully; wasting time by indulging in prohibitions; and killing hours whilst partaking in immorality and corruption – which destroys families and the next generation. Glad tidings are due for the slaves who restrain themselves from straying, and spend their time beneficially in matters such as, Qur’aan circles, lectures, courses, developing their mental abilities and permitted wholesome entertainment which is free from any prohibitions.
Staying up until the last hours of the night and resisting sleep when the body is in desperate need of it, or consuming prohibited medication that keeps one awake, results in serious problems such as health diseases, psychological disturbances, bad tempers and loss of enthusiasm; one would thereby become physically weak, lazy and apathetic to the extent that one can no longer shoulder any responsibilities nor fulfil any duties which one has during the day, because staying up late is tiring and burdensome. Thawbaan, may Allaah be pleased with him, narrated that the Prophet (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Staying up late is tiring and burdensome.” (Daarimi, Tabaraani and others). A person may resist sleep to stay up for an extra hour and lose as a result many hours if not days.
Slaves of Allaah! Staying up late is a major reason behind many of the moral crimes, community problems, car accidents and instability in national security that currently exists.
O Muslims! Let us look at the household of the Prophet (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) to see the Prophetic methodology and guidance, so that we can follow in his footsteps and protect ourselves with his Sunnah from the finely decorated evil of Satan and the sweet words of the corrupt. ‘Aa’ishah, may Allaah be pleased with her, said: “The Prophet (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), never slept before the ‘Ishaa’ prayer and never stayed up after it.” (Ibn Maajah) And when she heard ‘Urwah, may Allaah be pleased with him, talking after the ‘Ishaa’ prayer she remarked: “What is this talk after dark? I have never seen the Prophet (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) sleeping before this prayer or talking after it. He was either praying and gaining (reward) or sleeping and saved (from evil)” (Abdur-Razzaaq). Al-Aswad, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said: “I asked ‘Aa’ishah how was the (night) prayer of the Prophet (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam)?” She, may Allaah be pleased with her, replied: “He slept for the first part of the night and prayed at the end of it.” (Bukhaaree & Muslim).
O Muslims! Sleeping in the first part of the night has many benefits. Those who follow the Prophet (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) in doing this find that their body has been properly rested. Abdullaah Ibn ‘Abbaas, may Allaah be pleased with him, said: “Once I spent the night at the house of my aunt Maymoonah, the wife of the Prophet (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). I put my head on a pillow while lying down sideways while the Prophet (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and his wife lay down lengthways. The Prophet (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) slept until midnight, or just before or right after it. Then he woke up and wiped the sleep from his face by rubbing his face with his hands and then he recited the last ten verses from Soorah Aal ‘Imraan. Then he performed a perfect Wudhoo’ and stood up for prayer.” (Bukhaaree & Muslim). This is how his night was, but where are those who imitate him?
O Muslims! You have two angels accompanying you all your lives and they record all the deeds that you perform. ‘Urwah, may Allaah be pleased with him, said “I was talking once after the ‘Ishaa’ prayer and ‘Aa’ishah heard me, so she said: ‘Why don’t you give your record keepers a rest? The Prophet never slept before this prayer nor did he stay up after it’” (Ibn Hibbaan). Imaam Maalik, may Allaah have mercy upon him, reported that ‘Aa’ishah, may Allaah be pleased with her, used to send some of her family members after ‘Ishaa’ prayer to say to the people: “Why don’t you give your record keepers a rest?” Az-Zarqaani, may Allaah have mercy upon him, reported that Abu ‘Abdul Maalik, may Allaah have mercy upon him, commented on this by saying: “She meant the one who records evil deeds, and if people refrain from evil then he will rest and not record anything, and this was because of the hatred that she had for the evil that people did.”
The Prophet (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), dispraised staying up late and warned against it as Ibn Mas’ud, may Allaah be pleased with him, said: “The Prophet (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), used to dispraise and warn against staying up after ‘Ishaa” (Ahmad).
The Prophet (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Beware of staying up after people’s movements settle” and in another narration: “Beware of staying up after the night has settled, because you do not know what spreads out on the earth from the creatures of Allaah” (Al-Haakim). Abu Barzah Al-Aslami, may Allaah be pleased with him, said: “The Prophet (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) used to like to delay the ‘Ishaa’ prayer and he hated to sleep before it or talk after it”. Imaam Ibn Hajar, may Allaah have mercy upon him, commented on this by saying: “This is because sleeping before it might make a person pray it after its due time, and staying up late might cause one to miss the Fajr prayer, or make a person miss out on the (optional) night prayer. ‘Umar, may Allaah be pleased with him, used to punish people the people who did this and say: ‘You stay up for the first part of the night, then sleep for the last part of it?’”. Ibn Hajar, may Allaah have mercy upon him, continued by saying: “Some people may differentiate between the seasons where the nights are long and those whose nights are short, but in order to settle this issue, we must realise that the advice of the Prophet (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was general and applicable at all times”. Imaam An-Nawawee, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said: “The scholars have agreed that staying up after ‘Ishaa’ is dispraised, unless it is for the purpose of doing something (religiously) beneficial”.
