H. & T. Kassamali
There are many verses of the Holy Qur’an which talk about the importance of Salatul Layl. These verses describe it as the practice of the pious people, and the means to attain closeness to Allah. Those who wish to attain this nearness forego a part of their sleep, and wake up early to seek forgiveness from Allah. They sacrifice their sleep and comfort for the pleasure of reciting Salatul Layl.
In many verses of the Qur’an, Allah enjoins the rising by the night for glorification and worship of Allah. He says:
وَمِنَ اللَّيْلِ فَسَبِّحْهُ وَإِدْبَارَ النُّجُومِ
And in the night, give Him glory too, and at the setting of the stars (52:49)
He also says:
وَمِنَ اللَّيْلِ فَاسْجُدْ لَهُ وَسَبِّحْهُ لَيْلًا طَوِيلاً
And during part of the night adore Him, and give glory to Him (for a) long (part of the) night (76:26)
Allah says about those who rise at night:
كَانُوا قَلِيلاً مِّنَ اللَّيْلِ مَا يَهْجَعُونَ
وَبِالْأَسْحَارِ هُمْ يَسْتَغْفِرُونَ
They used to sleep but little in the night. And in the early part of the morning they asked forgiveness. (51: 16-17)
In another verse He says:
تَتَجَافَى جُنُوبُهُمْ عَنِ الْمَضَاجِعِ يَدْعُونَ رَبَّهُمْ خَوْفًا وَطَمَعًا وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ يُنفِقُونَ فَلاَ تَعْلَمُ نَفْسٌ مَّا أُخْفِيَ لَهُم مِّن قُرَّةِ أَعْيُنٍ جَزَاءً بِمَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ
Their sides draw away from (their) beds, they call upon their Lord in fear and in hope, and they spend (benevolently) out of what We have given them So no soul knows what is hidden for them of that which will refresh the eyes; a reward for what they did. (32: 16-17)
Therefore, the reward for those who rise by night to glorify Allah cannot be described. As the Holy Prophet (s) has said: There is no good deed except that its reward has been outlined in the Qur’an, except Salatul Layl. Almighty Allah has not specified its reward due to its greatness with Him.
In yet another verse Allah describes the effect of reciting Salatul Layl for the believer. He says:
وَمِنَ اللَّيْلِ فَتَهَجَّدْ بِهِ نَافِلَةً لَّكَ عَسَى أَن يَبْعَثَكَ رَبُّكَ مَقَامًا مَّحْمُودًا
And during a part of the night, pray Tahajjud beyond what is incumbent on you; maybe your Lord will raise you to a position of great glory. (17:79)
In this verse Almighty Allah describes the extraordinary spiritual effects of reciting Salatul layl. It raises the human being to Maqame Mahmood, a position of glory and praise. It is an elevated position with Allah, one that few people can attain.
During the day numerous affairs occupy the time and mind of the human being. In the midst of all this preoccupation, it is difficult to have the peace of mind and heart so necessary for good worship. But at night when it is dark and silent, when the demands of the material world are quiet for a while, the human being can acquire a tranquil state which allows him to be in harmony with his Creator.
It is at this time that the human being acquires a special state of mind and energy which is very conducive to increasing his spirituality and strengthening the connection with his Creator. That is why the friends of Allah, and those who seek nearness to Him, always make the most of the last part of the night. They purify their souls, enliven their hearts, strengthen their will, and perfect their sincerity, through worship at this special time.
Salatul Layl is thus one of the most effective ways of achieving closeness to Allah. That is why Allah says in Sura al-Muzammil (#73):
إِنَّ نَاشِئَةَ اللَّيْلِ هِيَ أَشَدُّ وَطْءًا وَأَقْوَمُ قِيلاً
Surely the rising by night is the firmest way to tread and the best corrective of speech. (73:6)