Grab the Night Prayer!
Having a 8-5 job, part-time classes, kids to look after, television series to catch, man is it just me or is our current lifestyle just not conducive for tahajjud prayers? Of course we try, and our best bet is during Ramadan when shaytaan is locked up and we voluntarily wake up early (for pre-dawn meal of course). However, we are far from the acts of our ancestors that brought countless blessings from Allah SWT. Tahajjud is one of those pious acts, which have been a hallmark of our ancestors’ character. I read that Salahuddin Ayubi, one of the greatest warriors of Islam, only selected those who pray tahajjud to fight alongside him. And this he asked before even testing their physical strength and strategical prowess.
The techniques to awake for night prayer can be bifurcated in two types: the spiritual and the physical. Spiritually, do the following:
1) Seek Allah SWT’s help to bless you with the night prayer.
2) Intention is the most important thing and I have experienced it personally that whenever one is asking for something with pure intention, he always get his desired thing. So bottom line is, make a pure intention for night prayer.
3) Thirdly, stay away from lustful and worldly desires and try hard to protect yourself from sins. Sayyidina Hasan RA said,” When a person carries out a bad act, he will be unable to wake up for the night prayer”.
4) Pray to Allah SWT to give you the blessing of night prayer. Bring to mind the rewards attached with night prayer to give you that added motivation! There are certain verses of the Quran that can help the individual to wake up for tahajjud. The Prophet SAW said:
“When anyone of you goes to bed, let him clear his bed by hitting it with his garment, for he does not know what may have come onto it. Then let him lie down on his right side, then let him say, “Bismika Rabbi wada’tu janbi wa bika arfa’uhu. In amsakta nafsi farhamhaa wa in arsaltahaa fahfazhaa bimaa tahfazu bihi ‘ibaadaka as-saaliheen” (In Your Name, my Lord, I lay myself down and I get up again. If You take my soul, then have mercy on it, and if You send it back to me, then protect it with that with which You protect Your righteous slaves).
Before explaining the physical tips to wake up for tahajjud, I would like to make the point that humans can be prepared for any conditions and circumstances with gradual practice. The human body becomes accustomed with such changes and with the passage of time one can adjust his sleep timing to 4.5 hours a day for example. So once you have adjusted your sleep to a certain limit, it will be very easy for you to wake up for night prayer, and without ever reducing your efficiency for the whole day. The physical actions that one should do to implement the night prayer in his life are:
- Perform ablution before going to sleep
- Offer Isha prayer earlier
- Take a power nap in the afternoon as it is a Sunnah of the Prophet SAW and it helps you to wake up at night
- Avoid eating or drinking too much. Eating and drinking too much are two of the main obstacles that prevent people from praying tahajjud
- Use an annoying alarm. Or if you prefer, get a close buddy to wake each other up and start Project Tahajjud together.
For people who find it difficult that their routine will be not be as productive if they sleep less than they already do, there’s a theory in the science of sleep that says that every human being completes an entire sleep cycle in 1.5 hours, and therefore, if you can wake up at the end of a multiple of 1.5 hours (e.g. 1.5 hours, or 3 hours, or 4.5 hours), you’ll wake up fresh and rejuvenated. Otherwise, you’ll wake up lazy. So if tahajjud is at 5am, and you sleep at 12am, make sure you set your alarm at 4.30am, because that gives you 4.5 hours to sleep. May Allah SWT give potency to every Muslim to grab this opportunity of night prayer and implement tahajjud in our lives!