| "Two rak'ahs in late hours of the night are more valuable than all the riches of the world. But fear of hardship on my followers I would have made them obligatory." -The Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihi wasallam)
A SALAT WITH REWARD EXCEEDING 2,000,000 PRAYERS!
We all know that a prayer in the sacred Mosque in Mekka is equivalent to hundred thousand prayers, as narrated in a Hadith by Anas bin Malik in lbn Majah. In another Hadith it is stated that:
"Prayers offered on borders while guarding the frontiers of Islam against the attacking enemy is e quivalent to 2,000,000 prayers. And exceeding in reward than this are the two raka'ahs of prayer which a servant of Allah offers at midnight intending no recompense for it except that which is with (i.e. what is bestowed by) Allah, the Exalted." (Abu Shaikh Ibn Habban in Kitab-uth-Thawab)
The Tahajjud prayer is a voluntary prayer, not a fard (obligatory) or wajib, for a Muslim, although it was obligatory for the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihi wasallam) But because of its immense reward and dearness to Allah and on account of its blissful effects in forming the character of a man, he Holy Prophet (S.A. W.) took pains not to miss it come what may! Therefore it bears great importance for those who try to follow him in every walk of life. There are several Quranic verses as well as Hadith on these prayers which induce us to adopt the Tahajjud prayer which is a great source of solace and serenity to the soul. Some important aspects of this prayer are given below.
Hazrat Abu Hurairah reported Holy Prophet (sallallaho alaihi wasallam) saying, "The most excellent fast after Ramadan is in Allah's month al-Muharram, and the most excellent prayer after what is prescribed is prayers during the night(i.e. Tahajjud prayer)." (Muslim)
Salat-ul- Tahajjud is a great blessing of Allah. To resort to it at the time of worry is to hasten towards his mercy, and when Allah's mercy comes to the rescue, there can remain no trace of any worry. The sublime virtues of Tahajjud are illustrated in a Hadith in Tirmidhi by Hazrat Abu Umama who narrated Holy Prophet (S.A. W.): "Make a practice of getting up at night, for it was the custom of the pious before you, it is a means of bringing you near to your Lord, and an atonement of evil deeds and a prevention of sins."
In a Hadith the Holy Prophet (sallallaho alaii wasallam) is reported to have said, "None is pleased by Allah more than he who is aroused to offer two rakahs of Salat." That is why the Holy Prophet advised, "For a (good) salat keep your back and stomach light." The back of a person is said to be light when he has very few worldly encumbrances and his stomach is light when he eats just little to avoid indolence and laziness due to overeating. In a Hadith by Abdullah bin Mas'ud, mention was made to the Holy Prophet of a man who slept the whole night till morning. The Holy Prophet (sallallaho alaihi wasallam) remarked: "That is a man in whose ear(s) the devil urinated."
There are no fixed rak'ahs in Tahajjud. These vary from 2 to 10. It is desirable to offer it at home. The Holy Prophet (sallallaho alaihi wasallam) exhorted his followers to observe the obligatory prayer in the Mosque in order to emphasise its social aspect, but also stressed the observance of nafl prayer within the the house hidden from the public gaze.
The Tahajjud prayer is offered before the Fajar prayer when two-third of the night is over. During Ramadhan, getting up for Sehri gives an opportunity to pray Tahajjud namaz. The best time for Tahajjud is the latter part of the night as has been mentioned in many Hadith. But some Maulanas have stated that if anyone finds it very hard to pray during such time (due to health reasons or other compelling factors) he may offer some rak'ahs after Isha and it may be counted towards Tahajjud as a special grace of the Almighty Lord.
Hazrat Jabir has narrated that the Messenger of Allah said, "There is an hour during the night in which no Muslim bondsman will ask Allah for good in this world and the next but He will grant it to him; and that applies to every night." (Muslim) In a Hadith narrated by Asma daughter of Yazid it is reported that Holy Prophet (sallallaho alaihi wasallam) saying that on the Day of Judgement an Angel will announce for three groups who will rise up and enter paradise. These are" 1. Those who glorified Allah in ease and adversity 2. Those who forsook their beds and spent their night in worship and 3. Those whom trade and business did not distract from remembrance of Allah. Quoting this Hadith Sheikh Sasar Samarkandi writes these groups will enter Paradise without reckoning.
The Holy Prophet (sallallaho alaihi wasallam) is reported to have said: "Two Rak'ahs in late hours of the night are more valuable than all the riches of the world. But for fear of hardship on my followers I would have made these obligatory."
According to the Holy Prophet the perishable gain of this world stands in no comparison with the everlasting gain of the Hereafter. Our life will be pleasant and worthwhile if we develop our Imaan to an extent where two rak'ahs of Salat in our sight, are more valuable than all the riches of this world. Salat is really a great wealth. The Prophet (sallallaho alaihi wasallam) called it "the coolness" of his eyes and had been enjoining its observance right upto his last breath.
Muhammad bin Qais says: I know (by intuition) that when someone gets up during the night for Tahajjud prayer, blessings from heaven descend on him alround; Angels come down to hear his recitation of the Qu'ran; those in the house and creatures in the atmosphere listen to his Qirah. When he finishes his prayer and sits for dua, the Angels encircle him and say Ameen on his dua. After this if he rests ( a while before fajr prayers), it is said aloud, "With pleasure enjoy sleep of good worshipper on performance of such a good deed"
The merits, some of which have been narrated above, are numerous and are realised by only those who have enjoyed its taste. The same way a perfect dinner is rounded up with a sweet dish or kahwa, the reciting of Dua -e-Jameela after Tahajjud namaz has the reward equivalent to Prophet Mohammed (sallallaho alaihi wasallam) making 100,00 pilgrimages. Let us make an effort to start praying Tahajjud commencing with Ramadan when we will be getting up at Tahajjud prayer time for Sehri.