Abu Qatadah (رضي الله عنه) reported that one night, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) saw Abu Bakr (رضي الله عنه) praying with a low voice. He then saw ‘Umar (رضي الله عنه) praying with a loud voice. Afterwards, he (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said to Abu Bakr:
“O Abu Bakr! I passed by you praying and lowering your voice.”
To which he replied:
“I have been heard by Him whom I was privately addressing, O Allaah’s Messenger!”
Then the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said to ‘Umar:
“O ‘Umar! I passed by you praying and raising your voice.”
“O Allaah’s Messenger! Thereby, I wake the sleepy and drive away Shaytaan!”
So the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said:
“O Abu Bakr, raise your voice a little. And you ‘Umar, lower your voice a little.”
[Recorded by Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi. Authenticated by Sheikh Al-Albani in Mishkaat: 1204]
From the benefits of this Hadith:
1- Being moderate in recitation is recommended in Qiyaam al-Layl, and is always the best course as Allaah described this nation to be a moderate nation in His book. We are neither excessive nor negligent, but we are moderate.
2- The Messenger’s (صلى الله عليه وسلم) actualising of the teachings of the Qur’aan in being moderate, as Ibn Abbas narrated: “The Prophet’s (صلى الله عليه وسلم) recitation (in Qiyaam) was such that one would hear him from the outer room while he was inside (in the bedroom).” [Hasan by Al-Albani]
And also in teaching his Companions to be moderate as is seen by the first Hadith mentioned.
3- The Messenger’s (صلى الله عليه وسلم) care for his Sahaabah, that he would pay attention to their condition and always advise them in the best manner.
4- The great understanding and wisdom of Abu Bakr in reciting quietly as, he knew that his Lord, to Whom he was praying and requesting from was the only One that could hear him.
5- The great understanding and wisdom of ‘Umar in reciting loudly, in order to encourage those that were sleeping to wake up and pray to their Lord, and to chase away Shaytaan with the words of Allaah.
6- That both reasons given by these two great companions were beautiful and admirable, although being moderate is still preferred [Refer above to point 1 and 2]
7- Confirming the attribute of Hearing for Allaah as Abu Bakr said: “I have been heard by Him” and the Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) did not condemn his saying this.