The most rewarding prayer after the five compulsory salawaat is the tahajjud. the prophet  said:

"the best of prayers after those prescribed, are those prayed in the depth of night." (Muslim) Allah has granted the prayer and those who observe it numerous blessings and virtues among which are the following:

It is a measure of one's faith

No one will wake up at a time when sleep is most enjoyment solely for the sake of prayer except one whose faith is strong and sincere while describing such believers, Allah says:

their (the believer) sides forsake their beds, to invoke their lord in fear and hope; and they spend out of what we bestowed on them.' (Q32[sajdah]:16)

and while describing their sincerity, Allah says:

"they (the pious ones) used to sleep but little at night." Q51 [Dhariyaat]:17)

It makes one closer to Allah

waking up in the last part of the night brings one closer ot Allah. the prophet (PBUH) said:

"the closest that a servant is to his lord is in the last part of night. if you can be among those who remember Allah at that hour do so" (Tirmidhi)

It is a means to attaining Allah's mercy

Allah wraps a muslim in his mercy whenever he wakes up to pray and also wake his spouse  for the same purpose.

"May Allah have mercy on a man who wakes up at night, prays and wakes to pray and if she refuses, he sprinkles water on her face, and may Allah have mercy on a woman who wakes up at night,  prays and wakes her husband to pray and if he refuses, she sprinkles water on his face. (Abu Dawud)

It is a protection from the snare of shaytan

The promise of shaytan is to keep human beings away from the remembrance of Allah, in order to prevent us from waking up to benefit from the immense reward associated with waking up for tahajjud. Shaytan places strong spell upon us when we go to sleep. This explains why sleep is most enjoyable towards the last part of the night. Waking up for tahajjud however. breaks the spell of Shaytan. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said:

"When one of you goes to sleep, Shaytan ties three knots over the rear of his head, blowing into each knot, "You have a long night, so sleep on." If one wakes up and mentions AIlaah, one knot loosens. If he makes wudu (ablution) another knot loosens. And if he prays, the third knot loosens, so that he becomes lively and good-natured; otherwise, he gets up ill-natured and lazy." (Bukhari)

It is a sign of one's gratitude to Allaah The Proph (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) used to spend hours in the night praying until his feet would swell. When he was asked "Why should you do this, o Allaah's Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) when all your sins, past and future, have been forgiven?" He replied,

"Should I not be a grateful servant (of Allaah)?" (Bukhari)

It is a sign of being from the ibaadur-Rahman (slaves of the Most Gracious) Allaah says:

And the slaves of the Most Beneficent (Allah) are those who walk on the earth in humility and sedateness. and when the foolish address them (with bad words) they reply back with mild words of gentleness. And those who spend the night before their Lord prostrate and standing." (Q25[Furqan]:63-64)

Their reward is as AlIaah says:

Those will be rewarded with the highest place (in Paradise) because of their patience. Therein they shall be met with greetings and the word of peace and respect. Abiding therein; excellent it is as an abode. and as a place to dwell." (Q25 [Furqan]:75-76)


It is a means for the acceptance of our supplications

When a Muslim gets up late in the night to observe tahajjud, his supplication stands a great chance of being accepted. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said:

"Our Lord descends every night to the lowest heaven, when only one third of the night has remained. He says, "Who would invoke Me. so that I would answer him? Who would ask Me. so that I would give him? Who would seek My forgiveness. so that I would forgive him?" (Bukhari) 

The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) also went ahead to add,

"Then AIlaah extends His hand and says, 'Who wants to invest (good deeds)' with the One who is not wasteful or unjust?' He continues to say this until the dawn arrives." (Muslim)

The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) also said,

"Whenever a Muslim goes to bed in a pure state (with ablution), falls asleep while mentioning AIlaah, and then wakes up during the night, and asks AIlaah (or anything good, He grants it to him." (Ahmad)

It is a means of preparing the soul for a heavy task that is pleasing to Allaah

Allaah says:

"O you wrapped in garments (i.e. Prophet Muhammad SAW)! Stand (to pray) all night, except a little. Hal( of it. or a little less than that. Or a little more; and recite the Qur'an (aloud) in a slow. (pleasant tone and) style Verily We shall send down to you a weighty Word (i.e. obligations. legal laws. etc.). Verily the rising by night (for tahajjud prayer) is very hard and most potent and good for governing (the soul) and most suitable for (understanding) the Word (of Allaah). Verily there is for you by day prolonged occupation with ordinary duties. And remember the name of your Lord and devote yourself (to Him with a complete devotion." (Q73[Muzzammil]:1-10)

Here Allaah commanded His Messenger (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) to take to tahajjud so that he could easily bear the weighty word that was to be sent to him. Also the tahajjud "aids understanding of the Qur'an and makes the believer firm against his own evil desires. With it also comes the worthy virtue of patience and good boycott.

It is a means of entering Paradise Above all, praying at night is one of the most simple and effective means of entering Paradise. Abdullah ibn Salam (RA) reported that the first thing he heard from the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) when he entered Madinah was:

"A people! Spread (the greeting of) salaam, provide food (to the needy), and pray at night while people are asleep - you would then enter al-Jannah with peace." (Tirmidhi)

Tahajjud is blessed with many virtues and rewards but to reap bountifully from such rewards certain etiquettes should be followed based on what the Prophet taught us regarding the prayer of Tahajjud.

