How to Pray Qiyam Al Layl Prayer?

the qiyam al layl prayer

Islam teaches its adherents that nighttime is a wonderful time to get closer to their Creator, so the night prayers are particularly significant. It is a worship type stated in the Quran and is very honorable to Muslims. There are several sunnah night prayers, including the terms Tahajjud, Witr, Taraweeh, and Qiyam al Layl.

In this article, we will cover every aspect of the qiyam al layl prayer, including its definition, best time, rakats, and benefits, In addition to the difference between qiyam prayer and tahajjud.

What is qiyam al layl prayer?

Qiyam Al Layl, also known as the Night Prayer or Tahajjud, is a voluntary and highly recommended prayer in Islam performed during the night. The term “Qiyam Al Layl” translates to “standing in the night.” This prayer holds great significance in Islamic tradition and is considered a means of drawing closer to Allah, seeking His forgiveness, and gaining spiritual strength.

Qiyam Al Layl is a means of seeking spiritual closeness to Allah, purifying the soul, and seeking His mercy and forgiveness. While it is not obligatory, its practice is highly recommended, and it holds a special place in the hearts of those seeking a deeper connection with their Creator.

The qiyam al layl (or qiyam ul layl) Prayer is one of the most popular voluntary (or Nafl) prayers and one that many Muslims are familiar with. It is impossible to adequately describe the reward that Muslims who pray at night receive for getting closer to Allah. 

The term “qiyam” means “standing” and the word “al layl” means “the night” in Arabic. Thus, the full term “Qiyam Al-Layl” means standing overnight. These two terms are used to describe voluntary nighttime prayer “qiyam al layl prayer” in Islamic vocabulary and demonstrate supplication and dhikr.

Without forgetting the significance that Allah has assigned to Qiyamullail, Allah addressed those who pray at night in the Quranic verses, saying:

O you who wrap yourself in clothing, arise during the night to pray; for only half of it, or add a little to it, or subtract from it, and read the Quran in measure.”

(Surah Muzammil: 1-4)

What time is the Qiyam Al Layl prayer?

The time for Qiyam Al Layl, also known as Tahajjud, extends from the end of the Isha prayer until the break of dawn (Fajr prayer). The provided information emphasizes that even performing one rakat of Witr (an odd-numbered prayer) after the obligatory night prayer (Isha) would be sufficient to fulfill the Qiyam Al Layl prayer.

While the entire period from Isha to Fajr is suitable for Qiyam, the narration indicates that the best time for this prayer is the last third of the night. This is in accordance with the hadith you provided:

“The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: ‘Our Lord Almighty descends to the lowest heaven in the last third of every night, saying: Who is calling upon Me that I may answer him? Who is asking from Me that I may give him? Who is seeking My forgiveness that I may forgive him?'” (Sahih Muslim 758b)

Therefore, the most spiritually significant and rewarding time for Qiyam Al Layl is during the last third of the night, when Allah’s mercy and attention are particularly emphasized.

In summary, the general timeframe for Qiyam Al Layl is from Isha until Fajr, but the recommended and most rewarding time for this prayer is the last third of the night, as mentioned in the hadith. This period is especially highlighted for seeking Allah’s forgiveness, making supplications, and drawing closer to Him through night prayers.

How to pray Qiyam Al Layl Prayer?

Praying Qiyam Al Layl, also known as the Night Prayer or Tahajjud, is a voluntary and highly recommended act of worship in Islam. Here is a step-by-step guide based on the practices of Prophet Muhammad (SAW):

Step 1: Niyyah (Intention)

Begin by making a sincere intention in your heart to pray Qiyam Al Layl solely for the sake of Allah and seeking His pleasure.

Step 2: Number of Rakats

The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) used to pray Qiyam Al Layl in sets of two rakats. It is reported that he prayed a total of eleven rakats, including Witr (odd-numbered) prayer at the end. However, the number of rakats is flexible, and you can pray as many as you are able to.

Step 3: Starting with Two Short Rakats

Begin with two short rakats as an opening for your Night Prayer. These two rakats are performed similar to the Sunnah Mu’akkadah prayers, with the intention of starting the Night Prayer.

Step 4: Prolonging Ruku’ and Sujood

During Qiyam Al Layl, the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) used to elongate his bowing (ruku’) and prostration (sujood). Take your time in these positions, expressing humility and devotion.

Step 5: Reading from the Quran

Recite verses from the Quran during your Night Prayer. You can choose any portion of the Quran that you are comfortable with or wish to memorize. Some commonly recited chapters include Surah Al-Fatiha, Surah Al-Ikhlas, Surah Al-Falaq, and Surah An-Nas.

Step 6: Dua (Supplication)

Take time during your prostration to make personal supplications and ask Allah for forgiveness, guidance, and blessings for yourself, your loved ones, and the entire Ummah.

Step 7: Witr Prayer

Finish your Night Prayer with the Witr prayer. This can be performed with one, three, five, seven, or more odd-numbered rakats. The Witr prayer is essential and should be the last prayer of your Qiyam Al Layl.

Step 8: Tasleem

Conclude your prayer by turning your head to the right and saying “As-salamu alaykum wa rahmatullah” to both sides.

Additional Tips:

Consistency: It is encouraged to pray Qiyam Al Layl regularly, but if you are unable to do it every night, strive to make it a consistent practice.

Wake up in the Last Third of the Night: The last third of the night is a special time for Qiyam Al Layl, as mentioned in various hadiths.

