Islam has five pillars on which it is standing. These pillars include
Praying five times a day
All these religious rituals are obligatory. Every Muslim has to follow these rituals to become a good Muslim. Prayer is one pillar of Islam. Allah Almighty says in Quran e Kareem;
“And I have chosen you, so listen to that which is inspired by you. Verily, I am Allah! There is none worthy of worship but I, So, worship me and offer prayer for my remembrance” (Ta`ha 13,14)
Quran e Kareem talks about prayer for almost 720 times. But only five prayers are obligatory. Another important prayer is the Prayer of Tahajjud. It is not obligatory, but it is a devotional prayer. The prayer is also called the Night prayer. We can offer this after midnight and before the obligatory Fajr Prayer. Allah Almighty increased its reward when someone offer it after sleeping and getting up at midnight.
Raka`t of Tahajjud”
As it is a devotional prayer. It is not an obligatory prayer, so its raka`t are not fixed. A person can offer only two raka`ts to offer night prayer and one can offer 12 to perform Tahajjud. It depends on the choice. So, the number of raka`ts of the night prayer varies from Two to twelve. But it is a devotional prayer.
Importance of Tahajjud in Quran
Though Tahajjud is a devotional prayer, yet it is a very important prayer to attain Allah’s will. Allah Almighty bestows the person who performs night prayer regularly, with His blessings and rewards. It is the best time to attain Allah Almighty’s closeness. It is the best time to pray to Allah Almighty. Allah listens to the person closely, who prays at night.
Allah Almighty says in Quran e Kareem
“And during a part of the night, keep awake by the prayer. It is beyond what is incumbent on you; may be your lord will raise you to a position of great glory.” Quran 17:79.
In this verse, Allah Almighty promises reward for the one who offers Tahajjud prayer.
At another place Allah Almighty says,
“And they who pass the night prostrating themselves before their lord and standing,” 25, 64
Tahajjud in Ahadith
Tahajjud or night prayer is not an obligatory prayer, but it is optional one for Ummah and
Mandatory for Prophet Muhammad Peace be upon him. He used to offer Tahajjud regularly.
Prophet Muhammad Peace be upon him used to wake up daily in the last part of the night, perform ablution and stand in prostration before his Lord. He performed a Tahajjud prayer with complete love and devotion to Allah Almighty. He used to start his Tahajjud prayer with the following words, described in ahadith;
“O Allah! Lord of Gabriel, Michael, and Raphael, creator of the heavens and earth, knower of the seen and unseen, you will judge between Your servants in what they used to differ. Guide me by Your Grace, to the truth in what they differ about. Indeed, You guide whomever You please to a path that is straight.
I turn my face to the creator of the heavens and earth upon the pure faith, and I`m not among the polytheists. Indeed, my prayer, my sacrifice, my life and my death are for Allah, the lord of all the worlds, who is without a partner. This is as I was commanded, and I`m of those who submit. O Allah! You are the king. There is no God but You. You are my Lord and I am your servant. I have been unjust to myself and I confess my sins, so forgive me all of my sins, for indeed no one forgives but You. Guide me to the best conduct. No one can guide to the best except You. Keep me away from bad conduct, for no one can do this for me except you. Here I am. I heed your call, happy to serve you. All good is in your hands and no evil belongs to you. I exist by Your will and shall return to you. You are Blessed and Sublime. I seek your forgiveness and repent unto you.”
Prophet Muhammad Peace be upon him, laid great stress on performing Tahajjud prayer. He declared rewards from Allah Almighty on offering Tahajjud Prayer. On different occasions, He peace be upon him described bounties of Allah on the one who performs Tahajjud.
“Abu Umama al-Bahili (May Allah be pleased him) reports that the messenger of Allah (Blessings and peace be upon him, his family and companions) said, hold tight to night prayer, for it was the way of the righteous, a way of drawing closer to your lord, an expiation for wrong deeds, and a shield from sins.”
Many ahadith repeatedly narrates these and many other spiritual benefits and rewards offered by Allah Almighty for offering Tahajjud prayer. Tahajjud is the way of getting patience and forbearance in front of worldly pains and hardships. As only those persons perform Tahajjud, who want to get closer to Almighty Lord. Those are the persons who have utmost belief and trust in Allah Almighty. Their blind trust gets them even closer to their Lord, and this ultimately makes their worldly hardships lighter and reduced their worldly desires. Allah Almighty gives inner peace and strength to the one who performs Tahajjud regularly. It gives a soothing effect to a Muslim’s soul, who starts getting closer to piety and farther from sins and wickedness. Thus, according to Quran and Ahadith Tahajjud is an important devotional prayer which is performed by pious Muslims. It plays an important part in the spiritual upbringing of a Muslim.