Early Rising

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Early rising (Arabic: القيام بالسحر) is to wake up before the call for the Morning Prayer. It is said to result in the forgiveness of sins and God's response to one's supplications. According to hadiths, the Infallibles (a) were early risers. Practices recommended to be done at dawn include the night prayer and the recitation of the Supplication of the Dawn (duʿaʾ al-sahar).

In some countries, it has been customary among Muslims to perform dawn chants and drumming during the dawns of the Ramadan month.

The Concept

Early rising is to wake up during dawn (sahar), where dawn is defined in some hadiths as the time before the rise of al-fajr al-sadiq (literally: true daybreak); that is, the starting time for the Morning Prayer.

The term "dawn" (sahar) is used in the verse "and they plead for [Allah's] forgiveness at dawns"[1] which is interpreted by Fakhr al-Din al-Turayhi (d. 1097/1685-6), a Shiite lexicographer, as "shortly before morning."

Place

The dawn is discussed in the sections about fasting in sources of hadiths. Al-Shaykh al-Kulayni (d. 329/941), a Shiite scholar of hadith, cites a hadith in his al-Kafi in the section on “times and conditions where the supplication is hoped to receive a response.” In jurisprudential books, it is discussed in the sections on fasting and the times of nawafil.

Muslim mystics frequently talk about early rising in their work.

The Practice of Early Rising by the Infallibles (a)

According to hadiths, the People of the Book were early risers. During dawns, they supplicated. Moreover, according to Shiite hadiths, prophets preferred to supplicate during dawns.

Benefits

There are hadiths to the effect that early rising has benefits, such as the forgiveness of one's sins and one's supplications being responded. According to one hadith, when Prophet Jacob (a)'s sons asked him to pray for their forgiveness by God, he postponed it to the dawn, since supplications are responded at that time.

In a hadith from Imam al-Sadiq (a), the prayer for the forgiveness of sins by some people during the dawn prevented divine punishments. On another hadith, people's livelihoods are distributed during the dawn.

Practices

Some hadiths recommend prayers for the forgiveness of sins during the dawn. Brushing one’s teeth and performing the night prayer are also recommended to be done at dawn.

According to hadiths, it is recommended for fasters to recite Sahar Supplication in the dawns of the Ramadan month and to eat a meal at dawn.

Rituals

There are rituals practiced by some Muslims to wake people up during the dawns of the Ramadan month. In Iran, the ritual of dawn chanting (sahar-khwani) was common. It is said to be common among Indian Muslims as well. During Ramadan months, the ritual of drumming is common in Syria and that of chiaus (chawush) recitation in Turkey.

Notes

  1. Qur'an 3:17

References

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