Saturday 11 June 2022

What is Salat-ut-Tahajjud - The Night Prayer

Day and night are the signs of creation of Allah. While the day takes all humans and creatures from their slumber to work, the cycle reverses by nightfall when all go back to their abodes and a silence sets in till the next dawn. For many, night symbolism describes death, darkness, secrets, and intuition. Often, it’s used to portray death and horror, while in the Bible, night represents a lack of faith in God.

But in Islam, night is the time of peace "( وَالَّيۡلِ اِذَا سَجٰىۙ‏  ) and by the night when it covers the world with peace, (93:2)" and to be near to God while everyone is asleep, a true believer gets up from his sleep and sits in secluded corner of his house and prays and talks his heart to his Creator. And Allah promises that He listens. In fact Islam considers sleep to be one of the great signs of Allāh and asks followers to explore this sign. One Qur'anic verse says, “And among His signs is your sleep by night and by day and your seeking of His bounty, verily in that are signs for those who hearken” (30.23)

Other than the five obligatory prayers that every believer must offer from dawn to late evening, the rising of one's sleep in the last quarter of life before the time of pre dawn prayer (Fajr) begins, the sixth salat / prayer is performed and called Salat-ut-Tahajjud - The Night Prayer  (صلاة التهجد / قِيَامِ اللَّيْلِ). Although this salat was mandatory for the Prophet Muhammad صَلِّ عَلٰی سَيِدِنَا مُحَمَّدٍ وَّعَلٰٓی اٰلِہٖ وَسَلِمُ, his companions also picked up this salat and followed the suit of their beloved Prophet صَلِّ عَلٰی سَيِدِنَا مُحَمَّدٍ وَّعَلٰٓی اٰلِہٖ وَسَلِمُ. 
And during a part of the night, keep awake by the prayer. It is beyond what is incumbent on you; maybe your Lord will raise you to a position of great glory.(Quran 17:79)
The theme of one complete surah, Surah 73. Al-Muzzammil, is dedicated to press upon Prophet Muhammad  ﷺ wherein the Prophet of Allah has been asked to "Stand up in Prayer by night, all but a small part of it (73:2)" . It is further added:
Surely getting up at night is the best means of subduing the self and is more suitable for uprightness in speech. (73:6) 
A question arises as to why the Prophet of Allah was ordained for the night prayer. The following verse give out the answer:
(73:7) You are indeed much occupied during the day with the affairs of the world.
(73:8) So remember the name of your Lord and devote yourself to Him with exclusive devotion
That is the Prophet of Allah who would remain busy in the task of spreading Allah's commandments and other daily chores and attending to his personal matters being a husband and father,  may not get time to devote time with exclusive devotion to thank his Creator.

Mindful of the stress on His Prophet, Allah adds concessions so that His Prophet does not get over loaded or burdened in his duties of prophethood, Allah adds:
(73:20) (O Prophet), your Lord knows that you sometimes stand up in Prayer nearly two-thirds of the night, and sometimes half or one-third of it, and so does a party of those with you; Allah measures the night and the day. He knows that you cannot keep an accurate count of it, so He has shown mercy to you. So now recite as much of the Qur'an as you can. He knows that there are among you those who are sick and others who are journeying in the land in quest of Allah's bounty, and still others who are fighting in the cause of Allah. So recite as much of the Qur'an as you easily can, and establish Prayer, and pay Zakah, and give Allah a goodly loan. Whatever good you send forth for yourselves, you shall find it with Allah. That is better and its reward is greater.26 And ask for Allah's forgiveness; surely He is Most Forgiving, Most Compassionate.

The Tahajjud prayer is a Nafl prayer, implying that it is optional and missing it isn’t counted as a sin. The Tahajjud prayer is usually performed after Isha (which is the compulsory nightly prayer) and before performing Fajr (the mandatory morning prayer). Tahajjud means to give up sleep, which is why this prayer is preferably performed during the last third of the night. It is believed with firm faith by the believers that Allah comes down to the lowest heaven during this part of the night to see who is dedicatedly worshipping and leaving their sleep in the middle of the night.

