Oct 20, 2020 08:28 UTC

If you remember we discussed the importance of keeping midnight vigil and worship from the viewpoint of the noble Qur’an and the statements of the Prophet of Islam and his Infallible Successors (Blessings of God upon them). We also talked about this characteristic in Imam Khomeini (God’s mercy upon him). Today we are going to continue our discussion.

According to many of the companions, friends and classmates of Imam Khomeini (God’s mercy upon him), the Imam never forgot midnight prayer for 70 years, that is, since the beginning of his youth till the end of his life. According to the sayings of the Prophet of Islam and his infallible successors, sin deprives the servant from waking up for midnight prayer. Sin makes the spirit sick and paves the ground for the Satan’s dominance. Once a man asked Imam Ali (AS), “Why can’t I wake up for midnight prayer?” The Imam answered, “You are a man whom the sins have chained.”

The Islamic culture emphasizes on being careful not to become proud of waking up at night and performing midnight prayer. This may deprive him from midnight prayer. For sure, one of the effects of midnight prayer is calmness and surety of heat. This was quite clear in Imam Khomeini during the critical times of the war and myriads of problems that the Imam faced before and after the victory of the Islamic Revolution. The night in which he was returning from Paris to Tehran was a very critical and worrying night because everyone thought of a possible attack on the plane by enemies and the elements of the Pahlavi regime. But, the father of the Islamic Revolution didn’t quit his midnight prayer even in those tough moments. The Imam’s younger son, Haaj Ahmad Aqa said, “On the way from France to Tehran, the Imam was quite calm in the plane with no stress. He performed his midnight prayer and the Fajr (dawn) prayer very calmly just like the way he used to do.”

Hojjatol Eslam Ashtiani narrated a memory from Imam Khomeini, saying, “One night the news was heard that a coup d’état was going to take place. Haaj Ahmad Aqa hurriedly came to the Imam to inform him. The Imam was performing prayer. Haaj Ahmad waited for a long time as the Imam was engaged in communion and supplication with God. When Haaj Ahmad said the news to the Imam, Imam Khomeini said in his usual calm and unperturbed manner, ‘It is nothing, go and be sure.’ And then he continued his midnight prayer and supplication.”

Mostafa Kaffashzadeh, one of the members of Imam Khomeini’s office, said, “Many nights we were with the Imam till morning. He would wake up for midnight prayer. We were witness how he used to pray and weep at the divine court. We saw his cries and couldn’t endure.”

Haaj Ahmad Aqa said, “The supplication, weeping and cries of Imam Khomeini at midnight prayer were so intense that they would make you cry unintentionally.”

 Imam Khomeini’s daughter-in-law, Fatemeh Tabatabai, said, “In the month of Ramazan before the Imam’s passing away, I remember well that sometimes I would go to him and prayed with him. As I entered the room, I would see that his face was quite ablaze and wept so much so that no handkerchief would be enough and he would use a towel. He had such a state at midnight and was really in love with God.”

Imam Khomeini made every effort not to let others be aware of his midnight prayer and how he would spend midnights in communion with God; lest it would not make him proud among others. He was also very careful not to disturb others with his midnight prayer. Mr. Kaffahszadeh, narrating from the Imam’s wife, said, “The Imam’s wife would say, ‘As far as I remember, he would stand for midnight prayer every night; but he would not disturb others and even tried not to bother me or the children. We didn’t wake up because of his midnight prayer even a single night. When we were on a trip, too, he would get prepared for midnight prayer and perform ablution so quietly so that he wouldn’t bother others.”

 One of Imam Khomeini’s daughters, Zahra Mostavafi, says, “When we were in Najaf, Imam Khomeini would wake up for midnight prayer. Since we would sleep on the roof, many nights he would try to perform in a way that his voice would mix with the sound of the loudspeaker of Imam Ali’s shrine so that we would not hear the sound of his crying.”

Ayatollah Tavassoli said, “Before the Imam’s illness, one of the guards used to sleep behind his door. Once I asked him, ‘You have been guarding the Imam for a while. Have you any memory of him?’ He said, ‘Yes, the Imam usually wakes up two hours before the dawn prayer. One night, I noticed that he was crying loudly. I was impressed and started crying. When he came out to renew his ablution, he told me, ‘Appreciate your youth and worship God as long as you are young. The pleasure of worship is in youth. When the man gets old, he wants to worship but there is no mood and ability for him.’”

Dr. Mo’tamedi, one of the Imam’s medical team, said on the last night of his life, “At 2 a.m. I was standing by the Imam’s bed. I noticed that exactly at the hour that he used to wake up for midnight prayer, his lips started moving and praying without a moment of delay. He performed his prayer even in those conditions.”