When the whole world sleeps, the Mighty Lord descends to the lowest heaven in the last third of the night to see who is awake remembering Him, to answer their calls, to grant them their wishes, and forgive them.
Prophet (pbuh) said: “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 and Muslim]
How many of us take benefit of this opportunity? Prophet (pbuh), the Sahaba, and the Salaf were very regular in their Tahajjud prayers. Allah (swt) is very pleased with a person who leaves his sleep in the middle of the night, only to worship His Lord. Tahajjud prayer can be performed only by the one who is sincere in his love, faith and worship of Allah (swt) as there can be no riya (show off) at this time of the night. The slave is alone with His Lord, weeping from His fear, crying out about his problems to Him, and seeking His help. For such a believer, Allah has promised of a joyous reward that he cannot envision.
“Their sides forsake their beds, to invoke their Lord in fear and hope, and they spend (in charity in Allah’s Cause) out of what We have bestowed on them. No person knows what is kept hidden for them of joy as a reward for what they used to do” [Al-Sajdah 32:15-17]
There are abundant stories of how Tahajjud transformed the lives of people. How seeking Allah’s help in Tahajjud miraculously solved their problems. One such story is of a baby born to a pious man. She was a normal happy baby until the doctors noticed that her lips and feet were turning blue when she cried. On investigating they found that the baby had a heart condition called Tetralogy of Fallot. The 6 month old baby had to undergo an open heart surgery. With all the difficulties the parents faced to get her operated, she finally underwent the surgery. After surgery, for the next few days she remained critical. The doctors were not very positive. The man says he prayed for the baby every night in Tahajjud. He would cry out to Allah to grant her complete recovery. After a week of intense anxiety, the baby opened her eyes. She was doing better. She was recovering. Now the baby is a happy girl playing around with other kids, only with a scar on her chest as a reminder of how she escaped death by the mercy of Allah (swt).
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Benefits of Tahajjud
Paradise will be granted
Allah (swt) describes the Muttaqoon (pious) in the Qur’an as those who pray at night. These muttaqoon will be enjoying all the pleasures of Paradise.
“Verily, the Muttaqoon (the pious) will be in the midst of Gardens and Springs (in the Paradise). Taking joy in the things which their Lord has given them. Verily, they were before this Muhsinoon (good-doers). They used to sleep but little by night [invoking their Lord (Allah) and praying, with fear and hope]”. [al-Dhaariyaat 51:15-17]
Fulfills desires and wishes
If you aim to achieve something in life, two things are essential – doing your part by giving the best shot at your task and then beseeching Allah for His help. All provisions are under His control and He grants them to the one who truly deserves. Muslims have the opportunity every night to ask Allah (swt) for their wishes and they will be granted.
Prophet (pbuh) said: “During the night there is a time when the Muslim does not ask for the good of this world and the Hereafter but it will be given to him, and that happens every night.” [Muslim]
When you are afflicted with a trial, instead of tying your hopes to the feeble humans, place your trust in Allah (swt). When a believer places his trust in Allah (swt) and supplicates for His help, he will be helped through unimaginable sources.
“And He will provide him from (sources) he never could imagine. And whosoever puts his trust in Allah, then He will suffice him. Verily, Allah will accomplish his purpose. Indeed Allah has set a measure for all things.” (Surah Talaq Ch 65, V3)
Also, Imam Ash-Shafi’i said that ‘the dua made at tahajjud is like an arrow which does not miss its target.’ So make lots of dua and have faith that it will be accepted in a manner that is best for you.
Grants patience and serenity during problems
During times of trials, anxiety, grief, and hopelessness settle in one’s heart. It makes the person restless. Praying tahajjud in such times will bring peace and serenity to your distressed heart. A believer is closest to Allah in the last part of the night. Crying out your problem in Sujood will calm your heart and give you patience and strength to face your problems.
Prophet (pbuh) said: “The closest that the Lord is to His slave is in the later part of the night, so if you can be one of those who remember Allah at that time, then do so.” (Al-Tirmidhi and al-Nisaa’i).
Al-Mughirah ibn Shu’bah reported: The Prophet (pbuh) would pray at night until his feet were swollen. It was said, “Why do you do this when Allah has forgiven your past and future sins?” The Prophet said, “Shall I not be a grateful servant?” [Sahih Muslim]
This was the attitude of Prophet (pbuh) whose sins were forgiven. As for us, we are sinning day and night and are neglectful of our acts of worship. We are in need of lots of forgiveness. And we must seek it in the latter parts of the night and at other times.
Grants control of Nafs
Tahajjud will also help you to gain control of your nafs and prevent sins as you become more conscious of Allah (swt) by worshipping Him in the darkness of the night, away from the hustle and bustle of the world.
Prophet (pbuh) said, “You should pray qiyaam al-layl, for it is the habit of the righteous people who came before you, and it will bring you closer to your Lord, expiate for bad deeds, prevent sin, and expel disease from the body.” (Al-Tirmidhi and Ahmad).
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Practical Tips to pray Tahajjud
Sleep after isha/ taraweeh
In order to get up in the last third of the night, it is essential to go to bed right after isha/taraweeh. It was the practice of Prophet (pbuh) that he did not speak to anyone after Isha and went to sleep right away. Staying up late night chit chatting, browsing, shopping and hanging out, all of these will act as a hindrance in waking up for Tahajjud.
