The Historical Account of Namaz or Salat– Standing in Prayer at Night (Quiyam-ul-Lail) (Part 7)
By Nastik Durrani, New Age Islam
22 February, 2014
Based on the books of Sirah and the Qur'anic exegeses, Islamic scholars conducted their researches and concluded that the five daily prayers were enjoined upon Muslims several years after the first Quranic verse was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Moreover, they have established that the Prophet PBUH would offer the Tahajjud prayer and engage in other night prayers before he proclaimed his prophethood. Hazrat Ibn Abbas narrates that the night prayers were mandatory for the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his Ummah at the advent of Islam. They continued with this practice for one or ten years until it was abrogated by the commandment of the five daily obligatory prayers. (1)
According to other traditions, when Allah the Almighty revealed the verse: “Ya Ayyuhal Muzammil” (O you who wraps himself in garments) to the prophet (peace be upon him), he kept awake throughout the night for ten years in the same way as Allah ordered him. A group of Sahaba (Prophet’s companions) also joined him in standing at night prayers, whereupon Allah the Almighty revealed a verse ten years later: “Indeed, your Lord knows, [O Muhammad], that you stand [in prayer] almost two thirds of the night or half of it or a third of it, and [so do] a group of those with you. And Allah determines [the extent of] the night and the day. He has known that you [Muslims] will not be able to do it and has turned to you in forgiveness, so recite what is easy [for you] of the Qur'an. He has known that there will be among you those who are ill and others travelling throughout the land seeking [something] of the bounty of Allah and others fighting for the cause of Allah. So recite what is easy from it and establish prayer and give Zakah and loan Allah a goodly loan.”
So, Allah made it easy for them ten years later. (2) It has also been narrated that after the revelation of the verse “Ya Ayyuhal Muzammil”, Prophet PBUH and his companions kept standing up in the night prayers until their legs and feet were pained and swollen. But when God sent down the verse “Faqrau Ma Tayassar Minhu” (so recite what is easy [for you] of the Qur'an), it was made easy for them (3).
Another tradition says: when the earliest part of the Surah Muzammil was sent down, Prophet PBUH and his companions would stand up in the night prayers much in the same way as they used to do in the month of Ramadan (4).