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Qiyam Al-layl Prayer: Unlocking the Secrets of the Night

Qiyam Al-layl Prayer

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Qiyam prayer is one of the significant worship that builds a strong connection with Allah. Generally, when you pray to Allah, you remember him as you recite the Quran and make Zikr and dua.

Furthermore, when you pray to Allah, you worship him as you see him in front of you in humility. Many Muslims love to spend a part of the night praying for Qiyam for Allah’s sake. So let’s figure out the Qiyam prayer’ meaning, number of rakats, and benefits.

 what is qiyam ul layl?

Qiyam prayer (Night Vigil prayer) is a voluntary worship that Muslims do at night while others are sleeping or resting. They perform it after the Isha prayer and spend the night or part of it praying till the fajr prayer.

Qiyam prayer in Islam is called “Qiyam al layl”. Qiyam means “standing”, and layl means “night”.

Muslims perform the Qiyam prayer as a following of prophet Muhammed’s (PBUH) Sunnah as he used to pray it besides the obligatory prayers.

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how many rakat in qiyam al layl?

The number of Qiyam al layl rakats starts from two rakats at least. After you pray Qiyam, you should move to Witr prayer, which consists of one rakat and increases to three, five, seven, nine, and eleven rakats.

The number of Qiyam al layl is doubled. Unlike the Witr prayer, which its rakats are odd.

Therefore, there is no fixed number of rakats of Qiyam al layl prayer. But it’s recommended to pray eight rakats. 

Prophet Muhammad used to pray 13 rakats. According to Ayesha (May Allah be pleased with her), she narrated:

The Prophet (ﷺ) used to offer thirteen rak’at of the night prayer and that included the witr and two rak’at (Sunnah) of the Fajr prayer.”


What is the Best qiyam al layl time?

The best time for praying Qiyam al layl is the last third of the night before the Fajr prayer. If you divide the night into three parts, you’ll find the first third begins after Isha’s prayer.

The reason why the best time for Qiyam al layl is the last third of the night as Allah descends in this time in this time to respond to those who ask him among his believers.

Prophet Muhammed said:

“Our Lord descends to the first heaven every night at the last-third of the night and says: ‘Is there anyone who is invoking Me so that I may respond to his invocation? Is there anyone who is asking Me if I may grant him his request? Is there anyone asking for My forgiveness so I may forgive him”


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How to Pray Qiyam?

When you get ready to pray Qiyam al layl, you do the same steps of the obligatory, as you should start with making intention for Allah’s satisfaction and performing wudu (ablution).

  • The Prophet (SAW) would perform eleven rakats during Qiyam Al Layl.
  • He would pray in pairs, known as Muthanna, Muthanna. This involved offering two rakats, concluding with the salam, followed by another two rakats, and so on.
  • While engaged in prayer, he would extend his periods of ruku (bowing) and sujood (prostration).
  • To begin his salah, he would commence with two short and light rakats, and subsequently, he would p

It’s noteworthy that prophet Muhammed (PBUH) clarified how to pray Qiyam al layl as he said:

“ Prayer during the night should consist of pairs of rak’ahs, but if one of you fears morning is near, he should pray one rak’ah which will make his prayer an odd number for him.”

(Sahih Muslim).
Qiyam Al-layl Prayer

how to pray qiyam al layl at home?

Here are the steps on how to pray Qiyam al Layl at home:

  1. Make the intention (niyyah). This is the most important step, as it is what distinguishes a voluntary prayer from an obligatory one. In your heart, say something like, “I intend to pray Qiyam al Layl for the sake of Allah.”
  2. Find a quiet and peaceful spot. This is important so that you can focus on your prayer without any distractions.
  3. Dress modestly. Wear clothing that is appropriate for prayer.
  4. Begin the prayer. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to pray eleven rakats of Qiyam al Layl. You can start with two light rakats, and then continue praying in sets of two rakats.
  5. Recite the Qur’an. During each rakat, after reciting Surah al-Fatihah, you can recite any surah or verses from the Qur’an.
  6. Conclude with Witr prayer. Witr is an odd-numbered prayer, so you can pray one or three rakats.
  7. Make dua. After completing the prayer, you can make a personal supplication (dua) asking Allah for guidance, forgiveness, and anything else you desire.
  8. Reflect and thank Allah. Take a moment to reflect on the verses you’ve recited and thank Allah for the opportunity to worship during the quiet hours of the night.

