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Crying in witr

When praying tarāwīh or tahajjud in the Masjid, a trend that I have noticed is that many people cry during the du’ā in witr. Crying when asking Allāh for something is virtuous and is one of the methods that helps in the acceptance of du’ā, as we are humbling ourselves in front of Allāh and showing our urgent need for His help. However, I would like to point out something which may have been overlooked by some. We stand for (at least) 8 rak’āt in which many verses from the Qur’ān are being recited in front of us before we pray witr, but we don’t end up crying until we pray witr and the imām makes the du’ā?

In the Salāh, the imām is reciting the Qur’ān, which consists of the words of Allāh, and in the du’ā he is supplicating using his own words, yet we seem to be more affected by the words of a man than the words of Allāh. As I said before, it is a good thing to cry before Allāh when asking for something, but do we not feel ashamed to cry before Allāh when asking Him for something whilst we do not cry when the Qur’ān is recited before us? If you are someone that cries when hearing certain verses of the Qur’ān, and cries in witr then alhamdulillāh that is good, but if you are not, then maybe something needs to change.

An example to show what I mean is that a few days ago, I was praying tarāwīh in the Masjid and the imām recited the end of Sūrah Āl-‘Imrān, and throughout the whole salāh I did not hear any crying. When he began making du’ā in the witr salāh, I heard a number of people crying. The reason why I felt something was missing is that the ending of Sūrah Āl-‘Imrān has many powerful verses which implore listeners to contemplate and fear Allāh. It even contains du’ās:

Oh Allāh forgive our sins, and wipe away our wrongdoings. [1]

Oh Allāh give us what you promised us through your messengers and do not disgrace us on the Day of Judgement. [2]

These du’ās are very effective ones that should emotionally move a person and cause him or her to cry, yet I heard no cries when the imām recited these verses which are the words of Allāh, but I heard cries when he made du’ā, using the words of man.

I understand many people do not understand Arabic so they say they cannot understand the Qur’ān and therefore are not moved by it. If that is the case then firstly, you should try your best to learn Arabic because you can never appreciate the beauty of the Qur’ān without understanding it in Arabic. Secondly, even if you don’t understand it, you can try and make yourself cry, just like many non-Arabs who I hear crying during the du’ā in witr, which is also in Arabic. Some of the salaf used to say “Cry from the fear of Allāh, and if you don’t cry then forcefully cry.”

One of the reasons for the revelation of the Qur’ān is for it to be contemplated, and Allāh has mentioned this in many verses in the Qur’ān.

A blessed book which We have brought down to you so that they may ponder upon its verses. [3]

Do they not ponder upon the Qur’ān? [4]

Do they not ponder upon the Qur’ān? Or do they have locks on their hearts? [5]

The people of knowledge before it, if its verses are recited to them, they fall on their necks in prostration. And they say, Glory be to our Lord, for His promise was true. And they fall on their necks crying, and it [the Qur’ān] increases them in khushū’ [concentration and humility before their Lord]. [6]

On the topic of crying, I’m not going to write something really long about the etiquettes of crying, but I just want to remind everyone that when you cry loudly and start wailing, you disturb others around you, and from my limited knowledge, I haven’t come across a narration that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) or his companions used to cry like that. I have only come across narrations of how they used to hide their tears when crying and if they were seen to be crying, then it is just merely heavy breathing or tears tolling down their eyes:

‘Abdullāh b. Mas’ūd recited to the prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) Sūrah al-Nisā’, and when he reached verse 41, the prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) told him to stop, and when he looked up, he saw tears rolling down the Prophet’s (peace and blessings be upon him) blessed face. [7]

He did not know that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was crying until he looked at his face.

To conclude, I am not saying it is wrong to cry during the du’ā in witr because it is in fact a good thing to do as it helps in the acceptance of du’ā. What I am saying is that if we find ourselves crying in witr and not during the recitation of the Qur’ān then we need to question our love and connection to the words of Allāh; and if we are neither crying in witr nor during the recitation of the Qur’ān, then we need to question our hearts!

Wallāhu A’lam

Source: www.islam21c.com

Notes

[1] Al-Qur’ān 3:193

[2] Al-Qur’ān 3: 194

[3] Al-Qur’ān 38: 29

[4] Al-Qur’ān 4:82

[5] Al-Qur’ān 47: 24

[6] Al-Qur’ān 17:107-109

[7] Reported in Bukhāri

About Abul Baraa

Abul Baraa studied Chemical Engineering at UCL, and now works full time for a major Engineering firm. Throughout his time at university, he was involved in Islamic Society da'wah and wrote a number of articles for the society's periodic newsletter. Abul Baraa is a firm believer of the necessity to continue Islamic Studies throughout working life, and is a regular attendee of a number of weekly circles. He has completed an in-depth study of Imām al-Nawawi's 40 hadīth with Ustādh Alomgir Ali, and has created a blog with summarised bullet-point commentary on each hadīth, which can be found on www.hadithcommentary.wordpress.com.

