Tahajjud Prayer (Night Prayer)

The midnight prayer means the Tahajjud prayer. Tahajjud” is derived from “Hujud”, meaning sleep. Tahajjud signifies giving up of sleep. The prayer was observed by the Holy Prophet (p.b.o.h.) from midnight up to the appearance of the early dawn. The night is the time to prostrate before the Divine Being with love and affection for the sake of pleasing Him instead of lying down in smooth beds. Therefore, extra prayers performed at night are of great importance in achieving immediacy with Allah. Thus, one desires and performs prayers at night as much Divine Love as s/he has.

 

كَانُوا قَلِيلًا مِّنَ اللَّيْلِ مَا يَهْجَعُونَ

 

“The part of the night they spent asleep was small.” (Surah Adh-Dhariyat 51:17)

 

Great rewards and merits have been promised for the night prayer. Allah descends to the lowest heaven in the latter part of the night and invites invocations and petitions. Therefore the latter part of the night, especially the middle of the latter half of the night is an opportune moment for acceptance of prayers. There is a moment in the night in which the prayer of a devotee is accepted. Night prayer expiates and prevents sins. The honourable among the Muslims are those learned in the Quran and those who pray at night.

 

أَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ لِدُلُوكِ الشَّمْسِ إِلَىٰ غَسَقِ اللَّيْلِ وَقُرْآنَ الْفَجْرِ إِنَّ قُرْآنَ الْفَجْرِ كَانَ مَشْهُودًا

 

“Establish the prayer, at the decline (of) the sun till (the) darkness (of) the night and Quran at dawn, indeed, the Quran (at) the dawn is ever witnessed.” (Surah Al-Isra 17: 78)

 

Tahajjud ‘Night Prayer’ 

‘Night Prayer’ is any prayer performed after Isha time. The time for performing the night vigil (tahajjud) prayer ends when Isha time ends and Fajr time enters. Therefore, any voluntary prayers performed after Fajr time has entered does not count for the night vigil prayers. It is best to delay this Prayer to the last third portion of the night, but it may be performed after `Isha’ prayer in the early part of the middle part of the night. One should begin with two quick rak` ahs and then pray whatever one wishes after that.

 

وَمِنَ اللَّيْلِ فَتَهَجَّدْ بِهِ نَافِلَةً لَّكَ عَسَىٰ أَن يَبْعَثَكَ رَبُّكَ مَقَامًا مَّحْمُودًا

 

“And from the night arise from sleep for prayer with it (as) additional for you; it may be that will raise you your Lord (to) a station praiseworthy.” (Surah Al-Israa’ 17:79)

 

And when he woke up from his sleep, he would say: “All the Praises are for Allah Who has made us alive after He made us die (sleep) and unto Him is the Resurrection.” (Al-Bukhari)

  • One should begin with two quick rak` ahs and then one may pray whatever one wishes after that. `A’ishah said: “When the Prophet prayed during the late-night, he would begin his prayers with two quick rak` ahs.” (Muslim)
  • It is recommended that one wakes up one’s family, for Abu Hurairah quoted the Prophet (PBUH) as saying: “May Allah bless the man who gets up during the night to pray and wakes up his wife and who, if she refuses to get up, sprinkles water on her face. And may Allah bless the woman who gets up during the night to pray and wakes up her husband and who, if he refuses, sprinkles water on his face.” (Ahmad)
  • If one gets sleepy while performing Tahajjud, one should sleep. This is based on the hadith narrated by Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her), who quoted Allah’s Messenger as saying: “When one of you gets up during the night for prayer and his Quranic recital gets mixed up to the extent that he does not know what he says, he should lie down.” (Muslim.)

Recommended Time for Tahajjud

Tahajjud may be performed in the early part of the night, the middle part of the night, or the latter part of the night, but after the obligatory `Isha’ prayer (night prayer). While describing the Prophet’s way of performing the prayer, Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) said:

 

If we wanted to see him praying during the night, we could see him praying. If we wanted to see him sleeping during the night, we could see him sleeping. And sometimes he would fast for so many days that we thought he would not leave fasting throughout that month. And sometimes he would not fast (for so many days) that we thought he would not fast during that month. (Al-Bukhari, Ahmad, and An-Nasa’i.)

 

Best Time for Tahajjud

It is best to delay this Prayer to the last third portion of the night. The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: Our Lord descends to the lowest heaven during the last third of the night, inquiring: ‘Who will call on Me so that I may respond to him? Who is asking something of Me so I may give it to him? Who is asking for My forgiveness so I may forgive him?’ (Al-Bukhari)

 

Remove all worldly worries from your heart

At the time for prayer, calmly focus and reflect on the glory of your Lord. Do not worry about fleeting worldly problems that are ultimately meaningless in comparison to His infinite wisdom and mercy. Calm yourself and forget your worldly problems, hopes, and fears. Ignore any negative, distracting thoughts or feelings. Close your eyes and focus your attention on your heart as you begin to achieve a heightened state of spiritual awareness.

 

Number of Rak`ahs in Tahajjud

The Tahajjud is typically performed by repeating multiple rakats (cycles) of Salah, the ritual that Muslims use for their required daily prayer. For the Tahajjud, the rakats are usually performed in pairs, so you’ll also want to decide exactly how many rakats you intend to perform at this time. Generally, two rakats is seen as the minimum necessary for a proper Tahajjud. However, it’s possible to repeat as many more as you wish.

 

أَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ لِدُلُوكِ الشَّمْسِ إِلَىٰ غَسَقِ اللَّيْلِ وَقُرْآنَ الْفَجْرِ إِنَّ قُرْآنَ الْفَجْرِ كَانَ مَشْهُودًا

 

“Establish the prayer, at the decline (of) the sun till (the) darkness (of) the night and Quran at dawn, indeed, the Quran (at) the dawn is ever witnessed.” (Surah Al-Isra 17:78)

 

Tahajjud Prayer does not entail a specific number of rak`ahs that must be performed, nor is there any maximum limit that may be performed. It would be fulfilled even if one prayed just one rak`ah of Witr after `Isha’.

 

Samurah ibn Jundub (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah ordered us to pray during the night, a little or a lot, and to make the last of the Prayer the Witr Prayer. (At-Tabarani and Al-Bazar).

 

This is an ideal time to ask for forgiveness for your mistakes and sins as Allah is especially open to our repentance at night according to many ahadith.

  • Acknowledge each of your wrongdoings, however big or small – you may feel that some are insignificant, but Allah may still decide that a penalty is due. Sincerely promise not to repeat your sins and ask Allah for forgiveness.
  • Use the fear of displeasing Allah to drive yourself to become a better Muslim.
  • Never lose hope of Allah’s mercy for the Qur’an tells us more than 70 times that Allah is the Most Forgiving.
  • Any prayer you offer will be heard, and, if Allah wills, your prayer will be answered in kind.
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