Start Slowly: If you are not used to praying Qiyam Al Layl, start with a manageable number of rakats and gradually increase as you become more comfortable.

Reflection: Use this time for self-reflection, repentance, and drawing closer to Allah.

Remember that Qiyam Al Layl is a voluntary act of worship, and the most important thing is to approach it with sincerity and devotion. May Allah accept your efforts and grant you the strength to establish this beautiful night prayer.

Muslims should be aware of the various types of night prayers. All-night prayer is referred to as qiyam al-layl. You can pray qiyam al layl, following Ishaa (evening) prayer.

  • When preparing to pray, make the intention to perform two rakats (at the very least for the night prayer).
  • After that, you must make your wudhu.
  • The rakats can be repeated as often as you like (there is no limit).
  • Finish your prayer with the witr prayer, which is composed of two salams and three rakats.

Any form of night prayer that you perform is regarded as qiyam al layl. According to the following hadith, the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) performed no more than 11 rakats of prayer each night.

Narrated Abu Salama bin `Abdur-Rahman: That he asked `Aisha “How was the prayer of Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) in the month of Ramadan?” She replied, “He used not to pray more than eleven rak`at whether in Ramadan or in any other month. He used to offer four rak`at, let alone their beauty and length, and then four rak`at, let alone their beauty and length. Afterwards he would offer three rak`at. I said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! Do you go to bed before offering the witr prayer?’ He said, ‘My eyes sleep, but my heart does not sleep.”‘

(Sahih al-Bukhari 3569 and Muslim 738)

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How many rakats in qiyam al layl?

Qiyam rakats start with two rakats as a minimum. It means that you can increase according to your intention. You can perform this prayer at home or in a masjid (mosque), whichever you prefer. 

In other words, the nafl prayers that follow the Ishaa prayer, including taraweeh and tahajjud prayers, are involved in qiyam al layl (look below for the difference between the qiyam prayer and tahajjud).

Difference between qiyam al layl and tahajjud

Difference between qiyam al layl and tahajjud

Prayer, reciting the Quran, remembering Allah (dhikr), dua, and other forms of worship, as much as you like, are all included in qiyam al layl. That is the difference between the qiyam al layl and tahajjud prayers because tahajjud means only praying at night and often done after our sleep (According to some scholars).

Additionally, Allah mentions the tahajjud prayer in the Quran explaining its great reward:

“And from (part of) the night, pray with it as additional (worship) for you, it is expected that your Lord will resurrect you to a praised station.”

(Surah Al-Isra: 79)
  • The tahajjud is a prayer that may be prayed at any time of the night, this is the view of the majority of fuqaha (scholars of Islamic Jurisprudence).
  • The tahajjud is a prayer that is prayed at night after sleeping and then waking. (al-Mawsoo‘ah al-Fiqhiyyah, 2/232).

Thus, compared to tahajjud, qiyam al-layl is more general due to prayer both before and after going to bed. To summarize, tahajjud prayer is a component of qiyam al layl, but not all qiyam al layl is tahajjud prayer.

The short qiyam al-layl known as taraweeh is performed after Ishaa at the start of the night during Ramadan. Tahajjud and qiyam al-layl prayers are other names for it.

Hadith on Qiyam Ul Layl

hadith on qiyam ul layl

In addition to the previous hadiths, you should read the following hadiths, which emphasize the significance of qiyam al layl prayer. 

  1. The Prophet (ﷺ) used to offer prayer at night (for such a long time) that his feet used to crack. I said: “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! Why do you do it since Allah has forgiven you your faults of the past and those to follow?” He said, ‘Shouldn’t I love to be a thankful slave (of Allah)?’ When he became old, he prayed while sitting, but if he wanted to perform a bowing, he would get up, recite (some other verses) and then perform the bowing. (Sahih al-Bukhari 4837)
  2. Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) (p.b.u.h) said, “Our Lord, the Blessed, the Superior, comes every night down on the nearest Heaven to us when the last third of the night remains, saying: “Is there anyone to invoke Me, so that I may respond to invocation? Is there anyone to ask Me, so that I may grant him his request? Is there anyone seeking My forgiveness, so that I may forgive him?” (Sahih al-Bukhari 1145)
  3. Abdullah bin Salam (RAA) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “O people, extend greetings (saying Salam to each other), keep relations with your kin, provide food (to people) and pray at night when people are asleep and you will enter Paradise in peace.” Related by At-Tirmidhi who graded it as Sahih (Sunan At-Tirmizi: Book 16, Hadith 95)
  4. Narrated `Aisha: The Prophet (ﷺ) (p.b.u.h) used to offer thirteen rak`at of the night prayer and that included the witr and two rak`at (Sunna) of the Fajr prayer. (Sahih al-Bukhari 1140)

Benefits of Qiyam Ql Layl Prayer

how to pray qiyam

The Qiyam Al Layl Prayer provides courage in times of adversity. Thus, The benefits of Qiyam prayer can be obtained as follows:

  • It contributes to one’s success in this life and the next. In the dead of night, the more you stand voluntarily for Allah, the more certain you can be of his provision.
  • Qiyam al layl is the best prayer after the five obligatory prayers.
  • Allah responds to our duas, rewards sawab, and makes our obstacles simple for us.
  • Qiyam al layl prayer not only promotes peace but also maintains humility.
  • We also gain from having our sins forgiven.

Finally, the best motivation for praying Qiyam is to be close to the Almighty. There is therefore no better justification to begin praying qiyam al layl.

Start now and tonight. Allah is waiting to get closer!

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    Written By Heba Ali.

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