عن أبي هريرة -رضي الله عنه-: أن النبي -صلى الله عليه وسلم- قال: «إذا قام أحدكم من الليل فَلْيَفْتَتِحِ الصلاة بركعتين خَفِيفَتَيْن». وعن عائشة -رضي الله عنها-، قالت: كان رسول الله -صلى الله عليه وسلم- إذا قام من الليل افتتح صلاته بركعتين خفيفتين.
[صحيح.] - [رواه مسلم. حديث عائشة رواه مسلم.]
المزيــد ...

Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (may Allah's peace and blessings be upon him) said: "When any of you gets up at night to perform the voluntary night prayer, let him start with two short Rak‘ahs." ‘Ā'ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) reported: When the Messenger of Allah (may Allah's peace and blessings be upon him) woke up during the night to offer voluntary night prayer, he would start with two short Rak‘ahs.

Explanation

This Hadīth indicates that it is a Sunnah in performing voluntary night prayer to start it with two short Rak‘ahs, after which one may lengthen it as he likes. This is highlighted in the narration of Abu Dawūd on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) in a Hadīth that reads: "Then he may lengthen it as he likes." This was authentically reported to be the practice of the Prophet (may Allah's peace and blessings be upon him) as per the narration of Muslim. The rationale behind opening the voluntary night prayer by two short Rak‘ahs is to train the self and prepare it for continuing the prayer, and also to hasten in undoing the knots of the devil. That is because having the knots undone cannot be achieved except by completing the prayer. It was reported that the Prophet (may Allah's peace and blessings be upon him) used to start the voluntary night prayer by offering two short Rak‘ahs, although he was protected against the knots of the devil and exalted above them. Yet, he did that to teach his followers and guide them to what protects them from the devil. So the authentic verbal and practical Sunnah indicates the permissibility of starting the voluntary night prayer by two short Rak‘ahs.

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