Tahajjud is an Islam prayer recommended (but not mandatory) for all Muslims. It should be done after Isha (the obligatory night prayer) and before the Fajr (the obligatory morning prayer). If possible, do it between midnight and Fajr, preferably in the last third of the night. As much as this prayer is voluntary, many devout Muslims try to fit it into their routines as an act of worship seeking redemption and forgiveness from Allah. To learn prayer as directed by the Prophet Mohammed (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him), check out Step 1 below.
Part 1 of 3: Preparing for Prayer
Step 1. Plan to wake up after midnight
After praying the Isha and before going to sleep, arrange to wake up during the night, before the Fajr prayer (for example, set an alarm clock or ask a member of your family to wake you up). As much as Tahajjud can be done at any time of the night, the ideal is to pray after midnight, giving preference to the last third of the night - that is, two thirds after the Isha prayer. This time is ideal as Allah descends to the lower heavens at this time, asking "Who is asking Me for something that I can answer? Who is seeking my forgiveness so that I can forgive them?"
If you make a sincere effort to wake up and pray Tahajjud, but accidentally sleep through the night, rest assured and don't blame yourself. According to the Sayings of the Prophet, Allah records your sincere intention to perform Tahajjud and allows you to continue sleeping as an act of mercy. You will be rewarded as if your intention was completed. However, if you decide to give up Tahajjud for no good reason (such as laziness), it will not be well regarded
Step 2. Wake up and do the Ablution
Wake up at night at the agreed time and perform Ablution, the ritual used by Muslims to clean themselves before praying or handling the Koran. Traditionally, the technique involves using clean water to wash in the following ways:
- Wash your face.
- Wash hands and arms up to the elbows.
- Wash your head (Masah).
- Wash your feet up to the ankle.
- Understand that many Muslims - including the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) - wash their mouths and teeth with a miswak before praying Tahajjud.
- If you have released sexual fluids earlier, whether during intercourse or a night-time emission, it is necessary to take Ghus to cleanse your body as a whole.
Step 3. Go to a clean, quiet, prayer-worthy space
Because the names of Allah are so pure, it is important to speak only of the Lord in clean, sacred places as a form of reverence. Wear your traditional prayer robes and sit on a prayer mat, turning to The Cube (Kabah) in Mecca as you would your obligatory prayers.
You don't need to go to a special environment, like a mosque or a decorated room in your home, to pray the Tahajjud prayer. It's important to just choose a clean and decent place, which can be inside your bedroom
Step 4. Get rid of all the mundane worries inside your heart.
Use the prayer time to focus and reflect on the Lord's glory. Don't worry about worldly situations that are insignificant next to Allah's infinite wisdom and mercy. Take it easy and be calm, ignoring negative feelings and thoughts. Close your eyes and focus only on your heart as you enter a heightened state of spiritual awareness.
Part 2 of 3: Praying Tahajjud
Step 1. Make your intention to pray clear
As you begin the prayer, make a mental statement to yourself that you are about to pray Tahajjud. Decide that you are going to finish the prayer in the specific form you choose, including how many rakats you will complete and which surats you will recite. Also think about the motive behind the prayer-for example, to glorify Allah, to thank Allah, or to ask Allah for forgiveness. There is no need to repeat this statement aloud, for Allah has access to your thoughts and your intentions will be clear to Him as long as they are clear to Himself.
The Tahajjud prayer is usually performed with the repetition of several rakats (cycles) of Salat, the ritual Muslims use in daily obligatory prayer. For Tahajjud, rakats are usually performed in pairs, so choose how many you want to do at this time
Step 2. Make two rakats
To start the prayer, start with two rakats (cycles) of Salat. Start standing up, reciting verses from the Koran. Then bend down and rest your hands on your knees. Rest your forehead, nose and hands on the floor, with your elbows raised, resting on your knees on your feet. Finally, stand up and recite "Aláu Akbar". This description of Salat is a generalization - not sure how to proceed? Learn this essential Islamic skill before performing Tahajjud.
- Emulate the practices of the Prophet Mohammed (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him), who recited the following surats after each cycle in Tahajjud:
- After reciting the Al-Fatihah from the first cycle, recite the surat "Al-Kafirun".
- After reciting the Al-Fatihah of the second cycle, recite the surat "Al-Ikhlas".
Step 3. Repeat rakats if desired
Two cycles are the minimum required for a proper Tahajjud prayer, but you can keep repeating it as often as you like. For example, according to the Prophet's Sayings, Muhammad (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him) normally performed up to 13 rakats in his prayers. As Tahajjud rakats are performed in pairs, eight rakats are usually performed by some Muslims. That is, most people will do two, four, six or eight rakats, but you can do as many as you like.
- If you can, reciting long surats like Al-Baqarah, An-Nisā’ or Al-‘Imran is recommended, even if you can only do it occasionally.
