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Chapter 29: The Waning Dusk (series)


Myth: Keeping Qiyam-ul-Layl for Ramadan only

Last iftar of Ramadan 2014 was one of those moments when you wanted time to stop. Watch read 7:20 pm and you wanted the world to stay still, just for a moment. The seconds ticked by and you squeezed in all of your duas in that frame, both stupid and meaningful and whatever came to your head. And when you heard the call for azan go up, there was some odd finality in the cry like fates being sealed, barakah being lifted and the heavens being restored to their natural order. It does feel off when you break your last fast. Like you’re holding on to last magical moments and they are being gently pried apart from your fists. Gone is a sad word.

But nothing is supposed to change. Ramadan was here to make you accustomed to long qiyaam and to put you on constant vigilance of your actions all day long. Those habits are to stay. I found these verses to be the most beautiful when it comes to establishing prayer in the closing of the night. Though it was obligatory upon the Prophet (pbuh) to perform them daily, tahajjud prayers are the next best thing after our five fard and they are a special fragment from the spell of Ramadan too that you can hold on to, in a way that Allah Himself descends down in the last quarter of every night to give you all that you ask for–

Stand at night (for prayer) except a little –Half of it, or make it a little less, Or make it a little more; and recite the Qur’an clearly with tartil (in a distinct and measured tone). We are going to send down to you a weighty discourse. Truly, rising by night (for prayer of tahajjud ) is the most effective way to subdue (one’s base self) and to make speech more upright. Surely, in daytime, you have a lengthy work to do. And remember the name of your Lord, and devote yourself to Him with exclusive devotion. (73:2-8)

So it’s not just in Ramadan that you get special attention. The blessings continue if you seek them out. Now that our routine will shift back to what it used to be before, there’s all the more reason to integrate qiyam-ul-layl in our lives. As the verses suggest, they help us be upright, and are a source of barakah in our work and time during the day. “Hectic” routine will feel a shade lighter, you’ll find yourself adept at multitasking and most importantly, your conduct throughout the day would be better. Before the habit slips away, set your alarms, call it a day and sleep early so you manage to seize the night!

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