Tahajjud, also known as the “night prayer” is a voluntary prayer. It is not one of the five obligatory prayers required of all Muslims. The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) is recorded as performing it many times and encouraging his companions to offer it for its many rewards and benefits.
Allah (SW) says:
“And during a part of the night, pray Tahajjud beyond what is incumbent on you; maybe your Lord will raise you to a position of great glory.” 17:79
This order, although it was specifically directed to the Prophet, also refers to all Muslims, since the Prophet is to be the perfect example and guide for them in all matters.
`Aishah (RA) reported: The Prophet (PBUH) kept standing (in prayer) so long that the skin of his feet would crack. I asked him: “Why do you do this, while you have been forgiven of your former and latter sins?” He said, “Should I not be a grateful slave of Allah?” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
The Hadith tells us that:
1. The Nafl Salat (voluntary prayer) should be performed with full concentration and peace of mind.
2. The more one is endowed with gifts from Allah, the greater gratitude and worship one should express for them to Allah.
3. The best time for showing one’s humility before Allah and for worship is the later period of night.
Moreover, performing Tahajjud prayers regularly qualifies one as one of the righteous and helps one earn God’s bounty and mercy.
Upon going to sleep, one should make the intention to perform the prayers. Abu Dardah quoted Muhammad as saying:
Whoever goes to his bed with the intention of getting up and praying during the night, but, being overcome by sleep, fails to do that, he will have recorded for him what he has intended, and his sleep will be reckoned as a charity (an act of mercy) for him from his Lord. – Al Nasai and Ibn Majah
Recommended Time For Tahajjud
Tahajjud may be performed in the early part of the night, the middle part of the night, or the later part of the night, but after the obligatory Isha’ Prayer (night Prayer).
Commenting on this subject, Ibn Hajar says:
There was no specific time in which the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) would perform his late night Prayer; but he used to do whatever was easiest for him.
Best Time For Tahajjud
It is best to delay this prayer to the last third portion of the night. Abu Hurairah quoted Muhammad as saying:
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
`Amr ibn `Absah claimed that he heard Muhammad saying:
The closest that a slave comes to his Lord is during the middle of the latter portion of the night. If you can be among those who remember Allah the Exalted One at that time, then do so. – At-Tirmidhi
The Number Of Rak`ahs In Tahajjud
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’.
How To Perform Tahajjud
Tahajjud prayer will require you to have a short deep sleep before you even perform it, as the name of the prayer, which means wake up, suggests. Below are the six steps you need to know for your complete Tahajjud Parayer:
Make sure that you have woken up from a sleep and also that you are now in a time between Ish’a and Fajr.
Perform Wudhu. It is a ritual ablution before you pray or handle the Holy Quran.
Walk into a perfectly clean place. This step should be done because the names of God is pure. Thus we have to speak of His name in a clean place. Sit down on a prayer mat facing the Qiblah. It is the direction of the Holy Kaabah.
Erase all worldly worries from your heart. Make yourself calm. If you are having trouble over someone else, ignore it. Just think that nothing ever happened. Try to be in the state of awareness. Try to expel negative feeling or thought. Lightly close your eyes and bring your attention to the region of your heart.
Perform the voluntary prayer. The Tahajjud prayer is encouraged to be performed but it is not obligatory. Make sure you have read any articles on how to perform salah first before you try to understand the procedures given below. It is a set of two cycles of prayer. You can repeat doing the two cycles of prayer as many as you want for there is no limit.
- Make niyyah.Usalli sunnatal tahajjud rak’ataini lillahi ta’ala “I shall perform a Tahajjud prayer containing two cycles of prayer for You.”
- After reciting the Al-Fatihah for each first cycles, recite a surah named Al Kafiroon.
- After reciting the Al-Fatihah for each second cycles, recite a surah namedAl Ikhlaas.
- During sudjood for each second cycle of prayer, recite this three times.Rabbi adkhilnii mudkhala sidqiwwa akhrijnii mukhraja sidqi waj’allii minladunka sultaanan nasiiraa. “O God, have me enter from the door of truth, and also have me exit from the door of truth too, and provide me with assitance from you.”
Ask from God, after you have completed the set of two cycles of prayer, good health and fortune for you are a benevolent individual. God willing, He will grant your wishes.