A Sacred Conversation

4629988436_f32fec503a_bThere is a time of night when the whole world transforms. During the day, chaos often takes over our lives. The responsibilities of work, school, and family dominate much of our attention. Other than the time we take for the five daily prayers, it is hard to also take time out to reflect or even relax. Many of us live our lives at such a fast pace, we may not even realize what we’re missing.

But there is a time of night when work ends, traffic sleeps, and silence is the only sound. At that time—while the world around us sleeps—there is One who remains awake and waits for us to call on Him. We are told in the hadith qudsi: “Our Lord descends during the last third of each night to the lower heaven, and says: ‘Is there anyone who calls on Me that I may respond to him? Is there anyone who asks Me that I may give unto him? Is there anyone who requests My Forgiveness that I may forgive him?’” (Bukhari and Muslim)

One can only imagine what would happen if a king were to come to our door, offering to give us anything we want. One would think that any sane person would at least set their alarm for such a meeting. If we were told that at exactly one hour before dawn a check for $10,000,000 would be left at our doorstep, would we not wake up to take it?

Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) has told us that at this time of night, just before dawn, He will come to His servants.  Imagine this. The Lord of the universe has offered us a sacred conversation with Him. That Lord waits for us to come speak with Him, and yet many of us leave Him waiting while we sleep in our beds. Allah (swt) comes to us and asks what we want from Him. The Creator of all things has told us that He will give us whatever we ask.

And yet we sleep.

There will come a day when this veil of deception will be lifted. The Qur’an says: “[It will be said], You were certainly in unmindfulness of this, and We have removed from you your cover, so your sight, this Day, is sharp.” (Qur’an 50:22).

On that Day, we will see the true reality. On that Day, we will realize that two rak`at (units) of prayer were greater than everything in the heavens and the earth. We will realize the priceless check that was left on our doorstep every night as we slept. There will come a day when we would give up everything under the sky just to come back and pray those two rak`at.

There will come a day when we would give up everything we ever loved in this life, everything that preoccupied our hearts and minds, every mirage we ran after, just to have that conversation with Allah. But on that Day, there will be some from whom Allah (swt) will turn away… and forget, as they had once forgotten Him.

The Qur’an says: “He will say, ‘My Lord, why have you raised me blind while I was [once] seeing?’ [Allah] will say, ‘Thus did Our signs come to you, and you forgot them; and thus will you this Day be forgotten.’” (Qur’an, 20:125-126) In Surat al-Mu’minoon, Allah says: “Do not cry out today. Indeed, by Us you will not be helped.” (Qur’an, 23:65)

Can you imagine for a moment what these ayat (verses) are saying? This is not about being forgotten by an old friend or classmate. This is about being forgotten by the Lord of the worlds. Not hellfire. Not boiling water. Not scalded skin. There is no punishment greater than this.

And as there is no punishment greater than this, there is no reward greater than what the Prophet ﷺ describes in the following hadith:


“When those deserving of Paradise would enter Paradise, the Blessed and the Exalted would ask: Do you wish Me to give you anything more? They would say: Hast Thou not brightened our faces? Hast Thou not made us enter Paradise and saved us from Fire? He would lift the veil, and of things given to them nothing would be dearer to them than the sight of their Lord, the Mighty and the Glorious.” [Sahih Muslim]

But one does not need to wait until that Day to know the result of this nighttime meeting with Allah (swt). The truth is, there are no words to describe the overwhelming peace in this life from such a conversation. One can only experience it to know. Its effect on one’s life is immeasurable. When you experience qiyam, the late night prayer the rest of your life transforms. Suddenly, the burdens that once crushed you become light. The problems that were irresolvable become solved. And that closeness to your Creator, which was once unreachable, becomes your only lifeline.

