The women of the past used to strive to pray qiyaam al-layl with energy and determination. Where are the women of our own age when it comes to such great deeds? ‘Urwah ibn al-Zubayr said:
“I came to ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) one day to greet her, and I found her praying and reciting the aayah (interpretation of the meaning), ‘But Allaah has been gracious to us, and has saved us from the torment of the Fire’ [al-Toor 52:27], repeating it and weeping. I waited for her, but I got bored of waiting, so I went to the market for some things I needed, then I came back to ‘Aa’ishah, and she was still praying and reciting this aayah and weeping.”
Anas ibn Maalik (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Jibreel said to me, ‘Go back to Hafsah, for she fasts a lot and prays a lot at night (qiyaam al-layl).’” (Reported by al-Haakim, Saheeh al-Jaami’, 4227).
Mu’aadhah al-‘Adawiyyah, one of the righteous Taabi’aat spent her wedding night, along with her husband Silah ibn Ashyam, praying until Fajr. When her husband and son were killed in the land of jihaad, she would spend the whole night in prayer, worshipping and beseeching Allaah, and she would sleep during the day. If she felt sleepy whilst she was praying at night, she would tell herself:
“O soul, there is plenty of sleep ahead of you.”
When Habeebah al-‘Adawiyyah prayed ‘Ishaa’, she would stand on the roof of her house, wearing her chemise and khimaar (i.e., covered in proper Islamic dress), then she would say, “
O my God, the stars have come out, people have gone to sleep, and kings have closed their doors, but Your door is open. Every lover is alone with his lover, but here I am standing before You.”
Then she would start to pray and talk to her Lord until the time of suhoor. When the time of suhoor came, she would say,
“O Allaah, this night is ending, the day is coming, and I wish I knew whether you have accepted this night (of worship) from me, so that I could congratulate myself, or if it has been rejected, so that I might console myself.”
‘Amrah, the wife of Habeeb al-‘Ajami, prayed qiyaam al-layl one night whilst her husband was asleep. When the time for suhoor came, and her husband was still asleep, she woke him up and said to him,
“Get up, my master, for the night has gone, the day has come and ahead of you lies a long road with little provision, and a small group of righteous people who have gone before us.. and we are still here.”
We ask Allaah to help us to remember Him, to thank Him and to worship Him properly.
May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.