preceding section was primarily concerned with what Allah says about those who
perform salatul tahajjud. There also exist a number of a hadith that reinforce
the importance of tahajjud.
‘Abdullah ibn as-Salam reports: “When the Prophet Sallallahu alehi wasallam came to Medinah, the people gathered around him and I was one of them. I looked at his face and understood that it was not the face of a liar. The first words I heard him say were: ‘O people, spread the salutations, feed the people, keep the ties of kinship, and pray during the night while the others sleep and you will enter paradise in peace.”’ This is related by al-Hakim, Ibn Majah, and at-Tirmizhi who calls it hasan Sahih.
Salman al-Farsi relates that the Prophet Sallallahu alehi wasallam said: “Observe the night prayer, it was the practice of the righteous before you and it brings you closer to your Lord and it is penance for evil deeds and erases the sins and repells disease from the body.”
Sahl ibn Sa’d reports: “Gabriel came to the Prophet Sallallahu alehi wasallam and said: ‘O Muhammad, live as long as you like, for you are to die. Do whatever deed you wish, for you are to be rewarded. Love whomever you wish, for you are to be parted. And know that the honor of the believer is in the night prayer and his glory is being free from want from the people.”’
Abu ad-Darda’ reports that the Prophet said: “Three people are loved by Allah, and He laughs for them and He grants them glad tidings. [The first is] a man who fights behind a group that flees and does so with his own soul for Allah’s sake, regardless of whether he is killed or he is aided by Allah and made victorious. Allah says: ‘Look to my slave there who is patient with his life for My sake.’ [The second is] the one who has a beautiful wife and a soft bed and rises during the night. Allah says: ‘He leaves his desires and remembers Me and if he wished he would sleep.’ [The third] is a person who is traveling with a group and they pass the night awake and then sleep, but he still observes his prayer in hardship or ease.”
Etiquettes of Late Night Prayer
The following acts are Sunnah for one who wishes to perform the tahajjud prayers. Upon going to sleep, one should make the intention to perform the tahajjud prayers. Abu ad-Darda’ relates that the Prophet Sallallahu alehi wasallam said: “Whoever goes to his bed with the intention of getting up and praying during the night, and sleep overcomes him until the morning comes, he will have recorded for him what he had intended, and his sleep will be a charity for him from his Lord.” This is related by an-Nasa’i and
Ibn Majah with a Sahih chain. Upon waking, one should wipe one’s face, use a toothstick, and look to the sky and make the supplication which has been reported from the Prophet Sallallahu alehi wasallam: “There is no God but Thee, Glory be to Thee, I seek forgiveness from You for my sins, and I ask for your mercy. O Allah, increase my knowledge and let my heart not swerve after You have guided me, and bestows mercy upon me from Thyself. All praise be to Allah who has given us back life after our death and unto Him is the resurrection.”
Then, one should recite the last ten ‘ayat of al-’Imran, starting with, “Lo! In the creation of the heavens and the earth and [in] the difference of night and day are tokens (of His sovereignty) for men of understanding.” Then one should say, “O Allah, to You belongs the praise. You are the Light of the heavens and the earth and what is therein. And to You belongs the praise. You are the truth and Your promise is true. And the meeting with You is true. And the paradise is true. And the Fire is true. And the prophets are true. And Muhammad is true. And the Hour is true. O Allah, to You have I submitted. And in You have I believed. And in You have I put my trust. And to You have I turned. And by You I argue. And to You do I turn for my decisions. Forgive me of my former and latter sins, and those done in private and those done in public. You are Allah, there is no God besides Thee.”
One should begin Qiyam al-Layil with two quick rak’at and then one may pray whatever one wishes after that. ‘Aishah says: “When the Prophet prayed during the late-night, he would begin his prayers with two quick rak’at.” Both of these reports are related by Muslim.