About the author

Yasmin Mogahed

Yasmin Mogahed received her B.S. Degree in Psychology and her Masters in Journalism and Mass Communications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After completing her graduate work, she taught Islamic Studies and served as the Sisters’ Youth Director for the Islamic Society of Milwaukee. She also worked as a writing instructor for Cardinal Stritch University, and a staff columnist for the Islam section of InFocus News. Currently she’s an independent media consultant and a writer for the Huffington Post, where she focuses most of her work on spiritual and personal development. Her written works, including a book chapter on the portrayal of Islam post-911, have appeared in print and online publications worldwide.


    • Salam Siraj,
      From my experience, I normally follow these steps to get up easier for Qiyam:

      1) Be sure to go the bed before midnite. Perform wudu’, I drink zam-zam water (it’s said that the holy water will help to grant your sincere wish) while wishing to wake up at what time. I lie in bed, reciting doa for sleep & the 3 Quls (An-Nas, Al-Falaq & Al-Ikhlas).
      2) I don’t really recall what wakes me up (I dont have an alarm clock), but my eyes will normally open within 30 min (before or after) the time I had wished for before I went to bed. Realize that, this is the time when you’d hear things like… “ah..there’s still time…sleep for another 10 min…” or “gosh, I am so sleepy & tired, I have to go to work tomorrow, I’ll do qiyam some other days”…or the like are all from shaytan. It is very crucial NOT to give in to shaytan’s seduction at this time to fall back to sleep.
      3) Quickly recite the doa after wake-up from sleep (you will immediately feel slightly refresh, insyaAllah since this will remove the 1st knot which Shaytan has tied on us when we fall asleep.)
      4) Perform wuduk (this will remove the 2nd knot)
      5) Perform solat (this will remove the final knot).

      Please do try these and insyaAllah you will be one of the chosen ones to be lose to Him.

      • Asalaamu alaykum

        Can you explain your positive feelings you get when you perform the qiyam. The positive results you get please share with us. As it is inspiration for us all.

        • Very difficult to describe the feelings in mere words. But you’ll feel the sweetness of ibadah & as if you’re talking out your heart to Allah swt & Allah is there to hear you alone. Whatever problem you have, you’ll feel the burden of it had been lifted up from you. Hasbunallah wa nikmal wakil….

        • the feeling is inside. my inside soul feel very strong, even your eyes quite tired. and my brain use to very sharp than usual. I use to work to troubleshoot bugs, and I found it was easier and quicker to find problems. Allahua’lam

    • I praying tahajjud and after completing I always recite
      ayaul kursi over 30 times or more, I experienced a miracle I think. I herad a voice in my right ear, this voice was out of this world It was in a launguage wich I could not understand, but it was so loud, clear and lasted about 15 seconds. before the voice as i was reciting ayatul kursi the quiet night went like someone pressed the mute button and it went more queit so silent is loud after what I experienced. nobody can explain what that voice is
      has it happend to anyone??

  • Narrated Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-‘As:

    The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: If anyone prays at night reciting regularly ten verses, he will not be recorded among the negligent; if anyone prays at night and recites a hundred verses, he will be recorded among those who are obedient to Allah; and if anyone prays at night reciting one thousand verses, he will be recorded among those who receive huge rewards.

    I am negligent 🙁 according to the hadith above but Insha Allah I will be among those who receive huge rewards.
    Insha Allah.
    All readers make dua for me

  • Sr. Yasmin – another gem of an article. This is a topic that we all need a reminder of, as you stated at the start, we get caught up in our fast-paced lives during the day. We should take advantage of the calm of the night and the closeness that Allah (swt) offers us, yet instead we sleep. I think one advantage we have, though we don’t always benefit from it, is that the 5 daily prayers should make us more disciplined in terms of when we do go to sleep, etc. So maybe, we would be more willing to get up and pray during those times of the night that hold special Blessings of being extra-close to our Creator and still, from a worldly point of view – still get some rest. I know I need to do a much better job of this concerning Salat-ul -Fajr. As always, Jazak’Allahu Khairan for another great article.

