How to perform Tahajjud

How to pray Tahajjud | Perform Qiyamullail

Learn how to pray Tahajjud effectively to deepen your spiritual practice and connection with the divine.

Table of Contents

What is Tahajjud Prayer?

Tahajjud prayer, a voluntary act of worship, is performed at night to attain mental strength, and peace, and avoid sin. Also referred to as the ‘night prayer’, it’s not obligatory but is highly valued among devoted Muslims. Many integrate Tahajjud into their daily routine to seek forgiveness and redemption from Allah. During this prayer, believers entrust all worries to the Almighty, opening the door to repentance and seeking divine assistance.


Allah S.W.T says in the Quran:

وَمِنَ ٱلَّيْلِ فَتَهَجَّدْ بِهِۦ نَافِلَةً لَّكَ عَسَىٰٓ أَن يَبْعَثَكَ رَبُّكَ مَقَامًا مَّحْمُودًا

and during the night wake up and pray, as an extra offering of your own, so that your Lord may raise you to a (highly) praised status.

(Surah Al-Isra, 17:79)

What is Qiyamullail ?

Qiyamullail involves engaging in acts of worship during the night, such as Sunnah prayers, Quran recitation, or heartfelt invocations to Allah. It doesn’t necessitate spending the entire night for its rewards; even a brief period suffices.


Allah S.W.T. says in the Quran:

قُمِ ٱلَّيْلَ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا. نِّصْفَهُۥٓ أَوِ ٱنقُصْ مِنْهُ قَلِيلًا. أَوْ زِدْ عَلَيْهِ وَرَتِّلِ ٱلْقُرْءَانَ تَرْتِيلًا

stand at night (for prayer) except a little – half of it, or a little less, or make it a little more; and recite the Qur’an (properly) in a measured way.

(Surah Al-Muzammil, 73:2-4)

Observing the Qiyamullail would entail many rewards and merits. In a hadith, the Prophet S.A.W. said:

عَلَيْكُمْ بِقِيَامِ اللَّيْلِ فَإِنَّهُ دَأْبُ الصَّالِحِينَ قَبْلَكُمْ وَهُوَ قُرْبَةٌ إِلَى رَبِّكُمْ وَمَكْفَرَةٌ لِلسَّيِّئَاتِ وَمَنْهَاةٌ لِلإِثْمِ

Hold fast to Qiyamullail, for it is the practice of the righteous before you, and indeed it is a means of nearness to Allah, a means of expiation for bad deeds, and a barrier from acts of disobedience

(Sunan At-Tirmizi)

The Qiyamullail is indeed a life-changing experience that can be a means for repentance, redemption and opening the doors of provisions from Allah s.w.t. In another hadith, the Prophet s.a.w. said:

يَنْزِلُ رَبُّنَا تَبَارَكَ وَتَعَالَى كُلَّ لَيْلَةٍ إِلَى السَّمَاءِ الدُّنْيَا حِينَ يَبْقَى ثُلُثُ اللَّيْلِ الآخِرُ يَقُولُ مَنْ يَدْعُونِي فَأَسْتَجِيبَ لَهُ مَنْ يَسْأَلُنِي فَأُعْطِيَهُ مَنْ يَسْتَغْفِرُنِي فَأَغْفِرَ لَهُ

Our Lord, The Blessed, The Superior, descends to the lowest Heaven when the last third of the night remains, saying: “Is there anyone to invoke Me, so that I may respond to the invocation? Is there anyone to ask Me, so that I may grant him his requests? Is there anyone seeking My forgiveness, so that I may forgive him?”

(Sahih Al-Bukhari)

From this hadith, scholars have concluded that the last third of the night is one of the most sought after periods of the night itself. Amongst many is the late scholar Shaikh Wahbah Az-Zuhaili who added that the second third of the night should not be overlooked as well, citing: 

وَبِٱلْأَسْحَارِ هُمْ يَسْتَغْفِرُونَ

(Surah Adh-Dhariyat, 51:18)

and in the hours before dawn, they used to pray for forgiveness

We may choose to wake up on either third of the night or even both. One of the many Sunnah acts of worship that can be performed is the Sunnah Tahajjud prayers or also commonly known within our community as Solat Tahajjud.