One should wake up one’s Family for Tahajjud
Abu Hurairah reports that the Prophet said: “May Allah bless the man who gets up during the night to pray and wakes up his wife and who, if she refuses to get up, sprinkles water on her face. And may Allah bless the woman who gets up during the night to pray and wakes up her husband and who, if he refuses sprinkles water on his face.” The Prophet Sallallahu alehi wasallam also said: “If a man wakes his wife and prays during the night or they pray two rak’at together, they will be recorded among those (men and women) who (constantly) make remembrance of Allah.” This is related by Abu Dawud and others with a Sahih chain.
Umm Salamah narrates that the Prophet Sallallahu alehi wasallam got up during the night and said: “Glory be to Allah. What trials are descended with the night. And what has descended of treasures. Who will waken the lady occupants of the rooms (i.e., his wives) for prayers; how many a well dressed in this world will be naked in the hereafter.” This is related by al-Bukhari
Al-Bukhari and Muslim record that the Messenger of Allah asked ‘Ali and Fatimah: “Do you not pray [during the night]?” ‘Ali said: “O Messenger of Allah, we are in Allah’s hands. If He wishes to make us get up, we get up.” The Prophet turned away when he said that. Then, they could hear him striking his thigh and saying: “Verily, man disputes a lot.” This is related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
One should stop praying tahajjud and sleep if one becomes very sleepy
‘Aishah reports that the Messenger of Allah said: “When one of you gets up during the night for prayer and his Qur’anic recital becomes confused to the extent that he does not know what he says, he should lie down.” This is related by Muslim.
Anas narrates that the Messenger of Allah entered the mosque and saw a rope stretching between two posts. He asked: “What is this?” The people told him that it was for Zainab [bint Jahsh] who, when she became tired or weary, held it (to keep standing for the prayer). The Prophet said: “Remove the rope. You should pray as long as you feel active, and when you get tired or weary, you should lie down to rest.” This is related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
One should not overburden one’s self with the night prayer and should only pray it to the extent that is reasonable, and not leave that practice unless there is some great need to do so. ‘Aishah reports that the Messenger of Allah said: “Do (good) deeds according to your capacity, for by Allah, Allah does not weary from giving rewards unless you get tired of doing good deeds.” This is related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
Al-Bukhari and Muslim also relate from ‘Aishah that the Messenger of Allah was asked: “What is the most loved deed to Allah?” He answered: “One that is performed constantly even if it is a small deed.” And Muslim recorded that ‘Aishah said: “The Messenger of Allah was constant in his deeds, and if he did something, he would do it consistently.” ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar reports that the Messenger of Allah said: “O ‘Abdullah, do not become like so-andso who used to make the tahajjud prayers and then he stopped praying it.” This is related by al-Bukhari and Muslim. Al-Bukhari and Muslim also record, on the authority of ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud, that it was mentioned to the Prophet Sallallahu alehi wasallam that a man slept until the morning. [Thereupon he said: “Satan has urinated into the ears of that person.” They also record from Salim ibn ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar, from his father, that the Messenger of Allah said to his father, “Abdullah would be a good man if he would pray the tahajjud prayers.” Salim said: “After that, ‘Abdullah would not sleep during the night save for a small amount at a time.”
The Recommended Time for Tahajjud
Salatul Layil may be performed in the early part of the night, the middle part of the night, or the latter part of the night, but after the obligatory salatul ‘isha. While describing the salah of the Prophet Sallallahu alehi wasallam, Anas would say: “If we wanted to see him praying during the night, we could see him praying. If we wanted to see him sleeping during the night, we could see him sleeping. And sometimes he would fast for so many days that we thought he would not leave fasting throughout that month. And sometimes he would not fast (for so many days) that we thought he would not fast during that month.” This is related by Ahmad, al-Bukhari, and an Nasa’. Commenting on this subject, Ibn Hajar says: “There was no specific time in which the Prophet Sallallahu alehi wasallam would perform his late night prayer; but he would do whatever was easiest for him.”
To be continued