Three stages of Tahajjud prayer
By: Mawlana Khalid Abdul Sattar
One of the most virtuous of the nawafil acts of worship is waking up in the middle of the night for tahajjud prayer. This is that special time when the doors of mercy are thrown open and the angels are dispersed, seeking out those in need of their Lord. Yet, how unfortunate our situation is that we are deprived from this great bounty.
“Their sides shun their beds in order to pray to their Lord in fear and hope…” (Quran, 32: 16)
Abu Hurayrah (radiallahu anhu) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said, “The best prayer after the obligatory prayers is the night prayer.” (Muslim)
I remember anytime one of the narrations regarding tahajjud would come up in a text, or was mentioned by one of our teachers, the students would eagerly ask how they could become regular in this blessed act. Here are a few suggestions based on their responses.
Stage 1 – I just can’t wake up
Despite your best efforts (asking a friend to call, multiple alarms, sleeping early, making a firm intention at night, etc.) if you simply cannot force yourself to get up, pray your tahajjud prayer before you go to sleep. Its time technically begins after Isha, so this can be a means of showing Allah that you are serious, and truly desirous of this great bounty. Couple this with dua admitting your inability and asking Allah for His bounty.
Stage 2 – I am sporadic in my tahajjud
If you are blessed to wake up for tahajjud on occasion, or get up most days, but miss a few here and there, be sure to “make-up” the prayer on the days that you don’t get up. And of course couple this with dua.
Umar (radiallahu anhu) narrates that “I heard the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) say, ‘Whenever one of you sleeps through his night devotions, or through a part of them, then, if you perform them between the Fajr (i.e after Ishraq) and Dhuhr prayer, you will receive the same reward as if you performed them at night.’” (Muslim)
Stage 3 – I regularly wake up for tahajjud
Alhamdulillah, if you are at this stage you need to ensure 3 things:
1. Give shukr every night that Allah allowed you take advantage of this great blessing.
2. Admit to Allah that while you are unworthy of such a blessing, you are in need of it.
3. Beg Allah that He allow you to wake up the following night as well.
May Allah, Most High, allow each of us to be regular in our tahajjud prayers!