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How to Pray Tahajjud: A Comprehensive Guide



How to Pray Tahajjud

The Tahajjud prayer, also known as the “night prayer,” is a special Islamic prayer performed by those who seek closeness to Allah and wish to add to their acts of worship. Tahajjud is not obligatory, but it is highly recommended for Muslims who are able to perform it. This prayer is performed after Isha (the obligatory nightly prayer) and before Fajr (the obligatory prayer at dawn). In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the significance, preparation, and method of performing the Tahajjud prayer, providing you with a thorough understanding of this deeply spiritual practice.

Understanding the Significance of Tahajjud

Tahajjud holds immense significance in Islam, largely due to its potential for spiritual growth and the opportunity it offers for personal supplication in the tranquility of the night. It is a time when distractions are minimal, allowing for a more focused and sincere connection with Allah. The act of sacrificing sleep to engage in prayer demonstrates a Muslim’s dedication and earnestness in seeking Allah’s favor and closeness. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is reported to have said: “The best of prayers after the prescribed prayers is prayer in the depths of the night.” (Muslim)

Preparing for Tahajjud Prayer

Preparation for Tahajjud begins with the intention to wake up for it. Making a sincere intention before sleeping is crucial, as it sets the tone for the act of worship. It is recommended to sleep early after the Isha prayer to ensure that you have enough rest before waking up for Tahajjud. The practice of the Prophet was to sleep on his right side, making the sleep itself an act following the Sunnah (the way of the Prophet).

Physical purification is also an essential part of the preparation. Performing ablution (Wudu) is necessary before any prayer, and it is no different for Tahajjud. It refreshes the body and mind, helping the worshipper to awaken fully and to be in a state of cleanliness when standing before Allah.

How to Perform Tahajjud Prayer

The Tahajjud prayer can be performed in units of two rak’ahs (cycles of prayer). There is no maximum limit to the number of rak’ahs, but it is often recommended to pray 8 rak’ahs, based on the Prophet’s practice. However, what matters most is the quality of the prayer and the sincerity of the supplication, not the quantity.

  • Niyyah (Intention): Begin by making a sincere intention in your heart to perform Tahajjud for the sake of Allah. Unlike obligatory prayers, you don’t need to vocalize your intention.
  • Takbir: Start the prayer by raising your hands and saying “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is the Greatest), entering into the state of prayer.
  • Recitation: Begin with the opening supplication, followed by the Fatiha (the opening chapter of the Qur’an) and then another passage from the Qur’an. The night prayer is an excellent time to recite longer portions of the Qur’an if you are able.
  • Ruku and Sujood: After recitation, proceed to bowing (ruku) and then prostrating (sujood), following the standard prayer actions and supplications.
  • Tashahhud and Tasleem: After completing the desired number of rak’ahs, end with the Tashahhud (bearing witness) and Tasleem (salutation), saying “Assalamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullah” (Peace and Mercy of Allah be upon you) to both sides.

The Best Time to Pray Tahajjud

The most virtuous time to perform Tahajjud is in the last third of the night. This time is considered especially sacred, as it is mentioned in a Hadith Qudsi that Allah descends to the lowest heaven during the last third of the night, asking, “Who is calling Me, so I may answer him? Who is asking from Me, so I may give him? Who is seeking My forgiveness, so I may forgive him?” (Bukhari, Muslim). To calculate this time, divide the night from Maghrib (sunset prayer) to Fajr (dawn prayer) into three parts. The last third of that time is the most preferred for Tahajjud.

Making Du’a (Supplication)

One of the unique aspects of Tahajjud is the opportunity it presents for making personal supplications (du’a). This time is ideal for asking Allah for your needs, seeking forgiveness, and making heartfelt prayers for yourself and others. The tranquility and solitude of the night make this a particularly special time for du’a, as it allows for a deep, personal connection with Allah.


Tahajjud prayer is a beautiful practice that enriches a Muslim’s spiritual life, offering a time for reflection, supplication, and a deeper connection with Allah. Although it requires sacrifice and discipline, the spiritual rewards and the peace it brings to the heart make it a cherished practice for many. Whether you are just beginning to explore this practice or are looking to deepen your existing routine, the key is consistency, sincerity, and a heartfelt desire to draw closer to Allah. May Allah make it easy for us to seek His closeness and favor through our prayers, especially during the tranquil moments of the night.

FAQs on How to Pray Tahajjud

1. Is Tahajjud prayer obligatory?

No, Tahajjud is not an obligatory prayer. It is a voluntary prayer that Muslims can perform to seek closeness to Allah and to engage in additional worship. Its performance is highly recommended in Islamic tradition.

2. How many rak’ahs should be performed in Tahajjud?

There is no fixed number of rak’ahs for Tahajjud, and it can vary according to one’s ability and preference. However, it is often recommended to pray at least two rak’ahs, and many choose to perform 8 rak’ahs, reflecting the practice of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The key is the sincerity and quality of the prayer, rather than the quantity.

3. Can Tahajjud be prayed immediately after Isha?

While Tahajjud can technically be prayed after Isha, it is more virtuous to pray it during the last third of the night. This time is closer to Fajr and is considered especially blessed, as it is a time when Allah is said to be closer to the Earth, listening to the prayers and supplications of His worshippers.

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