Once a believer gets into the habit of rising from his sleep at night and starts to offer Salat ut Tahajjud, the whole complexion of his life changes. In fact once  a believer develops the habit of offering this night prayer, he can never be at rest in his sleep. Rather he automatically gets up and offers salat ut Tahajjud in a  manner that that while ends up with his prayer and offering Dua/supplications, the time of pre dawn prayer (Fajr) would have almost reached. Such believers are sure to earn many blessings of Allah, and brings them closer to Allah and are always on the Straight Path forever. 

“And they who pass the night prostrating themselves before their Lord and standing.” (Quran, 25:64)

Prophet of Allah has been quoted as saying: “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)

The closest that a servant 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

It has been narrated by Narrated Ibn `Abbas that When the Prophet (ﷺ) got up at night to offer the Tahajjud prayer, he used to say:

Allahumma lakal-hamd. Anta qaiyyimus-samawati wal-ard wa man fihinna. Walakal-hamd, Laka mulkus-samawati wal-ard wa man fihinna. Walakal-hamd, anta nurus-samawati wal-ard. Wa lakal-hamd, anta-l-haq wa wa'duka-lhaq, wa liqa'uka Haq, wa qauluka Haq, wal-jannatu Han wan-naru Haq wannabiyuna Haq. Wa Muhammadun, sallal-lahu'alaihi wasallam, Haq, was-sa'atu Haq. Allahumma aslamtu Laka wabika amantu, wa 'Alaika tawakkaltu, wa ilaika anabtu wa bika khasamtu, wa ilaika hakamtu faghfir li ma qaddamtu wama akh-khartu wama as-rartu wama'a lantu, anta-l-muqaddim wa anta-l-mu akh-khir, la ilaha illa anta (or la ilaha ghairuka). 

(O Allah! All the praises are for you, You are the Holder of the Heavens and the Earth, And whatever is in them. All the praises are for You; You have the possession of the Heavens and the Earth And whatever is in them. All the praises are for You; You are the Light of the Heavens and the Earth And all the praises are for You; You are the King of the Heavens and the Earth; And all the praises are for You; You are the Truth and Your Promise is the truth, And to meet You is true, Your Word is the truth And Paradise is true And Hell is true And all the Prophets (Peace be upon them) are true; And Muhammad is true, And the Day of Resurrection is true. O Allah ! I surrender (my will) to You; I believe in You and depend on You. And repent to You, And with Your help I argue (with my opponents, the non-believers) And I take You as a judge (to judge between us). Please forgive me my previous And future sins; And whatever I concealed or revealed And You are the One who make (some people) forward And (some) backward. There is none to be worshipped but you. 

Sufyan said that `Abdul Karim Abu Umaiya added to the above, 'Wala haula Wala quwata illa billah' (There is neither might nor power except with Allah). [Sahi Bukhari - (1)Chapter: The Tahajjud Prayer at night][4]

Many a Muslim complain that they do not get up at the time of night prayer and feel sad for missing it altogether. The reason is that we are generally in the habit of sleeping late, whiling away our time by going out with friends and family or get our selves busy in many forms of entertainment for which we get time only at night. Surfing our mobile phones aimlessly and spending time in chatting with friends makes us so tired that we hardly get any time to sleep to get up in time for the pre dawn prayer.

It is up to us to set right our priorities as the Prophet of Allah had been asked to offer this night prayer as he used to be busy during day time. We should offer our Isha prayer (the last of the five obligatory prayers) and should try to sleep as early as possible so that have a rest of at least two to three hours before time for Salat-ut-Tahajjud commences.

We will explain the modalities of offering Salt ut Tahajjud in one of our next posts. You may also consult the posts given at the reference below.

Note: The explanation of above quoted verses has been avoided. However those desirous of their explanation/tafsir/exegesis, may please read our exclusive post on Surah:  Surah Al-Muzzammil (The Enfolded One): Exegesis/Tafsir of 73rd Chapter of Qur'an.

You may refer to our reference page: As Salat / Prayers for any Q&A you may have with regard to prayers.

Photo | More References| 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
If you like Islam: My Ultimate Decision, and to keep yourself updated on all our latest posts to know more about Islam, follow us on Facebook

Please share this page to your friends and family members through Facebook, WhatsApp or any means on Social Media so that they can also be benefited by it and better understand Islam and the Holy Qur'an - Insha Allah (Allah Willing) you shall be blessed with the best of both worlds.


Post a Comment

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More