Q) Which is better if one stays up at night: praying or reading Qur’aan?
A) Praise be to Allaah.
Praying is better than reading Qur’aan outside of prayer. This was stated by the imams. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Adhere to righteousness even though you will not able to do all acts of virtue. Know that the best of your deeds is prayer and that no one maintains his wudoo’ except a believer.” But if a person feels more focused and ponders and understands better when he reads Qur’aan outside of prayer, then in his case it is better to do that which is more beneficial for him. End quote.
Majmoo’ Fataawa Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (23/62).