Prepare well for Tahajjud

Waking up for Tahajjud does not occur to one by mere wishes but through conscious effort which begins well before going to sleep. The first habit to cultivate to make it easy to wake up for Tahajjud is siesta (It is only Shaytan that does not observe siesta). The other habits are eating light supper and going to bed early.

Make intention to wake up

One should approach sleep with an intention to wake up for Tahajjud. Our intention itself is rewardable. Abu ad- Darda' (RA) related that the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said:

"Whoever goes to his bed with the intention of getting up and praying during the night, and sleep overcomes him until the mornning comes, he will have recorded for him what he had intended, and his sleep will be a charity for him from his Lord (Nasa'i).

Remembrance of AIlaah upon waking up

The first thing to do when getting up from sleep is mentioning Allaah. There are quite a number of the variants of the Prophet's (sallallahu alayhi wa sailam) prayer upon waking up from sleep for Tahajjud. Aside from the one given on page 17 (Shield of faith) the Prophet also used to repeat the following phrases for a long time:"

"Subhaana Rabb il-aalameen (Exalted is the Lord of creation); "Subhaanallahi wa bi-hamdihi: (Exalted is Allaah, all praise belongs to Him.) (Nasa'i)

Cleaning the teeth & Ablution

As the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sailam) got up, he would brush his teeth with siwak (chewing stick) and then perform ablution. He also enjoined us,

"When one of you gets up to pray at night, let him use siwak (to clean his teeth), because ",when he recites during the prayer, an angel puts his mouth over his, so that nothing leaving his mouth but will enter into the angel's mouth" (Bayhaqi)

praying during the last part of the night

the time for Tahajjud is between salaatu ishaa' and fajr as the prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said:

"indeed Allah added  prayer for you, it is witr, so pray it between ishaa and fajr (Ahmad).

However, the best time for praying Tahajjud is the last one-third of the night (this roughly begins from around 2 a.m till about 5 a.m in the morning). The Prophet said,

"The prayer at the later part of the night is witnessed (by angels), and that is better." (Muslim)

The Recitation in Tahajjud

The Voice level

Tahajjud can be prayed silently or aloud, but it is better to raise one's voice moderately. One night, the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sal/am) once saw Abu Bakr (RA) praying with a low voice. He then saw Umar (RA) praying with a loud voice. Afterwards, he said to Abu bakr,

"0 Abu Bakr! I passed by you praying and lowering your voice,

He replied, "I have been heard by Him whom I was privately addressing, 0 Rasulullahl"

Then the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said to Umar,

"0 Umar! I passed by you praying and raising your voice."

He replied, "0 AIIaah's Messenger! Thereby, I wake the sleepy and drive away Shaytan!" So the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said:

"0 Abu Bakr, Raise your voice a little. And you Umar, lower your voice a little.• (Abu Dawud)


The Length of Recitation

No particular length of recitation was fixed for Tahajjud. His own recitation varied in length. It was sometimes short, some other times, it was long and still at other times it was extremely long. The principle we should follow in our recitation is given in the words of Allaah:

"therefore read from the Qur'an as much as may be easy for you. (Q73[muzzammil]:20)

However, the longer the recitation the better. The Prophet said: 

"Whoever prays reciting one hundred ayaat in one night, he will not be recorded among the heedless.' (Darim)

and also. he said,

"Whoever prays reciting two hundred ayaat, he will be recorded among the devoted and sincere {Darimi}

It should be noted that if one gets tired while trying to lengthen the recitation, then he should take a break. Anas (RA) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu aIayhi wa saIIam) entered the mosque and saw a rope stretching between two posts. He asked: What is this?” The people told him that it was for Zainab (bint Jahsh) (RA) Who, when she became tired or weary, held it (to keep standing for the prayer). The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said:

“Remove the rope. You should pray as long as you feel active and when you get tired or weary, you should lie down to rest.” (Bukhari)

The number of rakahs in Tahajjud

Even though it is permissible to pray the number of rakah as may be convinient for one following the sunnah is most rewarding. whatis consistent with the sunah is that whatever number of rakahs that will be observed for tahajjud should not estend beyond eleven rakahs. Aishah (RA) said: "the prophet PBUH never prayed more than eleven rakahs during ramadan or otherwise"(Bukhari) in another narration, she said when Allah's messenger PBUH got up at night, he would start his prayer wih two short rakahs. He would then pray eight rakahs then witr'(Tahawi) thirteen rakahs were also reported from the prophet (if the sunnah of rakata al fajr is included).

Making up for missed Tahajud

Even though tahajud is not compulsory for anybody other than the prophet PBUH yet attachments it is encouraged such that one does not miss praying it. If for any reason one misses praying Tahajjud then it is permissible to pray some nawaafil between the dawn and zuhr prayer in lieu of it. Umar reports that the prophet PBUH.

"whoever sleeps past his full portion of the late-night prayers or part of them, he should pray between the dawn and moon prayers and it would be recorded for him as if he had prayed during the night". (Muslim)

This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited

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