Tahajjud – the gateway to Allah’s compassion
Prayers are one of the best ways to reach Allah’s realm and attain His utmost blessings. Although obligatory prayers form the core ideology of Islam, the non-obligatory prayers are recommended to purify oneself from sins and earn Allah’s compassion. This by no way means that obligatory prayers fall short to earn us Allah’s forgiveness but human beings are mannequins of sin and thus no chance should be missed to repent our sins. The significance of Tahajjud is explained in Quran and Hadith innumerable times and it is quoted that
Tahajjud is the most superior of all non-obligatory acts of worship.
THE LITERAL MEANING OF TAHAJJUD
The word Tahajjud is derived from ‘tahajjada’ which means ‘being awake at night with the Quran’. So any act of worship done in the third half of night is regarded as Tahjjud and it is one of the noblest acts a Muslim can do. Since this prayer is offered after Namaz-e-Isha, it is also called ‘Salat-ul-Lail’ and ‘Qiyam-ul-Lail’. Prophet Muhammad PBUH had a habit of waking up in the middle of every night to bow down before his Creator and offer the night prayer. Thus it is a Sunnah and every Muslim brother should at least try to follow it once in a while if not on a daily basis. Allah SWT in Holy Quran describes the characteristics of true believers in these words,
“They were in the habit of sleeping but little by night, and in the hours of early dawn, they (were found) praying for Forgiveness.”
HOW TO PRAY TAHAJJUD
The prayer of Tahajjud consists of a minimum of 4 and a maximum 12 raka’ats. You can pray as many raka’ats as you wish depending on your ease and willpower. The timings of Tahajjud start after Ish’a and end near dawn. It must not be prayed after an hour or half before sunrise.
The best way to perform Tahajjud is to follow our Prophet’s way. Allah’s Apostle used to offer eleven Raka’aat in all. He used to prolong the prostration to such an extent that one could recite fifty verses (of the Quran) before he would lift his head. He used to pray two Raka’aat before the Fajar prayer and then used to lie down on his right side till the call-maker came and informed him about the prayer.
BENEFITS OF TAHAJJUD
“And in part of the nighttime, offer Tahajjud further than what is present on you; perhaps your Lord will host you to a place of immense magnificence.” [Surah Al-Isra, verse 79]
What else can be the reward when Allah Himself has promised the best for anyone who sacrifices his sleep to prostrate Him? Tahajjud ranks the first and foremost among all optional prayers when it comes to Allah’s blessings and granting of wishes. It is beyond human’s intellect to guess the merits of praying Tahajjud, however Allah has promised the following mercies for anyone who bows in His way in Tahajjud.
- Tahajjud is a mean of securing Allah’s pleasure.
- The one who prays Tahajjud regularly does not suffer from the grueling pain at the time of death.
- Angels consider him their friend and offers protection from evil all day long.
- It increases livelihood and is a key to sustenance.
- The world of Barzakh (the spiritual world where the departed souls stay until the Day of Judgment) becomes peaceful for the one who is consistent in his night prayers.
- It is a medium of pursuing knowledge and increases one’s intellect and memory.
- Tahajjud is the best way to get one’s wishes and aspirations accepted by Allah. As Imam As-Shafi once quoted,
“The dua made at Tahajjud is like an arrow which does not miss its target.”
- Praying Tahajjud lightens up the grave and saves from Allah’s punishment on the Day of Judgment.
- The questioning of the Angels in grave is made easier for the one who offers night prayers.
- Tahajjud becomes a mean of providing shelter in the blistering heat on the Day of Judgment and becomes a barrier from the fire of Hell.
- It is a key towards piety and faithfulness.
- It provides inner strength against supernatural interference and helps one get rid of satanic influence.
- It makes a person mentally and physically fit by inducing fresh inspiration and a sense of inner peace.
- It also strengthens one’s religious beliefs and fortifies the bond between the Lord and His creation.
- Lastly, it is the road to Paradise and a path to Allah’s happiness.
TAHAJJUD AND PSYCHOLOGY
We are all well aware that Islam is the religion of ultimate peace and righteousness. Every act that is made an obligation by the Lord is filled with numerous benefits that are impossible for the human mind to comprehend. Apart from the spiritual advantages, night prayer has therapeutic effects on health. Tahajjud contain elements of meditation and muscle relaxation. It affects the person both physically and spiritually by enhancing positive thoughts and spreading an aura of peace. Psychology states that night prayer renews the spirit, morally purifies the soul and provides solace from fear and anxiety. It is a weapon to fight one’s inner weaknesses. Besides, it has a tranquil effect and helps in creation of a strong personality with a cool mind. It imparts discipline in every field of life and above all, waking early in the morning keeps you fresh all day.
THE FINAL WORD
It is quite clear that Tahajjud is one of the supreme signs of a true disciple of Islam and that is why Allah calls such people His loyal servants. As Prophet Muhammad PBUH once stated,
“The best of prayers after the prescribed prayers is prayer in the depths of the night, and the best of fasting after the month of Ramadan is fasting the month of Allah, Muharram.” [Muslim]
This Hadith is a clear testimony that Tahajjud is the most desirable form of supplication that attains nearness to the Lord and earns His mercy.
“Be vigilant in standing up [in prayer] at night, for it was the practice of the pious before you. It is a means of gaining proximity to Allah Ta’ala, expiation for transgressions and a barrier from sins.” [Tirmidhi]