al-Ghunya Prayers - Saturday Night

CONCERNING THE SPECIAL QUALITY OF [VOLUNTARY] RITUAL PRAYER PERFORMED DURING THE NIGHT OF SATURDAY [SALAT LAILAT AS-SABT].

(It should be noted that the night of Saturday is Friday night as we know it in the west).

According to a traditional report transmitted on the authority of Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be well pleased with him), the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) once said:

If someone performs twelve [voluntary] cycles of ritual prayer [ithnatai 'asharata rak'a] on a Saturday night, at some point between the [obligatory prayers of] sunset [al-maghrib] and late evening [al-'isha'], Allah (Exalted is He) will build a palatial mansion for him in the Garden of Paradise.  It will be as if he had made a charitable donation [tasaddaqa] to every believing man and woman [mu'min wa mu'mina].  He will be uncontaminated by the errors of Judaism [al-Yahudiyya], and it will be an obligation [haqq] incumbent upon Allah to grant him forgiveness.

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A REMINDER CONCERNING THE IMPORTANCE OF (A) FULFILLING ONE'S OBLIGATORY RELIGIOUS DUTIES [FARA'ID] BEFORE ENGAGING IN THE PERFORMANCE OF SUPEREROGATORY DEVOTIONS [NAWAFIL], AND (B) PERFORMING SUPEREROGATORY DEVOTIONS [NAWAFIL] WITH THE INTENTION OF MAKING UP FOR PREVIOUS OMISSIONS IN THE PERFORMANCE OF OBLIGATORY RELIGIOUS DUTIES [FARA'ID].

We have already discussed this topic in the Discourse on Repentance [Majlis at-Tawba], as well as elsewhere in the course of this book, but the following points deserve to be reiterated here:

The worshipper's first priority must be the complete and proper performance of all obligatory religious duties [fara'id] and customary observances [sunan].  After these have been discharged, and only then, he may engage in supererogatory devotions [nawafil], whether these be connected with ritual prayer [salat], fasting [siyam], charitable donation [sadaqa], or any of the various forms of worshipful service ['ibadat].

In all his acts of worshipful service ['ibadat], of whatever type they may be, his conscious intention should be to fulfill the strict obligations [fara'id] that are incumbent upon him.  Thus, with respect to all these [voluntary] ritual prayers [salawat] we have mentioned, as being appropriate to the various nights and days of the week, the worshipper should perform them with the intention of making up [qada'] for previous omissions.  He will thereby acquit himself of outstanding duty [fard], and he will also obtain additional merit [fadl].  Allah (Exalted is He) will combine the two, through His grace, His mercy, and His noble generosity. 

Finally, once he has really and truly acquitted himself of strictly obligatory duties [fara'id], the worshipper may legitimately intend [yanwi] his performance of all that [additional worship] to be a purely supererogatory devotion [nafila]. 

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This brings us to the end of the Chapter concerning the special qualities of the [voluntary] ritual prayers [salawat] performed in the nighttime on each of the days of the week.

Praise be to Allah, the Lord of All the Worlds!
[al-hamdu li'llahi Rabbi 'l-'alamin].

 

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