It is said that winter is a time when people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as ‘the Winter Blues’ or winter depression. However, it is interesting to see how the early Muslims welcomed winter, as it is clear that they saw it in a totally different light.
[One of the ways] they would benefit from winter is through [Qiyamul-Layl and Siyam]
Winter is the best season for the believer because Allah strengthens his practice by making worship easy for him. The believer can easily fast during the day without suffering from hunger and thirst. The days are short and cold, and he doesn’t feel the hardship of fasting.
As for praying at night, due to winter’s long nights, one can have his share of sleep and then wake up to pray. He can recite the Qur’an that he usually does in a day while having enough time to sleep.
So, it becomes possible to fulfil the interests of both – his religion and the comfort of his body.
Ahmad reported in ‘az-Zuhd’ (p. 118) with an authentic chain that ‘Umar bin al-Khattab said:
“Winter is the prize (Ghaneema) of the worshippers.”
Ibn Rajab al-Hambali said in ‘Lata’if al-Ma’arif’ (p. 276):
“Winter is the best season for the believer because…Allah strengthens his practice in it by making worship easy for him. This is because in winter, the believer can fast during the day with ease without suffering from hunger and thirst. The days are short and cold, and he therefore doesn’t feel the hardship of fasting…
As for praying at night in the winter due to its long nights, one can have his share of sleep and then get up to pray afterwards and recite all that he usually recites of the Qur’an while he has had enough sleep. So, he can combine between the sleep that he needs and the usual amount of recitation of the Qur’an that he completes in a day. So, he fulfills the interests of both his religion and the comfort of his body…
And it was narrated that Ibn Mas’ud said:
“Welcome to winter! Blessings descend in it, its nights are long to pray in, and its days are short to fast in.”
It is also narrated from him and al-Hasan:
“Winter is a wonderful time for the believer. Its nights are long to pray in, and its days are short to fast in.”
When it was winter time, ‘Ubayd bin ‘Umayr would say:
“O people of the Qur’an! Your nights are now long for you to recite in. So, recite! Your days are now short for you to fast in. So, fast! Night prayer in the winter equals fasting during the day in the summer.”
This is why Mu’adh wept on his deathbed and said:
“I weep because I will miss the thirst I felt when I fasted, praying at night during the winter, and sitting knee to knee with the scholars during the gatherings of knowledge.”
It was reported by Ahmad (4/335) with a chain authenticated by al-Albani in ‘as-Silsilah as-Sahihah’ (1922) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
“Fasting in the winter is the easy prize.”
Ibn Rajab commented on this in ‘Lata’if al-Ma’arif’ (p. 276):
“And the meaning of it being an easy prize is that it is a prize obtained without any battle or effort or hardship. So, the owner of this prize has been given it as a favor without any effort on his part.”
*Qiyamul layl means night prayer.
*Tahhajud is when you leave for bed for Salah.
*If you can not wake up for Tahhajud, than pray in the middle of start (It is not12:00am, its middle of night between Maghrib and Fajr). If that is difficult, pray before you sleep or after Esha.
May Allah give us the ability to pray in these long nights and fast in these short days. [Ameen]