What is the difference between a Tahajjud prayer and Qiyamullail?

Scholars have varied definitions of Tahajjud and Qiyamullail. In the Shafi’i school of thought, Qiyamullail encompasses all voluntary prayers and acts of worship from Isha until Fajr. On the other hand, Tahajjud specifically refers to a voluntary prayer that requires prior sleep, even if brief, distinguishing it from other Qiyamullail activities. According to this perspective, Tahajjud is a subset of Qiyamullail, performed after sleep, as per the Shafi’i interpretation. However, some scholars may not consider sleep a prerequisite for Tahajjud prayer.

What’s the Importance Of Tahajjud Prayer?

The Tahajjud prayer holds immense importance as it draws a Muslim closer to the Almighty, infusing their life with peace and spiritual enlightenment. It is regarded as the most virtuous among voluntary prayers, following the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Emphasized in the Holy Quran and numerous Hadiths, its significance and blessings are widely acknowledged in Islamic teachings.


Those who perform Tahajjud prayer regularly are sure to earn the blessings of Allah. It is also said that this prayer brings a Muslim closer to the Almighty and his/her life is filled with peace and brightness. The holy Quran emphasizes the importance of Tahajjud prayer.

وَالَّذِيۡنَ يَبِيۡتُوۡنَ لِرَبِّهِمۡ سُجَّدًا وَّقِيَامًا‏

“who spend the night prostrating themselves before their Lord and standing ” (Qur’an, 25:64)

وَمِنَ ٱلَّيْلِ فَسَبِّحْهُ وَإِدْبَـٰرَ ٱلنُّجُومِ

“And glorify Him during part of the night and at the fading of the stars.” (Qur’an, 52:49)

When To Pray Tahajjud?

Tahajjud prayer, known as the prayer of the night, is typically performed after Isha and before Fajr. Ideally, it’s offered during the last third of the night, yet it’s acceptable anytime after Isha. The last third of the night is particularly auspicious, as Allah SWT descends to the lowest heaven, ready to respond to the prayers of believers engaged in worship.

Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) 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 invocation? Is there anyone to ask Me, so that I may grant him his request? Is there anyone seeking My forgiveness, so that I may forgive him?”

Sahih al-Bukhari 1145

Abu Huraira (Allah be pleased with him) reported that he (the Messenger of Allah) was asked as to which prayer was most excellent after the prescribed prayer, he said:

أَفْضَلُ الصَّلاَةِ بَعْدَ الصَّلاَةِ الْمَكْتُوبَةِ الصَّلاَةُ فِي جَوْفِ اللَّيْلِ

Translation: “The best prayer after the prescribed prayer is the prayer in the middle of the night.”

We are encouraged to invest a portion of the night to observe these Sunnah acts of worship. This is acknowledged by Allah S.W.T. Himself as mentioned in the Quran:

إِنَّ نَاشِئَةَ ٱلَّيْلِ هِىَ أَشَدُّ وَطْـًٔا وَأَقْوَمُ قِيلًا. إِنَّ لَكَ فِى ٱلنَّهَارِ سَبْحًا طَوِيلًا. وَٱذْكُرِ ٱسْمَ رَبِّكَ وَتَبَتَّلْ إِلَيْهِ تَبْتِيلًا

“Indeed, worship in the night is more impactful and suitable for recitation. For during the day you are over-occupied ‘with worldly duties’. ‘Always’ remember the Name of your Lord, and devote yourself to Him wholeheartedly.

Qur’an, 73:6-8

How to Perform Tahajjud Prayer:

Performing Tahajjud Prayer follows the same method as performing the Two Rak’ah Obligatory or Voluntary Prayer. This prayer, as instructed by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), consists of a minimum of two rak’ahs.

Tahajjud prayers can vary in rak’ahs—two, four, six, eight, or twelve—but you can pray as much as you’re able. There’s no fixed limit, but ensure at least two rak’ahs with one salutation (salam) after every two rak’ahs.

The Witr prayer should be the final prayer of the night.

