Posted by: Dawud Israel | November 3, 2011

Visual Graph: Great Worshippers of Allah over Time

Click the image to get a better picture of the graph. For Facebook readers, click “View Original Post” or “View Full Note.”

On the X-axis is the year of their death, according to Hijri calendar and the Y-axis is the number rak’at (unit) of nafil (supererogatory) prayers prayed per day. Just to give you an idea, the number of fardh rakat we pray a day is 17 so use that to compare! The personalities listed is by no means complete, there are many other great worshippers in Islamic history. I have taken this from Imam Dhahabi’s Siyar A’lam al-Nubala. 

What do you think this says about the “hunger” for ibada? How do you think we can become like them?


  1. Bismillah. Amazing; if you were to add a grid and provide a key for stats I could turn this into a 3D graphic for you.

    May Allah bless and have mercy on our predecessors, we are barely reaching their shadows.

    How to become saintly? I say: through a deep spiritual (religious) reliance and dedication to Allah, shown in action, control and established obligatory acts. When we cut that tie of dependence, we are disappointed in ourselves and fall back to temporariness.

    Cool idea brother, always enjoying your posts.

  2. I was showing this off to my family and they’re a little doubtful.
    There are 1440 minutes in a day, and some of the people listed prayed 1000 rakat… so their rationale is that these people would spend almost the WHOLE day praying?

    • Some, yes. It is doable, so you can attempt trying to hit some of those numbers, especially if you have qadha prayers to make up from past years.

      It is remarkable, but consider how many distractions we have around us today, that were not present in their time. These men (and I’m sure there were many women too) LOVED to worship Allah because they LOVED Allah in a truly extraordinary way, and He can give to some of His servants great baraka in their time. Psychologists and physicists do talk about how everybody’s individual experience of time varies…its not flat and nor is it the same for everyone. One hadith mentions that after the Resurrection, the waiting on the Plain for Allah to begin judging humanity will take 50,000 years, but for the believer that time will pass like the time spent in a single salat.

      I don’t claim to understand it completely myself, but that is how I contextualize it.

      P.S. I am flattered you showed this off to your family. 🙂
      Salam aleikum.


  3. even if it isn’t “technically” plausible, doesn’t mean it’s not actually possible – they say that the number of pages Imam Nawawi wrote were too many considering how many years he lived – any many of his critics cite this… but the Imam himself said: “barakallahu fi waqti” – his time was blessed in a way we probably couldn’t understand.

    re: those who prayed a 1000 rak’at, I wouldn’t be surprised if they did a million other things during the day too (like, eat, sleep, family time, teach etc.)…

  4. “What do you think this says about the “hunger” for ibada? How do you think we can become like them?”

    In this fast-paced dunya, even hunger is satisfied quickly! Slow the pace down to a natural pace, stop chasing time-eating activities and devote that time to ibadah… easier said than done but I don’t doubt that once it is done, there is no turning back (insha’Allah)… In the west, wherever the mass is running – turn around and peacefully walk in the opposite direction – taking every step towards falah!

  5. (Darn, I can’t edit comments here)…

    I wanted to add:

    Once you set a pace, then you work on improving your ‘time’. That’s when you start running in ibadah, like the noble slaves whose names are now captured in a chart… turning towards, walking towards, jogging towards, running towards, sprinting towards… getting closer to falah.

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