The Night Prayer used to be an obligation upon the Prophet (SAW) and his Companions, as occurs in Sahih Muslim in a long hadith from Zurarah, and in it there occurs:… she (i.e. A’isha) said, “Do you (i.e. Sad ibn Hisham) not recite:
“O you wrapped in garments (i.e. Prophet Muhammad (SAW))! Stand to pray all night, except a little.”(Surah al Muzammil) I said, “Indeed yes.”
She said, “Then Allah, the Mighty and Majestic, obligated the Night Prayer at the beginning of this surah. So the Prophet (SAW) and his Companions observed it for a year and Allah withheld the end of it for twelve months in the heavens, until Allah sent down the conclusion of the surah when the duty was eased and the Night Prayer became optional after having been an obligation.” (Sahih Muslim)
So indeed there must be hidden benefits arising from the Night Prayer. Indeed it is a preparation for men (and women). It makes the hearts firm upon the truth, and further strengthens them. It is the secret of success. It distances the person from sins and evil actions. It increases iman. It causes a person to be joined with the righteous and raises him to the level of the sincere worshippers, and those who worship Him as if they are seeing Him, even though they do not see Him, yet He, the Most High, certainly sees them.
Often, because of the daily demands of life, we neglect this very special prayer. The following hadith are beautiful reminders of the rewards of striving to perform the Night Prayer. Read them, reflect on them and resolve to share its rewards with your spouse and those you love.
It is reported from Abu Hurairah (RA), that Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said: “The best fast after Ramadhan is in Allah’s (SWT) month of Muharram, and the best prayer after the obligatory prayer is the Night Prayer (Salaatul-Layl).” (Sahih Muslim)
It is reported from Jaabir (RA), that he heard Allah’s Messenger (SAW) say: “Indeed there is an hour which no Muslim encounters whilst asking Allah for the good of this world and the Hereafter except that Allah gives it to him, and that is every night.”(Sahih Muslim)
It is reported from Abu Hurairah (RA) that the Prophet (SAW) said, “May Allah have mercy upon the man who gets up at night and prays, and awakens his wife and, if she refuses, then he sprinkles water on her face. And may Allah have mercy upon the woman who gets up at night and prays, and awakens her husband and, if he refuses, then she sprinkles water on his face.” (Abu Dawood)
It is reported from Abu Hurairah and Abu Sa’eed who both said that Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said, “If a man wakes his wife at night and they both pray, or they pray two raka’ahs together, then they are written amongst those men and women who remember Allah.” (Abu Dawood)