MERITS OF THE NIGHT PRAYER
It described it as the honor of the true faithful believers. It brings about good health, erases the sins committed in days, saves from the loneliness in graves, beautifies the face, perfumes the body smell, and produces sustenance. Wealth and sons are the ornament of this worldly life, and to offer eight units of prayer at the last hours of night, in addition to a one-unit prayer, is the ornament of the Hereafter. These two ornaments may be granted together by Almighty Allah to some people. Other traditions have it that one who claims that he offers prayers regularly at night and still he suffers hunger is liar, because the night prayer guarantees the sustenance of the next day.
Imam al-Sadiq(a.s.) has reported that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said to Imam Ali(a.s.), “O Ali! I shall give you some moralities that you should observe... Abide by the night prayer. Abide by the night prayer. Abide by the night prayer. Abide by the midday prayer. Abide by the midday prayer. Abide by the midday prayer.”
It is apparently understood from this tradition that the night prayer stands for the thirteen units of prayer while the midday prayer is the eight units of the supererogatory noon prayer.
Anas ibn Malik has reported that he heard the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) saying, “To offer two units of prayer in the midst of night is more favorable to me than possessing this world and whatever therein.”
When he was asked why those who practice the night worship had shining faces, Imam Ali ibn al-Husayn Zayn al-’Abidin (a.s.) answered, “As they withdrew themselves with their Lord, He granted them of His Light.”
In conclusion, traditions about the merits of offering the night prayer are very numerous. It is thus discommended to avoid the night acts of worship.
Shaykh has reported through an authentic chain of authority that Imam al-Sadiq(a.s.) said, “All servants (of Allah) wake up once, twice, or even more times at night. If a servant does not go for the night worship, Satan will open his legs and urinate in his ear. This is why those who do not do the night worship wake up in the morning heavy and lazy.”
Al-Barqi has reported through a valid chain of authority that Imam al-Baqir (a.s.) said, “There is a devil called al-Raha appointed for the night. When a servant (of Allah) intends to get up for the night prayer, this devil inspires to him that the time of prayer has not yet come. When the servant tries to get up again, the devil repeats the same evil inspiration and prevents the servant from offering the prayer until the day dawns. When it dawns, the devil urinates in the ear of that servant and goes back moving its tail in joy.”
Ibn Abi-Jumhur reported the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) as saying to his companions, “When you go to sleep, Satan ties three knots at your head. Each knot inspires to you that the night is still long; therefore, you would better sleep. When you wake up and mention Almighty Allah, one knot is untied. When you do the ritual ablution, another knot is untied. When you perform the prayer, the third knot is untied. Hence, you will find yourselves active and positive in the morning; lest, you find yourselves inactive and frowning.”
This tradition is reported in Sunni books of hadith, too.
Al-Qutb al-Rawandi reported Imam AliAmeer al-Momineen(a.s.) as saying, “Do not expect three matters as long as you have been engaged in three: Do not expect ability to do night worship as long as you overeat. Do not expect bright-facedness as long as you spend the whole night sleeping. Do not expect security in your life as long as you accompany sinful people.”
Al-Qutb al-Rawandi has also reported that Prophet Jesus (a.s.) called his mother (a.s.) after her death and asked, “Mother, do you wish to return to life?” His mother answered, “Yes, I do, so that I will offer prayers to Almighty Allah in the midst of night and observe fasting in the extremely hot days. O son, this path is horrifying.”