What is Qiyam al-Layl?
A practice in Islam, Qiyam al-Layl is a prayer made outside of the five mandatory daily prayers in a Muslim’s life. Also called Taraweeh, the prayer is recited during Ramadan. Qiyam al-Layl literally means ‘standing at night’, referring to how the prayer is recited, punctuated by the occasional bowing and sitting. Its alternate name, Taraweeh, actually means ‘rest and relaxation’, pertaining to the period of sitting between some verses.
Qiyam al-Layl is not a mandatory prayer, but is performed by those who would like to show extra devotion in their faith. The prayer involves reciting passages from the Qu’ran, and the intention is to recite in prayer the whole holy book. For this reason, the Qu’ran was conveniently divided into 30 parts for each day of the Ramadan.
Qiyam al-Layl can be performed in a group or individually at home. When praying as a congregation, it is done in the mosque, and is led by an imam. Today, during Ramadan, Qiyam al-Layl performed in Mecca is broadcast live each Ramadan season by Saudi Arabian TV.
Many perform the Qiyam al-Layl as a way for strengthening their Muslim faith
and to increase their capacity to do good deeds.