Way to perform night prayer

  • Author: Fatwa No. 89268
  • Publish date:02/03/2011
  • Sections:FATWA FOR ALL
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Question:

My question is, do I have to pray at midnight and over to be considered as Qiyaam-allail? If just I wake up at night and do some Tasbeeh, is this also as Qiyaam-allail? If so, do I have to be in a full Tahaarah (purification) Wudoo'?
 
Fatwa:
 
All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.  
 
Optional night prayer is a confirmed Sunnah and it is the best prayer after the obligatory ones. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: "The best prayer after the obligatory prayer is the optional night prayer.'' [An-Nasaa'ee] It is not a condition for the night prayer to be performed after the middle of the night. Indeed, its time starts after ‘Ishaa’ prayer and lasts until Fajr. So whoever prays after ‘Ishaa’, has indeed prayed the optional night prayer. However, the best time for them is the last third of the night as the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “Allah descends every night in the last third of the night [in a way that befits His majesty] and Says: Is there anyone invoking Me that I may respond to his invocation? Is there anyone asking of Me so that I may grant him his request? Is there anyone asking My Forgiveness, so that I may forgive him?". [Al-Bukhari and Muslim] Some scholars even consider that the optional night prayer starts from Maghrib.
 
As regards whether or not remembrance of Allah is considered as night prayer, the answer is that what is apparent from the narration of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention )The best prayer after the obligatory prayer is the optional night prayer.”, is that what is meant by the optional night prayer is prayer and not simply remembrance of Allah. There is no doubt that remembrance of Allah is of great excellence, but it is not a condition to have ablution to do it, though it is desirable. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “I disliked mentioning Allah except in a state of purity.” [Abu Daawood].
 
Allah Knows best.
 
Fatwa answered by:The Fatwa Center at Islamweb

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