“We are not able to perform qiyaam al-lail”: Responses from the salaf

While discussing qiyaam al-lail (the voluntary night prayers) in his book Lataa’if al-Ma’aarif, Imam ibn Rajab al-Hanbali brings the following statements of the salaf concerning those who experience difficulty in performing this recommended act of ‘ibaadah:

قيل لابن مسعود رضي الله عنه : ما نستطيع قيام الليل, قال : أبعدتكم ذنوبكم. .

It was said to Ibn Mas’ood (raadiAllaahu ‘anhu), “We are not able to perform the qiyaam al-lail.” He replied, “Distance yourselves from your sins!”

وقيل للحسن : قد أعجزنا قيام الليل, قال : قيّدتكم خطاياكم.

And it was said to al-Hasan [al-Basri], “We have been made incapable of performing qiyaam al-lail.” He replied, “Restrict your sins!”

وقال فضيل بن عياض : إذا لم تقدر على قيام الليل وصيام النهار, فاعلم أنّك محرومٌ مُكَبَّلٌ, كبَّلَتْكَ خكيئتُكَ.

And Fudhail ibn ‘Iyaadh said, “If you are not able to pray during the night and fast during the day, then know that you have been deprived and detained, shackled by your own sins.”

وقال الحسن : إنّ العبد ليذنب الذنب فيُحرم به قيام الليل

And al-Hasan said, “If the slave committed a sin then he is prohibited from qiyaam al-lail because of it.”

[Lataa’if al-Ma’aarif pg. 98]

See also: Allah’s commendations for those who pray during the night

See also: ‘Ibad al-Rahman Part 2 – Steadfast Observance of Prayer: ‘Abd al-Razzaq al-Badr