Night Prayer & Recommended Fasts

Night Prayer & Recommended Fasts

Our 10th Imam, Imam ‘Ali ibn Muhammad al-Hadi (as) was born on 15th Dhul-Hijjah 212 AH in Madina. He (as) is the son of Imam Muhammad ibn ‘Ali al-Jawad (as) and Bibi Samaana (as).

One of the titles of this Imam (as) is ‘Al-Hadi’ which means ‘the guide’. We therefore, seek guidance from one of his many beautiful traditions.


He (as) has said, “Staying awake at night makes the sleep sweeter; and hunger makes the food taste better.” (A’yaan al-Shia’h)

Our ‘Ulama tells us that this tradition stresses upon the importance of night prayers (Tahajjud) and recommended fasts. Both these acts have enormous benefits.

‘Allama Qutubuddin Raawandi relates a beautiful tradition about Sayyida Maryam (as) which denotes the importance of these two acts.

{Prophet ‘Issa (as) was living with his beloved mother in the mountains. One day, as he (as) left in search for food, his mother Sayyida Maryam (as) passed away from this world. On his return, when Prophet ‘Issa (as) realized what had happened, he (as) was overcome with grief and prayed to Allah (SWT) to give him a chance to talk to the soul of his late mother. The wish was granted.

Prophet ‘Issa (as) called out to his mother and asked, “O Mother! Please talk to me and tell me that after seeing the Hereafter, do you still have the desire of coming back into this world?”

The Spirit of Sayyida Maryam (as) responded. She said:

“O Son! Indeed I do have the desire for coming back into your world BUT only for two reasons:

One is to spend my nights standing in prayers in the coldest of seasons; and to observe fasts during the days in the hottest of seasons.

O Son! The journey to the Hereafter is certainly not free from difficulties.”}


This has also been referred to as Tahajjud.

“And stay awake for a part of the night as a supererogatory (devotion) for you. It may be that your Lord will exalt you to a praiseworthy station.” (17:79)

Describing one of the qualities of the Godwary people, Allah (SWT) says:

“They used to sleep a little during the night…” (51:17)

The Holy Prophet (saww) said to Imam ‘Ali (as): “There are three things that gives happiness to a believer:

  • Meeting his bothers
  • Breaking his fast
  • And getting up for prayer in the last part of the night.” (Bihar al-Anwaar)

He (saww) has also said, “When a servant (of God) wakes up in the middle of a dark night and calls upon his Lord, Allah puts His NOOR (light) firmly in the heart of such a person….then He addresses His angels and says to them: ‘Look at this servant of Mine! He has devoted his dark night for My sake, whereas the lazy ones are not bothered and the negligent are asleep. Now be witness that I have forgiven his sins’.” (Bihar al-Anwaar)

It is reported from Imam Ja’ffar as-Sadiq (as): “Do not leave out the midnight prayer, for verily one who does so, is a loser.” (Bihar al-Anwaar)


With regard to observing recommended fasts, once again there are numerous merits.

The Holy Prophet (saww) has said, “Allah (SWT) has perfected the obligatory prayers with the Nafilah; and He has perfected the obligatory fasts (of Ramadhan) with recommended fasts.” (Bihar al-Anwaar)

It is highly recommended that one should observe atleast three fasts every month. According to prophetic traditions, one who observes three fasts every month and fasts for the whole month of Ramadhan, he will be like one who has fasted for the whole year.

One of the things I had mentioned earlier was about Sayyida Maryam (as)’s desire to fast during the hottest of seasons.

Imam as-Sadiq (as) has said, “One who fasts in the hottest day and feels thirsty, Allah (SWT) appoints 1000 angels who wipe his face and continue to give him glad tidings. When he finally breaks his fast, Allah (SWT) tells His angels: Be witness that I have forgiven his sins.” (Furoo’ al-Kaafi)

It is reported that during Me’raj, the Holy Prophet (saww) had asked about the benefits of fasting. Allah (SWT) said to him: “Fasting leads to wisdom; wisdom leads to cognizance; cognizance leads to certainty such that then, when one gets up in the morning he does not bother how he got up – in good or bad condition.” (Bihar al-Anwaar)

In other words, happiness or sadness of this world does not bother him.

Mulla Mujahidali Sheriff


4 thoughts on “Night Prayer & Recommended Fasts”

  1. assalaimakum,praying at night is not easy but trust me when you get used to it you start wondering can a normal muslim sleep a whole night a 16yrs old muslim and the only practising muslim where i live and in my family,i dont have any muslim friends nor do i see good muslim were i live but i feel i have allah ,with all the temtation i feel closer to allah and i have even started to fast every monday and thursday am so happy for myself.i love islam and i pray to allah everyday that i can live in a place were i can see good muslim


  2. i am a muslim in believe in god(allah) whatever i do in life in terms of happiness or sadness i am a student of inti college sarawak i pray and grant every single muslim paradise and pray god to forgive the death one before we meet them and and us.thanks


  3. great job walla. im also 16 years old and i pray and fast but i dont know how to pray the night prayer if you could please help me out i would appretiate it. thank you and god bless you.


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