  • For those who have children; remember when they were infants and would wake you up all hours of the night for feeding? Or the young child who keeps you waking up because of illness? What did you do? Lie there? No, inshallah, you most likely got up without the thought of how tired you were and you went to the child and stayed with him until he was at rest.

    When I wake for Fajr, I just do it. I just get up without giving my sleep any regard, alhumdulillah. By the time I’ve made wudu I’m usually pretty awake. I’m guilty of not waking or staying awake before that but inshallah I will work on it. Those nightly prayers are the most cleansing and fullfilling prayers you can pray. Alhumdulillah

  • JazakAllah khair sister. Beautiful read and very relevant to upcoming month of Ramadan.

    Walikum salaam

  • Jazak Allahu Khayr for another beautiful reminder Sr. Yasmin. Let’s also use this blessed time to also pray for the betterment of the Ummah. We all know how much we have slipped (both individually and as an Ummah) – let’s ask Allah Subhanahu wa taala for increased sincerity, guidance and help to re-establish al-Islam as the dominant way of life in the world.

  • Beautiful, simple beautiful. This post could not have come at a better time. The feeling of bliss you get when you get up before dawn is just undescribeable.

    For those who want to embark on this heavenly endeavor be sure to read surah imran, the last ten verses, when you wake up. Then do wuzu and read two quick rakat – this gets you in the right frame of mind. Then you can read Tahajjud. It is recommended to read it in two rakat, the prophet pbuh used to read 10 rakat, with 1 rakat for witr, so 11 in total. It is okay if you cannot manage to read the whole 10 rakat, focus on quality not quantity when you get started. Lengthy recitation of the quran during the prayer is highly recommended, so you can pick any surah to read after surah fathia. If you need any encouragement consider this:

    Three Hearts
    Surah Yaseen is the heart of the Qur’an and the time of Tahajjud is the heart of the night.
    If these two hearts come together with the heart of a believer then we can only imagine the great blessings that will be found in such a deed.

    If you have read witr the night before for fear of not waking up in time to read it at tahujjud then that is okay too. For those who miss the prayer, do not despair. Allah swt gives us another opportunity with the Salat al-Duha prayer after fajr and before zuhr. Hence Salat al-Duha is even more stressed for those who miss tahajjud and is its replacement.

    It is okay to fall down, as long as we get up and try again.

    May Allah swt bless us all to keep steadfast on his religion.

  • […] A Sacred Conversation There is a time of night when the whole world transforms. During the day, chaos often takes over our lives. The responsibilities of work, school, and family dominate much of our attention. Other than the time we take for the five daily prayers, it is hard to also take time out to reflect or even […] […]

  • “Our Lord descends during the last third of each night to the lower heaven”,

    Can somebody please clarify me what time does last third refer to? Is it right before Fajar prayer is called? Or is it Tahajjud time i.e after mid night?

    Thank you in Advance

    Jazak Allah

    • Assalam Alikom,

      i think the time when Allah “swt” descend to lower heaven asking for “Almostaghfreen” people who are asking for forgiveness or “Alsaeleen” people who ask for their needs, is around 2.5 to 3 hours befor fajr as it is in sahih muslim “half of the night” and sahih bukhari “last third of the night” so it varies from acountry to another according to the night hours. may Allah “swt” help you and accept all your good work.

    • The last third of the night is the time before Fajr. To know what time exactly that would be, take the time of Maghrib (because that is when the night starts) and the time for Fajr (because that is when the night ends), and the difference between the two times, you divide it by 3. So for example if Maghrib here comes in at 8:00 pm, and Fajr comes in at 5:00 am. So there is 9 hours between the two, so that is how long the whole night is. A third of the night is 9 hours divided by 3, so a third of the night is 3 hours. The last third of the night is the last 3 hours before Fajr, so here it would be from 2:00 am to 5:00 am (Fajr time). Hope this helps insha’Allah.

  • Jazakallah Khair for this very imoportant post! I was actually just thinking about this topic yesterday and I remembered that a wise scholar once said that the night is the time when the doors of all the Kings and other powerful rulers are closed and only the door to Allah’s Mercy and help is open!

