Salah is one of the five pillars of Islam. A prayer is generally a means of remembrance of Allah SWT, and getting His mercy and blessings. It is of two types: first is the obligatory Namaz, which is to be offered five times a day at specific times with no choice of skipping it under normal circumstances, while second is the Nafl (supererogatory prayer) which is optional and one is not answerable to the Almighty for not performing it.
“Nafl” is an Arabic word, which means “to get something extra”. There are many kinds of non-obligatory supplications such as Tahayiat-ul-wudu (offering two raka`ts right after ablution), Ishraak (after Fajr, praising the Lord through Tasbeeh till the Sun has risen, then performing two or four raka`ts), Chaasht (carrying out at least two raka`ts when the Sun has set high), and Tahajjud (praying in the later part of night).
Among the most virtuous Nafl prayers is the Tahajjud Prayer also known as Qiyam-u-lail. It is part of the established Sunnah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad SAW. Allah Almighty says in the Holy Quran: “And from [part of] the night, pray with it as additional [worship] for you; it is expected that your Lord will resurrect you to a praised station.” (Quran, 17: 79)
Performing the Tahajjud prayer regularly qualifies one as one of the righteous and makes one earn Allah’s bounty and mercy. In praising those who perform the late-night prayers, Allah SWT says in the Holy Quran: “And they who pass the night prostrating themselves before their Lord and standing.” (Quran, 25:64)
The time for Tahajjud prayer is the time when Allah Almighty sends His angels to take the Dua of all His servants who are deeply in need of His blessings. It is the time when Allah forgives all sinners who have repented for their sins. It is also the time when Allah accepts the Dua for the things we wish for both in this life and hereafter. Tahajjud gets us closer to the Almighty Allah. People that do night prayers get closer to Allah and are filled with brightness, peace and success in their lives.
There are Numbers of Hadith and verses emphasize the significance of invoking Allah Almighty by solicitation and prayers in the darkest nights. “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, Muslim)
Tahajjud prayer usually is done by alone without together. Tahajjud prayer is not limited in number, but at least two Rakah. As Prophet Muhammad (SAW) explained that: “Evening prayer that two-two.” (Bukhari)
Tahajjud prayer may be performed in the early part of the night, the middle part of the night, or the later part of the night, but after the obligatory Isha prayer. Tahajjud prayer can be performed whenever in the night unless the doer time for sleep. But the best time to perform is 1/3 of the night after waking up from sleep. Actually, the time to perform Tahajjud prayer is since the specified Isha until dawn (all night) after getting up from sleep.
Benefits of Tahajjud Prayer
Following benefits, one could get by offering Tahajjud Prayer:
- It gives inner strength
- It gives mental toughness
- Seek forgiveness and surely Allah will listen
- The doors of Mercy and Forgiveness are open during the last 1/3 of night
- If someone wishes his/her Dua to be accepted this is the best time to ask
- Huge incentive for the believer to wake up when everyone else is asleep and remember Allah (SWT) alone
- Tahajjud prayer can strengthen religious understanding
- It can bring fresh inspiration and innovation
- Tahajjud prayer can delete wickedness and prevent act of sin
- Tahajjud prayer can strengthen the memory
In short, Tahajjud prayer is the best one among the non-obligatory prayers, and is the cause of getting Allah`s great Blessings and Mercy.