- Follow the Prophet Muhammad's example (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him) and, if you notice that dawn is approaching in the middle of the prayer, close it with a rakat like the Witr (an optional pre-dawn prayer that should be done before Fajr).
Step 4. Add your own prayers (dua) after the rakats
After completing the cycles you have planned, add your own prayers and supplications as long as they are sincere, respectful, and made with devotion to Allah. They can be offered in extended prostration in their own words - thanking and praising Allah, asking for strength and guidance, or making a special request for help. For example, you could ask a friend who is experiencing difficulties or help with their own worship for blessings, or simply spend time thanking Allah for blessings received. Prayers should be offered with humility, temerity, hope, and patience. This is the time to ask for forgiveness for your mistakes and sins, as Allah is more likely to accept repentance overnight according to the Prophet's Sayings.
- Recognize your mistakes and shortcomings, no matter how big or small. Even though he considers it insignificant, Allah may believe that there is some penalty to be taken. Make a sincere promise that you will not repeat your sins and ask for forgiveness.
- Use the fear of displeasing Allah to motivate yourself to become a better Muslim.
- Never give up hope of receiving Allah's mercy, as the Koran tells us more than 70 times that Allah is the Most Forgiving.
- All your prayers will be heard, and if it is Allah's will, they will be answered.
Step 5. Go back to bed if you get too tired to complete Tahajjud
Since prayer disrupts sleep, it is normal to get tired during worship. However, if you are so tired that you forget what to say or fall asleep during the prayer, don't try to complete it. According to the teachings, Allah will recognize your sincere willingness to perform the prayer and you can go back to sleep without having to be ashamed. Obviously, try to prepare better next time by sleeping earlier or resting better.
Part 3 of 3: Exploring Prayer
Step 1. Read scripture passages with the Prophet Mohammed's remarks (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him) about Tahajjud
To better understand the importance of this prayer, it is important to consult the main references to it in the Muslim scriptures. Tahajjud is mentioned in the Koran and is detailed in the Sayings of the Prophet, as well as being discussed in works by Islamic scholars.
To get started, read Book 21 (Night Prayer) by Sahih Bukhari. In the book, more than 70 Prophet Sayings describe Muhammad's habits (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him) in relation to Tahajjud, giving good indications of the meaning of this prayer in the life of a good Muslim. You will also find commentary on Tahajjud at various points in the Koran, including surat 17:79 and 39:9
Step 2. Try praying Tahajjud with your family
It is recommended that Islamic families offer the Tahajjud prayer in communion, as the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and his wife Aisha recommended that husbands and wives do it together. When praying as a family, you come together in devotion to Allah and show solidarity in praise.
- If you want to try this, talk to your wife and children, asking them to join you before you go to sleep. If they need your help to wake up, help them and celebrate Allah's infinite greatness and mercy in silent prayer together. Children over the age of ten should be encouraged to pray Tahajjud when they are ready, but if they have difficulty waking up during the night, don't try to blame or scold them - as long as they wake up to Fajr and the other obligatory prayers.
- Encourage the little ones by reminding them of the rewards available to those who perform voluntary prayers like Tahajjud, warning them of the consequences of not making the sacrifices Allah expects and deserves.
- Families who pray Tahajjud in communion often make exceptions for people who need more sleep, such as young children, the elderly and the sick.
Step 3. Emulate the practices of the Prophet Mohammed (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him)
All Muslims are encouraged to live up to the Prophet's life. If you are looking for guidance in your prayer, study the ways that Muhammad (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him) performed Tahajjud and try to include these habits in your daily life to reach the perfect ideal represented by him, approaching Allah.
As stated earlier, Book 21 of Sahih Bukhari is a great starting point for anyone who would like to know more about Muhammad's habits and practices (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him) in relation to Tahajjud
Step 4. Include Tahajjud in your routine
As a voluntary prayer, Tahajjud is certainly not practiced by all Muslims. Still, many do it regularly, whenever possible. Like any other prayer, Tahajjud is associated with Allah's blessings of forgiveness and redemption, being a great way to seek correction for mistakes, sins and imperfect actions in everyday life.
- Remember, Allah highly values frequent acts of praise. So if you start praying Tahajjud, do your best not to give up. Do you want to make this prayer a part of your life? Set an alarm clock to wake you up every day at night and organize a space for prayer at home.
- If you can't commit to praying Tahajjud every night, start by getting used to repeating two or four rakats two or three times a week, trying to gradually go deeper into the full prayer.
- Understand that stating your intentions out loud before prayer is considered bid'ah (innovation)!
- In doubt with any pronunciation? Ask a Muslim for help!
- "The site of this intention is the heart. By deciding in his heart to take this action, a person has defined his intention. Therefore, it is not necessary to describe the intentions out loud. This type of action is a type of innovation that was not narrated in the Book of Allah or in the Sunnah of his Prophet (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him), nor was it narrated by any of his Sahaba (may Allah be pleased with them). Check al-Sharh al-Mumti', 2 /283."