Iḥyaʾ (Arabic:احیاء) or vigil is one of the significant worship traditions among Muslims.
According to most of the exegetes, as it can be inferred from Qur'an 73 (Sura al-Muzzammil), keeping vigil to perform night prayers was an obligation upon all Muslims for about one year; and Muslims as well as the Prophet (s) carried out this obligation; However, after nearly a year, and according to the verse number 21 of the same sura, Allah substituted it for tahajjud which is obligatory only for the Prophet (s).
Vigil, as a specific term, denotes keeping vigil at special nights during the year; the most important of which is the Night of al-Qadr (the nights of 19th, 21st, and 23rd in the Month of Ramadan). Also according to one narration, Imam 'Ali (a) has recommended the vigil during four nights: the first night of Rajab, the night at the middle of the month of Sha'ban, and the nights of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.
It has been narrated from the Prophet Muhammad (s) that: whoever keeps vigil on the nights of the two Eids, his heart shall not die on the day that all hearts die (on the Day of Judgment). There is a narration indicating a similar reward for the vigil during the eve of Sha'ban 15th as well.
- Ṭabāṭabāʾī, al-Mīzān, vol. 20, p. 77; Ṭabrisī, Majmaʿ al-bayān, vol. 10, p. 161.
- Dihkhudā, Lughatnāmah, vol. 9, p. 14109.