1. Upon waking in the middle of the night, perform Wudu (ablution).

2. Commence the Sunnah Tahajjud prayer by reciting the Niyyah (Intention):

“I intend to pray the Sunnah prayer of Tahajjud, two rak’at for Allah s.w.t.”

3. Begin with the Takbir (Allahu-akbar) and perform a two rak’ah prayer.

4. Conclude the prayer after two rak’ahs with salam.

5. Offer your personal prayers (dua) after completing the desired number of rak’ahs, ensuring sincerity, respect, and wholehearted devotion to Allah.

Upon completing Tahajjud prayer, conclude with the Witr Salah, which is the final prayer of the night. If you’ve prayed Tahajjud, wait to perform Witr after completing it.

As narrated by Ibn ‘Umar, the Prophet (PBUH) instructed to end the night prayer with Witr, emphasizing its significance even during travel (Sahih Muslim 751).

Heartfelt Supplications for Tahajjud Prayer

When performing Tahajjud, supplications to Allah (SWT) can be deeply personal and heartfelt, reflecting the individual’s unique relationship with their Creator. However, there are specific supplications taught by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that one can recite during Tahajjud. Among them is the following supplication:

اللَّهُمَّ لَكَ الْحَمْدُ أَنْتَ نُورُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ وَمَنْ فِيهِنَّ، وَلَكَ الْحَمْدُ أَنْتَ قَيِّمُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ وَمَنْ فِيهِنَّ، وَلَكَ الْحَمْدُ أَنْتَ الْحَقُّ، وَوَعْدُكَ الْحَقُّ، وَقَوْلُكَ الْحَقُّ، وَلِقَاؤُكَ حَقٌّ، وَالْجَنَّةُ حَقٌّ، وَالنَّارُ حَقٌّ، وَالسَّاعَةُ حَقٌّ، وَالنَّبِيُّونَ حَقٌّ، وَمُحَمَّدٌ حَقٌّ، اللَّهُمَّ لَكَ أَسْلَمْتُ، وَعَلَيْكَ تَوَكَّلْتُ، وَبِكَ آمَنْتُ، وَإِلَيْكَ أَنَبْتُ، وَبِكَ خَاصَمْتُ، وَإِلَيْكَ حَاكَمْتُ، فَاغْفِرْ لِي مَا قَدَّمْتُ وَمَا أَخَّرْتُ، وَمَا أَسْرَرْتُ وَمَا أَعْلَنْتُ أَنْتَ الْمُقَدِّمُ وَأَنْتَ الْمُؤَخِّرُ لا إِلَهَ إِلا أَنْتَ وَلا إِلَهَ غَيْرُكَ

“O Allah! All the praises are for you, You are the Sustainer of the Heavens and the Earth, And whatever is in them. And All the praises are for You; You have the possession of the Heavens and the Earth And whatever is in them. All the praises are for You; You are the Light of the Heavens and the Earth And all the praises are for You.

(Sahih al-Bukhari 1120)

You are the Truth and Your Promise is the truth, And to meet You is true, Your Word is the truth, And the Paradise is true, And Hellfire is true, And all the Prophets are true; And Muhammad (PBUH) is true, And the Day of Resurrection is true. 

O Allah! to You I submit, in You I believe and to You do I rely upon. And to You I repent, And by You I face my adversaries, And to You I will be judged. So forgive me my previous and later sins; and that which I concealed and revealed; You are the One Who brings forth and suspends. There is none to be worshipped but You.”

This supplication, narrated in Sahih Al-Bukhari, encompasses praise, acknowledgment of truth, reliance on Allah, repentance, and seeking forgiveness for past and future sins. It encapsulates the essence of humility and devotion in communication with the Divine.

Benefits of Tahajjud Prayer:

Performing Tahajjud Prayer offers various rewards from Allah, including:

1. Forgiveness of sins.

2. Protection from the Devil.

3. Increase in one’s spiritual rank.

4. Acceptance of Du’a (supplication).

5. Increased reward in the Hereafter.

6. Deepens connection with Allah SWT.

7. Provides inner peace and contentment.

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