Here are some additional tips for praying Qiyam al Layl at home:

  • Set an alarm to wake you up in the middle of the night.
  • Make sure you are well-rested so that you can focus on your prayer.
  • Avoid eating or drinking anything before praying, as this can make you feel sleepy.
  • If you are feeling sleepy, take a short break and then resume your prayer.
  • Be patient and consistent with your practice. The more you pray Qiyam al Layl, the easier it will become.

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What is the Difference Between Qiyam Al Layl and Tahajjud?

Qiyam Al Layl:

  1. Qiyam Al Layl means spending the night, or a part of it (even if it’s just one hour), in acts of worship such as prayer, reading the Quran, remembering Allah (dhikr), and other acts of worship.
  2. The term “qiyam” translates to “standing” and “al layl” means “the night”. Thus, “Qiyam Al-Layl” essentially means standing overnight in worship>
  3. It is not specifically stipulated that this worship should take up most of the night.
  4. Qiyam Al Layl can be performed before or after sleeping.


  1. Tahajjud specifically refers to praying at night.
  2. Some scholars have limited the definition of Tahajjud to prayers that are offered at night after sleeping.
  3. The term “Tahajjud” comes from the word “hujood”, which can mean either sleeping or staying up at night. Thus, Tahajjud essentially means waking up after sleeping to pray at night.
  4. The primary distinction is that for a prayer to be considered Tahajjud, one must have slept before performing it.

Difference between Tahajjud and Qiyam Al Layl:

  1. Qiyam Al Layl is more general than Tahajjud. While Qiyam Al Layl includes both prayer and other acts of worship, and can be performed before or after sleeping, Tahajjud is exclusively about praying after sleeping.
  2. There are two opinions regarding Tahajjud:
    • The first is that it means praying at any time of the night.
    • The second is that it specifically refers to prayer after sleeping.
  3. Every Tahajjud is a Qiyam, but not every Qiyam is a Tahajjud.

In conclusion, while both Qiyam Al Layl and Tahajjud refer to acts of worship performed during the night, the primary distinction lies in the specifics of the worship and whether or not one has slept before performing the prayer.

Hint: Itikaf is a spiritual retreat in which a Muslim secludes themselves in a mosque for a specified period of time, devoting themselves to worship. It is a highly recommended act during the last 10 days of Ramadan.

Dua For Qiyam al Layl:

  • The Prophet (ﷺ) used to start his night prayer with the following supplication:

اللَّهُمَّ رَبَّ جَبْرَائِيلَ وَمِيكَائِيلَ وَإِسْرَافِيلَ. فَاطِرَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ. عَالِمَ الْغَيْبِ وَالشَّهَادَةِ. أَنْتَ تَحْكُمُ بَيْنَ عِبَادِكَ فِيمَا كَانُوا فِيهِ يَخْتَلِفُونَ. اهْدِنِي لِمَا اخْتُلِفَ فِيهِ مِنَ الْحَقِّ بِإِذْنِكَ إِنَّكَ تَهْدِي مَنْ تَشَاءُ إِلَى صِرَاطٍ مُسْتَقِيمٍ

Translation: “O Allaah, Lord of Jibraeel, Mikael and Israfeel, You are the Originator of the heavens and the earth, the One who has all knowledge of the unseen and what is apparent. You judge between Your slaves concerning that in which they differ. Guide me with regard to disputed matters of truth by Your permission, for You guide whomever You will to the straight path.”

  • Before beginning Salatul Layl, one can recite:

بِسْمِ اللّهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيْمِ اَللّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلى مُحَمَّدٍ وَ آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ اَللّهُمَّ اِنِّي اَتَوَجَّهُ اِلَيْكَ بِنَبِيِّكَ نَبِيِّ الرَّحْمَةِ وَ آلِهِ وَ اُقَدِّمُهُمْ بَيْنَ يَدَيْ حَوَ ائِجِي فَاجْعَلْنِي بِهِمْ وَجِيْهًا فِي الدُّنْيَا وَ الآخِرَةِ وَ مِنَ الْمُقَرَّبِيْنَ اَللّهُمَّ ارْحَمْنِي بِهِمْ

Translation: “In the name of Allah the Beneficent, the Merciful. O Allah bless Muhammad and his family. O Allah I turn to You through Your Prophet, the Prophet of mercy and (through) his family and present them before my needs. So make me through them, face to face in this world and the Hereafter, and among those who are near to You. O Allah, have mercy on me through them.


Qiyam al layl prayer is a voluntary worship that Muslims perform at an extended time from Isha to Fajr prayer. 

Its rakats start from two as you pray it two by two. Muslims get several virtues from Qiyam. They become closer to Allah, obtain Allah’s forgiveness, and gain success in life and the hereafter.

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