16 comments

  1. Asa wr wb,

    A very unfair unusual article and observations by the author and very badly thought out.

    Have some mercy and don’t be so hard hearted.

    The difference between the Tarawih rakats and the Witr dua(when recited loudly by the Imam) is that the when the Quran is recited verses of forgiveness are usually followed and preceded by verses addressing other subjects. The Witr dua is specifically invoking Allah’s forgiveness at the end of all the prayers and what has been recited.

    When Imams stop at a specific Quranic verse and recite it over and over again to emphasize it, it does usually result in reactions from the jamaah. But he then quickly proceeds to continue with the Quran. Not enough time. Plus a single ayah only has a deep effect on someone if he/she has a deeper understanding of the verse, when and why it was revealed, its tafseer etc.

    When the Imam(and depending on which Imam) focuses the audience on beseeching Allah for forgiveness everyone gets some time to focus and think about what is being said as well. And it is not telling a story, or giving ahkam, or informing us about the Banu Israel; rather it is focused on beseeching and begging Allah over and over and over again. And this allows many to focus and connect with the duas.

    And that includes our brothers who in non-Ramadan months are in pubs and clubs. Perhaps the Witr dua is what softens their hearts and makes them turn back to their Deen after Ramadan.

    Quoting from Yasir Qadhi’s book “Dua the Weapon of the Believer”:

    ‘And your lord says: “Call on Me, I will answer (your prayer).” (XL:60)

    “Say (to the rejecters): my Lord is not uneasy because of you if ye call not on
    Him.” (XXV: 77)

    Together with calling on us to supplicate to Allah in our needs, the Quran also goes on to assure that Allah is very close to His servants, He hears their pedhons and grants them:
    “When My servants ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed close to them, I listen to
    the prayer of every suppliant when be calleth on Me. ” (11:186)

    The Holy Prophet Hadhrat Muhammad (Sall Allaho alaihe wasallam) also assures that to beg to Allah for our needs, to turn to Ham and to make our petitions to him is the very essence and marrow of worship, says he: “Du’a (making of earnests entreaties to Allah) is worship.” According to anther version, the Tradition reads: “Du’a is the essence and marrow of worship)”

    Ws wr wb,
    Suhail.

  2. A very well written and precise article. Mashallah. Even though there are no annotations, what the writer states is authentic and on the ball according to Hadiths. As a revert of some 12 years I no longer attend taraweah prayers due to too much chatting and arguing over petty matters. This completely throws you off course. Prefer to stay home and read.

  3. advice to all. Stop judging people. Stop watching people . Concentrate on yourself and your ibadah.

  4. advice to all. Stop judging people. Stop watching people . Concentrate on yourself and your ibadah.

  5. oh and second point … i’m not sure why but during witr, the dua was not uttered out loud, im not sure why?

    • go and learn fiqh. Obviously you’ve been brainwashed by the saudis who have sold you their version of islam which is why so many of you asians are ending up in a mess.

  6. Asalaam alaikum. interesting article. My observations – most people do not understand the meaning of the Quran, possibly and perhaps know the general meanings of the duas. However, want to add – I was able to attend Tarawih last night, one half of was read by an Imam in a voice that you could make out the individual arabic words, so if you have basic Arabic knowledge you can understand some of the words, or simply even just listen to the beauty of the words of Quran. The other half, sadly, were recited I’m sure by Qaris who are well-versed in their Quran – they must be to read so fast so fluently – but it was so fast, that you probably had to be an expert hafidh yourself to follow. I did feel I lost the feeling of khushoo I was trying to hold to from the first half…

  7. The author did not in anyway suggest that crying in witr is somehow linked to insincerity nor did he discourage for people to cry during witr. So people relax.
    The author made a very valid point which is that we should be more effected by the Qur’an rather than the witr dua. Who can argue with this point? Who can also argue against the fact that the prophet Muhammad (saw) and the sahaba never used to wail out loud when being emotionally effected during Salah. (not that its haram). Also there is no doubt that its better for us to hide our good deeds just like we do with our bad deeds.thus crying for the sake of Allah would come under that. Last but not least the prophet Muhammad (saw) said that one of the 7 that will be shaded by Allah on the day of judgment is a person that remembers Allah in private and his eyes shed tears.

