Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala questions us in the Qur’an:
“Has the time not come for those who have believed that their hearts should become humbly submissive at the remembrance of Allāh and what has come down of the truth?” – [Surah Al-Hadid: 16]
This Quranic verse, like many others, is a clear implication and a message for us to pray five times a day. When we remember our Creator, it reminds us of the truth that we shall all return to Him after death, reaping rewards for the good we have done and paying heavily for the sins committed.
While all five Salahs of the day are equally important and should not be skipped, the Fajr and Isha prayers are considered a differentiating factor that separates the true believers (Momineen) from the pretenders of faith (Munafiqeen).
Hazrat Abu Hurairah RA narrated the Holy Prophet (PBUH):
“The most difficult salah for the munafiqeen is Isha and Fajr. Had they known the rewards for them they would have attended them even if they had to crawl on their knees.” – [Sahih Bukhari: 657]
Significance of the Isha Prayer
Speaking of the significance of the Isha prayer, Hazrat Uthman RA recounted that the Prophet SAW once said:
“Whoever offers Isha salah in jama’ah it is as though he spent half the night in worship. And whoever offers fajr salah in jama’ah it is as though he spent the entire night in worship.” – [Sahih Muslim: 656(a)]
The above Hadith leaves no doubt regarding the vast significance of offering the Isha prayer.
In addition to reaping the rewards of praying all night, it is also worth mentioning that offering Salah, in general, leaves a soothing effect on the practitioner. In this case, observing Isha ensures a good night’s sleep, keeping our minds free of guilt, stress, and worldly worries as we end our day on a spiritual note.
The Time Interval for Observing Isha
The given time for observing Isha is normally said to start from the end of Maghrib, concluding before Fajr. However, despite this stretched timeline, the desirable session only lasts right before or around midnight (depending on different cities), as is implied in the following Hadiths.
Abdullah b. ‘Amr reported:
“The time of the noon prayer is when the sun passes the meridian and a man’s shadow is the same (length) as his height, (and it lasts) as long as the time for the afternoon prayer has not come; the time for the afternoon prayer is as long as the sun has not become pale; the time of the evening prayer is as long as the twilight has not ended; the time of the night prayer is up to the middle of the average night and the time of the morning prayer is from the appearance of dawn, as long as the sun has not risen; but when the sun rises, refrain from prayer for it rises between the horns of the devil.” – [Sahih Muslim: 612(d)]
Narrated by Abu Hurairah RA, Prophet Muhammad SAW said:
“If it were not to be a hardship on the Ummah, I would have ordered them to delay the Isha Salah until a third or half of the night had passed.” – [Tirmidhi: 167]
About the ‘Witr’ Rakats:
Hazrat Aisha RA related the Holy Prophet (PBUH) saying:
“Allah’s Apostle offered Witr prayer at different nights at various hours extending (from the ‘Isha’ prayer) up to the last hour of the night.” – [Sahih Bukhari: 996]
About ‘Dua e Qunoot’ In Isha Prayer:
The Witr Rakats in the Isha prayer include an additional request to Allah SWT in the shape of Dua e Qunoot:
"O Allah, guide me among those Thou hast guided, grant me security among those Thou hast granted security, take me into Thy charge among those Thou hast taken into Thy charge, bless me in what Thou hast given, guard me from the evil of what Thou hast decreed, for Thou dost decree, and nothing is decreed for Thee. He whom Thou befriendest is not humbled. Blessed and Exalted art Thou, our Lord." – [Abu Dawud: 1425]
May Allah SWT give us the will and desire to offer all our prayers. Ameen!
The Quran, written centuries ago, contains profound hints at future discoveries. It includes scientific facts that surpass the knowledge of anyone who lived in the 7th century. This serves as compelling evidence of the divine nature of the Quran.
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