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The word “Tahajjud” comes from the Arabic phrase “Tahajjada,” which means “to stay up at night with the Quran.” Therefore, Tahjjud, which is one of the highest and noblest deeds a Muslim may perform, is considered to be an act of worship performed in the third half of the night. This prayer is also known as “Salat-ul-Lail” and “Qiyam-ul-Lail” since it is offered following Namaz-e-Isha. Every night in the middle of the night, Prophet Muhammad PBUH would get out of bed to perform the night prayer and prostrate to his Creator. As a result, it is a Sunnah that every Muslim should attempt to practice occasionally, if not every day.
Tahajjud prayer is a nafil/voluntary prayer that is performed by the followers of Islam to attain closeness to ALLAH SWT, seek forgiveness and ask for the desired matters from ALLAH SWT. It is indeed one of the most virtuous actions a believer can do as it requires one to sacrifice sleep and get out from the comfort of one’s bed when everyone else is sleeping.
ALLAH SWT states in the Quran that one of the signs of those who believe is: “they arise from their beds. Supplicating their Lord in fear and aspiration” (Quran32:16)
Tahajjud is prayed at the last third of the night so it is called a ‘night prayer’ offered before dawn and after the isha salah preceded by sleeping which is before the obligatory fajr prayer.
We can recognize the ‘Tahajjud prayer’ time by calculating the time from Sunset till the break of dawn and diving it into three parts.
This special prayer holds great significance and is known as the best among all the voluntary or nafl prayers.
Prophet Muhammad SAW used to perform the Tahajjud prayer regularly and encouraged his companions as well.
Importance of Tahajjud Prayer
“Verily, the prayer keeps one from the great sins and evil deeds” (Qur’an 29:45)
Although Tahajjud is not an obligatory prayer, however, there are many blessings associated with this special prayer for Ummah and it is considered a part of the sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad SAW.
The benefits and significance of this ‘Night Prayer’ is mentioned in the holy Quran and ahadith several times.
ALLAH SWT says in the Quran: And from part of the night, pray with it as additional worship for you, it is expected that your Lord will resurrect you to a praised station.” (Quran, 17:79)
And ALLAH says :
Indeed, worship at the night is more impactful and suitable for recitation. For during the day you are over-occupied (with worldly duties). (Always) remember the Name of your Lord, and devote yourself to Him wholeheartedly. (Quran 73:6-8)
Indeed ALLAH loves those who are true believers and are sincere towards Him(ALLAH SWT).
Offering Tahajjud prayer helps us develop sincerity and closeness towards Almighty ALLAH.
Some innumerable ayahs and hadiths emphasize the significance of praying and invoking ALLAH SWT in the solicitation and during the darkness of the night hence Tahajjud prayer also known as qayam-al-lail is offered alone and not in congregation.
ALLAH loves His believers who remember Him in solitude.
It is mentioned in an authentic hadith that Prophet Muhammad SAW says:
“The Lord descends every night to the lowest heaven when one-third of the night remains and says: ‘Who will call upon Me, that I may answer Him? Who will ask of Me, that I may give him? Who will seek My forgiveness that I may forgive him?’” (Bukhari, Muslim)
Let’s go through the benefits of Tahajjud prayer.
- It gives mental and inner strength and grants patience.
- Tahajjud prayer strengthens religious understanding and Imaan.
- One can Seek forgiveness in Tahajjud and surely ALLAH SWT listens.
- The doors of Mercy and Forgiveness are open during the last 1/3 of the night
- Tahajjud is the best time to ask ALLAH SWT for one’s wishes.
- A huge reward is there for a believer who wakes up when everyone else is asleep and remembers Allah (SWT) alone.
- It can bring fresh inspiration and innovation.
- Tahajjud prayer can delete wickedness and prevent an act of sin
- Tahajjud prayer strengthens the memory.
How to Perform Tahajjud Prayer
Tahajjud is a voluntary prayer ie it is a nafl prayer, however, it was a practice of Prophet Muhammad SAW to offer Tahajjud prayer regularly and he advised his companions to do so. So Tahajjud prayer is a part of the sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad SAW.
ALLAH’s Messenger SAW said, “Our Lord, the Blessed, the Superior, comes every night down on the nearest Heaven to us when the last third of the night remains, saying: “Is there anyone to invoke Me, so that I may respond to invocation? Is there anyone to ask Me, so that I may grant him his request? Is there anyone seeking My forgiveness, so that I may forgive him?”
( Sahih al-Bukhari 1145)
The Tahajjud prayer is similar to any other Sunnah prayer and it is a minimum of two rakahs prayers as mentioned by the Prophet SAW.
ALLAH’s Messenger said: When any one of you gets up at night, he should begin the prayer with two brief rakahs (Sahih Muslim)
However, the maximum number of the Tahajjud prayer is not limited to any number. One can perform as much as he/she wants and must offer it in pairs.
And one should not exceed the prayer beyond his/her limits to gain the blessings of ALLAH SWT as it is mentioned in an authentic hadith narrated by Hazrat Aisha ra. That: A woman from the tribe of Bani Asad was sitting with me and ALLAH’s Apostle SAW came to my house and said, “Who is this?” I said, “(She is) So and so. She does not sleep at night because she is engaged in prayer.” The Prophet said disapprovingly: Do (good) deeds which are within your capacity as Allah never gets tired of giving rewards till you get tired of doing good deeds.”
Tahajjud prayer is the prayer between isha and fajr, so one should sleep after isha then get up in the last third of the night before fajr time and get prepared for Tahajjud prayer.
Do ablution/wudu, and make niyyah as “I intend to pray the Sunnah/nafl prayer of Tahajjud two raka’at for the sake of ALLAH”
Read here How To Perform Wudu (Ablution)
Say takbeer and perform two raka’at prayers like you usually pray by reciting the verses from the Quran and end the prayer after two rakahs with salam.
Learn How to perform Prayer (Salah)
After completing the rakahs of Tahajjud prayer make sincere dua with dedication and a pure heart for yourself and others and seek ALLAH’s mercy ad forgiveness.
In a hadith, Ibn Umar R.A narrated that a man asked the Messenger of ALLAH about the prayers offered at night. The Messenger of ALLAH said: “The night prayers are two by two, then if one of you fears that dawn may come, he should pray one rak‘ah, which will make what he has prayed odd-numbered.” (Bukhari (946) and Muslim (749)
In, another hadith narrated by Al-Aswad, the way Prophet SAW used to pray is mentioned
He said: I asked ‘Aisha r.a. “How is the night prayer of the Prophet?” She replied, “He used to sleep early at night, and get up in its last part to pray, and then return to his bed. When the Muadh-dhin pronounced the Adhan, he would get up. If he needed a bath he would take it; otherwise, he would perform ablution and then go out (for the prayer).”
It is advised and preferred to conclude the Tahajjud prayer by the sunnah witr prayer as the Prophet Muhammad SAW said:
Narrated on the authority of Aisha ra. Make Witr your last prayer at night (Sahih Al-Bukhari).
However, if we are not sure to wake up for the Tahajjud prayer then it is better to continue the witr prayer after Isha salah.
As Prophet SAW said: He who apprehends that he may not get up in the later part of the night, should observe the Witr prayer in the first part of it; and he who is certain to get up in the last part of it, he should observe Witr at the end of the night, because Salat at the end of the night is attended (by the angels), and that is better. (Sahih Muslim)
May ALLAH SWT help us to perform this important and beautiful prayer with utmost diligence and devotion and obtain the immense benefits of the Tahajjud prayer. InshaALLAH.