Keep your alarm away from you
Try to keep your alarm at a distance from your bed so that you don’t end up closing the alarm in your sleep. Keeping it at a distance will force you to come out of your warm blanket. When Prophet (pbuh) used to wake up for Tahajjud, he would immediately sit up straight and wipe over his eyes to overcome sleep. Fidgeting in the bed for even a minute will land you back to deep sleep.
Follow the Sunan of Sleeping
Following the sunan of sleeping such as sleeping in a state of wudhu, making the azkaar of sleeping (as mentioned in Hisnul Muslim), sleeping in a posture described in Sunnah, all of these will cause angels to protect you from Satan and ask forgiveness for you all night. Before falling asleep, have a strong intention of waking up for Tahajjud and you will see that Allah will help you open your eyes, sometimes even without an alarm.
Keep a record of your Tahajjud
Print or download a Tahajjud tracker to keep a check on your Tahajjud. Reward or punish yourself according to your progress. You can even team up with your friends who are also striving to pray Tahajjud. One lady started a whatsapp group sending reminders and Ahadith to her friends encouraging them to pray Tahajjud. In about a month, most people in the group were praying Tahajjud on a regular basis, Ma sha Allah.
Involve your family
Encourage your family to pray Tahajjud by teaching them of the virtues of Tahajjud. Prophet (pbuh) has prayed for mercy to descend on the one who wakes his spouse for Tahajjud .
As Prophet (pbuh) said: “May Allah have mercy on a man who gets up at night and prays, and he wakes up his wife, and if she refuses (to get up) he sprinkles water in her face. And may Allah have mercy on a woman who gets up at night and prays, and she wakes up her husband, and if he refuses (to get up) she sprinkles water in his face.” [Abu Dawood]
Tahajjud prayer is like a secret conversation between the Master and His slave and none is granted except the honored ones. If you are involved in sins, you will find it difficult to pray Tahajjud.
A man said to Ibraaheem ibn Adham, “I cannot pray qiyaam al-layl, so tell me the cure for this.” He said, “Do not commit sin during the day, and He will help you to stand before Him at night, for your standing before Him at night is one of the greatest honours, and the sinner does not deserve that honour.”
Be constant, even if little
Sometimes doing a good thing or staying away from a bad thing requires one to struggle against his soul.
‘Ibn al-Mubaarak said: “The souls of righteous people in the past used to push them to do good deeds, but our souls do not do what we want them to do except by force, so we have to force them.”
That is the reason that Prophet (pbuh) advised the believers to be constant in doing a good deed, even if it is little. Because when something is done constantly it becomes a habit and becomes easier to be done. Pray constantly even if it is just two raka’ats a few minutes before Fajr. It is true that waking up for Tahajjud requires one to over-power his sleep and that comes over time. But once it becomes a habit and the beauty of Tahajjud dawns on your soul, you will enjoy it immensely.
Thaabit al-Banaani said: “I struggled for twenty years to make myself pray qiyaam al-layl, and I enjoyed it (qiyaam al-layl) for twenty years.”
Keep it a secret
Do not boast about praying tahajjud. It is a secret conversation between Allah and his slave which is done out of sincerity in a part of the night when there can be no riya (show off). The salaf used to perform their Tahajjud secretly.
A man asked Tameem Ad-Daari (may Allah be pleased with him), ‘How do you pray at night?’ He got very angry and said, ‘By Allah, one rak’ah that I pray in secret in the small hours of the night is more beloved to me than praying the whole night long and then telling people about it.’
If you miss Tahajjud at night, pray before noon
If at times you miss Tahajjud due to deep sleep, you can make it up in the morning before noon.
As Prophet (pbuh) said, “Whoever was unable to complete his devotions at night should complete it in the morning before noon. It will be regarded as though he had completed it at night.” [Muslim].
Learn how the salaf guarded their Tahajjud prayers
Ibraaheem ibn Shammaas said: “I used to see Ahmad ibn Hanbal staying up at night to pray when he was a young man.”
Abu Bakr al-Marwadhi said: “I was with Imaam Ahmad for nearly four months in the army, and he never stopped praying qiyaam at night or reading Qur’aan during the day, and I never knew when he completed the Qur’aan, because he kept that secret.”
Imaam al-Bukhaari used to pray qiyaam and tahajjud at night until the time of suhoor, and he would read between a half and a third of the Qur’aan, and complete it at suhoor every third night.
Ibn Rajab said concerning his shaykh Imaam Ibn al-Qayyim: “He was a man of worship, tahajjud and lengthy prayers. I have never seen his equal in worship and knowledge of the Qur’aan, hadeeth and principles of faith.”
Al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar said, describing his shaykh al-Haafiz al-‘Iraaqi: “I stayed with him, and I never saw him forsake qiyaam al-layl: it was like a habit for him.”
Don’t miss out on this great blessing of Tahajjud. Try to make it a habit. Make a start this Ramadan.
These were a few suggestions to help you in becoming regular in your Tahajjud prayers. Share with us your suggestions below.
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