Amtul Hafeez Kashmala Butt-Ahmad, Germany
Love requires effort. We have to make an effort to build and strengthen our relationships. Verbal expression of love is pleasant, but going an extra mile and showing inner feelings through our actions, grabs the attention of the other person.
The same approach needs to be adopted in order to establish and enhance a relationship with Allah the Almighty. We must display our love for Allah by our conduct if we claim to adore Him.
Although there are beautiful ways to have our hearts connected to Allah, one of the most beneficial ways to express our love to Allah and to gain His nearness is performing the voluntary night prayer, also called Tahajjud.
As Tahajjud is a non-mandatory prayer, it requires greater effort from our side to perform it. It is difficult to wake up in the middle of the night when we are in deep sleep. However, just as in our worldly relationships we continually strive to have a stronger bond with our loved ones, we should seize every opportunity to get closer to our Creator. And what a blessing it is to have Tahajjud as a gateway to Allah’s compassion and His utmost blessings as He Himself mentions:
وَ مِنَ الَّيۡلِ فَتَهَجَّدۡ بِهٖ نَافِلَةً لَّكَ ٭ۖ عَسٰۤي اَنۡ يَّبۡعَثَكَ رَبُّكَ مَقَامًا مَّحۡمُوۡدًا
“And wake up for it [the Quran]in [the latter partof] the night as a supererogatory service for thee. It may be that thy Lord will raise thee to an exalted station. (Surah Bani Isra‘il, Ch.17: V. 80)
Because Satan is continuously lurking around to attack us, we must ask Allah for His assistance in waking up for Tahajjud.
Hazrat Abu Hurairahra narrated that the Holy Prophetsa said:
“Satan puts three knots at the back of the head of any of you if he is asleep. On every knot he reads and exhales the following words, ‘The night is long, so stay asleep.’ When one wakes up and remembers Allah, one knot is undone; and when one performs ablution, the second knot is undone, and when one prays, the third knot is undone and one gets up, energetic with a good heart in the morning; otherwise one gets up lazy and with a mischievous heart.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, The Book of Tahajjud, hadith no. 1142)
If we truly understand the essence of this night prayer, performed when the world is asleep and unconscious of the One Who is waiting for us to turn to Him, how can we let this wonderful chance pass by?
In another hadith about Tahajjud, Hazrat Abu Hurairahra narrated that the Holy Prophetsa said:
“Our Lord, the Blessed, the Superior, comes every night down on the nearest Heaven to us when the last third of the night remains, saying: ‘Is there anyone to invoke Me, so that I may respond to [their] invocation? Is there anyone to ask Me, so that I may grant him their request? Is there anyone seeking My forgiveness, so that I may forgive them?’” (Sahih al-Bukhari, The Book of Tahajjud, Hadith 1145)
This occurs every night, which illustrates Allah’s mercy and how near He is – yet only some of us make an effort to have a heart-to-heart with our Creator.
Our beloved Prophetsa has not only verbally mentioned the importance of Tahajjud, but also demonstrated highly noble standards of worship.
Hazrat Mughirahra narrated that the Holy Prophetsa used to stand in the prayer or pray till both his feet or legs swelled. He was asked why (he offered such an unbearable prayer), to which he said, “Should I not be a thankful servant.” (Ibid, Hadith 1130)
The Promised Messiahas also manifested the significance of Tahajjud prayer by including it in the third condition of bai‘at:
“That he/she shall regularly offer the five daily prayers in accordance with the commandments of God and the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him); and shall try his/her best to be regular in offering the Tahajjud (pre-dawn supererogatory prayers) and invoking durood (blessings) on the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him); that he/she shall make it his/her daily routine to ask forgiveness for his/her sins, to remember the bounties of God and to praise and glorify Him. (Conditions of Bai‘at, www.alislam.org/articles/conditions-initiation-baiat/)
The Promised Messiahas instructed us and said:
“Our Jamaat should make it incumbent upon itself to offer Tahajjud. Anyone who cannot do more should make at a minimum two rak‘aat because he will get an opportunity to make some supplications. Supplications made at this time have a very special characteristic because they are offered with true pain and eagerness. Until there is a special pain and heartfelt agony, how can one wake up from comfortable sleep? To wake up at this time creates a heartfelt pain, which creates a condition of devotion and distress, which in turn become the means of acceptance of supplication. But someone who is lax in waking up is obviously lacking in pain and anguish. But one who wakes up, obviously there is a pain that is waking him up.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 2)
The Promised Messiahas also said:
“Get up at night and supplicate that Allah the Almighty may guide you to His path. The Companions of the Holy Prophetsa also received their training step by step. What were they before? They were like a seed sown by a farmer. The Holy Prophetsa in turn watered and prayed for it. The seed was healthy, and the soil was fertile. With watering, it yielded excellent fruit. They walked the path of the Holy Prophetsa without hesitation. They did not wait for day or night. You should repent with a true heart. Wake up for Tahajjud. Straighten your hearts. Leave your weaknesses, and make your words and deeds correspond to the will of Allah the Almighty.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 1)
If we can set our minds to achieve worldly targets, can we not also develop the same determination to attain spiritual goals?
The Promised Messiahas said:
“If our entire lives are spent in worldly engagements, what will we have accumulated for the Hereafter? Make a special effort to wake up for Tahajjud and offer it with fervour and joy.” (Ibid)
Nothing is impossible if we ask for Allah’s help, have pure intentions and are willing to work for it.