Tuesday, 13 February 2007

The Virtues Of Tahajjud 101


Allah SWT says in the Qur'an, while addressing Nabi Muhammad SAW:

"O you wrapped in a cloth, Stand (in prayer) by night except a portion, half of it or a little less, or a little more, and recite the Qur'an in measured tones. Soon shall we send down to you a weighty message. Truly the rising by night is most potent for governing the soul, and most effective in speech (of praises and prayer)." (Surah 73: Ayats 1~6)

In early Islam, prior to the five times daily Solat becoming Fardh (obligatory), Tahajjud was made Fardh on Nabi Muhammad SAW and the Ummah. Nabi SAW and the Sahabah RA were so vigilant in executing this duty that they would remain awake most of the night to perform Tahajjud.

It has been marrated that Nabi SAW's feet would swell, and this is because of excessive standing in Tahajjud.

Allah Ta'ala then revealed the Ayat:

"Now recite as much as is easy of the Qur'an." (Surah 73: Ayat 20)

The above revealed verse of the Qur'an abrogated the compulsion of Tahajjud on the Ummah. Notwithstanding the abrogation, most of the Sahabah RA remained steadfast on it for the rest of their lives.

The following verses illustrate two benefits of Tahajjud:

"Truly the rising by night is most potent for governing the soul..."

The grand schoalr among the Sahabah RA - Abdullah bin Abbas RA said:

"At the time of Tahajjud, there appears to be a great affinity between the heart and the ears."

This is a time of peace and tranquillity in which the ears respond quicker and the heart is more alert and receptive to ones devotions. They react spontaneously to whatever is uttered by the tongue. Furthermore, the benefit of keeping the lowly desires in check and restraining it against evil and vice is also found in Tahajjud.

The verse continues:

"...and most effective in speech."

The presence of the heart is conducive to a more meaningful and sincere recitation of the Qur'an and submission. This is what a person may obtain during Tahajjud.

In another ayat of the Qur'an, Allah SWT says:

"As for the Righteous, they will be in the Gardens and fountains [of Jannah], with joy the rewards which their Lord gives them, before this [in the world] they were virtuous. They slept but little at night, and they prayed for forgiveness in the hours of early dawn." [Surah 51: Ayat 15~18)

These ayat above describe the qualities of the sincere believers and their everlasting rewards in the Hereafter. Abdullah bin Abbas RA has stated that this verse conveys glad tidings to all those who spend a portion of the night, however short it may be, in the worship of Allah Ta'ala.

Ahnaf bin Qais RA said:

"I compared our actions to that of the people of Jannah and I discovered that they by far excelled us; our actions do not compare with theirs. They slept less at night and laboured more in their devotions to Allah. I then compared our actions to that of the people of Jahannam and I discovered that they refuted Allah, His Rasul (SAW) and Qiyamah. I realised that our actions are not of the standard of the people of Jannah, and (Alhamdulillah) not like that of the people of Jahannam. I therefore conclude that we are among those about whom Allah Ta'ala says, "Those who mixed a good act with another that was evil."

Abdur Rahmaan bin Zaid RA relates that once, a person from the Banu Tameem clan remarked to his father:

"O Abu Usamah, we do not find that quality within us about which Allah Ta'ala praised the righteous. i.e. they remain awake most of the night. Our condition is such that we remain awake for a very short time only to render our Ibadah."

His father (RA) replied:

"Glad tidings are for those who sleep when sleep overtakes them, but they fear Allah on awakening."

In another verse, Allah Ta'ala says:

"And spend a portion of the night with the Qur'an, as an additional prayer." (Surah 17: Ayat 79)

The above verse has exhorted us to perform Nawafil Solat (optional prayer) at night. Although it is virtuous to perform the Tahajjud Solat after rising up from one's sleep, one may perform it before retiring to bed.

The grand Tabi'in, Hassan Basri RA said:

"Any Nawafil Solat performed after Isha' is regarded as Tahajjud, although it is normally referred to as a Solat performed after one sleeps a portion of the night."

In another ayat of the Holy Qur'an, Allah Ta'ala says:

"(The believers are those) whose sides remain away from their beds, while they call on their Lord with fear and hope." (Surah 32: Ayat 16)

This ayat expounds the true quality of the sincere servants of Allah Ta'ala. They distance themselves from their beds in the darkness of night because of fear of attaining Allah's displeasure and His chastisement; while cherishing hope of His mercy and rewards.

The grand Ulama of the Sahabah RA - Mu'adh bin Jabal RA relates:

"Once I was on a journey with Nabi SAW. One morning, at the time of Fajr (dawn), I asked, "O Rasulullah (SAW) - Do show me such an action that will grant me admission into Jannah." Nabi SAW replied, "You have inquired about an extremely difficult affair, nevertheless it becomes easy for those whom Allah makes it easy. Worship Allah without ascribing any partners to Him, establish Solah, observe the fast in the month of Ramadhan, and perform Hajj of the Baitullah. Fasting is a shield, while charity extinguishes the fire of sin and so does a person's Solah in the darkness of the night. Thereafter Nabi SAW recited the above ayat."

Rasulullah SAW said:

"When Allah Ta'ala resurrects the entire mankind on the Day of Qiyamah, an announcer will announce, and his voice will be heard by the entire Creation:

"O you who have been resurrected, on this day you will come to know those who deserve honour and reverence, O you who have been resurrected, stand up, those among you who possess the quality of "their sides remained away from their beds".

A small group of people will stand up. Another narration states, "They will enter Jannah without reckoning. Thereafter the rest of mankind will be called for the reckoning."

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