Is it necessary to offer a specific number of Rak`ahs (units of Prayer) for Qiyam-ul-Layl (optional Prayer at night)
(Part No. 6; Page No. 101
It is legislated for a Muslim to offer eleven Rak`ahs as optional night Salah (Prayer). This was the number mostly observed by the Prophet (peace be upon him). It was authentically reported that
`Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said:
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) did not observe more than eleven Rak`ahs (of optional night Salah), whether in Ramadan or any other month.
It is also permissible to offer as much supererogatory Rak`ahs during the night as one likes, because when the Prophet (peace be upon him) was asked about optional night Salah, he (peace be upon him) said:
(Optional) Night Salah is two Rak‘ahs followed by two Rak‘ahs (and so on); and when one of you fears the break of dawn (Fajr Prayer), let them offer a single Rak‘ah to make the Salah they have offered Witr (Prayer with an odd number of units).
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) also said:
The most excellent Salah after the obligatory ones is Salah during the night.
The night Salah is concluded with Witr by praying a single Rak`ah.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and Companions.