Abu Hurayra radhiallahu anhu (ra) reports that the Prophet SAW said, “The best prayer after the obligatory prayers is the night prayer.” (Source: Muslim)
Tahajjud refers to the night vigil prayer. The time for performing Tahajjud is after the obligatory Isha prayer until Fajr, but on the condition that the person has slept. It is believed that the Tahajjud prayer is when Allah SWT answers your prayers and forgives your sins. Indeed, Tahajjud prayer is the best way to get closer to Allah SWT.
Prophet SAW said: “The Lord descends every night to the lowest heaven when one-third of the night remains and says: ‘Who will call upon Me, that I may answer Him? Who will ask of Me, that I may give him? Who will seek My forgiveness, that I may forgive him?’” [Bukhari and Muslim]
In this article, we will provide you with some useful tips on how to wake up for Tahajjud and not miss its blessings!
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Umar ibn al-Khattab RA said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah saw say, ‘Indeed, actions only go by intentions. Everyone gets what they intend. Anyone, therefore, who emigrates to Allah and His Messenger, his emigration is indeed to Allah and His Messenger. But anyone who emigrates to gain something of this world or to marry a woman, his emigration is to that to which he emigrated.’ ” (Source: Sahih Bukhari, Iman, 41: Sahih Muslim, Imara, 155).
The first thing to do before praying Tahajjud is to make the intention to wake up for Tahajjud for the sake of Allah subhanahu wa taala (swt) (the most glorified, the highest). When you put Allah SWT first and you sincerely do it for His sake, in shaa Allah (Allah wills), He will make it easy for you to wake up and perform Tahajjud prayers.
Dzikir is remembrance of Allah swt. Dzikir can be in the form of uttering praises and glorifying Allah swt or reciting the Al Quran. Dzikir can also be recited out loud or silently. Remembering Allah is the foundation of good deeds. The more we remember Allah, the closer we will get to Him. Dzikir can be done throughout the day as we go about doing our daily activities. In fact, it will be good to recite some Dzikir right before going to sleep so that it becomes easier for you to wake up for Tahajjud.
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The Messenger of Allah saw said, “When you go to bed, you should perform the ablution for the prayer, and then lay down on your right side. Then say, ‘O Allah, I have turned my face to You and I have surrendered myself to You and I have committed my back to You out of fear and desire for You. There is no place of safety or refuge from You except with You. I have believed in Your book which You revealed and Your Prophet whom You sent.’” (Source: Sahih Bukhari).
When you take the ablution before sleeping, you are in a state of purity. When you sleep in this state, in shaa Allah, Allah SWT will ease your desire to wake up for Tahajjud. After taking the ablution, you could recite Al-Fateha followed by Surah Al-Ikhlas, Al-Falaq, An-Nas then ayatul Kursi, and lastly recite the Dua before sleeping. After that, make the intention to wake up for Tahajjud for the sake of Allah SWT.
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When it is time to sleep, you sleep.
Many people use their smartphones before going to sleep. They read online articles or even scroll through their social media pages right before going to sleep. Instead of doing so, it is best that when it is time to sleep, you sleep. Jeanne Duffy, a neuroscientist at Brigham and Women's Hospital, and an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston suggests that there are several reasons which cause people who use devices to lose sleep. The typical reason would be light from electronic devices suppress the secretion of melatonin which is the sleep-regulating hormone. On top of that, the human body's 24-hour circadian clock is "very sensitive" to the blue light that electronic devices give off. Therefore, instead of reaching the alpha state (for resting), people might be in the beta state (concentration state) and find it more difficult to sleep. Sleeping later results in difficulty waking up early as your body is exhausted.
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Before sleeping, calm your mind. Stop thinking about work and other things that can cause your body to feel anxious. Instead, do some breathing exercises which makes it easier for you to sleep. When you sleep in a calm state, your mind and body are relaxed. Then, you might find it so much easier to wake up easily and fresh for Tahajjud!
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Every person’s body is unique. Some people can survive on 6 hours of sleep while others need 8 hours of sleep. Regardless of the number of hours your body requires, ensure that you have a consistent number of hours each night. This would train your body clock to sleep around the same time and wake up also around the same time as your body is now attuned to the regular hours of sleep.
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Spend as little as 10 minutes during the day to do some light exercises. Exercising releases endorphins which are chemicals that interact with brain receptors to reduce the perception of pain. So these mood-boosting chemicals will help improve your body condition and ensure that you are not extremely sleepy during the day.
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Have a light dinner and try not to have heavy meals that can cause your body to work overnight to digest them. A human body requires around 4 hours to fully digest food in its system. So either you eat 4 hours before you go to bed or eat a light meal if your dinner is less than 4 hours to your bedtime.
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Keep your body hydrated at all times. Dehydration can cause harm to your body and hence break your cycle of Tahajjud and doing your everyday activities (school, work, etc).
The most important thing is to keep a balanced lifestyle. Most of us have responsibilities to carry out during the day. The most beneficial thing to do is to plan your time well. Waking up a half-hour before Fajr prayer in order to do Tahajjud suffices, especially if your day starts very early. This is to ensure that you are not exhausted during the day after doing Tahajjud. Tahajjud is a means for us to have a spiritual connection to Allah SWT. However, understand your body well and plan your time so that you will not discard your daily responsibilities after doing Tahajjud.