  • Asalaamu alaikum,

    Jazak Allahu Khair for this very beneficial article 🙂 As a new revert, this is my very first Ramadan and people keep telling me that the night is the most important time to stay awake and worship. However, I have a condition which causes me to need more sleep than the average person. I am a little confused about which parts of the night we are supposed to sleep through and during which parts we are supposed to remain awake. Can you please clarify? Jazak Allahu Khair 🙂

    • The last part of the night is better, although one can pray during any time of the night from after isha until fajr. As mentioned in a hadith in Sahih Muslim that the prayer during the last part of the night is witnessed, and that is better.

  • To me ( from ma point of view) the main thing is to have the intention of praying at mid night.. if u have the intention of praying then inshaALLAH u will b able to woke up on tym for night prayer..

  • JAZAKALLAH KHAIR…for such a great reminder..
    but im feeling guilty of i dont even wake up for fajra..:(
    please help me to improve my condition..n pray for me..

  • just a point to ponder.

    here at my place, with no 4 seasons in a year, we experience 12 hours night (approx.).

    I think that if 1/3 of each night = 1/3 x 12 hours = 4 hours.

    for the last third of the night, so maybe 4 hours before the sunrise. if sunrise at 7.00am, last 3rd of the nite is 3.00am (7.00 am – 4 hours).

    but I dont know whether we can calculate it this way..this is only a thought..

  • After reading this yesterday, last night I did some ibadah before Fajr, though I’m not actually fasting or praying at moment. Recited some Qur’an, tasbih, made du’at. Jazak Allah khairun for that nudge. Insha’Allah I’ll keep it up.

  • Barakallahu feekum ya ukhti..How much jealous I feel,You will not understand.My duas are with my Rabb,who alone can help.

    May Allah safeguard you for the sake of this ummah…
    and fulfill the yearning heart of its need.

  • MashAllah a beautiful article and indeed there is nothing more sacred and powerful than a conversation with Allah swt during the nights especially in Ramadan.

    May Allah swt guide us all to follow the sunnah of our Rasool saw and make us of the ones that stand in prayer in night to remember Allah swt blessings on us. Ameen.

    Jazakullah Kair for this wonderful article in Ramadan. May Allah bless you and your family. Ameen

  • SubhanALLAH beautiful! May ALLAH SWT bless us all with the Tahajjud prayer and inshaALLAH this Ramadan with the Night of Qadr! Ameen.

  • From my own experience, tahajudd prayer brings about such an immense sense of sukoon n tranquility to the heart and soul.
    Those problems/issues that once seemed too hard to resolve will dissolve away on its own. It is just matter of time and our sincerity in making the effort to pray tahajudd.
    At that part of the night,one can really feel the scacred conversation with Allah swt brings about so much of miracle in ones life. It is really a blessing for those who are given the taufeeq to perform tahajudd on a daily basis.

  • salaam alaikum,
    jazakallah khair for this beautiful,much needed reminder.:)it indeed is the remembrance of Him that gives peace to our hearts.
    i have a question,is it permissible to recite by lookin at the Quran while offering prayers like witr and tahajjud?

  • I am wondering, what is the difference between Qiyam-al-layl and Tahajud?

    And what are the different acts of worship that we should do in each of them?


  • Assalamu Alaykum. Please can you tell me if it is permissible to recite directly from the Qur’an while praying? Jazakallah.

  • Whilst faithfully doing the 5 daily prayers,In my youth I deemed waking up early mornings tiresome. Alhamdullilah,Allah wakes me up between at 3-4.30 nowadays before Death overtakes me. How can we,his humble servants not take this invaluable opportunity to welcome and receive his Presence.,to beg Forgiveness for all sins and to grant Providence and Mercy for ourselves and our loved ones. Allah always reciprocates in one way or another. A very strong Breeze blew thru my entire Home. Subhanallah. Alhamdullilah!

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