  8. This is a very subjective topic. You cannot measure someone’s khushu or ikhlas based upon their tears. In non Arabic speaking countries I believe the majority don’t cry during the salah due to not understanding Arabic. That point I agree with that we should strive to understand Arabic. However there may be many silently cry during the salah that one does not notice. Also during the du’aa when your raising your hands up begging Allah then more people are likely to become emotional even if they don’t fully understand Arabic. To summarise, the article is beneficial if it is simply stating that we should learn Arabic and as a result we may cry more during the salah, but else we should not worry about who cries or who does not

  9. Salam alaykum. Mashallah brother, I agree.

  10. I actually think this article is a bit unfair. Yes, people do not understand the Quranic Arabic during beautiful recitation and therefore there is little or no emotion. However, during witr the hands are raised (it’s specific time of dua). And yes, it’s in Arabic, but easier to understand spoken Arabic with many recognisable words such as Palestine, shifaa, izza etc. Therefore, we naturally eact to that. To also imply that it’s some sort of craze, that crying is ” timed” for witr, that it’s ostentatious or insincere is wrong. If you are able to cry discreetly and quietly, alhmdA, but some people haven’t mastered that art I.e they can’t help their reaction to real emotion

  11. Dear Brother,
    Assalamu-Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah

    Please tell me the purpose of this article? You can sum it up with…”Please don’t cry loudly, it disturbs my prayers”, else I really don’t see the take-home.

    The tone is more discouraging than encouraging, it is more demeaning than inspiring. You’re being disparaging to brothers who are making an effort to attend taraweeh after 16 hour fasts and a working day and telling them it’s not enough to cry in witr, they have to cry at every verse of Qur’an if they do not, they are lacking something. It’s the usual diatribe from Islam21c which begin by kicking the Muslims between the legs then preaching their version of the Haqq. Lack of narrations to support your opinions as usual and superiority of the Arabic-speaking englightened da’ees! *yawn*

    Fi Amanillah

  12. Great observation. It does seem to have become almost fashionable to cry in witr.

    I do think however that the understanding issue is key, usually people will hear something about Palestine, or Syria or mujahideen, or izza for Muslims before the loud Ameen kicks in, and the tears start flowing.

    And yes, it doesn’t seem to happen during the reciting, but I don’t think it’s a question of love or connection with the words of Allah. It’s wider than that. As I have seen people who are known to be attached to the words of Allah, and understand it fully still crying more in witr.

    Society and the media has become our measuring stick for almost everything in our lives. It controls the what we eat, drink, the way we do it. It controls what we think about, and how we think about it. So we see pictures of children dying in the blessed lands and on that night, we just hear some imam asking Allah to help those kids in that land, so the trigger effect takes place, and all that we have heard from the media on that day comes into play, voila – tears united.

    It’s about surrounding ourselves with people who are constantly engaged in the Rembrance of Allah, and working for His deen. If that is your daily company, that becomes what effects your thoughts, actions and emotions. We are suffering due to detaching ourselves from the people of remembrance, knowledge and action. We have replaced them with a decision between watching football on ITV or BBC.

    And finally respected author, I see brothers crying to Allah in this month that are in all other months, in the clubs and pubs. They have also been influenced by the media which has left them with emotions, and in this blessed month, these brothers and sisters come to the houses of Allah and cry to Him for aid and assistance. What a blessing!

  13. An excellent article. May Allah reward you brother.
    SubhanAllah my thoughts exactly! This seems to be the case when I go to pray Taraweeh, to go one step further, the sisters I have stood next to are still yapping away whilst the Imam has completed surah Fatihah then they join the rows and you do not hear any emotion until the Witr. This is when all the sobbing begins.
    Alhamdulillah I will certainly be forwarding this article to all my contacts.

  14. Very good article and reminder. I have noticed this phenomena for many years as well where people cry and weep loudly and always felt umconfortable with people crying in this way, even leading imams and reciters. . I am nothing more than a hypocrite so I am not criticising people who cry, and I know there are many brothers and sisters who have strong eeman and love of Allah, but I can’t understand how that leads to uncontrollable loud crying. Surely, this level of incerity should be hidden from the people otherwise it can easily corrupt intentions and actions

    I remember praying behind an Imam in a very well known mosque in Egypt. Throughout the prayer his voice never changed at all during the taraweeh even though he was reading verses of jannah and naar. At the end, I looked at the imam and the tears were absolutely streaming down his face. The imam was crying from his heart, not from his voice. That’s what I thought was true eeman subhanallah.

    Wa Allahu A’lam

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