- Status : REJECTED HADITH, weak statement of companion
In order to motivate people to learn deen, the following hadith is often quoted :
“Acquiring knowledge in company for an hour in the night is better than spending the whole night in prayer” (Tirmidhi #256 (or #91))
Firstly, this is once again another misattribution ie the hadith is not present in Jâmi’-ut-Tirmidhi, nor in any of his books, but the one who spread it inserted the name of a famous hadith book in the reference to popularise it.
Secondly, Ad-Daylamî reports this hadith in his Musnad al-firdaws however one narrator of its chain (Nahshal bin sa’îd at-tirmidhî) is severely defective according to hadith experts and thus the hadith is not sahih at all but rather totally rejected.
Thirdly, the narration is also reported in the sunan of ad-Dârimî as a mawquf saying of Ibn ‘Abbas (RA), and this report is considered weak narration or severely weak. Al-Bayhaqî transmits a similar narration from Ibn ‘Abbās through different chains of transmission. Al-Khatîb al-Baghdâdî relates this report with a slight variation from Abud-Dardâ’ (RA). Hence a group of ‘ulama allowed to quote it as a saying of a companion. But do understand there are tons of authentic ahadith of the Prophet ﷺ and sayings of the salafs with regards to merits of acquiring Knowledge.
To sum up, this hadith as a saying of Rasulullah ﷺ is rejected, and is weak or very weak as a statement of a companion.