The Tahajjud prayer, also known as the night prayer or Qiyam-ul-Layl, holds a special place in the hearts of devout Muslims. This voluntary prayer is performed during the night, preferably in the last third of the night, and is an opportunity for Muslims to seek closeness to Allah and ask for His forgiveness and blessings. It is said that offering Tahajjud prayers allows a Muslim to achieve greater spiritual growth and develop a deeper connection with their Creator. This comprehensive guide will take you through the process of performing the Tahajjud prayer step by step, including its significance, prerequisites, and frequently asked questions.
The Significance of Tahajjud Prayer
The Tahajjud prayer is mentioned in several verses of the Holy Quran and numerous Hadiths, emphasizing its importance and the rewards it brings. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) used to perform the Tahajjud prayer regularly, and it is considered one of the most virtuous acts of worship a Muslim can perform.
Some of the benefits of offering the Tahajjud prayer include:
- Strengthening the bond between the worshipper and Allah
- Earning Allah’s forgiveness and mercy
- Enhancing patience, humility, and gratitude
- Gaining a deeper understanding of the Quran and its teachings
- Improving concentration, discipline, and sincerity in worship
Prerequisites for Performing Tahajjud Prayer
Before performing the Tahajjud prayer, it is essential to fulfill certain prerequisites:
- Perform Isha Prayer: The Tahajjud prayer can only be offered after the Isha prayer, the last of the five daily obligatory prayers. It is recommended to sleep for a while after Isha and then wake up for Tahajjud.
- Intention (Niyyah): As with any act of worship, the intention to perform the Tahajjud prayer is crucial. Ensure that your intention is solely to seek Allah’s pleasure and not to show off or gain praise from others.
- Wudu (Ablution): A state of ritual purity is necessary before performing any prayer, including Tahajjud. Perform wudu to cleanse yourself physically and spiritually.
- Find a Clean and Quiet Space: Ensure the place where you perform the Tahajjud prayer is clean and free from distractions. It is preferable to pray at home in a dedicated space for worship.
Step-by-Step Guide to Performing Tahajjud Prayer
Step 1: Make the Intention (Niyyah)
Before starting the prayer, make a sincere intention in your heart to perform the Tahajjud prayer for Allah’s sake. The intention does not need to be said out loud.
Step 2: Begin with the Takbeer
Raise your hands to your ears, and say “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is the Greatest) to start the prayer. This is known as the Takbeer Tahrimah.
Step 3: Recite the Opening Chapter of the Quran (Al-Fatiha)
Recite the opening chapter of the Quran, Al-Fatiha, while standing. This chapter is recited in every unit (Rak’ah) of the prayer.
Step 4: Recite Another Chapter or Verses from the Quran
After reciting Al-Fatiha, choose any other chapter or verses from the Quran to recite. It is preferable to recite longer chapters in the first Rak’ah and shorter ones in subsequent Rak’ahs.
Step 5: Perform Ruku (Bowing)
Say “Allahu Akbar” and bow down, placing your hands on your knees. While in this position, glorify Allah by saying “Subhana Rabbiyal Adheem” (Glorious is my Lord, the Most Great) three times or more. Then, stand up straight and say “Sami’ Allahu liman hamidah” (Allah hears those who praise Him).
Step 6: Perform Sujood (Prostration)
Say “Allahu Akbar” and go down into the prostration position, placing your forehead, nose, palms, knees, and toes on the ground. In this position, say “Subhana Rabbiyal A’la” (Glorious is my Lord, the Most High) three times or more.
Step 7: Sit Up Briefly
Say “Allahu Akbar” and sit up briefly before returning to prostration. This is called the Jalsah (sitting between the two prostrations).
Step 8: Perform the Second Sujood (Prostration)
Say “Allahu Akbar” and go down into prostration again, repeating the same supplications as in the first sujood.
Step 9: Stand Up for the Second Rak’ah
Say “Allahu Akbar” and stand up for the second Rak’ah. Repeat steps 3 to 8 for the second Rak’ah.
Step 10: Recite the Tashahhud
After completing the second sujood of the second Rak’ah, sit and recite the Tashahhud. This includes the testimony of faith and a salutation upon the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
Step 11: Perform Additional Rak’ahs (Optional)
The Tahajjud prayer can be offered in units of two Rak’ahs. You can choose to perform as few as two Rak’ahs or as many as you wish, preferably in even numbers. If you decide to perform additional Rak’ahs, repeat steps 3 to 8 for each pair of Rak’ahs.
Step 12: Conclude the Prayer with the Salam
After completing the desired number of Rak’ahs and reciting the Tashahhud in the final sitting, turn your head to the right and say “Assalamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullah” (Peace and mercy of Allah be upon you). Then, turn your head to the left and repeat the same words to conclude the prayer.
Step 13: Offer Supplications (Dua)
After completing the Tahajjud prayer, it is recommended to raise your hands and make heartfelt supplications to Allah. Ask for His forgiveness, guidance, and blessings for yourself and others.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best time to perform the Tahajjud prayer?
The best time to perform the Tahajjud prayer is during the last third of the night, before the Fajr prayer. This is when Allah is closest to His servants and readily answers their supplications.
How many Rak’ahs should I perform during the Tahajjud prayer?
There is no fixed number of Rak’ahs for the Tahajjud prayer. You can perform as few as two Rak’ahs or as many as you wish, preferably in even numbers.
Can I perform the Tahajjud prayer after the Witr prayer?
Yes, you can perform the Tahajjud prayer after the Witr prayer. However, it is recommended to perform the Witr prayer after Tahajjud as the last prayer of the night.
Is it necessary to sleep before performing the Tahajjud prayer?
It is preferable to sleep for a while after the Isha prayer and then wake up for Tahajjud, as this was the practice of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). However, if you cannot sleep or are worried about missing the prayer, you can still perform Tahajjud without sleeping.
Can I pray Tahajjud if I missed my Isha prayer?
If you have missed the Isha prayer, you should first make up the missed Isha prayer and then perform the Tahajjud prayer.
Can I perform Tahajjud prayer in congregation (jama’ah)?
Although the Tahajjud prayer is usually performed individually, it is permissible to perform it in congregation if it is done occasionally and not as a regular practice.
Can I recite the Quran from a physical copy or electronic device during the Tahajjud prayer?
It is permissible to recite the Quran from a physical copy or electronic device during the Tahajjud prayer, especially if you have not memorized the Quran. However, it is better to recite from memory to maintain the humbleness and concentration in your prayer.
Can I perform the Tahajjud prayer if I have missed some of my obligatory prayers (Fard)?
If you have missed obligatory prayers, it is essential to make up those prayers first before performing any voluntary prayers, including Tahajjud.
Is it necessary to wake up for Tahajjud every night?
While it is highly recommended to perform the Tahajjud prayer regularly, it is not obligatory. However, if you can maintain consistency in waking up for Tahajjud, it will bring immense spiritual benefits and strengthen your relationship with Allah.
How can I motivate myself to wake up for Tahajjud regularly?
To motivate yourself to wake up for Tahajjud, remind yourself of the immense rewards and spiritual benefits associated with this prayer. You can also try going to bed early, setting multiple alarms, and seeking support from friends or family members who also wish to perform Tahajjud.