The Prophet (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) did stay up late on some occasions in order to fulfil some needs or accomplish some tasks for the benefit of the Muslims, as ‘Umar, may Allaah be pleased with him, said: “The Prophet (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and I used to stay up late at night at the house of Abu Bakr, may Allaah be pleased with him, discussing the affairs of the Muslims.” (Ahmad & Tirmidhee). Ibn Mas’ud, may Allaah be pleased with him, narrated that the Prophet (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Staying up late is permitted for one of two categories of people; either those travelling, or those praying.” (Ahmad). ‘Aa’ishah, may Allaah be pleased with her, narrated that the Prophet (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Staying up late is for one of three categories of people; those travelling, those praying the night prayers, or those on their wedding night.” (Abu Ya’laa). Imaam Bukhaaree may Allaah have mercy upon him, gave the title of one of the chapters on his famous book as: “Staying up late with the wife, the guest, for learning or being benevolent”.
Therefore, the summary of the ruling regarding staying up late is that staying up after the ‘Ishaa’ prayer is dispraised unless it is due to necessity or for a religiously beneficial purpose. If it is the case that staying up late results in abandoning or missing out on an obligatory act of worship then it becomes prohibited, even if the reason for staying up was to perform a religiously beneficial deed or act in obedience to Allaah; anything that leads one to commit a prohibition is itself prohibited. As a consequence, we know that staying up late doing religiously beneficial acts is praised only if none of the above mentioned prohibitions take place.
O Muslims! Many people slight the prohibited type of staying up late, which leads many of them to miss their Fajr prayer, and this has become such a chronic problem that those who attend this prayer in congregation are very few in number. This phenomenon has became very natural, so much so that people do not feel any resentment towards it, despite the fact that the Prophet (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “The most burdensome prayers for a hypocrite are ‘Ishaa’ and Fajr, and if only they (i.e., the hypocrites) knew what virtues they have, then they would have attended them, even if they would have had to crawl to the mosque.” (Bukhaaree & Muslim). Ibn Mas’ud, may Allaah be pleased with him, said: “Only a known hypocrite would miss out on these two prayers.” (Muslim).
Slaves of Allaah! Fear Allaah and do not practice such a dispraised deed which has very evil consequences. If you have forgotten or become absent minded, then remember that Allaah says that which translates as: “…And if Satan should cause you to forget, then do not remain after the reminder with the wrongdoing people.” (Al-An’aam: 68). Beware that the nights of your life will pass you by whilst you are heedless and becoming more and more astray. Know that during every second of your life, your every word, thought and deed are recorded and exposed to Allaah; nothing can be concealed from Him. Just ponder over the saying of Prophet (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam): “Any People who sit in a gathering during which they do not mention the name of Allaah, it will be as if they ate from a dead donkey, and they will bitterly regret it.” (Abu Daawood) The Prophet (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), also said: “Any People who sit in a gathering during which they do not mention the name of Allaah nor exalt the mention of His Prophet will regret it, then it is up to Allaah to punish them for it or forgive them.” (Ahmad).
O Muslims! The time that precedes dawn is the time for supplicating and seeking forgiveness and repentance, as the Prophet (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Our Lord descends (in a way which befits His Majesty) every night to the heavens when there is only one third of the night remaining and says: Who is supplicating to me so that I can respond to him? Who is asking Me for something so that I can grant him that which he is asking for? Who is seeking My forgiveness so that I can forgive him” (Bukhaaree & Muslim) and the Prophet (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), also said: “The closest Allaah is to His slave is during the last part of the night, so if you can be amongst those who mention Allaah’s name during this time, then do so.” (Tirmidhee).
O Muslims! Is it befitting to a Muslim to spend these honourable and virtuous times with music and lusts?
O fathers and guardians! You are commanded to prevent your children from going out whenever darkness falls, as the Prophet (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), said: “Prevent your children from going outside after dark, because this is the time during which Satan emerges.” (Al-Haakim) The Prophet (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), also said: “When it is getting dark then prevent your children from going outside, because the devils spread out at that time. After this time, you may set them (i.e., your children) loose.” (Bukhaaree & Muslim) In addition to this, the Prophet (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), also said: “Do not allow your children to go outside from sunset until it becomes dark, because devils are sent from the time the sun sets until darkness falls.” in another narration: “Because Jinn’s spread out and possess people.”
O Muslims! If it is a must that children are prevented from going outside due to devils being widespread during this time, then we must also know that the devils from amongst mankind also spread themselves out throughout the night, aiming to attract and corrupt our youth, and the temptations are countless, which necessitates that we be alert and cautious, for only he who is cautious will survive. Protect your children from becoming misguided and lost due to the fact that they are young and easily tempted inexperienced in life; be trustworthy guardians, faithful, wise and alert. Do not be negligent because that this is harmful and yields bitter results. Allaah says that which translates as: “Indeed this is a reminder, so whoever wills may take to his Lord a way.” (Al-Muzzammil: 19)
O Muslims! Something which breaks ones heart due to sorrow and pain is that fact that many people have transgressed the boundaries of what is lawful and unlawful during weddings. They are not satisfied by what Allaah has legislated and made permissible, such as announcing the wedding in order to differentiate between it and an illicit relationship, or allowing women only to beat tambourines and sing songs which are not immoral. They have transgressed these boundaries to the extent that people stay up all night uselessly during wedding parties; they hire male and female singers to sing lustful songs and use musical instruments; they spend excessively; they harm others by loud music and unnecessary noise; they compete with each other in an evil manner by paying very high prices for wedding dresses; the women appear uncovered or covered but with tight see-through dresses, which leaves the body almost nude; the dancers in such gatherings behave like prostitutes and disbelievers; and there is free mixing between men and women; All these are disgraceful practices which has transferred to the Muslim masses from the west by blind imitation.
Slaves of Allaah! Fear Allaah and refrain from what you were prohibited to do. Adhere to that which your Salaf did; make up for what has passed by weeping over your sins which you have repented for and Allaah will change your sins into rewards and forgive you.