Blessings of Qiyaam in the Nights of Ramadan – I

Blessings of Qiyaam in the Nights of Ramadan – I
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1- It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, said that the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ), used to encourage performing Qiyaam (voluntary night prayer) in Ramadan without firmly enjoining it. Then, he says: "Whoever performs Qiyaam in (the nights of) Ramadan out of sincere faith and hoping to attain the reward of Allah, his past sins will be forgiven." The Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ), died leaving the situation as such –i.e. Taraaweeh (voluntary night prayer) was performed individually not in congregation. It continued this way during the caliphate of Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, and at the beginning of the caliphate of ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him.

It was narrated that ‘Amr ibn Murrah Al-Juhani, may Allah be pleased with him, said that a man from the Qudhaa‘ah came to the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ), and said, “‘O Messenger of Allah! If I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that you are Muhammad the Messenger of Allah, perform the five (obligatory)  prayers, fast the month (of Ramadan), observe Qiyaam in Ramadan and pay Zakah (obligatory charity)?’ So, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: ‘Whoever dies on that will be one of the affirmers of truth and the martyrs.’"
Determining the Night of Al-Qadr:
2- The best night in Ramadan is the Night of Al-Qadr for the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ), said: "Whoever establishes Qiyaam in the Night of Al-Qadr –and manages to reach it – out of sincere faith and hoping to attain the reward of Allah, his past sins will be forgiven."
3- Most probably, it is the night of the twenty-seventh day. The majority of Hadeeths (narrations) support this view. Zirr ibn Hubaysh  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him said: Ubayy ibn Ka‘b, may Allah be pleased with him, was told: ‘Abdullaah ibn Mas‘ood, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "He who stands (for the night prayer) throughout the year will hit upon the Night of Al-Qadr! Whereupon, Ubayy, may Allah be pleased with him, said,
"May Allah have mercy upon him; he said these words with the intention that people might not rely only on one night. I swear by Allah, besides Whom there is none worthy of worship but Him, that the Night of Al-Qadr is in Ramadan (He swore without reservation). By Allah, I know the night; it is the night on which the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) commanded us to perform Qiyaam. It is that which precedes the morning of the twenty-seventh day and its indication is that the sun rises bright on that day white and without rays."
This was also reported to have been said by the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ). [Muslim and others]
Permissibility of praying Qiyaam in congregation:
4- Performing Qiyaam in congregation is permissible in Ramadan. Rather, it is better than performing it individually for the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ), performed it himself and explained its virtue in the narration of Abu Tharr, may Allah be pleased with him, in which he says,
"We fasted Ramadan with the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) and he did not lead us in Qiyaam at all. When seven nights remained, he led us in Qiyaam until a third of the night had passed. When six nights remained, he did not lead us in Qiyaam.  When five nights remained, he led us in Qiyaam until half of the night had passed. I (Abu Tharr) said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, I wish you had continued until the end of the night.’ So, he said: ‘Whoever prays with the Imaam till the Imaam leaves will be rewarded as if he performed Qiyaam all night.’ When four nights remained, he did not lead us in Qiyaam. When three nights remained, he gathered his family, wives and people and led us in Qiyaam till we were afraid to miss Suhoor (pre-dawn meal). Then, he did not lead us in Qiyaam for the rest of the month." [Authentic  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention )] [At-Tirmithi, An-Nasaa’i, Abu Daawood and Ibn Maajah] 
The reason why the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ), did not continue to pray it in congregation:
5-The Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ), did not lead them in Qiyaam the rest of the month out of fear that night prayers in Ramadan might become obligatory for them so they might not be able to perform it as mentioned by ’Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, in the two Saheehs. After the death of the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ), this fear no longer existed, as Allah The Almighty had made the Sharee‘ah (Islamic legislation) complete. Hence, abandoning congregation in the Qiyaam (voluntary night prayer) of Ramadan no longer applied and the previous ruling, which is the permissibility of congregation, remained. That is why it was revived by ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, as mentioned in the authentic narrations of Al-Bukhari and others.
Permissibility of congregation for women:
6- It is permissible for women to attend it as mentioned in the above narration of Abu Tharr, may Allah be pleased with him. Rather, it is permissible for them to have a different Imaam other than that of men. It was proved that when ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, gathered people for Qiyaam, he appointed Ubayy ibn Ka‘b, may Allah be pleased with him, an Imaam for men and Sulaymaan ibn Abu Hathmah, may Allah be pleased with him, an Imaam for women. It was narrated that ‘Arfajah Ath-Thaqafi, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib, may Allah be pleased with him, used to command people to perform Qiyaam in Ramadan and appoint an Imaam for men and another for women. I (‘Arfajah) was the Imaam of women." This applies if the mosque is vast so that neither of them would distract the other.  

Blessings of Qiyaam in the Nights of Ramadan - II

Blessings of Qiyaam in the Nights of Ramadan - III

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