Is there a "best time" for various worship rituals?
Researched by A. Muhammad, Written by Zainab Al-Ansari

There is a widely held belief that some of the worship rituals carry higher rewards for the believers if they are performed at certain times of the day, month, or year.
This article aims at examining such beliefs in the light of the Quran.

The following are the most common claims:

FIRST: The best time to seek God's forgiveness

It is claimed that seeking God's forgiveness is best done before dawn, which implies that if done at such a time our call has a better chance of being answered. The proponents of this claim refer to the following verses to justify their claim:

[51:15] Indeed, the reverent will be in Gardens and springs,
[51:16] receiving what their Lord has granted them, for before that, they were indeed good-doers.
[51:17] They used to sleep but little of the night,
[51:18] an
d before dawn they would seek forgiveness,
[51:19] and
in their money, there is a decreed right for the beggar and the deprived.

By reading the above verses, we can see that God is simply stating what some believers used to do. There is no command from God in these verses that seeking forgiveness should be done at a specific time of day, nor that it is best done before dawn. Equally, there is no indication in the verses that our plea seeking God's forgiveness has a better chance of being answered if it is made before dawn.

It is imperative that we take God's words as they are without adding our own assumptions to them.

As mentioned, the words in 51:18 are not in the form of a command. In contrast, when seeking forgiveness is worded in the form of a command from God, it is not associated to any particular time of the day, nor is there any suggestion that any specific time of the day brings greater rewards.
The following verse confirms this matter:

[47:19] So know that there is no god except God, and seek forgiveness for your sin, and for the believing men and believing women. God knows your movements and your resting place.

SECOND: The best time to make Du'aa (supplication)

It is claimed (without Quranic evidence) that during Laylat Al-Qadr (The Night of Decree), the sky is opened and that God answers all prayers on that night. However, when we read Surat Al-Qadr, we find no such claims:

[97:1] Indee
d, We brought it (Quran) down in the Night of Decree.

The only mention of the Night of Decree in the Quran is in this Sura, and in this Sura, God is telling us that the Quran was brought down in the Night of Decree. The Quran is not being brought down every year, i.e., the Quran has already been brought down, and it has been brought down only once. There are also other problems with this claim.
More information can be found on this page: Night of Decree

THIRD: The best time to read the Quran

Another claim for a 'best time' was based on the following verse:

[17:78] Observe the Salat at the duluk of the sun until the darkness of the night, as well as the Quran at dawn; the Quran at dawn is witnessed.

In the above verse, God is telling us that reading the Quran at dawn is witnessed. From such a phrase, there are those who claimed that since the reading of the Quran at dawn is witnessed then reading at this time of day grants the believers higher reward from God than at other times.

However, God also told us that
every little thing that we do is always witnessed, including reading the Quran at all times:

[10:61] There i
s no affair that you may be engaged in, nor do you recite any of the Quran, nor do you do any work, without Us being Witness over you while you are engaged in them.

More information can be found on this page:
The Quran at dawn

FOURTH: The best nights of Ramadan are the last ten nights

One other claim, along the same lines as those above, is that the last ten nights of Ramadan have much greater blessings than the rest of the month. The result of this is that millions of Muslims have been led to believe that during those nights in particular, their Salat and their Du'aa have much greater reward from God.

Needless to say, this claim, based on an incorrect interpretation of 89:2, is without any Quranic justification. The obligation set by God is to fast the whole month. Every day and every night of Ramadan is exactly the same as the other nights of the month.

There are other claims for 'best times' as well. The above were only the most circulated of those claims. Once again, it must be stressed that there is no Quranic justification to single out 'best times' then associate to them higher rewards.

We read numerous verses that confirm that God is concerned with the sincerity and reverence of the believers and not to the time of the day/week they call on Him or seek His forgiveness.

The following verses confirm the importance of sincerity, truthfulness and reverence in the sight of God. None of these verses associate better times for truthfulness, sincerity or reverence:

Importance of sincerity:

[9:91] There is no blame on the weak, nor the sick, nor on those who do not find anything to give if they are sincere to God and His messenger. In no way are the good-doers to be blamed. God is Forgiver, Merciful.

[66:8] O you who believe, repent to God a sincere repentance. It may be that your Lord will wipe out your bad deeds and admit you into Gardens beneath which rivers flow, on the Day wh
en God will not disgrace the prophet and those who believed with him.

The following verse in particular speaks of those who repent and seek God's forgiveness. No time of day, month, or year is singled out to have greater importance or greater reward:

[25:71] And those who, when they repent and do good deeds, they turn to God in sincere repentance indeed.

Importance of truthfulness:

[5:119] God said, "This is a Day when the truthful will benefit from their truthfulness." They shall have Gardens beneath which rivers flow. Therein they shall forever remain. God is pleased with them, and they are pleased with Him. This is the great triumph.

[9:119] O you who believe, you shall reverence God and be with the truthful.

God will then reward the truthful for their truthfulness, and punish the hypocrites if He so wills, or redeem them. Indeed, God is Forgiver, Merciful.

Importance of reverence:

The most noble of you in the sight of God is the most reverent. 49:13

And hasten in pursuit of forgiveness from your Lord and a Paradise whose width encompasses the heavens and the earth. It has been prepared for the reverent. 3:133

He said, "My punishment will strike whomever I please and
My mercy encompasses all things, and so I shall decree it for those who are reverent, give the Zakat, and those who believe in Our revelations. 7:156

It is important to note that none of the verses above advocated or mentioned 'best times'. To further illustrate that it is the sincerity and truthfulness of our worship that counts for the believers and not their timing, the following verses (as an example) invite us to do Tasbeeh (praising God). These verses virtually cover all times of the day. This confirms the above that there is no timing of the day that incurs higher rewards.

The Quran instructs us to do Tasbeeh at all of the following times:
1. Before sunrise and before sunset [50:39].
2. In the evening and at midday [30:18].
3. In the evening and early morning [40:55].
4. During the night [20:130].
5. When we wake up [52:48].
6. In the night and after the stars fade away from view [52:49].
7. At the ends of the day [20:130].

Conclusion: What is the 'best time'?

Apart from the rituals that have set times by God (e.g. the Salat times), and which should be observed at the times they are set, the "best time" to praise God, seek forgiveness from God or observe any worship ritual is NOW!

We should always try to do all the above while we still can. We do not know when our time on Earth will end. So instead of waiting until dawn or until Laylat al-Qadr or any other time to call on God or praise God, we should do so constantly, as much as possible, right now.

Instead of waiting for the last ten days of Ramadan to be closer to God, we should do it all through Ramadan. Better still, why wait for Ramadan?
Instead of waiting for the hour before dawn to seek God's forgiveness, why not now? Do we even have assurance that we will be alive when dawn comes?

We should seek God now, we should call on God now, ask for God's forgiveness now. Then if we are still alive when dawn comes, why not seek God's forgiveness again?

Most of all, we must never think that we will gain extra bonus points for specific times of the day, month, or year. These claims are man-made. They are not found anywhere in the Book of God