Of the distinguishing features of the month of Ramadan, are the days spent fasting and the nights spent in prayer. Any additional prayers are encouraged and rewarded heavily, but special night time prayers are established – and known in Arabic as ‘Tarawih’.
These prayers can be prayed at home, but are traditionally prayed in congregation in the Mosque. The Imam will attempt to recite the whole of the Qur’an during these prayers, in order to follow the Prophetic Sunnah of completing the holy book, at least once during the month.
The Tarawih prayers are a way for the community to increase bonds and unite in worship, each eve during the holy month but they are frequently followed up by more personal prayers at home. These supplementary prayers are called Qiyam ul Layl, which literally means to 'stand during the night.'
The Qiyam ul Layl can be prayed anytime between the Isha prayer in the evening, and the fajr or dawn prayer. Most Muslims will pray as much as they can during the nights of Ramadan, as praying at this time differentiates those who are strong in faith from those who find it difficult to sacrifice their sleep. This is of course work, school and family circumstances dependant. For some, the idea of staying up most of the night is largely impossible, but the beauty of the blessed month comes with still being rewarded, for any actions that they had intended.